Lost Sea Expedition

Building the Interior – Southern Pines, NC

Between catching my mules, hauling hay, working on the book and sewing up the odd cat, there’s been scarce little time for working on the wagon.

The wagon shell waits…

Which isn’t all bad.

It gave me time to think…

In the end, I realized that most projects consume exactly as much time and money as you have on hand. So you might as well start off small, on a scale you can finish.

And afford.

With that in mind,… Continue reading

Two Questions -Southern Pines, NC

Two questions came up recently and I only had one answer.

Question One: How much can a horse pull?
Question Two: Bernie, do you want some free hay?

Hey Bill, can you pull this thing…?>

Of course the answer to Question Two was an unqualified “Yes”.

Then Mel told me I had to pick it up in Jack and Bill’s wagon.


The hay was in a hay barn across town. All I had to do was go get it.… Continue reading

Winter Quarters (and a bit of wrotten luck at the end…) – Southern Pines, NC

Back in the early nineties I had this madcap dream.

I was going to become a steeplechase jockey!

Well, I moved back to Southern Pines, dieted from 165 to 125 pounds and lived out that crazy notion.

Win Number One circa 1992 (Hobby Field, Southern Pines, NC)

But the weight loss came hard so to keep my mind off food, I built a sailboat.

At the time I was galloping horses for my friend Mel Wyatt. “Hey Mel.” I asked… Continue reading

Bolting it all Together – Southern Pines, NC

I know, I know! You’re sick of Technical Drawing Number One. Just remember, it’s all I have in the way of blueprints, the only thing I have to go by as I build the wagon that, so far, has only resided in my brain.

Technical Drawing Number One

For months now I have been building the body parts to what look like an enormous slab sided monster. The yellow side walls, flank-like and stiff. The wooden ribs, bowed like they… Continue reading

Recapturing the Mule Nation – Southern Pines, NC

“Oh man, I’m so sunk!” I thought as I turned away from the open gate and thought of Craig.

Craig aboard his boat before she was lost at sea
(Rodrigues Island, Indian Ocean)

Craig was a mad keen Australian I’d sailed with aboard Sea Bird. He’d bought a small twenty-three foot sailboat in Australia, sailed her from there around Africa’s stormy Cape of Good Hope, then up to Cuba and on to Newfoundland.

From there, he planned to cross the… Continue reading

Gone! – Southern Pines, NC

Friday the 13th…

The phone rang this morning and before I could answer it, Mel left the frantic message on my machine.

“Bernie, your mules are gone!”

Gone? Gone! No! Oh god, that was bad way to start the 13th. Or a mule expedition for that matter…

I called her right back, still in my pajamas, and she repeated the news. “Bernie! You’re mules are gone. We’re over here at Buckin Field and can’t find them. “

She didn’t have… Continue reading

Danger Yellow Versus the Grim Reaper – Southern Pines, NC

My biggest fear about hitting the open road in my new wagon is getting rear-ended by a car and waking up with the Grim Reaper saying “Hey, that joker that hit you told the cops he couldn’t see you. Said you just looked like some desert scrub out there in that tan wagon.”

The Grim Reaper (well, actually, it’s Bernie deciding that those tan walls need some yellow paint rolled onto them.)

So I marched down to the hardward store… Continue reading

Busted Wagon Hoops and Then Success- Southern Pines, NC

Ok, so the Christmas rush is over and now it’s time to make hoops for the roof of my wagon. As usual, I consulted my Technical Drawing Number One.

Technical Drawing Number One: the roof beams are at 12 o’clock.

Ok, ok, so you just saw Technical Drawing One two updates ago. But a quick sketch is really all you need if you want to build a wagon badly enough.

Wagon hoops are the pieces in a wagon’s roof that… Continue reading

Merry Christmas from RiverEarth – Southern Pines, NC

The Red Hat and Flashing Antler Club: Jack, Joanie and Bill

I never realized how enormous Jack and Bill’s ears were until I snapped a pair of flashing red velvet reindeer antlers behind them. It was a pretty good fake rake, a six-pointer with a thirteen inch spread if I’d been scoring them through a rifle scope. But that’s not what impressed me.

No, what struck me was that even with those enormous Yule appendages, Jack and Bill plodded on… Continue reading

The World's Largest Blue Bologna Sandwich – Southern Pines, NC

After living in my tipi for almost thirteen months on the road, I decided my next home would have more substantial walls.

Bernie’s last home on the road. Winter 2003

Ok, so there were some privacy issues with my last living arrangements. Like cows.

Cows at the tent flaps

I decided that if I was going for stock-proof walls this time, I might as well go for warmth too. That meant adding insulation to my dream.

Here’s how I did… Continue reading

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