Travel by Mule & Wagon

The Last Thing I Hear In My Wagon World

Day’s end. Polly seeks shelter on a wintry night in the lee of my wagon. From the cozy confines of my wood and canvas home, I can hear her grazing. You’ll have a chance to hear in a sec.

The walls of my wagon world are canvas thin. Lit by an oil soaked wick raised with a tiny lantern gear. Nights, when darkness falls, I put a match to the wick and write in my journal by lamp light. The… Continue reading

Donkey Icicles

Every summer, I marvel how my mules cope with the heat, bugs and dust of hot weather travel. Six months later, freeze up comes and the sky rains icy pellets down on them and they take it all in stride. During a recent patch of icy weather, I stepped out to see how Polly and Smokey were faring. Here are a few photos of their seasonal transition.

Smokey the woebegone winter burro. Grazing behind him is mule Polly. In the… Continue reading

Newfoundland Library Program

“Hey there short ears. Bring me a carrot!” Polly practices her pitch in advance of her March 2 program.

Hey Bucky, ever wondered what it’s like to travel across Newfoundland by mule. No? Do you even know where Newfoundland is? Well, how about kicking off the year with an adventurous travel program. Learn a thing or two about caplin, screech and jiggers. No idea what I’m talking about? Yeah, you need to come.

Last year mule Polly and I traveled… Continue reading

Party in the Batch

The corporate headquarters on a frosty morning. The smoke comes from the wood stove.

This weekend I threw the corporate Christmas party. You know. That dreaded event where you stand around with your work mates out of obligation not desire. Kiddie-size glasses of red dyed drink in your hand. Not a drop of hooch in there because, you know, Corporate reserved the ball room and it doesn’t look good when Rupert in accounting gets sauced and does the… Continue reading

End of Voyage Accident

This wasn’t the way I planned to end my voyage across Newfoundland by mule and wagon. Saturday afternoon, October 6 2012, a four-door vehicle drove head-on into the back of my wagon. There were no skid marks or signs of collision avoidance at the scene. The impact was strong enough to separate the wagon in two. Mule Polly, the driver of the vehicle and I are okay.

Scene of the accident. In the foreground, the front half of my wagon… Continue reading

The Newfoundland Mission

Gentle readers. I have deceived you. Okay, “deceive” is a mite hard. Let’s say I haven’t been completely forthright about mule Polly and my mission here in Newfoundland. While it may seem we’ve been stumbling aimlessly around The Rock, we’ve actually been on a record quest. Record as in vinyl, not world.

The object of my mission: find the photos on this album. Here, Matt Tucker and his film crew take a look at my vinyl. They appear amused. Mule… Continue reading

Of Kids and Mule

One recent morning I woke to find Polly gone. Yep, while I was under the influence of some knock-out-grade REM sleep, she slipped her picket and took a self-guided tour of Barr’d Harbour, Newfoundland.

Who caught her? A young girl.

Seems Polly fell under the spell of the young gal’s potato chips. Followed her into the family’s yard where the two of them inspected the rabbit hutch. Then joined the girl and her mom for a bit of socializing on… Continue reading

Where Polly Sleeps at Night

So mule Polly have been traveling across Newfoundland for a month now. Plenty of time to get a feeling for the land. The beach launched fishing boats. The bottled seal meat. The lobster traps that Polly likes to eat. She does it for the fiber, not the salt. Ask me how I know.

Polly cadging a treat from two young lads on a fishing boats.

Thirty days on the road with a mule. Plenty of time answer questions about myself,… Continue reading

Never Lie to Your Mule

In recent weeks, mule Polly and I have been following an abandoned rail bed across Newfoundland. In the quarter century since the rails have been taken up, Mother Nature, Father Time and four-wheelers have taken their toll. For the most part, the gravel path is clear.

There are obstructions, though. Like the dam Polly and I ran across last week. The dam itself was gated off. So you couldn’t walk across it to reach the other side. Rather, we had… Continue reading

The Little Beach Boats of Newfoundland

Mule Polly and I have been traveling the Newfoundland coast for a month now. Starting in L’Anse aux Meadows, on the northern tip, we have visited close to a dozen coastal communities along the west coast – Shoal Harbor, Eddies Cove West, Barr’d Harbour, Portland Creek.

Most striking is how the small boat fishery is still intact. Shrinking. Yes. In danger of being obsoleted by the 70-foot seiners and factory ships. Yes. Plunged into and out of fishing season by… Continue reading

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