Happy Easter. The mules and I are waiting out a patch of wet weather at Ryan and Pam Crick’s in Mosheim, TN. Because I can’t give you a chocolate bunny, you’ll have to settle for a top hat full of eggs.
Did she break up in a hotel? Did she throw her old life back East out her car window as she stormed off West? Did someone rob her? Did US Air loose her bag? I’ll never know. All the mules and I found was her Samsonite suitcase and pink purse on the side of Highway 107.
Should… Continue reading
It happened in Globe.
The man walked up to mule Brick who was tied to a poplar tree and said, “I thought she was loose.”
“She’s not,” I said, “but thanks for checking.”
The man looked tired.
Me: “What do you do for a living?”
Him: “I build chicken slats.”
Me: “What’s that?”
Him: “It’s what chickens lay eggs on and the chickens will always keep laying.”
Me: “Where’s your job?”
Him:… Continue reading
Tonight the mules and I are the guest of Ryan Crick of Crick Enterprises in Greeneville, TN. Ryan fixes heavy diesel things – think tractor trailers and dump trucks.
A young mother stopped the mules and me this week and asked, “why do you travel with a top hat on your pack mule?”
She asked, “Is it in memory of someone? Is it like putting an empty pair of boots in an empty saddle when somebody dies?”
She was giving it way more symbolism than I did.
“No”, I said. “It’s the top hat I got married in.”
“Oh”, she… Continue reading
Good Monday morning. It’s off to the races time – me, you and mules Brick and Cracker. If it makes you feel any better, this is what my commute looks like. Only today it’s raining and my mules don’t have heated seats and windshield wipers. Yuck. Today we’re riding from Limestone Cove toward Erwin. If you see us on… Continue reading
“Lord god, what do you do for food?”, folks ask when they meet me and the mules. My wife Julia sent me off with a bag of food: rice, coffee, pecans, ramen noodles and a few other staples. I’ve been eating rainbow trout, smoked potatoes and drinking strawberry wine. Okay, and a little rice.
How the hell does that work?
In horse and mule travel, it’s the weight, not the miles, that kill.… Continue reading
Little did I know within a day and a half of leaving laurel digger Richard Gragg’s, I would shiver in my bivy and saunter with a top hat and 2 mules in to Tennessee.
Traveling the land with my mules, I’m fascinated what people do for a living. I’ve met oil men, lobster fisherman and chicken sexers. This week I met my first laurel digger. Meet Richard Gragg.
Richard lives in Gragg, NC, between Globe and Grandfather mountain. I spent the night at Richard’s last night and he explained what he does for a living this time of year. Here are a few photos of my visit.
Shot the gap and steered the mules toward Globe through the green choking landscape that swallows house trailers before they rot. Saw a girl in a green dress feeding a goat. Asked if I could to take her photo and she said that was okay.
“Do you know the goat’s name?”, I asked.
“No”, is all she said.