Mules West

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Stanberry, MO Independence Day

Sirens will blare and hats will cover hearts. Kids will grab candy off the street and dogs will barf Tootsie rolls on the sidewalk. This is why we got divorced from England. Happy 4th of July from Stanberry, Missouri.

And they’re all lined up: An orderly line of youngsters get ready for the candy shower.

The mules and I were there to soak up the action. And catch a Blow Pop and 3 Tootsie rolls. Here are some photos of… Continue reading

Stanberry, MO and a Bridge Detour

The sign on the bank said 100 degrees the day the mules and I arrived in Stanberry, MO. The welcome was warmer than that. The route I had in mind from here? Not so hot….

Stanberry and surrounding locales is home to a large Amish community. Here an Amish buggy tied up one block North the town’s main square.
Top hat, flag and the century mark on the thermometer: summer – and the 4th of July – have arrived.

Bridge… Continue reading

Driveway Visit

I carry an old camera in my saddle bag and point it toward other people.

My trusty camera: years old and still snappin’. It’s a Canon G16 wrapped in an old timey looking case.

So it’s fun when folks I catch up with send photos of our visit. Here are a few sent to me Janet DeClerck. She took these the night I stayed with Rob and Brooke Wangen of Panwee, Illinois. They really capture the spirit of folks just… Continue reading

Trenton, MO Greetings

I steered the mules in to Trenton, Missouri to pick up a a canvas water bucket at the post office. Thanks, Julia, for supporting your husband in his rambles! Brick, Cracker and I arrived last night (Thursday). Right now we’re camped at veterinarian Alan Alumbaugh’s clinic Affordable Veterinary Care.

Brick makes new friends quickly. Here, hanging with Quintin and Spur. Quintin and Spur were cutting brush behind the vet clinic. Quintin said this work beat an earlier job of his,… Continue reading

Dancing (Sorta) With Mules

Fancy the Self Portrait Mule Head Rub Dance? (Rineyville, KY)

The day didn’t quite start with dancing but it looked that way. In the photo above, I’m faring Luna Ortiz well. She and her husband Kevin put us up for the night. What looks like a Fred Estaire-esque move on my part really isn’t.

To make this photo I set my camera on a tripod and set the self timer to go off in 10 seconds. 3 seconds before the… Continue reading

Playing the Harmonica to Stay Awake

Paul Compton used to play the harmonica to stay awake. “I had a mail route and as I drove around I’d get sleepy so I just played the harmonica to keep from nodding off.”

Paul Compton: mail carrier, harmonica and poet. (Shelbyville, IL)

I met Paul because I needed to find a place to stake out my mules Brick and Cracker for the night. His son, Gerry Compton, said it was okay to picket them out by the old grain… Continue reading

Mule Speed Storm Drain Cover Observations

Traveling the land at 3 mph with my mules, I’m noticing things I’ve overlooked my whole life. Like how, west of Jasper, Indiana, many of the cast iron storm drain covers are humped up, not flat, like back East. They’re the same way here in Missouri.

I’m sure Cracker is thinking, “I can tell we’re in the mid-West now because the storm drains are bowed upward.” (outside Jasper, Indiana)

Have you noticed that humped-up thing about the storm drain covers… Continue reading

The Stay Put Mule Rain Blues

I rode in to La Plata, Missouri, ahead of the storm. The plan was to buy sardines and ramen and then ride out the other side toward Idaho. But the rumblng clouds shattered and poured down on me in pieces. It’s rained over an inch and I’ve eaten most of the sardines and some of the ramen and the damn wet stuff keeps falling. And I’m still in La Plata.

A mucky slog. The mules and I have walked in… Continue reading

Grain Bin Drowning Danger

How is a grain bin like an above ground pool? You can drown in both.

I’m sure the mules are thinking, “you tied us to a drowning danger?”

Last week the mules and I took a lunch break in the shade of an Illinois grain bin. I had the usual sardines and dry ramen noodles washed down with jug water. Then I strolled around the grain bin and discovered how it might kill me.

I’ve always considered grain bins friendly… Continue reading

Bridge Across the Illinois River

Going solo: Cracker leads the way across the bridge that spans the Illinois River outside of Meredosia, IL. Unlike other bridges we’ve crossed on this trip, we didn’t call for a police escort.

In the past month, mules Brick, Cracker and I have crossed 4 major rivers: the Ohio, the Wabash, the Illinois and the Mississippi. For the first two, we enlisted the help of local law enforcement to get across. For the Mississippi, the mules got a ride… Continue reading

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