Mules West

Victory in a Can

I was agitated because I needed to ride my mules across the bridge leading from Iowa to Nebraska. It was hella narrow. He pulled up and asked, “do you drink beer?” and handed me a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Do you drink beer?

“Hell yeah!” I said and tucked the beer away in my pommel bag. He gave me the thumbs-up and I rode toward the bridge that was giving me the yips. I felt calmer knowing there was a… Continue reading

Miles or Steps? Measure of a Journey.

Folks often ask me, “how many miles can you and the mules travel in a day?”.

I tell them 25 and they’re not impressed.

Let the day – and miles – begin. Cracker and I get ready to head up the road with Brick. We travel 15 to 25 miles per day with 20 miles being an average day’s run. I walk a lot to save wear and tear on the mules’ backs. (outside South Gifford, MO)

25 miles. Big… Continue reading

Crop Duster Dusting

The yellow plane roared out of the sunset over my tent. A crop duster applying chemicals to the soybean field next to where I was camped with my mules.

The crop duster: trailing behind it, a plume of insecticide, fungicide or pesticide.

Back and forth the plane swooped over the bean field.

I wondered about the mid-West breast cancer rate. I wondered about all those farmers I’d met with second wives. Over and over they’d told me, “my first wife… Continue reading

Hoof Boot Friday

You may not know this but today is Hoof Boot Friday. Because I say it is. In honor of this day I’m doing routine maintenance on my hoof boots. The mules have traveled 1,200 miles in them. They need a bit of love.

My hoof boot collection. Brick wears the 4 boots on the left. Cracker’s are the 4 boots in the middle. The 2 on the right are spares. The orange pieces on the far right are replacement soles.… Continue reading

Hordville Hello

Greetings from Hordville, Nebraska. The mules and I arrived here this morning (July 17, 2019) and set up a welcome camp under the linden tree by the rail road tracks. A wonderful place to duck the heat before things heated up this afternoon.

Brick and Cracker grazing in the cooling shade of one of Hordville’s many large linden trees.

Temperatures have been in the 90s all this week with higher temps forecast. This limits the amount of time the mules… Continue reading

Road Kill Fish

Catfish hung on stop signs. Catfish flung on the shoulder. A dead chub on the highway. Lately mules Brick and Cracker and I have come across dead fish where you wouldn’t expect them – along the side of the road. I put them in to a post card-like arrangement I though you’d enjoy.

4 dead fish by the road in 3 states – 2 catfish and a roach. I just labeled the fish with where I found them.

Right now… Continue reading

Sunday Shadow

Morning shadow: I’m riding Brick and leading Cracker.

Good Sunday morning to you friend. Daytime temps here in western Nebraska have been in the mid-90s so we start early. I try to be on the road with the mules before the sun comes up. I hope your Sunday’s going well and you got done in the morning cool whatever it is you had planned.

This morning the mules and I are east of Ashland, Nebraska. We’re heading toward Valparaiso.

Safari Park Day Off

Brick in Day Off mode: you know your mules are ready for a day off when your pack mule hides behind a tree…

A bag of corn, a bucket of water and a salt block. Oh, and a herd of elk. The mules are chillin’ on their day off. We’re guests of the Lee G Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari.

The mules’ arrival at the Wildlife Safari Park.

The Lee G Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari features… Continue reading

Nebraska Arrival

The mules and I have arrived in Nebraska!

Brick and Cracker’s Nebraska arrival. Here, taking the final steps across the Missouri River in to Plattsmouth, Nebraska.

We started the day outside Tabor, Iowa and worked our way through the rolling Iowa country over to the Missouri River. There we got a first hand look at the after-effects of the flooding that has plagued the mid-West all spring and in to summer.

Flooded out

Right now I’m settling the mules in… Continue reading

“Mules West” Article in Herald-Whig Newspaper (Quincy, Illinois)

Herald-Whig

A man and his mules journey across America

By Ethan Colbert / Photo Katelyn Metzger / Jun. 13, 2019

(NOTE: The following is a re-publishing of an article that originally ran in the Herald-Whig (Quincy, Illionois) on June 13, 2019 / Bernie Harberts)

Bernie Hartberts leans on a support beam in Todd Curry’s barn while he talks about his PBS documentary on Thursday, Jun. 13, 2019. Hartberts is making a cross-country trip from North Carolina to Idaho… Continue reading
Current Ramble
Other Cool Reads
Categories
Archives
Follow Bernie!