Travel by Mule
Taking a lunch break with my mules at Stephenson’s General Store in Leavenworth, Indiana, I was reminded of one of my favorite books, “Shanty Boat” by Harlan Hubbard. The book is the account of Harlan’s 7 year journey down the Ohio and MIssissippi Rivers in his shanty boat. Accompanying Harlan were his wife Anna, a few dogs and occasionally, a hive of bees.
Last week the mules and I crossed the Ohio river from Kentucky to Indiana … under police escort. It was a challenging steering job steering Cracker past oncoming traffic and over the bridge’s expansion joints. I really wanted you to experience what it’s like to ride across a river so I filmed it. Enjoy!
I wanted to show you some of the Kentucky wildlife the mules and I are seeing. But my camera doesn’t have a strong telephoto. So to get nice closeups, I’ve just been photographing dead animals as I find them on the roadside. Here’s a selection of Kentucky creatures I thought you’d enjoy.
As to my labeling, you know that’s… Continue reading
Western visions pull the mules and me toward the setting sun: piñon canyons, cut throat trout and big horn sheep. This week I encountered a highway catfish, a gravel barge and a cooling casket. Indiana is proving as colorful as the land I’m riding toward. Here are a few photos from this week on the road, Week 6 of my Mules West ramble.
Blue above, blue behind, blue below. Today Brick, Cracker and I tackled the obstacle that’s been on our minds the past few weeks: how to cross the Ohio River.
In the end, crossing the Ohio River wasn’t too difficult. I… Continue reading
Greetings from Indiana. Mules Cracker, Brick and I have arrived in Lincoln’s other home. Funny how he was born across the Ohio River in Kentucky and now both Indiana and Kentucky fight over him.
Wonder how the above photo was taken? For that, I have to thank Pat Green and Jack Nunn. They were taking a lunch break from working at the quarry, saw the police escort I was given coming over the bridge… Continue reading
The speed of mule is the perfect pace to see what winds up on America the Beautiful’s highway shoulders. It’s ugly: thousands of Bud Light cans, Gatorade bottles, KFC boxes and MacDonald’s cups. Occasionally a love letter and a pink purse.
It’s loud, too. When you’re behind the wheel, you don’t hear what’s under the hood. You’re hushed travel capsule makes a hell of a racket as it’s barreling down the highway at 65 miles per hour.
It’s a misty Kentucky Sunday morning. The mules and I had planned to travel from Rineyville to Brandenburg, where we’ll cross the Ohio River in to Indiana. Not so with this damp weather. The rainy weather makes the mules’ heels soft. That means the hoof boots they wear can chafe their heels. Much better to set off tomorrow with dryer weather.
It is a good day to look at mule ramblin’ pictures, though.
Want to host a mule traveler?
The mules and I are heading to Brandenburg, Kentucky on Sunday (May 11, 2019). If you – or someone you know – could put the mules and me up Sunday night that would be terrific. A grassy pasture is all it takes. No fence required. Bonus points if… Continue reading
The mules and I are screwed up at the crossroads. Three roads. No signs.
Which way to Speck?
I flag down the muddy truck and ask the guy with the beard, “which road goes to Speck?”
His name is Sean Pendelton.
This flagging down cars for directions is part of mule travel in eastern Kentucky. I still travel with paper maps. Even when I use my… Continue reading