Travel by Mule
He stepped out of a battered van and told me, “My first color was Play Boy Pink and we sold a 55 gallon drum of it to Hugh Heffner.”
He was a colorist. I’m a guy traveling with mules. People tell me all sorts of things. I just take them at their word. With all the words people pour in to my ears, making judgements is too much work.
The words poured out.
Him: “I also… Continue reading
The mules were tied to the chain link fence on the side of the highway. They were eating away their hour-long lunch break.
I heard the putt putt of a 4-wheeler.
Many people I’ve met on this trip that ride 4-wheelers are out of shape. Big. Many look like they can’t use their legs any more. Not all. But many.
I turned. Expected what to see.
These 2 looked like their legs still worked.
“You’re in Gray,”… Continue reading
The mules and I are riding deep in to Kentucky coal mining territory. The billboards advertise line boring, hydraulic hoses and prep plants. Retired coal miners and their families talk to me of black lung, cancer and OCPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
When I saw this billboard, I had to wonder. Whose lights are the miners keeping on – America’s or the funeral home’s?
Traveling the land with my mules, I must have faith that I’ll encounter man’s better nature. Then I see a sign threatening as a revolver to the belly and it reminds me of man’s darker side. Of how thin the veneer is in some places. This sign I came across outside Lily, Kentucky, makes… Continue reading
Where is home? Where, indeed, is home when you sleep in a tent one night. Or your sleeping bag cast out under stars. Or the horse trailer of someone you met 2 hours ago on the side of the road. Or someone’s spare bedroom. Where is home to the man who is traveling the land with his mules?
Greetings from Science Hill, Kentucky. Mules Brick and Cracker have really pounded out the miles this week – 60 in the last three days alone. Now they’re entitled to a few days of rest. Thanks Terry and Debora Simning for letting them cool their heels in your hay pasture for a few days. Though it’s stocked with Kentucky’s finest blend of bluegrass, fescue and clover, Brick is also enjoying the poison ivy. Mules will be… Continue reading
Mules Brick and Cracker and I spend most of our days clip clopping up some Tennessee highway shoulder. Tractor trailers roar past. Cars honk. Drivers wave. I spend all my energy guiding my small troupe safely to the next destination. We are riding West.
Riding the shoulders… Continue reading
It’s fitting that I ran in to “real” spring (as opposed to signs of spring) in Lily, Kentucky.
After riding mules Brick and Cracker 20 miles up Highway 25, I was loosing the light fast and starting to wonder where the mules and I were going to spend the night.
I spied a lady trimming a vine in her yard. Pulled the mules in to ask if there was a patch of grass where I could tie them up for… Continue reading
“Where’s your wife?” folks ask me when I tell them I’m married.
I tell them that my wife Julia stayed at home.
I explain that I’m riding toward her brother’s home in Idaho. That she’ll come visit me when I get there.
But that’s… Continue reading
A new week. A new direction. Once a man makes peace with the vagaries of life on the road with mules, he ceases to make hard and fast plans. Where to go this week? Up the road another stretch. The main thing is keeping the mules healthy. There is no other plan. Have a great week wherever it takes you.