Travel by Mule

Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention…by Mule

bernie harberts julia carpenter, horse mule trail ride happy valley fiddlers convention

Happy to be in Happy Valley: Julia and I arrive at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention. The 8 miles to get there took 5 hours. Hey, when you’re mule rambling, you gotta visit neighbors. (Happy Valley, NC)

Note: I’m writing to you from a mountain pasture with an internet connection as slim as a cow pie. That means I’ll have to post the full photo essay in parts. Here’s the first part, a glimpse in to our first days on… Continue reading

The Good-Enough-to-Get-You-Out-the-Gate Saddle Bags

bernie harberts julia carpenter pack saddle bag

Mule Polly rockin’ her new (to us) pack saddle bags.

In starting mule trips, good enough gets you out the gate and perfection keeps you at home. This week I’m fitting mule Polly with bags for her pack saddle. They’re not new. They’re not perfect. But they’re good enough to get us out the gate. At least they don’t smell like vomit.

Julia and I are 2 weeks away from heading off on our mule ramble. I’m calling the caper… Continue reading

Cavallo Hoof Boots

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate

Our new Cavallo hoof boots. They’re the Trek model, a very generous gift from the manufacturer for our upcoming “Ride out the Front Gate” ride.

I use hoof boots on my mule’s hooves instead of steel shoes. I’ve done so for years, working my way up from boots I made with stuff I found in a dumpster, to the store bought kind. I use Easy Boots and Renegades.

This week hoof boot manufacturer Cavallo sent me 4 boots for… Continue reading

Booting Up

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Julia and mules Brick, Dusty and Polly. The black things on the mules’ feet are hoof boots. Polly is the mule I drove across America for the “Lost Sea Expedition” TV series.

This week, 3 weeks before we set off on our mule ramble, Julia and I are fitting our mules with boots. No, not the lace up kind or the rubber kind you might imagine. No, not the ones I made out of inner tubes 15 years ago. Rather,… Continue reading

Carpe Cool

bernie harberts julia carpenter snookie dog mule travel coors beer

Shadow cast: Left to Right they are mule Dusty, Julia, mule Brick, me and mule Polly

Carpe Cool. Julia, the critters and I try to be on the trail first thing in the morning while the western North Carolina trails are still cool. Here, we’re riding out behind our house. We try to spend at least one or 2 hours in the saddle every day (Monday – Friday). This helps the animals’ hides – and ours -toughen up for our early September mule ramble.

Dealing with Chafe

Chafe probably isn’t something you worry about a lot. But since I’m about to take off on a saddle trip, it’s been on my mind a lot lately. Here’s a short video of how I dealt with chafe on the “Lost Sea Expedition” wagon voyage across America. It may come in handy if you decide one day to run away in a wagon. Much easier would be to just stream the “Lost Sea Expedition” series on Amazon!

Teaching Brick to Leg Picket

Hitting the road with your mule boils life down to basics: food, water, shelter. Right up there is keeping your mule from wandering away in the night. While you could tie her to a tree or post, she couldn’t lie down, roll or eat. Not cool. There are many ways to secure a mule. I prefer the leg picket. Here’s how I’m training Brick to the picket.

Catching Brick

A few days ago I wrote how I was going back to the “old ways”. Of just heading out the front gate with my mule and finding out what lies up the road. Turns out, I first had to catch that mule. Her name is Brick. She’s the mule I plan to ride on the “Ride out the Front Gate” trip. I’ve only owned her about a week and here’s how our first meeting went. Talk about a flashback to the “old ways”….

Ride Out the Front Gate

The first time I ran away, I was naked except for a pair of rubber boots. I was 4 years old. It was a short run-away, to my buddy’s house. I’ve been rambling ever since, only slightly better dressed.

bernie harberts julia carptner pickle out the front gate mule adventure lost sea expedition moses cone rocky mountain pbs

A young me. Old enough to wear pants. I’m already thinking of running way with the family pony Snowflake and her foal Dominique. (Wilkes County, NC / circa 1975)

Seems a lot of other folks have the same rambling urge.

This… Continue reading

Too Proud to Ride a Cow

Download your digital copy here.

After spending almost 5 years sailing alone around the world, Bernie Harberts arrived home a prisoner of the very independence he’d worked so hard to cultivate.
Harberts decided it was time to let people back in his life.

Bernie and his mule Woody began their journey in Oriental, NC, walked to the Atlantic Ocean then turned west. A year later, they completed their adventure at the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, CA.

Bernie regained his… Continue reading

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