Travel by Mule

Welcome to the Grand Canyon State – Apache, AZ

Welcome to the Grand Canyon State

For weeks now I’ve wandered through New Mexico with Arizona on my mind.

It’s cold out here on the High Lonesome. Most nights my tipi freezes into an ice-cream cone shape. Mornings, when I go to take it down, it won’t fit into its stuff sack. I roll it up like a six pound burrito and just cram it into Maggie’s cart. In the evenings, when I re-pitch it, it unfurls in a shower… Continue reading

Finding my Way – Animas, NM

“I grew up a-dreamin’
of bein’ a cowboy,
Lovin’ the cowboy ways…” Billy’s voice rasped softly above his guitar, out across the desert scrub.

“Pursuin’ the life of my high-ridin’ heroes,
I burned up my childhood days…”

Billy had finally found me.

Billy Ottis

This was a welcome change. For once it wasn’t me looking for the way.

People often ask me in an assertive tone “How’re you finding your way across America?”. They assume a great amount of planning… Continue reading

Mule Woody Hits Mile Five

Woody disputes the merits of the journey at the entrance to my tipi. Did he think he was going to have to sleep inside my cone shaped home? As crazy as it sounds, some folks thought just that. “How,” they asked, “do you get that horse in to your tent at night.” At which I’d explain Woody wasn’t a horse and, well, you can see how much it takes to explain away life on the road with a tipi.

In… Continue reading

Touchy Flanks

Tonight I’m concerned for Woody. He’s touchy along his withers and he didn’t finish his feed. When I peeled off the vintage McClellan saddle and ran my hand down his back, he pinned his ears and gave me that “Pal, don’t” in the way that sparse words convey danger.

Earlier, when I pitched camp along the South bank of the Neuse, Tom and his daughter Rachel rode to visit and when they departed Woody churned back and forth on his… Continue reading

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