Travel by Mule

Faces on the Way to the Fairground – Alliance to Hemingford, Nebraska

Marguerite, Ted, Joe, Peggy, 2 kids, Carolyn and John. Plus a wood cowboy hugging a bull. In this post I’m going to introduce you to some of the people I met today, July 15, 2019.

Marguerite Widtfeldt. (Alliance, Nebraska)

It amazes me how many people I meet each day. I can’t photograph them all. Still, today I asked a few if I could take their picture. Just to share with folks that are following my journey with mules Brick and… Continue reading

Bridge and Another Man’s Horse

Recently I picked up a stray. Crossing an old wood bridge, I heard an extra pair of clip clops on the wood decking. I looked back. And saw a horse.

Me, Cracker, Brick, and……what the hell….another horse?

Turns out the horse had slipped through an open gate and fallen in to line behind us. I walked the mules back across the bridge, toward where the horse had come from, hoping to lure the horse back home.

The horse followed obediently.… Continue reading

Walking 31 Miles Beside the Mules

For reasons only a neurologist or shrink might understand, I woke up this morning and thought, “Hmmm. Today I’m going to walk 31 miles.” That’s how far it is from where I spent the night with the mules, Elsworth, Nebraska, to where I wanted to go, Alliance, Nebraska. Turns out walking is a great way to make new friends.

Corrine offered me some water as I walked up the road. Brick loved Corrine. More on her shortly

Here are some… Continue reading

Ranch Rodeo Saturday Night

Until last week, I’d never heard of a ranch rodeo. I’d been to plenty of regular rodeos. But what was a ranch rodeo?

A cowboy surveys the bucking stock, the horses used in the saddle bronc event. Each cowboy knows which horse he’ll ride before he mounts it. This give him time to plan his strategy. Or get damn hell nervous….

Ranch rodeo is a team event based on skills a working cowboy would need. Each team has 4 members.… Continue reading

Trouble in a Leather Sack

Let me state for the record that I am not a cowboy. I can not throw a rope. I can not brand a cow. I don’t own a 10 gallon hat. I do know that “trouble in a leather sack” means “cow” in the Sand Hills. Seth Adam told me so.

Roped: A real cowboy, Doug Adam, ropes a calf that needs doctoring. Yes, it’s not so pleasant for the calf. But the doctoring goes quickly and minutes after the… Continue reading

Stock Tank Oasis

The mules and I may be walking across the land of 12″ of annual rain but there’s an oasis underfoot. It’s pumped to the surface by windmills.

Stock tank oasis: look closely and you’ll see mule Cracker taking a drink at 4’oclock.

In these remote parts of eastern Wyoming, windmills are still the primary way to pump water in to stock tanks. Solar panels are coming on the scene. But by and large, if a cow wants in drink in… Continue reading

Serendipity Lodging

It was time to see my wife Julia. The mules and I have been on the road for 4 months, traveling from North Carolina toward Idaho.

Crossing the Middle Loup River between Norway and Seneca, Nebraska.

Julia and I decided the Sand Hills of Nebraska would be a great place for her to fly out and meet me. She booked a plane ticket and a rental car. She didn’t click on that “Add a Room to Your Ticket” option.

She… Continue reading

She Tracked me Down

I married Julia in February. By April I was gone. 4 months later she found me.

My route after the wedding (Google Maps)
February 23, 2019: getting married at the town dock in Oriental, North Carolina. Officiating is our dear friend Keith Smith of TownDock.net. Standing behind me, my brother Christian.
April 6, 2019: starting our North Carolina to Idaho ride. As of this writing (August 8) mule Brick and Cracker and I have traveled over 1,400 miles. Yep,… Continue reading

Talking Trash with Trent Loos on “Rural Route”

About 2 weeks ago, the mules and I stayed with friend, sixth generation Nebraska rancher and broadcaster Trent Loos.

Trent Loos with mule Cracker (Hazard, Nebraska)

One morning, over coffee, we sat down at the microphone and talked about the things I noticed on my mule journey that most folks overlooked.
In particular, trash – road side trash.

Trash: Cracker’s hoof next to a cigarette butt and a Busch Light can. No, this photo was not staged. Yes, I picked… Continue reading

Sober and Seeking Mule

He leaned out his pickup window and said, “I’ve been sober 2 years now. I bought this pickup for $200 but I want a mule.”

But mule ownership had eluded him. He said, “the people in this town don’t want me to have a mule. I don’t know why.”

I told him I couldn’t understand either because I’d just slept in his town with my mules and it seemed to make everyone happy.

“You’ve got it lucky,” he said, “because… Continue reading

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