Travel by Mule

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Cracker Recovery

Last night I was sitting in the Split Rock Bar and Cafe celebrating my arrival in a busted uranium town when a man walks in and says, “your mule is over at Isabel’s house.” Isabel owns the bar.

Eastern Wyoming: a hell of a place to loose a mule….

I put down my beer.


So I climb in to the man’s car and he drives me out in to the night and we go down a long driveway and… Continue reading

Rainy Day Hole up at the Monk King Bird Pottery

The Wyoming wind blew the snot from my nose in to my eye and I steered the mules for the sign that looked mis-spelled: “Monk King Bird Pottery”. I blamed the snot but sure enough, there was an “N” in the name where I would have expected a “C”.

The Monk King Bird Pottery. Owner Byron is on the left. (Jeffry City, Wyoming)

Pulled the mules to a halt in front of the storefront. Out of the wind I wiped… Continue reading

Independence Rock (Wyoming) and Musings on Letters and Humanity

A lady in too-tight pajamas is smearing peanut butter on white bread. Off in the distance, my mules are grazing. Travel has gotten easier in the past 200 years. The mules and I have arrived at Independence Rock, Wyoming.

Cracker ponders the 1,650 miles he’s traveled to reach the Rock. This is considerably farther than many migrants’ mules that would have started their journey in the mid-West. Not that life was easier then. Dysentery killed many travelers heading this route.… Continue reading

Camper Fantasy Musings

I saw this camper and knew that if I took it home and fixed it up I could drive it back in time to when someone lived in that abandoned stucco house in Shawnee, Wyoming. Actually, I yearned to drive it farther back in time than that.

Mystery Camper (Shawnee, Wyoming)

After I fixed it up, that camper would take me all the way back to when the days moved slowly and I wanted to chop out great big chunks… Continue reading

To Bivy Bag or Not to Bivy Bag

My brother Christian recently asked me in the Comment section, “sleeping question for you: when do you set up the bivy, as opposed to the big tent? Is weather a factor, time?”

Bivy morning. from an article I wrote Hay Field Breakfast about starting the day in a bivy bag. The bivy bag is the blue, sack-looking thing Cracker is staring at.

Here are some answers bro.

The Bivy

A bivy (bivouac) bag is just a sack that keeps the… Continue reading

Casper, Wyoming Arrival – and Departure

Hello – and goodbye – from Casper, Wyoming.

Casper, Wyoming arrival. Thanks Melissa for taking my photo
Liong says howdy. I met fellow traveler Liong pedaling his bike up the road. He left New Jersey 30 days ago.

The mules and I arrived in Casper Tuesday evening. We hope to set out toward Muddy Gap today.

Muddy Gap’s sort of a misnomer given that it’s smack in in the middle of Wyoming’s best dusty dry land. The good news is… Continue reading

Foggy Desert Start

A few mornings ago, the mules and I woke to a heavy fog. I saddled the damp mules and we headed in to the foggy desert landscape.

Fogged in
First tracks: we followed this dirt road, where we’d camped, to the highway.
Usually, when a windmill is turning, you can hear the clank of the sucker rod, the rod that pulls the water from the ground. On this foggy morning, muted by fog, the wind mill silently pumped water to… Continue reading

Windmill Water

The mules and I are riding deeper and deeper in to the eastern Wyoming desert. Creeks, ponds and lakes, reliable watering sources to the east, have vanished. Increasingly we are relying on windmills for water.

Windmill water (south of Shawnee, Wyoming)

Across the Dry Land

Every day, mules Brick and Cracker drink 5 to 10 gallons of water apeice. I get by on less than a gallon. Until now, we’ve traveled from town to town. Mornings, I fill my jugs… Continue reading

Sunday Wind Mill Shadow

7:35am: That seventh day has rolled back ’round again. Coffee pots from coast to coast are bubbling to life. Your brain’s still calm before the caffeine. I was going through my photos of the week and this one just seemed restful.

Shadow and windmill (south of Shawnee, Wyoming)

It’s a photo I took last week when I came across a wind mill when I really needed one. That story coming up this week.

I like this photo because it… Continue reading

The Beet Piler

“I’m tired of standing there by the beet piler watching the beets fall,” he said. “I want to be a truck driver.”

Taking a break to explain beets.

He wasn’t piling beets when I met him. He was mowing grass and his mower had overheated. While he waited for it to cool he told me about working sugar beets.

“The beet season starts mid-September and runs until the first frost. They grow the beets east of here, pick them then… Continue reading

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