Crossing the Mississippi River With 2 Mules

Mules Brick, Cracker and I have crossed the Mississippi River! No, not on a barge, ferry or flatboat. No, I didn’t ride them down Interstate 24 across the bridge that connects Quincy, Illinois to Missouri. No, I loaded them up on a trailer and hauled them across Big Muddy behind a red Ford pickup.

The bridge that needed crossing. Look closely and you’ll see a tug going underneath. What you don’t see is the west-bound traffic on Interstate 24. Just too much traffic to ride a mule across.(Quincy, IL)

Great big thanks to Todd and Julie Curry for hauling us across. I met the Currys a week ago. What started as a one-night visit sorta grew. They offered to put Brick and Cracker up a few more days and I accepted the offer. It was a break my mules really needed.

Todd and Julie with their home bred reining mare Charlotte. Todd is in management at the HyVee grocery store in Quincy.
Todd with his stallion Doc. Doc is one of the best mannered stallions I’ve encountered. Todd and Doc placed 2nd in a class of 100 at the Quarter Horse Congress. Doc is so gentle, Todd can lead him around with bailing twine.

One of the things I needed to do while resting the mules in Quincy was find a trailer ride for them across the Mississippi. As the Fates would have it, Todd needed to pick up one of his horses in Missouri. That meant crossing the Mississippi west-bound, the way I needed to take my mules, with an empty trailer. So on Sunday…..in to the trailer we loaded Brick and Cracker. 20 minutes later they were in Missouri.

Our ride.
Ridin’ like rock stars. This is the passenger side mirror view of the trailer hurtling across the bridge. I’ve ridden a lot of narrow shoulders but I wouldn’t want to ride this one.
View from the bridge. This is a much more relaxing way to take photos than from the back of a bogle-eyed mule.
Resuming the journey on the other side. Todd dropped me off at the Quincy gun club. I saddled Brick and Cracker in one of the club’s picnic shelter and set off west.

In the past weeks I’d wondered how I was going to get my mules across the Mississippi. Once again, the road has provided. For that, I am grateful.

Todd and Julie (and everyone who helped us in Quincy), I’m sending you hearty “Thank You”! I’ll be passing these favors ahead.

Here are a few more photos of the day.

Welcome to Missouri! I didn’t have a chance to stand in front of the welcome sign with my mules. This photo was taken through the windshield of Todd’s pickup.
I made sure to walk the mules across the first bridge I encountered in Missouri. Just so they don’t think this trailering-over-bridges thing is how we travel now.
After a short run (6 miles) we settled in for the night next to this pond. Thanks Jacob Heimer for letting us stay on your land. Jacob’s neighbors treated me to a wonderful meal. I’m really liking Missouri!
Getting water for the mules
Cracker enjoying a well-deserved bucket of water.
Then a celebratory handful of grain.
Day’s end. Our first night in Missouri.

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Todd Curry
Todd Curry
4 years ago

Bernie I’ve been following your journey , I look forward to seeing what new things you, brick and cracker have encountered. I hope someday our paths will cross again.

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Karen Mason
Karen Mason
5 years ago

Bernie,
I hope you made it through Benbow? My daughter and I were so excited that we got to meet you & Brink,& Cracker. What a awesome adventure you are on. Thanks for letting us share our radishes with Brink & Cracker.
Safe Travels,
Karen & Sadie

Christian
Christian
5 years ago

Well I’ll be darned – we DO have something in common that I wasn’t expecting (if you set aside being brothers for more than 51 years) – the same brand of tent!! Now if that’s not a lucky omen for our bike trip from Paris to Hamburg!

But I’m embarassed by the name, boldy writ large across the carry sack: “Hubba Hubba”. Indeed. Hire a writer next time you name a tent, MSR 😉

Cheers from afar,

Christian

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