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 Cracker. I think you’ll enjoy meeting them. Hopefully it’ll give you a sense of my social life on the road.

A Slow Start

This morning I got off to a slow start. No, not because I was sore because I walked 31 miles yesterday. Rather, I took an hour to plan my route from Alliance to Lusk, Wyoming. It looks like my route will take me to Agate, Nebraska and then, with luck, through Nebraska’s only tunnel.

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes this morning: Brick grazing in front of my bivy (bivouac) bag. I took this photo lying in my bivy bag. That’s not fog. That’s mosquito netting. Then again, when I wake up, everything looks that way….(Alliance, Nebraska)
Where I slept last night: behind the Trinidad Benham Corp bean depot.

Faces from the Road

Ted Standage: supervisor at the Trinidad Benham Corp facility in Alliance. The facility sells beans for planting to farmers then buys their bean crops. Here Ted’s, sending me off with a bag full of Trinidad Benham products: navy beans, mixed beans, rice, popcorn and dried, refried beans. Oh, and a baseball hat. Thanks Ted! Mules Brick and Crackers are big fans.

Joe and Marguerite Widtfeldt. We met at a gas station in Alliance. Hours later…
…just as a train was passing, a pickup pulled up. A man walked over and…
…it was Joe. “I’m so happy to see you,” he said. “I just went to a funeral and wish we had talked more this morning.” So we just talked some more right there on the side of the road. It was grand, spending time with a man who’d pull over on the side of the road – without putting on his hazard lights – just to visit. I hope we meet again.
After 4 hours in the saddle, it was time to give Brick and Cracker a rest. Joe and Peggy Agualla had just pulled up at their home and I rode over and asked if was okay to park my mules under their trees. They said that would be fine. Then they brought me water. And an apple. And let me water the mules behind their house. You couldn’t ask for a better lunch break.

Welcome to Hemingford

Around 5:30p, the mules and I arrived in Hemingford. We knew nobody. By 6:00p, Brick and Cracker were settling in at the Box Butte County Fairground. This is one of the nicest fair facilities I’ve encountered on this trip. Especially impressive as Hemingford is a community of only about 1,000 residents.

The Hemingford welcoming committee.
Cracker headin’ to the Fair.
Fair Grounds

The fair grounds feature incredible wood carvings by Christy Mickey. Carved out of cotton wood trees, these exquisite chain saw carvings merit their own post. Here is one of my favorites.

Hang on Cowboy!
Hang on bull!

Big thanks to John and Carolyn Annen who came out to make sure I settled in well. If you’re enjoying this post, you can thank them. They provided a great place for me to shower, cook and get these photos online.

Carolyn and John Annen

It’s wonderful to know that a man with 2 mules can set off across the land, with little to no plan, and folks will take such good care of him. I hope after reading this post and seeing some of the faces, you’ll get a sense of what it’s like out here.

Off to Bed, er, Bivy

It’s 9:15p, past my bedtime. Brick and Cracker are picketed out on some lovely Nebraka grass. Now it’s time to crawl in to my bivy.

Where I’m sleeping tonight (July 15). Brick is just barely visible in the background.

From here in Alliance, the mules and I plan to travel toward Agate and Harrison, Nebraska.

Great big thanks to everyone that helped us out today…and let me take their photo.

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

  • Sleeping question for you: when do you set up the bivy, as opposed to the big tent? Is weather a factor, time?

    C

    • Ah, the bivy – aka “body bag with a mosquito screen”. One of my favorite topics. I’ve used it a lot lately primarily because the nights are getting cooler. Anything under 80 degrees when I go to bed (and absent torrential rains) I use the bivy. Anything warmer and up goes the tent. The bivy bag quickly turns in to an oven roaster bag in anything over 80 degress. I prefer the bivy because of the better view of the stars plus it’s quicker to put away in the morning. It’s a pleasantly interactive experience sleeping under the stars and next to the mules and coyotes. As opposed to the tent, I feel so much more part of the landscape I’m traveling through. For extended stays (more than one night) I usually pitch the tent.

  • Thanks for posting photos of people you meet. Faces tell so much about where you are.

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