Hyannis at Last

Three weeks ago I arrived in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. I set my sights on Hyannis, 350 miles to the west. Yesterday Brick and Cracker and strode in to the town I was aiming for.

Lookin’ heroic in Hyannis: actually, I’m not striking a pose. I’m wondering how the hell Brick (background) managed to nearly rip off my horn bag within moments of arriving in town.

Hyannis is deep in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The past week, I’ve been traveling from communities ranging from small to nearly vanished. The land is rolling, covered in little more than grass, wind and a sprinkling of cattle and those who take care of them.

The folks I’ve met continue to be incredibly generous. Another thing I’ve noticed about Sand Hillers. They go the longest without blinking of anywhere I’ve visited in the country. These men and women look you square in the eye when they talk.

Here are some photos from the road to Hyannis.

Getting to Hyannis

We are entering serious cattle country.
Crcacker browsing among the highway cone flowers.
Hog break: the past few days, the mules and I have been sharing Highway 2 with hundreds of bikers headed to Sturgis for Bike Week. Here Stacy and Deanna take a break from their hogs to visit my mules.

Mule-y Stuff

Mules are survivors. Here, shaking down Jeff Leo of Cactus Jack’s catering. We stayed with Leo 2 weeks ago. He passed us in his food truck/trailer heading West on Highway 2.
The mules are not shod with steel shoes. Though they have strap on protective Renegade boots, we’ve done most of our traveling barefoot lately. Here, Brick’s front hoof. This hoof has walked most of the last 250 miles barefoot.

Pack saddle tweak: 350 miles in 3 weeks is a lot of miles to put on a saddle and pack mule. I was starting to experience a bit of chaff under my pack saddle where the pad was rubbing on Brick’s shoulders. To solve that, I ran some 550 cord under the pad then looped it over the pack saddle. This lifted the pad off her back. Problem solved.
This week the mules encountered the trip’s first cattle guard. We led them through the gate next to the cattle guard (also called an “auto gate” in these parts). (Norway, Nebraska)

Whitman, Nebraska

The mules and I spent the night in Whitman the night before we got to Hyannis. Riding in to Whitman I heard a voice shouting, “hey, need a place to stay?” A guy in a back yard waved me over. That’s how I met Fran.

Fran grew up in Whitman in the 1950s. He made a call and got me a place to stay at the Whitman Community Club. Thanks for hooking us up with such a wonderful place to stay Fran.
Downtown Whitman
Whitman home. For sale
Don’t even think of satting foot in here.
A long dis-used store. Looking closely at the front door I saw….
… Cracker pondering a sign for horse feed. Or maybe he was just eating some buffalo grass.

Here in Hyannis

The plan is to give the mules a few well-earned days off in Hyannis. They’ve covered an average of over 115 miles per week the past 3 weeks. That’s a lot of miles. Brick plans to eat. Cracker plans to nap. I plan to do both

Keiko was the first person I ever met in Hyannis. That was 11 years ago when I visited town on my way from Canada to Mexico for the “Lost Sea Expedition” documentary. It was great catching up with her again today. You can stream the “Lost Sea Expedition” on Amazon.
How Cracker plans to spend the next few days.

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Todd Bryant
Todd Bryant
4 years ago

What a great idea for avoiding chafing! That could be done with a riding saddle maybe. And what brand is that pack saddle. Good luck with the rest of your journey. I have enjoyed your posts immensely.

Erin Reiff
Erin Reiff
4 years ago

So glad you made to to Hyannis by August 5th! We visited shortly with you while you were staying in Broken Bow at the fair grounds. My girls are currently watching the Lost Sea Expedition. We had no idea! Best of luck on the rest of your travels!

Susan Korus
Susan Korus
4 years ago

My husband is a mule man..he sure would love to meet you…we own three mules…

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