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Stories from Bernie's current trip - a mule voyage from Canada to Mexico

Snow and the Mysterious Capt'n Peanut
May 27, 2008

Today, May 27, 2008, was the day I was going to hitch mule Polly to the Lost Sea wagon and resume our Canada to Mexico voyage. When I woke up and the Black Hills were white, I decided that, well, I’d still take off.

So I booted up, dragged on my coveralls and waded out to the Lost Sea wagon. And what in the snowy South Dakota world should I find moored next to my prairie schooner?

Yep, ‘Ol Captain Peanut Lips had swung by in in his fine vessel the “Dulci Mer”.


‘Ol Peanut Lips sailin’ tall

Now you have to understand, ‘Ol Peanut Lips (he and I are both captains so we drop the nicities) is a Lost Sea fan from way back when. Yeah, he even named his vessel after the sea that disappeared tens of millions of years ago. “Dulci Mer” means “sweet sea” in Captain-speak.


Why they call him ‘Ol Peanut Lips

Now sure, it was a nice surprise to sea the ‘Ol Cap’n. But I had a voyage to kick off. Hell, I didn’t have time to chew the pipe with some old hoary sea captain from the Plains whose last accomplishment was falling from the sky.

Now understand, the Ol’ Cap’n has a few vices like smoking a pipe (he’s a Dr. Grabow man) and sailing alone without a harness. He also likes to give advice. Which he did.

“Don’t leave today, mate.” he told me. “Heavy goin’ out there. Nothin’ but headwinds and growlers…” he warned. “A good day to hole up and talk about dragging drogues around Cape Stiff…”

But really, who was he to talk – the guy who sailed the snowy Plains in his 2-foot “Dulci Mer”. 2 feet! That was 10 feet shorter than my Lost Sea vessel.

So I harnessed Polly and hit the road. It was The Day I Was Supposed to Leave.


Hittin’ the road

Then it happened. Before we cleared the Borderlands Ranch’s driveway, snow and ice packed Polly’s hoofs into platform shoes worthy of Gene Simmons’ from “Kiss” (it was Gene that wore those honkin’ risers wasn’t it?).

I don’t know what they’re called in English but in Swiss German we used to call them “Stolla” – those balls of compressed snow that stick to the bottom of a mule or horse’s foot. They making forward motion pretty much impossible.


Polly’s “Stolla”

Within a hundred yards, Polly was stumbling along in her best sawhorse imitation. The only way for her to proceed was for me to clamber out of the wagon and knock the “stolla“s off her feet with my boots.


Stolla removal

I decided it was a better day for taking pictures than making progress.


A day for photos, not progress

Okay, so the whole We’re-Leaving-May-27-Come-Hell-or-Snow thing didn’t pan out. Still, I figured Polly deserved a good feed so after our false start I put her back out in the Borderlands corral with a bucket of grain.


Not so final supper

When I returned to my wagon, the ‘Ol Cap’n was there in his rockin’ vessel, pipe fired up, bag of Lost Sea shag at his feet. Yep, tonight we’re holing up in the Lost Sea wagon for a gam. And one blistering day up the road, after the old salt’s gone, I’ll tell you more about the Captain and his honkin’ yacht “Dulci Mer”.


The Proud Cap’n

Stay cool, shipmates!

Posted Tuesday May 27, 2008 by Bernie
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