Traveling at the Speed of Rice
October 11, 2011

This week mule Polly and I travel through the Uwharrie Mountains at the speed of rice. That’s right. My faithful travel partner (we’ve traveled together from Canada to Mexico and hauled Special Forces troops under tarps, but that’s another story…) hit the road armed with little more than a wood wagon and a bag of long grain.

Polly: mule, friend, rice hauler

Yep, rice.

Rice. The darker colored rice in the background has been roasted in olive oil. Makes it so you can eat it without cooking (old Japanese voyager’s trick I learned in Tasmania). The rice in the spoon is lighter-colored because it hasn’t been prepared in any way. This is the kind of rice I’ll be traveling with.

You see, with fall falling, it’s time to turn off the computer and cell phone and step out into, well, autumn. I mean really. Cold weather and long nights are on the way. We’ll be web surfing tropical getaways and cut rate tickets soon enough, right? Better to make our getaway now, armed with – instead of social media commitments – rice.

You see, if a fellow hits the road with his trusty mule and a few pounds of rice, his hunger will soon lead him to gardens. Gardens filled with late tomatoes and early greens. And here, among the ordered rows ending in now-fading seed packets, are the kind of folks that I enjoy visiting. People who know it’s more important to capture a falling yellow walnut leaf on the brain’s soft drive instead of your camera’s hard drive. Folks that have more ways of putting away green tomatoes than you have virtual friends.

Uwharrie farm plot

And I want you to join me.

That’s right. For the next week or so, we’ll be traveling the central Carolina back roads – you, me and mule Polly. Our transport? An 80-plus year old field wagon. Our goal. Just to see what sort of produce we can rustle up to complement that bag of rice we’re carrying.

So, ready to hit the trail? Good. Climb in. Hold Fast. Let’s go. And if you want to catch me on the real road, you might find Polly and me at the Eldorado Outpost sometime this weekend. Look for us parked behind the cricket cage.

Now turn off your computer and go do some autumn rambling of your own.

Shhhh…. Polly doesn’t have internet. She doesn’t know we’re hitting the road yet. I’ll get her up as soon as she’s finished her snooze. Something about letting a sleeping mule lie….
The country we’re going to visit (outside Lovejoy, NC)

(The map below shows you where Lovejoy, and the Uwharries, are located. Look closely, and you’ll find Eldorado.)

Posted Tuesday October 11, 2011 by Bernie
Where this story happened: