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The List of Items I'd Take on a Half Year Mule Ramble
March 20, 2019

So you want to run away for a few months on a mule. What would you take?
Hell if I know. But Julia stepped in to the rescue. She hand wrote a list based on the items used on our last month and a half mule trip.

Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
Here’s how Julia and I looked after 6 weeks on the road with our mules. I’m taking much the same gear with me on my next mule journey.

Here’s what Julia’s list looks like.

Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
The list of mule ramble essentials. This is the first draft. The pruning comes next. The typed list is below.

Read through the list and you’ll see a lot of items. Remember that this is most of the stuff you’ll need to live on the road for half a year with your animals – your home, clothes, cooking equipment and all the stuff you need to take care of your mules with.

Much of this gear fits in to the 2-day Army rucksacks we use as saddle bags. All these items (plus the rider) can be carried by a mule and still stay within the 20% Rule. The 20% Rule says a horse or mule should only carry about 20% of its weight. Ideally, less.

Here’s what all this stuff looked like on our last mule ramble.

Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
All our gear piled up at a Christmas tree farm Julia and I camped on during our ramble. From this would rise…..
Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
…our camp. (Outside Whitetop, Virginia on the Creeper Trail)
Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
Inside our tent. Here, Julia is planning our route on paper maps. We rely on paper maps and word of mouth over electronic routing.
Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
Home at night.
Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
Hey, you gotta have coffee – and the stove and pot to make it with. Add 6 more items to the list (coffee, cup, gas bottle, lighter, saucepan. No cream or sugar.)
Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, list
Mule Polly carrying our extra gear such as pickets, grain, clothes and cooking utensils. Fully loaded, she carried around 100 pounds. That’s well within her carrying capacity. Shown are staples of the road like pickets, saddle bags and water jugs (old cranberry juice bottles hung from a rope).

And now, with great gratitude to Julia, The List.

Horse Gear
saddle
bridle
pack saddle
wrench for pack saddle adjustment
pads x 2
girths x 4
girth fleeces x 2
pommel bags
saddle bags
2 packs + dry bags x 2 for packs
scale
britchen x 2
rope halters x 2
lead ropes x 2
pickets x 2
new hobbles with fleece covers x 2
tree slings
seatbelt covers for chafe protection
renegade hoofboots 4 sets + 4 spares
hoofboot extra straps
hoofboot repair stuff
chicago screws
rasp
spurs
water/feed bags x 2
horse feed (pellets)
health and Coggins papers
plastic bags for storage

Camping
ground cloth
tent
6 extra tent stakes
bivy bag
sleeping bag medium
sleeping bag light
maggie blanket
dry bag for sleeping gear
luci light
head lamp plus charge cord
cook set
utensils
mug & plate
salt/pepper/herbs
lighters x 2
stove
gas bottles x 2 plus gas
ponchos x 2
water jugs x 2
nalgene bottles x 2

Clothing
boots
socks x 3
shorts
pants 2
long sleeved shirt 1
t-shirt 1
coveralls 1
neckerchief 1
pile jacket 1
longjohn top 1
longjohn bottoms 1
belt 1
leatherman multitool 1
rain jacket 1
rain pants 1

Communication
charge cords (laptop, ipod, iphone, camera, razor, charger)
laptop + case
ear buds
external drive + cord
microphone + cord
thumb drive
ipod + cord
phone
extra charger + cord
camera + cord
tripod

Stationary
pocket notebooks x 3
notebook 1
paper
pens
colored pencils
business cards

Food
freezer bags
garlic
cliff bars
nuts
dried fruit
lentils
ramen
couscous
quinoa
instant rice
canned fish
our cereal mix
peanut butter
olive oil
coffee
tea
dried milk

Hygiene
tooth brush
toothpaste
floss
soap (Dr. Bronner)
deodorant
electric razor
towel
toilet paper
lavender oil

First Aid
antibiotic
first aid
banamine

Repairs
loctite
550 cord
needle
thread
rope & string
extra webbing + extra straps
bear hanging rope
duct tape

Navigation
compass
maps
reading glasses + case
warm hat

Daily Riding
sun hat
riding helmet + sun brim
sun glasses
sun glasses cord
sun block tube spf 30 stick spf 50
gloves
harrachis
wallet
credit card
driver’s license
some cash
blank checks for Ursula & Bernie
emergency contact info
orange vests x 2

Other
wedding ring!

Does all of this stuff absolutely come with me? Probably not. Lavender oil? I told you, Julia made this list.
But, on that last day when I look at Brick and Cracker wondering if I’ve got what I need, it’ll be a essential guide.

Posted Wednesday March 20, 2019 by Bernie
Where this story happened:

How Julia and I Got Hitched at the Town Dock
March 1, 2019

Bernie Harberts, julia carpenter, mule, marriage, married, getting married, engagement
Getting married on the town dock (Ben Casey photo)

Sixteen years ago I sailed back in to Oriental, NC after spending 5 years sailing alone around the world. Hours after tying up a mooring line’s length from the town dock, a reporter asked me, “what do you fear most”. I said, “growing old alone on a sailboat”.

Flash forward to last Saturday, February 23. I stood on the same town dock with my fiancee Julia. My dear friend Keith Smith, who was marrying us, asked, “Bernie, do you have the rings?”. I patted my tuxedo pocket and said, “uugggghhhhh…..”. Then I jumped in to my mule cart and raced away for the hardware.

Okay, first some sailboat photos (by Will and Deni McIntyre).

Bernie Harberts, sailboat, Sea Bird, Tom Colvin Saugeen Witch
My sailboat “Sea Bird” sailing the last miles toward Oriental, NC, having sailed 25,000 miles around the world. She was a Tom Colvin “Saugeen Witch” design.
Bernie Harberts, lislott harberts, lislot harberts, arthur harberts, art harberts, ursula daniel, obituary
My family, the welcoming party. After sailing alone around the world, it was wonderful being surrounded by my parents and aunt. L to R they are my aunt Ursula Daniel and my parents Lislott Harberts and Art Harberts. They have all since died. You can read Ursula Daniel’s obituary here and my dad Arthur Harberts obituary here. Behind us, barely visible, is Oriental’s Town Dock.
Bernie Harberts, sailboat, Sea Bird, Tom Colvin Saugeen Witch
A moment of reflection. Here, I’m taking in the significance of returning to land after years afloat. I’m standing in the galvanized dome (actually part of a GMC fuel tank) I built for an observation dome aboard “Sea Bird”. It let me scan the ocean in heavy weather without venturing on deck.

In the decade and half since I came ashore, I’ve kept traveling. One year after returning to the Oriental, I set out from the town dock again. This time, I set off with a mule named Woody.

Bernie Harberts, sailboat, Sea Bird, Tom Colvin Saugeen Witch
Mule Woody and I depart Oriental’s town dock in 2004. (Melinda Penkava photo)

From Oriental, I rode across North Carolina, where, along the way, I picked up a pack pony named Maggie. Thirteen months later, the 3 of us ended up in San Diego.

After my voyage, I had to find a new home for Woody and Maggie. That’s how I met Julia. She agreed to take take my faithful mounts with the promise she would take care of them to the end. You can read her version of how we met right here at her ConsideringAnimals.com blog

So that brings us to last weekend.

Since Julia, mules and the town of Oriental have wound themselves corkscrew like to the center of my heart, it only made sense that our wedding would be in the Sailing Capital of North Carolina. So in to the old horse trailer we piled mule Polly, loaded her cart in to the back of the Tacoma and headed back to sea level.

There, between late winter rains and shrimp boats, standing on the town dock, I started my newest adventure. I married Julia.

Here are the photos. Photos by Ben Casey unless otherwise noted. Enjoy.

Bernie Harberts, sailboat, Sea Bird, Tom Colvin Saugeen Witch
This wasn’t a white wedding, this was a wet wedding. Here, I’m driving my best man, brother Christian Harberts, to the town dock where the wedding would take place. Mule Polly, who pulled her wagon from Canada to Mexico for the Lost Sea Expedition TV series, is pulling our cart.
Bernie Harberts, Julia Carpenter, the Bean coffee shop
The crowd gathers. It’s wonderful to see so many long time friends in the group. Paul Welles of Triton Yachts (red cap on left) hauled my sailboat “Sea Bird” from Lake Norman, NC, to Oriental before my circumnavigation. That was over 20 years ago. I met boat designer Tom Lathrop (first red jacket on the left) almost 30 years ago when, grubby from sailing my home made sailboat “Garage Sail” through town, he let me use his shower.
Bernie Harberts, Julia Carpenter, the Bean, Oriental, NC, the Bean coffeeshop
The view out the front window of the Bean coffee shop. There was so much rain that morning, it looked like mule Polly’s cart was afloat. Meanwhile, in another corner of the Bean… (Carolyn Parker photo)
Bernie Harberts, Julia Carpenter, the Bean coffee shop
….Julia waits for the groom to appear.
Bernie Harberts, Keith Smith, TownDock.net
Down on the town dock, I confer with Keith Smith. Keith and wife Melinda run the online news source TownDock.net. Standing just out of sight is my best man Christian Harberts. This is where the screw up was noticed.

Here’s the dialogue that’s going on in the photo above.
Keith: “Bernie, hand me the rings.”
Bernie: “I don’t have the rings. Christian has the rings.
Christian: “I don’t have the rings. Bernie has the rings.”
Keith: “Bernie, we need the rings.”
Bernie: “I’ll be right back”

I had forgotten the rings back in the hotel room.

I ran down the town dock, through the crowd and jumped in to the mule cart. I did a burnout in the puddle in front of the Bean coffee shop and galloped off in search of my home made wedding rings. Keith explained to the gathered crowd that I was off in search of some “hardware”.

The last they saw of me was my top hat shooting up in the air as I raced out of sight. Ten minutes later, I galloped Polly back on the scene and sprayed the crowd as I came to a halt by the town dock.

Bernie Harberts, mule Polly, Ben Casey photo
Back in game.

I strode back on to the town dock, rings in my pocket. The wedding was back on track.

Nick Parker, Julia Carpenter, the Bean coffee shop
Here Comes the Bride starts playing and Julia’s brother Nick Parker, escorts her to the town dock.
Bernie Harberts, Julia Carpenter, reading wedding vows
Reading our wedding vows.
Bernie Harberts, Julia Carpenter, Keith Smith
Slipping on the rings. I made them out of the wire clips that hold the barbed wire on to the t-posts in our mule pasture. Here’s a sketch of how that went down.
Bernie Harberts, Julia Carpenter, Keith Smith
We’re married!
Gary Ramsey, Caroline Ramsey
Gary and Caroline channeling some heartfelt wedding cheer. You can see it in their eyes. Gary put up my mule Woody 15 years earlier at the start of my mule voyage to California. That journey would become the Too Proud to Ride a Cow book.
just married, mule cart
Long time friend and fellow mule rambler Ronald Hudson. I bought mule Polly from Ronald 12 years ago.
Missy
Fellow traveler and critter lover MIssy was there, too. What an incredible fortune to have friends like this show up to fare Julia and me well.
bernie harberts, julia carpenter, mule cart
Some new husbands whisk their brides away in a Cadillac or limo. We chose mule Polly. One of the many reasons I love and married Julia. I mean really, who else would combine a tiara with a mule cart?
just married, mule cart
Just married!
just married, mule cart
Bernie and Julia: married February 23, 2019 (Oriental, NC)

I’m older since that reporter asked me what scared me. I’m not afraid of growing old alone any more.

Great big thanks to Keith and Melinda of TownDock.net for hitchin’ and mule lodging services. Also a tip o’ the top hat to Ben Casey, Nick and Carolyn Parker, David and Jean White and Allison DeWeese (also of TownDock.net) for the wonderful wedding photos.

For Julia’s take on the wedding, be sure to visit her ConsideringAnimals.com blog

Posted Friday March 1, 2019 by Bernie
Where this story happened: