Grass and Dried up Towns in the Land of of Twelve Inches of Rain

The big news on the Northern Plains this year is rain. After a twenty-year dry spell, the heavens have opened, releasing record amounts of rain, and mosquitoes, to the Land of Twelve Inches of Rain.

The ranch land’s greener than most old-timers remember. When I overhear them talking in the Post Offices and corner stores, the first thing I hear is, “Have you ever seen the top of (enter butte name here – Bullion, Sentinel, Square, South…) covered in grass?”… Continue reading

Finding the Beach in Beach, North Dakota

So last week mule Polly and I rolled into Beach, ND with a wagon full of relics. Man there was everything clanking around in the old wagon from arrow-pierced bottles to a short film of two dung beatles rolling their namesake across a road.

Welcome to Beach, ND (Mike Archdale photo)
Beach, ND

Only one thing was missing from my collection of Great Plains stuff – relics from the Lost Sea – like fish fossils, sharks’ teeth, or even a… Continue reading

Mapping 1000 Hours of Mule Travel

“So where are you now?”

Folks have been asking me that a lot lately, as though, if I could point to a map and say, “Right here.”, they’d be satisfied. The answer promises to underwhelm. Remember, the Lost Sea disappeared over millions of years. In keeping with the theme of receding waters, Polly and I are living at the speed of ebb tide – or about five miles per day. This journey’s about rolling under the big sky and knocking… Continue reading

Ted's "Arrow Through the Bottle" Mystery

I’m into answers. On this mule journey, I’m learning more about the Lost Sea, the sea that, millions of years ago, stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Sea. I want to know why the baculite fossil has that funny tube at the top (It helped the critter regulate its buoyancy as it navigated the Lost Sea). I want to know why the Lost Sea Wagon squeaks so badly that, when it drops into a gopher hole, it… Continue reading

Hauling Mule and Wagon to Canada

Mule Polly and I are heading to Canada to begin the Lost Sea Expedition. Yes, we’re going by truck and trailer. Some would say that’s cheating. I say it’s the only way we’ll make the 2,200 miles from North Carolina to Canada before winter. Here’s what the land looks like.

Pilot Mountain
Winston Salem, NC

The first night’s encampment
Outside Portsmouth, Ohio

Lost Sea Sunset One
Bill Smith’s farm
Portsmouth, Ohio

As of this posting, we’re 50 miles… Continue reading

How to Pay for a Mule Wagon Journey

Think of it as a game. You’re traveling from Canada to Mexico in a mule wagon and you have to earn enough money to keep your mule in oats and your belly in, well, more oats. You’d sell books, right? If this sounds familiar, well, I thought it was a good idea too so that’s how I’m going to pay for my cross country mule wagon journey.

The book I’m selling from my wagon is “Woody and Maggie Walk Across… Continue reading

Pedal Billionaire Reverend Hans

Nothing gets the point of wealth across like being a billionaire. But who says it has to be measured in dollars? I mean really, it’s just a measure, right? Well, this week I met a billionaire – in a generally overlooked currency.

Meet Reverend Hans.

I spotted him pedaling North on US 1, outside Southern Pines, NC, and just had to pull over for a chat.

The Reverend’s rig
Southern Pines, NC

The first thing that struck me about him… Continue reading

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