I recently returned to Oriental after a five-day shake down cruise in my new vessel.
Bill wonders… (Susan Edwards photo)
Now in the old days when I returned from a sailing trip I liked to brag a bit about how many miles I’d gone. “Oh yeah.” I liked to let slip once Sea Bird was snuggly moored and I invariably stretched the number of sea miles it was to Bath or Beaufort.
“30 nautical miles” I’d hear in my head… Continue reading
So I drove my mule team from Oriental to Aurora and smack on the corner of Fourth and Main I found a shark tooth.
Ok, let me back up the plot a little. First let me explain how downtown Aurora is laid out.
Main Street runs down the middle of it. On one side of Main Street is the Aurora Fossil Musuem. On the other is what they call the fossil heap.
Debbie Richardson and Richard Olsen of… Continue reading
“Where do we sleep tonight?”
That’s Question Number One every time I strike out on a mule or a boat.
From Oriental Jack and Bill and I struck off toward Bayboro. 22,696 steps later we pulled up in front of a massive anchor on the Bayboro waterfront.
Bill: “I don’t have another step in me.”
Jack: “I know. Feels like we’ve done our twenty-thousand for the day. Let’s anchor here tonight…” – Bayboro, NC
Norm Czuchra and Candace Young of… Continue reading
Watch those fingers…
For months I’ve welded, glued, hummed and painted a wagon body into existence. This week, with a bit of good advice and horsepower, I mounted the wagon body on the chassis.
Now all that remained was the shake down. Once the brakes were adjusted and bled (this took three days, mind you) I hooked Jack and Bill up to my new creation.
Ok boys, “Up! Up!”
Then we hit the road for shakedown number one.
Off down… Continue reading
There comes a time in any journey’s preparation when you look at the parts and say “Ok, no more building… Let’s get this thing on the road!”
So last week I decided to tow the wagon body out of Mel’s garage and mount it on the chassis I’d been using under my hay wagon.
Hay wagon chassis
I pulled the flat bed body off the chassis but then I got to looking at that red running gear. “You know” I… Continue reading
A large percentage of gypsy wagons that are being restored show scorch marks. They come from where the wood stove set the wagon on fire.
So to guard against this sort of Viking sendoff, I lined the stove nook with plywood and aluminum sheeting. Just to make sure the air circulated up behind the panels, I routed some air holes into the frame work.
Frame work for stove nook with vent holes that (should) dissipate heat (I hope).… Continue reading
Between catching my mules, hauling hay, working on the book and sewing up the odd cat, there’s been scarce little time for working on the wagon.
The wagon shell waits…
Which isn’t all bad.
It gave me time to think…
In the end, I realized that most projects consume exactly as much time and money as you have on hand. So you might as well start off small, on a scale you can finish.
With that in mind,… Continue reading
Two questions came up recently and I only had one answer.
Question One: How much can a horse pull?
Question Two: Bernie, do you want some free hay?
Hey Bill, can you pull this thing…?>
Of course the answer to Question Two was an unqualified “Yes”.
Then Mel told me I had to pick it up in Jack and Bill’s wagon.
The hay was in a hay barn across town. All I had to do was go get it.… Continue reading
Back in the early nineties I had this madcap dream.
I was going to become a steeplechase jockey!
Well, I moved back to Southern Pines, dieted from 165 to 125 pounds and lived out that crazy notion.
Win Number One circa 1992 (Hobby Field, Southern Pines, NC)
But the weight loss came hard so to keep my mind off food, I built a sailboat.
At the time I was galloping horses for my friend Mel Wyatt. “Hey Mel.” I asked… Continue reading
I know, I know! You’re sick of Technical Drawing Number One. Just remember, it’s all I have in the way of blueprints, the only thing I have to go by as I build the wagon that, so far, has only resided in my brain.
Technical Drawing Number One
For months now I have been building the body parts to what look like an enormous slab sided monster. The yellow side walls, flank-like and stiff. The wooden ribs, bowed like they… Continue reading