My biggest fear about hitting the open road in my new wagon is getting rear-ended by a car and waking up with the Grim Reaper saying “Hey, that joker that hit you told the cops he couldn’t see you. Said you just looked like some desert scrub out there in that tan wagon.”
The Grim Reaper (well, actually, it’s Bernie deciding that those tan walls need some yellow paint rolled onto them.)
So I marched down to the hardward store… Continue reading
Ok, so the Christmas rush is over and now it’s time to make hoops for the roof of my wagon. As usual, I consulted my Technical Drawing Number One.
Technical Drawing Number One: the roof beams are at 12 o’clock.
Ok, ok, so you just saw Technical Drawing One two updates ago. But a quick sketch is really all you need if you want to build a wagon badly enough.
Wagon hoops are the pieces in a wagon’s roof that… Continue reading
The Red Hat and Flashing Antler Club: Jack, Joanie and Bill
I never realized how enormous Jack and Bill’s ears were until I snapped a pair of flashing red velvet reindeer antlers behind them. It was a pretty good fake rake, a six-pointer with a thirteen inch spread if I’d been scoring them through a rifle scope. But that’s not what impressed me.
No, what struck me was that even with those enormous Yule appendages, Jack and Bill plodded on… Continue reading
After living in my tipi for almost thirteen months on the road, I decided my next home would have more substantial walls.
Bernie’s last home on the road. Winter 2003
Ok, so there were some privacy issues with my last living arrangements. Like cows.
Cows at the tent flaps
I decided that if I was going for stock-proof walls this time, I might as well go for warmth too. That meant adding insulation to my dream.
Here’s how I did… Continue reading
“So in all you’ve seen” Hoy asked with a grin that was amplified by the hand hooked into his blue overalls, “have you ever seen a steer climb a set of stairs?”
“Nope.” I had to admit.
But if ever a man could castrate a bull and then convince him to scale a flight of steps, Hoy was the man. That was why I was here to see him. Hoy, I hoped, would shed some light on just how I… Continue reading
Somehow, in my new-found enthusiasm for welding, sand blasting and paint, I overlooked one small detail of my pending expedition; my mules Jack and Bill.
After all, hadn’t I bought them early in the planning stages of the trip so I could get them in shape? But now they mostly just kept their round bale company.
Woody and Maggie escaped my inattention. I still managed to ride them weekly. But the thought of riding plow mules raised the hollow enthusiasm… Continue reading
Despite what it says on a pack of 60 grit sandpaper, steel needs sand blasting. That’s really the only way to remove the mill scale, the protective coating the steel mills apply to raw steel to keep it from rusting while the metal is handled. Leave the mill scale on and just paint over it and your new paint job won’t adhere for very long.
I rolled my frame to Ken’s White and in two hours his assistant Sammy Parrish… Continue reading
Woody taught me everything I needed to know about wagon design. Strength comes first followed closely by light weight.
Woody strength testing the Forest Service bulldozer he’s tied to. (Forest Service Station, Catherine Lake, NC, May 2004)
Occasionally, when he was tied up and couldn’t get to Maggie, he leaned into his halter with enough force to break the lead rope.
With Jack and Bill I thought it was different. After all, they were older than Woody and came from… Continue reading
I decided my wagon should have a light steel frame covered in thin plywood. After all, what other material could survive a captain who’d steered past charges onto shipwrecks?
Beaching…a common theme in my travels (Sea Bird cast up on the beach outside Darwin, Australia. Yet again…)
A ship wreck that Sea Bird actually missed. It was too far up the beach. (Yes, that’s Sea Bird resting on the beach.)
While it’s often true that past performance does not guarantee… Continue reading
Thanks everybody for your help. The title suggestions are rolling in! Here they come…in no particular order. Keep sendin’ em and I’ll keep posting em.
10 Legged Journey: Woody, Maggie and Me.
Many Hearts for Ten Legs
The Mule That Walked to the Center of the World
10 Legs, Will Travel
Are we There Yet?
From Atlantic to Pacific with Oats for Fuel
Half-assed Journey Across America
Long Miles with Long Ears
Bullet Holes & Bumblebees: A Story of… Continue reading