Shoulda Called a Rain Date

I’m writing you from a wet, dark tent tonight. It’s damp. My feet stink. My sleeping bag is soggy. And it’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have ventured out with the mules today.

The scene inside my tent tonight. It’s rainy. It’s dark. But it’s not foggy. That’s the water inside the lens of my camera. I may have ruined it today. Good thing you can’t smell my feet. Bugger.

I should have called a rain date today. I should have stayed in my tent in Novelty, Missouri. I should have listened to the rain tap, tap, tap overhead. I should have written my wife Julia a letter. Maybe headed down to the Novelty Diner for the Belly Buster Breakfast special.

I mean Novelty, Missouri had been good to mules Brick, Cracker and me.

Camped in Novelty, Missouri. Thanks Bobby Jacques and family for the steak diner. And Derrill for the pen. And Joe for the offer of crashing in the tool shed in case the rains got too hard. A very generous town indeed.
Mayor’s welcome: Jason Violette, Novelty’s mayor, dove out to greet me. He give me permission to camp in the town’s park.
Jason’s 1960s Ford. It was sold after Jason’s dad died. Decades later, Jason bought it back after finding it semi-abandoned. Under the hood, a 2006 Ford Interceptor engine installed by Jason. He says it’ll go in a flash from 50 mph to, well, waaaaaay faster.
Emblematic: ah, the days before the wind tunnel and the efficiency experts and the bean counters did away with hood ornaments.
“Trust me. It runs like new?” / Cheatums Garage

But I didn’t stay in Novelty. I saddled up Brick and Cracker, despite the rainy forecast, and set out. I should know better. Here are some photos of the soggy day.

Everyone from farmers to gardeners has been affected by the mid-West rains that. Just. Won’t. Stop. Here, a gardener outside Novelty, MO, drains her garden.
Grain and gravel trucks in the rain. All day long. Driving up the rainy road, they make a sizzling, whooshing noise that un-nerves the mules. And me. Since I was on foot (I’m giving Cracker’s back a break) it was harder to control the animals.
Walking up the road in the rain. Real smart. I packed up a nice dry tent to do….this?
I’m tired of all these trucks roaring by so close in the rain. No one to blame but me.

After 2 hours of walking in the rain, the heavens opened. The trucks roaring by throwing their huge plumes of spray were making walking up the road too dangerous. I pulled in to a cemetery, pulled on my poncho and waited out the drenching.

Taking a rain a break under an oak tree at the Macon Cemetery. You can still buy a burial plot here for $100. Luckily I didn’t need one.
Even Brick’s eyelashes were clumped by the rain.
A mucky march.

By day’s end, the mules and I had walked 14 miles from Novelty to the outskirts of La Plata. We camped behind an abandoned house. Tonight, our only companions are 2 coyote hounds and some tree frogs.

It’s gonna have to do.
Tonight’s rainy camp: beats a rainy day on the road every time.
Brick gleaning supper. I can’t carry much grain because it weighs too much. Luckily, the mules are champion scroungers. Here Brick is enjoying a treat of….
…wild mulberries. The berries are wet from all the rain.

It’s now 10:30p. The rain’s tapping on my tent. But I’m not on the road. The mules have plenty of browse tonight so they’ll be fine. Tomorrow I hear the sun’s gonna shine. That’ll be sweet. I’ll be able to dry out my mules and my top hat!

The top hat’s taken a beating – and a soaking and a scorching – on this trip. Ah, the loss of civility.

Good night from the road outside Plata, Missouri. Bernie, Brick and Cracker


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5 years ago

Sun come back and dry my sweet man.Please and thank you.

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