Wagon Construction Week 5
The concept was simple. Build a two-wheeled cart. Build a two-wheeled covered wagon. Hitch the wagon to the cart and pull the rig through the Canadian Maritimes. I built the cart. I built the wagon.
So far, so good for 5 weeks of work.
Flash forward to Oriental, NC. This week, I hauled cart, wagon and Polly to friends Keith and Melinda’s house to start my 10 day shake down tour. You know. Make sure this whole thing works before I schlep it 2000 miles to Canada.
So far so good.
Then I saw the 21-foot sailboat parked in Keith’s driveway. Suddenly, pulling a covered wagon seemed so, well, normal, when I could be towing a gaff-rigged sailboat through North Carolina’s Sailing Capital. So we hitched Polly to the boat and off we went for a spin around the village.
Sound sorta whacky?
Yeah, in 2012, two grown men pulling a boat with a mule seems out of sync with the times. Boats are pulled with trucks and if you don’t care how folks look at you, you might get by with a Honda.
But a mule?
Not so much. Not anymore.
As Keith and I towed Webster around the village, feeling a tad guilty of Polly’s load, it dawned on us that maybe we weren’t entirely crazy. Call it justification. But it made the whole thing seem less ridiculous when we considered that a boat probably hadn’t been towed through Oriental in over century.
But it probably had been done. Think about it. A hundred years ago, Oriental, like many coastal communities, lived off fishing. The nets would have been hauled by hand, not net winders. The boats would have been powered by sail instead of engines. And when those boats had to be moved on land, they would have been pulled by a horse or mule.
In fact, those boats would have looked a lot like the one we were pulling along Oriental’s oak lined streets. They would have been shoal draft to accommodate the area’s skinny waters. They would have sported four-sided gaff rigged sails and probably a centerboard. Just like the vessel we were towing.
So gradually, the idea of taking a leisurely stroll with a boat hitched to a mule didn’t seem so crazy.
Then a lady asked us, “why are you towing a boat with a mule?” And suddenly it all seemed wacky again. Could be 100 years before another sharpie’s hauled through the Sailing Capital behind a mule….
Here are a few photos of our afternoon jaunt around Oriental. Up next. Polly and I take a week long tour of Pamlico County. In the wagon. For more on Oriental, drop by TownDock.net.
Only one act is yet remaining to complete the gestalt of mule and ocean – you have to take Polly sailing! You said it yourself that you and Keith were feeling guilty about Polly having to haul “Webster” around. I think Webster should reciprocate and haul Polly around. For good measure you could strap the forecart to the bow. But, then again, that might seem a little strange even by Oriental, NC standards! Before making any hasty descions, take a good pull off that Kansas jug first; it will help you to see things more clearly.
Enjoying your book very much. looking forward to reading about your next adventure. (and planning my own). I don’t have any real horse experience tho. Happy Trails!
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