Welcome Home

The headlights on my 1992 diesel Dodge burned away the rain drops to reveal the soaking sign. “Welcome Home! Bernie Brick and Cracker”. My journey from North Carolina to Idaho and back with my mules was complete.

November 7, 6:30 pm: the sign I found on my front gate last night. What a welcome sight after driving mules Brick and Cracker five days from Idaho back to North Carolina. My wife Julia made if for me. Lucky, lucky man.
April 6, 11:15 am: heading out the front gate with mules Brick and Cracker. Returning through that same gate last night – and seeing that sign on it – tied a big symbolic knot on most recent journey.

The 1992 Diesel Dodge Diary: Day Number 5

Fired up the ancient Cummins which scared the clouds so badly they wet all of Tennessee. Roared along from outside Nashville toward Knoxville peering through the rain plastered windshield. Looked like I was in a car wash.

The view from my 1992 Dodge D250. It rained all day.

The rain fell hard and my mind drifted to what a husband and wife would do in a car wash after 7 months apart and I was ready to make out with my Julia when the wind shield wipers stopped and brought me to my senses.

Crap! The highway ahead looked like I was underwater with no goggles: fuzzy with a chance of drowning.

Hit the hazard flashers, limped to the next exit. Couldn’t find a spot at the truck stop so rolled slowly to an empty parking lot. Couldn’t read the yellow sign through the rain soaked window until I opened the door and it said, “Napa: Truck and Auto Parts”.

I have the luck of seven Irish men holding four leaf clovers.

Here’s the mini-photo essay of how I got my windshield wipers fixed.

Wiper wipe-out. The passenger wiper works. The driver side wiper refuses to get up.
When I inspected the wiper linkage, I found this broken plastic connector.
This is what it’s supposed to look like. The nice boys at Napa sold me the parts I needed for $3.28.
With the help of my Leatherman and my tire iron, I pressed the new connector in to place.

The repair set me back an hour. Pulling out of the Napa parking lot, wipers whipping all hell out the rain, I knew how the astronaut that fixed the Space Lab felt.

Great, I can see the road again! Bummer night is falling.

And so the Diesel Diaries draw to a close. I love my 1992 Dodge D250 more than ever. Nothing like that throbbbing 12-valve Cummins on the road. Unless of course you include all the old combines, pumps and tractors working the fields of America. That same engine was used to power thousands of agricultural machines.

I’ve sure enjoyed hearing from all of you with older trucks. From Todd with the 1997 12-valve Dodge (oh la la) to the lady in the Grand Island parking lot who extolled the virtues of her 2005 Ford. You all get the upshot of this old truck gig …. minus a few windshield parts and fuses.

So What’s Next….?

Next is a beer and a shower and then I take my wife Julia out to super. A lady that’s waited 7 months and one day for her man to return from a mule ramble is to be worshiped, feted and held on to tightly. Real tightly.

And after that?
Well, more riding and writing. In the next days, I will start going through my storehouse of photos and notes from the Mules West ramble. I’ll decide what material gets turned in to posts, what could serve as article material and maybe even spin the haul of material in to something larger.

Yes, I’ll be posting plenty here at RiverEarth.com.

Brick and Cracker Update

Brick and Cracker are back in their old pasture. The celebrated their arrival with a celebratory roll followed by some major ogling of the green stuff at their feet. They haven’t seen fresh grass in a while.

Then they settled in to peaceful grazing with an occasional sip from the brook that divides their meadow.

This afternoon, they caught up with mule Polly and Julia’s Haflinger Pickle. muzzles were sniffed, heels were raised and ears were pinned. Then all went calm and they went to grazing next to each other like they’d never been apart.

Cracker, Brick, Pickle and Polly.

Our herd has been re-united.

Re-opening of the RiverEarth.com General Store

Top of the list if things to do is re-open the RIverEarth.com General Store. Here’s where you’ll find books and DVDs of my travels, from riding cross-country to sailing alone around the world. It’s also the place to go streaming info for the Lost Sea Expedition, the Rocky Mountain PBS series about my 14 month mule voyage from Canada to Mexico. If you haven’t watched it already, you can stream the series right here on Amazon.

10 Responses to Welcome Home

  • WELCOME HOME BERNIE! And your mules look great.

  • We are so glad that you and your mules made it home okay. Bet it is good to be home again,

  • Gald you made it home enjoyed keeping up with you this adventure hope to meet with you again someday

  • Just caught your adventure out west and am so glad you and the mules made it home safely! Can’t wait to see the pics!

  • “Crap! The highway ahead looked like I was underwater with no goggles: fuzzy with a chance of drowning”

    …and this is why show up to read every post, like a gold digger panning for pithy nuggets of truth. It feels like when I used to read Shakespeare in high school, and all the best phrases would make me pause and think “I don’t think its humanly possible to express that any better” (never once did I think “I could have written that”) And that’s why you’re a writer, and I am not.

    Keep those nuggets coming!

    C

  • Welcome back, Bernie! I don’t think we’ve said that to anyone else more often than to you! When you start to feel itchy for some riding, come up here and go foxhunting with Will.

  • So happy to think of you and Julia together, back in your cozy compound, surrounded by beautiful hills, creating beautiful journals and enjoying each other, and your awesome herd – now git your asses up here for Christmas. Pun Intended.

    • Andrea. We are on our way! We are saddling up right now and look for ward to seeing you at….Easter. 850 miles on mules is a long way by mule. On second thought, we’ll take the Subaru. Look forward to seeing you guys for Christmas! Bernie and Julia who says hi.

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