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Stories from Bernie's current trip - a mule voyage from Canada to Mexico

The Final Lost Sea Breakfast
August 27, 2009

It was the target mule Polly and I had been aiming at for 13 months. We’d started in Canada, traveled the length of the Great Plains and now it lay before us.

The Rio Grande.

But no sooner had Polly hauled our wagon to the river’s banks, I discovered a ding in my dream. While I could see the Mexican flag from where I was standing, there was no getting down to the water. The Rio’s bank’s where way too steep for descent.


Within sight of the Mexican flag
Fort Hancock Port of Entry
Fort Hancock, Texas


But no way to get there….

Nope, my steed and I weren’t going to wade into the Rio like they used to celebrate the river’s arrival in days gone by. So I tossed Polly’s water bucket into the river, and extracted a bucket of Mexican American water to wash her feet in.

If you can’t take the mule to the river, take the river to the mule.

As I washed her hooves in the silty water, my mind wandered to all the folks I’d interviewed on my journey.


River meets mule

Each interview took us on a wildly different journey, from the mummified school house coyote to how to cook a rattlesnake. But each audio journey began the same – with a sound check.

To adjust my audio recorder’s volume and gain, I asked the subject what he or she had for breakfast. While “pancakes, an egg and coffee” streamed through my earphones, I twiddled with knobs and controls until I got the sound just right. But these were more than just sound bites. I came to look forward to them almost as much as the interview. I vowed that, at trip’s end, I’d run a string of them together like so many colorful beads,

Well, Polly’s pulled her wagon to the river’s edge. There’s no going farther. It’s time to string my breakfast tidbits up.

To listen to my Plains friends describe how they start their day, just click on the audio player below.




Some of the voices you’re listening to have appeared on RiverEarth.com in the past. In speaking order, they are newspaper publisher Dan Epp, dinosaur caretaker Harvey McPherson, paleontologist Mike Everhart, the railway hobo known as Hobbit, whole foods vegetarian Kathleen Ann, paleontologist Chuck Bonner, Chuck’s wife Barbara, sod house dweller George McKillip and 1950s champ lady bare bronc rider Twila Merril.

And with that recording, trail mates, the Lost Sea Expedition draws to a close.

From here aboard the Lost Sea Expedition wagon I’d like to thank you for traveling with Polly and me from Canada to Mexico. Yep, it’s been a bang up voyage. 2,500 miles through 10 states and 4 seasons. To see how far we’ve come, click here for the route map.

Now it’s time to return to Southern Pines, North Carolina – by truck and trailer.

But don’t think we’ve reached the trail’s end.

Nope, in coming months, the real work begins. It’s time to put together the Lost Sea Expedition book and documentary film. When they’re complete, you’ll be able to travel the Lost Sea and meet its fossils and denizens in full Hi-def glory. In the meantime, RiverEarth.com presents a whole series of programs, starting with “Hoofing It: By Mule Across America”. Click here for dates of this and other programs.

For details, just stay tuned to RiverEarth.com.

So long friends.

See you on that dusty Lost Sea!

Bernie
Mule Polly

Posted Thursday August 27, 2009 by Bernie


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