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John McComsey, Teamster & Friend



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12/28/09, Birdeye, AR - I never know how a day on the wagon will turn out, and today was no exception.  We were on a causeway, rolling through some flood diversion channels, when I spied a familiar face at the edge of the road.  John McComsey, who I met on my first trip, in Henry, TN, was standing on the side of the road.  I took pity on a poor teamster standing their without his team and picked him up.  Last winter, John was preparing to take a wagon trip with his two mules from Tennessee to Phoenix, AZ. John completed this amazing 1700 mile trip in only 90 days.  Read about his adventures at his website www.twomulesandawagon.com  

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Not long after we started this morning, we entered an endless parade of rice stubble. I know Uncle Ben’s says, ‘Rice is Nice’; but enough is enough. As we wound our way alongside the St. Francis River, I got a little tired of seeing mucky rice fields.

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We broke for lunch at a wide spot in the road, not far from the river. Doc and B.O.B. were pulling, and Bill was enjoying the day of walking behind the trailer.

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After lunch, we played hopscotch with a flock of several hundred thousand starlings. As we drew the wagon alongside the trees that they were perching in, they would swarm out and fly a little farther up the river and road. It was pretty neat to see the swarm change into a multitude of shapes as they flew.

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The St. Francis River is used to divert water from the Mississippi River when it is high. Channels, built between levees are flooded to hold the extra water.  On one of the causeways, we found John and his girlfriend. John hopped onboard for the last hour of travel.


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Tonight, we’re comfortably settled at Fred’s place, in Birdeye.  Fred is an ex Wyoming cowboy who settled here with his wife. He and his wife teach school and do some rodeoing. 


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After a couple of hours, we had say ‘goodbye’ to John and his friend Marilyn.  The visit was entirely too short.  John drove through this part of Arkansas on his way west, and gave me some pointers about my route.  There’s not too many of us long distance teamsters out there.  It was a real delight to be reunited with him.

If he can thicken up that Tennessee blood for winter travel, maybe I can talk him in to hitching up and joining up with us on our trip west. Of course, a little encouraging E-mail from others might help out  - wink.