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Meeting Some Pioneers

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12/4/12, Valley Falls, OR - During a few grueling days, I flew to Colorado, picked up my truck and belongs, drove to Arizona, loaded up the wagon and returned to Oregon.

Last Wednesday morning Jacquie and I drove two hours to Klamath Falls, OR, only to discover that my airplane was broken and that I had to reschedule my flight for the next day. (I think they broke the rubber bands that power the engines when they wound them up!) The next morning, I finally got off the ground and made my way to Alamosa, CO. While waiting for plane to get in, my friend Jerry scouted around and found a great deal on a trailer for me to buy.  This ended up being a better deal than renting a U-haul, so I purchased it that evening.

It was great seeing my good friends in Colorado, as I spent the next day socializing, packing up the truck and doing some odds and ends. It was tough saying goodbye to everyone when I pulled out Friday morning. Friday was a long day, as I drove to Lake Havasu City, AZ.

After sleeping in the wagon Friday night, my hosts and I spent a couple of hours getting it loaded on the trailer Saturday morning.  When I bought the trailer, I though it was plenty wide enough, but it turned out that the wagon was only one inch narrower than the trailer. This left only a 1/2 inch of clearance on each side. After retrieving the contents of the old wagon trailer from the rodeo grounds, I started my northward trek.

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The truck may have pulled the wagon faster than the horses, but given the time, I definitely prefer to have the horses pulling it.

My first stop on my trip north was in Golden Valley, AZ. My good friends Chuck and Mary Reagan have spent the past three years traveling across the US in a covered wagon, pulled by a pair of good looking mules.  Shortly after stopping in Golden Valley, the Reaganís wagon caught fire.  They lost the canvass top and wooden bows, most of their belongings and had some fire damage the wagon body.  In the finest of pioneer spirits, the Reaganís count their blessings and consider the fire not as a devastating event, but only as a speed bump that has to be overcome on their westward trek.

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Mary and Chuck with one of their two mules (either Pauline or Pearl).  These mules were well muscled, had good looking feet and were as gentle as a pair of puppies. Along with their two riding horses and dogs, they have trekked most of their way on a journey from Kentucky to California.

Over the past few years, I have frequently written and talked to the Reaganís. It was the highlight of my trip this week to finally meet them and get a chance to spend a few hours together.  There arenít too many modern-day wagon travelers and it was a real pleasure for us to finally get together.  The hours passed all too quickly and soon I had to wish them the best and head on my way.

Chuck and Mary have almost finished sewing up a new canvass top and are scouting around for some material to replace the bows and reconstruct the damaged seat and wagon boards.  If you would like to help them get back on the road, any donations would be greatly appreciated and can be made via Paypal on their website - http://www.americafoundbestofthefreelife.com

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Chuck and Mary have the same spirit that carried our pioneer ancestors across the prairies.  When faced with hardship and mishaps, they donít look for excuses, only solutions. This is the shell of what was once a nice wagon.

To miss a series of storms that have been plaguing the west coast, I avoided traveling north along the eastward slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Instead, I turned north for Las Vegas and drove north through the middle of Nevada.  This turned out to be a wise choice as I had good weather for the entire day and a half journey to Oregon.

On January 7th, I once again start working as a contract worker at the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Plant, near Omaha, Nebraska.  In the meantime, I have several projects to complete, to include building a large shed in which to feed and shelter the horses.

Iíll continue to blog every week or two.