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12/11/09, Perryville, MO - A day on the wagon can definitely be full, rewarding and can take some wonderful turns.

After about an hour and a half of threading our way through Chester, we finally pulled on to the Mississippi River Bridge.  The horses performed magnificently. The bridge lanes were only about 10 foot wide. As I needed about 8 1/2 feet of width to pony Bob behind the trailer, I thought it would be a real challenge - they pulled it off without a hitch. I left the front of opening of the windscreen down, so I could talk to them the whole way.  They fed off my calm voice and did great, even with oncoming trucks going by only two feet away.

I used Doc and Bill for the hitch. They are my best team, and Bob does the best ponying behind the trailer. The 3/4 mile crossing took about 10 minutes and we held up very little traffic.

Not far on the Missouri side of the river, we were pulled over by the Sheriff of Randolph County, IL.  He and a colleague were horse people and wanted to chat.

We drove the five miles across the old flood plain before stopping for lunch in the town of McBride. Hoping to pick up some oats, I pulled into a grain elevator.  Unfortunately, they no longer sold grain; however, Larry, who worked there, ran out and got me 200 pounds of oats while we had lunch.

During lunch, the horse and wagon went through a strange transformation; the change of the Christmas Spirit.  The horse each got a red garland draped around their hames, and the wagon was decked out in a string of lights. Fortunately, this magical change didn’t cause it to start snowing.

After lunch, we climbed several hundred feet in elevation, up the bluffs on the far side of the flood plain.  After several more miles we pulled into the city of Perryville.  All along the way we stopped to talk with several people.

By the time we were leaving Perryville, it was about 1/2 hour short of sundown. A nice guy stopped and offered us a place to stay 2 1/2 long miles ahead, but the miles turned out to be a little too long.

It was starting to get dark and traffic was a little crazy, so I pulled over and asked Bill Stortz if we could camp at his place. We and the horses are both comfortable in Bill’s backyard. He presented us with a copy of his daughter Heather’s CD. Heather is an 11 year old, bluegrass, fiddle player that really knows how to make her fiddle sing. Her collection of songs are really something and the CD is going to join a short list of favorite CDs on the wagon. I really like the song she wrote, ‘5 Pounds of Possum’. I highly recommend this album. It is available for $10 and $3 shipping.  You can order is by calling (573) 547-4691

I never know how a day on the wagon is going to turn out - only that it will be great!


Fiddle playing prodigy, 11 year old, Heather Stortz.  I had a private exhibition of her magnificent ability.

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Onto the Bridge across the Mississippi River

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A very intense looking Teamster. Trying to keep the team within + or - 6 inches, with oncoming traffic requires some concentration. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

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This state line wasn’t exactly a ‘line in the sand’.

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Bob - “I pushed the wagon the whole way across the river; honest I did.”

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What an appropriate name.

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With the Sheriff of Randolph County, IL, Fred with a colleague, Shelly - Both horse people.

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Bill and Doc with the Christmas Spirit.  The wagon also has a string of lights, but you can’t see them in this picture.

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Bob, “Hey I’m not wearing one of those garlands - at least not until tomorrow”.

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