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New Tires


7/6/12, Townsend, MT - While we didnít get a lot of miles under our belt, this was a really great day, in which I got a lot accomplished.

I donít often take pictures in the morning, as I have a lot to do. Today, I made and exception to this. After brushing the horses, I had to doctor B.O.B.ís nose and lips.  He has a very light skin pigment (like half of Michael Jackson) and is subject to getting sunburned lips and nose.  A couple days ago, he got a good one. Last night, I put olive oil on it; today he hot SPF 30 sunscreen.  He wrinkles his nose a bit at the treatment, but stands it well.

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B.O.B. suffers the same problem as a lot of redheads - fair skin.

After hitching the Belgians, I set my sights on the 100 year old, steel truss bridge that spans the Missouri River in this town. It looked like it might be fun.  The road surface looked okay and I didnít see any load limit signs (the horses and wagon weigh in at 12,000 pounds), so I went for it. 

Being adventurous means you have be having fun.  The secret to good adventure is to - not die while youíre having fun - ha ha ha.

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I can almost hear B.O.B.ís thoughts, ĎOf all the hair-brained, teamster ideas, this one takes the cakeí!

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As they stepped on to the bridge, the lads were walking slow and careful, ready at any moment to start inflating their horse-sized water wings.

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I told Bill, ďHey turn your head and look at the great view to the right.Ē

I thought I heard him reply, ďAre you nuts, this is why horses wear blinders.Ē

Back on the main highway, the road was a vast improvement from yesterday.  It started out with a two feet wide shoulder and soon expanded to 4 lane with a wide shoulder.

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At our second morning break, a very nice gentleman stopped with his two grandchildren. Doc gave me the nod, indicating - Ďput them up on my backí.

Shortly after this break, a four mile section of road construction began and ran to the village of Townsend.  Traffic was light and it wasnít any problem.  Well, there was one nit-wit that decided he should try and pass me on a narrow section of road with an oncoming Semi. When I hollered out, ďWould you like a 2200 pound horse in your front seat?Ē, he backed off.  He waited until the semi passed then sped by me for 300 yards, until he got behind another car. Total time he lost by not passing me the first time - zero!

The lads are used to construction machinery, so I like construction zones. The big benefit - reduced speed. This one had a 35 MPH speed limit.

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Construction Zones are usually good for the horse driving business.

My first stop in Townsend was at the feed store, where I picked up 4 bags of oats.  I only paid $11 a bag, vice the $14 a bag that I was paying a few weeks ago.  I wonder if my threat to take the team to Washington and complain to the President has paid off?  Anyway, keep up the good work there in our nationís capitol!

My next stop was at the grocery store, where I broke the team out for their lunch. While I was doing so, I was visited by several people including a couple of lady musicians that were returning from a gig to their home in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho.  Somehow, we ended up sitting in chairs, drinking wine and listening to some really good folk music by Jen, while the team munched their oats. This sort of thing has been known to happen on the wagon.

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Both the lads and I enjoyed our lunchtime serenade!

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I think the horses munched their oats to the rhythm of the music.

After finally getting some groceries, I was about to head out of town when I noticed a tire store on my right.  A worker was outside, so I asked him if he had my sized tires.  He responded that he did. The next thing I know, I was getting 4 brand new tires for the wagon.

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Iím probably one of the few modern day teamsters that has worn out a set out 8 ply rubber tires on a wagon. After 5,500 miles on this set, they were due to be replaced.

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KCís Tire is a full service shop.  So, while the wagon was getting re-shod, the lads got to wait in the horse-customer waiting area.

While the wagon was getting itís pedicure, a family with 5 young girls stopped in to get a flat tire fixed. Doc immediately took charge of the situation and provided seats for the four oldest girls (the youngest was still a baby).

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It was after 2 pm before the wagon had 4 brand new, 8 ply tires. The day had grown warm, so I started looking for a place to camp for the night.  About a mile north of town, the road crosses the Missouri River. On the near bank was a free town or state camping ground. I made a beeline for the far end and have settled in for the night.

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To keep from messing up the nice campground, I have the ladís corral built on some tall grass that was located behind some low brush.  They look like theyíre having a good time to me!

For the next few days, the temperature is expected to climb to the low nineties. To beat the heat, Iím going to try and be on the road by 6 am and quit shortly after noon.  Iíll set the alarm on my phone and see how droopy-eyed and cranky I am at 4 in the morning.