I pulled in to Ed Woodbury’s place for the night. He grew up farming with horses and was happy to have me camp at his place. For the evening corral, I erected a portable electric fence. After I unharnessed the horses, I turned the them into their fenced area for the night. With the help of his neighbor, Ed used some milk cans to haul in water for the horses.
The Gates family stopped by to bring me some groceries and a copy of the Eagle Times Newspaper, which had a nice article on the wagon, the team and I. I had a very pleasant evening with Gates family. They are what I call groupies - nice people that were enchanted with the idea of the horses and wagon. They loved the excitement and sense of adventure offered by the wagon. Often groupies would follow the wagon for several days. Nearly all of them are great company and I enjoyed their company as much as they enjoyed mine. We had a very pleasant evening.
The word “bliss” best summed up my feelings about the day - a little excitement, nice places and people, but overall, just pure Bliss!
An Idea is Born
My name is Bob Skelding and I’m driving a wagon, pulled by four Percheron horses on a journey throughout the United States. My only goals are to see new places, meet plenty of nice people, and to enjoy this great country of ours like it’s meant to be enjoyed. I started the trip in Deerfield, New Hampshire and traveled nearly 1800 miles to Mississippi. After an accident in Mississippi the trip is being resumed in Indiana. I don’t know where I’m going or where I’ll end up, but I think I’m really going to enjoy the people and the places along the way. This is how I got started:
About half the people in the world want to be free of bills and a daily grind, I’m one of them. My dream is to travel freely about the country, seeing new places and meeting new people. It’s hard to take the steps necessary to live a freedom type lifestyle. I quit a well paying job, sold my house and possessions, packed everything into a sixteen feet long wagon and hit the road.
It’s hard to separate yourself from security and material belongings and move completely out of your comfort zone. However, if you’re determined enough it can be done. Sometimes life hands you a “Do-Over” - a window in your life where you can do everything over, exactly like you want. My window of opportunity came with a divorce. With both my kids almost done with college, I no longer had to provide material support for other people.
When I told family and friends about my intentions, I received a wide range of comments, which included: “You go dad”! “You’re nuts”. “That’s pretty cool”. I also received a lot of questions, like: “How are you going to make enough money to support yourself?” or “What if this or that happens?” Surprisingly, what I did not receive was any doubt about the seriousness of my intended actions. I guess I had pulled enough crazy acts in my life, that people took me serious. By and large, friends and family realized that money didn’t mean everything to me and this was a dream of mine. As such, they were very supportive.
The sole purpose of the trip is to travel by horse and wagon and meet people. I want them to share their experiences with me and I’ll share mine with them. I’m not supporting any cause, trying to achieve a goal, nor am I sponsored by anyone. The reason I’m traveling in this fashion is because it combines all the things I like best and eliminates those I like least. Also, I can’t think of a cooler thing to do.
I first came up with the idea of the wagon in November of 2007. My second marriage was beginning to fall apart and I asked myself what I wanted to do after I was divorced. At the time I had been employed for fifteen years at an Electrical Maintenance Instructor in a nuclear power plant. Life had become fairly routine and predictable. Society tells us that we should all have well paying jobs and use the money we earn to purchase things for our leisure time. I decided to search outside of the society box when looking for an answer. Once I dropped society rules and left everything on the table the solution was easy to come up with.
I listed the things that I really liked in life. I also made a list of those things I could do without. I then asked myself how I would achieve everything on the first list and leave everything behind on the second. This is how my list looked:
Things I Like Things I Don’t Like
1. Travel 1. Paying Bill and Taxes
2. Horses 2. Going to work everyday
3. Meeting People 3. The same old routine
4. A degree of comfort 4. Making money to pay everyone else
5. Freedom to do what I like 5. Working hard and going nowhere
6. Writing 6. My Job
Next, I asked myself how could I get everything on the first list without having anything from the second. The answer was a horse drawn wagon that had most of the comforts of home.
In order to virtually eliminate bills, I also had to get rid of the house and whatever else I might have to pay for storage on.
Before I actually decided on the venture, I asked myself ‘what sacrifices do I have to make in order to make this happen?’ and ‘can I make the sacrifices necessary to make this dream a reality?’ Here’s how I answered those questions:
Sacrifices, Potential Problems Answers
1. No home base to return to. With no one else to support, I could make home anywhere
2. I could encounter a problem a little Lots of friends in New ways down the road and be stuck. Hampshire to help
3. I could run out of money. I could stop and get a job,
4. Lowered degree of material comfort I’ve lived a lot rougher. I could get used to this life style.
Once I decided that I could deal with the sacrifices and potential problems, I knew that I could make this dream a reality. The next big step was getting started and actually achieving my goals. One thing I knew for sure was that I had to be steadfast in working to completion all of the steps necessary to make the dream a reality.