Wagonteamster Book Order Click Here

Available Now!

Wangoteamster Cover_edited-2

The Wagonteamster Channel has it’s first video production - Journey To the Valley Of the Wild Horses

joyce head

Please Sign my Guestbook

Please Read my Guestbook


6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Why I Drive a Wagon?


8/20/12, Canyon City, OR - Tonight, I’m located 9 miles south of Canyon City on US-395 (N. 44 deg, 17.311’, W. 118 deg, 58.693 ‘)

Many people have asked me the question which is the title of tonight’s blog. I’m going to let the pictures in the blog answer that question.  I feel it could do a lot better job than I could put in words.

Early in today’s travels, I gave a ride to 13 year old Shirley, who’s grandmother dropped her off on my way into town. A few miles down the road, Her grandmother Liz joined us for the day’s travel.  Grandkids can’t have all the fun.

8-20-12 002

An avid horseperson, Shirey did a great job handling the lines.

After picking up a few sacks of oats, my next stop was the grocery store, where I had to restock the larder for the trip to Burns, OR. Unlike my good friend Bernie Harberts, I have a hard time subsisting on a diet of Kippers and Lentils.  So, my week’s grocery bill came to $80, as I bought stuff like steaks, salad, veggies and ingredients for chili and spaghetti. I sent Bernie some money for a better diet, but all he did was spoil his mule and buy some blackleg with which to flavor his stock tank water (you just can’t reform some guys!)

8-20-12 003

In lieu of a hitching post, I tied Doc to a young maple tree while I whirled my shopping cart around the store.

With my two local guests onboard, we managed to make our way through the City of John Day, while waving and greeting most of the people in town.  A couple of miles south of John Day is the small town of Canyon City. 

8-20-12 004

John Day, a very nice place. Unfortunately, the large sawmill in town is closing in November. This will put an end to a lot of well-paying jobs, leaving the city with a bleak economic outlook.

Before leaving John Day, we met up with Shirley’s mom, who was stopping at a nursing home as part of her rounds for hospice care. I asked if the residents would like to see the horses.  Before you know it, the lads had some more company.

Nursing and retirement homes are one of my favorite places to visit. It’s a welcome break from the routine for the residents; it’s also a bridge to their past, where many grew up in a horse-powered world.

8-20-12 005

Like the young and disabled, the lads are very careful how the move around the elderly. They stood absolutely still as wheel chairs were pushed to within inches of their feet. When the old folks offered them some treats, they were very careful to pick out the goodies from the fingers.

My favorite visitor at the nursing home was Virginia.  She and her husband had a farm/ranch that used horses for all the work.  They had large teams for fieldwork and saddle stock to get around on. She said her husband loved to ride his horse just about everywhere.

8-20-12 006

Absolutely fearless around the horses, Virginia drove her electric chair right up under their noses.

8-20-12 007

The only time I have seen someone so happy, that has been blessed with so many years is when my Grandpa Jake Sheaffer gets to open a present.  On that note, if you want to see a 100 year old guy act like a 6 year old kid when he opens his presents, make sure you attend Jake’s 100th birthday party in November.

In Canyon City, I stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand to fill up the water tank on the wagon.  A very nice lady ran the stand and she had a couple of young daughters. At first they were a little fearful of the horses, but mom helped them overcome their uneasiness. Now they can really relate to their collections of toy horses and all the pictures they have on their walls.

8-20-12 010

Bill likes kids, but he also likes to ‘graze’ on the hay stored in the wagon.  In this picture he’s combining two of his favorite pastimes.

8-20-12 011

Being a ‘proper’ young lady, the older girl sat sidesaddle.

8-20-12 012

Back in the mountains, where the grass is green and the water runs clear!

South of Canyon City, the road once again wound it’s way into the mountains. As I traveled 11 miles south of John Day, the wagon gained about 1000 feet in elevation.  The grade never exceeded 5%, but it was still a tough pull that gave Doc and Bob a workout.

8-20-12 013

Before heading off in the wilderness, the lads had to get one more round of pets from a car full of kids!

Tonight, the lads and I are settled in a wonderful camping spot. Right at the bottom of the steep grade, we’re camped on a bunch of nice, green orchard grass, under the trees and alongside the creek.  I have two separate enclosures built tonight, so I don’t have to tie one of the horses. Quite frankly, I think it has everything that a horse would want in the way of comfort!

8-20-12 017

Ahh, a nice roll at the end of a day.  What could possibly be better?

8-20-12 020

Well, Bob thinks that scratching his belly on a young aspen tree is pretty high on the list.

Folks, it’s days like this is the reason why I drive a wagon!