Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rufus has a sore neck

Last night Rufus seemed to have a sore neck under his collar.  When I checked him his morning and attempted to put on his collar he was even more sore.  He would not be able to wear his collar today and I'm not sure when he will be able to.  Thus began a day of trials.  As of mid-morning today, I wasn't sure if we would be able to continue of journey.  We were staying in one of the most primitive locations we've stayed in yet and had a injured mule.  Things weren't looking good.  We were 6 miles north of Granada with about 70-80 miles to get to our final destination of Joice, IA.

After making several phone calls seeking advice and help we learned that Merrill Bernau of Emmons, MN would be our guardian angel for today.  Merrill is the neighbor and close friend of my relations Marion and Hubert Iverson.  Because Rufus couldn't pull the wagon, we decided it was best to travel to Merrill's home and give them a rest until we decide our next step.  Merrill arrived at our location with a stock trailer for the mules and his friend brought a flatbed trailer for the wagon.  We got loaded up and Merrill drove us to an 80 year old veterinarian in Bryceland, MN.  He took a look at Rufus and advised us not to drive Rufus and to allow him to heal.  Ultimately, Merrill's friend found us a mule that had been on load to an Amish family in southern MN and was available to join our healthy mule Rowdy to finish the trail.  By chance, the new mule's name is also Rowdy!  We plan to get Rowdy (the newest version) tomorrow and have Rowdy and Rowdy practice driving together.  If the mules can work together, we will be headed to Joice on Saturday.  The mule community will be joining us on our final leg.  We'll be accompanied by other wagons and outriders as we arrive in Joice!  We'll be heading down through Scarville, IA to Lake Mills, IA and finally on to Joice.

Earl and I are staying with my relations Marion and Hubert Iverson.  We are warm and safe and so very much appreciate the kindness shown to us today and throughout this trip.

Good Night from the trail.

Joe and Earl


  1. I love how your trip has been augmented by the kindess of strangers and relatives. I think that mule/horse/farm people can't help themselves and rush to the rescue as their own personal adventure.
    Best of everything for your last few miles. Thank you so much!!!

  2. Poor Rufus! He came so close to finishing. What a blessing to have found a stand in. Mules have such heart (and keep you on your toes). Thank you Joe and Earl for the awareness that you have raised for such a worthy program.
    Carrie Krump & the Bemidji Hospice Team.