There are easier ways to travel, but families still love their three mile an hour horse power on the hoof.
This covered wagon group travels through the western states each year. They converge on Antelope Island in Utah each summer during the annual Western Music Festival. The riders donate their time and covered wagons for local charity. As fellow horse lovers, we couldn’t resist the chance to go along for a ride down the dusty trail.
They allowed me to ride shotgun with the driver, which seemed to give a very short proximity to the back side of the horse. Nell was harnessed close enough to me that she brushed the dust off my cowboy boots with her tail. I was so relieved that the horses didn’t need to add some fertilizer to the trail, or I’m sure that would have landed on my boots.
The driver explained what a day out on the road was like. Although some of the group travels in motor homes, he keeps the heritage alive by camping as weather permits. He described his morning as being awakened at dawn by the sounds of harnesses clanking and smelling coffee boiling.
The smile on his face while explaining that his average speed is three miles per hour, gave a sense of what I’m missing. One of the tales he dispelled was the colorful phrase “circle the wagons” actually meant that the wagons served as a corral for the livestock.
The towns along the way welcome them with organized guitar playing groups sitting around the evening campfires. Other entertainment in the towns would include quilt and craft shows, toilet bowl races and cow pie bingo.
He admitted he’s feeling the old bones are telling him that riding on wagon trains may have to end soon. His motto has been “as long as he is able to continue, this is an adventure that gives him a real appreciation for God, Country, and his pioneer ancestors that thrived on the western life.”