Skip to comments.Harnessing memories
Posted on 01/09/2018 4:44:47 AM PST by SandRat
WHETSTONE Michael Cunningham and Darrell Cruse are attracting a lot of attention while driving from Tennessee to California. Its probably their vehicles.
They expect the road trip to take about six months. Thats because of their vehicles too.
On Sunday, they could be seen in Whetstone, plodding along State Route 82 on their way to Sonoita. Their easy-going pace is set by two teams of mules, with Cunningham sitting in a wagon behind April and May, while Cruse is driving Kit and Kate.
Cunningham and Cruse organized the trip to raise awareness about Alzheimers after both men experienced personal losses to the disease. Cunninghams mother died of Alzheimers and Cruse lost a good friend.
We left Lobelville, Tennessee on Sept. 11 and were following a back-road route that took us through Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, said Cunningham, who expects to arrive in California sometime in February or March.
On Sunday morning, Cruse said they had been on the road 119 days and are estimating they will have traveled about 2,100 miles when they reach California.
Initially, our goal was to go into San Diego, but weve decided to play that by ear, Cunningham said during a phone interview Monday. We still plan to travel into California, but may not go as far as San Diego.
While both wagons are loaded with supplies for the men and mules, people along the way invite them onto their properties and into their homes.
Were completely self-contained, carrying hay and grain for the mules and supplies for ourselves, said Cruse. But weve met some amazing people on this trip. They see us going down the road and stop to see if we need anything. Horse people are set up for the mules and offer pasture or shelter and we get invited to join people for dinner. Weve had gracious treatment by so many people through the entire trip.
While traveling west on State Route 82 on Sunday, Cheryl and James Arthur stopped to take photos of the wagons and offer apples to the mules.
Theyre such sweet, gentle animals, Cheryl said. Its so much fun to be out traveling and seeing something like this. And theyre doing it for a good cause.
The Arthurs are just one example of how people are responding to the slow-moving wagons.
On Monday, Cunningham said a highway patrol officer stopped and told them he would follow them through some of the narrow stretches of 82 where the road curves. Also on Monday, a woman who lives about 12 outside of Sonoita invited them to stop at her place.
She said she has pasture and offered to let us camp out on her property as long as we needed to stay, Cunningham said. And thats what Im talking about. Weve been meeting nothing but kind people from the time we started this trip until now.
After they arrive in California, Cunningham plan to load the mules and equipment into a trailer and transport them back to Tennessee.
Were making this a one-way trip by wagon, Cunningham said. Its a great adventure, but I think well be ready for the return trip home in the comfort of a truck.
What a great road trip.
We have that here. They are called, Amish. (but the carriages are black with a bright orange triangle on the back)
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