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Man and mule heading west

Mule ride across three states ... Rod Maday and his mule, Henry, stopped in Philip on their trip from Boy River, MN, to Gillette, WY.

Maday and his mule, Henry, two stopped in Philip early morning on Wednesday, August 1. Maday later cooled off in the Philip community swimming pool as Henry grazed in the shade of nearby trees. They had previously come through Hayes and were to reach Wall by mid-afternoon on Thursday.

They have covered 1,200 miles in 30 days and have already worn out one set of Henry's shoes. "I've done as many as 70 miles in a day, but 16 hours in a saddle is a long day," said Maday. "The last two days have been just too hot." They travel light, carrying a pup-tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, and a small suitcase of necessities. "I do need a new cell-phone, though, after we got caught in a rain storm last week," said Maday.

"Crossing the Mississippi was really scary, with semi-trucks on one side and a straight drop-off from the bridge on the other, but crossing the Missouri at Pierre was not problem," said Maday. Four-year-old Henry was broke last year and is gentle and calm. Big county trucks don't usually bother him. During the first part of the trip, a moving train rumbled within 10 feet of them and Henry didn't flinch.

Maday, who is heading to Gillette to find work in the coal mines or oil fields, has owned mules since he was 16. On this trip, he has met lots of nice people. Some have given grain to Henry and two ranchers with horse trailers have stopped and given the two of them rides.

"Henry loves kids," said Maday. At a campground at Adrian, Minn., I got some rest, but Henry didn't because he was a big hit with the kids over there."