The journey down the continent started August 1 at the Canadian border.
“I’m trying this adventure, if I can make it, I’m going to do it, and if I can’t do it, I’ll have to probably start over next year or something from where I left off,” Scott Schlepp said.
Meet 62-year-old Scott Schlepp of North Dakota. Better yet, meet him and his partners: 10-year-old Duke and 9-year-old Duchess. We’re catching up with the team on Highway 47 in south-central South Dakota.
“She is a troublemaker to some extent, and he is straight and narrow. He’ll follow that center line for miles and hours,” Schlepp said.
As they head all the way to Brownsville, Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border, morale is good. And yes, they’re going in a covered wagon. Schlepp has a 1977 Chevy camper along for the ride, too, pulling a trailer. He’ll drive it ahead, without Duke and Duchess. He’ll then leave the trailer and camper, go back on an ATV to Duke and Duchess, and bring the horses and the ATV back to the camper and trailer. His team has his sharp eye.
“I don’t see no swollen ankles, I usually touch their knees at night, ’cause if they’re sore, you can feel heat, and I don’t feel any heat or anything like that, so I’m checking everything,” Schlepp said.
“These are my babies. I’ve got to take care of these as much as possible. For me, I can do it, but I mean I got to take care of them. They’re pulling me,” Schlepp said.
You might be wondering why he’s doing this.
“Why not? … Chance of a lifetime, living the American dream, how does that sound?” Schlepp said.
He’s hoping to get to Brownsville around Christmas.
“It really goes pretty easy, and not really lonely at all, really,” Schlepp said.
Schlepp says “it is peaceful out here.” With scenes like these, his sunny outlook makes perfect sense.
“America is great, and I think the weather is nice today, and I’m just feeling great that I can do this … healthy enough to do it,” Schlepp said.
As he writes this story with Duke and Duchess, he thinks of verse.
“I’d like to write a song about this trip. So I got words going through my head, I don’t have the melody or anything like that, and I’m not really a, I can do a little singing, but I’d like to make some kind of a song or a poem about it or something like that,” Schlepp said.
There’s no shortage of inspiration around him, Duke, and Duchess.
“I’m sitting there and getting things organized in my tiny little brain,” Schlepp said.
His response to my question of how this all feels says it all.
“Fantastic. You want to ride along?” Schlepp said.