The Last Wagon Journal Entry

Bernie's Optimus Ranger 8R stove in the Texas desert.
The last night on the road. The flame in the foreground is the Optimus Ranger 8R gasoline stove. I used the the ancient, $35 stove, to cook almost all my meals on the entire Canada to Mexico journey.  The tripod used to to film the Lost Sea Expedition is next to water jug I used to carry water in to the desert. Look closely behind the wagon and you can spot a bale of alfalfa hay. The water jug and hay make an appearance later that night in my journal. (Sierra Blanca, Texas)

March 9 marks the anniversary of my last day on my wagon voyage across America – the journey that became the Lost Sea Expedition series.

Most nights in my wagon, I wrote in my journal. Tonight, reading back over those entries here in my cabin in Western North Carolina, those notes seems like a missive from another era.

A very sketchy sketch from one of my journals. As the “where I am now” scribble notes, this sketch was made early in my voyage. My journals vacillate between laptop (1998-2013) and paper and pen (2014 – present).  Who knows, writing-wise, what the future will bring? I do. I reckon I’ll stick with those black spiral notebooks for another few years. Then I’ll go back to digital journals.

From my journal:

“West of Sierra Blanca, Texas

Tonight is one of the last nights on the road. We’re 24 miles from Sierra Blanca, only 40 or so from Mexico.  I just cooked supper over a small flame in the desert sand. I burn the final waking hours writing in my journal in a dark wagon, the only movement the shadow flicker of my pen against the paper in the lamp light.

Gentle bumps rock the wagon tonight, like Sea Bird anchored out and the dingy bumping against her flanks. Only tonight, it’s Polly that’s eating a bale of hay leaning up against the wagon that sends these shudders through my vessel.

I nod off to the sound of Polly’s picket chain dragging through the sand as she seeks out precious blades of grass. The chomping as she chews on her precious pad of alfalfa hay. The swallowing as she downs jug water hauled into the desert aboard the wagon.

Good night a final time from out here on the dusty Lost Sea. In the morning we come out of the desert and make the final miles for Fort Hancock.”

And with that, dear friends, I turn in to not, this time my wagon berth, but my bed.

Good night!

Okay, I’ll leave you with a few more photos to go with this post

Bernie Harberts' sailboat Sea Bird
Sea Bird, the sailboat that carried my 5 years around the world. I bought her for the equivalent of a used pickup truck. I “commuted” her 25,000 miles around the world, chasing horse training jobs and writing newspaper articles. (Port Mathurin, Rodrigues Island)
Bernie's home in western NC
Home in western North Carolina. Here, my mule Polly’s favorite time of year, hay season!

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