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They're Traveling In A Horse Drawn Camper
Traveling to Florida with two Belgian Draft horses pulling your camper is probably not the way most people would prefer to take a vacation. Don and Vi Godwin, of Belle Plains, Kan., think it's a dream come true.
The trip they're taking isn't totally for pleasure it's really a business trip. When people see how much fun Don and Vi have though, it just doesn't seem like business.
"We sell tools, toys and tidbits" says the sign on the side of their camper. After stopping for the day that's exactly what they do plus a little bit more. The couple usually starts out by singing a song or two with Don playing the mandolin and Vi playing the guitar. After a few kind words and jokes to the audience, they bring out their goods to sell to the crowd that has gathered.
"We just love this," says Don of the way they sell. "The people we meet are so nice and you see the best side of them. Not only do they speak to you, which they probably wouldn't do to someone selling things from a car, but they speak to you with kindness.
"It's been a lifetime idea for us, this trip," says Don. "Fourteen years ago we decided we would take off across the country. My idea was to go in a covered wagon. My wife's idea was to have a microwave to take along. We compromised."
What they compromised on was a camper set on a dolly which the horses pull. The camper is a bit nicer than most covered wagons, but it doesn't have a microwave. It does have a stove, refrigerator, air conditioner and toilet. On the outside is a shower hookup and two feeders from which the horses get water and grain. There's also room behind the camper for hay to be stored.
Barney and Brother are the horses which pull the Godwin's rig. Don broke both of them himself to work and lead. Their harness was made by 83-year-old Perry Polock of Altamont, Kan. He made it a year and a half ago and the Godwins tested it on a trial run to Oklahoma City last March.
When the couple left home October 3, two hundred people showed up to see them off. Traveling 18-25 miles a day, they expect to reach Florida in mid-January.
Before leaving Belle Plains, the Godwins sold their home and real estate business. "What didn't fit into the coach got sold," says Don.
(Reprinted with permission from Farm Talk, Parsons, Kan.)

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #1