1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Modern Pioneers Travel By Covered Wagon
From May to December of last year, they traveled through 160 towns and cities, staying with 86 different families along the way. They're currently in Texas and about ready to journey back to Wisconsin with their homemade covered wagon and team of horses.
It all began in early 1985 when the Gruenburgs began building their 7 by 14 ft. covered wagon, a task that took them 2¢ months to complete. It's made of pinewood and features foot-pedal disc brakes, salvaged from a junked car, on all four wheels.
"We started out from home with a team of Welch ponies but they didn't work out," notes Marion. "We sold them and bought Maude and Jerry, a pair of 3-year old Belgian roans that weigh 3,000 lbs."
It took the Gruenburgs 2¢ months to make the trip to Texas. They averaged 20 miles per day during the 61 days they were actually on the road.
"People were so friendly and helpful along the way," notes Glen.
Some would visit for a few mintues ù others for several hours. All admired our courage to make the long trip alone.
"At night we took shelter in farm yards. We'd always ask for permission to park and were never sent away. Many times, families would invite us into their homes to dine with them, and to spend an entire weekend. Some even took us along to church."
The Gruenburgs carry only the "bare essentials" for clothing and food in their covered wagon. Supplies, including grain for the horses, are stored under the floor boards.
Water is carried in huge plastic jugs which hang on the sides of the wagon. "We stop in small towns along the way to purchase groceries and other supplies," says Marion. "We cook over a Coleman two-burner stove which also heats the wagon to a comfortable temperature on chilly mornings. I do the washing in a big tub and string a line betweeen two trees to dry it."
Marion adds that "we've never had trouble with outlaws trying to raid our wagon, or steal our belongings."
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