Covered Wagon Travel Rewarding
Hillsboro Post Gazette/1976-01-30
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - There is an obvious problem after you've traveled 1,000 miles from home in a covered wagon - you've got to find your way back.
After making the trip with his wife and two young sons, all Gary McClaine says he wants out of life is to "just keep going along."
"I really like traveling this way," McClaine said after arriving in Central Florida with his horse-drawn wagon and family from Mount Victory, Ohio, near Lima. "This is the first horse and the first wagon I've ever owned.
For the next month or so, McClaine said, he's going to let "B.B.", a seven year-old trotting racehorse and true beast of burden, take it easy munching grass at the Sunshine Holiday Campground before hitching her up again for the trip back to Ohio - or someplace else.
"People have been beautiful," McClaine said of his desire to keep traveling in the wagon. "Almost everyone is willing to help out in some way and we just keep going along."
"It's the first time I've ever tried anything like this. But I want to keep on traveling. We've had fun, met good people and seen good places."
A member of the Children of God sect, McClaine, 25, his wife Pam and their 2-year-old son Jason began the trip to Florida last September "to reach people" with just a $5 bill and their religion.
"We stopped for 10 days to give B.B. a rest in Aebulon, that's in Georgia," McClaine said Tuesday from a roadside campground. "But otherwise we've been moving along pretty steady."
McClaine said he had one change of heart on the trip when he and his wife decided in Tennessee to send for their 6-month-old son, whom they had left behind with relatives because they thought he was too young for the journey.
"But we missed him," McClaine said.
While on the road, McClaine said he purchased food for his horse and family with donations, but he credited the reliability of old B.B. for the success of the trek.
"That rig weighs maybe 700 pounds, and she's pulled it 10 miles or so a day, day after day, since we left Mount Victory," he said.
McClaine said the "mountains of Tennessee were the best part of the trip," but he admitted that his horse was "glad to see some flat country again."