On the trail again

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Pleasureville native part of wagon train

By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

It was a blend of old ways and new, patience versus impatience.

As a wagon train of eight to ten mostly homemade wagons trundled south on U.S. 421 toward Turners Station Road, two vehicles swung out on a blind curve to pass the slower moving wagons, mules and horses.

It didn’t seem to phase the wagon riders, however, who kept on at their steady pace.

Earlier, the group gathered in the parking lot of the Campbellsburg Consignment Shop for a not-so-quick lunch of pizza and tall tales.

“This is just a bunch of nuts,” Pleasureville resident Wayne Beckley said. The group of nuts, which included Beckley and his son Todd, a handful of Anderson County residents and one outlander from Arizona, had been on the road since May 3.

Everything the men needed was in their wagons, and in the few days since they’d been on the trail, they made camp at farms or parks, whoever didn’t mind the group setting up a camp.

It’s the ninth year for the journey that, though the exact route may vary, takes the men into Indiana Amish country and back again. And though many of the men are married, this is a guys only event.

“We ain’t never found a woman rough enough to go with us,” Beckley joked.

Lawrenceburg resident Keith Franklin joked that if women were to go, “we’d have to take baths more often.” And without women? “When it’s men only, we just get to lyin’” he joked.

Beckley has a small warning for visitors to the wagon train. “If you sit around awhile, you’ll hear all kinds of stuff,” he said. “Stuff you probably shouldn’t here,” he added with a chuckle.

The men take turns cooking each day, and while Franklin said the person who can pick up a spatula is the cook, Beckley said it’s actually “whoever can stand the others aggravatin’ him.”

“I tell you what, we eat, we do,” Franklin said, noting that the group has cooked just about everything, except the Vienna Sausages Beckley’s wife packs for him.

Aside from the scenery, and the hypnotizing rhythm of the horses, Jerry Gritton, of Lawrenceburg, said one of the beautiful things about the annual trip is that people can’t reach them. “The cell phone doesn’t work half the time,” he said with a laugh.

For Franklin, who celebrated his 73rd birthday on the trip, working horses and wagons is something he’s done his entire life. “It’s relaxing, and you see some of the most beautiful scenery,” he said. “If you ever get started in this, it grows on you.”

But it’s not all roses and butterflies. The men sometimes get up at 3 a.m., just to start getting ready for the day, and they travel “til we get where we’re going,” Franklin said.

After their pizza lunch, which even one of the horses seemed to enjoy, and a quick horseshoe repair, the men gathered their chairs and folding table and headed south on U.S. 421 toward their Thursday night destination of Turners Station.

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