CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

February 24, 2008

LEE HORSELOGGER’S SOJOURN IN LAUGHLINTOWN, PA.


To read the latest posts in the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, click on

DOES EXAGGERATING THE TRUTH CREATE GOOD STORIES?

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I don’t organize the trip, I’m just pony driving. You get where you’re supposed to get when you are supposed to and not a minute sooner. (Lee Horselogger)

Just after 2:30 p.m., this afternoon (Saturday, Feb. 23) my neighbor Amy and her preteen daughter Emma passed a horse-drawn wagon traveling the Lincoln Highway—Route 30—the road that connects New York City with San Francisco.

The troupe was half way between Latrobe and Greensburg, PA.

Lee Horselogger’s presence in Laughlintown, PA, was made known to Amy and my daughter, Sandy, by the presence of a wagon with several huge horses, tethered in the parking lot behind the Pie Shop.

A blinking light marks Laughlintown, making it a true “one light town.” The cliché “you’ll miss it if you blink” fits. The Pie Shop is at this intersection, as is the Ligonier Country Inn, a working inn today; the Compass Inn, a historic 1799 inn, and an abandoned country store with a for rent sign in the window.

Lee’s quiet arrival at the foot of Laurel Mountain occurred about 5:00 p. m. Sunday evening, Feb. 17. “Laurel Mountain is just a little hill—have you seen the mountains in Montana?” he commented.

When Sandy told me he was he was there on Monday morning, I went down to investigate. I found him inside the Pie Shop speaking with a Tribune-Review reporter, and asked if they minded if I joined in.

“This is quiet,” he informed us. “Usually there are 30-75 people talking, or a couple hundred.” He noted that after doing 500-600 interviews it’s hard to talk. It’s odd, not to get attention, he commented off the cuff.

Answers to his most frequently asked questions are found on his business card and website, http://leehorselogger.com/

1. 12-25 miles per day, depending on many factors
2. Suffolk Punch horses
3. Horses are barefoot (don’t need shoes)
4. Great Pyrenees dogs
5. Grins & giggles; for the fun of it; just because
6. From Montana to California by way of Boston then to Alaska in 2010
7. 11,340 lbs. (weight of wagon, horses, dogs and Lee

He informed us about his observations of reporter’s writings—the “80% factor—“If they are 80% correct, I’m glad,” he said.

He refuses to use his last name. “The media (of his own town) botched it up so badly,” he said. “Then CNN picked it up and continued it wrong. People remember HORSELOGGER a heck of a lot better.”

He gets irate at some headlines. “One headline said Middle Age Man Continues Mid Life Tour,” he explained. “If I’d been closer I’d’ve turned my hitch around.”

He asks for little along the way, except to locate places to park his horses. “Somebody on the other side of Laurel Mountain recommended the Pie Shop and the Ligonier Country Inn.” Dave, the owner of the Pie Shop. provided him with food.

“They said PJ and Maggie (the inn’s owners) were real friendly folks. They were wonderful. They gave the room to me. I find that hospitality a lot.” He used the accommodations for showering. He always sleeps in the wagon.

Sunday, Feb. 18, was a rare rest day for Lee.

“You don’t sleep on a trip like this, you go until you are exhausted and your body says stop. Yesterday I was dead to the world.”

People are not intelligent when dealing with animals, especially horses and dogs, Lee said. He needs to be protecting his horses 24/7, which is why he sleeps in the wagon. He has to be alert even in the wee hours of the night. “A little kid, at 2:00 a. m., wanted to pet the horses.” The onlookers “I love” say “I know about horses.” But they don’t know about HIS horses. “I say I don’t’ care, I asked you to leave the horses alone. If you’re bitten, I’ll have to vet my horse.”

Because his horses need constant care and protection, Lee’s sightseeing is limited to what he sees from the wagon seat.

Since he doesn’t schedule his trip, he cannot state when he will be where. Even so, people just show up. Most people find me an inspiration, but some are asleep and not aware. I teach some people, and learn from others.

He’s discovered that many people would like to do what he’s doing, or to be on the trip with him. The closest way they can fulfill their dreams is to “hand me money and wish me well.”

The biggest lesson he’s learned is that “there are some things that are not anyone else’s concerns. The information is not for their amusement.”

His trip began in E. Glacier, Montana on Aug. 9, 2006. On July 23, 2007 he reached his easternmost point, Revere Beach, Revere, MA. “It’s America’s oldest public beach.

“In Boston, the people were incredible and cordial. They were in shock I’m doing this.”

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He traveled Rt. 20 from Erie to Boston, and from Boston west he’s “taken a whole bunch of different routes.” At Delaware Water Gap, PA, officials closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 80 for a half hour, enabling him to cross the bridge.

He’d like to make it across the Mississippi River before hot weather hits to avoid the humidity that saps the horse’s energy. Also, “it’s also miserable for me.” Once he reaches the west coast he will continue on to Alaska. He ultimately expects to settle south of the Northwest Territory in Canada. “It’s cold in the summer, and winter temps are 40 degrees below. I will be by myself. I have the intention of buying a home. Everything is subject to change, nothing is cast in concrete and stone.”

His experiences will result in a book. “I have a writer,” he said. He is not self-journaling, but calls his writer to report his “adventures.” “She has so much coming at her from different directions, so many different angles, it’s overwhelming,” Lee said.

Click on Lee Horselogger’s website, http://leehorselogger.com/ , to keep updated on his travels, read newspaper accounts of his adventures and to learn more about his itinerary, horses, dogs, wagon and finances.

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