Ray Hascall of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, dreamed for decades of riding horseback hundreds of miles to visit the area where he grew up in southwestern Missouri.
But when the time finally came to do so, Hascall, now 72, compromised a bit and made the round-trip journey of more than 700 miles by horse-drawn covered wagon — much of it on old Route 66, according to several media outlets in Missouri and Oklahoma that covered the story.
The Boliver Herald-Free Press reported Hascall’s destination was his birthplace near Cliquot, Missouri. Hascall took a different path through Oklahoma and Missouri to his hometown, then took Route 66 the way back.
Hascall bought his covered wagon about two years ago and the team of horses more recently. They are sister mares, born a year apart. He credits their former owner with having trained them especially well, as nothing has spooked them this far into the trip.
The pullers and the pulled have traveled 20-25 miles a day on the trip to Missouri. Even with the slower pace going back, Hascall says the rubber tires on his wagon and smoother road surfaces of today should enable them to exceed the pace of wagon trains of old.
Their rig is outfitted with lights, a stove and some other conveniences powered by a generator and batteries that are also supported by a solar panel that Tarver brought back with him after breaking away for a visit home where his father is recovering from a serious injury.
KOAT-TV reported they tried to do the journey a year ago, but a mishap halted it two days into it. According to riding buddy Bobby Tarver:
Tarver: “The first trip we started out and we made it 14 miles the first day, we camped out, the second night, we made it 2 miles, one of the reigns got caught underneath the wheel, and took his finger off, so that was the end of that trip.”
The two told the station that although the pace is slow, it’s been worth it.
Hascall: “A lot of beautiful nature stuff, waterfalls, and stuff like that, rivers, a lot of beautiful old homes.”
Tarver: “It’s been a really relaxing trip, people’s been real courtesy, I mean, real generous, I mean, it’s really amazing how nice people really are out here.”
KTVi-TV in Tulsa caught up with them when they passed through the area. The reporter got a chance to drive the horses for a spell.
The two are expected to be back in Tecumseh by early July.
Hascall’s journey brings to mind Lillian Redman, the longtime owner of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico. She arrived in New Mexico by covered wagon more than 100 years ago — no doubt with fewer of the comforts Hascall has.
(Screen-capture image of video of Roy Hascall’s covered wagon in Missouri)