Lee Crafton, who passed through Canandaigua in June on a horse-drawn wagon, is headed back across the country with a brand new wagon — and an extra horse.
Have you ever dreamed of packing up your life and hitting the road, with a few treasured belongings in tow and your best friends riding shotgun?
Lee Crafton, a rancher from East Glacier, Mont., has spent more than a year doing just that. In August 2006, he packed up a converted logging wagon, hitched up a pair of Suffolk Punch draft horses, loaded his trusty canine companions — Katie and Ker-Mutt — and headed East.
Lee the Horse Logger, as he prefers to be known, set out with the goal of finding his childhood sweetheart, reported to be living somewhere near Boston. Along the way, he depended on the “kindness of strangers” in finding places to stay and getting food for himself and the animals. He camped out in parking lots, posed for pictures with hundreds of well-wishers, watched the countryside pass by and tried to sleep in a rickety wagon he said was like a “barn on wheels.”
Though exhausted at the end of each traveling day, Crafton took the time to talk to local residents who were curious about his trek and his unconventional method of transportation. He coursed through Bloomfield and Canandaigua in June; horses Tom and Max got their fill of fresh water from the Canandaigua Fire Department, and a generous Canandaiguan even arranged for the road-weary horse-logger to have a professional massage.
Crafton met up with his sweetheart, who he identifies as “Nancy,” outside of Albany, rather than in Boston. He finished the west-to-east leg of his journey, landing in Revere Beach, Mass., in late July, and he spent the fall months recuperating near New York City.
After a good, long rest, Crafton set his sights westward, on San Francisco. He left his post at Craryville, in the Hudson Valley, on Dec. 15 and has a tentative, more southerly route than his first crossing — one that unfortunately won’t bring him through western New York.
He’s traveling in high style this time around, with an all-new, insulated wagon complete with a furnace, generator, lights and a real bed. A third horse, Fey, has joined Tom and Max. The added appointments should help keep Crafton more comfortable as he works on a book chronicling his adventures.
Not only has Crafton logged more than 2,700 miles, he has done it while fighting lymphoma, a cancer diagnosed in 2005. Through diet and the use of natural medicine, Crafton has been able to maintain his health thus far. Because the disease has lent him a new lease on life; he even refers to it as “my gift of cancer.”
Six months after he visited with friendly Bloomfield residents and Canandaiguans, Crafton is back where he best likes to be, on the road. His possessions are few, but he lives large.
“Life can either be lived or it will live you until you learn your lessons,” he advises his admirers, adding a characteristic “Ye-haw.”
For updates, including pictures, video and a map tracking Crafton’s progress, check out his Web site: www.leehorselogger.com.
Contact Hilary Smith at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 343 or at email@example.com.