Monday, 25 November 2013

Horse, man make trek across country

HAMPTON — If you happen to see a rugged-looking man on the back of a horse trotting through town on Saturday and feel like you've been transported back to the Old West, you won't be far off.

The horse, a 5.5-year-old Tennessee Walker mare named Pepper, and its rider, 37-year-old Alex Jesse McNeil, literally took the Pony Express and Oregon Trail to get here.

"There was one section for 20 miles it felt like it was 1843 again," McNeil said.

They've been clopping their way across the country for about eight months, from Brookings, Ore., about 10 miles north of the California border. And they're nearly done. By stepping into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean around 3 p.m. Saturday, McNeil will complete his quest: On The Hoof, Sea to Sea.

It's not the Warner native's first cross-country trip. Perhaps it's not even his strangest — after all, he's already driven a moped across the country, bicycled across Canada and flew an airplane from coast to coast.

But of all his trips, which he terms "just goofball things," it was certainly the hardest and slowest.

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