All of us have
a secret wish; as do I. I can't say it's my only dream,
but being blessed with love for people I often fantasize traveling
through this country and documenting the wonderful people I meet
along the way. This would not only satisfy my need to be with great
people, but it would also fortify a cornerstone of my philosophy
that the essence of every person is good.
When I saw the
title of an article in the news, "Cowboy Tours Country to
Find Good News," I read the piece with excitement, enthusiasm and a
touch of envy. I knew this was the trip I would have taken had I had
the time and money.
Bill Inman, 48, of Lebanon,
Oregon, decided to show people that there's more to America than the
dismal and depressing stories on the news. He began his journey
after growing tired of hearing news stories about crime and war and
all the difficult things that go on in this world.
the image they are portraying is there's corruption in every
politician and there's criminals running everywhere," Inman said,
referring to the stories that
are widely portrayed by news and culture outlets.
He then saddled
up his horse, Blackie, and began riding from his Oregon
home to North Carolina, with the goal of documenting life in rural
June 2 and is halfway through his cross-country adventure
which he nicknamed "Uncovering America by Horseback."
"The scenery in America is
changing and I'm really proud we're taking a snapshot at slow motion
of this time period, because 20 years from now it will be
different," he said.
His wife, Brenda, also 48,
drives ahead in a pickup and horse trailer filled with water and
provisions for them, their horse, Blackie, and their three dogs.
The Inman's estimate that the
journey will cost them $45,000 - a good part of their life savings.
When interviewed, Inman said:
"It's probably the most stupid thing I've done financially, but I
truly believe in it."
While I can't
say using up your life savings to find good news is a
financially sound plan, I could say that if I had to use my money on
something that would discover good in the people of my country, I
would think it was used for a good cause.
don't have national sponsors financing their travels,
Inman and his team often rely on the kindness of strangers for
necessities. They'll accept food, shelter, money or donated feed for
Blackie, who eats about 20 pounds of feed a day.
Not surprisingly, hundreds of
interesting people have greeted Inman along the way and offered
various kinds of help. They include a deputy sheriff who drove 25
miles through a rain storm to bring dinner to the Inmans; and a
woman who gave Bill a pair of stirrups she bought as a Christmas
present for her grandson before he was killed in an automobile
"The diversity he has unveiled
is a lot of forgotten heritage in this country. It's a great eye
opener for anybody who runs into him," one woman who met up with
Inman has already traveled
through the states of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas.
Ahead are Missouri, Tennessee and North Carolina, where he hopes to
spend some time with his wife's family.
Inman's trip is
important to us all, because unfortunately, people in the USA are
fed ten to 15 hours a week of print and electronic media that
highlights negativity in the world. With all that negativity it's a
miracle we talk to our neighbors at all. How are we supposed to
trust and love the people in our country when people are portrayed
in such a negative light? True, good stories don't sell papers, but
we should be watching and reading more positive news.
When Inman ticked off a list of
what's been bad about the trip - temperatures ranging from 108
degrees to freezing, insects, water shortages, crossing mountains
and desert, and riding in a lightning storm - it didn't include
The best part of Inman's trip is
the positive feeling about people he's walked away with from this
trip. In his own words, "I haven't run into any bad people."