Mesannie Wilkins of Minot, Maine called herself the last of the Saddle Tramps.
When doctors gave her just two years to live in 1954, Wilkins took all the money she had, bought an old summer camp horse named Tarzan and hit the road to California. She was 63 years old at the time and folks told her she wouldn’t make it, that she was too old for such an adventure.
They were wrong.
Two years later, Wilkins and Tarzan reached the California line. The doctors were wrong, too. Wilkins lived 26 more years. She is buried in Mechanic Falls, Maine.
I wrote and recoded this song as part of my “Alone Beside the Road” video series. The videos were inspired by a wet plate collodion Ambrotype portrait Daniel Afzal made of me at John Coffer’s Tintype Jamboree in the summer of 2022. It’s the picture you see at the start of the video. Another friend of mine, Dean Clegg, mastered the audio for me.