Around The World In 20 Years...With A Mule

Just imagine: You're going to work and a mule-powered, RV-kind of thing plows by.

It belongs to 58-year-old Bud Kenny, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week's Assignment America.

Bud, a former coffee shop owner, and Della, a current mule, are now five years into their 20-year trip around the world.

Or, as Bud says (since mules are half-horse, half-donkey), "We're just kind of on a half-ass tour of the world."

As his plastic placemat depicting a map shows, Bud started at his home in Hot Springs, Ark., walked all the way to Maine and is now headed back down the eastern seaboard. The plan is to eventually put Della on a plane and visit Europe, Russia and Japan.

Bud had been wanting to make this trip most of his life, but there was always something stopping him. Namely, his first six wives.

"I figured one day I'd find a woman crazy enough to do it," Bud explains. "Twenty-five years later, I found her." That's Patricia ... and in many ways, she and Bud are just like any married couple on a road trip.

The biggest differences are the speed — 4 miles an hour at full throttle — and the accommodations — zero stars.

The Kennys say all they require is a bare patch of grass for their mule to collapse, which she does at the end of every day.

It begs the question: Why bother?

"When you get on an airplane, you're going from point A to point B. You're completely ignoring all the little points in between," Bud says. While most people want to ignore the little points in between, "We don't," Patricia says — because "that's where the people are."

For the Kennys, that's what it's really all about.

Says Patricia: "The curiosity, the giving spirit, is very much alive in this country." They say that without the generosity of strangers, they wouldn't have made it out of Arkansas.
  • Melissa McNamara

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