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Archive for Friday, September 11, 1992

COUPLE CROSS AMERICA IN COVERED WAGON

September 11, 1992

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When Don and Vi Godwin make a pit stop in their travels, they don't fill up their vehicle with gasoline they use hay and grain.

That's because when the Godwins talk about horsepower, they're speaking literally.

The Godwins arrived in Lawrence this morning in a 24-foot aluminum trailer pulled by their two Belgian draft horses, Barney and Brother. The Udall couple stopped to visit their grandson, Kansas University freshman Jamie Meredith, while on their way to the nation's largest draft horse auction in Waverly, Iowa.

By the time they get to Waverly, they will have traveled over 11,000 miles and through 20 states and one province of Canada since first hitching up their horses 10 years ago.

"IT WAS A lifelong dream of mine to go across the country in a covered wagon," Don Godwin said.

So in 1982, the couple sold all of their possessions so they could head out for the wide open spaces. Although the couple now use a different trailer than the one they started out with, Barney and Brother have been with them the whole time.

The Godwins, who are both semi-retired real estate brokers, have since built themselves a barn in Udall that they return to occasionally.

Don Godwin says he enjoys the leisurely lifestyle. Arriving today in a comfortable pair of overalls, Godwin had a thing or two to say about the inventor of the necktie.

"If they'd have hung him with the first one he made, all society would have been better off," Godwin said. "And God probably would have forgiven them."

VI GODWIN said the couple's travels actually provide them an excellent opportunity to share their Christian faith.

"We have a policy that if anybody wants to talk, we stop and talk to them. That's part of our ministry," she said.

The couple sell copies of a book about their adventures for $8, and the proceeds go to Christian ministries. The couple also sell for $2 a photograph of their horsedrawn trailer to help with their travel expenses.

Although Vi Godwin's father traveled only by team and wagon when she was growing up in the hills of Missouri, she said she wasn't too excited about fulfilling her husband's dream when he first talked about it. But the Godwins aren't totally roughing it: Inside the trailer are a television, a refrigerator and a microwave oven. A solar-powered battery provides electricity.

Vi Godwin said the couple have had no real problems traveling on busy streets and highways. A sign that says "Whoa" and a strobe light on the back of the trailer warn drivers of the Godwins' slow-moving vehicle.

Vi Godwin said that although she misses her family in Udall, she loves meeting people.

"People are wonderful, and the one thing that surprised me most of all is other people's excitement (for us)," she said. "They're excited because we're doing what we really want to do, and so many people don't do what they really want to do."

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