Wagon driver back in the saddle after cross-country trek landed him in hospital

March 17, 2009

Neal Wagner -


A New Hampshire man injured Feb. 10 when an 18-wheeler struck his horse-drawn recreational vehicle on Highway 45 South near Shuqualak is out of a Meridian hospital and is making plans to continue his journey across America, according to the man''s online blog. 


Bob Skelding, 49, of Deerfield, N.H., was released from Rush Memorial Hospital early this month after he was treated for a broken neck vertebrate, several broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a broken collar bone. 


The wreck came a few days after Skelding passed through Columbus during his more than 1,700-mile journey from New Hampshire to Mississippi. Though Skelding planned to travel to the Gulf Coast before turning west, a collision with an 18-wheeler destroyed his RV and placed his journey "on hold," he said. 


Though he was listed in serious condition for several days at the hospital, Skelding has made nearly a full recovery, he wrote in his online blog at wagonteamster.com. 


After he was released from the hospital, Skelding traveled to his sister''s house in Hickory, N.C. to continue recovering and make plans to build another recreational vehicle and continue his horse-drawn journey across the nation. 


"I''m currently at my sister''s house in Hickory, N.C.," Skelding wrote in a blog entry. "This is a great place to knit some bones, do some healing, then build wagon II and get it on the road. 


"I had life throw me a kick in the pants," Skelding added. "This is to be expected when you set off on a dream or a goal. Every journey has a beginning and an end, but they should always be of your own choosing." 


Following the wreck, two of Skelding''s horses, Deedee and Dolly, lay dead. The two surviving horses, Doc and Joyce, are in the care of Dr. William Calvert in DeKalb. 


Doc and Joyce each sustained cuts to the rear legs, but have made full recoveries and are awaiting transport to North Carolina, Skelding said.  


"They''re doing great, and are completely sound," Skelding wrote March 3. "I should be transporting them up to North Carolina in about a month.  


"Doc will make up the cornerstone of the new team, while Joyce is about due for an easy going ... retirement," Skelding wrote. "The trip is by no means over. It has just been delayed while things are re-structured." 


Since the wreck, Skelding has received a "flood" of support and get-well letters and e-mails from writers across the country, he wrote. 


Anyone wishing to write Skelding is encouraged to visit his Web site, wagonteamster.com, or write him at 119 Heritage Creek Drive, Hickory, N.C., 28601.