NH man on wagon trip hits 18-wheeler in Miss.

Published 1:14 am Friday, February 13, 2009

A New Hampshire man riding a horse-drawn, homemade recreational vehicle across the country collided with an 18-wheeler on a Mississippi highway and was in serious condition at a hospital Wednesday.

Bob Skelding, 49, was traveling on Highway 45 in central Mississippi near the Alabama state line Tuesday when a tractor-trailer hit the wagon and killed two of the four horses that pulled it.

Skelding was driving his team of horses on a stretch of roadway that had little or no shoulder. According to reports in the Meridian Star newspaper, two 18-wheelers traveling side-by-side crested a hill. One of the trucks hit the wagon, demolishing it, and the tractor-trailer ended up on its side.

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According to Skelding’s Web site, the wagon built from scratch weighed 7,700 pounds and looked like an RV, complete with a bed, bathroom, shower and a kitchen.

In a blog posted the day before the accident, Skelding said he had visited Macon, Miss., and had a “very nice and rewarding day. We met some really terrific people.”

Skelding wrote that the mayor and police chief had welcomed him to the town. He then headed south to Meridian and got into the accident about 15 miles away in Kemper County.

It is legal to drive a horse-drawn vehicle on a Mississippi highway, according to Kemper County Sheriff James R. Moore.

On his Web site, Skelding wrote that the wagon was pulled by four Percheron horses, which are similar to Clydesdales, named Joyce, Deedee, Dolly and Doc. It was not immediately clear which horses had been killed.

Skelding said the goal of his trip was “to see new places, meet plenty of nice people like yourself, and to enjoy this great country of ours like it’s meant to be enjoyed.”

He said he started the trip in August from Deerfield, N.H., with no plan. Since then, he has been through nine states and dozens of towns and traveled more than 1,700 miles on the highways and back roads of rural America.

Skelding said on his Web site that he is single with two children and was employed as an electrical maintenance instructor at a nuclear power plant before the trip.

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