Crossing the country for a cause

Mick Thompson is traveling from Oregon to Maine on a horse. Why? He says God told him to.
Mick Thompson sits astride his horse as he arrives in Amsterdam Tuesday evening. Thompson, his horse Hawkeye and dog Yogi are journeying across the country from Oregon to Maine.
Mick Thompson sits astride his horse as he arrives in Amsterdam Tuesday evening. Thompson, his horse Hawkeye and dog Yogi are journeying across the country from Oregon to Maine.

Mick Thompson is traveling from Oregon to Maine on a horse. Why? He says God told him to.

The 51-year-old cowboy from Wyoming said he’s not particularly religious and doesn’t believe in churches, but he’s riding across America trying to stop people from using the Lord’s name in vain on television and in the movies.

Thompson, who spent the night Tuesday under a tree by the Super 8 Motel on Route 30, said his journey started before his birthday in March 2003, when he was wandering through the wilderness of the country’s western frontier.

“I asked God to help me figure out how to cut Satan’s power in half,” he said.

Thompson said he started praying, reading the Bible, and sleeping with the book under his pillow at night. Before long he was traveling east spreading his message as he went.

Decked out in a denim shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and hat, Thompson doesn’t have much else with him. He’s gotten rid of many of his possessions that have weighed him down along the way. Now he carries a dutch oven, coffee pot and frying pan along with ropes, a sleeping bag and a few other necessities, all packed on his 10-year-old paint horse Hawkeye.

Thompson’s best pal, his 10-year-old Australian sheepdog, Yogi, rides on his lap.

Averaging a little over 20 miles per day, the trio have traveled from just outside Portland, Ore., through the country’s heartland and up the Appalachian Trail on their way to Portland, Maine.

Thompson said he has been traveling for five summers. In the winter months he “winters down” wherever he can find work.

“He’s always provided me with something,” Thompson said, referring to God.

Thompson’s fame has increased as he’s traveled through developed America with people waving to him from their porches, stopping him on the street to take pictures with him and ask him questions.

“No one’s seen a real cowboy out here,” he said. “I feel like it’s a circus that’s come to town with everyone waving at me.”

Since there aren’t many trails, Thompson often finds himself on roads and highways with the rest of the area’s travelers riding by in their air-conditioned vehicles.

Thompson said people have been kind to him, often buying him dinner, feeding his dog or offering him a place to rest.

Thompson said the best part of his journey has been meeting the people.

“There are so many nice and friendly people out there,” he said. “I’m the most talked about, prayed for and photographed cowboy in America right now.”

He left Amsterdam mid-morning Wednesday, heading up Route 67 on his way to Vermont.

He said he hopes to be in Maine in the next three weeks, where his journey will end with a nice lobster dinner.

Despite some hardships, including the heat and carrying around his pal Yogi on his lap, Thompson is confident he’ll finish his journey and accomplish what he believes he was asked to do.

“I won’t fail,” he said. “He didn’t bring me out here to fail.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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