Bill Inman rode into town on Monday during a cross-country trek. photo by Jim Cornelius
Bill Inman rode into town on Monday during a cross-country trek. photo by Jim Cornelius
A hundred years ago, it was an everyday occurrence for a horseman to ride down Cascade Avenue - just passin' through.

Nowadays, it's something a little unusual, especially when the rider is passin' through on the first leg of a horseback trek across the United States.

Bill Inman hit town on his 15-year-old Quarterhorse/Thoroughbred Blackie on Monday morning after crossing the Cascades enroute from Lebanon, Oregon, to Hendersonville, North Carolina.

The former rodeo cowboy, horseshoer, BLM wild horse manager and University of Nevada cattle herd manager is taking 32 weeks to cross the nation in a project titled Uncovering America by Horseback.

According to Inman, the project has four purposes: First, to record the adventure. To that end, documentarian Dallas Pesola is traveling with the horseman to film the trek.

That film will serve Inman's second and third purposes. He wants to film the people he meets along the way, eliciting their stories as well as telling his own. With film clips he hopes to attract the attention of national media in order to portray "a better image of America."

"This is the real backbone of America that's not being portrayed," he said, referring to small towns like Sisters.

Inman's fourth purpose is to inspire young people to reconnect with the nation's treasure trove of natural beauty and wilderness adventure.

"I've seen a lot of young people ... who don't think they have the opportunity to enjoy horses or livestock or see wildlife," he said.

He hopes that his film will show youth across the country that the outdoors is "not out of their reach" and that "you don't have to be rich to enjoy it."

Inman travels with a support trailer he calls his covered wagon. Jon Campos advances the route, and Inman rides to him. He camped west of Sisters over the weekend. Campos also maintains Inman's Web site www.uncoveringamerica.com.

The team will cross Oregon to southern Idaho and head across Wyoming.

"We'll angle to St. Louis," and head south and east from there, Inman said. He said he chose to end the ride in Hendersonville, North Carolina because that's where his wife's family is.

Follow Bill Inman's trek at www.uncoveringamerica.com.