Man hits Minnesota as he looks to pull his home on wheels from Washington State to D.C.
Ras Ible, 58, is built like a rickshaw driver, lean, well-muscled and burnt-brown - which shouldn't be too surprising, considering he has spent the last year pulling his 500-pound house on wheels, rickshaw-style, across a number of states.
Ras Ible, 58, is built like a rickshaw driver, lean, well-muscled and burnt-brown – which shouldn’t be too surprising, considering he has spent the last year pulling his 500-pound house on wheels, rickshaw-style, across a number of states.
The heat index was in dangerous territory Thursday, but he kept on trucking - making good time traveling east on the shoulder of Highway 10 as he crossed into Becker County and reached Detroit Lakes. Ible, whose birth name is Lawrence Edward Scible, is on a one-man quest to pull his home-made house-on-wheels from Washington State to Washington, D.C.
“I’m marching to DC,” he said. “I’m parking this right in front of the White House.”
Ible is his spiritual name, and “that’s what everybody calls me,” he said.
The 10-foot-long by 4-foot-wide house is about 7 feet high and is part wood, part canvas and part paint.
As for the friendly Ible, he is part Navy veteran, part former prisoner, and part God-loving Christian who wants to end what he calls “prohibition,” of marijuana, and he wants to draw attention to the problem of suicide and homelessness among veterans.
He updates his Facebook page regularly, and plans to produce a documentary and write a book about his experiences on the road.
“I’ve been hit a couple times, flipped over by storms, chased by bad guys,” he said. “No one’s ever pulled a rickshaw from border to border of all these states.”
He was hit by a car in a crosswalk in Salem, Ore., had a car speed by so fast on the highway that it broke off one of his flags, and hunkered down in his house during a storm in Montana that rolled his house and knocked him out. He said he was found by a police officer in his overturned house two hours later.
“I can’t tell you how many close calls I’ve had with people on the roads,” he said.
A lot of those close calls come from people who appear desperate to get his photo, he said. “If you’re going to paparazzi me, pull over off the highway, or wait until I’m in a park or something,” he said.
Ible has already worn out one tire on his “rickshaw” since he left Seaside, Oregon on April 25, 2015, intending to take the southern route to Washington.
A good chunk of that time was spent in a fruitless effort to travel down through California. After he had already traveled a great distance, a highway patrolman there, suspicious about wildfires that had been set in the area, forced him to turn back about 200 miles north of San Francisco.
So he walked his house back to Oregon and started on the northern route to Washington. He has already come through Washington, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota.
He plans to follow Highway 10 to the Twin Cities, then on to Chicago, where he will at least partially follow Highway 30, which leads through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, before heading into Virginia and then Washington.
He hopes to someday mass produce his solar-powered mobile house “for homeless people, or anyone who needs one,” he said.
Ible says he is a medical marijuana patient and he places great faith in the healing power of cannabis.
He said he quit using all other prescription medication, saving the government “thousands of dollars a year,” and his VA doctors tell him he’s one of the healthiest patients they’ve seen, and he should “keep on doing what I’m doing,” he said.
With some 20 veterans committing suicide every day in the United States, he urges troubled people not to end their lives, but to try marijuana instead. “Cannabis helps,” he said. “I’m almost 60 years old, and I’m breaking records here.”
Tough marijuana laws put him in prison for 15 years in West Virginia, he said, calling himself part of the “prison boom” generation. “Fifteen years in prison did not make me a bitter man, it made me a better man,” he added.
It also made him a pretty good jailhouse lawyer, he said with a laugh.
When he is hassled by authorities on the road, which is increasingly rare these days, especially in North Dakota and Minnesota, he protests in front of the county courthouse until they send him on his way, he said.
He gets his military background from his parents: His father, Donald, now 92, spent five years in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II.
His mother, Rose Donaldson Scible, was also a combat veteran, a nurse who was the first woman commander of the American Legion post in Annapolis, Maryland, he said.
“That’s where I learned to be an American,” he said. “She was a nurse and a healer, and I know she’d approve of cannabis today.”
His mother also had an great influence on his worldview.
“She taught me how to march when I was 5 years old for civil rights,” he said. “Here I am marching again, with all this nonsense going on. We are one family, under God, and it’s time people realize it.”