Nothing to see here, just a man and his horses - on the Sunset Highway

Nothing to see here, just a man and his horses - on the Sunset Highway »Play Video
Just taking a ride down the ol' dusty off-ramp. Photo by Joe English, KATU News.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The word first came out in a press release from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The gist... hey everyone, just a heads up that a guy on horseback will be leading two pack horses along Highway 26 this morning. No big deal, we just don't want anyone to be alarmed if they're driving by.

Say what?

Well, this is Portland after all so you can't be too surprised. Still, that's not something you see every day, so we sent KATU Reporter Joe English to find out what this lone cowboy's story is.

Joe caught up with him and learned that his name is Doc Mishler, who just celebrated his second 39th birthday, as he put it. Mishler told us he is on a crusade to raise awareness about poverty and starving kids.

"If the Pope sold the Vatican, imagine how many people we could feed," Mishler said.

"I can say I've never seen something quite like that before, especially around the Portland area," said Ari Bowman, a bystander who was taken aback when he saw a guy on a horse along the highway. "And I just got back from basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia, so it's kind of nice to be home and see something strange in Portland."

Mishler was vague about where he comes from and where he's going. He would only say that he has been riding and talking with people across the country for years. He's even got a Facebook page where he talks about is travels. Here are some of his latest posts:

God did it again: camped out on the Nehalem river where it is but a bubbling brook, and I'm a babbling fool; now at the Comfort Inn in Hillsboro---looking forward to riding thru Portland, if it be God's will....

Livin' the dream: Riding the beaches, hidden coves to camp, seafood cooked over open pit, cowboy coffee in the morning at the crack of dawn--two lovers kissed in the morning mist high on a hill over looking the ocean and the world stood still---can only get there by horse, and no one knows ya there until they see the "road apples." Follow your dream!

Yachats, Or. Pronounsed, You hots--The Or. coast is cool in more ways than one---Thank God i can ride it---Wish i could share it with ya all!!! Come ride with me??? God's love, doc...

Mishler said it all started in 1996 when he was diagnosed with cancer, sold almost everything he owned, gave away the rest and then took off. He has no agenda, no schedule and no plans. That way, he says, "I'm never disappointed by not getting there."

Mishler was headed into downtown Portland with his horses when we got done talking to him on Friday. He was spotted there signing autographs for some folks. Where this urban cowboy ends up going after that is anyone's guess. All he would tell us is that he was heading east.

Photo by Emily Sinovic, KATU News.