Two Tennessee men travel across U.S. to raise awareness for Alzheimer's

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FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) -- Two Tennessee men are traveling across the country in wagons pulled by their mules for a cause dear to their hearts.

News 12 caught up with them Wednesday afternoon in Fannin County while they were headed west on FM 1550.

"We're riding for Alzheimer's awareness," said Michael Cunningham. "It affects nearly every family in some way or other."

Cunningham tells us he and his friend Darrell Cruse have traveled more than 700 miles so far.

"My mother passed away with Alzheimer's and he's had a good friend who's passed away with Alzheimer's," said Cunningham.

"I just wish there was a cure," said Cruse. "Since we took off, I haven't regretted one second of it."

Their destination: California.

It's a trip the friends have been planning for three years and finally set out on in September.

"A lot of people envy us. They'll say, 'Sure wish we could do that', and then there's a lot of people that say, 'Are y'all crazy?,' " said Cunningham.

The wagons have the essentials, like a shower, kitchen and a fridge, but they say they people they've met along the way have been so welcoming, they've hardly needed to use them.

"Nothing but good to say about the American people," said Cruse.

"We thought we'd have to pull over, sleep on the side of the road somewhere," said Cunningham. "Everywhere we've been so far, everybody has just opened their places up to us. We stay, we turn our mules out in the pasture."

One of those people was John Carter, who lives in Harmon, Texas.

"Showed them where the bathroom in the house was and the sink and the refrigerator, said, 'I'll see you this evening'. They were in bed when I got home so I didn't even meet them until the next day," said Carter.

He even decided to join Cunningham and Cruse for a day on their journey.

"Just cancelled work said, 'I'm gonna ride a long with you guys for a little while'," said Carter.

Cunningham said they clear about 20 miles a day. He hopes to make it to California early next year, but he's in no rush.

"If not, March is okay, too," said Cunningham.

If you would like to follow their journey, just search Harnessing Memories Wagon Train on Facebook.

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