Changing Planet

When Cows Fly

It was five years ago, this November, when a team of cowboys transplanted a ranch in a box from the Montana range to the Russian steppes. We traveled by truck, plane, and ship to settle on Stevenson-Sputnik Ranch. The anniversary has me in a sentimental mood, something cowboys are prone to feel anyway. It doesn’t help that I ran into one of the offspring of our cattle, a bull on display at Moscow’s livestock expo, Golden Autumn.

Commemorating the event, I’ve created an interactive map that recreates the adventure.

And because no journey is complete without a soundtrack, here’s a playlist of road-trip tunes. They’ll get your toe tapping.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” indeed.

Ryan Bell is a Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow, traveling through Russia and Kazakhstan for his project #ComradeCowboys. Follow his adventure on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Get updates about his work at Storify.

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Ryan Bell is a writer/photographer exploring “cowboy” cultures around the world. As a Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow, he traveled through Russia and Kazakhstan where farmers have been working to rebuild their cattle industries. Back in the U.S., Ryan works freelance and teaches as an adjunct professor of creative nonfiction at The University of Montana.

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