4/3/10, Tolar, TX - One of the true joys of wagon life is that you never know how the day is going to turn out.
Before leaving the Taylors, in St. Vrain, Don Taylor and I filled up the 30 gallon water tank. As soon as we got it filled, we found out the bottom bung, with the valve on it was leaking. So we drained the tank, fixed the leak and refilled it.
When we started our day’s trek, the weather was cool, but it started warming up nicely. I stopped at the truck stop in Melrose and picked up a few things. While I was there, I decided to break the team out and have lunch.
Not long after lunch, people started stopping to take picture and to talk. I wondered how much money I would have made, if I charged a dollar a picture. To the best of my knowledge, I would have been $27 dollars richer, just in the afternoon.
About three hours after lunch, I was stopped by Jerry Gideon, who offered me a place tomorrow evening in Fort Sumner. I need a place to rest the team for a day (where I wouldn’t be kicked out of town) so I accepted. Jerry also arranged for me to stay tonight at the ranch of some friends of his, a few miles up the road.
It was a long day and the team put in twenty five miles, but tonight we are at the Brockman Ranch.
All the roads leading off the main highway have cattle guards to keep livestock from wandering on to the main road. They also all have gates around the cattle guards, except for the road (driveway) to the Brockman Ranch. So we had to go through the neighbors out by the road, then through a wire gate, then down a 1/2 to 3/4 mile long two track to reach the ranch - phew. Since the wagon was not really designed for rough country going, this was an ordeal.
The team is settled in to a nice corral, and I just had a great, campfire cooked, western supper. The hot sauce and homemade mustard have a nice zip to them, that is not available back east.
The Brockman’s are a great family of the Mennonite Faith who have two sons and a daughter. The oldest boy, Seth, spends his days working on another ranch. The younger boy, Pete has finished school and in working on the home ranch. The Brockmans raise about 400 cow/calf pairs on a fairly large sized ranch. They have a team of Suffolk Punch draft horses and some mules that they use for ranch chores.
Tomorrow morning, we’re going to try and figure an easier way of getting around the cattle guard. High on the list is using a stock trailer for the horses, then haul the wagon over with a truck.
This has been a very interesting and nice day.
P.S. The basin containing the plains I’m traveling through was named the Stockaded Plains in the 1500’s, because of the escarpment that surrounds them - I read this on a Historical Marker. Or, maybe I made it up - either way it sounds good!