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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Finally, Home in Colorado

WAGONTEAMSTER .COM

6/24/11, La Garita, CO - Finally, after a series of ups and downs, and all arounds, Iím back home in Colorado. I canít tell you how great it is to be back in a place where the land isnít all horizontal, and the air is thin and dry like it ought to be.

The lawsuit in Mississippi is finally done.  And while I didnít get all the money I wanted (who does?) I did get enough to pay the bills with a little blood money on the side.

cattle drive

Colorado - a place where a man can still drive his cattle down the road and take advantage of some free graze along the way (Iíve been known to feed a little free roadside grass myself). This rancher was taking his time as he trailed his herd across the valley to his summer grazing.  Thereís no point in running off flesh. Also he had a lot of calves that were less than a month old.

I had a couple of weeks off before I had to go to Mississippi for the trial. Generally, I put it to good use, to include several horseback rides, a nighttime hitch with the wagon, and an overnight camping trip with the horse and wagon.

Like me, the lads spent a little too long on the hay pile this winter. Doc might be running 50 to 100 pounds heavy, but the two Belgians really pigged out. Bob and Bill are both 200 pounds upstream of their fighting weights. Heck, they almost look like a couple of Sissy Stable Horses.

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Hitched and headed up the lower end of Carnera Creek Canyon. Doc pulled all day, both days out.  Not so with the Brothers. They each only lasted a half day before I had to swap harnesses around and hitch the other ones.  They were definitely a couple of Paddock Bums.

Originally, I was going to follow Carnera Creek above the Poso campgrounds and fish in some beaver ponds. However, a slight problem arose. About an hour after lunch, a neighbor stopped and pointed out that I had a wildfire blazing a couple of miles behind me, just west of the Hellís Gate Notch. The fire started mysteriously, about 75 yards from the road, directly above where a couple of guys were camping. The wind was fairly calm, but just incase it flared up and started blowing from the east, I decided to skip the beaver ponds, as they were down a dead end road.  Instead, I opted to camp down a road which had another road out.  So, the lads and I beat feet away from the fire (at three miles per hour) and Escaped to Storm King Mountain.

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A mostly contained fire which burned about 100 acres.  The lads and I were able to sweet talk our way past the Sheriffís Deputy - It beat a 5 day detour on the road around to the north.. Later that night the wind picked up and the Forrest Service had a couple of bombers drop some retardant on the fire.

I was a week and a half in the sweltering heat of Mississippi for the trial. The only thing I really want to say about that is that Iím glad itís over. This chapter of my life has closed and I can get on with living. (Well, I guess Iíve been doing a pretty good job of that anyway).

While I was in Mississippi, I got a chance to visit my good friends John McComsey and his girlfriend Marilyn, who are driving three mules and a wagon on a 2500 mile loop from Tennessee to Texarkana to Charleston, SC, and finally back to Tennessee.

Johns wagon

Johnís camp about 100 miles north of Jackson, MS.

The highlight of my trip to Mississippi was not the trial, it was an opportunity to spend a couple of wonderful days with John and Marilyn.  These are a couple of wonderful people having a great time and doing exactly what they want to - drive their mules and enjoy America as itís meant to be enjoyed. Iím honored to know them and call them my friends.

John and Marilyn

John and Marilyn - kind, brave people, living the good life.

I hadnít been back in Colorado for 12 hours when I had an employment offer to go on a long term assignment.  The nuclear plant was located in Mississippi of all places.  It did my heart good to turn down the job!

Whatís up for the lads and I - well, youíll have to stay tuned.  But I would hazard to guess that itís going to be both fun and exciting.

Before signing off for this blog, I wanted to leave you with a parting shot of the ĎOl Wagonteamster at 12 years old.  Iím on the left and my best friend from childhood - Dave Buck is on the right. His brother Danny is in the middle.  Weíre holding up a 4 foot long stringer of Perch we caught one day while Ice fishing.  What I want to know - ďWhere did all the years (and fish) go?Ē

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Reedís Lake, Grand Rapids Michigan - Circa 1971