Wagonteamster Book Order Click Here

Available Now!

Wangoteamster Cover_edited-2

It Takes A Team

Sneak Preview of a New Book Available In a few months

joyce head

Please Sign my Guestbook

Please Read my Guestbook


6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Little Beaver


7/12 to 7/19/10

For those of you that followed the Red Rider and Little Beaver cartoons, you might have always wondered - ĎWho is Little Beaver?í  In this blog, Iíll answer that question and many more; now that Iíve returned to the Land of Cell Phones and Internet.

7/12/10 to 7/15/10, Pagosa Junction, CO - Most of this time I spent haying and preparing for the wagon trip to Dulce, NM, to take part in the Little Beaver Parade. 

LuAnn gets her hay from an irrigated field that she leases from some friends.  Back east, we just mow, rake and bale the hay.  If weíre feeling a little adventurous, we drop a little fertilizer on it in the spring.  In the dry lands out west, it requires a little more work. Once a day. a side-roll irrigator is shut off, moved down the field and started back up again. The one LuAnn uses has 24 sprinkler heads and uses water that is pumped from the San Juan River.  This is a once-a-day chore for about six weeks, just to grow the first crop of hay; then comes the harvesting chores.  With a lot of help from friends and neighbors the bales were picked up and stacked in the barn.

7-19-10 004

Side-Roll Irrigation system

In order to make a confident man out of a boy, it works best if the lad can build his confidence through a serious of successes. Every kid should get his first driving lessons in a hay field.  Jeremy, the Ranch Foreman where LuAnn gets her hay, let his boy Cessar drive the truck while we threw on the bales, then let him know what a good job he did. The next day Cessar took his fishing pole down to the river and caught supper for the family - another success.  Somehow I have a feeling that this young fellow will grow up to be a confident and capable man.

7-19-10 001

A young man with a nice Rainbow Trout for the family table. I offered to clean it for him, but he insisted upon doing it himself.

During this time frame we also took a couple of practice drives with LuAnnís Haflinger, pulling her buggy, and my three lads, pulling the large people moving wagon that I borrowed from Chuck Baley.

7-19-10 003

Up Juanita Hill with the buggy.

7-19-10 008

The horse enjoying a cool drink from the creek after a practice run on a hot day.

7-19-10 010

For Bob, it wasnít enough. He had to use his front hoof to splash cool water on his underbelly.

7/16 to 7/18, The Drive to Dulce, NM for the parade.

Fred Harmon, the Late Cartoonist, that wrote the Red Rider & Little Beaver Comics came from this area. In honor of that, Pagosa Springs has a Red Rider Festival and Neighboring Dulce, NM has a Little Beaver Festival, two weeks later.  Now, I donít know if Pagosa has an actual Red Rider, but I do know that Dulce has a Little Beaver - I met him today.

7-19-10 032

This is Troy.  In 1956, when he was 8 years old, he dressed up in a Little Beaver costume and toured the country with the late Fred Harmon.  Can you see the resemblance?

There were three of us on the trip to Dulce. I drove the three lads, pulling a sixteen passenger people wagon.  LuAnn, drove her Haflinger, pulling a very nice carriage.  And her friend Penny rode her horse ĎCiscoí.  We had to make our way, 20 miles through some real back country roads to get there.  Our first obstacle was the steep climb up Juanita Hill. Then, it was a nice peaceful drive down some gravel roads along the San Juan and Little Navaho Rivers.  The fun began at the New Mexico State Line, where the road was little more than a plowed up railroad bed from the old Narrow Guage railroad.  There was also a series of 5 hard-to-navigate cattle guards.

7-19-10 012

The entourage, at the top of Juanita Hill. The San Juan River runs below.

7-19-10 013

The view out the back of the people moving wagon with all our gear in it.

7-19-10 019

After carefully making our way through a difficult go-around gate (for a cattle guard) at the State Line, we pulled off in a nice, grassy glen by the river for a picnic lunch.

After lunch, we were joined by our hosts in Dulce, Andolphous and Lamavia Cammarayo (sp?)  Andolphous elected to join me on the wagon for our trip into town.  The foot-deep ruts and the cattle guards were the major obstacles.  For most of the cattle guards, we could drive around, via go-around gates, that were positioned to the side.  However, gate number three was another story. It only had a narrow track between the side of the cattle guard and the river. After seeing LuAnn successfully get through with her buggy, I decided to give it a try.

7-19-10 020

Oops, I guess I misjudged how much room I needed.  I ended up bending a couple of the ribs that hold the canvass.  Fortunately, Andolphous is an old pro at removing dents from Chevies.  After we were done with repairs in Dulce, the left side looked better then the right.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful and we settled in at out hostís home in Dulce. Since we were camping, and there was a big pow wow going on in town (complete with a rain dance), the skies opened up with rain for about 15 minutes.

The next day, we got ready and lined up for the parade.  I had a whole slew of Andolphousí family member on board the wagon. Because folks like to see a big hitch, I had all three of the lads hitched in a Unicorn. The boys did real well for about the first hour and a half. But, near the end of the parade, there was a lot of kids chasing thrown candy and they horses were getting tired of the stop and go pace.  They started leaning into their bits, and I got quite a workout keeping them in line. Some of the kids (and older people) were getting real close to the team, while trying to pick up candy, thrown by floats in front of us.  I had to keep shouting at the crowd to keep them back. The lads did a good job, but I was glad when the parade was over.  LuAnnís Haflinger and Pennyís horse were in their first parade and did fantastic.

7-19-10 022

Lining up for the parade.

7-19-10 025

The view out the back of the wagon.

After a great lunch, Penny and I hit the road. We planned on camping on the way back, and LuAnn wasnít up to it (she trailered back), so the two of us hit the road.  We ended up camping in the grassy glade where we had lunch on the way up to Dulce. It was a nice peaceful camping spot. After a long, hot day, there are few things as enjoyable as sipping on a cold beer, with your chairs and feet in the river.

7-19-10 026

As long as I keep one of the Belgians tied, the others will stick around.

7-19-10 029

Packing the wagon the next morning.

Penny is one of the truly remarkable people I have met on this journey.  She and her boyfriend Kim (a great guy) are LuAnnís closest neighbors and live about two miles down the road.

Four years ago, Penny was just about in a wheel chair, while suffering from early onset Parkinsonít Disease. She was the first real patient (other then experimental) that went to China to receive stem cell treatment. Today, she has most of her life back. Sheís almost done writing a book that tells of her ordeal.

When people have a solid dream, they stay the course through thick and thin and hope can become reality. They are like a horse walking a furrow as he pulls a plow down the field. The horse stays true to his straight line, and they stay true to their dream.  If you want to know what her dream was, I guess the following picture will offer a clue.

7-19-10 031

Penny fording the San Juan River on Cisco. Itís a cooler passage across on a hot day.

7/18/10 PM and 7/19/10, Lumberton, NM - After getting back to the ranch, I decided it was time to get on with my travels. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of my host, LuAnn Baker, the team and I were well rested and ready to travel.  Thank You LuAnn!

The first afternoon, it was real hot so I decided to call it quits after going up and down Juanita Hill. I stopped for the evening at a place on the San Juan River where they launch river rafts. Both the horses and I enjoyed wading in the river. I took the shampoo and soap in the river and had a nice bath.

The next morning, I was off to Dulce, NM, on my way to the Cumbres Pass (just east of Chama, NM.

7-19-10 033

The old train water tower on the road to Dulce.

In Dulce, I picked up some needed supplies before heading east.  Everywhere I went on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation I found extremely kind and considerate people.  People were constantly stopping to see if I was all right, or if I needed anything.  As such, I would like to name Dulce, NM as one of favorite towns that I have been through on my travels.

Tonight Iím camped on the roadside, about a mile east of the town of Lumberton, NM.  I bought a new inverter in Dulce, so I now have power, cell coverage and internet. Boy, Iím in fat city now.  Tomorrow, Iím headed for Chama, NM. Good Night Everyone!