On the Trail 12-21-09 | TheFencePost.com
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On the Trail 12-21-09

Candy Moulton
Encampment, Wyo.
Heading to a Rockies game at Coors Field.

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It seems like every year just speeds faster and faster, maybe because I’m on the road now more than ever. For this last column of 2009 I will slow down long enough to look back at a few of the places I’ve been this year.

In March I had a chance to return to El Paso, Texas, and met my buddy Dale L. Walker, one of the best editors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. And what were the highlights of El Paso? Why breakfast at Village Inn with Dale, for certain. We visited long after the pancakes were consumed, and then he took me on a driving tour of his city, getting special glee out of driving along the Rio Grande and stopping at Rosa’s Cantina, the establishment best known for its place in the great Marty Robbins’ song, “El Paso.” Dale also pointed out the newly constructed fence on the United States side of the Rio Grande, placed to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the river from Mexico.

I had no opportunity to visit Mexico and Juarez … which is probably a good thing as the drug wars underway there were the stuff of the regular nightly news with shootings, prison/jail breakouts, and other unsavory events taking place at the time I was in the vicinity.

I was in Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin several times over the course of the late spring and early summer prepping for and actually producing some film for the new museum being built in Worland. The best part of this gig was the opportunity to see country I’d never been to before like the top of Black Mountain high in the Bighorns (I was there twice and can easily say that road is the worst I have EVER been on or driven. In fact I still can’t believe I drove it and didn’t rip the bottom out of the rental vehicle!) I was also in the country south of Tensleep seeing for the very first time that spectacular area of Wyoming and meeting one of the true characters of the West: Sam Hampton. I want to get back up to his ranch one of these days and do a real interview with him.

The Colorado Rockies (the baseball team, not the mountains) were on their good winning streak in late September when I had the chance to attend their game against the St. Louis Cardinals (my first ever major league baseball game). My son, Shawn, who lives in Denver, bought the tickets (I think it was my birthday present since it was just a few weeks before my birthday and I didn’t get anything else from him). It was one of those great fall days in Colorado … warm enough to be comfortable, but no bugs or wind. Because the Rockies were doing so well, the game was a sellout and I think Shawn may have purchased the last two tickets in Coors Field. At any rate we were in the very top row, but had a wonderful view of the field, as well as downtown Denver. It was a blast in spite of the fact that the Rockies lost the game!

For the first time ever I went to Minnesota, spending a couple of days in St. Paul, where my room had a view of the beautiful St. Paul Basilica. I honestly didn’t have any time to tour around; otherwise I would have gone to Fort Snedden and to the wonderful science museum there. I did actually go to the museum, but was there before the exhibits opened so only had a chance to play some music on the stairs. (If you think I’ve gone daffy here, I can tell you that laser sensors trigger musical notes as you go up or down the stairs in the museum making it possible to literally play a tune as you ascend or descend.)

I also had a chance in early December to visit Baltimore. I’d been in Maryland once before – to change airplanes when I was flying from Nashville, Tenn., to Providence, R.I. – but this time I actually had a chance to see some of the city. It was my lucky day, too! I arrived at the Peacock Court Hotel just across the street from Mt. Vernon Square to learn that in the evening there would be a lighting ceremony at the very tall, very cool monument to George Washington, which was visible from my hotel window.

Instead of going elsewhere for dinner that evening, my two friends and I decided to remain at the hotel dining room – where we had a really marvelous meal and a view of the festivities getting underway at the monument. We ate early and finished in time to head across the street and join the throngs of folks who had come out for the holiday celebration. Some player for the Baltimore Orioles was there to do the honors of lighting the monument, but it was too noisy to really hear him, and I didn’t give a hoot about the Orioles anyway. The music was fun, there were a lot of food booths, and following the actual monument lighting a very impressive (I would say spectacular) fireworks show lit up the sky.

The following evening we headed down to the Inner Harbor area for dinner, where we ate crab cakes (crab being THE local food item of note), had a view of a sail boat all decorated for Christmas apparently practicing for the Christmas parade to be held the following evening, and then strolled along the harbor and saw the Civil War battleship, “The Constellation.” Unfortunately it was too late in the day for a tour of the ship. The nearby Baltimore Aquarium – said by some to be the best attraction in the city – was also closed, but even so you could see through the big glass windows and view the rain forest and other displays.

As I close out this column for this year, I want to take a moment to recognize some good folks I’ve managed to meet on the trail, who are no longer with us: John Cleary, New York Lawyer, fisherman, hog hunter, and part-time Steamboat Springs resident; the bazooka playing Ormley Gumfudgin; Don Coldsmith, the wonderful Kansas author and creator of the Spanish Bit series, who once spent his days delivering babies; the West’s greatest author, Elmer Kelton, who wrote “The Good Old Boys,” “The Day the Cowboys Quit,” “The Time It Never Rained,” and so many other marvelous Western books; Reba Sheehan, Little Snake River Valley ranch woman, mother, and past Pioneer Award Recipient for the Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering; and finally, Curly Musgrave, whose musical voice

and guitar playing were forever

stilled on Dec. 15.

I shall think of them and so many others the way I last saw Curly at the Heber City Cowboy Gathering. He spent one night dancing till midnight with his wife Kathi and singing partner Belinda Gail, and then on a Sunday afternoon brought a true spirit of Cowboy Church to the Heber Valley crowd of more than 1,000 as he and Belinda raised their voices in praise

to God.

Enjoy the holidays. More important, enjoy your family and friends.

See you on down the trail in 2010.

It seems like every year just speeds faster and faster, maybe because I’m on the road now more than ever. For this last column of 2009 I will slow down long enough to look back at a few of the places I’ve been this year.

In March I had a chance to return to El Paso, Texas, and met my buddy Dale L. Walker, one of the best editors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. And what were the highlights of El Paso? Why breakfast at Village Inn with Dale, for certain. We visited long after the pancakes were consumed, and then he took me on a driving tour of his city, getting special glee out of driving along the Rio Grande and stopping at Rosa’s Cantina, the establishment best known for its place in the great Marty Robbins’ song, “El Paso.” Dale also pointed out the newly constructed fence on the United States side of the Rio Grande, placed to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the river from Mexico.

I had no opportunity to visit Mexico and Juarez … which is probably a good thing as the drug wars underway there were the stuff of the regular nightly news with shootings, prison/jail breakouts, and other unsavory events taking place at the time I was in the vicinity.

I was in Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin several times over the course of the late spring and early summer prepping for and actually producing some film for the new museum being built in Worland. The best part of this gig was the opportunity to see country I’d never been to before like the top of Black Mountain high in the Bighorns (I was there twice and can easily say that road is the worst I have EVER been on or driven. In fact I still can’t believe I drove it and didn’t rip the bottom out of the rental vehicle!) I was also in the country south of Tensleep seeing for the very first time that spectacular area of Wyoming and meeting one of the true characters of the West: Sam Hampton. I want to get back up to his ranch one of these days and do a real interview with him.

The Colorado Rockies (the baseball team, not the mountains) were on their good winning streak in late September when I had the chance to attend their game against the St. Louis Cardinals (my first ever major league baseball game). My son, Shawn, who lives in Denver, bought the tickets (I think it was my birthday present since it was just a few weeks before my birthday and I didn’t get anything else from him). It was one of those great fall days in Colorado … warm enough to be comfortable, but no bugs or wind. Because the Rockies were doing so well, the game was a sellout and I think Shawn may have purchased the last two tickets in Coors Field. At any rate we were in the very top row, but had a wonderful view of the field, as well as downtown Denver. It was a blast in spite of the fact that the Rockies lost the game!

For the first time ever I went to Minnesota, spending a couple of days in St. Paul, where my room had a view of the beautiful St. Paul Basilica. I honestly didn’t have any time to tour around; otherwise I would have gone to Fort Snedden and to the wonderful science museum there. I did actually go to the museum, but was there before the exhibits opened so only had a chance to play some music on the stairs. (If you think I’ve gone daffy here, I can tell you that laser sensors trigger musical notes as you go up or down the stairs in the museum making it possible to literally play a tune as you ascend or descend.)

I also had a chance in early December to visit Baltimore. I’d been in Maryland once before – to change airplanes when I was flying from Nashville, Tenn., to Providence, R.I. – but this time I actually had a chance to see some of the city. It was my lucky day, too! I arrived at the Peacock Court Hotel just across the street from Mt. Vernon Square to learn that in the evening there would be a lighting ceremony at the very tall, very cool monument to George Washington, which was visible from my hotel window.

Instead of going elsewhere for dinner that evening, my two friends and I decided to remain at the hotel dining room – where we had a really marvelous meal and a view of the festivities getting underway at the monument. We ate early and finished in time to head across the street and join the throngs of folks who had come out for the holiday celebration. Some player for the Baltimore Orioles was there to do the honors of lighting the monument, but it was too noisy to really hear him, and I didn’t give a hoot about the Orioles anyway. The music was fun, there were a lot of food booths, and following the actual monument lighting a very impressive (I would say spectacular) fireworks show lit up the sky.

The following evening we headed down to the Inner Harbor area for dinner, where we ate crab cakes (crab being THE local food item of note), had a view of a sail boat all decorated for Christmas apparently practicing for the Christmas parade to be held the following evening, and then strolled along the harbor and saw the Civil War battleship, “The Constellation.” Unfortunately it was too late in the day for a tour of the ship. The nearby Baltimore Aquarium – said by some to be the best attraction in the city – was also closed, but even so you could see through the big glass windows and view the rain forest and other displays.

As I close out this column for this year, I want to take a moment to recognize some good folks I’ve managed to meet on the trail, who are no longer with us: John Cleary, New York Lawyer, fisherman, hog hunter, and part-time Steamboat Springs resident; the bazooka playing Ormley Gumfudgin; Don Coldsmith, the wonderful Kansas author and creator of the Spanish Bit series, who once spent his days delivering babies; the West’s greatest author, Elmer Kelton, who wrote “The Good Old Boys,” “The Day the Cowboys Quit,” “The Time It Never Rained,” and so many other marvelous Western books; Reba Sheehan, Little Snake River Valley ranch woman, mother, and past Pioneer Award Recipient for the Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering; and finally, Curly Musgrave, whose musical voice

and guitar playing were forever

stilled on Dec. 15.

I shall think of them and so many others the way I last saw Curly at the Heber City Cowboy Gathering. He spent one night dancing till midnight with his wife Kathi and singing partner Belinda Gail, and then on a Sunday afternoon brought a true spirit of Cowboy Church to the Heber Valley crowd of more than 1,000 as he and Belinda raised their voices in praise

to God.

Enjoy the holidays. More important, enjoy your family and friends.

See you on down the trail in 2010.


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