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Finding Inspiration on Route 66

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017

I spent a lovely Saturday morning several weeks ago with my writing critique group on Route 66. We’ve discussed working together on a project for many years. This time a topic was suggested that had definite appeal to all of us. To set fire to our story settings and characters, we journeyed along I-40 to visit one of the better known landmarks on Old Route 66 in the Texas Panhandle. The U-Drop Inn in Shamrock was built in 1936 at a cost of $23,000, the Tower Conoco and U-Drop Inn was featured in the 2006 Disney Pixar movie CARS. At the grand opening held April, 1936, it was considered “the swankiest of the swank eating places.” When Route 66 came through Shamrock in 1937, it was the only eating place for a hundred miles along the new highway. As...

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Posted by on Aug 28, 2017


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Cowboy Approved Potato Casserole

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017

By popular request, here is the potato casserole recipe that was served at this year’s branding. Belinda Sursa is a former team roper, all around ranch hand, and as part of being married to a New Mexico cowboy, she can cook too. She has fed day workin’ crews for many years. She told me that her New Mexico guys were never fans of the traditional cold potato salad, so she came up with this hot potato dish as a side for the BBQ brisket and cole slaw.  Fresh green chillis adds a New Mexico twist. She buys the hatch green chillis fresh every year, as most of us do. The roasted peppers store well in the freezer. If you don’t have fresh, Belinda suggests using the frozen variety from the freezer section. 1 large package Frozen potatoes, cubed 1...

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Cowboy Gear: Chaps

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017

Chinks. Leggin’s. Woolies. Batwings. Hair pants. Shotguns.   “Humans dress up but the cowboy dresses down.”     Short for chaparejos, the Spanish term for overalls or leather breeches, chaps are an important part of the cowboy’s wardrobe. Northern cowboys used angora or sheep pelts for warmth; “woolies”. Texas cowboys were identified as wearing the wider legs so they could be put on without removing spurs, called bat wings or buzzard wings. The plainer leather chaps with fringe were identified more with cowboys who worked in the Northwest; “shotguns”.     These hide pants have a multiple of uses, just like all of the gear used by cowboys and cowgirls. shield from cactus warmth from rain or snow protect legs from mesquite bush thorns protection from injury if he is thrown or pushed against a fence When he dismounts,...

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Cowboy Gear: Hat

Posted by on Jun 2, 2017

Stetson. Conk-case. Lid. War-bonnet. Ten-gallon.   “Don’t Mess with a cowboy’s hat.” The cowboy hat remains a universal image of the working cowboy. If you put one on your head, you’ll feel taller, perhaps a little more adventurous. In the fraction of a second, you suddenly become part of the golden age of the American west. John Batterson Stetson called his 1865 creation “Boss of the Plains”. Suited for hotter climates of the west, Stetson’s original design had a four inch crown, four inch flat brim, and cost $5 bucks.   Stetson learned the hat-making trade at an early age from his father. As a young man, he was diagnosed with consumption (tuberculosis), forcing him to leave his home and family in New Jersey for dryer climates. He relocated to the gold fields of Pikes Peak, Colorado where the...

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