Monday, May 2, 2016

Sombrero III

To get to Maybell, you can go several different ways. I chose to go via Colorado 14 that runs from Sterling, CO to the foot of Rabbit Ears Pass and US 40. From Fort Collins you go up the Cache la Poudre river, a favorite drive if I’m not in a hurry. The area was heavily burned last year but a fresh covering of snow covered the scars. Seems Mother Nature was wearing her make up. The terrain is rugged.

Stopped to take pictures of some of the locals.

The Rabbit Ears of Rabbit Ears Pass.

Community pot luck the night before. There are probably fewer than five people in these pictures I’m not related to by blood or marriage. I attended cowboy style. A cowboy is an appetite riding a horse down the grub line.

The horses.

Some of the dudes who paid $2,500 to take part.

Many of the riders were passing out candy. Zoro was tossing dollar coins. Big horse he is riding (and riding very well). At least 16 hands.

Tough duty. Later he was talking to a couple. Seems their daughter and his daughter were at a track meet in Rangley the day before.

What is an event without vendors?

Several of my relatives are members of Sisters on the Fly. The outside of that spam can make look plain but the inside is WOW.

One of my cousins taking care of the important things while his lady is taking pictures.

Another cousin, a New Mexico LEO, proving twenty+ years of eating donuts hasn’t hurt him.

My relative, being who they are, took the strategic corner early and held their ground.

This is a local rancher who is the real deal. Fourth generation on the land. When one of my aunts moved herself and her five children from Illinois to Maybell, he became close to all of them. They consider him family. That bottle is some Blackberry brandy. Just to take the chill off, you understand.

Excellent timing. You have a big load to move. You choose US 40 on a Sunday afternoon. Nobody told you about a damn circus.

Highway 14 takes your through Walden and the North Park. North Park is the headwaters of the North Platte River. After the Civil War, a lot of settlers moved in from the upper Midwest. My maternal ancestors came from Wisconsin.  North Park once was the summer home of vast numbers of Bison and the natives who hunted them. It also attracted assholes.

The modern day ones are the rich who buy up ranches and consolidate them. Hobby/trophy ranches.  Every time the park loses two to three families. Logging has always been a staple economic engine and now there is a minor oil boomlet.

But I digress. Many building were erected along the same style of construction and many survive.

The natives used controlled burning to kill off sagebrush and weeds. The next spring native grasses, which the bison preferred, would grow. Get rid of the water suckers (sagebrush, etc) and the native grasses will get belly deep to a horse.

The private land owners have an economic interest in keeping the land productive.

Who were the better caretakers, natives and private land owners or the fucking BLM?

Wow, WSF, you managed to write a long blog without any profanity until you reached the end. Do you have a low opinion of the government caretakers of our public lands?

ADDENDUM. No cell service or WiFi hot spots in Maybell. Two days of withdrawal symptoms. 

WTF over

Visited the local social security office this morning. Several young woman in traditional muslim clothing were waiting in line. 

Things that make you shake your head.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sombrero Horse Drive II

Off to Maybell. May or may not find Internet connections so blogging and comments may be limited.

Of course, Colorado springtime, the two mountain passes I must cross are icy and snow packed from a "slow moving Pacific storm" per the weather guessers.

Note to any home invasion types. (1) I've little of value to steal and (2) the premises are occupied by a house setter (not to mention a savage attack cat).

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Adventures in Organic Living

While not a fanatic, I do try to keep my apartment at least sanitary. Much to my surprise, I was infested with small black and grey flying bugs that multiplied at an astonishing rate. What they found to eat I can’t imagine.

Went the chemical route, sprays and foggers, with no noticeable reduction. Fly paper got some of them but not enough. Google is your friend and I found the apple cider vinegar postings. It works. Vinegar, water, and a few drops of liquid soap in a dish. Set one out in each room and wait a few days.

They must lay eggs that take their own time hatching. Weeks will pass then I start seeing them flitting about. Reset the traps and a few days later they are gone.

The problem with all of this is it leaves your apartment smelling like the end of a three day drunken party. Not unpleasant, but visitors tend to look at you askance.

If you have made it this far, you now know how boring my life is, if this is the best I can come up with for a blog posting.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sombrero Horse Drive

(credit visitmoffatcounty for the header photo)

Looking forward to next weekend when I plan to drive to Maybell, CO for the annual Sombrero Horse Drive. The Sombrero Ranches are a large dude ranch operation with several CO locations. They winter their large herd in the Browns Park area which has milder (relative) winters and the horses can get by on range forage instead of hay.

Come Spring, the horses are rounded up and trailed to a ranch outside of Craig, CO where they are prepared for the dude season and distributed to the various Sombrero operations (Estes Park being a large one, for instance).

Some time back, the owners found they could charge a big fee ($2,500 this year) to dudes wanting the cowboy experience. 

Maybell is something of an epicenter for the extended clan on my father’s side and the horse drive has evolved into a family reunion of sorts. So we all gather to drink adult beverages, tell lies, and sneer at the dudes. As the years go by, fewer beverages are consumed, more lies are told, but the sneers remain constant. It is also possible to smell some cannabis being smoked. Tsk, tsk!

Here is a video shot by one of my more talented cousins. Best to start at the 2:24 mark.

Lots of Sombrero stuff on You Tube for those interested. One cousin has put up several under, “White Family Homestead”.

Browns Park is home to several bands of wild horses. Sombrero keeps wranglers with the herd during the winter to recover the mares the wild stallions steal. Gets interesting, it does.

Should you be interested in the wild ones, this lady has devoted years to photographing them.

Looking forward to the trip. My coworker and I have swapped days so I have no  pressure to get back. Worked out well as he has a family gathering the next weekend.

Of course, will post a snap or two when I get back. 

Maybell is on US 40 between Craig, CO and Vernal, UT. Most visitors to the Dinosaur National Monument just pass through. The residents work hard to keep the town alive with volunteer work. The one restaurant serves as good country fare as you will find anywhere and you will not find a cleaner establishment. You may not want to visit in the winter as the coldest temperature recorded in Colorado one winter was  in Maybell, minus 61 degrees. Camp sites at the city park are $15 a night, showers $3, and the place is clean. All isn't perfect as the local kids are noted for mischief. On the night before the start of hunting season, air was let out of many tires and the entrances were padlocked. The town response was bolt cutters, every available air compressor brought to the park, and several Wrangler seats warmed.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Ramble II

A classic Albuquerque Low weather pattern going on right now. This one is bringing a shit load of snow. At the moment it has almost stalled. If this was summer, the rising heat from the High Plains would produce thunderstorms stalled above the Front Range. Note the moisture being pulled up from Texas. This is meeting colder moisture moving in from the Pacific. Add rising heat from the High Plains and you get the epic floods mentioned in "A Ramble".

Cheery news from the National Weather Service.

Potential good news for downstream water users. Hopefully Nebraska and Kansas won't get their ten year share in two weeks. They whine so loud when that happens.

Remember, in Colorado, "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting".

Friday, April 15, 2016

Legacy of Mismanagement

Something I care deeply about.

The mental suffering of veterans in combat is dwarfed by the mental anguish of their dealing with the Veterans Administration. This is not new. Talk to a Korea veteran.

Damned if I can understand how this shit goes on, administration after administration, decade after decade, and only gets worse.

I'm far from a Bernie Sanders supporter but give him his due. As a Senator he has always fought for veterans. That he has been unsuccessful is probably an indicator of his ability to get things done should he become President. 

While not monolithic, I think the majority of Federal Employees vote Democrat and their various unions contribute to Democrat candidates. Perhaps that is why few in Washington,D.C. are willing to take them on.

UPDATE: Just came across this.

So if the bureaucrats ignored the plain intent of the law, why aren't they facing criminal charges? Seems to me that would get their undivided attention.