On The Road To Santa Fe

                            Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

 Welcome back.  It was ten years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock when Santa Fe, New Mexico was established and today it is one of the most historical places in the country. It is well documented and easy to see that American Indians, the Spanish and Anglos have all played a role in the city’s early and present day development. The history of this place along with sunsets from heaven, abundant wildlife and recreation in the mountains have drawn people here from around the world as both tourists and residents.

According to author John Sherman who lives in Santa Fe, the city was originally founded by the Spanish in 1610 and it was the northernmost outpost of the Spanish colonial frontier. Eventually the city became the capitol of Nuevo Mejico as the Spaniards called their colony. In 1846 Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny seized the city and the territory around it as property of the United States. President Taft signed a bill in 1912 that recognized New Mexico as the forty-seventh state.

I have been to Santa Fe many times. It is a place where artists find inspiration, tourists spend money, the food is wonderful and the locals are friendly. Santa Fe has been the setting for dozens of films, such as The Man from Laramie with Jimmy Stewart and it also the home to several major music and dance festivals. Osage Indian ballerina Maria Tallchief is just one of the famous performers who have appeared here. Many well known artists also bought homes in the area and there is a thriving community of singers, painters, actors and craftsman living in and around the city.

On the second leg of my travels, I will be visiting another of my favorite places in New Mexico. Dinosaurs once walked here and millions of years later the Navajo and other tribes hunted in these valleys. The early Spaniards were here also as well as rustlers and cutthroats.  Inspired by the harsh beauty of the rugged and remote country, Arthur Pack built a ranch here in the early 1900s. He later sold a small parcel of his land to artist Georgia O’Keefe who was enthralled with the landscape and had begged him relentlessly for years to buy a piece of it.

Later, during World War II, the scientists working on the A bomb stayed at the ranch for respite from their intense research at nearby Los Alamos. Since then other famous guests at the ranch have included Charles Lindbergh, Ansell Adams and John Wayne. Once called “Rancho de Brujos” or “Ranch of the Witches”, it is rumored that the land is haunted by evil spirits. For the past fifty years, the ranch has been owned by the Presbyterian Church and it has become a nationally known education and retreat center. Still as remote as ever, the center offers over 200 classes and symposia every year. The place I’m talking about is called Ghost Ranch and after camping out there on the mesa for three days, I may just come back a different man.

I may need that mental adjustment as a visit to Taos will follow with its own artists’’ community and the oldest pueblo in America. After Taos, the next stop will be Angel Fire resort which has its own history. Nowadays Angel Fire is a top notch Alpine ski resort which also offers mountain biking and golf in the warmer weather. Throughout the year they host more fun events than I’ve got room to list including festivals and competitions.Its hard to believe that in 1966 cattle were grazing on what is now a premiere destination. From Angel Fire I will be having another run in with ghosts when I check out what is going on in the most haunted spot of them all, the St. James Hotel in Cimarron. Film crews, professional ghost hunters and radio crews have all reported some sort of out-of-body experiences at the hotel lately and I’ve decided to investigate. Cimarron is also home to the Philmont Boy Scout camp so there should be plenty of help on hand if I need protection from the bogeymen.

Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road………………….



Farmers Markets and Horse Rustler “Peg Leg” Smith

                         Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

Welcome back.  According to information published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Tutankhamen was the reigning king of all Egypt 3,200 years ago, give or take a hundred years I would imagine. The Mediterranean Sea and the mouth of the Nile River lie along the northern border of Egypt. Alexandria, Canopus and a half dozen other communities make up what is known as Upper Egypt. At the other end of the Nile, after its passage through the Nubian Desert, are the communities of Abu Simbel and Soleb. In between is the Valley of the Kings. This is the place where Howard Carter, an adventurer and archaeologist, had exhausted his personal funds and money from investors searching for the tombs of the ancient pharaohs. Then on February 17, 1923, Carter and one of his backers, the Earl of Carnarvon, opened the door to a burial chamber that made them famous.

They had discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen dating from 1134-1325 B.C. which was one of the most celebrated periods in Egyptian history. As was the custom, the young king had been buried with artwork, artifacts, jewelry and everyday objects, all of which painted a portrait both of the king’s stature and of the culture he came from. There was something else in the tomb that few know about and that I discovered.

The Nile River that was the lifeblood of the country was also the site of the very first farmers market. Yes, it is well documented from the Egyptians’ own hieroglyphics that these markets existed and now farmers markets can be found all around the world. According to a website devoted to these markets, the first farmers market in America started in the early settlement of Jamestown. Today the largest farmers market is in Tokyo with over 1,700 booths. With around forty vendors, the Bartlesville Farmers Market which is now open on Saturdays, is just a bit behind those numbers but does not lack for quality produce or friendliness. Yes, I went through three thousand years of history to encourage everyone to support your local farmers market. It’s a resource we surely don’t want to lose.

Moving from the Egyptians to the early settlers of the west, from 1830 to 1855 thousands of stolen horses were taken from California to Santa Fe, New Mexico where horses were selling at a premium. According to the history of the area, some of these thieves were Ute Indians including Chief Walkara. Along with a group of mountain men, the Utes raided many California missions. The leader of these early outlaws was Thomas L. “Peg Leg” Smith who was also considered to be the brains behind the operation. Peg Leg hadn’t always been a horse thief but after years of working as a trapper, he lost part of his leg in a gun fight. Apparently the injury changed him and he turned to the dark side. Always a tough and crafty man, many pursuing law men were left dead in ambushes along the trail that Peg Leg planned. Law abiding family men were afraid to help track the notorious bunch knowing the fate of those who had tried before them. The route from California to Santa Fe passes through deserts and mountain passes and it took several weeks to make the trip. Some of Peg Leg’s men and some of the horses weren’t tough enough to make it and they died along the way.

Ute Indian Chief Walkara continued the raids into California until his death in 1855. Peg Leg Smith, who has mostly been forgotten, was said to have gone straight after making a fortune. Travelers claim that his ghostly form can still be seen pushing horses through the mountains. Traces of these old outlaw trails are often found in remote locations northwest of Santa Fe along with occasional horse bones and fragments left by the gang. This is the area I’ll be taking you to on our next travels. If you can’t make the trip with me, stay tuned.

Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road…..









Local Events and the History of the USS Intrepid

    While I’m back home I’ve been catching up on local events and also reflecting on some of the experiences I had while I was traveling.

               Down The Road with the Original Buffalo Dale

 Welcome back.  History is made every second of every day. Waite Phillips once said,

“Nothing in this world is permanent but change.”

Waite was right, you can’t live in the past but he also loved history as much as I do. His many collections of art and artifacts, on display in several museums and in his former home at Philmont, reveal his deep interest in the past as well as in the world around him.

The Phillips name is of course a well recognized in the history of the oil and gas industry throughout the country. Another family from this part of the world was honoredat the Green Country Classic Ranch Rodeo on Saturday night for their contribution to ranching. The Adcock family has been in the ranching business for well over 100 years and to this day they still run thousands of head of cattle some right here in the Bartlesville area. Elwood and Helen Adcock had twelve kids and they raised them with the same values that they had been raised with: work hard, stay close to your family and be true to your word. Knowing several of their children who were all there Saturday night, I would give a lot just to shake Elwood’s and Helen’s hands. Yes, in the cattle industry the Adcocks are considered royalty and as they walked into the arena in Claremore, they were recognized with a standing ovation.

Another event of local interest that I sometimes refer to is ARVEST Bank’s Friday Forum which is held every week at the eastside branch in Bartlesville. The forum offers ARVEST’s clients a chance to get information on financial matters, local news and community events. Governors come by on occasion, along with corporate executives and sometimes even movie stars. It’s an hour of fun and information, along with some great refreshments.

Since I have been away, I wanted to get caught up and Earl Sears, John Ford and Steve Martin were all there last Friday to give brief updates on doings in the capitol. T.W. Shannon also stopped by and if you are not familiar with him, Mr. Shannon is a candidate for Tom Coburn’s U.S. senate seat. After I quick visit with him, I believe that if you like Earl, John and Steve you will like T.W. as well.

This Friday photographer Jerry Poppenhouse will speak about his work and his long career. He will also debut a short film he recently created along with a 3 ½ minute clip about my travels in New York City.  You never know who you will meet or what will be happening at Friday Forum so check it out.

On a quick personal note, last year I had the opportunity to write a book profiling people across the United States and the ways in which meaningful work has changed their lives. Many of these profiles are very touching and also inspirational. The book is called Portraits of Hope and it’s available for $9.00 a copy only through the company store at Express Employment Professionals in Oklahoma City (405) 840-5000.

Before I go one last view from the past. Commissioned in 1943, the USS Intrepid or the fighting “I” as she became known, is an aircraft carrier that was full of heroes for over forty years. Starting with World War II and the Pacific theater of operations, I couldn’t begin to list the battles the ship participated in during and after World War II. In one dramatic incident, the ship was hit by an aerial torpedo and lost partial maneuverability. The crew managed to build a sail from wood, cargo nets and canvas that allowed them to pilot the Intrepid back to Pearl Harbor. In another era, the Intrepid also picked up the space capsules from the Mercury and Gemini missions in outer space.

Today this mighty ship is known as the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. During my last trip.  I was only able to see her from the window of a tour bus but come July I’ll take you aboard.

Thanks for reading and till next week I’ll see ya down the road…..