Tulsa Shock and Bill Laimbeer

I hope you will get a chance to catch a WNBA game at the BOK Center!

Welcome back. Known as a thug in his chosen profession yet loved by many of his fans, at 6’11” and 245 pounds he goes his own way in life and says what he thinks. A two time NBA champion, elected to the NBA All Star team four times and the all-around rebounding champion in 1986 with his number four jersey retired, Bill Laimbeer has done just about everything in the sport of basketball. Bill, as fans call him, was in Tulsa Friday night coaching his WNBA New York Liberty team against the Tulsa Shock.

If you don’t know about professional women’s basketball in Tulsa, its great fun and with the Shock on a winning streak it’s starting to catch on around here. Home games are played at the BOK Center where I found plenty of parking close to the facility and a welcoming staff ready to get you where you needed to go and bring you whatever you wanted. As soon as I entered the building I knew I was in for a good time. The hallways were packed with kids’ games and inflatables, there was live music playing and plenty of food vendors on hand for very taste.  On the court a variety of acts kept the crowd entertained until tip-off when things got serious.

The Tulsa Shock is out to win a championship and after watching them demolish big bad Bill’s Liberty team I think they might just do it. For you true basketball junkies, some of the names on this team may sound familiar. At center is the first ever four time Associated Press All American from the University of Oklahoma, Courtney Paris. Courtney is leading the league in rebounding for the second year in a row and watching her is worth the price of a ticket alone.

At guard from Notre Dame where she set records in scoring and steals as well as assists, Skylar Diggins is already a legend and thanks to her Tulsa leads the league in three point shooting. Fan favorite Jordan Hopper had the crowd going with her long range three point shots and 5’7” Riquna Williams, who holds the WNBA record for the most points scored in a game (51), is quick and fearless, no matter how big her opponent is. Helping Courtney with rebounding is 6’5” Amanda Zahul B. from Stockholm, Sweden who is also a great shot. Rounding out this explosive team are the other outstanding players, Odyssey Sims, Brianna Kiesel, Jessica Kuster, Tiffany Jackson Jones, Karima Christmas, Theresa Plaisance, Vicki Baugh, Glory Johnson-Griner and last but not least, Plenette Pierson. Pierson is another fan favorite and a personal favorite of mine.  A thirteen year veteran, this 6’2” Texas Tech graduate has seen it all. Signed as a free agent, she is second in minutes played, second in rebounding and third in points scored per game for the team. With her years of experience, Pierson brings depth to the Shock and her energy seems boundless.

I’ll end this leg of my column with my scoop of the week: Shock President Steve Swetoha and head coach Fred Williams have something special going on this year. If you are looking for some great entertainment at reasonable prices you need to check out a Shock’s game.

Another highlight of my week was Thursday evening which I spent on the top floors of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower at Copper Restaurant and the Inn at Price Tower. I was joined by many friends and readers for a pre-publication gathering for my book Footprints in the Dew. Several of the guests remembered watching the Price Tower as it was built and seeing the furniture being hoisted through the windows. I was lucky enough to spend the night in the Penthouse Suite which offers every creature comfort and some amazing views of Bartlesville.

Pre-publication book orders were brisk and I appreciate everyone’s support. For more information about the Shock visit their website www.shock.wnba.com . If you are interested in the book check out www.originalbuffalodale.com

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

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The Price Tower Arts Center

A little time travel back to the ’60s…………………………………….

Welcome back. History is defined as the study of the past, particularly how it relates to humans. It is a term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events.

With that said, the year was 1960 when Adolph Coors III, Chairman of the Board of Coors Brewing Company, was kidnapped. After being held for a $500,000 ransom, Coors was eventually found murdered. In sports that year the Dallas Cowboys played their first season in the NFL and Wilt Chamberlain, who was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers, got 55 rebounds in an NBA game against the Boston Celtics. A young Cassius Clay (now known as Muhammed Ali) won a gold medal at the Olympic Games. 1960 was also the year that that 3500 American soldiers were sent to a place called Vietnam and John F. Kennedy was nominated for President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

History was being made in Bartlesville as well. Phillips Petroleum was led by a man named Kenneth S. Adams, also known as “Boots”. He had started his career with the company as a young man working for $125 a month clerking in a warehouse. After twelve years he was personally selected by Frank Phillips to be his assistant and when Phillips retired Adams became the Chief Executive Officer. In 1960 he had been running the company for eleven years and it was growing by leaps and bounds. Adams was making plenty of money and he gave plenty of it away to local organizations.

Another successful businessman making headlines in the community was H.C. Price. Price had come to Bartlesville in 1915 to work as a chemist for the Zinc Company. In 1921, with a $2,500 loan, he started an electric welding company which grew into one of the largest pipeline construction and maintenance companies in the country. In 1952 Price signed the building contract for what would become the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Designed by world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the multi-story office building was completed in 1956 and in 1960 it was fully occupied by a wide array of professionals. Doctors, lawyers, dentists and insurance brokers were among the many tenants spread out across nineteen floors which also included spacious apartments for the Price family.

Barbara’s Beauty Shop was located in a two story wing and catered to affluent executives and their wives. As a young boy I knew Barbara Curtis who was married to big time rodeo stock contractor Eddie Curtis. She had started her business on one of the upper floors of the building with just a handful of hairdressers working for her. The business grew quickly and she expanded, adding a women’s fancy dress shop to the beauty shop. In the 1960s both men and women came there to get their hair cut which was unusual at the time and the men could shop for their wives at the same time.

With some many diverse tenants, the Price Tower was a mall in the sky. It was also a place where big deals were put together and where major newsworthy announcements were made.Within the next few weeks another important announcement will be made in this setting and I’ll be inviting you all to be a part of it. More details will be coming as things develop.

Today, not unlike in 1960, the Price Tower is a busy place with a variety of tenants. The Price Tower Arts Center offers exhibits and educational programs and there is also a full service hotel (the Inn at Price Tower) and a rooftop bar and restaurant (Copper where live music frequently fills the sky. As Frank Lloyd Wright’s only constructed skyscraper, the Price Tower is a National Historic Landmark and has also been nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is a magical place where I hope to see you soon. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….

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The LBJ Ranch, Back to Luckenbach and Other Highlights from the Texas Hill Country

I’m planning a big party and you’re all invited-more details coming soon…..

Welcome back.  Traveling west for an hour or so out of San Antonio, Texas you come to what Texicans call the Hill Country. While I was in the area last week I discovered another part of America that is well worth the trip. Here’s a taste of what I saw:

The area was created in the early days of the earth’s existence and according to the artifacts that have been discovered Native Americans were the first people to roam the area. Spanish conquistadors were also in the area and their names and traditions live on today. German immigrants had a big impact as well when they settled in these mountains in the early 1800s. There’s plenty of history in the two thousand foot high Hill Country and after two days of camping at remote Lost Maples State Park I think a return visit to this part of the country is a must.

Traveling north for another hour to the outer edge of Hill Country you come to Fredericksburg, TX which is the home town of five star General Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The history of the Nimitz family is displayed in a museum housed in what was formerly the Nimitz Hotel back when the Admiral’s grandfather settled here. Chester Nimitz eventually became one of only a handful of five star generals in the country and his museum is now part of a large complex which includes the National Museum of the Pacific War. Your two day admission ticket gets you into both places and takes you back to a time when the world was at war and the faith of our nation rested on our GIs. Planes, boats, all kinds of guns and a German submarine are on display here along with exhibitions describing the various battles, the weapons that were used and the numbers of men who died. Outside on the grounds, a memorial wall and garden is situated between the two museums and features plaques of all sizes dedicated to the soldiers who were killed as well as the ships they sailed on. Three very moving exhibitions all in one spot and I guarantee you will enjoy every minute of that two day ticket.

Just fifteen miles outside of town is a place that was called the “Texas White House” back in the 1960s. Born, raised and educated on this same piece of property, President Lyndon Baines Johnson is also now buried there in a small family cemetery. After Lady Bird Johnson’s death, the family donated what had become a large working ranch to the National Park Service. The drive through the ranch where they are still working cattle descended from Johnson’s original herd, takes you past the house where Johnson was born, the one room schoolhouse where he learned to read and even the cemetery. A tour of the Johnson family home which still has the original furnishings gives you a keen sense of history as Johnson frequently met with Cabinet members and foreign leaders here. The ranch lies along the scenic Pedernales River and you won’t want to miss it. This historic site is just one more reason to visit Fredericksburg.

I’ll end this week not far from where I started where they announce “Everybody is somebody here.”

It was 1970 when the town founders advertised the town for sale in several newspaper around the country. A colorful character named Hondo Crouch bought the place lock, stock and barrel and appointed himself Mayor and Crown Prince. A good natured man with a wild imagination, Crouch established a make believe town picking his friends to be ambassadors to foreign countries and creating several festivals in honor of his new town. Music was constantly in the air as musicians from all over came to play under the 500 year old live oaks and to have some fun with Honda who always had dominos and plenty of cold beer on hand.

In 1973 Texas musician Jerry Jeff Walker recorded an album here “Viva Terlingua” which went gold and soon this fairytale town became a must visit place for musicians. When Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson showed up for the annual Fourth of July picnic the town became known around the world. “Luckenbach, Texas, Back to Basics” became a massive hit for Waylon and Willie and the little town would never be the same. Today with a full time population of three, the old original country store and bar is still going strong as hundreds of tourists stop by every day to see where it all started and listen to live music under those same old trees. They can drink a beer and eat a hamburger at the Feed Trough seven days a week in the town where everybody is somebody.

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

P.S. As most of you know the OK Mozart Festival is in full swing so don’t miss the opportunity to hear some world class live music right here at home. Hope to see you there.

 

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On the Road to San Antonio…..

Welcome back. This week business has taken me to the most southern metropolitan city in Texas and beyond. Home to numerous units of the armed forces, there’s a real operating fort, one of America’s largest air force bases and several large outposts they call camps. The Payaya Indians who originally settled this remote area called the place “Yanaquana” which translates as “Refreshing Waters.”

In 1691 Spanish explorers came through the area and started a settlement. 1709 brought missionaries and in 1718 the first of several mission buildings was completed utilizing the indigenous Payaya labor for the construction as well as for the construction of several bridges.

One mission in particular would become quite famous, de San Antonio de Valero or as most people know it, the Alamo. On February 23, 1836 Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos Santa Ana surrounded the mission killing all the people inside who were fighting for Texas to become an independent state. “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for independence and the rest is history. 1845 brought this community and the rest of Texas under the umbrella of the U.S. government leading to a brief war with Mexico followed by the Civil War.

Yanaquana was growing as the cattle industry led to development and, arts and culture came to town. A New York City writer published a book about the area in 1859 and in 1877 the railroad came in making the community accessible to visitors. It was a city on the move as street cars, new buildings and roadways and cultural centers were established. Nowadays the city has well over a million residents and ranks as the 38th largest in the United States.

In addition to the Alamo and several other historic missions, Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Theme Park also call this city home. According to the Convention and Visitors Bureau twenty-five million come to town every year, many of them to watch the five time NBA champion team play and to see one of the world’s largest stock shows and rodeos. As you can imagine the hotel business is booming.

Here’s a little info I founding interesting for visitors:

Admission to the Alamo is free and it is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Located on 4.2 acres it’s easy to get to and has plenty of on-site parking. The Alamo is considered to be consecrated ground so no hats can be worn inside and photography is not allowed. No cell phones, pets or unruly behavior will be tolerated. There are a few more rules of reverence that should be common knowledge in what local residents consider to be a true shrine.

The deaths of James Bowie, Davy Crockett and mission commander William B. Travis on the morning of March 6, 1836 are a moment in American history that will never be forgotten and is alive and well in the center of this unique city.

Not far from the downtown district Yanaquana also has a zoo, a real Japanese tea garden, a theater and several beautiful parks. The old Fairmont Hotel which was built in 1906 is very cool and then there’s the famous River Walk which meanders through town and is lined with restaurants, bars and shops. The Payayna Indians had it right when they called this place Refreshing Waters but of course today we call it San Antonio. If you’ve never been put this place on your to do list. Still in southwest Texas, till next week I’ll see ya down the road….

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Boone Pickens Birthday Party and Other Stories from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference

I didn’t get a chance to post this story before I left town but this was a very interesting event………

Welcome back.  On the roof of the building snipers in full combat gear stand with rifles in hand. The botanical gardens block their view of one side of the building but dozens of men in suits and ties with that distinctive little wire poking out from under their shirt collars and running into their ears, also patrol the area. A closer look reveals a man on the street who appears homeless but also has a wire going into his ear. Uniformed officers are posted at every entrance to the building and when I saw the additional cops, dogs and surveillance cameras inside I knew there wouldn’t be trouble at this event.

This my friends was the setting for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City last week. Although I am not into politics I found the conference quite enlightening and after reading this I hope you will too.

The conference was held in the Cox Convention Center which is part of the Myriad Botanical Gardens complex and is close to Bricktown, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and several major hotels. Its primary use is that of large scale convention and meeting facility. The center hosts major concerts, conferences, and other large scale events and includes multiple meeting rooms, conference and convention space, dining halls, and a 15,000 seat multi-purpose arena.

Immediately across the street is the Chesapeake Energy Arena where the Oklahoma City Thunder play basketball and the Oklahoma City Memorial is also nearby. This part of Oklahoma City is a great place for a visit and if you haven’t already, I recommend you check it out.

I had the opportunity to visit with several of the speakers including former Texas Governor Rick Perry who told me, among many other things, that he was an Eagle Scout and has written a book about scouting called “On My Honor: Why The American Values of the boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.”

I learned from Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum that he had authored several books and I found his comments about the writing and publishing process very interesting as I am working to put a book out myself. Governor Jeb Bush was very accessible and in addition to his policy statements, he highlighted his love for his father and his brother.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey projects a very straightforward, tell it like it is approach but I discovered he is also a big softie when it comes to his feelings for his family.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin was on hand of course and she graciously filled in for the Presidential candidates who were delayed in Washington, telling the crowd of over two thousand about all that Oklahoma has to offer.

The conference wasn’t just about politics. Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb interviewed Larry Nichol, CEO of Devon Energy about selling oil overseas and Harold Hamm of Continental Resources gave a talk on energy as well.

More governors, senators and house republicans took the podium during the three day conference as the Republican Party revs up for a very interesting Presidential election.

On Friday I had some real fun when I was invited to T. Boone Pickens eighty-seventh birthday party. A legend in the oil and gas business, T. Boone started his career working for Phillips Petroleum Company before starting his own company, Mesa Petroleum, in 1956. Mesa is now one of the largest independent energy companies in the country and T. Boone has not only made millions of dollars but he has also given millions away to many worthy causes.

If you haven’t heard, T. Boone has joined Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and many other wealthy individuals who have signed a “giving pledge”, committing to giving a sizeable portion of their wealth to charity. T. Boone has been inducted into both the Texas and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and as you might imagine his birthday party was one of the highlights of this three day event for me.

I’ll send this week with a quote from Waite Phillips which seems appropriate:

“To become competent in governing others, we must first learn to govern ourselves.”

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

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The Life Story of Patti Page and More News from Oklahoma City

Welcome back.  I was on the lookout for an interesting place to hang my hat last Friday night and I had the good fortune to catch the opening night of an exhibit that just fit the bill. The Claremore, Oklahoma Museum of History was my first stop for the opening night of a display about the life of Clara Ann Fowler. Clara was born on November 8, 1927 in Claremore where her dad worked on the railroad and her mom picked cotton.  She was the youngest of eight and like many in that era her parents often struggled to make ends meet. While she was growing up the family lived in many small towns in northeast Oklahoma including Foraker, Hardy and Avant, frequently in houses without electric or indoor plumbing. By the time Clara was in high school they had landed in Tulsa.

When Al Clauser and his Oklahoma Outlaws band heard eighteen year old Clara sing at a school function they booked her to sing with them on their fifteen minute program on Radio KTUL in Tulsa. The program was sponsored by the Page Milk Company and before long Clara Fowler became known as “Patti Page.”

From 1947-1950 Patti recorded a series of semi-successful songs and then in 1950 she had her first million selling records with “With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming.” 1950 was also the year Patti released her version of “The Tennessee Waltz” and a major star was born.

In the later 1950s Patti appeared on many TV variety shows including Ed Sullivan, The Dean Martin Show and Steve Allen. Then in 1952 she had her own series, The Scott Music Hall on NBC. She went on to star in different series on ABC and CBS as well, making her the first person to have shows on all three major networks.

The 1960s brought more hit records, starring roles in movies and numerous television appearances as Patti became one of the most recorded performers in the U.S. In the ‘70s she recorded additional albums and made guest appearances with the country’s leading symphony orchestras which were broadcast live.

Patti toured the country doing live shows throughout the eighties and nineties and in 2005 she headlines a series of performances in Branson, MO. Then in September 2012 without any fanfare she announced on her website that she was retiring because of health problems. On January 1, 2013 Clara Ann Fowler died at the age of 85 but the recordings and filmed performances of Patti Page will live on forever.

I’ve just scratched the surface of all the information that is in the exhibit so if you want to learn more, in my opinion a trip to Claremore and their museum is well worth the effort.

After the opening, a special reception was held at the Will Rogers Memorial where Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, spoke about Patti Page’s legacy. Listening to Patti’s younger sister Peggy speak was a special treat and there were several other family members in attendance as well. It was a wonderful night as the family took questions from the guests about Patti that seemed to bring her back to life.

Another highlight of the evening was a performance by singing star Darla Z who sang several of Patti’s hits. Darla has opened for Wayne Newton in Las Vegas and is currently working on a screen play for a movie.

Will Rogers, Patti Page and Claremore all made for quite an exciting Friday evening.

Saturday night brought more tornadoes and heavy rain to the Oklahoma City area as 400 close friends of a man who is fortunately still with us gathered at the National Western Cowboy Hall of Fame for a surprise 75th birthday celebration. I was happy to be a part of this great occasion. My friends this is still a story in the making as there will soon be a life size bronze statue of this man on his favorite horse erected on the Chisholm Trail west of Oklahoma City.

I’ll be bringing you more on the history of the Chisholm Trail and just who this man is and where the bronze will be placed soon. Till then I’ll see ya down the road……………

 

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Travels on the Santa Fe Trail

The short course I am leading about Footprints in the Dew continues to go very well and last weekend found me at a big bash in Oklahoma City making more contacts for the project. And now to the Santa Fe Trail…..

Welcome back. The year was 1827 and in Kansas City wagon makers, blacksmiths and horse traders were already in demand. After the United States invaded Mexico in 1846 the lands bordering New Mexico became the next great frontier for adventurers and by the end of 1848 the flood gates were open, increasing the demand for these trades even more. At its peak in 1858 one thousand eight hundred wagons were headed west as traders, gold seekers, settlers and the military kept the Santa Fe Trail as busy as many modern day highways. Spaniards called this “La Jornada” or ‘The Journey.”

The trail crossed nine hundred miles across mountains and prairies that were filled with danger. I’ve recently traveled along part of the route, camping at night in some of the same locations where early travelers stayed. With good water, the Santa Fe Trail remained open most of the year except in the winter when the water would freeze. Some travelers chose the shorter Cimarron Trail which started in Dodge City, Kansas and went south but water was much harder to find along this route.

You can see old wagon tracks along both trails along with the grave markers of those who didn’t survive the trip. The end of the Civil War in 1865 brought about the demise of these historic trails as railroads expanded westward. The mud, mosquitos, bad weather and treacherous river crossings that were typical of wagon travel became a thing of the past.

The military outposts that were constructed at strategic points along the trails to protect travelers are mostly gone as well. Forts Mann, Atkinson, Union, Larned and several others attempted to keep the peace from the Indian tribes whose lands were in the area. Dozens of books and movies have depicted the perils of travel along the old trails, including encounters with robbers, dangerous wildlife and hostile Indian tribes.

It’s all an important part of American history and the not for profit Santa Fe Trail Association in Colorado is dedicated to keeping the story of the Trail and the people who traveled it alive. The association maintains maps of the parts of the trail that can still be walked by visitors and the historic landmarks along the way. Now that spring is here you may be looking for a road trip and they are a great place to start and if you want to learn more their number is (620) 285-2054.

Moving along to another story which includes some Oklahoma history. Elder Care’s big fundraiser, The Good, The Bad & The Barbeque took place last weekend at the historic Cross Bell Ranch and despite the threat of bad weather the turnout was great. Hundreds of guests enjoyed great food, music from three bands and an entertaining live auction lead by Roger Skelly. The proceeds from the event support Elder Care’s many programs for senior adults and their caregivers.

For those of you who may not know Elder Care is the only not for profit provider of these services in the region. From humble beginnings in a church basement in 1983, the organization has grown to serve over 800 people each month, including residents of Nowata, Osage and Washington counties. Among the many programs designed specifically for people 60 and older, Elder Care offers physical therapy, professional care management, adult day health and a medical clinic. Over the past year Elder Care has been recognized with several significant awards, most notably Best Not for Profit Organization in Oklahoma in 2014. With over 19,000 not for profits in Oklahoma, I’d say that’s quite an honor.

Elder Care’s Golden Opportunities program which provides a wide range of educational, travel and social opportunities has also been acclaimed as the most innovative program for seniors in the state.

The next time you are on Swan Drive, stop in and take a tour. I have. You may be surprised by all the resources available to you there. They also offer an open house at 10 AM on the first Monday of every month. For more information call (918) 336-8500.

You may have heard that I am offering a short course through OSU’s adult education program about my project Footprints in the Dew. Next week former Osage County D.A. Bill Hall will be joining me to discuss his investigation of the murder of E.C. Mullendroe in the 1970s.

Join us if you can or till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…….

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Century 16 Theater: A Story of Mayhem and Horror

The attendance at my OSU seminar about the life of Chub Anderson is good and everyone seems very interested in the project.

And now a story sure to give you nightmares……………

Welcome back. The dictionary defines horror as shock, revulsion and dread and the witnesses who were called to the stand described the Century 16 Theater tragedy in just those terms. During the opening week of testimony which I just attended, my preassigned seat was approximately twelve feet directly behind the defendant. At the request of the victims his name will never be mentioned in this story. They believe that the focus of people’s attention should not be on the shooter but on the overwhelming heartbreak that he has caused.

With that I’ll take you back to the scene of the catastrophe that occurred during the premiere of the Dark Night Rises which I described last week. Its three o’clock in the morning. The midnight showing had a full house when the admitted shooter began his rampage and the shooting didn’t stop until he had emptied his guns. Shortly thereafter he was arrested outside the theater.

According to the lead investigative officer for the Aurora Police Department the seventy people who were wounded had all been taken to one of several hospitals in the area and the survivors were being interviewed at a local high school. The building had been secured with police officers at every entrance and at 3 a.m. only the dead were still inside the theater.

It was the investigator’s first time to see the crime scene and as he retraced the shooter’s path from the exit door near the screen he found an assault rifle on the floor near a plastic clip that the killer used to prop open the exit door. The odor of tear gas and gun powder still filled the air as the investigator continued exploring inside the theater. As he walked, he slipped on what he discovered was blood covering the floor. There was blood everywhere, on the hand rails, the walls and the seats and it was the most gruesome scene he had ever witnessed in over twenty-five years in law enforcement. Many in the courtroom wept when at the D.A.’s request, the investigator went on to explain what had disturbed him the most.

The crowd in the theater had been mostly young teenagers and pre-teens and when the shooting started many of them called out on their cell phones. As panic broke out the phones were dropped throughout the theater and they were still on. When the investigator arrived the news media had gotten ahold of the story and were broadcasting live from the scene. It was mayhem. Standing just inside the theater door with only the dead, what would give him nightmares were the dozens of cell phones ringing. The friends and families of the victims were frantically calling hoping their loved ones weren’t among the dead and would pick up the phone.

It was none too soon for me when I started going south on US Highway 25 out of Denver. The route is a treat for the eye as the snow packed peaks of the Rockies go by. Crossing into New Mexico, the first town you come to is Raton which is the highest point on the railway system. It’s also the first exit that that will take me to Cimarron and Philmont. I’ve covered the Boy Scout ranch before and the vision of Waite Phillips’ that made the ranch a reality. While I was on the road word reached me that Waite’s only son, “Chope” Phillips died last Sunday. I wrote about Chope several years ago right after I met him. This story, along with stories about the St. James Hotel and the Express UUBar Ranch can be found online at www.originalbuffalodale.com  This spot is a favorite layover for me and after a week of horrific testimony the beauty of the surroundings was just what I needed to recharge my batteries.

After resting up at the UUBar I headed east out of Cimarron where the old Santa Fe Trail is still in use. First used by American Indians, the trail offers awesome views of beautiful grasslands as well. The Santa Fe Trail crosses another famous trail, Governor George Nigh’s southwest passage highway which goes straight east through the Oklahoma panhandle where miles of the majestic plains roll by like tumbleweeds. But that’s another story for another day.

This weekend you will get the chance to explore some wonderful scenery and history right here at home when Elder Care’s big fundraiser, The Good, The Bad & The Barbeque takes place at the Mullendore Cross Bell Ranch. For ticket information call Elder Care at (918) 336-8500.

If you are interested in local history you might also want to check out a short course I am offering through the OSU extension program in Bartlesville. The course will focus on my book about the life of Damon “Chub” Anderson in three two hour sessions held at Arvest’s eastside branch.. Contact Sally Banard for enrollment at (918) 812-3807.

So if I don’t run into you at the ranch, till next time I’ll see ya down the road……

 

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