In The Blink Of An Eye…

In the blink of an eye…life can forever change.

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Life seconds and blink moments can knock us off our feet, with either good or bad surprises…I usually blink a few times while digging my heels in to either celebrate the good or to fight the bad…we can never give up! As I often heard growing up, “Go catch up your horse, saddle up and be ready to ride hard!”

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June 12th was a warm summer day and Ellie our Aussie pup (she is looking at me with her sweet Ellie look) was going to have her first birthday! We were so excited for her and wanted to help her celebrate with lots of love and fun Ellie style!

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However, we had an appointment to go to in the big metropolis that we live close to…and we also needed to do some much needed shopping…we would be home later that day to celebrate operation EB!  (EB is short for Ellie Belle:)

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We left early that morning heading to the city…Costco had been sending out telepathic message waves to me to come shop the new stuff…as well as various stores we like to shop…like Ranch and Home…Home Depot…the Mall…Yippppeeee!

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After months of doing without…it is very serious and labor intensive for the country cowgirl to shop ALL the stores she wants to shop in a couple of hours! I keep telling WB we need to spend a night when we do this…he replies with a grrrunt!

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It was a sunny and warm day with lots of promise for fun…we laughed and talked about what we needed to do as far as shopping.

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We knew we had to find our Ellie girl some awesome new chew toys for her first birthday. We shopped some here and there, ate lunch and ended up with Sadie Suburban packed brim full after Costco…and the day was gone!

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It was after 6:00pm when we had the Costco groceries loaded…would have loved staying for dinner but we had a birthday to celebrate! Our little country cowgirl was waiting and she depended on us to bring her home a few fun toys, with lots of love and lots of fun treats!

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Did you know that Schwan’s Ice Cream has Doggie Sundaes as in ice cream flavored like meat? Well they do and Ms. Ellie had hers for her birthday celebration! She loved it!

OK back to driving home.

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By the time we pulled onto the freeway the winds were blowing and picking up to 30 to 40 mph, we had heard on the news that morning that late in the afternoon we would have heavy winds. I mentioned to WB that wind and dust storms often delivered conditions just right for wrecks on this freeway. Thankfully the dust was not blowing yet as we could see quite a ways and it was still light.

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Less than 5 minutes later we went by an exit that had several trucks and cars merging into our part of the freeway….we were in the left passing lane as the traffic was merging into the freeway in the right lane…and then…like a nightmare, a Honda Minivan was jetting across the lanes trying to avoid being behind the semi-truck we were passing in the left lane…

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The driver was trying to cut into our lane but there was no room between us and the semi and yet, he kept coming towards us like he was trying to push us off the road, by merging into us.

Precious Life Seconds Passed…

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WB kept his cool and kept steady on the wheel…I braced for the wreck as the van came so very close…close enough that our mirrors almost hit!

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I was certain he was going to hit us full force into the side of the Suburban in front of my door…WB laid on the horn and by the grace of God we were spared. It was very serious and very close…the worst close call that I have ever been in as far as close wrecks.

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I thank God for my husband as he kept a cool head…he has always been a good driver. If the van had hit us we would have spun out…ending up between the van and the semi along with many cars behind us or rolling.

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Neither of us said a thing or emitted a sound during those eternal seconds of life…we both knew how close we came!

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Thankfully God made a way for us to survive. I hope the van driver learned a lesson on driving and how life can change quickly with impatient hot-headed driving!

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Meanwhile, Ellie Belle had a Happy 1st Birthday!

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She is so very cute…she is our kid and we love her lots!

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And I leave you with this as I love it…it is so very true…amen!

Hot Rods Of This And That On HRCG!

Hot Rods of this and that on HRCG is another segment of photos taken the last few years and it may explain the Hot Rod Cowgirl name of my blog.

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If you are a serious car guy you will love this post…you can double-click on my photos and they will enlarge:)

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In this post I want to share some of the restored vehicles that my hubby has created for our customers.

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I hope you enjoy seeing a few of these incredible restorations, custom builds and amazing rides.

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Hang on and here we go…Zoom Zoom!

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We attend many car shows during the year to display our workmanship and to showcase the vehicles. This is our display at the Portland Roadster Show…we often showcase some of the recent customer vehicles to show the quality of the restorations we do…and people love to walk through our 30′ car trailer as we have photos displayed inside of various cars we have restored and built. We run videos of the vehicles through out the restoration…some restorations have 1000 hours in them from start to finish.

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Portland was the beginning of many large car shows to follow…

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As well as summer shows that are held in smaller towns with a sense of community and country fun…often the shows attract well over 350 cars with the show held in the downtown area which is nice, we women can shop!

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The photo above is one of my favorites. It was taken at the Portland Roadster Show the year we took 10 of our customer vehicles that WB restored…every car you see was restored and rebuilt to perfection. We brought home 12 trophies that year!

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The first year we attended the Portland Roadster Show, we took three of our restorations to display etc. I had been diagnosed with bc a few weeks before the show…WB said no we can not go…I told WB nope we are going to the show! This is the part of the business that is my part, I had approached the Roadster Show about coming…and it was an honor to be chosen to display our work and we were going!

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Only the vehicles which show complete perfection are selected to attend…so in a way you have already won to a degree if you are chosen to display your cars. We had six customer restorations displayed at the 2010 Roadster Show…we won six classes and brought home six trophies!

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 WB is giving me “The Look” as  he does not like me taking pictures of him….ha! The cars right behind him were our display that first year…1931 Blue Ford Tudor…1948 Red Chev. Pick Up…1946 Ford Tudor with the flames. Guess what? All three vehicles won Best Of Class in their respective classes and that is out of 550 cars, it was the 50th Portland Roadster Show! We were so pumped!!!

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I love this 1946 Ford Tudor, it’s a go fast and has all the comforts of today’s car, plus WB’s flames…and Wild Bill is famous for his signature flames!

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 Mr. Blue has won six times at the Roadster Show with us over the years…this 1931 Ford Tudor is incredibly cool!

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Another one of my favorites and I would LOVE to drive it:)

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TV interview day in the Secret Lab with Wild Bill! I love this…my entire married life to WB I have waited for this to happen! I love seeing WB get credit for the work he has done over many years….and I love seeing him talk…hee-hee…he is not a talker and was a nervous wreck!

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My hubby is MacGyver to the car world as he has the vision to see a rusted pile of junk restored into a regal vehicle.

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The first night of set up at a smaller show of 200 cars….we took the Ford Tudor to display and also some of our flame plates. Wild Bill does a lot of flame plates for the customers in their choice of colors so they can see the color and decide if it is the right one for their car.

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I am planning to do a post on one vehicle with before photos and during photos…

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This GTO had major rust and the quarter panels had to be changed as well as the floor of the entire vehicle.

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And after photos so you can see the process…as it is amazing!

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Hang on as we are going to switch gears grabbing more horsepower!

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Whew this tire cleaning is hard work and I need a break…

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Ahhhh…just what I needed:)

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Have a great weekend! HRCG over and out for now…but never for long!

Photos Of This And That On HRCG!

Photos of this and that on HRCG is me sorting through over 3000 photos.

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Minnie Mouse telling me….”Ahhhh Mom, don’t worry I am with you…I will be your nurse and your heart…I will make you smile as you recover from BC.” And she did:)

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Remember you can click on all my pictures and they will enlarge:)

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Annie’s time…hooking on with son Curt!

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Pat and Jack…

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Dasher and Kiah!

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My sweet Melody:)

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Solitude…

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Incredibly quiet and beautiful!

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Wishing you a fun-filled week wherever you may be!

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Stay tuned as I did not make a dent in the 3000 photos:)

The Sounds Of Country Silence

The sounds of country silence are…profoundly silent…incredibly quiet…and filled with a very still solitude.

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Living in country silence is my daily world. Sometimes it is more than hard to take as I love being around people while going, doing, and seeing life but my life has always been country quiet.

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Silence so still that some nights you can hear a train 10 miles away…silence so still you can hear your neighbor’s telephone ring on a summer night and they live a mile away over a hill!

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You learn to value the tick-tock of the clock for company and if you listen closer you can hear the hands move a bit with each tick…and if Minnie is close to me and she always is, I can hear her snore ever so softly or her stretching from her nap making a squeaky sound…I often listen to the refrigerator running and the ice maker filling…I recognize my neighbors pick ups as they drive by and always know the cattle trucks hauling cattle out of Juniper to the mountains…I know who it is before I see them.

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These are only a few of the sounds of my days…the old house creaking last night and today in the windstorm…the owls at night…hawks overhead…coyotes howling…the sounds and presence of our outside dogs…and the same with Ellie who is my inside dog…the sounds of nothing…the sounds of silence…the sounds of my life.

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My day begins with Minnie Mouse waking me with her wake up call “Yeowly Meow and Good Morning:)” Then WB gets up, I try to snuggle back down but one of the dogs outside barks and I wonder if it is a neighbor? I can hear the horses and the sound of their hooves running back and forth, waiting for their breakfast and I’m up.

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Making my way to the kitchen, I can smell the coffee brewing…WB is already out the door headed to feed horses and check water…then off to the shop…now it’s me and Minnie and Ellie. I get out my cup while looking out the same kitchen window I have looked out of forever, as I listen to the morning sounds…the tick-tock of the wall clock, the howling winds outside and the coffee pot hissing a bit.

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Today the wind is blowing out of a different direction as it howls and moans against the house, giving me different house creaks and groans to listen to. I love the sound of rain on the roof which is soothing to my soul…when it rains at night, it lulls me to sleep with rain drops falling ever so softly on our lives here, bathing the house and watering the crops, it’s always a beautiful sound to my ears.

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Some days I talk to myself just to hear a voice…and I write, talking the words on to a sheet of paper or to my blog which helps me feel connected to the world.

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It is the quiet life I know and love…and I will never take for granted. I know how blessed I am to experience life as I know it!

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The song, Sounds Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, was going through my head as I was writing….go to iTunes if you don’t have it as it was a great song.

“Hello darkness my old friend…I’ve come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping…Left its seeds while I was sleeping,

And the vision that was planted in my brain,

Still remains…Within the sound of silence.”

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Wishing you a Fabulous Fantastic Fun Friday and a wonderful weekend wherever you may be!  Spring is coming…my camera is ready and waiting to go:) HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

Happy Valentines Day My Wild Bill!

 I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day…this is late but heart felt:)

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February 14th is an anniversary for us as Wild Bill and I met 38 years ago on Valentines Day.

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It seemed by chance, but God had it planned…we knew we had found our soul mate, our life partner and best friend…it was one of those times in life that clicked, you knew and your heart knew.

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We were married eight months later! And 38 years later we are still making beautiful music together and one in heart…except when we dance as Wild Bill can not count time! He can count the time and beat of horsepower but not music! I am a natural in counting double time or time and a half or just time in the beat of life that you can hear in the beat of music! I love it!

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This is Wild Bill’s dance beat and I love this beat with him too…this is “Jagged” WB custom built this 1928 Dodge Coupe and installed a V-12 Jag motor in it…they said there was no way that he could use an American carburetor on the V-12…he said oh yeah? The rest of the story is yes…he did it!

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Music has always been part of my life, listening to the verse, the bass, the lead, the chords, and the rhythm, songs that tell the story often tie into my life or what I am writing about or the photo that I am taking. Funny how both the beat of life and the beat of music actually fit together…throw in a few chosen words and you have a fit and hopefully a hit!

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I have shared many of our songs with you…this song is written by Buddy and Julie Miller and truly wonderful. I wish I could include the simple beat of the song as they sing it…it makes you want to dance with your significant other, while the music speaks straight to your heart. If you want to hear this song, go to iTunes. Put a search in for Buddy and Julie Miller…and their songs…look for”Holding Up the Sky”…and enjoy!

Holding Up the Sky

By Buddy Miller & Julie Miller

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When the night has stayed too long…And tears won’t keep

When the sun beats down too strong

Our love runs deep

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And our love will hold up the sky

when the rain comes down too hard

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It’s a cord that will not untie

It’s a promise the angels guard

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It will always be your name

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You are inside my heart

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Baby our love was meant to be

it’s from Gods hands

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Even when dreams turn to memories

Our love will dance

I hope you all have a wonderful new week ahead…until next time, HRCG is over and out!

The First Breathe Of Spring

The first breath of Spring is elusive here in Juniper and yet, can it be?

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 Is it Spring? I felt her brush my cheek tonight as I stood outside taking pictures without a coat or shoes…I saw magic time colors…grabbed my camera and out the door I went…lucky we have a nice patio that accommodates feet with or without socks!

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When we went to bed Saturday night, the snow was beginning to drift and blow…

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And when we woke up Sunday morning,

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We had drifts blocking various roads and doors…and fun photography shots!

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However, some of us were getting a bit perturbed…ok darn right cranky!

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Bitchy, Grumpy and Sweet Melody…aw my Mel, you are so sweet!

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By the time we went to bed Sunday night…the great thaw had begun!

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Spring is coming…hang on…tell Groundhog Phil he needs a new gig!

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Over and out from HRCG and Minnie, the cat who knows where it’s at!

The Tale Of A Wyoming Buffalo On Top Of Pinon Ridge…

The tale of a Wyoming Buffalo, up on top of Pinon Ridge is one of those stories you live for and live to tell. I know it’s long but it’s worth it! Many of the photos that I have are not digital so the quality is not great…but the heart is:) Most of the photos will enlarge if you click on them…I added several landscape photos with incredible views so you can see the Wyoming I knew and loved…

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I was not ready to pose for a picture when WB snapped this…looks like I am saying huh? He took this photo of me with my hair blowing to show the Wyoming Noon Express also known as the Wild Wyoming Wind! I had hurricane strings on all my hats when I was riding my horse or out and about…so hang on tight as here we go…with the tale of a Wyoming Buffalo up on Pinon Ridge.

It was barely daylight that late July morning when I unloaded my partner out of the horsetrailer, Lottie was big eyed as she looked around taking it all in, this was her third ride with me up Pinon. She had been in Wyoming about six weeks…the first month she was corralled until she was acclimated to the altitude. Then we took many slow and easy rides to build her stamina and overall health…she was doing great and she loved gathering cows!

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We planned to meet where the Green River begins at the base of Square Top Mountain and Green River Lake (above) with our fellow cattle ranchers and neighbors to gather cattle for the twelve ranches we represented.

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The ranches we rode with belonged to the Green River Drift or the Upper Green River Cattleman’s Grazing Association. A grazing association is a group of cattle ranchers who have permits to graze their cattle on public land for the summer months. Each ranch provides a cowboy for the summer to stay with the cattle once they reached the high country. The cowboys check the cattle daily, looking for illness or injury etc. and on this particular morning, we were meeting up with the cowboys to move the cattle to higher pastures up behind Yellowstone Park.

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I tightened up the cinch and checked my gear out, while WB was saddling his horse next to me and doing the same. Lightning was dancing and flashing all around us as the thunder cracked overhead, playing crescendo after crescendo with ba-booms that drummed into  a “Wild Wyoming Rumba In The Sky!”

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I looked forward to the day as WB was able to ride with me gathering cows, however when your hubby is the ranch manager/foreman things can happen…one of our bosses arrived with several Argentina kids that were visiting the US to play polo at his ranch, in Jackson Hole. I looked at WB and then we both looked at Bob, who was the elder cowboy on our outfit, and before I could ask him, he looked at me and said “GO, get gone girl and get going…hurry up go, before you get stuck here, and miss out on riding and gathering!” I took his advice quickly as Lottie and I trotted off to join the group…I didn’t know our neighbors that well yet but Lottie and I caught up with them and we were off for a new adventure, new scenery, incredible scary weather and treasured memories of living on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, at the base of the Continental Divide!

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Lottie and I, heading out to check cows here in Oregon on our mountain ranch…she was an amazing horse…so pretty and smart…calm, dependable and laid back but give her a cue and hang on as she moved like a cat when it came to cutting cows. My Dad would get so tickled and laugh at her as she would be in the pasture moving cows by herself so she could cut them out of “her” herd!

Wild Bill watched as our group rode up Pinon, climbing around 1500′, with lightning strikes all around us, it was something else to see! He saw jagged strikes hit the ground starting several small fires…about the time he was ready to call attention to it, the falling snow put out the fires as fast as the fire had begun. As we pushed on, the snow began coming down harder with a slight breeze that was blowing snow in my face…I pulled my Wild Rag up higher to cover my face up to my eyes, and pulled my cowboy hat down. I could not see the perimeter around me, due to the intensity of the snow, I could only see the cattle in front of me and Lottie’s ears.

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I didn’t know the lay of the land or where we were going, I figured the cows would know where to go as they had summered here before so we stayed with the cows as we disappeared into the clouds of brilliant white lightning and snow, with rumbling cracks of thunder that boomed above us. WB and Bob took the Argentina group for a trail ride away from us so they would not accidentally spook the cattle we were gathering. Fortunately they were low enough that the storm and blizzard missed them, they had a little rain but not much.

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We kept on climbing with our heads down and eyes squinting, gathering and pushing cows as we climbed higher. I continued to look both right and left for my neighbors…all I saw was a very serious snow storm with lightning strikes way to close!

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This photo was taken earlier in June, it is about a quarter of the way up Pinon…looking back at Square Top and Green River Lake and the Green River flowing below…the country in Wyoming was HUGE! Amazingly huge!

The further we climbed, the harder it stormed and boomed! I found myself in a surreal world with near white out conditions, in the middle of summer…the end of July no doubt…while back home in Eastern Oregon my family was in wheat harvest and it was 105 degrees!

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It was a total mind trip as I wondered if I had ridden into a parallel universe or something? I kept moving cows, hoping to break over the top.

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Thankfully we rode into a lush green meadows up behind Yellowstone Park, the sun came out, the clouds parted and disappeared…just like that, we were out of the storm and my neighbors were either there or right behind me! Lottie and I sat looking at the incredible scenery and the cows we gathered…we had gathered a large bunch despite the storm. It was about 10:30 in the morning as we all sat on our horses drying out, basking in the warm sunshine while we watched the herd. One of my neighbors rode over to introduce himself and talk a bit and dry out…and then he said to me, “Hey look, whats he doing?”

I looked and said “Who and what is he doing?”

My neighbor said, “Hey, yeah…it’s Sam, (who rode for our ranch) and he’s chasing after a buffalo in the herd.”

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“WHAT?” I figured it was tease the newbie from Oregon…ha-ha…so I carefully asked him “Oh come on, are you sure its a buffalo?”

“Yep, I’m sure!” He figured it to be a young, maybe 3-4 years old but still sizable…we watched as Sam roped the Buffalo, while a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls gathered around to see what he was doing…and then my neighbor said “Hey, let’s go see what’s up.”

Sam had the Buffalo roped and down. A few cowboys helped him by catching the heels and several cowboys got off their horses to help, as now they had the Buffalo strung out. With the risk of Brucellosis developing, it was felt that the Buffalo had to be castrated to protect the cattle herd. No one said a word…not one word. I sat on Lottie watching the story unfold…wishing I had a camera and something to write on! Silence fell like a veil on us and time was suspended…finally one of the neighbors got off his horse and said “Look, we can’t do this, I’ll come unglued if you do this.”

Without a word, the cowboys dropped their ropes that held the Buffalo down…the Buffalo was a good size and he was mad! I knew what was coming…I asked Lottie to roll back and turn, moving it like “Sue Sally” as we galloped away!

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I looked back over my shoulder wishing I had a video camera as it was a “Real Life, Charlie Russell Painting!” Once the Buffalo was free from the ropes, he got up snorting and madder than heck…he began charging towards the horses, and the cowboys yet on the ground. Several horses took off dragging lasso ropes, spooking themselves as well as other horses who by now were bucking and running to get away from the beast while the cowboys were running on foot as fast as they could away from “Psycho Buffalo!” Lottie and I galloped out of there in record time heading for the high country…at 11,500′ how much higher can you go? I didn’t know or care as we ran fast and thankfully escaped the crazy chaos!

About 30 minutes later we all gathered back again in the meadow and rode off the mountain quietly…thinking of our day so far…it was noon and we were headed for home, back down Pinion Ridge on that crazy day the end of July.

About half way down Pinon, one of my neighbors said “You know, I was born and raised here in Wyoming and that storm this morning was the worst one I have ridden through!” I could not believe it! I figured the storm must not be bad as no one said a word, they just buckled down and rode through it like me…ha! We made it through one of the worst storms on the Upper Green…me and Lottie. I miss her, she was my girl and my partner…we were a team and had a great time together in the 20 years I had her. She was a triple bred Leo mare and she was incredible…a deep red sorrel, except for her white blaze on her face, and three white socks. I would love to find another one just like her.

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Once I made it to the trailer and my man, Wild Bill, I hopped off Lottie and hurriedly told WB about the Buffalo and he rolled his eyes and hooted on me. He thought I was teasing him so he would not listen to me…I said “No it’s true!” He said “Oh sure, I don’t get to go and you see a Buffalo” and I said “Yes I saw a Buffalo” he said “Yeah right”….so I marched over to my neighbors and said tell ‘em….and they did, while they were hooting and laughing at both of us!

The reason for the concern about the Buffalo, was due to disease. Buffalo will breed cattle and they carry a deadly disease that can wipe out your entire herd of cattle called Brucellosis. We called the Fish and Game as soon as we made it home that day…and they dealt with the angry Buffalo up on Pinon Ridge…all on a typical day, gathering cows in Wyoming in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

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A few footnotes on Sublette County and the Upper Green River Drift:

We lived in Sublette County which was the least populated county in the United States…Wyoming was the least populated state in the United States and we lived 8 miles from a very small town!

Local ranchers have grazed cattle on public land for more than a century in the Upper Green River Valley. Each spring, cattle are driven north to their pasture allotments and when it gets cold in the fall, the cattle begin to drift off the mountains to head home for the winter. The twice a year cattle drives have become known as the Green River Drift.

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Ranchers who are members of the Upper Green River Cattle Association can be found moving herds of cattle south down the Green River Lakes road during the fall months, to the staging area next to Trapper’s Point monument area about 5 miles west of Pinedale. The large groups of cattle are then moved to the cutting grounds where each rancher’s cattle are sorted out by brand into their respective herds, to be driven in smaller cattle drives back to the home ranches. Our ranch where we lived was down on the flat meadow ground that you see as that was my view of Gannet and the Wind Rivers.

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In the 1890s, the first cattle associations were formed in the Upper Green River Valley as a result of extremely harsh winters that decimated local cattle herds. The Big Piney Roundup Association was formed in 1890. In 1916, the Upper Green River Cattle and Horse Growers Association was formed. The name was changed to the Upper Green River Cattle Association in 1925. In the 1930s, the association added driveways which allowed them to bypass private land and more easily funnel cattle to desired pasture areas. For more than a hundred years, local ranchers have worked with government entities to manage the range allotments and cattle use with the best management practices possible. The Green River Drift, cutting grounds, and driveways have been a part of the valley’s history for so long now some people have suggested they be considered for historic recognition and designation.

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As I close for now, here is where the Green River begins…it flows out of Green River Lake…and begins its winding way to the Colorado River. Square Top mountain is in the background…I often rode above it and could look back and look down to find it as it was so level. Pinon Ridge represents a pivotal ridge due to the three main water ways it represents. Depending on which side the waters flow from rain drops or snow melt, it will either flow to the Columbia River or the Colorado River or the great Mississippi River. Some call it Three Waters Mountain or Ridge…I first heard this the first time I rode up Pinon and it was raining! I loved it!!!

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May you all have a blessed week wherever you are! Minnie is having a Mommy and me moment! HRCG over and out…10-4 good buddy!

This is a special mountain: at its summit converge three major watersheds. Every year during the late spring or early summer, a pile of snow at a certain place on this mountain melts into three distinct basins. When water from one basin finally reaches the ocean, it will be well over a thousand miles distant from the mouths of the other two basins. – See more at: http://www.usends.com/Explore/Elevations/3WM/index.html#sthash.0BimcudI.dpuf
This is a special mountain: at its summit converge three major watersheds. Every year during the late spring or early summer, a pile of snow at a certain place on this mountain melts into three distinct basins. When water from one basin finally reaches the ocean, it will be well over a thousand miles distant from the mouths of the other two basins. – See more at: http://www.usends.com/Explore/Elevations/3WM/index.html#sthash.0BimcudI.dpuf
Meltwater eventually trickles into Fish Creek, which is a tributary of the Gros Ventre River, which flows into the Snake River, which in turn flows into the Columbia River, which enters the Pacific Ocean near Astoria OR. The far side of Pinon Ridge, however, drains into the Roaring Fork, which flows into the Green River, then the Colorado River, which empties into the Gulf of California, which meets the Pacific Ocean way down somewhere between Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – some 2000 miles down the coast from Astoria. – See more at: http://www.usends.com/Explore/Elevations/3WM/index.html#sthash.iupIQ4SI.dpuf

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