Day In Cheyenne

Last night we had a fabulous dinner with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, Trigger Happy Ted and Misty Rider. A good catch up to start off our short stay in Cheyenne.

This morning was a leisurely start over coffee and then off to the country club for lunch on the deck overlooking the golf course.

 

A visit to the museum made for an interesting afternoon. Passing some of Cheyennes spectacular 1800's buildings, the Nelson Museum Of The West awaits.

 

With everything from taxidermy, firearms, Hollywood posters, Indian, cavalry, vaquero outfits, Spurs etc it is a fantastic exhibit over two floors, the third floor below – Lawmen and Outlaws display.

 

Gambling, guns and whiskey were the essentials for outlaws of the time or more likely is what caused the most grief in small railway and cowtown's of the west.

 

This a neat little museum and worth a visit if you are short on time, you can do it in a couple of hours.

We did get an extra personalised tour into the war bonnet room and the new exhibit acquisition room where they are organising new displays.

 

Then across the street into the military uniform display, what a collection! Mostly uniforms from actual military members and displayed with their name plate and photo! Such amazing collections!

 

A little saunter later down the road we arrived at The Plains Hotel for a rest and a beer. Yep, a Saddle Bronc for me, always got to try a local brew, well it comes out of Sheridan which is still Wyoming.

 

That takes care of today, won't be much to report tomorrow until we are at the airport!

Cheers

Kat xo

 

Now, Where Were We?

Oh yeah, so last Thursday we were heading here to Albuquerque, breakfast on the way, making a quick stop in Weatherford at the Thomas P. Stafford Air and Space Museum….as you do.

We have driven past it a number of times and it's the usual, 'we should stop and have a look at that place one day'. So this day we finally did!

 

In we trotted. To give some small background General Thomas P. Stafford is a well respected Oklahoman, and indeed throughout the nation, a man who was an author, fighter pilot, astronaut and test pilot. He commanded Apollo missions.

 

Inside the museum there are a number of planes from the Wright brothers days to the Lindbergh non stop Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St Louis, WWI fighters, experimental aircraft and modern day marvels.

 

Then there is a whole section on space exploration including the Russian joint missions during the space race. There are replicas of satellite launchers from around the world and unique information boards to imagine how much 'John Deere' horsepower it would take to fire up just one F-1 engine.

Go on, you're dying to know right? Try 56,000 John Deere 9620R tractors equivalent! The Saturn V rocket used 5 engines so that's enough tractors to reach from Weatherford, OK to San Francisco, CA or 283,800 tractors end to end.

 

Anyway, from the information we read in the museum Stafford was a very influential man both in flight and space, not only flying during service, commanding missions in space but teaching others to do the same and his expertise in these fields earned him the highest honours and Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

 

All in all, this was a neat little museum and is worth a visit, takes about an hour.

 

Now it's been a wild weekend but I'll get to that tomorrow after the Wild Bunch dinner and awards are done.

Kat xo

P.S. Well it's today now as the bugs were finding the light of the iPad in the darkness last night. Wild Bunch Awards and dinner tonight. Will do Wild Bunch blog tonight! 🙂

 

Smokin’ Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part 2

Okay, so after the exceptional opening ceremony yesterday, we shot 5 stages, got a little more suntan, had a blast with our posse and finished on a high note!

Friday I think as previously mentioned, was Wild Bunch, side matches, and a chilli dinner with joke night. THAT brought out some of the best and worst from all ages (might I add).

Saturday after the exceptional opening ceremony (see Smokin' Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part 1) we went through 5 stages of the main match which was pretty good and then we had a range dinner of catfish, shrimp and hush puppies with coleslaw and fries – of course a cupcake, and chicken tenders for Jack and others that didn't want catfish!

We had the band play last night but we retired reasonably early.

Throughout the night the thunder and lightning kept some of us awake and when it was time to see in the new day this morning it was still raining at a reasonable rate. Yuck!

Breakfast was had and by the time we left for the range it was very very light.

When we were ready to start shooting, all rain had ceased and we were blessed with spectacular cloudy, or cloudless weather for the rest of the day. It was particularly water logged and muddy – to say the very least!!!

 

Our group of shooters, Posse 1, (which included Annie Hicock, Fast Fingers Green, Billy Broncstomper, Belle Vaquera, Jackaroo and myself, C.S. Brady, Trail Agent, Slick McClade, Harpe, Jackalope Jeb, Red Jack Morgan, Okie Buck, Outlaw Bill Wilson, The Arizona Ranger and Three Sheets) finished in spectacular style, sliding into the very muddy Train Depot stage.

 

The clean match winners were announced and given a guncart hand towel. A neat idea and something different.

The veterans from each division (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard) were presented with a special challenge coin. I didn't know they had an area on the entry forms to state service, Jack had put his service down too and was pleasantly surprised to be included in this honour.

I present to you the 'Veterans Posse'. Everyone gave a standing ovation to these men and women. We thank you for your service.

 

Category awards were handed out with Jack and I both winning ours. Congratulations to the Lady Wranglers; Dew R Dye 2nd and Belle Vaquera 3rd! To the Silver Seniors; Three Sheets 2nd, 3rd and 4th!

 

We worked out 12 of the 16 in our posse placed!

The Mississippi State overall champions were Blackfish Kid for the Men's and Lady Gator for the Ladies.

The overall match champions were Slick McClade and Slick's Sharpshooter (not related, she belongs to a different 'Slick' family! 🙂 )

 

Well done to the Mississippi River Rangers for a fabulous and memorable weekend.

Kat xo

 

Smokin’ Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part1

……I'm an American soldier, an American, besides my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand, when liberty's in jeopardy, I will always do what's right, I'm out here on the front line, so you can sleep in peace tonight….. (yes, sing along, Toby Keith's American Soldier) well, what a heart rendering opening ceremony as Smokin' Guns at Rabbit Ridge is known for. The presentation of the Color Guard is the highlight to this match which usually falls on Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all those who have served and are serving, be it here or across the world.

Sweetwater Sage riding Quervo trotted down the range with the Christian flag and Tumbleweed riding Sunny with the American flag ready to hand to Col. Benjamin Grierson and Sgt. Hampton for raising. This is all whilst they have Toby Keith's, American Soldier playing in the background. Man, just brings tears to your eyes. Just truly sensational! Go to Facebook to see the video.

 

After the Color Guard, National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, was a very moving tribute to Easy Lee who passed away just a short time ago. Fellow cowboy's from the Mississippi Rangers led a procession with the painted pony bearing a set of cowboy boots back to front in the stirrups, his rig, pistols and hat astride the saddle. May he rest in peace.

 

With the fire of multi shotgun blast, the ceremony was complete and after having the usual group photo beside the paddle steamer facade everyone departed to their assigned Posse and we are ready to throw some lead down range!

 

Five spectacular stages completed under light cloud cover with intense humidity….,yeah that's probably a good way to describe it, although I think the humidity hit its peak earlier this evening when the sun came out and we were all hanging around waiting for dinner and the band.

A visit with vendors, chatting with folks, drinking beer. Yep, sounds like a whole lot of fun!! When the band, Drivin' Sideways, got on to play with our resident star guitar player Fast Fingers Green from Oklahoma, we were rockin' out to the good Ol' tunes. (He played with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitter when teenagers! Just imagine! I was so born in the wrong era, love this music!)

 

We called it a night, been a long day, got another long one tomorrow (yes it was only 7.45pm when we left the range 🙂 ) and just too sticky to stay out longer.

 

Night y'all!

Kat xo

 

Lawrence of Clarence River

I amuse myself, Lawrence of Clarence River, thoughts in my mind was Lawrence of Arabia, I know, it's different. Just my twisted mind.

The little town of Lawrence, established 18 something, sits on the banks of the mighty Clarence River on the north coast of New South Wales. 18something!? You say. Well yes, 18 something, I can not find a specific 'established' date for this tiny little town steeped in history.

Photos within the museum tell me that it was a town more than likely around the 1860's. Public education certainly existed during 1864 however the school buildings foundation was not laid until 1880. Many other major buildings were not erected it seems until around the 1880's either.

 

Past recollections of previous generations, tell stories of Lawrence being a busy little port with many wharves, a great number of boats hauling up and down the river, 3 hotels, 2 large sawmills, 2 general stores, a bank, and a butter factory!

 

Loads of potato's were shipped, timber, duck hunting seasons existed back then in Australia, the timber industry in the area was booming and for a price illicit rum could be procured from the surrounding bush areas. Bit like being able to procure white lightning from the hills of Kentucky I imagine.

 

Of course these days Lawrence is very much a sugar cane growing area and from Paddlewheel and Emeralds place it is not uncommon to see the occasional cane fire burn off.

I mentioned the Museum. The Lawrence Museum is housed in an old radio station building. 2NR was the station. It has been stripped out – some radio gear preserved for history – and now has been set up as different rooms.

There is the kitchen area items, the sewing room with a beautiful display of sewing machines, merchandisers cards of needles, buttons, patterns etc.

 

The bedroom is kitted out with baby linen, old quilts, beds, etc. The parlour with musical instruments, tea sets, and a gorgeous old wedding dress.

 

There are War related displays which are yet to be revamped as there are many more pieces to be included.

 

I was genuinely impressed by the hard work and efforts that the volunteers carry out here. They are to be commended.

 

To finish this quick afternoon tour, we stepped outside to leave. There are some out buildings filled with farm implements that I didn't go take a look at as it was near closing time.

I did take a quick look at the very small cottage that housed a family with 8 children at one point! An interesting story in itself, the tiny cottage was home to a gentleman named Edward Ramsamy. Known as Ram Chandra he was, in later life, instrumental in assisting the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory with an antivenene for the deadly Taipan snakes.

 

So there you go! A little bit, about a small town alongside a big river. Thanks Emerald for taking me to see it!

Kat xo

20th November 2016

 

Remembrance Day

We held our minute silence on Friday 11th at the 11th hour in memory of all veterans both past, present and across continents.

Saturday afternoon however, we took a quick trip to the Australian War Memorial in our nation's capital. This trip all I wanted to do was to at least see the Hall of Honour, the reflection pool and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 

Simpson's donkey is covered in red poppies from the previous day's memorial service. A bronze tribute to John Simpson Kirkpatrick. Recognised for his bravery and compassion, he and his donkey carried water up to troops through Shrapnel Gully and many wounded soldiers back down to Anzac Cove.

 

The flags even seemed to fly with pride in the clear blue skies and moderate winds, against a backdrop of Anzac Parade, through to both the old and new Parliament house's.

 

There are many visitors coming and going as we make our way up the stairs and into the Reflection Pool area. The wreath's still lay around the pools edge, and it's really nice to see all the Australian native flowers used in many of the display's.

 

There is much chatter outside by some but I was glad that upon entering the tomb of the Unknown Soldier everyone was respectfully silent. This hall has always been my favourite with its beautiful stained glass windows, ornate ceiling, tiled pictures and reverent setting.

 

Out into the Hall of Honour the bronze name plaques are filled with poppies and soon I managed a moment of next to no one in these areas for a better photo.

 

Jack and I decided we should stick our heads in the main museum doors and were surprised by some very new artefact showcases and interactive displays! NOW we need to come again and spend the full day and a bit that it would take to see it again.

We spent almost an hour just in the first entrance to the ANZAC display.

 

Let us all be thankful for our men and women who have served and are serving.

Lest We Forget.

Kat xo

Nov 12, 2016

 

Lotz House

The home of the Lotz family built in 1858, occupied for 3 years prior to the Battle of Franklin.

He was a humble man, a woodworker on a 5 acre lot with some animals. Not well to do but would have had better furniture and fixtures than most (not to the calibre of the plantation owners) due to his craftsmanship. His house was a showcase of his talents, both for structural woodworking and for instruments, he had no slaves so everything was done by the family,

Mr Lotz had heard there may be a battle but Federal officials also said that there wouldn't be a battle here, that they had planned a battle for Nashville. Mr Lotz' home was a timber structure and was concerned for his family. Across the way was the Carnton Plantation, there home made of brick. The Carters would allow the Lotz family to come stay with them should a battle occur in Franklin.

The youngest, 2 year old twins, had died before the battle after drinking contaminated or poisoned water the Federals had tampered with prior to the Confederates coming into Franklin.

This family had already endured the rigors of war before the battle had even begun.

One night when a Union officer came knocking at his door Lotz gathered up his family (and his toolbox) and they hurried to the Carnton Plantation.

It must have been difficult for him to watch his house be ruined by unruly soldiers who were merely cold, hungry. They pulled out all his out houses, barns and fences, cut down trees etc and when hungry started killing his livestock for food.

His house was severely damaged from fire, cannon's and bullets. His house was used as a field hospital for both Confederate and Federal soldiers. (Hence the red flag I the picture below)

The Battle of Franklin rendered 10,000 casualties in its short 5 hours. It is said that once the troops moved on the towns folk would see the devastation that would be forever burnt in their memories.

Death and destruction like no other, as he took his family back to their home they literally had nowhere to put their feet that they weren't stepping on bodies. Seventeen horses lay dead in the front yard and no way to move any of them as he now had no stock to pull the wagon. For two weeks they lay there.

The family then lived in the root cellar (where you stored your root vegetables duri the winter), a dirt floor next to no heating during cold weather while Mr Lotz began repairs on the home, mending floorboards, walls, taking out broken windows and boarding up the right side of the house. Burnt boards were taken off and flipped over to be re-affixed. With no nails or anything, Mr Lotz pulled the horseshoes off the dead horses to use the nails for fixing floorboards.

What an overwhelming thought of grief, pride, yet sheer resilience this man and indeed his family had to be able to go on wih their lives.

It took him four years to restore his home to livable conditions. Now Mr Lotz was trying to gain commissions again for furniture and instruments. He built a piano and inlay a confederate flag one end and an American flag the other. A wingspread eagle through the centre had its talons clutching the Confederate flag.

The Klu Klux Klan was a 'good' group in the very early days. They supported Confederate families who had lost loved ones during the battles. They had heard about Mr Lotz piano and they set out to see the masterpiece. At the knock on the door Mr Lotz was excited they may be coming to see his work and purchase the piece however it took a turn for the worse. They were so outraged and felt it dishonourable to show the eagle clutching the flag that after heated discussions took place Mr Lotz was threatened that they would be back to tar and feather him.

Mr Lotz feared they would definitely be back, he quickly packed his covered wagon, sold as much as he could and left the rest, selling his house to the Buchanan family …… And along with it some other items of furniture AND the piano. By the way, he moved clear East to San Jose, California.

For the poor family who bought the home, awoken by a crashing noise, found the Klan had indeed come back and broken into the house, retrieved the piano, took it outside, smashed and burnt it.

Anyway that's all I can remember from Miss Helen's guided tour of the house. No pictures could be taken inside unfortunately. There were some truly magnificent pieces of art, china and furniture. Only a few have been returned to the House historical society that belonged to, or was made or painted by one of the Lotz family members.

You can see on the outside of the house the different cornice above the windows to showcase different styles of his work. Evident also in the very different mantlepieces, staircase and triple crown moulding he had carved and made using hand tools.

 

A humbling, interesting end to a long day.

Kat xo