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Dusty Trails

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Mountain Cowgirl

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The Tepee

In the late 1970s, I was at a ranch gathering with friends. One of our group was a full-blood American Indian and a mentor in keeping the old traditions alive. He had a tepee set up above his house where he practiced his drumming for exhibitions. His wife had banned him from practicing in the house for obvious reasons.

Well, the "Cheif" as everyone called him, hadn't been at the last two gatherings. Since I had been working on a ranch rounding up cattle above his place, I was asked if I knew where the Cheif was. Without thought, I said, "The last time I saw the Cheif he was in his tepee beating on his tom tom." Everyone exploded into laughter and it took me a minute to realize that what I said could be interpreted other than what I meant.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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The Dude Ranch

After I finished my employment on the new Powder River highway 203 bridge, A friend told me a dude ranch, a "gender" blind equal opportunity employer, was looking for a ranch knowledgable person to be a director of activities. I was unaware Eastern Oregon had a dude ranch, but the idea intrigued me since I worked one summer in Montana for a dude ranch as a wilderness survival guide.

After a long trip up a dusty mountain road, I arrived at the ranch. I pulled around to the parking area on the side and what I saw left me numb.

There was a huge hot tub filled with nude guys. Some were kissing. I gathered my wits as one guy got out of the tub making no attempt to cover. He was wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and no doubt the head wrangler or should I say dangler. I dang near stripped the gears out of my old International 4WD backing up and then flooring it fishtailing and throwing gravel. I almost didn't make the narrow exit bridge crossing the creek.
 
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Mountain Cowgirl

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The Dog

Back in the 1970s, while waiting for a range fence job to be approved up the river from where WF now resides, I took a job painting a house for an old couple in Baker. That was before it was decided to change the name back to the original Baker City. This has no bearing on my story.

Anyway, as I am painting away happy as can be, and I see a car pull up, a very short guy (about the size of Danny Devito) in a suit gets out with a briefcase, opens the gate to the neighbor's yard, walks in and halfway down the walk is suddenly rushed by a yapping Dachshund. He starts backing up and the dog rushes him, leaps up, and bites him in the crotch, and the dog's teeth get hung up on the guy's pants fly. The guy starts yelling and beating the dog with his briefcase, finally knocking the little yapper off. The dog staggers around and finally takes off yapping at a very high pitch.

A very heavy unkempt lady comes out and starts cussing at the guy who quickly retreats to his car and takes off. The police arrive and question me as to what I saw. I tell them my story and give them my contact info, then I go back to painting.

A few days later I am served with a summons to appear in small claims court. The lady was suing the salesman for the vet bill (checking the dog over) (the dog was found to be uninjured) and the salesman was countersuing for damage to his pants. The judge back then, Old Earl had no sense of humor.

After I told the court what I saw, referring to the dog as a small dog, the judge said to me in a gruff sarcastic tone, " Well if it isn't too much trouble or inconvenience for you young lady, tell us what breed of dog you saw attack the salesman?"

"Well I am no expert on dog breeds," I said sweetly, "but I am guessing it was a Weiner dog."

BAM BAM BAM went the gavel and I was scolded and threatened by old Earl to never disrespect his court like that ever again.
 
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webfoot

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We say what happens in the canyon stays in the canyon. So the Durkee swimming hole is just up stream from my place. It is the only place on the river with a hole deep enough to swim in. Last year we started noticing people camping there. Vehicles with out of state plates. I found out there is an app for free camping spots. Our swimming hole is on that app. So I run up there on the quad nearly daily during fire season to make sure they aren't having a fire. One day this year there was a pickup with an enclosed trailer parked along the road. A tent set up 40 feet from the pickup. As I come up the road there is a man standing facing me mid way between the tent and the trailer naked as a jay bird. And he makes no effort move toward the tent or the trailer. Just stands there naked. What happens in the canyon stays in the canyon.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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We say what happens in the canyon stays in the canyon. So the Durkee swimming hole is just up stream from my place. It is the only place on the river with a hole deep enough to swim in. Last year we started noticing people camping there. Vehicles with out of state plates. I found out there is an app for free camping spots. Our swimming hole is on that app. So I run up there on the quad nearly daily during fire season to make sure they aren't having a fire. One day this year there was a pickup with an enclosed trailer parked along the road. A tent set up 40 feet from the pickup. As I come up the road there is a man standing facing me mid way between the tent and the trailer naked as a jay bird. And he makes no effort move toward the tent or the trailer. Just stands there naked. What happens in the canyon stays in the canyon.
Whoops, it looks like that story slipped out of the canyon hahaha! Yes, I know the spot and any stories about that spot and my dipping there with friends, unencumbered by garments, are sealed deep in canyon stone forever.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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Rye Valley Sagebrush

I was coming back from being up 24 hours helping with calving way south of nowhere and Mormon Basin. I decided to take a shortcut through Rye Valley over to Hwy 30. I had to drive as my friend was overtired and fell asleep before I was in the driver's seat. Her pickup was fairly new, comfortable, and automatic, unlike my old International 4WD to which I was accustomed. Coming through Rye Valley as daylight was breaking, I was awakened by her screaming, and the sound of giant sage brush beating the extended side mirrors something fierce. All we could see was giant sagebrush all around us. I reversed it and was able to follow the path of disturbed sagebrush until we hit the dirt road. I was about a quarter-mile off the road. I had failed to navigate a curve in the road. We sat there awhile drinking the last of the cold coffee from the thermos.

That cold coffee kept us alert as we made it over Gold Ridge and down to old highway 30 that carried us into Durkee. Durkee had a great breakfast cafe in those days. Nothing like hot black coffee, homemade biscuits, heavily peppered gravy, eggs sunny side up, and a few strips of pig fat to get the day going.
 
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webfoot

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Rye Valley Sagebrush

I was coming back from being up 24 hours helping with calving way south of nowhere and Mormon Basin. I decided to take a shortcut through Rye Valley over to Hwy 30. I had to drive as my friend was overtired and fell asleep before I was in the driver's seat. Her pickup was fairly new, comfortable, and automatic, unlike my old International 4WD to which I was accustomed. Coming through Rye Valley as daylight was breaking, I was awakened by her screaming, and the sound of giant sage brush beating the extended side mirrors something fierce. All we could see was giant sagebrush all around us. I reversed it and was able to follow the path of disturbed sagebrush until we hit the dirt road. I was about a quarter-mile off the road. I had failed to navigate a curve in the road. We sat there awhile drinking the last of the cold coffee from the thermos.

That cold coffee kept us alert as we made it over Gold Ridge and down to old highway 30 that carried us into Durkee. Durkee had a great breakfast cafe in those days. Nothing like hot black coffee, homemade biscuits, heavily peppered gravy, eggs sunny side up, and a few strips of pig fat to get the day going.
There are a lot of places on that Rye Valley road where the out come would not have been nearly that good. Ol GW fell asleep on that road a couple years ago. He was lucky and picked a good spot for a nap too.

We were just talking about that cafe this morning. Someone should open it back up. If we were 30 years younger we would do it. Just make it a breakfast and lunch operation with a fairly simple menu.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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Busted after 20 years

My fake grandnieces, now in their 20s, have long known that great fake auntie Faye had a secret candy stash. Despite the many times, they have stayed with me over the years, all their attempts to find my stash have met with disappointment. I never ate my finest chocolates when they were around but they saw wrappers in my garbage can at times and suspected I had a secret stash.

Yesterday they dropped by, stayed for lunch, and one spilled some of her soup. She reached in my rag drawer and after pulling out a fine-looking clean-up rag, shrieked so loud it almost knocked me off my feet.

"I found it, I found it, I found auntie's secret candy stash!"

I can imagine finding the Lost Dutchman Goldmine would be less exciting. I usually had a stack of rags that camouflaged the stash for years, but in one of my recent downsizings, I decided I didn't need so many rags, easily assessable, and just kept one covering the stash and a few others in my storage closet. Both girls were so upset with themselves that all these years the stash could have been found if they had just grabbed a few rags and done some extra cleanup.

"Well played auntie," they said now realizing my genius hiding candy under a pile of stained old rags that no young semi-divas are going to touch.

So today I must replace my now depleted candy stash and find a new hiding place.
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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-im-so-hungry-i-could-eat-a-horse-350x304.jpg
 

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