Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 20, 3007
There are no more than 15 people in Mogollon, New Mexico. It's essentially a ghost town, sitting high up in the mountains at about 7,000 feet. Nice and cool at night, actually chilly. Got down into the 40s this morning and for Arizona folks, this passes for nirvana.

Lew followed me down the mountain at 6 this morning in his El Camino and we ate breakfast at the Alma Grill. A table full of cowboys eyed me suspiciously as we sat down and ordered. Turns out they all recognized me from the Westerns Channel, and one of them is going to be featured in an upcoming issue of True West. A week ago, we needed a "chinks chaps" photo to illustrate a question Marshall Trimble got for Ask The Marshall, and I knew my old friend Jay Dusard had one in a great book of his I own. So I called Jay, who has a little ranch down by Douglas and he graciously agreed to let us run the photo. I asked him he if is working on anything new that we might be interested in and he said he wanted to do a photo feature on an oldtime New Mexico cowboy he knows named Monk Maxwell. I gave Jay the green light on the project. Well, one of the cowboys sitting at the table next to us, was Monk Maxwell. Ha. Small world, indeed.

I bought Lew's breakfast ($15 includes tip), then took off up the mountain for Reserve to see Henry Martinez at Henry's Corner Gas Station (Phillips 66). Henry wasn't in, but Wayne Ashby was there and we had a nice chat. He's a refugee from New River, got tired of the heat and the mob, so when he retired a couple years ago he and his wife bought a little place in Reserve. He loves it and told me they sell a ton of True Wests in the little store next door.

Travelled northeast towards Datil (rhymes with saddle) and stopped a couple times to sketch the wide open vistas. No cars to speak of, maybe met three pickups. Lots of wolf depradations in this area. Wayne told me they've lost quite a few ranches in the past two years due to cattle losses. I noticed one big spread had erected an eight foot fence around the entire home spread and pasture, probably a hundred acres. That had to have cost a penny or two.

Stopped in Horse Springs because Gus Walker and I were fretting over the locaton when we did the Gage Train Robbery chase in the last Classic Gunfights (July, out now). Two of the outlaws were captured at Horse Springs. Stopped in a little store there (it's a spot on the road) and talked to Linda Aragon, but she didn't know, although she told me Horse Springs was named by a cavalry unit who came through and lost a horse near here, on the way to Fort Tularosa, but on the way back to Soccoro they found the horse at the nearby spring, thus the name.

Linda also told me she was born in Horse Springs, right across the highway. She pointed at a long, rambling, boarded up adobe and proudly said she was born on the far end. I told her she hasn't gotten very far in life, only making it across the street. She laughed. I bought some of her homemade postcards and a pack of jerky ($12 something, cash). She also told me she's closing the store becuase she just isn't getting the business. I told her I had only seen three trucks and she said, "Yes, today has been busy." Ha. Been open a year. I hate that. Another roadside attraction bites the dust. I took several photos of her and the town and will run them when I get home next week.

Nice ride to Soccoro. Stopped on the town plaza and ate an apple. Warm, but the big trees kept it shady and the birds were singing and a drunk guy was yelling, so that was entertaining. Drove on to Albuquerque, arriving here at 3:30.

Paul Hutton picked me up at five and we drove up to Founder's Ranch for a Billy the Kid presentation. We looked around at the booths and Paul said he wanted a new vest, so we walked into Frontier Clothing and he bought a vest and I got two frock coats with matching vests ($750). Nice stuff.

Tri Star Publishing had the printer send three boxes of the new Classic Gunfights, Volume III directly to Founder's Ranch. I got one of the staff to take me out to her pickup and I tore open one of the boxes and took a gander, since I hadn't seen it yet.

Went into the big tent at seven, 650 shooters and their families. Ken A. introduced Paul Hutton, who introduced me, and I introduced William H. Bonney. Actually a young guy with a remarkable resemblence to the Kid. He's from Cheyenne, Wyoming and he did a good job entertaining the crowd.

Drove back into Albuquerque at 8:30 and had dinner at the Owl Cafe, which is an offshoot of the famous Owl Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico. Had the green chile hamburger and a beer (I bought Paul's dinner as well, $35 cash).

Big day tomorrow with the art opening and premiere of CGIII. Trish and Sam are driving over with the bulk of the paintings.

"The needle of our conscience is as good a compass as any."
—Ruth Wolff

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