Blogorado 2018, Day 3

Saturday was much colder than Friday, so everyone arrived for breakfast dressed warmly.  More people arrived yesterday evening, so the group was pretty much all there, amid much squeee-ing at the sight of the one-and-a-half-year-old son of one couple (who stole everyone’s heart with his infectious smiles and giggling.  Shy, he ain’t!).  I decided to go with a more western breakfast, and had steak and eggs with all the trimmings.  Delicious!  I may go with the breakfast burrito on Sunday – I have to gas up the car anyway, as we’re leaving after breakfast, so that will lend a little more gas to our travels.  Miss D. may not approve.

Some of our diehard shooters went out to the range yesterday, but about half the group stayed at the farmhouse, bundled up against the chill, enjoying each other’s company.  There’s a large groundhog den not far away.  They’re perennial pests, always fair targets for anyone wanting a go at them.  I’m told some of our number attempted to thin out the local population.  Unfortunately, due to the blustery, variable wind and the vagaries of relatively low-velocity .22LR rimfire ammunition, the pesky critters were threatened more by close-range showers of dirt than by actual hits!  I’m sure they were duly grateful (and annoyed).

I took a ride out to the so-called Black Hole, a very deep swimming hole below the Two Buttes Dam.

Back in the late 1800’s, this was part of a free-flowing stream, which would have been used by cattlemen and horsemen to water their animals when traveling from east to west or vice versa across southern Colorado.  I’m planning on having my protagonist, Walt Ames, use it for that purpose in a future book.  It’s said to be very deep in parts, several hundred feet at least, although other parts are shallower.  Kids enjoy diving off the cliffs overlooking the waterhole (see here for one video of them having fun);  but sometimes they miss and hit the rocks, or hit the water wrong, have all the breath driven out of their bodies, and don’t come up again (which happened to a friend of the Farm Family some years ago).  The place has a mixed reputation for fun and doom . . . not very comforting!

Sunday will be our last breakfast at Blogorado 2018.  After the meal, Miss D. and I will be heading for the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where we’ll spend a couple of days researching the railroad war over the Royal Gorge route.  One of my Western series will be devoted to this fascinating period of history, which involved some of the most famous gunfighters and lawmen in the Old West.  We plan to take the train through the Gorge, to see it for ourselves, and visit museums and other places of interest in the area.  After that, we’ll drive through the Wet Mountain Valley, where my protagonist owned a horse ranch.  It was the site of a silver strike in the late 1870’s, which developed into the Silver Cliff Mine.  Walt Ames will be heavily involved in this, too.  Finally, we’ll head home via Cimarron, NM, to see one of the most (in)famous cowboy towns of the Old West.  Those who’ve read my novel “Rocky Mountain Retribution” will recall that Walt Ames has already passed through there.

It’s been a fun trip so far, and I’ve learned a lot.  Look for it all to be used in future novels.



  1. My dad was a history buff. He took Frontier Times and Old West magazines forever. We went to follow Billy the Kid once. Dad knew the names, places, and even some of the defensive positions of the fighters at various buildings where there was a major shootout in New Mexico.

    We went to the jail where Billy escaped. There was a hole in the wall where school kids had dug for the bullet he shot at the deputy.

    Very neat to have such a knowledgeable guide. I didn't know he knew so much about the Lincoln County War.

    I miss that old man, and that part of the world.

    Have fun and be safe!

  2. I'm looking forward to the further adventures of Walt Ames.
    I loved Brings The Lightning. While it had its share of pain, suffering and death, it was also about hope and working towards the future.
    Retribution was a bit dark for me, being mostly about loss and revenge. Still a good read, but too much of it made me sad.

  3. Wet Mountain Valley? I'll wave when you go by my house. 😉 Wish I could tell you the story of the Illinois sheriff who tricked a murderer in Babcock Hole in the Wet Mountains.

  4. Also, if you are going west from Pueblo on Colo. 96, pull over and have a look at Charles Goodnight's 1870s stone barn on the west edge of town. There used to be a whole complex of buildings there behind an adobe wall.

  5. Westcliffe and the Sangre De Cristo Mtns, one of the more scenic areas of Colorado. A good bit different from where you've been.

  6. I too greatly anticipate new episodes in the Walt Ames saga. I Think your Westerns are equal to Louis L'amour.

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