Friday, July 04, 2008

Some other travelin' blogs I have been keeping up with...

Looks like our 2004 original set off several groups of folks wanting to do something similar. Over time I have watched several of these "Travelin' Blogs" to see what kinds of different things I could be doing or what I could do better.

The first one I saw after the Great Western experience was a group of kids from Madera, California, and from Houston, Texas that would meet up in West Texas to ride in wagons, retracing the actual route of Texas gold miner, "William P. Huff", on his trek to California to seek his fortune. The "Huff" expedition had the sponsorship of TPWD, who keep a journal of the students thoughts.

Since 2004, educational adventure touring has become quite an enterprise. So have cattle and wagon trail tours. I am not sure how much your early efforts affected the tourism world or the historical world, nor do I really care. My efforts were for my own pure joy. And to this day, the trip blogs that I enjoy the most are mainly just for the sheer pleasure of documenting it. If you can make more of it great....and if not,....well, I guess that was the way it was meant to be.

There are two more recent adventure tours that I have been keeping up with. One is an effort by Bill Inman and his horse, Blackie, to cross the US. He documented his efforts at Uncovering America by Horseback. He succeeded in his effort by traveling from Oregon to Washington, DC arriving on Memorial Day of this year. This one also has a spin off blog, "I live in my truck", which you can learn more about here.

Another blog I am watching closely is a group of young boys, sailing a ship all the way around England, at Smiling Round Britain. They just finished their journey a couple of weeks ago.

My focus this time will be on how the trail rides were influenced by and influenced other byways and pathways of history. We will be looking at a lot of historical information again, though this time, I am planning a lot more preparatory work. And this time, I will be including some more segments about other trails that may have crossed the Great Western. Stagecoach trails, Military trails, Indian trails, and more will be included. If you are aware of any that I should be covering, please let me know.

Until then, see ya' down the trail.

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4th of July in Texas

Happy Holiday, campers...

Is it hot enough for you? I hope a lot of folks are sitting around sippin' something cold, and talkin' about memories of what has been....

While you are at it, I wish you would do me a favor. Send me a letter or drop me an email and tell me about what the first Great Western Trail ride meant to you. How has it affected you and your life? Do you have a memorable moment you want to share? Is there something that you want to say, that you just haven't told anyone about yet?

You can write to me at "elderbob", 2113 Sandra Lane, Grand Prairie, Texas, 75052 or you can email me at If your note is acceptable, and if it's OK with you, I'll try to work it into the blog in the coming weeks. Thanks. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, have a great weekend...and be safe.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

(Photo by William Addington - WilliaMedia)
...time to return to the trail...
Ok, so it's been almost four years. The blog is still sitting here, though now and then it collects a bit of dust. It has lost a bit of it's shine...some of the interviews and photos are missing, and people find and comment on it less often now. But I leave it here because it meant something to a lot of folks.

Not long ago, David and his wife, Heather Burrell, contacted me to let me know that plans were underway to do the trail drive again, only this time in reverse. I told them right away, that I wanted to be involved in some capacity.

So it was no real surprise to get a call a couple of days back from Heather, to let me know that there would be a Re-union of the 2004 ride, in Bandera over the 4th of July holiday. I can't make the reunion because of previously made plans, but I wanted to pass on the information to anyone who still has their aggregator set to monitor for changes in this blog.

I also wanted folks to know that this time around, I had more advance notice of the ride, and that this time, I would be doing much more pre-ride work so that it would serve more as a guide to the ride itself. I was already planning to resurrect the blog, and to start writing about some of the places that I had visited along the trail since 2004. I also needed to find some of the missing links so that the blog was more intact (for example, most of the recordings were missing...I have found those and am in the process of restoring them).

So here is what you need to know, the Great Western Trail website is full of all the information you need to keep you up-to-date on the status of the ride, and on the Re-union. Please stop by and say hello to everyone.

Monday, October 25, 2004

...Keeping in touch...

Well, your adventure has finally drawn to a close. It's a bit sad in a way, but it should also mark a joyful chapter in your lives. You accomplished a remarkable feat and I personally applaud you for that.

I am already getting comments and emails from people about how to keep up with the friends that they made on the ride. I am going to leave the blog up for as long as people will continue to use it. If you would like to post comments here for all to read, then please post them on this page. This way, people can come back here periodically and see what new comments have been posted.

I have an entry for just about everyday of the trip. A number of those entries have photos of people whose names I didn't quite get. If you see your picture, note the date and email me and tell me your name and I will go back and make sure we can identify you correctly. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

I might also note that one of the great things about "blogs" such as this one is the ability to go back and add things. If you had a very memorable experience in any town along the way, go back to that date, and click on the "comments" section and tell us about it. This is your use it in the best way you see fit.

I have been adding interviews along the way, and I want to make sure you know where they are and which ones are new, so here is the currently list. I will try to make corrections to this list as soon as I post something new. I still have T.R.Fehrenbach history entries (these are almost ready) and I am still trying to reach Larry McMurtry for an interview, so check back often:

  • Interview with Mrs. Kraisinger – Co-Author of "The Western, The Greatest Texas Cattle Trail" - Sept 9 (New)

  • IInterview with Frank Sharp –Expert on the history of the Spanish cattle or Longhorn - Sept 13

  • Elderbob's Fireside Chat: an Interview with Fayette Yates

    Interview with Fayette Yates – Third generation Longhorn breeder - Sept 13
  • Green Horn Weekend – My first personal experience on the trail at Rockwood - Sept 16

  • Elmer Kelton Interview – Great interview about the history of the Cowboy by one of Texas most prolific western writers - Sept 20

  • Robert Wanat Interview – His hobby is tracking down the earliest cattle brand in each county and then creating a miniature replica of that brand, and finally burnishing the brand onto a piece of cowhide shaped into a map of Texas. - Sept. 23

  • Interview with Lester Galbraith – Retired administrator of Fort Griffin State Park. Few are as knowledgeable about the history of Fort Griffin and the area. - Sept 24

  • Interview with Dr. Andres Tijerina – Expert on the Texan influence on the trail rides. - Sept 30

  • Interview with Dr. Turner – An outstanding interview about the trail rides and the history of western Oklahoma and the Indian Territories. - Oct.4 (New)

  • Lee Hale at the Campfire – The greatest story teller of the ride. - October 9

  • Interview with Red Steagall – A history of Cowboy Music - October 14 (New)

  • Elderbob's Fireside Chat: an Interview with John Erikson

    Elderbob interviews Hank the Cow-dog creator, John Erickson. – Some chat on why animals had such an important role in the life of cowboys and the "cowboy way" - Oct. 18 (New)

  • Interview with Jim Sherer – A great interview with the Director of the Kansas Heritage Center on the history of Dodge City and the cattle drives. - October 22 (New)

So many of you have wonderful stories to tell about this ride. I want you to be able to share those stories with others. If you think your story needs to be posted here, don't wait for me to call you, write me an email instead or call me, and give me a bit of background and a phone number, so I can call you and interview you over the phone or I can give you a phone number where you can post your story directly to the blog. My email is: . If you are not sure if you want to post it, call me and we can talk about it (972-660-2287).

Finally, I still have a lot of space to host additional photos. I certainly can't put all the photos that everyone took on the blog, but I would be more than happy to host one or two of your favorite photos. Digitize them and send them to me at Try to tell me what the caption should be and I will gladly add that.

...the Trail Boss... Posted by Hello

One final, comment... I couldn't be there with you everyday, but I knew where you were, and I could imagine what it must have felt like. My experience with you all was wonderful, whether I was there in person or virtual. You are all awesome folks and I truly hope you will remain in touch. Feel free to call or write me anytime. Thanks for the experience.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Dodge City, Kansas

We Made It!!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Dodge City, Kansas

...over 679 miles later, the trail riders actually enter the town of Dodge City, Kansas....

Dodge City, Kansas
Courtesy, Ford County Historical Society, Dodge City, KS Posted by Hello

Forty-eight days after the adventure begins, the destination was realized...this was what it had all been about...Kansas welcomes Texas.

...A Texas/Kansas handshake...
Photo by Michael Schweitzer, Dodge City Daily Globe Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

On a ranch between Mineola and Dodge City, Kansas

One more day to Dodge City...
Photo by Michael Schweitzer, Dodge Globe. Posted by Hello

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I know that everyone is excited about their arrival in Dodge City. Dodge City has thrown out the welcome matt and as it was so many years ago, when the cowboys from Texas finally arrived in town...There will be a party in Dodge City, tonight.....Yeeeehaaaaw!!!.

Dodge City has a fascinating history that is intertwined with the history of the Western Trail. To get a good grasp of how the two related over the years, I had an opportunity to interview Jim Sherer, the Director of the Kansas Heritage Center regarding Dodge City:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Mineola, Kansas

...another chance to let a school kid get involved...
Photo by Michael Schweitzer, Dodge Globe. Posted by Hello

Mineola was established in the 1870's and was once the territorial capital. What is left of it is now an agricultural town. It once boasted a population in the 700's. After losing it's status as Territorial Capital, it faded away. (Information gleaned from files of Ghost Towns and History.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Ranch outside of Englewood, Kansas

...she rides side-saddle...
Photo by Amy Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Englewood, Kansas - Rest Day

Monday, October 18, 2004

Englewood, Kansas

...part of the original trail near Rosston...
Photo via Cingular Photo Phone by Lee Hale. Posted by Hello

We're in Kansas, Toto...

Corrine Donaldson, the mayor of Englewood, tells me that the "Ghost Town and History" link above is not correct. She assures me that there are 101 people living in the small agricultural community. The riders stayed out near the high school here and apparently, a good time was had by all.

The Kansas History Website is a great place to explore the history of Kansas from many different resources.


I wanted to include something in the blog about other kinds of animals that might have accompanied the early riders. There seems to be a question as to whether dogs accompanied the early drives. There is little documentation to be found, outside of the book, "Lonesome Dove" to indicate that any pets were invited along on any of the trips. But that didn't stop me from talking to one of my favorite pet heroes, Hank the Cowdog and his creator, John Erickson:

Elderbob's podcast

Give it a listen!

Interview with John Erikson

Enjoy! -- Elderbob Brannan

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Rosston, Oklahoma

Sunrise in Oklahoma...
Photo via Cingular Photo Phone by Lee Hale.Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 16, 2004

May City, Oklahoma

Cross country...
Photo via Cingular Photo Phone by Lee Hale. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 15, 2004

Fort Supply, Oklahoma

...on to Fort Supply...
Photo via Cingular Photo Phone by Lee Hale. Posted by Hello

More information about Fort Supply.

Here are some other tales and even more tales about the area of Northwest Oklahoma in the time of the cattle drives.

George Armstrong Custer is also connected to Fort Supply and this part of Oklahoma and Kansas.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Woodward, Oklahoma (Rest Day)

Rest day? Posted by Hello

Red Steagall is known as the "Official Cowboy Poet of Texas". He was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to speak with me about the history of cowboy music that might have been heard on the Western Trail.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Woodward, Oklahoma

Buckaroo in a wagon...
Photo via Cingular Photo Phone by Lee Hale Posted by Hello