Category Archives: Thinking Back

Trip to the Padlock Ranch in Wyoming Featured in November Issue of TRAILBLAZER MAGAZINE

Check out the November issue of TrailBlazer Magazine–now available where magazines are sold (subscriptions available online at I documented our August trip to the Padlock Ranch in Wyoming in a feature article–just turn to page 22!

Pick up a copy of the November issue of TrailBlazer Magazine and turn to page 22! Makes me miss Wyoming...

The REAL Visit to the Mint Bar and Drive-Thru Liquor Stores…Really? Yes, Really.

The notorious stuffed wolf at the Mint Bar--yep, I saw it; it exists.

For all those who read my early “pre-trip” post about the iconic Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming, I thought I best create a permanent (translate: online) record of my actual visit. Yes, I did go…while they are closed on Sunday nights, they are open at 10 a.m. on Monday morning. While I didn’t DO a shot, I did GET a shot…of the notorious stuffed wolf that stands nobly above the main bar on a shelf reserved for taxidermy of various origins. I also got t-shirts, and was super-pleased to meet the owner (yes, there and working at 10 a.m. on Monday morning).

Booze takeout? In Sheridan, sure....

It wasn’t just the Mint Bar that fascinated us in the realm of the alcoholic in Sheridan…we were amused to no end by the idea that a) they had liquor “takeout” that you could order and stick under your arm before you shoved back your barstool and stumbled for the door; and b) they had liquor DRIVE-THRUS….yes, I know, Wyoming isn’t the only state to host this phenomenon, but that makes it no less amazing in my eyes. A good idea to let people drive up to a window and order a handle of Jack with the motor running? As a former bartender, it seems a dubious proposition at best….

The drive-thru liquor store down the street from our Sheridan hotel. Yes, I agree, the construction is suspect.

But that detracts not from its charm, from an Eastern girl’s perspective…

My Son, the Buckaroo

My week in Wyoming at the Padlock Ranch was the longest stretch of days I’ve been away from my son, Augustin, who is two-and-a-half (or a little older) now. Cell phones didn’t work and I convinced myself the “emergency” house phone was for that only…so no morning catch-ups or “night night Mommies” or “I’ll be back soons.”

These days, when one is uber-connected to everybody, everywhere, all the time, this can be a difficult thing. At first I felt like something was missing, like I’d forgotten my hat or my glasses. But gradually I grew accustomed to just thinking about “back home” and all those who awaited our return, and a moment of silence became the equivalent of telephone pleasantries. I like to think this system of communication, however intangible and unquantifiable, worked just fine.

As is evident by this blog, we DID have internet–wireless access was fantastic throughout the Padlock guest lodge. So my son got to see pictures of me, and hear all about my adventures “riding horsies,” via the words I recorded each evening. After our first day he renamed his rocking horse Copper (as she was formerly called “Margaret” for reasons unclear to me, I tend to think this is an improvement). And then, after seeing a few more photos posted here, he grabbed his grandmother’s sunhat–and she captured the moment on camera.

I give you my son, the Buckaroo.

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Where’d the Blonde Cowgirls Go????

Martha on Cactus at the Padlock Ranch in Wyoming--"cowgirl in training."

When I walked into Managing Director Martha Cook’s house this weekend, a question, something along these lines, was posed by Martha’s husband Lantz.

I suppose if we looked at this query from one perspective, we could answer, “Well, redheads are far more fashionable these days.” If we’re comedians by day, we might reply with a wry, “They’re out looking for their brains.” Perhaps if we felt of a philosophical turn of mind, we might surmise that a far more serious kind of seeking was taking place…and we could find them if only we, too, found a “calling.”

Roping practice at the Padlock--do you think the "city duds" give me away?

In this case, we were in fact, never really cowgirls…although I’m flattered to have been labeled one, even by a fellow Easterner. That we had the chance to “play” the part, to keep our bottoms in a saddle most of our waking hours, to think like a cow and “eat like a man” (I don’t think diets are necessary when you’re working that hard), and wear a hat, hold a horn, and swing a rope like the “real deal” just might…well, that was just amazing. Amazing in the way a dream sequence might play out…even more so now that several weeks have gone by and I’ve been able to perfect my own performance in the role in my head.

I’d tell you some good stories, but I fear there’s enough film and camera footage on this blog to expose me as an individual prone to exaggeration…albeit glorious in detail and drama.

She's gone "English"--with Clarke this weekend, and looking nothing like a cowgirl, alas.

Martha and I had a chance to sneak in a ride on Sunday morning. It was a long weekend, and one spent by most cleaning up and digging out from the devastation left in Hurricane Irene’s wake. There were many opportunities to volunteer, help, and get muddy alongside friends and community members (our towns were amazing in their ability to organize and inform–thank you!) And it just felt good to be on a horse, moving over the mud instead of through it, for a little while. In honor of the GMHA 100-Mile Ride, which was canceled due to the GMHA grounds’ extensive damage, we trotted along the trail for a bit, thinking of those who should have been…or would have been….riding those same miles had Irene stayed off the coast instead of swinging inland.

Perhaps a few were blonde cowgirls.

Maybe they’ll be back next year.

Martha and Buster after our Sunday ride, East Coast Time.