Tag Archives: western culture

Same Road, Different Day

Greeting CommitteeWriting feels all-consuming at times. When I have been pushing hard on a historical biography, a change of scenery can jolt my brain like a bolt of lightning. Once again, I found myself on the highway near Meeker when we encountered an unlikely greeting committee. Traffic came to a halt as literally hundreds of sheep surrounded the automobiles.

Miles of sheepThe herd extended beyond our vision. I rolled down my window to enjoy the sounds of plantive bleats and the clanging of bells around their necks. Then there was the aroma which was not so pleasant, and the window went back up. The sheep had all recently been sheared, and we marveled that they had been relieved of so much precious wool. How high would it reach if piled all in one place.

Sheep herder on horsebackIt was also refreshing to see that the sheepherder was on horseback, with his sheep herding dog trotting alongside. With so many ATVs roaring through the woods and across the plains, horses can still move at the same pace as their charges and give the job a personal touch. Cowboys are still riding the range near Meeker.

Blue Mountain sheepThe same weekend, more sheep were moving to summer pastures near Blue Mountain. This outfit was much smaller, and getting the job done in the same way, with a herder on horseback. These are the sights we live for in the west, and food for the starving soul of an overly-engrossed author.

Joyce B. Lohse, 5/6/14



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A Fun Secret Hobby

From time to time, I like to share new ways to enjoy the history and culture of the American West. Can you identify the figure in the image above? I spotted this one while driving through Gallup, New Mexico last year on old Route 66. If you are a Southwesterner, you probably recognize it as a loose rendition of a roadrunner, and this sign is on display to lure weary travelers into a motel along the Mother Road.

Road Runner Motel

Road Runner Motel

Some time ago, I figured out it was great fun to shoot photos of neon signs at night. The advent of digital photography makes this hobby even more tantalizing, due to immediate results in case a do-over is in order. When attached to motels, neon signs usually indicate some sort of funky retro-decor or history related to the structure. One of my favorite signs is in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Since one must drive over Rabbit Ears Pass to enter the town, the significance of this neon art is readily apparent.

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears Motel

I’m not sure what I will do with these photos, if anything, However, it is a fun challenge to photograph them. I plan to take advantage of the long hours of winter darkness to shoot a few more in Denver this winter. I’ve had my eye on an especially attractive Cheshire Cat sign at a veterinary office nearby, which must look dandy at night.

Keep in mind that neon signs can look good in lighted areas as well. Notice the “Lowell’s” sign at Pike Place Market in the previous article about Seattle.

Joyce Lohse, 11/18/11


Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Western Travel, Writing Life


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