I had a feeling that when I posted the original Lonesome Dove story on here, that it might stir up some powerful memories, and I was right. Captain Augustus McCrae (Jimmy Reed, Jr.) has contacted me to inquire if we might be able to make one last try to catch the evil Indian outlaw Blue Duck, who managed to give us the slip last time, in August of 2001. Jake Spoon (my brother-in-law, Bud Keirn) has also thrown his hat in, so we will be heading West again in early August, before we all get too old to do it again (hence the name, “The Last Roundup”). If we don’t catch his ass this time, he will just have to die of old age like the rest of us.
Our expected route will be similar to the last trip, and will include the high country of the Colorado Rockies, from Gunnison, where you can get the best breakfast in America at the W Cafe, then up through Taylor Park reservoir (see the photo at the top of this blog), across the Continental Divide at Cottonwood Pass (at an oxygen depleted elevation of 12,300 ft.), and up the highest paved road in America to Mt. Evans, 14,247 feet.
New country to be explored this trip will be the wilds of Utah, including Monument Valley, the Arches National Monument, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Staircase Escalante. If we have time, we will also lope on up to Jackson Hole, WY, and the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.
I hope to replace some of the priceless pictures I shot on the last trip, but were unfortunately lost when they were sucked over the event horizon of a black hole known as a total hard disk crash on my old desktop, along with about 10,000 other digital memories. I have finally learned my lesson, and now have triple redundancy by means of an array of portable drives, for all of my newer photos and other data. Take my advice, if you have pictures you cherish on a hard drive, invest in one or two of these inexpensive drives. It WILL happen to you at some point, I can assure you, and it is a hollow, sick feeling when you realize exactly what has been lost FOREVER!
To prepare for this trip, I dug out my old, battered copy of Larry McMurtry’s classic novel, and am plowing through all 945 pages, to refresh my mind with the absolute spectacle of this story. Even if we can’t find Blue Duck, perhaps we’ll run into some of the more memorable characters in the story: Pea Eye Parker, Josh Deets, Newt, Miss Lorena Woods, Dish Boggett, July Johnson, Lippy, Xavier Wanz, Po Campo, and Gus’s first and only love, Clara.
And as he did last trip, Augustus will keep a daily dairy of our adventures, and will post it, along with some of my selected images, to my facebook page, so check it out as it unfolds.
Wish us luck as we head out into God’s magnificent country, three old friends, on the loose, riding into the sunset! Maybe with a little luck, we will even discover the meaning of the Latin phrase Gus put on the Hat Creek Cattle Company sign:
uva uvam vivendo varia fit
— Cap’n Woodrow F. Call, Texas Rangers —