First Trip as Family of 3

One Cute Cowboy and I both grew up taking trips to Red River, New Mexico with our families. In fact, we probably passed each other on the sidewalks of the small mountain town, when we were just 10 or 11 years old, and never knew we were within arms reach of our future spouse and soul mate. We both love Red River and have gone just about every summer since we started dating.

This year we made kind of an impromptu trip up there when I decided to take vacation at the last minute. This was our first vacation as s family of 3!

“Red River you say? Very interesting!”

We loaded up Lil’ Cute Cowboy and all 90 of the different supplies we thought we needed! Haha! I really should have gotten a picture of the way the pickup was packed. We might have overpacked a bit, not knowing what we would, and wouldn’t need for this little turkey.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous not knowing what he would do going to a place with higher elevation. We live at 4,167 ft. above sea level. Red River is another 4,500 ft. at 8,671 ft. above sea level. But he was a complete champ and did amazing on the drive up!

We stopped at our favorite little roadside stopping place in Gladstone, NM for a bottle break. There was a nice, cool breeze so we decided to have our bottle outside. It’s the cutest little rest stop this side of the Mississippi, and has out of this world baked goods, every day!! We never ever drive by without stopping. We always end up leaving with at least one bag of oatmeal raisin cookies (One Cute Cowboy ‘s) and one bag of chocolate chip cookies (mine!). Not to mention she has homemade loaves of bread. *Swoon* One Cute Cowboy grew up stopping and eating here often. As a young boy he’d day work for people around the area and got to know the owners well, so he especially likes to stop so he can be sure to say “hi!”

Since One Cute Cowboy and I have been together, we’ve never stayed in the same place twice at Red River. Always trying out new (to us) places to stay and trying to figure out where our “spot” will be in years to come. Well, this year, I think we’ve found it! Hotel Ryland! This is a place neither one of us had ever stayed. The newly renovated room was perfect for our small family of 3. It was definitely a smaller room, but worked out great for us. It was clean, updated, and cute. Upon arrival an older gentlemen led me up to our room and told me he was glad for us to be there. He was so nice and sweet and Riley enjoyed talking with him the next day before we left too. He was very welcoming and sincere, and that just made us feel good, and definitely made us want to come back and stay.

Once we unloaded our things we decided to go across the street to my favorite place in Red River–The Bobcat. This place has been my turquoise sanctuary since I was 9 years old! The A-frame building welcomes you in, with its wind chime lazily dancing in the breeze. You walk in and can feel the warmth of the owner, Sherri. We’ve gone for so many years she knows our faces when we walk through the door, and she immediately greets us with a warm smile and a “You’ve added to the family!” She came over to see Little Bear and quickly says, “I have a gift for you!” She went to the back, with her sweet dogs following her, and she came back with a beautiful sterling silver baby rattle that she said to use when he starts to teethe. She said to just stick it in the refrigerator and get it out once it’s cool to soothe his little gums. It was such a sweet, and beautiful gift.

Then she told her helper, a woman I’ve never seen before, to get out the pawn/antique stuff because she knows that’s what I’m there to see. She has the most beautiful and unique vintage turquoise, not to mention a slew of other different stones. We start out looking at the rings, then the squash blossoms, then the cuffs. Most handmade by Native Americans. I ended up with a “Fred Harvey” cuff and ring set. It’s hard for me to ever leave without getting something.

Lil’ Cute Cowboy was fascinated with everything in the shop and I was so proud of how well he did! After that we decided to stroll down Mainstreet.

It was a little warmer than usual, but there was still a nice mountain breeze that made it perfect. It was pretty quiet in town, being the middle of the week, there didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually are, which was really kind of nice. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Little Bear absolutely loved it! We’d stroll around and he’d just look at all there was to see, taking it all in. Then we’d stop and hang out for a little bit in the shade and he’d just hang out and listen to the birds or the wind chimes clinging around town. He’s a mountain kid for sure!

We worked up quite an appetite and decided to try the brand new brewery that opened in town just about a month before. We’d walked by earlier and it looked fun and the food they were serving looked delicious! When we got there we could tell the music was really loud but hoped maybe there was an area where it wouldn’t be so loud, but we walked in the doors and Little Bear had a look of terror on his face, seconds from a complete meltdown. We quickly walked back outside and decided we’d better try some place else. So we decided to go to the nice little Mexican food restaurant in town, The Sundance. It was Lil’ Cute Cowboys first time in a restaurant.

He did pretty good as long as he could see all that was going on. He was completely worn out by the time we got back to our room. He’d had a huge day!

The next day we ate at our favorite breakfast place, T-Bucks, and did some more walking around and visited our favorite little coffee place The Way Coffee. I ordered my go-to, a London Fog, and Riley ordered himself a latte. They were so delicious! We just sat and watched passerby’s for awhile and enjoyed our beverages and breathing in the mountain air. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

“Best Seat in the House” by Kenneth Wyatt

One of my favorite places to stop in Red River is Kenneth Wyatt’s art gallery. Photos on the internet cannot do his incredible paintings justice! This is one of my favorites of his. He is truly gifted and I always enjoy walking through his gallery to see what’s new and to see the ones I’ve seen 100 times over again. He’s currently 88 years old, has painted over 9,000 paintings, and paints every single day. Did I mention he didn’t even start painting until his 40’s?! If you ever go to Red River, do yourself a favor, and walk through his gallery.

We tried out the Smokehouse before we left, and parked beside this pretty little stream to eat our chopped beef sandwich. Little Bear loved to watch and hear the small stream. It was finally time to head home. We said goodbye to the mountains, and pointed our pickup east, back to the flatlands. It was such a nice trip and went great for our first mini-vacation!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Check back in for the newest “Ranching on the Ponderosa” that will be up in the next few days!

*ASpottedHeart

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Rockies Baseball

This past weekend One Cute Cowboy and I went to Denver to go to a Colorado Rockies’ baseball game. It’s one of our absolute favorite pastimes. Since our first game, we’ve been hooked and Rockies’ fans for life. We’ve figured out a good little routine for a seamless trip to Coors Field, today I’d like to share those tid-bits of information.

  1. Take a taxi, Uber, or hotel car to the game.

One thing we’ve definitely figured out it is impossible to get around in a big ‘ol ranch pick-up in downtown Denver. Not to mention, parking is unbearable. That’s why we’ve always found it best to call a car to take you to and from Coors Field. The plus side is, you don’t have to worry about driving if you want to have a drink at the game either. If your hotel has a shuttle service or a town car, it’s usually best, and cheapest to have them take you. (This is a great question to ask when booking your hotel room.) If not a Taxi or Uber work just as well, just usually end up costing more. One thing we’ve definitely figure out is establish a good pick-up spot! I can’t stress this enough, once the game lets out it’s near impossible to find your pickup vehicle, so we’ve learned that establishing with your driver before the game, a good area to be picked up, is key! ” When the game is out, please pick us up at 20th & Market!” Trust me on this one.

     2. Get stair seats

When booking your tickets to the game (I always suggest booking in advance) look for rows with several seats open and if possible get seats beside the staircase. This makes it so much easier when you want to get up to go to the concession stands, bathrooms, catch the beer guy, etc. Also, if you pick a row with fewer seats booked that means less traffic for you at the end of the row. Granted those seats can get booked after yours, but it still leaves some space for not having a full row and you don’t feel as crowded.


    3. Notice where you’re sitting 

One Cute Cowboy and I have figured out a specific section we like to book our seats in, but realized this last time maybe we should rethink where we sit, depending on the month. Let me explain, we love to sit anywhere between sections 131–138. These are on the west side of the stadium, and you have a perfect view between 3rd base and home. This last game we went to was an evening game and was fairly chilly with the sun still out and only got cooler as it started to go down for we were already in the shade, and realized those on the east side of the stadium were still in some sunshine. Now let me tell you, when we first chose this side we’d gone to games in the heat of the summer and the shade was more than welcomed. But we’ve decided that next time we got to any game before the middle of June, we should try to get seats somewhere between 120-124 on the East side of the stadium, so on those chilly game nights we’ll have the warm sun a little longer. Granted I don’t think these seats would be as exciting, but still good seats none-the-less. 

We ended up having to buy a blanket in the souvenir shop.


    4.  Always bring cash

In this day and age, it’s easy to forget to get cash because I feel most everyone has a debit/credit card now and just don’t carry cash anymore. I’m pretty guilty of this myself. But it’s kind of essential for you to take cash to a baseball game if you are planning on eating/drinking. Sure the concession stands have debit card machines, but what’s really great is when those food vendors, or hawkers (that’s what I call them) that go up and down the aisles selling popcorn,peanuts,beer,cokes,snow cones, etc. Those guys are awesome and only take cash. It’s nice not to have to miss anything during the game. Also cash is always good to have for tips. Whether it’s your bartender at the game, or your hotel shuttle driver, it’s always good to have a little cash for tips.

     5. Always get a fruit kabob

Okay, so this one isn’t detrmanetal, but man are they good! They’re these kabobs that have either banana and strawberries dipped and drizzled in chocolate on a kabob, or you can get strawberries and brownies dipped and drizzled in chocolate on a kabob. They are divine! Also something those handy hawkers carry up and down the aisles. 😉 One Cute Cowboy says you also need a Rocky Dog, you can bet you won’t be disassappointed. 

There you have it! Those are just a few things One Cute Cowboy and I have learned about going to the Rockies games. If you’ve never been to a MLB game we both highly recommend it whether it be a date night, a family vacation, or like us, just getting out of town for awhile, they are a blast! #gorox

Do any of you have tips and tricks on going to an MLB game? As always, I love hearing from my readers!

The Black Hills

This last week, Riley & I took a vacation up to South Dakota. He’s been wanting me to see that area and Mt.Rushmore since the first summer we met. I’m so glad he did! What an incredible place!

We started out Sunday morning heading to Keystone,SD. We went up through Colorado and Nebraska, then into South Dakota. It was a b-e-a-utiful drive!

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Somewhere in Colorado.

We got to Keystone around 9:00 mountain time and noticed you could see Mt.Rushmore lit up on top of the hill. So we decided to head up there to see it closer. We got up there and the park was still open!! We were so excited, it was definitely something to see all lit up at night, though very hard to get a good picture of it. We hung out there for a bit, then headed back into Keystone to get a room. Neither of us ever imagined it would be hard to get a room, Sunday night of Labor Day weekend, but we were sadly mistaken. Every single hotel,motel, or inn was BOOKED! So we started calling a couple of the small surrounding towns-BOOKED! So we thought surely Rapid City would have a room somewhere…BOOKED! Finally we found a room in Summerset on the other side of Rapid City. It was nice to get into bed after a 10 hour drive.

The next morning we headed back to Mt.Rushmore to see it in the daylight and see some of the videos and exhibits they have on the visiting grounds. Right outside of Keystone we saw a place called Bear Country U.S.A.  It’s a beautiful animal reserve with Big-Horned Sheep, Timber Wolves, Arctic Wolves, Buffalo, Antelope (which we see these daily in our part of the world) and tons of Black Bears. It was a really neat place to drive through, and the animals, though not necessarily tame, but they could walk right up to your door.

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This was a sweet little, sleeping fox.

After about an hour of going through the park it was time to move onto Mt.Rushmore. It was even more incredible during the day! Learning about how they were able to dream it, and make it a reality was pretty inspiring. The determination they had to make a mark on this world, and do something great. It took hard work, and perseverance, and perfection demanded on the workers from the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum. It’s undeniably something great to see, and worth taking the time to go see it and learn about it.

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I know we’ve all seen pictures of Mt.Rushmore, and this is just another picture, but I’m glad to have it to remember I was truly there and saw this great work of determination and heart.

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It’s a lot harder than you think to get a picture with it! 

There was a really neat path that walks out where you can get closer to the mountain and you get almost right underneath the presidents, if you ever find yourself in South Dakota, be sure and go see Mt.Rushmore and walk the path.

After we left,we decided to go check out the progress on Crazy Horse. Though it’s impressive, we went late in the day, and we were a little disappointed in how you couldn’t get very close to get a good look at it. We went and watched a short little video and looked at some interesting Native American artifacts. It’s a very interesting story and they still lack 35 years of work to get it finished. We’re glad we went, just wished we would’ve gone sooner to catch a bus tour up to the actual monument.

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Crazy Horse Monument

Then it was on to Deadwood,our final destination spot. It was beautiful in Deadwood! We got there after dark, and the streets had literally rolled up. It was nice, cool, crisp air that you couldn’t help but drink in.

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Deadwood after dark.

Though it lacked much movement, there were plenty of little spots open to do a little gambling. 😉 So we ordered us a pizza at the bar, and took to the penny slots for about an hour before going back to our hotel. Almost every single place in Deadwood has some sort of gambling, keeping to it’s roots I suppose since it started as a gambling town. But the history in Deadwood is just as fun to learn about.

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This was the building that Wild Bill Hickok was shot, and killed back in 1876, during Deadwood’s first year of establishment. He was a legendary Old West hero, and known for his outstanding marksman with a pistol. He was buried in Deadwood’s cemetery, along with Calamity Jane, whom was also a famous Old West frontierswoman. The cemetary  was a place we wanted to be sure and visit, since last summer we visited Doc Holiday’s burial site.

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As odd as it may sound, the Mount Moriah cemetery is a beautiful one. It sets up above Deadwood, and is in a quiet, peaceful spot. As you read above, Calamity’s dying wish was to be buried next to Wild Bill, and so they granted her that wish. Though I never could get a very good picture of her plot, she is right to the south of his spot. If you look at the picture below, the rock wall you see in the right corner of the picture is Calamity Jane’s spot.

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There’s a beautiful “lookout” spot at the edge of the cemetery to see an overview of Deadwood. It was a gorgeous spot!

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We had a lot of fun in Deadwood. Playing the penny slots, and a little bit of Blackjack, eating some good food, learning of some Old West and Native American history and genuinely just enjoying God’s beautiful work that we call South Dakota. We look forward to going back!

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What are some of your favorite trips or places to go in the United States?

Sunset, Santa Fe

Growing up, my parents style seemed to always be inspired by the southwest. Paintings of R.C. Gorman’s, turquoise jewelry (before it was trendy) Native American pottery, and the sounds of the Eagles in the background of my childhood. Not to say there wasn’t a strong “western” feel as well, and most certainly plenty of Patsy Cline & Johnny Cash. But my parents have a love for Santa Fe, therefore that love was passed down to us girls. 

This painting of R.C. Gorman’s hung in our house all of my childhood.

The summer OneCuteCowboy
and I met, we took a trip to Santa Fe with my parents. I often say it was that trip when I knew I loved him. We had so much fun walking the square, going in and out of the shops, learning of Santa Fe’s rich history, and visiting several historical churches and sites. It was such a fun trip, and I’ve been itching to go back ever since.

My mother-in-law has been wanting us to go to Indian Market, always the 3rd weekend of August, which usually falls around my birthday. This year we decided to go. She has a deep love for Native American culture and has been to the Indian Market several times. It was enormous! I don’t think Riley and I were quite prepared for how big of an event this was. I read that 120,000 extra people come into Santa Fe for this festival/market. It was people and booths everywhere! It was a bit overwhelming!

This wasn’t even 1/4 of the people and booths.

We walked by the different booths and poked our heads into different shops. One of our favorite places to stop by on the square is Native Jackets.   I ordered a custom jacket here for OneCuteCowboy our first Christmas together. The man that owns the shop is a connoisseur of Navajo rugs/blankets. He is chalk full of interesting information and has quite the collection of vintage and valuable rugs. He had an actual weaver at the shop demonstrating her craft.


The woman working at the loom is Master Weaver, Marie H. Yazzie, and her daughter Marilyn, is spinning wool. We sat and watched and talked to the owner for a good hour. He showed us a couple of rugs from the 1890’s and one rug that was $95,000! Gulp! It was interesting and fun to learn a few things about weaving and the history of it. There’s a book I’d love to get my hands on to learn more.


We also met an incredible Shoshone and Paiute artist by the name of Micqaela Jones. She used magnificent color and painted some of my favorite things, wild animals. I’m not usually one for all those funky colors, but Micqaela is a true artist and has such a knack for capturing character in her paintings. Each one has a story to tell. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to her and hope to buy one of her paintings in the near future. I encourage you to check out her website by clicking her name above Or either picture below. 

Micqaela and my mother-in-law, Talonna

A few of her original pieces.

One thing OneCuteCowboy and I were in search of was the perfect squash blossom. That’s what he wanted to get me for my birthday. We’d kept an eye out the entire day and just never saw one we loved. There was a gorgeous one made with White Buffalo Turquoise, but was a whopping $2,500 buckaroos, but I’m sure worth every dime! Something else I’ve​ 

admired for years is a strand of beautiful “Navajo Beads” or some call them, “Navajo Pearls.”  We were meandering around one of the shops, admiring all the beautiful turquoise when I saw them, the most beautiful Navajo beads I’d ever seen up close. OneCuteCowboy asked one of the ladies to open the cabinet so we could try them on. Once I had them around my neck, I knew I never wanted to take them off! They were just what I’d wanted, what I had been admiring for years and years. 


Aren’t they beautiful? I just love them! To some, these just look like a strand of silver beads, but if one knew the craftsmanship it took to just make one single bead. In case you didn’t catch that, each bead is handmade. This necklace was made by the well-known Haley family. I was fortunate enough to get to visit with one of the Haley daughters and she said a necklace like this one probably took a total of 3 days to make. That just puts me in awe, that a factory could produce hundreds of these a day if they wanted to, and yet there are people who value this craft, this way of living, to spend 3 days making sure it is the best piece it can become. I just love that! I’m always impressed with people who can create art with their own two hands. Turquoise Skies wrote a great little article on how these are made and of the Haley family here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my stories from Santa Fe! 


P.S. If you’re a lover of the southwest and Native American art and culture, my friend, and kindred spirit, The Chanhandle also has a great love and appreciation for it. Go check her out! She goes on some fun adventures! 

The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go

Every now and then, OneCuteCowboy and I get off the ranch and out of town. Last weekend my parents and the two of us went up to Colorado. Our destination was Steamboat Springs, CO, but we had a few stops to make on the way. We started out Saturday morning for Denver to go to a Rockies game. On our way up there, my mom realized we’d be going by the OSU “Remember the 10” memorial site. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, back in 2001 a plane went down near Byers,CO, where 2 players of the OSU Cowboys basketball team, 6 members of the coaching staff and OSU broadcasting team, and the pilot and co-pilot were killed. You can learn more about it here. You see, my family are all big OSU fans. My Papa Sam played football there in the 40’s, and my parents (and all their siblings) went to school there as well. My oldest sister, Kizzi went there, and I spent my Freshman year of college there, along with other cousins that have also gone there, so needless to say, we all bleed orange. Anyhow, we decided to stop and pay our respects. It was a very nice memorial site. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so much so that I was just sure we had taken a wrong turn and were going to end up lost, but we made it.

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It’s one of those places I have no words to describe it. I’m glad we stopped though.

 

Then we were off to make it to the Rockies game. My parents had never been to a professional baseball game before, so we were excited to take them. Riley and I have only been a few times, but we fell in love with Coors Field the very first time we went. We are now Rocky fans for life! 😉

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We love the atmosphere, the smell of good food wafting through the stadium, watching them prep the field before the game, the respect that’s shown when the red, white, and blue comes on the field, and just the camaraderie of it all. To be a part of something like this, is just plain fun. We really had a good time!

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We had pretty great seats

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Dad & Mom

Best of all, the Rockies won against the Philly’s 8-2. Since it was the weekend after the 4th, they were doing fireworks after the game. We thought that was pretty cool, but man, we weren’t expecting just how cool they’d be! That was the best fireworks I’ve seen all at one time. They shut all the lights off, and just left the Rockies sign lit up, and then they literally lit up the sky. It was awesome!

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Night games are the best

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This picture doesn’t even start to do the fireworks show justice

It was a really fun night and we can’t wait to go back and do it all again.

We were up the next morning to head to Steamboat Springs. Last summer, OneCuteCowboy and I made a trip up to Aspen and came through the cutest little town called Idaho Springs (I am incredibly sad I didn’t get a single picture in Idaho Springs, I was so excited to be there I completely forgot). Riley fell in love with an ice cream shop, and I fell in love with a little store called The Wild Grape. It just so happens, that Idaho Springs is just about 40 miles outside of Denver, on our way to Steamboat Springs. I was so excited! We decided to stop and grab some ice cream at Miner Decadence Chocolates, which I might add has the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. If you ever go be sure and get a couple chocolate covered cherries as well, they are wonderful! After we got our ice cream, we wondered on down to The Wild Grape. It has all kinds of fun knick-knacks, kitchen gadgets, lovely smelling candles, outdoor whimsy decorations, and fantastic “selfish necessities” as it claims on their sign. I left with a new candle, a cute new tea rest, and finally had the chance to buy some of the Badger Balm, lip balm. I talked about another Badger product in this post. I was glad to go back and I’m in hopes of stopping by again near Christmas time.

Then we were ready to continue on to Steamboat Springs. As we were filling up with gas, getting ready to leave town, I had just gotten in the passenger side and we were all loaded up, when this guy, around my age, that had been in front of me in line inside the store had stopped and was pointing for me to roll my window down. I thought he was going to tell us we had a flat, or maybe we’d left the gas tank open. Instead he said, “I really like what your shirt says,” he then gave a a thumbs up and said, “good words.” You see, I was wearing my new, soft Bible School t-shirt that the leaders had been given to wear. On the front it has an arrow with the words “Be Something Bigger Than Yourself” with our church’s name at the bottom, and the back reads this,

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I actually had planned on wearing a different shirt that day, but for some reason changed my mind that morning and put this one on instead. Maybe that guy needed those words that day. Maybe there were others that read it without commenting, but it left them thinking. God works in wondrous ways, sometimes it’s a small nudge, and we may not even know it’s a nudge from God,  but I’m glad I changed my mind and I put on that shirt that morning.

So then we were finally off to arrive at our final destination. We drove through about 2 hours of beautiful mountain side country, filled with green knolls, evergreen trees, and small ponds and lakes. It was a beautiful drive up there, and even more beautiful when we got to Steamboat.

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This was out of my parents hotel window

We were pretty exhausted, and hadn’t eaten lunch by the time we rolled into town, but we wanted to stop at a few shops before going to eat or finding out hotel. Steamboat has a cute downtown, with lots of shopping, and little restaurants. Unfortunately we got there late in the day, and our hunger out-weighed our wanting to shop so we just stopped in a couple places then decided it was time to eat. But I want to go back sometime and really spend some time downtown. We found a Mexican food place called Fiesta Jalisco that definitely satisfied our hangry-ness. We spent the rest of the evening in our hotel and getting ice cream.

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The next morning was the livestock sale, the whole reason we’d made the trip up there. OneCuteCowboy is a Superior Livestock Rep, only one of the many irons he has in the fire. So we’d gone up there for their big Week In The Rockies livestock sale. My dad had some of his cattle in the sale that would be selling that morning.

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Superior Livestock Sale

It was a nice morning, high of 68 degrees, whereas at home it was more around 101. Talk about a nice change! It was beautiful out. It was an early morning, but it’s always fun to hear the auctioneer and see all the different cattle on video being sold. Superior is a way to sale livestock through internet and tv sales instead of physically having to go to a sale barn to buy/sale cattle. You can have buyers all over the country seeing your cattle from home and calling in to bid. It’s really pretty neat when you think of the substantial amount of ranchers and farmers that could be watching. I personally love how they always have a flag and the pledge of allegiance and a prayer before they start.

About 6 hours later and we were back in the car for the 7 1/2 hour drive home. It was a fun time, and definitely worth the trip! I can’t wait to go back up sometime to enjoy the mountains. For when the mountains start calling, the only cure is to head to higher elevation. 🙂

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little story! What are some trips you’re taking this summer? Where are some of your favorite places to go?