Category: travel


If you’re taking Highway 287 coming from Dallas toward Colorado, you pass a little stop in the road about forty miles before Amarillo called Goodnight, Tx. The only reason you would know you were there is the Herd Wear Retail Store and Goodnight Country Inn.

Goodnight, Texas is an unincorporated “community” in Armstrong County. As of 2000, the population was 18. The address is actually Clarendon, Tx. The town is named for Charles Goodnight and his wife who settled there and had a bison ranch. (We don’t have buffalo in the United States, we have bison, cousins to the buffalo on the other side of the planet.)

Charles Goodnight was one of the biggest cattle ranchers in the Texas Panhandle in the late1800s, having already created the Goodnight-Loving trail to move the cattle to market. He made and lost a fortune in Pueblo, Colorado, before moving to the Texas Panhandle and recreating his success with cattle ranching. While buying land with partners and enlarging the ranch, they had to push the bison back about fifteen miles. Which didn’t help relations with the Indians. Charles made a deal with Quanah Parker to give her followers two beeves (cows) every other day to keep peace.                                                                     

It was about that time that Charles began raising bison as well as antelope and elk. He tried creating a cattalo, crossing cattle and bison, but it wasn’t a huge success. When he quit working with the cattle ranch, Charles concentrated on bison, beginning with 250 head. Charles and his wife – who had encouraged him to raise bison and oversaw the younger bison – shipped bison to Yellowstone, Europe, and other places.

Which brings us back to Cecil Miskin and Darlene Wright at Herd Wear Store/Goodnight Country Inn. The store is smack on 287. If you’re paying attention, you can’t miss it. Back down the road from the highway you can see the Goodnight House. The Country Inn is a one unit bed and breakfast back of the store. Cyndy and I plan to go one weekend when we can see the museums we want to see in the area.

The Herd Wear Store has everything bison, plus more. Check them out on Facebook and the website. A lot of wonderful things. We’re getting stuff for Christmas from them. Best of all though, is bison meat. The kippered bison beef makes great tender steak sticks for snacking. We’ve also tried the bison bratwurst, the jalapeno cheese bratwurst, and the ribs. We still have summer sausage to try. The bison products are a little pricey, but oh, so freaking tasty. And Cecil and Darlene will work with you.

I’ve spent time talking with Cecil on two different occasions now – once with Cyndy and once this last trip on my mini tour. Cecil can tell you all things bison/buffalo and he’ll happily talk about Charles Goodnight and the ranch. They had to get rid of some of the bison in the past fifteen years, but they kept just enough to be able to call it a herd.

So the next time you’re going through, be sure to stop by and see Cecil and Darlene. They’d love to have you and answer any and all questions. They’ve got enough stuff to warrant a day trip just to go there. I know Cecil has enough stories to keep you entertained while you shop. Not to mention the many museums in the area.

Tell them I sent you and I’ll see them next time through!

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

I didn’t play the cajon this time around so I took up less room.

I got  back yesterday from my Mini World’s End Tour this last weekend – the extended World’s End Tour was the tour I had to cancel earlier in the year and will hopefully schedule again next year. The mini tour consisted of four virtual events and one live, social distanced show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado. Friday’s show had to be cancelled due to spotty reception. I thought I would start with an end of tour story first – for various reasons. The last show was the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriters Showcase on Monday, donations during which are split between the two venues to support them in this difficult time we find ourselves in.

The show went very well for all of the songwriters. I was playing from my hotel room in Amarillo. You can find the show at Rob Case’s Open Mic – Poor David’s Pub Facebook page, as well as the donation links.

I woke up Tuesday morning and fixed coffee that was pretty passable for hotel coffee. I packed the stuff in the van and headed to Sam’s to get gas. After I got gas, I pulled into a parking space to place my order on the Whataburger app. There was a location not too far from Sam’s, but it was out of the way. I picked the location on I40 and Grand.

I ordered a biscuit sandwich with egg, extra bacon, and no cheese. I added an apple pie for later on the road. I picked the card I wanted to use to pay and tapped Checkout.

The next thing I saw on my phone was No Cheese not available at this location.

What else is there to say?

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

I’m getting ready to leave for the mini tour this weekend surrounding my first live show since March. Today I’ll play a half hour set on my YouTube channel from the hotel in Amarillo at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Tomorrow I’ll play a half hour show at 8:30 p.m. CT from my friend’s home in Colorado.

Saturday, I will be livestreaming the last set of my show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City, Colorado at 9 p.m. CT. The set includes a tribute to John Prine on his birthday.

Sunday, I will be playing another half hour set at my friend’s home at 8:30 p.m. CT. The half hour sets will include stories behind the songs. All shows before the open mic on Monday will be on my YouTube channel.

Monday night, I will be playing in the Poor David’s Pub/Kerrville Folk Festival online open mic on Rob Case’s Open Mic Facebook page or on my Facebook page from the hotel in Amarillo. It’s always an enjoyable show with a variety of good songwriters and is always a fun time. It you would like to play at a future open mic, contact Lynda Case. Donations during the open mic are split between Poor David’s Pub and the Kerrville Folk Festival to save the venues.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Taken Labor Day evening.

Okay, so snow is not necessarily a mountain thing, although it is prevalent for six months out of the year. But the temperature dropping from 90 to 30 degrees in a few hours with snow beginning to fall, on Labor Day, as it did last week, is most certainly a mountain thing.

As is the deer wandering around town as if they own the place, because, well, they were there first. So when they graze in the front yard or wander through the yard next door to reach the cul de sac as they have for years, you just watch. It’s a cool thing to watch anyway.

Bears have been wandering through for a couple of months now. They only tolerate the humans because they’re nice enough – and stupid enough in some cases – to provide their trash. As well as forgetting to close the garage door with a full refrigerator and freezer inside. Making a note of the bonus location, the bear hit that particular house three times. Apparently, he really enjoyed the freezer full of shrimp he got the first time.  

It’s a morning routine for Sally, Cyndy, and I in Colorado. Drinking our coftfee and watching the street, front and side yards for grazing or passing deer. We’re beginning to recognize some of them. It’s also fun to be driving around town and see deer in a yard, a roadside grassy area, or any grassy or shady area really.

The previous trip to Sally’s.

There is a particular deer that we know well. Each time Cyndy and I leave to head back home – like we did last Saturday – he’s laying in Sally’s front yard telling us good-bye. 

The same deer last Saturday.

 

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

There is a shop called Mountain Wookies in Colorado with a location in Canon City and another in Woodland Park. On the last couple of trips to Colorado, I went in search for a mountain wookie. Our friend, Sally, went on the search with me. The picture on the left or above, depending on your device, is of a cutout on the wall in the parking lot of the Mountain Wookies in Woodland Park. That wasn’t good enough.

There were shops with wolves, bears, deer, owls, dogs, and a pig or two. On the side of one mountain there were the Flintstones characters. But, alas, no mountain wookie. I had an idea for a picture I wanted to get that by design must have a mountain wookie.

Then, when Cameron and I drove up to Colorado the first weekend in August, the three of us were running errands and ran by Mountain Wookies. There in front of the shop on the sidewalk was a mountain wookie. Just go with that.

And here is the picture I wanted.

Mountain Wookie Eats Buc-ee for lunch!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

 

 

Brodie is looking at the camera. You can see Buddy’s ear and back in the foreground.

So Cyndy and I thought we would take the two dogs with us to our friend, Sally’s, in Colorado, near Colorado Springs. If you have been following my posts, Sally’s brother Sam passed away unexpectedly in April. I drove up, the next day we ran errands pertaining to Sam’s affairs, and drove back to Texas the day after.

Sally stayed with us a couple of weeks before we drove back to Colorado. I stayed for a couple of days before driving back home. Then Cyndy and I drove up to Sally’s for Cyndy’s work vacation.

And, as I said, we thought we would take the dogs. On the way up to Colorado, there were few people at the rest areas. Walking the two dogs was no problem. We were lucky that they weren’t barking at the animals on the side of the road. Neither dog really even looked out the window.

We arrived at Sally’s and got the dogs in the backyard without incident. Overall, they did better than we thought they would. The dogs next door were no problem, other than our dogs barking at them. But there is a gap in the fence in the back corner. The chain-link fence on the other side kept the dogs away from each other, but they could still see through. The problem was that Buddy and Brodie could not fit their heads through the hole at the same time. So they went after each other. With Cyndy in the middle. She managed to get the dogs apart, yet not without bruises, scraps, and a very sore finger.

Despite our best efforts, it happened again the next day. We had been making sure someone was at the house with the dogs at any given time. This time Cyndy was literally in the middle and came away with more bruises, scraps, and a scratch on her face.

On the drive back more people were traveling. The rest areas were crowded with often a number of dogs. Our dogs do not play well with others. Brodie and Buddy seemed to be more at ease on the trip back. With the exception of the biker that pulled in behind us in the Dairy Queen drive-through. We had to simply find a place to pull over with enough room to walk the dogs. They weren’t too difficult and we were back on the road.

After the lion’s share of the driving was done, we found a rest area with just a few cars and no animals that we could see. Cyndy and I each grabbed a leash. I got Brodie. Buddy came through the front seat and followed Cyndy out of the driver’s side. Brodie tried to follow them. I persuaded him to come out the passenger door and he shot out. We were parked on a curb and my foot missed the curb. I proceeded to fall and my head snapped against the concrete. I kept hold of Brodie and got up as quickly as I could with the pain growing in the back of my head. The dogs did their business, then we took turns doing ours, then back on the road.

The bump on the back of my head grew as fast as the pain. I was lamenting the fact that I left the head medicine in my backpack in the big ass box on the back of the van. It took a couple of hours, but the pain subsided. I kept talking and thinking clearly which would make it appear that I got through without much damage to my head – other than a sizeable lump, a healing wound, and the feeling that my teeth had been seriously rattled.

I had, however, acquired a shooting pain just back of the middle finger on my right hand anytime I did anything with that hand. My award for hanging onto Brodie’s leash. Although I have to admit that if the pain subsides and there is no lasting damage, it is not too high a price to pay to not have to chase Brodie down the side of the freaking highway. It’s fortunate I wasn’t playing shows. I’m just now able to type or play guitar without pain.

When we head back to Colorado the end of the month, we’re going to have someone take care of the dogs. They’re both rescue dogs so they each have their issues. We’ll give training another shot. But for now, they’re staying home.

But the kicker is, I had thought ahead after all. When we arrived home, it occurred to me that I had put the head medicine in the snack tub. It was three feet away from me the whole time while my head throbbed!

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark 

 

 

 

So I left Colorado on Friday morning – a beautiful day. The traffic was still rather light, but had picked up a little each day. It was a nice day for a drive. A damn long drive, but there you are. The weather warmed up, the air was clear, and the clouds were seemingly drifting through space and time. 

Radio reception cut out on the drive through New Mexico. I listened to the latest mix Conner sent me of the songs for the LA Session cd to be released later this year on Refrigerator Records. The songs sounded so good I was tempted to release it earlier, but everything in its own time. It is good traveling music.

The timing worked out perfect. Radio reception kicked back in when I finished listening to the mixes. A couple of hours later I was past Amarillo. Weather warnings began to interrupt the radio show. Rain, ping pong ball size hail, and sixty mile an hour winds were attacking the panhandle behind me. I was appreciating the fact that I had dodged that particular bullet. 

I appreciated that fact all the way to Hwy 380. The wind had picked up considerably by that time. Then I hit a little light rain. No big deal. I called Cameron to see if he was at his apartment in Denton. I was going to stop off, say hi, and use the bathroom. But soon after we hung up, the bottom dropped out. God’s way of telling me he didn’t appreciate my over confidence. 

On 35, visibility was reduced to having to turn on the flashers to warn those behind us. I worried about those whose common sense seemed lacking. I had to go around two accidents, the first of which I was almost in. But I arrived home with no incident in which I was involved.

I’ve been wearing a mask and social distancing the whole time. On one level of my conscience I’m getting used to it. On another level, I’m kinda tired of the whole damn thing. I would like to have a beer at the bar and then finish my show when the break is over.

In my dream last night, the trip – as well as events of the past few months – invaded that same conscience. There is a lot of jumbled parts that made an impression, but I don’t remember what happened. However, one scene struck me vividly. 

I was at a gathering of some sort. It was obviously pre(or post)- Covid 19. While the groups were away from each other, it was closer than six feet. I was walking through the crowd, saying hello to what seemed like everyone. I wasn’t shaking hands, but I was patting everyone on the shoulder. I got halfway through the crowd when I became horrified at what I was doing. Yet I couldn’t stop. Then I suddenly woke up with a shake.

I’d rather not have that dream again, if it’s all the same.

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Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

paypal.me/danroark

 

I had planned on publishing a post yesterday. But with social distancing and so forth on the road, There just wasn’t a convenient time to whip out the laptop. I’m getting used to the WordPress app on my phone – I just hadn’t taken the time to check it out. Which is odd considering that time is the one thing I have too much of.

With states taking steps to open up, Sally and I didn’t know what to expect in the way of traffic on the way to Colorado. Of course Dallas and Denton traffic was increasing. Not too much traffic through west Texas, but then, why would there be? The rest areas had very few people, most of whom were either wearing masks or kept their distance. When we stopped for gas, the employees were wearing masks as were most of the customers. Most, but not all, were social distancing.

From Trinidad, Colorado north through Colorado Springs the traffic kept picking up. Enough so that we were caught in bumper to bumper traffic for a time in Manitou Springs. People are still being sensible here for the most part, but there are always those people. Some people were getting back to work in Colorado Springs which caused quite a bit of the traffic.

As for me and mine, except for the masks and social distancing, with the accompanying fear and paranoia, basic life has not changed much. Thankfully, Cyndy is still working and I have writing projects. Granted I’m not playing any live shows at the moment. But I can record videos, do some streaming, and work on new songs. My point is that we have always washed our hands. We have always been careful of door handles and so forth. And we keep a distance from people on a regular basis.

Be that as it may, we’ll see what unfolds. I don’t know if I will get to play what would have been the last show on my tour the end of the month. I’m going home the end of the week. Cyndy and I will come back up here the last week of the month for Cyndy’s vacation and what would have been my shows. We may not be doing much.

Governor Polis of Colorado has said that he would make a decision on restaurants on the 25th. The show at World’s End Brewing in Canon City  is scheduled for the 29th. Since I can set up back in a corner alcove, easily leaving 6-9 feet, I would really like to play the show. The customers are mostly local and probably haven’t left.

But after that, who knows? I have a few shows booked for July that I hope to play. But I’m getting recordings ready to release, writing new songs and other things. I’m not in that much of a hurry if it keeps me from being sick.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

So I spent last week social distancing my butt to Colorado to pick up Sally and bring her back for her brother, Sam, to be interred in Ft. Worth. Due to Covid-19, it will only be Sally and her cousin at the graveside. Her older brother, Kenny, lives in the area, but he doesn’t get around well.

It was odd, but pleasant, making the long drive with very little traffic. You can make really good time when you rarely have to pass anyone. Driving through New Mexico – in the middle of freaking nowhere – two other drivers and I played a casual vehicle, bored drivers version of leap frog. In other words, we took turns passing each other.

The day after I arrived, we drove into Colorado Springs to pick up the death certificates. The traffic was not as heavy as “usual,” but considerably heavier than on the highway. We picked up barbecue from Front Range BBQ. I highly recommend them should you find yourselves in the area. We picked up a few more things on the way back to the house for the evening. On Thursday we headed back here to Farmers Branch. Sally took the first shift until her eyes went “wonky” as she put it.

It was nice to be in cooler weather before coming back to Texas heat. Sally enjoys the heat though- having been stuck in the house most of the winter. We’ll head back to Colorado when things are taken care of. I’ll hang out a couple of days – leaving time between driving days. Then I’ll come back here until Cyndy and I go up the end of the month. In the meantime, I’ll try to get back to the projects I was working on when we heard the news that Sam passed away. Stay tuned – it’s going to be interesting!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

[If you like what you read and/or enjoy my music and what I do, feel free to let me know – Paypal.me/danroark]

I was driving to Chattanooga last Wednesday for my show on Thursday at Big Frog Brewing. I was approaching West Memphis when I put the window down to get something off of my hand while I kept the other hand on the wheel. I tried to put it up when it stopped and slowly went all the way down. In the midst of the up and down movement of the window, I heard a crunching sound in the door. Which couldn’t be good.

So I’m driving down the road at 70 miles an hour in 34 degree weather with no window. I pulled into a Love’s and parked in front of the door. I ran inside to the restroom and back out as fast as I could. I called my son, Cameron. He called around and found a Firestone on the east side of Memphis that was still open. If they couldn’t fix it, they could get the window up and tape it in place.

Another 50 minutes of driving in decreasing temperatures and I was at the Firestone. I just asked if they would get it up and tape it. Cameron and would fix it after I got home. They did the best they could – they said – but there was still a gap at the top. I stopped at a larger Love’s. It was either duct tape, electrical tape, or packing tape. A few minutes later, I was taping my window like the last package I mailed – except sloppier because of the angles. Yet it worked.

I drove on to Chattanooga and checked in at the hotel. I spent the rest of the trip feeling like I was driving inside a wind tunnel with the radio cranked.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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