Overseas Tour 2010

Living a Dream – U.S. Tour 2010

Day one, a touristy day in San Francisco, riding the cable car, dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf. Then a train trip through the Rockies from San Francisco to Denver was a good way to unwind from the long flight and to see the most awesome scenery – and animals – imaginable. The first week was taken up with concerts and writing workshops in the schools (Primary to High) in Colorado. Some shows - the “Pickin’ Parlour” and at private functions for Rotary, Chamber of Commerce and various business and professional people in the Denver area. The National Stock Show was on for two weeks and this was a must go for me. I saw the Ranch Classic – trail classes and Western Pleasure events and cattle judging on the first visit. Next time the Stock Dogs were working cattle (sheep dog trial fashion) and then I got to judge the Chuck Wagon Food and have a sit on a Texas Longhorn! Saw Mule teams for the first time and also watched a Six Horse Hitch - sixty six horses and wagons in the arena at once!
The Arvada Cowboy Poetry Gathering was just phenomenal – brilliant entertainers, great atmosphere and camaraderie. The main stage was a movie set! Everything done so professionally and on a grand scale and the audiences hugely enthusiastic, particularly about good stuff (not just jokey junk). They just love our poetry and my first show was thrillingly successful.

Pickin Parlour

The shows from then on were standing room only and consisted of several ‘themed’ sessions and concerts. Generally four performers – usually two poets and two singers or a group. And it was all the Real McCoy. Ranching and horse people - fair dinkum cowboys in eye popping gear! Jam sessions till 5am with some of the best performers and musicians in the world. I just loved it all. And the hospitality was unbelievable. AND the food! (half a stone on but I’m sure it was the just the altitude…)
More gigs seemed to come out of the woodwork while I was there, but still managed to do all sorts of things. Went on a Ranch Tour (as an entertainer) and got to see the cowboys bringing cattle in to yards (right beside me) to ship to California for the rest of the winter. Had (camp oven) lunch at the Trail Centre where the early wagon trains used to go through the gap in the Rockies to Oregon or California. Met TV star of ‘Wagon Train’ series there (my teenage hero). Trip to Red Rock, a natural amphitheatre in rocky canyon where John Denver and the Beatles have performed. Then to see buffalos and to Cheyenne, Wyoming to the Old Frontier Days Museum (The Deadwood Stage etc.), to Leanin’ Tree and to Estes Park (had lunch in the Stanley Hotel of “The Shining” starring Jack Nicholson), went to Ye Old Spaghetti Factory, a restored old saloon – huge - where the tables were four poster beds. Then to The Buckhorn Exchange, with 420 shot and mounted animal heads on the wall (eek). To ‘Tooties’ which was like stepping straight into ‘Happy Days’. Also went to Indian Markets (all indoors) - 240 stalls of beautiful art, sculpture, jewellery etc with full on shows from Aztec Indians and Kiowa Indians in native costume. Wow! And shopped, shopped, shopped. (Lucky my CD’s and books sold out!)

So loved the first train trip that several of the performers and I went on the California Zephyr again, to Elko, singing all the way (well, till we nearly got kicked off). Elko, Nevada – and The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.Doris Quote Can it get any better?? The Western Folklife Centre is the hub of it all with a great long bar where ALL the entertainers socialise before, during and after gigs which are in various locations (main ones in the convention centre) all over town. The who’s who are there. Big names like Baxter Black, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Waddi Mitchell. Every show was just great (as were the parties and jam sessions) My main show “Hold Yer Horses!” (yes, believe it or not the name of my new book) was with Jerry Brooks (reciter) Dave Stamey (outstanding singer/songwriter) and our own wonderful Milton Taylor. My poems “Rosie” “Angels on Horseback” and “Tacky Hacky” were hugely popular and there was a standing ovation (I was moved to tears.)

Several themed concerts followed and the days and nights were ‘jam’ packed. (All up, did sixteen shows.) I was invited to a ranch out at Spring Creek on the last day where several of us played music and were treated to yet another fabulous meal. Then, yes, I went riding in the Rockies – a perfect finish to the trip, and the month, of a lifetime.