Will’s Travel Log


I invite you to have a look at my latest journal entries.

Just click on the links below.



Swing into the saddle and enjoy the ride!


  • Summer in the American West







    Got a Dream Boy?


                Got a Song?








    And Come Along…



    Polson, Montana

    July 25-28, 2019


    Flathead Lake at Polson. (Web capture)

    Flathead Lake in Montana, is the largest natural fresh water lake west of the Mississippi in the lower forty-eight. It has about 185 miles of shore-line.


    It is named for the Salish (Flathead) Indians, whose Tribal Land is at the south end of the lake.




    The glacial damming of the Flathead River formed Flathead Lake. The Kerr Dam near Polson, provides power and irrigation to the area.

    Today The Kerr Dam provides electricity to approximately 125,000 homes, and is a major source of revenue to the Salish and Kootenai tribes, as it resides on Tribal property.

    Kerr Dam Photo curtesy: G.L. McDonald






    The Happy Hippo is a military grade amphibious vehicle from the Vietnam era. Captain Bob proudly motors his guests about, to show off some of the highlights of the town he loves…

    Dad and Mom: After performing a rendision of “The Chicken Dance” out on the water.


    And then; he drives right out onto the lake for a very fun water adventure!





    When the notion strikes Captain Bob-


    VIP’s are treated to his first love… music!

    Since Flathead Lake lacks the nutrients necessary to promote algae growth, this body of water has become world famous for its clarity.


    Its maximum depth is about 371 feet.




    McDonald Lake


    This beautiful oasis is:

    McDonald Lake.

    It is located in the Mission Mountains. And is also on Tribal Land.


    Gary and Mary McDonald


    Gary and Kim McDonald





    A perfect place to celebrate our namesake.




    A short ride from Polson brought our party to the St. Ignatius Mission.








    St. Ignatius is located in western Montana about forty miles north of Missoula. It is nicely nestled among the mountains and hills of the Mission Valley.





    The St. Ignatius Mission, and the town that grew up around it, was founded in 1854. It is named for St. Ignatius of Loyola, the co-founder of The Society of Jesus. (The Jesuits)


    But the story of this mission in Montana begins long before 1854. It begins with a faithful French Canadian Trapper/Trader. His name, Old Ignace La Mouse.



    La Mouse grew up near Montreal Canada, among the Iroquois Confederacy of Tribes. Many of these Indian fur trappers came to faith through the earlier work of Canadian missionaries.


    Ignace La Mouse likely became a Christian through the influence of these Iroquois Catholics.


    The fur-trading expeditions of Old Ignace eventually led him, and twenty-three Canadian Iroquois to settle in Montana.


    Ignace and his band of trappers were welcomed by these Montana Indians, and began to marry into the Flathead tribe. These Catholic Iroquois became witnesses of Jesus Christ to the Flathead Indians.



    Thanks to the ministry of Old Ignace, the Flatheads learned the Sign of the Cross-, several Christian prayers and to keep the Lord’s Day Holy.


    The Last Super depicted at St. Ignatius



    As time passed, The Flatheads and the Iroquois both desired to learn more about Jesus Christ.


    Jesus depicted for these Montana Indians


    In the spring of 1831, a delegation of four Flathead Indians set off for St. Louis in an attempt to secure some missionaries for their people. They arrived in October 1831, but the language barrier and the eventual death of all four men made this attempt unsuccessful.


    In 1835, Ignace and two of his sons journeyed to St. Louis to again secure some priests for their people. But the Jesuits in St. Louis were poor, struggling and few in numbers.

    In 1837, Old Ignace accompanied by a Nez Perce Chief and three Flatheads set out once again for St. Louis.

    But they were attacked and killed by a renegade band of Sioux on the North Platte River near Fort Laramie in Nebraska.

    Mother Mary and Our Lord Jesus depicted for these Montana Indians

    It was not until a fourth journey was made in 1839, that their task to bring a teacher West to their people, was successful. This two-man delegation met with Jesuit Father Peter DeSmet at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Father DeSmet began his work among the Flatheads in 1840.

    St Mary’s, the first Jesuit mission in Montana, was established in 1841 on the Bitter Root River, in the present town of Stevensville.


    Under construction due to earth quake reinforcement


    In the spring of 1845, the first Mission of St. Ignatius was established on the Washington-Idaho border, before being moved to its present site in 1854.




    Just over the hills to the Northwest…




    Oh give me a home…


    The most photographed barn in Montana




    Where the Buffalo roam.









    Did you say Buffalo? 


    Well now, where is Buffalo Bill Cody when you need him? He would know, don’t you think?

    Web Capture

    Turns out, these gigantic critters are properly called Bison.





    As the story goes, the first explorers to the American West gave them the name Buffalo because these Bison looked similar to the Water Buffalo. Animals the frontiersmen were familiar with.

    Asian Water Buffalo (Web Capture)


    So for clarity, just to add to the confusion…bison is a Greek word meaning Ox-Like animal.


    The term Buffalo originated with French fur trappers who called these mammals Boeufs, also meaning Ox… Go figure.


    But I think it is fair to say that even Buffalo Bill would agree that the Asian Water Buffalo and the American Bison are different.

    It is believed that the American Bison crossed over a land bridge that once connected the Asian and North American Continents. Estimates of up to 75 Million Bison once roamed in North America.


    “The moving multitude…darkened the whole plains”, Lewis and Clark wrote when they encountered a herd at White River, South Dakota in 1806.






    Where the Deer…







    And the Antelope play all across our American west…


    The Wilson River

    August 2019

    Not far from our place on Cooper Mountain is the Wilson River. The Wilson navigates through the Coast Range until it finds its way to the Tillamook Bay.


    Well, we hitched up the team…



    Two cows fighting over a calf.

    …and drove as far as we could go.




    And then we had to walk.































    Finally. Here we are at Keenig Creek.






    I mean…






    Here we are at…


    Keening Creek






    All right fellers…


    now, which one is it?






    If it weren’t such a nice place to be, I was just about ready to call the whole thing off!


    Home sweet home for the next couple of nights.




    Now our first day and night was very pleasant indeed. We enjoyed our very peaceful surroundings.


















    But sometimes, as every trailblazer knows, the night sky can make things look and sound, just a little different.



    The rocks along-side the trail can seem to change.




    In the dark, even  the smallest pebble can make you slip.



    When all the animals get still and quiet; You just know that something’s a-foot.







    And so it was, we were a-wakened from our field of dreams, to an un-welcomed atmospheric disturbance.

    But the force was with us!







    And at first light we were on the road to Tillamook…












    Ice cream is a good way to end any day!





    September, 2019


    Where am I goin’?



    I don’t know…




    When will I get there?




    I ain’t certain…





    All I know is, I am on my way…



    The Tygh Valley

    In the mid 1840’s pioneers in route to the Willamette Valley followed a wagon road that crossed over the Tygh Valley Ridge.



    After a steep and rocky traverse down hill, they landed across from what is today the Wasco County Fair Grounds in the Tygh Valley.




    The early Pioneers traded with the Tygh Indians.



    It was here in Tygh Valley; travelers rendezvoused to decide whether to continue north to The Dallas and raft down the mighty Columbia River…

    The Tygh Valley


    or to journey over the shoulder of Mount Hood on the Barlow Road.     

    Mt. Hood




    The Destination:

    The Willamette Valley!

    Native Fishermen



    This area of the Deschutes has been a River crossing and fishing location for a long time.


    Sherar’s Bridge


    Peter Skene Ogden made note of the bride, and the Indians camped here in his journal when he crossed in 1826.




    Pioneers who chose The Meek Cut off to the Barlow Road, passed here on their way to The Dallas.


    Game Trail?


    Game Trail?

    I don’t think so.

    Animals make ir-egular cuts in nature.

    Paths carved by human resilience; are more uniform. Next time you are out and about-

    Take a pause, and have a look!

    The Deschutes River

    The Tygh Valley is considered by some to be the beginning of the Barlow Road- because many wagon trains crossed the Deschutes River at Sherar’s Bridge, proceeded west and bypassed The Dallas.



    The National Park Service considers the First tollgate at Gate Creek on the White River, as the beginning of the Barlow Road.



    After some refreshments, we were on our way…





    To Bend or Bust!



    Bend, Oregon. September, 2019



    Home. Home


    Sheep Wagon




    on the Range.



    The way I hear it, the reason pioneer travelers painted names and locations on their wagon covers, was to make it easier to meet as a train, in the crowded wagon camps.

    The practice started when a large number of backwoodsmen from Pike County, in eastern Missouri hit the trail. They painted Pike Co. Missouri on their canvases. Or simply Pike. They became known as Pikers.

    These small communities of people who traveled together out of necessity and hardship, never forgot the powerful friendships they formed. We call it Pioneer Spirit and it lives on today!

    Prairie Schooner (Web Capture)

    After 1850, when throngs of migrants began traveling the trail, many because of the California Gold Rush; wagon manufacturing became a huge business.


    Part of Americana: John Deere, Studebaker, Sears and Roebuck all began by manufacturing wagons.

    By the late 1850’s the traveling Farmer’s wagon was re-made, complete with flared sides and tongue-and-grove flooring, for easier flotation on The Trails’ rivers. These new and improved vehicles were advertised as Prairie Schooners. A pioneer could hit the road in one of these babies for about seventy-five bucks!


    The year is 1904. The Millers have recently homesteaded near the booming town of Bend, Oregon.



    The family tends cattle out on the open range. And has recently joined will other homesteaders to buy a used saw mill from the US Army.





    Timber tycoons, stockmen, Sheepherders and many others regularly visit the Miller family Ranch in the…


    High Desert

    near Bend, in the Summer!





    The Gold Rush began with the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848.


    Miners shoveled a few handfuls of gravel, sand and silt out of the river and into a pan. Everything scooped was nice and wet. Roughly shaking and swirling the pan would help the gold settle to the bottom.

    Gold is heavier than other minerals in the water. 

    Then, tipping their pan into the river at a very shallow angle, the current would carry away the first layer of sand and silt. Then repeating the shake down, and carefully returning the pan to the river current; they could remove another layer of silt and sand until patient miners were left with a tablespoon or two of blackish sand. Another gentle swirl of the pan would help the gold flakes settle further. Miners would pick the flecks out of the pan and store them in their pouch. A good panner could do 50 pans in a day. If he could wash ten cents per pan, he made five dollars a day!  

    Some diaries claim that prospectors in Oregon were mining placer gold on the Burnt River in 1854.


    A sluice is a slightly raised wooden trough with cleats nailed across the bottom. As gravel is washed down the incline, the gold sinks to the bottom and is trapped by the cleats.


    But Oregon legend has it that as early as 1845, gold was discovered in another creek in Eastern Oregon. 

    As the story goes, A wagon train led by Stephen Meek was headed for the Willamette Valley. But Meek; certain of a short cut, (known today as the Meek Trail) got lost.


    The stamp mill uses heavy weights known as stamps that repeatedly drop on crushed ore. The flat surfaces on the front of the stamps are copper plates coated with mercury. Water washes across the plates and the gold combines with the mercury. The minerals are later recovered by distilling off the mercury.


    While some kids in the party were playing in a nearby creek, they found some yellow pebbles. The youngsters stored their find in a blue bucket that got forgotten when the train moved on. The blue bucket was never found, nor was their location ever positively identified. But that has not stopped many from searching the area for what has become known as the Lost Blue Bucket Mine. Some believe that the source of the children’s find was Canyon Creek, near what today is Canyon City.



    It was on such a search that Henry Griffin and his search party found gold near Baker City in October of 1861. The place is now known as Griffin Gulch. Griffin’s discovery triggered a flood of prospectors to Northeastern Oregon!



    The basic law principles, for placer and Lode (Hard Rock) mining…




    were established by congress…



    in the mid 1860’s and early 1870’s.






    They are still valid today.


    Sumpter, Oregon

    September, 2019

    In 1862, five men from the South, found gold in some gravel deposits, near the junction of Cracker Creek and McCully Fork. Being Southern sympathizers, they called their new cabin Fort Sumpter.

    Eventually, Sumpter became the hub of the most productive gold mining region in northeastern Oregon.

    Sumpter’s boom really began with the development of lode mining, and the arrival of the Railroad in 1896. But Placer mining was still very active.




    Large bucket-line dredges began operation in the Sumpter Valley in 1913.

    Sumpter Dredge No. 3



    Sumpter Dredge Number Three, operated continuously from 1935 to 1954.






    It did shut down for three years during WWII.


    The dredge dug in a sideways motion to create a pond big enough for it to maneuver in.

    The dredge operated 24 hours a day, in all kinds of weather.


    It produced $4.5 million in gold, at the price of $35.00 per ounce.




    Granite, Oregon 

    September, 2019

    Gold was discovered on “Granite Creek” on the Fourth of July 1862, by a group of prospectors from California.

    In the spring of 1865, as the take from the placer mines diminished, several mine owners sold and moved on. The sale of mine property typically included flume boxes, sluice boxes, tools, quicksilver, water rights and cabins belonging to the claim.

    Some Chinese miners moved in and worked these claims. They were persistent, dedicated and hardworking people. And proved to be very good gold diggers.

    The Granite mining district was re-energized with the Lode Boom starting in 1890.

    The government shut down many mining operations during WWII including the Granite district, to focus on the war effort.


    The town never recovered.

    Frank’s Claim




    Today in this quiet little town, Frank still works his claim. But he was not at home when we dropped by.


    Cornucopia, Oregon

    September, 2019

    This area never quite became another Virginia City, but Cornucopia did turn out to be Oregon’s most productive mine.


    The name Cornucopia means “horn of plenty.” Prospectors from Cornucopia, Nevada offered the name.

    It is estimated that from ten to seventeen million dollars in gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc were excavated from the Cornucopia Mine.

    Mining boomed here in 1885, when prospectors flocked to the area after hearing of the gold rich veins in the Granite Mountains.



    The Cornucopia Mine worked “The Union-Companion” and “Last Chance” veins. Both are at very high elevations. Much of the ore was transported by tram.

    The Cornucopia Mine ceased operation just prior to the start of WWII.

    Today, it is believed that both of these veins continue to a considerable depth below what has already been worked. And that both, would likely yield ore of about the same quality, as that which has already been milled. Though, even now, a mining operation in this terrain, and at such elevations, is not considered cost effective. But if you choose to explore these old Mountain trails, it is possible that you might happen upon a gold digger with just such a glint in his eye.


    In 1902 Cornucopia boasted…




    two hotels, two general stores…



    two livery stables and several meat markets. There were bakeries, barber shops, saloons and dance halls.



    Today, Little remains of the town except some old dilapidated buildings…


    AND good WIFI.







  • Along the Lewis and Clark Trail




    Along the Lewis and Clark Trail

    May 26th 2019

    In response to The Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, and their men were the first Americans to discover a path across the West to the Pacific. In their wake came the mountain men, prospectors, cattlemen, sodbusters, tracklayers and then finally, the city builders.

    Our journey this day, started on Highway Thirty on the Washington side of the Mighty Columbia. Along the old “Lewis and Clark Trail.”



    “Ocian in view! O! The joy.”

    These words are written in Captain William Clark’s journal dated November 7, 1805.

    On that day though, he was not standing on the shores the Pacific Ocean, but rather the banks of the Columbia River Estuary. “The Corps of Discovery” entered these marshes and was forced to its banks for days do to rough weather. It would be another couple of weeks before Captains Lewis and Clark would actually reach the Pacific Ocean.

    The explorers passed this site on November 26th, 1805 and found hundreds of migratory birds. “They were immensely numerous and their noise horrid!” Captain Clark was quoted.



    But seriously folks, I never saw a thing.





    In the autumn of 1804, The Corps of Discovery wintered near the mouth of The Knife River in what today is the state of North Dakota. Captains Lewis and Clark befriended the Indians in residence there, and recruited two new members to join their corps. One was a French-Canadian named Toussaint Charbonneau, the other his Indian wife Sacajawea. She was familiar with the territory ahead, and helped to point out the landmarks that guided them into the mountains and to the Continental Divide. At last Lewis and Clark were on the Pacific slope.


    By December 7, 1805 Lewis and Clark were camped on the south bank of the Columbia River near its mouth and could keep watch over the Pacific seas.









    By January 1, 1806 the Corps had its winter quarters built.






    They named it Fort Clatsop; after the local Indian Tribe.








    But by then, (Just 24 days in) Clark had already ‘fallen out of love’ with the Pacific Ocean. “The sea” he wrote “…roars like a repeeted roling thunder and have rored in that way ever since our arrival…”


    But the noise for which Clark could hardly bear, has provided a wealth of peace, tranquility and fun for all the generations to come…


    Traditions are things families do together that stir from the heart warm and lasting memories. Here’s a peak into a couple of ours…


    Cassidy 9 Days old


    Dad and Cassidy Cannon Beach, Or.

    May 8th, 1996



    June 2, 2019



    Cassidy and Dad





    Gary, Kim, Casey, Angus,Melissa, Louis, Cassidy and Charles
    Cassidy and Charles with Louis










    And a look at just some of the years in between…

    Cassidy and Casey








    Casey, Melissa, and Angus
















    Kim and Gary








    Our mission. To explore all of the Oregon Coast Lighthouses.














    All on Oregon’s Coast




    Lewis and Clark had gone into the unknown and brought back with them a record of their  knowledge and experience, that was enough to spark                  the curiosity of the countless thousands that eventually followed.


    Until the next…

    May God Bless you with a wall for the wind, a roof for the rain and a warm cup of coffee by the campfire




  • Bonanza Diamond Jubilee Feb. 22-24 2019
    The Ponderosa II. Photo by Bailey
    From the Ponderosa II Collection



    Sixty years of








    January 28, 2019


    Ponderosa Nevada Post Card



    At The Round Up!



















    Top Hand Skip





    And I are getting our horses ready..





    For our drive to Mesa!

    February 16, 2019

    The Branding…










    Saved the choice cut for the trail!!!






    The Beef is ready to move!




    February 17, 2019

    Turns out our team was revved and ready nearly a half day ahead of schedule. And we are not a couple of wranglers willing to argue with 365 horses…


    Come-on! Get along little dogey!



    Dogey is cowboy short speak for dough-guts. The term came into use in the 1880’s. It refers to orphaned calves left out on the range, often do to harsh weather. Many of these young-ins were not fully weaned from their mothers, so their tummies were not quite ready to digest the tough grass found out on the Range. This diet gave these calves Pot-bellies or Dough-guts. It also refers to calves that leave their mothers behind so as to allow the circle of life to continue.


    And so our cattle wagon is off to the…




     Bonanza Diamond Jubilee!!!


    Our horses were running good and without effort.







    Along this section of the trail, we picketted the horses and wrestled up some grub.









    58 and 97 brought us over some beautiful mountain passes…





    And we were also very glad that the team was well shoed.




    We slowed as we passed Klamath Lake and got a brief glimpse of a Bald Eagle.








    And fond memories started tricking back as we settled in for a meal, some good conversation and a bunk for the night. Klamath Falls is where this cow-puncher got his start. It was a good place for me! This turns out to be my first visit back to K-Falls in 35 years!


    A good first day on the trail!







    February 18th, 2019





    Being 10 degrees in Klamath Falls this morning…





    … the wranglers were ready to swing into the saddle by sunrise.  Top Hand Skip got the dogies on the move and we were on our way!


    As we crossed into Californ-y, we called to the drovers we sent ahead, and they said Adin Pass was blocked with snow and we better find another route.


    Twenty miles to the east was better going.



    And the drovers got us to Virginia City by early afternoon.




    Wild horses couldn’t keep them away!




    We first had a burger at The Palace;



    and then there was of course












    Luckily we got out of there before Sheriff Coffee had to chase us out…




    Virginia City was once one of the most vital cities…




    …between Denver and San Francisco.





    Miners excavated millions out of the mines, which equates to billions today.





    And it was the most frequently visited city by the Cartwrights!

    Washoe Lake



    From Virginia City we headed to the North end of Washoe Lake…



    Bowers Mansion


    to have a look at Bowers Mansion.

    It was built in the early 1860’s and typical of the architectural style of Eilley Bower’s native Scotland. The cost, about $300,000 to build.

    The home is featured in Bonanza episode season one “The Saga of Annie O’ Toole.” And season eight’s “The Greedy Ones.”

    February 19th, 2019

    Carson City


    Some of the wranglers needed to send money back home, so we stopped by the Carson City Mint to get some cash.



    The mint was built in Carson City to facilitate the manufacture of coins from the silver coming out of the Comstock Lode. The mint struck coins here from 1870 to 1893. Each coin bore the mintmark CC for Carson City.


    The Morgan Dollar was first struck here in 1878 and named after its designer George T. Morgan.




    The Pony Express ran from St. Joseph Missouri to Sacramento California. Their riders covered the more than 1800-mile distance in ten days! Each rider road about seventy-five miles a day. The Pony Express operated from April 1860 to October 1861. It went right through Carson City.

    Bonanza’s season seven, two part episode “Ride the Wind” celebrates The Pony Express.

    February 20th, 2019

    Lone Pine California






    We got an early start as Top Hand Skip gathered our horses down at the Livery.





    Our Point Man lead us South on 395 for one wild…











    …And pretty drive.









    We arrived in Indian Territory at a place called Lone Pine.

    The Alabama Hills







    The Alabama Hills







    We stopped in at The Totem for some nicely prepared ribs.



    As it turns out, it seems that a lot of old cowhands have spent time at Lone Pine.




    Hop-along Cassidy, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers just to name a few.





    Clint Eastwood and John Wayne have also road the saddle in the Alabama Hills.




    Will along Movie Road

    With all of this movie magic about…





    …we found ourselves a little detained.



    “The Pursed” another two-part episode of Bonanza, which aired in season eight is the only one filmed on location at Lone Pine.

    Bonanza: on location at Lone Pine Ca. Posted with permission from Andy Klyde






    Bonanza: On location at Lone Pine Ca. Posted with permission from Andy Klyde



    February 21, 2019

    Mesa, Arizona





    Freeze Frame from Bonanza:The Grand Swing



    Look Skip!

    It’s the Witness Tree.





    We are in Ponderosa Country!




    We arrived by stage…



    …to deliver the Ponderosa beef…



    …to Tom and Louise the owners and guardians of the Ponderosa II.


    Pam McComb-Podmostko


    Pam McComb-Podmostko

    Here is a look at the Ponderosa II…





    Pam McComb-Podmostko






    Top Hand Skip








    …and a synopsis of the great weekend we all had from Andy Klyde.



    February 22-24, 2019

    Mesa, Arizona 

    That’s me, kneeling in front, Sunday February 24, 2019 at the Western town in the Superstition Mountains with several fantastic fans who traveled from Germany and Canada to help celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the television debut of BONANZA.


    Andy Klyde

    Returned recently from the fabulous BONANZA Diamond Jubilee weekend hosted by Tom and Louise Swann, proprietors of the Ponderosa II (built for Lorne Greene and Nancy Greene in Mesa, Arizona in 1963, from Paramount Studios set designer Earl Hedrick’s original Ponderosa Ranch architectural plans). The event at the Swann home was sold out months in advance, and but for the Fire-marshal restrictions limiting the number of people in the house (where most of the activities occurred),  I’m sure many more folks would’ve signed up to attend in addition to the hundred-plus who were there.

    Met lots of great people (enthusiasts from Germany, Norway, Australia, Wales, England . . . and of course across the U.S.), participated in a fun panel discussion hosted by historian Boyd Magers (alongside actors Mitch Vogel, Don Collier, casting director Susan McCray, actress Pamela Roylance, stuntman Neil Summers, singer Rex Allen, Jr., and guitarist Dick Goodman, who told tales of being part of the band that backed up Mike Landon at personal appearances several times in 1967).


    Louise Swann and Boyd Magers
    The Panel


    Susan McCray and Mitch Vogel







    Pamela Roylance
    Rex Allen Jr.



    Don Collier

    Actor Don Collier (perhaps best known as forman Sam Butler of The HIGH CHAPARRAL) was his usual charming self, regaling us with stories of working with all the “Cartwrights” (especially Dan Blocker).


    Mitch Vogel shared priceless anecdotes, Susan talked about her beloved Kent McCray (and tales of Michael Landon), offered copies of her late husband’s autobiography (highly recommended) and actress Pamela Roylance  (Little House: A new beginning) was delightful as she related stories from the set and Michael’s kindnesses.

    Gary and Mitch Vogel (Jamie Hunter Cartwright)


    Jamie Hunter Cartwrght







    Susan McCray, Gary, Don Collier


    Susan McCray began her distinguished career on Bonanza and Continued with Michael Landon to Little House.

    Pamela Roylance. Little House A New Beginning




    Actor Don Collier can be seen on BONANZA episodes: “The Mission”, “The Good Samaritan”, “The Flannel Mouth Gun”, “Credit for a Kill” and “Saddle Stiff”

    Freeze Frame: Don Collier Bonanza: “Credit for a Kill”


    The Ponderosa Pickers

    Heard some great tunes from the “house” band, the Ponderosa Pickers, had good ‘cue plus make your own s’mores over an open fire for dessert one night, and delicious burgers the next (courtesy of the P Pickers, siblings Scott Tobias, Leta Tobias and Coleen Butz, a talented trio who can cook as well as sing),

    Rex Allen Jr.





    attended a breakfast cruise aboard a vessel reminiscent of the Dixie, which traversed a lake that evoked a small Lake Tahoe . . .

    Breakfast Cruise on Saguaro Lake


    and chartered busses took us from the Arizona Golf Resort (where we slept when not participating in virtually non-stop fun-filled activities) to a picturesque Wild West “Ghost Town” in the Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, where Lorne Greene filmed special commercials for Chevrolet in the 1960s.There we had a sumptuous lunch, watched a fun “wild-west shootout,” and as an unexpected bonus,  I met (and several of us chatted with) a proprietor of Western souvenirs whose dad was a BONANZA story consultant.


    The Superstition Mountains


    Lee Marvin Look-a-Like in Paint your Wagon and Will Thunder








    Shoot-out in the Ghost Town
















    Watched amazing tribute videos produced by tremendously talented Carol Sullivan Trant…

    Bob Cook and Ginger Brigham Cook



    Pam McComb AKA “Bailey”



    and award winning editor/director Ginger Brigham Cook (who was also hard -at- work videotaping all the festivities while her colleague, ace photographer “Bailey,” snapped photos throughout the wonderful weekend). A CD of photos and a DVD of video highlights will be available as souvenirs.

    Attendees swapped lots of fun stories and experiences, watched cherished episodes together on a big screen by the fireplace in the Great Room of Ponderosa II, and I again presented the ever-popular “Andy’s Rarities,” featuring fan-demanded favorites like Mike Landon on Hullabaloo, Pernell Roberts with Ed Sullivan and Mike Douglas, a “day in the life” of Lorne Greene in 1963 (including time on the Ponderosa set and the rodeo circuit), PAX-Tv promos, the Cartwrights’ visit to Sesame Street in 1971, and other rare gems.


    Mitch Vogel “Jamie Hunter Cartwright”

    And for the very first time, delighted fans heard  audio of the “Last Party” — recorded comments from Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Mitch Vogel, Bing Russell, David Dortort, NBC exec. Tom Sarnoff and others, on the occasion of the last gathering of cast and crew, days after learning the show had been cancelled in November 1972. Mitch addressed the crowd afterward and I daresay there were more than a few pairs of misty eyes in the house while he spoke.


    Folks attended a fascinating discussion of fan fiction and salute to BONANZA script-writers…


    a fun-filled trivia contest…

    karaoke session…






    You should be on the Stage…


    It leaves at 9:00.


    And Gary Sprague, a fine singer of Western songs and his talented horse, Dusty entertained.









    (The latter’s exposure was limited because of the unseasonably wet and chilly weather briefly on Friday, but the weather failed to dampen anyone’s spirits.)

    Attendees were also thrilled to pick up some new never-before-printed from original negatives photos of your favorite Cartwrights and their horses, courtesy of yours truly,


    plus official DVD season sets at discount prices.

    Jim Turner


    Renown historian Jim Turner returned to tell tales of real and reel life, this time emphasizing Bonanza Episode a “Look to the Stars.”



    Earle Shroyer


    Earl Shroyer shared fascinating stories of the fabled Ponderosa Caravan, which toured the U.S. from 1967 through 1970.


    The Ponderosa Caravan. Curtesy of Earle Shroyer and Andy Klyde.


    Anybody see the caravan at a state fair or other venue back in those days?


    The Ponderosa Caravan was set-up and struck from event to event


    Bill Watson






    Bill Watson, curator of Thunderbird Lake Tahoe, a preservation and historical society, accepted an invitation to come and speak on the status of the ranch house built in Incline Village (visited by millions from 1967 – 2004), and donated by David Duffield to Thunderbird. Quite an informative and fascinating discussion.

    I also announced CBS Home Entertainment–at long last –will release BONANZA: The official ninth Season on DVD on May 7, 2019. Viewers can again expect great bonus features as well as full-length episodes, newly restored and remastered from original 35mm film elements.

    Instead of getting “A Good Night’s Rest,” I stayed up to read astonishing stories from fans about their personal BONANZA experiences. Truly inspiring (and a few heartbreaking) , plus special contributions from Mitch Vogel, Tim Matheson and Fred Dortort. I urge everyone who couldn’t attend the once- in-a- lifetime Jubilee celebration to pick up copies of the supplemental booklets containing essays.

    Fore more info. about the souvenir booklets, please contact me.


    Best BONANZA wishes!

    ANDREW J. KLYDE, Esq. | Archivist | Licensor, BONANZA Ventures
    Consultant | Executive Producer, Value Added Material on DVD
    141-15 72nd Avenue | Kew Gardens Hills, NY 11367-2331
    (718) 261-4128 (telephone) | (718) 261-4428 (fax)













    A BIG Thank you!…



    A Real Ponderosa Beef Feast!

    To ALL the wranglers who helped to make this possible for all of us!








    Thank you Tom and Louise for opening up your home to so many of us. It was a wonderful weekend!

    AND We all wish you “Happy Trails”…

    A note from our friends Tom and Louise.

    “We wish to announce that we have sold the Ponderosa II. Tom and I will be heading to live closer to our family. Though we regret leaving Ponderosa II, and will miss all of the people we have met here and the fun times that were had, we will always be proud of the years of restoration, and historic register designations that the house has achieved under our watch. It truly is the right time for us to make this passage and leave Ponderosa II in the hands of another capable caretaker.”

    If there is a Bonanza event sometime and somewhere in the future, we will do our best to make it!

    We thank you for the wonderful memories.

    Louise and Tom Swann
    Ponderosa II





    Until the next, May God Bless you with a wall for the wind, a roof for the rain and a warm cup of coffee by the campfire.



  • Southern Utah Trail Ride

    Thursday October 4, 2018

    St. George Utah

    About 1,077 miles from the end of the Oregon Trail is a quaint little “Jumping off” place called St. George, in the Southwestern corner of Utah.

    Our Journey to Utah was a smooth one. That is until we reached the shores of The Great Salt Lake!

    Here we were delayed by a passing thunderstorm and forced to take cover, and wait it out. But fortunately for us, it did not last long, and we were once again on our way. Consequently, it did not succeed in dampening our spirits one little bit! We arrived safely with our team, in the High Desert territory of St. George (2,860 ft.), late in the evening but in good cheer! Here the weather was warm and clear!

    And lucky for us we were just in time for their famous Marathon!

    Saturday October 6, 2018

    St. George, Utah

    The Marathon begins near the base of Pine Valley Mountain just out side of St. George, and runs a course made of a slightly downhill slope into St. George.


    Let me tell you, with a name like that, I am glad to be recounting this story literarily, rather than in the oral tradition!

    Now the reader may ask; what does Pheidippides have to do with any of this? A fair question indeed! I beg your indulgence for just a moment. And I will tell you.