Thursday, March 1, 2018

~ A Cowboy from Oklahoma ~

"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave" – Dakota saying.

"My name is Marvin and this is my dog Mal'akhi."

It has been cold here in Three Rivers but the weather forecast for the next few days is for even colder temperatures – down to 25 degrees they say.  

Today, it is sunny and a perfect day for a bike ride.  So with those warm thoughts, I head off towards Strathmore, heading east on Ave 196.  This is an easy-going county road and the recent snow is highlighted on the surrounding mountains.  This lonely road will eventually link up with Highway 190 pointing toward Lake Success.

Earlier, I stopped at Subways for a sandwich that I plan to eat at the overlook while watching ducks spending a comfortable day on the water.  Though I don't need them, I buy several boxes of Girl Scout cookies from some cute little girl scouts.  Bikers like sweets too.

Love these lonely country roads.

This rancher's entrance gate was a must stop.

I did not hear him coming up behind me but his warm, "Hello” turned me around.  

He began to tell me that he saw me and my bike and that he had, “That itch to turn the throttle.  I have a Harley and it looks like your bike.  Simple."  He had a very little dog by his side.  He seemed like a nice man, so I began talking or rather listening.  Immediately, I liked him.

“Four years ago, I lost my wife.  A few years later, I remarried.  She likes to ride my motorcycle and horses.  I am 81 years old.”

Now that sparked my attention as he looked, maybe 70 years tops.

“I’m a cowboy from Oklahoma,” he continues without much fanfare.  "This is my dog, Mal'akhi."

“I love to ride horses, but last year, a got thrown and broke my collar bone and several ribs.”  

Without much of a pause, he continues, “He's a good horse but got spooked when some motorcycles fired-up and he must have thought he was in danger.”  

Wow.  A real cowboy from Oklahoma who still rides horses and motorcycles.  I listened to the man as he talks freely about his life.  I squeeze in a few words telling him about my backcountry trips on horseback in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  We have something in common.  Imagine that.  He smiles and now encourages me to talk with his silence.

"I've never been to Oklahoma," I add.  "If I were to go there, where would you suggest."  Thinking, he says, "Sulfur, next to Chickasaw National Recreation Area."  "Ok, it's settled, if cross into Oklahoma, that's where I'll go."  He smiles.  "Can I take your picture?" I ask.  He promptly grabs his little dog to be included too.  I think he likes his little friend, who never muttered a word, obviously likes motorcycles too.

I squeeze in a few more words and tell this stranger about my motorcycle trips and camping lightly on the land in my “In Pursuit of Wildness.  “Here is my card, you can go on-line and see some of my motorcycle stories, including some stories for RoadRUNNER Magazine.”  As a cowboy might, he adds, “I’m not computer literate but my wife is.  I’ll look over your stories.  It sounds like you've covered some ground.”

We shake hands and he’s off with his little dog.  I think the man said his name was Marvin. 

Sometimes, we meet people for a reason.  Perhaps, an 81-year-old cowboy had a lesson for this 69 year-old biker  –  I just need to figure it out.

Riding back to Three Rivers, the song by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert – You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma plays in my head  

"♬... All the cowboys down on the Sunset Strip, wishin' they could be like you.  
Santa Monica Freeway sometimes makes a country girl blue.
You're the reason God made Oklahoma.
And I'm sure missin' you..."


  1. Great just never know. I remember one of my favorite "old" guys was Buster, who owned Amboy on Rte 66. I could sit there for hours and listen to him. We can learn so much from the older folks we run into. That is a great story Bob!

  2. Thank Jody. Here is a quote that I've used before that I like very much, and is relevant to your comment:

    "If the very old will remember, the very young will listen" ~ Chief Dan George