Tag Archives: Idaho

My iPod Has Issues – Westward Bound

4 Aug

In a few days, I will be heading to the northwest with my dad, my brother and my nephews. A couple of years ago, we went to Montana, and, this year, we have decided to go to Oregon. We will also make our way to Washington and Idaho. There really is not much of a plan – fly to Portland and drive around for a week.Northwest

As it was with the trip to Washington, D.C., I am sure this journey will inspire future blogging tales. In the meantime, I leave you with a few tunes from the “Print the Legend” playlist on the crazy old iPod. This list is a collection of songs from Westerns and other things that I consider to be western.

Now, let us hit shuffle and see what songs we can corral.

“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan

“Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone

“Deadwood Mountain” by Big & Rich

“Spiritlands” by John Huling

“Arriving in Deadwood” by Michael Brook

“Dances With Wolves” by Nic Raine

“Rodeo” by Aaron Copland

“The Ballad of Jet Rink” by Dimitri Tiomkin

“The Way That You Wander” by John Rubinstein and Tim McIntire

“Rio Bravo” by Dean Martin

“Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi

“Five Card Stud” by Billy Strange

“Pecos Bill” by Sons of the Pioneers

“Banditos” by The Refreshments

“The Pledge of Allegiance” by John Wayne

“Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere and the Raiders

“Ballad of Davy Crockett” by Fess Parker

“Coyotes” by Don Edwards

“Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor

“The Cowboy Rides Away” by George Strait

 

 

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A National Championship and the Lessons of History

4 Jun

Last week, the Cumberland University baseball team won the NAIA national championship. It is the third time in the past ten years that the baseball program has claimed the top prize. The coach, Woody Hunt, is a legend in these parts and has led the program for three decades.Cumberland Baseball

A couple of days ago, we had a celebration for the team. There was a parade, and hundreds of people showed up at the baseball field to honor the players and the coaches. Several people spoke, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. As Faculty Athletic Representative, I track the academic progress of all student/athletes and make sure that they are on the way to completing their degrees.

A lot of the baseball players have been in my classes and, hopefully, have gotten the point that history is important. We can learn from our past and use that information to move into the future. In fact, a lesson from the past convinced me that they were going to win the NAIA World Series.

The event was held in Lewiston, Idaho, home of Lewis-Clark State College. That is important because their team was in the World Series, as well. In fact, that is who the Cumberland Bulldogs had to beat to win the championship.

Lewis-Clark State College is names after Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who Thomas Jefferson chose to lead an expedition into the Louisiana Territory. It is one of the most famous stories in our nation’s history. Lewis and Clark, with the help of Sacagawea, led a band of men through uncharted land to determine exactly what Jefferson had purchased. They returned in a couple of years with fantastic tales of the land and its people.

They were heroes and were treated as such. However, that is not the end of the story. After the journey, Meriwether Lewis faced difficulties in several aspects of his life. Finally, he left his home in New Orleans to travel to Washington, D.C. Lewis want to see Jefferson, his old patron. He traveled the Natchez Trace toward Nashville and was almost to the city when he stopped at a roadside tavern.

Meriwether Lewis never left that tavern. He was fatally shot, and the mystery of who did it continues to this day. The proprietors buried him in the yard, and his grave can be visited. A broken obelisk stands above him.Lewis Grave

So, how did this story convince me that our baseball team would win the national championship? Meriwether Lewis survived great dangers on his journey into the West. However, he could not survive his journey into Tennessee. With that in mind, I saw no way that a school named after him could beat a team from Tennessee.

Listeria – Inspiration Point

24 May

In the last post, I wrote about the list by True West of historic sites “that will make you weep.” That article contains a couple of secondary lists. One of those is “10 Western History Shrines That Will Inspire You.” Following are the ones that I have visited.

1. The Arch, St. Louis, Missouri – It is impressive to see. Driving into St. Louis, anyone can see that it dominates the skyline. However, I never saw it as inspiring. That could be because I have never been in it. I have been at its base and in the underground museum about westward expansion. However, my dislike of heights has kept me from going to the top. By the way, its real name is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

2. The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas – In the last post, I wrote about my disappointment with the Alamo. Any place where people gave their lives is a place of inspiration. However, I cannot get over my initial feelings about the site.

3. Custer National Cemetery, Little Big Horn National Historic Battlefield – Before you get to the welcome center or the battlefield, you pass the cemetery. Like other military cemeteries, this one makes you think about all of those who gave their lives for their country. Our nation has not always gone into a fight for a just reason, but that does not lessen the sacrifices of those who served.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 123

4. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho – The last time I was in the park was with my dad, my brother and my nephews. We did not go into the heart of the park but walked around the Mammoth Hot Springs and the Yellowstone River. The natural wonders are amazing, and the power of the earth is inspiring. Everyone should see Old Faithful at least once.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 275

5. The Palace of the Governor’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico – I could have been there this week but had other things to do. It is the oldest government building in the United States. Today, it is a museum, but it has witness great events in history. It has been under Spanish rule and American rule. Heck, it has also been under Confederate rule. Governor Lew Wallace finished his novel, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, within its walls.SONY DSC

6. The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California – My wife and I drove across the bridge on our honeymoon. It is a cool feeling to drive across one of the most famous bridges in the world. However, I did not expect all of the people walking and cycling across it. Just thinking about the power of the currents underneath is enough to inspire.image-25

8. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota – This is truly an amazing site. Looking up at George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln is an inspiring view. However, I cannot help but think that the Black Hills were taken from the Native Americans to get at its gold.

9. Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, South Dakota – This one is also in the Black Hills and is the Native American answer to Mount Rushmore. Crazy Horse was a famous warrior, but I wonder what he would think about a mountain being carved into his likeness. There are no known photographs of Crazy Horse, so we have no idea if this looks like him. On top of that, they have been carving the mountain for decades, and it is nowhere near finished. When I see it, I cannot help but think that the Native Americans are getting shafted again.

There is another list called “10 Western Sites That Will Make You Misty.” Next time, I think I will skip that one and move on to another subject. I do not find it very interesting or misty.

Listeria – Cattle Towns, Mining Camps and Other Assorted Outposts

14 Feb

True West magazine came out with their list of the “Top 10 True Western Towns of the Year”, and I had to see what they came up with. As it turns out, other lists were included – “True West Towns to Know” and “True West Towns to Watch”. A quick counting brought the total number of towns mentioned to 30.

I decided to weed that list down to those that I have visited. I have no idea what criteria the people at True West used to compile the list, but here is a little information about the places that I know about.

1. Dodge City, Kansas is, in my opinion, the most famous of all the cattle towns. It was the epicenter of a huge industry and the home of real life lawman Wyatt Earp and fictional lawman Matt Dillon. Dodge City is still a player in the cattle industry, but I do not see it as a tourist mecca. Obviously, any lover of the Old West must go there, but they will be disappointed with the fake western town that sits on the main drag. However, the trolley tour is cool.

Inside a fake saloon on a fake streetfront.

Inside a fake saloon on a fake streetfront.

2. Durango, Colorado is a cool western town that has held on to its past. Historic buildings, such as the Strater Hotel, line the streets. The famous train from Durango to Silverton starts its journey at one end of town. There are restaurants, bars and a bookstore with all of the great western historians.

A couple of cars on the Durango and Silverton Line

A couple of cars on the Durango and Silverton Line

8. Lincoln, New Mexico is a state monument that looks almost like it did when Billy the Kid was roaming around. There are all kinds of buildings and museums, but the best is the old building from which he made his famous jailbreak. Billy the Kid is the most famous of those who participated in the Lincoln County War, but I find myself more interested in John Chisum and some of the others.

9. Tombstone, Arizona which its economic peak during the 1880s and had its growth stunted when the minerals ran out. That circumstance makes it still have that feel of a frontier town. Of course, that could also be because they ripped up the concrete sidewalks and put down wooden ones. The OK Corral is cool. The Birdcage Theater is cool. However, the coolest thing is talking to Ben Traywick, the town historian.

If this building could talk, then it would have some real stories to tell.

If this building could talk, then it would have some real stories to tell.

10. Lewiston, Idaho is a place that I have never been. However, I must mention it because the Cumberland University baseball team has won two national championships in Lewiston. It is a western town, but it is also a baseball mecca.

There is half of the Top 10, but some interesting towns are on the other lists, as well.

Prescott, Arizona is listed as one of the “True West Towns to Know” and, on the surface, looks like any other regular old town. However, a walk around its square gives you an idea of what it used to be like. The square is huge and is bustling with activity, as people venture into the historic buildings.

This statue stands in front of the county courthouse.

This statue stands in front of the county courthouse.

“True West Towns to Watch” lists several places that I have visited.

Juneau, Alaska is the state capital and can only be entered by plane or boat. It is a small place that has a frontier and isolated quality. One of my great memories of Alaska is having a drink with my brother in one of Juneau’s saloons.

Cody, Wyoming is another good western town. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is one of my favorite places to visit. A few years ago they had a traveling exhibit in Nashville, and I was able to take my students.

Checotah, Oklahoma sits on Interstate 40, and, frankly, I have never been in the downtown area. We have only stopped a few times for gas. Most people probably know it as the hometown of Carrie Underwood.

Custer, South Dakota is one of the less famous mining camps in the Black Hills and is overshadowed by Deadwood and Sturgis. However, it is a good place to stop and look around. Also, it is named in honor of George Armstrong Custer, the man who led the gold-finding expedition into the Black Hills.

Bisbee, Arizona sits several miles down the road from Tombstone and is a place that I like better. Its economic boom lasted into the 20th Century, which means it has a more modern look than other mining camps. It also has a great mining museum operated by the Smithsonian Institute.

Those are the places listed by True West that I have visited. It would be interesting to read if any of you have been to these places. What are your thoughts and stories? What other towns have you visited that you think may be or should be on the lists?

Listeria – Travelogue Edition

17 Oct

The latest issue of Travel and Leisure has an article called “101 Places Every Traveler Should Know”. As you know, I am a freak for lists, so I scanned the article to see which ones I have visited. The following is my personal list from the 101, along with a three word synopsis of each.

The Road to Somewhere

2. Maine – lots of lobster

7. Las Vegas – please read this

14. New York City – too many people

17. Kauai, Hawaii – most beautiful island

24. London – where’s the queen?

26. Jackson Hole, Wyoming – outdoor adventures galore

27. Salmon River, Idaho – riding rapids rapidly

33. San Francisco – tour Alcatraz Island

40. Miami – hot women everywhere

41. Los Angeles – seeing fallen stars

45. Napa Valley – vine to bottle

49. British Virgin Islands – hitting the bars

51. Chicago – my favorite city

54. Charleston, South Carolina – history and food

55. Amsterdam – red light district

59. Big Island, Hawaii – lots of lava

60. Sedona, Arizona – get some crystals

68. Venice – birdshit never dries

78. Yosemite National Park – beauty beyond belief

89. Rome – ancient and modern

95. New Orleans – varieties of decadence

The State of Music – Part 2

15 Apr

Before continuing on the search for the best (my favorite, anyway) songs with the names of states in their titles, I should say that some of these are already on my iPod. I figure if they are on my iPod, then I must like them somewhat. With that in mind, here we go with the next ten states.

Hawaii – I think Hawaiian music is pretty cool, and I am a big fan of Elvis. So, I thought about going with something from those two groups. Instead, I choose a classic television theme as my favorite Hawaii song. For people growing up in the 1970s, nothing epitomized Hawaii like the “Theme from Hawaii Five-0”.

Idaho – This state did not provide many options. I could have gone with the B-52’s, but they are not to my liking. It turns out that there is something on my iPod that was almost forgotten. From the soundtrack of Robert Altman’s Nashville (I mean, what better topic could there be for a movie.), I picked “My Idaho Home” by Ronee Blakley. Interestingly, Altman had his cast write and perform their own songs. This did not make the music insiders of Nashville happy.

Illinois – There are some cool Blues songs about Illinois due to the Great Migration of African-Americans from the south. With this move, people sought a better life. As a by-product, the Blues moved with them. Despite that history, I found a song by Frank Zappa, “The Illinois Enema Bandit”, that I couldn’t pass up. After all, I feel like there is a guy from Illinois sticking something in my rectum every day.

Indiana – I wonder why there are so many “I” state’s in the midwest. For this “I” state, I went with the criminal-on-the-run story “Indiana Wants Me” by R. Dean Taylor.

Iowa – You learn something new every day. It’s an old saying, but it is true. During this project, I learned that Slipknot is from Iowa, and they honored their state with a 15 minute epic called “Iowa”. It’s a happy story of love and what someone off their rocker might do if he can’t have that love.

Kansas – In Part 1 of this project, I received a comment from the corner of Trask Avenue about my Arizona pick. He suggested “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, which is an all-time great song. However, it did not have the state name. I replied that I would not use a city name until I had to. Although, there are a bunch of Kansas songs, I am going with “Kansas City Shuffle” by J. Ralph. Reasons? The state name is right there in the city name (not my fault that they weren’t original). Second, I first heard it in a super cool movie, Lucky Number Slevin.

Kentucky – I skipped a chance to go with Elvis once in this post, and I am not doing it again. No list of music is complete without the King. With that in mind, I am moving past Bill Monroe and other Bluegrass greats to choose “Kentucky Rain”.

Louisiana – Man, there are a lot of Louisiana songs, too. From Cajun to Jazz to Country, this states shows up everywhere. However, in the 1960s something strange happened. The British invaders, like Eric Clapton, brought Blues back to popularity in America. They appreciated our music history more than we did. No one loved the Blues more than Eric Burdon and the Animals. One of their best is “Louisiana Blues”, a remake of a Muddy Waters tune.

Maine – This state is famous for lobster, L.L. Bean, and Stephen King. It is not famous for music recorded in its name. The pickings were slim, but I found a good song by Ivory called “Coast of Maine”.

Maryland – Likewise, I had some trouble with Maryland. There is that state song that they always play at the Preakness, but I vowed to stay away from state songs and try to stay with music from at least the past hundred years. After a search for something I would listen to on a regular basis, I found “Maryland Again” by Gerry Goffin.

That’s it for the second ten. If you want to see what happened with the first ten states, then check out Part 1 of the series. Part 3 will be coming soon.