Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Fun Evening at the Bar D Ranch

While we may be in New Mexico, Colorado is just a few miles north....  and Durango, Colorado is only about 50 miles up the road.  Last night Bill's sister Alberta, her daughter, Melanie, Alberta's good friend Linda, Bill & I headed up that way to take in an evening of entertainment at the Bar D Ranch.
 The highway we drove runs along the Animas River.  It was just north of these signs that I saw my first Bald Eagle in the wild...  perched in a tree along the river bank.  This was in the early 1980's and Bill's Dad, Jack, was still alive.  We 3 took many drives through roads that a lot of folks would consider just cowpaths.  What fun that was.

 Here we're dropping down into Durango, Colorado.  Durango is kind of a trendy town...  kind of reminds me of Santa Fe, NM, or maybe Bisbee, AZ....  artsy-fartsy, but still has good food, fun shops, and an interesting downtown area where you can wander around.

 This doesn't begin to show the true spirit of Durango...  I think one of the hotels is where Louis L'Amour is supposed to have written some of his westerns.  There are all kinds of funky clothing and jewelry shops....  and we even passed a park where it looked like a Brew Fest was going on.

 But on we went...  a few miles out of Durango is the Bar D Ranch.  This place has been around for years....  the entertainment is very family oriented.  There are some short paths to walk, a small chapel-like building where cowboy poetry is read several times a week, a miniature railroad, several boutique-like shops....  and.... the highlight of the evening...  the Chuckwagon dinner and live entertainment.
 This old Conestoga Wagon is along one of the paths .....  with the Bar D Ranch logo on the side.

Tickets for the evening cost $24 for person.  This includes the chuckwagon-style dinner, and an hour or so of musical/comedy entertainment.  I think it costs $2.00 more if you want a steak instead of chicken or beef (not steak).

Some of the sights on the grounds...
When's the last time you saw "Big Hair"?  I tried to be discreet when I took that (upper left) photo, but have to admit that I didn't see Big Hair even while in Texas.  The Upper right photo is a metal entrance to the shopping area.  The lower left is a wagon full of beautiful flowers and the lower right is in one of the shops.

There is also a small scale railroad here.  I think tickets to ride cost $2.00.  Bill and the girls decided to go for a ride.  However, somewhere along the ride it started to rain and the train lost "traction" due to some grease on the wheels mixing with the wet.  They asked the adults to get out and push...  That's Bill in the upper right, and Melanie, our niece, in the middle   Fun ride, huh?
I think Alberta (Bill's sister) took this photo using Melanie's phone, but they sent it on to me as I was up in the big tent, keeping dry and enjoying the pre-show entertainment.

 The grounds are just lovely...  this waterfall looks like it's a mountain stream.  The upper right photo is the small chapel... stained glass windows and all.  The lower right photo is of a young cowboy just waiting for the entertainment to begin.

 Before the musical entertainment there is a "Chuckwagon Dinner".....  Don't know if you've ever been to one, but they can serve about 700 people in a very short time.  Each table has a number and as each table number is called, those folks get in line.  The dinners usually consist of a serving of beans, a baked potato, the meat of choice (chicken, beef, or steak... or a combination of those), a biscuit, a serving of applesauce and a piece of spice cake.  You also get a tin cup of either water or lemonade, as well as a cup of coffee if you want it.
I say "usually" because there are "Chuckwagon Dinner/Entertainment" sites in various places in the USA.  We've been to see "The Sons of the Pioneers" in Tucson, AZ and another group, just outside of Wichita, Kansas.  The format is pretty much the same at all these establishments, but certainly different enough that you don't feel like you've "been there/done that" kind of thing.

After everyone goes through the line, sits down and eats their dinner, the place is quickly put back in order and the fun begins.

Here at the Bar D Ranch, the owner and main person is Si.  He's the head of the Bar D Wranglers.
 You're in for an hour or so of music, joking around, and just all-around good times.  Even if you really don't like "country" music, you'd have a good time here.  These guys make fun of each other, sing songs that are parodies of songs you know, and obviously love what they're doing.  In the lower left, the photo shows a stuffed opossum.  The guy wearing the blue shirt in the lower middle photo is Si....  remember that song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"?...  well, Si's words are a bit different....  the 'possum ends up roadkill and in the skillet.  I know...  sounds corny, but you find yourself laughing until your sides hurt.  The upper left photo... that guitar player was singing "Low Riders in the Sky"...  to the tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky".  My favorite this time was a parody of "Old McDonald Had A Farm".  The critters weren't quite as you and I learned them....  an asthmatic horse?  A bull that stutters?  A dyslectic sheep?...  how about a Foul-mouth Chicken?  I think I laughed for the whole hour!

Okay, this next photo wasn't taken on the ride back to Farmington... I took it on the way there....  BUT....
It was dark by the time we headed home (around 10:30), but had it been daylight, the scenery would have been spectacular.  

As you can tell, we had a great time.  The shows end Labor Day Weekend, so we were very happy that we got here in time for one of the last of the season.   

Today, Sunday, the rains came.  Very welcome, as things have been mighty dry around here lately.  We'll be here for a couple of weeks before heading east, so I'll see what else I find "report" on during that time.  But. for now.....

That's All For Today!


  1. I went to the Bar D when I worked at Mesa Verde. One of the full-time local ladies has been going to that show since she was a teenager. She uses her vacation time to travel to the other locations of this company.

  2. Sounds like ya'll had a great time for your money! It all looks so beautiful...I think I'm jealous!

  3. Low riders in the sky....hahahahahahahahahaha. Still laughing.

  4. I've been to a few of those Chuckwagon Dinners, and they're just fun. They haven't changed much in 30 years either. ;)

  5. Low Riders in the Sky?? What a hoot. And what a fun post - I can only imagine the fun you had, and how good that chow must have been!

  6. I loved that area especially Durango. Great Walmart camping ... great river and parks and shops but I missed the low riders in the sky. I saw the signs ... dang me.

    what fun!

  7. Jerry's sister had a small ranch in Durango for years. Charming town and breathtaking countryside. We still have the "cowboy" belts we bought there in the '90s (Jerry's has a sterling silver buckle... mine is plate!)... As for the country music, I'll just take your word for it.