It all started on our Road Trip on the bike last August when we traveled up the coast through Canada then down through Glacier, Yellowstone and a good portion of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona. (8,000 miles with less than 500 on any freeway). We took a month to do this and the whole time throughout our journey I thought it does not get better than this, until…one day, on our way home, Jim leans back and says, “ya know what I really want to do?” I kind of shook my head and took a few seconds to respond; “I thought we have been doing it for the last 30 days.” Then, Jim says, “I want to get back to my roots, push cattle and horses.” Well, it really struck a chord with me, I swear in my first life I was a Prairie Babe. When we got home we did some research and it must have been meant to be because we found our calling in the White Mountains of Arizona about 4 miles this side of the New Mexico border at 8,000 feet elevation: a real working cattle and horse ranch, next to the Apache Reservation.
The Ranch was settled back in the mid 1800s and there are only a few cabins left standing. The only thing that changed is that they have a flushing toilet and a tub. No phones, TV, or cell service. The only electricity is made by an old generator, back in a shed, which comes on for a few hours at night. The only heat you have is a potbelly stove, which you keep filled with wood that you cut yourself.
Your meals are made from scratch from their own livestock and garden. Every kind of wildlife is there, forest, rivers and streams that can only be seen by horseback. Deer and Elk are plentiful as are the Apache Trout, which are native to this area.
Yep, we have been on many back roads across this country, several times on the Iron Horse and have certainly seen a lot of God’s country, but I must say, it does get better when you go where only man or woman and their horses can take them.
A Cattle Drive is first finding the cattle in the mountains where they have been all summer and then rounding up as many as 100 head or more from dawn until dusk, then pushing them several miles to the loading pens before separating the calves out from the herd. A Horse Drive is sleeping out under the stars for a few days and believe me, those stars are so close you can almost reach out and touch them.
You push about 250 horses about 75 miles to winter pasture. There is nothing more exhilarating than running with a herd of horses, through the trees at a full gallop.
The iron horse will go into the stable with the hay burners and we will have the best of both worlds.
We’ll miss everyone at Quick Throttle, and all of our readers and friends we’ve ridden with over the years. See ya on the trail!
Jim, Spirit & Tookie White