No prettier place in the solar system . . .

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Made a wide swing through Eastern Oregon and once again realized there is no prettier place in the solar system than Eastern Oregon in late fall.

The draws are outlined by red willows and golden aspen and cottonwood. The delicate needles of tamarack trees stand out like sentinels of burnished copper against the deep green of the forest.

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On the swing I visited schools and impressed on the students the importance of reading, writing and saving our history for future generations to explore and enjoy.

I signed books at independent bookstores, but mostly I just enjoyed the traveling and sightseeing before a winter of holing up in my cabin and writing another  book.

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

 

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Tracking down the lost manuscript

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I heard tell of a “lost manuscript.” It was said this manuscript told about an important era of Eastern Oregon history. And like a gold miner who hears about a lost mine, I became obsessed with finding this manuscript.

I made phone calls, chasing down any and all leads I happened to uncover. Some were disappointing dead ends, but I followed any slim possibility until I had collected enough reliable information that the urge to get going consumed me.

I threw together my camping gear, jumped in my pickup and started the hunt in earnest.

On the second day of my travels I unearthed the mother lode. The lost manuscript was in a cardboard box, 319 typewritten pages, yellowed and brittle with age. It had been hidden from the light of day for more than a half-century.

Will this lost manuscript became the basis of a book? I don’t know.

Time will tell.

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Shanghaiing at Oregon ports

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A scene from Astoria during the golden age of shanghiing

Portland and Astoria were infamous ports for shanghaiing sailors.

Men known as “crimps” used knockout drops, alcohol and other means to obtain crews for sailing ship captains. Once the bodies were delivered on board ship and the crimp was paid the ship set sail.

At the height of the shanghaiing days crimps charged as much as $135 per man and stories were told of dead men, and even a cigar store wooden Indian, having been taken aboard by gullible captains. As steamships became more popular, the sailing era began to fade and large crews were no longer necessary.

In time the Portland and Astoria waterfront became relatively safe places, where a man no longer needed to worry about waking up with a hangover and being a hundred miles out to sea.

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

1,000 mile trip through Oregon rodeo history

From the last leg of my 1,000 mile research trip for my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo . . .

Frontier Days!

Frontier Days!

GRANGEVILLE – LEWISTON – WALLA WALLA – PENDLETON
In Grangeville I visited the Bicentennial Library and did research on microfilm of the Border Days Rodeo. After visiting with a few old-timers, it was off to the Nez Perce Memorial Museum and the Nez Perce County Museum where I found a file of interesting information, oral histories and photographs relating to Jackson Sundown. And then there was more microfilm to investigate at Lewis and Clark College before driving to Walla Walla, Washington and looking for information on the Frontier Days Rodeo.

George Fletcher grave

George Fletcher grave

In Pendleton I located the grave of George Fletcher in the Olney Cemetery, visited the Round-Up Hall of Fame, interviewed a few people and drove to Pilot Rock where I talked to the man who is the keeper of Round-Up photographs.

And then I drove six hours home and fell into bed, exhausted from a whirlwind week of research.

Home at last

Home at last

Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.