QUAKING IN MY SHOES!

Well, so much for our first book tour stop in lovely Puerto Rico!  Due to unforeseen circumstances (and a considerable amount of shaking) we will NOT be dropping anchor in Old San Juan this voyage.  As you might know, the island has recently (January 15) been rocked by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, making all book signings (including mine) obsolete.  From what I recently heard, women were running out of their houses, barely clothed, screaming with fear.  (Sounds like my honeymoon, but that’s another story!)  Our thoughts and prayers are with the good folks down there, and we sincerely wish them well.

By the way, our Puerto Rico stop has been replaced with a “beach break” in wonderful St. Bart’s, so you needn’t feel sorry for me.  The wife and I will be heading for Shell Beach, which is a lovely little spot just outside of the main town of Gustavia.  (Gustavia is the island’s capital and was named in honor of King Gustav III of Sweden.)  Better a Swedish king than a Portuguese Man-of-war jellyfish!

When I was living in New York, I went to Puerto Rico every winter.  (To visit my hubcaps)  This year, we will be donating ALL of our January book royalties to various charities on the island.  Incidentally, in order to ensure a cozy spot in heaven (not too close to Hades) we will be donating our book royalties for the first 6 months of the year.  (If you want to wait until February or March, your purchase will assist St. Jude’s Children Hospital or Camp Aranzazu for Children.  Both are wonderful outfits, so take your pick!)

Did you realize that Elvis Presley’s birthday was last week?  Yup, “The King” was born on January 8, 1935.  Had the old boy lived, he would now be….  85 years old!  (His next record would have been, “You ain’t nothin’ but a service dog!”)  All right, maybe I should have gone with “Heart-burn Hotel?”  In any case, I will try to post some of the photos I snapped during our visit to Graceland and the Elvis Presley Center in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Believe it or not, the gift shop is still selling copies of my very first “Adam Gold Mystery,” titled, THE GRACELAND GANG.  (I let them keep the royalties, so I’m not sure how many book they sell each year.  Eat your heart out, Stephen King!)

And since we’re on the subject of great literature…  I am happy to report that I have now had 3 offers to publish my next non-fiction masterpiece, titled, GONE BEFORE GLORY.  As I’ve previously mentioned, this book concerns the life and death of President William McKinley, and like my previous books, I reveal some startling new information about his assassination.  I just finished typing (yeah, I still use a typewriter) page 300, and I have about 125-150 more pages to go.  I shall keep your breast, I mean, keep you abreast, of my progress.  (maybe both!)

Before I depart, let me wish “Happy Trails” to the Princess of Portugal and Baron Lee, who are soon to be off to a very dangerous and dirty locale, filled with shady characters and unrepentant criminals…..  No, they’re not going to San Francisco, they are going to Egypt.  The land of sand.  They hope to see the $10,000 Pyramid while they’re in town.  Bring me back a fez!

I shall be in touch soon, so please don’t worry about me if you read some disparaging article in the National Enquirer.  Contrary to popular belief, I do NOT frequent nude beaches when I go to the Caribbean.  (Of course, that depends on your definition of the word “frequent.”  Frequency is in the eye of the beholder.)  And speaking of frequency, no more jokes about my honeymoon will be tolerated on this blog!

That is all for now….  have a safe and superlative week!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Well, dear friends, we now find ourselves in a brand new year… a year in which all Americans will finally have “20-20 vision!”  I for one intend to skip work today.  I shall simply tell my employer that I have an “eye problem.”  (Thus, I couldn’t see coming to work!)  Yeah, I know, why start the year with another old joke?  Well, I say, why not?  (Jokes don’t get old unless they’re funny!)  Come to think of it, I might get funnier as I age.  (Maybe that’s why my wife starts laughing whenever I take my clothes off.  Just saying.)

Speaking of the New Year, did you know that 24% of Americans stay home on New Year’s Eve?  12% fall asleep before midnight.  54% kiss someone at midnight.  In my house, we do things somewhat differently.  My wife stays home, falls asleep around 9 p.m., and then I kiss myself or whoever happens to be around at the stroke of midnight.  (Hey, at least I celebrate!)

Incidentally, just for the record, America’s favorite holiday is NOT New Year’s Eve, regardless of how much champagne is consumed.  78% of Americans enjoy Christmas the most, 74% like Thanksgiving, 47% pick July 4th., and only 41% say that New Year’s Eve is numero uno.  So there you go.

So what else be new?  Well, since one of my daughters flew off to London and the other flew west to Los Angeles (and Disneyland), I found myself searching for a thrilling holiday adventure… and decided to visit my distinguished brother-in-law, who lives in a charming mansion in Boerne, Texas.  (Boerne is pronounced “Bernie,” and sits in the heart of the lovely Texas Hill Country.)  We had a marvelous time at Rancho McCloskey and consumed quite a bit of wine, beer, and spirits.  Between rounds, I was able to cheat at Trivia Pursuit (which is what my wife refers to as her honeymoon) and won a link of sausage.  (Last year’s prize was bacon.)

Last evening we celebrated the 39th birthday of the Princess of Portugal, and had a lovely dinner at Maddie’s, which used to be called Green Pastures.  The setting (an old Victorian mansion) is charming and the food was pretty darn good.  (I ordered Texas redfish, which is always a treat)  The Princess and her hubby, Baron Lee, will soon be off for a prolonged river voyage down the Nile.  (I was once in denial, myself, but that’s also a long story)  Anyway, we wish them well in Egypt, and hope that the food and accommodations don’t Sphinx!  (They hope to see the Pharaoh that kept correcting his pyramid builders.  King Tut-Tut.)

For those of you that are following my tax deductible trips, please note that our next voyage/book tour is scheduled for the month of February, and will include stops in St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Antigua.  I hope to attend one or two book festivals while sampling the local rums, so if you’re in the vicinity, please look for my book table.  (I’m usually near the bathroom)  If you ask for my autograph (in a loud voice) I will buy you some conch fritters, and we can fritter around together.

Before I go, allow me to send my best wishes to Ms. Barbara, my first book editor, who is on the mend from some strenuous sexual activity.  (Not really, but that sounds better than a cold!)  We miss her and her handsome hubby, Max, and hope to see them soon.  Barbara was having a little trouble sleeping, so I sent her a copy of CAPONE ISLAND, and she immediately dozed off.  What cay I say, some of us are born gifted.  (Others have to wait until Xmas for gifts.)

Finally, I would like to dedicate this (vaguely) amusing blog post to a wonderful woman named “Mrs. Bunny,” the late mother of a very close friend of mine.  It was a treat being scolded by her, and she will definitely be missed in Brooklyn and Pennsylvania.  Hang in there, Christine, our thoughts and prayers (and love) are with you!

Well, time to take the grand-children to the park.  (Again!)  Do you realize how rich I would be if my daughter coughed up some babysitting funds?  Actually, the reason I’m taking them to the park is because my daughter is coughing.  (She is suffering from Cedar pollen, which can be quite high this time of year.)  I do hope that the coming year is a GREAT one for all of you and your loved ones….  Thanks for following my blog!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY! (AND GENEROUS, TOO!)

Well, since I was a fairly good lad this past year, dear old Santa Claus gave me a wonderful gift last week.  My new mystery novel, CAPONE ISLAND, was chosen as the “Best Mystery of 2019” by my distinguished publisher, Murder Ink Press.  (I usually get coal)  There was a lovely cash prize attached to the award, but it will be donated to a worthy charity down here in the Lone Star State.  By the way, ALL of my December book royalties will also be donated to the Texas Children’s Hospital, so now would be a swell time to purchase a book.

I am donating this huge sum of loot in order to curry favor with the man upstairs. (And please note that there is a difference between “curry favor” and “curry flavor.”)  I do hope that you-know-who keeps this in mind when considering me for admittance through the pearly gates!  But in all seriousness, or most seriousness, the Texas Children’s Hospital could use your support, so if you’re looking for a good stocking stuffer, think of me.  (Many folks have previously told me to stuff it!)

My wife thinks I’m crazy, but I’m not the one who married me!

So what else is new?  Well, for those of you following my literary career, you will be happy to learn that I am getting close to finishing my new non-fiction masterpiece, which is titled GONE BEFORE GLORY.  (The remarkable tale of William McKinley and his deranged assassin, Leon Czolgosz.)  I am presently on page 300 and have about 125 more pages to go.  My incredible publisher is looking at a Spring 2020 release date, but I think that might be a little optimistic.  (Fall would be my guess.)

Just for the record, writing can be an arduous task.  But, as you might imagine, I am very disciplined.  (stop laughing!)  I rise at dawn and immediately get to work.  (Well, look, it must be dawn somewhere, just not in Texas)  I’ve found that the first five days after the weekend are the hardest.  The secret to staying awake late into the night is simple, just eat a lot of chocolate.  (Hey, chocolate comes from Cocoa, which is a tree.  That makes it a plant…  So chocolate is actually a salad!)

Just for the record, chocolate will also keep you looking young and handsome.  (I made that up)  Incidentally, don’t you hate it when you see a familiar old person and then realize that you went to school together?  What’s up with that?

I just ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon.  I’ll let you know which one came first.

One last word of warning about chocolate…..  it can be addictive and fattening.  I actually gave it up last year.  My goal was to lose 15 pounds last year.  Only 20 to go!  I don’t think women realize how handsome my grand-daughters think I am.  Just saying.

Before I take my leave, (not the leaves on my lawn) I would like to wish each and every one of you a most Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Fun-Filled Festivus.  It has been a joy and a pleasure chatting with all of you this past year, and I look forward to another round of (mostly awful) jokes next year!  Don’t forget to leave Santa some milk and cookies!  (Or, if you live in Texas, some tequila and lime!)  See you sometime in 2020!  Happy New Year!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

BAHAMA MAMA! (AND DADDY)

Ahoy, my fellow pirates, and shiver my timbers.  Just returned from a lovely adventure on the warm and sunny Caribbean isle of Nassau.  (Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and a lot more fun than Nassau County, New York!)  The temperature was a pleasant 80+ degrees, so I didn’t do much shivering.  However, I did shake a little after my first three rum & coconut drinks!  Man, what a fantastic way to absorb some vitamin C.  Since we encountered five sunny days, I also got some much-needed vitamin D.  (As if we don’t get enough sun down here in Texas!)

My goals in the Caribbean (in addition to staying out of jail) were twofold:  First, I wanted to introduce my grand-daughters to the wonderful world of over-priced beach resorts.  (Bring lots of cash if you go to the Atlantis Beach Resort!)  Second, I wanted to sign and sell some copies of my newest “Adam Gold Mystery,” which as you may know, is titled, CAPONE ISLAND.  Luckily, I achieved both goals and broke even financially.  (Winning some loot in the casino also helped, but please do not mention that to the IRS.)

Despite the exorbitant prices for food and drink, I must commend the Atlantis for offering the little ones a perfect spot to indulge in water-related activities.  There are at least 5 gorgeous pools (which I call “pee pee pools”) for the kiddies and a couple of sedate pools for the adults.  Additionally, there are 2 chlorine rivers for floating on tubes.  (one rapid and one slow)  However, the BEST spot for the folks who have yet to reach puberty, is the spectacular water park, which is filled with all sorts of slides.  (and more chlorine)

I spent most of my time on the beach, which is located on Paradise Island, a tourist mecca connected to the mainland by a long bridge.  Except for an occasional “hawker” selling beads and trinkets, the beach was a perfect spot for spending a relaxing day.  The water was about 78 degrees, which was quite refreshing, and clean as could be.  Covered beach chairs were free, but as I later discovered, they frown on taking them back to the U.S.

My son-in-law (Adam) was over-joyed to discover that there was an NCAA basketball tournament at the resort, and incredibly, it featured his very favorite team, the University of Michigan.  (Those rascals actually won the tournament, too!)  My alma mater, Dodge City Taxidermy Academy, did not play in the tournament.  (They have no sports teams, but they do hold an annual “Coyote Howling Contest.”)

There were, of course, a handful of celebrities at the resort, but nobody as famous as me.  (According to my grand-daughters)  We all had a marvelous time, but we could have stayed in Austin and jumped into Lake Travis to cool off.  Why do I say that?  Because tomorrow, December 9, is going to be sunny and 80 degrees down here!  Yikes, another brutal winter is upon us!  (I’m really starting to enjoy this climate change thing.)

By the way, how was your Thanksgiving?  I do hope you were able to be with loved ones and enjoy some gobble gobble goodies.  While I was sunbathing, I got to thinking about how thankful I was for my own wonderful life, and how grateful I was to live in America.  My goodness, are we lucky.  I love going to Caribbean islands, but believe me, there is no place like home.  God bless the USA should be tattooed on my chest, but the parrot is taking up too much space!  (I do hope that damn bird is not a permanent art installation!)  No more rum drinks for breakfast!

I took some nude photographs on the beach, but my dang camera was confiscated at the airport, so I can only post some typical shots.  (The nudes were NOT of me, so stop laughing!)  Incidentally, speaking of beautiful subjects, I would like to dedicate this here blog post to one of my dearest friends, Ms. Barbara from Steiner Ranch.  (Our sweetheart is a little under the weather and we wish her a speedy recovery.)  I hope my blog jokes don’t make her ill.  (They are known to have that effect on people!)

Well, lads and lassies, time to head down south.  (Meaning south Austin)  Today is Christmas cookie decorating day, and as usual, I’m in charge of frosting and sprinkles.  Last year we made Hanukkah cookies, but only eight of them.  (That’s another bad joke!)  I hope you all have a pleasant and prosperous week, and I look forward to our next engagement.  Until then,

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff    (semi-nude photos attached)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME ON THE RANGE!

A lovely place to live, but make sure the burners are turned off!  Wait a minute, that’s a different kind of range.  Never mind.  I got confused, since I was thinking of the west.  (As in “Westinghouse!”)  Where was I?  Oh yeah, the range…  where the deer and the antelope play (play what?)  where seldom is heard, a discouraging word (only a few bad jokes) and the skies are not cloudy all day.  (just at night)

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the spectacular peaks and rugged valleys of Yellowstone Park, but I was expecting to meet Jerimiah Johnson.  (or at the very least, Robert Redford!)  Well, instead of attending a “mountain man” seminar, we got to visit a genuine fake Indian village.  These native-Americans were all lawyers!  (“Sioux” Indians!)  Naturally, the poor heathens were greatly amused by my racist humor.  (We got good tickets from a “scalper!”)  Good thing we had “reservations” for dinner, because the tribal elders kept mention something about tying me to a good steak.  (Did I spell that word correctly?)

I really enjoyed ingratiating myself to my red-skinned brothers, even though we witnessed a minor tragedy.  It was a very hot day and one of the chiefs drank 30 gallons of iced tea!  (He drowned in his “tea pee!”)  I’m not sure why, but none of the braves found this joke amusing.  In fact, just before we left the res, I was given an Indian name…  (which was quite an honor)…… my Sioux name is “Dumbwhiteass,” which speaks for itself.

Anyway, one of the Indian maidens found me borderline hysterical.  She loved my animal jokes….  I told her I saw a donkey look both ways before crossing the road.  (He was a real smart ass!)   A weasel walks into a bar and the bartender asks “What can I get for you?”  “Pop,” goes the weasel.   (come on, that’s funny!)  Have you noticed that people are making apocalypse jokes like there’s no tomorrow?  (That joke went over big at the cave of St. John on Patmos last summer!)

So after barely escaping from some hostile Indians, we drove down to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which was settled in the early 1800s.  (A fitting date, since most clothing items cost about $1,800!)  Jackson Hole is a favorite watering hole for the rich and infamous, but I must admit, it was quite lovely.  If you’ve got an unlimited amount of cash (or borrow my wife’s credit card) you can participate in many fun activities….  hiking, fly fishing, rafting, horseback riding, or hot air balloons.  I went to a wine-tasting event, which was rather memorable.  (I think)  I drink a lot of wine only because my psychologist told me not to keep things bottled up.  (Hey, the guy has a bachelor’s degree, so he knows what he’s talking about.)

In case you’re wondering, I only drink wine because my relationship with whiskey is on the rocks.

Well, before I close, let me mention that I will soon be heading for the Bahamas for one of my wonderful family outings/book signings.  If you should find yourself at the Atlantis Resort next week, please look for my book table in the lobby.  (If you buy enough books I can stay longer, so please keep that in mind.)  Also, I shall add some more fascinating photos at the end of this hilarious blog, so please scroll down to view.

If we learn from our mistakes, how come I’m not a genius already?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

DAYLIGHT SAVING CRIME!

Well, my friends, it’s that time of year again…  time to adjust your clocks and sundials.  In case you’re confused, I believe you’re supposed to Fall ahead and Spring backward, but I’m not positive about that.  (I’m retired, so I don’t wear a watch.)  Nonetheless, you must conform, lest you intend to oversleep tomorrow morning.  (Like me)  I would normally post a “rant” about losing one hour of the day, but I don’t want to get into any more trouble on the Internet.  Besides, I have always felt that there is a very thin line between “I should post that on Facebook” and “I should see my therapist about that.”

If memory serves, I promised to write a tad more about my recent adventures in Yellowstone National Park…  The east entrance is a reasonable drive from Cody, Wyoming.  This year the park was celebrating its 147th year (being open to the public) but I think the place is actually a few years older.  (11 or 12 million years at the very least!)  The park encompasses about 2.2 million acres, and as many of you know, it contains more geysers than any other spot on earth.  (We had a few old geysers on our bus, but they seldom “spouted off!”)  Wait a minute, make that “old geezers” not “old geysers.”

We spent 3 full days driving around the park, which has to be one of God’s most beautiful creations.  (Just behind my grand-daughters)  I loved every minute of our trip, but was often amused by some of the signs posted by the National Park Service.  One sign (written in 5 different languages!) reminded visitors to keep at least 100 yards away from grizzly bears and wolves.  No offense, but if you have to be reminded to avoid a close encounter of the edible kind, you should not be allowed to wander around a park!

Of course, there are exceptions to the above rule…  several guys from New Jersey got into a little trouble searching for wildlife.  (No, not loose women!)  They heard that there were moose and elk in the park, so they began to look for their lodge.  Silly boys.

One day, we toured an organic potato farm, which was surprisingly interesting.  (The place had a lot of “appeal”)  In fact, we got to peel a few spuds during our stop, which were then used to make vodka!  This fun stop put me in a contemplative mood, and here is my conclusion about potatoes…  Potatoes make French fries, chips, and vodka.  It’s like the other vegetables aren’t even trying.

To be perfectly honest, it would be impossible to single out any one sight in Yellowstone Park.  This place is truly a national treasure, and I would have to say it is absolutely one of the most stunningly gorgeous spots on earth.  Just as lovely as Positano or the Greek Islands, but in a different way.  Best part?  You don’t have to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to be amazed by nature.

Incidentally, one of the coolest features of Yellowstone is the enormous variety of wildlife.  While gathered around a campfire, telling tall tales, we spotted a herd of wild horses (at the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Area) and hundreds of free-roaming bison.  If you’re lucky, you will also see a few bald eagles.  (We saw two of them, and another eagle with a toupee.)  What can I say, birds of a feather flock together.

Next time we shall head on down to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which was the last stop on our trip.  Luckily, I was drawn back to this majestic area for a wedding in Aspen, Colorado, so be prepared for more hair-raising adventures.  (Who would want to raise hair?  A barber?)  God, I’m so deep.

Well, before you depart, scroll down to the bottom of this post and take a gander at some of my Yellowstone photographs.  By the way, be careful if you take a real gander, as they have sharp beaks.  (I’m just trying to get your goose!)  All right, I know what you’re thinking, these jokes are for the birds!  Stop squawking.

Yikes, I don’t know what’s come over me this morning!  (So many bad puns!)  Well, have a great week, and please keep the following “deep thought” in mind:

“We come from dust and we shall return to dust…  which is precisely why you should never dust…  It could be someone you know!”

Take care, dear friends,

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

 

 

 

WHY NOT WYOMING!

Well, when last we met, I was galloping through West Texas in pursuit of fame and fortune.  (Actually, I was in pursuit of a great taco and some tequila, but why quibble?)  In any case, before my Texas detour we were about to enter Cody, Wyoming, which is named after that great American showman “Buffalo Bill Cody.”   Young William, as he was known as a child, was born on February 26, 1846, in what was then “Iowa Territory.”  As many of you know, he grew up to become an army scout, pony express rider, bison hunter, Indian fighter, gold prospector, and showman.  (The poor lad obviously had trouble keeping a job.)

Mr. Cody, like yours truly, had an interesting circle of friends and associates.  Among his closest buddies were “Wild Bill” Hickok, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull, and Civil War generals Sherman and Sheridan.  (How’d you like to have dinner with that group!)  When those folks went to a restaurant they let Chief Sitting Bull handle the “reservations.”  (Ouch!)

Most folks think of Buffalo Bill as just a showman, but since he makes an appearance in my next book, I have been doing some research about him, and I’ve discovered that he was also a civil rights activist (for Indians), a supporter of women’s rights, and an ardent conservationist.  (He was actually one of the first people to propose hunting seasons in the West.)

Cody, Wyoming, is a charming little town with much to offer.  We spent the entire afternoon at the Buffalo Bill Museum, which is one of the best museums in America.  (Fabulous gun collection!)  The town also hosts a DAILY rodeo during the summer months.  We went to the evening rodeo, and it was simply smashing.  (The bulls smashed most of the stuff.)  One cowboy got injured and taken to the hospital, but they said he was in “stable condition.”  (Ouch!)

After Cody, we saddled up our ponies and made our way across the Big Horn Mountain Pass, which is a death-defying road that goes straight up to the clouds and then veers west toward Yellowstone National Park.  The Big Horn area is almost  indescribably wild and beautiful, and when you reach the highest point, you are actually ABOVE some of the clouds!  I couldn’t even imagine how the road was built, and I would definitely not want to be around when the snow starts falling.  (There were still patches of snow on the higher peaks in July!)

More about Wyoming next week, but let’s move on to another topic….  My speaking engagement at the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club was a HUGE financial success.  (I found some guy’s wallet)  But seriously folks, it was another wonderful event, and I actually sold many books.  I would like to thank my good friend, Loyd Smith, for making all of the arrangements.

Next weekend is the Texas Book Festival, and once again, I will be honored with some sort of gala dinner and a new book award…..  (which I can’t detail until it becomes official)  All I can reveal for now is that my new mystery novel, CAPONE ISLAND, has been singled out for some welcomed praise.  (I need all the head-patting I can get!)  More on the award next week!

For those of you who love the American West, please scroll down when you finish reading this highly entertaining and educational blog post.  Your efforts will be rewarded with some lovely photographs of my western pilgrimage.  The photos may not be in sequence, so to speak, but they show a panoramic view of this gorgeous area, and as you will see, this is truly God’s country.

Well, I’m feeling a little “grizzly,” so I think I’ll take a shower and shave.  (My wife can’t “bear” how I look unshaven!)  I hope you all have a wonderful week.  Enjoy the photographs and remember how lucky we are to live in such a magnificent country, surrounded by so much beauty.  Un til next time, Iove to all,

Doc Yanoff, Bronco Buster

 

 

 

THE WEST IS THE BEST!

When last we met, (last Sunday) old Doc Yanoff was driving through the quaint town of Marathon, headed for the most western point of South Texas.  (And believe me, there are plenty of western points down yonder!)  Prior to our arrival in Lajitas, which is on the border, we stopped in Alpine, which is another one of those places with a name that doesn’t quite fit.  There was no snow, no ski trails, and only one or two people yodeling in public.  (Actually they were howling at the moon, but that’s almost the same thing.)

I think the name Alpine came from the town’s elevation (4,475 feet above sea level) and from the mountain peaks that surround the metropolis.  (By the way, the metropolis has about 6,000 full-time residents.)  There is also a university, a fine-looking campus known as Sul Ross State University.  (I thought it was named after Saul Ross, who owned a famous bagel shop in Brooklyn, but I was wrong.)  Mr. Ross was a Confederate States Army general during the Civil War, and also a former governor of the state.  The university is housed within 600 acres of prime real estate, and there are roughly 2,000 students, three herds of cattle, and a prairie dog.  (The unofficial school mascot)

Incidentally, Sul Ross U was the founding home of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association in 1949.  The student body reflects a great love of the rodeo life, and many of the students are bow-legged.  I didn’t see anybody with chaps, but I did spot a young coed applying chapstick.  All in all, folks seemed quite happy, if not downright giddy.  (They like to giddy-up on weekends!)

I suppose that the highlight of our adventure was a death-defying drive along the River Road, which offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the west.  The road starts in Terlingua and follows the Rio Grande River north, up to the bustling town of Presidio.  (The town wasn’t really bustling, but several cowboys were busting out of their jeans after too many plates of frijoles!)  The locals know the road as FM-170, and if you decide to take a drive, be prepared for some stunning viewpoints.

There are plenty of striking rock formations (a few of them in the road!) so drive slowly and bring a good camera.  (A first-aid kit and a Bible would also be helpful)  I’m not quite sure how to describe Presidio, but it did remind me of Roswell, New Mexico.  Very similar.  There were a few spots that looked like “Area 51,” surrounded by high, barbed wire fencing.  There were also some heavily armed military-looking individuals that supposedly worked for the Border Patrol.  (Patty thinks they were MIB agents.)  Come to think of it, she may have been right about the Men In Black.  I did hear them talking about aliens!

Well, in any case, the trip was a complete success and I will never forget the incredible beauty of West Texas.  If you travel west, have fun but NEVER answer the call of nature near a prickly cactus.  (I will explain, if you wish, through private correspondence!)

So what else is new?  Well, for those of you who crave brilliant lectures, I shall be appearing (or should I say, re-appearing) at the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club this coming Wednesday, September, 25.  My oration will entail a synopsis of my newest “Adam Gold Mystery,” which is titled, CAPONE ISLAND.  After a brief, but enlightening summation of the book, I will be answering some questions and then participating in a book signing.  Books will be available for purchase, or if you can distract my security detail, you can simply steal a copy.  (Stolen books will not be autographed!)

For those of you who enjoy great photography ….. try another blog.  My photos are a little lame (like my jokes) but I have nonetheless attached several shots from my recent outing.  Nobody will ever confuse me with Ansel Adams, or any other member of the Adams Family, but I have posted some of the best pictures of the trip.  (My photographic skills are still “developing.”)  So enjoy!

Have a wonderful week and smile as much as possible.  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

 

WAY OUT WEST! (CHAPTER 1) “The Rio Grande Was Truly Grand!”

Howdy, folks, this is old Doc Yanoff reporting from Lajitas, Texas, the last stop before you cross the big river.  (That would be the Rio Grande, not the Mighty Mississippi.)  Why on earth, you might ask, have I traveled 1,000 miles to come out here?  Good question.  I have to come to the Big Bend Country to spread the gospel of Adam Gold (i.e., sell some books) and see this marvelous area for myself.  (Believe it or not, this is my first trip to the Big Bend National Park!)  Well, it took a while to get here (50 years) but it was worth the trip.  This part of Texas is simply M-A-G-N-I-F-I-C-E-N-T!  Truly some of the most stunning scenery on earth.

We left Austin on a Sunday and traveled northwest, through the charming city of Fredericksburg, which is now surrounded by an assortment of Hill Country wineries.  (Yeah, we were forced to do a couple of “taste-testings.”)  Then it was due west (via Interstate 10) to Fort Stockton, where we participated in another round of wine tasting and enjoyed a gourmet picnic with some distinguished local authors.  I might have consumed a tad too much vino, but you know what they say…  good judgment comes from experience.  And experience?  Well, that comes from poor judgment!

After we sobered up (and had a good night’s sleep) we turned south and drove on a VERY deserted road to the quaint western town of Marathon.  (The name doesn’t quite fit, since nobody runs down there.  Too hot.)  After lunch we toured the famous Gage Hotel, the gem of Brewster County.  (Brewster is the largest county in Texas, which is still the largest state.  If you don’t count ice and snow.)

This grand hotel (see photos below) was built by Alfred Gage, a young man from Vermont, who at the age of 18, arrived in Texas with little more than a twenty-dollar gold piece in his pocket to become a rancher.  (In 1878)  Over the span of several decades, Mr. Gage amassed a ranching empire of over 500,000 acres, and almost died mowing the lawn on Sundays.  (Just kidding about the lawn)  I am the most famous writer to have ever visited the hotel, but another guy named Zane Grey also stayed there.  As did Gutzon Borglum, the Mount Rushmore sculptor.

After touring the semi-deserted town of Marathon, we drove further south, spending several hours on Highway 385, which leads to Big Bend National Park and then to Terlingua, which bills itself as “The Chili Capital of the World.”   (Another strange name, since it is NEVER chilly in Terlingua!)  Naturally we had to visit the ghost town, which was really an old mining camp, and we were also compelled to dine at the Starlight Theatre, the town’s most famous dining venue.  (The Starlight was fun to visit, and they make a fine bowl of chili and a marvelous prickly pear margarita.)  Beware of drinking too many margaritas, or you might become a little prickly yourself!

The remainder of our adventure was spent at a lovely place called the Lajitas Golf Resort, which is further west.  (On the border of the Rio Grande.)  The golf course is known as “Blackjack’s Crossing,” because this is the very spot where General “Black Jack” Pershing crossed the river to pursue Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula, better known as “Pancho” Villa.  Mr. P, as his comrades called him, was never caught by the U.S. Army, which chased him and his band of outlaws for nine months.  Thus, I thought I would try to find the illusive bandido!

With the help of my trusted companion, Mr. Shawn Dunham, a rather famous cowboy-veteran, we rode into the Chihuahuan Desert to pick up the outlaw’s trail.  (Shawn was also a professional rodeo bull-rider, so he was used to being around my type of bull!)  We did not pick up the desperado’s trail, but we did pick up some garbage left by inconsiderate campers.  I was also shown the natural rock pen where Pancho Villa kept a string of reserve horses.  (He would change his mount then make a mad dash to Mexico when he was being pursued by the U.S. cavalry.)

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and as many of you know, I am an accomplished equestrian.  (My main accomplishment is not falling off!)  Shawn Dunham was a great guide (and a fascinating man) so if you’re ever down in Lajitas you should look him up and book a trail ride.  You will learn a lot and have a memorable experience.  (You can check him out @ http://www.shawndunham.com)  Oh, and one other thing, don’t forget to thank him for his service to our country.  (As in two tours of Iraq!)

Just between you and me, I wanted to ride bare back, but Shawn asked me to keep my shirt on.  (I guess he didn’t want to scare the coyotes!)

I will share the remainder of my great western adventure next Sunday, so please set your clocks accordingly.  In the meantime, what else is new?  Well, I am happy to report that my new mystery novel, CAPONE ISLAND, will be prominently featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany in October.  The book was recently chosen as one of the “Outstanding Mysteries of the Year,” and I’m quite excited to receive so much exposure.  (The Frankfurt fair attracts about 300,000 visitors each year!)  Dankeschon, my friends and supporters!

Well, that’s all for now…  my strudel is getting cold.  Have a safe and successful week and please remember to roll with the punches… Some days you’re the pigeon;  other days you’re the statue.  (There’s a lovely thought!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff                      *******PHOTOGRAPHS ATTACHED*******

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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