My Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour began with 800 km of sunshine and smooth highway from Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan to Drumheller, Alberta, on Sunday, September 21, 2008. The Harry Chapin concert I played kept me entertained well enough that I didn’t make a single stop from Moose Jaw to Drumheller — at which time the gas gauge interrupted all other thoughts.
Drumheller, nestled in the Alberta badlands or Dinosaur Valley as their Web site calls it, provides visitors with everything they might need. My hotel — the Best Western Jurassic Inn — was comfy, with dining options nearby.
Of course, the most exciting part of my visit to Drumheller was being welcomed by the staff and students at the Greentree School on Monday, September 22, 2008.
Anne Morgan, Principal, was on hand to greet me and take me to the library shortly after 9 a.m. when I arrived. She introduced me to Lana Bosch, the acting Librarian, who took over organizing the library and calling everyone down.
The students were awesome! My first group were a hundred smiling grades 3 and 4 boys and girls, along with their teachers. From the beginning, they were pulled into my slideshow that took them along the trail Lucas Vogel follows in Longhorns and Outlaws.
When the second group arrived, I choose a great photographer, Dara, to take some shots of me presenting. With another hundred students there, this time from grades 5 and 6, there was lots of energy and excitement.
Of course my first question was how many of them rode horses — and nearly half put up their hands! They were keen to learn more about Lucas and his horse, Ebenezer, as my presentation began.
I received some great questions and comments too, that made me notice things I hadn’t when preparing the slideshow. One attentive girl said, “That looks like snakeskin on the saddle, doesn’t it?” I was showing a slide of a saddle from the Culbertson Museum, and she was absolutely right!
Another boy asked about sheep and the free range practices still around in 1901 in Montana and Southern Saskatchewan — and I assured him that Lucas asks the same thing in Longhorns and Outlaws, then proceeded tell him all about the range wars.
The fun had to end though, as I had to hit the highways again and travel to Hanna for Day 2 of the Longhorns and Outlaws Alberta Book Tour! Greentree School had definitely been the perfect school to launch the tour.