Another day, another nickle #13: It's Been an Interesting Journey

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Blog entry by Thos. Angle posted 02-21-2009 04:24 PM 2360 reads 1 time favorited 40 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Home again, home again. Part 13 of Another day, another nickle series Part 14: End of The Journey »

We’ve been away for a couple weeks. One to go to Wyoming and interview for a couple jobs and one because the danged computer took a dump. That was expensive and I’m still re-loading programs trying to get to my taxes.

The real news is; we are selling out here in Jordan Valley and moving to Wyoming. Owyhee Design is no more. It died for want of interest from the buying public. On Sunday, two fellows will be by to look at my machinery with the intent of buying it. If they don’t take it, I have a nephew who might. If that doesn’t work it goes in a storage unit for about the next 5 years. It’s not that we went bankrupt. It’s just that there is no business. I refuse to put any more money into this business. I’ve determined that it would take a pile to do the job. I have to say, listening to the members on this site has saved me lots of time and money. Hearing your experiences is a great insight. Thank you so much for your friendship and willingness to share your time.

On the plus side, Carleen and I are both employed by The Padlock Ranch with headquarters at Dayton, Wyoming. This is north of Sheridan, Wyoming. If we want a big city we will go to Billings, Montana, so look out Todd. We’ll be by to see ya. We are in the process of moving at this time.

We will be living at the Ash Creek cow camp on the Wyoming-Montana border. I will be responsible for 800 cows and calves, 2000 yearling replacement heifers and be head wrangler for the Wolf Mountain Lodge. Carleen will be cooking and cleaning in the lodge and about anything else that comes along. The pay is excellent, the benefits are great and so are the people. With the economy in the shape it is, we feel blessed to have this opportunity.

The Padlock is one of the largest ranches in the US. It runs over 12,000 cows and quite a bunch of yearlings. The ranch employs 55 people scattered over a half million acres of rangeland in Wyoming and Montana. The ranch has a website where you can see where we are going. I, quite frankly, feel privileged to have a job in these troubled times. I made a five year commitment to these people but also to myself. It is not a contract except by word but it is important none the less.

At the age of 62 and 65 we are starting out on a new adventure. The working ranch vacation business is new to the ranch and while dude work is not new to Carleen and I, I’ve never tried to do a full job of cowboying while trolling a bunch of guests behind me. Life will be interesting. I think the main job will be to”Bring ‘em back alive”. I would love to have any of you come out and spend a week with us. I can promise you a great experience on one of the greatest ranches in North America. The website has more information about the lodge.

The main reason I’m selling the machinery is that there is no place to put it at our new home. The company is remodeling it for us but outside of a back porch where I will put some of the saddle shop, there is no shop. We are discussing a shop in the next budget but I doubt if there will be time to do much in one. Interestingly, the cowboy running the camp next to mine is a saddle tree maker who closed his shop. It seems that many of us who left the ranch to try the business world are returning to our roots. I moved to Oregon from Wyoming nearly 20 years ago. It is good to be returning to the nearest place I can call home. It is a bitter sweet time for me. We invest a lot of ourselves in these shops and it is not easy to let go. I still have a couple projects to finish and post so I’m not gone yet, but soon. We don’ t have the internet at our house yet but as soon as we do you will hear from me. Lurking is free and it will let me keep up with all of my good friends here at Lumber Jocks. Thanks a heap for all the good times. Drop in any time, the latch string’s always out and the pots on.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

40 comments so far

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3524 days

#1 posted 02-21-2009 04:29 PM

Good luck to you and the Mrs. Hope you can someday get a new shop and rejoin us LJ’s. Sorry to hear about the puter. Sounds like you are getting it back to normal. Again good luck on your new adventure. Maybe Todd will let you come and do some woodworking projects with him.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View woodworm's profile


14462 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 02-21-2009 04:40 PM

What else can I say, good luck and do visit LJs to say hello maybe or throw a few words of comment & compliment. I know how hard to walk away to leave behind things you’ve done & spent so much for.
Again Good Luck! May God bless you and your family.


-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#3 posted 02-21-2009 04:49 PM

It is always both exciting and intimidating to start a new career. When we move outside our “comfort zone” it creates new challenges and gives us a new perspective on things. It is sad that you did not have the traffic to keep your business venture afloat but you are not alone in this situation. I have always had the utmost respect for those who pursue what I approach as simply a hobby. I wish you and your wife nothing but the best as you both start your new working careers.

I am sure that Todd will welcome getting some pointers from you when you have to chance to see him. :)

Keep us posted on what is going on with you and Carleen.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3703 days

#4 posted 02-21-2009 05:16 PM

I wish you both all of the BEST on your new adventure. I have hunted in that area and found it and the people to be great. I am sure you will feel more relaxed and comfortable with this new work. The woodworking business and retail sales, in general, are going to suffer greatly for the next few years. I think it was a very wise decision and fortunate that you have gotten this opportunity.

Good Luck, John

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4280 days

#5 posted 02-21-2009 05:20 PM

Sorry to hear about the shop. I wish the small buisnesses in this country got a better chance. Best of luck with your new job. Don’t do too good of a job or we’ll get run over by New Yorkers wanting to move to God’s country.

View firecaster's profile


572 posts in 3385 days

#6 posted 02-21-2009 05:28 PM

Good luck.

Bring ‘em back alive.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3905 days

#7 posted 02-21-2009 05:38 PM

Mr. Angle,

Congratulations on your new adventure, or possibly your return home. Your work, wisdom and wit have been worth the price of admission here at LumberJocks. Good luck to you fine sir and stop in whenever you can.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4066 days

#8 posted 02-21-2009 05:39 PM

OK, I hate to be selfish here with the way things have gone – but I am going to MEET THOS. ANGLE!

Dayton is within spittin’ distance when it comes to the west. We have family in Sheridan and we sometimes go hiking up the Tongue River Canyon which is off your exit. There is a cave and rock climbing up that canyon although I haven’t seen any real rock climbing the last few years (working in Ohio.)

The drive over the Big Horns is a gorgeous one when you take Rt 14 or Rte 14A. This will take you to Cody and you can visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and they have one of the best collections showing the history of firearms.

You may find new opportunities in the future for selling saddles. There are extremely wealthy people filling the valley in Big Horn, the area against the mountains south of Sheridan. My my wife’s family has been involved with running the Polo Ranch and another one (can’t remember name but owned by Coke executive) but they have horse shows and polo matches. These people actually fly teams in from South America to play them.

At the Polo ranch they have horse shows and vendors are on site selling items such as saddles and tack. This is not a fair grounds activity but on private property and kind of exclusive. We were there a few years ago and saw the horse that the Walton family just purchased for $3 million from the Polo Ranch. Rita could only think of “The Waltons” TV show but I am sure you have guessed it is of the Wal-Mart fame. These are the types of people that fly to LA or NY for a day of shopping just as easy as you and I drive to the local mall to go shopping.

I am sure that the ranch gets supplies from Costco Wholesale in Billings. The Costco in Billings draws people from a large region. The shopping habits are different here than in the largely populated areas, so I may see you once in a while from those supply trips. Cabellas will be open soon and we have new Sportsman’s Supply Warehouse too. Of course I am sure that many of the old ranch supply stores are still open that you may be familiar with. If you don’t get it from Sheridan it probably comes from Billings.

I am just a stone’s throw off of exit 450 in Billings.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View gene's profile


2184 posts in 3850 days

#9 posted 02-21-2009 05:54 PM

Good luck to you and Carleen with the new move and job. I hate to hear about closing down the business and selling out the shop. I know that hurts. I have been there myself. We both know that God travels with you in this new move. I checked the ranch site out, looks like beautiful country! I know that both of you will fit in there, just like family. May God help you to settle into your new home, without too much stress. Please keep us posted.
Your friend,

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

View gizmodyne's profile


1776 posts in 4056 days

#10 posted 02-21-2009 06:05 PM

Good luck to you on your new adventure. Check back in with us every once in a while.

Take care,

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4060 days

#11 posted 02-21-2009 06:10 PM

Tom and Coleen,

Best of luck to you! It sounds like an interesting opportunity in more ways than one. Someday, maybe I’ll make it out that way. Take care of yourselves.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4066 days

#12 posted 02-21-2009 06:38 PM

Just talking with Rita, she is familiar with the Padlock Ranch.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4030 days

#13 posted 02-21-2009 06:49 PM

Oddly I thought “Haven’t heard anything from Tom for a while” waiting for the coffee to brew this morning. I’m saddened that you have to close up shop, but this seems like perfect opportunity for you and Carleen. There’s lots to be said for the stability of the new situation. Maybe new opportunities for patronage will develop around your wood and leather skills once you’re in Wyoming.

And then there’s opportunity to hook up with Todd. Two of the nicest gentlemen above sod that I know within spittin’ distance of each other…I hope you get the chance to meet. Keep in touch, Thos.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4127 days

#14 posted 02-21-2009 07:03 PM

Congratulations on your new job, and sorry to hear about your shop closing. But, it doesn’t mean you still can’t do the work you want to. Now you will have a different focus instead. Anyway, be sure to let us know how this story continues.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3928 days

#15 posted 02-21-2009 07:04 PM

Thanks for all the kind thoughts. This is actually just a step back to a former career, two in fact. Carleen and I sold our ranch when we moved to Jordan Valley, 4 years ago. I guess if I have a real job it is ranching. this has been a fantasy interlude which I have enjoyed very much. I moved to Oregon from Cody about 19 years ago. I know this area pretty well as I worked on the Little Horn Ranch in 1974 which is just over the ridge. Up until 1979, I had never worked on a ranch with fewer than 1500 head of cows. I belong to the group called, ” Big Ranch Cowboys”. It used to be that all we did was sit a horse and work cows. Now we drive a little more but it’s still a horseback job. Years ago, about 1971, I was involved with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center during the Wounded Knee incident. I became one of Dr. Mac’s hired guns, but that is another story.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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