I was making pretty good time when I crested a hill and saw a parking lot of brake lights stretched out before me, and just a brief glimpse of flashing blue lights. I groaned, thinking there must have been an accident. But as I drew closer, I saw I was wrong. I had to blink several times, unsure if I was seeing things. No wonder every other driver on Route 1 had slowed to a crawl...you don't see cowboys riding along the highway every morning!
And they looked like the real deal. There were only two of them, and a state police cruiser paced just behind them, keeping motorists at a safe distance. I so wish I'd had a camera! It was like they'd ridden straight off the set of Open Range onto Route 1. These guys were in full western gear, with leather chaps, heavy "cowboy" coats, Stetsons, gloves, and boots, complete with saddlebags strapped to their mounts. They looked bone-weary. They were dusty and dirty. One of them turned his face in my direction as I drove past, and I could see his jaw was covered with a couple days worth of stubble. They rode effortlessly, one hand on the reins, one hand resting casually on their thigh. Their horses were beautiful.
But what were they doing on Route 1? Heading to the Hilltop Steak House to reclaim their missing herd of cattle? Protesting the high price of gasoline by hoofing it to work? I checked the local news channels to see if there was any mention of a traffic tie-up due to a couple of cowpokes, but there was nothing.
So I can only speculate about who they were, where they'd come from, and where they were headed. And I can't help but feel that my day has been made a little more special for having seen them.