Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Last Cowboy in Saugus

The strangest thing happened to me on my way to work this morning...I generally leave the house pretty early, around 5:15 a.m. This morning I slept in a little and didn't leave until 6:00. I was driving south on Route 1, and traffic was fairly heavy considering it's a vacation week for many people. For anyone unfamiliar with Route 1 through the Danvers/Saugus stretch of Massachusetts, it's known as the restaurant capital of the world due to the huge and varied number of eateries on either side of the six-lane highway.

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 don't see cowboys riding along the highway every morning!

Yes, cowboys.

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.


Karen Foley said...

As an update to this story, I discovered these cowboys are riding from Maine to Florida to raise awareness and money for the prevention of domestic abuse. Learn more at

Anonymous said...

I love cowboys! Saddle Up For Good sounds like a neat foundation.

Katie said...

how cool! you must of had a million explanations in your head before you found out about the organization. "Heading to Hilltop Steak House"- haha!

fred. said...

I found 'em in jersey.

Posted a picture I took while driving on facebook. Maybe you can see it.