geneWe have a good friend named Gene Smith. (AKA; Drifter, Butch, Tootsie).  Drifter passed from this life 3 years past

His personality while on earth was enormous, his love of life immense.  We loved him, still love him.

His wife; Gretchen of the warm and lovely laugh, has had a surprise party for him every year on his birthday since.  Drifter is always there, although I am pretty sure he is no longer surprised.  He is there in the stories of his friends who will always remember him, in the smiles of the bikers, the shooters, the reenactors and all the friends, neighbors and family who had the honor to call him their pard.

We look forward to this years’ celebration in May… be ready.

Lost Creek Chuckwagons


Painting at Fort Sissaton Cook Off
Painting at Fort Sissaton Cook Off

Our Lost Creek wagon was originally built in the 1900’s; about the time Webber was being recreated as International Harvester. It spent many years as a hearty farm wagon in Iowa, hauling grain, and proving it’s sturdy worth until it was purchased by a collector and relegated to sitting quietly in a barn, collecting dust and a minimum amount of dry rot, until that day that John “JT” Hallson sighted it at an auction in Waverly Iowa. At that time, he went into partnership with Robert “Boomer” Beck, a gentleman who had previously cooked with John on the original Lost Creek Mandt wagon. The two of them immediately set to work, tearing the new wagon down to its basic framing. Over the winter and summer they worked, hammering, sawing, measuring, analyzing and painstakingly rebuilding it to the wonderful work of wagon art sitting in front of you today. Boomer has recreated much of the iron work in his Robbinsdale blacksmith shop; JT has done much of the woodworking. They completed this massive and exacting job at John’s barn in rural Minnesota. The work on the Webber continues to this day, always tweaking, always improving. The Webber, (Mountain Man) has given our team the opportunity to garner a number ofready to cook first places on the wagon trail.

JT hails out of Dassel Minnesota, and has competed in chuck wagon events around the countrytd for many years. Our new Webber Wagon, “Mountain Man “is JT’s second wagon, Our first is a Mandt, (Pretty Little Lady) rebuilt by JT with the same dedication given to the Webber. JT, a member of long standing in the Old West Society of Minnesota, spends time when not on the chuck wagon cook off trail working in his leather workshop creating pristine cowboy leather, (www.lostcreekbags.com) serving as technical advisor and supplying period correct Old West clothing and accouterments to various independent films, working with his partner, Tilly with the Mountain Man teaching school children at educational events about the history of trail drives, and totally enjoying his country life in Dassel, Minnesota.
Boomer is from Robbinsdale, Minnesota and has worked with JT for many years. He is also an old timer in the Old Westboomer Society of Minnesota. When not creating fabulous apple pies at the cook-offs, Boomer hammers out works of art in his blacksmithing shop, builds musical instruments, and enjoys his summer months zooming about the country on his Harley. Boomer is a true Renaissance man, always creating, always learning.

Tpunktillyhe crew is rounded out with JT’s partner, Tilly Evan Jones, who wishes in her heart they would always cook onpretty lady her favorite wagon the Pretty Little Lady, but still loves the Mountain Man. When not cooking Tilly indulges in her love of nature and growing things, working in not only her gardens, but as a professional gardener for others, indulging her hippy side with palm readings at expo’s private parties, and business events, performing happy marriage ceremonies, and writing for her on- line journal (www.tillyevanjones.com).
057The team is completed by Hanna Rose, who has brought her particular kindness and gentle spirit to the rascally group. Rose, along with her husband, Just Dave, fire monkey and raconteur extraordinaire;rosejustdave have traveled with Lost Creek for a good while. Rose is a fantastic cook; helping herself to a number of first places since she began, a seamstress of divine clothing and quilted wonders, and just plain nice. We love having her on our team!!

Enjoy your visit, coffees on!!


Our friend Tombstone Drifter

This morning, around 3 AM our friend Gene Smith passed away after a strong and amazing full out battle against cancer.

I thought when I started this entry that perhaps I could, through simple words, give you all insight into the magnitude of Gene’s spirit.  Words, nah, Gene was larger than life, Gene WAS life.  Never have I met a man who lived more.  He would not give up, determined to survive, determined to not let go of his hold on his earthly life.

Until near the very end, he went into his gun shop in St Boniface nearly every day, even during his chemo, radiation and treatments.  And his friends responded, also going to the shop in droves, making sure that they could have moments with the friend they loved.

He loved being alive, his aptitude for life made us all live a little more fully.

Gene was involved in the out doors. From his early years, up north,in the woods and on the lakes  of northern Minnesota.  He spent time in Viet Nam, and in the last handful of years did a yearly trip to Indonesia, to travel the roads and highways there with his biking buddies from around the entire world.  I think going there was a way for him to regain some of the innocence of his youth that he lost during the war.  In Alaska he guided fishing parties to the hidden lakes of the state.  Here in Minnesota, he fished, hunted, biked with his buddies, encouraged music, encouraged laughter, belonged to the Old West Society.SASS, and I am sure organizations I have no knowledge of.

He went to places that meant a full gusto filled existence.  It is true that I am repeating myself a lot, when I talk about his joy of living, but good grief this man LIVED!!!!

We love Gene, we are sad that he is gone from us, and wish for his wife, Gretchen, a measure of solace, a measure of strength during this time.  She stood by him his constant help, his constant good spirit.  We love Gretchen and honor her.

So maybe Gene is now free from pain, tumors, and the ravages of age, and is even now wheeling his way along the highways of heaven, wind sunburning his face, astride a big old Harley.  He is fishing in pristine, cold, deep lakes, hunting in tall wooded mountains. We like to think that, and we smile.