The Rojo Family Trip
to the Gene Autry Friends Fan Club Convention
in Los Angeles, August 2007

Aug 4th, 2007
Opening Dinner
Aug 5th, 2007
Melody Ranch
Aug 5th, 2007
Pool Party
Aug 6th, 2007
Aug 7th, 2007
Open Day
Aug 8th, 2007
Autry's House
Aug 8th, 2007
Gene's Office

Aug.-5-Melody Ranch:

Had the motel's breakfast coffee, rolls and juice with Jimmy Glover and Doug Altizer poolside while waiting for the bus that we would follow to Melody Ranch. There were three large buses total and the one we followed got lost when we got in the hills going in the back way to the ranch. At the housing area into the ranch there was a gate that had a code system to get in so if we didn't follow the bus we would have had trouble getting in. At the ranch gate and we had to show the attendant our badge to get in.

Maxine gave out the plans and rules for the day in this small building were we all packed in. The rules were no pictures of the main street and only when the guide ( owner's wife) said we could. This was because HBO was filming their .Deadwood. series and had control of all activities at the ranch while the series was running. We would break-up into three groups for the tour while the other groups got entertained by Johnny Western and others while waiting their turn. Our guide told us HBO put up the two very large buildings on the lot for their sound stage that we couldn't go into. HBO also repainted all of the main street buildings and changed building signs to fit their scripts. They also had tons and tons of dirt trucked in to make the main street bumpy for the wagons being chased down the streets. The whole town didn't look like it did when I was there in 1997 and even a church-school that was at the end of main street was moved to a different location. The guide said the church wasn't something HBO wanted on main street since it wasn't part of the Deadwood image. We walked the streets (no pictures) then did their small museum tour where we could take pictures. We did lots of that in and around that location. Gene's old house that didn't burn, the church they moved and a hacienda type building made for some great pictures along with Champ's old barn that he lived out his last days that was on the way back to the meeting building. On the way back I took a picture of the old Mexican church that was in .Down Mexico Way. that didn't burn in the fire. You could see HBO's big sound stage to the left of it in that picture.

Lunch was being served so got in line and had my fill while the singers entertained us. This was when I found out I was pushing the wrong button on the camcorder and freaked out knowing all past videos were gone. Susan got Maxine to let me go back and redo the museum video and even had a golf cart drive me back. Did the retake but wasn't like the first time since we went in from the end due to the crowd still there. Got a ride back just in time to do a video on Billy doing a few songs and a poem to Maxine. Then got Holly's talk on how her book came to be. Boyd Magers did his talk on his book but didn't shoot that. There was a group picture taken that later Maxine had mounted on a big poster board that we all signed for her the day at the office visit. This ended the day at the ranch and the fans packed the buses and headed back to the Sportsman's Lodge.

We packed up our gang, Billy and his guitar and getting ready to followed the bus back. Just before leaving Andre (owner) and his wife (tour guide) pulled up in their golf cart to wave the gang good-by. I jumped out of the van did a hand shake with them and introduced myself stating he gave me a interview about the ranch in 1997 in front of Gene's old house but screwed up that camcorder video too. I couldn't believe he said he remembered that but didn't think he did, then asked him about his tanks and he did say he had two M-47's ( my cold war tanks) but were at a different location. We wouldn't be able to see them that day but he did say if I called or emailed him he might be able to tell me a day when they would be doing a shooting of a war picture I could come down and watch and maybe jump in for a drive. Ya...right! But just might try. Told him Paul (other brother) and I were emailing each other years back when they were first starting to put their museum together that Paul got mad when I wouldn't sell him my cap gun displays that he seen on my website and he got a laugh out of that. Told Andre that I have a extras list of Autry stuff and if he needed a bunch for his museum I wouldn't mind trading for a tank ride....that got another smile out of him. Gave him a thank you for all he did for the fans and just got in back of the last bus heading back.

The Days Inn gang ready for Melody Ranch

Another view of the Days Inn

Gene's Melody Ranch

Melody Ranch front gate

Melody ranch owners

The gate to the Ranch

A welcome sign

Theater sign

Maxine giving out the rules of the day

Owners wife taking us on the tour

Off street picture

Another street picture

The gang at Gene's old hide-out

Billy jumped in for this shot

Gene's house looking at the other front

Billy in front of the old church

Another view of the Church

Billy telling us about the wagon

Dead mans wagon

Hey..this is cowboy stuff


Nice Hacienda door

Kevin and wife

Susan checking out the bar

Deadwood sign

Susan having a shot

Hacienda fireplace

Gene singing a song for Jerry

We are Pals

Getting Ranch info

Susan goofing off again by the museum sign


Champs ring and picture

More stuff

Gene's gaming table

Nice set

Great way to travel


Ride um cowboy

Lots of everything

Air condition car

Don't get any better then this

Nice Melody ranch sign

Now this is something

Stanley Martin's membership cards

Wall photo

Another wall photo

Display picture signed to Stanley Martin

Another Stanley Martin picture

One more signed to Stanley

I gave this one to Stanley years ago

Wall picture

Gene riding down the street

Gene by his train

Picture of Gene training Champ

More stuff

Mash jeep

Another jeep

Mash pictures

Nice tank

Another tank

John Wayne gets all the girls

Me checking out things

Tour guide passing on some info

Where all the props hang out

Nice picture of Champs barn

Jerry checking out Champs barn

Nice wagon by the barn

Original Mexican church

HBO sound stage with Jerry

Maxine getting ready for Billy

Billy picking a song to Maxine and gang

Billy's partner Rino picking one

Boyd Magers and Holly talking about there books

Holly all smiles as always

Gang getting ready for the group picture

I'm telling the kids about guns

My Pal Holly showing her boots

Small group picture

The whole gang here