I made a decision today to take the stress out of an early start at the airport next year. I’ve done the very early start where you leave the house at an unearthly hour to get to check in and having a look at the cost of parking for a week, the additional cost of a hotel was so little extra that I decided to go for it. It will be nice to just trundle up the night before at my own speed, sleep well and not worry about sleeping through an alarm clock and end up being awake most of the night instead. In the end I went for a hotel that was slightly more than the cheapest option because of the travel to the airport. The option of a bus that is only every 30 mins and taking 30 mins to get to the airport didn’t appeal, especially as it would still be an early start. However the Heathrow POD only takes 5 mins and is meant to turn up almost instantly. I’m hoping that these two options will be a much more civilised way of starting the holiday.
I had a first today, and at my age, firsts are not that common! I often book holiday flights to the ranch quite early on so that I can get the best deal in terms of using air miles. Given my chosen airline often has only four seats available with air miles per flight, it can be a ‘rush to the departure gate’ as it were to get in there before they are taken. This time I decided to look at something slightly different and noticed that with the Premium Economy flight home the difference was only an extra £70 and some extra air miles. Given how badly I had slept on the way home last time I thought I would take the plunge. I’ve also had to pay to reserve the seat given how few there were on the flight, but that still brings the total to less than paying full price in Economy both ways. While it’s a while off I’m looking forward to experiencing the difference.
Continuing the riviting theme of usual photos, my washing machine is a good summary of the day as having arrived home it has been busy with two weeks of clothing that need the Arizona dust washed out of them. It’s also a good metaphone for how I’m feeling as I didn’t sleep much on the transatlantic flight home due to other people on the plane. I’m feeling totally washed out which will be a combination of the end of the holiday and the jetlag. I’ve already fallen asleep twice on the sofa while doing the washloads.
Having been busy riding I have got around to picking up my visit pin for this trip. I think its fair to say that 11 visits in 6 years makes me a regular and my 12th is already booked. Before the end of the visit, so will my 13th. Currently I see no reason to stop as I’m still enjoying it as much as ever.
I’m now back at the ranch that I have visited a number of time, White Stallion Ranch, and have been able to do what I consider one of the highlight activities of the week, team penning. In a group of 4 friends we had some wonderful runs and I was allowed to cut a number of times as others didn’t want to. We were lucky enough to have a totally blistering run and managed to pen the cattle in 14 seconds from the time we got to them. It’s not quite my fastest time, that being 13 seconds but everyone was delighted with such a wonderfully quick time. We don’t get to keep the trophy as it was donated by a guest for photo opportunities, but it was nice to have been winners.
The Town Too Tough To Die is the decription that Tombstone gives to itself and given our location and having a bit of time between our last ride at Tombstone Monument Ranch and our first ride at our final ranch, it was worth a short visit. Tombstone itself is a proper town that people live in, and then there is the tourist area that consists of the main street, some museums, tours, shows, shops and bars. The highstreet has been wonderfully maintained and a number of buildings are clearly still the original, if not most of them. We stopped for a drink and meal in Big Nose Kates (she was Doc Holliday’s companion) and then had a quick stroll up and down the road. The merchandise wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but I’m glad to have been and seen some elements of what the wild west really was like.
Today hasn’t been a great day. Moving on from Rancho De La Osa to our next ranch, Tombstone Monument Ranch, near Tombstone unsurprisngly, I’ve had some sort of allergic reaction. I suspect that it has come as a result of the downpour a couple of days earlier that has suddenly put a load of plants in bloom all at the same time. My eyes have been stinging to the point that it’s been difficult to keep them open and even closed they have been weeping and are red from having to be regularly wiped clean. Thankfully there was a supermarket en route and I was able to pick up some medicines (eye bath and antihistamine) and that seems to have started to solve things. By tomorrow I should be back to normal based on progress so far. Thankfully although there has been discomfort it hasn’t stopped me taking part in the horse riding I came here for.
One of the activities at Rancho De La Osa is rifle and shotgun shooting. Being from the UK I’ve never used anything stronger than an air-rifle so this was a new experience. The rifle came first and I was more successful with this, hitting a number of targets once I had got the hang of how the sighting worked. The shotgun was a different matter and I now have a much bigger appreciation for the skill demonstrated by professional in competition. It wasn’t until my very last shot, the second shot of the final two cartridges that I managed to hit the skeet that had been launched. It was more of a clipping than a centred shot, but I did at least find the target. I should point out that this activity was carefully controlled to ensure that safety was the priority.
This ranch trip is a 3 ranch trip in one and the first ranch is a very old one with some buildings dating back to about 1720. It’s called Rancho De La Osa and it has had celebrity guests in the past including John Wayne, Zane Gray and the Rooservelts. My rooms was apparently used by Cesar Romero who I remember from the Batman TV series. The ranch is very near the border with Mexico and the border can be seen from the ranch grounds. One of the rides took us up to the border. There are various crossing points (as can been seen in the distance if you look carefully), though it is a relatively small town on the border with a populus reported to be less than 20. This part of the border is regularly patrolled. We saw several border patrol vechiles while out on horseback but none were an issue and we were free to continue riding. I suspect with this ranch reopening horseback riding in the area will increase.
So I’m off to the USA again on holiday. It’s another ranch trip, though this one has a difference that I’ll mention in forthcoming posts. For a change though I was flying out on a week day. This had an added bonus that I had all three seats to myself. I wasn’t the only one either. This meant that for a change I could take some photos. It was cloudy for quite a bit of the journey and there’s a lot of ocean to fly over too. I’m not sure which town this is. I have tried to work it out but to no avail. If I do find out I’ll update later.