Day 272 – 29th September – Feeling Flushed

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Never in a million years did I think I would post a photo of a toilet, let alone an airline toilet. Let alone would it be the last post of another fantastic holiday. However it provided what was a wonderful comedy moment at the airport. While wait to board we were informed that there was an issue with the toilet in the first class section of the plane and that it would unavailable for the entirity of the 2 hour flight. The airline desk staff then announced that ‘if anyone needed a potty break they should use the airport toilet now or altnatively they could use the standard class toilet during the flight’. Firstly I loved the idea of first class passengers taking a ‘potty break’ and secondly, I’m now wondering what the first class toilet looks like and how much nicer it is from the standard class toilet given both are on a plane with not a lot of space available. I suspect it will be a long before I get to find out!

Day 271 – 28th September – Roll Out the Barrel One Last Time

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Thanks to a chat with some new friends and a bit of good fotune I got to do something new for the first time, and what will be the last time. Every now and again the ranch would allow people to do a barrel racing lesson although they are stopping that option (hence it being the last time). This isn’t at any significant speed for most of the lesson as it is spent walking or trotting around the barrels. As with most things it’s a lot more complicated than it looks as it combines, changes in balance, direction, looking ahead in advance and reigning hands all while ensuring the horse is going in the direction you want, which isn’t actually towards the barrel, but just off of it so you can kick on at the exit point. Thankfully we had an excellent teacher and everyone came in completing the pattern at a time of around 30 seconds (much longer than she would take though!)

Day 270 – 27th September – Pinning things down

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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.

 

Day 269 – 26th September – Lookout, its a Movie

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Today I got to ride up and around what is called Lookout Point. It also has another name which is Movie Pass. I love the ride as its loping out (on the fast version) and you get to ride around the top of the viewpoint before coming back down. From the view it’s clear why it’s a look out as you can see for miles and the White Stallion Ranch is just off in the distance where the line of trees and buildings are just off centre. Its second name is due to the number of movies that have been shot there, two of the more famous ones being Winchester 73 and A Kiss Before Dying (the 1956 version).

Day 268 – 25th September – You have 14 seconds to comply

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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.

 

Day 267 – 24th September – The Town Too Tough To Die

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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.

Day 266 – 23rd September – Call me Daryl

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While at Tombstone Monument Ranch there has been the opportunity to do some archery. This is something I have done before, as a child, but it has been a few years. I wasn’t missing out on a ride and given the short time I’d be there I wanted to do as much as possible. What I wasn’t expecting was to be firing at Zombie targets. I will be honest in that I missed more than I hit, but then I was also aiming for the head shot, what with them being zombies and all that. So just call me Daryl from now on.

Day 264 – 21st September – Shelling Out

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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.

 

Day 263 – 20th September – The Border

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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.

 

Day 261 – 18th September – Flying High

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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.