Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Texas Trip Ranch Highlights

My trip to the Silver Spur Guest Ranch in Bandera, TX, was a hoot. Even though I'm deathly afraid of flying. Editor-in-chief of TWRP, Rhonda Penders, drove me to the ranch from Austin with her hubby and youngest son, CJ. By the way, her son is not only the shipping and receiving officer for TWRP, but he's a Civil War buff and reenactor! What an awesome guy. That alone would have made the trip worthwhile, but there were more great things in store for me at the ranch. The best part was meeting my own editor for the Crimson Rose line, Johanna Melaragno. I spotted her right away in the main lodge and got a big hug, and I think I ate pretty much every meal with her. There she is on the left, with Bella the ranch dog.

Before the trip, Johanna promised me a trail ride, so we signed up for one first thing Friday morning and I wrangled Rhonda's hubby and son CJ to come with us. I told CJ we could pretend to be Yankee cavalry out on reconnaissance duty. (Hey, it was cool to us.) When we headed out that morning right after breakfast, it was overcast and drizzling. The weather gods must have known I was from Vancouver, and that my lily white skin couldn't take the heat :) Here's a shot of the chief wrangler, tall David. Does he look like he stepped out of a western movie or what?They paired me with a horse named Diesel, and he was a sweetheart. Jo's horse's name was Willie, and he was not a sweetheart. In fact, he kept biting poor Diesel's rump throughout the hour long ride. (I think Jo secretly made him do it.)

The area was much greener than I had anticipated, and the cool weather made it more enjoyable than being out in 90 degree heat plus humidity. We saw jackrabbits and listened to the cooing of Morning Doves as our wrangler, not-so-tall David, told us all about his various war wounds from his past as a bronc buster. I just have to say that as an RMT, I was appalled by the list of the man's injuries. He's lucky to be alive, let alone walking, and I'm sure by the time he hits sixty, he'll feel every one of those broken bones all over again. Think real cowboys are tough? They are. Not-so-tall David rarely went to the hospital for treatment unless his injuries were life threatening. Enough said, right?

We rode up over the hills and through some scrub brush, and lo and behold came across some Longhorns hanging out in a mesquite thicket. The ranch owner keeps them as pets, and they're as tame as lap dogs. Barely blinked at us as we rode past.

Here I am with two of my roomies from the Butch Cassidy cabin, Mina Khan and Elizabeth Pina. We slept on the squeakiest bunk beds ever, but it was still a fun weekend.

On the Saturday morning, the owner loaded all of us into a flatbed wagon and towed us with his pickup out to a spot where the staff had set up a cowboy breakfast at the edge of a pasture.

On the way we passed a herd of "Texas harleys" as I called them (I said it in fun the once, but the name stuck with our group). They came right over to our wagon when the ranch owner took out some treats for them.

Here's my editor, Johanna, with me and "she-who-shall-not-be-named" (who's obviously camera shy), full of huevos rancheros prepared over an open-flame grill. We're all currently working on a secret project for TWRP Scarlet line. Yee-haw! I'll let you know if it gets contracted.

Right after breakfast, a professional roper came out to do an act for us.

Since it was Rhonda's birthday (and TWRP's 4th birthday, by the way), she got chosen for the demonstration. Here she is posing for a trick where the roper uses a bullwhip to break a piece of uncooked spaghetti she's holding in her mouth. Pretty brave, huh? But we expected nothing less from our fearless leader.

Here's me and the Boss Lady. Rhonda was a total sweetheart, and I'm so glad I got to meet her and her family.

And finally, here's the end of the roping demonstration. The horse's name was Chief, and I swear he was almost asleep the entire show. The thing barely twitched while Kevin stood up and jumped on the saddle. I was impressed. The horse I owned as a kid would have left me as a smear on the nearest tree if I'd tried anything like this! Anyway, you'll see RJ there with the denim shirt. Who knew Snarky isn't so scary after all? She's got an incredibly lively sense of humor in person (just not via e-mail), and man is her wit sharp! But I agree with Rhonda--don't mess with her :)

Snarky drove myself and another author to the San Antonio airport on the Sunday morning, so she got to know me a bit. All in all, a great trip. I'm so glad I sucked it up and got on that plane!


Katie Reus said...

Yay! I'm glad you finally posted the updates and pics. Looks like you had so much fun. And huevos rancheros? Yummy!!