On Thursday morning I was awakened to the news at about 5am that David Giba the accused sex offender had hung himself in his cell. A few phone calls later I turned it all over to Under Sheriff Robert Garcia and headed up into the mountains of Bell Ranch. I was on the way to a trail ride which had been planned for months. Bell Ranch is located East of Santa Fe in Harding and San Miguel Counties. It borders Conchas Lake and includes 290,000 Acres, 250,000 of which is for sale for only 115, Million Dollars. The ranch includes over 3,000 herd of cattle and over 50 ranch horses, an airstrip, several homes and campgrounds as well as a corporate headquarters. Part of the ranch is in the town of Solano. Each year the ranch hosts an invitation only trail ride and I was honored to be invited this year.
The yearly ride is a labor of love for Jeff Lane part owner of the ranch and son of William N. Lane II of Chicago, chairman and CEO of publicly traded General Binding Corp., a maker of office supplies and equipment who purchased the ranch in 1970 and died in an auto accident on the ranch in 1978. I brought home a ton of pics and short videos and many story's from this trail ride so I will blog about this great experience in 2 or 3 posts.
Early Thursday morning on May 17, 2006 found me at Bell Ranch Head Quarters with about 30 other men saddling up and raring to ride. This ride was men only, the Ranch hosts a couples ride on the following weekend each year. My good friend Gary Bland and I along with his friend Larry from Seattle met with ranch hands who gave us our horses which would be our partners for the three day event.
I was given a beautiful horse who was aptly named "Casino". We bonded immediately and I could not have been given a better partner.
The clouds were rolling in as we saddled up and rode off. It began pouring rain about one and a half hours into the three hour ride to camp. I could not find my rain slicker on Wednesday and I was sure glad I went and bought a new one on the way home from the office. It poured buckets as we rode on to camp. The Slicker and the straw cowboy hat kept me dry, only my boots and pants from the knee down were soaked.
At camp we choose a tent unpacked dried up and settled down to a great dinner. The camp cooks were awesome and rustled up some great grub.
Having not saddled up on a horse since August of last year I was sore, wet, cold, and hungry. The large fire pits sure took care of half of those problems. In a few hours I was just sore. There was plenty of drinks, great musicians, and about 30 men getting acquainted or re-acquainted with each other.
There was no cell service, electricity, phones, Internet or any means of communication with the outside world without trekking back to the headquarters. I left my cell phone in the suburban but yet I had what I can only describe as phantom vibrating emanating from my shirt pocket where I usually keep my cell phone. Every now and then I swear I could feel my phone vibrating even though it was miles away. About midnight I headed to my tent, took three Tylenol, crawled into my sleeping bag and quickly fell asleep. As I fell asleep I remembered the tent which was next to mine. It had tears which had been repaired but were visible. I was told by a ranch hand that one succumbed to a bear attack last year. My tired and sore body over came my mind and in no time I was sound asleep.
Part 2 of Riding the Bell Ranch