Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vacation After-Action Report Part Two

Following up on yesterday's vacation AAR, I wanted to expand on something I said.
The dynamics of the ranch are interesting. We've been meeting up with the same people there every year for the past couple of decades. Since there's no TV, cell phone service, or Internet connection, you basically spend two weeks interacting on a personal face-to-face basis with folks. You get to know them on a much closer and deeper level than you do most people in your everyday life. We've formed some extremely tight relationships with people we've met there.
Our core group of regulars covers a wide range of backgrounds, attributes, and outlooks. We have doctors, lawyers, ranchers, businessmen, a PR person, a couple of journalists, an engineer, some retirees (like me!), even a writer and a field hockey coach. They come from all over - Boston, New York, the midwest, the northwest, the southwest, even some Europeans. There are conservatives (one guy is so far to the right he makes me look liberal), moderates, a few token liberals (two of who said they weren't going to support Hillary in 2016 because she was too conservative) - the whole spectrum. Most are straight, a few are openly gay, all are white. We have Protestants, Catholics, Jews, atheists and agnostics, and one semi-practicing Buddhist. No Muslims.

I give you these demographics because of the nature of the relationships among us. Given the lack of technology and links to the outside world, we spend many hours sitting around and talking with each other. Note the use of the preposition "with." We don't talk TO, we talk WITH. A small, but IMO critical, distinction.

The conversations are wide-ranging and free-wheeling. Family, sports, politics, religion, philosophy, food, cars - no topic is off limits. The discussions often get passionate (especially the after-dinner gatherings, which are invariably lubricated by adult beverages) but never personal. We somehow manage to disagree without disliking the person we're arguing with debating talking with. I wouldn't call it civilized in the British drawing room sense (there's plenty of raised voices and profanity), but we manage to end each evening still as friends.

And we are friends - close friends. Even though we only see each other once a year for the most part, we stay in touch. Phone calls, social media, and occasional visits are the norm. I've been to weddings, funerals, graduations - I'm even godfather to a couple of kids. I don't know how we manage to do it, but I wish the rest of society could emulate us.

Anyway, here's a few more pictures from our most recent trip.

The main creek that runs through the ranch, where we go wading, fishing, and moose-viewing.

One of the things I like about the ranch is the timelessness of the place. Very few things change from decade to decade, mush less year to year. Here's a good example. This old truck is still in use on the ranch. It receives no special care or maintenance, outside of routine tune-ups and oil changes. Any problems are dealt with in time-honored 'shade tree mechanic' style. The upholstery is ragged, the clutch chatters and slips, the patches on the tires have patches, but it's still hanging in there.

I've mentioned the consumption of adult beverages a few times. For some reason alchohol consupmtion goes up once you're there. If I drank as much at home as I drink in Wyoming my liver would be hard as a rock. Here's a pre-lunch favorite (the small cup is a side serving of Blacktooth beer from a local microbrewery).

Yes, that's a piece of bacon in it. Yummm.

And here's an example of Wyoming cup holders.

Parts of Wyoming remind me of Texas - the same blue skies and wide open spaces.

The sunsets are pretty nice as well. This one came towards the end of one of our evening rides.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that obama slipped away from Martha's Vineyard and spent a day at the ranch. Security was tight but I managed to get close enough to take this candid shot.


Old NFO said...

Snerk... Love the last one! :-) Sounds like a great group!!!

CenTexTim said...

It's a lot like a BS session in the barracks... but it is a great place with great people.