September 4, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

This is a great picture of Brush Creek Ranch. You can see the iconic rock in the middle of the picture. To the right is the main lodge. I haven’t given you the link to their web site yet, so here it is. BrushCreekRanch.com

Here is a picture of me out and about in the RAZR. It sure was fun to drive. Much faster than walking, and easier on the hips than horseback. Steve was out fishing for the day, and boy did he have fun! Twenty nine fish for the day! This beautiful rainbow was from the North Platte River. After lunch, Steve went to Brush Creek and caught this nice brown trout. A beautiful 2 pounds and 17 inches.

Now seeing all these big numbers of fish, you might think that the fishing was easy, and you will do as well as Steve did. I must remind you that Steve has been fishing since he was four years old. He started fly fishing when he was 25 years old. He is 55 years old in this picture. So after 30 years of fly fishing you might be as good as him. Or not.

Steve has remarked to me that many of the guides at Brush Creek love to fish with him as he knows what he is doing. Many of the guests have never fished before, and I would not say they are incompetent, but they are not very good. So it is always fun for the guides to see the guest get some really nice fish.

While Steve was out fishing I planned a special surprise for Steve. At breakfast one of the guests was showing pictures of a private dinner that she and her husband had at Falcon Peak Overlook. It was quite romantic and everyone at Breakfast was so excited! Falcon Peak is at one of the higher elevations of the Ranch. There is a lovely platform there where yoga is held at sunrise and lunches and cocktail parties before dinner are held.

Steve had a half day fishing on the North Platte and then came back for lunch with the rest of us at Falcon Peak. In the afternoon he fished on property on Brush Creek. Now having dinner with Steve at Falcon Peak was going to be a surprise. I had to figure out how to get him there. What was I to do?

Well, I decided to play “Misplacing Linda”. Just before we were going to take the RAZR to the Lodge for dinner I told him that I had left my phone up at Falcon Peak at lunch. We were going to have to go back up there and get it before dark.

So off we went, when we got up to Falcon Peak Overlook, Steve saw that there was a private dinner all set up for two. He told me to hurry up and find my phone as Bruce and Beth the owners of the ranch were going to have an intimate dinner there.

“Surprise!” I told him. This is all for you! Yes, he did actually get a little bit teary. Look how happy we are! Too bad I have a heat lamp growing out of my head!

Here we are, looks like I got quite the farmer’s tan earlier in the day. The couple the night before had a harpist play, that I thought was a bit much. It was more than enough for the two of us to sit and make goo goo eyes while we cooed our endearing love to each other! Who could not fall madly in love with this charmer? Doesn’t that face ooze endearing love with just a sparkle of mischief?

This shows how much sunburn I got. We were at an elevation of about 7500 feet. The air is much thinner there than back home in Poughkeepsie where our elevation is about 200 feet. Here is a picture of our waitress and chef.

I hope you enjoyed this Excellent Adventure as it was our last night at Brush Creek Ranch and it was time to go back to reality in the morning. We had great fun at Brush Creek. We left with our wallet a bit lighter, but hoped to return again next year!

Do you do yoga at sunrise?

Do you like surprises?

Do you misplace stuff?

September 3, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Steve spent the day fishing on the Encampment River. He caught seven fish, most in the 10-15 inch range.

I spent some time wandering around and exploring. This is the view that the bride has as she walks down the aisle for an outdoor wedding. I am sure that cushions on the rocks benches, and flowers on the arbor, make the site much more attractive. Here is the view looking toward the guests. There was a small pond in the center foreground, There were no fish there! Here is a picture that I took of our room. Quite a bit different than the professional picture!

Let’s look at some of the other buildings, shall we?

This is the activities barn. This is where you signed up for all your activities. There was a small gift shop where you could buy shirts, jackets and sunglasses. Lunch was held here. It was a buffet lunch, with your choice of salads, mains, and lots of desserts. In the main lodge there were always snacks available. Plus your choice of drinks, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. You could have your choice of wine also, with a walk in wine cellar just off the dining room. There was no charge for any alcohol when we went there.

On the lower level of the main building was a wonderful spa where you could get dolled up for your wedding, or just have a massage. There was a changing room just across the hall where you could change your clothes. There was a full shower, so you could wash off all the dust before you had your rub down. There was a gym also, but I never saw any one besides myself work out. Not that I am terribly athletic, but I like to get on a recumbent bikes and read. This is where the saloon was. People would gather there before dinner and have drinks and canapés before dinner. Steve would play pool. Some nights were Karaoke nights. That comes into play when I write up my 2015 Adventures here. I hope you don’t die of suspense waiting for me to write up that trip! After dinner we went to the Zip Line. Traditionally you are supposed to do the Ropes Course first and then as a treat do the Zip Line. I am not buff enough to do a Ropes Course, so I begged to just do the Zip Line. I am afraid of heights, so why I agreed to do this I do not know. It was scary but fun. This was the rope walk that you had to go up before you got to the zip off platform. The guide forgot to attach the safety carabiner to me, but I was lucky and didn’t fall off before it was time to zip off. Here is Steve at the end of the zip line.

While at the ranch there weren’t many guests there, as the Ranch had just opened to the public. Beth and Bruce White of White Lodging had bought the ranch a few years earlier. They loved it and invited many of their friends to visit. They decided to open the Ranch to others so they could enjoy it also. It was funny talking to Bruce about this. He was going on and on about how much he was subsidizing our stay because the ranch wasn’t breaking even. Maybe so, but it still was expensive!

We met another couple there. Anthony and Melissa from Chicago. We are still in touch and even stayed with them on our road trip West in 2015. So you never know about meeting me. I may end up stalking you in the future!

Are you afraid of heights?

Have you ever been married?

Do you go commando when you have a massage?

September 2, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

This is the type of picture you get from an iPhone 4 shooting into the sun. Not very good. But it will have to do, as it is all I’ve got. You can see Steve’s waders and fishing rods on the ground along with his boots. You are correct if you wonder if his socks always make it to the laundry basket. They don’t! But this blog is devoted to my excellent adventures with my heaping hunk of handsomeness-aka Steve, so let’s ignore the laundry issue. There are lovely rocking chairs on the deck. I think i might have rocked twenty minutes on them. Of course Steve went off fishing again. He caught 14 fish for the day including two 18 inchers. This was done while wading the North Platte River. Those beautiful fish from yesterday were an inch smaller than today’s big fish!

Usually Steve got up early in the morning and went off fishing. I would be by myself for breakfast and lunch. It was sometimes lonely, with most couples and families staying together. However, as I don’t like to fish all day, in fact I only like to fish for about 30 minutes, we each do our own thing.

In the late afternoon we did go for a ride. Here I am being instructed on how to hold the reins of the horse. I was taught to hold them like an ice cream cone. Most people on the East Coast where we are located, ride Western. As I don’t ride at home, only on vacations, I didn’t have to unlearn much.

Don’t I look sharp? Shoulders back, and trying to look relaxed. The horse doesn’t look very happy does he, or is he really a she? The wrangler we were with looked like Sam Elliott. No, don’t worry he was happily married as was I. Plus, how much successful flirting can you do with the wrangler when your husband is riding behind you? I am not sure If you remember but in the past I have suffered from asthma. And altitude sickness. After lunch today I got a bit winded going up the slight hill to our cabin. I mentioned it to staff and look what was delivered to our cabin for me to ride around in! My very own RAZR! This one was new, as the windshield was still there! Dinner tonight was at Creekside. I still happen to have that top also! We also had a little combo play music for us during dinner. After dinner you could grill your own marshmallows for s’mores.

Do you ride Western or English?

How old is the oldest item in your closet that you still wear?

Do you still have your wedding dress in your closet even though it is 39 years old?

September 1, 2011. Brush Creek Ranch Saratoga Wyoming

We stayed in Coop, which was a converted chicken coop. It was a very cozy romantic place to begin our first adventure at Brush Creek. Over the years we have stayed there four times in four different rooms, and also stayed at Magee Homestead, their adults only resort once. I think I should get an award for being a frequent visitor!

Do you want to see the floor plan? Of course you do! Your wish is my command! These pictures are all from the Brush Creek website, as I am sure you can tell. This is the main lodge building. There is a wrap around porch with rocking chairs. Inside are lodge rooms, that are similar to a hotel room, meeting rooms, and the main dining room. For the high end wedding you can do a ranch buy out and have all your guests stay here. In the background you can see the dining room tables and chairs. There is a lovely bar with bar stools. Yes, those are real fleece seat backs! In fact, when I first looked up the website I fell in love with those chairs. I was so excited to finally sit on one! In the foreground is a gas fireplace with glass surround. On some evenings there was music by local artists.

Here I am at the lunch spot. These were preblogging days, I was only sending emails and some facebook posting back then.

All your meals, liquor and activities were included in the rates. There was an additional 23% ranch fee on top of your room rate. There is no tipping, as that’s included in your ranch feee.

I previously mentioned holding weddings at the Ranch. You might choose to have an intimate wedding for just 25 people, that will set you back $30,000 for two nights. For a bigger crowd of 140 guests you can do a ranch buy out. That will be about $160,000, in high season.Still too many guests on your list? Well, then the Supreme Wedding package is only $165,000. That includes a tent. Don’t forget to add the 23%. Now that’s a wedding the father of the bride will never forget. Band, flowers and officiant are extra. There are many blog posts about weddings at the ranch if you want to be a voyeur!

I didn’t say anything about Steve’s fishing yet. He actually caught three fish at the Creekside Dinner Camp the first night! Here is Steve with a beautiful brown trout. This is a picture of a beautiful rainbow that Steve caught. Yes, he was as happy as he looked! Our final picture of the day was another brown trout.

Steve ended up catching nine fish for the day.

Do you like destination weddings?

Would you rather have a room with a shower or a bath?

Do you prefer all your meals included in your rate?

August 31, 2011 Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

As I have been blog silent for a while, I have decided to go back to my memory vaults and write up some past trip reports. Back in the day, I didn’t take so many pictures and do facebook posts, so these blog posts will be much shorter than my recent ones.

In the fall of 2010 when Steve and I were flying back from the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, I spied an blurb in Town and Country Magazine about a new ranch resort opening in Saratoga,Wyoming. It sounded delightful, fishing, riding, spa treatments, all in a luxury resort in the middle of some beautiful country.

Steve had already been going to ranches and fishing camps with Elliott. Now that Elliott was away at Bucknell, Steve needed a traveling partner. Steve had been telling me about all the wonderful people he had met at the fishing lodges that he had gone to. Now you know me, aka Luxury Linda, I don’t want to spend any time in a place that is not at nice as home. So high thread count sheets, gourmet meals, and electricity please. The price for a stay was higher than the thread count, but I was very much intrigued.

So as our 32nd anniversary rolled around I made reservations for a one week stay. We would fly in and out of Denver, Colorado and drive up to the ranch, about a four hour drive. Of course we stopped in Laramie Wyoming, at a fly fishing store for a look see. I go to grocery stores, Steve goes to fishing stores. It makes for a happy marriage.

We drove through Medicine Bow National Forest. The forest is in southeastern Wyoming, and our highest elevation on the route was over 12,000 feet. It was very windy, and a bit cool. You can see all the snow that has remained over the summer. There was a lovely lake, but I declined a dip. We had places to go and people to meet! Finally after about four hours, we saw a big sign for Brush Creek. I hope I have since burned that unflattering top. Now this is a great entrance! Wouldn’t you like to have a sign like this at the end of your driveway back home?After checking we we drove to the shooting range for our first set of activities. At the Ranch you can do fishing, riding, shooting, mountain biking, archery, paint ball, ropes course, and hiking to name just some of the activities. Here I am getting pistol instructions. Shooting glasses and ear protection are required. As they should be. I am looking at that picture and I must have lost that fleece vest, I haven’t seen it in years. The floral shirt is still in my closet up in Lake George. I wear it often. I sure got my money’s worth on that purchase! We had many targets. Close up targets for the pistols, and then also there were some targets much further away for the rifle shooting. My aim was pretty good for a newbie! The instructor opened up the safe and let me use his Ruger with a laser sight. That sure did make aiming easier! I also used a Browning. One of the targets represented a villain with a hostage. I was able to shoot the bad guy and save the hostage. Just call me Dirty Harriet! Here is Steve. Looks like a battle of the bellies! Ha Ha. Our instructor won that battle!We also did some rifle shooting. Here we were trying to aim at fake prairie dogs. There was also shotguns for skeet shooting. I was tuckered out by then and didn’t partake. Steve had fun and was pretty good.

Do you prefer camping or a resort?

Would you rather vacation in the city or the country?

Have you ever quivered with excitement while holding a Ruger with a laser sight?

A day at Saratoga Race Track. August 11, 2018

‘Every three years the Baker Street Irregulars, the premier Sherlock Holmes Society in the US has a weekend meeting centered around the flat track at Saratoga. The event starts Friday night with several attendees pregaming with dinner and libations. They stay at the Desmond in Albany. Since our house in Lake George is only thirty minutes from the track we pregame at our house and meet the rest at the track on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning there are speakers that discuss two of the stories in the CANON (all the Sherlock Holmes Stories). Since we don’t sleep over with the rest of the group (in separate rooms of course!), we don’t attend the breakfast. You are spared a recounting of Sunday mornings adventures at the meeting. I can hear a collective sigh of relief!

I am not that into Sherlock Holmes, preferring as you all know, Romance stories and Erotica. But, as a dutiful spouse, I tag along to the meetings in Poughkeepsie presented by our local Scion-The Hudson Valley Sciontologists. Not to be confused with scientists, or Sinologists or Scientologists!

Going to the track in Saratoga is always a fun day, and I get to wear a hat! So far I have worn my fancy hat about four times. That brings it down to almost $50 a wearing. Hopefully the hat will soon pay me to be worn!

There is a fancy hat shop in Saratoga, the hats there are about $800 each. Needless to say, I covet them. However as we don’t own a horse, I am not getting that fancy a hat. Although it is cheaper than a Hermès Birkin handbag!

Well, enough background, let’s go to the Races! Saratoga is only open about six weeks a year. It was opened in 1863. The big race of the year is the Travers race. Which often has some of the horses that entered the Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Many years ago Steve and I were there to witness the battle between Affirmed and Alydar in 1978. I can’t remember anything about that day except it was very crowded!

I have done a little research for you to help me try to remember why that day was so special. The horses had raced against each other nine times before. Affirmed had won the Triple Crown, Alydar had won only two of the other nine races. Many of the races were quite close, with Affirmed beating Alydar by a nose in one race! So the stakes were quite high! It was going to be quite the spectacle, over 50,000 fans were there to watch the race. Affirmed was disqualified during the race, and Alydar was declared the winner of their last final race. Many of the fans were booing and quite upset.

Here is a link to the horse race. Affirmed and Alydar Here we see Steve checking the Program guide with Charlie. No, the man with the glasses is not checking me out, there was a television monitor displaying the odds and horses. We were in the Pavilion. We had a buffet, and the room was air conditioned. Always nice on a hot day. However you really don’t have the same feeling as you do sitting out in the Club House or Grandstand.

Here I am in my nice red hat and basic black. The official Baker Street Irregular colors were black and red. I do aim to please! I bought the top with Sally when we last visited my Mother. I thought the top looked a bit silly on the rack, but it looked great on a real body!

There are always interesting characters at the track. I loved the guy on the left with his blue and white jacket with stars and bright red pants! Then there was the suave guy with the plaid jacket and shirt open down to there! This is my collection from the dessert buffet. I tried everything , even though they were not very tasty. At one point we did go outside to watch a race. The white tent in the back is where the Pavilion is located. That sexy brown and white shoulder is Joan. One of the other ladies in our group wore a red hat also. I am biased and like mine a bit better!The number four horse was called “Grandma Gertie”. Joan wanted money bet on her as she had a Grandma named Gertie. Did she win? Who knows? Perhaps Joan will answer in a comment!

This gentleman and his lovely wife came all the way from Ohio to attend the race and the conference. I of course asked him if he was bald, as so many gentleman wear hats now when they are bald. He surprised me with his beautiful head of hair! Here is closeup of her hat! It was really a cream color. After realizing that he had made ten cents for the day, Steve agreed to call it an early day and we should go for an early dinner and walk to the restaurant. I am not sure how Steve and Charlie did, but another couple from our group was quite successful. I am not sure how well Lee did, but he did win $39 one race! So we said goodbye to the track and were off to Siro’s. sirosny.com

Here are Joan and Charlie, along with Steve checking out the restaurant. No Joan is not checking out the man’s butt, her head is much more elevated. Plus she has seen much better butts.

There is also an outside bar at Siro’s that is quite popular. We ate in the restaurant, which held a much more night class crowd.

All during dinner I was scanning the room. I was looking for famous people, but none showed up while we were there. At one point I joked that I was going to grab the reservation book to look up who was going to be there! Last time we were there I saw Curtis Sliwa and Arthur Aidala.

Steve and Charlie had the salad with nuts and raspberries.

Nancy and Lee elected to share the 2 pound lobster. At $30 per pound, the waiter was trying to upsell them to a larger lobster. Lee and Nancy thought the starter lobster would be sufficient. It was. They did offer a four pounder at $120!

Here is the lobster deshelled. There was a lot of meat. I had the halibut with creamed corn. It was very good.

Joan had the mahi mahi. The sauces were really good. Steve had the swordfish that was a wee bit over cooked. He said the risotto was really good, although a trifle heavy. Charlie had the duck. It was cooked in the sous vide method, so he wasn’t crazy about it.

No room for the dessert. I am sure it was yummy. Do you think the ricotta fritters and the cherry clafouti were free?

Dinner was over and Steve and I headed back north to our place in Lake George. Charlie and Joan headed back to Albany for the presentations in the morning. Lee and Nancy headed home. We were happy that we asked for our reservations to be moved up to 5:30 from 6:30 as people down the hill from us were going to put on a fireworks show. Here are the last 2 and a half minutes of the show.

Do you like Sherlock Holmes?

Do you prefer the flat track, or harness racing?

Would you rather bet and win or not bet at all since you hate losing?

Do you like fireworks?

“The Land” June 2018

During the winter Steve found an advertisement for property in the Adirondacks. 523 acres of land in Franklin County. The Salmon River runs through part of it.

I have left all the contact information in case you might be interested. I guess by telling you that you can also be a proud owner of “The Land” you have figured out that we didn’t buy the property. Well, maybe so, but read on, as it truly was an excellent adventure!

Well, that was enough to get Steve interested. His own private stretch of the Salmon River. Since we don’t have access to a snowmobile we couldn’t go to see it until Spring.

We couldn’t go in May because I was having my Excellent Adventure at Memorial Sloan Kettering with the removal of my Myxoma in my thigh. You do remember that Adventure don’t you?

By June, I was fit enough to go for an Exellent Adventure to explore “The Land”, as Steve and I affectionately named the property. So off we went to meet the real estate agent in Saranac Lake, about 90 minutes away from our house in Lake George.

Now you are probably asking what in the world were Steve and Linda thinking about acquiring 523 acres of forested land far, far away from civilization. There is no house on the property, no electricity, no running water (except for the Salmon River), and probably no cell service….

Wonder on, I think Steve was a bit delusional, but I love the man fiercely and thought, “Well, it might make an interesting blog post!”We met Tim in his office and he showed us the map. “The Land” is located right where Tim’s finger is. We needed to drive about another hour to get to the property. Part of the journey would be on unpaved private roads. The property was in the middle of nowhere, a beer run would probably take an hour or so. Walmart? Tack on another sixty minutes at least.

You can see in this picture how far away Lake George is. Our property in Diamond Point is located five miles north of the village of Lake George.

Off we went, following Tim in his big truck. If Steve and I purchased “The Land”, we were going to have to buy a pickup truck. Steve has secretly wanted a pickup truck for a long time, but we have no use for them. We don’t haul anything that can’t fit in the SUV or the van.

Long ago before we had children we stayed at a fishing lodge in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. We saw a 90 year old codger who drove a brand new fire red pickup truck. Steve laughed that he must have just gotten a good health report from his doctor!

We eventually got to the start of the private road and we got in Tim’s truck.

Here is the gate to let us onto the private road. During winter this road is only passable by snowmobile. Remember that factoid, it will be crucial to the tale of this adventure! We slowly drove on the dirt road and started to explore the property. Here we are on a short walk to a pond. Steve is wearing one of his at least twenty plaid shirts. Ten are located in Poughkeepsie, and ten in Lake George.

Tim is wearing a long sleeve version. We aren’t as used to the bugs, so Steve and I both wore long sleeves and doused ourselves with bug repellant.

Here is Steve checking out the pond at the end of our short walk. It was really a pretty view, but the pond was too shallow, all the fish would probably die off during the winter. Steve brought his fly rod in case he saw a fish rise. He never even made a cast. Here is a little video of the pond. A bit dejected we went back to the truck. We did see some pretty flowers, but that was about it. The trees on the property were not that good looking. The property had a deal with a hunting club. They had access to the property for hunting, and supposedly that paid for the taxes.

By now we had decided that being Lumber Barons was not in the cards for us. We had enough and told Tim, that we had seen enough. We started to head back to where Steve and I had our car parked. Unfortunately we then heard a hiss and a thump thump. Oh, no! A flat tire! It seems that studs from a snowmobile had fallen off during the winter and one was laying face up in the road. Here is Tim at work jacking up the truck.Tim spent quite a bit of time trying to get the wheel off. We looked in manuals, and tried to find out if there was a secret to getting the tire off. The tire just didn’t want to come off the axel. Finally Tim got a shovel from the bed of the truck and whacked the truck a good one. Finally the tire came off! Yay! We were lucky as there was no cell phone reception where we were. Tim did not have a satellite phone. His wife wasn’t expecting him home for dinner as he was coaching a local lacrosse team. So no one would think about looking for missing Tim until about ten o’clock at night! Here is our hero Tim! We were all so happy that the tire got on the truck. We drove back on that dirt road slowly, with eyes looking for any kind of glint in the dirt that might be another snowmobile stud!

We said goodbye to Tim after we finally reached our car. We had never been so happy to be on paved roads! We stopped for ice cream on our way back to Lake George. A soft ice cream twist on a hot day. As our friend Greg says “mmmm, mmmm!”

Yes indeed! Although I think I’m going to have to do something about those age spots before my next hand close up!

Are you a lumber baron?

Does your husband ever have any crazy ideas about buying property?

Do you tolerate his madness with a sweet smile?

Which do you prefer? Soft vanilla, chocolate or twist ice cream cones?