August 7, 2012 Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Today I did not go riding and sat and read as I wanted to acclimate to the higher elevations. So I sat and observed. So far I haven’t regaled you with any of the stories of the guests here. Last year when we visited they only had a few guests. The wonderful couple from Chicago, a man who published a magazine for private plane users, and one of Bruce White’s management team from White Lodging. Bruce and his lovely wife Beth are the owners. This year we were visiting in summer as opposed to after Labor Day so there were many more kids.

Kids are nice to be around, especially when they are yours. When they aren’t yours, and you are tall and not used to them under your feet, is is a mild discomfort. More than mild, when you end up tripping over them.

Now not only do you read my blog for the wonderful pictures of food, and Steve’s fish, but my loyal readers know that once in a while it is CRAZY GUEST OBSERVATIONS! Well you hit the jackpot today!

I can just see some of you rubbing your hands in delight. Well, I would if I were you!

One group was a man of 70, a woman of 40, another man of 40 and two pre teen age boys. Hmm, Grandpa invited the family for a dude ranch vacation! But then the 40 year old woman, a blonde of course, kept sitting on the old man’s lap and kissing him! Yes, I determined, she was the second wife (at least)! So of course I arranged to sit with them at lunch while Steve was out fishing all day.

Blonde bombshell was from Poland. She was not the wife of the 40 year old, but the wife of the 70 year old. The two pre teens were their children, and the 40 year old man was the son from the first marriage. She was at least the second wife. They flew in to Saratoga Wyoming on their private plane. They would be staying for the week.

The old man walked with a bit of a lurch and was bent over. He had broken his back twice, once while horse back riding at their second home in Costa Rica (they currently live in Tampa). He broke his back the second time when a fork lift turned over on him.

I figured he must have been some kind of big real estate developer. It’s impertinent to ask specific questions about someone’s employment, so there is always a lot of conjecture on my part on what people really do for a living. The bride, as I mentioned, was quite attractive, blonde, shapely and came from Poland. All I could think of was mail order bride!

The next group of guests was a group of six guys from Houston, Texas. They were all in their late 40’s and for the last 15 years they have been riding their motorcycles together the first week in August. Their wives stay home. They fly to the city near to where they want to start their motorcycle adventure from. A driver is hired to truck their motorcycles to the rendezvous point and they ride from there. When the trip is over, they all fly back home and the bikes are sent home via the driver. The guys have all been friends since high school and had inherited family businesses. I am thinking oil drilling here, or oil drilling supplies. Of course, I could be wrong and they might have been convenience store owners, but I don’t think so.

My new biker friends had just come back from the big bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. The population of Sturgis, is around 6500 people The guys went to Sturgis before the rally started as it gets really wild there. Over 500,000 riders attend during the ten days the rally is held! At the 75th anniversary in 2016 they broke attendance records with over a million attendees!

When we had gotten gas in Saratoga our first day, we met a man with a Sturgis T-shirt on. Steve asked him about it. The man told Steve ” It’s a great place to get yourself killed by a stupid person!” Finest piece of advice I think I have ever heard!

I didn’t get a chance to talk more with my new biker friends as they were only staying one night. But they spent most of that night taking advantage of the open bar so I don’t know how they could see straight to go on a cattle drive the following morning, but they did , and found that great fun. The cattle drive is an add on option.

While I was observing , Steve fished. He caught eleven fish including one cutbow that was eighteen inches. The cutbow is a hybrid of a rainbow and cutthroat trout.

You will just have to wait until tomorrow for my tale about Micheal the guest doing yoga on the back of a horse!

Do you Net Jet?

Who is your oldest friend?

Do you actually have any friends?

Did you get that black eye in Sturgis?

August 6, 2012 Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga Wyoming

Today was a sick day. A real sick day. I woke up feeling nauseous and had a monster headache. I really wanted Steve to stay and baby sit me all morning, but that was not on his agenda. So instead I curled up in bed and slept.

And slept until the cleaning lady swat team arrived to do the cabin. I told them not to make the bed as I was under the weather. They left and I went to sleep. Two hours later they returned with a container of chicken soup and toast for me! Now that is a hallmark of a caring staff!

I had a little soup and the toast and relaxed the rest of the day. It seems that I had come down with a case of altitude sickness. A lesson learned. No drinking at higher altitudes and limit my activities. In later years I would take Acetazolamide or Diamox.

Steve had a great day and caught seven brown trout.

August 5, 2012 Bush Creek Ranch Return, Saratoga Wyoming

Well we had so much fun in 2011, we decided to return again for our Anniversary. We were celebrating 33 years of blissful marriage. Okay, not totally blissful, like all marriages we did have a few spats, most of course were all Steve’s fault.

My trip report from 2011 was a bit sketchy although I did have pictures for you of Brush Creek, I was a little bit incomplete on some of my memories. I finally found my write up on the computer of our trip to Brush Creek. I will now add you some details to you so you can see how it really was an Excellent Adventure!

Steve had been going to fishing trips on his own or with Elliott our son, for some time. He enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, the great food, the fishing and the conversations at dinner with a diverse group of people. He thought I would have. Good time at some of the lodges. I reminded him that my idea of a vacation was not one spent on slumps beds along being insects.My idea of a vacation was spending time somewhere that is as nice or nicer than where we live.

“Fine.”, Steve said, “Find a place as nice as home with great fishing and we’ll go”. Now, a male “fine” is different than a female’s “Fine”. When a guy says something is “Fine’, it means “go right ahead”. When a gal says “Fine’, you are in trouble as she really doesn’t like that decision, but she’ll go along but be grump about it.

One year coming back from a business conference Steve had attended at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs I saw an article about a new ranch open to the public in Saratoga Wyoming. It was going to be a high-end resort. There would be riding, fishing, and all sorts of other activities. Upon arriving back home I checked out the web site for Brush Creek Ranch. The accommodations looked quite luxurious, and I couldn’t wait to vacation there. BrushCreekRanch.com

I thought the price tab was exceedingly high, far more than we had ever spent on a vacation before. However, Steve by then had been spending a bit more on his fishing vacations and didn’t think the price was too out of line, as the costs included all activities, meals and drinks.

We flew into Denver again, spending a night near Fort Collins to help me get adjusted to the altitude as we are used to living at sea level. Would it work? Stay tuned for more.

We left Fort Collins and drove up I-25 to Cheyenne, then to Laramie and finally through the Medicine Bow National Forest. Look what we found munching in the swamp! Yes, that’s an actual moose. This is almost a “Where’s Waldo” picture. Slap the table if you see the moose….”I didn’t hear you!”

Then it was into Saratoga ,Wyoming, to get gas before we began our stay at the Ranch.

We saw three immature elk. These guys were about two years old. I think they were a bit confused as they were hanging out by the police station.

At the ranch we were given a much larger vehicle to drive than last year. There was no windshield this time, I think they broke a lot of windshields the previous year due to all the stones in the road. As it was our anniversary we were upgraded to Brookie in the Anglers Camp section near the Creekside Dining Camp and the Brush Creek. It was quite the upgrade from the previous year. We had a kitchen and lovely dining room table and living room. Not that we were going to prepare any meals, but nice to have.

This was the bed. Nice and big. Plenty of room so we didn’t kick each other at night.

Staying here was lovely. The upgrade was wonderful, it was a room we wouldn’t ordinarily pick as it was at least double the cost of the room the previous year.

While I unpacked, Steve walked down to the dinner camp at Creekside to fish. He caught four brown trout on our anniversary. Steve doesn’t usually fish on our anniversary, but he was allowed to this year. I am a benign Queen, after all.

Dinner was once again a private occasion at Falcon Peak. I didn’t have to surprise Steve, he requested that I arrange a private dinner as he had enjoyed himself so much last year when we dined by ourselves. Here we are, I have my new Joseph Ribkoff Cleavage enhancing dress on. Steve has his sunglasses on, I can’t quite tell where his eyeballs are. Steve is checking out the view here. I guess he got tired of looking at me! Happy Anniversary Steve! I never tire of looking at you! I hope you catch many fish on this vacation!

Happy Anniversary Linda! I hope you meet many interesting characters on this Adventure!

Not much else to say for this first day.

Will I get altitude sickness?

Will I meet some interesting people?

Will Steve catch fish?

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?