Hey, dude! Last week we went to a dude ranch – Alisal Resort and Spa in Solvang, Calif.
But wait, before we get to that, I’ll take a moment to preview coming content.
I’ve been receiving conflicting feedback on here. The facts: entries have been intermittent and brief of late. The intermittence was a function of stress, exhaustion and time; the brevity a function of those things too but also a conscious attempt to move toward a snappier style in this disposable world. You told me I was supposed to be putting more pictures and GIFs! If this Instagrammated world has taught us anything, it’s that you can never have too many of those (provided they aren’t in such excess that the page times out or carpal ruin is caused).
But on the other hand, Deepak complained that my latest Italy posts dispensed with an 8-city itinerary in a facile flash of iPhone photos and commentary that was shallower than Caligula’s affection for Tiberius. What!
While we mull over these warring analyses, let’s just get back to chronicling of 2014 as I attempt futilely to register my own life before the dementia takes hold.
On Friday, we arrived at the ranch. Tucked into the Santa Ynez Valley, Alisal Resort is a 10,000 acre property given over to leisure activities, including fishing, wagon rides, horseback riding, etc. It was just as kitschy as you’d expect. Decor was gingham-heavy; meals emphasized the bounty of life on a ranch (and the prodigious expanse of one’s posterior after consuming same).
Costumed waiters roamed the dining area, often appearing with no warning, to keep plates and cups constantly overfilled.
“How about some CHEESE?”
Admittedly, we were gluttonous too – I discovered this forgotten glass of Macallan 18 (logic: it’s the optimal choice because we were on a voucher system and this was the highest-price to be had for the flat rate of one voucher)
Ranch life – or should I say tarantula life? Popular lore has it that after a to-be-unnamed member of our party consumed a bit too much of the aforesaid Macallan, and then vomited, this arachnid emerged from the woods to feast on the puke. Circle of life?
I used this photo to illustrate to Deepak the necessity of DSLR for our trips! (He pooh-poohs my need to pack everything but the kitchen sink for our road trips). Bumpy wagon ride + rustic darkness = missed Alisal memory opportunity!
A little better. Grainy front-facing camera, but I always prefer self-snapping over asking others to take your photo for you. Too rude if you don’t like the results and demand multiple retakes!
Preponderance of late summer wasps and biting flies meant we all sought unorthodox pest protection.
The scenes we came for
… with no presence of insect-repelling camphor. This method really made Deepak look like a figure from a 15th Century Flemish painting. Arnolfini wedding witness, anyone?
Recreational lake, presumably (it was so prohibitively hot that we kept mostly to indoor areas and the salt water pool)
People avoided the hay bale seating in the transport wagon for as long as possible. Who knows what kinds of wood insect, fecal particulate and poor lumbar support you were signing up for?
Looks like I’m in focus and Deepak’s not for this photo – well, win some/lose some! (Not if we had had the DSLR, of course)
Being engaged and not blonde in this one, evidently
Whoop goes the Macallan 18
Terrible posture! I blame it on the hay bales.