Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 114 - Ghost Ranch

Growing up, my sister and I had three favorite toys: an old vacuum cleaner with hose extension, a scale model of the St. Louis Arch, and a purple velveteen Crown Royal sack. Now before you start to feel sad for our deprived, toy-less childhood, my sister and I actually remember this quite fondly. In our fecund childhood imaginations, the vacuum cleaner was a pet elephant, the Arch was a powers-bestowing bracelet, and the Crown Royal sack was a magical cornucopia. I loved that sack, so fancy looking made of purple velveteen with silky gold trim. It was a sack to store farthings and pieces of eight when we travelled through time, to pull doves and bouquets of flowers out of when we were doing our magic acts. It really was a treasured childhood toy.

To this day, I sometimes carry a Crown Royal sack as a purse. I did curtail this practice a bit when I misplaced the sack in the lobby of my office building. When I went to ask about my purse at the reception area, the security staff's reaction was both judgmental and incredulous: " your purse is a CROWN ROYAL BAG?!?". They looked at me as though I was some kind of degenerate alcoholic. And, this was the classy, tan, sueded Crown Royal sack which comes with the limited edition Crown Royal Special Reserve vintage, not the spunkier, more party-vibed purple velveteen one. Just like learning how to wear a metal watch and a decent pair of heels, I thought this was the universe cosmically telling me that I should try and present a more "polished" appearance, and get a real purse. Anyway.

I was reminded of all that at the Cebolla Mustang convenience store. This is the last place to buy food before we got to Ghost Ranch. We hit the store around 9am, and met Anthony, the proprietor. He is a fearsome looking dude, big wooly mutton shops, pony tail, solidly built, wearing a motorcycle t-shirt. He's a retired county employee, and sitting school board and clinic board member. After retirement, he decided he needed to do something, so he bought the only c-store in Cebolla. Very nice guy, he came outside to chat with us while we ate delicious breakfast burritos made by his neighbor, Mary. We talked about the weather, Coloradans, green chiles, and places he's been on his bike.

As we were leaving, he noticed that we carry our money and credit cards in practical zip lock bags and mesh stuff sacks. He wanted to give us something--two brand new Crown Royal sacks! He's such an enthusiast that he upholstered the interior of his canary yellow Corvette in the purple luxury of Crown Royal sacks. Anthony was a great guy, and always wonderful to meet a fellow enthusiast. And funny enough, I already do have a Crown Royal sack to ferry around my valuables in town. I now have 3 Crown Royal sacks in my pack. Hedonistic luxury.

We were running a little late for Ghost Ranch, having stopped to hang out with Anthony a little too long. Plus, we made a stop at the marvelous geological wonder Echo Amphitheater, a natural cavern in the side of a red, banded cliff. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the government shutdown, so we looked from outside the locked gates.

We got to Ghost Ranch at 4:55pm, just before the registration office closed for the day. Sobos, try and get there way before 5pm--it was a total zoo. You'll be better off, the front office staff will be better off. We were able to get a room, plus tickets for dinner that night.

We're going to zero at Ghost Ranch, so I can wait on big news from my sister. I'll write more about the ranch tomorrow.

Mileage: 25mi from Hwy 84 to Ghost Ranch

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