Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back from Vacation

Greetings Readers

I am back from a short little vacation from our Ranch in New Mexico, The Charley’s Ranch.

I needed some time away from Denver as well as from Corporate America.

I decided to take about two days off and make it a four-day weekend.

There is really not much else to add that is any different from my previous visits to our Ranch.

I arrived in Albuquerque on Friday morning; we had breakfast, did some shopping as well as take in my Dad’s new Truck to the Toyota dealership for a check up.

My brother was working so he could not join us for breakfast, shopping or the weekend while I was at the Ranch.

Later that day when we got to the Ranch it was time to relax in a manner of speaking. Get settled as well as feed the animals on the Ranch – the cats, dogs, Guineas, the horses and some of the cattle.

I got my gear and headed into the bedroom that I normally sleep in. I also grabbed some of the grocery and started to bring in those too. We bought Smoked sausage, steaks, ribs, breakfast materials and some fresh green hatch chili and broccoli.

We were pretty tired so we just took it easy. I was tired from the bus ride and my parents were tired since they have been traveling for the past three days and have not had time to be at the Ranch.

Saturday. Apparently, today my parents had plans for me. Nothing unexpected mind you, but it is part of our ritual where I complain and talk like Forrest Gump

“I’m on vacation.”

Then, my mother says my first name as well as my middle initial indicating that I better not cause any trouble.

This is something that we do every time I am on “vacation.” It is funny, but not funny hah hah.

The calfs that were born earlier this year needed to have a respiratory shots in order to get them ready for selling. This will help the calfs when they intermingle with other calfs and cattle at the stockyards.

So, my parents let me sleep in while they rounded up the cattle in the morning.

Probably an hour later I got into my cattle clothes and got ready to go and work on the cattle.

Boy, those calfs got big; except for the calf that lost its mother the last time I visited the Ranch. That calf was still kind of small.

My mother, my father and I then started the work. Separating the calfs from the cows. Not as easy as you think. We soon funneled them into another fenced portion of the corral and were just about ready for the shots.

My Dad got the shots ready and I got the camera ready for their “mug shots” or record keeping. We had to use the big cattle chute since the calf table was too small to handle these calfs that were now larger than they were months ago.

Our cattle are not like other cattle. Meaning, we treat our cattle with care and do not yell, hit or chase cattle like most ranchers do. Our cattle are pretty tame and use to humans being near them. We try not to frighten our cattle when they are young or make the shots, branding, and spraying of the cattle a frightening experience for them to dread the next time we round them for the next time. Cattle do remember certain experiences.

Yet, such as myself there is always one cow in the group that is ornery. Readers, I am actually scared of this one particular cow when we get her riled up. She will look at you and will give the indication of charging when you get too pushy for her liking.

Other than that we use sticks to strike their hindquarters or head in order to get them go in the direction we want them to.

We finally got done about an hour or two later and this time I was injury free; however my mother got her hand caught while pushing a cow through a cow chute to the cattle chute for their shot.

After working on the cattle I got to smoking. Meaning, smoking those rib as well as the sausage for our dinner tonight.

Sunday – was spent moving things around the Ranch as well as cleaning up here and there in the morning. In the afternoon we had barbeque to go to.

Readers, do you remember me showing you the plaque from the 4-H club? Well, the 4-H club was throwing another barbeque and my parents were once more invited. I was actually excited to go since I have never been to a 4-H function or a function that was honoring my parents.

My parents made a donation of $ 500.00 to the 4-H club. What I found out that donation help out a young girl in high school to buy a sheep and helped her raise that sheep for showing.

What I did not know and what touched me the most about this was my parent’s contribution helped a girl who lost her mother on September 11 last year. She was staying with her stepbrother or brother since her father was abusive and she did not want to be with her father, from what I gather was said.

A 4-H member, the speaker of the group I imagine, brought over the young girl to the table we were at and personally thanked my parents for their help and also what was done with their donation. As you Readers can read I was touched that this girl came over and thanked and shook both of my parent’s hands for the sheep she was able to purchase and raise. I think what was important to me was that she looked happy and was happy. I do not know if this was the reason why, but I want to believe that it did since this young girl apparently seemed to have a hard life already – which her life has yet to begin for her.

After the barbeque, I wanted to fix some of the erosion that has happened around the road to the Ranch. This is my thing that I do – meaning when I do work on the road I feel I am contributing to the state of the Ranch as well as earning my room and board while I am on “vacation.” I also do most of the lunch and dinner cooking as every now and then I will cook breakfast, but tend to leave that up to my Mother.

Sounds kooky, but that is what I believe. I do not ask for help since this is something I do on my own. I grabbed a wheelbarrow, a shovel and two cans of Coca-Cola’s and headed off to the areas I was going to work on.

Here is the crazy thing Readers. I listen to my Ipod when working down there. Music and working seem to go hand in hand for me. Anyway, the weather is still hot during this time of the year and with that said the rattlesnakes are still out; meaning they are not in their burrows hibernating for winter yet.

I always forget that I cannot totally put in my earphones and crank the volume up. After all, without the music all that can be heard is the wind blowing and me shoveling dirt into the wheelbarrow. I would not be able to hear the warning sound of a rattlesnake rattling its tail should I come close to the area that snake is at or if that snake slithers into my area I am working at.

And should I get bit or anyone else, death could be very likely since the nearest hospital is over 40 miles away. Of course the older the snake the less likely; whereas if the bite was from a younger rattlesnake the bite is so much lethal than a full-grown rattlesnake. Yet, multiple bites from a mature rattlesnake are just as fatal.

I digress Readers. So, I have to be alert to any rattlesnake’s rattler when working with my earphones pumping music into my ears. There are a couple of other snakes that are where we live, but Rattlesnakes are the ones to be careful of.

Monday – Just this and that were done before I had to leave the Ranch once more.

Soon, the time arrived that we had to left the Ranch for Albuquerque. My brother has plans to take us out for dinner before I leave for Colorado.

As we left the dirt road of the reservation behind we sometimes make a stop at a Trading post for something to drink, since our drive to Albuquerque is about 2 hours further from that point.

I was not interested in getting something to drink this time around, but my Mother indicated she saw a Mountain biker and perhaps we should stop for something to drink and find out where that biker is riding. I have to admit I was curious.

I got out of the vehicle and proceeded to walk to the Trading post. I immediately saw the bike rider, a white older guy, and saw that he has the same bike set up as Colin, the guy I met in Salida in June during the 2009 Ride the Rockies. Matter of fact, the same heavy duty looking mountain bike with the same type of bike trailer rig. That bike did indeed look like it was ridden long and hard and yet this bike had the rest of New Mexico to traverse before the United States / Mexico border.

I looked, but made sure that he did not noticed that I was looking at him. Now, even though I was on vacation I sure as shit did not blend in with the locals. I looked and talked like a “white man,” even though I am 100% pure Native American Indian in this part of the Navajo Nation. Matter of fact, I bet I was only the only Navajo in this part of New Mexico who could not fluently talk Navajo.

I went into the Trading post with my dad and bought drinks for all of us.

Soon I left the Trading post and knew this was the moment to introduce myself to this biker.

I cannot remember what was exactly was said, but I asked if he was riding the Continental Divide. Readers, if I never met Colin during the Ride the Rockies I would not cared to talk to this bike rider, but since I learned something new about another core of bike riders in the world I was curious. Now, when I see a bike rider in the middle of nowhere along the Continental Divide I now know why there is a bike rider out in the middle of nowhere. As oppose to me just an ordinary bike rider and not thinking whom, where, what about that bike rider.

The bike rider nodded yes while he was eating some Nachos outside the Torrean Trading post in New Mexico.

He said yes and that he was riding South. Which of course made sense since it is probably getting too cold to be riding North on the Continental Divide.

I told him to be careful of Navajo Gangs at night, but otherwise he should be okay. I also told him to be careful of drunk drivers. He asked where he could camp – I said nowhere really. What about Chaco Canyon? I said that is bout 60 miles west and another 30 miles north from the path you are taking. Also, with the rains in the evening you make get stuck in the mud since the mud out in the part of Southwestern United States is slick and sticky.

We talked a bit and soon I told him that I met a Continental Divide Bike Rider in June this year in Colorado during the Ride the Rockies bike tour. His name was Colin (Amazing how I could re-collect his name without thinking about Colin since the first of August). He replied that he did not recall that name, but he said to me “he is not that crazyguyonabike is he?”

I replied “sure enough”

The Same. This rider outside the Torrean Trading post said he met him in Canada or Montana about a month ago.

What a fucking small world. Yet, Readers I would not know this information if my mother had not mentioned this particular bike rider outside the Trading post. Further more, if I had not mentioned this information to my Mother after the Ride The Rockies I did earlier this summer she probably would not have even mentioned this lone bike rider in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico. I probably would have never given this bike rider a second thought.

Knowing that I was talking too long with the bike rider and my parents waiting in the truck for me we had to get to Albuquerque. I soon bid him farewell and hope the best for the rest of his trip South.

On the way to Albuquerque I could not believe that I actually ran into some one that knew someone that I met months earlier.

Back to the story, we soon met up with my brother and had dinner. Dinner was nice, but our waiter sucked. He must have been new or did not want another table at the late hour we were eating at – who knows. We ate our dinner, which was great. We talked about this and that and soon the time for me to catch the Americanos Bus was approaching.

We left and soon they dropped me off at the bus station downtown and that part of my vacation was over.

Fast-forward – I went to the Colin’s website when I got back to Denver and sure enough on his website I spotted the picture of the rider I met at the Torrean Trading post in New Mexico. Wow. What a small world indeed. I am so grateful that my Mother pointed out this rider to me as well as I am grateful to myself for not being the typical me and introducing myself to a total stranger on a bike, which I probably in all honesty would never given him the time of the day. The link below is the link to see his journal and I have posted the only picture that I know of the guy I met that last day of my vacation.

And that my Readers was the re-cap of my short vacation.

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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