The Ranch

Trip Start Mar 20, 2005
Trip End Dec 30, 2005

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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Monday, September 5, 2005

Our family had had a ranch in the Black Hill of South Dakota for years. My Grandpa lives and works up there raising Arabian Horses and maintaining the land. Growing up we lived less than a two hour drive from the ranch, but with our busy lives we never visited very much. But now that I am a 7-hour drive away, I cherish the area even more.

It took a hurricane and $3.00 a gallon gas prices for my family to learn how to carpool and I must say we did well. This year for the long Labor Day weekend Jason and I met my parents, Aunt Terry, Sister Layl and her family up at the ranch. I hadn't been up there since last May, so I was excited to see how things were going. Jason and I met my parents in Cheyenne on Friday night where we crashed at Grandma's house. After a great breakfast with Grandma we were on the road. Mom and I were crammed into the back seat of the truck where she was able to sleep while I read about South America. Once she woke up and we filled up on gas, she and I started a very competitive game of Rummy. She was kicking my butt until we let Jason join in and we played Gin. All the card games really made the time fly and we were pulling off onto the dirt road in no time.

Layl, Josh, Daycia, Elliot, and Terry all came running out to greet us when we pulled up to Doris's house (my great Aunt, I think). Mom went right to cooking these wonderful chicken enchiladas for our little birthday lunch party, where I got a bunch of IOUs for gifts, don't get me wrong they are great IOUs, I just found it funny. We then headed over to Grandpa's to say hi before heading in to Hill City for a bike ride. The trail we rode on was really nice. It use to be a railroad track, however South Dakota has a new program called "Tracks to Trails" which converts old railroad tracks into walking, running, and biking trails. Even though the road was pretty flat you could tell it was an incline, it took us an hour and 20 minutes to get out and 30 minutes to get back. It was a real refreshing ride after being in the car all day. After returning the bikes we headed to an old fashion diner of great malts. Who says you can't have dessert before dinner? Back at the house my mom made her famous lasagna for dinner. At first I was worried there wouldn't be enough to go around, since we were all so hungry. But there was plenty, even with Jason and I carb-o-loading for our big run the next day.

Sunday morning Jason and I woke up at 6:30 AM to head out on a 20-mile training run for our Marathon, that is a month away... YIKES!!! At the ranch there is a 10-mile loop of country dirt roads, so we decided to just do two laps... easier said than done. The first 5 miles of the loop were easy with a slight downhill, which was really nice. But the second half was killer, 4 miles up hill. We kept thinking we were to the top but I just didn't seem to end until we were back at the ranch. Layl volunteered to run the second loop with us, to cheer us on and keep us motivated. This time, instead of going the same direction we switched it around hoping to cruse down the hills that killed us before, and to get a change of scenery. But for some reason going down the big hill wasn't that great and then we came to the last 5 miles. Remember how I said it was a slight downhill? Not so much. From the bottom I felt like I was looking at a wall. Of course that also might have been caused by my exhaustion. It is a good thing Layl was along encouraging me or I might have just sat down in the middle of the road and cried. Jason did great, he would run ahead and then after a while run back to meet us. I think he added on an additional mile. I finally made it to the top of the hill, which seemed like it took days, and we were almost home. Josh and the girls met us on the 4-wheeler with new water bottles, which was a lifesaver. In the last mile all I could think about was ibuprofen, orange juice and an ice bath. When I finally got back to Doris's house Layl got me a glass of orange juice and Jason found the ibuprofen while I filled the tub with cold water. It felt great.

After our bodies had recovered a bit the three of us met the gang at Grandpa's where we had leftover lasagna for breakfast/lunch. I would have been so happy just to sleep away the rest of the day, but everyone else wasn't going to let that happen. Ilona (my Grandpa's wife) had a few chores for us to work on while we were visiting. Most of them my dad and Josh had finished while we were running, but we still had to gather rocks for a walkway and get some cows out of our pasture and back where they belonged. Jason has the most amazing energy I have ever seen. While I sat in the car trying to get up enough energy to breathe, he was out riding the 4-wheeler and lifting big rocks. As I lay on the bed watching TV, he was out building a walkway. I did however regain some energy after a trip into Custer for some ice cream, which was just enough to get me up to play croquet. Where I had an amazing comeback to put me in third place. Well, I guess it wasn't that amazing.

After a big turkey dinner we were all ready for bed by the time our heads hit the pillow. Layl, Terry and their group all hit the road pretty early. Our group however was moving a lot slower, which allowed time for Jason to get hurt by stepping on a nail. How can he work all day in flip-flops moving rocks and then step on a nail in tennis shoes right before we leave? It will always be a mystery. Once in the car Jason, mom and I continued our game of Gin, where surprising enough I came out the winner. After saying our good-byes and heading different directions in Cheyenne, Jason and I stopped off in Denver to see his sister and give her some peacock feather he had collected for some of her art.

It was another wonderful whirlwind weekend. Even with the long three-day weekend, it still flew by. Maybe because I feel like I was running during most of it.
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layl on

great pics
Farah I've been meaning to tell you how great your pictures are getting! You've always been a great photographer but I think you're getting some great shots lately. Maybe when you get back from your trip you can sell your travel photos at arts festivals (I see people making big money at that!) You never know could be one of many carriers you will have when you get back.
p.s. I REALLY love that picture of Elliot holding up the rock in front of her face (not shown here but on your ofoto album)

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