Marlboro Ranch Trip. Crazy Mountain Montana 2012.

So a few months ago I got a package FedEx to my apartment saying that I won a free trip through Marlboro to stay at their ranch and bring a friend with me. All expenses paid. And they even wrote me a check to pay half of the taxes for the 1090 winnings I have to file (if you ever win make sure to set aside some money for your taxes next year!)

I decided to take my best friend Tom Pyle. I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather bring.

Leading up to the trip there were some packages we received also. One was the ranch asking which activities we would prefer to do and which ones we did not. Activities include a cattle drive, off-roading, scenic horseback ride, sport shooting, fly fishing, zip lining, and a mountain biking tour. Of course we chose the most exciting; off-rding in a Hummer, the cattle drive, shooting big guns, and the zip lining.

Another packages that came asked us for our shoe size and had a paper tape measure to measure our heads so they could have our cowboy hats made and fit to size when we got there along with our awesome new cowboy boots!

When I came home from work to feed the cats before going out to buy a suitcase there was large box out side of my door. I didn’t remember ordering anything so I thought that was strange. I opened it to discover two brand new bright red suitcases! One for me ad one for my travel companion! How sweet! That really got me excited!

My last package had our plane tickets, my check for $750.00, pre-paid credit cards for the luggage, a list of things to bring and what will be there, and a notice that we will NOT have ANY cell service or Internet while on the ranch. Totally away from everything but us.

So from here on out, I will type out what I wrote down in my journal of the events from the the time we got to our room. Please keep in mind that this is how I talk to myself…

“Thursday, August 9, 2012

The ranch looks pretty sweet. Our room is tine. I can’t even fit two pillows on my bed so I only get one. They had 6 packs if cigarettes on each bed along with our cowboy hats and boots. My boots are white with some pink stripes around them with a black bottom part, Toms were black with red in the middle. There is no air conditioning and it is very hot. We set our stuff down and decided to walk around the ranch.

The ranch is pretty sweet. There are a lot of horses here and they are pretty well fed. I liked a tan horse that was branded with the # 63, I forget her name though. Tom and I can not stop laughing; probably because I am so hung over from all the drinking at the airports and on the planes! Tomorrow sport shooting and zip line adventure!

(Same night after dinner)

Ha ha I just made 2 pairs of earrings in 5 minutes and these other people couldn’t make 1 pair in the half hour they were sitting at the table.

Oh yeah, beef jerky. It was so hard to chew. When we were sitting at the table before dinner Tom went to rip a piece off and he whacked his beer and spilled it all over the table and his pants ruining one of his outfits. Oh I remember why we were laughing; when we were looking at the horses he picked up a dry piece of horse poop (which I did not notice) and tried to hand it off to me. I knew better than to take the bate!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Woke up and went to the boot storeDidn’t switch boots b/c too tight or too big. I get what I got.  We went sport shooting. It was so much fun. I think I did better than Tom even. He didn’t hit too many lol. The last shot was for us to get two in a row. Our instructor was so nice that she let me keep trying until I got the two in a row. She said to me “I know you can hit them both. You have been hitting one or the other, you’re going to get these.” And I did. BAM BAM!

Oh on our beds were these wood coins worth $150.00 each to spend in their store so we went to the store after shooting and I bought 2 pairs of sunglasses, some shot glasses, an address book, backpack, a zippo for Tom, a digital camera (all the blogs I’ve read about the trip from past winners said that they had a camera on the bed for the person who won so I didn’t bring mine. They stopped giving out cameras I guess,) and a bunch of post cards to mail out tot everyone back home whose address I knew by memory or had stored in my phone!

Oh I made some bracelets last night for Annie and Eddie.

and are off-roading in a few mins and zip lining tomorrow. We had asked to be on the wait-list for more shooting tomorrow but since we missed the bus to the zip lining the schedules clashed so we can no longer do that. Oh well, off to the Hummers we go.

[Side note present day 8/16/12 I just remembered they gave us each a nice think North Face waterproof jacket and I bought a wind breaker at the store.]

Hummers were pretty boring. One of the “Jersey Boys” had told us that the front seat is the best sport o sit so run for it when they tell you what number Hummer you’ll be in, I was all over that and got the front seat. 1 instructor and 3 guests per Hummer and we were not allowed to have our travel companion in the same Hummer so it was fair for everyone 3 being an odd number and all. I drove first since the ladies in my Hummer were scared to. I probably freaked them out a little more with my driving! When I drove O had waited for the Hummer ahead of us to get a lot of space so I could blast through the course. Now THAT was fun! Narrow trails, turns, logs, and blind drops! When we got to the first stop Tom told me he was in the Hummer behind us and his instructor told the passengers “Do not do what the driver in front of us is doing. Do not drive like that.” Tom replied “I bet that is Carolyn.” Haha that was pretty cool. Time for happy hour.

[They did not serve alcohol before 5:30pm nor did they let us have straight liquor. I guess there had been some problems in the past with unruly guests so i was drinking Jack and waters the whole time. I didn’t write about that night but I remember that there was poker each night, free of course, and for no money just fun. We played darts with Bobby Cleveland and Hollie Chase from Colorado who we went shooting with that earlier. Although rather hard and chewy the jerky tasted amazing so I kept going to the bar and filling a plate up with jerky and hoarding it in a ziploc baggie I keep in my backpack. I must have came home with at least a pound of beef jerky if not two!]

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Big Daddy Bull Elk, Wolf Mother, Moose Knuckle Up Tuck, Screaming Squirrel.

The Jersey Boys, Holly and Bobby from Colorado, the NoCo’s and us. All “misfits” on the whole trip got to go on the zip line adventure together. It was hilarious. I laughed so hard those 4 hours my abdomen hurt for the next two days. the 10 f us were just laughing and making fun of each other and messing with the instructors the whole time.

They made us do a tiny 100 foot zip to see of we knew the jest of it and when it was my turn to go one of the guys called out “I call self-rescue on that one” and I totally had to self-rescue. A lot. Everything about zip lining was funny. I found a dead rat. The zip lining people had this rat named Carlos that lived under one of the platforms and their boss fed it poison and I found it when I was crouching down waiting my turn. It was odd. I was looking under this bush and saw a rat and was like “Uh I think there is a dead mouse here.” Out instructor called out “A mouse or a rat?”

“I guess a rat because its big, but I don’t know if it’s dead because it’s eyes are open.” So I started throwing wood chips at it and when it didn’t move we knew it was dead and then the instructor, Philly aka Wolf Mother, told us about Carlos.

The zip line crew make up “Indian names” for each other so we started making up our own. The Jersey Boys changed the one instructor’s name from Bid Daddy Bull Elk to Big Daddy Bull Balls, and Wolf Mother we just kept calling Philly because that is where she was from, I called Tom Moose Knuckle Up Tuck because, well, you can imagine why when a man gets in a harness the things that happen to his body parts, and Tom called me Gash because he is a jerk and was mad I pointed out his Moose Knuckle! LOL

Cattle drive in the morning was sweet. It started out as a chilly morning but turned out nice and warm when the sun came out more. Oh yea and I kicked ass! My horses name was Mister and Tom’s was Cactus. Most of the group stayed behind the cows and followed the leader, if you will, but me, o no. I went off. I went out to find those suckers that were hiding in the trees to push them into the herd. It was great. I felt like I knew what I was doing. I got those cows! Actually when we got back to the barn one of the ranch leaders or whatever they are called asked me if I had done that before because I looked like I knew what I was doing. Nope. Never been on a horse before. I’m just a natural at everything 😉 It was a blast

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Okay, so going back a little bit Happy Hour in town Friday night they had Cowboy Cal come in the town and do a show for us. I guess this guy holds the Guinness Book Work Record for largest lasso loop or something. It was pretty funny. he did a lot of lasso tricks and got some people from the crowd involved and tied them up by throwing loops and stuff. I have some good video footage of that.

So now I am going to re-write yesterday. It was nice and cool in the morning when we were heading to our horses. My horse, Mister, did not like to stop or follow my directions. I guess after doing the same thing every day the horse kinda knows what to do on it’s own and just does it. But once w got out into the fields he listened to me.  Most of the group stayed in a line behind the cows so I decided to say “screw it” and took off through trees finding cows hiding. I got a nice little bruise and a cut on my knee from one of the pine trees.

Zip lining we ended up in the group with the trouble makers from Jersey (they got their first strike on day 1 for excessive profanity and their second strike for a offensive photo..) Titties and Ass were the two girls from North Carlina (The NoCo’s,) two random fatties, and our new best friends Hottie Hollie and Bobby Cleveland. So it was pretty freaking sweet.

After that we had just enough time to make it back to our room and shower before the wagon ide to the edge of town to drink Huckleberry Mojitos (Huckleberry vodka, mint, and Huckleberry soda) and eat rattlesnake and rabbit sausage skewers. Yum.

After dinner Saturday night Tom, the Colorado’s and myself decided to ditch the going away shin-dig with the live ban an loud noise and crowd and we went behind our boarding room that had a nice circle of rocking chairs and benches to watch the meteor shower in the dark. They call Montana “The Big Sky State” for a reason that is for sure. I have never seen so many stars so bright in my life. We must have seen over a hundred shooting stars, meteors, whatever they are called. It was amazing.

So now it is really Sunday and we are headed home. We had some drinks with Hollie and Bobby while we were waiting for our flights and I guess Bobby had a couple too many because he was not allowed to board his plane due to him slurring his words and smelling like booze.

I am on plane number 1 and ready to sleep.

Thank you Marlboro. I ha a freaking blast and I cannot wait to win the winter trip!!!”

SO that is it folks. I am back in Ohio an overloaded with crap all over. Laundry, cleaning, working, back to the daily grind. I wanted to share my experience with you all. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

Ill try to figure out how to post some pictures from the trip for you to get a real grasp on what I’m talking about here.

XOXO

Carolyn