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By Glenn Arnette, lll

Before I take you on your journey of the week, let me thank the many people who have called and e-mailed your thanks and thoughts regarding our previous articles. It does the heart good to know that you are out there reading and taking some of the information and enjoying it. I will always try to give you the fun side of life.

Howdy, Dude ! It is time to head WEST. This week I am taking you to the great state of Colorado, not all of it, but the place I really find most exciting. Believe me I could go on for days about Denver, Colorado Springs, Aspen, Vail, Winter Park, Steamboat Springs, Georgetown, Leadville, and others, but that will be in another story to follow.

Today, you are going to the BLACK MOUNTAIN RANCH, located in McCoy, Colorado. First of all you should fly to Denver or the Eagle-Vail Airport. If you choose Denver you would rent a car and go to the Vail Valley by taking 1-70 about 150 miles west of Denver. At the Wolcott exit, you take Highway 131 north towards Steamboat Springs. For the next 21 miles you will absolutely enjoy the beautiful and breathtaking views. Follow 131 until you reach the little community of McCoy. At the post office you turn right and follow the signs to the BLACK MOUNTAIN RANCH about 6 miles down the road.

Remember the movie with Billy Crystal called City Slicker? Well, this is better and it is for real! It is the true taste of the Wild West and encompasses thousands of acres of private and public land nestled against Black Mountain in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. The Black Mountain Ranch is a full service working guest and cattle ranch. There are horses to ride, longhorns to drive, rivers to float, fish to catch, stories to tell, and of course, great food to eat and warm comfy beds in which to sleep.

You must plan to go and enjoy the full week package. You have seven days and seven nights, all meals, lodging, and activities. There is horseback riding and instructions, Longhorn cattle drives, overnight pack trips, and so much more. They have double and single packages and kids programs too. Even though there is a lot to do, the schedule is flexible and relaxing. The Cattle drive moves the Texas Longhorns through the Colorado high country. The drive includes roping practice and instruction and often times includes doctoring and branding the cattle. When you take an overnight pack trip you will have extensive riding and camping through the deep National Forest. For the fishing enthusiast there are two ponds close to ranch headquarters as well as higher lakes and streams accessible by horseback. There are trophy size trout going over 5 pounds, so head to the water! You can also raft alone the Colorado River through the Gore Canyon.

They even have a Saloon! A real hangout bar and drinking hole. Why you might just find an old cat or dog just hanging around picking up the slurps and a few horses tied up outside the door. During the coolness of the night they will fire up the old wood stove just warm enough to take the chill away. For entertainment you will have live music by the wranglers and other guests. Believe me, it can be fun! The saloon serves as the gathering place in the evening.

The ranch food is exceptional and hearty. It is not a place to go on a diet. You never have to ask the question, Where’s the BEEF? The main lodge serves Western Cuisine which can be adapted for any dietary needs upon request. You certainly have more than you can eat. Imagine, a big hearty meal and a night of drinking in the Saloon. Who knows, you might think you are John Wayne or Robert Mitchum. Remember those guys? It is like a real page out of a book or a scene from a movie and more fun than you can imagine.

One night you must just go out and find a quiet spot and star gaze. The blackness of night glitters the stars like you have never seen before. It is more beautiful than one can imagine and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to study the universe.

The accommodations range from private two bedroom cabins or one of the lodge units featuring studios and suites. All of the units include fireplaces and private baths. There are two hot tubs and a beautiful swimming pool to soak those weary bones. The overnight capacity is around 35 people. It is just enough to get acquainted and find a couple of best friends.

The person you really want to know when you head West to the Ranch is Nowell May. He is the HEAD COWBOY, the top man, the BOSS. He is Mr. Hospitality and will see that you enjoy every minute of your stay. He knows how to give a group a good time!

Now, they really have Wranglers too, the Marlboro type guys and gals. The head wrangler is Ryan May, son of Nowell, who recently was a winner of $50,000 on the television show called Fear Factor and the foreman for the Ranch is Blaine Larson, a life long cowboy from South Dakota. These two tough guys will make sure you get into the cowboy mood! Other cowboys and gals come from California, England, Texas, Montana and Colorado. There is no slack in the real world department here!

Are you ready? No television or video ! This is the one place that when it’s time for bed you are ready to hit the sack! You will have all of the good fellowship, friendship, fun and excitement you can have in your week in the mountains.

For additional information or a free video, call

1-800-967-2401 or go to the web at The BLACK MOUNTAIN RANCH is an experience you will treasure and tell your friends about. If you have ever had that dream or thought of becoming a cowboy or cowgirl, now is the time! Take a week during the Summer and head West. Call early as space is limited and times-a flying! Don’t forget to tell Nowell that his friend Glenn recommended you to call. That might get you a free drink in the Saloon or he might put you on an ass and send you through the mountains. Until next time, have fun!