Sunday, October 9, 2016
Blogorado, Day 3
Saturday dawned fair and bright, quite a lot warmer than the sub-freezing temperatures that had made us shiver the previous morning. We gathered at yon local hostelry for breakfast once more, our numbers augmented by new arrivals. It's fun to see an entire side room filled to overflowing, every table taken, with the waitress scurrying between them while trying to avoid the traffic as people got up to greet and hug new arrivals. How she managed it, I honestly don't know, but I didn't witness any major collisions.
I decided to order Farmdad's favorite breakfast burrito. He orders it 'hot', meaning with extra peppers. I ordered it 'regular', but it was still hot and spicy enough to bring out perspiration on my forehead. It was very tasty, though, topped with green chili and accompanied by 'cottage fries' (squares of pan-roasted potato). I managed to eat the whole thing, despite its impressive size. They obviously believe in feeding you farmer-sized portions in these parts. I skipped lunch in order to leave more room for supper, which turned out to have been a wise precaution.
After breakfast we made our joint and several ways out to the shooting range. It's in a back section about eight miles from the farmhouse, and about a dozen miles from the nearest tarred road. The dirt roads leading to it are well maintained, being used by farmers every day, but the track leading from the road into the shooting area was a challenge for anything with less ground clearance than a farm pickup truck. The weeds grew thick and heavy on the center hump. Birds and insects scurried to get out of the way of the unaccustomed traffic. I had one small grasshopper land on our windshield, from where it regarded me with startled, bugged-out eyes until the vehicle finally came to a halt, after which it departed hastily for pastures new.
Four ranges were set up; one for shotguns, another for handguns, one for rimfire, and a table for riflemen, offering ranges out to a thousand yards. The safety briefing took less than 30 seconds - everyone here is a more or less experienced shooter, and anyone who isn't will be helped at the drop of a hat (sometimes whether they want help or not!). We were glad to have two paramedics with us, each well equipped to take care of any emergencies, so first aid would not have been lacking if required. (Fortunately, it wasn't.)
I noticed Lawdog and a few others carving a pit out of the rimfire berm. Upon inquiry, it emerged that this was where the tribute to Ray (discussed yesterday) would be detonated. Its creators weren't sure about the pyrotechnic properties of the concoction they'd eventually settled upon (words such as 'acetylene' and 'ammonium nitrate' and 'diesel' having been bandied about the night before, as well as the more mundane Tannerite). To ensure success, a small trial charge was shot from a safe distance away, and proved satisfactory. Later in the day, Ray's tribute heart disintegrated with a bang guaranteed to warm the cockles of any pyrotechnician's heart. Glitter went everywhere at very high speed, and the pit in the berm ended up significantly larger than it started. I suspect, if Ray was watching from somewhere up there, his shade probably approved. It may even have giggled.
I adjourned to our hotel room for a nap during the afternoon, being a bit under the weather as my fused spine decided to let me know that it really didn't like all the activity of the past few days. A few hours' sleep and a painkiller later, I felt refreshed enough to rejoin the throng for supper at the farm. The late, dearly departed Sir Loin had surrendered a large supply of bone-in steaks, of immense proportions in both area and thickness, which Stingray barbecued to medium rare perfection. (The man is gifted, and not just in science.) We all indulged ourselves shamelessly.
By now the collection of bottles on a table in the barn had grown to impressive proportions as new arrivals added their contributions to the common store. I counted several very high-end Scotch whisky bottles, top-rated bourbons, and a couple of forlorn-looking Irish spirits. I tried a little 15-year-old Macallan, part of their Fine Oak specialty range, which proved extraordinarily smooth and tasty. I'd only had the 12-year-old before now, and the difference between it and its older sibling was very notable. I'm going to have to keep an eye open for the older Macallans (if my budget can stand it; I understand the 25- and 30-year-old vintages are probably beyond my reach - until I write another book, anyway!). I drink very little spirits indeed, and not much of anything else. Nevertheless, as an occasional treat, a dram of the uisge beatha is a healthful thing, as my Scottish ancestors would probably have said.
We'll gather for breakfast again on Sunday, then it's off to the range once more. So far, our eighth annual Blogorado gathering is living up to the high standards set by its predecessors.