Saturday, October 6, 2018
Blogorado 2018, Day 2
Breakfast at the Obligatory Cow Reference was as tasty as everyone remembered. Unfortunately, this year the owner had forgotten to hire extra help, so the lone waitress on duty had to cope with all her regular customers plus an invasion of a score or so of hungry bloggers and shooters. She was run off her feet, but did her best. We all tipped generously, so I'm sure she scored a couple of hundred extra dollars to soothe her shattered nerves! I had the huevos rancheros I mentioned yesterday, and they were delicious. This morning, I may be wrong, but I think I faintly hear one of their humongous breakfast burritos calling my name . . .
A number of us hit the local shops after breakfast, to stock up on necessities. Flats of water were in high demand, due to the dehydration caused to many of us by being at unexpectedly high altitudes. Sodas, snacks and other goodies followed. I'm sure local shopkeepers don't know what our gathering's all about, but I daresay we bring tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy every year, what with a couple of dozen hotel rooms, meals, stocking up the farm for our fun and games out there, fuel for our vehicles, and so on. Certainly, no-one seems to complain!
Yesterday was warm and breezy, perfect for setup day at the range. A crew loaded themselves and our newly fashioned shooting benches onto a farm pickup and its outsized trailer, and chugged off in that direction while the rest of us loaded more bits and pieces into more vehicles. We spent a while setting up everything. The wind had picked up, so the new hi-tech expanding cover bought to provide shade for cooking was instead threatening to act as a sail and remove itself from the location once and for all. We tried tying it down, but the wind was just too strong, so in the end the cover had to come off. We're going to try ghillie netting on the frame this morning, to see if that'll provide shade without the sail effect.
A number of our members have become pretty expert photographers over the past few years. One of the features of this year's gathering has been the number of high-end cameras, their owners stalking subjects around the farm and looking out for that perfect picture. None of us mind, particularly, provided that privacy is preserved and the photographers don't publish or release pictures of those in sensitive occupations, or for whom privacy is important. Of course, in a group like this, that's clearly understood, so it's not much of a problem.
The local fauna are out in force. We all received a texted warning en route that a herd of deer had been spotted on the approach road to the farm, and to observe caution as we drove it. I haven't come across them yet, but others have. There have been a few vehicle-versus-deer encounters in past Blogorados, and none of us want to repeat them. I almost ran into the rear end of an enormous bird yesterday afternoon while driving back to town. It was black, with white markings on its wings, and took off from the drainage ditch next to the road carrying something in its claws. FarmDad says it was probably a vulture, but that there are a couple of local hawk and eagle species that can also grow as large. Whatever it was, its wingspan was greater than the width of our new-to-us SUV, and I think I missed it by no more than a few feet as it rose lazily above the hood, wings beating slowly and steadily. Impressive, even if it was a bit heart-stopping from a driver's point of view!
I had another interesting vehicle experience on this trip. On Thursday night, driving back to our hotel, we were informed by the car's warning system that a tire's air pressure was low, and required attention. They all looked and tested OK, so we drove back, and I took it into a local tire shop yesterday morning. They explained, smiling, that we'd just risen in elevation by a few thousand feet, and the lower air pressure here might have produced that result. Sure enough, when I topped up all the tires, the problem magically went away. I'll have to see whether anything changes when we drive home again. (I also had them check the spare, beneath the vehicle, and found it seriously underinflated - by about 2/3rds - despite the assurances of the dealer and service department, when we bought the car, that they'd checked all the tire pressures and everything was OK. I'm going to have a come-to-Jesus conversation with them about that when we get back.)
It's almost time to head for the Obligatory Cow Reference for today's communal breakfast; then it's wash, rinse, repeat for another day of fun and games. It's forecast to be a lot cooler and windier today than yesterday, but that's no problem. If it's not suitable for shooting, there's lots of food and drink at the farm, a huge workshop with a chimenea-style fireplace fashioned from old wheel hubs welded together, and lots of comfortable chairs. (There are also a dozen-plus farm cats and kittens, who wait in ambush for all these strange two-legged visitors to drop food, or put down their plates in an unwary, unguarded instant. They also try to get onto the serving tables, leading to much abuse and swatting at them as they leap clear, only to try again seconds later. I swear they've already started to put on weight since we arrived!)