Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Rest in Peace, Ranger

It is with a heavy heart I find myself telling you that Ranger Mustang is dead.

It looks like it was colic.

Ranger had been part of my life since just before the turn of the century.  He was bought on December 28, 1999.  That was the day that Clayton Moore died.  Moore played the "Lone Ranger" on the old TV show, and that's how my Ranger got his name. (I thought Clayton would be a terrible name for a horse.)

The BLM guessed his birth year at 1991, but all of the vets we had "toothed" him as 3 to 5 years older.  So we figure he was about 12 years old when we got him.  That's pretty old to be starting an untrained horse. Particularly one that was still just about completely wild.  He didn't trust people AT ALL.

It was a long haul in training.  I probably learned more from him than he learned from me.  I tell people that "I can't be taught, but I can be trained.  There just need to be consequences."  Well, if I did something he didn't understand, or just didn't like, he would consequence the hell out of me.

We did finally reach an understanding.  Ranger is the only horse I have ever had talk to me.  He didn't usually say much, but it was pretty obvious what he had in mind.

Last month Juanita and I took our horses down to winter pasture to run loose for a few months as we do nearly every year.  It's good for the horses' attitudes having time off.  We try to check on them at least once a week or so just to see how they are doing, and get our horse fix.  Yesterday we went down the mountain to check on them.  All of the horses ran up to see what treats we might have brought.  All of the horses but one.

A short search of the pasture turned up Ranger.  He was down.  He appeared to have been down for quite a while, and the grass around him was scarred in a circle around him, probably from him trying to get up.

He was unable to raise his head.

I spent about 5 hours with him, while Juanita made the hour drive up to the lodge and back to get water and a turkey baster to get it into him.  Juanita made the trip again for more water, other supplies, and a short bucket for Ranger to drink out of.

He couldn't raise his head.

His last words to me were  "Tired.  Hurts.  Cold".

It has never been that hard for me to pull a trigger.

Gallop across that bridge, my friend.  You were loved.


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Pipe Dreams

Okay, so it's not so much dreams as nightmares.

I hate plumbing.

The way I feel about plumbing is known to just about every body I know.  It is also known to a number of complete strangers, because I will walk up to someone I've never seen before and say, by way of introduction,  "I hate plumbing."

The lodge has 5 showers, 3 claw-foot tubs, 13 toilets and about 20 sinks.  And they are all old.   And they all break/leak/hate me.

And now, for whatever reason we have taken on another property with another 10 showers/toilets/sinks that are even older and freeze every winter and need fixing.

I now have most of the plumbing in the cabins working, just in time to drain the water and blow out the lines for winter later this week.

I was upstairs in the lodge an hour or so ago, working on a toilet that started leaking from the tank-bowl connection, when I had a thought.  Plumbing is God's punishment for us eating the apple.  "Okay"  he said  "Now that you have eaten it, this too shall pass.  And when it does, things will clog."

I hate plumbing.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Wrong Again

B-  Hey there Ranger!  How's my old horse today?


B-  Aw, come on buddy, you still not talking to me?

R-  No Beel.

B-  Look, Juanita usually gives you your night feeding, and I didn't know the routine.  At least I remembered to feed you.

R-  You did it wrong Beel.

B-  I said I was sorry.  Juanita had to take a neighbor's horse down the mountain to see it's vet.  The horse broke into the feed room  and ate beet pulp shreds and alfalfa cubes until it "choked", and the whole throat was packed with dried food right up to the top.  It took the vet and Juanita and the other gal 4 hours to clear the pack.  The horse still isn't out of the woods yet, but it looks hopeful.

R-  So that horse got to eat.

B-  Sorry-sorry-sorry.   With Juanita gone, I had to feed you in a hurry so I  could get back to the guests in the lodge.  You were only halfway through your beet pulp and senior feed after 10 minutes.  So I just dumped it on the mat for you to finish.  I hadn't realized it was Washoe's job to eat all of the food you leave behind on the mat...

R-  So the sick horse getted to eat.  The kid horse getted to eat.  And I only eated a little.
I telled Waneeta that Beel should not feed me wrong any more.

B-  Not real forgiving, are you buddy.

R-  You did it wrong Beel.

B-  Ummm, I have carrots...

R-  You did it right tonight Beel.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Pine Grove Cabins: The Back Story

Back in the early '20's,  Dick Isles built a handful of small cabins here in Allenspark.  Several years later he later helped with the Meeker Park Lodge, owned by the Dever family.  Then he built the Allenspark Lodge in '33 and '34 (then called the Isles Trading Post).  I have heard he was a shop teacher, later a school administrator, who brought up high school students to work on the lodge, though I don't know about the crews on the other properties.  Dick ran the properties for over 40 years before retiring.

We have been in the lodging business for over 20 years, so I can say with some authority that he must have been out of his ever-loving mind.  Forty years?  What was he thinking?

The original cabins that he built, named The Pine Grove Cabins, changed hands several times.  The "most recent" sale was to Bob and June W., who ran the cabins for around 35 years.  About 3 years ago health issues forced Bob and June to move back East to live near several of their children.  They tried to run the cabins long distance, with poor results.  Trees were falling and damaging the infrastructure, pipes were breaking (I hate plumbing), and the place was starting to look pretty neglected, but they still had to make all of the payments for taxes, utilities and other "stuff" that goes with owning a property.  And since it was not running fully, the property wasn't going to sell quickly.

So one day, Juanita was talking to a neighbor that cleans and manages cabins in the area and they thought that we might be able to run the Pine Grove Cabins for Bob and June.  She brought it up to me in such a way that I actually thought I came up with the idea.  (Like most effective wives, she's good at that.)

We talked with the owners (who thought it was a great idea), got a contract, and started work.

This was mid May.  And we spent MONTHS cleaning and repairing and re-furnishing the place.  And fixing plumbing.  I hate plumbing.

We focused on 5 of the cabins:  three of the larger ones for short term rentals, and 2 of the little ones for "longer" short term rentals.  The 3 larger cabins, though still fairly small, are West, Meeker, and Ehrenberg.

They have all come out pretty cute.  You can see pictures on our website  under the "Cabins" menu.

It's far more work than we were looking for, but I think Mr. Isles would be proud.

I still hate plumbing.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Been Too Long

B-  Hi ya, Ranger!  How's my old horse today?

R-  Good Beel.  The moose monster has not come back for many days.

B-  Yeah, you wore kind of freaked out about the yearling next to your pen last month.  First you hid behind a fence panel, and then you hid behind Alloy.

R-  I was not hiding.  I could see him better from those places.

B-  You bet.  And the moose got a look at two horses and one 800 pound chicken.  BAUUK-BUCK-AUUK!

R-  You would not have even seen the moose monster if I had not showed it to you. You are not observant.

R-  On the day before this day I wented for a walk with you sitting on me.

B-  Yeah.  It had been MONTHS since we went out.  I've been working with Alloy lately

R-  Al-nuts putted you on the dirt again.

B-  Yeah.  He's dumped me a half dozen or so times.  You "grounded" me 20 or so times.

R-  I have skills.

B-  It was very nice you didn't put any of those skills to work on me yesterday.  It was a very pleasant, short ride.  You did quite well for an old guy.

R-  I am not old.  I runned many times.

B-  You did break into a trot 3 or 4 times to catch up with my daughter and Skeeter.  But that was mostly because you were poking along.

R-  I was having a very nice walk.

B-  We should do that again soon.

R-  The picnic at the end was a good part.  That is what we should do again.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

I Can Not Be Taught

Earlier this week Juanita, our granddaughter and I took the younger horses out for a ride.  Juanita was on Washoe, the granddaughter was on our daughter's horse "Skeeter" and I was on Alloy.

We rode out to the little lake with them, let them stand and eat some grass (they had a picnic) and then we started for home.  All very pleasant and uneventful.

While riding back, we were almost home and Juanita wanted to lope a little.   I was in the lead on the green horse, so I trotted ahead for a bit, and then turned to wait for them.  I wasn't too worried about Skeeter and the granddaughter.  Even her trainers couldn't get Skeeter to move faster than a trot.   Washoe loped for a bit, and then he dropped down out of his lope just fine.  But suddenly decided "That was FUN!" and took off again.

Alloy took one look at him and flipped a switch.  "Oh no!  That horse is running from something!" and he started hopping and twisting and two-stepping to get me off, or at least get my attention.

He got my attention.

I rode him out, and as I was sitting on him, still slightly askew,  I hollered "Don't DO that!" and I slapped him on the side of his neck.

I once had a friend tell me "Bill, you may need to find another way to get a horse's attention, that doesn't involve whacking them from behind."

Ya think?

Alloy went into another whole 'nother dimension of bucking and spinning.  I didn't come even close to sitting this one out.  I was off like a wedding dress on a honeymoon, hit the ground like a sack of potatoes and Alloy was heading for the hills.  As I lay gasping for air, Juanita rode up and I told her to send the granddaughter after my horse.

Skeeter loped.  She LOPED!  TWO TIMES!!!  The grand daughter caught up with Al standing on his now broken headstall, and led him back to me as I limped down the trail to go home.  I guess Skeeter just needed to have a reason to run.  Because run she did.

I did not climb back on Alloy at that point.  If fact I still haven't climbed back on him.  I am fairly well weened from the pain killers as of now, but a sudden gasp of pain from me could send him south in a hurry, and I'm not interested in doing that again right away.

"Bill, you probably need to find another way..."  Yup, if I had payed attention then, I would have been better off.

But I can't be taught.  Just trained.

There needs to be consequences.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cooking is a Blast

This morning I whipped a couple eggs in a bowl and "power-scrambled"  them  in the microwave.

I pulled them out, and set them on the counter.  As I turned around, I heard a loud "POP" and felt an impact and a burning sensation on the back of my neck.
I looked behind me and saw that the cooked eggs had exploded and blown cooked egg fragments all over that end of the kitchen.  On the counter top, on the cabinets, on the walls, on the window, and on the ceiling.  And of course on the back of my neck.

I think maybe I'll call workman's comp. and tell them I was injured in a kitchen eggs-plosion.

Or not.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bloody Murder


That was one of those once in a lifetime moments.

It had just stopped snowing for a minute, so I ran outside to take some trash out.  (No, that was not the once in a lifetime part, smart @$$).

As I was walking back into the lodge, I heard a crow screaming LOUDLY!  I looked across the street just in time to see what I thought was 2 crows mating, locked in an amorous embrace, drop from the sky and hit the ground about 30 feet from me.  As the crow continued screaming, I caught a flash of lighter colored feathers and realized one of the crows was a hawk.

Then I heard some more crows cawing. and 10 or 20 crows flew down out of the sky and began attacking the hawk, while screaming themselves.

I ran to the door and yelled for Juanita to come FAST, without taking my eyes off of the ongoing rescue operation.

By the time Juanita got to the door there were over 100 crows screaming bloody murder and darting out of the sky taking turns attacking the hawk.  The hawk seemed to decide dinner was off and fled the scene.   All of the crows swarmed him in pursuit, still screaming bloody murder (Except for dinner, who got up, limped around for 30 seconds or so, and then flew off in the other direction.)

The raucous cacophony of crow calling gradually faded as the black cloud of birds pursued their intended quarry with a single minded purpose, off into the distance. 

I stood, heart pounding, and realized 2 things about myself.

1)  I will stop and turn my car around to keep from running over one of these birds lest his whole family decides to take me out.


2)  I really have no idea how crows mate.


Monday, April 16, 2018


This is Ranger.  The horse.

On some times we the horses of my herd go to other places to live.  For this cold time we went to the place where my foot cutter keeps his horses.  There were many other horses.

*Bill-   Our farrier has 10 or 12 other horses he was wintering on his pasture.*

Beel.  I am telling this.  Do not talk.

I had to teach the new horses how to be. 
They must not eat next to me.  They must not look at me mean.  They must go away when I look at them mean.  All of the important things that horses should know.  I am a good teacher.

I am such a good teacher that Beel sometimes takes me to stay with his stump daubers horses.

*Bill-   That's my "step daughters' horses".*

Beel  it would be better if you were quiet.  His stop doggers horses need teaching.  One of them still looks at me mean.  I just leave because I think he may be crazy.  The two mares are smarter and nice to me a lot of the time.

*Bill-  My "Step daughters' horses need teaching".*

Beel stop talking.  I am also in charge for teaching Beels stoop downer and her hugs band how and when to feed the horses.

*Bill-  My "step daughter and her husband".*

Beel. Could you just not.

*Bill-  Sorry.*

On some times the food comes nicely and that is good.  Sometimes the food does not come and that is bad.  I will tell the peoples when they are doing it wrong.

On one time the food ran out.  That was bad.  So the huds band brought hay in the stinky truck.  That was good.  But he parked the truck right next to the fence and did not bring it in to the food place inside the fence.  That was bad. 

He telled me "I do not have time to put the food in blah blah blah."

I looked at the hay on the stinky truck.  I looked at the food place in our yard.

He telled me "I need help unloading blah blah blah"

I looked at the hay on the stinky truck.  I looked at the food place in our yard.

He sayed "We will do it later blah blah blah."

I looked at the hay on the stinky truck.  I looked at the food place in our yard.

He sayed "Just reach across the fence and eat it out of the back of the truck blah blah blah"


Peoples can be VERY HARD to train.

So then I had to train all of the other horses to eat from the truck.  But only when I was done eating.  Because there was only one side to eat from.  And I eat first.

It is very lucky I am such a good teacher.  It is very helpful to Beel and his steep dotter.

*Bill-  Close enough professor.*

Monday, April 9, 2018

Late Breakfast

B-  Hey there Ranger!  How's my old horse doing today?

R-  Not good today Beel.

B-  Sorry to hear that.  What's wrong?

R-  We the horses have runned out of food.  Only dirt food.  No feeder food.  I have been telling the peoples here about it.  They do not care.  They want us to all die.

B-  I kind of doubt that buddy.  Our daughter called us this morning and asked for some help unloading a big bale of hay in the corral this morning, so we came down to help.  And then we are going to work y'all.  Our 3 horses and the kids' 3 horses.

R-  I have no food.  I can not work.

B-  Just give us 10 minutes, and we'll have the truck in here and unload.

R-  Dying.

B-  Give me a break.  You guys didn't finish the feeder until about 3 hours ago.

R-  Dying.


B-  There you go Ranger.  Over 1000 pounds of hay for you guys to eat.

R-  Good.  I will not die today.

B-  But first, let me catch you and brush your "spring shedding" off your fuzzy bod.  Juanita says you look like you belong on the steppes of Mongolia.

R-  I am too weak to run away Beel.  I will go with you.

Brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush Jeeze Ranger you are a mess... brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush This wad of hair off you is the size of a volleyball... brush brush brush brush brush brush brush...

B-  Okay buddy, let me jump on you bareback for a couple minutes to remind you of your job...

B-  Okay my fuzzy little friend, go eat and I'll catch and brush your herd mate, Alloy.

R-  Okay Beel.  I will eat now.

B-  All right  Alloy, I'll catch you and then let', don't run off,  just stand there and I'll... I said don't run off.  Jerk.  Fine.  I'll just keep following you until you just stop running.  I have ALL DAY.

Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk......

walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk...

B-  Hi Ranger.  Alloy is being bad.

R-  I am eating the food.

Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk......

walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk...

B-  Hi again Ranger.  Alloy is still being bad, and now one of my daughters horses, Pearl, had decided to "help".  She chases him whenever he stops, since I am OBVIOUSLY chasing him as some sort of punishment.

R-  I am eating the food.

Walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk......

walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk walk...

B-  Finally!  Pearl got distracted and stopped "helping" and Alloy stood and let me halter him.  Now I can brush him...

R-  I will be eating the food.

B-  Well, about an hour of walking Alloy down just to brush him.  Probably 3 miles of walking and running around in circles.  I'm as tired as I've been in a month of Sundays. 

 R-  You should eat.  But not my food. There is not much.

Friday, February 2, 2018


One week ago today, we lost Juanita's mom to pneumonia.  She was 89 years old and was a polio survivor.  A major contributing factor to her death was the terror that "scammers" were threatening her with.

She had polio as a child, and I think that played a major role in making her a strong and self reliant woman.   She went through life looking at what she wanted, and then working hard to make it happen.  She was always a little "close" with her decisions, not willing to share or discuss what she was doing, until she was sure how it was going to turn out.

That made her the perfect target for scamming.

So many of America's elderly are living alone, and doing well.  Except for being a little lonely.  When the phone rings, they will answer and have nice long conversations with the "new friends" that call them.  Every day.  Soon they have given out a great deal of information  to these new "friends".  Soon these friends will have convinced them that their children are not to be trusted, and are trying to get their parent's money.  And speaking of money, here is a fool proof investment/method/lottery that for just a few thousand dollars will get you a return of MANY THOUSANDS of dollars.

You just have to pay the taxes in advance/make the investment/what ever.  Just DON'T TELL ANYONE!

About the time the elderly person figures out that they are being scammed, the tone of the calls changes.  "If you tell anyone, we will kill you and your children and your grandchildren."  "We will burn your house down."  And they do know where she lives because she told them when they were friends.

My mother in law was so afraid while she was in the hospital, she gave up the fight rather than risk going home.  They were going to kill her family.  She gave up and died.

I have no words.

It is time for our government to step up and help us protect our elders.

I would rather have "Homeland Security"  make our parents safe, than protect me from potential roofers and gardeners.

Most of the people I have talked to have stories like this about older folks in their families, to varying degrees.

It is time for a major campaign to end the silence and end the industry that has grown up around bilking our parents and grandparents out of their savings.  Mom lost over $80,000 and her sense of safety.  And then her life.

Ask your parents what is happening.  Check their caller ID logs.  If there are numbers you don't recognize, ask them who is calling.  Tell them what has happened to others.

Tell your story to others.


I miss her.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Winter Digs

About the middle of last month, we moved our horses down the mountain to winter pasture.

There are 9 or 10 other horses down there being boarded by our farrier's dad, Scott.  Scott was our farrier about 15 years ago, but his son took over our herd after a year or so and has worked with our horses since.

The herd that our guys have joined is a fairly diverse group, but all seem to be pretty friendly.  Except for one that Scott calls the "Muslim Terrorist".  Seems that this particular Arabian horse, with a crescent "star" on his forehead, had kicked Scott in the leg "so hard I couldn't cuss."  If you know this old cowboy, you'd know that must have been a heck of a kick.

Ranger might disagree with my assessment of the  "friendliness" of the herd.  Several of them spend their time trying to chase and bite Ranger.  Washoe spends a good deal of his time running interference for the old guy.  Ranger may, for the first time since I got him, NOT be the number one gelding in the herd. 

Alloy just seems to be spending his time just RUNNING.  He has a new buddy in the herd.  It is, of course, the terrorist.

Speaking of Alloy running, today is the 1 year anniversary of Alloys "Great Escape".

The herds seem to have melded to some degree, and they are only a half hour away, but we miss them.  Particularly on sunny days when we could be riding.

I think our guys are enjoying the time off, though.  Lazy bums.