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Thursday, October 14, 2010

TA Ranch a great place to park your bike.

Go west young man.  So west we went, actually from Texas we went more north than west as we rode to Yellowstone National Park.  On the way we stayed most night in KOA Kabins, which we enjoyed, however; on our 2010 trip we spent one night at a historic ranch in Wyoming.
Ranch sign welcomes visitors
The TA Ranch has a rich history that goes back to the struggles between the landowners and the cowboys in the late 1800's.  The TA Ranch is now a working Dude Ranch with lodging, horse riding, fishing, horseshoes, hiking, and a swing in a big tree.
The tree swing is a guest favorite.
The Ranch is west of I-25 on scenic WY 196, about 14 miles south of Buffalo, WY and east of the Big Horn Mountains.  Along the way Pronghorn antelope can be seen near the roadside.  Antelope are very common Wyoming and they are very quick - be careful when riding around these animals.  Herds of pronghorn and deer roam the TA Ranch.  In the evening we saw more antelope and several deer.  Rick, our host, even saw a rattlesnake, but it got away before he could stop the truck to let us see it.
Antelope on the driveway to the ranch complex.
The ranch house, stables, and bunkhouse sit below a small ridge east of WY 196 about 1/5 mile off the highway.  The buildings are shaded by large oak trees.  The cool breeze and shade were welcomed by all of us after a day of riding.
The ranch houses sit below the ridge in a grove of Oak trees.
Guest can arrange to ride the horses (fees apply), petting is free.
The kitchen and dining house is on the left and the ranch hand house is on the right.
Our host and hostess made us feel right at home.  The five bedroom bunkhouse that some of us stayed in had a living room, kitchenette, laundry facilities, and private bathrooms for each bedroom.  The western decor was charming and not overstated.  Each building is original from the 1880's and has been restored to the original design.  The beds were comfortable and the quite country setting provided a great opportunity to rest and relax.
The dining room has multiple tables and room for a lot of guest
All of the guest gathered for dinner in the chow house.  There were guest from France and Japan staying at the ranch when we arrived.  Dinner was served buffet style - vegetables, corn on the cob, rolls, and brisket.  The brisket was cooked with secret seasonings and it was awesome!  
A great dinner with TA Ranch brisket was served and it was awesome!
After dinner we toured the ranch while a couple of the guys in our group went horse riding.  Our hostess, Kirsten, told the history of the ranch.  The ranch welcomes a lot of school field trips because of the ranch's regional and state significance.  The stables, tack room, and barn were really interesting. 
One can see the bullet holes from the 1892 standoff at the ranch in the original part of the barn.
After the tour we sat on the porch and visited with other guests and the family of our host and hostess (Rick and Kirsten have two sons, Cody and Tucker and a daughter Katie) .

The youngest son, Tucker, treated us to his version of Jeff Dunham's Achmed the dead terrorist routine. Talk about a surprise treat!  Make sure to ask Tucker for a performance - you will love it.  Also, ask him "Why did the lady cross the road?"  He will give you the answer, but for some reason his elementary teacher last year did not like the joke.

After laughing so hard and for so long it was time for bed and a good night's rest.  In the morning we all awoke revived, but wishing we had scheduled two nights at the ranch.  We were served a great breakfast casserole, fruit, bagels, toast, and coffee before we headed out on the next leg of our trip.
Another great meal.
Second and third from the left is our hosts - Rick and Kirsten Giles.
R-L Giles family members - Clarence (Rick's dad), Rick, Kirsten, Cody, Bryant (Rick's nephew), Katie, and Tucker
If you are traveling in Wyoming make plans to stay at least one night if not more at the TA Ranch.  You will enjoy the accommodations, the food, the conversation, and if you are lucky a performance of an up and coming comedian :).

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