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Business & Editorial

Editor-in-Chief, Spring Sault

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  Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution 2007 Pow Wow


Welcome to the Ranch


Ranch & Reserve Chronicle




Things We LikeWell-Heeled

11 RanchTierra Chamahua Eco Adventures

17 LifestyleStone Horse Expeditions

27 Reserve

The Days of Wine & Chocolate

34 TravelOK Darlin’, Where Are We Goin’?

40 2016 Ranch & Reserve Pow Wow Schedule                               

Publisher’s Note

Welcome to the RANCH By Spring J. Sault, Editor-in-Chief

is not given lightly, having directly experienced some of the results that can occur as a consequence of improper road trip planning. But it’s all meant in good humor, and Mr. Fifer has plenty of that!

Spring is in the air! April is upon us and so are the plans by many to travel the pow wow trail and visit home and away communities for the sole purpose of enjoying family time, dancing time, and a celebratory time. Whether you’re taking a solo trip to hear the drums and taste the fry-bread, or you’re traveling with kith and kin to dance, perhaps compete or enjoy the traditional pastime of many North American Natives, Ranch & Reserve Magazine holds the key – April 2016 marks its first annual full-edition pow wow schedule! It’s by no means comprehensive, although we’ve tried to bring you the long term and touchstone events. And that’s where you, the reader comes in… if you know of, are interested in, or are simply looking to register your pow wow or cultural event with the magazine’s schedule, you’re invited to connect with us via our website, or our social media outlets to advise and otherwise provide listing for, the events that are lacking. Each month R&R will work to include event updates for the pow wow trail, the art and craft collector/enthusiast and the allaround fan of all things authentically North American Native.

If you’re looking for a different mode of transportation, contributor Marcy Stellfox offers up her story on Stone Horse Expeditions in Mongolia for a change of pace. It’s still horsepower, but with a penchant for treats, petting and sight-seeing, as opposed to fuel economy and atlases. Travel with three riders from Texas, together with their team of expert guides, through the vast and beautiful countryside, sleeping under the stars and leaving as small an environmental footprint as possible. And from one beautiful countryside to another, RanchSeeker provides us with a look at a place that’s keeping adventure alive and well in Mexico – proving that not all great western adventures take place where you traditionally think they might. Finally, our Reserve contribution comes in the form of two of our favorite things…wine & chocolate. Read all about the namesake festival paying homage to these pairings (proof that we’re meant to be happy) taking place annually in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.

Speaking of hitting the highway, contributor John Fifer shares with us his second installment of tips and tricks for plotting out your RV and travel trailer trips in the not-so-distant future. John doesn’t want to steer you wrong, so he tries to assist by providing the best practices of a seasoned road warrior that he and his wife have garnered over the years. Take heed – his guidance

Welcome to the April, 2016 issue of Ranch & Reserve Magazine!


RANCH & RESERVE CHRONICLE READER FEEDBACK Our March 2016 issue cover photo is credited to John Athayde via We feel it fits in nicely with not only last month’s features but this month’s Ranch & Reserve Pow Wow Schedule! Let us know what you think!

For more beautiful turquoise ring selection, please visit their website at or contact their store at 1-888-5395378. WEBSITE The Ranch & Reserve website now has 3 most current issues of the magazine embedded on its main page! If you’ve lost your esubscription, are looking for something to read on the go, or simply want to thumb through our pages, visit us at to read our latest news and recent articles.

OUR PUBLISHING SITE R&R publishes on where readers can follow our publication together with many more similar issues. Download the Issuu app today, or access R&R on your desktop or laptop at: azine ADVERTISING Join us in welcoming Laurie Buffalo as the new Regional Advertising Manager for Ranch & Reserve Magazine!

NOTICES From the Turquoise feature in ‘Things We Like’ for the February issue, The Alchemy Bench has noted a correction which is required for a change in offerings. In the place of the Matrix Turquoise rings which are sadly, no longer available, in their place the store carries the equally stunning Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, seen here.

Reader feedback on our site, the articles and recent issues is always welcomed. Connect with us via email at: or follow us on one of our social media pages.

Click on any of the social media icons above to be taken to Ranch & Reserve’s respective sites! 5  

For all advertising formats as well as Mercantile & Real Estate ads, special event/interest banners, and full color size & pricing options, contact Laurie for all of your R&R advertising needs via email at


Marcy Stellfox      

is a   freelance  writer    residing  in  Austin,  TX    with  her  husband  and      three Labradors. You’ll    typically  find  her      cruising  the  Texas  Hill    Country in her beloved      Ford F150, Emma Jane   or riding horseback on one of her 3 horses. She is a      runner,  hiker,  reader  and  lover  of  the  great    outdoors.  She  finds  inspiration  in  red  wine,  food,      country  music  and  her  best  friends.  When  not    toddling through Texas, she’ll be hugging the trees      and roaming the mountainsides in Pagosa Springs,  6  Colorado.   


is the  brainchild  of    owner/operator Ashlie Dove, and      is designed to help you locate and plan the ultimate    dude ranch and guest ranch vacation to suit every      preference  and  budget.  A  native  of  British    Columbia,  Canada  now  married  and  residing  in      Mexico,  Ashlie  designed  and  developed      RanchSeeker’s  database  and  search  engine    ( to allow access to some of      the finest ranches within the Western Hemisphere,    helping you choose the perfect dude or guest ranch      vacation from a wide selection of destinations.   


John Fifer       

is a   native  of    Dover,  DE,  USA,    a  US  Air  Force      veteran,  and  a    graduate from       Widener  University  with  a  Masters  in  Health      Administration. He has also been a registered x‐ray    technologist and certified respiratory therapist and      department director. John retired as a hospital Vice    President in 1998, and his wife Connie, who holds a      Masters  in  Social  work,  retired  in  2001.  Together    they have traveled extensively throughout western      Europe  (camping),  New  Zealand,  Israel,  Egypt,  a    small amount in Canada (some camping), and have      logged  four  trips  in  five  summers  across  the  US    (camping).  John  has  also  traveled  to  Japan,    8   

Contributors (cont’d)     Cambodia,  Mexico  (Tijuana!),  and  Vietnam      (pleasure  not  wartime).  They  also  have  taken    their  sailing  vessel,  Riverdance,  from  the      Chesapeake  Bay  several  times  through  Florida  and to the Bahamas, with one 3+ year adventure  down  the  eastern  Caribbean  as  far  as  Trinidad.  Finally,  they  are  presently  having  a  classic  “muscle car” restored to original which they will  show. Together they have one daughter and one  granddaughter.  Being  a  two‐time  cancer  survivor, John, together with his wife, is making  every attempt to live life to the fullest. 

Thank you, and we hope you enjoy. 9  

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RANCH When people think of going on a dude ranch vacation, the USA and Canada are the destinations that first come to mind, with locations such as Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Texas, Alberta and British Columbia to name but a few. Another great option, however, is Mexico, which is home to some outstanding guest ranches like Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures, known also as Rancho Los Baños Adventure Guest Ranch, situated in northeast Sonora. This is an excellent choice for those wanting a fantastic ranch experience in a warm and friendly ambiance with a distinct Mexican flavour! Close to southeast Arizona and with offices based in Tucson, shuttle services will safely escort you to the ranch and back enabling you to relax and enjoy the scenery while en route to your Mexican home for the next week.

Owing to a biased and often incorrect coverage by the international press, Mexico has been characterized as having travel concerns for foreigners. This is simply not the case. Past guests of Tierra Chamahua from the US (45%), Canada (25%), Europe (20%), Australia and New Zealand (10%) have all experienced guest ranch vacations packed with adventure, exceptional service and hospitality in a secure environment ensuring a safe and truly memorable vacation.

With over 30,000 acres this privately owned guest and cattle ranch boasts vistas like you have never seen before. Spectacular otherworldly desert and pristine wilderness landscapes await the adventurous traveler. This scenic, unique adventure travel destination is ideal for guests who love nature, the great outdoors, ranch life and an active vacation. Guests will also appreciate the utter peacefulness and tranquility for those times when one simply wishes to relax after an exhilarating day out on the range.

A vacation at Tierra Chamahua will provide you with your very own personal playground for backcountry horseback riding excursions. Horse-lovers will be thrilled by challenging, aweinspiring, excitement-filled rides through virtually secluded sierras, mountains, hills, mesas, rock cliffs, ravines, canyons and some of the most unspoiled wilderness to be found on a ranch vacation. Horseback riding at this guest ranch offers some of the best outdoor riding trails in the world and once-in-a-lifetime photo ops! 13  

Photo Credit: Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures via RanchSeeker Facebook

Countless experiences await at Tierra Chamahua: Wildlife Spotting: Encounters with wildlife in their natural habitat is always a thrill and at Tierra Chamahua there is the ever-present possibility of running into various different types of animals as well as different species of birds. Around the ranch there are five types of felines that habitat the area: mountain lions, bobcats, ocelots, ring-tail cats and the occasional, migrating jaguar. The opportunity to see many other different animals all in their natural setting will make you feel like you are on your very own desert safari. El Cajon Canyon: Hikers will love exploring the natural beauty of this particular canyon which is truly one of Nature’s works of art. Three to four hundred foot walls on both sides as well as aweinspiring scenery will captivate nature-lovers. There are boundless opportunities overall for hikers. Lake Angostura: This isolated, unspoiled and pristine lake, located a stone’s throw away from the ranch’s border, boasts breathtaking scenery coupled with a remarkable history. Be sure to ask your guide all about it! Jeep Tours: With 120 kilometers of dirt roads at your disposition the rocky, wild and rugged landscapes are sure to please even the hardiest thrill-seeker in your group. Mountain Biking: Experienced bikers and newbies to the sport will appreciate the ruggedness as well as the unspoiled beauty that the surrounding terrain provide. Stargazing: Without the interference of city lights the ranch is the perfect venue from which to gaze upon a heavenly star-studded night sky. Binoculars and telescopes enable amateur astronomers the opportunity to admire the beauty of the universe as never before. 14  

Photo Credit: Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures

Fishing: Test your fishing skills at the lake or in the river and you might just snag a large-mouth bass, sunfish, catfish or trout. In any event the surrounding majestic scenery will ensure that the fishermen in your group will have something to write home about. Pictographs: History buffs will be particularly interested in the dozens of pictographs found throughout the canyon where ancient pre-Columbian dwellings, caches, ceremonial centers, hunting lodges, ovens and sculpted deities are to be found, each offering a diversity of cultural, religious and behavioral history. Porching: Last but not least this activity simply requires “kicking back” in order to practice the art of relaxation. It is the perfect moment for guests to share their day’s adventures with each other while watching the sun slowly dip below the horizon.


Photo Credits: Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures

At the end of a fun-filled day spent enjoying the great outdoors guests ease into comfortable beds in either one of the rooms located in the Cumaral Lodge or in one of the spacious cabañas. The rooms, which are more like suites, feature window views that are simply breathtaking. The lodge also features a shared living-room and kitchen with a wrap-around, roofed porch that afford stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The Cabaña de los Vaqueros and the Sunrise Cabaña are ideal for those looking for a more private and intimate hideaway. Guests staying in the cabañas also have access to the wrap-around porch, living area and kitchen in the Cumaral Lodge. All accommodation options run on solar-power.

Mealtimes at Tierra Chamahua are very special. The all-inclusive rates include three gourmet, home-cooked meals a day. International as well as northern and southern Mexican dishes will please even the most discerning palate. Tasty snacks, pastries, and non-alcoholic beverages are also included. Meals are served family-style either in the dining room or at the outdoor table on the balcony. Packed lunches are provided for guests on hiking adventures to be enjoyed in the canyons while surrounded by a beautiful natural setting. Because the ranch’s location is rather remote, guests are encouraged to bring along their own alcohol as well as any favourite food items or snacks. A scheduled stop at a grocery store en route from Tucson will give you time to pick up these items.

Tierra Chamahua is different than your typical dude ranch as it offers unique and exciting vacations for those looking to go off-grid and disconnect from the wired world. It is a place where your body, spirit and mind will feel truly connected to nature as you immerse yourself in the pristine, secluded wilderness that surrounds you. The sheer variety of activities that are at guest’s disposal are guaranteed to fill your days leaving your nights free to admire a starry sky with new found friends. Making lasting memories at this extraordinary guest ranch is easy. Let RanchSeeker help you find the ideal guest ranch vacation today! Visit to learn more, and happy trails!



Horse Trekking Across the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky By Marcy Stellfox

                                      Photo by Sabine Schmidt

Autumn blankets the grassy hillsides with a patchwork quilt of burnt orange and red. Golden Larch forests rain feathery leaves upon the ground. Mossy grey green rock formations jut from the land begging for climbers to explore. No clouds drift through the sky. It is simply a never-ending sea of cerulean blue. If a scene like this seems like the stuff of dreams, know this: adventure seeking nature lovers should place Mongolia on top of their vacation destination bucket list. Three girls from Texas did just that. In October 2015, Robin Swenson, Kelly Stepura and Cheryl Habbe boarded a plane bound for Mongolia. For six days and seven nights, they straddled gentle sturdy pack ponies and melted away into the backdrop of the wild and wooly land, sleeping under vast skies at night. Stone Horse Expeditions specializes in serving a slice of real Mongolia to travelers. Keith Swenson (full disclosure – Robin Swenson, a camper/rider in this article, is sister to Keith) and his wife Sabine Schmidt are owner operators. Together with their team of expert guides they have more than 30 years of experience leading wilderness tours and practicing ecotourism. Their trips attract tourists from all over the world.

Photo by Sabine Schmidt


The couple’s goal is two-fold. They aim to share Mongolia’s breath-taking beauty and unique culture with travelers while making as little environmental impact as possible. Trips are small numbering at most 6 guests and 6 staff members. How do they guarantee that each expedition becomes a trip of a lifetime? By taking care of the people, animals and environment they count on for success. With friendly ties to Mongolian communities, Stone Horse employs lifelong residents familiar with the country’s traditions. They use horses from their personal herd. Their commitment to conservation means the wilderness and herding lands stay unharmed from their travels. Preparing for a trip of this caliber is daunting. But Swenson and Schmidt maintain an informative website ideal for trip preparation, including recommendations on gear and equipment and advice on how to get to Mongolia.

Photo by Robin Swanson


Photo by Kelly Stepura

Expeditions last anywhere from eight to 14 days and take place throughout the summer winding down in mid-October. Regular trek expeditions wander through the Khan Khentii protected area, a designated wildlife preservation or Gorkhi Terelj National Park. Those interested in conservation can sign up for expeditions where camper/riders participate in actual conservation projects. The Texas three-some laugh about their first night camping. An early cold front blew in from Siberia. Habbe says, “The first night, it was so cold. We slept in every article of clothing we owned. Getting into our sleeping bags was like an Olympic sport. Once I finally settled in, I realized I had forgotten to put on my hat! I had to get out and start all over again.” Stepura mentions the dawning realization of “just how wild west this place really was.” However, the ride the next day had them quickly forgetting about the frigid night.


Robin Swenson says, “The Larch trees were shedding their needles, so the ground and passes were covered in gold. There was snow on the peaks of the faraway mountains. Everywhere we looked there were ravens and magpies in the tree tops and eagles soaring far above in the sky.”

Photo by Robin Swenson

The expedition horses are native to Mongolia, historically a country built on herding and agriculture. Mongolians name their horses after colors like Brownie, Big Dirty Face or Tserd (translated into English as gazelle - a color in the Mongolian language). Habbe says, “The trip is made even more special because of how valued the animals are.”


Photo by Robin Swenson

Staff choose horses for each rider based on skill level. The same horse and rider remain together for the whole trip. Robin Swenson says, “Keith and Sabine are very good at partnering riders of every level with the right horse. The horses are responsive, in tune and independent. However, I would still recommend [getting] a few basic riding lessons under your belt.”


Photo by Sabine Schmidt

This is not your basic touristy ho-hum trail ride. It’s physical too. Riders spend five to six hours a day in the saddle. Some trail riding includes moderate periods of trotting which is physically demanding. Riders unsaddle their horses at night and help set up and break down camp. Robin says, “It doesn’t hurt to get some yoga and/or bike riding in to get oneself limber and get the sit bones a little prepared for several days in the saddle.” Guests along with their horse partners carry personal items needed for the day like sunscreen, extra clothing and drinking water. Designated pack horses haul more gear like tents and food for the journey. 23  

Stinky, a trusty Mongolian Shepherd pup, keeps a watchful eye on the daily procession, chasing away the occasional fox and meeting with stray dogs to determine if they are friendly. Photo by Keith Swanson

Lunch breaks allow time for other activities like photography, rock climbing, wildlife viewing, wading in cool clear waters or simply relaxing off the grid. Photo by Keith Swanson


Photo by Sabrina Schmidt

In the evenings at the campsite, horses nicker to each other grazing on native grasses. Rivers babble a relaxing song. Campers gather at the dining tent’s wood burning stove like kids to a candy shop. Keith Swenson and Schmidt win big hospitality points even when camped in Mongolia’s most remote locations. Schmidt is the camp chef. Her “wilderness fusion” cuisine, takes inspiration from across the globe, transforming seasonal, locally sourced ingredients into hearty, comforting dishes like spaghetti, chili, soups and stews. Meals are multi-course affairs that even include wine and an occasional birthday cake when appropriate. Robin says, “The food was amazing…not your typical camp grub.” Night time invites exceptional stargazing. Robin says, “The stars at night are like a giant chandelier of glitter. No city lights, no noise pollution.” Habbe adds, “You feel like you can just pluck them from the sky.”


The trio are already planning a return trip. Robin Swenson says, “This is truly a trip of a lifetime and i f you get the opportunity, run to it with open arms. In fact, make the opportunity. The people, the horses, the food; just being immersed in nature is a transcendent experience. Highlights for Stepura? “Being in tune with nature,” she says, “living in nature, the camaraderie of friendship with everyone.” For Habbe? “Being with my two best friends,” she says, “the synchronicity of love and understanding between the people, animals and nature.” Horse trekking through Mongolia is one trip these girls will never forget. For more information and to make reservations, go to





It’s a beautifully sunny and extraordinarily warm day in February in southern Ontario, Canada as we drive through the rustic and quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. At thirteen degrees Celsius, it’s hard not to feel downright giddy and risk roaming around without a coat on. For readers in the south, the average temperatures for a Saturday in February in this area can range from a brisk 3 degrees Celsius on the high end to a teeth-chattering (everything chattering!) minus 30 Celsius before the wind-chill factor. Our first stop on this gorgeous and carefree day is lunch of course (no sense sampling wine and chocolate on an empty stomach after all…) The Shaw Café & Wine Bar on Queen St. is a great place to start, and we settle ourselves into a striking, glass-enclosed, historic circular seating room, overlooking the street on one side and a coppercovered bar and its busy barista on the other. Our waitress tries to tempt us with something that would ultimately negate the need for further sustenance of any kind, but we rationalize that the chocolate pairings ahead of us far outweigh in value the pangs of a full pasta paunch and inevitable gluten glazeover we would experience if we settle into a full meal. An appetizer it is…


Leaving the café, we excitedly review the paperwork my sister (a.k.a. “partner-in-crime”) has printed for ‘The Days of Wine & Chocolate Festival’. Just looking at the crisp printout causes a sensation of glee akin to the feeling of a spring thaw in Tuktoyaktuk! We race through the descriptions of the 26 wineries that are participating to see which delectable chocolate offerings we’ll want to try (translation: make room to try) one by one. Smartly, we set a limit at 5 (because one might be too few to spike our sugar levels, but 6?! Well now that’s just ridiculous. We need a modicum of restraint!) because after the appeteaser, ‘er… appetizer, it was plain to see we came for the chocolate.

Our first stop, fittingly enough, is Two Sisters Vineyards. The entrance to their property looks like something out of Dallas or Dynasty! Not that my sister Tracy and I are country bumpkins (at least we’d like to think we’re not) but to say you feel something like a Beverly Hillbilly coming up the drive to the Two Sisters tasting rooms, vineyards and gourmet restaurant, is downplaying it. This place is handsomely decorated, and highly recommended. Their crisp, well-designed tasting room with its stone floors and walls lined with row after row of their vintages could detract from their offering of a flourless chocolate cake coupled with a 2010 Merlot…but let’s not go too far! Did someone say chocolate?! The velvety texture of the cake is surpassed only by that of the wine, with its hints of plum and blackberry. Swirling it around in my glass (like I knew what I was doing) and smelling its pungent aroma, I can’t help but feel almost like the character Higgins from the Magnum P.I. series, strolling through the Two Sisters tasting room as if it were Mr. Masters’ wine cellar and only I held the key! Their pairing, particularly the wine, is glorious, and a great way to kick off our enjoyment of the festival!

My sister purchases some wine and then we linger long enough to finish our cake and visit their sun-drenched patio overlooking the vineyards before continuing on our tour. Truth be told, this destination merits more time spent, but that will have to wait for another day. Our next stop, conveniently a stone’s throw away, is the Peller Estates Winery for a pairing of a quinoa flour peanut butter brownie and peanut butter mousse with their 2013 Cabernet Franc. The pairing is as delectable as you would expect, and the wine’s bouquet of tobacco and mint only adds to the perfectness of their tasting room, which is quaintly laid out to capture the tourist and shopping enthusiast first, wine expert second. It’s clearly designed for me…the aficionado that knows nada about the true caliber of wine unless I’ve sampled more than one or two (glasses). After perusing their chocolates, gifts and wineloving accoutrements, I make a mental note to make this my second repeat visit for the spring and we’re off to our third tasting.


with one of my downfalls…bacon. That’s right, I said bacon – covered in chocolate! Now before you cringe, wince or similarly react, consider how you might just have bacon and pancakes for breakfast, and if you’re not obsessive compulsive and like to have your foods not touching each other, you’re bound to experience the wonderful taste bud bliss that is bacon and syrup mixed together. This is how the salty and the sweet come together on my palate as I’m yet again “officially” swirling my wine and waiting to react. Immediately a crescendo of “mmmm” escapes my vocal chords, followed by the ‘cleansing of the palate’ with a wine that has harmonizing hints of smoke and tobacco. I cannot believe how amazingly the two go together and compliment the server by saying “well played” (the only time I’ve actually been able to use that statement out loud as opposed to a quirky, meant-to-besophisticated Facebook status.)

If you’re looking for all the sensation of feeling like a wine expert coupled with clean, modern designs, and tasty, readily available vintages with friendly, knowledgeable staff, then Lailey Winery is the place to be. Dedicated to a high quality wine-making process, Lailey’s works to lessen its environmental footprint as well as any unnecessary disruption to the growing or processing of its grapes. And that’s not the only surprising element to this tasting trip. The vineyard pairs its 2011 Cabernet Merlot

Onward we charge to our fourth pairing, which is at a cute, albeit urbane winery known as Joseph’s Estate Wines. Here there is a sampling of the best kind of dessert – ice wine. Forget the chocolate pairing, give me


Weightwatcher’s meeting, just in time to ask the server the price for a full bottle of the same before he ducks back into the closet where I can only imagine are hidden the endless racks of liquid gold this winery appears to be secretly hoarding. He easily and happily spouts off the price while my sister and I peruse their establishment, as if he hasn’t been already asked the same question 1,000 times before. I like this place and determine it’s not too far from the kind of place I’ll find myself pricing bottles of homemade Canadian maple syrup and a bag of mixed nuts on a rainy day in the fall, so I again make a note to return. And although it’s the last stop, it appears the adage is true - we’ve saved the very best. For here at Trius Winery at Hillebrand, is a pairing that is to die for…literally. If you loved the sensation when you were a child of biting into the chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs that used to come on sucker sticks for Easter, you would absolutely love what Trius has in store – a double chocolate (like one chocolate wasn’t decadent enough!) marshmallow cupcake paired with a 2014 Trius Cabernet

some more of that! But Joseph’s is coupling its 2001 Vidal Icewine with dark chocolate salted caramel pecans – yet another play on salty and sweet, and a successful one at that. The smart sampler understands the soaring levels of sweetness that touch your lips, move past the palate and make your saliva glands swirl your mouth with the lingering sense that you’ve just tasted the makings of serendipity. I, on the other hand, swallow my pride and my sample faster than a cheesecake at a 32  

clearly taken the effort to toast with a cooking torch of some fashion (for my pure enjoyment I had imagined) stuck to the corner of my mouth, makeup slightly melting from the core temperature increase I was experiencing due to my wine tasting efforts, and a slight fogginess that I wasn’t sure was entirely attributed to wine or dessert. I have had the most fun you can legally have pairing wine with chocolate, and all in close proximity. Hats off to these 5 models of Heaven-on-Earth in their attempts to use wine and chocolate as their divining rods to dowse a level of happiness from my sister and I that we perhaps only previously felt on our wedding days. The sensations, the tastes, the smells – all merely a sample of what was truly being offered, which was a day together, enjoying each other’s company, experiencing new sites, laughs that were much-needed, and a taste of some of the best of what life has to offer! If you’re ever in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area of southern Ontario in the month of February, or you plan on attending, don’t hesitate to enjoy ‘The Days of Wine & Chocolate Festival’ at one (or five) of the many excellent wineries pairing these two amazing pleasures. You won’t regret it!

Sauvignon! As I try to act like I’m not really going to scarf down the cupcake the moment I feel no one is looking, the taste of the wine a sensation in my mouth of juicy blackberries with a subtle hint of spice, I can’t help but think back to how this day began. Innocently enough I picked up my sister in Hamilton, ON. We traveled to this well-known wine region with the intent of being sophisticated wine tasters, make-up done, hair freshly coiffed. And here I stood, a faint hint of marshmallow that the winery staff had 33  








Now, assuming that you’ve done your “rig” homework, made your investment, (call it what you will!), and convinced your semi-reluctant partner that traveling is good for the soul, just to where do you plan to head off? That’s all part of the planning too. And a fun part! Call it the “thrill of the chase”! Because I like to be at least somewhat conservative with our time and resources, the wife says cheap, I try to plan out a route that will not have us popping all over the place like a cricket. Long before the scheduled departure date I’ve accumulated hard copies of each state’s (to my far north friends, substitute province for state as desired) travel guide, along with their good, detailed state road map. These are free and I’ve only had a couple of states not respond. They all want your travel money, thus you have now become the proud owner of many state guides and maps! You can acquire this information on line too, but I prefer to have everything in front of me in hard copy as I do my planning. As a member of certain motor clubs, you can also acquire this information, in varying formats, generally for free. These guides will tell you about every “dog path”, or not, of interest the state has to offer up! With map spread out, I proceed through the guide, town by town, identifying anything we might be interested in visiting (a good off-season 35  

Picture Credit: ‘On A Cliff’, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, WikiArt, Public Domain

project), including those oft very interesting and out of the way “dog-paths”. No matter where it is in the state. Note: I’ve only included sites that interest us. I have a separate sheet where I write down in alphabetic order the town names, the interests, and the guide page numbers. Then, using a highlighter, I mark the town on the map. It’s really not a chore, rather very exciting with the anticipation of what’s to see and experience. Try it before you pooh-pooh it! Once I’m through the guide, made my list, and marked my maps, I’ve got immediately at hand both a listing of interesting sites, and a general path I want to take through the state, which I match up as best as possible with the next state, with which I’ve done the same “guide” research, etc. It is a bit like the march on which General Sherman took his Federal Army through the south in 1864-65: effectively covering about a 60-mile swath. (Hey, the man had a plan, like it or not!) Oh, there are naturally sites we will miss because they lay outside the path we are taking, but with good planning, we’ll hit those another time. Proceeding in this conservative manner, we vary from our prescribed route somewhat to see the identified sights, but we are not all over the state. Depending upon the site to be visited, we sometimes just pull the rig along if it’s safe, more convenient, and the site to be seen will accommodate parking. Additionally, as we get closer to the sites themselves, we occasionally decide one may not require our attention after all, so we skip it. Sometimes they appear far more appealing on a cold January day in Cheyenne or Little Current! We’ve also added sites to our firm/flexible agenda as we learn of them. 36  

Once we are finally on the road, we usually drive straight-away to the beginning of our sight-seeing starting point. It may take a day or two depending upon your plan, or you might start sight-seeing immediately. For instance, on our first trip out from Delaware in 2010, we drove to the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee. Not where everybody would choose to begin touring the US but remember, this is not Monopoly where everybody begins at GO. It’s your choice in this travel game. Be ye in the states or provinces, there are more things to visit than the Grand Canyon, Old Town Quebec, or the Calgary Stampede. If you like small-town Americana/Canadiana, don’t miss it along the way to the major attractions. And it’s not that we are avoiding the “closer to home” adventures when we travel out, but they will come when we can only take shorter trips for whatever the reasons. As for the better-known stops, rest assured they are always on our radar throughout the process!

I am not one for back tracking, or repeating a route, so each evening over a glass of, whatever, following my daily log completion, I highlight the highways and byways we have traveled that day on the state and national maps, so as not to repeat, unless we so desire. For instance, immediately upon departing southern Utah and its magnificently beautiful park systems and scenic wonders, the boss said “I want to come back here”, which we did another year. But getting there and leaving was via generally different routes. I highlight the highways because I will never recall 2 years from now every road we have driven. And there are so many new things to see! We also prefer secondary roads whenever possible, away from the interstates: they generally offer more scenery, selection, spontaneous stops, and Americana/Canadiana (I consulted with my Canadian buddy on that word!). And as you’ve probably found also, fuel is generally less expensive many places out there.

Arkansas State Capitol, with Vietnam Memorial in Foreground Picture Credit: John Fifer Arkansas State Governor’s Mansion Picture Credit: John Fifer


We sort of have a schedule, although we like to think we don’t. Given so much to see and provided with a finite number of travel seasons, for us, we do tend to move right along, which is a might frustrating to Connie (my wife), when she would prefer to delay a day or so and just read. Occasionally we do take a “lay” day (which is a sailing term for staying an extra day just for the fun of it at a given anchorage or marina). The rainy ones are particularly enjoyable because it keeps us off the road, and we enjoy hearing the rain on the roof as we read our latest “trashy” novel or historical nonfiction. Or nap! Part of the “non-schedule” includes specific sites of significance we try not to miss. State capitols are a must and invariably offer up interesting material and insights that can occasionally lead us off in different directions. And, being the “cheap” soul C says I am, the Capitols sometimes offer up freebies that one might otherwise be obligated to pay for. For instance, the New Mexico State Capitol displays multiple pieces of interesting regional artwork throughout its facility, therefore fulfilling one’s artsy side without financial outlay. Unless of course you also wish to visit a gallery displaying for example Georgia O’Keefe’s works, which is also an amazing treat. By the way, we are not “artsy” sort of folks, but very


much appreciate it, be it Michelangelo’s David, or Delaware’s own Jack Lewis and his interpretation of Deale Island, MD. And in the state capitol, you never know who will walk around the corner, such as in one of the capitols we, just us, talked one-on-one with the Lieutenant Governor: I believe he was later indicted for something or other! WE didn’t do it! We also gravitate toward any Presidential Library. Even if they are not “officially” sanctioned as such. It matters not the party affiliation of the president. We’ve visited Clinton’s and Truman’s, Reagan’s and Nixon’s, and all others save two. Also a few unofficial ones such as the Rutherford B. Hayes Library/Museum/Center. Take your pick! They are all interesting, provocative, and above all, provide a picture into the lives and times of those who served and are featured. I will say that some move my inner self more than others, party aside.


Photo Credit: Corey Taratua via Flickr

Now that you’ve emptied the old bank account to purchase your home on wheels, expended some time enjoying the planning of your journey, built up the travel kitty, and moved all of the foodstuffs from the house fridge into what you might find to be a more “compact” one in the RV, you are about ready to set sail, as we sailors are wont to say.

order up those guides and maps, brew a cup of whatever fulfills you, and put the guides and maps to work. It’s a great way to fill those cool, damp days! Now you will know where you are going as you depart and will be traveling the roads you’ve selected as opposed to what that annoying person in the GPS is hollering at you! And fumbling for the guide book or map for directions to Crazy Larry’s Boutique in the middle of a busy intersection with horns blaring at you is not cool! Really darlin’! Travel safely!

Don’t pull out yet! There are a few more things we will discuss next time. Until then, 40  

Photo Credit: Brent Moore


Ranch & Reserve Magazine

We’re fans of the show too. Stay tuned for country concert & festival listings   Together with (real) country music stories.   R&R’s Festival Fan Schedule coming May, 2016!  

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April 1-2, 2016

46th Annual Dine College Pow Wow Dine College – Tsaile Campus: 1 Circle Drive, Tsaile, AZ Grand Entry Friday 7 pm Saturday 1 pm & 7 pm Phone: 928-724-6981

April 2-3, 2016

44th Annual Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow Skyline High School: 2552 N. Maple Rd., Ann Arbor, MI Grand Entry Saturday 12 pm & 7 pm Sunday 12 pm

April 2, 2016

Buffalo Run Casino Pow Wow Peoria Showplace: 1000 Buffalo Run Boulevard, Miami, OK Registration Saturday 9:30 am Schedule Saturday 11 am – 7 pm Phone: (Christie) 918-542-1873

April 2, 2016

27th Annual Woodlands & High Plains Pow Wow North Dakota State University, Memorial Union: Great Plains Ballroom: 1401 Administration Avenue, Fargo, ND Schedule Saturday 12 – 9:30 pm Phone: (Jered Pigeon) 701-231-7267 Email:

April 2-3, 2016

First Nations University of Canada 38th Annual Spring Celebration Brandt Centre, Evraz Place: 1700 Elphinstone Street, Regina, SK Grand Entry 12 pm & 7 pm Daily Website:

April 9, 2016

33RD ANNUAL MSU POW WOW OF LIFE Michigan State University, Jenison Field House: 211 Jenison Field House, East Lansing, MI Grand Entry 12 pm & 6 pm Schedule Saturday 10 am – 9 pm Email:

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Apr. 9-10, 2016

18th Annual Chumash Day Pow Wow Malibu Bluffs Park: 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA Grand Entry Saturday 1 pm Sunday 12 pm Phone: (Kristin Riesgo) 310-456-2489, ext. 350 Email: Website:

Apr. 15-17, 2016

Haliwa-Saponi Tribe 51st Annual Pow Wow Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School: 130 Haliwa-Saponi Trail, Hollister, NC Grand Entry Friday 7 pm Saturday 12 pm & 7 pm Sunday 1 pm Phone: 252-586-4017 Email:

April 16, 2016

The Multicultural Student Union of Western Oregon University 23rd Annual Pow Wow Western Oregon University: Pacific Room: 345 Monmouth Ave N, Monmouth, OR Grand Entry 12 pm & 7 pm Phone: 503-838-8403 Email:

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April 16, 2016

22nd Annual University of Iowa Pow Wow University of Iowa Field House: 225 South Grand Avenue, Iowa City, IA Grand Entry 1 pm & 7 pm Phone: (Tracy Peterson) 319-335-8298 Email:

April 16, 2016

Bacone College Pow Wow 2016 Historic Bacone Campus: 2299 Old Bacone Rd., Muskogee, OK Schedule Saturday 1 – 5 pm Phone: 918-360-6471 Email:

Apr. 16-17, 2016

Leech Lake Tribal College Anwebin Niimi’idiwin Cass Lake Bena High School: 15308 State Highway 371 NW, Cass Lake, MN Grand Entry Saturday 1 pm & 6:30 pm Sunday 1 pm Phone: (David Northbird) (218) 335-4222 Email:

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Apr. 28-30, 2016

2016 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow The Pit: 1111 University Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM Grand Entry Friday 12 pm & 7pm Saturday 12 pm & 6pm Phone: 505-836-2810 Website:

May 6-7, 2016

Haskell Indian Nations University 2016 Commencement Pow Wow Haskell Indian Nations University: 155 E Indian Ave, Lawrence, KS Grand Entry Friday 7 pm Saturday 1 pm & 7 pm Phone: (Ron Brave) 785-218-2372

May 6-7, 2016

36th Annual Flagstaff High School Pow Wow Flagstaff High School: 400 W Elm Ave, Flagstaff , AZ Grand Entry Friday 7 pm Saturday 1 pm & 7 pm Phone: (928) 773-8120

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June 10-12, 2016 Table Mountain Rancheria 16th Annual

Pow Wow Table Mountain Pow Wow Grounds – West of Casino: 8184 Table Mountain Rd, Friant, CA Schedule Friday, June 10 – 7 pm Saturday, June 11 – 12 pm & 6 pm Sunday, June 12 – 12 pm Phone: 559-822-2587

June 17-19, 2016 Great Lakes Area 40th Annual Traditional

Pow Wow Woodland Gathering Grounds: W 399 US-2, Harris, MI Phone: (906) 723-2612

July 22-24, 2016

37th Annual Grand River Champion of Champions Pow Wow Chiefswood Tent & Trailer Park, Brant County Hwy. 54, Ohsweken, ON Grand Entry Saturday 12 pm & 7 pm Sunday 12 pm Phone: (Six Nations Tourism) 1-866-393-3001 Email: Website:

July 29-30, 2016

66th Annual Indian Hills Pow Wow Indian Hills: 9300 N Sooner Rd, Oklahoma City, OK Grand Entry Friday 8 pm Saturday 8 pm Sunday 8 pm Phone: (Tom Morgan) 405-826-8189 Email:

Aug. 5-7, 2016

52nd Annual Rocky Boy Celebration Rocky Boy Indian Reservation: Rocky Boy, Rocky Boy, MT Phone: (Dustin Whiteford or Caryn Sangrey / Tanya Schmokel) 406-395-5705 / 406-395-4478

Aug. 20-21, 2016

Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow & Traditional Gathering 2789 Mississauga Rd., Hagersville, ON Grand Entry Saturday 1 pm & 7 pm Sunday 1 pm Phone: 905-768-3067 Email: Website:

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Sept. 10-11, 2016 Great Dakota Gathering, Homecoming &

Powwow Unity Park: Parks Ave, Winona, MN Phone: (507) 494-8849 Website:

Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2016

26th Annual Stillwater Pow Wow Shasta District Fair Grounds: 1890 Briggs St., Anderson, CA Phone: (Louise Davis) 530-225-8979 Email:

Nov. 5-6, 2016

30th Annual Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Scottsdale Arizona: Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community Baseball Field, 1839 N Longmore Road, Scottsdale, AZ (NE corner of McDowell & Longmore Roads) Grand Entry Saturday 1 pm & 7 pm Sunday 1 pm Phone: 208-241-2175 Email:

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Ranch & Reserve Magazine’s  

‘Road to the Rodeo Schedule’ is coming June, 2016!

Ranch & Reserve Magazine Vol 1 Issue 4  

The 2016 North American Pow Wow special issue, including feature articles on Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures, ‘The Days of Wine & Chocolate’...