Gene Joy submitted the essay titled: “Grapevine Canyon Ranch” on Feb. 14, 2008
Gene first visited the ranch in 1994. He resides in Loveland, OH.
Grapevine Canyon Ranch
By Gene Joy
Grapevine Canyon Ranch was the fulfillment of my childhood fantasies. Growing up in a suburb of Cleveland doesn’t get one in much contact with the West except through Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger. Someday I had to ride into the hills on a great steed in search of bad guys. In my 50’s I no longer needed to find bad guys but that steed into the hills still had a nice ring to it. I searched the directories of guest ranches and narrowed my quest to two; Grapevine and one in Montana. I went with warm and it was a life-changing decision.
I had been to Arizona several times before but, like most, just to the Phoenix and Tucson areas. My arrival at Grapevine put me immediately into the mood. I had to open a real ranch gate, drive through and close it (the suggestion of a graveyard for those who didn’t make the point) but I felt like this was to be something completely different because complete strangers were trusting me to keep the livestock home.
The next day we rode into the Stronghold. My considerable riding lessons in flat Ohio arenas didn’t teach ANYTHING about how not to be distracted by spectacular scenery while on horseback. We spent all day (broke for lunch where Cochise held off the Cavalry) and came back “home” feeling like we had touched a day of history.
After dinner we were given flashlights for the walk back to our casitas and I wasn’t 10 feet from the cook shack when I turned of the light, listened to the silence, smelled the desert air and knew I was where I’d never been before. Almost 20 years later, for anyone familiar with B’rer Rabbit, I had found my ‘laughing place’. Some people have Lourdes, the Blarney Stone, the Champs-Elysees…..for me it’s southeast Arizona and Grapevine Canyon Ranch.
So thank you Eve, Adam, Jen, Danny, Annie and Smoky. When the day comes that my life flashes before my eyes I only hope it slows down for the Grapevine memories.