October 2012

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I was supposed to be on the east coast yesterday but instead, I diverted to Puerto Vallarta. Where it is sunny and warm and beautiful and I feel more than a little bit guilty because of Sandy. You know how some momentous figure comes along once in a lifetime and everyone names their newborn after that person? Will anyone, for years hence, dare to name their child Sandy? I can’t imagine.

So I arrived in Puerto Vallarta about 5pm yesterday and Juan picked me up and drove me to Bucerias, about 30 minutes north, and after I opened all the doors and windows and turned on the air-conditioning, I was sitting in the pool, not an hour later, with a margarita. Watching the sunset. And, yes, I feel guilty about it. But what would you do? Fly to Jersey?

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When you go out for a ride at Alisal, there’s not a lot of yacking. Once you’re out on the trail, people seem to settle in and keep their mouths shut. Sort of like going in to a church. Talk just isn’t necessary.

So today I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. I’ve focused primarily on the cowgirls at Alisal—both the professional ones and the young ones just starting out. Just look at the photos—I think that’s all you need to know.


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The Firestone Sisters

Mary and Lucy Firestone

The Firestone sisters, Mary and Lucy (or maybe it’s Lucy and Mary), with my favorite lady wrangler, Haddie Tal. Photo by David Lansing.

At the Waggin’ Tongue Lounge at Alisal I met Lucy and Mary Firestone. They noticed me rudely staring at them and so turned around on their bar stools and introduced themselves. Very civilized.

The reason I was staring at them, in addition to the fact that they were obviously very attractive, is that I was trying to figure out if they were twins or not. They looked remarkably similar and yet, there was something about them that suggested otherwise. Finally I just asked them.

“No,” said Mary (or maybe it was Lucy), “but we get that all the time. So don’t feel bad.”

They gave me their business card (they blog as the Firestone Sisters) and that night after dinner, I went back to my room and, I’m rather embarrassed to admit, checked them out. I don’t want to put words in their mouths so here’s what their blog says:

“We are not Twins! We are commonly confused for each other (we will confess that we do look a lot alike).”

That was reassuring. At least I’m not the only one who thinks so.

On growing up together: “Our fondest memories include: sister bonding road trips up and down the Eastern seaboard (most without the permission of our parents), realizing that foam parties were overrated in Mojaca, Spain, and climbing the Great Wall of China together in 100% humidity.”

Confession: I don’t know what a foam party is and I’ve never heard of Mojaca.

About their childhood bedrooms: “Mary’s room was perfection in pink. Adorned with collages made from high fashion magazines, designer and vintage clothes strewen about, Mary’s room was a shrine to Hollywood Glamour Queens. Stacked beside her bed were cherished biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Hepburn, and other divas of the silver screen.

“Lucy’s childhood room was blue and lined with shelves crowded with sporting trophies. Lucy was the adventurous tomboy and natural athlete, playing boys hockey and baseball and becoming a high school all-American.”

Extraordinary. I don’t think I’ve ever read a blog where people included scenes from their childhood bedrooms as part of their bio. But there they are. The Firestone sisters.

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In my bungalow at the Alisal Ranch. Photo by David Lansing.

I’ve become quite fond of my bungalow at the Alisal Ranch. I like its quirkiness. For instance, there’s no TV but there is wi-fi. No phone but a very nice coffee maker. I’ve got a wood-burning fireplace and every morning an elderly gentleman comes by and asks me if I need a few more pieces of oak. The walls are decorated with poster-sized black and white photos of the cattle operation on the ranch in what looks like the 1950s, and next to the fireplace is a rusty corrugated tin painting of a cowboy on a bucking horse.

This morning, after a breakfast of coffee and huevos rancheros, I took the complimentary Wall Street Journal and went and sat in a plush outdoor chair set up under the shade of a hundred-year-old oak out on the lawn. Guests in their cowboy boots and Western hats filed by, giving me a “Howdy,” on their way to the barn while I sat sipping my coffee and reading about the financial struggles in Greece–every bit the epitome of an urban cowboy.

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