Category: Dude Ranch

Welcome Guest Author ~ Tina Dee!


Heritage and Legacy – Lessons from Rankin Ranch to an Author

Tina Dee author photo

Tina Dee with Molly

 

My name is Tina Dee and I write Christian romantic-comedy, both contemporary and historical.
My stories feature heroines with grit, gumption, and grace—and the heroes who fall in love with them. My characters are flawed but loveable.

I love the old west. But what I really love is bits of the old west’s grit, gumption, and grace preserved in today’s world. Dude or guest ranches fascinate me, especially ones that had their beginnings, of some sort, over a hundred years ago.

 

~ Researching Rankin Ranch ~

I found one such place while researching ranches for my Wildflower Ranch series—a fascinating 31,000-acre place called Rankin Ranch, located in what they describe as a ‘mountain valley deep in the heart of California’s Tehachapi mountains, and at the southern end of the Sequoia National forest.’

Rankin Ranch has all the makings of a great western story—it is a great western story, but I’m not going to retell it, since the Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch has its own incredible story already shared on their website. I’ll just highlight a few things and invite you over via their link later in this post.

For now, I wanted to share what really pulled me into their story and why their place—their story—is an inspiration for a story I’m writing now (which will be out at the end of the month, called The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch, book 15 in the Whispers in Wyoming series), and why it’s my continued inspiration for my own series called, Short Stories from Wildflower Ranch (Wildflower Ranch, book 1 and Wrangled Into Love, book 2—with more stories to come this year and next).

Overland Team at Rankin Ranch barn

-The Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch once served as a stage stop for the Overland mail route. The old barn where the teamsters’ horses were tended to is still used today for hay storage.

-The ranch is still run by 4th, 5th, and 6th generation Rankins.

The Rankin Family

For me, the most incredible part of the story comes during the 1950s when the matriarch of the family, Helen—who was newly widowed—had to make a decision about the ranch—to sell it, or to keep it. I invite you to read about the cattle ranch’s rich history here, and then read about its guest ranch history here. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Helen Rankin

In my stories, I always try to write about women with grit, gumption, and grace who are facing challenges that they feel are beyond them but they find their way to their future and their everyday-romantic-hero by those same virtues. Helen Rankin was an archetype of those very qualities; she was faced with overwhelming challenges that she met head-on, and generations later, the family and the ranch are still thriving.

Here’s a little blurb from my book …

 

Sometimes love blooms in the places you least expect…

Charlene “Charlie” Evans is ready for a new beginning after a terrible riding accident leaves her unable to compete in the Rodeo World Championship. When she receives a job offer, as foreman for a ranch, she gladly accepts. So what if she sort of passed herself off as a man in order to get the job?

Dan Richards is offered the ranch of his dreams from his terminally ill uncle for a price he can’t refuse. He jumps at the chance to own a ranch he has loved since childhood. However, when he arrives at the place it’s not what he had hoped for, or as he remembered. The ranch is in shambles. With no experience, where does he go from here?

Will Dan and Charlie let God help them find new dreams on Wildflower Ranch?

A Christian romantic-comedy novella.

Thank you for letting me share a bit about my Wildflower Ranch series and where the real-life inspiration for the ranch came from. 

For updates about my stories, I send out a newsletter twice a month with giveaways and other fun stuff. Please feel invited to sign up for my newsletter at Tina Dee Books Newsletter. You can also follow me on Amazon here.

I will be giving away a copy of Wildflower Ranch to three commenters. If you’re not chosen, you can still get the book on Amazon here.

Jane Porter: Cowgirl at a Dude Ranch

image12  Just a week after the big RWA conf in San Diego, I flew with my two older sons to Denver while my husband flew in from Hawaii with our little guy to meet up for a huge family reunion at a dude ranch near Grant, Colorado.   Grant—originally called Grantville after President Ulysses S. Grant—was founded in 1870 and within twenty years had a population of 200. It’s a lot smaller than that today.

I write ranch stories.

I love cowboys.

But I confess:  I got on that plane nervous about playing cowgirl for a week…especially with four different generations, and not because I don’t love everyone, but I’m a hard core introvert and the very idea of scheduled activities, much less 8 hours of scheduled activities for seven days filled me with a fair amount of trepidation.

Happily, reaching the ranch, I breathe in the clear clean mountain air and began to relax. Tumbling River is located at a 9,000 foot elevation so the scenery is spectacular, and the ranch itself has a fascinating history.  Our hosts shared that some of the buildings date back a hundred plus years, and is always favorite with ranch guests.  We didn’t have one of the old cabins, or the original homestead cabin, which had been built in the late 1800s, but our cabin was very comfortable and pretty and perfect.

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My boys had as many activities as I did…and each of the boys had activities for his ‘age group’. Mac was thrilled with all of his, especially because he could be with Luke, his cousin who is just 20 days older and full of fun. Mac and Luke’s mornings started with a horse back ride and then either a hike or fun games, followed by lunch with everyone and then family fun that we could all do together: fishing, swimming, rodeo practice, hay rides.

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While Mac did ‘kid stuff’, my two older boys were able to go rock climbing, fly-fishing, white-water rafting, and do longer trail rides, including a visit to a ghost town in the mountains.

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Midweek when I was craving some alone time with my guy, Ty and I packed up Mac and headed to Georgetown, forty-five minutes away. Georgetown is a historic mining town, and today a historic landmark, preserving the town’s past when its silver boom turned it into the third largest city in Colorado. Only a thousand people live in Georgetown today but it has lots of interesting buildings and fun places to shop, eat, and explore.

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image21But the dude ranch wasn’t just blue skies and fresh air, sparkling rivers and massive mountains, it was really good food.  The kind of food you’d want on a dude ranch after a long trail ride:  ribs and chicken, tri-tip and smoked pork tenderloin.  And for those who went on the overnight ride and visited the ghost town, they had coffee and flapjacks and bacon in the morning, eating outside next to the campfire.  I didn’t do the overnight as I stayed at the ranch with Mac, and I was envious of those who had their overnight adventure but I do think I slept better in the big luxurious bed!

Back home, I’m still doing laundry and now trying to get my middle son ready for his senior year of high school (which starts Monday!!) but I’ve a lot of new ideas for future western stories so I owe my family a huge thanks for dragging me out of my comfort zone and into a dude ranch vacation!

Have you ever or would you one day like to visit a dude ranch?  If you’ve already been, what did you love most about your experience?  And if you haven’t, what’s the one thing you’d really want to do there?  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a fun prize!  Contest ends August 10th. 🙂

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Updated: July 29, 2016 — 5:11 pm
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