I took Friday and Monday as vacation days, and after dropping the dogs off at the kennel, pointed the truck southeast and headed to Sooper Seekrit Location, Colorado, for the Gathering of My Tribe.
Every year over Columbus Day weekend, we have Blogorado. It's a weekend where I get to catch up with old friends, make new friends, eat gluttonously, and shoot excessively.
A few folks, like Peter from Bayou Renaissance Man, Old NFO, Jennifer from In Jennifer's Head, Tam from The View From The Porch, and others had arrived on Thursday. I pulled into the Farm Fam homestead around 1:45 or so, and it was like I'd seen all these folks just the day before, instead of a year before. We ate a wonderful meal of pot roast with potatoes, as well as Jennifer's Lumpia, which is a Filipino egg roll made with pork. These things are divine, and I had more than I should have, but what's a Blogorado trip if you don't overeat?
Saturday morning saw the gang at the "Obligatory Cow", our code name for the local diner. These folks always treat us well, blocking off a side room that fits us all, providing a large urn of coffee, and a waitress that works her tail off. In return, we tip exceedingly well. Every morning, there's an informal contest to see who can pick up the breakfast tab (Old NFO got it Saturday, buying for everyone), and thus we generally leave what we would have spent on breakfast as a tip (for instance, my meal would have cost ~ $13 with food, coffee, juice, and a tip, so I just dropped $15 on the table. Others did the same. The waitress probably made close to as much on Saturday morning as she will the rest of the month.)
After breakfast, we drove to the farm, collected our gear and such, and made for the range. I'd brought my Glock 19, my Marlin Model 60, my Mossberg 500, my AR-15, and my "work in progress" AR-15 in .300BLK -- AE Pilot Jim offered to assist me with a few items on the build. After a quick safety briefing that included identifying those with medical knowledge and the location of the assorted first aid kits, we commenced to shooting.
And shoot we did. The range is circular after a fashion, and there are stands for shotgunning/clay shooting, a pistol range, a 100 yard rimfire range, and an area for LONG rifle shooting (out to 750 yards).
Oh, and a cannon. Well, technically a half-scale replica of an M1814 Mountain Howitzer. As Peter writes:
The replica cannon at the range yesterday was half-scale, with a 3" bore instead of the 4.62" of the full-size gun. Technically, that would make the replica a 3-pounder cannon, instead of the full-size 12-pounder. It fired hard-frozen bottles of water as improvised ammunition (although one can cast lead balls to fit the bore, if one is so inclined).
I spent much of the day on the shotgun range, as my fall hunting this year will be primarily duck and pheasant due to some work scheduling issues that have me unable to hunt elk. As skilled with a camera as she is with a pistol, Tam got this really neat shot of me shooting a 20G Remington 1100. Note the spent shell in the air, just after I fired the shot:
We had some new folks this year, Julie and and a few others who made the trip from Australia. Hey, Blogorado is now an international attraction! They enjoyed shooting guns they can't get or own in Australia, and were delightful folks to be around.
Saturday dinner was steaks on the grill. Big steaks. HUGE steaks. I was unable to finish all of mine, as were others. I put a few of the ones that didn't get finished into a ziplock and froze them, as my dogs will enjoy the bones greatly.
Sunday was more range time, after yet another hearty breakfast, and Farm Dad made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Having seen me shoot that 20G 1100 and hearing me speak of how much I liked it, he offered a trade: My 3rd Gen Glock 19 for his Remington 1100 (in 12G). He can't use it for hunting any more, and wanted it to go to a good home, someone who would use it for its intended purpose. I was flabbergasted at the kindness, but that's just the sort of folk that you will find at Blogorado. At any rate, I've now got an 1100 added to the collection. I'm going to take it to my gunsmith for a thorough cleaning and inspection, but I ran a hundred and twenty five shells through it Sunday, and it shoots just fine, save for the loose nut behind the trigger.
Sunday evening was the final dinner, a fine beef stew, and after a final breakfast Monday morning, we shook hands (well, actually pretty much everybody just hugged instead) and dispersed to the four winds, with hearts at peace, souls refreshed, and smiling faces.
These are my people. This is my Tribe.
I'll see ya next year, gang. Until then, fair winds.