One of the most interesting aspects of the dude ranch business is the exposure to international culture and custom. At Long Hollow Ranch here in little ol’ Sisters, Oregon, we have actually hosted guests from fifty-five countries around the world! There have been as many as three or four countries represented around the dinner table at one time. Now that is a lot of fun!
This Christmas there were people from western Oregon, southern California, and India at the table. These were our first guests from India, a couple that were in Oregon to visit their daughter who has been working in Portland for ten years. During their visit they were taking a mini-tour of the state. All the folks at the table were active and well-educated so there was lively conversation. It was a great experience for all of us. I can’t help thinking that if more people could experience this, there may well be a better understanding leading to less strife in our world.
The first year we were open I was at the main guest house cleaning and preparing for a wedding that was to take place that Saturday. The ceremony was to be held on the front lawn and all rooms were rented for the weekend for the wedding guests. I had made it clear that we should take no more reservations for the week because I wanted to keep things in a state of readiness.
Around four o’clock on Tuesday the phone rang and the local Chamber of Commerce informed me that they had someone in the office who desperately needed rooms for the next few nights. I told her I hadn’t been planning to take more guests, but she put her customer on the line. He began to tell me his situation and it turned out he was part of a group of nine from Switzerland who were traveling toward the coast and could not find enough rooms to house them. So I said yes we would take them. Could we also serve dinner that night? Yes, of course.
So, Dick went to town with a shopping list. As I was preparing for my new guests, alone in the house, I began to hear a roaring sound. It seemed to be getting louder so I went to investigate. Looking out the door, I saw four big Harley-Davidson motorcycles approaching. “What have you got yourself into this time?” I said to myself. Four bikes and a van pulled up at the house and the nine people disembarked. They looked harmless, and since they were from Switzerland, they must be safe, right?
Well, they were safe. They ended up staying three nights and we all had a great time with them. In fact, after all these years some still keep in touch with us via Facebook.
I had quite a time getting all the rooms ready again for the wedding guests, but in the end the experience with these delightful people was worth it.
And the wedding was memorable as well.