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When we purchased the parcel now known as Marble Mountain Ranch, it was in a vastly different condition. Some might have called it any number of slanderous terms, all connected to a variation of the word “hovel”. The property was not just physically in disrepair, but it was embroiled in numerous legal clouds. There was so much potential legal drama and deferred maintenance to resolve, that it had sat unsold for quite some time. No body could see a reasonable path through the sea of work. No body dared to envision a dream for what is now California’s Marble Mountain Guest Ranch.

In retrospect, I think that the difference between my family, and all of the other potential buyers of this endeavor lies largely in the willingness to look to what the ranch potentials might be. For us, the vision was unlimited and spoke to any number of various dreams. We could imagine and dream of the ranch as a corporate retreat, a youth camp, a science and educational youth camp, a bed and breakfast, a white water sports center, an equestrian resort, etc. The list of potential business models was endless.   In reality, we are still having this discussion and perfecting /morphing our business identity!

While we have evolved into a unique California guest ranch, with a signature blend of equestrian and white water sports (the saddle and paddle or raft-N-ride signature), we still dream of our next addition, evolution, and perfection of service. The ranch has proven to be a journey and process, as the cliché goes, rather than a final destination business model.

For example, this year our dream of building a “BBQ Depot” for the ranch is coming to fruition.   We are building a beautiful covered outdoor kitchen with a Texas built “Klose” meat smoker, a Santa Maria Grill, and an attached hors d’oeuvres area.

Traditional Western BBQ at California

Nearly complete BBQ depot at California’s Guest Ranch

We feel firmly that the day we stop dreaming about the next improvement, upgrade, and service addition, is the day we need to get out of the guest ranch industry- or get out of Dodge as a cowboy would say. If we are static, we are dying. So, we dream it, and build it.

Guest Ranch Youth Program Petting Zoo

Guest Ranch Petting Zoo nearing completion

I suppose our pioneer ancestors are showing their genes in our guest ranch life. Building a new riding trail is as rewarding as building the ranch BBQ depot!

The fun part for our returning guests is sharing the excitement over the past season’s additions. For 2015, all of our returning family and friends will find the BBQ depot, new riding trails, a new bathroom addition to our deluxe cabin “Quails Nest”, an arched bridge to the pond, a new petting zoo and barn, and some great new ranch resident caretakers and staff. Whew! I’m tired just making the list. Time to get to work, working on the dream, and dreaming on the next project.


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