Annual 4CU Rally at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, Arizona

17 - 21 Feb  2011 - Slideshow Below Text

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By mid-February we were quite ready to have a break from the daily trials of dealing with the aftermath of the flood, the repairs, the insurance people and just life in general. So we were excited to finally pull the Bambi out of the front yard for a long weekend of fun at Dead Horse 5, held at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona. This is a favorite and well-attended Four Corners Unit Rally hosted every year by Richard & Jan. And it’s the only rally we hold that is a “themed” rally. This year’s theme was “Cowboys & Cowgirls”… and were we ready to whoop it up for a few days and have some fun!

We left Tucson at about noon Thursday, 17 February and headed north to Cottonwood … a day earlier than the “official” start of the rally. On the way out of town we picked up the newly printed Four Corners Unit Cookbooks from Arizona Lithographers along with the flamingo pink coil bindings. The books were collated and punched and ready to bind. The Cookbook was a Unit project … the recipes were gathered and compiled by Jan and Julianne with submissions from everyone who cared to contribute… Terry created the artwork, designed the Cookbook and managed the production … Ron, production manager for Arizona Lithographers arranged for the Cookbook to be digitally printed gratis, and Louis provided the binding materials free of cost. The group project was done with donated time, materials and talent … with 100% of the proceeds going to the 4CU. The Cookbook was to be unveiled at the Dead Horse Rally, priced at  $15 each. And they were a huge success.

With the “Cowboys & Cowgirls” theme for the rally, we appropriately used the “Wild West” Décor in the Bambi for this trip. It’s a funky vintage-feeling print with cowboys, and horses and wagons …

We got to Cottonwood about 3:30 PM, just in time to get set up, make hellos, and go off with the other early arrivals for a dinner at the Tavern Grille in Cottonwood’s Old Town. We love that place … friendly bustling, great food, and very up beat. We try to grab a lunch or dinner there every time we are in the area … and it’s become a favorite for the Dead Horse Gang to hit when we are rallying.

The weather for the weekend looked a bit foreboding … kind of cold forecasts and threatening skies.  But we didn’t care. It was winter in Central Arizona so we knew what we might be in for. It’s difficult to predict exactly what the weather is going to be like on any given weekend, so we have learned to go with the flow. It was a dry-camping rally, so everyone was prepared with their generators, warm clothes and plenty of firewood to offer up to the campfire gods.

That first night after dinner we had a small campfire and a nice evening sitting around catching up with the early birds … there were 18 “early” rigs out of the 30-something expected, so it wasn’t a “small” group by any means. Seems this group likes to get an early start and no one likes to miss anything.

Friday the rest of the ralliers showed up and we were in full swing by happy hour. Folks were set to have a good time, despite the cloudy skies and intermittent rain. If it rained we hung out in the ramada area and if it was nice, we were out by the fire. Friday evening we had a happy hour and the usual potluck, followed by the campfire.

Saturday morning we had boil-in-bag omelets … take a zip-lock bag, write your name on it with a marker, put your own omelet fixings inside, zip it up and plop it into a big pot of boiling water. 15 minutes later you claim your bag, turn out the omelet onto a plate and there you have it! They are surprisingly good! That afternoon we took off to go antiquing in Old Town, which is full of great antique stores, boutiques and interesting shops. Later that afternoon came home and made Chili for a potluck the next night.

Saturday evening we had the happy hour, of course, and it was also the night for Cowboy Drag where everyone dressed in western duds and costumes. It was hysterical. Steve won the men’s contest with his slightly scary Indian Chief getup and Tamara won the ladies’ competition with her fabulous version of a real saloon madam. She was great. There was everything from rough and ready gunslingers to Indian chiefs… what an easy group the 4CU is! They’ll do  whatever you ask them to! Dress up? Sure thing!  The festivities were followed with a Western catered dinner of pulled pork, cowboy beans and slaw from one of the local eateries … and a great 4CU cake! One thing is for sure at 4CU rallies … we never go hungry!  (If you do, it’s your own fault.)

After dinner it was White Elephant time with lots of laughs as we all got to chose our “gifts” and see what tragic object we received. It’s great fun and actually there are some great things that people “fight” over … anything having a flamingo on it for instance … or anything directly related to Airstreams. We’re so predictable!

Sunday it contntued to rain off and on all day… But that didn’t keep us from our routine … up early for breakfast if you wish, a loosely organized afernoon so folks have plenty of time to do whatever they feel like ... and a great happy hour with snacks, a potluck with everyone bringing a batch of their favorite chili to share with folks … topped off with Dutch oven desserts and followed by another evening around the campfire.

Monday it was bright and clear and sunny. It had not been the best weather over the weekend, but we all survived and had a great time despite it, as always. And with good weather Monday, we were all pleased to have a nice day for hitching up, saying our goodbyes and heading home.

Normally, we would have added another leg to this trip. We usually go to Lake Pleasant for a few days after Dead Horse, but this year, we needed to return to Tucson and reality and get the Bambi back in the yard to continue on with our recovery from the flood. Unlike our usual way of meandering home, we headed south on I-17 straight through Phoenix and on to Tucson on I-10 ... the most direct route possible. But it had been a wonderful break that rejuvenated us and allowed us a respite from what we had waiting at home, and some time physically away from it. We were happy for the opportunity and very glad that we had not opted to skip the rally and stay home.

Enjoy the pictures below. You can run a slide show if you wish. You can go back to the 2011 trip list using the button below, and there is another one at the end of the pictures. From there you can go to other years of trips, perhaps comparing earlier Dead Horse Rallies to this one. They are all unique!

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