The Lopez family ranch is a 2400+ acre cattle ranch, located near historic Hornitos, CA, in western Mariposa County. It's a paradise of rolling hills, oak trees, and besides cattle, wildlife includes turkeys, doves, ducks, deer and wild hogs. Burns Creek flows through the ranch, which provides water for the cattle and the wildlife. The ranch is a paradise for "happy campers" like us who love to hunt, target shoot, ride a quad, camp and to simply enjoy the beautiful outdoors. The Lopez family are gracious hosts, and gave us the complete "run of the ranch."
Photo: It's early in the afternoon on Tuesday, March 02, 2020, and we've arrived at camp, set up our gear, gathered firewood, and it's time to relax for the afternoon. Firewood is easy to gather, as oak trees grow everywhere, and downed branches are on the ground, ready to be gathered. I brought my chain saw, which came in handy to cut the branches for the perfect size.
Photo: Dan, the "drone flight instructor" teaches Michael, the "student pilot" how to fly a drone.
Photo: Such a great dinner by the light of the propane lantern on this Tuesday evening.
Photo: Wednesday morning, March 03, 2021, it was my turn to cook breakfast. I brought my "wok," made from a plow disk, along with the stand-up burner that I use for cooking. Thanks to a propane "y-adaptor," both my burner and Michael's stove run from my large propane bottle.
Note the Trump flag. Dan refers to our camp as "Trump Camp" which is appropriate as we and 95% of Mariposa County are avid supporters of Donald Trump.
Photo: Diced potatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper, along with corn tortillas and linguica sausage fry on my wok.
Photo: My breakfast this Wednesday morning of diced potato, linguica sausage and corn tortillas. That's Valentina Mexican hot sauce, which is my "go-to" hot sauce of choice for breakfast, and every meal.
Unfortunately, Dan wasn't with us for breakfast, as he had to leave early in the morning and report to work.
Photo: Our camp, with the dirt access road which winds through the valley. Our camp is located near Hornitos, CA, in western Mariposa County at the 900 foot-level. Our camp is located on private property, but since we're friends with our gracious hosts, we have access to the entire 2400+ acres of the ranch, and we can do pretty much what we want to do.
Photo: After enjoying a great early afternoon at Butterfly Creek Winery, we headed back to camp to start on dinner. Dan and I drove to the main house on the ranch, picked up his quad and trailer, and Dan rode it back to camp.
The quad and trailer combination certainly made the task of gathering firewood a cinch!
Photo: Tonight was Michael's turn to prepare dinner, and dinner tonight was a delicious pot of "Shepherd's Pie." My brother is an outstanding camp cook!
Photo: My bowl of "Shepherd's Pie," with lots of ground beef, mixed vegetable, bell pepper and savory gravy. Delicious!
Photo: Thursday morning, March 04, 2021, Michael makes breakfast. Note the camp clock, attached to the tree, which always reads "5 o'clock" which pretty well sums up the way our camp operates.
Photo: Michael prepared a delicious breakfast of potatoes, diced pepper, onion and shredded cheese, along with meatless sausage, which is actually very tasty. I added eggs to my breakfast, as they weren't on his menu.
Photo: After breakfast, it was time to ride Dan's quad = Honda Rancher - around the cattle ranch. We had permission to ride anywhere, but except to gather wood, we stayed on the roads.
Michael rounds a curve just outside of camp. By looking at the photo, you get a great idea of the beautiful scenery.
Photo: I give a "thumbs up" as I enter camp.
Photo: On this Thursday evening, Dan couldn't join us, so Michael and I did a collective effort to prepare dinner for the two of us. One of the camp favorites is jalapeno poppers, so Michael snapped a photo of me as I cut up the jalapeno peppers, and stuff them with shredded Mexican cheese.
Photo: I wrapped the stuffed peppers with a slice of bacon, and grilled them over oak wood, which we gathered at camp. Note the pile of cut up oak behind me, which will feed the fire. Oak is very similar to hickory and is good for any kind of grilling or smoking.
Photo: Jalapeno poppers, wrapped in bacon, cook over my oak wood-fired grill. We had a couple of meatless sausages leftover from bacon, so we defied all odds, wrapped them in bacon, and cooked them on the grill. They worked out great!
Photo: As I was cooking the jalapeno poppers, Michael built a fire, using some of the firewood we gathered today. Dan's quad and trailer came in handy for gathering wood!
Photo: The end result of my effort was a great plate of jalapeno poppers, along with a couple of meatless sausages, which made for a great appetizer. By the time we finished this plate, were were stuffed, but were anticipating the linguica burgers.
Photo: Have you ever seen linguica sausage, shaped into a patty, like a hamburger patty? No... me neither, as today was a first for me. Tonight, the main course was linguica burgers, cooked on my oak wood-fired grill.
Photo: Linguica burger with all the trimmings. Tonight was my first time ever to enjoy a linguica burger, and I can tell you they're delicious!
Photo: It's Friday evening, March 05, 2021, and I'm in camp all by myself, enjoying the lovely evening, and the warm, cheery campfire.
Tonight's dinner was a simple warmed-up can of chili, as I really didn't feel like doing anything spectacular.
Photo: It's mid Saturday morning, March 06, 2012, and I've packed up my gear, parked the quad under the canopy, and I'm ready to reluctantly break camp and head home. The awing, tarp and canopy are set up permantly at our camp, as this is our "go-to" camping spot. The ranch is local for Dan and Michael and a 3-hour drive for me, so it works well in our favor.
Thanks to our friends Kristin and Able for welcoming us to their beautiful property!
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