My story and photos of the Crazy Mountain Ranch


Learing about the trip

I believe it was sometime in late December that James, on a inebriated jaunt on the computer, discovered an email from Marlboro informing him that he and a guest were invited to the elusive Marlboro Ranch in Montana. After going through the steps of confirmation and supplying his information, it finished with a "Congratulations, you have confirmed your invitation to the Marlboro Ranch!" (Or something to that effect.) Of course both of us thought it was some joke or scam. But with some investigating on both our parts, discovered that the Ranch was a true thing, and the only way to visit there was to be invited, or win a trip there. Once that information settled in, then we thought there had to be a catch. With multiple calls, we again discovered there seemed to be no catch, that it was all free and completely paid for by Marlboro! We were realizing that we were going to Montana for free!
A few weeks later FedEx arrived with our packet of papers to fill out. Mostly our information and blah blah blah stuff, nothing too exciting. After that, we get another package from FedEx with sizing information and nearest commercial airport, so they can get us to the right airport and such, and  a letter saying we should be getting our plane tickets around March 1st. After another week or so, yet another package. Our plane tickets! And a check to James for 750 bucks! Technically they say the check is to pay for the taxes on the trip, but psh. Oh and along with that package was two baseball hats with the ranch brand on it. Awesome! Then we got one more surprise before we left. They sent us luggage! Two huge rolling duffel bags! Now all we had to do was pack...


Day One - Leaving Eugene!

Early as fuck start to the day. Got up around 3am to be ready for my sister to pick us up at 4am. We get to the airport and check in, check our luggage (with $25 visa gift cards so we don't have to pay for the checked bags ourselves), and head for security, well once James downed 2 cigarettes before the flight. This is when it started to really sink in, we're going to Montana!!
Our first flight went well, and James survived his first plane ride ever. We had an hour in Salt Lake City, Utah before our next flight. James immediately found the smoking lounge, which in turn got us to spot a few other couples wearing the hats with the Ranch brand. Once on the plane, there were a total of 6 other couples that were heading to the ranch with us.
There was some turbulence before we landed in Bozeman, Montana, but nothing major. Once we walked downstairs of the airport, we experienced our first major part of the trip. Three Marlboro staff was waiting at the bottom of the stairs with signs saying "Ranch Guests". They lead us to a room in the airport reserved just for Marlboro, supplied with sandwiches, drinks, fruit, and cookies. And we had to check in with Ranch security just so they knew we weren't trying to sneak onto the ranch without permission.
We had to wait for about an hour or so before everyone was there to get on the first bus. We were to be the first group to arrive at the Ranch, getting to have the most time there than anyone. The bus pulled through the main gate, with permission from security of course, and the Marlboro theme music starts as we get the first view of the Ranch.
 It's beautiful. The bus was escorted by two snowmobiles as we arrived, which just got everyone that much more excited. We checked in at the Stage Stop, where we got the keys to our room, and had staff show us where the room was.
(I somehow didn't get a direct picture of our building, lol.)
Once in our room, we get another amazing surprise. On both sides of the bed are gifts for us.

Because James was the one invited, they gave him a digital camera, which I immediately claimed as my own since he brought his better camera.
The room itself was beautiful. It was named Pheasant room. All the rooms in that building were named after animals.
The bed was the most comfortable bed we have ever slept on! The first night we slept like rocks, to the point that James had a crick in his neck because he didn't move in his sleep.
Another thing I loved about the room was the bathroom.

Claw foot tub!
I always thought these type of toilets were spiffy.
 After that I called my sis, and James called his mom.  They had a telephone in every building, which ours was in the lobby of our building.
Then we went to explore the Ranch town before meet and greet, and dinner...


Day One - Exploring the Ranch, and dinner

The town was awesome. Even though it was small, there was so much to see. We weren't able to get a picture, but there were two Huge white jack rabbits that passed by the front of our building. And this little buddy hung around our building also. Made sense why our room was named Pheasant.
We then made our way to the Saloon, where everyone was to meet up and get dinner.

On the other side of the Saloon there was the pool tables, which James stayed at for awhile. There was also this pretty cool skull.
Oh and there was free, unlimited drinks. You could just not have two at once, or have a drink that had more than one hard alcohol in it.
We ended up going to bed around midnight, sleeping amazingly until 6am...


Day Two - Breakfast and Zipline

Waking up when it was still fairly dark out in the morning made the town look so serene. Breakfast was amazing, especially the bacon! Sooo yummy. Once we were done with breakfast, we explored the town a little bit more.

We spotted the horses on our way to get geared up for the Adventure Trek, aka Ziplines! We drove in a van equipped with snow tracks instead of tires, it was cool. The drive up to the ziplines took about maybe 20-30 minutes. They have a yurt set up at the start, middle, and end of the lines, where we got geared up more in the first one. According to the instructors, the combination of the harnesses and double cable lines could hold up a semi! Once we were geared up fully, and had dome a quick training/practice, we headed up into the forest more to the first line. James did awesome, for being afraid of heights.
And I friggin loved it too!
I didn't get any pictures of it though, since it's a little hard to take pictures of things while on the ziplines. The best one though was the 2000 feet long line, which is the longest zipline in the United States, and the second longest in the world! It reaches speeds between 55 and 65 miles an hour! You couldn't really see the end platform from the start platform. James was able to have one of the instructors to video the long one, since the instructors know how to do the zip with only one hand. The whole experience was amazing.
After zipline, we had about 45 minutes to get food before our next activity...


Day Two - Wilderness Tour and an Awesome Dinner

So once we got done with lunch, we headed to the Stage Stop for our next activity, the Wilderness Tour. It was a nice wind down for the day, but could have been a bit more exciting. We first drove around with two instructors while they showed up some of the wildlife on the ranch. We saw a pretty blue bird, some Magpies, a Bald eagle feeding off a dead deer stuck to a barbed wire fence (eeuw, I know), a bunch of White Tailed Deer, and a few hawks. Then we stopped at a tent and wandered a little. In one spot they had a recent dead deer where they had a motion camera so they could see what wildlife was in the area. One picture they showed us was the back of a mountain lions head! The also documented badgers, pack rats, and deer. Then they lead us to another spot where they had two skulls, one from an elk, and a deer. One thing I learned is that Elk have literal ivory tusks, but they only grow to about a half inch or so. Lastly they took us back to the tent, where they showed us the picture from the camera, some pelts, which included a brown black bear, a fox, and a bobcat. And they showed us the skulls in the picture below.

A beaver , a pack rat, a badger, a deer, and a bobcat.

We headed back to the ranch town after the tour, where we relaxed for a little while before going to the saloon to relax more before dinner. Then dinner was announced, well two dinners. One was in the saloon, and the other in the Livery. We ended up going to the livery and stayed there until we went to our room. The dinner was Awesome, and so was desert, which was a build your own Sunday, with house made vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream! Yummy.

Most of the coolest group at the ranch, hehe. Plus one of the many coolest staff, Jessica! (She's in the black cowboy hat)
This awesome kitty was in the rafters of the Livery.
James doing karaoke of Journey's Don't Stop Believing.

Our awesome group ended up doing the most karaoke that night. I only got a small video of James singing Journey, and his second song, Blink 182's What's My Age Again, he hasn't uploaded yet. I originally wasn't gonna sing any songs, but near the end of the night, I joined the girls to do two songs.
The awesome girls. Summer, Tifini, Sarah, me, and Cristen.
And the awesome guys. Peter, Zach, Jake, James, and Tommy.

Once we finished with the last song or so, we headed back to our room, to sleep and get ready for the next day...