Max Ibach has fashioned another hemline ripper for his audience that takes place on a ranch in beautiful Idaho. When Uncle Charley dies, Jamie Sage inherits six million dollars, an Investment banking business, and a forty thousand acre ranch. The ranch adjoins the magnificent Frank Church, River of no Return Wilderness Area. Big Horn Ranch is eighty miles from a town of any sort.
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Double Dragon Publishing
April 06, 2006
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Excerpt from A Climb to Ecstasy by Max Ibach
I sit on the front deck of the elderly log ranch house in a comfortable old rocker until I'm bored nearly to death. My laptop lies on the end table near my left elbow and I'm fed up with that, as well. In four weeks, the first load of summer guests will arrive and we're not nearly ready.
Six months ago my favorite uncle died and left me six million dollars, an investment banking business in New York City, and a wonderfully remote forty thousand acre ranch in Idaho. I love the money and the banking business, but am uncertain about the ranch. Now that I'm here, I just want to sit around, inhale the air, and stare at the snow capped mountains. I've decided during the past few days that I can write a book entitled 'What I Don't Know About Ranching', but nobody will want to read it. There are simply too many things I don't understand about ranching, and it makes my ordinarily bright mind feel feeble. A half hour ago, I decided I need a ranch foreman in a hurry, but have no idea where to find or even look for one.
The idea of running a ranch is totally foreign to me. I grew up in north Chicago, and until this very trip have never traveled west of the Mississippi River at any elevation lower than twenty thousand feet. Idaho seems like a foreign country that lies somewhere beyond the horizon. The ranch is eighty miles from a grocery store and just as many miles from anything entertaining. I want to be back in Chicago enjoying the nightlife, while someone else figures out all this stuff and then reports to me.
One thing Uncle Charley and I agree on is that this place needs to be a Guest Ranch. That's the only way it has half a chance of supporting itself. If it doesn't support itself, then it is little more than beautiful scenery and a headache. We raise cattle, but with the price of beef the way it is, we will simply be giving away the grass they eat and all the labor associated with caring for them.
With the guest ranch plan in mind, I drove here two weeks ago to supervise getting the place in shape for the new venture. I'm not certain I haven't lost some brain cells in the process. The only thing I've accomplished is to make a new friend in Mandy Hastings. She's ten years my senior, has children on their own somewhere in the world, and she has a prince of a man in Ernie, her husband.
The only real accomplishment during my weeks of servitude is that before I left Chicago, I set up an advertising campaign through an old classmate who knows about such things. Her company is small enough to be efficient and not as expensive as some of the bigger outfits. I gave her only one idea: we need to set up a booth in a couple of the hunting and fishing tradeshows to get us on the map and identify our competition. I am desperate for more workers, but few people are willing to live eighty miles from a movie theater. I need to learn where to hire people, and in a hurry.
Chuck had authored the original guest ranch idea before he died, and he had begun the initial planning and construction phases. The former bunkhouse had been converted into guest quarters and another larger structure was built of turned logs for a kitchen and dinning area combination. A small group of family oriented quarters had been tacked onto the end of the main ranch building. Further to the west a bunkhouse structure entirely away from the guests, would provide worker housing.