Always Set the Parking Brake on Your ATV

Two years ago, a guest at our ranch was helping with some surveys. When he dismounted from the ATV which we provided, he didn’t set the parking brake. When we returned, about an hour later, the ATV was gone, but there was a set of tracks going down-hill for about 150 yards to a ravine. The ATV was found upside down in the ravine, but it still ran.

This year, our buddy Joe was using the same ATV when he stopped to remove a branch from the road. When he turned around, he watched as the ATV disappeared over the hill into a poison oak patch. It rolled about 40 yards down the hill before stopping.

Here is a video of a portion of the recovery, which took about an hour. Joe took the brunt of it, climbing down to the ATV through poison oak. Fortunately he’s never had a reaction to poison oak, at least not so far.

From crash to recovery was a couple hours. We improvised using the winch on another ATV and various other mechanical advantage to pull the ATV up hill through the brush.

The Hairy Woodpecker

While hiking in springtime, I come across the hairy woodpecker often. It is easy to find them in the spring as they are often making their call, which is not really a call, it’s the sound of the bird beating its beak against hard wood.

Yesterday I came upon a hairy woodpecker doing his thing and I had my iPad mini with me. So I may a brief video to share. Here is the link. If you go to full screen mode, you’ll see him, but hearing him is the important part. One you’ve heard him, you’ll hear him again.

When I get a chance, I’ll add a close-up photo, but I can’t find one in my files. Funny how I see some birds a million times, but don’t take a photo.

Africa in 2014 or 2015?

MDF Livermore-Pleasanton will have a trip to Africa in the Live Auction this Friday night, March 14.

Thormahlen & Cochran Safaris, with camps in South Africa and Namibia has donated a seven-day hunt which includes $1,000 credit towards trophy fees.

Go to and read about them.

Do your homework before the dinner, or you’ll have a hard time making a decision.

Here are the hunt donation forms for South Africa and Namibia: Donations SCI SA Nam13

Trophy fees are listed on their web site.

Many MDF members have purchased their first African trip at MDF banquets – I did.

Blue wildebeast are one favorite plains game animal in South Africa and Namibia.

Blue wildebeast are one favorite plains game animal in South Africa and Namibia.

Here’s a flyer. Order your tickets now. Times running out. Click on the link below for banquet info.

Flyer front page      2014 flyer pg 2      2014 ticket order form

Hog Hunts for Auction March 14 at the Livermore MDF Banquet

Red Bank Outfitters is donating a pig hunt to MDF for the Livermore-Pleasanton banquet. The hunt is a one-day hunt for one hunter. Red Bank offers several types of hunts including spot and stalk or with hounds.

In addition, a local rancher, has donated a hunt for two hunters on his large cattle ranch. He says there are plenty of hogs.

Maybe you can find one this big!

Maybe you can find one this big!

Here is the information for the banquet, just click on the link. Flyer front page 

2014 flyer pg 2   

2014 ticket order form

More Hunts and Trips for the March 14 Livermore – Pleasanton MDF Banquet.

Packer Fernando resizedKennedy Meadows Pack Station is once again donating a drop camp for two hunters or fishermen in the Immigrant Wilderness near Sonora Pass.

Wilderness Unlimited is donating a fishing trip for four people, for three days and two nights of camping – including a boat with access to a private lake.

Matt Fly FishThe Holm Ranch is again donating a youth deer hunt on their Livermore ranch where they have a 100% success rate.

Bob and family have a 100% record on this annual buck hunt.

Bob and family have a 100% record on this annual buck hunt.

The date of the event is March 14 so there no time left for procrastination. Here’s a flyer with information about how to get your tickets. Just click on the link.

2014 ticket order form

Completion of a Permanent Ranch Road Easement is Near

It is very likely that our Alameda County Ranch has been accessible by some type of road since before California became a state. At the time when Mexico owned California and Mexican citizens managed and/or owned the Ranchos, cattle and sheep grazed in the hills near Sunol. After the United States took title to California, the U.S. Congress created legislation that would guide the Mexican Rancho owners towards continuing ownership with a series of hearings by Land Commissions.

The area between our ranch and Sunol was Rancho land that was called Rancho El Valle de San Jose. The United States never owned this land. However there was a road over this land that provided access to our ranch. In 1882, Alameda County created a county road and called it County Road 2012. That would have been the end of the story, but so much controversy occurred over the creation of the county road that it was never completed and was eventually abandoned.

This series of events created a basis for our right of access, but it also created many serious legal challenges. In the end, we were able to negotiate a recordable easement agreement that will forever protect our right to access our property. The process took about nine years with legal costs of over $250,000.

Last week the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission approved our settlement agreement and easement agreement. Over the next month and a half the City and County of San Francisco will review the agreements and we believe that the documents will be signed.

We’ve learned a lot about easements, the legal process, litigation, negotiation and working with bureaucracy. As I gather my thoughts, I’ll come up with a process to publish some information that may be useful to others who end up in similar predicaments.