5th September 2008

A day spent on the road, so your correspondent must apologise for the paucity of exciting stories today! With a long drive ahead of us, we headed out early from Hotel Strater, in order to make it to the range during daytime hours as we had a great deal of organising ahead of us. However, a rather late night for some meant that there were a few tired looking faces clambering aboard our vans. The scenery soon blew away these cobwebs as we headed out through Colorado and eventually into New Mexico.

Lush farmland gave way to the Rocky Mountains via the Eastern part of the Rio Grande – a truly awesome canyon which we crossed via a rather wobbly bridge! Mountain roads which were treacherous at times and reached an altitude of 13,000 feet led to varied speeds and styles of driving. One team member looked rather green and compared his drivers to McCrae and Schumacher, but time was of the essence so I fear his moans went unheeded. Apart from one van getting stuck behind a huge group of learner Harley Davidson riders, the journey was otherwise unremarkable and we all pulled into the Whittington Shooting Centre at around 4pm.

For those of us who had never visited this shooting centre before, it was a delightful surprise. A huge complex over 30,000 acres with 14 separate ranges is a truly impressive sight. We moved into spacious and comfortable log cabins, giving stunning views onto endless plains from our front step, with mountains rising behind. The local team were quick to welcome us, and J.J.’blew my socks down’Jackson kindly handed us the ammunition over which he had been slaving on our behalf.

JJ Jackson briefing our ammo team

After unpacking and sorting kit, it was time for chef Tremlett and his sous-chef Rylands to work their magic at the stove. After a great feed there was a quick team meeting to hand out the international badges (of particular note was Alex Williams’ – his first!). It was then off to bed for our tired but happy band, in preparation for the start of the business end of the tour in the morning.

Day 6 (Friday) – Durrango to Raton