Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Day the Lights Went Out ...

A power outage can be a pain in the ass for anyone trying to conduct a business ... but when it happens first thing in the morning at a ranch with a full slate of 70 guests, then it’s high drama. 
Something happened around 4.30am to cut the power; but no one seemed to know what. Changing the fuses didn’t work - it was clearly something more major. So while Clay headed to the mesa to get phone reception (since all the phones here are run off the internet, and therefore weren't working either) to call the power company, the kitchen and maintenance staff went into emergency overdrive, hauling out Ed and Jean’s generator to power essential electrical items in the kitchen.

                                  (Ed jumping into action with a smile)

What they managed to pull off was next to miraculous - a full buffet breakfast, hot coffee and that evening’s brisket underway in the oven, all by 7am. Guests were none the wiser to the enormity of the feat, but I guess that’s the sign of a seamless operation. 
Meanwhile, a delivery of refrigerated food was en route from town; so arrangements had to be made to stall that, with the kitchen cool rooms already heating up to a potentially hazardous temperature. 
Of course, other operations around the ranch were also affected - I couldn’t print out my photos, or charge my computer - but these were minor problems compared to keeping a kitchen functioning.
And of course, no power here means no water (which is driven by electrical pumps) ... but at least everyone smelled bad, not just me! And just in case, housekeeping delivered bottled water to each cabin, both for drinking and in the event that the toilets stopped flushing ... eek!
It was eventually determined that the problem was a broken transformer ... situated under Clay and Leah’s front porch. Not an easy fix. So a temporary line (sorry if that’s not the technical term, what would I know?) was installed in a trench dug by Dylan and his baby excavator, bringing power back by around 10.40am.

                                     (Dylan to the rescue!)

Crises do tend to bring out the best in people; and I heard nothing but praise for the chefs, waitstaff, housekeeping and the maintenance guys in pulling together and coping with a ridiculous, high-stress situation. Gotta hand it to these folk for their hard work, humour and improvisation under incredible duress.

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