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Something Fishy at Diamond Belle Ranch Walker Lake

By Ron Lee
Published: 07/23/20 Topics: Comments: 1

Walker Lake

Like all private fly-fishing lakes, for years every spring Diamond Belle Ranch has planted new trout stock into our 44 acre Walker Laker, to supplement the big linkers that have often wintered over. And for years we corralled those new plants from a company called Trout Lodge due to their superior quality.

Some years Trout Lodge focused on egg production and they were unable to provided enough fish for all the very fish connoisseurs like us who wanted them. But this year we are jumping for joy to announce that the Trout Lodge plants are back this year and they are stellar rainbow trout.

Even though we were closed to fishing for a while in early spring due to the dang COVID restrictions, as we opened late spring, the fishing has been robust. The fish had lots of time to acclimate, and were ready to go!

In summer we close fishing to let those pesky trout thrive and grow. So we expect fall fishing to be HOT HOT HOT!!!

With the amount of natural feed in the lake, the new trout are growing like crazy and will be monsters come mid September when we open back up for fishing.

Visitors can choose to stay in our majestic Wauconda Lodge then pay a small half or full day fee to cast their lines. Or they can purchase a day pass if available depending on lodge occupancy.

Fishing is limited to 10 anglers per day, fly fishing catch and release, electric motor boats. We are open year round, with fishing in Spring and Fall. Call today to reserve your spot, space is limited.

You can learn more about Trout Lodge and their beautiful rainbow trout at TroutLodge.com

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0768 – 07/23/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Peace during chaos

By Ron Lee
Published: 06/30/20 Topics: Comments: 0

As the period of stay home stay safe starts to ease a bit, it’s a good time to reflect on what it’s been like here at Diamond Belle Ranch.

For the most part, since we live fairly remotely, we generally only go to town once a week during normal times. So this really didn’t change much.

I guess the biggest difference was that we appreciated that we live in a place where we are extremely happy to stay home for longer periods of time without leaving the property.

Taking a walk around the lake or just sitting and watching the wildlife breathing deeply of the tranquility, these are the things that bring peace in a world of chaos.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0765 – 06/30/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Precious Gift of Nature

By Ron Lee
Published: 06/19/20 Topics: Guest Ranch, Wildlife Comments: 0

Our early morning visitors.

This lovely doe has twins almost yearly and generally brings them by for us to see. This year she brought them by as BRAND NEW babies! They were still wet even.

What a precious gift!

The Diamond Belle Guest Ranch sits in what might be called a shallow bowl. The hills of the Okanogan Highland isolate us from the South and North. To the West Mount Bonaparte towers above..

Pastures on the east, roll up gently so we are completely alone. No neighbors. No prying eyes. No one close.

National Forest public lands surround the ranch on all sides which means we are a haven for wildlife. Deer of course, but also an occasional Moose. Canadian Geeze and birds galore..

Guests come here for many reasons, peace and solitude, the crisp clean air, stunning sunlight and our warm majestic Wauconda Lodge.

But it is the critters they see that surprise them, the many and the types. You are likely to see some you have never seen before. But you must visit.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0762 – 06/19/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

HelpBookMe Implements Version 3.0 or S2D2 Pricing System

By William May
Published: 06/03/20 Topics: Software, Sunspots Vacation Rentals, Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

Although the Vortex Organization first inserted yield management tools into their HelpBookMe lodging management system years ago, today they announced release of version 3.0 of tools referred to as S2D2 for "Seasonal, Strategic, Dynamic and Distributed".

Salman Arshad, chief engineer notes, "Artificial Intelligence pricing is based on the simple idea of Supply and Demand. But predicting supply and demand is a complicated undertaking because variables change frequently and quickly."

Yield Management, sometimes called "Dynamic Rates", increase or decrease based on the general economy, local and regional economic factors, the features and amenities of each property, local events and circumstances, prior day, week, month and quarter pricing, competitor rates and, even, the weather.

S2D2 rates are based on artificial intelligence that queries over 8 billion dollar points every evening, chooses the factors affecting every individual property, and then applies them to our geographic markets right down to the individual vacation rental home or lodging unit.

"Of course our pricing is based on sophisticated and ever changing algorithms, but we still apply manual review, oversight and, sometimes, intervention," said Kate Quinn, account manager at Vortex. "That is why our product name acknowledges all of those important factors."

"Studied" means constant inspection of what competitors are charging for similar and dis-similar properties. "Strategic" rates are set differently depending on time of the year, the season, and in accordance with local events.

"Dynamic" means that rates are adjusted regularly based on occupancy, advance notice and other factors. "Distributed" requires properties be widely advertised on every productive website and through conventional media to ensure that those who might demand the property know it exists.

You cannot have one of those elements without the others, otherwise the science of yield management would be incomplete. After extensive testing, results show that S2D2 version 3.0 can increase both occupancy and rates, resulting in more profit for property owners.

"It is counter-intuitive to recognize that S2D2 does not care what the day of the week is, what the season is or even if there are holidays." explained Arshad. "Instead, with constant calculation, the software foresees trends and adjusts rates to be at the sweet spot that fosters both occupancy and optimal rate."

Another reason yield management works so well is that, surprisingly, travelers have become accustomed to it and, in fact, learn to use variable rates to change their behavior. In other words, demand for lodging ebbs and flows based on rates.

The HelpBookMe technology and especially version 3.0 help charge the highest possible rate on the most popular dates. Modest rates are charged during shoulder seasons. And low rates are set for slow seasons to attract guests who would not otherwise consider booking.

Yield management shines during good economies, but quickly recognizes and reacts to negative events such as economic downturns, regional weather, and any happenings beyond anyone's control.

William May, a Vortex leader admits, ""Every owner loves the idea of high rates, but pride of ownership can be wounded when they look at lower seasonal rates. But once they see the growth in annual income, owners become quick converts to our S2D2 dynamic rates."

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Vortex Managers is a network of trained vacation rental management companies and provides its clients with the resources of giant lodging corporations without the cost or delay. HelpBookMe is a proprietary lodging management software system perfected with thousands of hours by expert engineers. For more information on Vortex, call or Email: Info@VortexManagers.com, or Website: www.VortexManagers.com

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Author: William May – Manager, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0746 – 06/03/20

How Dare They Go To Work

By William May
Published: 04/20/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Family, Gratitude, Health Comments: 0

How Dare They Work. Corona Virus.

Really, who the hell do they think they are?

Awakening early every morning, or even in the middle of the night. After too little sleep and too much stress, trudging to a job they love, although they admit it is difficult to love right now. How dare they go to work?

They will often spend 12-hours shifts or much longer and for days on end. Not one day off, not a moment to spend on personal things. No time with family or friends. How do they dare do that to themselves?

Some are paid very well, some paid adequately and others earn far too little. Most will receive nothing extra for the insurmountable obstacles they confront. How do they dare to work at all when others would not?

And yet, they persevere and get up and go to a job they know will be very frustrating. They know it is also rewarding, but that it will not feel that way every day. They do not dare to think about relief, at least not yet.

At the job, they will toil hour after hour, often with no time to eat or take a break. Squeezing in a bathroom break is necessary, but even that feels like wasting time. They will be confronted with thing after thing to do. Work upon work. No rest for the weary.

There will be a non-stop demand to do the difficult, the impossible and even the frightening. They won't feel up to the task all the time, but they will step up to the tasks every time. How dare they do that to themselves?

They see weeks of challenge ahead, maybe months, maybe years. They refuse to look for the finish line, because every champion runner puts one foot ahead of the other knowing it’s the only way to finish. They think about quitting, but only rarely, because quitting would make it more difficult for others. They dare not let anyone down.

As the world begins to show its gratitude for these wonderful human beings, they will still feel inadequate, because the mission is so huge and for now seemingly impossible. How dare they believe they can make it better?

These people are not necessarily glib with their words. They have no time for pontificating. They have no time to complain. They do not seek glory or even recognition. They would not dare direct any attention to themselves.

Every one of them knows the risk of physical illness, mental duress, financial hardships and family stress. They know these things, so how do they continue on? Would anyone else dare?

They dare because the task is at hand. The challenge is now. They dare not wait. They dare not fail. They will not let that happen, no matter how long it takes and no matter the personal cost. How dare they believe they are life givers?

Doctors, nurses, caregivers, counselors, therapists, pharmacists, ambulance drivers, EMTs, first-responders, administrators, janitors and every employee at every hospital, all dare to come to work - and we must all be so grateful that they do.

These people dare because they are different than most of us. Very different. Most dreamt of their career as a calling. They have always known it would be difficult, but they never dared to think it would be like this. But they did know that they could and would act in ways the rest of us cannot promise. They dare to go to work because they saves lives.

Whether you believe in God or you do not, whether you can donate to their cause or not, whether you have suffered from illness or not, it is now time to give thanks that somehow there are people like them in the world.

It is time thank them for dedication that is immense, commitment that is astounding, and for courage that is unending. How dare they?

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Author: William May, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0743 – 04/20/20

Clean, Wipe, Soak, Scrub, Brush, Scour, Polish

By Ron Lee
Published: 04/18/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Housekeeping, Property Management Comments: 0

How to Clean and Sanitize Vacation Rental Homes

Since our first office opened in 1964, we have been rigorously cleaning and sanitizing properties for decades. This is nothing new to us. In fact, our homes are cleaned to a degree higher than most people have at home. It has always been our commitment to have every home safe and ready for guest arrival.

Get a Real Getaway

If you need a vacation, holiday escape, spring break, fresh air and time alone, vacation rentals are the best option. Bring kids or not. Bring the family or just your spouse. Most homes are free-standing, so you can avoid crowds. Even in our condos, the homes are open corridor, so there is no need to pass through common areas, like lobbies and dark hallways.

When Guests Depart

After guests depart, housekeepers arrive at every home to clean, wipe, soak, scrub, brush, scour, mop and polish bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, common spaces and even decks and patios, linens, towels and surfaces. Hot tubs are disinfected. This entire process - called "out Clean" - takes many hours. Then homes are spot checked by managers to ensure good work. When departing, all staff members use bleach rags, so that even the door knob and key-safe are sanitized. Wow!

Sanitation Cleaning Products

We use a variety of products to clean, disinfect and sanitize. All are approved for high health standards. We still use bleach for some areas because it is still the gold standard for killing every kind of bug. In fact, if you enter a home immediately after housekeepers depart, for a few minutes you may detect a slight cleaning smell. That is your assurance of sanitization.

Bathroom Super Scrub

Cleaning bathrooms is not a fun task, but we carefully clean all sinks, mirrors, toilets, drawers, bathtubs and shower enclosures until they sparkle. But they have also been sprayed and later wiped with disinfectant. Soiled and unsoiled towels are removed before cleaning starts to avoid cross contamination. This is a hands-and-knees job, but housekeepers pride themselves on meticulous cleaning.

Proper Wipe Downs

You might think that spraying and wiping surfaces with disinfectant is sufficient, but it is not. Instead, disinfectant must be left on surfaces for a period of time before it is wiped away. This gives time for the liquid to kill all the germs.

- Door knobs inside and outside.

- Window switches.

- Light switches and sockets.

- Lamp switches.

- Cupboard doors and surfaces.

- Table tops including night stands.

- Appliances - top and sides.

- Counter tops.

- Reachable walls.

- Outdoor furniture.

- Stairs and deck handrails.

- Toasters and coffee makers.

- TV and other remote controls.

- Stereos and computers.

- Door bells and key safes.

- Toys and board games.

- Pet toys and blankets.

- And more.

Vacuuming, Mopping, Sweeping

Are you ever tempted to do floors fast? By slowing down the process and covering every floor surface carefully, dirt, grime and germs are removed. We keep equipment new and well maintained to get the best results. Housekeepers are never limited to cleaning hours. Instead, they are encouraged to take all the time they need to do the job right.

Kitchens and Dining Rooms

Kitchens get splattered on, baked in and used heavily. It is a big job, but to get kitchens spic-and-span is essential, from the stove to oven to refrigerator, but also microwaves, cupboards, fans and light fixtures. Cleaned inside and out. You will notice we remove condiments, such as ketchup and mustard left from prior guests, because leaving open containers violates health standards. You'll have to bring your own, but you'll know they are new and fresh.

Hot Tubs and Spas

Every hot tub is completely disinfected after each booking by trained staff members. Sand or debris is removed, filters are inspected, and chemicals are adjusted. In addition, the hot tub cove, top and side surfaces are disinfected. If you arrive to a tub that is not yet fully heated, please wait because we had to empty and refill it. Takes time to reheat.

Towels and Linens

Washing and drying linens and towels is an obvious step, be we wall all of them, even if a bed does not appear to have been slept in. They are transported to the washer-dryer using rubber gloves and laundry bags, and they are returned to beds in baskets to avoid cross contamination. Along with quality detergent, additional disinfectant is added to all washing to ensure germs are eradicated.

Deep Cleans

In addition to our rigorous out-clean, homes receive deep cleans regularly to cover hard to access areas, including heating ducts, cupboard sides and ceilings, high surfaces, fans, carpets and more. This takes many hours, and ensures the cleanest possible property.

When Guests Depart

You may notice that we do NOT as guests to do laundry or to remove linens and towels to the laundry area. We do it all to ensure that every textile has been washed and cleaned properly without dragging it through the house.

Call Us Quick: 206-504-2744

If at any time during your stay, if you find any issue, call our 24-7-365 day phone number for assistance. If necessary, our staff will happily come to the property to ensure all is right. And if you want daily cleaning, we can arrange that too, for a small additional fee.

Avoid Crowds, Stay in a Private, Vacation Home!

Year round, in every season, and no matter what is happening in the rest of the world, vacation rentals offer a respite from the rate race, a chance to get away and to enjoy a sparkling clean, sanitized home.

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Author: Ron Lee, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0742 – 04/18/20
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Diamond Belle Bird Watchers Paradise

By Ron Lee
Published: 04/08/20 Topics: Comments: 0

This is the time of year when the birds really start coming in for a visit. The snow is working hard at melting off, and the lake ice is getting thinner by the day.

So far we've seen, Canada Geese, Blackbirds (both red winged and yellow headed), Black Capped Chickadees, Blue Birds, Robins, I believe Greater scaup ducks, and our ever present, eagles and ravens.

In the next week or two we should start seeing sparrows on their journey from Capistrano. We'll have many more ducks of several varieties, and the blackbirds will arrive in full force filling the air with the beautiful sounds of their mating calls!

This is always my favorite time of year when life and activity return to the ranch after a long winter's nap.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0739 – 04/08/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

HelpBookMe Invents Bumper Days to Facilitate Cleaning

By William May
Published: 04/01/20 Topics: Comments: 0

In response to the Covid-19 virus, Vortex Organization's Redstone Software engineers have designed and installed a new system in their HelpBookMe property management software. It adds unoccupied dates between bookings to allow separation for guests and additional housekeeping time. These are called :"Bumper" days.

Vortex is a network of inn, resort and vacation rental management companies who share methods, staff, marketing and technology to provide sophisticated services to lodging owners and want maximum income with minimum fuss. Operators of this website are members of the group.

Trina Flanagan, a partner in the firm, said, "We have always employed strict hospitality grade cleaning and sanitizing standards used to clean the inns, resorts and vacation rental homes that its member management companies serve.:

With the arrival of covid-19, Vortex managers began allowing homes to site vacant at least one day after prior guests depart and before housekeepers or new guests access the home.

But with the advent of online travel agents like AirBnB, VRBO, Booking.com and others, lodging reservations are procured from many sources and automatically downloaded into the Vortex HelpBookMe Software

Penny Taylor, a partner administering reservations at all geographic locations, add, "Although not practical in all locations, the Bumper system, allows bumper dates to be added automatically in all geographic areas and in all properties where that policy is desirable."

Even with the lessening of travel restrictions, the new software capabilities increases safety while making the bumper method to be more selectively implemented.

"Our engineering team researched, coded, tested and implemented the system in record time" noted Ozair Khalid who oversees reservations software. "Neither the corporate management companies or major software providers have not rolled out a similar tool. Too bad for their manager customers."

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Vortex Managers is a network of trained vacation rental management companies and provides its clients with the resources of giant lodging corporations without the cost or delay. HelpBookMe is a proprietary lodging management software system perfected with thousands of hours by expert engineers. For more information on Vortex, call or Email: Info@VortexManagers.com, or Website: www.VortexManagers.com

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Author: William May – Manager, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0747 – 04/01/20

Breezy Spring Day in the Okanogan Highlands

By Ron Lee
Published: 03/25/20 Topics: Fishing, Guest Ranch, Weather, Wildlife Comments: 0

It's another beautiful sunny day in the Okanogan Highlands today. A bit breezy, which gives a little chop on the open area of the lake. Fishermen like to call that a chironomid chop.

The aerator has worked beautifully all winter keeping this area of the lake open. If you could get out to the open water, I bet the fishing would be amazing!

The early geese appreciate it and seem to know where to find the open water this time of year. I bet there isn't any other open water for miles!

We are ALL looking forward to spring ice off!

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0734 – 03/25/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Good Morning World! Get Some Fresh Air.

By Ron Lee
Published: 03/22/20 Topics: Goldener Inns, Guest Ranch, Inns, Ranching Comments: 1

The sunrises here never disappointed me. Certainly some are more spectacular than others.

This morning as I contemplate all that is happening in the world, I am greeted with a lovely sunrise. It's a brisk 17 degrees this morning, but stepping out on the porch I hear the black birds have arrived.

The eagle is calling his or her mate. Lots of different little song birds that I cannot identify are singing their "good morning" songs as well. It reminds me that the world keeps going no matter what our current state of affairs looks like.

Friends, this too shall pass. I am personally looking forward to some self distancing today by brushing my horse and cows...one of my favorite things to do in the spring.

Go out and get some fresh air and enjoy the day.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0733 – 03/22/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Kala Point Welcomed into Yourshare Goldener Network!!

Published: 03/01/20 Topics: Comments: 0

Goldener Inns & Resorts, which offers vacation rental bookings for timeshare resorts through its YourShare program, today announced today it is now offering rentals at KalaPoint.com, a prestigious condominium community of the scenic Port Townsend area of Washington State area, has

Through Yourshare, participating homes are advertised on the custom built full ecommerce website at KalaPoint.net and on hundreds of prominent websites worldwide such as VRBO, Booking.com, AirBnB, Expedia and more.

Kala Point Resort is large property comprised of hundreds of private homes, townhomes and the timeshare condominiums which are 2 to 3 bedrooms and come complete with comfortable furnishings, complete kitchens, TV, cable, and internet.

Guests have access to the resort’s club house and meeting room, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, year round sauna and hot tub. Other amenities include a workout room with exercise equipment, a small boat launch, tennis and pickle ball courts, and a playground.

The Resorts sits on a mile long sandy beach with salt water boat docks and playgrounds. Whales, Dolphins and Eagles are regularly seen there.

Located at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, they’ll enjoy spectacular views of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and on clear days, can see all the way to Victoria Island and Mount Baker in British Columbia.

Just up the road the town of Port Townsend, itself is full of charming antique stores, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, all in beautiful, Victorian-era buildings.

The innovative Yourshare program offers greater marketing than individual timeshare home owner associations can muster, and provides income to timeshare owners for a lower commission fee.

There are no up-front costs, owners can open or close dates to booking as they see fit, and they only pay a fee when their dates are booked.

A long term contract is not required and Yourshare handles all details such as advertising, reservations phones, guest and owner services including coordination with the onsite resort personnel and services.

To book your next vacation at Kala Point visit www.KalaPoint.com or GoldenerInns.com. Or call 360-382-1700. Phones are open everyday of the year. Although these homes can be rented on Expedia. AirBnB and other websites contact KalaPoint.com for the best rates and availability..

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Resorts looking to gain maximum rental income with minimum fuss should contact Goldener, see www.YourShare.biz or call .818-922-8292 toll free.

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Blog #: 0722 – 03/01/20

All Travel is a Local Beehive

By William May
Published: 03/01/20 Topics: Fishing, Marketing, Restaurants Comments: 0

My memory is vivid even though it was decades ago. At age 10, I began playing little league baseball in the small town of Montesano, Washington State.

It is an idyllic place even today. The county seat and classically designed courthouse give the town the feel of financial stability. Homes and lawns are well kept and right in the middle of the town is the Nelson Baseball Field.

I dropped by yesterday during a time warp to find that nothing hand changed. The grass was green and well manicured. Local merchants had signs on the outfield fence. In the early morning, the only things missing were players, coaches and parents. I was all alone.

Winding up the road, I came to Lake Sylvia State Park and the time warp opened again. Nothing had changed in all that time. It wasn't fishing season, but I could imagine children on the bridge pulling in freshly planted trout. The beach and swimming area matched my memory precisely.

When we won little league games, the coach - my father, treated us to milk shakes at Gene's Stop and Go. They had dozens of flavors, but I never waivered. Chocolate was my one and only love. Still is.

At season end, Dad treated the family to dinner at the the Beehive Restaurant, that sat squarely in the middle of town. I remember the bright yellow sign with bees on it, the lunch counter, the waitresses so nice to small children, and the chicken-fried steak that my father ordered every time.

There are many stupendous things to see and places to go in the world. But those most loved are those that stay true to themselves. They find a good thing and tend it lovingly.

To my delight, the Beehive still sits at the same corner. Still has a lunch counter and still has smiling women who are nice to every customer. And the chicken-fried steak? Well, it was just as good as all those years ago. Fresh corn on the cob. Hand made smashed garlic potatoes.

After seeing all those big sites, visit Montesano some day to remember that local travel is always the best way to learn and share.

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Author: William May – Publisher, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0740 – 03/01/20

Goat Patrol Gotta Love 'Em

By Ron Lee
Published: 02/22/20 Topics: Agriculture, Weather Comments: 0

Goat Patrol

Although it is still frigid at our 4,200 elevation, today February 19th was bright and sunny. Seems like the green things will be greening up soon. Maybe its time to call the Goat Patrol to visit our Diamond Belle Guest Ranch.

Wayne and Jenny Knoz have a unique workforce. They bring out friendly employee goats to your farm, field, pasture, lawn, hillside or mountain to mow down whatever you want removed in an environmentally friendly manner..

Natural weed control, brush trimming, grass mowing, fuel suppression, pasture maintenance and yes they fertilize while they work.

Plus I must admit they are charming and friendly. Maybe more so than most human co-workers.

So if you has a weed that has gone to seed, this is something you need. Goat PatrolGoat Patrol 509-954-7682.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0719 – 02/22/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Mysterious Diamond Belle Ranch Larch Trees

By Ron Lee
Published: 01/15/20 Topics: Comments: 0

Growing up on the coast of Washington State meant everyone lived near the forest were the lumber industry was king. Almost everyone in the town worked in the "woods" or were dependent on it. But apparently my education about trees was lacking.

Before America had middle schools, in most school districts there were Junior High Schools. Grade school was grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Junior high was seventh through ninth and high school was just three years Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

My father ran a truck shop where loggers bought vehicles and had them maintained. All through high school I drove a delivery truck up and into the gargantuan Olympic Peninsula often leaving at 2:30pm and returning home at midnight. I have seen my shares of trees.

In Junior High everyone had to take a class all about trees, including memorizing their Latin names, what they looked like and how to differentiate between them. During the Holidays we collected tree boughs, made wreaths and sold them for pocket money. I knew my trees.

Fir trees were the preferred species for lumber. Spruce and Hemlock also contributed. Due to its weather resistant properties, Cedar was preferred for roofing shingles and shakes. Alder was considered junk wood, and ground into pulp to make paper. We had very few pines.

As a treat, graduating Junior High ninth graders were taken on field trip deep into the mountains to help plant seedlings. Naturally the organizers gave us the steepest hillsides to climb hand over foot, digging a hole with a quick whack of a "Rindt Hoe" (a shovel like an ax.)

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My classmates were so exhausted, everyone slept in the bus on the way home and we all conspired to never to become loggers.

Late last Autumn, I was invited to the Diamond Belle Guest Ranch in the Okanogan High Lands of Central Washington. Driving up from the valley below, on a meandering dirt road we seemed to be stepping back in time. But I was disappointed to see that a few of the evergreen trees had yellow needles and were dying off.

"What a shame to see those trees dying." I said. Having read about a certain Beetle that was killing off pine trees across upper North America I presumed that to be the case on the ranch.

As we settled into comfortable couches in front of the Wauconda Lodge towering fireplace, I asked the Caretakers Trisha and Steve how long the trees had been dying off. They looked at each other and then at me and said, "Dying? What do you mean?"

As I explained my observation of the trees, and boasted of my evergreen credentials, they began to smirk ever so politely.

"Well you see those are Larch trees and they do that every year. But will return to green in the spring."

"So they are not dying?"

"No, that is their cycle. They are Larch Trees. "

I was stymied, paused a bit, and then decided to fess up. I told them of my "extensive" knowledge of trees and how, apparently, I knew nothing about Larches, probably because they do not grow at the Coast..

Of course, I was greatly relieved to find that the trees were healthy, as was everything else about the Diamond Belle. Nothing in that landscape has changed there in thousands of years.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0725 – 01/15/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Christmas Eve Peace at Diamond Belle Ranch

By Ron Lee
Published: 12/24/19 Topics: Family, Holidays Comments: 0

There could be no more Christmassy place in the entire world than at the Diamond Belle Ranch. The sky is black as night, no pollution, no jetliners overhead, not a breath of wind.

Each and every star stabs through the black blanket of night. The waning moon is but a very slight sliver of light. But along with the stars the aspens and pines are illuminated as if from a back light.

We sit on the porch. It is frigid but we are warm in the glow of the universe. Very little discussion. A great deal of wry smiling and even a few giggles.

To extend our stay out of doors hot chocolate was brewed before, spiked with a bit of coffee to stave off the drowsy as we linger in the Adirondack chairs, head tilted back wondering at the unfathomable majesty of the world above.

But the ranch itself is majestic. All year round of course, but during winter its enveloping reach can not be ignored. No neighbor lights. We have doused ours too.

Under the frozen lake, surely the fish are straining to see through the ice and up to the stars. They do sleep, but not tonight for tonight is Christmas an we can only hope the world is wrapped in the peace we enjoy here.

It is like this every year. Our custom. The privilege.

The night will not last forever. Soon we must go inside. To sleep. To dream of sugar plum fairies dancing..

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0723 – 12/24/19
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Dark Skies at Diamond Belle Guest Ranch

By Ron Lee
Published: 11/15/19 Topics: Gratitude, Guest Ranch, Ranching, Wildlife Comments: 0

Dark Skies at Diamond Belle Guest Ranch

Because Diamond Belle Guest Ranch is so high in the Okanogan Highlands, because our 700 acres are surrounded by National Forest and mountains, and because neighbors are so far away you might be presuming that nights are pitch black dark here.

But you would be wrong.

Here, with the absence of man made ambient light, not even with the most unintentional, when dusk falls the skies explode awake, the stars jab the sky and put on a show that humans have been marveling at since they first looked up.

The International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education.

The idea is to turn off lights, redirect downward those which must stay on, and send no light skyward because it destroys the view of the cosmos and is, after all, a great waste of energy.

When the lights go out, the Diamond Bell returns to a time where thing slowed down, where our senses woke up, and where our minds can soar to the sky, to the solar system and to the universe beyond.

It can open the mind, excite creativity, and produce emotions of health, happiness and safety.

There are over 130 destinations in the world that have pledged to eliminate light pollution and return the heavens to their dark but stunning origin.

Although Diamond Belle Ranch is not yet an official member of Dark Sky initiative, we support the goals of the group and have taken definitive steps to douse our lights, lessen our reliance on electrical usage and yet provide the comforts that guests prefer.

Best of all, Dark Skies ensure that our guests arrive at a place perhaps like no other they have ever been. A place of peace and quiet blanketed with the stars, the moon and a joy they may never have experienced and may find no where else.

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Author: Ron Lee, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0724 – 11/15/19
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

YourShare Launches Program for Timeshare Resort Vacation Rental Mastery

By Kate Quinn
Published: 10/29/19 Topics: Comments: 0

Vortex Managers, has announced the formation of a new program for struggling timeshare resorts that helps them rent out unused weeks. The "Yourshare" program helps resorts get their fair share of the fast growing vacation rental market.

It combines savvy vacation rental executives, along with revolutionary software that solves the puzzle of how to promote timeshare units into the vacation rental website channels as well as hotel channels. Plus it provides local and regional advertising that no other management firm provides, all without upfront costs or ongoing fees to the resort.

Every timeshare magazine, website and conference includes extensive discussion and diagnosis of why timeshare resorts are struggling.

After the rapid development of resorts starting four decades ago, the properties now suffer what the industry summarizes as "Aging Properties and Aging Owners" notes William May, the YourShare leader who heads up the program..

Owners who purchases shares long ago have grown older, often on fixed incomes, they travel less and may even be unable to travel to the property they once adored. All the while older properties require escalating maintenance and operating costs, far greater than inflation. With no way to offset their costs, owners are giving away shares but even that often proves impossible. So they are stuck.

In resorts, many unit sit vacant many nights of the year. Some resorts have tried to dent the vacation rental industry and some large timeshare management firms profess to be in the rental business.

"Unfortunately, most resorts don't know how to do it and the timeshare managers have not invested as heavily as they should to master rentals, " Says Penny Taylor, of Yourshare. "They were caught napping while vacation rentals stole their consumers."

"By charging large monthly flat fees to resorts, timeshare managers lack the motivation to do every possible thing they can to secure rentals." observers May, "They have sat on their hands while the vacation rental industry has taken away their visitors.".

Some management firms own all or parts of timeshare exchanges so taking rentals is not in their best interest. When they do attempt to compete in vacation rentals they often advertise only to the hotel channels, while ignoring the vacation rental market which is growing much faster.

On the other hand Vortex, which operates the Goldener Inns and Sunspot Vacation Rentals networks grew up in a very different world. "In Vacation Rentals, managers work on a commission only basis, so we only make money when the owner clients do." says Penny Taylor, "We have to perform and get results for owners or else. That means we can never rest. "

There are timeshare advertising websites but they seldom produce much income for several reason. First they can not compete with the giants and never create sufficient visibility. They ignore regional and even local marketing because its expensive. And they brand themselves as timeshares which is not attractive to many guests in the vacation rental market.

Instead, the Yourshare program partners with all the giant websites to make properties ubiquitous to consumers. The resort handles the property like always, and Yourshare does the advertising, reservations and guest coordination.

The program creates regional and even local central reservation websites, and even new websites for resorts, so they can be personal and local as well as global. They are not promoted as timeshares but as :"vacation rentals" which is of course accurate.

"Dovetailing timeshares into the vacation rental system, proved more complicated than would be imagined," said "Salman Arshad, chief web software architect at Vortex managers on the YourShare project. At a vacation rental every date is available unless the owner blocks it off, but in timeshares no dates are available unless an owner opens the dates. They are backward.

"We operate in numerous markets with free-standing homes, or condos inside buildings and even other specialty lodging places including guest ranches." added Arshad. "So operating a system that handles both methods proved complicated, but we solved the riddle."

Vortex employs its own inhouse software staff, and re-engineered its HelpBookme.com systems to allow timeshare condos to be easily marketed into both the vacation rental channels as well as hotel channels. "We are the only people who have it" notes Taylor, "We put every home on AirBnB, VRBO, and hundreds of other websites."

Yourshare launched quietly in 2018 as an Owner Direct website, contracting directly with share owners and selling their dates to the public. "Frankly, the consumers see no difference. If marketed properly, to them a timeshare is just another nice vacation home," notes Taylor. "In fact, timeshare resorts are usually well kept up, in good locations, pleasant staff and with plenty of amenities."

The timeshare industry's big mistake is that they ignored vacation rentals, and its too late for most to catchup unless they have help from seasoned vacation rental pros.

The Yourshare concept came about over some time. "At first we offered our services directly to the resort, but they never responded, and all while the "Aging properties and aging owners" problem was biting them.

Within a year we were procuring more nightly rentals than the onsite manager, and producing more income to owners. "We approached another resort, again without response, so we launched there too as Owner Direct."

"Recently a competing resort in that community called and said, 'Hey we would like to get some of that money' so now we are working directly with them and with good results." said May. Their onsite management team were well seasoned and anxious to have a plug and play system like Yourshare.

Yourshare re-built that resort's website, advertised them on hundreds of website and even created Dynamic Range Photos, 3D tours, floor plans, printed materials and other tools that have proven to be so effective in the vacation rental lodging business. It was done in very quickly.

After perfecting the entire Yourshare process, the company is now expanding geographically and has launched its services nationwide. "We like to work for resorts who recognize they need help, but we are also happy to work directly with owners if asked. So if the resort board doesn't ask us, we go in and help owners anyway."

"Best of all," said Taylor, "Vacation Renting brings in more visitors to each Resort and every one of those visitors are potential timeshare buyers." In the long run, that could be the biggest benefits to legacy resorts.

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YourShare.biz is operated by Vortex Managers headquartered in Seattle, WA. Along with its affiliate Sunspot Vacation Rentals and Goldener Inns networks, YourShare offers vacation rental booking, advertising, marketing and reservations to timeshare resorts looking to increase their income without upfront costs or ongoing fees. For more information, call YourShare at 818-922-8292. See owner details at www.YourShare.biz and other resorts at RentYourShare.biz.

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Author: Kate Quinn, YourShare
Blog #: 0713 – 10/29/19

Home of the Great White Owl

By Elizabeth Rogers
Published: 09/16/18 Topics: Comments: 0

Eden Valley Guest Ranch presents the Great White Owl. Read more Leave comments

AtTheBlue.com at Blue Heron Resort

By Libby Rogers
Published: 04/22/18 Topics: Hood Canal, Timeshares, Vacation, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Yourshare.biz which offers resort and owner direct vacation rental bookings for timeshare properties announced today that it has opened a new website for the Blue Heron Condos on Washington State's pristine Hood Canal. Read more Leave comments

When Cheap is Ohhhhh So Good! (And warm!)

By Jerry German
Published: 10/01/17 Topics: Comments: 1

From the earliest days of my childhood, I have never been a winter person. Yeah, winter is beautiful and there are some fun things to do, but I hate cold, love hot. And I love to swim. And I like beaches Read more Leave comments

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