A Greenhorn Getaway


By Peter Derbonne

Sandy feet and sunshine are enough to keep us rooted in spite of the hustle that defines the Orange County lifestyle. On the days I spend more time in traffic than surfing, I’m focusing on growing my businesses and my family so we can enjoy our slice of paradise living the California lifestyle I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy for most of my life. 


But, as the freeways and population grows, so does my family and my business. Busier and busier, it’s become more difficult than ever before to pull away and put each other first. In spite of all of our distractions, my wife and I came together with shared values. We knew we wanted to put our family first. When our to-do’s become interruptive, we find ourselves off-kilter. It takes a thoughtful and intentional decision to put our priority back in center focus. Greenhorn Ranch brings us back together in a way I didn’t think possible as my daughter reaches the end of her college years and my son continues to indulge his lust for adventure around the globe. 


When I stepped onto Greenhorn Ranch for the first time, it was as though I’d taken the deepest breath I had since I was 12. Something about the air is just different. A 600+ acre playground hidden away in Northern California’s Lost Sierra with horses and thousands of miles of trail took my breath away. My friend, David James, had invited me to visit his college stomping grounds near the Feather River at a little known Dude Ranch in Northern California



I just laughed. 


I am the farthest thing from a cowboy, a rancher. A surfer to my core, I’m a Southern California guy who loves big cities and has had some success in business. I was convinced David was nuts when he asked if I’d be interested in a Dude Ranch. 


“No way,” I said. So when he asked me to accompany on a trip to visit his prospective investment, I went as a friend and trusted advisor. Why not get on a horse and go fishing for the weekend? No swell anyway. 


But when I got here, my guard came down. Mountain air and high sierra sun got the best of me. Then I met Ralph and Trish. They were cut from the cloth of another time. They built the ranch, and their lives, on the mindset that hard work and an honest intent to do good was enough. Refreshing is an understatement. Their presence in conversation and the love you feel when you step onto this ranch is pure magic. I knew it was special and I had to keep it alive. I had to be a part of it and write a new legacy. 



Family values, love, outdoor adventure and the spirit of the west is alive and well here. Each visit, my family grows a little closer. An all-inclusive vacation, we don’t leave the property once we park for the week. No distractions, just relaxed time as a family under one roof. My wife isn’t preoccupied with keeping our lives on track, my daughter is hundreds of miles away from her closest friends and might even forget where her phone is from time to time. My son comes alive in the remote and rugged terrain. Solitude and a family trail ride give us a sense that the more life changes, the more things stay the same. We are still undoubtedly here for and with one another. We are still the young family that once set out together for their first adventures. My wife and I are still wild and free and come together in the spirit of adventure day in and day out. 



Remote and out of reach, I am reminded of why I work hard, what the woman I love is made of, and how much my kids still have to teach me. 


I hope you’ll #cultivateyourcowboy with us. 


-Peter Derbonne 


Lacey Dibble