Carmel Valley in the old days was considered the sticks – depending on type of vehicle, and pit stops it took about a two beers as the crow flies before one got to the Carmel Valley turnoff off Interstate 5 and another 1 to two beers to get to Brown’s Cattle Ranch. Browns Ranch was not really owned by Brown, he had the property just North, but just an easy name to remember and one that become iconic with Mac Meda Conventions.
When the cops were on a rampage in La Jolla and had a bounty out for Conventions, organizers thought it was best to find a more secluded area. And a area that was indestructible. Carmel Valley was the perfect road trip and besides, anyone living in La Jolla, knows that June gloom, puts a beach-worshiper on a bummer.
Meda Conventions were always held on Sunday, and noon was the unofficial time and there were about 3-5 a year.
After the turn off and past Rosendos Hideaway, and when the road veered to the North, this was the start of Black Mountain Road. When one found a straight road lined with Eucalyptus trees, they looked for the gate that looked like it had been stampede by cattle. After following a very dusty dirt road that weaved between shrub brush it came to a bluff of Eucalyptus trees. This is where the cars parked like a dropped can of pick-up-sticks. Below was a small earthen dam lined with Eucalyptus trees provided the perfect setting and shade for a Convention.
What was better, drinking on a cloudless day, enjoying the view of a stagnant pond with Mud Hens seeking cover in the reeds, and cow shit littering the area. There was no restrooms, when natural called, it was, La Natural.
The Brown’s Ranch Conventions are legendary. Rock bands, powered by generators, music echoed to Del Mar and rattled the ears of as many as 800 people that came from all lifestyles. Pickup trucks crammed with ice and kegs arrived in parting of the Red Sea scenario. A bottle of Tequila and Jack was always being passed around, and pot usually filtered the air. Occasional a few were seen wandering in the O-zone wasted on some psychedelic. A dollar got all the beer you could drink.
A trash can or keg with the top cut off filled with Red Mountain Wine laced with a variety of mix and a block of ice got you a 16-ounce drink for those that were not beer drinkers.
On a hot day alcohol took effect very fast. It was common to see the 1,2,3 punch – people staggering by 1, puking by 2, and passed out by 3. And usually the first fight broke out by 2:30 and normally started by an out-of-towner.
Some just were not as well-trained in the art of consuming as others.