Archives for October 2014

Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 – Halloween and Shopping

Ran into town for some supplies, went to Tractor Supply for Nutrena Senior Feed, but they didn’t have the brand we wanted, so they recommended another feed store just up the road, and when I asked them if they had the kind of feed we wanted, the woman asked, me “Wet or Dry?” No one had asked me that before, and I had never realized there were two kinds, but sure enough, she showed us the difference when we arrived, one has much more molasses in it! We like the kind without molasses better, and know we’ve bought that several times, but other times we thought it was much stickier and couldn’t explain why. Now we know! The bags look exactly alike, except for the ingredients tag. The white one is molasses, the yellow one is dry, and it’s labeled as such, in abbreviated language. Learned something new today! Anyway, we got gas and took a Walmart trip (which had a very stupid parking lot, with an island just as you enter, which, if I had been towing the RV, would have been nearly impossible!) Back to camp for a nice evening, not worrying about Trick or Treaters out here!

Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 – Water and Reading Day

Did a water run today, an easy job because their spigot down in the day use area comes out of the spigot at about 100 mph! Spent most of the day relaxing, finishing off a book I’ve been reading for some time on my Kindle, a fabulous anthology of 7 great Alaskan classics, truly a fabulous read! Something like 30+ hours, though it’s taken me a few weeks to finish it, just had to sit down for the last 2+ hours and get it done! A nice quiet day.

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014 – Second Ride Day

Because it was forecast to be a bit warmer today, we decided to get a ride in a little earlier, and to try to reach a nearby National Monument known as Toozigoot, a former Indian pueblo village that sits right on top of a nearby hillock. Since it was only about 1.5 miles away, we thought we would try to ride there, though I was pretty sure we'd be blocked by fences and rules, and in fact, we were. We began by heading north up the road, which turned to gravel just after a cul-de-sac where the tarmac ended. There was a gate just a bit further on, and fortunately it was open, so we headed through it. On the way down the hill after that, we saw a trail marked for horses, but I thought it was too early to turn to we stayed on the road. Shortly after that, we came across a turnoff marked hikers and bikers only, and just beyond that, then the road was marked for hikers only! Even though it seems like a perfectly good road, it seems it leads to a marsh where they didn't want horses, so we turned around and went back to the path marked just for horses. Suddenly we were out of the desert and into a wonderfully cool, shady, riparian area, with taller trees, water crossings, lush grass, a really beautiful, albeit short, trail. We soon rejoined the hiker/biker trail, until it reached a fork. We took the right fork because it brought us closer to the monument, going through a very interesting forest, before being stopped by a gate with no trespassing signs beyond it. We went back to the fork and took the left trail, which was obviously quite new, with little traffic, but someone had marked it with pink ribbons, so we followed the ribbons. We had a couple more water crossings, one about 30 feet wide, but shallow and with firm footing, so it wasn't any problem for our guys. That brought us out to an area that bordered a horse farm, and the trail eventually took us to an old sluice, presumable for gold panning! The trail ended there, so we circled back on a parallel trail, going past a private dam and lake, ending up directly across from the gate where we had been stopped on the hill above us. Apollo balked at making the crossing there, which had loose gravel and dubious footing, so we headed back around the way we came in, back across the water and eventually back to camp. Only 3 miles, just over an hour, but a truly lovely ride! Amazing how a desert can suddenly have so much life, just be adding water! We put the horses away, and decided to drive out to the monument by truck, and though it was only 5 miles away by road, it took over 20 minutes to get there through town because of it's speed limits. We spent about an hour or so wandering the museum and around the grounds of this pueblo, which had been mostly restored by workers in the 30's as a result of the WPA programs, so it wasn't exactly original, but it was at least representative of what it might have looked like back from 1100-1425 AD, before the Indians abandoned it. Then Hubby told me a story about his first boilermaker, back in the early 80's when he first came to this country from England, and that was in the town of Jerome just up the mountain, so we decided to take a ride up there. Talk about some views! Absolutely gorgeous! This old mining town had become an old hippie town, lots of aging bikers, but still had a quaint feel to it, and lo and behold, Hubby managed to find the old bar! It was now called The Spirit Room, though he didn't think it was named that back then. We enjoyed a nice cool draft beer before heading back down the mountain, arriving just as the sun was setting over the mountains behind Jerome. Fed the horses, poured ourselves a cocktail and settled down for the evening. I downloaded a new app on my smartphone today, one that tracks the International Space Station, and tells you when there will be a sighting in your area (based on your actual GPS location), and we were fortunate to be having one this very evening, so a few minutes before it was due, Hubby and I headed outside, and moments later, we caught sight of it, watching it cross the sky from just above Jerome and go toward the south. What a perfect ending to another perfect day! As a raging space fan, I'm going to LOVE that new app!

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 – Work Day

Another day at the computer, with Hubby doing a few chores, then reading the rest of the day.

Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 – Work for Me, Errands for Hubby

Today was a day to catch up on work, so I spent the day on the computer and phone, while Hubby ran around in my truck, getting an oil change and doing some shopping. Otherwise, just another mundane day of living, which you can’t avoid even when you’re living the dream!

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 – First Ride Day at Dead Horse Ranch SP

As our neighbors started to pack up before their noon check out, we started to saddle the horses, leaving on the trail just before they did. We headed north, having decided to go on the most obvious loop, which included Lower Raptor, to Thumper, to Lime Kiln, about 7 or 8 miles according to my Google Earth-made map. The trail started out rocky and climbing, with a few occasional sandy spots once we reached the plateau. Mostly desert-like conditions, but with truly spectacular views all around. To the north, the red rocks of Sedona were clearly visible, to the south, the town of Cottonwood, to the west, the Mongollon rim with a clear view of Jerome, and old mining city up on a hill, to the east, yet another line of mountains. What a grand view! Each time we turned onto a new trail, though, the terrain changed somewhat. We had a few areas with grassy fields, a couple of areas with bunches of small trees, almost tunnel-like, then the most challenging trail, Lime Kiln, which has a long history and which had been recently restored, with a linear trail leading to another state park 15 miles northeast. This was the trail that was described as for experienced riders and horses only, and we could see why. A few places along the trail were so eroded that the drop was too much, so we had to trace a less-traveled route around it on several occasions, making for a few tricky moments, but overall, the horses did a fantastic job! We took one break about halfway around, stopping for shared apples and drinks for us, before heading back out again. It turned out to be a fantastic ride, we had an incredibly great time! The sun was shining, but a nice cool breeze was blowing, making for perfect weather. Everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously! By the time we got back to camp, our neighbors had cleared out, doing a pretty good job of "leaving no trace," except for their corrals, which they didn't seem to do much cleaning of at all. We decided to keep the horses together in one corral so that we would only have to fill one water bucket at a time, and they enjoy being near each other anyway. A great day, perfect in every way!

Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 – Computer Day

After being woken up several times during the night because one of the kids was having a nightmare, then they all got up at the crack of dawn, started their generator by 6:30, their trucks even earlier as a couple of them drove off to who knows where, we were out of bed earlier than usual. Spent the day on the computer, Hubby watching TV and reading, generally a quiet day, because frankly, the temps got up into the mid 80's, which is a bit too hot to ride. It's supposed to be somewhat cooler tomorrow, so that's the plan, we'll go riding tomorrow. Wish the horse camps at altitude were still open, the one I was planning on staying at this week closed Oct. 13, but I can't believe it isn't just perfect up there today! Hope we don't get stuck where it's too hot too early in the winter! Should be cooling down here soon, though, though nights are great, in the 50's. It seems 70 degrees just continues to remain elusive!

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 – Drive Day to Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Topped off with fuel at a Safeway, grabbed some breakfast at Burger King, and hit I-40 eastbound. Originally had planned on going in the most direct route, but my GPS gave me an odd choice of going an extra 40 miles on freeway and saving 20 minutes of driving, or taking a long and squiggly route through the mountains. We opted for the long route, just to be kinder to the horses. We still managed to arrive at the State Park by about noon, and the line already had 4 or 5 vehicles in front of us! When we finally arrived at the office, we were told that the horse camp area, which doubled as a group area, had been reserved since I spoke to them, and the only thing left was an overflow parking lot with four corrals, though someone had already reserved part of it. No water there, of course, but since we had no choice, we took it. I had to do some persuading to make them not charge me for two complete vehicles (which would have made it $30 a night, ridiculous for a parking lot with no water!), but they agreed that since both vehicles were registered at the same household, they would only charge for one. Phew! We were directed to fill up with potable water at the day use area, which we did, then headed up the hill to the horse overflow area. Got the horses settled into 2 of the 4 corrals, then we parked the RV so as to take up the least amount of space so that our neighbors would have more than half the campground to themselves. Turned out to be a good idea, too, because when they showed up, it wasn’t just a small family, it was a HUGE family, with seven horses! The ranger came along and told us we had to put both our horses together in one corral (a tight fit, but they’ve had worse), and the family proceeded to fill up the other three stalls, plus put up another portable corral (well, not portable exactly, they brought pieces of fence and constructed a corral), and put the rest of their horses in there. Made this tiny area seem awful crowded! They then proceeded to spread out, with tents, RV’s, trucks, etc. until the whole area was taken over. They also asked if they could buy some toilet treatment from us for their holding tanks, which I gladly gave them (not going to take money for something like that!) Lots of kids and dogs, none of which were leashed (which amused me, as the first thing the ranger said to us, when Billy came out to greet her, was that dogs had to be leashed), so it’s not going to be a quiet weekend in any event. When I went down for horse water and to pay at the ranger station, I was told that we could move down to the regular horse camp on Sunday afternoon if we wanted, but that someone else had already reserved it for Wednesday, so we’d have to move out again then! To heck with it, we’ll just stay up there, so I paid through Wednesday and went back to camp. Got the horses watered and fed, then spent the afternoon listening to our neighbors’ radio before settling down for the evening.

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 – Drive Day to Mohave County Fairgrounds in Kingman, AZ

Left the campground about 8:40 and arrived right on schedule at the hay place at 9:00. After some analysis, Bill the hay guy decided to lift one of his stacks and bring it next to the truck so we could drop them in, rather than try to pick them up from the low stack that he had already opened. An hour later we had another 15 bales of beautiful, pure alfalfa on board, stopped at the gas station across from the campground, and headed down the road toward Las Vegas. A quick stop at Subway for lunch, and we managed to arrive at the Mohave County Fairgrounds by mid afternoon, having passed by the Hoover Dam (been there, done that!). With the horses settled into a couple of covered stalls, we headed out to do our essential shopping, than managed to settle down for the evening fairly early. The fairgrounds isn’t far from the center of things, so we heard lots of sirens and activity through the night, but with earplugs in, we had a good night sleep.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 – Day of Chores

Hubby spent time working on the fender skirt trying to make it look better, while I did a bunch of other mundane chores, including calling the RV dealer about parts. While we were out yesterday, we say a sign for Hay for Sale, so I called and discovered that just a few miles away are some fabulous alfalfa fields, with 100 lb. Three-string bales going for just $15, so I made arrangements to pick some up tomorrow morning on our way out. I really prefer the horses to be on grass hay, but it’s just too hard to find around here, and really not economical, especially since Clio has gotten so fussy now she won’t tough anything but alfalfa. She even picks out the grass in the alfalfa/grass mix I got, even though it is wonderfully green! One thing about alfalfa, though, it’s wonderfully efficient, one bale can last me nearly 3 days, as opposed to the bale a day of grass hay I would normally use. Got everything packed up for a quick exit in the morning before settling down for the night.