Archives for June 2019

Saturday, June 29, 2019 – Whew! What A Ride!

After another good night sleep and a leisurely morning, I finally saddled up Flash around 11:00 and headed out on the trail to do a long loop I had originally planned earlier in our stay here at Honey Creek. Heading out on the trail to St. Helen, we enjoyed a lovely trail most of the way, except that one little rocky section going down to Gun Rock, and went several miles on single and double track trails until we got to the #3 intersection, when we turned right and headed down to Groom's Branch. That's when we started heading down hill, and the trail got more and more rocky. It wasn't terribly steep, but it did seem to last a long, long time, and at one point Flash planted his feet and wouldn't go any further for a while. I let him rest, as I'm sure it's just as tough for him to go downhill on that kind of terrain as it is uphill, and eventually we got going again. Before long we reached the bottom, and the ford across the river. I thought Flash might give me a hard time, but he walked right in, took a drink, and when he started to turn around, I managed to easily divert him into the stream and we crossed with no problem! Thankful for that, he was quite willing. On the other side, we went down a long, wide dirt road that followed the river, that went on for quite some time, until we reached Coyle's Branch, where things got a little confusing. The only signs were for Cumberland Trailhead, which I couldn't even find on my map, one trail said 10 miles to it, and the one we just came in on said 5.8 miles to it, and nothing else that corresponded to anything on my map. After a couple of false starts, I finally figured out which way to go (thank goodness it was clear skies today, it was purely astronomical reckoning that put me on the right track) and we followed that section of the river for a while, until we came to the turnoff that would take us up to the Panther Creek loop, which we took the other day. Well, it turned out that the trail was really a creekbed, large rocks and practically straight up! Not a happy camper with that trail! We started up, and Flash started trying to go faster, as horses do when they're climbing, and after a bit, I was thinking to myself, now this is a good reason to have a martingale. Of course, I didn't have one, and just a moment later, my saddle slipped so far back toward his rump that when he leapt over a rock, the saddle turned sideways, and there was no stopping it. Grrrr! He was antsy, so I had to tie him to a tree on this steep slope with rocky footing, undo his saddle and resaddle him. Not an easy task under the circumstances! When I finally got that done, and struggled to mount because he wouldn't stand still, we finally started back up the "trail." We didn't get far when the saddle slid again. It was so steep and his saddle pad was now soaking wet with sweat, and it didn't seem to matter how tight I made his girth, it simply slipped again. I got down and moved it and tightened it again, climbed back up, and still only managed to get a short ways before the saddle was back on his rump. I must have saddled him half a dozen times going up that hill, until we finally reached the top. There I tied him up again, loosened his saddle so he could breathe, and rested for a bit while we both recovered. Eventually, we got on our way again, this time the trail was more moderate as we were now on top of the plateau. I followed Panther Creek around to the overlook and decided to take a run out there. I'm still trying to find a trail I think Hubby can handle in his weakened state, but so far, even the best trail has some sections that I would worry about with him, so it's looking like he may not get a ride in here. Anyway, we arrived at the overlook, but I had to tie Flash up about 20 or 30 yards away and go on foot the rest of the way. It's a nice overlook, but for someone who has a spectacular view right off their own bluff, I wasn't overly impressed. I managed to climb back on Flash without too much trouble, and we headed off again. We eventually came to an area where they had clearcut the forest, so it was very hot in the sun, and we came around to the trail that led directly back to camp, which was the one I had avoided the other day because I thought it would be too hard on Flash, but after the rough stuff he tackled coming up the mountain today, it seemed a lot easier. The only other choice was to climb up the logging road another quarter mile to the "new" trail, which would have been a lot longer, but by this time, we had been out over four hours, so I figured shorter was better. We made it back to camp about 3:30, and all I had the energy for was to take off Flash's saddle and bridle and tie him to the trailer while I crashed in my lounger with a beer. Once I rested a bit, I was able to put Flash and all the gear away, but I was quite exhausted by then. I made burritos for dinner and we crashed watching a couple of old classic movies, which did much to rejuvenate me. I love happy endings! Tomorrow will be busy, I need to start packing, Hubby needs to be dialyzed, and I would really like to take Apollo out for a short loop, he's been missing out on all the fun. Then, it's all hands on deck to get ready to leave on Monday, heading for our next stop, White Sulphur Horse Camp in the Daniel Boone National Forest! Off to bed, I need plenty of rest for tomorrow!

Friday, June 28, 2019 – Trip To Cookeville for Comm Unit and Supplies

Got a call late yesterday from our nurse in Tullahoma, saying that she finally received the comm unit that will allow us to be able to use an Ipad with our dialysis machine rather than all those paper reports that I have to do now, so we arranged to meet at 9:00 today in Cookeville to pick it up. While we were there, we went shopping, filled 3 of our 4 propane tanks because we wanted to be sure to have enough energy for next week when we’re going to be in the Daniel Boone National Forest without electricity, had breakfast at IHOP where we met a group of ladies who bred German Short-hair Pointers and who were admiring Lola, who was lying under the table with us. One had just come from the courthouse finalizing her divorce and was rather upset, naturally. In his usual way, Hubby offered words of encouragement, so hopefully she will be inspired to move forward in her life and not dwell too much on the past. It was nearly 1:00 when we got back to camp, and after unloading the groceries, covering up the hay because it was starting to cloud up, and starting Hubby’s dialysis, the afternoon went quickly. We are so tired of watching modern movies where the only resolution seems to be that someone has to die in order to resolve whatever the issue is, I checked out the Amazon Prime library of pre 1969 classics, and found a long list of great old movies, which we started watching. So nice to have movies where Good vs. Evil is clear-cut, the bad guys can be redeemed or otherwise get what they deserve, and it is possible to still have a happy ending. What a relief! It made the afternoon go quickly and enjoyably. I’ve been told there’s no cell phone signal at the next horse camp, so I expect we’ll be doing a lot of reading, which is fine by me. Of course, no cell service means no television, as we left our satellite dish back at the house. Had an enjoyable evening, and looking forward to tomorrow, when, weather permitting, I plan on taking a long ride on Flash.

Thursday, June 27, 2019 – Delivery Day!

Started the day off by cleaning the outside of the trailer. Got the pressure washer out of the attic and washed the inside of the horse trailer in anticipation of our supply delivery today, then gave the outside a much needed bath. Had several more phone conversations in preparation for NEXT month’s clinic and delivery before finally settling down for lunch. Not surprisingly, just as I was getting ready to eat, the delivery man arrived, so I had to put my sandwich back down and get the trailer loaded up with Hubby’s supplies. Finally, I was able to get back to my sandwich and settle down for the afternoon. I put Flash in one of the corrals behind us, the only one that isn’t totally muddy, and put Apollo on his anchor line, with just enough length to get him to his highline where I hung his hay, and short enough to keep him out of trouble and away from Flash’s hay and the feed at the back of the horse trailer. Oddly, he would come out and eat some grass, then eat some hay, then go back into one of the stalls for a while. Crazy horse! Door’s open, so he’s coming and going as he pleases. Finally settled down in the late afternoon, doing a few odds and ends, feeling like we had a very productive day. Even though I worked quite a bit today, though pacing myself between jobs, it still felt I wasn’t working anywhere near as hard as when we were at home, which was quite luxurious! Not having to dialyze today was also a great break, we’re really enjoying this new four day a week schedule!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 – Another, Better Ride on Flash

 

Had another great night sleep, we're really starting to get in the groove of life on the road again! Did a few chores before finally saddling up Flash and heading off into the woods. I had originally planned on going to one of the overlooks, then took another trail instead, the one marked to Mt. Helen, and once I saw how that correlated on the map, I decided to head to White Oak Overlook, just past the Park Rd. Parking area. Just as I arrived there, two horse trailers came in, and one of them stopped and asked how the trails were. Much better, I was happy to say, only a few areas of mud, but most of it had dried out pretty well. I was very happy that trail was mostly dirt, too, with only one stretch of rocks about 15 yards or so leading down into and out of a place called Gun Rock, an overhang over a creek we had to cross. I carried on to the overlook, which I quickly realized was a place where you had to park and walk over to, no room for horses and no place to turn around at the actual overlook, thank goodness I noticed in time! I tied up Flash and walked down, it was a nice vista. Of course, Flash was a pain when I tried to remount, his blood was up and he was ready to go, with or without me, but I finally managed to get him still long enough to mount. Heading back, of course, he doubled his speed, and he was cordo-ing a big part of the way, hopping over branches and rocks just for the fun of it. By the time we got back to the parking lot, the other riders had all saddled up and gone, though I didn't know which direction they took. It wasn't long before we caught up with them, though, and we heard them a long time before we reached them, they were a rather noisy bunch of men, women, and a girl who liked to scream a lot. The last horse was slower than Clio used to be, and was a good 30 or 40 feet behind the pack anyway. We chatted for a few minutes, but the trail was so narrow there was no place to pass until we got back to Gun Rock. I wasn't sure if Flash had wanted to catch up to them or just wanted to get back to camp, but once we passed, he had no qualms about speeding away from that pack! He raced up the hill to the main road, and with a quick canter and largo, we were back in camp lickety-split! A much more enjoyable ride that Sunday, the fact that the trails were much drier made me a happier camper, and other than the mounting problem, Flash was more in control and more relaxed than before as well. Again, not surprising considering all his time off. I'm glad we took this trail, though, because it confirmed for me the big loop I'm hoping to take another day, one that will cross the river at the bottom of the scenic view I was overlooking and carry on across the other side for a while. Got back and put up Flash, had a few more irritating phone conversations about out supply delivery tomorrow, and finally got Hubby on his dialysis machine, late again, I'm sorry to say. Didn't finish up till about 8:00! Got food, finished a movie we had started (why can't filmmakers make a movie that doesn't end with someone dying in order to resolve it?), and finally headed to bed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 – Cleaned The Home

Spent the day cleaning the inside of the trailer, a long overdue exercise, neglected because I had been spending all my time cleaning and clearing the house for the last two months! I also spent quite a while on the phone with the dialysis folks, we seem to be having a problem communicating the correct address to where Hubby’s supplies are supposed to be delivered on Thursday, even though I contacted them a month ago with the address, and again last week, and again yesterday, and again this morning, but they still plan on sending it to the house address instead of the horse camp address. Grrr! It’s the one problem we’re having to deal with doing dialysis on the road, everything else has been going fairly smoothly between clinics, but the delivery situation is a real problem that we need to solve. Anyway, after cleaning about half the trailer, and getting so disgusted with hair falling in my face, I forced Hubby to get out a pair of scissors and a comb and cut my hair. With the extra help of my fingers, he managed to cut it into a rather nice short haircut, despite his protests that he was worried he’s screw it up. In the end, it looked as good as any hairdresser, and a darn sight less expensive! Oddly, my hair, which has been straight my whole life whether it was short or long, is suddenly going curly, especially when it’s short. Perfect hel-hat hair! It was great to finish the cleaning without hair falling in my face every minute! Finally settled down for the evening, a productive day indeed!

Monday, June 24, 2019 – Run into Jamestown

Decided we needed a few things in town, so we headed out after breakfast. The storms over the weekend had evidently knocked a lot of trees down, and the cleanup was still in full swing on several areas of the road. We picked up some feed from Tractor Supply, a 30-amp end to fix a 50 to 30 cable that was causing reverse polarity (cheap piece of imported crap that actually broke when I was tightening it together! Had to wrap it up in electrical tape, but at least it worked), searched for someplace to get my haircut (no luck, most closed on Sunday), and finally finished off at Walmart, where it stormed while I was inside, getting my feed bags all wet, darn it! Got back to camp, where it hadn’t rained yet (but did later) and finally got Hubby on his dialysis machine, later than usual but it couldn’t be helped. A quiet evening once the rain passed, to be early. At least we’re catching up on our zzzzz’s these days!

Monday, June 24, 2019 – Run into Jamestown

Decided we needed a few things in town, so we headed out after breakfast. The storms over the weekend had evidently knocked a lot of trees down, and the cleanup was still in full swing on several areas of the road. We picked up some feed from Tractor Supply, a 30-amp end to fix a 50 to 30 cable that was causing reverse polarity (cheap piece of imported crap that actually broke when I was tightening it together! Had to wrap it up in electrical tape, but at least it worked), searched for someplace to get my haircut (no luck, most closed on Sunday), and finally finished off at Walmart, where it stormed while I was inside, getting my feed bags all wet, darn it! Got back to camp, where it hadn’t rained yet (but did later) and finally got Hubby on his dialysis machine, later than usual but it couldn’t be helped. A quiet evening once the rain passed, to be early. At least we’re catching up on our zzzzz’s these days!

Sunday, June 23, 2019 – First Ride Since April!! At Challenging Honey Creek Horse Camp

Sunday, June 23, 2019 – First Ride Since April!! At Challenging Honey Creek Horse Camp

Whew! What a day! I started off with great intentions to go riding this morning, got dressed in riding gear right off the bat, then heard thunder in the distance, darn it! The next few hours was very frustrating. The sun would come out and I'd be just about ready to start saddling Flash, then there would be MORE thunder in the distance. It happened three or four times before the radar finally showed the storms were no longer training in one place, and had finally cleared through. I finally saddled Flash and left camp around 11:45, heading up the gravel road on the west side of the camp. We followed the signs pointing to the trails until they split, then took the farthest west one. While I had a map, it wasn't too clear, and wasn't an exact match to what was on the ground, as is so often the case. We eventually followed the signs to the Double Arches, which is one of the good linear destination trails that I found, but not very far in, it started getting really steep, really narrow, and finally, we hit a couple of huge, steep rocks, and Flash slipped on them and fell on his shoulder on one of the rocks. I managed to grab a handful of mane and hung on while he righted himself, but he only did that by turning around and climbing back above the rock he had just slid on. I decided it was too treacherous, certainly for so early in the ride, and the rock was really slippery with all the rain and mud that had washed down, so we uncharacteristically headed back up the trail. We turned down another trail, and that got a bit dicey in spots, too, but we managed to make a small loop out of it, that brought us right back to the gravel road that led back to camp. We had only been out about 40 minutes, so I knew that wasn't enough, Flash was barely warmed up, and still prancing around, like I expected he would, since he's been off for more than two months. I came back through camp and picked up the "new" trail that left on the east side, and that was actually quite nice. Slippery because of all the rain, but mostly dirt, none of these big slippery rocks, and not too steep most of the time. That took us out to a logging road and an overlook, then I decided to take the Panther Creek loop, which had been part of my original plan that I had abandoned early, only going in the opposite direction. That wasn't too bad, though there were still a few sections that were quite challenging, and would have been even on a dry day! The big rocks here have been worn smooth in many places, which makes the going rather tricky at times, but it is also very beautiful, with ripples carved into the rock in many places. We completed that loop with no real trouble, and headed back on the new trail, but then I decided to take a logging road in an effort to avoid the mud for a while, and also to try to find a shortcut that was less treacherous for when Hubby is ready to ride with me. Well, that logging road took me in the right direction for a while, then I saw a trail marked for the Double Arches and HCHC, so I went down that for about 50 yards before I started hitting more of those treacherous rocks, so I turned around again. I kept going down the logging road, and it started to look familiar, and I realized I had done that road early, going in the same direction, and didn't think I wanted to do THAT again, so I turned around and went all the way back to where I had turned off the new trail, and took that back to camp. Over 10 miles by the time we got through, and it was a good workout, for both of us! I washed Flash down and put him in one of the pipe corrals that hadn't been used over the weekend (the camp was nearly empty by this time, of course), gave him a bucket of water and some hay for a good job done, patted Apollo as I passed him by (explaining that horses that stand around all day don't need extra hay, he'd get dinner soon enough), grabbed a beer, downloaded my journey from MapMyHike, an app on my phone that evidently works even when there isn't a cell phone signal, because the whole route was saved, thank goodness, and sat down to get my breath back! It's quite warm, and there's another line of storms heading our way, so I'm thinking of just putting the horses in a stall tonight to keep them dry. The area where I highlined them is getting pretty muddy, and most of the pipe corrals are pretty deep with mud, too, so stalls it is! Settled down for a quiet evening.

Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Stormy Night and Day

We had a bad squall line of thunderstorms come through just about bedtime last night, but fortunately the prevailing wind was hitting the other side of the trailer, and the awning and screen room made it through with no problem. We had several bouts of rain overnight, but with my earplugs in, and with as relaxed as we’re starting to get, we both had a great night sleep! Woke up and found the horses not the least bit bothered by their overnight shower, and they seemed quite happy to be on a highline rather than in a stall. We had a leisurely morning, which ended with another round of bad thunderstorms, precluding me from my plan of going out for a ride, but we enjoyed a quiet day anyway. Hubby started a new dialysis schedule, 4 days a week, but each session will be slightly longer, though he will have less sessions a week. We tried to watch a movie, but the cell phone signal is really bad here, even with my 4G booster, and the wi-fi from the office is on the back side of a metal building, so it doesn’t provide the coverage it otherwise would, so we’re still a half an hour from the end of a movie we’ve been trying to watch since last night. Looks like we’re going to be doing a lot of reading while we’re here! The rest of the day was quiet, and then for a change, I made some bangers and mash for dinner, using some Italian sausage one of my brother’s had left a few weeks ago, that had been in the freezer ever since. Another quiet and restful evening, which we are just so grateful to have these days! This is the way to live!!

Friday, June 21, 2019 – Our REAL Adventure Begins At Last!

Daylight was calling me out of bed early, just after six, but I got up to consult the internet to remind me of how to adjust the brakes. As I mentioned, it was clear they needed it when we came down the hill from home, and I've been schooled in it from may sources already, but I wanted one last shot at instruction before we started the job. I did some of the other things I needed to do, like checking the lug nuts and the air pressure (all good), and getting out the tools for the brake job. Hubby managed to get up by 8:00, and we organized cereal for breakfast on the road and finally got started on the brake job. We used the JiffyJack to raise each wheel, and I adjusted each brake accordingly (and boy, did they need adjusting, no surprise there!), and it only took us about an hour to get it done. I'm sure it will take less time next time, as today we still had to figure a few things out, but the important thing is, we got it done!! Once we finished that, we had to take a trip to the dump, which is another stupid design they have here. To get it on the correct side of the trailer, you had to either go out on the road and turn in at the end of the other campground, but they had put up a couple of rebar posts quite close to the side of the driveway, so close that I didn't think I could make the turn with the long unit and avoid the culvert as well, or the other option was to turn up by the barn and back all the way down to the dump, which is what we ended up doing. Once we did that it was back to the barn to load up the horses, with Apollo climbing right it (he knows that breakfast is in there) and Flash still giving me a little bit of a hard time, but after a few minutes, Hubby came to the rescue, standing off to one side and then giving Flash a quick slap on his rump at just the right moment, and Flash went in, where he discovered his breakfast waiting, which I trust will be an incentive for him next time! A lot less time today than last Sunday, so I'm sure it won't be long before he'll get used to it and jump right in like Apollo. Off we went, with much more confident in my brakes going down the mountain than I would have had before! Sure enough, we got to the bottom with no problem, and the truck seemed a bit lighter and more manageable than before, so I'm glad we took out the extra weight, it seems to have made a big difference. Our route took us essentially cross-country, right into the route we would have taken if we had left from home, which seemed very appropriate somehow. Since the trip was less than 160 miles and we had a full tank of fuel, we made it with only one quick stop at the Dairy Queen for a couple of BLT's to go at lunchtime, then got to Honey Creek Horse Camp before 2:00, perfect! The site we had been assigned, however, had virtually no cell phone signal, but a walk around the camp indicated a better signal across the bathhouse and office, and there was a really nice long level site there (#8). I learned from other campers that the folks here are pretty laid back, and one of them gave me the cell phone number of one of the owners (who were off-site when we arrived), and he gave me permission to park anywhere we wanted, so we set up in #8 in no time. Perfectly level, all the way around, thank goodness! Most of the sites have pipe corrals in the back, and we were also right next to the barn, though the stalls were pretty small, but we opted to highline our guys between a couple of trees, again, because all indications were the owners are happy with whatever the campers want to do, which is very relaxing! Most of the other campers had dogs, so we let Lola out of the truck and she promptly made the rounds of everyone who was in camp, teaching them how to throw sticks for her. She's a very good human trainer, our Lola! Since we weren't dialyzing today (and in fact, we got permission from the clinic to change to a four day a week schedule, giving Hubby yet another 4 days a month off), I even managed to get up the screen room and get us all settled in, and by cocktail hour we were sitting in our cushioned gravity chairs with our beer and wine, with Lola playing with her machine or the kids nearby, watching the world go by! Eventually the owners arrived, got themselves a drink and sat in a couple of swing seats across from us, surrounded by their pack of little dogs and one lab mix. The husband started to throw a ball to the lab with a chucker, and that was more than Lola could stand, she had to go out and start playing, too, and eventually, I went out and chatted, paid for the 10 days we plan on being here, and continuing to relax for the evening. Wonderful! So glad to be back on the road again, at last!!