Archives for June 2020

Monday, June 29, 2020 – Hot Runaround Day

Hi Honey,
Guess I’m not far enough north, the heat’s really starting to catch up with us! Forecast called for a lot of rain today (though it didn’t really come into the area until late afternoon, and it didn’t arrive at camp until about half an hour ago), so I decided to do some running around today. One of the women I met last week ordered a book, so I put that together so that I could mail it, then headed out to a tiny post office to drop it off. There are two other national forest horse camps within about a half hour drive of here, so I decided to check them out as an alternative to Brown County next time I’m in the area. Turns out they’re both fairly easily accessible even for a rig my size, and they have enough open space for the solar panel to function. Hickory Ridge is fairly small, maybe a dozen sites, and Blackwell is much bigger, probably 40-50 sites. The only problem is they don’t have any water. Well, Hickory Ridge has a scummy pond they consider a livestock watering hole not too far away, but I’m not sure I would want my horses drinking from that. So that would be a challenge. I ran into some riders there, though, who were camping up the road (there are two large commercial horse camps just up the road), and one of the men there said that Hoosier Horse Camp might be willing to let me fill my tank up there, they were usually pretty cool about it, so that’s a possibility for some future date. At least I know what they look like now and that I can get to them okay. After reconnoitering them, I headed up to Blooomington, the nearest city, and went to Tractor Supply for propane and horse feed. Turns out that all my searching for Balancer was a waste, as they had two bags on a stack, on sale! I spent 20 minutes on the phone at the Lodge yesterday trying to track some down, and they had it right here. Anyway, I stocked up, then headed to Walmart for just a few things before heading back to camp. Just missed a few rain showers, fortunately, but it’s in the low 90’s with very high humidity, so it’s pretty miserable. Guess maybe I should have sprung for an electric site, huh? Well, it’s all part of the experiment, isn’t it? When I got back, I first picked up my new screen room which was finally delivered today, then I put the horses out on the anchors for awhile, and ran the generator a bit to try to cool it down, but it never really helped that much. Finally a storm came in around 10:00 tonight (and is still going on at 11:00 as I’m writing this), but the temps have dropped down into the low 70’s now, so at least I should be able to sleep without sweating tonight. Took my shower early, didn’t even bother to heat the water up, room temperature felt just right! Settled down for the evening, but now it’s bedtime, the rain is just starting to lessen a bit. I only hope Lola settles down, she’s hiding behind my chair right now, I suspect she’ll be scratching on the bedroom partition once I get up there, silly girl. Fingers crossed she doesn’t bug me too much and I get a good night sleep. I’m hoping to take a ride tomorrow, hoping the forecast is wrong. On that note, I’m off to bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Sunday, June 28, 2020 – Another Rainy Rest Day

Hey Sweetie!
Rain came in a couple of times during the night, and Lola scratched at the partition a couple of times, and eventually at the do to go out, so I had to get up around 5:30 to let her out. I think she was having diarrhea for some reason. Anyway, I managed to still sleep a bit late after I went back to bed. After feeding the horses, I took a run down to the lodge, which is over 5 miles away, to get some computer work done. I decided to have breakfast in their restaurant while I was there, just for a change, and it was pretty nice. At least I didn’t have to do any cooking or cleaning! Got a lot of work done, noticed the rangers all having lunch there as I was leaving, but I’m not sure anyone recognized me from yesterday because I was in the screen room the whole time, and they never actually came in, so they could only see me through the screen, and you know how opaque that seems from the outside. Anyway, I got back to camp just after noon, and since more rain was in the forecast (and it came in hard for awhile mid-afternoon), I decided to have another rest day. I had no additional visitors, either. I read for a large part of the afternoon, then decided to binge-watch the series Blind Spot which we still had left on the Dish PVR. We used to watch that, then you got tired of it after awhile and we quit watching it. I think it was mostly because the lead actor that played Kurt had such horrible diction, he just never opened his mouth enough to get the words out. I finished off all the episodes we had, so now I’m ready for my shower and bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Saturday, June 27, 2020 – Rest Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had a good night sleep, no interruptions, did my morning chores, ran the generator for a short while since it’s cloudy so my solar panel didn’t do much to charge the batteries this morning, plus to toast my bread. Since there is rain in the forecast, and I’ve ridden three days in a row, I decided to just relax today, so I spent the day mostly reading, occasionally napping, and later watching a little TV. It was nice and quiet, except for the irritating visit from one of the ranger/security force, whatever they’re called. First, visualize this. I’m on the edge of a huge field that has maybe 30 or 40 other campsites in it, all empty. Then there’s another area of campsites in the woods to the west, also, all empty. Another 100 yard further west is the day parking area with a couple of trailers. I literally can’t seem them from my site. Lola and I are peaceably in the screen room enjoying the quiet, and this woman drives up in her truck, gets out and starts walking towards us. Lola doesn’t even bark, she and her wagging tail step outside the door and walk about 6 feet to greet this woman. I say, “Don’t worry, she’s friendly” and the first words out of her mouth were, “You know she has to be on a leash.” Seriously?? Lola never went further than 6 feet and came right back into the screen room. I mean, what point would there be to having her on a leash when she’s right there with me, when absolutely no one else is around except me? Then she started complaining that my pen was too big. I had put the electric fence up around a nice little alcove in the back behind the trailer, but no, the pen is only supposed to be on the edge of the gravel where the hitching posts are, which is barely wide enough for a horse to stand without their rump hitting it.. Yeah this is another one of those places, like that horrid place in Minnesota that had the same attitude, that horses are slaves and it doesn’t matter that it would be cruel to make a horse stand on gravel tied to a hitching post for two weeks. I tried to paint that picture in the nicest possible way and all she could say was that no one has ever complained about it since the park opened in the 70’s. Really? Of course, trying to explain it in a reasonable way was too logical, so her retort was that my horse (Flash) was too skinny and that THAT was cruelty! Are you kidding me?? You can’t even see a single rib, even when he moves, and his topline is perfect! I just shut up after that, there’s no way to argue with someone that petty who can’t use the common sense God gave her. Anyway, as I said, I just shut up, there’s no reasoning with someone like that, I was just glad she didn’t tell me I couldn’t have the horses on their anchors, which they were at the time, though they were literally right next to the trailer. Maybe she figured my starving horse needed the grass and that’s why she left me alone on that issue. She obviously didn’t get a good look at that fatso Apollo! So once again, a great horse camp is spoiled by people more intent on making people trying to follow nonsensical rules than leaving them alone when no one else is being bothered. I’m seriously going to have to start looking at less developed campgrounds, like the national forests, because these more developed campgrounds can just get too aggravating when bureaucrats with no common sense are the ones running it. Well, enough of that rant, I had my shower early and I’m going to bed to read for a while. Good night, baby! Love you!

Saturday, June 27, 2020 – Rest Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had a good night sleep, no interruptions, did my morning chores, ran the generator for a short while since it’s cloudy so my solar panel didn’t do much to charge the batteries this morning, plus to toast my bread. Since there is rain in the forecast, and I’ve ridden three days in a row, I decided to just relax today, so I spent the day mostly reading, occasionally napping, and later watching a little TV. It was nice and quiet, except for the irritating visit from one of the ranger/security force, whatever they’re called. First, visualize this. I’m on the edge of a huge field that has maybe 30 or 40 other campsites in it, all empty. Then there’s another area of campsites in the woods to the west, also, all empty. Another 100 yard further west is the day parking area with a couple of trailers. I literally can’t seem them from my site. Lola and I are peaceably in the screen room enjoying the quiet, and this woman drives up in her truck, gets out and starts walking towards us. Lola doesn’t even bark, she and her wagging tail step outside the door and walk about 6 feet to greet this woman. I say, “Don’t worry, she’s friendly” and the first words out of her mouth were, “You know she has to be on a leash.” Seriously?? Lola came right back into the screen room. All I could say was that she had only been in the screen room. I mean, what point would there be to having her on a leash when she’s right there with me, when no one else is around? Then she started complaining that my pen was too big. I had put the electric fence up around a nice little alcove in the back behind the trailer, but no, the pen is only supposed to be on the edge of the gravel where the hitching posts are, which barely wide enough for a horse to stand without their rump hitting it.. Yeah this is another one of those places, like that horrid place in Minnesota that had the same attitude, that horses are slaves and it doesn’t matter that it would be cruel to make a horse stand on gravel tied to a hitching post for two weeks. I tried to paint that picture in the nicest possible way and all she could say was that no one has ever complained about it since the park opened in the 70’s. Really? Of course, trying to explain it civilly was too logical, so her retort was that my horse (Flash) was too skinny and that THAT was cruelty! Are you kidding me?? You can’t even see a single rib, even when he moves! I just shut up after that, there’s no way to argue with someone that petty who can only cite the ridiculous rules no matter how misplaced they are. Anyway, as I said, I just shut up, there’s no reasoning with someone like that, I was just glad she didn’t tell me I couldn’t have the horses on their anchors, which they were at the time, though they were literally right next to the trailer. Maybe she figured my starving horse needed the grass and that’s why she left me alone on that issue. She obviously didn’t get a good look at that fatso Apollo! So once again, a great horse camp is spoiled by people more intent on making people miserable than leaving them alone when no one else is being bothered. I’m seriously going to have to start looking at less developed campgrounds, like the national forests, because these more developed campgrounds can just get too aggravating when bureaucrats with no common sense are the ones running it. Well, enough of that rant, I had my shower early and I’m going to bed to read for a while. Good night, baby! Love you!

Friday, June 26, 2020 – Another Great Ride, Quick Trip to Town, Trouble with UPS

Hey Sweetie,
Other than Lola waking me up at 3:00 in the morning to go out, I got a pretty good night sleep. After breakfast I took a run out to the nearest town, Nashville, IN, and went to the post office, dropping off the title and Bill of Sale for the MG to the new owner who picked it up yesterday. Also checked my email and messages, and discovered my new screen room is supposed to be delivered today! I guess I should have figured it was coming from, where else? Elkhart, IN, RV capital of the world! I checked at the gate and was told that if UPS delivers, they leave it at the gate, so I stopped worrying about being at the trailer to receive it. So when I got back, I saddled up Flash and we had a wonderful ride, almost 10 miles of gorgeous trails, just a few sections with light gravel, but the rest was dirt. I took a lot of the narrow trails again today, they are so much better than the wide ones, from my point of view. Lots of grades, but they've done a nice job of switch-backing the trails and curving them along the middle of the hill so they isn't a lot with super steep climbs. Flash seemed to enjoy himself, too, I'm guessing he's getting more fit for this type of terrain, after being spoiled on the flatness of Florida. Got back around 4:00, checked that my package hadn't been received at the gate, so I drove up the hill to check, and sure enough, there was a delivery problem. Half the address I have the shipper (the important half) was never put on the label, so I spent half an hour on the phone with them, and finally they said they'd have the local branch call me to straighten it out. Then I get a message from the Tullahoma, TN office that THEY got the request!! How stupid is that! So I had to get back on the phone, thankfully for some reason the cell phone signal at the campground is good enough for texts and calls, for the moment anyway. Eventually the local office called me, and they knew exactly how to correct the address, but it will be Monday before it's delivered, which is fine, I wasn't expecting it this early anyway. Later, some ladies, two of whom I had met earlier in the day as they rode by, plus a friend of theirs, came by to chat for a while. Nice women, they don't live too far from here, and one has a boarding stable and invited me to visit anytime, which was great. I recited The Man From Snowy River to them, and they were a very appreciative audience, best yet. We socialized for quite a while, then after they left I fed the horses and Lola, barbecued a steak for myself, and settled down for the evening. Time now my shower and bed! Good night, my love!

Thursday, June 25, 2020 – So-so Ride Today, Got the MGB Sold

Hi Babe,
Had a decent night sleep here, the only thing I heard were the morning songbirds. It's nice and quiet here, at least it was until the gravel trucks starting coming in by the dozens. I sure hope it's not gravel for putting on the trails! Speaking of, that was my big problem today. After breakfast I saddled up Apollo and took him on Trail A, which I figured would be the most used trail of all here. It's about a 6-mile loop, nice and wide for the most part, and sure enough, after we got into a little ways, there was quite a bit of gravel on the ground. Not huge chunks, and not real thick, but just enough to get Apollo mincing and trying to get off the road, which meant I had trees limbs in my face again, or I was fighting him all the time. Fortunately the back couple of miles were nicer, but that gravel really spoiled what would have been an otherwise nice ride. I could only take a short ride today because someone is picking up the MG today. I didn't get as much for it as I hoped, but at least I got more than what I was offered if it were junked. We had to make all the arrangements electronically, and since I can't get internet here in the camp, I had to drive up to a signal in order to get it all completed, which naturally took longer than I had hoped. At least the new owner of the house will have his garage, at last! He's been very generous, and I've been doing my best to winnow all that's left down, not much now. Anyway, it was a bit warmer today, and supposed to get warmer tomorrow, but then rain is coming in over the weekend, supposedly, so I'll get at least one more ride on Flash tomorrow. I hate to say it, but riding Apollo was not much fun today. He's walking so slow these days, and getting him into a trot is a trial, and a canter is impossible. I'm hoping maybe it was just the gravel, or that maybe his feet still hurt a little from that long ride on gravel a few weeks ago, though they don't look like they're stone bruised to me. He's such a slug these days, and I feel like I'm fighting him all the time just to get a little energy into him. Oh, well, maybe he's just getting old, like me. I'll give him another week of rest to see if his feet improve, maybe that's the whole problem. Anyway, another beautiful, mostly carefree day here in central Indiana! Read for a while, watched a little TV, now I'm off for my shower and bed. Good night, darlin'! Love you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 – Fantastic Ride Today!

Hiya Darlin'!
It's days like this I miss you the most! What a fantastic day! Had a great night sleep, with temps in the mid-50's, perfect! Woke up to a beautiful morning with hardly a cloud in the sky, perfect! Saddled and booted up my go-to guy, Flash, and headed out on the trails, soon discovering that there is very little gravel on the trails so I was able to take his boots off, perfect! I soon learned the trails were quite well-marked, perfect! And the trails and the map matched pretty well, except for a couple of spurs out to parking areas, so almost perfect! Even when I made a wrong turn, I was able to figure out exactly where I was and get back on track with other trail options, perfect! Took Lola along, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself, behaved beautifully the whole way, even back in camp, perfect! I couldn't have asked for a better day! Trail #10 had some gorgeous areas where the pine needles have carpeted the ground making it as quiet as a church on Monday, Trail #12 got to be more challenging, more narrow and with more steep grades, Trail #14 had great footing, but there were a few areas so overgrown I wish I had worn a long-sleeved shirt, but not very much. The B trail back to camp was the only one with some gravel on it, and it was small and not very thickly disbursed, so it wasn't much of a bother either, and because it was wide, I managed to get Flash up into a canter and a largo (fast gait in Paso Fino language) for a bit. We went for over three hours, about 11.5 miles, more than I had planned but still well within our capabilities. When we got back to camp, I rinsed him down and put him in the paddock with Apollo, grabbed a sandwich, then headed up the hill to check my email and do a little computer stuff. As soon as I got back I put the horses back out on their anchors to let them graze for a bit. I was delighted to see the batteries were at 12.4 volts after all the sunshine today, and I had left both paddle fans running! I've barely run the generator since I've been here, and I'm endeavoring to run it even less as I learn how the solar system works. I turned it on for about 5 minutes this morning, just to cook bacon in the microwave and toast in the toaster. I'll probably put it on again later so I can run the AC long enough to cool off the inside of the trailer, if necessary. I did that yesterday and only had to run it for about 15 minutes. Once the sun gets behind the trees to my west, it starts to get a lot cooler quite fast. It's forecast to get warmer in the next few days, then rain is supposed to be here all weekend, but we'll see. I've seen that forecast go bust before! Meanwhile, I'm enjoying every minute of the day today, one of those really great days! Glad you were with me, in great health and spirit, on the trail today. The kind of days we always loved together! Anyway, after a little rest, I put some oil on Flash's saddle, it's been getting kind of creaky with all the rain and now all the sun. Put the horses away, going to watch a little PVR on TV, take my shower and head off to bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 – Search for Cell Signal

Hi Sweetheart,
Lola was restless all night, what with the thunderstorms that kept coming in, so my night was interrupted numerous times with her scratching at the bedroom partition. Ended up getting up lat because of that. I decided to put the electric fence up around the back end of the site, since I hate leaving tied to a hitching post, and I couldn’t leave them on their anchors without being here to watch them, and I knew I was going to have to go out and find a cell phone signal and get some computer work done. I managed to find a hill with a pulloff not too far up the road, but I was there for a lot longer than I had planned, but at least I got some stuff done. When I got back to camp, I did put the horses out for a few hours, which they appreciated. Toward the evening, Apollo decided to go on walkabout, and I had to go fetch him back all the way from the other side of the campground. The rest of the day I spent reading and playing computer backgammon. I’m in a nice sunny spot for most of the day, so I’ve been getting a lot of power from the solar panel, even with the clouds this morning. Once it cleared up in the afternoon it worked well. I’ve been watching the voltage on the inverter to see how low it can get before the generator won’t start, but so far, I’ve been able to, and I’ve been running it for about 10-15 minutes twice a day. So far so good! Of course, I haven’t been using much power anyway, so it will be interesting to see just how low I can let the batteries get before I have to bring out the BeatIt battery jumper. I remembered I had some stuff on the Dish PVR, so I watched a one hour movie from 1936 just for fun. Now I’m ready for my shower and bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Monday, June 22, 2020 – Travel Day to Brown County, IN

Hey Baby,
Well, I finally made it to the famous Brown County, south of Indianapolis. I should know better than to follow Google maps without double checking it, because it took me on some roads that had such tight turns that I had to back up once or twice, and I still ended up with my back wheels going into a culvert because I didn't have room for the truck to swing wide enough, and one hill I went over was so short, my front was on one side of the hill and my back end was on the other side of the hill, and the middle of the trailer was scraping bottom on the top of the hill! Jeesh! I finally reached a better road that let into the camp, which I'm guessing would have been a much better way to come, but there you go! I guess I had to learn that lesson again! Anyway, It took me well under two hours to break everything down at Deam Lake and go to the dump, so I was well on my way before 9:30. I don't usually like to stop at Walmart on the way, I like to offload the trailer first, but today was an exception. I needed some things and there was a Walmart just off the freeway, so I made the stop. Of course, I took Lola in with me, temps have been in the mid to upper 80's so I couldn't leave her in the truck, but I had the fans on in the trailer (what a luxury!), so the horses kept their cool. Anyway, we arrived at the camp safe and sound, and my spot is mostly in the sun, which might be problematic with the temperatures, but I wanted to be in sun so I could experiment with the solar panel and see how long a charge would last without running the generator, or maybe just running it for an hour a day. With four 5-gallon propane tanks, and we figured out that we burn about a gallon an hour when we run the generator, I should be able to get 20 hours out of them. But, of course, they're not all full at the moment, but it should give ma an idea. And who knows? Maybe on sunny days I won't need to run the generator at all! We'll see, it will be a learning curve, for sure. Anyway, I got the horses settled, got the trailer level (easiest one I've had in a LONG time), filled up with water (the nearest spigot is one long and one short hose away), had a nice chat with Jackie who was mowing the lawn. I made the mistake of asking at the gate if portable fences were allowed, and was told, "only around the hitching post," just like in that ridiculous Mystery Cave in Minnesota, which, as you know, is the LOWEST rank camp we've ever been to. Not to worry, though, I put them on anchors instead. Flash still gets a little excited if the rope gets around his feet, but he's getting the hang of preventing that from happening, and seems to be calming down a lot lately. Only took me a few minutes to get him in the trailer this morning, and he went in a lot calmer than usual, no running up the ramp so fast he slipped on it, like usual. Not instant, but getting better. Apollo, of course, was nickering at him to get on with it, because HE knew breakfast was waiting inside, and when it came his turn, he went right in. I'm getting faster at setting up, too, it didn't take me too long to get everything organized. I even broke out the barbecue grill, it's high time I ate some of those Zweigles white hots we got in NYS last year. I even bought some hot dog buns when I was shopping today. Not a very good cell phone signal here, I've had to put my booster antenna on the top of the trailer and power it with the truck, and even then it's pretty iffy, though I was able to get online for awhile. Flies are bad here, though, just like at Deam Lake, and since the zipper on the screen room is broken, they're getting in. I've got my fly spray ready, though! And the distributor has said they're willing to send me an entire new screen room just because a couple of the plastic teeth on the door panel have broken! We'll see, we have some logistics problems to solve on that one! Anyway, no more A/C unless I'm running the generator, so I hope things cool down at night here! Had my barbecued white hot and some shrimp cocktail I splurge on, but not much else to do here. No cell phone signal, so no Netflix, no local channels either. Good thing I have a book, though I'll have to download a few more. Jackie told me there is a signal up by the firetower, looks like I'll be making a trip or two up there every day. Guess I'll just have to get a lot of riding it! Supposed to be rain tomorrow, though, but we'll see. Clouds are coming in now, temps are mercifully dropping, so I think I'll get my shower in and spend the evening reading. Well, I say evening, but it's almost 9:30, I've just eaten, and it's still not dark. Too much darn daylight in the Eastern time zone! Oh, well. Love you, darling! Good night!

Sunday, June 21, 2020 – Relaxing Prep Day

Hey Sweetie,
Had a good night sleep, then after I got up I immediately started to pack for my departure tomorrow. There’s a storm front due at around noon and I wanted to make sure everything was done before then. I’m obviously getting more efficient in m packing, because it didn’t seem to take much time for me to put everything away. I did every scrap of laundry I could find while I have electric, since I will only have my generator and the solar panel at the next couple of campgrounds, which should be an interesting experiment, to see how much energy I can save when I don’t have a dialysis machine to run every other day. Of course, there’s rain the in forecast for the area for the next few days, so without sunshine I’ll be using my generator more. Like I said, a good experiment, a good chance to see exactly what my energy conservation will be like. Once I got everything packed, I had breakfast and did a few chores before the rain came in, so I literally spent the day binge-watching DS9, then one so-so movie before shower and bed. So a nice quiet day, much quieter than any packing day I can remember. By the time the rain came, the place was mostly empty, and was completely empty by the time I went outside again. No earplugs necessary tonight! So I’m off! Good night, my love!