Archives for August 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020 – LONG Ride Day with Trish and Friends

Hey Sweetie!
What a lovely, long ride today! After a so-so night sleep, I got up, did my chores, had breakfast, then saddled up Flash for our group ride today. I left, with Lola in her newly-refashioned safety vest, about 10:15 for our meetup at 11:00 at Orange and J. Just as I crossed the road on to the orange trail, a rather large and noisy group turned in just behind me, so I picked up my pace to get out ahead of them, all downhill of course, so I ended up reaching J by about 10:45. They ended up being a few minutes late, but I had a nice chat with four fellas who are camping up on top of the hill in the state horse camp. Eventually my group came along and we headed out. Instead of Table Rock, though, we headed out to Indian Head, which I don’t remember ever going to before, then around and down to the Artesian well for lunch, then back out on the challenging pink trail, where one of our group decided to head back to camp before the turn (and who ended up getting lost anyway, then found again by our group when they finished the pink trail), and another girl’s horse got so tired she stumbled a few times and almost went down the hill, and could scarcely carry her even on the flat. My phone died part way through so I didn’t get a GPS of the whole ride, but when I went back and reconstructed it, it looked like about 13 miles, but it seemed a lot longer. And it may have been, with steep climbs and descents, the GPS is very often misleading. Once we completed the pink trail, I peeled off to climb back up to camp, while they headed east, then north, back to 3 Reasons farm. It was close for me, and Flash, after all that exercise, still decided to gait up that long hill most of the way! Lola was so tuckered she practically dropped onto her cushion in the screen room while I unsaddled Flash and gave him a wash and rubbed him down with some liniment. One of the older guys that I met this morning came by and chatted for a bit, then I got everyone put away, changed my clothes, then took the truck out to 3 Reasons for steak dinner with the gang. There was a thunderstorm in the vicinity and I didn’t want to leave Lola alone, you know how she panics when there’s a storm, so I helped her into the truck (she was so tired she couldn’t climb in on her own), and traveled the 10 minutes to the farm. A nice group, a great dinner, and, of course, I sang for my supper by doing Snowy River for them, with only one little bobble, but it was the largest group I’ve done so far, ten people, so I thought it went pretty well. As it started to get dark, I drove back to camp and settled down for the night. No TV, I barely have enough energy to type this blog! And tomorrow is likely going to be even longer for me, since Table Rock is on the other side of the park, plus they want to go down into the state park, with is another few miles south, so it’s going to be another long day for me, but I don’t mind, it was a beautiful and fun day! I just hope Flash is up for it, because this group is all gaited and Apollo would never keep up, plus it would be too long for him. But if Flash is gimpy, I may have no choice! I think he’ll be all right, though, he certainly seemed fine gaiting up the hill at the end of the day! Well, I’ve had my shower, and tonight, I’m going to be early, long day tomorrow! Good night, my love!

Thursday, August 20, 2020 – Ride Day on Apollo

Hi Babe,
After a decent night sleep and breakfast, I saddled up Apollo and started on a ride with my neighbor Nick and a family of three other women who were headed out towards Airplane Rock. They were all on gaited horses, so Apollo was having a time trying to keep up. By the time we got to the bottom of the hill of the orange trail, I had decided to peel off and go over to the west side of the forest rather than out to Airplane Rock, since I’d already done that, and it was a longer ride than I was in the mood for, plus I didn’t think Apollo was up to trying to climb that many hills at that pace. He’s getting into better shape, but I still don’t want to push him too hard at his age. I turned off at the white trail, followed that to the purple trail, and came back around to Badger Cave, which was that nice trail that you rode with me on one day last year, only in reverse. There was a couple of good climbs and descents, but nothing like the trail to Airplane Rock, and we were back in just over two hours, which suited us just fine. Nick didn’t get back until two hours after that, and he said his horse was pretty tuckered out by then, too. He had planned on leaving today, but the ride was so long he decided to wait until tomorrow. Good decision! Anyway, we chatted for awhile till it was time to feed everyone, then went our separate ways for the evening. Lola’s been eating satin balls, but still just picking at her dinner, it’s like she suddenly doesn’t like the dog food anymore, though she eventually finished it off awhile later, after I put a second helping of grated cheese on it. Watched a couple of Voyagers, wrote some emails in an ongoing and stressful correspondence with Equity, and texted with Trish, who arrived from Indiana this afternoon, about their plans for tomorrow and how we could meet up. All that done, it’s time for bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 – First Ride at Hocking

Hey Darlin’,
After getting to bed late, I slept well, gave Lola some satin balls with breakfast, planned a route to ride some trails that I missed when we were here last year, then saddled up Flash and headed out about noon. I’d forgotten how pretty this forest is, lots of escarpments and caves and creeks and waterfalls, though most weren’t flowing with water at this time of the year. I took one trail, the pink trail (though the markers looked more purple) which was marked challenging. I remember I took the easier part of it last year, but today I took the truly challenging section, which they mark by adding a black strip to the pink mark. There were a few dicey spots, not the worst I’ve seen (the North Dakota Badlands come to mind!), but still it was a good trial for Flash, and he did wonderfully! There was less mud than last year, but still plenty, and because of that I decided not to put his boots on, but, of course, that meant he was more tentative on the gravel sections, but it couldn’t be helped. I did NOT want to waste time searching for boots today, and with some of the sharp dropoffs so many of the trails have here, they were liable to go over the side, never to be seen again. But he handled it well, and there really wasn’t that much. I went out to Parachute Rock, past White Falls (no water that I could see), around Red Rock, and out to Crystal Falls (again, no water). All told it was just 10 miles when we got back to camp, just about 3 hours. It was a beautiful day, gorgeous weather with not a cloud in the sky, and cooler than it’s been. Supposed to get down in the low to mid-50′ tonight! Anyway, got back rinsed off Flash and Lola, who was equally muddy from flattening herself into every muddy puddle she came across, then settled down in the screen room for awhile. I decided to do a long overdue job, and spent some time refashioning one of the human safety vests into a Lola-sized vest. She’s been dragging the other one around, I thought I would custom fit one for her, and it seems to have worked, but I’ll know better after the next trail ride if it doesn’t fall off! That took some time. When I finished, I fed the horses, gave Lola dinner and a couple of satin balls (I gave her one as soon as we got back from the ride, and it encouraged her to finish her breakfast, which she had left from this morning), grilled a nice Angus burger for myself, and settled down to a couple more ST Voyagers. By now, as usual, it’s time for shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 – Runaround Day in Logan

Hi Sweetie,
A good night sleep, woke up to a cloudy morning, which I wasn’t expecting because the forecast said clear all week, but there you go! Another stellar forecast! It actually sprinkled a bit around noon, though most of the rain was south. Pretty much everyone was out riding, but I had a couple of book orders which I had to pack up and take to the post office, decided to do some shopping, too, so maybe I won’t have to go out again while I’m here. It was pretty late by the time I got back. Lola went visiting and persuaded some ladies up the hill to throw fetch with her for quite awhile, and I went up later and chatted for a few minutes. Another guy came in and parked next to Nick, my nearest neighbor, and he actually remembered us from last year, remembered the big rig with the screen room. I chatted with them for a bit, too, and did my Snowy River routine for them, which they really seemed to appreciate. When I came back to the trailer, I made up some satin balls for Lola. She’s been losing weight lately, maybe because of all the exercise, but I don’t like to see her that skinny so I bought everything I needed to make satin balls today, and she gobbled several up when I finished. I put the balls in my deviled egg container, the perfect storage unit for them! I’ve got enough for a couple of batches, I’m hoping that will help. The horses aren’t eating as much hay lately, either, especially Apollo, but I think that’s because it’s not alfalfa, you know how fast they can get spoiled on that stuff! This last batch of hay isn’t bad, but it still doesn’t have that nice fermented smell I get occasionally. Hard to be picky when I’m on the road, kinda have to take what I can get. Anyway, I settled down for the evening, it’s supposed to get down in the upper 50’s tonight, so I’m looking forward to another good night sleep. Off to shower now! Good night, babe! Love you!

Hi Babe!
Another departure, another arrival! Woke up to the alarm at 7:00, managed to get packed up, horses loaded, and off the old dump by 9:30. I say "old dump" because they put in a new dump, in such a way as to be truly to dumbest position I've ever seem. It's conveniently placed just before the camping gatehouse where the road divides into two one-way roads. It's the perfect location. The only trouble is, instead of making it so you can curve into it and curve out again, they made it perpendicular to the road. Two dump stations, with really high curbs, and the made it almost impossible for a trailer of any length to get in and out of it. Truly brainless. That's why I went to the old dump, because even though it was a little tough to get into, and I had to pull forward and back into it a little, it was easily manageable. It's a head scratcher, that one. Anyway, we had an uneventful trip all the way here, and when I arrived, it was completely empty! Not a single other person or vehicle was here. At first, I thought I would go into one of the pull-throughs at the bottom of the hill, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided to go back in the spot we stayed in last year. Yes, there's a bit of a hill down to the horses, but at least we have our own little bit of yard on either side. Of course, I had a bit of trouble avoiding ditches since I didn't have anyone behind me to signal, and I almost got stuck, but in the end I managed to get in place just fine. A few minutes after I got in, another trailer came in, with a guy by himself and he pulled into one of the pull-throughs I had dismissed. Nice guy, named Nick, we chatted later in the evening. Anyway, since I'm staying here two full weeks, I set everything up, screen room and even grill, and grilled up a nice pork chop that a family had given to back at Tippecanoe. They actually gave me pork chops and some nice mild sausage, obviously home made, and very good, I might add! Later on, a couple more trailers came in, but they parked at the top of the hill. I heard the sound of a guitar a while ago, so maybe I'll have a chance to practice my Snowy River on them later in the week. Anyway, I've settled down, ready for a good night sleep. Love you, darlin'! Good night!

Sunday, August 16, 2020 – Housekeeping and Prep Day

Hey Sweetie!
Another good night sleep, followed by a day of housekeeping and preparation for our departure tomorrow. I actually woke up in the mood to do housework, so you know what that means! I went through this place like a Tasmanian devil, cleaning almost everything in sight. I even did the deep clean on the leather recliners, something that’s needed to be done for quite some time. I repaired Lola’s big bed, installing the foam I bought the other day, she seem to like it, though I caught her starting to pull the stuffing out the her little bone-shaped pillow, so I took that away from her, I’ll have to mend that before I give it back to her. It took me most of the day, plus putting away everything outside, though I haven’t hooked up to the truck because it would have been too slope-y, I think. I checked all the vitals on the truck and the air pressure in all the tires, and noticed something weird. Even though it’s the same size tire, this Hanook I bought for a spare (though it’s on there until I replace with a Crosswind), it appears to be bigger! Just eyeballing it, it seems bigger, though I didn’t actually measure it. I’ll do that when I get to my next locations. Strange, though, and it’s a much different tread. I hope it runs okay, I’ll have over three hours driving tomorrow to check it out. Finally settled down for the evening, took my shower early, now I’m heading off to bed. Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Saturday, August 15, 2020 – Another Fun Ride and Kayak Day

Hi Babe,
Another beautiful day here today! After doing some more planning, and making reservations at the hotel in Peach Springs, AZ for the rafting trip, I saddled up Flash for a ride. The one trail is pretty boring, so I decided to make today all about conditioning, and gaited him for almost the entire ride. We did the whole 8.5 miles in about 95 minutes, and that was stopping a couple of times to put boots back on! Not a bad pace, and he seemed quite capable of it, no complaints! I just wish they didn't have gravel in between the muddy spots here, during the last half mile his boots came off twice, I ended up taking them both off for the rest of the way back to camp. Gave him a nice rinse down before putting him away, did a little bit more work on the computer, then took the kayak down to the boat launch and spent a couple of hours on the lake. I paddle almost all the way to the north end, which was a nice marsh with lots of wildlife, lots of birds. Since the beach was busier, all the geese had moved up here, plus some herons and cormorants, too. I watched them for awhile. Naturally, the wind was against me when I paddled up, then died down to almost glasslike conditions for the last half of the paddle back. It was nice, though, nice to get some sun and pretty quiet, too. Got back to camp, fed the horses, took my shower and settled down for the evening. About time for bed now, so I'll say good night. Love you, babe!

Friday, August 14, 2020 – Runaround Day

Hi Honey,
Slept a bit late this morning, then spent the most of the day working on various things on my computer, some of the time researching whitewater raft rides in the Grand Canyon, to see if I could get one in on my schedule. They have several different types of rafts, some are motorized, some have a guide that does all the rowing, but the kind I want is where I actually get to paddle through the whitewater, and I think I may have found one, but it’s a two day trip, camping along the shoreline for a night, which sounds fabulous to me! Still have a few more logistics to work out on that, though. Meanwhile, I had made arrangements to meet a guy to get hay at 6:00 and decided to run up to nearby Richmond to do a little shopping beforehand, so I left around 3:30, went to a craft store to get some padding to stuff back into Lola’s bed, then to Tractor Supply for propane and horse feed, then Walmart for a just a few items, then arrived at the hay guy’s about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. I let him know I was early, but he didn’t answer. I waited half an hour, messaging him several times, never heard a thing, so I finally left. Went back up the road to a farm with a sign that said “hay for sale” and talked to the owner, but they only do big round bales, so that didn’t help. Got back to camp just in time to take a phone call from the rafting company, we spent some time going over the options, and it looks like I might be able to fit it in! Whoo-hoo! I did a little rearranging of my reservations, with still a few other things to work out, but it looks like it might all be falling together. The hotel I’ll need to stay at for the rafting trip (outside of Grand Canyon in Peach Springs on the famous Route 66) also has caverns, and a restaurant called the Grotto which is also at the bottom of the caves, so I think I’ll have plenty of options of things to do on my extra day. Finally, after 8:30, I FINALLY heard from the hay guy, very apologetic, just completely slipped his mind, but promised to deliver the hay to me tomorrow morning, no extra charge. I rubbed it in a little, but forgave him, so hopefully that will get done in the morning. So I finally settled down for the evening, a quick bite of dinner, and Voyager or two, now off to showers and bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, August 13, 2020 – Second Ride Day, Did Some Planning

Hey Sweetie,
Had a great night sleep, yay, but got off to a slow start this morning handling a bunch of computer work, mostly trying to plan for the next couple of months of travel, trying to figure out where to go and when. Got some preliminary decisions made, found a stable for when I have to fly out to Vegas (finally got the dates settled for that!), so I'm well on my way on my planning. I finally got Apollo saddled and we headed out with Lola, going in the opposite direction on the trail today. Once, on a hill, I even managed to get Apollo into a canter! I can't remember how long it's been since I've been able to get him to do that, the fat slug! Of course, as soon as we got to the top, I realized he'd lost one of his boots (typical, right?), and I spent 20 minutes trying to find it. Oddly, though he lost his right boot, so naturally I was looking all along the right side of the road, and finally found it, on the LEFT side of the road! Weird, but I remember that time when he lost a boot once when you were riding him in Pennsylvania, and it did the same thing, ended up on the opposite side of the trail, which is why I decided to look there, and viola! Found it! I had a group of three women pass me while I was looking, but they didn't see it either. Then I passed a woman, leading a mule, evidently her farrier had trimmed her mule's hoofs to short and the gravel was bothering him, he was limping a bit. She still had a long way to go back to the day parking area, but fortunately I had an extra bottle of water that I gave her, but there's wasn't much else I could do, so I carried on. Then I passed the three ladies again when they stopped at a picnic area, stopping for a brief chat, then Apollo lost his boot again, but his time I saw it before it even quit rolling. We finally got back to camp around 4:30, and I was debating whether I wanted to go for a kayak ride so late, but then the three ladies arrived in camp, and they came over to socialize for awhile, and one of them even bought a copy of my book! After they left, I started thinking about my schedule again, and also about whether I wanted to try to take a vacation this winter, when it suddenly occurred to me. One thing on our bucket list that we never did was to take the mule train down the Grand Canyon to the bottom. Yes, we rode our own horses down the Bright Angel trail a ways, but never to the bottom, so I decided, since I was going to be in Vegas in early October, I'd check to see if they had any openings. Well, it seemed according to the website, that they were booked solid until summer next year, but then I called and spoke to Adrian, who informed me that yes, indeed, I might be able to accomplish it! So we went back and forth on the phone for quite some time before figuring out how to do it. It means I will miss the Skymont ride this year, because that was the only thing that worked in the schedule, but I'll be riding down just one week before the 10th anniversary of when we rode down on our own two horses! We had gorgeous weather then, I hope for the same this year! So I'm still working out the logistics, and I'm trying to figure out a way to also do a whitewater rafting trip while I'm there, too, but that's complicating things as well, but you know me, I'll find a way! I knew there was a reason I kept putting off the last camping reservation I needed to make in Indiana, because now all those plans for that week will change! Anyway, when I finally got off the phone it was after 8:00, so I took my shower, made dinner, settled in for a mere hour of television, and now I'm off to bed! Good night, babe! Love you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 – First Ride and Kayak Day at Whitewater

Hi Babe!
Had trouble getting to sleep last night, and ended up waking up fairly early as well, so I got up to start a busy day. After my usual chores and breakfast, I got out the kayak and inflated it because I want to use it later. I timed it, it only took me 10 minutes to get it completely set up! Then I ran into town to post some mail and to pick up fuel in the truck so I won't have to worry about getting any on the road to the next stop. Just about the time I got back, the guys next door were leaving, so now I have the place all to myself. I saddled up Flash and we headed out on the trail. We were about a half a mile out of camp, and just crossing a nice creek, when I suddenly heard the sound of a very familiar whinny... Apollo somehow escaped the fence and followed us! Evidently I forgot to turn the power back on after I got Flash out, and he usually respects the fence anyway so I wasn't worried, but somehow the tape came off one post and dropped enough for him to get out. I didn't want to risk having him follow me the whole 9 miles, so I headed back to camp with him following and put him back inside the fence, strengthening the wire and putting the electric on, when we headed out again. It was a nice ride, nothing spectacular or special, just a nice 2 ½ hours on the trail. There was more mud than I expected, and some patches of gravel the guys had warned me about, so I had put boots on Flash before we left. Some areas had a few hills and some nice outcroppings in the forest, the rest was just going along next to fields and more in the open. Like I said, a nice ride, but nothing special. I was relieved to find Apollo safe and sound back in camp, I was afraid that he might try to escape, but he was fine. While I was taking off Flash's bridle, he started to move away before I got his halter on, and I grabbed his head to steer him back to the trailer, but I accidentally touched his eye and he flung his head up, hitting me right next to MY eye, and a great bump came up almost immediately. I got an ice pack on it right away, which helped the bump go down, but it's turning blue, looks like I'm going to have a shiner out of it! After I got him pushed away, I changed into some swim gear and headed over to the boat launch, then paddled around the lake for awhile. It's a small lake, very quiet, there was only a couple of small flat boats, mostly fishing, no other kayaks or paddle boats out at all. Lots of Canadian Geese at the beach, but hardly any people, just two women chattering away (well, one was doing most of the chattering, the other hardly got a word in edgewise). She was going on and on about how God thinks this and God does that, quite the expert in proselytizing, but I had to laugh, because a seagull started picking at a pile of her stuff and she yelled a blue streak of sailor talk at it. I was thinking, I hope God puts all the folks that swear that bad in a different section in the afterlife, I'd hate for anyone to have to listen to that for eternity! Anyway, got back, fed the horses, had a shower, and settled down for the evening. I'm going to bed early tonight, feeling quite tired after all that activity! So good night, darlin'! Love you!