Archives for August 2020

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 – More Relaxing Laundry Day

Hi Honey!
After a good night sleep, I was determined to not overdue it today. My back still spasms occasionally, but less often, thank goodness, so I only worked slowly. I ran up to the office to post a couple of letters, and it turned out that my package of mail from TN was still in the box, having arrived yesterday I guess. I had to fill up the water tank of few times because laundry was the order of the day, so now that's all caught up, I put the outdoor carpet under the awning and brought the two big chairs out, but I don't think I'll bother with the screen room again, though the flies are pretty bad here. I discovered the tire that blew is under warranty, but after chasing down half a dozen leads, it seems almost impossible to collect on it. They were bought in Iowa at a 3-store chain, and it seems it has to go back to them in order for the warranty to be honored. Ridiculous! The tire was only three years old and had never been used until two weeks ago, and it fell apart! Not sure why I'm buying another one of that brand, except that it matches the rest of the tires that are on there. Anyway, I ended up just ordering one and having it shipped to a town near by next destination next week, so I'll get that taken care of. One of my camp neighbors, Carla, had a dead battery just as she was getting ready to pull out, so I took out my little BeatIt device and jump started her. Later, I went over to the camp of her two other companions, Mike and Tom, and let them be my guinea pig audience again for Snowy River. I've got it down, I just want to get really secure with it so that if a larger audience presents itself, I'll be ready. Carla said she'd like to come back later this week and bring some friends, but we'll see. Meanwhile, the horses have settled into a nice big area I fenced in, and the guys are leaving tomorrow, so I may have the place to myself for a day or two. Planning on riding tomorrow, fingers crossed! Took my shower early, so now I'm heading off to bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, August 10, 2020 – Travel Day to Whitewater Memorial-What a Day!

Hey Sweetie,
What a day! Lola kept waking me up all night, it was a miracle I got any sleep at all, then when I got up with the alarm, it just started pouring with rain, which last half an hour, but then started clearing up nicely, so I waited it out, having breakfast and getting the inside of the trailer ready to travel. At 8:00 I started calling tire places, and finally on the fourth call I found someone who was only about 10 miles out of my way, a Firestone dealer that had a Hancook tire in my size. I figured since it was only a spare it didn’t need to be the same as the rest, I’ll order on of those online and have it fitted later. So I got everything packed up, and was leaving the dump by 9:30, a little ahead of schedule, which I needed to do. I arrived at the tire place (Pomps in Monticello), and they went to work almost immediately, and I was out of there in about an hour, thank goodness. The modified route actually took me on more interstates, so that was a plus. And my brakes are working MUCH better, though there was a time or two when a light changed suddenly that made me buck a little. There was a lot of construction, but it didn’t slow me down too much. I arrived in Richmond (I know, this all sounds like Virginia, but I’m in Indiana!), I stopped at the Meijer’s and did all my shopping. I found most of what I needed, and got a couple more bottles of Joint Juice (I’m determined to have a good supply since they’ve become so hard to find!), and I would have gotten more but that’s all they had. Finally, at around 4:00 I was heading to camp, arriving about 35 minutes later. All went well with my check-in, and then I headed back to the horse camp. The roads were very narrow, one way and lots of old trees, quite lovely but a little tricky. Then I found my spot and started to back in, but I had a big tree to go around, and I missed the gravel, of which there wasn’t much, by about a foot, and after several attempts to get it right, I ended up getting stuck. Right next to the gravel it was very muddy, and there was no way to turn that sharp (well, I was concerned about how hard it is on the tires, making 90 degree turns), and then because the trailer wheels sank into the mud on one side, then the bottom of the trailer started scraping along the asphalt, then my truck tires started slipping because I was off the asphalt trying to make that sharp turn… Well, long story short, I got stuck. I couldn’t move at all. So, I unhooked the truck and straightened it out and tried to move it in a straight line, and that didn’t work. Then I unhooked again and drove up to the gatehouse to see if they had any equipment, like a tractor or something, that could help move me. They said they weren’t allowed because of the liability. Then I remembered that my insurance policy on the trailer included road service, so I called them, and within 5 minutes they had a wrecker on the way! They arrived about 45 minutes later (about 30 minutes ahead of a huge storm that was moving in), and after a couple of tries, we managed to get the trailer back on the road, me hooked up to the trailer, and then I managed to back it up into the spot perfectly. Too bad I couldn’t do that the first time! Oh, and meanwhile, I was arranging to sell the little trailer during that whole mess! Busy, crazy day! I have a couple of guys and an older woman camping next to me, and they had a lot of fun sitting on a picnic table watching what was going on. They weren’t expecting so much entertainment! They seem nice, I had chatted with them before, they were our riding when I first arrived and came back to see the road blocked with my trailer. They offered to help, but I had already arranged for the wrecker, which was safer anyway. By now it was starting to get dark, both because the storm was getting close, and because it was after 9:00, but I managed to do most of my chores while I was waiting for the wrecker. Got a fence up, fed the horses, cleared out the back of the trailer, filled up with water, all the usual mundane stuff, then once the trailer was in position, I did my indoor stuff, which isn’t much. So late now, and I’m pretty tired (and my back is still giving me an occasional twinge when I move wrong), so I’m off to shower and bed pretty quick here. Good night, my darling! Love you!

Sunday, August 9, 2020 – Pack Up and Change Tire

Hi Darlin’!
I had a wonderful night sleep last night, which I needed so bad after yesterday! Spent the day mostly relaxing and putting stuff away at a leisurely pace. Not as much as usual, since I didn’t do a full setup here, didn’t do the screen room, so that made it easier. But then, while I was just about to get ready to hook up the truck, I noticed something that I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed the whole time I’ve been here. One of the tires, the one that was the spare that I just changed a few weeks ago because I was worried about a chunk out of the sidewall, had lost a huge chunk of tread! It stretched halfway across the width and at least a foot along the tread, right down to having the steel belts sticking out. I’m surprised it hadn’t gone flat just sitting there! I don’t know how long it’s been like that, but I’m sure glad I saw it before I pulled out tomorrow morning, it certainly would have gone before long! So unfortunately, I had to put the tire with the chunk out of the sidewall back on, not happy about that, but I’m going to have to do some research in the morning to see if there’s a tire shop anywhere along the way that has this brand of tires in the right size. Of course, it made more work for me, but I hopefully dodged a bullet there. I only hope the sidewall on this new tire doesn’t blow, with no spare, that would be bad! I’ll be sweating bullets all the way, or until I get to a tire shop. Worst comes to worse, I’ll get where I’m going, order the tires online and have them delivered to a nearby shop and take the rims in to get them mounted. Thank goodness for my new XL JiffyJack! I’m certainly getting a lot of use out of it these days! Well, that exhausted me, and unfortunately, heat and humidity came back today, so I’m hot and sweaty, too. Finally settled down, got just about everything ready to go, had a nice dinner, now I’m heading for the shower and bed. Good night, baby! Love you!

Friday, August 7, 2020 – Work and Recovery Day

Hi Sweetie,
Well, despite my best intentions to ride today, it just didn’t happen. I woke up in with so much back pain, it was making spasms when I moved. I could hardly reach down to put my socks on just getting out of bed. I promptly took three ibuprofen, and headed out to take care of the horses. Moving helped, except when I twisted in a certain directions, then for a moment I could hardly walk. I’m not sure what set this off, but there was no way, even after the drug kicked in, that I was going to be in any shape to ride today. As it turned out, it took me most of the day to finish writing my analysis to each of the individuals in last week’s workshop, something I promised our client I would do, and I didn’t get that wrapped up until nearly 6:00, so at least the day wasn’t wasted. I also finally got an email from our other client in Las Vegas, they’re ready to start looking at the calendar to reschedule the postponed workshop from last Spring, so another job is on the way, yay! I also got an email from Equity about my submission for a contract for myself, they seem open to the idea of the contract except for the crazy Covid restrictions they’re trying to impose. Apparently following the local and federal guidelines aren’t enough, they want to research every county I’ll be “performing” in for some reason. I swear, if I can through this process, I can get through anything! Anyway, by the time I was feeding the horses at dinnertime, my back seemed to be improving a bit, though I still get a massive twinge if I turn the wrong way. I’ve got some friends coming out to ride here with me tomorrow, I’m just going to load up on painkillers and hopefully that will be enough. I tried an experiment today, I didn’t start the generator this morning, and I let the solar panel charge the batteries all day. Typically by morning, I’ve have to use the jump starter to get the generator going, but with a sunny day like today, my voltage went up from 11.8 to 12.3, even with me drawing power to charge up my electronics all day, and when I went to start it at dinnertime, it actually had enough of a charge to start! That’s a breakthrough bit of knowledge for me, I thought I would always have to run it both morning and evening, but it looks like half an hour once in the evening might be enough, at least when it’s sunny. That will certainly save on propane! Well, that’s all the news, time for shower and bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Thursday, August 6, 2020 – Ride Day, Apollo Much More Energetic!

Hi Darlin',
A great night sleep last night, finally. The air did not seem to go down at all on the other side of the bed, so maybe I've solved that problem. But I must have done something to twist my back getting the mattress in and out, because when I started moving around I was in agony. Breakfast and three ibuprofen later I was starting to feel better. I finished sending links to the videos from yesterday, and was determined to get a ride on Apollo in today, so just after noon I saddled him up and started a circuitous route trying to hit almost every trail we missed on Tuesday. What a beautiful ride! Trail 7 goes through some lovely pine forests, Trail 6 goes along a cattail-strewn marsh, and most of the rest go through truly beautiful woods. Apollo had more get up and go in him than he's had in a LONG time! Whether it's the sandy footing, the alfalfa, or that whatever problem's he's been having has remedied itself, I don't know, but he was walking fast and trotting out fast, with no hesitation and hardly any urging on my part! I might have even been able to get him into a canter if I tried hard enough, but I decided not to push my luck. About 2/3 of the way around I temporarily lost my GPS, the back came off and the rest of it dropped, but I managed to find it after a few minutes. I tied Apollo up to walk on foot, and he whinnied like a mad horse after me. Does he really think that after almost twenty years together I'm just going to abandon him in the woods? Crazy horse! When we got back to camp, he and Flash whinnied at each other the whole way across the campground! After I got him put away, another family of campers showed up at a site two down from me, and they had three horses in a LQ livestock-type trailer, and the one in back was absolutely refusing to come out. I watched for well over half an hour while they tried to coax this horse out. I eventually took pity on them and asked if they needed help, and they wholeheartedly agreed. Apparently this horse is a well-trained barrel horse, but he is usually at the front of the trailer, and just did NOT want to make the tiny turn to get his butt out the door from the last stall. I took my little crop over there and we had a firm discussion, but he was really reticent. Eventually I had one of the ladies pull his lead rope around his back legs to turn him while I grabbed his tail, and we pulled and pulled until he had no choice but to come out. Once he was out, he was fine, you'd never know he was making a fuss, but the young girl who owned him was very distraught, she thought she had done something wrong because the horse wouldn't listen to her. They were all very grateful, which I appreciated, and the rest of the horses came out with no trouble. I went back to my camp and enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous afternoon and evening, had a nice dinner, watched TV, you know, the usual, and now it's time for shower and bed! Good night, darlin'! Love you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 – Work Day

Hey Sweetie,
Well, despite my hopes to go riding on Apollo today, work and other chores got in the way. I did have a good night sleep, though, so I felt pretty good this morning. When I put the generator on I decided to do a quick load of laundry (getting short on underclothes!), but the rest can wait until I have electric next week. After breakfast I started to edit the videos from the workshop last week, and even though I have a good cell phone signal here, it was still taking almost half an hour for each video to upload, so that turned out to be an all day job. While my computer was doing it’s uploading thing, I decided to see if I could find the leak in the air mattress. I found the stopper and cap for it, filled it up with air, closed it off and brought it outside on to the picnic table. I sprayed with soapy water over and over again and couldn’t find the leak, even though I know it has to be pretty bad since it goes completely flat within 20-30 minutes when there’s weight on it. I tried using Lola’s little wading pool and that didn’t work, so I finally got into some swimming gear and drove it down to the Tippecanoe River access point where we had lunch yesterday. Even then, I had difficulty finding it, until I finally found a problem with the seam on one of the corners, but it only leaked when it was held a certain way. At least, I hope that’s the only leak! It makes sense, though, because there aren’t any holes that I could find anywhere else. I marked it and brought it back to camp, pulled out my Airstop glue and put half a dozen layers on it over the course of an hour or more. Hopefully that will do the trick! After it dried I put it back on the bed, filled it up, put the bed back together, and now I’m crossing my fingers that it will last. I discovered that the company that makes these is no longer in business after the owner died and the son didn’t want to have anything to do with it, so my only option if this doesn’t work is to get a new, more expensive mattress, which is frustrating since these are just over a year old! Well, the Airstop has worked before, hopefully it will again. I sat outside reading for awhile until all the videos finally uploaded, by then it was about time to feed the horses, finish taking down my laundry off the line, and get on with my evening. Tomorrow, definitely going riding! Well, I have a bit more work to do writing comments and disseminating the videos tomorrow, but hopefully that won’t take too long. Meanwhile, it’s shower and bedtime for me! Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 – First Ride at Tippecanoe

Hi Darlin',
Finally woke up feeling refreshed after a great night sleep! I could have slept longer but I had set my alarm because a bunch of folks I met down at Loretta Lynn's back in June decided to come ride with me, so I had to be ready by 9:30, which I was. I decided to leave Lola home when I knew there was such a large group, she doesn't always stick around when there's that many horses, but one of the gals had brought her dog along so we still had canine company. We did a couple of long loops in the morning, really nice trails! Mostly sand, so even with the rain over the weekend there really wasn't any mud, just a few soft spots. The trails are mostly fairly wide and well-groomed, albeit mostly flat, so it's very easy riding. I started out further back, but after awhile Flash was getting antsy because I was having to try to slow him down, and eventually we got out front where he immediately calmed down. A couple of times I had to take him for a long canter and back again, just to keep him happy, but everyone seemed fine with that. We came back and grabbed some lunch to take with us down to a new, short trail they had recently put in that led right down to the river, and by then, I had decided to bring Lola along for the rest of the day. I found her up in the bedroom again, so I expect to see dog hair and probably footprints when I go to bed tonight. Despite the fact that the entire park is centered on Tippecanoe River, there was no access for horses until last week. Evidently there's a small patch of land that's privately owned, but they reached an agreement to let the park manage it, and they turned it into a nice picnic area with about 100 feet of shoreline. There was only one hitching post, though, so some of us had to tie horses on to a small fence and a couple of trees. We all had a nice lunch, and Lola had a nice time fetching, including a few swims in the river before we mounted up and headed back out on the trail, doing another few loops. The morning ride was nearly 10 miles, the afternoon ride about half that. My phone died so I didn't get a GPS map of the whole thing, unfortunately. Anyway, it was a wonderful ride, a fabulous day, with lots of good company. I think it actually did Lola a lot of good, because even when she fell behind me she stayed with the pack until she caught up again, and she may have learned a bit from watching the other dog, too. Oh, I forgot to tell you that when we were in Michigan, my hosts had a Newfoundland named Angus (with a Mohawk haircut-really!) that Lola liked so much she actually tried to get him to play with her! It was so much fun to watch her jump around trying to coax him into play! So uncharacteristic for her. She didn't try that with Ellie, the dog that was with us today, but they did seem to get along all right. Got back to camp after 4:00, sat under the awning for a while (haven't bother to put the screen room up this time) before finally coming inside and settling down for the evening. A fabulous day, perfect weather, actually a bit cool, and it's supposed to get down to 49 degrees tonight! I had to close all the windows, and I suspect I'll be pulling my extra throw over me at bedtime. Speaking of, it's about that time anyway, so I'll say good night! Love you, babe!

Monday, August 3, 2020 – Another Rest Day, Sort Of

Hi Babe,
As tired as I was last night, it still took me awhile to get to sleep, even after reading for an hour. Finally dropped off, though, and eventually got a decent night sleep. I spent most of the day catching up on bookkeeping, then zombied out watching some more Voyagers. The last two campers left today, so as soon as the last one left, Lola and I took a walk around the campground, sans leash. There's a small playground with swings and a single slide, and I had her go down the slide a few times. She's such a quick study, I only had to encourage her once, and she did it a couple of times, even climbing UP the slide instead of the stairs! Silly girl! Settled down for the evening, took my shower early, and am heading to be shortly. It seems really weird to be going to bed just after it gets dark, truly, I feel like I'm revisiting my childhood. That, combined with feeling like I'm on summer vacation, is reminding me of all kinds of nostalgic moments! I have some friends I met down at Brown County coming up to ride with me tomorrow, I'm sure Flash will be raring to go after being in a paddock for more than a week now. I'm going to leave Lola home, though, she doesn't do well with a lot of horses, and it looks like there will be 5 or 6 of us. I'll take her out on her own the next day. Anyway, time for bed, Good night, my love!

Sunday, August 2, 2020 – Rest Day, Sort Of

Hi Sweetie,
It rained all night, but I had my earplugs in and slept pretty well, though Lola woke me a couple of times. Despite opening the pantry, she still managed to climb the stairs and scratch at the door, and one time I woke up, she had somehow crept into the bedroom and was at the foot of the bed! Not sure how she managed that, but you know how sneaky she can be when she wants! She finally settled down, though, thank goodness. My plan was to rest all day, but then I saw a book order with Priority mail came through, so I packed it up and drove to the nearest post office, which fortunately is only about 8 miles away. I also filled up with diesel and picked up some milk at the only supermarket in town (unless you count the two Dollar stores). Then I binge-watched Voyagers most of the rest of the day, reading and napping occasionally in between. I did fill up the water tank in the truck to simplify watering the horses, but that was about all the energy I had. Even so, I’m still feeling tired at the end of the day, obviously I’m more exhausted than I thought. Maybe a good night sleep will help tonight. Most of the campers left today, but there are two more still here, but I suspect they’ll be gone tomorrow and I’ll have the place to myself, which Lola will appreciate. It cleared up nicely and I managed to harvest some energy from my solar panel this afternoon, and there’s only a few hours of rain in the forecast tomorrow, the rest of the week looks clear, so I should be able to continue to benefit from that. Anyway, I’m heading off to shower and bed, hopefully I’ll be more recovered after a good night sleep. Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Saturday, August 1, 2020 – Exhausting Travel Day to Tippecanoe

Hi Babe,
What an exhausting day. I got up just after 7:30, started packing away everything, though I had trouble with pulling the slide in, as I was sloping too much to the right. I broke the hook I had put up, so I’ll have to fix that. Meanwhile, I had decided that I needed to adjust the brakes on the trailer, so I went on to do that. It took a little longer than I hoped, and I wasn’t sure I was doing it right, it just seemed like I couldn’t turn the star wheel the way it was suppose to go. But I did manage to bring the slide in without help by doing it when the Jiffy Jack was on the left side, that put enough weight behind it that it came in with just a little help from a rope around the cupboard above the chairs. Anyway, I finally headed out, right on schedule at 10:00, and had a relatively uneventful ride. I managed to dodge all but a few raindrops, truly missing everything that was out there. But once I got off the freeway and had to go through small towns, I knew there was something not right about the brakes, it was almost like I didn’t have any on the trailer at all. I drove extra careful, and arrived safe and sound just before 2:00, glad to find the site I had reserved for tomorrow available today, and got backed in without any trouble. It’s a nice campground, but there’s less than a dozen other campers here, and I’m sure it will be mostly empty by the end of tomorrow. I set up a nice area with the electric fence (even though, once again, they had hitching posts on site) and got the horses squared away, filled up with water and so on. Well, I was already tired from the workshop, and from all the energy getting ready today, but I was kind of in autopilot, so I decided to adjust the brakes again before I disconnected from the truck. I made a quick inquiry on the internet and found that I had, indeed, gone the wrong way with the brake adjustment (pushing UP the wheel tightens the brakes up), so I redid them all. That seemed to work better, but I won’t know for sure until I leave here. I got the outdoor rug out under the awning, then pulled out the solar panel, since there’s no electricity here. It’s cloudy, so I wasn’t expecting much, but I wanted to get it out to be ready for tomorrow. Well, then the fun began. I couldn’t get my key to turn the lock on the battery/propane compartment. After several other unsuccessful attempts, I finally had to unscrew the frame of the entire compartment in order to get to the lock inside and open it. Not sure how I’m going to make a permanent fix, especially since the lock is held in by the silly 8-pointed star screws for which there is no wrench, and I couldn’t find a four-sided square that fit. At least I was able to get the door open, since there is a manual lock on the inside. Then I decided to do a long awaited job, and connect the proper fixture for the solar panel to the batteries. You remember there was the alligator clips which I’ve been using, but there was also another on for attaching directly to the terminals on the battery, so I decided, since I was autopilot anyway, to just get that done. Fortunately that worked okay, except there was still no connection when I finished, and when I looked, I found a loose connection on the wires directly to the terminal on the solar panel, with a flathead screw deep inside a narrow space, and, of course, I didn’t have a screwdriver the right size to fit inside it. I finally ended up using the bottle opener end of a small folding tool that was in my driver door in the truck. Geesh, when it rains, it pours! Every job seemed to lead to three other jobs. I finally stopped, put all the tools away, and called it quits, but by then it was nearly 6:00. No wonder I’m exhausted! Watched a few Voyagers and had a bowl of soup followed by ice cream, but now I’m MORE than ready for a shower and bed. Thankfully, it’s pretty cool out, albeit damp and rainy, but at least it should be good sleeping weather. I’ll take pictures tomorrow, I’m too tired to do anything else today. I’m definitely crashing tomorrow! Love you, sweetie! Good night!