Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 – Rainy Cleaning Day

Rain came in overnight and continued most of the day. Since I couldn’t go out and look for Apollo’s lost boot in this weather, I decided to take advantage of it and spend a good part of the day doing some long overdue deep cleaning in the trailer. Not a thrilling event, but one that must be done occasionally, and this was a good day for it! Hubby sat in the screen room and read most of the day (he really loves being able to be outside the trailer, even in the rain!), and I finally joined him mid-afternoon, relaxing the rest of the day after hours of hard work. A nice quiet evening, though my neighbor had a group of girls join her late in the day, and they did a lot of tree-climbing and giggling, as girls of that age do. Fun to watch, wish I still had the strength to climb a tree! Apollo finally discovered these were apple trees, I saw him munching on a couple of fallen fruit this afternoon, as they are just reaching peak ripeness (though I tried them, and the are not quite sweet enough for my taste!), but he didn’t seem to mind. Settled down for another relaxing evening.

Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby!

Had a great night sleep (Lola has been sleeping in the truck lately, which could explain that!), and didn't get up until almost 8:30. Got the horses fed and the yard cleaned up, then rousted Hubby out of bed before it got too late. A few minutes to dress and a glass of juice, and he was ready! I got the horses saddled, and we headed out on what I hoped would be a ride of suitable length for him. He's been getting stronger, but he's still a long way from where he needs to be, but he managed to get up on Apollo with hardly any help from me, and we set off northbound on the red trail. Our plan was to go out past the overlook about a mile and a half away, then cross down to the red/white inner trail and come back that way. From my GPS elevation profile, it seemed like it had the most gradual grades on it. We were doing great until we got to the red/white inner trail and found another "closed trail" ribbon. I had noticed there was what appeared to be an alternate route that other horses had obviously taken, so we backtracked to that and followed it only about 100 feet, when it ended up right back on the trail that had been closed! Well, we didn't know quite what to make of that, but we kept on, figuring that maybe since we had had so many dry days, and the trail was probably closed off because of mud, that by now it would be in better shape. It was, for the most part, only a few really muddy places, but far fewer than any other trail I've been on since we left Tennessee in June! By now, Hubby was feeling a bit achey, not in his back, which is where we thought the trouble would be, but in his groin area. Guess his muscles are out of shape since he hasn't been on a horse in a while, and Apollo is really round, even though he did lose some weight this year. He's still a big, wide horse! We were doing great, checking to make sure their boots were on after every puddle, then we turned up a trail and the horses started trotting, and when we went through the next puddle and I looked back to check, Apollo had lost one of his boots, dang it! I climbed down and tied up Flash, and started hunting, walking back a long way, but no sign of the boot. I'm thinking it might have slid off when we picked up speed, but I couldn't find it. I went back to earlier puddles which I'm sure I checked after we went through, still no boot. Unfortunately, there is some long grass along the edge of the trail here, but Hubby was really starting to ache, so I gave it up and we headed back to camp, which was only about a half mile away. I guess I know what I'm going to be doing tomorrow! I hope I can find it, I hate to lose a boot, and so far, I've only ever lost one that I didn't bother to go back for, in the Badlands of North Dakota. Usually I can find them pretty easily, but this one is a bit of a mystery, or else we lost it earlier, or it got flung a lot farther off the trail than usual. We'll know better tomorrow! Got back to camp just after 1:00, I let the horses wander in the grass after I unsaddled them while I moved the corral around. I didn't want them to overgraze the area behind the highline. That done, I got the horses settled in there and started to get Hubby on his machine. Just as I was getting ready to put him on, a park employee showed up to tell me that I couldn't put the fence where I had put it, as it was too close to the pavilion, and made a series of suggestions as to where I might put it, though I had to not put it in any other campsite, not put it near the pavilion, not put it where trailers come in, which left me with either all the way on the other side of the campground, or in a long thin line along the edge of the long grass, with no way for the horses to reach water or the highline where I had hay for them. Well, I guess it's either that or back where I started from, and just let them overgraze the same area all week. What would you do? Well, eventually I decided to just put the fence back where it was and then whenever I get the chance, just let the horses wander the area grazing wherever they want. My neighbors, Lisa and Jamie, insisted it wouldn't bother them in the least, though I'm sure against some rule or another, but at least that way they'll have a chance to eat some nice clover and fresh grass for a few hours a day, which will help to not wear out the grass where I have the corral. Fixed dinner and settled down for the rest of the evening, as usual!

Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019 – Shopping Day

The plan was to shop first and ride when we got back, but of course, the best-laid plans… Though we got out fairly early, we ended up making so many stops, getting propane at Tractor Supply (just $2.59/gallon!), a grocery store, Home Depot, Walmart, a beer store, then another beer store, then a liquor store (just to get wine!), and a stop for fuel, whew! It was nearly 3:00 by the time we got back to an empty campground (only a couple of day rider trailers left), and Hubby was too tired to go for a ride, so we decided to postpone it until tomorrow, when we was more rested. It took me a while to put everything away, and to look for my truck key which I somehow misplaced between the trailer and the truck just before we left, but I didn’t find it yet. No idea where I set that puppy down, or where it fell out of my pocket! Still didn’t find it by the end of the day, will look again tomorrow. Thank goodness we had a spare set! Anyway, we sat in the screen room and read for a while, threw the ball and frisbee for Lola, eventually made a nice Beef Red Curry, then settled down for the evening. We were pretty sure that once this place had emptied out, we would probably have it to ourselves, and we did for a couple of hours, but then a couple came in, so it looks like we’ll have company all week after all!

Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 – First Ride at Two Mile Run

By the end of the day yesterday, the campground got pretty full, and unfortunately the people that came in last parked right next to us, and they had a couple of yapping dachshunds, which woke me up earlier than I wanted this morning, and picked a fight with Lola the moment she came out the door. Sigh... But I wasn't going to let that stop me from my good mood, I was ready to go out on my first ride here. I planned about a seven mile ride, in the southern section of the park, as I had learned there was some kind of biking event on the north side of the park, and they evidently use some of the same trails, or at least cross the trails, so in order to avoid any conflict, I planned a southern route. I rode Flash today for the first time in a while, his fetlock is perfectly healed, and I put boots on his front as I heard the trails can get rather stoney, and in fact, they were! There was some mud, too, but nothing like I've been seeing in other areas, so I'm very grateful for that! We headed out on the main Red trail, which is a perimeter trail that goes all the way around the park, with a plan to just go as far as the family campground, then move on to the interior perimeter trail, which goes around the lake, and return on that. Well, my plan got a little waylaid when I came across a ribbon that said the trail was closed, so I had to improvise. Fortunately, it's not a huge park, and between the two main trails are an abundance of trails marked black/white which link the two, so as long as you don't get turned around as to which way you need to go to get back to camp, it's not too hard to get around. I did miss one turn that I wanted to take, went left instead of right, but all it did was take me back to the red trail I came in on, so no worries. Flash was excellent today, very calm in the beginning, like always, but he does tend to get a bit friskier one he warms up, but still very manageable. It was a very nice ride, only one fairly steep climb (which we had to descend as well due to the wrong turn), but not too bad, especially compared to some of the more challenging ones I've been on lately! We got back to camp at a good time, and it wasn't long before Hubby was hooked up to his machine, dialyzing away, and we were watching old movies to pass the time!

Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 – Travel Day to Two Mile Run County Park, Franklin, PA

Got up with the alarm at 7:00, finished packing, and managed to get out before 9:30. I'm happy to say that Flash gave me no trouble at all today getting in the trailer, he just took one side step, then immediately jumped on the ramp and ran in. Just a matter of time before he got used to that! It took a little maneuvering to back up onto the road, which seemed the easiest way out of the camp, and we managed it with no problem. We made several stops, one at a Giant Food Store in Cuba, NY to stock up on Zweigles White Hots (you have to be from upstate NY to understand 🙂 ), again at a truck stop on the Seneca Indian Nation territory (no tax, so diesel is only 2.78/gal, while everywhere else it's upwards of $3.25!), and finally at another truck stop next door for a nice breakfast before hitting the road again. We took a slightly longer route because we wanted to stay on good roads for this monster rig, but when we got close to the park, we made the mistake of following the signs rather than the GPS (usually it's the other way around!), and we ended up turning into a very narrow road, where my back wheels got caught a bit in a ditch, though I managed to pull it out without any apparent damage. At least, I hope so! We reported in at the office, paid our bill for 10 days (though we may stay a couple of days longer, depending on the weather), and made our way out, first to the RV dump, though Hubby made a mistake in the directions and we went down the wrong way on the loop, which put us in a bit of a pickle as there was no easy way to turn around, but finally managed to do it by backing up down the road about 75 yards, then finally to the campground which, again, have a very narrow entrance, with a tree I barely missed and which looks like it's going to be even harder coming out. Sigh. I love this trailer, but it's extraordinary length is no doubt proving to be a challenge! We arrived at a nice big field around 4:00, where there were two buildings, one apparently an old observatory with a picnic pavilion, and another smaller pavilion off to one side. The larger building had electrical outlets all around the outside, but the water spigot didn't function. The smaller building had electrical outlets around the inside, but none of the sites had individual boxes. There was signage for the site numbers, but I called the office just to make sure, and sure enough, electric comes from the small pavilion. There was only one other trailer here at the other end of the row of sites, so we back into out spot right next to the pavilion with no problem. There were a couple of old apple trees where I put up a highline, and there's also highlines already in place way at the back end of the site. I couldn't believe how large an area each site was allowed, so after getting the trailer mostly set up, I pulled out the portable corral and set up a large area for the horses to graze. I started a load of laundry (our sheets were overdue!), got the screen room up, all while Hubby sat in his comfy gravity chair and looked on, throwing the ball for Lola. Our neighbor had a labradoodle that Lola started playing with, and they ran around camp together while I was setting up. Nice to see her getting along with other dogs, and even learning how to play! Good progress! As the afternoon progressed, more trailers came in, so it's obviously going to be a busy weekend. Of course, that also means there must be some decent riding, since it's attracting such a crowd. I'm sure we'll be back on our own again after the weekend, but for now, we've got company! We finally got around to dinner at 8:30, though neither of us were that hungry, but I threw a few Zweigles on the grill just for fun, and that did the trick. Well, that and our usual ice cream for dessert! With fresh sheets and a couple of showers, bed time won't be long in coming!

Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 – Another Relaxing Day

The weather improved today, though we had one strong rain storm in the morning. Fortunately it cleared out by mid-day, leaving me the chance to do some preliminary packing in between dialyzing Hubby. Another quiet day. We’ve really enjoyed it here, it’s been so quiet, but we’re ready to move on to our next location, to check out another exciting horse camp and it’s trails!

Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019 – Relaxing Rainy Day

While the morning was lovely, I burned our boxes and moved the horses’ corral first, though, I didn’t want them overgrazing on the area where I had the fence. Then I sat outside for quite a while just relaxing, reading, and miracle of miracles, just listening to the wind rustling the leaves around which we are surrounded (I can’t remember the last time I had time to just sit and listen to the wind!), but it started getting cool and eventually I needed to go back inside. The rain and thunderstorms started up again, so we decided it was a movie day, and watched several movies back to back, with only the basic chores to do. Ah, paradise!! So quiet and peaceful here, exactly what we needed!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – The Newlyweds Come To Visit

Since we didn’t get to spend a lot of time getting caught up, my friend whose wedding we attended on Saturday decided to come and visit us at the horse camp, bringing along the bride’s two horse-loving daughters and the groom’s sister, along with a cooler full of leftovers from the reception, so we ate and talked and got caught up and had a lovely little picnic in beautiful weather. I had run around earlier in the day, down to the little town of Alfred (home of Alfred University and SUNY Alfred State College, which dominate the town), picking up propane at a cement fabrication factory, of all places, and getting rid of our trash and filling up with water, both behind the Mobil station in town. After the picnic, we had nothing else to do but dialyze, and we did that with no problem. Having this Ipad makes a huge difference, since Hubby can do all his own measurements, which leaves me free to do a lot of other things, though never too far away, of course! More old movies and a relaxing evening once again, while listening to the rain come in for the night!

Monday, August 5, 2019 – Second Ride at Turnpike State Forest

Though we had hoped that Flash's fetlock would be fully healed by now, there's just enough trace of scabbing that we decided not to risk any setbacks, so I went out alone on my ride today, with the goal of riding all of the remaining nearby trails that were open. Trail 5, which goes off to the north, has been closed all summer because they've been working on it (which I hope doesn't include putting gravel down on it!), but all of the southern trails are open, so I designed a route to cover them all, all the way down to the other horse camp on 244. Well, I should say that it's more of an overnight stop than a horse camp, there's a big gravel parking lot there, one covered picnic table and two sets of 4 covered stalls. If you're only passing through and don't want to traverse the sometimes dubious gravel road all the way back into the Turnpike horse camp, this is a great alternative. Anyway, I headed out what turned out to be a long straight, wide trail which covered the eastern perimeter, then across the south side to the overnight horse stop, then I looped around on the remaining trails, only missing one trail marker (probably because I was busy looking at the map!), but it only led me about 100 feet out of my way. Again, it was a beautiful ride! Some of the trails were still sloppy, of course, but that's to be expected with the wet summer they've had all throughout this area, but less so on some of these more open trails, because it's been sunny the last few days and they've dried up a bit. There was hardly any grade on this section of trails, which will be perfect for Hubby next time we come here. Don't think we'll be able to ride again this week. Apollo enjoyed himself as well, though at one point he wanted to take a more direct route than me, so we had a moment of argument, but since his way had better footing, I changed my mind and did it his way. Two days in a row for him, that hasn't happened in a LONG time! Got back by mid-afternoon, then Hubby and I just sat around reading and relaxing the rest of the day. What a luxury! To just sit and do nothing extraneous! For a while there, I never thought I'd ever have a day like this, but now they're starting to come with more regularity. Wonderful! We finally went inside and had dinner and movie before heading to bed.

Sunday, August 4, 2019 – First Ride at Turnpike State Forest

Despite reading for a long time before going to bed last night, I still didn't get very sleepy for way too long. Obviously too much sugar at the wedding, what with a table full of cakes, which, of course, each one had to be tried! I tried to cut the thinnest slice possible, but with three layers, it's pretty hard to cut a tiny piece! Anyway, I woke up kind of tired, but I wanted to get a ride in this morning. We had all talked about it around the bonfire last night, and despite my getting a late start, they were even later, so I saddled up Apollo (Flash's leg is almost healed, but I'm not taking any chances, and I washed it and put more wound salve on it today), got some great suggestions from Carol about which trails would be good to ride today, and off we went. I just wanted a short and easy ride today, and got exactly that! South down the road for about 100 yards to the west entrance to Trail 4, south to Trail 1, then a quick turn onto the west branch of Trail 3 northbound to the east side of Trail 4, then a quick hop onto Trail 5 to cross the road back to camp. What a lovely ride! I didn't get lost once, even though I lost my map, but I managed to have a good cell signal and downloaded a copy of the map to my phone, something I think I'll get in the habit of doing anyway just as a precaution. It was a wonderful ride, the most relaxing ride I've been on in weeks! Though the trails were quite muddy from all the rain they've had here this summer (and everywhere in the Midwest, it seems!), there were still a lot of areas that were really nice, and Apollo was his usual reliable self, all I had to do was point him in the right direction at the intersections and let him go, he found his own footing around mud, detours around trees, he was perfect! Got back to camp in barely 90 minutes, which was fine, and started to get Hubby ready for dialysis. That got a bit delayed by my neighbors visiting, returning my lost map which they found on the trails, and buying copies of my book, but that was fine, we still got started in plenty of time. Had a little power outage problem, not quite sure what happened, but we had to end the dialysis session early, though we had taken most of the fluids off. Oh well, we'll make up for it next time! Spent the evening watching old movies, getting caught up on my computer work, and super-relaxing, since we're now on our own and it's so quiet out here, we're loving it! This is definitely a place that we'll come back to, especially now since my brother from another mother lives so close by here!