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!

Saturday, June 20, 2020 – Busy Day of Fun!

Hi Darlin'!
Once again the campground is crowded, though thankfully my nearest neighbors are all horse people, no big families of screaming children or loud music, yay! I took Flash for a ride today, thought I'd take the Lake Loop backwards to see where I thought I might have gone wrong before. Turns out, I didn't go wrong, the map is wrong, at least it is when it's overlaid on Google with the actual trails. A nice ride, though, he seemed to have more energy today, though we lost a boot for a few minutes after taking a nice canter. I hope I can find some places where I won't have to put boots on the horses because of gravel, I guess I'm just spoiled after Florida where it's all sand, though there have been some placed that don't feel compelled to put gravel on the trails. At one point we had to cross the road just before the park entrance, and there was a line of cars waiting to come. Seems like a popular place in the summer! Anyway, it was a nice ride, I gave Flash a bath when we got back, then after a brief rest, I did some housework, doing some things I'd been meaning to do for a long time, like stick down the power strip in the bedroom and vacuuming around the bed. I also put up a hook I hope will work for closing the slide. It's the one job I haven't been able to do easily on my own, but I managed to do it with a temporary measure before, hopefully the hook will make it a permanent one, at least until I can get the slide adjusted so it closes properly. After doing all the housework I was in the mood for, I drove down to the boat landing with the kayak and spent some time in the "kayak lounge." Only problem was, I thought the beach was noisy and crowded yesterday with what looked like about a hundred people, but today there must have been three times that! One girl at the boat launch said they had to wait 20 minutes just to get through the park gate, which I can believe from the line I saw earlier. Spent about an hour out on the water, though it wasn't too relaxing with all the noise. Got back to camp, then I deflated the kayak and bagged it. I'm thinking of keeping it in the first stall rather than trying to haul it up and down to the attic. After all, in a couple of weeks I'm going to be on another lake, where hopefully I'll get to take it out again. Maybe I'll even try my hand at fishing, who knows? After resting a bit from that, I walked Lola down to the lake and we played for 45 minutes there while I had chicken in the oven, then got back, filled up the tank with water since I have some laundry to do tomorrow, took my shower, had my dinner, watched a little TV, and now I'm just about ready for bed! Love you, babe! Good night!

Friday, June 19, 2020 – Ride and Lola Play Day

Hi Babe!
A good night sleep, a late breakfast, a lovely ride on Apollo! I found a really nice and easy trail today, the orange trail. Though I usually don't like linear trails, I didn't want anything too strenuous today, and this trail fit the bill perfectly! After the initial climb, which is long but not too steep and is mandatory for every trail except the Lake Loop, we turned south along a ridge line that had some really nice views. We saw several gorgeous butterflies, the kind that look like it's flying backward to throw off it's predators, beautiful! The footing was mostly dirt, and it was mostly level as well, so Apollo had a fairly easy day of it, though he's getting to be as slow as Clio used to be in her later years! I don't know if it's an age thing, or that his feet still hurt a little, but his average pace now is barely over two miles an hour. I have to keep pushing him into a jog just to get anywhere! Maybe it's the heat, it warmed up a lot today. I gave him a nice bath when we got back, then a little while later I walked Lola down to the lake and we played fetch for a while until she was pretty worn out. Then back to camp, a hot shower, a nice filet mignon dinner, and evening of quiet TV. That's it! Another day in the life, living the dream! Love you, babe! Good night!

Thursday, June 18, 2020 – Ride, Kayak and Putter Day

Hey Sweetie!
I swear, life is starting to feel like my golden years of summer vacations spent at the cottage, with the added advantage of horses and air-conditioning. As promised, after breakfast I saddled up Flash and we went on a nice eight mile ride. His ankle seemed fine, though there was more gravel on the trails we took today than I liked, but we didn't have a lot of strenuous grades, either. It was a little strange, though, the "trail" turned into a paved road that ran by a couple of farmhouses! I thought maybe I missed a turn, but sure enough, there was a blue marker. Can't remember seeing THAT before! It was a good ride, though, even though most of it was a pretty slow walk (relatively speaking), but we did find a nice spot to do a great run, first at a gallop, then he eventually slowed down to a nice canter when he realized I was going to let him run. Got back to camp in mid-afternoon, quite a few more campers had come in. After resting a bit, I put on my bathing suit, loaded up the kayak and headed down to the boat launch, spending another hour or so floating and paddling. A couple of other inflatable kayaks just like mine went by me, and one of the women commented that it was a "lounging kayak," which is a great description! My kayak lounge! Great for happy hour, which is about what time it was anyway. Once I got back to camp, I rested a bit, then walked Lola down to the lake and we fetched for awhile. There was a family down there with another dog, and they were eventually persuaded to let him go so he could play with Lola, though you know her, she ignored him and kept her eye on the ball. He kept trying to mount her, and she kept telling him off and running away. Kept here busy, though, and hopefully wore her out so she'll have a good night sleep. Once we got back to camp, I had a stream of teenager girls come by wanting to pet the horses, which, of course, I let them do, plus gave them some peppermints so they could treat the horses. After they all cleared out, the girl from at the lake came by, and she helped me feed the horses, clean up, and refill all my water tanks. After she left, I puttered around doing a couple of odd jobs, then took my shower early and settled in for the evening. But just like summer vacations at the cottage, I spent most of my day in my bathing suit, doing one fun thing, then resting, then going off to do another fun thing. Lazy, hazy, days! I feel like I should feel guilty, but I don't! I'm just enjoying it as much as I can, knowing you're with me, every step of the way, like it used to be years ago. I miss you, darling! Good night, my love!

Sunday, June 14, 2020 – Fabulous Ride Today!

 

Hey Darlin'!
Well, when I got up this morning, there was some rain going on, just a little sprinkle, it didn't wake me (I LOVE my earplugs!), but when I took those out I heard the sounds of people starting to pack up, YAY! (Sorry...NOT!) I did my usual chores and was having a pretty quiet day. First I took some pictures of the aluminum panel that's starting to bulge and sent it to Harmar for advice (I had emailed him late yesterday and surprisingly, he responded immediately). After that, I trimmed Apollo's front hooves, I figured maybe the boots wouldn't come off so much if they fit a little better. Then I decided to use your saddle for Apollo, since I was having trouble taking off that stirrup accessory, you know the one that turns it 180 degrees so it's facing forward? The bolt on that thing keeps rubbing my ankle and annoying me, so I decided to change to your saddle, which, even though it has the same thing, doesn't seem to rub me, go figure. Anyway, once I did that, then I spent a few minutes trying harder to get the stirrup thing of MY saddle, and finally managed. It doesn't matter, it will make a good guest saddle. I hadn't really thought about going to ride today, but the clouds went away and it turned into a beautiful day, and Apollo seemed bored standing around, so I saddled him up and headed out. I had to make a few adjustments to the stirrups to get the right length, but finally managed it. What a gorgeous day! Mid-70's, a few puffy clouds, just perfect! I decided to take about a 5-mile loop and we headed out. Fortunately, this trail had hardly any gravel once we got away from camp, so he was a lot more comfortable. We took the Blue trail toward a place called Tree Lane, which was all road-width, then hung a right onto the Three Hills trail, which was a perfect single track, very little mud except one spot right at the bottom of a creek where he lost a shoe, but it fell into the creek and washed itself off. It was a wonderful ridge line trail, and indeed, there were three hills you had to go up and down, but in between there were beautiful vistas, and most of it wasn't too steep, or had great switch-backs to help. A few trees were down, but nothing impassable. Of course, Apollo's getting to be so slow the five miles took us a lot longer than usual. Down to just over 2 mph these days, old slowpoke! I concede part of it might be his feet still hurt a little, but we only had about a quarter of a mile of gravel near the end, so I really think he's just out of shape, though he's starting to get back into shape now! Flash is still favoring his left hind leg, and it's only been a week tomorrow since he started limping, so I'm just going to keep resting it until it's completely healed, I don't want to re-injure it by riding him too soon. Anyway, got back to camp, which was considerably quieter than when I left, gave Apollo a bath, then put them both on anchors so they could graze awhile. They're right outside the screen room so I can keep a close watch, the nicest setup since I've been on the road this season. Finally settled down for the evening, won't be long till I'm off to shower and bed! Good night, Sweetie! Love you!

Friday, June 5, 2020 – Final Day of June Ride at Loretta Lynns

Hi Darlin'!
Another busy day here at the ranch! While some folks pulled out today, there were still plenty of people left for the last day. I had decided to go on the half-day medium ride with Flash (Apollo's feet are still sore), and we headed out a little late after an incident with one of my neighbors, Lori, whose horse suddenly started shaking and his legs buckled while she was saddling him, and he fell on her. They had to rush her out in an ambulance to a life-flight pad and flew her to a nearby hospital. They thought she had broken bones, but it turned out that she didn't, just had bruises. An expensive transportation bill for that! Anyway, we finally got out of camp and headed around the edges of fields for a long time, very hot in the sun. Then we had some false starts of trying to through the woods where there was no trail. Bubba, who has been nothing but kind to me since I've been here, was leading the ride, and he has kind of a reputation for extreme riding. We have several forays into the woods where we had to turn back because there was no trail and it was impossible, so we ended up spending a lot more time riding around fields. As we came to the end of the ride, he started up the creek, and after about 100 yards, an older man next to me had his horse lost his footing and fall, and the rider ended up underneath him, and he couldn't swim, but I managed to get Flash close enough to him so he could grab his McCarty lead and pull himself up. Once we all recovered from that, we went a little farther, then Bubba couldn't find a place where horses couldn't cross without swimming (remember all the rain we've been having!), and some people we reluctant to carry on, so he turned around and started taking the group the other way. We were only about 50-75 yards from the beach at the camp, so several riders opted to carry on, and after seeing which way they went, I decided to give it a try. I had taken Flash out into the water earlier this week, but it had really scared him, but now he seemed okay, even eager to follow those horses, so I moved him out, and sure enough, he had so swim a few steps. I was so busy trying to keep my phone and camera out of the water I hardly noticed, but he did brilliantly! Got back into shallow water, still had his boots on, and climbed out at the beach! Good boy! I couldn't get him past Apollo, though, so I unsaddled him right there and carried everything back in my utility cart. I was a bit perturbed at some of the risks that we took, though, not knowing what the skill level was of that 20+ people that were on the ride. Got back with just a few minutes to spare before lunch would stop serving, managed to get to the cook shack just in time (though it seems they're used to Bubba's rides getting back late). After lunch I took Lola down to visit with Liz and her GSH pointer EmmyLou down at the creek, sat around with her group for awhile. Of course, Lola was more interested in fetching with humans than playing with Emmy, and Emmy was busy trying to chase fish anyway, so Lola eventually wandered down the beach and played with a group of kids for awhile. After an hour or so, I wandered up the beach to join another group, mostly from Indiana, that I had gotten to know, and stayed there until dinnertime. I had a chat with Lori by her trailer, they had already released her from the hospital, bruised but okay, and a few other folks as well. Finally settled down for the evening, even had time for a DS9, wifi service is much better now that so many people had left. Looking forward to a quiet remainder of the weekend, think I'll just leisurely do some housework tomorrow, and Sunday is for breakdown, of course, then travel on Monday to a place called Double J Stables next to the Mammoth Cave National Park. Heard some good things about it, though I've heard the trails are kind of boring, just a few long loops, but right now, boring sounds kind of good to me! I need a place to relax! Speaking of, I'm off the bed! Good night, darlin'! Love you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 – Third Day of June Ride at Loretta Lynns

Hi Babe!
Another long and tiring day at the Ranch Ride. Up again at 6:30, fed the horses, off to breakfast, saddled up Flash, then off on our first "fast" ride. Mostly Tennessee Walkers and other large gaited horses, I think I had the only Paso, and in spite of moving out pretty quickly, I still had to expend energy holding him back, their gait was just a bit too slow for him. But it was a much faster ride overall, and would have been a really nice ride except for the number of trees that were down. We must have gone around fallen timber at least twenty plus times, and some we had to go quite a ways into the woods to get by. That slowed us down a lot, and often, so it wasn't quite as much fun as I had hoped it would be, but the trail did take us WAY off the property, so at least we got on some different trails. Plus there was only one climb up and down, the rest was pretty flat, which made the going easier overall. The only bad thing was Flash's boots kept coming off. Not just one, but both at different times, and that's unusual when we're on the flat. That slowed us down a couple of times too. Unlike on the slow rides, when I could get the boot on and still be able to join the line of passing horses, this group was only fourteen, and with them moving out so fast, they had to stop and wait for me, which I felt bad about. Anyway, we got back to camp, I spent a few more minutes with Flash at the obstacle course before putting him away, grabbed lunch, then gathered together a group of ladies, plus Callie and her mom, to go tubing down the river. I drove my truck down to the pick up point at the end, and Callie's dad brought me back so we could launch from the camp. It was pretty nice, the water is very cool and refreshing in the nearly 90 degree heat, though there was one point where the creek was completely blocked by downed trees, and the only place to get out was practically impossible, with a steep muddy incline and not much to grab on to, made worse by being so deep at that point, when I jumped off my raft to help, I literally when completely under. I was NOT expecting it to be that deep just a few feet from shore, since most of the creek is quite shallow. Anyway, we all managed to get through there with some effort, and the rest of the trip was pretty tame comparatively, though there was another spot or two that requires some special maneuvering. It was fun though, and definitely relaxing, but it took a lot longer than we expected, not getting back until almost 5:00. I took a shower, then I realized I had no electricity and had to get help getting that problem fixed, which delayed me a bit going up dinner, only to see that waiting meant the line was hugely long. When I finally reached the porch to see the menu, I saw it was just tacos, so I abandoned it and came back to finish the leftovers from lunch I hadn't eaten because I was rushing around to go tubing. Anyway, after that, I fed the horses, then walked up to watch the "horseless rodeo" just to see what it was, and to walk Lola, but after a few minutes of watching the explanation and seeing that it was geared towards kids playing, I decided to abandon it and come back to the trailer. I am getting so tired from all this activity, I guess I'm out of practice of non-stop activity from dusk til dawn. I had a little dish of ice cream, read for awhile because I couldn't get Netflix to work (the camp wi-fi is intermittent and my hotspot on my phone is nonexistent), and now I'm starting to nod off. So, it's off to bed for me now! Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 – Second Full Day of June Ride at Loretta Lynns

Hey Sweetie!
Another busy day here at Loretta Lynn's June Ride. Another long line at breakfast before saddling up Apollo. I was making good time, and just before they made last call for the panoramic picture of the group, as I was about the mount up, I suddenly remembered that I had readjusted the stirrups for Callie's short legs, so I had to make the quick decision to change saddles, but that meant I had to also swap out the saddle bags, fleece cover and cantle bag, but that was still easier than messing with the stirrups, so I raced to do that and made it just in time for the picture. I did the all day ride again, but since it was Apollo, I ended up more toward the back than the front, he was really being a slug today, worse than usual. He hates the gravel footing, and I don't blame him, but we struggled through. When we got back I tried him on the teeter-totter, thinking he would be easier than Flash, but he was terrible, I had to spend 20 minutes getting him over it two or three times. I may just enter Flash in the trail competition! From there, I actually took Apollo out into the creek bareback for a swim, it's actually deep enough in spots to do that. We only went a couple of steps, but we did it! When I put him back in the paddock, I pulled out Flash out and got him out there, too, though he was a a lot more reluctant, but eventually I got him out there. Once I put him away, I got my chair and joined the ever-increasing group that sits in the creek for happy hour, had some decent conversations, and played with Lola. She got everybody playing, and when I finally took away her frisbee to make her rest, she wandered off and found more kids to throw sticks for her. She's going to sleep tonight! Then I went to dinner, meeting up with some ladies who rather suddenly realized it was me who wrote the horse camping book, which they had a copy of. I've been doing a lot of networking, I'm hoping to have a whole bunch of folks I can ride with at places I'm planning to go, which would be nice. Eventually I got the horses fed, took Lola for her last walk, and even though it's early, I'm planning on an early shower and bedtime tonight, which is momentarily! Love you, darling! Good night!