Monday, June 24, 2019 – Run into Jamestown

Decided we needed a few things in town, so we headed out after breakfast. The storms over the weekend had evidently knocked a lot of trees down, and the cleanup was still in full swing on several areas of the road. We picked up some feed from Tractor Supply, a 30-amp end to fix a 50 to 30 cable that was causing reverse polarity (cheap piece of imported crap that actually broke when I was tightening it together! Had to wrap it up in electrical tape, but at least it worked), searched for someplace to get my haircut (no luck, most closed on Sunday), and finally finished off at Walmart, where it stormed while I was inside, getting my feed bags all wet, darn it! Got back to camp, where it hadn’t rained yet (but did later) and finally got Hubby on his dialysis machine, later than usual but it couldn’t be helped. A quiet evening once the rain passed, to be early. At least we’re catching up on our zzzzz’s these days!

Sunday, June 23, 2019 – First Ride Since April!! At Challenging Honey Creek Horse Camp

Sunday, June 23, 2019 – First Ride Since April!! At Challenging Honey Creek Horse Camp

Whew! What a day! I started off with great intentions to go riding this morning, got dressed in riding gear right off the bat, then heard thunder in the distance, darn it! The next few hours was very frustrating. The sun would come out and I'd be just about ready to start saddling Flash, then there would be MORE thunder in the distance. It happened three or four times before the radar finally showed the storms were no longer training in one place, and had finally cleared through. I finally saddled Flash and left camp around 11:45, heading up the gravel road on the west side of the camp. We followed the signs pointing to the trails until they split, then took the farthest west one. While I had a map, it wasn't too clear, and wasn't an exact match to what was on the ground, as is so often the case. We eventually followed the signs to the Double Arches, which is one of the good linear destination trails that I found, but not very far in, it started getting really steep, really narrow, and finally, we hit a couple of huge, steep rocks, and Flash slipped on them and fell on his shoulder on one of the rocks. I managed to grab a handful of mane and hung on while he righted himself, but he only did that by turning around and climbing back above the rock he had just slid on. I decided it was too treacherous, certainly for so early in the ride, and the rock was really slippery with all the rain and mud that had washed down, so we uncharacteristically headed back up the trail. We turned down another trail, and that got a bit dicey in spots, too, but we managed to make a small loop out of it, that brought us right back to the gravel road that led back to camp. We had only been out about 40 minutes, so I knew that wasn't enough, Flash was barely warmed up, and still prancing around, like I expected he would, since he's been off for more than two months. I came back through camp and picked up the "new" trail that left on the east side, and that was actually quite nice. Slippery because of all the rain, but mostly dirt, none of these big slippery rocks, and not too steep most of the time. That took us out to a logging road and an overlook, then I decided to take the Panther Creek loop, which had been part of my original plan that I had abandoned early, only going in the opposite direction. That wasn't too bad, though there were still a few sections that were quite challenging, and would have been even on a dry day! The big rocks here have been worn smooth in many places, which makes the going rather tricky at times, but it is also very beautiful, with ripples carved into the rock in many places. We completed that loop with no real trouble, and headed back on the new trail, but then I decided to take a logging road in an effort to avoid the mud for a while, and also to try to find a shortcut that was less treacherous for when Hubby is ready to ride with me. Well, that logging road took me in the right direction for a while, then I saw a trail marked for the Double Arches and HCHC, so I went down that for about 50 yards before I started hitting more of those treacherous rocks, so I turned around again. I kept going down the logging road, and it started to look familiar, and I realized I had done that road early, going in the same direction, and didn't think I wanted to do THAT again, so I turned around and went all the way back to where I had turned off the new trail, and took that back to camp. Over 10 miles by the time we got through, and it was a good workout, for both of us! I washed Flash down and put him in one of the pipe corrals that hadn't been used over the weekend (the camp was nearly empty by this time, of course), gave him a bucket of water and some hay for a good job done, patted Apollo as I passed him by (explaining that horses that stand around all day don't need extra hay, he'd get dinner soon enough), grabbed a beer, downloaded my journey from MapMyHike, an app on my phone that evidently works even when there isn't a cell phone signal, because the whole route was saved, thank goodness, and sat down to get my breath back! It's quite warm, and there's another line of storms heading our way, so I'm thinking of just putting the horses in a stall tonight to keep them dry. The area where I highlined them is getting pretty muddy, and most of the pipe corrals are pretty deep with mud, too, so stalls it is! Settled down for a quiet evening.

Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Stormy Night and Day

We had a bad squall line of thunderstorms come through just about bedtime last night, but fortunately the prevailing wind was hitting the other side of the trailer, and the awning and screen room made it through with no problem. We had several bouts of rain overnight, but with my earplugs in, and with as relaxed as we’re starting to get, we both had a great night sleep! Woke up and found the horses not the least bit bothered by their overnight shower, and they seemed quite happy to be on a highline rather than in a stall. We had a leisurely morning, which ended with another round of bad thunderstorms, precluding me from my plan of going out for a ride, but we enjoyed a quiet day anyway. Hubby started a new dialysis schedule, 4 days a week, but each session will be slightly longer, though he will have less sessions a week. We tried to watch a movie, but the cell phone signal is really bad here, even with my 4G booster, and the wi-fi from the office is on the back side of a metal building, so it doesn’t provide the coverage it otherwise would, so we’re still a half an hour from the end of a movie we’ve been trying to watch since last night. Looks like we’re going to be doing a lot of reading while we’re here! The rest of the day was quiet, and then for a change, I made some bangers and mash for dinner, using some Italian sausage one of my brother’s had left a few weeks ago, that had been in the freezer ever since. Another quiet and restful evening, which we are just so grateful to have these days! This is the way to live!!

Friday, June 21, 2019 – Our REAL Adventure Begins At Last!

Daylight was calling me out of bed early, just after six, but I got up to consult the internet to remind me of how to adjust the brakes. As I mentioned, it was clear they needed it when we came down the hill from home, and I've been schooled in it from may sources already, but I wanted one last shot at instruction before we started the job. I did some of the other things I needed to do, like checking the lug nuts and the air pressure (all good), and getting out the tools for the brake job. Hubby managed to get up by 8:00, and we organized cereal for breakfast on the road and finally got started on the brake job. We used the JiffyJack to raise each wheel, and I adjusted each brake accordingly (and boy, did they need adjusting, no surprise there!), and it only took us about an hour to get it done. I'm sure it will take less time next time, as today we still had to figure a few things out, but the important thing is, we got it done!! Once we finished that, we had to take a trip to the dump, which is another stupid design they have here. To get it on the correct side of the trailer, you had to either go out on the road and turn in at the end of the other campground, but they had put up a couple of rebar posts quite close to the side of the driveway, so close that I didn't think I could make the turn with the long unit and avoid the culvert as well, or the other option was to turn up by the barn and back all the way down to the dump, which is what we ended up doing. Once we did that it was back to the barn to load up the horses, with Apollo climbing right it (he knows that breakfast is in there) and Flash still giving me a little bit of a hard time, but after a few minutes, Hubby came to the rescue, standing off to one side and then giving Flash a quick slap on his rump at just the right moment, and Flash went in, where he discovered his breakfast waiting, which I trust will be an incentive for him next time! A lot less time today than last Sunday, so I'm sure it won't be long before he'll get used to it and jump right in like Apollo. Off we went, with much more confident in my brakes going down the mountain than I would have had before! Sure enough, we got to the bottom with no problem, and the truck seemed a bit lighter and more manageable than before, so I'm glad we took out the extra weight, it seems to have made a big difference. Our route took us essentially cross-country, right into the route we would have taken if we had left from home, which seemed very appropriate somehow. Since the trip was less than 160 miles and we had a full tank of fuel, we made it with only one quick stop at the Dairy Queen for a couple of BLT's to go at lunchtime, then got to Honey Creek Horse Camp before 2:00, perfect! The site we had been assigned, however, had virtually no cell phone signal, but a walk around the camp indicated a better signal across the bathhouse and office, and there was a really nice long level site there (#8). I learned from other campers that the folks here are pretty laid back, and one of them gave me the cell phone number of one of the owners (who were off-site when we arrived), and he gave me permission to park anywhere we wanted, so we set up in #8 in no time. Perfectly level, all the way around, thank goodness! Most of the sites have pipe corrals in the back, and we were also right next to the barn, though the stalls were pretty small, but we opted to highline our guys between a couple of trees, again, because all indications were the owners are happy with whatever the campers want to do, which is very relaxing! Most of the other campers had dogs, so we let Lola out of the truck and she promptly made the rounds of everyone who was in camp, teaching them how to throw sticks for her. She's a very good human trainer, our Lola! Since we weren't dialyzing today (and in fact, we got permission from the clinic to change to a four day a week schedule, giving Hubby yet another 4 days a month off), I even managed to get up the screen room and get us all settled in, and by cocktail hour we were sitting in our cushioned gravity chairs with our beer and wine, with Lola playing with her machine or the kids nearby, watching the world go by! Eventually the owners arrived, got themselves a drink and sat in a couple of swing seats across from us, surrounded by their pack of little dogs and one lab mix. The husband started to throw a ball to the lab with a chucker, and that was more than Lola could stand, she had to go out and start playing, too, and eventually, I went out and chatted, paid for the 10 days we plan on being here, and continuing to relax for the evening. Wonderful! So glad to be back on the road again, at last!!

Thursday, June 20, 2019 – Clinic Day At Last!

Well, the day that we have been waiting for has finally arrived, our last clinic in Tennessee, at least until the fall! We’ve been hanging around for this day, knowing we couldn’t leave the area until it was done, and we’re so glad it finally arrived! Our 11:00 appointment let us sleep in a bit, and after my chores and a quick breakfast, we headed out to Tullahoma and spent our mandatory 90 minutes with the doctor, nurse, dietician and administrator before we were dismissed to pursue our life until we check into the clinic in Ohio next month. SO glad our dialysis group has been so helpful in letting us travel! Have I mentioned they’re all set to let us be their post children for traveling with dialysis? Their PR company has already been in touch with us, and they’re going to send out a Press Release about us trying to general some good publicity, which we’re happy to help them with considering how helpful they’ve been in pioneering this new kind of dialysis and travel relationship. Anyway, we stopped and did our full shopping in Winchester before getting back to camp, then started dialysis a bit late. In the meantime, I started packing up, taking down the screen room, pulling in the awning, generally getting things ready for our departure tomorrow. We still have the big job of adjusting the brakes in the morning before we can leave, but we’re hoping that won’t take too long and we’ll still get out of here at a reasonable hour in the morning. Had a light dinner and a pleasant evening, getting to bed early for our early rise tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 – Another Fabulous Day of Rest

Had a good night sleep last night, and woke up without all the usual aches and pains that I’ve been having of late, very thankful for that! I felt rested enough to even give the horses a bath and trim their front hooves, something I wouldn’t have even attempted before today! They both stood pretty well for it all, I think they were just happy to get out of their stalls for a little while! I hate keeping them cooped up like this, but until I get some more rest, I don’t dare attempt to go out for a ride. And anyway, the purpose of this week is to recover and recuperate, not keep wearing myself out! Besides, I don’t have any good memories of the trails here, so it’s not like I’m frothing at the mouth to get out there yet, this weekend at Big South Fork will satisfy that urge quite nicely, I expect! After a bit of rest after the washing, we started dialysis, and did our best to relax for the rest of the evening. Recovery well underway!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 – Lighten The Load

Didn’t have the best night sleep, I’m still over-tired, my muscles still ache, but I can feel them starting the recover a bit. I spent the morning going through the hay loft/attic and pulling out stuff that I figured we didn’t need to haul around with us all summer in the hope of lightening the load a bit, and figure I managed to find maybe 400+ pounds or more we could afford to do without. Once I dropped them all into the back of the pickup, we took a ride home to store it, which was really irksome to me, after having spent so much time clearing the place out, having to go back and put more stuff in, but once we head to Florida, or brother Jeff comes up to get my old MGB that’s still sitting in the second garage (he already came and got the Yanmar tractor last weekend), then we can carry that stuff to Florida and store it permanently there. Some stuff we may just decide to junk, but most of it really is useful, just not on a frequent basis, but it would be good to have in Florida for our once-a-year visit in the winter. Anyway, we made it in and out without any trouble, and stopped on the way back to do a little shopping before heading back to camp, arriving about 4:30. No dialysis today! Settled down for a movie, which I fell asleep during, and headed to bed around 10:00. Trying to get back so a regular routine, and hopefully be able to sleep through the night!

Monday, June 17, 2019 – First Day of Rest

Had a fairly quiet day, doing only what was really necessary, like putting up the screen room and getting the lounge chairs out. I had bought us a couple of gravity chairs last year, and though I like them a lot, Hubby didn’t find his very comfortable, so I managed to find a couple of nice chaise cushions at Big Lots of all places, and now he thinks it’s the most comfortable chair he’s ever been in! He can get his feet higher than his heart, which is good for his blood pressure, and he’s spending a lot more time outside since we got our screen room than he ever has! I kept my chores to a minimum, met a few of the neighbors while walking Lola, got her machine out so she could GoDogGo to her heart’s content, dialyzed Hubby, and settled down to a few computer chores that were essential (like paying taxes) before finally having a quick soup dinner and an early-to-bed night.


The day of departure has finally arrived! After much consideration, we had decided a few days away from the house to recharge our personal batteries was necessary before we tackled the challenges of being on the road, and we both knew that if we stayed here at the house, I would just keep finding jobs to do, and never get the rest I needed before we headed out, so we had decided to spend a few days at Circle E Guest Ranch in Belvidere, TN, which is just over an hour from where we live. We've been here once before during a Legacy event, which we were mostly busy selling books and attending events, though we did manage to ride a couple of times. From what I remember, the trails were either gravel roads, or un-maintained and overgrown single tracks, all not too well-marked. But we're not going there to ride, we're going there to rest! I had done as much prep work as I could last night, putting our new screen room away (we LOVE IT!), and generally packing up as much as I could. It hadn't rained for several days, and the corner of the driveway where we nearly got stuck last time was in much better shape, partly because it was dry and partly because I had taken the tractor and filled in the corner as well as spread more gravel on the outside of the corner to give me more "swing" space, so hopefully we can get out without any trauma today. One of the reason we decided to leave on a Sunday, which we generally don't like to do, is because the weather forecast is for rain every day this week, and we don't want to take any chances on that corner getting too soft, which might run us into trouble again. We were ahead of schedule, with plans to arrive at Circle E around noon (the offices closes at 1:00), but then we had a Flash delay. Though Apollo jumped into the trailer without hesitation, Flash decided he didn't want to go, and it took us nearly 45 minutes to get him loaded, darn it! That put us a bit behind, but we thought we could still make it. Then we ended up traveling a bit slower than I had anticipated, partly because it felt like the trailer was really heavy, and partly because it felt like the brakes were too loose. Now that's ANOTHER story. Last week I had a guy come up and do the brakes on the trailer. They really only needed the bearings to be re-packed and the brakes adjusted, and this clown only repacked the bearings and didn't even bother to adjust the brakes! Whoever heard of doing a brake job and not adjusting the brakes! And he had the audacity to charge me $300 for his lousy 3 hour job. And that was only because the parts I ordered on a Monday were never ordered, but I didn't find out until Thursday when I was ready to pick them up! Grrrr! Anyway, all that's behind us now, I was very careful going down our mountain, which is when I really noticed the brakes weren't doing as much as they were supposed to (not the best time to make that discovery!), and then we really dragged coming up the other side of the plateau to Circle E. My truck went into low gears I didn't know it even had! Though we never went over ¾ on the temp gauge, we were down to about 20 miles an hour by the time we reach the top. I found out later that there's an 11 percent grade near the top, which explained a lot, but still, I started thinking about how we could lessen the weight in the trailer, since that really made me worried about some other mountains we were going to have to climb this summer. Anyway, Christine at Circle E had told me she would stick around for us, so I texted her to say we would be a few minutes late, and, in fact, we arrived at 1:05, but she had already locked up and left! The owner was sitting on a golf cart outside the door, and unlocked the office to let me in, but then told me he didn't know how to register me or use the computer, so we kind of looked at each other for a few minutes, when Christine arrived. Not quite sure why she didn't wait for me like she said she would, but never mind. She got us logged in, spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time explaining what I should do if I got lost on the trail, then we finally went on our way to our site. Well, that was interesting. The map showed our site backing to the left, meaning we should just be able to drive by it and back in easily enough. When we got there, though, it actually went to the right, and there was a big tree by the side of the road across from it, making it nearly impossible to back it in like that. If we just pulled straight in, the hookups would be on the wrong side. So we ended up having to go around the loop in order to come in from the other side, which was a tiny road with lots of trees along it. I managed to make the corner, but then the back tire of the trailer got caught up on a stump that was right on the corner. I had to back up and take another run at it. Fortunately, the stump was fairly rotten and with a little extra oomph I was able to drive right over it. Once we made it into our site, we realized how sloped it was, with the truck end much higher than the trailer end. That made my already steep ramp even steeper, and Flash literally knocked me over coming down the ramp. Apollo was better, but still, it was pretty dangerous. After I got them settled into their stalls (no highlining here, darn it!), we came back to disconnect the truck. Even without using any blocks under the jacks, and even with the jacks all the way down to the ground, we still weren't level! What the heck?! This is going to be a challenge! Not to be deterred, and too exhausted to care, and we still had to dialyze this afternoon, we just went about our business getting set up, got Hubby on his machine and crashed as best as possible this afternoon. But the important thing is, WE'RE BACK ON THE ROAD, AWAY FROM THE HOUSE!!! YAY!!!!

Monday, June 10, 2019 – 30th Wedding Anniversary!

Though we've been together 33 years, today was our official 30th wedding anniversary. I only wish we could have done something special today, but it's more important that we get the heck out of here at our earliest opportunity, so I once again spent the entire day clearing and cleaning, putting stuff on Marketplace and having the local charity come in and haul all the leftovers away. It seems we might just be getting close. The house is nearly empty except for some furniture we left behind to make it look better, and that's nice enough that the new owner might just want to keep it. I can't remember the last time I was this tired, literally working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, hard physical labor. Can't wait to get out of here! We promised ourselves that at our first opportunity, we would retro-celebrate our anniversary, once we recovered and had a nice restaurant nearby!