Tuesday, June 18, 2024 – Long Travel Day to Michaux State Forest, Near Gettysburg, PA

Pix to come!

Hi Babe!
Woke up half an hour before my alarm, but it was daylight, so I got up and started moving. Everything went smoothly and I was headed out the driveway just before 8:00. The whole day went well, thank goodness. The morning was mostly cloudy, and there was even quite a bit of fog going through the Virginia Highlands, so the temps stayed in the 70's for quite awhile. By the time the clouds were cleaing up a bit and it hit 90, I was stopping for fuel as we were heading up the Shenandoah Valley, which was relatively flat, so I didn't need to worry about managing the AC. Not that I've ever had to worry about it on this truck, but it's just a habit. Then, about 10 miles before the turnoff from I-81 to the campground, I hit a brief rainstorm, and watched the thermometer plunge from 95 to 74 in about five minutes! It started warming back up again as I went through Chambersville, it was back up to 88 when I started climbing the hill to the campground. The first part wasn't bad, but after the turn onto Shippensburg Rd., it got really steep, and I crawled up the hill the last mile. The temps only came down a couple of degrees, but there was a lovely breeze, so it didn't feel too bad. I got the horses' highline all set up and ready before getting them out of the trailer, and was pretty much done by 4:30, though my front end is a bit higher than the back, but I can't get the jacks any lower! I barely have a cell phone signal, and only with my booster, but I managed to watch one Warehouse 13 before giving up for the evening. Think I'll be doing a lot of reading here! And maybe even breaking out the Dish PVR, it still has a lot of movies left on it. Tomorrow I have to go in search of water, but otherwise have no plans, though I have a few NY friends nearby at Gettysburg, maybe we'll figure out a way to get together. I'll no doubt do some trail planning as well, but I think after 8 hours in the trailer, the horses deserve a day off! Looking forward to a cooler night, even without AC! Good night, darlin'! Love you!

Monday, June 17, 2024 – Housekeeping and Packing Day

Hiya Darlin',
Mostly cloudy today, which kept the temps down a bit but the humidity high, so once again, I was glad I have electric for AC, and not feeling too thrilled about the heat wave I'll be driving into this week. The good news is the campground is at nearly 2000', so that will help some, but it's still going to be a hot time! Did a little packing and some housekeeping, though I didn't unpack much anyway, so I should be able to get out pretty early tomorrow. Almost 400 miles to drive tomorrow, more than I like, but it's almost all highway, so it should be fairly easy. Had a quiet evening, getting to bed extra early so I can get a full night sleep and still get up nice and early in the morning. Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Sunday, June 16, 2024 – Laundry and Rest Day

Hey Sweetie,
Not quite as good a night sleep, but I ended up resting most of the day, only doing my laundry. I've decided to stay here until Tuesday, having made my next reservation starting on Tuesday, so tomorrow I'm hoping to have enough energy to do housekeeping and general maintenance before the long drive to PA. Ordered a Cavallo boot for Flash, one of his has split some seams and won't stay on, and I'm going to need those in coming weeks, as some of the trails I'm going on will be rocky. So, had a relatively relaxing day, still coughing up phlegm but it seems to be less thick, so I'm hoping to have a full recovery soon, I'm sick of being sick! I hope I get a good night sleep after my usual evening. Good night, babe! Love you!

Friday, June 14, 2024 – Travel Day to Love Valley, NC

Hey Darlin',
Had a good night sleep, and even fell asleep after waking up at 5:30, a rarity! I'm still not 100 percent, still coughing up phlegm and otherwise removing germs from my body, but at least I had some energy today. Finished packing up, had Luis bring down my horses (they must have been easy to catch, it didn't take him long!), and they loaded right up into the trailer. Said my good-byes and headed out by about 10:15, arriving at JCR Campground around 12:45, a bit later than I planned but I did stop for fuel along the way. Not a lot of room behind the trailer for the horses, but I managed to carve out a little spot between the fence and the hitching rails that happened to also have about the only shade tree in the whole place. It got very warm, so I was happy that I had power, albeit only 30 amp, but that was enough to run the AC all day, which I needed. Once I got set up, I discovered there was no cell phone service here, but did manage to get the password for the wifi, so I'm piggybacking off of that. I read for most of the afternoon, then had my usual evening of dinner and a movie, and intend, once again, for an early evening to that I can continue to get the rest I need and stay on the mend! Forecast is looking very hot, even up into PA, so I'm not sure when I'm going to move again, though I have confirmed that the place I want to go in PA is at nearly 2000', so it should be somewhat cooler up there. We'll see. Meanwhile, I'm sleeping in AC! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, June 13, 2024 – Packing, Shopping and Hay Day

Hiya Sweetie,
At last I woke up with a little energy. Not a lot, but enough to get some stuff moving along today. I did a little packing up, ran into town to do some shopping, which finally included getting a long overdue compressor. I've given up on those portable tire inflators, so I had to go for a bigger 6 gallon pancake compressor. I didn't really want to carry something that big, but it seems like the only thing that might hold up over time, and will be good for a lot of other purposes, too, I think. Did my grocery shopping at Walmart, had to stop at Publix for grapefruit juice, then came back home and put everything away. An hour later, I went out to pick up some freshly-baled hay, just five bales is all I had room for, but my horses are really not liking the stuff I bought before, though this new stuff looks a lot better. Got back and got that stored, then settled down for dinner and a movie. Felt a bit tired by the end of the day, understandably, but with a good night sleep, I think I'll be fine to move on tomorrow. I only have 20 amps here, so I can't run my AC, so I really need someplace with higher power during the heat wave that's here. I'll be at a much higher altitude and latitude in PA, so hopefully it will be cooler up there. Looking forward to moving northward, even though I don't have any specific plans at the moment. Just go with the flow! Good night, baby! Love you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 – Another Rest Day

Hey Babe,
Well, I thought after doing nothing all day yesterday that I would have enough energy to get a bit busier today, but it seems, I did not. I barely managed to get up this morning, just managed to drive over and finally visit with the horses, who came running to me looking for their treats, which, of course, I had brought with me, then back to the trailer. I finished emptying my duffel bag, and that was about all the energy I had. This cold really has me dragged down! I'm hoping today's rest will be enough to have more energy tomorrow, because now I'm running out of time. I've arranged a reservation at Love Valley starting Friday, just because I don't want to overstay my welcome here, and it's time to move on. Read and napped most of the day, watched a movie, and am definitely heading to bed early, in another last ditch effort to regain my strength. Good night, my darlin'! Love you!

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 – Laundry and Rest Day

Hiya Darlin',
Had a sound sleep all night, thank goodness, but got up around 8:30, even though I would have liked to stay in bed longer. Instead, I started on laundry, since I had so much of it, and spent the day reading, resting, and watching TV in an effort to speed my recovery. Still coughing and having some chest congestion, but I think another good night sleep will have me on the mend. I'm hoping tomorrow I'll have a bit more energy, enough to figure out what it is I'm going to do for the next two weeks. Haven't heard back from the folks at Fairhill yet, so I may just have to skip by that one, as I need to make a decision here soon. Anyway, I'm done for the day, off to shower and bed soon! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, June 10, 2024 – Travel Day Back to Charlotte, Happy 35th Anniversary!

Hey Sweetie!
Glad to have had another good night sleep, so even though I got up early, I felt more refreshed. I'm still a long way from 100 percent, but I'm improving. Had a quick breakfast, ordered a Lyft and got to the airport in plenty of time. The flight was uneventful and on time, watched a movie and even arrived a few minutes early. Lugging that big duffel bag around has been problematic, not sure what I was thinking on that! Truck started up, no problem, for which I'm glad, I was worried it might not, and I forgot to bring my little charge with me, glad it wasn't necessary. Stopped for fuel on my way back so I wouldn't have to worry about it, and arrived well before nightfall. Was very happy to see Lola (and vice versa!), though all her feet seem to be getting more and more odd-shaped, like she's getting serious arthritis in her toes. I made sure she got her antibiotic, and I'll take a closer look tomorrow to see what I can find. I'm so exhausted, my plan is to do nothing but laundry for a couple of days. I was a bit alarmed when I got back to hear a strange noise, and finally figured out it was the water pump, with no water in the tank. Heaven knows how long that's been going on, I'm just grateful it didn't burn out the pump! I filled up with water, since I'll need to shower tonight, then settled down to a bourbon and a cup of Sleepytime tea. I've started a new series on Prime from SyFi called Warehouse 13, so I watched one episode, but I'll be heading to bed soon. I fully expect to sleep late, despite the time change, and I'm sure it will go a long way toward getting caught up. At least, I hope so! Good night, babe! Happy 35th anniversary! Love you!

Sunday, June 9, 2024 – Travel Day Back to Vegas

Hiya Babe!
Had a better night sleep, at last! Woke up feeling a bit better, at least more rested, walked over to the Trail's End Restaurant for breakfast, where I had oatmeal and ordered some bacon, but it was way overcooked to my liking, almost burnt, so I only had a taste of that. Finished packing and was loaded on the bus before 8:00, and we then make the three and a half hour drive (with one pitstop, where I finally managed to get some Dayquil to help alleviate my cold symptoms) back to the Fairfield Inn. Of course, we changed times zones from mountain to Pacific, so there were no rooms ready for two hours, but I spent the time in the lobby loading up pictures and videos and otherwise trying to get caught up. Once I got to my room, I essentially just vegged out the rest of the afternoon, other than a quick stop and Taco and Beer next door for a salad. Only unpacked the bare minimum so it will be easy to pack up in the morning. There's maybe a dozen of us from the ride staying overnight, but I stayed in my room for the rest of the day, trying to get as much rest as I can. Watched movies and read until I was finally ready to turn out the lights. Looking forward to getting home tomorrow, but this trip has certainly been one for the books! Not sure how I'll be able to top this! Good night, my darlin'! Love you!

Monday, June 3, 2024 – First Day of the Red Rock Ride

Hiya Babe!
Well, today was the long-awaited day! I had a good night sleep, and woke up at 4:30 even before my alarm, got packed up and down in the lobby in plenty of time for our 5:30 gathering. It didn't take long to load up all the luggage and get on the road, stopping after about an hour at a casino for a buffet breakfast, which was included with the package. We finally reached Zion where the horses were and we got matched up to our mounts. I ended up with a buckskin mare name Winematuk, or somthing like that, nickname Whinny. She tried to eat every blade of grass that crossed her path, which reminded me of your old mare Clio. The ride was only about 5.5 miles long, and we had a pit stop in the middle, but it was entertaining with the stories that our wrangler Cash was telling, and the landscape was pretty spectacular. I was a bit far back at first and couldn't hear him, but managed to move forward a bit at one point, so that improved. It was a fairly nice ride, with footing that was both rocky and sandy, and from what I've heard, the worst footing of the week. The stark cliffs were quite beautiful, but it certainly wasn't the most beautiful ride I've ever been on, though it was interesting enough. There were so much traffic on the road, cars, buses, bike riders, etc., so it was slow going in the bus. The bus is a full-fledged tour bus, well-appointed and comfortable, a far cry from the old school bus I was on last year at this time on the Michigan Shore-to-Shore. They had packed us sack lunches, which we ate when we got back to the bus at the end of the ride, though I was still pretty full from breakfast, so I only ate half of it. They split us into two groups today, I was in the first group A (the Angels), and the second group B (the bad guys), started the ride about 20 minutes after us. I think that was to keep group size down, and possible to deal with the fact that it was a lollipop trail, I don't know for sure. After we finished the ride and had lunch, we started to drive to the ranch, with another stop at a souvenir store along the way. This morning, I had tried to reset my wristwatch to the local time, but it gave up the ghost on me, no doubt a dead batter, and after some searching, I found an eyeglass repair kit with a screwdriver small enough to take the back off, and I bought a battery that looked about right, though the number wasn't the same, and tried to repair it. I wasn't able to finish it by the time we left, but once we got to the ranch and got settled in, I was able to finally fix it. Unfortunately, I lost one of the tiny screws, but the other three seem to be holding okay, so at least I have a temporary fix for the week. The ranch is in a beautiful area, surrounded by mostly alfalfa fields, and the cabins are about the size of a small sauna, but I was surprised to learn yesterday that we singles didn't have to bunk in with anyone, we each got our own cabin! So I have one bunk to lay all my stuff out and another one to sleep on, so I'm a happy camper with that. The restrooms and showers are in two trailers on either end of the half circle where the cabins are, I'm in cabin ten so I'm about halfway between them. I fixed finished fixing my watch shortly before dinner, and already started loading up my pix from the day (there's a very good cell signal here, so it's going faster than usual!), then headed down to dinner, which was an incredibly tender steak, so much so I could cut it with a plastic knife! My first steak in months, so I really enjoyed it. Probably their own beef, as they mostly raise cattle along with the alfalfa. After dinner, everyone introduced themselves, then we finished around 9:00, very late for dinner, but they had a breakdown of their usual dinner trailer and had to bring another one in at the last minute. They worked it flawlessly, though, and other than starting dinner a half hour later than usual, it was seamless. Got back to my cabin, then grabbed my shower stuff and headed over, grateful that most of the folks took their shower right after the ride, so no waiting. Finishing off my blog and my Spanish lesson and heading to bed forthwith! A great first day! Good night, sweetie! Love you!