Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 – Long Ride of Flash

Hi Babe!
I had a little trouble sleeping, my knee was aching and Lola was very restless. I ended up having to put earplugs in so I couldn’t hear her moving around so much. She’s not getting enough exercise, but I planned to change that today! After breakfast and chores and a little more trail planning, mostly because I discovered a new map on Mingo’s Facebook page that indicated a couple of trails that were on the old map were now closed, but unfortunately the new map didn’t line up very well, so it took a bit of finagling to get something viable to download onto my GPS. We finally headed out, I got about 100 feet and realized I’d forgotten my hel-hat so I had to go back. Meanwhile, Lola was so excited she was running around in a big circle around the trailer like a mad dog, you know how she gets. Anyway, finally back on the trail, and Flash was ready to move! This is the first place that wasn’t rocky and required boots in a long time, and the footing here is essentially sand, so he really wanted to fly. Unfortunately, though my knee felt somewhat better on the ground this morning, it got a lot worse in the saddle, especially since I was trying to keep him slow, and he wasn’t liking it too much, and I was fighting him a lot of the way. I just didn’t feel secure enough with my sore knee to go faster, so it was a bit of a struggle. It was still an enjoyable ride, though, this place has a lot of interesting sections to it. Some trails are really sandy roads, while others are close and narrow enough to feel like you’re riding through a tunnel of green. There’s also some cultivated pine stands, perfectly straight lines of young evergreens, with all the accompanying sweet smells and soft footing. Though it’s sandy like Florida, there are a few hills here, so that makes for an occasionally interesting change. If I had been more fit, I would have loved to let Flash just go at whatever speed he wanted, but I just didn’t dare today. Near the beginning of the ride we came across a pond, and two mallard ducks went quacking from the shoreline out to the lake, that really got Lola’s attention. Then further along I saw a big wading bird and took a picture, but it never moved as Lola got closer, until I realized it was just a plastic replica! Too funny! We only passed a few other riders, which was amazing considering how many people are here. When I arrived here earlier this week there was only the camp host and a couple of permanent trailers, and as you can see from the pix I took today, the place is PACKED this weekend! So we ended up doing almost 10.5 miles, which pretty much cleared out all the trails here, but I wanted to get it done in case something stopped me from riding Apollo tomorrow, though that’s still the plan. I had to keep my GPS in my hand the whole time, though, because I was weaving in and out of trails like crazy, and I didn’t find that the color of the trails on the map corresponded very well with the markings on the trail. So what else is new? We finally got back to camp in only about 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is pretty good for that distance, and considering I was holding him back so much. I gave him a nice rinse off, than ran out to the Dollar store in Toomsboro because I was running low on dog food, then Jeff and Beth came by to get the grand tour of the trailer and to buy a book. They also helped me get my spare tire back in position, but I had to let most of the air out of it to make it fit. I’ll get out my compressor and fill it up as much as I can tomorrow. After they left, I headed over to the clubhouse to get some leftovers for dinner and to pick up my utensils and containers, which someone had kindly washed. I left the macaroni salad, unfortunately it was in with the deserts and the cover was on tight, so there’s still a lot of it left. I’m moved it to the other refrigeration, hoping that it will be seen more, and maybe someone will take some, otherwise Lola and I will be eating macaroni salad for a week! I heated up dinner and settled down for the evening. Ready for shower and bed now though! And Lola’s been quiet all evening, I hope she stays that way! Good night, darln’! Love you!

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 – Thanksgiving Day

Hi Darlin’!
Happy Thanksgiving! I spent most of the morning in the kitchen cooking, making macaroni salad and deviled eggs for the gathering this afternoon, then relaxed a bit in the afternoon, chatted with two of my three brothers, then went over to the pavilion with my offerings, and met some folks and talked with them before and during dinner. Spent most of the time with Jeff and Beth, a couple that lives north of here but are originally from New England. There was plenty of food, and I’m afraid I may be eating leftover macaroni salad for the next week, though they kept it there so that they could put it on a lunch buffet for tomorrow. We split up after dinner to feed horses, then reconvened around their campfire for a few hours with their camp neighbor before coming back for tea and a short program. A nice way to spend Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to get a long ride in tomorrow, though I’m having some problems with my knee today. I’m hoping it’s related to my shoulder, which I’ve been working on a lot the last few days, maybe one of these days it will all straighten itself out. Anyway, I’m hoping Lola won’t be too restless tonight, she’s gotten so little exercise this week. I’ve had to keep her cooped up since there are so many other dogs around. One woman who came in yesterday with a whole bunch of little yippers actually packed up and left early today, I think because she felt guilty her crew would never shut up. I heard they were the last few of a bunch of rescues that came from a puppy mill or something, I don’t know if she’s fostering or she adopted them all, there were at least five of them. Doesn’t matter, there are still a few more yippers left in camp, though they seem to be a bit more quiet most of the time. Anyway, time for shower and bed and read and probably ibuprofen for my knee! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 – Busy, Productive Work Day

Hi Babe,
Not the best night sleep, but I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep well tonight after all the physical labor I did today! It started after breakfast with me putting the newly mounted tire back on the trailer, then adjusting the brakes, then struggling to try to put the spare tire back on the spindles where it gets carried, though I never could get in on there. I’m not sure it will even fit if I get help to put it on, it just doesn’t seem to be able to be lined up properly. I’m wondering if it’s because there’s too much air in it. Remember when I took it off it was down to 60 lbs., half of what it should have been, and I’m thinking maybe that’s the only way to make it fit. So now I have to decide if I want a half-flat spare, or if I want to put it in the back of the truck fully inflated. I think when I get down to brother Jeff’s I’ll see if I can find a shop that will buy it from me, it was more expensive than the tires I’m using now, and it’s got less than 200 miles on it, but it’s just so much thicker than the rest, I really need to match them up. Something to think about once I get down there, just another thing on the long list of chores and repairs I’m going to have to do once I get down there. Sigh… Next I scrubbed down the canvas skirting that goes around the gooseneck, it’s been getting pretty grungy, then I climbed up on the roof of the trailer and scrubbed it down, than I finished washing the rest of the trailer, then I washed the truck, then I climbed back up on the roof to put some sealant around a seam on the front of the gooseneck that looked like the panel was starting to come a little loose at the top, and I certainly don’t want any leaking, especially since they’re calling for rain most of the day tomorrow. I also did a load of laundry in between, just for variety. I did a final scrub of the skirting (Lola decided to leave some footprints on it for me) and hung that up, then I had to rinse the outside as well. Finally, since there’s rain and some possible wind, I put the chairs under the gooseneck inside the skirting to keep them from getting wet overnight. I’m hoping it won’t get so windy I have to pull the awning in, fingers crossed. Oh, and I almost forgot, I started the morning packaging up three books and walking them down to the mailbox. I started a “no shipping” special of the book for the holidays on the Facebook group page, and was delighted to see some orders start to come in. Tomorrow, it’s all about Thanksgiving. I’m starting the day cooking, I’m making my curry macaroni salad and some deviled eggs, and hopefully relaxing a bit before the dinner at 4:00. Hopefully, Friday I’ll finally get a ride in! I was thinking about staying here another week, but they’re calling for temps in the 20’s at night early next week, so I’m hitting the road to go south on Monday. I should probably go on Sunday to beat the weather, but you know how I hate to drive on Sunday, hard to get service if there’s any problems on the road. Anyway, it was deep dusk by the time I finished everything, so I set about getting dinner, an early shower, a couple of programs, now I’m off to bed with my kindle, hopefully I’ll get a better night sleep tonight. Can’t see how I can’t, as tired as I am right now! Good night, baby! Love you!

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 – Rest and Runaround Day

Hi Sweetie,
Slept a little later this morning, a good start to a day when my plan was to relax, which I did for the most part, until I got a notification from Fedex that the replacement tire I ordered was due to arrive today, rather than the original delivery date of Friday. I watched it’s progress online, and when it arrived at the tire store, Duncan’s downtown, I headed down there and dropped off the wheel so they could replace it for me. I ran over to Tractor Supply to get a couple of propane tanks filled, then Walmart for a few last minute things for Thanksgiving. Went back to the tire store and picked up the tire, and when I went to pay for it, they wouldn’t let me! Said it was no problem, loaded it up on the truck and sent me on my way! Wasn’t that nice? A lovely holiday gift to me. Love that Southern hospitality! Got back to camp, got my groceries in, fed the horses and settled down for the evening. Not quite as restful a day as I thought it would be, but with a good night sleep, hopefully I’ll be up to doing some heavy lifting tomorrow, like getting the tire put on and adjusting my brakes while I’m at it. We’ll see if I have the energy, I still feel a bit tired from my busy week last week. I did manage to do one load of laundry today, but I have a bunch more to do in the next few days. Not sure how much riding I’ll be doing while I’m here, though there are enough trails for a couple of rides. They charge a $10 a day trail fee here in addition to the camping fee, I still haven’t figured out whether or not it’s worth it to join, I need to do the math and decide if I’m likely to come back here much in the future. But that’s for another day! Right now it’s time for my shower and an early night. Good night darlin’! Love you!

Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 – Travel Day to Mingo Trails, GA

Hi Darlin’,
A good night sleep, a morning of the usual last minute prep, and before I knew it, I was off and on my way right on schedule! First stop was Central GA Equine Center to get the horses’ Extended Equine CVI, which I’ll need to get into Florida soon. I’m sorry to say they charged me nearly three times what I’ve previously paid for the GlobalVetLink EECVI, so despite my initial plan to use them each time I’m on my way to Florida, I’ll be looking for someone else that doesn’t tack on such a heavy premium. Ouch! Then it was another hour to Mingo Trails, all uneventful, thank goodness. Probably the right choice to change the spare out, at least I wasn’t worried about it. It feels like my brakes need adjusting again, so I’ll do that at the same time I switch the spare out. I arrived at Mingo Trails at just before 1:00, and proceeded to get set up. I considered a number of camping spots, but it turned out the best one for me, with the easiest access, was the same one I parked in last time I was here. It didn’t take me too long to get the horses on their highline, get the rug down and the awning and chairs out. I’m going to wait and see about the screen room depending on the fly and bug situation. It’s supposed to get down to the upper 30’s tonight, so I don’t think they’ll be a problem right away! It’s nice to have water and electric for a change, I’m luxuriating by my electric fireplace, and I intend to take a longer shower than usual as well, just for fun. I’ve had a pretty busy week, so I’m thinking of mostly taking the day off tomorrow, though I did have a book sale that I’ve got all ready to go, and fortunately they have a mailbox here so I’ll just walk down and put it in tomorrow morning. Relaxed the rest of the day, settled down for the evening, now I’m off to that long shower and bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020 – Busy Prep Day

Hey Babe,
What a busy day! Lola was quiet last night so I slept pretty well, woke up once and read for awhile, then got back to sleep, fortunately. I decided to change the tire out for the spare, so even before breakfast, while the horses had their feedbags on, I was loosening the lug nuts on the tire, just to make sure I could get them all loose, which I did manage to do, taking down the skirting around the gooseneck, getting out the spare, and generally getting ready to hook up the truck. As tough as this job is even in a quiet campground, it would be much tougher if I had to do it by the side of a road, so I figured better safe than sorry. After breakfast I finished the job, hooking up the truck and rolling it onto the Jiffy Jack, switching the tire out, and getting the old tire in the back of the truck. When I checked the air in the spare it was way down to 60 lbs., so I had to disconnect the truck again and get out the inflator and pump that up. Since I could only run the inflator for 10 minutes, with a 25 minute break in between, I went on to the next chore, which was sewing up Miss Lola’s bed, again. It was a lovely morning so I did it outside. Once that was done, I got out her bed in the back seat of the truck, she’s been tearing into that and pulling the stuffing out of it, so I gathered all the stuffing I could find (which was scattered all over the back seat!), put it back in and sewed that up. Meanwhile, I was topping off all the rest of the tires, which were all down at least 10 lbs., and each tire took the same 10 minutes to do, with a long break in between. After the second dog bed was done, I started mending Flash’s winter blanket. It had a lot of rips and tears in it, so I tackled that. By the time I got done with all of that, the afternoon was almost spent. There were several groups of day riders that came and went, and I spoke a few minutes to most of them, usually because Lola ran out to meet them and teach them how to throw for her. Eventually, I rolled up the awning, put away the chairs and the outdoor rug, and pretty soon had everything put away that I could. I got the truck lined up so that all I have to do is drop the trailer on the hitch in the morning. Other than the horses and their stuff, there’s not much else to do, which is good because I have an appointment with a vet at 11:00 in Fort Valley about two hours away, so I have to get an early start. Another reason I didn’t want to have a blowout on the road. Finally I was finished getting ready around 5:00. Daniel from the barn came by later and I paid him the trail day fee, and a little extra for Christian who ran the ride I tagged along on. Took my shower early so my hair would dry before bed, which is where I’m off to now! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 – Last Ride at FDR

Hi Sweetie,
Lola was restless again last night, and by morning she’d completely ripped the seam of her bed, again. Sigh. I don’t know what gets into her, I thought having taken a ride yesterday she would sleep through the night, but not so! Anyway, I did some work on the computer in the morning, then saddled up Flash for our final ride here. I decided to take the trail to the lake, which turned out to be a lot closer than I thought, and there were a couple of guys there that were literally draining the lake. Not sure what that’s about, but we did manage to find a way around it, then followed the trail to the cabins, which is now the group camping area but originally were housing for the CCC workers that built the place. Once in there, though I tried to find a trail, ended up on a utility line and then a gravel road, but knew I was getting way off the reservation so I had to turn back and retrace my steps. Turned out the only way out was down the road, so I headed that way. I ran into three other women riding, and we ended up chatting for a while in the road. I finally headed back out, cutting back into the woods and taking a different route home. There’s not a huge number of trails here, so I knew my way around (well, almost, I headed the wrong way on one trail), and ended up catching up to a group from the stables so I had to hang back for a bit, then took a bypass trail around the barn and back to the driveway and back to camp. The ladies came back a bit later and we ended up chatting some more. It was a lovely ride, a nice day, once again perfect weather, and Flash behaved beautifully, with lots of energy on the trail but quiet when we were stopped. He’s really becoming a fine trail horse, I couldn’t ask for more. Settled down for the evening with a movie and a new series, now I’m headed to shower, bed and book! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 – Another Ride at FDR

Hi Darlin’,
Slept the whole night through again (yay!), got up around 8:00, did chores and breakfast, and eventually went out to do some repairs. The spigot on the side of the trailer had come loose while it was at the trailer shop when I was out west, and today I set out to fix it for good. Of course, it’s never as simple a job as you think it’s going to be. I knew that sometimes there was a water drip from behind the spigot, but even though it was intermittent, I decided to fix it right before I secured it. It had one of those permanent type clamps on it and I couldn’t get it off, so I cut the hose short and had a heck of a time trying to get the clamp off the spigot, but eventually, with the help of a grapefruit knife, I was able to cut the hose back enough to slip it off. Then I had to use a regular water hose clamp to fix it, and that didn’t fit through the hole, so I had to put it all in place behind the metal frame, where I couldn’t see it, had to do everything by feel, so that was a challenge. One of those jobs where you really needed three hands. Eventually I managed it, though, and got it all put back together and secured it really well, so hopefully this is the last time I’ll have a problem with it. Then I tried to fix the one panel that’s bulging and put the trim back on, but it was impossible. Not sure if that’s ever anything that can be fixed without putting a whole new panel on it, but I struggled for a while before seeing it was futile. I also fixed one of the bars that separates the horses’ mangers, that’s been flopping around for awhile. I also noticed that one of my tires has a wide slash in the sidewall. Sigh. These tires have so much tread on them, and I have no idea why they keep getting sidewall slashes. I’m going to have to keep an eye on it, but I really don’t want to put the spare on if I can help it, because it’s a different brand of tire, and it’s totally a different size, even though the numbers match. This could become a big problem on the road, particularly since it’s on the driver’s side and changing it by the side of the road will be hazardous, I’m just not sure what to do with it, I’ll have to look at it again and decide if I should change it before I leave here. Problem is, it’s not just a short drive next time, like I’ve been doing lately, it’s the longest drive I’ve taken in awhile, though it won’t be on the freeway, I’ve got a route for mostly U.S. Highways. I’ll think about it tomorrow. Anyway, after all that, I took a short break, then saddled up Apollo and went out to finish all the rest of the trails on the map, except the Bridal Trail (yes, it’s Bridal, not Bridle), because I keep hearing that no one has cleared it in years and it’s impossible to follow, so I don’t need to invite that kind of annoyance into my life. The trails we took today were actually quite nice, not too rocky, not too hard to follow (with the help of my GPS, otherwise I would have gotten lost), but it’s small enough here where you wouldn’t stay lost for long anyway. The trails are covered in leaves now, not much left on the trees, but with the temps in the 70’s today, it was perfect, exactly what I keep trying to find! Lola and Apollo both seemed to enjoy themselves. I kept coming across these charming little structures attached to trees, and at first I thought they were bird houses or bat houses until I came to a mailbox with the flag up. Curiousity ruled, and I opened the mailbox and discovered it was a geocache station! Turns out all the structures were! There was even one intersection that had one shaped like a little jail! So cute! I read the instructions there, but decided not to join in today, though I already thought about seeing if there’s any horseback orienteering events in Florida, thought I might try to participate in one. Anyway, when I got back to camp there was a truck and horse trailer there, a day rider, who didn’t get back until about 5:00. I met him when I came out to feed the horses and we chatted for a bit. He has a dozen Paso Finos at home, plus the one he was riding today, so it was all about horses. Eventually he left, I got the horses fed, then settled down for the evening, as usual. Watched a good movie, Molly’s Game, now I’m heading to bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 – Shopping Day

Hey Babe,
Another good night sleep (sans wine again, darn it!), woke up a bit before my alarm. After chores and breakfast I headed out to a place west of LaGrange, the nearest city, to pick up ten bales of hay. They’re light bales, not exactly fresh and green, but that’s not easy to find now that the growing season is over and I’m heading south into coastal country. I’m sure the horses will be fine with it. After picking that up I went to Tractor Supply to get three bottles of propane filled, then Walmart for the rest of my shopping, then finally, Moss Feeds back in Pine Mountain. They are a Nutrena dealer and happened to have a couple of bags of hard-to-find Balancer, so I stocked up with that. I already had two bags from the previous Tractor Supply, so I’m set for quite a while on that now. Got back to camp just after 2:00, grabbed some lunch after putting all the groceries away, then moved the hay and feed out of the truck into the trailer. By then I was pretty worn out, so I called it day and started my evening early. Finished watching the charming series Last Tango in Halifax, you would have like that for the most part. Anyway, I’ve got a few repairs to do tomorrow, and I’d like to get another ride in tomorrow, so I’m off to shower and bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 – Second Ride at FDR

Hi Darlin’!
Finally, a good night sleep! Well, I woke up early, because Lola was fussing and worrying on something, so I finished my book, then slept until nearly 9:00, haven’t done that in a long time! Morning chores, a few odd jobs, then I saddled up Flash and headed out to do the “Cowboy Trail.” The trailhead leaves out of the stable area opposite where the trail rides leave from, and it took me a minute to find the beginning of it, but once I got on it, it was marked fairly well. It reminded me of McClennan, narrow trail with quite a bit of rocks, well and truly covered with leaves so it was a bit hard to see, but I managed most of the way, with quite a few creek crossings at one part, and a number of tenters way out in the middle of nowhere. Then we reached the same overlook as yesterday, and from there, the trail markings all but disappeared. There was an occasional marker at an intersection, but only saying it’s a horse trail, not the color of the trail, so following the map was impossible. There were no confidence markers whatsoever. I had downloaded my route onto my GPS, and I still missed a turn somewhere and could never find it. I followed some other trails that seemed a bit more used and ended up right back on the trail to the stable we used yesterday, which was not my intention, but I never could get back on the trail that I wanted. Once I downloaded the GPS file of where I went, though, I could see about where I went wrong, so it should be easy enough to track it by going out a different way, the way I had intended to come back on. Anyway, it was a nice ride. Flash was full of pep, and I don’t think he was too fond of the footing, so he kept trying to faster to get out of it, but maybe it was just because it’s been quite a while since we’ve been on our own, where he could do his own pace and not be slowed down by anyone else. He certainly took advantage of it! We went just about seven miles and it only took us two hours, so he was definitely on his quick pace today, which is always fun! Lola enjoyed herself, too, and hopefully the exercise will help her sleep tonight, she was so restless last night, or rather, this morning. Anyway, it’s another cold morning tomorrow, but then it’s warming up here, will be 20 degrees warmer by the end of the week. I’ve found some hay in nearby LaGrange, so I’m doing my shopping tomorrow, filling propane tanks as well, since I’ve been using a lot of it lately to keep warm. Just another fun day on the road! I had another nice, quiet evening, and now I’m headed off for shower and bed. Good night, babe! Love you!