Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020 – Travel Day to O’Bannon Woods State Park

Hi Babe,
Got up early and finished packing everything, had to do a bit of fancy maneuvering to get out of my campsite without running into a ditch, but managed to do so after two or three passes at it. I stopped in Paoli at the Tractor Supply only to discover this one doesn’t refill propane tanks, which was my main reason for going there, so I just got a bag of feed and headed to the Walmart. Didn’t need much but I did need some padded envelopes to mail my books in, which I had to have to get out a book order I got the other day. Once I finished there and packed up the book, I had to pretty much block half a lane to drop it off at the post office, but that only took a minute. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, and with the whole trip only being about 65 miles, it didn’t take long. When I got to Corydon, the nearest town to my destination, I stopped at the Tractor Supply there, saw they refilled propane there, dropped my tanks off by the gate before going in, only to discover they had completely run out of propane! Fortunately I still have one and a half tanks, so it wasn’t an issue, but it does mean a trip into town again tomorrow. Arrived at the campground, got all checked in, and made my way down to the primitive horse camp, which was almost empty except for a rather well-known couple Bob Brittian and Ginny were in the site right next to me, as I learned later in the day. They were out riding when I arrived, but I got all backed in with no problem, plenty of room, and mostly level. Put up a highline between a tree and a hitching post, and did a complete set up, including screen room and grill in less than 90 minutes. Got my water tanks filled and everything, then settled down for awhile. My neighbors arrived shortly afterward and we exchanged pleasantries, then Trish and Janet arrived on horseback, they’d settled into the electric camp which was about a mile away. Janet struck up a conversation with the neighbors and that’s when we learned all about them. Anyway, we all chatted, then the ladies went back to camp, I grabbed some Ramen noodles and fed the horses, and eventually wound up over at Bob’s camp, he was playing his guitar and singing some great cowboy songs. The ladies drove down and sat with us around the campfire for awhile, I got to do my Snowy River, and Bob told a sad tale about a cowboy with an obsession with a wild palomino filly. Then we all went our separate ways for the night, with plans arranged for the morning ride tomorrow. Ginny had let me take a picture of a handkerchief that had a map of the place on it, since they seem to be hard to come by unless you want to spend $10, which seems excessive to me. I used it as an overlay on Google Earth and still managed to make a GPS for tomorrow. Bad news is there is absolutely NO cell phone signal down here at the camp, though apparently they have one at the upper camp, so I can see I’m going to be driving to check my email. Anyway, time for shower and bed, it’s already too late. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 – Final Ride at Shirley Creek

Pix to come.

Hey darlin’,
Last full day here. I had some computer work to do for a bit this morning after my usual chores, then eventually saddled up Apollo for a short ride. Yesterday on Flash the saddlebags got loose and I had something fall out, and I found it right away, but I thought maybe something came out earlier and I wanted to check on it. Problem is, I reorganized my saddlebags not long ago and I can’t remember everything I’m carrying these days, so I was pretty sure I hadn’t lost anything, and I never did find anything else on the trail today, so that was good. It was only a short ride, just over 5 miles, but I managed to get him to jog a bit more than usual, just trying to get him in shape. When I got back, I put him on an anchor and started packing up a few things in preparation for our departure tomorrow. I dawdled over that most of the rest of the day, reading a little, watching a little TV, you know, the usual. By 7:00 I had fed the horses and put everything else away that I could, so it shouldn’t be to bad getting out of here in the morning. I’ve planned a route that will take me through the nearest town where I can stop at Tractor Supply for propane, Walmart for just a few odds and ends, and a post office to ship out a book order I got last night, where I hope there will be enough street parking for me! It’s only about 65 miles, and that’s going a bit out of my way in order to get to a US highway, since the rest all look like pretty tiny roads and I don’t want to take any chances. One thing I forgot to do was send an email to your sister to wish her a Happy Birthday, but I’m sending one now so she’ll have a belated one in the morning. I’m hoping to Skype with her over the weekend, if I have a decent cell phone signal. I’ve run out of trails here and I’m ready to move on, though I did enjoy the place a lot. Anyway, time for my shower and bed! Good night, hon! Love you!

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 – Another Ride at Shirley Creek

Pix to follow.

Hey Baby,
Another late start this morning, mostly because I wanted to finish the last few chapters of the series I’ve been reading, but then I got up for chores and breakfast. I spent over an hour on the phone with one company, then another 45 minutes on the phone with another company, then back on the phone with the first company for another half an hour, all trying to follow up on stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish for a long time and getting nowhere. Not sure I got anywhere today, either, but we’ll see. Very frustrating. I seem to remember that in the “old” days, keeping someone on hold for more than 5 minutes was considered terrible customer service, but it seems these days, it seems half an hour is the minimum! Twice I got hung up on, twice more my phone dropped the call, and one time I went through four different people, then waited for 20 minutes, only to learn I was still talking to the wrong department! Grrrrrr! Anyway, I finally got as far as I could go with it all, and needed some quiet time, so I saddled up Flash to do the rest of the trails I hadn’t done here yet. Again, it was a lovely ride, really easy and beautiful trails here, very enjoyable. Did just under eight miles, got back a bit after 4:00, put Flash away, got a beer and went to talk to the neighbors for a bit. Not a very stimulating conversation, so I didn’t stay long, and they were so worried I’d get a ticket from a forest service ranger (whom I haven’t seen any of since I’ve been here) about my fence, I decided to take it down and put the horses up on a high line that I strung between two hitching rails. I was hoping to have the place to myself at some point this week, but they’re still here, and so are the other group of non-horse campers, who dress like old-style gypsies. The next few weeks are going to be busy as I get ready for my trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon, lots of prep work to do. Eventually settled down for the evening to an old Wagon Train from the PVR, but I’m planning on getting to bed early. So, signing off! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 – Lazy Day at Shirley Creek

Hi Hon,
Couldn’t get to sleep last night, and I woke up woozy this morning, so I decided just to have a relaxing day today. Spent most of the day just reading, with the exception of finishing the filing of my complaint against the actors’ union. They’re still refusing to let me have a contract, and are still threatening to punish me if I work WITHOUT a contract. Not sure how they expect to accomplish anything with THAT attitude! I thought a union WANTED their members to work, not prevent them from working! Anyway, a very quiet day, but hopefully not so quiet that I can’t sleep again tonight! Finally had some sunshine today, so my solar panel managed to collect a bit, but I used a lot of power charging up my electronics, so I’m having to run the generator for a bit now. All I have left to do is feed Lola (after I make her some new satin balls), take a shower and head for bed, though I’ll probably watch a movie since my eyes are tired from reading. So I’m signing off early tonight, while I’ve still got an internet connection. Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020 – Second Ride at Shirley Creek

Pix to follow

Hey Sweetie,
Slept so late this morning, I couldn’t believe it! Didn’t crawl out of bed until nearly 10:00, surprised the horses didn’t wake me up, considering they’re right outside my window! Anyway, got up and did my chores, had breakfast, then saddled up Apollo and got on the trail about 1:00. Today’s goal was the “inner loop,” and it had a lot more gravel than the outer loop, but still all small stuff so it wasn’t much of a bother. This was a very easy trail, not even rising to moderate, in my opinion. It’s interesting, there are nice hills here, making for a varied terrain, but the trails are cut in such a way that the riding is really easy. The steepest hill has such a gentle series of switchbacks you hardly know you’re climbing. Really perfect of Apollo, we did over 6 miles and he did just fine, though when I put him back in the paddock, he didn’t move for quite a while, I don’t know if he just went to sleep in situ or what, but he was stiff as a board for a bit. I spent the rest of the day mostly reading, grilled myself a nice pork chop on the grill, then settled down to watch a movie on the Dish PVR. The night’s are starting to get a bit cooler, which I’m looking forward to, it’s been kind of hot here, but no where near as we had a few weeks ago. Been keeping my generator use down to about 30 minutes twice a day, so far that seems to be enough. We finally got a little sun today, been cloudy since I got here, but more sun is forecast, so that should help me conserve propane, since the solar panel is out and I’m in a clearing. We’ll see! I’ve had other days in the past when I only had to run the generator for 30 minutes once a day, hopefully that will be the case for the rest of the week. Anyway, I took my shower early, so I’m off to bed now. Love you, babe! Good night!

Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 – First Ride at Shirley Creek

Pix to follow

Hiya Babe!
What a great ride today! Not the best night sleep but I woke up more rested than I was yesterday, and after breakfast and chores, I saddled up Flash and headed out on what I’m calling the “outer loop.” As you know, I always like to try to do a perimeter route on my first day so I can get a lay of the land, as it were, and today’s 10 mile ride fit that perfectly! I left camp, got about 100 yards and realized I’d forgotten to put Lola’s safety vest on, so I gaited back to camp to get it, then headed out again. What nice trails! These are the kind of trails I miss not going to National Forests, but they’re campgrounds are a bit dicey for a rig my size, so I’m not sure how many of them I’ll be able to go to. Even this one, I’m not sure if I can leave the campground and turn south, because it’s a narrow road with about a 340 degree turn, so I may have to go north and find a different way. Anyway, that’s a problem for another day! The trails are most dirt with some gravel, but it’s a nice small gravel that doesn’t bother anyone. Only a few mud patches, and they were mostly dried up since we haven’t had any rain in a long time here now. Beautiful deciduous woods, rolling hills, nothing too steep, nice switchbacks occasionally, a few pine forests wedged between, really nice! There was one section that went along a gravel road, but it wasn’t too bad either. I ran into a couple of groups on the trail, some folks seem to worry about me riding alone, which I can appreciate. Some see it as brave, others foolish, others stupid, but I just call it living! One thing that was always true about us, we never let our life be ruled by fear, and I don’t intend to start now! Got back to camp around 3:30, sponged Flash down, then proceed to try to get a cell phone signal good enough to internet, I’m just on the edge here. Managed to do a little work, but can’t upload pictures, so they’ll have to be added later. Meanwhile, I’m having my first glass of wine, I’ve put up the grill so I can have a nice burger in a bit, ready to settle down for the evening. Not much to add, you know what comes next, so I’ll upload this early while I’ve got a signal! Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 – Errand and Rest Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had a good rest overnight, but was still feeling a bit tired today. I discovered I had a book order come in late last night, so I packed that up after chores, made a list of a couple of items I needed and headed into French Lick to the post office. I discovered this was quite an historic area, with lots of buildings from just after the turn of the last century, evidently there were springs here that claimed healing powers and people flocked here for the cures. I loved the old post office, one of those great old buildings with the super high ceilings and beautiful wood, from back when they really knew how to build grand buildings. I stopped at the tourist office to pick up some maps and brochures just to see what the history was about, pretty interesting. It gave me a chance to scope out my exit route, too, and it looks pretty good, except for the turn out of the campground! That looks the most harrowing, big ditch, driveway points the wrong way, I may need to find an alternate route just in case I can’t make it. I filled up with fuel while I was in town, best price I’ve seen for diesel in a while, just $2.29 a gallon. Since my next stop isn’t all that far, and I don’t anticipate going out again, I should be good for awhile. Also stopped at the Jay C grocery store for a couple of things (I forgot Total cereal for Lola’s satin balls the other day), and then I was back in camp. It was cloudy all day, so I only got a little boost from the solar panel, but even so, I didn’t need to turn the generator on until dinner time, and only for about 30 minutes. Hopefully it will be sunnier tomorrow, though they’re calling for rain in the afternoon. I didn’t feel like riding today, but I did make out three routes to cover all the trails, two for Flash and one for Apollo, so I’m ready to go. I’ll take Flash in the morning for a perimeter ride. I’m told the trails are rocky, so boots for him will be the order of the day. Read for most of the afternoon, watched a few old things on the Dish PVR, otherwise an uneventful and restful day. Heading for shower and bed now. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020 – Travel Day to Shirley Creek

Pix to follow when I have a better cell phone signal!

Hi Sweetie,
I swear I just don’t understand people these days. I packed up the final few things this morning, had a bit of a problem getting the slide in because I was at the wrong tilt, but solved it by putting the boards under the tires on the left side, which was just enough to let me pull it in with a strap. I had a pretty straightforward drive, mostly on freeway, which was a bit longer mile-wise but a lot safer and easier to drive. I arrived at the tire place where I had the tire delivered, and they did a great job, got it done in about 30 minutes, mounting the new tire on the rim, disposing of both old tires and replacing the spare, but I fear it’s so much fatter it’s going to stuck up there forever, and only charged me $14! Amazing! They were right around the corner from Walmart so I took a quick trip just to pick up a few things I had forgotten the other day, and headed for the camp, just 30 minutes away. I arrived, scoped out the place (the best spot, the most level and the largest for a unit like mine was already taken by some non-horse people with a tiny pop-up camper), and another camper came in just behind me and took a corner spot, but it wasn’t one that would have been good for me. I ended up in the middle of the loop right next to the water, which, despite assurances from the main office that the water spigot had threads, they did not!), so I had that new issue to deal with, then I put out the electric fence (I took up a good amount of space, I admit, but there’s plenty of room for neighbors if I get any), then discovered that the hitching rail I surround with my fence looked like someone had spent the whole weekend with a couple of horses tied to the rail and never once bothered to pick up any manure! So I had to cart two wheelbarrows of manure away just so I could use the spot. What is it with Indiana people and the Hoosier Forest? I remembered the last time we went somewhere where the people left a big mess like that was ALSO in the Hoosier Forest, down at Germantown. It left a bad impression of Indiana in my mind for a LONG time, and we never came back again, not until I did this summer. What is wrong with people? The folks that took the corner are across from me, and once again, for some unknown reason, they cranked up a generator (fortunately it’s a more quiet Honda), but they left it running all day, even when they went out riding! What’s up with that? That’s happened a couple of times to me this season, I just don’t understand why anyone needs to waste gas generating electricity if they’re not doing anything that needs electricity! Weird. I’m going to ask tomorrow and see if there’s a reason that’s just escaping me. Anyway, it’s been a long day, I’m exhausted, I took my shower before dinner, watched some things on Dish because the cell phone signal is pretty weak here so I may not be getting Netflix (I was too tired to mess with it tonight), and now I’m heading to bed to read, and hopefully get a good night sleep, though I’m definitely putting in my earplugs since the generator is STILL on at 10:00 at night. Sigh… Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Wednesday, Sept. 9. 2020 – Packing Day

Hey Babe,
A nice quiet day (though it once again started out with the sound of heavy equipment being moved around), where I paced myself doing the packing up in preparation for our departure tomorrow. Everything’s put away, awnings in, just have to hook up the truck. I’m on too much of a slope to do it today, so that and getting the high line down are about all I need to do. I called ahead to the tire place where I had my replacement tire sent, I’m planning on stopping there on the way. It also happens to be very near the Walmart, and though I don’t need much, I can kill two birds with one stone while I’m there. I could even walk over if time allows. Looking forward to getting into a national forest again, these state parks are too civilized and too crowded for my liking, though it was finally quiet today. A tenter came in late last night, and later a woman from the office came down and moved him, apparently their “first come” policy has been superceded by a reservation only protocol, so he had to move, or maybe he just left, I don’t know. He didn’t have a horse so he shouldn’t have been here anyway, and I don’t understand why he camped right across from when when the entire campground was empty! Go figure. Anyway, I did all the laundry, washed the horse blankets and saddle bags by hand, it was so sunny everything dried just fine. This is the last day I’ll have electricity for quite awhile, so I did all that I could. Not much else to report, happy to be moving on! Good night, my love!

Tuesday, Sept. 8. 2020 – Ride and Kayak Day

Hey darlin’!
A decent night sleep, this time I thought I’d try it without earplugs, and I woke up a time or two until the workers came in and started using their heavy equipment to haul more gravel out to the trail repairs. Made a final plan for the rest of the few trails I haven’t done out here yet, and saddled up Apollo after breakfast. He’s such an old slug these days, a four-mile trip took nearly two full hours, the slowpoke! But it wasn’t a bad ride, and Lola got some exercise. We were back just after noon, so after a bit of a rest, I loaded the kayak, which I had inflated this morning while the horses were eating, into the back of the truck and headed down to the boat ramp. They have quite an extensive marina here, with scores of docks full of pontoon boats and sail boats, some of which were very nice, and rather surprising considering how small this lake is! If every sailboat in the marina was out on the water, there would be enough wind to go around! I headed upwind to the dam that makes the lake, thinking I would be able to drift back, but it turned out the wind was more of a crosswind, so I had to paddle both ways, over two miles each way! Four miles of paddling should do my arms wonder, get me in good shape for the rafting trip I’m hoping to take in the Grand Canyon in a few weeks. Didn’t get back to camp until after 6:00, over four hours on the water. I removed the kayak from the truck and loosened all the valves, because I’m not going out again tomorrow, so by morning I can fold it up and put it away, along with everything else, since I’m leaving Thurday and heading out to Shirley Creek Trailhead in the Hoosier National Forest south of Indianapolis. I really worked up an appetite, so after taking care of the horses, I grilled myself a nice Angus burger, made some rice and sweet corn, and even had a shrimp cocktail for starters. Of course I had to top that off with some of that wonderful brown sugar bourbon ice cream, so I’m finally sated for the day! Finished off the ST Voyager series, a nice way to end it, so now I’m going to do movies for a while before I find another series to delve into. A nice day, very summer-vacation-y, but now I’m bushed! Time for my shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!