Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 – Exploring The Hungryland WMA on Flash-11.09 Miles

After a leisurely start to the day, I saddled up Flash and headed out to the Hungryland WMA right behind the house. I haven't done too much exploring in there as the main trail seems to get overgrown sometimes, and I've never had the chance to look for a loop until now, so I decided today was the day! After reaching the canal crossover behind my brother's house, I found that the old barbed wire fence was gone, so we headed north on the canal, seeing a lot of other hoofprints so I know we weren't the only ones apparently trespassing. 🙂 We went as far as we could, then found another break in the fence leading to a trail that headed west, so we followed it, working our way north and west, trying to see how far we could get to a parking area on Pratt Whitney Road that always seems to have horse trailers in it. It hasn't rained in quite a while, so even the swamp and wetlands were pretty dry, allowing us safe passage almost anywhere. We followed the high ground along canals for most of the time, but eventually I was concerned we were getting too far north, and headed west, then southwest, in order to reach the road. Of course, there was a barbed wire fence all along the road, but I just kept following the tracks that swamp buggies had made, thinking that they must have had a way in, so it must provide a way out, right? Eventually I did find a break in the fence, and because I wasn't sure if I'd find another one between where I was and the entrance to the Jupiter-Indiantown Grade, I diverted to the swale along the road, which was plenty wide enough for safety. Just under a mile or so south along the road and we arrived at the parking area for the hiking entrance. We turned in, passed a few vehicles (don't know if they were hunters, environmentalists, or something else), but Flash, having gone mostly slowly for the duration at my request, decided it was time to pick things up, and he did his now famous cordo for the entire 3.25 miles from one end of the grade to the other, barely slowing down enough to get through the horse gate at the other end! I made him walk the mile home to cool him down, then, as usual, rinsed him off and set him free in the yard. Another great ride on this great horse! Only a bit over eleven miles, short by comparison to some other rides recently, but I don't want him to be tired of riding, or bored with the same trail, so it was a success as far as I was concerned. Did some housekeeping, then had a relaxing night.

Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 – Back to Reality

After an incredibly refreshing break, it’s back to the old grind! We left Melbourne Beach, taking A1A all the way down the coast just to see the sites (not to mention, our GPS actually said it was the fastest way!) stopping at the dialysis center to see if they might have an early chair (they didn’t), so Hubby and I headed straight home so I could pack up and mail out some books. Evidently, someone mentioned me on the HCTAA facebook page, and that set off a slew of orders, as it always does. They never let me talk about the book on their facebook page, always deleting me as soon as I turn up, but they allow all kinds of other people to constantly advertise their campgrounds. Never could get a straight answer why. I’ve even offered to pay them a commission for each order that comes in through their website, but they never answered me back. Anyway, I guess they can’t delete it when someone else asks if anyone knows how to get the book, can they? That took well over an hour to accomplish, then we headed back out to the dialysis center where I dropped Hubby off, then ran errands, including a stop at the post office, to kill the time. Got home late again, barely enough time to grab a little something to eat, watch a Downton Abbey or two (our current Netflix binge) and off to bed!

Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019 – Fabulous Day Hanging out at the Beach And Dinner

Another fabulous day with our friends! We ladies took a walk around the neighborhood while the men caught up on the news on the TV. We sat on the porch for a while, enjoying the beautiful day and the sound of the splashing waves, and finally went out to dinner at a place up the river called Bonefish Willie's with Toni's brother and his wife, where Hubby and I shared a delicious meal. A quick after-dinner drink at home and off to bed with us. What a wonderfully relaxing yet stimulating weekend. Such a nice change and break from our routine!

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 – Drive to Melbourne Beach For Weekend With Don and Toni

Spent a wonderful day with a couple of old friends we've known since the late 80's. They have a beautiful townhouse right on the beach, and we never have a pause in our conversations whenever we're together. We recently got our 1986 Buick Century Gran Sport back on the road, and though we've been driving it back and forth to dialysis, I was delighted to be able to drive it all the way up to Melbourne, it ran beautifully! Love that car! Spent the entire day just chatting and eating and eating and chatting, so much fun!

Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 – Another Long Ride on Flash, 19.74 Miles, Then Dialysis

In keeping with my plan to get Flash and myself conditioned for endurance riding, I headed south along the canal across Indiantown Road, passing a couple of playful otters on the way, turned east into the Jupiter Farms neighborhood and followed the canal all the way to Jupiter Farms Road and beyond. I had hoped to find a back entrance to Riverbend Park, but unfortunately there isn't one, so we had to stay on the bike path all the way up to the west entrance to the trail, which is just south of Indiantown Road anyway. Then we took the perimeter trail inside Riverbend Park, enjoying may long cordos and canters the entire time. This horse just loves to move!! We went under the tunnel to join the OTL trail, then straight west on the Cypress Creek Trail and finally, home, a fabulous almost twenty mile ride. Love this horse! Grabbed a quick lunch, changed clothes, and off to dialysis with us! Love this life!

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019 – Karl Heads Home, Dialysis Day

After a fabulous night sleep, got up in time to say good-bye to brother Karl, thanking him profusely for helping me knock so many chores off my list, inviting him to come up to Tennessee to help me clear out the house in April, which he seemed glad to do. Managed to get to my Euchre game at the senior center in Stuart, but had to leave early to drop Hubby off at dialysis. Ran errands before heading home for a short, quiet evening.

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019 – A Nice Long Ride to Rood Lake on Flash-17.51 Miles

Since I've decided to train Flash up for endurance riding, I've been extending my trips to condition both him and me, and I thought a good event to practice on would be the Ocean to Lake Ride that takes place in the area at the end of February. It's a 60+ mile ride over three days, from Dupuis WMA to JW Corbett WMA on Day One, then on to Riverbend Park on Day Two, then the final leg to Jonathon Dickinson State Park on Day Three. Hubby and I did the third day once back in 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed it, though Hubby could never do a 20 mile ride any more, but I think it will be a perfect goal for me and Flash. The event organizers have scheduled a "warm up" to a place called Rood Lake, which is about halfway between Riverbend and JDSP this Saturday, but since I already had plans for the weekend, I decided that I would try to find Rood Lake on my own today. Unfortunately, no map shows Rood Lake on it, so I had to guess a little bit. I did read they had recently put in a couple of picnic tables and a covered shelter, so I figured it wouldn't be that hard to find. All I knew was that it was supposedly about 100 yards off the OTL trail, but that wasn't much help. So off we went, with nothing more than a general idea in mind. As we headed out the Cypress Creek trail, I happened upon a worker for Cypress Creek, and questioned him as to the whereabouts of Rood Lake, and he had no idea, but he was nice enough to call back to his office for some help from there, and eventually I learned the one piece of critical information I was missing, that Rood Lake was east of the highway tunnel under the Turnpike and I-95. So off I went, heading through the old orchards and cattle fields to the tunnel, after which I turned right along the highway, but soon realized that wasn't right, so I went back and carried on for a bit until I found a much more likely road which I followed all the way around one lake until it turned back north between another lake, at which point I soon intersected with another trail that, when I looked east, I could see the shelter and picnic tables. I found it! We turned down there and I dismounted to take a break, but Flash wasn't interested, he pranced around, anxious to keep going. After a few minutes, I remounted and headed out, this time in a slightly more direct line, though honestly, I wasn't far off the mark to begin with, fortunately. Flash was still ready to run, so I let him pick the pace for the way home, so it went pretty quick. The round trip ended up being about 17.5 miles in just under four hours, which I thought was pretty good considering we haven't been training that long. Flash is just so much fun to ride, he just loves to run and run! Spent a relaxing evening, a lovely way to spend the day!

Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 – Dialysis Day

Dialysis this afternoon, followed by a nice dinner at Jeff’s favorite Mexican place in Tequesta with Karl and Hubby.

Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 – Put Up Folding Shelf, Rode Apollo w/Hubby and Jeff I had ordered some folding shelf brackets and picked up a white shelf board from a local home improvement store, so this morning I installed a small folding shelf by my recliner, a welcome addition, as up to now, I haven’t had any place convenient to set down a drink, or plate, or computer, and now I do! Really starting to feel like we’re getting our new home in order, looking forward to many happy years here. Being Sunday again, I saddled up both horses, and once again took a couple of short rides around the neighborhood. Today, Hubby and I went out to the pagoda in the Hungryland WMA, which is a perfect one hour ride, then swapped out with brother Jeff again, and went out to the neighborhood west of this one, which I had forgotten you could get to, so it was a pleasant day all around!

I had ordered some folding shelf brackets and picked up a white shelf board from a local home improvement store, so this morning I installed a small folding shelf by my recliner, a welcome addition, as up to now, I haven't had any place convenient to set down a drink, or plate, or computer, and now I do! Really starting to feel like we're getting our new home in order, looking forward to many happy years here. Being Sunday again, I saddled up both horses, and once again took a couple of short rides around the neighborhood. Today, Hubby and I went out to the pagoda in the Hungryland WMA, which is a perfect one hour ride, then swapped out with brother Jeff again, and went out to the neighborhood west of this one, which I had forgotten you could get to, so it was a pleasant day all around!

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 – Fixed Hubby’s Chair Bottom, 10 Mile Ride w/Flash

Spent the morning doing a repair on my Hubby's recliner (this time, without brother Karl's help), then took Flash for a 10+ mile ride. This time we headed out through Cypress Trails, then north from the parking area just to see where that road went, and discovered it was (as I suspected) part of the Ocean To Lake Trail. After such a late start this afternoon, I couldn't go any farther without risking not getting back before dark, so I headed back, with plans to explore further on another day!