Tuesday, April 23, 2019 – Busy Day Around The House

Didn’t get much sleep thinking about all the things we needed to start doing today. Woke up in the middle of the night and starting adding to my “to do” list on my phone, and every time I was about to go back to sleep another thing would pop into my head and I had to write that down. This went on for what seemed like hours. Think I finally went to sleep around dawn for an hour, but still woke up pretty tired. Immediately started on the list, though, so it turned out to be a productive day. Took Hubby down to renew his driver’s license, picked up a couple of bales of hay, spoke to my mechanic about doing the bearings on the trailer (don’t think they’ve every been done, and I don’t want to end up on the side of the road-been there, done that!), filled up the hot tub, did some laundry, got all my drains set up, dialyzed Hubby, then finally settled down, once again, with my glass of wine and TV remote for the evening.

Monday, April 22, 2019 – Travel Day Back to the Tennessee House

Got up bright and early on a much warmer and sunny morning, and got to work getting ready to travel back to the house. I hesitate calling it “home” anymore, as we’ve gotten so accustomed to the idea that we’re really on the road full-time, and clearing out and selling the house is just a job to be done before we can get back to it. I finish packing up everything, got the truck hooked up, had a little problem getting the slide in (we discovered a few days ago there was a kitchen timer which I’ve been missing for months jammed in the mechanism when we were opening it, and I managed to clear that out, but the slides been a little ornery since then), but when I give it a little lift from the outside it seems to come in okay. We’ll probably have to get it adjusted at some point, but I suspect it might just be how much weight we have on the slide. After all, we’re carrying two dialysis machines, one of which will be gone before we leave again, so that should help. Anyway, we managed to get on the road before 9:00, stopped at a fast food restaurant called Jacks for an early lunch, Walmart in S. Pittsburg, TN to pick up a few things, and still managed to make it to the house just after 2:00. Everything looks the same, no problems, no trees blocking the driveway, no trouble getting set up, though we did sink in the dirt where we usually park, a sign they’ve been having a lot of rain up here. I hustled around getting the horses’ electric fence up, got them fed, worked nonstop for a couple of hours before I collapsed in my recliner with a glass of wine in one hand and a TV remote in the other. Whew!

Sunday, April 21, 2019 – Another Beautiful Easter Ride at Wind Creek State Park

Though the morning started out cool, the bright sun quickly warmed things up a lot, and I was looking forward to my last ride on Flash here at this beautiful park. I had planned a long ride on a lot of the sections of blue trail that I had missed the other day, and wouldn't you know, I got turned around again somehow. Nevertheless, I managed to get in most of my plan, even though it wasn't exactly in the same direction or the same order that I had planned it! What's the difference, it was a beautiful ride! I was glad to see this section of blue trail was quite a bit wider, or at least the trees weren't so close on the trail that it was a knee-knocker. Still mostly single-track, and one part took me to an overlook that was just spectacular. You could see the lake and the regular campground on it's shore, maybe a half mile or more away, beautiful. After standing around in the cold and rain (though I had put their rain sheets on Friday night), Flash was quite ready for the ride, no hesitation and willing all the way. He's taken to hopping over downed logs, and even did a full-on jump over one. I've never actually done any jumping, but when I realized what he intended, I just grabbed a handful of main, leaned forward like I always see the Olympians do, and did my best to stay balance, and it ended perfectly! So proud of him, and myself for surviving it! Just glad he didn't go sideways at the last minute or anything, that would have been trouble... Anyway, it was a great ride, 9.39 miles according to MapMyRide, at just about 3 hours. This is SO how I want to spend as much of my time as I can! Spectacular! After we got back and I put up Flash (and, of course, the campground was mostly empty by now), I got busy dialyzing Hubby and packing up what I could for our departure tomorrow. What a great week! We will come back here!

Saturday, April 20, 2019 – Cool But Clearing

It rained again overnight a little, but the real test was the cold wind and temps this morning. Slept like a log, though, best night sleep in a LONG, LONG time. I had put my earplugs in because someone yesterday mentioned something about mules in the campground (best alarm clock ever if you want to get up before the crack of dawn), and there were a lot of kids I thought might get noisy early. It paid off, as I slept more than ten hours! That’s unheard of for me, but I was glad of it! I finally got up after 9:00 and fed the horses their grain, then I moved their high-line to a different tree as they were now standing is six inches of mud from all the raid. I got them re-settled with hay, watched the neighbor’s kids play with Lola for a while (and some adults, too.) I joked with one guy, who had picked up Lola’s proffered chucker and thrown a ball for her, “That’s my Lola, she trains humans very well,” and he smiled and couldn’t help but agree. Horses were in various stages of being saddled throughout the camp, with people bundled up pretty well, understandably. I told Hubby, “If I was riding today, I’d be in long underwear and a parka,” but, of course, I’m not riding today, too cold and the trails will be too crowded for me. Besides, the forecast for tomorrow is sunny and in the low 70’s, which is much more to my liking! I admit, I’m a fair weather rider, which is why we always endeavor to follow 70 degrees. So far, so good! We had a nice quiet day, with dialysis, of course, and lots of reading and writing as I attempt to update my diary!

Friday, April 19, 2019 – Rainy Night and Day

Well, the rain came in overnight in the form of thunderstorms, lots of lightning, lots of rain, lots of Lola whining and scratching trying to get into the bedroom. I had to get up half a dozen times to try to quiet her down, wishing I had put her in the truck overnight. That may sound mean but honestly, she loves her bed in the truck so much, and for some reason feels so much safer out there, it would have been a kindness. In any event, we didn’t get as much sleep through the storm as I would have liked, but it is what it is, right? It stayed raining off and on all day, but by mid-afternoon, other horse campers started arriving and setting up. Looks like we’ll have lots of company for this Easter weekend! Just sorry they didn’t have better weather coming in! The temperature has dropped significantly, and it’s supposed to get down into the 40’s tonight, and a lot of these folks are setting up tents. Lots of kids and dogs and horses, so it’s going to be busy. I had no intention of riding today, nor probably tomorrow as it’s going to stay cool, but it is supposed to clear up. Sunday will be another gorgeous day, so I guess I’ll wait until then. What can I say, I’m a fair weather rider! Otherwise, we had a quiet day, reading, dialyzing, catching up on my diary, and watching TV in the evening.

Thursday, April 18, 2019 – Exploring The Other Side of Wind Creek

For the last two days I've been riding on the north side of the park, as there are plenty of trails here, but today, I decided to explore the south side of the park. I planned a route straight west until the crossover to the black trail, where there was a large loop around the perimeter of that section of the park. Flash saddled up fine, but it took a few minutes to get him to leave camp. I guess three days in a row was unexpected for him, but since there's a storm front coming in tomorrow, I figured this was our last chance for a few days to ride, and he'll get plenty of rest then, so I pushed him up the trail until he stopped fussing. Once we headed out on a new trail he settled down a bit. The shortest route to the beginning of the black trail (other than the orange trail, which I was planning on coming back on) was a dirt road with some gravel on it, and I wish I had put his boots on, because it was getting a lot harder to avoid in some spots. Once we crossed the road to the black trail, though, the footing was lovely, no problem and very little stone. This is my favorite trail so far. It actually doesn't look as if it gets used as much, but it was a bit wider overall, but a bit more overgrown, if that makes sense. No knee-knocking trees, thank goodness! Several creek crossings (one which Flash didn't want to go over, so I did what I always do, make him go over it backwards, which, for some reason, he's less reluctant to do. Go figure,) lots of hills to climb, some beautiful lake views, simply perfect! These last three rides have been so exhilarating, so relaxing, so spot on for soothing my soul after a year and a half of anxiety, stress, tension and dealing with just too much stuff in too little time, it's really hard to describe the wave of pure joy that's washing over me right now. I think it comes from living your life the way you want, on your own terms, and being simply joyful at the heart of it. In Costa Rica some years back, we learned the expression Pura Vida, pure life, which I think just about captures it. I'd forgotten how much I missed this feeling, having been distracted by all the uncontrollable events that had found their way to us, but now we're back, for a while at least, and it just plain feels GREAT! After we finished the black trail, we crossed back to the orange trail for a nice finish to the ride, completing nearly 8.25 miles in just under two hours. Gave Flash some extra food, then got Hubby started on dialysis, and settled in to the rest of the day in no time, feeling happy, contented, satisfied, joyful and grateful for the Pura Vida!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 – Another Knee-knocking Ride on Flash

Today I planned a longer ride on the blue trail, and was out in plenty of time to do that, but that plan changed a bit as we got a few miles out. Much of the blue trail in this section is narrow, single-track, more like a hiking trail than a riding trail, and as such, many trees were very close to the trail. I found myself constantly having to push on the trees at the last moment in order to prevent my knees from crashing into the tree, which would have been very unpleasant! After a few miles I kind of got tired of that, so I reconfigured the route to actually go along an old road for awhile. Eventually I got back on the blue trail, but it was more of the same so I backtracked (something I hate to do!), and eventually got back on the orange trail and headed for home, with a little side trip onto part of the yellow trail which branches off toward the lake. It ended up nearly 7 miles and about 2 hours, and it was mostly enjoyable, with lots of woods and hilly terrain to keep it interesting, and again, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Another morning of riding, followed by another afternoon of dialysis, more updating my online diary, followed by another quiet evening of relaxation. Who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 – First Forest Ride on Flash in Ages!

Perfect weather for a ride today! In the 70's and sunny, I planned a fairly short ride today, just to get Flash used to the terrain. After all, we've only been riding on flat Florida canal trails for the entire winter season, so the hills around here should prove challenging! We saddled up and headed out, leaving a whinnying Apollo behind, as we started out from camp on the orange trail, which made a nice 5+ mile loop around the woods. We definitely had some grades to climb, but the trails were nice, a lot of them two-track wide, but many single track as well. There were a few more rocky areas than I had expected, but not too bad, and Flash seemed fine with them, though he did try to stay off the worst of it. What a beautiful park, and a beautiful day to enjoy it! Now THIS is what I'm talking about! Picture perfect! We both thoroughly enjoyed our ride today, and were back in camp in about an hour and twenty minutes, just right for a first day out. Once I got Flash settled back on the high-line and had lunch with Hubby, we got him set up for dialysis, which went brilliantly again. I'm so glad we had his fistula cleared out, it's making his buttonholes work perfectly every time, making the whole process simple. I just hope we can get hooked up with an i-pad at our next "home" clinic, it will make it easier, and I won't have to be hopping up and down every half hour to get the numbers off his machine. Fingers crossed we'll figure a way around that! The trouble is, currently each i-pad is assigned to a clinic, not a machine or a patient, so every time we change clinics, theoretically, we need to change i-pads. That's problematic because we'd have to ship back an i-pad every time we get a new one at the next clinic. Hopefully, though, we can devise a system where we can just re-program the i-pad as we switch clinics, but that will take some logistics which I'm not sure they're ready for. But we'll see! Settled in for a nice evening, the perfect end to a perfect day! I even had time to start updating my long overdue online diary! Whoo-hoo!

Monday, April 15, 2019 – Travel Day to Wind Creek State Park

We were up bright and early this morning, as we have a pretty good trip to Alabama today. Didn't take long to get everything packed up, and Apollo got into the trailer with no problem, but Flash wasn't quite as ready. I've had to have Hubby tap him on the butt with a whip the last couple of times, but this time Robin came by and gave me a hand, and he finally loaded after a few minutes. We said our thank yous and good-byes and headed out the gate, once again taking mostly back roads in a direct line to Wind Creek State Park near Alexander City, AL. Another great, uneventful drive (just like I like them!), and arrived in good time. We paid for a week at registration, stopped at the dump on our way, and made our way out to the horse camp, a mostly wide open field with 20 water and electric hook-ups scattered about. We had been assigned site number 20, which was at the far end of the field tucked in the woods, nice and out of the way, perfect for us! I got the horses out and high-lined in no time, got the truck disconnected in a breeze and were settled in pretty as you please! It's nice and quiet here, I suspect we're going to have a really relaxing time here, something we'll need before we start all the hectic stuff at home next week.

Sunday, April 14, 2019 – Stormy Day

Although we had originally planned to leave here today, there was a terrible storm screaming across the country, and we arranged to stay another day to avoid it. Sure enough, it came tearing through in the afternoon, causing a lot of damage in nearby areas. We came through it unscathed, fortunately, and didn’t even lose electricity, thanks goodness. We dialysed uneventfully in the afternoon, taking the opportunity to relax before our trip tomorrow.