Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 – Long Ride on Flash

I had an excellent night sleep last night, following a rainstorm and a serious drop in temperature, so I'm feeling better all around, so today's the day I want to explore Malabar Farms. I have a poor map of both Pleasant Hill Lake and Malabar Farms, and no map of the trails in between, but I had already reconnoitered which trail would head me in the right direction, so I saddled up Flash and away we went! I passed several folks along the way, including a friendly couple I met yesterday, Jim and Ruth, who were one of the many folks who piled in yesterday for the weekend. Flash was full of energy since he had only gone on one short ride this week, so I let him go whatever speed he wanted, which, as always, was about as fast as the trails allowed. I had no trouble following the trail markers, crossing the road in the right place, then reaching the first intersection where I had to make a choice of which way to go. When I realized I had traveled about four miles to get the Malabar, and that the Malabar perimeter trail was about 7 miles, meaning if I took that we'd have a 15+ mile day, I decided that was plenty do-able, as we had left camp a little after 11:00 a.m. So I turned left/west which did take me out the perimeter trail on the west side. I had to stop one and clear the trail, a fairly small limb had fallen over it, but had dragged a huge amount of vines with it, so it was impassable, but didn't take much to clear it. It wasn't long before we came to the campground area. I had been told that our unit wouldn't fit in there, and it was true that some of the sites were fairly short, but I saw at least two that would have suited us just fine. Food for thought the next time we come through this area! I went to the kiosk there hoping they had some better trail maps, but no such luck, so we got back on the trail and continued around. Not sure if I missed something after that, because I ended up going right out to the big house and the main farm area, where they have a big parking lot and lots of activities going on. Some kids started yelling "horses, horses" like they so often do when they see a horse and rider, even though there were horses in a field on the other side of the road! Flash was too hyped up to stop and socialize, so we kept going, largo-ing across the edge of the yard and out to another section of the farm. I missed one turn, but then I accidentally found the Farm's restaurant, so now I can figure out the quickest way there. Hubby and I want to eat there one day, thinking I might ride out and have him meet me with the truck. Or we'll just drive, whatever. Anyway, I took a nice canter across their newly shorn hay field, then picked up the turn I missed, which pretty much brought me back to the trail back to Pleasant Hill. It did end up being about 15.4 miles, but we did it in about 3:45, pretty good time. GPS app said we were averaging about 4.6 miles an hour. Man, this horse likes to run! But it is a workout for me, too! Got back and relaxed with what remained of the day, trying to avoid the people that moved in next door to us, as they have a lab that wanted to play with Lola so bad, and even though I asked them for a play date, they wouldn't agree, and the poor dog was left to leap and jump at the end of his cable. I thought he'd just about break his neck! And they also had a little yippy dog that barked at every darn thing that moved. Rather irritating, but what can you do? Lola has had to stay on a leash with all the people here, looking forward to tomorrow when we figure everyone will go home and we'll be on our own again. Lake has been busy today, too, lots of boats running around, so we've had something to look at as well. Did some reading and napping later in the day before settling in to our nightly routine.

Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby

Slept a bit better last night, and we both wanted to take a short ride today, so I got the horses saddled up and followed what I knew to be fairly easy trails, just over three miles and an hour long, the perfect length for him. He was very happy that he was able to get up on Apollo on his own, though I did have to pull his leg over the top of his saddle when it was time to get off. Used to be I had to help him get on, too, so progress is made! His legs are definitely getting stronger. Relaxed a bit before dialysis, I did a few chores, just another regular day on the horsecamping circuit!

Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 – Recoup Day

For some strange reason, despite the fact that we were both incredibly tired, neither one of us got a good night sleep last night. I literally got less than 4 hours sleep, so I got up feeling more tired than I went to bed. I had planned on taking a long ride today, but I just wasn’t up to it, so we decided to just relax today, sitting outside in our screen room (best investment I’ve made this year!!), reading and napping pretty much all day. Nice lazy day!

Wed., Sept. 11, 2019 – Errands, Brake Job and Late Dialysis

Had to run a bunch of errands today, to Tractor Supply for horse feed while my 10% off couplon was still good, Home Depot to return yet another one of the inadequate inflators I bought in recent weeks, and, of course, Walmart for everything else. The front brakes on my truck have been chirping for a while, so I pulled into Monro to see if they could do it, but they couldn’t get to it for awhile, so I made an appointment for Friday, then just happen to pass another Monro, pulled into that, and they happen to be having a lull and took us in right away. Conveniently located across the parking lot from a nice Mexican restaurant, Hubby and I walked down and treated ourselves to a nice meal. Unfortunately the brakes took longer than anyone anticipated, and we didn’t get out of there until well after 3:00, so by the time we did Walmart and got back to camp, we had a very late start on Hubby’s dialysis, not finishing up until nearly 9:00, way later than we like. We had to wind down a bit after that, but not heading off to bed until much later than usual. Tiring day, but productive!

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 – Exploratory Ride on Apollo

The attraction of this park isn't all its trails (there aren't very many), that attraction is the lake and all it's activities, and it's proximity to both Malabar Farms trails and the Mohican State Forest trails, though evidently you can't get to the latter by trail, you have to trailer down to it, so they say. There are only a few miles of trails in the park, and I set off today with the intention of riding just about every one of them. Once again, it was a case of what is on the map is not what is out there. The trails are all color-coded, but the colors are not shown on the map. There was one trail that was completely missing, apparently they were eliminated when the park started building cabins in the forest and just clear cut a whole area, so that made it even less trails than I thought. The yellow trail around the primitive area proved to be under-maintained, with quite a few areas that had trees down, as well as some steeper grades, not too much for me, but it will be too much for Hubby. The rest of the park was very easy, and altogether I only went about 4.5 miles, so carving out an hour of riding on easy terrain for him will be no problem. Spent a nice relaxing afternoon in the screen room and by the picnic table playing with Lola, who's been getting a lot of swimming in today!

Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 – Travel Day to Pleasant Hill Lake Park

Up at 7:00, out of the campground by 9:30, on our way for a thankfully uneventful drive to Pleasant Hill Lake Park on the other side of the state. This park is a lot more crowded, has a lot more activity, is a lot more manicured than most places we've been this year, but the horse camp is right on the lake. After stopping in the office, and per Hubby's request asked if we didn't like the spot we had reserved were there others we might have for the two weeks we booked, and the nice guy in the office made out a whole list for me. We drove out to the horse camp and found our spot, and it was pretty nice, but the highlines for that site were a long way up a hill, and it was mostly in shade, which would be problematic for storing up solar power since there's no electric in the horse camp here. We reconnoitered, and discovered site 518 was longer, also right on the lake, and the water spigot was directly across from us, which will make life so much easier. The highlines are still about 30 yards away, but there are no sites between us and them, so the horses will be just fine. We called the office and officially changed our site, then proceeded to get settled in. Uncharacteristically, we traveled on a dialysis day, so first thing I did was get Hubby hooked up to his machine, then gave him his walkie-talkie and got busy setting up. Though they have cables on their highline posts, I put up my highline, one side on the post, the other on a nearby tree, just so they can run the length of their highline in their usual way, with a water bucket in the middle. I filled up the trailer and the barrel in the truck with water, got the screen room up and the chairs out, and before long, we were home sweet home again! The lake was active with boats (any size motor is allowed here), some fishing, some water skiing and tubing, and we have a front row seat to it all! Feels a lot like being at the cottage where I spent the summers in my formative years in upstate NY, very nostalgic! I think we're really going to like this place!

Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 – Last Ride at Jefferson Lake

Decided to finish off the few trails I had missed while we were here, so got out fairly early, since I have a lot of work to do getting ready to travel tomorrow. I saddled up Flash and away we went, taking the park road straight out to the yellow Oak Grove Trail, which I had taken before but my GPS didn't work right so I didn't get to map it. I didn't do the worst part of it (couldn't actually find the bad part coming in the other direction!), so that made it easier. Went left on Lakeside until we got around to the entrance to the White loop, which turned out to be a much more challenging trail than I had anticipated. Several downed trees made for some difficult detours, but not for long and not too bad. I had the impression that the White trail would go up to the top of the hill on the other side of the lake, but the loop went one way about halfway up the hill, then when up about another 100 feet and came back the same way. Passed what I guess is an old homestead before coming back down to the Lakeside trail. Picked up the purple trail from there, and took that pretty much all the way back to camp. A nice ride, and a great way to finish our stay here. I've actually ridden more here than at any other place, and enjoyed every minute of it! Spent the rest of the day putting stuff away, including the screen room, put the horses back on their highline and took down their portable corral (I'd been sort of letting them graze all around the camp for the last few days when no one else is around, so the grass could recover in the paddock I had made), and finally settled down for the evening, looking forward to a new back yard tomorrow!

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby at Jefferson Lake

Hubby felt good today, so I saddled up both horses and we headed out down the Hillside trail to Lakeside. I figured that one was probably the only one that wasn't too much for him to handle, even though it was a bit longer than he had previously managed. I hoped that the flatter grade wouldn't overtax him, and he did very well! He was still in good shape by the time we got back to camp, and his dialysis went great, so once again, it was an overall fabulous day!

Friday, September 6, 2019 – Run Into Town for Returns

Ran into town to return the unusable inflator as well as another item to Walmart. The weather wasn’t good enough to ride, and Hubby wasn’t up to it, and for some reason, neither was I, so we decided to have a more leisurely day.

Thursday, September 5, 2019 – Quick Trip to Post Office

Took a very quick trip down to the post office in Richmond this morning to pick up a package I had been waiting for, and when I got back, I decided to try out the new tire inflator. Once again, I managed to bring one tire up about ten pounds, then when I put it on the other tire (waiting more than a half hour for it to cool down as instructed,) it ran for about 10 seconds and died. Not enough to do the job. Oddly, the box said it would go up to 150 pounds, but then in the fine print, on the very last page of the “instruction” book, it said it had a 100 psi limit. Really?! Isn’t that a great big opening for false advertising?? Anyway, this sucker’s going back, again. I’m really getting tired of all these inflators saying they can do one thing and then they can’t. Seems like such a simple thing. Anyway, I got online and started researching bigger inflators, but ones that are still fairly portable and lightweight, and I have a few more ideas about that. Anyway, that killed the morning, and then we spent the afternoon dialyzing, not much else to be said!