Archives for July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010 – More Work, Change of Hotels

We arrived at 7:50 after breakfast, and our client arrived just after 8:30, but he had cleared his schedule to stay with us until 11:00, so we had an excellent session. Afterward, we went back to the hotel, packed, and headed out to Crystal City. Since we had an early morning flight, and apparently the Metro doesn’t start early on Saturday, so we decided to stay at the Sheraton, which was having an incredible room sale, just $87 for the night. First, though, we decided to take the Metro to National Airport to see if we could get our seating and boarding passes for the flight in the morning, now that we had changed our flight and we were less than 24 hours before we were leaving. Of course, after standing in line for 45 minutes, I was rather rudely told I couldn’t get boarding passes yet, even though seats had apparently been assigned. I was told those seats couldn’t be release in DC until 30 minutes before the flight, so I assumed that meant they were emergency row seats. Odd, because we had already been assigned emergency row seats for the second leg of the flight. The guy said to go to the Delta shuttle desk in the morning, and they would issue a temporary boarding pass to get us through security and a real boarding pass at the gate. It all sounded very inconvenient and unnecessary, so we ended up leaving dissatisfied, determined to never fly Delta again. Called the hotel, who sent out a shuttle to pick us up, we settled in, walked down to a little Chinese dive for dinner, than again, went to bed early in anticipation of an early morning.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 – Work

Slept late, had our usual complimentary breakfast at the hotel, then worked with our client for a while. Actually, we worked more on his script as he was delayed, when he finally arrived he could only stay half an hour. We arranged to meet again the following morning, we hoped between 8:00 and 8:30. Had an early dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant (we just can’t resist this place!), then went to be early, still tired from the trip and cognizant of having to get up early.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – Fly to DC

Woke up to the alarm before 7:00, made coffee, packed our bags, got the dogs settled in the lounge, checked on the horses, and were out the driveway by 8:30. Stopped at the grocery store to pickup sandwiches and snacks for the day, then went for breakfast at a Holiday Inn near the airport, then arrived at the airport around 10:00. No problem with security, at the gate by 10:15. While the flights were relatively uneventful, it just didn’t seem like this airline, Delta, had the same professional level as our American, which we usually fly. The people seemed bored and tired of the tedium of their jobs, every time I asked a question I felt like I was imposing on them, the overhead compartments were very small and we had to put our carryon about 10 rows away from where we were sitting. They didn’t have diet lemon-lime, our preferred drink, and they didn’t bother to announce gate connections coming into Minneapolis. Then when I called to to change out return flight, I was told they couldn’t do it because we were “in transit”, therefore outside their system, and we’d have to wait until we got the DC. Crazy, and not very efficient. Arriving almost half an hour early, though, but by the time we changed our flights, it was nearly 9:30 anyway. Stepped outside and got blasted by 90 degrees temps and high humidity, despite the fact it was already dark. Caught the Metro to our favorite downtown hotel and settled in, having gained three hours, and will now need to adjust to, though our first meeting isn’t until 1:00, so we’ll have plenty of time to get ourselves straightened out. Coming back on Saturday will be the greater challenge.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 – Travel Day to Spokane Equestrian Center

Had a fairly uneventful trip to Spokane, only challenge was that the Flying J in Post Falls, Idaho, where we had planned to dump, had a parking lot that was practically impossible to negotiate with an RV, then once I finally got there, there was a sign that said they charged $10 to dump! Well, sorry, but I’m a bit too :thrifty” for that, and discovered an RV dump at a future rest stop on I-90, so we’re just going to hold off until then. Our trusty Verizon GPS Gracie led us straight to the Spokane Equestrian Center where we’ve arranged to board the horses and dogs and RV, and is just 15 minutes from the airport. Having gained an hour by moving into Pacific time, we settled in for the afternoon, taking a few minutes to wash the pickup (since that’s the vehicle we’ll be leaving at the airport and it really, really was dusty). Then we met a friend/client for dinner at a great Greek restaurant downtown called Niko’s, though we took a quick pitstop at a mall just before that to get a new electrical tester for Hubby and a new slip for a white summer dress that I wanted to wear in DC for me. It was a great dinner, great fun to reconnect, and still got home before 9:00. Quick nightcap, then off to bed in anticipation of an early morning and busy day tomorrow!

Monday, July 26, 2010 – Travel Day to Sloway Campground

Managed to get out without any problems despite our earlier concerns, got out by 10:00. Stopped in Missoula for a new electrical outlet and propane (at $.99/gallon!) for the RV and gas, then traveled to our overnight stop, arriving about 4:00. We had decided the drive to Spokane was too long to go in one day, so we decided to stop at a campground in the Lolo National Forest, at a campground that is, quite literally, under I-90. Convenience was great, there was a corral (actually a round pen), and it was right next to a river (Clark Fork, I believe) but of course, it was quite noisy, with a train track on the other side of the river, and the freeway above. An earplug night, for sure! At least it’s convenient!

Sunday, July 25, 2010 – Chores Day

Had a few repairs to do, spent the day getting those done, as well as getting ready to leave tomorrow. Had a Ranger stop by this morning and inspect our hay (to make sure it was weed-free certified), and say hello to the horses. Later, someone stopped by to tell us there was a small forest fire not too far away, and to keep an eye in that direction, just to make sure if the wind picked up and brought it closer. We could see the smoke and glow off to the west, so we went ahead and hooked up the horse trailer to the pickup just in case. Fortunately, nothing came of it, as no wind ever picked up. Happy days!

Saturday, July 24, 2010 – A Great Ride in Montana

Saddled up and out by 10:15, following a pretty wide dirt road with some gravel. The first half mile was a mix of stone and dirt, so eventually we decided to put their boots on to be safe. Once we made the first river crossing, the trail got a bit narrower and less rocky, and really felt like a walk in the park. We decided to take the Blackfoot Meadows Trail, as the other Kading trail looked more rocky and seemed to climb a lot, and frankly, we’ve had enough rocky climbs for a while. This is an incredible forest, with only one kind of tree, lodgepole pine, all 3 or 4 stories high and straight as an arrow upward. They have obviously had some infestation, as quite a few trees were dead, particularly on the east side of the river, and the campground was the worst, where practically everything is dead. There’s no work being done in the campground, however, so my only supposition as to why it was closed is because of fear of liability, not any actual trees being down yet. Seems like they could just put up a “Camp at your own risk” sign and leave it at that. Anyway, the trail was fantastic, only a few ups and downs, mostly to cross the river a few times, which were shallow, easy fords. There were a few places where the trail was narrow and hanging on the edge of the mountains, but nothing too dangerous for a seasoned horse. We passed one couple of runners and two fishermen, then the trail opened up to Blackfoot Meadows, a large gorgeous clearing with the creek running through it. It was so easy to imagine the meadow full of teepees and Indian families, as surely was the case a century and a half ago. We found a lovely campsite and stopped for lunch, with plenty of grass for the horses and a log for us to sit on. We spent more time at the stop than usual, simply because it was such a beautiful scene. Eventually, we set back on the same trail (we had no trail map, the first National Forest we’ve been to that didn’t have any free trail maps anywhere, even at the ranger station), as we didn’t know if there were any loops or other connecting trails. Passed a couple of other riders, fortunately at the creek where it was wide enough, and had a lovely ride the rest of the way home, arriving about 3:30. A perfect day, exactly the kind of day we are always striving to have!

Friday, July 23, 2010 – Crash Day

Yesterday really took it out of us, so we slept late. After breakfast, I drove 7 miles to find a cell phone signal good enough to get online, then spent about four hours finding a stable in Spokane to look after our horses while we fly to DC next week, and a horse camp between here and there that was convenient to the freeway, among other chores. I got back around 3:00, and spend the rest of the day relaxing, to bed early to prepare for our ride tomorrow!

Thursday, July 22, 2010 – LONG Travel Day to Kading Campground, MT

We had so much to do today, and so far to go, we set the alarm for 6:15, up by 6:30, out by 7:15 with coffee to go. First stop was the Crosswinds RV store in Pocatello to pick up a new electrical cord we had ordered last week, then a stop for breakfast to go at Burger King on the way back to the freeway, then a quick gas stop just before crossing the border into Montana (high prices, but the only fuel for miles beyond. They had a wifi signal so I quick checked my email before moving on. Next stop was to pick up hay from a woman in Dillon, MT. Her bales were HUGE, so I couldn’t just pay her the $4 a bale she was asking, so I gave her more. The bales weren’t perfectly green (which, apparently, folks around here expect), but it was fine and fresh and certified weed free, which is good enough for us. That took us almost an hour to load. Then we headed to Wal-mart in Butte, then a liquor store at a gas station/casino (truly!), then onto a town called Deer Lodge where we picked up water, then finally, on to the Helena National Forest. Our original plan was to stay at the Kading Campground, which has a horse corral, but discovered they were “closed” for reasons I still can’t comprehend, (though they gave the impression there were trees down, which turned out not to be true), but they said there were many turnouts with the Little Blackfoot River next to them. As we traveled across 15 miles of gravel road, we saw quite a few turnouts, but most were occupied and many would never be able to accommodate a rig our size. We decided to go all the way to campground before turning back to look for something. We arrived at the campground (noticing that the campground looked fine, except the blockade that prevented us from entering), and saw that while there were corrals across the road from the campground, there was no running water, and no creek nearby. Hubby decided to follow the road to see where it went, and found a turnaround a little ways up, and signaled me to follow and take a look. We found the trail began at that point, but it seemed large enough to (maybe) get the RV down it to a little clearing next to the creek. We decided to give it a try. There was one sharp turn where I ended up dragging the back of the RV, which one of the stabilizers, which will need repairing later. Ultimately, we made ourselves a nice little camp, though the only way we could get level was to encroach a little on the trail, but there’s room enough to get a pickup truck by, as we discovered later, so no harm done. It was well after 7:30 by the time we got everything settled in, and we were exhausted from all the activity. Through together some dinner, then crashed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 – Day of Bookkeeping and Rest

While we had hoped for another short ride today, work got in the way, and I spent the day getting caught up on bookkeeping, while Hubby read and napped. Finally called it quits at dinner and rested the remainder of the evening.