Archives for February 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 – Work Day

Spent the day facilitating Day One of our workshop. Had a Chinese restuarant deliver food so we could rest as much as possible, also had a hot bath to ease my back.

Monday, February 27, 2012 – Rest Day

Slept late, ordered a room service breakfast so we wouldn’t have to go anywhere (it was excellent, first time I ever had room service eggs over easy that were cooked to perfection and even still hot!) Spent the day between the bed and a hot bath, until we finally had to go down and get the meeting room ready for tomorrow. Then we got a call from our friends Don and Toni, who had driven down from Melbourne Beach just to spend the first day at our workshop, and we met them for drinks and a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant, before retiring by 9:00 for a good night’s sleep.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 – OTL Trail Ride and Travel Day

   Well, today’s the day! Since last year we’ve wanted to do the Ocean to Lake Trail Ride (though in reality, it goes from near the lake to near the ocean, but who’s counting?), and though our original plan was to do both Friday and Sunday, it’s probably working out for the best that we only do Sunday, as we have an extremely busy schedule this week and we’re already tired from all the work on vehicle repairs that we’ve had to do, not to mention the pain we were both in from our respective back problems. A quick stop at the McDonalds to pick up breakfast, and off we go to Jupiter Farms Park for the start of the ride. We saddled up in our usual way, then at 8:30, following some last minute instructions from one of the organizers, we headed out the road. Before stayed toward the back, as our horses aren’t used to all those horses and people around, but they’re so calm they fell into step almost immediately. Everything would have been fine except some guy on horseback came rushing up behind us, with a poncho flapping behind him, and my horse, usually oblivious to such things, was so startled he started rodeo-ing on me, finishing with his head down and me landing on his neck before sliding onto the tarmac on my hip. I’m sure if I had been 100% I would have been fine, but with my back twisted from yesterday, I was far from 100%, so I couldn’t keep my balance and hit the street rather hard. Seems I only fall off when I’m already under the weather, last time it was when I had been in bed with the flu for a week! Anyway, after a minute to catch my breath, I climbed back up into the saddle (to the applause of a couple of bystanders), and off we went. The weather was cloudy and a little windy, which, frankly, was better than hot and humid, which it had been earlier in the week, the temps perfect in the upper 60’s for the start of the ride. We trailed along some roads in the neighborhood until we reached Riverside Park, taking trails which, for the most part, we had done before. At the north end of the park, we were directed through an underpass they call a Critter Crossing, to get to the north of Indiantown Road, then followed that a bit until we reached a spot where we all had to bunch up, then the sheriff’s office stopped traffic on the six-lane highway while we crossed the bridge across the river. It only took about 5-10 minutes for everyone to cross, and then we were on our way! The next section we hadn’t been on before, through Cypress Creek Park, until we went through some old groves and under a couple more narrow and dark critter crossing under the Florida Turnpike and I-95. Shortly afterward, there was a water stop, then a water crossing across the Hobe Ditch (which didn’t phase our guys a bit, fortunately), until we were on the well-marked trails of Jonathon Dickinson State Park. It wasn’t too long before we started recognizing that area, as we had ridden there a number of times last year. We arrived at the final picnic area right at 2:00, in time for lunch but too late for the first shuttle back to the parking area where we left the trailer. We unsaddled, watered and fed the horses, then enjoyed a rather large burrito and chips for lunch (included in the ride price), before rinsing the horses off. The whole time I was struggling because of my wrenched back, which I knew some people would interpret as being out of shape for the ride, which, as you know, is about as far from the truth as can be! That part really sucked. Anyway, we killed a couple of hours until the final shuttle left at 4:00, when I got carried back to the park, picked up the vehicles and finally arrived back at JD about 5:00. Got home after 6:00, settled the horses in, finished packing, dropped off the horse trailer, fed everyone, then headed south to Miami. Arrived at our hotel (the Marriott on Biscayne Bay) around 9:00, exhausted, in pain and ready to do NOTHING until Tuesday morning when we have a Workshop to facilitate. We both took painkillers, I had a hot bath, and off to bed we went.

Saturday, February 25, 2012 – Van Wash

Well, all our best intentions were to take it easy today in preparation for our long ride tomorrow, but I just couldn’t stand looking at how dirty the van was, so I set out to give it a “quick” wash, which, of course, never turns out to be the case. I did manage to get it cleaned up, and then, while doing the final spritzing of the windsheild, I managed to pull a muscle in my back, twisting it “just so” in that way when you know it’s going to hurt very soon. Just what I didn’t need! At least the van was clean! We took a quick ride over to Jupiter Farms Park to register for the ride tomorrow, then came back and hooked it up to the horse trailer so we would be all set to go in the morning. I took some painkillers, and we went to bed early, alarm set for before dawn.

Friday, February 24, 2012 – Battery Replacement

After being on the charger trickling all night, the van started up immediately this morning, with no problems with fuel or ignition. Yeah!! I left Hubby behind to rest up (he’s still feeling a bit woozy), and headed down to Advance Auto in town, where a woman quickly diagnosed and replaced my battery. As we suspected, though it had a full charge, the cold cranking was down to about 300, so it wouldn’t be long before it needed replacing, and I’d rather do it now while it’s still working a little than wait until one cold morning when we really needed it to work and it wouldn’t. Just glad the fuel pump seems to be working okay! Did a few errands, then got home in time for our ice cream lunch, then settled down for the evening, having run ourselves ragged this week solving problems!

Thursday, February 23, 2012 – Van Day

Part arrived early this morning (finally, FedEx does something right for a change!), and Hubby got busy working on the van. Unfortunately, it was a pretty hot day, and he had a few dizzy spells during the morning, so I ended up coming out to give him a hand in the afternoon. He spent several hours trying to release some piping which, in the end, we decided didn’t need to really come off. After that, it was fairly straightforward to drop the tank, change the fuel pump, and re-hang the tank again, though it took the rest of the day. Then, when we were ready to test the system, the battery failed. This didn’t really surprise us, as it had really died quickly when our flashers were on while we were dead by the side of the road, but we’ve never had any trouble with it before so we never thought about it. Turns out the battery is original equipment from 2003! Guess we got our money’s worth out of those nine years! Put it on the charge so that tomorrow we’ll be able to go get another battery. No way to really test the system until then, but we have no reason to suspect it’s anything other than the fuel pump (famous last words!) A bit concerned about Hubby’s dizzy spells, he had several bad ones during the day, but I’m thinking it’s probably the heat and dehydration, I can never get him to drink enough fluids, and it’s something all of this doctors keep telling him to do. Well you can lead a horse to water, but… Hot showers and to bed!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 – More Spring Cleaning

Spent most of the day doing more spring cleaning, while Hubby started to work on the van, in preparation for receiving the fuel pump, which is due tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 – Ride Day

One thing we’re determined to do is to make sure that we don’t neglect our preparation for our upcoming rides, both for us and for our horses. Despite the pile of work staring at us, we decided we had to get back on the horses and go for a ride, so that’s what we did. Since we didn’t have the van to go anywhere, we decided to cross to the south side of Indiantown Rd and follow the canals a while, something I had done last year with my brother, but never with Hubby. So off we went, this time with GPS in hand to get our first taste of mapping as we go. A long learning curve on one of these things if you’re not used to them! So many choices, it’s going to take awhile to get the hang of it. Anyway, we rode along the canal all the way down to an area called the Loxahatchee Slough (pronounced “slew”), where another wildlife public land area began, and one we’ll have to explore another day, as there’s a minor water crossover at the canal at this point, which evidently leads into several well-marked equestrian trails. Saw lots of birds and turtles, and possibly even one baby alligator under water (looked like a log but it was moving), and had quite a few trots and canters along the way. A couple of workers were out with some heavy equipment bush-hogging along the trail, but they were very respectful of us and turn everything off whenever we came up to pass them, which turned out to be several times, coming in and going out. Total distance out and back was almost 13 miles, so another good workout for the horses and for us!

Monday, February 20, 2012 – Waxing and Shopping Day

Got up early again and started waxing the RV, using an excellent marine wax that is pretty easy to apply and remove, thank goodness. Managed to get all of one side and the back done during the course of the day. Hubby spent the day draining the gas tank. Fortunately, my brother happened to have recently acquired a holding tank with a pump on it, and though we couldn’t get the pump reversed to pump it out, at least we’ll have it to pump it back in. Meanwhile, he pumped it out mostly by siphon and by hand, which took about five hours. Afterward, we went out to do some shopping for essentials.

Sunday, February 19, 2012 – Day OFF!!!

Doing NOTHING today!! Just slept as late as possible, then spent the day watching TV, napping, resting, and otherwise taking it easy today. Doesn’t feel like one day is enough, but it’s all we can afford!