Archives for September 2013

Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 – Last Ride Day at Southwood, Busy Trails

Did our best to try to ride every bit of trail here today to finish it off, including one linear trail that took us to a picnic area, only got off track once at an unmarked intersection and ended up cutting a corner a bit, but other than that, it was a fabulous ride! You couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the trails were in perfect condition. Most of the trails here are more “bridle path” style, wide enough for two, with good footing all around. There were a few places that had rough gravel, which the horses avoided as much as possible, though there was little room along the side of the trail so we were having to push branches out of the way a bit, but overall, it was very enjoyable! So even though there aren’t a LOT of trails here by most standards, the ones they do have are very nice, and have enough variety to keep it interesting. There were actually a lot of other riders out today, this morning several other horse trailers came in to the camping area to day ride (tsk, tsk), plus there was one or two at the day parking area, so we had company on the trails, though we only passed one other couple, than ran into another group just as we were heading down the road back to camp. Back in camp two girls discovered they had a low tire on their pickup, so Hubby helped them out with his air compressor and had a nice chat with them for a while. Finished off the rest of the laundry, at last, did a few preparation chores for our move tomorrow, and finally settled down for the evening.

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 – Cold, Rainy Rest Day

Cooler, rainy weather came in overnight, so the day was spent with the fireplace on, watching movies in between loads of laundry. Almost done!

Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 – More Equipment Wash Day

Spent most of the day washing the RV and the pickup today, a major job, long overdue, and continuing with the laundry as well. Had hoped to finish early enough to get in a ride, but naturally it took too long, and we were bushed by the end of the day. Didn’t take long to settle in for the night!

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 – Rest and Computer Day

Having had my mail forwarded to me here, a couple of the helpers here brought my mail down to me, so I spent most of the day going through my mail and handling the various business issues I had to take care of, plus as many loads of laundry as I could do. Otherwise a nice quiet day.

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 – First Ride at Southwood Conservation Area in Iowa (our 46th state!)

After a delightfully quiet night of good sleep and a late breakfast, we saddled up and headed out in the early afternoon for a fairly short ride. There are only about 5 miles of trails (though the ranger we met said they’ve added another one, so it’s a bit more now), they were more like bridle paths than trails to us. Other than a few stretches of sharp gravel, the trails were quite nice, wide, grassy or dirt most of the time. They weaved from open fields to dense forest, with a few steep climbs and descents, but really nice considering how “civilized” the place is. While most of the park is highly landscaped like a state park, the woods do provide a nice escape from that, and the fields gave us a great opportunity to get some good trotting and cantering in. A very nice ride, albeit relatively short, maybe 90 minutes or so. It’s a small park, but with a nice variety of terrain. After we got back, we decided we needed to do some chores, including washing the horse trailer and van, a long overdue job that we did over the waning hours of the afternoon. Eventually settled down to a quiet evening, having had quite the full day today!

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 – Great Hay at Last!

After some research, I found some hay advertised near Sioux City, which is less than 30 miles away, so we disconnected the truck and I headed up in the afternoon, after having started my long week of doing laundry with a couple of loads in the morning. It seems a young couple had bought the hay for their goats, then got rid of the goats because they were too much trouble, and had the hay left over. Their loss was my gain, though, because it was beautiful hay! From two different fields, but it all looked really nice, plus Heidi threw in 3 bales of pure alfalfa at the same price as the hay! Maybe now we can put a little extra weight on Clio! We chatted for quite a while, and by the time I got back to camp is was dusk, and I had seen an absolutely gorgeous, HUGE sunset over the plains before I reached camp. We quickly took care of the horses, finally finishing off the weed-free certified hay that we bought way back in Minnesota, as we won’t be going to any new states that require it any time soon. Great to have a full load of good quality hay again!

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 – Travel Day to Southwood Conservation Area

Got out good and early, by 8:00, knowing we had quite a long day’s drive ahead of us. After once again negotiating the 6 miles of broken pavement back to the main road, the rest of the drive was on mostly two-lane country highways, but with very little other traffic on these back roads. Picked up gas in a small town, of which there are few and far between, and didn’t find a “breakfast” place until nearly lunchtime. We were starving by then! Had a couple of burgers, not much else of a choice, but they were the best home-made burgers we’d had in a long time, in a little place called Coffee House Cafe in Elgin, NE. Another stop to shop, and we finally made our way to Southwood Conservation Area, a compact place with water and electric at a reasonable price, and one that will hopefully afford us the opportunity to wash the vehicles and get caught up on laundry. It’s been such a long time since we’ve had easy access to water, the dirty clothes have really piled up! Only a couple of miles on a good dirt road and we were there. The horse camp only had 5 sites to choose from, but they were all empty so we had our pick. Chose a long pull thru that gave us everything we look for in an ideal spot. The only problem here is that they have hitching rails mostly tucked away in the woods, but there are also some trees around for a highline, so we put one up right next to the RV on a rather manicured lawn, so chances are we’ll have to move them later in the week so as not to completely trample the grass. Before long we were set up, satellite and all, and settled in for evening.

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 – Another Relaxing Day

Another relaxing day, watching football and golf and doing some prep work for our departure tomorrow. It’s been a nice stay, though honestly, I would get bored stiff here if this was the only place to ride! Too much of the same kind of terrain, these plains, even with the occasional break in the woods. Interesting story about this man-made forest, but still, not terribly interesting riding.

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 – Rest Day

Relaxed most of the day, doing some computer work, but mostly just hanging out. What few remaining sites were available after last night were filled up during the day, lots of riders out here!

Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 – Second Ride Day at Natick

Since our first ride here was mostly around grassy fields, I decided to plan a trip that got us into as much “forest” as possible. Interestingly, this area has a man-made forest, an experiment starting more than 100 years ago to try to make this area more arable, so the trees are in pockets through the park. I drew a Google Earth map that appeared to fit the bill, and we headed out after breakfast. For the first time in memory, we actually managed to stay pretty much on track, despite the fact that the trail did go through some woods (the forest is mostly evergreens of every shape and variety), but some of the trees were so overgrown and the branches were so thick and low that at many points we had to skirt around them, and at one point, we even had to dismount and walk through a particularly thick bit. If it hadn’t been for my GPS though, it would have been hopeless! Once we got out of the forest part, the last stretch was entirely on a nice dirt road, and we had several nice canters and gallops on the way back to camp. A very nice ride, the weather was much nicer, having cooled down after yesterday’s rain, and a good time was had by all! Meanwhile, nearly every site in the campground has now been taken, quite a busy place here!