Archives for July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014 – Final Leg to North Star Stable in Ferndale, WA

Up at the crack of dawn again, which seemed darker because the trees here are so tall and dark, but we managed to get out just as early. Quickly ran into a bike race on a narrow stretch of windy road, which became problematic when traffic started coming at us, trying to pass the bikes that were three abreast (against the single file rule, we later learned). At one point, just as I came around a curve, heading into a narrow bridge, a small truck was almost completely in my lane trying to pass the cyclists, and I had to slam on my brakes, which meant Hubby had to slam on his brakes, and the horses got a jolt. Hubby said he almost didn’t stop in time, missing me by less than two feet! We finally made it into town, with wider streets, and pulled over to have breakfast at a small cafe. I discovered Apollo had torn the screen for the window, which I had to turn upside down to at least keep rings from flopping in his face, and his manger was torn out of its rivet, so I had to use a haybag as a sling to hold it up temporarily. We had a great breakfast, then carried on, soon getting off the bike route (which was still going on, a ride to Rainier, apparently), and before too long, we were on I-5. Had to detour around one accident, which added some time to the trip, but eventually we got out of the city and were back out in rural America again, yeah! Arrived at the stable at exactly noon, met the manager, Monica, and quickly made decisions about where to set up and put the horses. The horses went straight into a pasture with several other horses, and they all seemed to get along fine after a few minutes, thank goodness. Dogs got to exploring and we soon got the RV parked and plugged in. Fortunately, it’s pretty level here, we only had to use a couple of boards on one side to get us perfect, and I even managed to get the satellite dish going, though that took a long time, since I had never done it before, and a post was evidently in my way, though it might have been that the receiver was trying to record, that always creates problems with trying to find a signal, and for some reason, we keep forgetting that! Anyway, the temps here are topping out in the low-mid 80’s, so AC won’t be necessary, and we’re at the top of a small hill, so we seem to have a pretty steady breeze, even though there’s no shade. It seems pretty laid back here, and other than one German Shepherd that Billy keeps growling at, everyone seems to get along just fine, and I think it will turn out to be an excellent choice to leave everyone for the month!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 – Travel Day to Sahara Creek Horse Camp, WA

Though we originally were going to head for the Joe Watt Canyon area near Ellenburg, because it was apparently an open field with no shade, no corrals, no trees, no water, and the temps were still in the 90's because it was east of the mountains, we reconsidered and decided to go to another place I had just found called Sahara Creek Horse Camp. It was a slightly longer drive, but would get us over the mountains to the cooler, western side, and it was a more equipped horse camp. We headed out early again, after a great night sleep in cooler mountain air, and while we made the trip fine, there were a few quite scary moments. The first was shortly after leaving the campground, when I-84 took a plunge out of the mountains into the valley, dropping from 3700 feet down to 1300 feet in barely 5 or 6 miles, making a very steep and harrowing section of the journey. Hubby got going a bit too fast and couldn't slow down, his brakes giving out and even though he was in second gear, he couldn't stop. Eventually his engine even quit under the strain. He finally managed to pull over using the brake controller on the horse trailer, and he waited until he could start the engine again before proceeding. I kept going down the hill, as it seemed more dangerous to stop, until I had just about got to the bottom, and I found a place to pull over to wait for him. Our walkie talkies didn't work at that distance, so I just had to trust that he would come down off the mountain eventually, and not too long afterward, he did. Very happy he didn't panic, and everyone was safe in the end, but it was quite a frightening few minutes. The first exit afterward had a casino with a restaurant, so we stopped for a sit-down breakfast to give ourselves time to get our nerves unjangled after that. Most of the rest of the drive was fine, except for the last 25 mile stretch through very twisty, windy and bumpy forest roads, but many of the views were spectacular. We actually passed White Pass, a campground where we had stayed last time we came through this way, then had another long downhill stretch, but we took this one much more slowly, enjoying beautiful views of Mt. Rainier as we went. Stopped briefly at a corner gas station just to check on my email, since my Verizon map indicates I won't have service at the campground, then we took the last stretch and arrived at the horse camp around 3:00. The place was packed when we got there, but someone was just leaving and they generously offered us their spot. There were other places open, but the highlines were all on the outside of the campground, and except for the end spots, they were across the road from the campsite. The one we got was on an end, so we were next to the horses. The campground is fully forested, and thus quite cool, a refreshing change from earlier in the week, and it took me no time to get up the highline and get the horses settled and fed. Turns out the campsite was free, but that we were supposed to have a DNR pass, which you can get when you renew your license. Does't help the tourist much, though. I wasn't about to go out looking for a store that sold them, so we took our chances. Someone later told me the rangers had already been through for the day, and as we were leaving first thing, we would be gone by the time they got there, so 'nuff said, we had a free night. Again, water spigots were few and far between, but we had enough water in both trailers to get us through the night, no worries. Settled down again, after the toughest day yet for all of us, thankful for the cooler weather.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – Travel Day to Emigrant Springs State Park, OR

Got up at the break of dawn again, and this time, because we didn’t have to break much down, or to clean out stalls, we were out before 7:00. Stopped for breakfast at a Burger King on the way out, then headed for our next stop in Oregon. Another uneventful trip, thank goodness, although the campground at Emigrant Springs had some challenges. The loop is so narrow that the turn on the east end doesn’t allow for a very comfortable turn with a large rig, and I had to go back out into the day parking area and come in again going in the opposite direction than the road allowed in order to be able to back into the site we selected. I thought I read that there was a water spigot at every site, but that turned out not to be true, but fortunately, the site we picked because it was the biggest was also the site next to the water spigot. The corrals were pretty good size, but since there wasn’t anyone else camping nearby, we put a horse in each corral so they’d have room to move around. It didn’t take long to put enough water in the tank for the night, also filling the horse trailer for future use. Two women came by to water their horses after they got back from a ride, but we didn’t talk much. Because we changed time zones, we actually arrived at 11:00 a.m., which seemed like a silly time to stop, but it was all Hubby could handle, so we rested the rest of the day and evening.

Monday, July 28, 2014 – Travel Day to Aspenbreak Stables near Boise, ID

With Hubby struggling to help, but finally just staying out of the way :-), we got packed up and out at a reasonable hour, including stopping at the dump on the way out of camp. Hubby managed to drive okay, though it was much easier for him on the straight roads, of course. We stopped for breakfast at an IHOP in Burley, and the rest of the trip was thankfully uneventful. We arrived at Aspenbreak Stables south of Boise right at noon, got the horses in stalls and parked the RV along the road under a row of trees. Unfortunately, the electric was only 15 amp, so we couldn’t run AC, which was unfortunate because it was really hot during the afternoon, and we were sweating like crazy, even with every other fan running. I got the horses out in the arena and ran them around for a bit, but the dust got so bad, I didn’t stay long. They appreciated it, though, rolling around and running around and stretching their legs. Hubby rested the rest of the day, tired even though it was just a short hop of about 200 miles, but he’s using muscles he hasn’t used all week, so it’s a strain. Finally started to cool down after the sun went down, went to bed early after what seemed like a really long day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014 – Preparation Day

Spent the day getting as much packed up as we could, as we get ready to leave tomorrow. I say “we”, but I really mean me, since Hubby is still incapacitated for the most part, even though he feels fit to drive. It’s been a nice stay, but as always, we’re happy to be moving on. What can I say, gypsies at heart!

Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Visit to City of Rocks Preserve

Did some yard cleanup and laundry in the morning, then persuaded Hubby to get out of the house and take a ride through the City of Rocks Preserve, which we haven't seen much of since his fall. He managed to climb into the van, and off we went. The dirt road we drove on was actually part of the original California trail, and the Rocks were pretty spectacular. This is one of those spots where many of the pioneers signed their names in axle grease on some of the rocks, and though they're weathering a bit, many are still clearly visible. Imagine, writing your name in axle grease during the gold rush, and having people looking at it 165 years later! Amazing! The rocks are quite a jumble, and anyone with an imagination could easily name most of them. I was rather astonished at how many people were out here, considering how far off the beaten track we are. Almost every campsite was taken, tents and RV's everywhere, almost constant traffic on the road, including lots of dirt bikes and dune buggies. Though Hubby stayed in the van, I hiked a number of trails to explore some more, looped around Bath Rock, which some adventurous families were actually climbing all the way to the top, went up to Parking lot Rock and hiked down to Creekside Towers, then stopped again at "the Arch" behind campsite 37. Beautiful views of Cache Mountain and the beautiful valley below. The only bad bit was that the road was quite washboard-y at times, so Hubby got knocked around a little, but he held up okay. On the way back, once we hit the tarmac again, I had him take over driving, and headed into town, just to make sure he could handle it, and to solve any problems that might occur. Turns out he had no problems, having the steering wheel to grab onto actually helped him climb in okay, and other than some jagged turns, he had no problem. Just have to get him a cup with a straw in it so he can have a drink along the way. Got back, gave the horses another flake of alfalfa (we are on the last bale before I have to move the satellite dish, so we might just squeak by), and settled down to watch soccer, golf and movies for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Another Trip to Town

Forgot about getting dog food in Burley on Sunday, so I ran into Almo today (just a couple of minutes away) and found some at the General Store (Wal-mart brand, would you believe!), but it will have to do. Dropped into the Tracy Steakhouse, and they had wi-fi as I had hoped, so I grabbed a beer and went to work, uploading a bunch of stuff I didn’t want to send over the cell phone broadband, even though I could. Didn’t want to use my entire allotment uploading videos from our last training camp! Hubby getting a little frustrated because he’s impatient to be better, and he thought it was Thursday and was getting frustrated that he might not be ready to drive on Monday. He still might not, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed, because now we’re running out of time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Rest and Post Office

Hubby had a better night sleep in his recliner last night, but he’s still barely feeling better yet, even with the painkillers. I did some work that required a trip to the Post Office, which is in a General Store that’s apparently been in operation non-stop since 1879. After that we just vegged out for the day, convinced that rest is the best thing for his recovery. Boring, but essential!

Monday, July 21, 2014 – Figuring It Out

Hubby decided he’d be more comfortable in his recliner than trying to get in and out of bed, so he spent the night there. Managed to get through the day with difficulty and some painkillers, but it’s going to be some time before he’s going to be easily mobile. Sigh. As long as he’s mobile by Alaska, we can live with the harness and sling!

Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Trip to the Emergency Room

Well, though he slept pretty well overnight, Hubby could barely get out of bed because of the pain, so we decided to take him to the nearest hospital in a town called Burley, about an hour’s drive from here. Got all the morning chores done, then slowly packed him into the van and headed north. Arrived before 11:00, to an all but empty ER, so they got him in quickly, did all the vitals, took some x-rays, and determined he had broken two ribs in his back and the clavicle bone in his shoulder. They strapped him up with a device that looked like a padded version of a shoulder holster, and put a sling on his right arm to hold it in position, gave us a prescription for pain killers, and sent us on our way, though not before bringing us two full lunches! We hadn’t eaten breakfast because I didn’t want to interfere with any tests they might want to take, and had asked to be told when they found out whether we could eat, in which case I was just going to go down to the cafeteria and bring something back, but instead, they just brought us two huge trays of food, which was very unexpected, but very welcome! After all the work was done, they finally asked us for our insurance information. That was the first time THAT ever happened! Usually they don’t want to talk to you before your insurance is verified. A really refreshing change! We headed over to the Walmart to fill his prescription and I did some quick shopping, now convinced we won’t be leaving for at least a week, since he’s in no shape to drive. Hopefully he will be by next week, or we’re going to really start being in trouble schedule-wise. As it is, we’ll have to do three straight overnight stops just to get us where we need to be. We decided to get up to Bellingham as early as possible, since now I have to fly back to Austin for another session with my client before we head to Alaska, and we figured it was better for Hubby to get someplace he can rest while I’m gone. At least at the stable, someone else will be looking after the horses, and he can just use the time to heal. Doctor said 4-6 weeks for a full recovery, but hopefully Hubby will be in good enough shape to ride at least once while we’re in Alaska! I’ve already arranged a short one hour ride on the cruise, which will be about the end of the recuperation period, so hopefully that will work out all right. Probably won’t be able to do the other two rides I had planned on, but I guess I could go without him, though it won’t be as much fun… :-(. I’m just as concerned with some of the other activities I’ve planned, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. He’s always been a fast healer, but he’s never broken any bones before, so we’ll have to give it time. Guess we should have paid more attention to his premonition!