Archives for January 2015

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 – First Ride Day at Onion Creek

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Having had two weeks of typical, mundane living, and after doing some research, I found a new park called Onion Creek that boasts some horse trails, and it's quite close, so we packed up the horses and headed out. Parking was along the edge of a wide street, which gave us a very urban feel, but we were soon saddled up and heading to the park entrance a short half block away. We passed by a playground, following a trail through a sort of neighborhood, which we learned later was really not the right way : -), but finally took a trail on the left that led us to the main trail we should have been on. The trail followed the river, and there was a fork in the trail fairly early. I tried to follow a rather dubious map, taking the trail to the right, as the left crossed the creek and my map didn't indicate anything there. Before long, we reach the right river crossing, where the water was fairly low and quiet, though the trail up the bank on the other side was a good grade up a switchback. It was obvious that most people used the trail just to get to the creek and back, mostly to walk dogs, because most of the tracks ended at the creek, leaving the south side open for an unadulterated horse experience! The trails weren't marked, and that, combined with my dubious map, kept us guessing most of the ride, but with a general understanding where the crossing was, and the limited park area before we ran into neighborhoods kept it fairly straightforward. One time we followed the road to a gate that went into a horse ranch, so we had to turn around and take another fork. Another time, we ended up at the end of a dead end street when the trail ran out, so another turn around. Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed the ride. The trail was mostly sand with only a little gravel, so we probably could have gone without boots, though we had them on as a precaution. We tried to do a perimeter around the edge of the park, but several trails on the map didn't exist, or at least weren't meant for horses, so we ended up doing some cross-country riding as well. There were a number of others trails we didn't get to, even though we covered 7.2 miles in the end, crossing back over the creek in the same place (though the map indicated several other crossings), and were back to the trailer, this time finding the right trail back, with a nice canter along the last stretch on the trail, though it was cut short by the large number of hikers and dog walkers that were on the trail. A popular park, even during the mnid-week, but we ran into no one on the far side of the creek. A gorgeous day, a gorgeous ride, perfect!

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 – First Ride Day at Slaughter Creek Park

After an excellent week working with our client, but with lousy weather most of the time, we finally had a break, with a couple of days of unseasonably warm temps, in the upper 70's. Yesterday we had some outside chores to do, but by today, we made time to go riding. Our neighbor told me about a park she had heard about but never been to, and after researching it a bit, we decided to give it a try, as it was much closer than some of the other parks we were thinking about, and since we got a late start, the closer the better. We headed out following my GPS, which, unfortunately, took us to the wrong side of the park with no entrance, but I managed to get us back on the right track, pulling into the parking lot about 1:00. We didn't notice the sign for horse trailer parking until after we had parked along the fence, but decided it wasn't worth moving since we had already gotten the horses out. We saddled and booted them up, and were on the trail by 1:25. I had vaguely worked out a trail on my GPS based on what I could see, but then we passes a trail map placard, and saw there was another section, making it like a figure eight. I was glad to see that, as my map had only been about 3.5 miles, and the extra loop would bring it up to about 5 miles, a little more worthwhile. We headed out counter-clockwise, happy the trail was almost entirely single track. Some sections were all dirt, others crossed sections of rock, so we were glad we had boots on. Despite a lot of open space, the trail ran mostly through the trees, making it a very pleasant ride. The horses were great, obviously glad to be out of the boring pasture, not a bit of drama, despite the fact we crossed paths with a number of cyclists and several hikers along the way. A very enjoyable ride! Got back in two hours, and we headed back to the house, settling down for the evening, thoroughly glad we found a new trail to ride!

Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 – Work Day

Got up before dawn, got into work clothes for a change, and headed to the Capitol to meet with our client. In addition to our 2 hour meeting, we also tagged along to a luncheon to watch him in action, to get a better feel for the work that needs to be done in the future. We were supposed to meet with my other brother and his friend in the afternoon, but the temps started dropping and the forecast turned to icy rain, so we headed home instead, with a couple of stops to pick up groceries and horse feed along the way. Extra cold is called for tonight, more icy rain until mid-day tomorrow!

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 – Travel to Dripping Springs

With the time change from Mountain to Central, we lost an hour yesterday, so getting up at the same time was actually like getting up an hour early, which we did. As we were putting the horses in the trailer, I saw that somehow, Apollo had snagged his winter blanket in several places on something in the stall, and had made several large tears in it, darn it. They literally jumped in the trailer, as I suspected they would, tucked into their alfalfa, and off we went. No Dunkin Donuts here, and I refuse to do Subway for breakfast (rubber eggs!), so the only other place in town was a Sonic. After filling up with fuel, we parked next to the Sonic, but the front door was locked. As we climbed back into our respective vehicles, though, we saw someone getting served at the drive through, so we tried again, this time walking all the way around the other side of the building until we finally found an open door. We parked on the side street because typically Sonics don’t have much room around them, but evidently this used to be a McDonalds, so it had a large parking lot we didn’t see. No explanation (even when asked!) as to why the front door was locked, and considering the hour, the place was dead, with only two employees working. We got breakfast, and soon discovered why there wasn’t a crowd, the food was pretty poor. We hit the road at last, and headed for Dripping Springs, uneventful drive, thank goodness. We stopped at HEB and picked up a few groceries, starting our New Year’s diet tomorrow. Last year we definitely indulged ourselves, so this year, our goal is to get more fit. I’ve been walking regularly, but unfortunately, yesterday when I stepped up into the RV, my knee buckled again (it did this before, about a year or so ago), and it started to swell up like a melon. I should have put ice on it, but was in too much of a hurry, so I’m limping like crazy today. Arrived at my brother’s, as beautiful a day as we had hoped when we left on Sunday, got the portable electric fence up in no time, and let the horses loose, so of course they ran and rolled in ecstasy. Brother arrived home, and we got the RV set up behind the garage, in a different place than last year to avoid the northern wind, and a new temporary garage he had put up for his vehicles. Feeling tired, but still washed the sheets and showered before bed, knowing it only takes a good night’s sleep to be nearly fully revived from the busy trip!

Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 – Hay and Travel Day

Got up at the same time this morning, found another Dunkin Donuts across town where we picked up breakfast, then travelled to where my GPS said the location was, but we didn’t see any barn. Got Mike on the phone, and he guided us to the barn, which was at the west end of the same alley where we were at the east end, and before long, we were loaded up and ready to go, out by 10:30, a full half hour before we have figured. Hit the road again, next stop was for fuel, where Hubby was on fumes when we got to the gas station, but we wanted to stretch it as much as we could so we wouldn’t have to stop twice. Arrived at the Crocket County Fair Park in Ozona just as it was getting dark, but the person who was supposed to meet us as 7:00 didn’t arrive on time, so we were stuck leaving Clio in the alley until we finally had another guy offer us one of his stalls that wasn’t being used, which was fortunate because they were next to each other that way, and they settled down more quickly. There was some anxiety when there was a horse between them, though I’m sure they would have quieted down eventually. The stalls are only a block off the freeway, so it was noisy, so I’m expecting them to be cranky in the morning. By the time we got everyone settled, it was just before 8:00 and pitch dark, though the lights in the stalls evidently never go off. We were pretty tired, and got to bed fairly early.

Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 – Travel Day to Las Cruces

Managed to get out in pretty good time, with just a quick stop at the dump station. We had hoped to do a good flush, but unfortunately, the water was still turned off when we got there, so that was exercise went faster than we thought it would. Found a Dunkin Donuts (by far our favorite fast food restaurant for breakfast) about 10 minutes outs, then settled down for a very straightforward drive to Las Cruces. Stopped at the southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds, called the number on the delivery gate, and received the code to get it. Found the stalls on the east side of the grounds, though almost all were uncleaned, but Hubby managed to pick a spot between two of the rows and we got the horses put away quickly enough. Settled in for the evening, knowing we have a long day tomorrow.

Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 – Preparation Day

Ran out of propane early in the night, so it was down to 40 degrees in the bedroom by the time Hubby got up at daylight and switched the tanks. Brrrr! Was VERY glad I decided to wear my long johns to bed last night! I had gotten a little cold the night before without them, so decided to leave them on last night, thank goodness. Woke up to our neighbor knocking on the door to ask me to call the main office, as two of their spigots had split and there was water running through the middle of the campground. I made a quick call and informed them, then climbed back into bed to warm up a bit before starting the day. Spent the day packing up and getting prepared to leave tomorrow, with three days of driving ahead of us. Wanted to be able to get out early, grab breakfast on the way, and be in Las Cruces fairly early. I’ve made arrangements to pick up a load of alfalfa on Monday morning there, so we’ll get to Dripping Springs with enough alfalfa to last 5 or 6 weeks. New Mexico has the best and cheapest alfalfa anywhere, and would cost almost double there, so it’s worth the extra time and effort. Hubby was even able to get the satellite dish put away, so we should be able to get out pretty quick in the morning. Relaxed for the evening watching old movies and recorded TV programs.

Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 – Romero Ruins and Nature Trail Walk with Billy

Took a quick run out to the Walmart to return something we bought the other day, and to pay for two more nights here at the campground. Weather looks like a Sunday departure will work best for us, though the temps keep getting cooler every day we look! I took little Billy with me, and after getting back in the park, we parked over at the entrance to the Romero Ruin trail, and we headed out up the trail. I tried to get a good head start on a rather noisy family that followed me, but the two youngsters were doing their best to catch up to meet Billy, so I finally sat on a bench and waiting for them to get their greeting and move on. Unfortunately, then the mother with the crying toddler stopped to try to figure out why she was crying (I only heard something about not wearing the boots she had on), so not wanting to wait any longer, I passed them up, taking the opposite direction of the loop where the kids had gone, so it got a little quieter. Once they all passed me on the loop and headed back on the trail, things got even quieter, for which I was grateful. This was an interesting archaeological area, first an Indian site, and later in the 19th century, a ranch, both of which is somewhat evident in the remains. Once we got back to the truck, I remembered there was also a nature trail, and since we were running out of time here, I decided Billy and I should go explore it as well. We headed forward to the trailhead, and starting up the long climb to the nature trail. It was longer than I thought, but it was interesting, and a nice walk. I liked the cement impressions of various kinds of animal tracks, it really gave you a good sense of size and scope of the animals that inhabit here, though we hadn't seen much wildlife except birds and the occasional jackrabbit, though we heard coyotes most mornings. Finally got back to the campsite after having been gone long enough for Hubby to start wondering if something had happened to me. Got a few chores done, including both of us cutting each other's hair, before settling down for the evening, feeling refreshed and more fit with all the walking I've been doing. Would like to get another ride in, but it looks like we'll have too much to do, and the temps are now barely going to hit 50, though yesterday they were saying over 60. Crazy forecasts here!

Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 – Happy New Year!!

Woke up to a gorgeous (but not necessarily desired) winter wonderland this morning. Rain had been fairly continuous during the evening last night, and unbeknownst to us, it turned to snow just before we went to bed, and by the time the sun came up this morning, we were greeted with more than an inch of heavy snow covering everything, included the Saguaro cactus!! What a surprise, to come all the way to Tucson, only to be greeted by the coldest weather so far this year!! Oh, well, seems to be on par with every other winter, when we go somewhere looking for warm weather and are greeted by the coldest temps on record (or nearly). Anyway, we enjoyed the beauty of it anyway, remembering the advice we heard in Alaska, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing," and dressed in numerous layers, including long underwear, and set about doing our chores. Started watching the Rose Bowl parade during breakfast, then afterwards Delford and a couple of his friends stopped by and came in and chatted for a while, then we spent the rest of the day watching football and resting up for our busy week next week.