Archives for August 2015

Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 – Travel Day to San Antonio

Set the alarm for 7:00, and was out by 7:50 for our 10:00 flight. Ten minutes from the house we got a text saying the flight was delayed and hour, so I rerouted to the post office to drop off some mail I was otherwise going to send from Texas. Ten minutes after that, we got another text saying the flight was cancelled altogether! This is the first time we’ve flown United in decades (or maybe never, I can’t remember, it’s been so long!), and this is a very auspicious beginning. Shortly after that, I got another text saying that the flight had been rerouted through Newark, but now wouldn’t get in until four hours after our original arrival. Not a happy camper with that one! We decided to stop for breakfast at an IHOP, not the best one we’ve ever been in, but it did the job. Arrived at the airport by 10:15, went promptly to the United counter to get our itinerary, where we discovered the new flights included two stops! Hubby and I, whenever possible, insist on direct flights, as we both hate the ups and downs of takeoffs and landings. The only other alternative was to have a four hour layover in Newark and not arrive until after 9:00! This was not a very happy situation. Fortunately, the lady at the counter then offered to check other airlines, and found a Delta flight that left at noon for Atlanta, then connected with a flight that would have us arrive in San Antonio at 5:00, a huge improvement. Normally, I don’t fly Delta, as every time we’ve ever flown Delta has been a disaster in a whole variety of ways, but at least they had a flight going, and beggars can’t be choosers, as they say. At least the schedule was a good one. We got the paperwork, headed to Delta, they issued us a boarding pass, though no seating assignment, including TSA Pre-boarding, which made us very happy. We even got really good seats, better than the puddle jumper we had originally been booked on. Got through to the gate in no time, where they started boarding within 15 minutes or so, though they insisted on taking our carry-on bag and checking it. An uneventful flight to Atlanta, a quick cheese and fruit plate before we soon were boarding another flight on what looked like a brand spanking new 757, where they were assigning seats as we went (guessing they changed equipment at the last minute) and got good seats, again, on the wing. I’m happy as long as we’re not behind the wings, which is where we were on the original flight, so all worked out beautifully! But just when I thought we would be able to give Delta a pass, the curse continued. We arrived at baggage claim to discover our confiscated carry-on was nowhere to be found. We eventually went to the service desk and discovered that our bag was still in Atlanta, but would be sent on the next flight and delivered to the hotel, sometime between 4-6 hours after it arrived here. In other words, probably the middle of the night! So much for my plans for hanging out at the pool for the evening. They gave us a couple of tiny cosmetic bags with the tiniest of supplies before sending us on our way. We took the shuttle to the car rental, and one good piece of news, my Alamo gift of a double upgrade (which they sent me as a birthday present), became a triple upgrade, as they had more premium cars than full size, and let me take a nice big Chrysler. Got to the hotel in no time, got checked into a very nice room, returned to the lobby for a few complimentary glasses of wine before ordering delivery Chinese and watching a movie. More good news, the bag arrived just after 10:00, a great relief to us both! Still, Delta is not moving up on my list of preferred airlines, sorry!

Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015 – Packing and Prep Day

Woke up just after 9:00 to the sound of rain on the roof (not fair, the forecast hadn’t said rain at all!), so I threw on a coverup and ran outside to get my laundry down. It was almost dry, but had gotten sprinkled on, so I had to hang it out again once the show passed and the sun came out. Did another couple of loads of laundry, and thankfully the wind picked up and blew some of the humidity away, so my later loads dried very quickly. Paced ourselves throughout the day, packing, cleaning, vacuuming, getting the dogs’ stuff ready for the ladies so they could take care of them, before finally settling down for the evening.

Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 – Travel Day to Caledonia

Didn’t bother to set the alarm, as we only had a 3 ½ hour drive today, with no real stops except Tractor Supply to pick up some Balancer. We managed to pack up, exchange contact numbers with several of our neighbors, and finish at the dump before 10:30 or so. The Tractor Supply in Lowville didn’t have the Balancer, so we ended up stopping at the one in Webster, our second stop (after frozen custard along Route 104), arriving at the alpaca farm in Caledonia right around 3:00. In less than an hour the horses were settled into their new pasture (the old one was now housing a new boarder), the RV was watered and electrified, the satellite dish was up, and the washing machine was working up a storm. Chatted with the ladies who owned it for a while, then settled into the evening, hanging out laundry and watching movies until bedtime.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 – Final LONG Ride in Otter Creek

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As we had decided earlier in our stay, we wanted to explore the northern regions of this wilderness area, so I mapped out a route that would take us to the farthest north trail, the Beach Mill Trail. Once again we would have to use the Chase Creek Trail, though this is the first time we'll be taking it north from the start. We got out of camp by about 11:40, figuring it would take at least 4 ½ hours to do the 14.2 miles that my GPS calculated, which would get us back in plenty of time before sunset at 7:15 or so. Chase Creek took us to Dragline, crossed over the steel bridge we'd heard so much about, then we cut north again on Elbow, which turned into Cleveland Lake Trail, which is one of the most beautiful trails we've been on yet here. Once that trail crossed Beach Mill Road it became Beach Mill Trail, which was a small U-loop, which wasn't as attractive as it had obviously been forested at some point in the more recent past. Once it crossed the same road again it became Payne Lake Trail, which was also pretty open, at least until we hit the lake. We stopped at the "Scenic" point where there was a hitching rail, no picni table or anything, and there wasn't anything very scenic about it, no real views or anything. We had lunch there nevertheless, taking a much needed break. Hubby's back had gotten a little sore from trotting so much the other day, so we decided to walk all the way north, and only started trotting a bit when we came to Payne Lake, where there were a few more opportunities. We got a few canters in after lunch as well, after Payne Lake turned into Frost Pocket Trail, which was also pretty wide open and sandy. Frost Pocket led to Proceeding Trail, where we got turned around momentarily by taking Bailey Road south instead of east, but we corrected that error before going very far. We crossed back on the steel bridge (which thankfully, was planked as opposed to grated), and headed back south, reversing the route from there. We arrived back at camp at just after 5:30, well within our time frame, very happy with the entire ride, dogs were great, horses were great (though tired by that time, we could tell), another perfect ride day! Weather couldn't have been better, partly sunny with highs in the mid 70's, just fabulous! We are going to miss these trails! No doubt we'll be back next year, there are still a few more trails we haven't explored yet, would you believe! Packed away a few more items before settling down for dinner, though we also splurged on a cocktail or two as well, just because!

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 – Prep Day

Though we had planned to ride today, for some reason we were both feeling tired, plus it was very cloudy and cool today, so we decided to do some prep work for our Saturday departure, and ride tomorrow, as the forecast is for mostly sunny skies and warmer. We had planned, once again, to change the spare tire out for the new one, which currently resides in the spare tire rack under the RV, but Hubby wasn’t able to solve the problem with the bottle jack. Though he refilled it with hydraulic oil and followed all the usual guidelines, it simply refused to pump, so we weren’t able to complete that job, again. A new jack is now on the shopping list! We transferred the hay from the horse trailer into the back of the pickup truck, which was easy since the bales or pretty light, and put away what we could. A mundane day, but necessary.

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 – Rest Day

Took a nice rest today, though I spent much of the day writing, which, even though it’s work, doesn’t require a lot of energy. Nice and quiet in camp today. We’ve had another neighbor move in across from us, folks we saw here last time, and we got reacquainted. I also had another long talk with the ranger, thanking him for his patience and leniency with us, and I think he appreciated that. A decent, quiet day.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 – Another Wonderful Ride Day at Otter Creek

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Almost every ride we've taken here has been either to the south, east, or west, but not to the north, so we decided the rest of this trip, we were going to explore the north side of the wilderness. We headed out Blue Jog Run to Confusion Flats, went north and picked up Homeward Bound, and took that out to Cow Trail, then north to Hinching Pond Trail, though we got a little off when we went up a private road which looked like every other road at this confusing and poorly marked intersection) to a gate, where we turned around and headed back, finding the right road. We passed our new neighbors along that road, stopping to chat for a few minutes, and passed another couple of riders as well. Though it was the same trail, it had several name changes, to Gum Drop Pond, Fish Pond, Evies Pond, Dragline, until it finally became Chase Creek Trail, which led us all the way south again, back to Confusion Flats. We elected to take the rogue trail that winds through the woods rather than Blue Jog, which tends to get a little sandy with a lot of use. Just under 10 miles, it was a wonderful ride, again with perfect weather. Billy and Lola came along, of course, and even with those stubby little legs, Billy stayed up with us, no problem! What a doll! What a wonderful day!

Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 – Birthday Ride and Runaround Day

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After having the camp packed all week, it was nice to see the place empty out, though the biggest busybody who had been harassing me all week is still here. A new neighbor moved in behind us yesterday, and they are very nice folks, we get along just fine with Bill and Sandy. Meanwhile, we had a busy day, first taking a short ride, just taking Shady Lane around, just over an hour, because we have some running around to do today. A nice ride, Hubby and I enjoyed it tremendously, though it was much shorter than we generally take. After putting the horses away, we headed out, with the first stop at Black River Valley Farms in Carthage to pick up some of the most beautiful hay we've seen in a very long time! The hay was so green and smelled great, it was their second cutting this year, just gorgeous! The bales were rather light for $3.50, but I'm convinced finicky Clio will eat this heartily. We got a full load of 24 bales (though we put it in the back of the horse trailer, to be transferred later), then headed down to Lowville, where we shopped at Walmart, stopped at Tractor Supply, and even finally stopped at a little frozen custard stand for our ice cream lunch (Kahlua-flavored today!) Got back to camp by about 5:00. We gave Clio some of the new hay, and as predicted, she plowed into it, thank goodness. Apollo will just have to finish the last bale of old stuff on his own, a task he never seems to mind, as he eats anything. Settled down for the evening, after a plain old nice day.

Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015 – New Site Day

Got up early with the alarm this morning, to insure we got the site and stalls we wanted, pulling in the slides and getting the stabilizers up shortly before the convoy left. We go the horses moved over as soon as the previous tenants finished sanding them, then quickly slid over into one of the waiting sites. After an hour, we had everything set up again, and after breakfast I returned to the other site and cleaned it to perfection, even spreading pine needles throughout to give it that “leave no trace” appearance. A nice job of set dressing, if I may say so myself! We felt much better having done that, the tension that had been present all week was lifted (despite my agreement with the ranger, a couple of busybodies in the campground felt it necessary to harass us with their disapproval, so it has not been the most relaxing time). Now there’s no reason for tension, and we relaxed accordingly. Looking forward to my birthday ride tomorrow!

Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015 – Recovery Day

Earlier this week, I had a long conversation with the ranger about our highline situation, and because the camp was busier than we’ve ever seen it, he agreed (albeit reluctantly) to let us stay where we were, provided we moved over as soon as stalls became available. By the end of the today, I discovered that three trailers, all in a row across from us, would be heading out first thing tomorrow morning, so we made plans to move over as soon as they did. Meanwhile, we stayed in camp to rest today, knowing the trails would be filled with people, and we rather like it when it’s a bit quieter out there.