Archives for September 2015

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015 – Another Rainy Work Day

Woke up early, and after feeding the horses, I decided to run up to the dump again to do some work while Hubby got breakfast started. I checked the forecast, and unfortunately, the rain is supposed to continue right through Sunday, so after a brief discussion, we decided it would be better just to head out tomorrow for home. No sense sitting here in the rain, not getting a chance to ride, and making the horses stand in these tiny stalls the rest of the week. Besides, we have a busy week in store next week, and it will help us get a jump start on the essential cleaning that will need doing, and maybe even give us a day of rest.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 – Rainy Work Day

Very quiet here, no one else in the campground, though a few cars seem to go by occasionally. I discovered that my cell phone signal was good enough while it was raining (which was all morning), but as it let up a bit, the signal got worse, and I had a lot to do, so I went looking. Amazingly, as I pulled into the dump, I went from 1 bar of 1X to 2 bars of 4G, so my internet connection suddenly got very fast, relatively speaking. Spent more than an hour working on some stuff before heading back to the RV, where we once again settled down for the evening.

Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 – Travel Day to Bear Creek Horse Camp in Big South Fork, KY

As always on a travel day, up with the alarm, packed up, cleaned up, and out of the campground before 9:00. Had no problems getting through the narrow bridge as we made our way south to 125, stopping once for a few gallons of gas in the van (we were trying to get to Kentucky because gas was at least 20 cents per gallon less!), and made it to the Walmart in Maysville, where they had diesel for $2.19 and gas for $2.26 and filled up there. First time we’ve seen diesel lower than regular in years! We stopped at another Walmart later and grabbed a wrap to eat while we shopped, stopping for liquor before heading out to camp. It was a bit off the beaten track to get here, and I took the website’s advice to pass up 741 to take 742, which is apparently recommended for big rigs, and it was mostly tarmac until the last couple of miles when we had good, though narrow, and sometimes steep, gravel road. After passing several houses that had junkyards around them, the road suddenly reached the top of a hill and opened up, revealing a very nice campground, all sites with water and electric. We stopped at the dump first, as our black water tank was due to be emptied, and Hubby went ahead to find the best site for a satellite signal. By the time I finished dumping, he had selected a couple of sites we thought would be the best, and finally settled on #16. The horse containment here is narrow pipe stalls with a concrete base, not my favorite, but they did put rubber stall mats down to make it a bit better. We got them watered, fed and put away before getting ourselves set up, a chore that didn’t take very long. Hubby had no trouble getting the satellite dish up, and I started my first load of much needed laundry. It was cloudy, hot and muggy when we got here, and it began to rain before too long, but we didn’t bother covering the horses as it was too hot for them. I even managed to check my email, for some reason I could just get a signal when it was raining. Probably not good enough for extensive work, but I noticed I had a good signal near the dump, so at least I won’t have to go miles to do my computer work! Settled down for the evening, as the rain continued to beat on the roof.

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015 – Housekeeping and Prep

Decided it was time to do some serious housekeeping, so out came the vacuum (we bought a new Shark a few months ago, very lightweight and does a great job! Perfect for Rvers!), and the mop, which I used to clean the ceiling. Lots of dusting and windexing, and soon we had a nice clean “house” again! Hubby did a few long overdue chores on the van, fixed his regular glasses (which had a broken frame, which is why he didn’t wear them yesterday, thinking they would fall apart. No irony there, huh?), then we settled down to a shortened afternoon of football and blog catch up. Getting pretty far behind with uploading, haven’t had a decent cell phone/internet signal for weeks now! Not going to be any better at the next place, either, I don’t think. Almost a month without easy access, how have I survived??!! Patience, and keeping myself occupied with other things, like my horses, dogs and husband, that’s how! Actually kind of nice for a change, even if it is a bit inconvenient.

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 – Another Ride Day at Shawnee State Forest

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Got up at a reasonable hour today, and after breakfast, we saddled the horses up and headed out, with slickers on as it had been raining off and on all morning. We had heard that Pigeon Roost was the favorite trail here, and the footing was mostly sand, so we went without boots today in order not to irritate Clio's abrasion. Headed up Forest Road 4 this time, staying on the tarmac to avoid the big climb on the trail, to the intersection with Pigeon Roost. No traffic at all on the road, thank goodness, and it wasn't far to the trailhead, where we turned left and headed up Pigeon Roost. Thankfully, the rumors were true, the trail was mostly sand. We had a small rise at the beginning, but then it leveled off somewhat, with nice, easy grades up and down as it curled around some hills. Very nice section of trail, except they kind of overdid it with the bulldozer-built berms. Not a big fan of "trails by Bulldozer." We trotted and even managed to canter a couple of times on the occasional straight-away, before crossing the road and arriving at Snake Hollow trail head, which was a trail with a much less "bulldozer" look, some actual one-track trails, albeit brief. Mostly two track. We did fine until Hubby called ahead to tell me one of his lenses had fallen out of his prescription sunglasses! We stopped and searched and searched, with no luck, unfortunately. I swear, "Shawnee" must mean "Lost," we've had such problems with losing things! Anyway, we eventually gave up (too many wet leaves around, all shaped the same way as his lens), and kept going. In just a short way, we came out on Forest Road 6, a gravel road that was our way back to camp. Usually there are a few more trails to take, a connector trail and one called Conley's run, but because they've been doing so much logging in the area, this entire section of the forest is temporarily closed, so we were stuck heading back on the road, not much fun considering we had no boots on. Eventually we reached the cutoff back to the camp, which was one of the better trails we've been on here, actually. A one-track trail, but obviously with lots of traffic, though it was still in good condition. A few steep grades on the way back down to the camp, but not too bad. Let the horses have another drink at the boat ramp, put them up, and was promptly invited to the Scioto County Horse Council's chili dinner. We spent the next few hours chatting with everyone, munching on cornbread, chili and pie. It was great not having to cook for a change! At dusk we headed out to feed the horses and relax for the evening, a very pleasant day all around.

Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 – Rest and Writing Day

Spent the day resting and writing, now working on “The Best (and Worst) Horse Camps in the USA”, hoping to get it ready in time for the Great Florida Cattle Drive in Florida in January, not sure I’m going to make it! Otherwise uneventful day.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 – Trailer to Hobey Hollow for Boot Hunt

After breakfast and a discussion, Hubby and I decided the best course of action would be to trailer the horses down to the south end of Hobey Hollow and take another look for a lost boot. Based on my GPS track from yesterday, I plotted out the section that deserved the most attention, and we headed out in the early afternoon. We found the camping area along Forest Road 1 where we had passed yesterday, and got the horses saddled up again. Hubby’s mare Clio had an abrasion on her foot, so neither one of us put boots on, but considering we knew this section was mostly dirt and only a few rocks, we decided it was worth it. As soon as we reached the area where I lost the boot, which thankfully was less than a quarter mile up the trail from that point, I dismounted and started searching along the left side of the trail, which we figured was where it had landed. We also discussed the possibility that Apollo had kicked the boot to the other side of the trail, or deeper into the underbrush, so we looked as thoroughly as we could. I asked Lola to look, too, and she seemed to understand, sniffing in the bushes as well. After a few minutes, Hubby argued we should go further up the trail, but I was convinced I had been diligent in my watchfulness yesterday, and didn’t want to go further until we had completely exhausted that area. In the midst of the discussion, Hubby looked directly down on the right side of the trail and said “Oh, there it is.” Neither one of us could believe it, it was sitting right on the side of the trail, but had turned upside down, and the bottom was covered in dirt that exactly matched the color of the stones, and looked just like a stone! Incredible! Before I picked it up, I asked Lola again to find the boot, and she went almost straight to it, but was afraid to get close enough to pick it up, as it was directly under Clio and she didn’t want to get underfoot (a smart girl!) Bodes well for next time I lose a boot on the trail! All told we only spent about 10 minutes looking before we found it, so we headed back and loaded up the trailer again. I had some internet work to do, so we drove up to the State Park Lodge and piggybacked on their wi-fi for awhile, answering email and getting some other logistics done. It took longer than I had hoped, almost an hour before we headed back to camp. No worries, the horses and dogs and Hubby all took a little nap. Got back to camp, happy that my lost boot had been found (yeah!), and determined to figure out a way to solve the problem, possibly with duct tape! Had another nice evening once we finally got back.

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 – Computer Fix, First Ride, and Lost Boot at Shawnee

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Busy day today! Got up a bit earlier and got to work on my computer, first solving the power button problem (a flat cable had gotten pulled out), and then fixing another problem with the keyboard and mouse (another loose cable), until finally all was well and my computer went back to working again, yeah! Think I better order another one when we get home next month, though, this one is getting a bit old and starting to deteriorate, can't afford to lose anything! Ran out to the Shawnee State Park Lodge, which I found had a free wi-fi signal, and finished off all the work that I didn't complete yesterday. Got back to camp about 1:30, and Hubby and I saddled up the horses and headed out for what was supposed to be a 6 mile ride, which ordinarily would take us 2 hours. I had planned a loop up past the Fire Tower, then down to Hobey Hollow, then a loop back up on Rock Lick. The climb to the Fire Tower was even longer and steeper than I had figured, a long, strenuous uphill stretch that wore the horses out pretty fast. The trails aren't really trails, they're all made by a bulldozer, and there were a lot of rocks, and I was glad I had put boots on the horses. Once we passed the Fire Tower and found the trailhead for Hobey Hollow, we started to go downhill dramatically again, pretty much the whole way down the other side of the mountain, tiring the other half of the horses' muscles! At the bottom of the hill, the trail dramatically shifted, becoming a long, straight road that followed a creek that was almost dry. Eventually, there was a section with less stones, so we decided to trot and canter, and somewhere along that stretch, I noticed I was missing a boot. Now, because we've been having problems with Apollo's boots this summer, I had been checking them regularly, and was sure I had them before we starting trotting, but when we back tracked looking for it, we couldn't find it! Usually we find it in the middle of the trail, or stuck in mud, but we hadn't seen much mud and I had checked each time we went through any to make sure I still had boots. We covered more than half a mile, twice, looking for it, and never could find it. We decided that since it was getting late, and the terrain had slowed us down considerably, we couldn't afford to keep looking, so we continued on our way, making the turn on Forest Road 1, picking up Rock Lick Trail, that was a pretty nice trail, fairly gradual grades, at least until the last section, which once again climbed up the same hill, though it didn't seem quite as steep, and at the top, the trail went sandy, thank goodness! We followed that until we hit the tarmac road, which we followed until we came to an intersection. To the left was Silver Arrow, to the right was Pigeon Roost. I quickly figured out that this section of Silver Arrow would take us back to camp, so we headed down that, which again dropped down the hill even more, and pretty dramatically. Kind of wished we had stayed on the tarmac, at the least the hill was a bit more gradual. Eventually we hit the bottom, then finally merged back onto the trail we started on, taking right back into camp. We took the horses down the boat ramp to get a much needed drink, then put everyone away, and settling down for the evening. Just for fun, I spent a little while playing hide and seek with Lola and an old boot, thinking she might be able to help us find it when we go back to look tomorrow. She did quite well, smart puppy! Whether or not it pays off this time, who knows, but if I keep it up, it might come in real handy in the future!

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015 – Runaround Day to Portsmouth, OH

After a rocky night sleep, and a late breakfast, I ran out to the nearest town to go to Tractor Supply and a drug store, then stopped at the Buckeye Dairy Bar in Friendship, where I had earlier learned had a wi-fi. After ordering ice cream, I sat down to do a bunch of computer work, only to discover their wi-fi quit working, so I ended up using my own Jetpack hot spot for the duration. A couple of hours later, I finally ran out of juice in my computer, and for some reason, I couldn’t get the plug to work, it just wouldn’t charge. When I got back to camp, I tore down the computer and figured out that the plastic insert where the plug goes in had loosened up just enough for the center coax wire in the cable wouldn’t go in far enough, so I jury-rigged it with a piece of rubber washer resting in the back so it was more fixed in place. I could tell when I plugged it back in that the battery was charging because I had a blinking light, and by days end the battery was now fully charged, but for some reason, the power button wasn’t working and I couldn’t get it to turn on. I decided to wait until I was fresher tomorrow to tackle that problem, and we settled down for the evening as usual.

Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 – Travel Day to Shawnee State Forest

Up early with the alarm and was out of camp before 9:00. Made stops, as usual, for gas and at Walmart, though we also sat down for quick lunch at a DQ so I could check my email and do a few internet chores I hadn’t been able to accomplish, as there was no cell phone signal at Harrison, and not likely to be in Shawnee either. I called the Forest office several times to see what route is the best for a large rig, as my GPS is showing me what looks like windy, twisty back roads. I finally spoke to someone who gave me a route that stayed entirely on tarmac, and even though it took me all the way to the south and west of the park before heading into the horse camp, I’m glad I took it, because it made it very easy, and I discovered many of the roads my GPS was tracking were gravel and hilly. There was one narrow bridge that I was concerned my 110″ wide Open Range might not make, but we came through with no problem. The horse camp is actually on both sides of the road, with camping along a creek on the south side, and a line of hitching posts on north side. Not highline posts, but hitching posts where evidently the expectation is to tie the horse to the post and let it circle around. I set up a picket line anyway, just because our horses are more use to that. We put them on anchors for awhile, while we figured out where to park the RV. In order to get a satellite signal, there was only one choice, the corner next to the water pump (yes, that lovely 1st century AD technology rears its ugly head again, apparently the only water dispersal system Ohio invests in), which is technically not where they want people to park, but it was our only choice for satellite. With all the stops, we didn’t get fully settled in until after 6:00, not sure why, but we were tired by the end of the day. Unfortunately, I lost my cell phone signal many miles back, so it means going out for any internet or phone work I might need to do. Finally settled down for the evening, perfect temps for sleeping!