Archives for May 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016 – Repair and Housekeeping Day

After breakfast, Hubby stripped out all the broken pipes and headed out to find replacements, while I got busy cleaning and airing out the house. By end of day, we had running water, the house was mostly cleaned up, TV was moved and hooked up, the water bed was warm enough, with a sleeping back under the clean sheets, so we officially moved back into the house. A couple of major problems we need to solve during our stay here, hoping the Honey Do list doesn’t get too long while we’re here!

Friday, May 13, 2016 – Travel Day Home

Got up early, finished packing up, ran out to the rv dump at the regular campground, and was out of the campground before 9:00. Stopped to pick up breakfast, stopped once for fuel just before arriving home, had to combat some kind of running race that followed about 10 miles of our route up Hwy. 41 up the mountain, which slowed us down, but still made it home, with the time change, by about 2:30. Discovered we had no electricity, and the water pipes in the well house were split, so we had our work cut out for us. The electric company managed to arrive in short order, and he found a fuse that had broken, so we were up and running before 4:30. Too late to get the water going, but Hubby, having an astute premonition, had put water in the RV fresh water tank before leaving, something we rarely do as it adds weight to the vehicle, but we learned long ago to listen to that little voice in the back of our heads, it’s hardly ever wrong, so we were fine for the night. Hadn’t planned on moving in today anyway, always need to heat up the water bed for 24 hours before we can sleep on it, so we always stay in the RV the first night home anyway. Put the portable fence up so the horses could graze the overgrown grass (our landscape guy retired, so we need to find another one), did a little cleaning, but couldn’t do much until we get running water, which should be tomorrow.

Thursday, May 12, 2016 – Work with Client

After spending the morning putting things away in anticipation of our departure tomorrow, the afternoon working with a client in Augusta, a quick trip to Tractor Supply and Walmart to pick up everything we’re going to need for a while after we get home tomorrow, we once again settled down for the evening.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 – Another (and Last) Ride at AH Stephens State Park

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After a quiet breakfast and chores, the horses got saddled up and out by about noon, to finish off the final trail here at AH Stephens SP, the Orange trail. They have just about finished adding an extra mile to the Blue Trail that I rode yesterday, but I didn't want to risk getting lost, since it still didn't have markings, so I stayed on the main trail. The Orange trail requires you to go out the Red trail for a ways, but instead of going the long way to the right, I knew it joined at a closer intersection out to the left, so that's where we headed. It meant essentially going "backward" on the trail, so many of the markings were only on one side of the tree (opposite from the direction we were headed), but every intersection is well-marked, so it's kind of hard to get lost here. This was another pretty trail, but it did get closer to civilization, at one point paralleling the busy Hwy. 22, you could hear and occasionally see traffic through the trees, past a couple of park buildings, and you could hear lawn mowers on the move. It also had a couple of historical sites, including a baptismal pool from 1866 and a CCC outhouse from the 1930's, which they pointed out with signs. Nowhere near as pretty as the Blue trail, but still worth the ride. It was almost exactly 5 miles, so not a long ride, but pleasant, with perfect weather, just enough breeze to keep the real heat away, and, of course, the shade was excellent. Got back around 2:30, had lunch, then I took Lola out to the trail near the boat launch and she did some more swimming (again, we didn't take the dogs on the trail because I knew this one went near a road, and didn't know how close, so better safe than sorry!) After her exercise session, relaxed the rest of the afternoon, had dinner, took the dogs for a quick walk (I'm trying to get more exercise in order to lose some weight!) before settling in for the evening.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 – Another Fabulous Ride at AH Stephens State Park

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After a quiet day yesterday, and with only a couple of days left here, I decided to take the longer, Blue Trail, this time ponying Clio along just to see how that would go. I pulled out a long lunge-line I seldom use and once I had Apollo all saddled up, hooked her up and away we went! She was brilliant, staying up with us extremely well, jogging and trotting to keep up without being asked, at least until we got near the end, when she was clearly ready to get home. I had no trouble, except the lunge-line was so long I ended up stuffing a lot of it into one side of my saddle bags, and that helped. Towards the end I decided to try using Lola's retractible dog leash, and that actually worked wonderfully! I'll need to see if they make a horse version of a retractible lead, what a great idea! Meanwhile, the trail was magnificent! Big trees, great brooks, a couple of stream crossings, ravines, uphills and downhills, not to steep but enough to make if really interesting! We even got a few canters in! The weather was perfect, hardly any bugs, just spectacular! We were gone about 2.5 hours, a perfect length for an afternoon ride. I didn't bring the dogs, as I didn't want to try to handle two dogs and two horses, and there's a leash law here anyway, but I didn't get the impression it's enforced too dramatically (but don't quote me on that!) I did take Lola for a walk yesterday and found access to a lake next to one of the cottages, so she got her swimming. Also I took a drive around and found a boat launch and public fishing spot at the end of one of roads, next to a nature trail, so after lunch I drove down there with Lola and let her fetch and swim for about 45 minutes before coming back to camp and settling down for the evening. A great day!

Sunday, May 8, 2016 – First Ride Day at AH Stephens State Park

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At last, we had our first ride at AH Stephens State Park! After a couple of days of rest and rehabilitation for Hubby's arm, we finally saddled up and headed out for a short ride on the Red Loop, which was just under 3 miles. We had to maneuver around the concessionaire's trailer which was parked right on the trailhead, but the horses got past that obstacle with no problem, and we hit the trail. Well-marked and well-mapped, these trails are truly lovely! They were fairly wide, sometimes enough for two horses abreast, and they weaved through the woods in a wonderful fashion. Having been on the flat for so long, it was fabulous to finally have some small hills and dales to traverse! The horses were quite engaged, with even slow-walking Clio a bit more active lately. We had several nice places to trot and canter, and it was, indeed, cooler in the woods. The trail wound by a lovely picnic site by one of the several lakes in the park, and we stopped for a moment to enjoy the view before heading back to camp. After putting the horses back on the highline, we took a trip out to go shopping, which dragged out longer than anticipated because the county we were in was dry, and we had to drive quite a ways to find an open liquor store. Eventually we got back to camp and settled in for the evening.

Saturday, May 7, 2016 – Another Computer/Rest Day

Mostly vacation planning today. The campground was busy because apparently there is a local stable or concessionaire that hauls horses in and then takes groups out on rides through the park. Today’s group all had fancy hats, no doubt due to it being Derby Day, but they had once accident where a girl was thrown or fell off, and the paramedics had to come in and look after her. Heard later from one of the rangers that she had broken a hip and would require surgery. Hope the owners have a good Waiver of Liability signed! In any event, with all the traffic on the trails, we elected to stay home, even though the weather has been perfect, 70’s in the day, upper 40’s at night, great sleeping weather! Supposed to get a lot hotter tomorrow, but we’re still planning on riding, expecting that it will be cooler in the shade of the woods. Watched the Derby and otherwise had a more relaxed evening.

Friday, May 6, 2016 – Computer Day

Spent most of the day working on various things on the computer, and otherwise taking a rest day.

Thursday, May 5, 2016 – Travel Day to AH Stephens State Park

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Got up with the alarm at 7:30, made coffee and proceeded to finish packing up and departing. We ran back to the regular campground to dump, then hit the road for an "all back road" route up to Crawfordsville. With a quick stop for breakfast and another for shopping, we arrived at the park around 3:00, where a young man checked us in with no problem. Last time we were here, we only stayed overnight, this time the plan is to ride, every one of the 14 miles of trails. Despite a weather forecast that assured me of NO chance of rain today, we had a few stray sprinkles just before we arrived, then just as we were finishing setting up, it began to rain quite a bit more, so I had to run out and put the tarp on the hay. They offer stalls here now, for an extra charge, but we decided to put the horses on the highline again. They're building another 10-stall barn on the other side of the campground as well, so I guess they've learned how to cater to the equestrian community. In fact, we parked in the same site we did last time we were here, and it was perfect for getting a good satellite dish signal, and of course, since it's only a few miles off I-20, the cell phone signal is great here, too. Looking forward to doing some riding here, hoping Hubby's shoulder is up to a quick ride tomorrow. Meanwhile, with the rain, cold breeze and low temps tonight, we elected to put the rain sheets on the horses, since they no longer have any winter coat left, and they've been in such warm temps until now! Settled in for the evening, same living room, different back yard! Gotta love it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 – Final Ride at General Coffee State Park

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Several storms came in during the evening yesterday, and one of the rangers came by and told us there was bad hail coming in, so just before midnight we put the horses in the trailer just to be on the safe side. Had a bit of rain, thunder and lightning, but not much else, but it fortunately dropped the temps down to a comfortable level. Slept well, then after breakfast got the horses saddle up and headed out to finish off as many of the trails as we could. I planned a trip out River Trail, a 4 mile linear trail to the northwest boundary of the park, with a return on the Yellow Jacket, then Pink trail, about 7.5 miles total. Wound through some marvelous woods, then along a stretch of sandy trail until we reached a long wooden bridge over some swampland. Our horses have no trouble with a long bridge like that, but if you're not that confident, the park folks have put in a nice mounting block at each end of the bridge if you want to walk your horse over it. There's really no way to get around it, just too mucky. At the far side of the bridge, there a loop you can take that meets up again on the other side, so we went straight on the way out, and came back on the other half of the loop. Where they merge on the other side, there trail continues all the way to the park boundary. We had one tricky bit, where there was a culvert pipe across the trail, but most of the trail had washed out, so there was a creek and a big corrugated pipe which gave the horses some pause. I got down and managed to get both horses across with only a little hesitation, fortunately. At the end of the official trail, I was expecting a fence, but there wasn't one. We were clued in by a couple of large logs that criss-crossed the trail, and the trail rather dramatically deteriorating (though that had been happening during the last half mile or so anyway), then when I turned around I saw the Park Boundary sign, so we headed back, talking the alternate River Trail loop, and found our way home. A very nice ride, though Hubby slipped on the culvert and hurt his shoulder a bit again, but only slightly, so hopefully it won't put him out of commission again. The dogs had a great time, with Lola doing her whirling dervish routine a couple of times, where she suddenly goes into some crazed mode and starts running circles around like a mad dog, usually in and out of puddles or water. The weather was perfect, temps in the low 70's in the shade, so Billy had no trouble keeping up either. Got back to camp, did a quick final load of laundry to get our muddy jeans clean, started packing up for our departure tomorrow, and settled down for the evening. A great day! Again, SO GLAD TO BE BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN!!! YEAH!!!