Archives for February 2020

Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 – Paperwork Day

Hiya Darlin’,
Spent pretty much the entire day getting caught up on updating my bookkeeping with all the receipts that have been piling up. You remember my computer crashed last fall, and my backup wasn’t as up to date as it was supposed to be (NOT happy with Carbonite over that!), so I finally pulled it all out and got it done through the end of the year, at least. It won’t take long to do the rest of it, hopefully tomorrow. It took all day, but I finally settled down to a glass of wine, a mini pizza and a few more Agents of SHIELD before calling it a night, which I’m doing right now! Good night, my love!

Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 – Another Frustrating Ride to Retrieve Markers

Hi Honey,
Well, today was quite the adventure! After breakfast, I drove out to Jonathan Dickinson Park to collect the markers out there, an hour round trip as you know. When I got there, I decided to just follow the markers to the Hobe Ditch where I left off yesterday, then turn around and pick up the markers on the way back. Lo and behold, after going less than a mile, there suddenly weren’t any markers any more! I hadn’t brought my GPS, so I started guessing which way to go, though I was pretty sure I had it right, there were no markers anywhere! I kept going, figuring as long as I could find my way to the Hobe Ditch, I could find my way back from there, even if I came in on a different trail. What a nightmare! On a few short sections, all my markers would be there (though almost never on the intersections where I really needed them), then there would be long stretches of nothing. So frustrating! I managed to finally reach the Ditch, then turned around a started collecting what few markers were out there, adding yet another 15 miles to Flash’s long week (this trip made it just about 100 miles in a week!), he was even more sluggish today, understandably. After nearly 4 hours on the trail, we ended up back at the trailer having collected a whopping 33 markers. 33!! What a waste of time, energy and fuel, just for that! Anita couldn’t explain what happened, she suspects one or more of the hiker volunteers picked them up, but for heaven’s sake, if you’re going to do the trail, TELL SOMEBODY, especially the person responsible for the job! And more to the point, FINISH, the dang job, don’t leave a handful of markers, get them ALL! Grrrrrr! Not a happy camper by the time I got home after 4:00! Poured myself a glass of wine and put some big chicken quarters in the oven and tried to settle down. Jeff was late again (as usual on a Friday, I’m learning), so I went ahead and fed everybody and got everyone settled, though it was after dark, then settled down for the evening. I vented on Anita for a bit, so I guess I feel a little better, though I think it has more to do with the wine… Anyway, as soon as the laundry is done, I’m off to the shower and bed. Sorry for the rant! Love you! Good night!

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 – Long Ride to Retrieve Markers

Hi Babe,
Flash and I went out to retrieve trail markers today, and boy, what a ride! About 19 miles, starting at the Cypress Creek parking lot, crossing Indiantown Rd., down to the stable where folks stayed over Saturday night, then I cleared out all of Riverbend, went as far south as almost to the Loxahatchee Slough, then north all the way to Hobe Ditch before finally coming back to Cypress Creek. Whew! Flash did pretty well, though he was a bit sluggish today, understandable since he was adding to the 65 miles he already did this week. He handled it well, though! He’s really becoming a fantastic trail horse, really doing a lot of thinking and decision-making on his own, just like I’ve been working to get him do these last 18 months or so. Got back home around 4:30, grabbed a meal, then got ready for another financial seminar down at Nova University, this time on taxes during retirement. The presenter was late, spoke really fast, and seemed a bit bored with his subject (or maybe just having to explain it to a bunch of grayhairs!), but he seemed earnest enough. The last one I went to was all about selling me insurance-backed annuities, this one was more about retirement portfolios in the stock market. I’ve made an appointment to go see them next week, still trying to figure out my best options on a whole bunch of financial topics. Had a rough week on the stock market, though, the media is trying to make out that this recent virus is the end of the world as we know it, even though only 60 people in the U.S. have it, and they’re all under quarantine. The worldwide fatality rate is only about 2-3 percent, vs. 20 percent for the 1918 flu epidemic, so it’s looking like it’s a lot more a political issue than a health issue. I wish these dang politicians would start doing what’s right for the people of this country, not for their own hides, but I suppose it has always been thus! Anyway, got back after 8:30, did my chores, heading for bed! Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020 – Euchre and Shopping

Hello Darlin’,
Just another ordinary Wednesday, with a trip up to Stuart for my weekly euchre game, a bit of shopping at Walmart and a stop at the feed store to pick up hay and feed for the horses. It’s been really hot the last few days, but there’s a cold front coming in that’s going to bring some rain, naturally, so I was luck to reach home and get the hay put away just before the first drops started to fall. Of course, even when I get the hay covered, it gets a bit wet in that open horse trailer, so I’ll probably lose some, like every other week it seems. Anyway, settled in for the evening, started watching Agents of SHIELD. I know we saw the first season together, but strangely, very little of it looks familiar, so I’m enjoying it again for the first time. A lot of the Dish PVR is full of SHIELD episodes, so if I knock off all six seasons and delete them from the Dish, I may just have to put up the dish and reinstate the tuner so I can store a bunch of movies or something for those times when I may not be in a good enough cell phone area to get Netflix or Prime. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it! Meanwhile, off the bed. Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 – Slow Day

Hi Babe,
Didn’t sleep as late as I’d like this morning, but I had an appointment with a financial advisor, so it didn’t matter much. That took up most of the late morning, then Lola and I made a quick stop at the Publix for a couple of things, but I was still feeling pretty tired, so I decided to veg out for the afternoon, finally finishing off the rest of the Poldark series. I signed up for a free 7 day trial on PBS so I could finish it off, but I canceled it as soon as I finished it. There might be a few things I’ll look at later, but I have too much other stuff to look at for now. Anyway, I finally took some time to play a bit with Lola, I’m hoping she’ll sleep through the night. I had to take her big bed out of the truck for the weekend, and tested her out to see if she’d sleep in the trailer without disturbing me to much, and she was great the first couple of nights, a little restless last night, but I figured that was because she had been cooped up all weekend. Hoping the exercise today will quiet her down tonight, fingers crossed. Anyway, off to shower and bed now, so good night, my love!

Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 – Recovery Day

Hiya Sweetheart,
Not surprisingly, I slept like a log last night! I also fell asleep in my chair in the middle of the afternoon for a couple of hours, so needless to say, other than the most basic chores, I didn’t do very much today, being just too darned tired! Not at all sore, though, for which I’m grateful, and neither Flash nor Apollo seem any worse for the wear. I forgot to mention that Apollo did really well yesterday with Jeff, he said he only got stubborn and kicky a couple of times, but eventually settled down. I was glad he had company, though, I would have really worried about him being out there on his own. Anyway, other than doing a little research on some investments I’m looking into, and downloading my GPS maps from yesterday, I had a really nice, quiet day, and am off for an early night! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020 – Day Three of the OTL

Hi Babe,
Once again, we got an early start today, though Jeff dragged his feet a little this morning and we were about 15 minutes later than I wanted, but you know me, I built a little extra time into it anyway. We headed straight for the Cypress Creek parking lot, which was going to be the starting point for Jeff and the two ladies we met last night, and for me, though I was headed in the other direction so that I could once again get out before the riders. A few had already left, but they had to stop at Riverbend to check in and listen to the riders meeting, so I jumped out in front of them, taking down some orange markers and checking on the pink. The weather was absolutely perfect today, partly cloudy, low 70’s, a little breeze, just fabulous! Most of the markers were in pretty good shape, except one entire section from Cypress Creek to the cow pastures, where every darn marker had disappeared, and I didn’t really have enough to replace them all, so I had to make the markings a lot farther apart, which caused a problem for a couple of people, but they managed to get on track again. That’s the problem with marking so much earlier, some stuff goes missing! If it were up to me, I’d just mark the trails a few hours ahead of the group, and have a drag team take them down again, it would be much more efficient, because an awful lot of time and energy is spent doing it beforehand, not to mention we probably lost 50 plus markers that I needed to replace over the three days. I thought I would catch up to Jeff et al earlier than I did, but they had a good head start, so it was only a couple of miles before the end when I finally did meet up with them. I got slowed down a couple of times because someone had come out after I marked the trails in JD earlier this week and added a few turn markers on the left side of the trail, even though the turn was to the right, so they were in the wrong place and were really confusing, so I had to pull them down. Later at the pavilion I met the woman who did it, she’s one of the original founders of the OTL, and I explained what I did, and she seemed to understand, she had just never heard of that before. Anyway, the four of us arrived at the pavilion, grabbed some beer and burritos and chatted for a long time. My truck and trailer arrived, but we soon had to unhook it and have another truck take it into an area that needed 4WD to rescue a horse that pulled a ligament or something. The next group that came in was a long time later, and the Sunday group was a lot smaller than I remember from last year, though the numbers were better on Friday and Saturday evidently. Anyway, we ended up getting drawn into a long conversation with the organizers, which was fairly enlightening, and finally packed up to leave. We had arranged to meet the ladies Jeff had ridden with at Uncle Micks for rib Sunday, and we all left about the same time. Service there was really slow again, and they were out of all but a half rack of ribs, which we let the ladies have since they’re from out of town and Jeff and I can go anytime. I didn’t really need any more food, but it was good company, and we were there for more than two hours before we finally left, getting home around 8:00. Got the horses settled in pretty quick, took my shower, and now I’m more than ready for bed! Good night, my love!

Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 – Day Two of the OTL

Hello my love!
Well, miracle of all miracles, brother Jeff was up and almost ready to go at 7:00 this morning, as planned! He’s been working so hard on his van, he really needed a break, so I persuaded him to volunteer today as our ambulance driver, but I was a bit concerned he might not make it in time (you know, Jeff time :-), but we made it! We managed to get all the way down to Camp I just after 8:00, and again, I was on the trail by 8:30 adding markers and generally scoping out the trail in advance of the rest of the riders. There was still a lot of water on the trail, and there’s one section that really has a swamp feel to it, lots of mangrove trees very close together, it felt like being in the bayou! Flash and I had a great time, though, and we passed the halfway point on the Beeline crossing where Jeff was supposed to be before he actually got there, though I heard he got there a few minutes later. I arrived at the stable where we ended the ride in good time. There were a number of riders that rode on Friday but decided to rest on Saturday, so they moved their rigs in the morning and were waiting at the stables. I think that’s a better way of doing it, truly. Anyway, I ended up chatting with a couple of ladies at one trailer, where they lent me a halter and let me tie up to their trailer, and then sat with them for a while. Eventually a couple of riders came in, but it was a long time before the rest arrived, I guess they were really taking their time today. They took one wrong turn (because they started to follow a pink marker, which they had been warned about during the riders meeting, what can you do!), but it was only for a tiny loop near the end, so it didn’t really matter. They figured it out and ended up in camp anyway. Fortunately, they had enough volunteers so I didn’t have to take a truckful of passengers back to Corbett, and when Jeff finally arrived, before the last group came in, we ended up chatting with the ladies again, Maggie and Bev (aka Pistol). Turns out they weren’t sure if they were going to ride on Sunday, they were worried about it being too long, so I suggested they skip the Riverbend portion and start from the Cypress Creek parking lot, which is precisely what Jeff wanted to do on Apollo. I was a bit worried about Jeff being out there on his own, not knowing how stubborn Apollo might get, so it was the perfect solution! Anyway, we worked out the logistics for the morning, and went on back to the house, got my chores done, and was quite ready to hit the hay early. Another great day!

Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 – Day One of the OTL

Hello My Sweet!
What a day! Up before the crack of dawn, had breakfast since it’s going to be such a long day, and had Flash loaded up and ready to go by the time Anita’s boyfriend Scott arrived at about 7:10. We got out about 7:30 (he was admiring one of the boats brother Jeff has stored in his yard), and we were at Dupuis by shortly after 8:00. I got Flash ready to go, and by 8:30 I was on my way out in front of the pack. When my head started to get wet from a light drizzle in the air, I realized I forgot my hel-hat so I had to come back, though I hadn’t gone far, thank goodness. A nice turnout, something like 35 riders, which I’m told was a good number for the Friday ride, especially since it was a bit cool and windy as a front was just finishing going through. Glad to say most of the markers were still there, though I did have to add or replace a few just to make it to my standards :-). The rain quit before long, and though it stayed mostly overcast, I didn’t mind. I remember last year it was sunny and hot and when I went through the southern section where there wasn’t much shade, it was pretty uncomfortable, so it was actually better this way. Besides, I had my slicker on, so I didn’t get very wet, at least not until I got to Corbett, where the water was still high and there was a lot of splashing going on! There was NO activity along the canal, we were worried because they had huge machinery out there a couple of weeks ago, and at the last minute, one of the sub-contractors was going to STOP US from going along the canal because of insurance liability (good Lord, insurance will be the death of this country! Forced to raise wimps!), but we got a reprieve at the last moment, and there was no activity anyway, so it was all a storm in a teacup. Anyway, it was a great ride, especially since I didn’t have the stress of getting lost, and I received many accolades from the other riders as they came in, no one got lost. There was one group from Miami, however, who had a leader who claimed to know Dupuis really well, and he took his group on a different route (supposedly a shortcut, which added 6-7 miles to the day), and we had volunteers waiting for an extra two plus hours for them to come in after everyone else. Of course, his horse lost a shoe and they had to walk the last 5-6 miles, which slowed things down even more. Sigh. Some of the folks had just come from the Cracker Ride, and they were telling me how they move the trailers in the morning and shuttle them back to their horses, which is the same thing the Michigan Shore-to-Shore folks do, so I’m going to suggest that for next year. Makes more sense, since everyone will be arriving at their own rig at different times, and we won’t have to make anyone wait for enough drivers and a volunteer to shuttle them. Just means they have to start a little later in the day. All the delay also meant that my truck didn’t get to me until well after all the riders but that one group came in, so I had to borrow a halter and lead rope to tie Flash to someone’s trailer for awhile. He did brilliantly, by the way. Unlike last year, he didn’t get any swelling or limping at all, so he was in great shape. I took a group back to Dupuis (over an hour!), then got home after dark, got Flash settled in, and I’m not going to be long out of bed, I’ve got another early call tomorrow morning! Good night, my love!

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 – Prep Day for OTL

Hey Babe,
Spent most of the day just getting ready for the big weekend coming up. All the trails are now supposed to be marked (I did my bit!), but I had to clear out the truck so that we can shuttle passengers from Corbett to Dupuis at the end of the day tomorrow, and also have room for anyone that might have to be rescued during the ride. I volunteered to let them use our truck and trailer as their rescue ambulance, which they appreciated, but also gave me the added benefit of having my truck delivered to me at the end of the ride, saving me at least one trip back to the start! As you can imagine, that took some doing, since so much stuff was piled up in the foot area of the back seat, not to mention Lola’s gigantic bed! I cleaned it all up, though, vacuumed it out and sprayed it with Febreze, making it all look nice. Did what laundry I needed to do, and generally just spent the day preparing before settling down for the night. ‘Night, my love!