Archives for May 2020

Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Another Ride With Callie and Dinner with the Folks. Oh, and Saw Kid Rock Perform Briefly on Site



Hey Sweetie,
Another busy day here at Loretta Lynn's Wrangler Camp. More trailers came in throughout the day, but I managed to dissuade everyone coming in from parking in the spot next to me, because the handle on the water spigot was missing, and true to form, it didn't get fixed today, so hopefully, my front yard will continue to be an opening in the row, which many people are starting to use as a pathway from row to row. I slept a bit later because I couldn't get to sleep very well last night, but Callie and I were back on the trail before 11:00. I had planned a shorter route today, one that took us out to the Western Town, but we got turned around a couple of times, again, despite following my GPS, because the intersections are so poorly marked it's pitiful. On one wrong trail we met a couple of women who were also trying to find a way to town, so they ended up following us as we backtracked up a hill to get back to the right trail. We eventually came out behind the old town church, but instead of following the trail out on the loop I had planned, they wanted to go into town, so we followed the road into the town, only to be met with a "No horses beyond this point" sign. But friends of these two women were already in the town, they apparently didn't see the sign, but I found a way around the back and we met up with them just as they were leaving. I wanted to get back to the trail loop, but the women followed the part of the group that went back by road, while three of their riders, two men and a woman, decided to join us on the trail back. I managed to get us back with only one missed turn, but that just was a shortcut across a loop anyway, and by that time, we were already much longer than I had expected, so that was fine. We got back to camp and Callie helped me tremendously getting the horses put away. After her parents came to get her, I took Lola back down to the creek to play fetch for awhile, then as I was walking back, Bubba, the trail boss with the mules who let me put the paddock up for the horses behind his trailer, told me I should take a walk along the creek and join "the party" that was back there. Members of the Lynn family were gathered back there, along with some other friends, and there was a karioke setup and a number of folks were singing, and a lot of people had obviously been drinking and more most of the afternoon, so many were very merry. I met a woman who went gaga over Lola, she had a German short-hair named EmmyLou that she took out of her cage to introduce her. They seemed to get along okay. While we were chatting, we heard some live a cappella singing, and her eyes got big and she said, "That's him!" And I asked, "Who?", and she said "Kid Rock!" Evidently he's a friend of the family and came out for the day (maybe more, I don't know), and he ended up getting roped into singing several songs with some help from other friends and family. Quite the party! I probably stayed for close to an hour, though some of that was keeping an eye on some kids (and some adults, too) who were playing with Lola. After that I fed the horses and headed up to the riders meeting where I learned a bit more about what the plan is for the week (I literally couldn't find hardly any information on the internet!), then I headed up to where Callie and her family were camped up on the hill and they fed me an incredible steak dinner, a HUGE piece of meat I could only eat half of, but her mom Tracy gave me a bag to bring the rest home, very nice! We sat by the campfire and chatted, got to see the space station fly over (they had no idea you could do that, and they loved it!), and chatted some more before I finally had to come home. Breakfast is only from 6:30 to 8:00, so it's going to be an early morning! Took my shower as soon as I got home, now it's off the bed for me. Good night, my love!

Saturday, May 30, 2020 – Ride With Birthday Girl Callie

Hi Baby,
Another good night sleep, though there's a lot more street lights here, but with the blackout drapes it doesn't matter! Had a leisurely morning before saddling up the horses and having Callie come down for our ride together. I created a map on Google Earth and downloaded it on to my GPS because I have memories of getting lost here last time. I put the boots on the horses, too, because I remember it was rocky in spots. Actually, it was mostly rocky on the trails we took, and despite my diligence with the GPS we STILL managed to get lost a couple of time. The trails aren't very well marked, especially the intersections, and there are so many renegade trails out there you can hardly tell which way you're going half the time. Lots of really steep hills, too, though Callie did great. She didn't mind the uphills so much, but the downhills made her understandably nervous, she was afraid of going over Apollo's head, but she managed very well. We went over 7 miles, which was longer than I had planned, almost three hours, but everyone did really well, and it was a gorgeous dry day for a change, so we were all happy campers by the time we got back! Callie's parents came down to get her, and we sat and chatted again for awhile before they left, they're taking her out to dinner for her birthday tonight. I inflated the river tube I had bought at Walmart yesterday, and took Lola down to the water where we played with the frisbee while I sat in shallow water in my ring. I actually had her towing me upstream occasionally to keep me from drifting too far away. The water was quite cool, since we haven't really had any terribly hot weather, at least not enough to warm up the creek, and the nights have been cool as well, but that's supposed to change later in the week, going up into the 90's. Trailers kept coming in all day and now it's getting really crowded. You would hate it! I'm just glad I came early so I could claim a good, big spot to fence in the horses, people coming in today are picketing them everywhere, every tree is taken. After I fed the horses I stopped at a couple of my neighbors to chat, met some folks who live in West Georgia, and some others that live near Coldwater in Milton, FL. I'm sure I'll meet even more in the coming days, it would be good to create a personal network of fellow horsecampers, in addition to the ones from my Facebook group. After dark and dinner, I took Lola for a walk, and ended up following the sound of music to a campfire a few trailers up, where some of my other neighbors had joined in, and I listened for a bit. You would have hated it, too. Apparently they're here to do a concert at some point, don't know when, with some other musicians that are supposed to be joining them. It was only vocal and guitar right now. In between songs that frankly got lamer and lamer as time wore on, half-finished, questionable lyrics, the two guys and some of their followers started telling stories that devolved into bathroom humor, humiliation of their friends in public places and sex jokes, so I didn't stay around very long. Sorry, I just don't find that kind of immature humor very funny. I was kind of hoping for the opportunity of a preview audience for my Snowy River bit, but most of that crowd wouldn't have appreciated it, and besides, it was more their "show," so I didn't want to intrude. I'd rather find a more receptive audience for that. Anyway, back in the trailer, finished off one DS9, now I'm off to shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Friday, May 29, 2020 – Travel Day to Loretta Lynn Wrangler Camp

Hey Sweetie,
Finally, a cooler night, great for sleeping, but I woke up early, probably due to the wine I drank last night! I haven’t had any alcohol all week and have slept like a baby, so I’m guess that’s the reason. But I was up around 7:30 and immediately starting packing. I didn’t put as much away as I usually do, but then my drive is only about 40 minutes, and I wasn’t sure how early they’d let me in. I had everything packed and ready to go except the horses by a bit before 10:00, and of course, Flash decided to be stubborn and not get in the trailer. Naturally, because I had an audience! After half a dozen tries, I finally tied him to the trailer and got Apollo, who didn’t even hesitate at the ramp, he walked right in, thank goodness. Felt like a bit of redemption there! Another couple of tries with Flash, and just as one of the neighbors asked if I needed help (he had already helped me with the slide and hooking up), Flash finally put a foot on the ramp, held it there for a good 20 seconds, then finally ran up the ramp as he is wont to do! At least I got it done without help. Finally headed to the dump, then out of the campground by around 10:30. Forty minutes later I was pulling into Loretta Lynn’s ranch at Hurricane Mills (as you know, she owns the whole little town!), got checked in and after some recon, finally selected a site along of row of sites. I had to find one with the longest pad of gravel, because everything is so saturated here. I was even sinking into the gravel a bit, it’s that bad! I got set up straightaway, then finally pulled the horses out of the trailer, putting Apollo on an anchor and tying Flash to the trailer. The trail boss, Bubba, wasn’t here when I first went looking for him, I was told he would have to assign me a place for the electric fence or a highline, but by the time I got set up he was back, and we had a nice chat. We finally decided on putting my horses right beside the back of the barn next to his three mules, so I got them squared away in short order. Several long chats later, I finally headed up to the nearest big town of Waverly and went to the Walmart to do my shopping. I even bought a tube so I can go tubing town the river next week when the temps reach 90! Once I got back to camp I contact Callie, the girl we met here back in 2017, and she and her parents had gone shopping and were on their way back, so they showed up awhile later and we sat in the screen room and chatted for quite a while. I finally took them over to see the horses, as it was time for feeding anyway, and they left shortly after. Tomorrow is her birthday (they almost always come here for her birthday!), and I think she’s going to come riding with me in the morning, though they’re all going out to dinner tomorrow night, apparently. Anyway, a busy and tiring day (2 hours of breakdown and 3 hours of setup seems a lot for a 40 minute drive!), but there’s an organized ride here next week, which is one of the reasons why I came. Hoping to see some new trails, make a few friends, and maybe even sell a few books, who knows! Anyway, it’s later than usual, so I’m off to shower and bed! Good night sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, May 28, 2020 – Mostly Packing

Hi Babe,
Well, with my departure imminent tomorrow, I spent the day packing, cleaning and generally getting ready to go. It was pretty nice all day, but rain did move in around 4:00, just when Carol came over. She stayed until 8:00, so I didn’t get much else done after that. By the time I got up this morning, the only other camper that’s been here all week had gone, but there was one couple that came in very late last night, I spoke with them for a few minutes on my way to put the recycling where it belonged. It was quiet for a few hours, then some more campers came in, and by the time Carol left, half a dozen more campers had come it, which surprised me for a Thursday, but I think everyone has cabin fever and are looking for excuses to get out as the state opens up some more. Anyway, I got most of what I needed to do done, worked a little on the website, and got most of what I wanted to pack packed, though I still have a few more things in the morning. My next stop is at Loretta Lynn’s, which is only about 40 minutes away, so it’s not like I’m in a big hurry to leave in the morning, though I do want to get there early enough to get a decent spot, considering it will be a Friday and they only have open camping. Looking forward to moving on, now. Two weeks is long enough for just about anywhere, especially with all the rain and mud I’m having to deal with. Supposed to be mostly dry and sunny next week, thank goodness, though getting close to 90 degrees by the end of the week. Sounds like a good time to be heading north! Well, I still have to make the bed after doing laundry today, so I’ll say good night, darling! Love you!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 – Rainy Housekeeping and Computer Day

Hey Sweetie,
Lots of rain overnight, woke up to rain this morning, didn’t get out to feed the horses until after 9:00 it was so bad! A great day to do housekeeping though, so that’s what I spend the rest of the morning doing, then the afternoon I started working on developing a new website for the main business. What a nightmare! A whole new learning curve for this new program, and I’m having a LOT of problems trying to figure it out. I watched a number of tutorial videos, and they make it look so easy, then when I try to do it, it never works right. Grrrrr! Well, I’ll keep trying, I have to get something up there since I can’t make any changes to the old one anymore, that program is completely unsupported and I can’t get anyone to give me my original access code either. Other than that, a quiet day, though it was almost 8:00 by the time I settled down to dinner, you know how time flies when I’m on the computer. Won’t be long before I head off to bed, though, it’s been a long day. Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 – Productive Day as Planned

Hi Honey!
After a great night sleep and yesterday’s day of rest, I was pretty raring to go this morning. Even before my breakfast, I started working on the water leak in the ice-maker, finding it right away, since it was dry when I started. Turned out to be the same fitting at the end, I had so much trouble getting it on the last time, I’m not surprised it sprung a leak. That required a trip to the nearest Ace Hardware in town, where I got both the parts I needed for the leak and an exchange on a carriage bolt that I had bought at Greeters in Altamont for the ramp ends I made to use as levelers when the trailer leans to one side, so now I can finish putting that together as soon as I roll off those planks. I actually learned a good lesson when I used them here, because I wanted to see how much opening the slide offset the balance, turns out not to be as much as I thought. I have a good handle now on how many notches on the bubble level require how many inches of board, which should be a useful measure in future. Anyway, I replaced the fittings on the ice-maker, and now it’s working and not leaking again! Hopefully this will be the last flood for a while. I tried to look at the parking brake on the truck, but nothing I tried seemed to work, so I either have to jack it up and take it all apart to tighten them, or pay someone else to do it, which I’m thinking is a better option, if it’s not too much. Started looking for a mechanic late in the day, but haven’t heard back yet. I also received my replacement hay bags, had to wait by the mailbox after the office had closed, the mailperson didn’t arrive until almost 5:30! I had purchased a couple that were on sale, but they were too small, and one of them was literally coming apart at the seams by the morning after I put it up, and was almost in shreds by this morning. This time I bought the nylon strap weave kind (not the nylon rope, I have some of those, too), I’ve never tried those before but I always liked the way they seemed to work, thought I’d give them a try. They seemed to be much larger than the other ones, and they did seem to hold more hay, but not a huge amount, which is fine, they’re designed to slow the horses’ eating down, to keep them busy longer. I hope that works. Anyway, I got what I wanted to get done before it started raining, which it did most of the afternoon, so I just mostly read the latter part of the day. Settled down as usual, took my shower early, so now I’m just waiting for Lola and I’m off to bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, May 25, 2020 – Perfectly Lazy Memorial Day

Hey Babe,
After another good night sleep, it was a beautiful morning, so I sat out in the screen room for a while, but I eventually had to come inside because across the road from me was a family in a camper that never stopped yelling at their kids or each other, or whoever else they brought with them. The only time I’ve had any peace was when they either all went to the bathhouse or they all went to the lake with their boat. Whenever they came back there was constant screaming, mostly about nothing. I can’t tell you how happy I was when they finally packed up and pulled out! No horses, just a boat. I decided not to get involved in any projects today, or even to go riding, as it got really hot. It never rained (despite the forecast, again!), but it was close to 90 degrees. By afternoon I was in the trailer with the AC on anyway. So I spent the day mostly reading, a little television, a couple of computer games, watched a movie for a change, a really lazy day. I figure if I recharge today, I’ll be ready to tackle a couple of jobs tomorrow, starting with the leak in the refrigerator, which I have to locate and hopefully, fix. I took Lola for one quick walk around the campground, on a leash, just to see who was left, and there are two campsites still occupied, one with horses and one without, both in tents. Not sure how long they’ll be here, but it certainly is much quieter in camp now! Still going to use my earplugs though, so whinnying and birds won’t wake me in the morning. Time for shower and bed now. Good night, my love!

Sunday, May 24, 2020 – Long Ride Alone on Flash

Hiya Sweetheart,
Well, it never rained last night, at least not noticeably, and the partiers didn't bother me again because I had my earplugs in, so I got a good night sleep. Once again, the forecasters were all over the map, from 20 to 60+ percent chance of rain. I decided after breakfast I was going out anyway, though Carol decided not to go, so I saddled up Flash, put the orange vest on Lola, a precaution I've been doing lately so I can see here when she dodges off into the woods, and headed back up Bucksnort. My plan today was to try to knock off as many of the main trails as possible, just so I would have a complete GPS map, so I headed on to Oak trail, but only got about 2/3 of a mile before I hit a marsh. If we were having a drought, I might have tried to go around it, but with all the rain, I didn't want to take any chances, so I turned around and went back to Bucksnort. I followed that clear up to I-40 before turning around, then took Clem, going in the opposite direction from where we took it the other way, just to see how far I could get. At one point, I made a wrong turn and ended up at a house with a sign that said "Trails End" which had a watering trough, but it wasn't on the map. I figured out from my mapping program where I went wrong and headed back south again, and was able to find an easy passage over a couple of small streams to the rest of Clem, so I was able to make a complete circuit. Not quite sure why we turned back on it last time, it looked pretty easy coming from this way, I think maybe we just tried to cross in the wrong place. Anyway, from there I went on a couple of sections of trail I had been on before, and just before I was deciding whether to take the slow route or the fast route back to camp, a great crash of thunder boomed overhead, so we opted for the fast route, back to Bucksnort, where we cantered and largoed most of the way back to camp. I managed to get Flash unsaddled and even washed with the citronella shampoo as the skies darkend and the thunder kept booming, but in the end, it never did rain here, though Carol said it rained at her house, which was right by the freeway, apparently I almost rode to it today. Anyway, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading, playing a few computer games, and nodding of in a nap every once in a while. I fed the horses early trying to beat another rainstorm that seemed to be building up on radar, but that never came in either! Very strange weather, but I'm glad I've avoided getting rained on the last few days! There's a higher chance tomorrow, but supposedly not until late in the afternoon, but we'll see. I don't believe any of it anymore! I took my shower early and settled down early, too, planning on going to bed early as well. Trying to move my body clock a little, been staying up too late. So I'm posting this early in the hopes that I will, in fact, get to bed earlier! So good night, sweetie! Love you!

Saturday, May 23, 2020 – Short Ride Alone on Apollo!

Hey Darlin',
Well, you can tell it's a holiday weekend, there were a few campsites that partied well into the night! Thank goodness I've gotten into the habit of wearing earplugs to bed, which I usually do to drown out the sound of the rain and early morning birds, but last night it was the partiers, I guess. I didn't hear them much, but when I went around to visit the woman who stopped by yesterday, she said they were still going strong and loud at 3:30 in the morning when she got up to look after her horses. One of the highline poles apparently broke during the night, so she was out taking care of that. Anyway, I never heard a thing so I had a great night sleep! I'm really getting peeved at the weather forecasters, though. I had one forecast say there's a 20% chance of rain today, and another say there's an 80% chance of rain! Well, both said it would be after noon, so I decided to get out on the trail early, mostly just to avoid the inevitable crowd that was going to be out there. I managed to get out with Apollo just after 9:00, heading out on a route I had planned, but which, of course, I didn't follow. My GPS had trouble acquiring satellites for a while, and by the time it finally found me, I was already off course. Trouble is, some of the renegade trails don't look much different than the trails on the map, none of them are maintained properly. There are so many trees down, and obviously many have been down for months if not years, and no one clears it out, so the main trails look just as difficult to pass as the renegade trails. Anyway, I've got a better handle on how the park is laid out now, so I wasn't worried, I knew about where I'd end up no matter what happened. I brought Lola along, though I put her on a leash until we got out of the campground, it's so crowded with people and kids and dogs, but we managed okay. The trails were slippery after all the rain yesterday and overnight, but Apollo was his usual sure-footed self, and did just fine. We only ran into two riders on the way back, and I think I've seen one of them before at the Skymont Endurance race, but frankly, I only say that because it's rare to see a black guy riding a gaited horse out on the trails, and I know I've seen that once or twice before, but I can't guarantee it's the same guy, I seldom look at faces anyway, I'm usually looking at the horses. It was a nice ride, and it went from cloudy to full sunshine by the time I got back to camp. It never did rain! Grrrr! That's okay, if it's nice tomorrow, I'll take a long ride with Carol on Flash. Meanwhile, when I got back to the trailer and went into the kitchen to make breakfast, I discovered water on the floor. Yet another flood, dang it! I'm getting tired of finding floods on the floor! Fortunately, it was only small one, and I found about where it's coming from, but not exactly. I'll have to take a couple of panels and some components off to find it, from the looks of it. But it was related to the ice-maker again, so I just turned off the valve for that, and it stopped pretty quick. Sigh... Another job! I was hoping after I got my taxes done I'd have a few days without anything pressing to do, but no, there always has to be something to add to the list as soon as one thing is checked off! Not complaining, though, I'm still living my dream life, and these little challenges are just there to keep my on my toes! Otherwise I might get bored, now that I don't have you around keeping me occupied! I was back so early, though, I had the whole day to myself, waiting for the non-existent rain to come in, so I sat in the screen room and finished the book I was reading, played a few games on my computer, nodded off in my chair despite all the noise around me, and generally just relaxed, just like you're supposed to on a holiday weekend. Lola sat in the other chair watching all the activity, people and cars and horses and dogs going by. She was fine except she felt compelled to bark everytime a dog went by, nothing else bothered her after a few hours, which is a good thing! Anyway, that's been my day. Heading off to shower and bed! Good night, baby. Love you!

Friday, May 22, 2020 – Rainy Day, But Finished Taxes!

Hi Babe,
Rain came pouring in this morning, so I stayed in bed reading until it finally cleared through, after 9:00. Once I got the animals fed I went back to working on my taxes, double-checking everything, rearranging some stuff on my computer bookkeeping program, and generally getting the job done. Was happy to see that the British Pension folks finally got everything cleared up, there was a couple of nice deposits in my account. They have a lump sum they call a bereavement benefit, but it’s over 10 times what the US government pays as a burial benefit! It seems I’ will be getting a monthly payment, too, but I’m not sure how long it lasts. I thought I read somewhere it’s for 18 months, but it could be until I reach retirement age, not sure, so I wrote and asked the question, haven’t heard back yet. That’s a relief, though, it takes some of the pressure off from the coronavirus-inspired postponements I’ve had to endure. FINALLY managed to send my taxes off around 4:00 this afternoon, yay! It wasn’t too long after that when another rainstorm came in, lots of wind and thunder, but I managed to the get the horses fed just before it came through. Settled down for a nice quiet evening, though it’s not really very quiet, tons of people came in (it’s Memorial Day weekend, early this year,) so there’s lots of screaming kids, unfortunately. But the park staff closed off a bunch of sites, again because of the coronavirus, so at least there’s a lot of space between me and my nearest neighbor, thank goodness. A woman I met a few weeks ago down at Chickasaw is here, they were going to go to the Land Between the Lakes, but evidently they’re still closed! She recognized the trailer and stopped to chat for a few minutes. Anyway, the evening is coming to an end, but I’m going to take Lola for a quick walk to the dumpster with the garbage, she hasn’t been out hardly all day, then jump in the shower, etc., etc.! Good night, darlin’! Love you!