Archives for September 2020

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 – Day One at Grand Canyon

Hi Babe!
What a nice day! Beautiful weather, in the 70’s, I had a lovely breakfast at the El Tovar Lodge restaurant (though the service was quite slow for me, but few others. Folks that were seated just before me were served their meal before they even took my order!), but it was a nice breakfast, and I wasn’t in any hurry. Afterward I got on one of the shuttle busses that took me on a two-plus hour journey out to a place called Hermits Rest. There were nearly a dozen stops along the way at various overlooks with signage pointing out some fascinating historical points, and I spent time at every one. The buses ran every 5-10 minutes, just like a hop on, hop off bus in a tourist city. That took up a good part of the afternoon. When I got back to my room at the Thunderbird lodge I took a short nap, reorganized all my packing for the mule trip, then I went for an early dinner, again at the El Tovar, this time the service was excellent. They even let me special order a salad with some salmon on top, which was delicious, and some fantastic chocolate ice cream for dessert. Afterwards, I put as much of my stuff in the car as I could, only leaving out the bare essential so I won’t have much to do in the morning, Took my shower, now I’m heading for bed. So excited about tomorrow! Wish you were here! Good night, my love!

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 – Drive to the Grand Canyon

Hey Honey,
After a good night sleep, a free hotel breakfast, and a little bit of computer work and repacking, I hopped into my little white Toyota (well, they consider a Corolla a full-size car these days, but I remember when they were considered a tiny compact import), and headed out. My first stop was Bass Pro Shops. Evidently I need a rain suit for the rapids, even in 100 degrees, and I considered going to thrift stores in hopes of finding one, but then I found one at Bass Pro Shops on clearance sale, so I called them to make sure they had them, and was reassured by several people that they did, in numerous sizes, but when I got there, I got the runaround, no one could find them, no one knew where they were, and when we finally tracked down the person I spoke to (after 45 minutes of wasted time), it turned out he was wrong, that the ones I specifically wanted they didn’t have. Grrrr! In order to make good on it, thought, the manager agreed to let me have the same brand but that wasn’t on sale for the clearance price, so I ended up with what I needed anyway, though the store lost a bunch of money on the deal. I also got a nice big fanny pack so I can have some essentials within reach on the rafting trip. I lost a lot of time, though, so I headed out of town, with one quick stop at Albertsons for sunscreen, wine and a few odds and ends, finally heading out of Vegas just after noon. Had an uneventful drive under a cloudless sky, arriving at the Grand Canyon right around 4:00. Parking was tough, and I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go to check in, but finally discovered that I had to go to a different building to register, so I took what seemed to be the last parking spot on the road and walked over. Got my room all set, then stopped at the mule ride counter to check in there, so now I have a proper itinerary and packing list, which will help. Jeremy was a big help, though. I was told I couldn’t wear a fanny pack, but if I had a lanyard I could wear my camera around my neck, and then he got me a nice soft rope off a bota bag that had leaked, (looks like the old leather wine casks of old, and which is the only water carrying device allowed on the mules apparently), so I could use that for my camera. Got that squared away, then headed up to the room to check it out, in the Thunderbird Lodge, and when I came back out to go to my car to bring stuff in, there was an open parking space right outside the entrance by where my room was! Jackpot! I quickly moved the car up, couldn’t have planned that better myself! Got my essentials in, but by then it was just a half hour to sunset, so I got my camera and phone and went over to the edge of the canyon to watch. I did a quick Facebook video, then took some pictures and a video of some little ground animal that was skirting on the edge of the canyon. Once the sun went down, I headed back to the room, helped my brother Jeff with an online purchase and return, then settled down for the evening. There’s no coffee maker in the room, so no Sleepytime tea, but I’m tired enough that I don’t think that will matter. I spent some time sorting out my stuff between the mule ride and the rafting trip, so I feel a lot more confident that I have everything I need for both. They gave me a small bag for my stuff for the mule ride, plus a packing list, so I’m good to go, and the same bag will come in handy for the rafting trip as well. Tomorrow will just be resting, maybe some walking around and exploring, we’ll see what I’m in the mood for. Been going non-stop for so long a quiet day will be a good thing. Anyway, I’ve had my bath and now I’m ready for bed. Good night, sweetheart! Love you! Wish you were here with me again!

Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 – Travel Day to Las Vegas

Hi Sweetie,
Woke up a bit before the alarm, got up and finished packing, got the trailer closed up and walked over to the trailer place across the street. Met up with the folks who will be working on it, William came over and I walked him through my priorities. In addition to the body work, I want him to adjust the slide, you know how it sticks, and being on my own, my only recourse is to tie a rope around the cupboard and pull on it enough to get it on track, and that’s a repair waiting to happen! I also asked him to look at the broken drain pipe. Figured if he can’t do the body work, at least he can get the rest of it done. One thing I don’t want to do is let all this stuff pile up, and frankly I’d rather pay from someone else to do it than me trying to figure it out. Anyway, he made a list, and I left. Lola and I went to a First Watch for breakfast, I had some time to kill before I met with Angela, it was okay, not as good as I remember from the one in Jupiter. Next I met with the family back at the plantation (it really does have a Tara type house on it!), and handed off Lola and all her stuff. Got to the airport in plenty of time, but it’s under construction and it was a mess getting around, especially with all my baggage. I finally managed it, then discovered both economy lots were closed, and the difference between the outside and inside parking wasn’t worth the walk, so I parked in the garage after I dropped off my checked baggage. I had to leave the truck for a few minutes, but it’s such a mess I’m not surprised no one hassled me about it. I forgot and put a brand new 8 oz. tube of suncreen in my carryon, so naturally they took that away from me, grrr. Got on the flight, and learned that not only would there not be food service (I made a couple of sandwiches because I knew that), they also didn’t have a beverage service! All I had was water I got from the fountain, and I only got that at the last minute “just in case,” so I’m glad I had it. No snacks, nothing. It was pitiful for First Class. In Dallas I was fortunate that my flight was only a few gates away in the same terminal, and it was a short turnaround (we came in a little late, too), but that was a better flight, at least I got a cocktail and a fruit and cheese plate. Don’t know why one flight had service and the other didn’t. At least we got in before dark. Then I grabbed the shuttle to the rental car place, only to discover that the rental car company I had booked with was at a different location and I had to take ANOTHER shuttle over to it, so it WAS dark by the time I left there. The line was long and slow at the counter, and then the car I picked didn’t have a full tank of gas, so they had to put more gas in it, all taking up more time. Then I finally arrived at the hotel, a new one near the office of where I’ll be working next week, and it took three tries to find a room with a bathtub, and it was on the first floor (ugh), only two doors away from the lobby (another ugh), but that was all they had, I was determined to have a bath, which I did shortly after getting settled in. I’m not even going to watch TV, I’m just going to read a little until I fall asleep and wake up naturally in the morning. All I have to do tomorrow is pick up some more sunscreen (and maybe some wine and Sprite) and drive out to Grand Canyon Village, which is a little over four hours away. I got a Toyota which is pretty comfortable, so it should be a nice drive. In the 90’s here today, actually cooler than it has been! So I arrived, safe and sound, but this hotel really is bare bones, there’s not even an electrical outlet by the bed, and the whole bath/shower figure was loose from the wall and leaked like a sieve, and apparently it’s practically new! Oh, well, this week it’s only one night, I hope next week I can get a room more to my liking, even if I can’t get a bathtub. Enough chat, time for bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 – Packing and Prep for Trip

Hey Baby,
Despite the fact that I was totally sloping, I managed to sleep okay, but not great. When I got up, I tried to get the horses up for breakfast, but they ignored me. They have made themselves at home in a run-in shed in the near pasture, while all the rest of the horses were in another back pasture, I guess they figured it would be easier than trying to mix in, at least for now. I guess they’re getting plenty of grass, since they wouldn’t even follow me when I tempted them with peppermints! Oh, well, they’ll be safe and sound and probably fat and sassy by the time I get back. Had breakfast, did some more packing, wasted over 40 minutes trying to find my mammoth before I remember I put him in the brake controller box behind my chair. Finally headed out just after 11:00, got down to the Ag center across from the trailer place, backed up as out of the way as I could and unhooked, then started running errands. First to Sun & Ski to pick up some water sandals that the river rafting folks had recommended, a nice sturdy and expensive sandal, but I can see me wearing them a lot, and I managed to get the last pair in my size ON CLEARANCE, so it wasn’t as big a hit, yay! Then off to Tractor Supply to fill up with propane, cheapest price I’ve seen in a LONG time, just $2.29 a gallon. Then found a hair salon that was open and got my hair cut, then Walmart to do my last minute shopping, mostly for dog food and a few other assorted things I needed for the trip. Got back and did some more sorting and packing, but I’m running out of room! Hopefully I can get everything in okay, but it will be tight. Settled down for the evening feeling pretty good about my progress, though it’s going to be a long, busy day tomorrow. Then, just as I was getting ready to take my shower, I knocked my computer off the shelf and the monitor got really funky, crazy lines running all through it, and I was so mad at myself, the last thing I need is to have my computer go! Well, I was on the clock (I was doing my hair) so I jumped in the shower, and when I came out, the computer had rebooted and and was back to normal! What a relief! The only problem was that all the work I did last night to update my blog entries from the last reboot that erased it was gone again! I have no idea why it’s not saving my work on the blog, but apparently that’s a problem. Of course, since I uploaded it all to the website last night, it’s all intact, I just have to download it all, again. I’m just so grateful my computer started up okay, I’d hate to have to run around Vegas looking for a new computer, then waiting for it to download back from the server for two or three days! Don’t have time for that this week! Anyway, shower’s done, crisis is over, sleepytime tea has been drunk and it’s time for earplugs (I’m right next to I-65) and bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 – Travel Day to Franklin, TN

Hi Hon!
Woke up to the alarm, with no more excitement during the night, finished packing up, leaving the campground a bit after nine, and done at the dump just after 9:30. Flash is getting so good at getting into the trailer! Even with a pretty steep ramp today he went practically straight in, yay! Decided to take the freeway rather than the back roads, it probably added a lot more time than it was worth, made worse by me getting off a wrong exit, and then having the return ramp closed from construction, so I had to take a long way around. I wanted to avoid downtown Louisville, they’ve been having riots there, like in so many places these days. There seems to be a lot of anarchy out there, though I hardly ever watch the news any more, too depressing. I arrived at my boarding place in Franklin, and we tried to get into a narrow gate on the side of the field but soon realized it was hopeless, too many ditches, not enough room, so he ended up bringing me onto the property through a double gate closer to house and we just walked the horses out to the pasture. Lots of other horses in there, but they were all up at the back end, so I guess they’ll mix themselves in when they’re ready. They just moseyed in and started grazing, Apollo rolled, the usual. I met the whole family, and they’re all going to be looking after the horses and Lola. We took a walk down to a little creek with another one of their dogs, a protective Aussie I think, and she growled a little at Lola, who mostly just ignored her. I’m sure they’ll get used to each other, though I think they’re going to take here somewhere else where there’s a Weimaraner she should get along with, I hope. Anyway, I’m parked in a field near their house, thank goodness it’s beend dry so I had no trouble getting, and I filled up with water because I was too low for the next couple of days, then settled down for the evening. Finally got a great cell phone signal, so I was able to watch a movie on Netflix for a change. At some point when I have electric and a clear view I’m going to have to get the satellite dish up and load it up with more movies so the next time I can’t get live streaming I’ll have some things to watch. It worked out great these past few weeks, but I’ve pretty much watched everything we had left on the DVR, so I need to stock up again! So now the movie is done, I’m heading for my shower and bed! Busy day tomorrow! Good night, babe! Love you!

Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 – Laundry and Pack Up Day

Hey Sweetie!
A busy day, washing and hanging out three loads of laundry and all the baseball caps that have been sitting on the truck dashboard for ages, but it was such a beautiful day it didn’t take too long to dry. I spaced out my packing throughout the day, reading in between jobs, so it went pretty easy. I also took a quick ride up to my hotspot, and got a message that my rafting trip is ON!! They got enough for the minimum, so another job today was to get my camping equipment down and check it all out. I had brought out the larger air mattress the other day and filled it up, but it leaked, so I found the smaller one and filled that up, and that seemed to hold okay. It’s better anyway, I’ll have more room in my tent with the smaller mattress. Got the camping bag all packed except for clothes, that will come when I start packing for the whole trip. Someone on the road had mentioned to me that my right turn signal wasn’t working, so I checked that and found a sort of loose wire in the bundle that had been fixed before, so I took care of that. It doesn’t seem to be bright enough, but at least it’s working now. Just as I was getting all lathered up in my shower, I heard Apollo start to whinny, and you know what that means! Loose horse! Sure enough, there came knocking at my door, and I had to get all the soap off and wrap myself in a towel to answer it, and it was my neighbor on the other side, Flash had evidently got off his lead somehow. I said I’d be over as soon as I could, and he said not to worry, he was okay on his hitching post. I finished my shower and put my nightie and robe on and took care of it. Not sure what happened, the halter and the snap looked fine, but he got off somehow, so I switched halters and hooked him back up, hopefully he’ll keep till morning. He only went as far as the horses next door, just visiting apparently! The campground on this end is nearly full this weekend, there’s a “stag” group (all men) who evidently come out here yearly, so it’s a pretty rowdy bunch of guys of all ages partying, and it will probably go on for hours, but that’s okay, that’s what I have earplugs for! Well, I’ve showered, so now I’m off to bed to read for awhile, and hopefully get a good night sleep, it’s going to be a long day tomorrow. Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 – Great Long Ride at O’Bannon

Hi darlin’,
Woke up with the alarm this morning, since I had arranged to go riding the Bob and Ginny and I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be late. We left right on schedule at 9:30, but I couldn’t put Apollo’s boots on because one of them had a blowout, so we just had to deal with whatever rough ground we came across. Fortunately, most of the trails were actual trails, dirt and mostly single track, just like I like them! We went over 12 miles, and it was a terrific ride. We covered a lot of ground, and ended up at a picnic table sitting on the edge of a bluff for lunch. A long ride for Apollo, but he did brilliantly! They both ride quarter horses, so they were all perfectly matched speed-wise, though Apollo was slow starting out, but warmed up quickly. This was truly the nicest ride I’ve experienced since I’ve been here, and I’m glad of it, though I never would have found some of these trails on my own, since a few aren’t on the map. We went cross country a couple of times, and crossed the Blue River coming and going, as we made out way to a section of the forest known as Little Italy, then Loudon’s Ridge. We were out nearly six hours, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Got back, gave Apollo a bath, then spent a few minutes clearing out the horse wash area. I had a nice concrete pad, but it was so covered in mud you would hardly know it, so I cleared away the mud and used the hose to clear out a drain area, which improved it a lot. Then I headed up to my hotspot to check my email and solve a few more problems, and had to wait a long time for my two rides, yesterday and today, to upload from my phone to the cloud, then pull it back onto Google Earth. I wanted to see the GPS tracks from those two days of riding, but it took a lot of time. I finally finished and headed back to camp, but when I got here and opened up my computer, the darn thing had decided to shut itself down and reboot (probably because of an upgrade), so all the work I did on Google Earth disappeared, and so did a weeks worth of my diary! I have no idea why it did that, it usually asks me to close those programs before it restarts, but it did it all on it’s own today, and it ticked me off, since it’s made a lot more work for me, grrrrr! Anyway, got back to camp, made some dinner, went and chatted with Bob and Ginny for a bit, then came back to settle in for the night. Evidently there’s a big event here this weekend, so the place has been filling up all day, and it’s likely to be even busier tomorrow. No more riding for me, though, I have to start packing, plus sorting out all the stuff I need for my trip to Arizona next week. It’s going to be a busy weekend, what with driving to Tennessee on Saturday, then figuring out what to do with the trailer (still working on the logistics of that!), packing, shopping, getting a hair cut etc., and being ready to fly out on Monday. Whew! I’m going to be exhausted in a few days! Anyway, enough, time for shower and bed. Love you, babe! Good night!

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 – A Rocky Ride on Flash

Hey Sweetie!
After my usual chores and hotspot drive, I saddled up Flash and headed out to knock out some more of the trails here. Well, a lot of it wasn’t exactly trails, it was more like gravel road, probably 80 percent of them. I wish they wouldn’t call a gravel road a trail, but what are you going to do? I had his boots on, but he still wasn’t happy about it, but he did great anyway. There was maybe a mile of the kind of single track dirt trail that I liked during the whole 10+ miles, but at least I was on the back of my horse! Got back to camp, gave him a bath, then settled down for the evening. Such beautiful weather, though it’s been cool the last few evenings and I’ve been putting their light blankets on to prevent them from growing a winter coat, though it’s warming up this week so I shouldn’t have to keep doing that. Anyway, it was a lovely day despite the gravel, and I made some progress on a few things logistically for my upcoming trip. Time for shower and bed! Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020 – Productive Day

Hi Babe,
Another great night sleep, then read a bit before finally getting out of bed just before ten, whew! Did the chores, transferred the new hay into the trailer, had breakfast (well, brunch!), then drove up the hill to my hotspot, got everything done I needed to get done online, got back to camp and proceeded to do some odds and ends that needed doing. I had been finding a few roaches coming out at night, and I put down some traps, but I’d rather do the holistic method, so I mixed some borax with powdered sugar and spread that around all the edges of the wall under the cupboards and shelves throughout the trailer just to make sure. I hope it does the same for ants as it does for roaches, I’ve seen a few of those, too. Hard not to attract some bugs when you’re in the wilderness all the time! I puttered a bit more, then decided not to go for a ride today, it was getting late and I figured a day in between would be better, so my plan is to go tomorrow on Flash after I do my hotspot run. Spent the afternoon reading, had a nice grilled steak dinner, now I’m just settling down for the evening. Really quiet here now, only one trailer left way on the other side of camp, can’t even see them, just the way I like it! Be off to bed soon, so good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 – Busy Ride, Hay and Productive Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had a wonderful night sleep last night, I’m so glad I brought the quilt down, it kept me nice and warm and cozy all night! The problem with the throw is that it’s too small and when I moved I get uncovered, then wake up cold. Didn’t have that problem last night! Woke up refreshed and raring to go! After chores and breakfast I ran up to a spot near the regular campground where I discovered I can get 3 bars of 4G, and made relatively short work of a whole list of things I needed to do, phone calls I needed to make, questions I needed to have answered, pictures and diary entries I needed to upload, all of which happened pretty quick. I was back down to camp by about 1:00, so I saddled up Apollo as planned and headed out on a route I had figured was a little over six miles. Not a terribly enjoyable ride today. The footing here is just so inconsistent! One minute you’re on big creek-like rock, the next you’re sinking in mud, the next you’re on a gravel road (really big sharp chunks), then you’re on gravel covered with green growth, and occasionally you end up on a stretch of nice dirt single track, but nowhere near often enough. Apollo had a tough time. I started out without boots, but when we hit our first gravel road I stopped and put them on, then we started hitting bogs, and when we were climbing a hill he lost one, so I decided to take them off again, because once they get that muddy they don’t stay on very well, and we didn’t hit any water where I could wash them off, then shortly after that we hit another gravel road, and he wouldn’t stand still long enough for me to put them back on again, so he minced his way up the road in obvious discomfort, then on the last mile home we finally had a nice stretch of dirt for a bit, before going back to rocky creek bed. So, it was as enjoyable as it could be (always being on my horse is enjoyable!), but the trail detracted from that enjoyment. We got back to camp about 4:30, I put him on the highline and gave him a flake of hay, then I took some pictures of the damage on the trailer so I could email them to the repair place I found, changed my clothes and headed up the my hot spot again, sent the pix off, then headed down to pick up some hay. I had found a woman selling hay that’s only about 13 minutes from here! I think that’s the shortest trip for hay I’ve ever taken! She was advertising 1st cut, but they were bringing in 3rd cut, so she let me have that for the same price. There’s no alfalfa in this, just orchard, clover and fescue, but it’s so fresh I think the horses won’t have a problem with it. I’ve got to get them off the alfalfa, though the last batch, with 70% alfalfa didn’t seem to bother them as much as the 100% did, but I’d rather get them back to regular hay as we move out of alfalfa country. Got back in no time, fed the horses, had dinner, and settled down for the evening, feeling like I had a really productive day! Time for shower and bed now, so good night, my love!