Archives for May 2021

Monday, June 1, 2021 – First Full Day at Loretta Lynn’s Summer Ride

Hi Babe!
Got up with the alarm at 6:00, knowing there would be issues with getting the saddles right for both ladies today, fed the horses, went to breakfast, then got back and started making those tack adjustments. Just managed to make it in time for the group picture and to leave in time with the organized rides. They opted to both go on the slow ride today, and the group had 85 people! I think it might have had something to do with the fact that in the information sheets we prepared, it was strongly recommended the newbies and folks who may not have the fittest horses should take that ride, and they certainly did that! Bubba’s group actually came in early, around 12:45, partly because one girl broke her arm when her horse slipped, so he didn’t add any extra trails like he might have done. Meals were all pretty good today. I spent the morning doing a lot of extra jobs that needed doing, like putting new clamps on the screen room for better bug protection, running the extra spray paint down to the office, also mailing a book order out (though I forgot there’s no mail today), and lots of odds and ends before I finally settled down to take the big job, fixing the washing machine. I couldn’t remember how we took it out last time, and I pondered and tried several different approaches, none of the worked. Sandy and I finally brainstormed and figured the only way was to take the two screws out of what was the top of the washer, which needed to come off anyway, and set the dryer on it’s side out of the way. We didn’t have the strength ourselves, but Sandy managed to wrangle a couple of burly guys to come in and move it for us, very grateful for country boys! It was shortly after that I realized that the part that they sent me was completely the wrong part! Way different, I mean, not even close! Their part had a Whirlpool sticker, and my machine is an Ariston, which is also Hotpoint in some countries and Splendide in others, but definitely NOT Whirlpool. So of course I called them, before once again realizing it was a holiday and everything was closed, dang it! So I ended up having the leave it, though I put all the closet stuff back in, which I’ll have to take out again when the time comes, a lot of extra work just because these clowns sent me the wrong part. I truly hope they’ll send me the right one overnight (at their expense) and not be one of these places that insist I send the old part back, and them receive it, before they’ll send me the new part. That will take WAY too long! I’ll have more answers tomorrow, hopefully. Anyway, we went down to the horse clinic and watched Randy work with one three year old mare and solve a whole bunch of problems with various campers’ horses, and he did a really great job. Maggie and Sandy both learned a lot from him. Eventually we went to dinner, then Sandy went off to line dancing, a new activity that we thought was a great idea (but that many of the old-timers rolled their eyes at) and I followed once the horses were bedded down for the night. I got there a little late to learn the dance, but then I saw Anthony and he waved me over so I joined him for a while watching them all shaking their boodies. It was a good turnout, at least 25 folks dancing and another 30+ watching, so I think he was happy with his decision. He also admitted to being more relaxed because we got so many other things under control and he was actually able to enjoy the activities rather than handling crises all the time. I headed back to the trailer after the line dancing, though Anthony stayed to set up impromptu karaoke, which is apparently pretty popular as well. We all took showers and headed to bed, ready to start all over again tomorrow! So that’s where I’m headed now, my love! Good night!

Sunday, May 30, 2021 – Another Busy Day, Friends Arrive

Hi Darlin’!
Woke up an hour before the alarm, so after awhile I got up and started on some things that needed doing. After I got the chores done and had breakfast, Anthony arrived just after nine (a remarkable feat!), and we were off and running. Today’s job was to mark the yellow trail and finish off a missing loop on the green trail. We managed to get most of the yellow done before we ran out of markers and paint, then we decided to divide to conquer, and after a quick trip to his house for supplies, he dropped me off to ride the blue trail and mark that on my own because it was too narrow for his side by side, and then he went off to finish the yellow trail. It took be longer than I expected, because the trail had really been rerouted because of bad storms a few years ago, and I had to ride it twice to make sure I had it right, but finally got it done, hopefully well enough that few people will get lost. It was nearly 4:30 by the time I got back to camp, but when I arrived, Maggie and Sandy had arrived, and Callie and her mom were keeping them company. We chatted for a bit, then got busy putting up the tent for Maggie. Sandy had already put up her cot tent, and the temperature was dropping like mad. We ran out of time to have dinner so we decided to wait, and headed off to the riders’ meeting at the pavilion. Anthony did a great job, I thought, and so did all my friends. He even included the bit I added about people pushing their manure all the way back in the manure bin, people just keep dropping it near the entrance and it leaves so much space empty it’s ridiculous. Anyway, it went well, the gals headed back to their respective camps, I jumped in the truck to go to the office to get my wristband since I didn’t have time to do it while the office was open, then got back to camp where the gals had already started cooking. We made short work of dinner, chatted some more, then finally broke up for bed. I’ve had my shower and I’m off and running to bed now! Love you sweetie! Good night!

Saturday, May 29, 2021 – Another Productive Day, Dinner with Callie & Family

Hi Sweetie!
Woke up bright and early with my alarm ready for a productive morning, headed straight to the nearby coop to pick up some hay, then back to the trailer to do chores and have breakfast. Sorry to learn that one of Bubba’s mules keeled over dead during the night, they seemed to think it was a heart attack, but he was only fifteen, so it makes one wonder. They were hauling him off while I was feeding. Sigh. Was ready to go out trail marking by about 9:00, as that was the time we thought we might be heading out on the trails. One thing led to another (sigh), and it was after 1:00 before we actually got on the trail. Callie and her family were kind enough to dog-sit with Lola so she wouldn’t be alone all day, again. We somehow managed to mark and clear both the green and the blue trail, though some sections looked like they hadn’t been used in a long time (probably because the markings on some were so bad no one could find them!), but I think we’ve got a decent plan now. It will definitely be easier to follow now, though the map will need some changing because we had to reroute a number of trails because of downed trees. It was almost 6:50 by the time we got back to my trailer, so I rushed to feed the horses, do my usual cleanup, and then additionally put on their blankets as it’s supposed to get down into the 40’s tonight! Had the fireplace on last night when it was only down to the fifties, so it’s definitely going on again tonight! Well as soon as I rushed around and did chores I headed up to Callie’s because we’re having our 2nd annual steak dinner (yes, apparently it’s become a Linville tradition!), arriving just 23 minutes late, which is usually unforgivably late in my book, but they knew I was with Anthony, and that we started four hours behind schedule, so were almost surprised I was only that late. We had a lovely evening, didn’t get back until well after 10:30, barely enough time to write to you, take my shower and get to bed before 11:30, maybe later before all is said and done! So enough from me, I need to get this day done, so I can be up and ready for another tomorrow! Good night, babe! Love you!

Friday, May 28, 2021 – More Rain, Then Trail Work Day

Hi Babe,
It rained most of the night, and I had a decent night sleep though I woke up early, and had a lot on my mind so I went ahead and got up. Did my chores, then went into town to do some errands. First I stopped at the mechanic’s shop to let him test drive the truck to see if it really needed a power steering pump. It’s been behaving just fine for the last few weeks, so I thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and he agreed, saying that nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so that was a good thing! Then I ran out to Walmart for a few things, filled up with fuel, then headed back. My plan was to get hay at the Coop, but it was still raining on my way past, so I figured I’d come back later. When I got back to the trailer I saw that I had an email from Anthony to come by the office, so I drove back down there. We did a bit more work on the trails on the computer, then he said he wanted to run the yellow trail on his side-by-side and did I want to come along, of course I said yes. He seems quite receptive, even eager to try to understand the needs of the horse riders, and he seems quite willing to learn. He had a few things to do first, and a while later he came down and picked me up and we proceeded to head out. I’ve NEVER YET been able to get all the way around on the yellow trail, though I’ve tried numerous times, the markings are so poor. Well, it took a few hours to manage it, we stopped and did some clearing with loppers and a chain saw, made notes on his GPS where we had to reroute some things, and where the markers were particularly poor, but we worked together well and I actually had fun. This is exactly the kind of stuff I love to do! He was quite a speedy driver, and his vehicle is quite a number, with really high clearance and a lot of power. Good thing I’m not the faint-hearted type! Got a lot of good work done, though, it was very satisfying. We have two more trails to do, and we have to settle on how we’re going to mark them. He thought he had some markers but hasn’t been able to find them, we might just have to resort to spray paint for the time being. We’re already talking about doing a better job in September before their Fall ride, getting the right markers and doing it up right. We’ll see. It would be great to keep this place open for horses, they just don’t really have the knowledge in-house to do it. Evidently he hired a forestry guy a while back, paid him an outrageous amount of money for a week of work, but I wasn’t quite sure what was accomplished, especially considered I’m still getting lost all over the place! Anyway, he’s got me cheap enough, and I’m more than happy to do it, I’d love to see them get more horse campers in here. Anyway, we didn’t get back until nearly 6:00, so I fed the horses and settled down for the evening pretty quick, and now I’m off to bed because we’re supposed to be getting an early start in the morning, and I still have to pick up hay before we do, so the alarm’s getting set! So I’m off to shower and bed now! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Thursday, May 27, 2021 – Good Meeting, Long Frustrating Ride

Hi Darlin’,
I was having some trouble getting to sleep, and then I heard some folks arriving at 1:30 in the morning! Crazy! Put my earplugs in and managed to fall asleep after that, though not enough hours. Did my chores, then around 9:20 I drove down to the office hoping to get five minutes with Anthony the manager about getting a schedule together to hand out so folks will know what’s going on (my bone of contention last year!), and we ended up talking for 90 minutes! He seemed very receptive to all of my ideas, and asked me to combine them with some of his and put something together, which I promised to have by end of day. Finally got back to the trailer, poor Callie and her dad had been waiting for an hour, I was apoplectic with apologies for the delay, I hadn’t taken my phone with me, but they were very understanding. Anyway, Callie and I went to get the horses, and Trail Boss Bubba had shown up and parked in his usual spot next to the barn, and he and I got into a pretty heated discussion about a whole range of things, most of it not worth mentioning, and we managed to work it out in the end, though it took better than half an hour to accomplish. We FINALLY got the horses saddled and took off. I had put together what I though would be a fairly straightforward and not too complicated route, and we were doing great on it, right up until Callie said she thought this was the longest we had ever gone riding together and not gotten lost, and wouldn’t you know? Right after that, we got lost. Grrrr! I STILL don’t know where we went wrong, it’s just crazy how badly marked the horse trails are here! I had planned about a five mile trip, thinking maybe a bit over two hours, it ended up being 3:45! It was after 4:00 when we got back. Callie’s parents showed up a bit later, we put the horses away, then I settled down to work on my project, got that finished, fed the horses, and finally settled down for the evening. Feeling pretty tired (not to mentioned frustrated that I keep getting lost in here!), so I’m guessing I’ll sleep better tonight! Going to bed early, for sure! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 – Rain Day

Hi Sweetie,
Had a really good night sleep, woke up raring to go, though there were a few sprinkles in the morning. After doing my chores, I once again went out with my garbage bag and trusty picker upper and cleared up another bag full of trash. I’ve pretty much covered the whole area now, not perfect but a whole lot better than before! This time I brought Lola with me, just to try to keep her busy and involved rather than locked in the trailer, and also to give her a little remedial training. She hasn’t been coming when I call lately, and it’s starting to become a bad habit, one I need to get on top of. A few horse trailers came in late yesterday and more this morning, but the trail bosses are supposed to get here tomorrow, so I’m going to take Callie on a ride in the morning, as it may be my last chance. I got back from trash pickup just before the real rain came in, and it continued most of the afternoon. I did manage to talk to an Ariston technician about the washer, and we determined it had to be the circuit board, naturally since that’s the most expensive part of the machine, but it’s I could replace all of the components and it would still be cheaper than buying a new one. Not to mention, I don’t know how I’d get it in, since the washer is wider than the door frame! They must have put it in before they put the outside walls on when they built the trailer, that’s the only way I can see them doing it! Or dropping it in before putting the roof on! In any event, I have to keep it going where it sits, and I’m NOT going to live without a washer! Not a difficult repair, just inconvenient and awkward. Anyway, Callie and her mom came down to visit and we spent several hours chatting. It’s always easy to talk to those two. After they left it finally quit raining, I fed the horses, played frisbee with Lola for a bit, then settled down for the evening, which had now cleared up nicely. Going to be a beautiful day tomorrow! But for now, shower and bed! Good night, Babe! Love you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 – First Day of Work and First Ride

Hi Babe,
Not the best night sleep, but woke up with the alarm because the first thing on my agenda was a virtual visit with my knee surgeon, everything’s coming along fine, next visit is three months from now. Got the horses and Lola and me fed, then I went looking for Anthony, but he hadn’t come back from Nashville, so I grabbed a trash bag and my picker-uppers and started cleaning up the trash that was strewn everywhere. What a mess this last group made! Evidently there were a lot of law enforcement types, and while I support our men and women in blue, I must say that this group earned the moniker ‘pig.’ I never saw some much trash piled up, nowhere near a trash container! Anyway I did that for a few hours, got most of it done, though there are a still a few corners I need to revisit. Still no sign of Anthony, so I decided to take a ride and see what kind of shape the trails are in. I fastidiously planned a route, only to have it go bust on many occasions when the markings on the trails, and even the trails themselves, were not match anywhere. I’d forgotten how steep and rough so many of the trails here are, very challenging! I put on Flash’s new boots and they were perfect, and Flash worked his butt off today! After six months on flat sandy trails, this was a really tough day for him! All over the trails we kept finding yellow caution tape strung everywhere, though I’m sure it was for the jeep or dirt bike people, because there was very little in the way of downed trees. Well, I take that back, there are several areas where the trees are down and evidently have been for some time, so some trails have been permanently rerouted, except some of the old markers are still out there, so naturally the confusion caused some misdirection. I would LOVE to refurbish all the trail markers and do a new map, one that clearly distinguishes between the motorized vs. the horse trails. There were so many mismatched markers it was hard to figure out what trail I was on, much less what trail I was SUPPOSED to be on! It would take some time, but it would certainly be worth doing. Anyway, we finally got back to camp around 5:00, and I stripped down Flash to his bridle, then hopped on bareback and headed for the creek. He was hesitant, but I eventually got him in pretty deep. Not enough to swim, but I didn’t want to push him, it took me long enough just to get him belly deep! Afterwards I fed them, played with Lola in the water for awhile, even bringing my chair down to sit in the creek for a bit, and finally got everything settled for the evening. Hopefully I’ll find Anthony in the morning, I have so many questions to ask about the trails, and to find out what he wants me to do as his volunteer force. So I’m off to shower and bed! Good night, honey! Love you!

Monday, May 24, 2021 – Drive to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch

Hi Darlin’,
Well, it didn’t take me too long to pack up and get out of Seven Springs, left by just after 10:00, and had an uneventful drive arriving around 12:30, with just one traffic delay on I-40 just before my exit due to construction. Was well-greeted when I arrived, even running into manager Anthony, and we arranged to get started with a plan tomorrow morning. I picked a really nice spot, under some shade trees and right the closest row to the creek, a nice change from being out in the sun last year. Since I’m staying here two full weeks, the first time that’s happened since I left south Florida, I got everything out, including the full screen room, the grill, everything. I put the horses back into the same area as last year in their electric fence. Sorry to say that the washer didn’t fix itself, so I spent some time trying to find an appliance repair service. Callie arrived just as I was taking Lola down to the creek to play for awhile, she really needed to get some exercise, we chatted for awhile. Finally settled down for the evening, have to get to bed early because I have an early morning virtual doctor’s appointment I need to get up for, not to mention getting busy with jobs tomorrow! Looking forward to getting started with whatever they want me to do. Off to shower and bed now, it was a hot sweaty one today! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Sunday, May 23, 2021 – Pack Up Day, Washer on the Fritz

Hi Sweetie,
Had an excellent night sleep for a change last night, woke up refreshed and ready to get to work, and promptly did so. Spent the morning housekeeping, including some long overdue items like the black marks around the bedroom window, not sure what it was and wasn’t sure they would come off, but I managed to make it look like new! Did a pretty thorough clean, including flushing out the black water tank again, and was doing laundry when for some reason it quit. I was getting an error indicating it wasn’t getting water, and I did, in fact, turn it off once while I was flushing the tank, but usually once I turn it on again, it resumes with not problem. Not so this time! I spent some time trying to figure out what it was, whether the pump has gone again or if it’s something else, maybe something jammed, but I’m hoping once we hit the road tomorrow it will unjam and miraculously fix itself. Otherwise, I’ve got probably an expensive repair to do! Or a replacement, which will be even worse! Fingers crossed! Anyway, that kept me busy most of the afternoon, until it really got too hot to do anything, so I relaxed a bit until the sun was getting low, then I fed the horses and put them on the highline, took the fence down, cleaned up the yard and lined up the truck with the trailer so I only need to drop it down in the morning. I’ve opened up the jack to see if it needs more oil in it, it’s squeaked a couple of times and I’ve been meaning to look at it. It might just be from sitting in one position for so long, because it seems to have been better the last couple of times I used it, but better safe than sorry. It’s about a three-hour drive to Loretta’s, but I’m taking a slightly indirect route, because the direct route looks like it’s on nothing but back roads with dubious windy narrow turns, and I’d rather take at least US highways, which will take slightly longer but be safer. At any rate, I don’t have to leave at the crack of dawn, though I wouldn’t mind getting there before the heat of the day, since it’s going to be a hot one tomorrow! Once I got some more stuff put away, I went over to visit with my Indiana neighbors for a bit until it got dark, then came back to finish off what I could inside. Ready for shower and bed, at least I got my sheets washed and dried before the machine quit! Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, May 22, 2021 – Last Ride on Flash at Seven Springs

Hi Babe,
Well, this is definitely a case of “Glad I came, but won’t be back!” I had a hard night sleep, as I typically do when I eat late and drink hard liquor, woke up around 3:30 and took a long time getting back to sleep, daylight was coming by then. Rose up to say good-bye to my Florida panhandle folks who were planning on driving all the way back today, close to eight hours straight home. Hope they made it okay! Saddled up Flash after breakfast, put his boots on, tried to duct tape the one that fell apart, it got me about as far as the trailhead (100 feet), and I had to take it off. I stayed with one on for awhile, switched it over once just to keep it balance, but eventually took that one off, too, and he was barefoot most of the second half of the ride. I tried to stay on wider trails today, and for a couple of minutes, I even got on a section of the C trail where I started to relax! I hadn’t realized it, but I hadn’t had that feeling all week! But it was short-lived, because that soon turned to deep mud, with occasional side trails that went around it which were only marginally better in some cases. Still, there was more to like about the C trail than to dislike, so it wasn’t bad. I had planned to take 16 out towards Mountain Top, but it was in really bad shape, evidently it hasn’t been looked after in quite some time, and I eventually figured out that it actually goes below the bluff not on top of it, but I didn’t know that till much later. I opted to pick up 17, which was obviously a more traveled trail, and that took me all along the edge of the bluff for awhile. Not too bad, just a lot of knee-knockers, so I was constantly pushing against trees to prevent a disaster (so not relaxing, again!) I misread the map (again) and ended up back at the old saloon (which I had already passed once, then followed the signs to Bald Knob, another destination with a 360 degree panoramic vies and a flagpole on top, where I ran into three other riders who tagged along with me as I headed down the trail to the pipeline. They stopped at the picnic table and I kept going, mostly on the eastern pipeline (which is a bit nicer than the western one) until I arrived back at 3 sisters trail. Then I headed into the woods on trail 1, which was right near camp and actually one of the nicer trails I’ve seen except, of course, it had some knee-knockers, too. We did eight miles, though Flash wasn’t too happy because of the stones and gravel, but Lola really had a good time, as always. I got back around 3:00, put everyone away, and eventually decided to go down to the Rattlesnake Saloon, which is the main attraction here, a restaurant partially inside a cave, with live music and bar food. It requires a taxi ride (a pickup truck with benches in the back) to get there, and I tried to bring Lola along, but the security guy refused her, saying it was a health department violation. That’s interesting, since I’ve never been turned away from a restaurant, a hospital, a senior home or anywhere else for that matter, this is the first time ever. Well, that’s just another item on a long list of reasons not to come back here! I brought her back to the trailer and returned, where the line had gotten three times as long and there looked like there might be a wait. I did managed to get on the next trip, though, but the only table they had was a six-top in the outer section, which was crazy for just me. Worse, the table next to me had five people, all smokers, and the wind was such it was all coming straight at me. I asked the server if she had a fan she could put out to blow it in the other direction, but she didn’t. Fortunately, a four-top farther away from them opened up, and she was kind enough to let me move over there. The burger was decent and the fries small and seasoned, the hard cider okay, I wasn’t really interested in the live music though it sounded about like what you’d expect from a local, rural Alabama band I suppose. Got back before 7:00, got the horses fed and put up on the highline, then went over to visit my other neighbors from Indiana, who I haven’t had much time to spend with, and we had a nice chat. I had a chance to do my Snowy River for them, they seemed to appreciate it. Once mosquito hour hit, it was time to settle down, now it’s time for my shower and bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!