Archives for September 2021

Thursday, September 30, 2021 – 15.5 Mile Ride at Owl Creek

Hi Darlin’,
Had a fabulous night sleep last night, woke up nice and refreshed, did my chores, and it wasn’t long before I was saddling up Flash for his first ride here. Last time when we were here together, we did the orange loop twice, going in opposite directions, which is a little over eight miles long. Today I wanted to add the smaller blue loop in the middle, which the maps says is only about 2.5 miles long, so I figured about 10-12 miles with the added terrain. Turns out that it’s more than 15.5 miles long, so it was a much longer ride than I had anticipated. Still, it was a very good ride, and Flash did an excellent job. I met some other day riders resting down at that nice picnic area by the bridge, but only stay for a moment to adjust a stirrup, then I was off on the blue loop trail. A really nice ride, though. It reminds me of Big South Fork or Hocking Hills, without the mud and the long stretches of slippery rock, though there were a couple of short instances of both here. I had forgotten how nice this forest is in places, with lots of caves and little waterfalls, though most of the trail is well-built so that it traverses along the middle of hills as they curve around, rather than trying to go up and down them all the time. Still some nice grades, though. I ran into a local woman out riding, too, on a pretty paint horse with one blue eye. We chatted a bit, but I never got her name. Anyway, it took longer than I had planned, so by the time I got back to camp, I didn’t have time to go do the shopping like I had hoped I would be able to do, so that chore is now pushed off to tomorrow. It’s probably better anyway, it was a long day, I’ll need to recover tomorrow! Oh, my neighbor from the last two days left this morning, we chatted briefly, and when I got back to camp, all the day rider trailers were gone, so I was hoping to have the place to myself tonight, but another camper came in, though he doesn’t have a horse, and then long after dark, yet another trailer came in, too dark to see who it is, though. Guess it will be next week before we finally get the place to ourselves, though I did let the horses graze free for awhile before the first camper got here. Settled down with a movie with dinner, one more French lesson, now I’m ready for shower and bed! Love you, sweetie! Good night!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 – Laundry and Work Day

Hi Sweetie!
Had a good night sleep, then immediately started in on laundry, it was a gorgeous day to hang stuff outside, and start work on my computer. I had all the followup work from the Workshop to do, you know, Thank You notes, Certificates etc. I’m very glad I uploaded the videos last week, though, because the cell phone signal is very iffy here, I have to put the phone up in the bedroom on the west side in order to get a decent enough signal to do anything, even Netflix, but it’s tricky. I also had a couple of months worth of bookkeeping to do, though I hadn’t realized I was that far behind. Anyway, it took be pretty much all day to do that, so riding was not in the cards today, which is fine, it’s good to let the horses rest. I put Apollo out on his anchor and Flash was loose for awhile, at least while my neighbor was out riding, but when he got back I hooked Flash back up to the highline. In the afternoon, his horse, named Lucy, broke her line and came trotting back towards me, then seemed to head towards the woods until she hit the treeline, at which point she stopped to graze. I managed to get close enough to put a lead rope on her when her owner showed up and took her home. I was in the middle of grilling one of my last Zweigler’s white hots on the grill, so I had to turn that off to rescue her, or it would have burnt to a crisp. Wouldn’t want to do that with such a valuable commodity! (you have to be from western NY to understand that!) Anyway, finally settled down for a quiet evening, glad to be on Central time, where it gets dark around 7:00, much more to my liking, though that will change when the clocks change in a few weeks. Had a great, long shower, going to be on fresh sheets, looking forward to it! Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 – Tough Travel Day to Owl Creek

Hi Babe,
Happy to say I had a great night sleep last night, at least eight full hours with only one short wake up around 4:00, but went right back to sleep. I needed it! So I woke up refreshed, got up and gave the horses their feedbags and fed Lola, then saddled up Flash and ponied Apollo over to the vet’s next door. We waited around for a bit, but the horses were happy to eat the grass, so no worries. They finally came out the back door and did their thing, it seems the Doc has someone in training so most of the conversation was directed at her rather than me, but it didn’t take long. What took a long time was them getting the paperwork done on Global Vet Link for my EECVI. They had to call to get an exception because my mailing address is now Florida, and they were saying it had to be a Florida vet issuing the certification. Really? If I need a certificate to get into Florida, how am I supposed to get a Florida vet to issue it? Anyway, the issue was resolved after awhile, and eventually I was able to ride back and finish packing up and loading. I managed to get out right around 11:00, later than I had hoped but still okay. I didn’t follow my GPS because it wanted me to go across country, which I knew had some narrow roads, so I followed 64 all the way to I-65 and took that most of the way. Then I made a mistake, because it was trying to get me down a narrow road, and I opted out, going on another road, which ended up being a mistake. It took awhile to fix, and before I finished, my phone died and I ended up having to ask for directions, but no one seemed to be able to give me anything definitive. I kept going to where I thought I needed to go, and voila! Suddenly I was passing a sign for a turn to Owl Creek, which I recognized, but miles from where people were telling me to go. Never ask the locals for directions, that seems to be the best advice. I had forgotten it was two miles on narrow gravel road to get to it, but fortunately, I didn’t meet anyone on the road. Anyway, I finally made it, then I had another problem. When I tried to back into the spot I had decided I wanted to take, my tires started slipping and I couldn’t move. The ground looked pretty dry, but not dry enough for my weight, I guess, even after I took the horses out of the trailer. So I had to unhook, then come in sideways and re-hook, which allowed me to move again. I did some more reconnoitering because I didn’t really like that spot anyway (it meant I was facing the bathrooms), so I finally settled on a spot just behind the bathrooms, but facing the horses. The water is very nearby, I used two trees instead of the provided highlines, and finally got the horses on those, fed and watered, all tanks and even Lola’s swimming pool filled up with water, at which point it was 5:00! I was supposed to get here just after 2:00, but with all those other complications, things just got a bit out of hand. Anyway, I managed to get out my chairs and my barbecue grill, and since I hadn’t had anything except a couple of protein bars to eat today, I grilled up a piece of chicken and the last ear of corn I had from Michigan, then settled down for the evening. There is one other camper here, much to my surprise, but I haven’t met them yet (or it could be just a him, I only saw one horse). He came back from a ride just as I was settling in, I’m sure I’ll meet him tomorrow. Watched a movie, now I’m ready for shower and bed. I got hot and sweaty today, temps in the low 80’s, but it’s supposed to get down to 60 overnight, so I’m hoping for another good night sleep, especially after this tiring day! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Monday, September 27, 2021 – Travel Day to Vet in TN

Hi Darlin’,
Had a terrible night sleep, couldn’t doze off for the life of me last night! I tried everything, nothing worked. It was probably past 2:30 when I finally slept, but the alarm was set for 7:30, so it wasn’t much sleep. Don’t know why! Anyway, finally got up and finished off the packing, got the horses loaded in the I was just dropping the trailer back down onto the hitch ball when the old guy that’s a volunteer here came by, so I was temporarily delayed, though not for too long, fortunately. I still managed to get moving and left the dump around 9:15. It’s such a straight shot today, what with I-65 being about a mile from the park, then straight down to I-24 in TN. We made one stop at a Marathon just before crossing out of KY to pick up fuel. I thought it was a bargain price at $3.14 considering they were getting $3.45 at the Flying J across the street, but much to my surprise, it actually turned out to be a bit cheaper in TN, as low as $2.99! KY must have added some gas tax or something, because they ALWAYS used to be cheaper than in TN, but not anymore! Anyway, I made such good time, and with the time change, I ended up arriving at the vet’s office at around 1:30 local time. I parked where I was told, next door, then walked over to see if they could put the horses up in their multi-acre pasture, and though it took nearly half an hour, the answer was no, darn it! So I had to walk back over and rig up a picket line between a chain link fence and an electrical post (I can’t call it a highline because it’s too darn low for that!), and managed to get the horses settled in. I didn’t have a lot of water in my tank, I had considered putting some in this morning but didn’t want to take the time, so naturally, Apollo knocked over the water bucket and I didn’t have enough to refill it. Fortunately, there was a water spigot right next to the cement pad that I had parked on, and even though the water was apparently turned off, there was a tiny trickle, so I hooked up to it and ran a hose to the water bucket, and left it for a couple of hours, which was enough to fill the bucket about half way. I’m keeping it on overnight just so they don’t run out, though they’ve both had a good drink now. Anyway, once I got them settled, I watched am movie, now I’m headed to shower and bed (I have just enough in my trailer tank for that), even though it’s only 9:30 local time. I need the zzzzz’s! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Sunday, September 26, 2021 – Recovery and Packing

Hi Sweetie,
Had a good night sleep, and a pretty lazy day today. I didn’t feel at all achy after yesterday’s ride, which was wonderful, but I also didn’t have too much energy today. After feeding the horses, I hung around the campfire with the group as they all peeled off to pack up and leave, and by noon, the place was mostly empty again, except for a couple more that left not too long after. I packed up the few things I had taken out, which wasn’t much, since I had too much of a slope outside my door to put down the rug and the chairs like I usually do, so it was really just hoses and tack and the winter blankets. It’s only getting down into the mid 50’s tonight, so I’ve put their light blankets on, even that’s probably overkill, but I’m still hoping they won’t grow much of a winter coat. I forgot to mention yesterday how proud I was of Flash, how he jumped right into a strange trailer with a very high step, only hesitating once before climbing in. He has come such a long way in the last couple of years and is such a brilliant horse now, so much fun to be around! Anyway, it was a pretty relaxing day overall, so I’m glad I mostly rested, since the next couple of days are going to be busy. I’m off to bed early, because I want to get a fairly early start tomorrow morning. Good night, baby! Love you!

Saturday, September 25, 2021 – Spectacular Ride From Deam Lake to Clark State Forest

Hi Babe,
What a fantastic and rare ride I had today! The group that have been my neighbors had invited me to join them on a linear ride from Deam Lake back to camp, and since they had room for me and Flash in one of their trailers, I decided to go, since I felt this chance might never come again. The morning started out auspiciously, with rain moving in right around 7:00, which was about the time everyone was getting up and getting ready, but it was over within an hour. It did delay our departure somewhat, but by the time we loaded up and drove the short trip to the Deam Lake Day Use Parking, the rain was gone, and other than a few remnants of fog, which eventually cleared up, and soon it was a gorgeous, albeit cool day. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long to figure out that the best place for me and Flash was in front with a spidey stick, otherwise I’d be fighting him all day. Most of the horses were stock, with one Rocky Mountain and one sometimes Tennessee Walker (he rarely gaited), so Flash and I left them behind for the most part, stopping and waiting for them regularly. The trip was nearly 19 miles, but it took over 6 ½ hours because of all the stops and breaks. I’ve come to realize that when it comes to these special opportunities, I just have to suck it up, even though Flash and I would have been quite happy to keep going, in which case the trip would have been more like about four hours for just us. But when you’re with a group that is drinking a case of beer along the way, the need for pit stops is apparent, so we just had to go with the flow. Still, it was a great trip, through some beautiful forest trails, though there were quite a few stretches on tarmac and gravel roads as well. Got back to camp earlier than they had expected (I think the other horses were trying somewhat to keep up with Flash, or at least not to get too far behind), but at the last stop at a place the locals call Table Top, all the other horses were dead tired, and Flash was still hopping around because he knew how close we were to camp and wanted to get on with it. He kept turning in circles, and was very glad when the rest of the group finally mounted up and we got on the last stretch home. Most of the trail was pretty easy, but then we hit the steeps hills at the end, so I can see the advantage of doing it in reverse, getting the hills out of the way while the horses were still fresh. They were pretty tired on the home stretch, and to start doing these steep hills, particularly when they were so slick from the recent rain, was a bit dicey. But everyone made it back safe, with only one upset when someone’s saddle slid too far forward going down a hill, but nothing serious. After putting the horses away, we all sat around the campfire and had a nice meal fixed by those who stayed in camp. Eventually, I left the circle to call it a night, put the heavy blankets on the horses again since it’s supposed to be in the upper 40’s again tonight, and came in and settled in for a brief evening. Now I’m off to shower and bed. Lola didn’t come with me today, but she played hard with the group, so she’s off in bed already, too. So good night, my darling! Love you!

Friday, September 24, 2021 – Second Ride at Clark State Forest on Apollo

Hi Sweetie,
Had a wonderful night sleep again, I’m really catching up on my zzzzz’s! After chores I sat around my neighbor’s campfire chatting, but after awhile I was anxious to go on a ride, and they all seemed to be waiting for some more folks to show up, so I decided since I didn’t really want to go with a big group anyway that I’d go ahead and take off. Saddle up Apollo and headed out the nice trail I liked out of camp, and managed to follow my GPS plan for awhile, but eventually I couldn’t find one of the trailheads and ended up going along a tarmac road for awhile, which took me down to Wilcox Lake, then from there I couldn’t find another trailhead so I took a gravel road past a horse riding facility until it reach another tarmac road. I was going in generally the right direction, but not exactly, until I finally found where the next trailhead was, I recognized it from yesterday, so I ended up pretty much back on track. Different route, but I finally managed to make my way past camp. Not really liking this place that much. A lot of the trails have been recently bulldozed (I’ve been told it only happened this past week!), and there are a lot of renengade trails not on the map, with no markings for the actual trail so it’s inevitable that one would get lost in here. I think I’m going to take advantage of the offer to be trailered down to Deam Lake and take the 17 mile ride back, though I think it might be frustrating if I have to hold Flash back the whole time. I’m told it’s just marked as the red trail most of the way, so I’ve very carefully mapped it, and I hope my GPS holds true so that if I decide to break out from the group I can still find my way back okay. Fingers crossed! I’m more worried about Lola getting anxious, can’t decide if I should leave her here. I might, since we’ve gone the last two days and a rest might be good for her, and I don’t want to have to worry about her on the trail Anyway, the ride was okay, not my favorite, the steep hills, poor markings and a map that lacks a lot of detail, plus the bulldozing, hasn’t exactly thrilled me. Got back around 4:30, sat around the campfire for a bit, had dinner, came back and did my Snowy River for them, now I’m headed to bed early since we’re supposed to be getting out of here between 8 and 8:30, so I need to shower and get to bed soon. With that in mind, good night, darlin’! Love you!

Thursday, September 23, 2021 – First Ride at Clark State Forest

Hi Darlin’,
Another excellent night sleep, though I had to close all the windows and run the furnace for a few minutes to warm it up before going to bed, and even though I had the thermostat turned down really low, it came on this morning for a bit, so I knew it got cold out last night! Somewhere in the upper 40’s! Was glad I put the winter blankets on the horses last night! Did a little computer work this morning, then saddled up Flash for our first ride. Meanwhile, I acquired a neighbor, a man named Art, we chatted a few minutes before I set off. I had mapped out a ride on my GPS, and managed to follow it for the most part, though there were a couple of intersections with renegade trails that weren’t marked, and I guessed wrong on one, but quickly turned back when I realized I was clearly going off the reservation! The trails are surprisingly steep for Indiana, considering the rest of the state is so flat, but we had some real climbs which were complicated by all the rain. Lots of mud, not stones or gravel, thank goodness, but from the looks of the piles of gravel being brought in, it kind of looks like someone’s planning on laying a LOT of gravel on the trail. The blue trail closest to the campground has been completely bulldozed, and as you know, trail by bulldozer is NOT my favorite. It just made the muddy area wider and worse, in my opinion. Once I got on to the more distant trails, though, it improved because it hadn’t been bulldozed. The green loop was pretty nice, though steep in some places, and my favorite trail is actually one that is marked closed because they’re expecting to start logging soon, but haven’t yet, which is why I took it now. That was really a lovely trail, more gentle slopes and very pretty. At one point, I ran into Art, who evidently thought I might get myself lost so he came out to find me, but of course, I wasn’t lost. He came back part of the way with me, but Flash just kept outrunning his quarterhorse, and eventually, after a long climb, he said he needed to rest his horse, so I went on without him. I had no trouble finding my way back camp, and took a long route whereas he took a shortcut, but I still got back to camp just before him. Flash was wonderful, though I could tell he didn’t really like all the slipping and sliding, but he still stayed pretty calm most of the time. He didn’t like slowing down to wait for Art, though, which is why I eventually just had to keep going. It was a cool day, but I wore lots of layers so it was fine. It’s supposed to be warming up in the next few days. Art says that he has a group of friends coming in, and they’re planning an all day ride starting down at Deam Lake and riding all the way back up here. It’s less than ten miles as the crow flies, but I imagine it’s close to twice that on the trails. I might join them, not sure yet. Anyway, settled down for the evening, another trailer came in who are part of the group, but I stayed home tonight, figure I’ll socialize tomorrow when more of the group comes in. Meanwhile, it’s time for a shower, I need to wash my hair and to get it somewhat dry before I go to bed, considering it’s supposed to be even colder tonight. I’ve been wearing my wool hat to bed, though, so it’s fine! Good night, babe! Love you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 – Rainy Business Catch Up Day

Hi Babe,
Had a great night sleep, even though it rained all night, and continued on throughout the day. Whereas yesterday I put the AC on for a few minutes, today I had to put the fireplace on whenever I was running the generator to warm it up. I put a rain blanket on Flash in the morning because he seemed to be shivering, and by afternoon, as the temps dropped, I put Apollo’s rain blanket on as well. As the temperature kept dropping, but dinnertime, I switched those over for their heavy winter blankets because it didn’t seem like the rain blankets were doing enough. Crazy! Supposed to warm up a bit tomorrow, though. It was a great day for me to get caught up, though, I spent a good part of the day editing and uploading videos from the workshop and generally getting caught up on computer work. Just waiting for all the accurate name information to do the certificates, though. Watched some TV after I got all that done, now I’ve settled down for the night, putting the furnace on to warm it up in here while I shower and before I go to bed. Definitely wearing a wool cap in bed tonight! Well, that just about covers today’s activities, hoping it will be nice enough to ride tomorrow. I took a walk around this morning and found a sign indicating one of the trails is closed due to logging, so I have to work out a ride that doesn’t include that one. Anyway, time to go. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 – Travel Day to Clark State Forest, IN

Hi Sweetie,
Went to be pretty early and slept well, thank goodness! Got up before my alarm, did my chores, then after breakfast started packing what little I had to do before leaving. That didn’t take long. Then I went out to the pasture where the horses were, and Apollo walked away, but came back for a peppermint, so I was able to grab him. Flash must have sensed that he was going to be restricted on a highline again shortly, so he spent about five minutes just running around the pasture like a mad horse! He looked gorgeous doing it though! Once Apollo was moved out of the paddock, he came over and I quickly got him haltered up and loaded, with Apollo right behind. No trouble getting in and out of this place, and my journey was almost entirely on freeways, so it was an easy drive. Got off at the exit for Henryville and there was a gas station there that had easy access, so I decided to top offer now rather than later. Since I have enough supplies, I’m hoping I don’t have to go out at all this week, so the next leg to Tennessee can be straightforward, since it will be a long drive. Had to stop at the forest office first before going to the horse camp, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was paved all the way to the horse camp! I thought it would be gravel, but it was tarmac all the way! They also have a dump here, so this has turned out to be a great spot. This would be perfect as an overnight spot for travelers as well, as it’s only a few minutes off the freeway, a lot closer than Deam Lake, which has been my usual overnight spot in this area. Other than a very old guy coming over to make sure I paid (before I had even determined my site!), it was an uneventful load it. All of the sites have the usual Midwest hitching posts, but I ran the highline between a couple of trees nearby. I’m not quite level and I lifted the truck off the trailer but otherwise haven’t disconnected, hoping I won’t have to do anything by drive out of here when I’m ready. Meanwhile, rain moved in during the evening and we had quite a lot of it, and the temps cooled down. I was ready for that! Relaxed a bit during the afternoon, then I went out to feed the horses and play Frisbee with Lola. Suddenly, at one point, she dropped the Frisbee and made a beeline for the door. I thought maybe it was thunder, but then I went to pick up the Frisbee and instantly was stung by half a dozen ground bees! It happened so fast, and they kept coming. Got stung a few more times before I was able to retreat inside, but a few followed us and I got stung a couple more times. Good thing I’m not allergic to bees! I quickly dowsed every spot with bleach (and unfortunately got some on one of the nice polo shirts you used to wear, that I was wearing, so that one’s garbage now), then took a couple of antihistamine capsules. It didn’t take long for that to work, and before I knew it, I was out like a light! Had to force myself up to take my shower, now I’m off to bed. Good night, darlin’! Love you!