Archives for April 2023

Sunday, April 30, 2023 – Short Ride on Apollo, Got Trailer Moved

Hey Babe,
Another good night sleep, then after breakfast I took Apollo on a short ride just for the exercise. When I got back I mostly finished packing. I wanted to move that trailer on to hard ground, and Deb had asked neighbor Fred to be on hand in case I got stuck. Well, we almost made it! We put the landing pads in all the right places, and moved right off the spot, but then we got our communications off a bit, and I got directed too far off to one side and my trailer tires went into a soft spot (it rained hard again early this morning), and that created a bunch of problems. Eventually, I had to disconnect the trailer and come in at it from a right angle with the truck, plus a little assist with Fred’s 4×4, and managed to get straightened out. Not taking any chances, we went all the way out to the road, then backed up onto the hardest driveway surface just far enough to get off the road. It will be a close call on the turn, but I’m sure I can make it in one or maybe two tries. It took about 90 minutes to accomplish all that, so I’m really glad we did it today so I don’t get stuck tomorrow! I filled the truck water tank about half full so I’ll have some for the horses in case there’s a problem when I get to Lost Corral, and everything is fully charged up. I checked all the fluids in the truck, I did the tires last week, so I think I’m done! I made a discovery with the inverter, too, I actually left the charger on so long that it fully charged the battery and then turned off. I don’t think I’d ever heard it do that before! All the way do to 2 amps! I used to shut if off around 15, but these new batteries are terrific. Fred and his sister Roseanne, who was very entertained by the whole thing, invited me to dinner, which was great! I didn’t have to cook or clean or use up any of the water in the trailer (I put about half a tank in there, too, so I’d be able to pack up the hoses and still take a shower), and it was a delicious meal of smoked pulled pork, beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, and peanut butter cookies for desert. Hmm, mmm, good! Got back, settled down to a fun movie with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, and will finish off as usual! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Saturday, April 29, 2023 – Short Ride on Flash, Brakes Finally DONE!

Hiya Darlin’!
Had a better night sleep last night than I’ve had in awhile, had my earplugs in, that always helps. I did vaguely hear Sheila leave this morning, but had a few more hours sleep after that. I knew my mechanic was coming over today, but he’s never gotten here early, and I’m tired of missing days of riding, and it’s supposed to rain this afternoon, so I took a chance and saddled up Flash after breakfast and took him for a short ride down to the end of the trail along the river again. Not quite so speedy as the other day, likely because it’s been a lot more hot and humid, but we still did five miles in just 1:10, so not too bad. Just as I was coming down the road on the last stretch to the house, Daniel’s truck was coming in from the other direction, and we arrived at just about the same time, so it was perfect timing! Right at noon. He’d already replaced the missing adjuster screw on the one brake they’d taken off, so he put that on, rewired it because apparently there had been a loose wire before, which likely accounted for some of the problems, and put it all back together. Then he took off all the rest of the brakes, greased the bearings, readjusted everything, and it seems like there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with them other than what he fixed, so I’m hoping this well work for the time being. I thought he charged me a reasonable price considering all the extra trips they had to make out here, and he did a great job of filling in the holes he had to dig out to jack it up, so it seems almost level now, which will hopefully make it easier to pull out of here. I’ve decided to move tomorrow, just to get into a part of the driveway where I have more confidence I won’t get stuck again, better to have any trouble tomorrow instead of Monday, since the drive on Monday will be very long. I don’t need to start the day off getting stuck! He was finished by about 4:00, just as the rain was coming in (again, perfect timing!), so I settled down for the evening to dinner and a movie, though not one I particularly liked. Too violent, so many twists and turns it became almost impossible to follow, and they were pushing the envelope on every adult theme you can think of. Anyway, now it’s teatime, Spanish lesson time, shower time and bed time! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Friday, April 28, 2023 – Another Wasted Day!

Hey Sweetie,
I can’t believe I spent the whole day communicating about these brakes, and at the end of the day, I barely made any progress. Every new person that got involved kept going back to the same remarks, things that I had asked about from the very beginning! Very frustrated! By the time it got to 4:30 and I get a call from someone in California, who informs me that the ONLY guy who could give me an answer had probably already left for the day, I was LIVID! And if the answer from him is that there are no replacement parts, then I should get new axles put on, because they claim their axles only have a 5-10 year life span. That sounds ridiculous to me, but that’s the best he could offer. And, of course, there’s a 4-6 week wait for new axles. But I’m stuck. So the end result, after all of that, was that the mechanic is going to come back tomorrow and try to cannibalize whatever parts he needs from the new brakes to get me back on the road. So the whole day was wasted and I’m back to where I started. Meanwhile, Sheila and Dave are leaving in the morning, and Deb will be gone early Monday morning, so I’m going to be pulling out of here on my own. If I get stuck, I’m in trouble! I’m actually thinking about trying to move out of this spot on Sunday to harder ground, so at least I can be sure of getting out early on Monday, now that I’ve decided I have to drive straight through to TN. It’s 400 miles to Lost Corral, which I don’t normally like to do that much, especially to a place I haven’t been to before, but it’s mostly freeway, so I’m just going to have to tough it out. At least when I get there I’ll be back on schedule and I should be able relax a bit. Meanwhile, I’ve found a place where I can leave Apollo while I’m on the Shore-to-Shore ride, and got a few other minor logistical things accomplished, but I missed another day of riding (and will again tomorrow, and probably Sunday, too!), so we’re behind on conditioning now. Very frustrating day. At least I won one of the games of Farkle tonight, and relaxed to a fun Sandra Bullock movie. Ready for shower and bed! Good night, babe! Love you!

Thursday, April 27, 2023 – Another Setback

Hi Babe,
Well, I had high hopes today that I would be leaving tomorrow, so I packed some things up, did another load of laundry, got caught up on my bookkeeping, and generally got the place picked up. Lined the truck up, did as much as I could. Time kept passing and I was getting more and more discouraged about the mechanic getting out here. He and a young apprentice finally arrived, right around 5:00. They got started, but 45 minutes later he came to tell me the parts didn’t fit, that the holes didn’t line up. He showed me what he was looking at, and sure enough, they weren’t right. We discussed trying to cannibalize the new parts to make them fit, but didn’t have a sure solution. Finally, I just checked the parts website again, and sure enough, they sent the wrong parts. Grrrrrr! The number on the part came up as a similar but not identical brake assembly, so now we’re back to square one. Being that it’s Thursday, even if they ship the part overnight tomorrow, and even if the mechanic could get out here on Saturday and put them in, I still wouldn’t be able to get out of here until Monday, since I won’t drive on Sunday. I’d already half made the decision to drive straight through to Lost Corral in TN, even though it’s 400 miles. A bit longer than I usually like, but it’s mostly freeway driving so it won’t be taxing, just long. If I have problems when I get there, it will be more challenging, but hey, that’s what life is all about, right? At least I’ll be able to get in a couple more days of riding here, having a more firm schedule. All this sitting around waiting has been driving me nuts! Plus there’s rain in the forecast for most of the weekend, with clear skies on Monday, so hopefully that will be my travel day. Not making any bets on anything right now! Anyway, heading to shower and bed after my tea. Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023-Busy Prep Day

Hey Darlin’,
Had a terrible night’s sleep, could NOT get to sleep for anything! It was after 2:30 when I finally nodded off. Then I kept waking up remembering things I had to do before I leave here, and I knew I’d never remember them so I started a list on my phone. By the time I got out of bed at 8:00 it was a pretty long list! So I spent the day doing all that, a lot of computer work, printing out my Coggins and Travel permits, changing my reservations at Mammoth Cave, writing back to a student from my last workshop, etc., then I spent some time flushing out the black water tank. It was past mid-afternoon by the time I got everything done. Played Farkle after dinner, won one, lost one. Started watching a Johnny Dep movie but couldn’t stay with it, he was just too over the top trying to play a more subtle character. Switched to another pretty boring movie about an artist that goes to Norway to paint a barn, not much to say about that one either. Getting to bed early tonight, though, after last night! The brake parts came, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the mechanic can come tomorrow and put them on, should be fairly straight-forward, I hope. I’ll have to get everything packed up tomorrow if I’m going to leave on Friday. I hate moving camp on Friday, I only hope my usual spot is open, because there aren’t a lot of spots there where I can fit! Anyway, ready for my shower and bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 – Long Beautiful Speedy Ride on Flash

Hiya Babe!
What a perfect day! Great weather, a gorgeous trail, my fabulous speedy horse, just a perfect day! Today we cut through the Spirit of Suwannee Park to reach the river trail, and followed it down to the old “graffiti” bridge, and kept going all the way down to the Linnville Tract, which had some wonderful trails. Some were in better shape than others, but they were all passable. When Flash saw a long straightaway along the south fenceline, he just decided he had to run the whole way! Didn’t exactly go on my planned route, but it didn’t matter, we rode almost every trail in there anyway, just in a different order, and he just kept cantering and gaiting fast as much as he could! Full of vim and vigor today! On the way back, I decided to cross the graffiti bridge to get a look at the Suwannee Springs, and he didn’t like the feel of that hollow concrete, so I had to dismount and walk him across, then mounted back up and he was fine on the way back over. Took a video, will try to upload it, but my connections a little spotty. In all, we did over 12 miles in less than 2:45, and that includes walking over the bridge. Pretty speedy! Meanwhile, I got a confirmation from FedEx that my parts should get here tomorrow (yeah, right. You know how much I love FedEx… NOT!!) Played Farkle with just Sheila after dinner, I won one and she won two. Then a rainstorm came in, lots of thunder further south, just a bit of rain here, enough to settle the dust. Did more research on Mammoth Cave, think I found another campground that I’m going to switch over to. Of course, there is a cancellation fee for the reservation I made, which is another thing that hardly ever happens anywhere else! But the new place I’m looking at seems a lot friendlier, though only a little bit less expensive, feeling a lot better about it. Trying to get Trish and her gang to change, too, but in any event, the new place is a lot closer to where they’re staying, so it will be easier all around. Anyway, it’s been a long and lovely day, heading to shower and bed! Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Monday, April 24, 2023 – Ordered Parts, Short Ride on Apollo


Hi Darlin’,
A good night sleep, spent the morning ordering the parts I needed, but still don’t have a tracking number yet, so I’m not sure yet when they’ll be getting here. Good thing I built some time into my schedule, though not too much extra, I’ll have to be careful to make sure I get where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be there. Took a short ride on Apollo, just for exercise, mostly along the river, down to the Canoe Post and just beyond, just over an hour. The trails here are mostly beautiful, but there’s just not too many of them. It was cloudy and occasionally there would be a tiny spit of rain, but there’s more in the forecast, so I don’t know how much riding I’ll be doing this week, though I need to keep trying to get Flash in shape for the Shore-to-Shore rides in June. Moved my hay out of the truck into the trailer storage, spent most of the rest of the day reading and enjoying my clean trailer. Played Farkle, and for once, I didn’t win either game, which made it more even for the week. The usual, dinner and a movie, soon a shower and bed! Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Sunday, April 23, 2023 – Day of Housework

Hiya Sweetie,
Had some trouble getting to sleep last night, so ended up sleeping past 8:00 this morning, but I woke up in the rare mood to do housework, so I spent pretty much the entire day doing a deep clean and lots of laundry. Did all the layers of bedding and blankets and pillows, which took most of the time, pulled all the carpeting out and mopped all the floors, took down and cleaned all the lighting fixtures, pretty much did the whole living quarters part of the trailer from top to bottom. A good job done! Of course, now I’m exhausted, which is fine, hopefully I’ll have less trouble getting to sleep tonight. Taking my shower early so my hair will dry, but I’ve still got laundry going, so not quite yet. Glad to get it done, though, it was overdue. Won’t be long out of bed! Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, April 22, 2023 – Brake Job Stalled, Quick Ride on Flash

Hey Babe,
Wasted most of the morning waiting for the mechanic again, thought they’d be here early, but it was after 11:30 by the time Daniel got here. Turns out the parts I picked up yesterday were the wrong parts (they packed the wrong ones), so we’re back to square one. I seem to remember the last time we tried to do the brakes on this thing we never could get our hands on the whole brake assembly. The guys who did it back in TN just cleaned up the old brakes, I think. So I spent some time in the afternoon trying to track down the brake assemblies, and I think I may have found some in SC, but they’re closed so I can’t be sure until Monday, though I did email them. So once Daniel left, and I sent Justin the link to the website where I found them, that was all that can be done for now. Obviously, I’ll be staying here at Sheila’s until this can be resolved, I’m most definitely not going to try to drive through mountains without fixed brakes! Then I spent some time on the phone with Verizon, the last few days my outgoing text messages have not been going through, turns out they did an update that had a glitch, took awhile to get it fixed but it seems to be working now. Then I decided that Flash had been idle long enough, there’s no way I’m going to get him conditioned unless I ride him, and Lola needed some exercise, so I saddled up and we took a short fast ride, covering 4.8 miles in less than an hour, doing a lot of gaiting and cantering. We even stopped for a couple of minutes at the end of the trail, went down to the river so Lola could have a drink and meet a bunch of other dogs that were down there with a group of young men that were there by boats. Had a good canter on the way home, so he did get a little workout, albeit short. Got back in time to make a quick chicken dinner and join the folks for a game of Farkle. I won the first one again by a good margin, but lost the second, Sheila got very far ahead early and none of us were even close to catching up when she went out. Fun, easy game! Came back and watched a movie, so now, of course, it’s time for shower and bed. Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Friday, April 21, 2023 – Slow Day, Mechanic Finally Arrives

Hiya Darlin’!
Despite promises to be here no later than 10:00, the mechanic was not here on time. When I contacted him, he said it would closer to 12:30, so another morning shot to hell. It was close to 1:30 when he finally texted that he was on the way, but 2:30 by the time he got here. Sigh. Well, they got to work, frustrated by the soft surface they had to work on, took them a bit to get it jacked up and the first wheel off. Found a wiring problem that may be contributing to the problem, discounted a couple of things it might have been, the pads aren’t in bad shape, but the adjusters were busted somehow, still don’t have the full understanding of that yet. Of course, all the parts are obsolete now, but he managed to find a guy that had some, and I offered to go pick them up in Lake City, which I did. Of course, by now it was too late in the day to do anything, so they left, with plans to finish up in the morning. I picked up the parts and discovered a feed store right next door, so I picked up some coastal, which I needed to do anyway, and stopped at Walmart to pick up a few things, though it turned out to be nearly another $200. I can remember when we used to live on about $300-350 a month on groceries! Sure can’t do that now! Got back after 6:00, put everything away, had dinner, watched a RS and a nice little rom/com with Tony Spano in the Napa Valley, settled down for the evening (no Farkle tonight!), ready for shower and bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!