Archives for May 2023

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 – Another Busy Day Plus 11.2 Miles

Hey Babe!
Had another busy day today! The welder returned at 9:00 and promptly got busy finishing the wheel well job. After that I had him look at the bracket that locked the ladder on the trailer, that had ripped off some time ago, and he put some nice new screws in that. He also helped me get the new spare tire in place, it’s a very tight fit when it’s fully inflated, and finally, he helped me put some stuff up into the “attic,” including all the skirting I’ve been carrying around in the back of the truck, so now I’m all set up there. When he presented me with the bill, I couldn’t believe it! I actually rounded it up because I thought it was too low! And you know me, I’m stingy, but he did a great job and really undercharged me for it. Happy camper here!! As soon as he left, I made my way into town to get my mail, which, according to the tracking number, was right where it was supposed to be yesterday but wasn’t. Today it was. Apparently, because I put the actual post office address on there, (even though it was sent to General Delivery), it got sorted onto a mail truck that went out to deliver. Go figure. Anyway, I got my package for the upcoming trail ride, at last, along with some other stuff. One the way back, I stopped at Tractor Supply to fill up another propane tank and to pick up some feed, then straight back to camp, stuffed my face with one of Chris Cooley’s famous cinnamon rolls, then saddled up Flash to get in another conditioning ride. This time we went 11.2 miles, alternating between walking and running as much as the terrain would allow. I’ve been doing my homework on the ride, and the first day is a real bear, 26 miles, so we’re definitely going to have to pace ourselves. I’ve learned I can arrive on Saturday, which I’m inclined to do, just because I don’t like to travel on Sunday, and then Flash can rest on Sunday and be ready to go on Monday. Took care of a few other items that needed doing, then settled down for the evening. Had to put the AC on for a bit, we’ve gone from freezing at night a few days ago, today it was 90 degrees! One extreme to the other! Well, at least the humidity is really low, that helps a lot. Anyway, the day is done, I only have my Spanish lesson and a shower before I get to bed. Good night, my sweet! Love you!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 – Another Nine Plus Mile Ride And Errands

Hiya Sweetie!
I did have a good night sleep, and had a busy day. After chores and breakfast, I saddled up Flash and we headed out for what I had intended to be about twelve miles, but I took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong trail, and decided it was getting late (and I had a lot to do yet), so I decided to just hop on Trail 10 take a nice sprint home. Flash had been kind of sluggish for a lot of the ride, but when we turned for home, he found his mojo, and we ran very quickly the last two miles back to camp, which I figured was a good finish. I wish I could describe that fantastic fragrances that we’ve been experiencing here, so many trees and flowers in bloom. Sometimes I can’t even see them, I can just smell them wafting over us, really lovely. Lola had a good time too, but crashed as soon as we got home, of course, especially considering that long final run. Got them both squared away, then headed into town, first to the tire shop to drop off the rim, since my new tire had arrived today, then to the post office, where they claimed they didn’t have my package, that it should be at the main post office, but I couldn’t read the tracking number until later when I got it from James, and according to that, it WAS at that branch, and had been since that morning! Didn’t find that out till it was too late. Went to the feed store to stock up on this alfalfa/grass mix hay, a bit expensive at $9/bale but they’re very heavy bales, so I’m thinking they’ll last for several weeks, and by then, all the new first cutting will be in and hay will be cheap and easy to find, which it’s not right now. I could have gotten new hay for $5/bale, but I would have had to drive nearly 40 miles each way to get it, so it wasn’t worth it. Went back to the shop and picked up my tire, then headed back to camp, with a quick stop at Big Lots on the off chance they might have a more comfortable recliner, no dice. Got the tire out but couldn’t get it up on the spare tire rack yet, figured there was no point in struggling if I’m going to have help coming (the welder) in the next couple of days. I also managed to load all but the last load of hay in the trailer, but I got scratched up and covered with hay in the process. Had to fill up the truck with water again, filled up the RV tank in the process, changed a fuse out for the cigarette lighter, it hasn’t been working properly for charging my phone (though the one on the driver’s side still isn’t working), finally settled down to dinner and a movie! Ready to get this day over with! Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Monday, May 29, 2023 – Memorial Day, Busy Working on Trailer

Hey Darlin’!
Really been sleeping great out here in the woods, then laying in for a bit to read, so I got up just before and got busy. After chores and breakfast, I started working on my first problem, the electric jacks on the trailer. They’ve been intermittent, and the last time I checked (after I got here and got it off the truck) it wasn’t working at all. Not a problem I want to have, so I got busy. Last time this happened it was solved by cleaning all the contact, particularly a connector that’s right behind one of the batteries. So first thing was to disconnect that battery and have a burly neighbor slide the 72 pound sucker over so I could reach everything. I then proceeded to carefully sand every single contact that had anything to do with the jacks, including both batteries, the relay behind the one battery, and all the connections on the jack motor itself. Put it all back together and viola! It worked GREAT! Put everything back together, and just as I was putting the last propane tank in place, I managed to pinch my finger underneath, ouch! Put some ice on it right away, so no problem. I walked down and to help Alayna loading her grandma’s mare Glory (not that she needed any help), then she stopped to listen to my brakes and said she could hear a hum on all four brakes, so evidently they’re working okay, which is very good news! There’s a stray wire near the blown tire, but I think that goes to a side marker which is missing anyway, so I guess I’m good! Loaded up Apollo to take the Grandma’s, figured it would be easier on everyone to just do that in one trip and get him settled in over there for the month. We put him in the big pasture, going to let the mares look him over for a few days, then put them together when Grandpa gets back from his fishing trip on Tuesday. Meanwhile, she baked me her famous cinnamon rolls, which were delicious as usual, and made me take four more home with me. I’ll be cursing her when I get on the scale the next few days! 🙂 Got back to camp and spent some time trying to straighten out the bent parts of the trailer near the wheel well, was hoping to get the bulging panel back into place, but that didn’t work. Anyway, settled down for the evening, listening to Flash whinny for Apollo, expect that will go on for a couple of days, especially now that camp is all but empty except for me (the way I like it!). Much quieter out here now! Looking forward to a good night sleep! Good night, babe! Love you!

Sunday, May 28, 2023 – Great Seventeen Plus Mile Conditioning Ride on Flash

Hiya Babe!
Started off the day in my usual manner, then after breakfast, a friend of Sheila’s stopped by and we chatted about the Shore-to-Shore ride, which she’s done several times. Then Alayna’s grandma walked up and I chatted with her for quite a while, first at my site, then at hers. Finally, I came back to check on Lola and to saddle up Flash, thinking Alayna would be back at 1:00, but it was closer to 2:00 when she got there. I kept Grandma Cooley company until then, but then headed out on the trail. I had about a 15 mile ride planned, and missed a couple of trail markers, so by the time we got back to camp it was 17.24 miles! We did a lot of gaiting today, so we did it in pretty good time, almost exactly four hours, which I thought was pretty good. Not endurance ride-winning, but great for a conditioning ride. Lola came with us today, and she had to work hard to keep up with us! Out like a light as soon as we got home, not surprisingly. After a conversation with Alayna, we decided Apollo should go with her when she leaves tomorrow, so that will be one less thing I have to plan around later in the week. It’s all about getting everything fixed for the big ride now. Going to tackle as many of the problems as I can tomorrow, though my tire isn’t due in until Tuesday, but I can try to work on my jacks and brakes tomorrow. Feeling pretty tired right now, didn’t get the best night sleep last night, and it’s been a long, exhausting day, so I’m off to bed early, hopefully! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Saturday, May 27, 2023 – New Recliner and Short Ride On Apollo with Alayna

Hey Sweetie!
Had a good night sleep, got my chores and breakfast done, then headed out to a house in Big Rapids that had a recliner for sale on Marketplace. I did some research, and discovered it was exactly the model of LazyBoy that was a wall-hugger and a perfect fit for the small space, plus it’s not electric, which is what I wanted. Because that battery adapter has never worked properly on the old recliner, I’d have to put on the inverter every time I wanted to recline in my chair, and of course, a bunch of other little stuff would pull juice too, so the batteries would end up draining faster than necessary, so a manual one is actually a better solution for me. It’s not nearly as comfortable as the old European one, as it’s got a bit too much padding in the lumbar region for me, and my legs hang off the front when reclined, but it’ll do, especially in reclining position where it takes up a lot less space. It’s a rocker, too, but doesn’t swivel, which is also fine, I don’t need that. It was part of an estate the family was starting to disburse. From there I want to another Facebook listing two miles away for a recliner cover, a heavy quilt-like thing that, although it was a bit too large, covers it nicely and will hopefully keep Lola from digging up the material. She managed to put quite a few scratches in the old leather one, this one is more of a microfiber material, but the cover is really heavy, so hopefully it will keep it in good condition for as long as I have Lola. Got back to camp, took out the old chair (easier than when I took the last one out, since I learned from that experience), cleaned up the whole living room slide area, and had the new one in in no time! Fits perfectly! I don’t even have to put it over the slide ledge to recline all the way, so the wall-hugger part is really impressive. It even has a lot more space behind it to store the few things I leave back there, so it’s a win/win. Once that was done, I saddled up Apollo, as I had arranged to go riding with Alayna on her old, sluggish mare, and we did a nice 4.7 mile loop. Her mare wasn’t as sluggish as Apollo, so we had to jog regularly to keep up, which was good exercise for him. Beautiful day, it warmed up nicely, hardly a cloud in the sky, getting into that perfect weather I’m always searching for! Whoo-hoo! Got back to camp, gave the boys some hay, found Lola on the new chair (surprise, surprise!) and once I heard her trying to fluff it up, and failing, thank goodness! Now she’s luxuriating in the old chair, which is out under the awning until we haul it away, another thing Alayna has offered to help with. Spent some time getting knots out of some ropes, fed the horses and settled in for the evening. Been watching the old Big Valley series on Prime these days, very much enjoying that! Alayna and husband Jeremy came by and took away the old chair (Lola will miss that when she goes looking tomorrow!), now I’m ready for shower and bed. Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Friday, May 26, 2023 – Wonderful Second Fourteen Mile Ride at Hungerford

Hiya Darlin’!
Another great night sleep, loathe to get out of bed when it’s in the 30’s, though, so I laid in to read a bit, though not as long as yesterday. Got up and did chores and breakfast, as usual, threw together a route to take today, and headed out with plans for a fantastic fourteen mile ride. I do love this place, every trail is so spectacular! I only had to get off to saw off one limb that had fallen, and it was already dead so it didn’t take long. I have to get myself one of those little mini-chainsaws though, for sure! I let Flash do whatever speed he wanted, and he mostly walked, which was fine for the most part, though he did start getting a bit faster as the day went on. When we finally came to the turn for home, I missed a trail, but Flash decided he knew the way, and suddenly got in a hurry to get there, so he jumped into his seven mph gait and took off down another trail. I wasn’t sure which way was the best way back, but he was convinced, so I let him go, and he kept that up almost all the way back to camp, several miles, which he found unerringly. He’s got a great memory, considering it’s been two years since we’ve been here! Lola kept up the whole way, now she’s out like a light! I won’t be far behind her, I want to be in bed nice and early tonight. I did walk down and help my friend Alayna with some lifting, she got married last year and now she’s ten weeks pregnant, so I’ll help her out however I can. They’ve also offered to let me use their horse trailer to transport Apollo, and if that’s the case, I’ll just let him got over to their house rather than the place I was going to board him. I had only decided on that place because it was close enough to pony Apollo over, but if I have a trailer, I can go the extra few miles. Anyway, time for tea, shower and bed! Good night, baby! Love you!

Thursday, May 25, 2023 – First Wonderful Ride at Hungerford

Hi Babe,
Had a wonderful night sleep, to bed early and laid in late reading, so feeling much more refreshed today. For the first time, while my foot was still in pain, it wasn’t debilitating, which is a relief, and a sign that it truly is just bruising and not broken. Spent the morning working on all kinds of projects, and was finally able to get a welder out here to look at my wheel well. While he started the job, he wasn’t able to finish it because his welder is in for warranty repairs, but promises to finish it next week when he returns from his holiday weekend up in the UP (that’s the Upper Peninsula, for those of you not familiar with the Michigan vernacular). He cut out all the bad stuff and made forms to replace that, so I’m sure he’ll be back to finish. Meanwhile, I got a bunch of other stuff accomplished, all while waiting for the day to warm up enough to ride. It was VERY chilly this morning, close to the freezing point, and it’s supposed to be the same tomorrow morning, but warming steadily through the week. By 2:00 it finally reached acceptable temps for riding, so I made a quick GPS sketch for about a seven+ mile ride, saddled up Flash, and we all soon headed out. Lola was in desperate need of exercise, too, and was happy to come along. Flash was a bit hesitant when we were on the gravel road to the trailhead, but he soon opened up when we hit the perfect, hard sandy footing of the trails. We did a couple of miles at a moderate gait once he got warmed up, and he really enjoyed himself. Ran into a few other riders and a buggy, but no problem, and Lola was brilliant, as usual, taking a wide berth out into the woods whenever other riders came by. Such a good girl! Every time I come here to Hungerford, I marvel at how perfect it is for riding and camping. Every trail we went on today was wonderful, and a lot drier than I remember, I seem to remember there was a lot of mud last time, but not this year! Truly a wonderful ride! And Flash had no trouble remember his way around, he really stretched out on the last straight-away home, and made the turn into the trail leading to camp like he’d been doing it every day since the last time we were here two years ago! A fabulous ride, so glad it finally warmed up enough to do it! Temps are supposed to be getting to the freezing mark again tonight, so the horses are blanketed and fed, I showered early so my hair would dry before the temps got too low, and I’m all settled down for the evening. Still have a lot of issues to resolve, but I feel like I’m making some good headway. Headed for bed soon, despite the fact that it’s only just barely got dark here, past 9:30! I really hate daylight savings time these days! Anyway, good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 – Another Busy Day

Hi Sweetie,
Had a good night sleep but still felt a bit tired through the day, so much to do! After chores I began the day with a load of laundry, for which I had just enough water to get done, then getting out my new pressure washer and started cleaning out the water tank in the truck, it was a real mess! Of course, I couldn’t reach it all, so I had to resort to using elbow grease and a toilet brush to reach most of the nooks and crannies. Managed to get it reasonably clean before filling it up again, then back to my site and filling the fresh water tank again so that I could do a second load of laundry. Hung the first up to dry outside, and got online to order the tire I needed for the trailer. Drove into town to the Tractor Supply for a new handle for my manure rake, which broke this morning, and to refill two propane tanks, then a quick trip to Walmart where miraculously I got out of there for under $100! So many things on my to do list, I can’t believe it! I tried to lower the trailer jacks to get more water in, and they didn’t work. They’ve been giving me problems intermittently but I thought it had to do with low voltage, but that was definitely not the case today considering I had been running the generator to do laundry. Something else I need to look at! Seems like every time I turn around I’ve got another problem to be solved! Long list of things to do these days, but I can’t ignore my riding, either, have to get Flash in shape for the Big Ride in two weeks. Slightly regretting coming so far north this early, as there is a frost warning the next couple of nights! No doubt being above the 42nd parallel is good for July and August, it may not be so good for May. Put the light blankets on the horses for the night already, hoping I don’t regret not putting on their heavy blankets and set the thermostat for 58, hoping it doesn’t come on during the night, but suspect it will. No worries, plenty of propane. Looking forward to crawling into bed and staying there tonight! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 – Busy Day of Problem Solving

Hiya Darlin’,
Spent the vast majority of my day on the computer and phone trying to solve a myriad of issues that have piled up. Looking for someone to weld a new bottom on my storage compartment and fix the brake wire (Alayna’ gramps stopped by this evening to look at it, and will follow-up with some ideas), spent time chasing down some refunds that were due me from last month, researched a replacement tire, since none of the three previous brands I’ve used are available any more, learned more about some tools I need to get, including a pressure washer, took apart my solar fence charger and talked to tech support about it, might have to be replaced, and on and on and on. I let the horses out to graze for a bit, they started to get a little far away so I had to move them back here once. Hooked them on the highline before going off on some errands, first to the local tire store to check out a tire they had that I thought might work (it doesn’t, so I’ll have to take my chances with SimpleTire again), went to the feed store to pick up some hay (they don’t start haying here for another two weeks, so I was low), which turned out to be really high on alfalfa content, so I’m going to have to watch their intake. Alayna’s gramps says he can bring me some, he’s got a few hundred bales leftover because they had one less horse this winter. Went to Lowes and got a new pressure washer, I really need to clear out the water barrel in the truck before I put any more water in my trailer tank, and I’m going to have to bleach that down as well, hopefully tomorrow. Finally got back to camp and sort of settled down for the evening. I didn’t sleep all that well last night, so I’m feeling a bit sluggish, getting to bed earlier tonight, for sure! Busy day, and more to come! Good night, babe! Love you!

Monday, May 22, 2023 – Troublesome Travel Day to Hungerford Horse Camp, MI

Hey Babe!
Up with the alarm, packed up and ready to leave by just after 8:00, with a little help from Mike who generously offered to do my site cleanup, which saved me a good ten minutes. Took a wrong turn out of camp, though, and ended up in a parking lot where I had to turn around. Didn’t think much of it at the time, but I think I over-torqued one of the tires in the process, because just north of Ft. Wayne, I had a major blowout. I heard it go just as I was approaching an exit, so I pulled off and stopped asap, because I knew the weight was too much for a single tire, and I didn’t want to blow a second one! I tried to loosen the lug nuts, but it was too tight and the tire was so shredded that it would spin around when I put force on it, so I called Progressive and they got me road service within half an hour. Meanwhile, I took out the spare and lined up the Jiffy Jack, so we were able to make short work of it once he got there. Of course, the spare only had about 70 psi in it because it’s such a tight fit on the rack, but he pulled out a little Milwaukee inflator that actually got it almost all the way up to 125 before the battery ran out. I had one other tire that was a little low, I was hoping to get that filled, but there was a Pilot at that exit, so after we finished the job (no charge to me, yay Progressive!), I pulled into Pilot looking for air, couldn’t find it, but managed to sweet talk a passing Goodyear tire repair truck into topping it off for me. I got the impression he just hangs around at the truck stop to pick up work there, it was VERY busy there! Anyway, I was on the road again with only about an hour delay, and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Unfortunately, when the tire blew, it took out a big chunk of the wheel well, which also serves as the bottom of my storage compartments, so I’m going to have to find a welder or repairman to fix it. It also blew out the wiring that works the trailer brakes, so they didn’t work either! I’m hoping I can fix that myself. After paying $1100 to get them fixed a few weeks ago, I’m ticked that I had to drive all day with no brakes! Fortunately, it was pretty flat driving all the way, and I only had one “bucking” problem when there was a sudden traffic jam at some construction near Grand Rapids. Arrived safely at Hungerford, was a bit surprised at how many sites were taken on a Monday! And unfortunately the site I was planning on taking, which is the easiest for me to get into, was closed for “safety” reasons, so I had to find another one. Tried one, couldn’t make it, but did finally find one I could get into easy enough. The challenge is all the trees that are close to the road, my rig just doesn’t have enough room to avoid them, so I need to find one with lots of open space on both sides of the road. Anyway, I got the highlines up, though I let the horses graze for awhile, there was some nice fresh grass scattered around. Got set up, went down and got some water in the truck tank and got the horses water filled up. Heated up leftovers for dinner, put the horses to bed (naturally, they wanted to keep grazing. They really don’t like the hay I got for them in TN), and settled down for the evening, with a long list of things to do tomorrow, none of which include riding, but they probably need to rest anyway, after so many hours of bumpy roads. Good night, sweetie! Love you!