Archives for August 2023

Thursday, August 31, 2023 – Another Disappointing Repair Day, Short Ride on Apollo

Hiya Darlin’,
Woke up before the alarm and got busy, busy. Did chores, did a load of laundry, roasted some coffee beans so I would have a to go cup while running around today, finally headed out before 9:30, arriving at my alignment appointment just in time. Wasn’t long before they were telling me they didn’t think they could align it without $1500 worth of ball joint repairs, although in the end when I said I couldn’t afford that right now, I was only expecting to pay $100 to get my steering wheel straightened out with an alignment, per the quote I got from them online, the managed to do it anyway, so I guess the ball joints weren’t really that bad. Then they presented me with a bill for $165! I complained, and they reduced it by $15, still 50 percent higher than my expected budget. Not happy! Then I ran a couple of errands, picking up the connectors I’ll need for my new air mattress at Home Depot, stopping at Meijer’s for some nectar, milk and juice, then Tractor Supply for propane and pine shavings. Something about this soil here, the corrals the horses are in are getting too muddy and smelly, so I decided to splurge on some shavings for them. Stopped to fill up the water tank at the dump station (sorry, “sanitation” station, as they call it now!), got back to camp, started filling up the RV tank, and while I was waiting, I wrote my thoughts about the lack of honesty of the alignment folks and put them up online. Once I got done filling the tank, I finally saddled up Apollo and Lola and I went for a short ride. He’s such a slug these days, and he was tripping and stumbling all over the place, not sure what that’s about. I took the shorter of the two loops, hitting the cross trail between the two, which was the only thing I missed the other day. Again, it’s a beautiful ride, but less than five miles, although on Apollo it took over 90 minutes to do. Surprise, surprise, I got a voicemail from the alignment store with an apology and a refund for the difference over $100. Amazing how reducing someone’s star value online suddenly gets them to sit up and take notice. Too bad they didn’t do that when I was actually in the store trying to get them to straighten it out then, would have saved a lot of trouble. Anyway, I let the horses graze for a bit while I cleaned out their paddocks and laid down some shavings, it started smelling better immediately! Finally settled down for dinner and a movie, and, of course, now it’s time for shower and bed. Can’t wait to get my new mattress! I called the next park about accepting the delivery, and would you believe, they refused! First time I’ve ever had a state park refuse to allow me to receive a package! What is it with Michigan postal service? Well, I ended up calling the local post office, and they were more than happy to accept the package for me, so hopefully I’ll be sleeping on a new bed by next week. Long overdue! Anyway, enough said. Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023 – Not The Day I Planned

Hi Sweetie,
While I had all good intentions to take Apollo for a ride today, in the end, that didn’t happen. Instead I did a few repairs, including JBWelding the knob on the generator door and doing some refrigerator cleanup, but most of the day I spent trying to order a new air mattress for my bed. I once again woke up with a flat mattress, and couldn’t find the leak, though frankly, I’m tired of looking, and since the baffling is starting to pop on my side, it’s time to just replace the two chamber system with a single one. Since they don’t make this size very much anymore, at least in vinyl, I spent the day trying to work out how to make the one mattress I could find that fit work with the pump I already have. It required a lot of conversation with several different people, and in the end, it seems like I’ve found the solution, but we didn’t quite get far enough to actually order it today. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be able to do that. The problem, of course, is the delivery time and where to ship it, which is always the challenge, though the advantage is that I’ll be at a state park for the next ten plus days, and since they have a manned entrance (as opposed to most places that don’t), I should be able to arrange for them to accept the package for me, providing they can get it to me in time. That’s where we ended up leaving it by the end of day. I did let Apollo and Flash graze for awhile, so at least they got out of their pens. I also pulled out that old drill pump that we bought so many years ago (back in 2010, so my diary says!), because the front end of the trailer is so much higher than the truck tank that gravity isn’t working very well to transfer water, I thought that might be an option. The battery drill didn’t work, but I got out the power drill and that did work, with the trick being the drill had to be below the waterline, and it would shove that up to the tank inlet. I didn’t fill it completely, but I did enough so I can take showers and do a load of laundry tomorrow. I have to take the truck in for an alignment tomorrow, so I’ll fill it with water again on my way back in, and I should be set for the rest of the week, hopefully. Anyway, it wasn’t the day I planned, but hopefully it will all work out. Settled down for the evening to dinner and a Hallmark movie, headed to shower and bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 – Ride Day on Flash, Plus Repairs

Hey Babe,
Nice and quiet last night, had a great night sleep, though I think my mattress is leaking again, darn it! After chores I saddled up Flash and we ventured out, riding through some really beautiful, dense forest, mostly mixed deciduous trees, mostly sand and dirt trails, with gentle slopes. One section is on a plateau-like ridge with some nice views, then it gently drops down to the return trail along the bottom of the plateau, then through some more nice forest. We saw an incredible huge orange fungus that looked like a cauliflower, and Lola, on her own volition, went a stood by it when I was taking a picture, which really put it’s size in perspective. It was amazing! A beautiful ride, just a lot shorter than I figured. When I arrived in camp, my GPS was saying 7. 21 miles, so I figured I must have missed something, but when I downloaded it onto Google Earth, I was spot on with the trail map! The only thing I didn’t take was the shortcut between the two loops, which is barely 2/10’s of a mile, so that doesn’t make up the difference. On the website they claim ten miles, so that’s obviously an exaggeration! Oh well, it’s pretty, and I still have other things to do here, so I’ll just enjoy that short mileage over and over again! Flash did a great job, he moved along very nicely, we were back in camp in less than 1:45. I put Apollo on an anchor and let them graze for the afternoon, there’s no one else here at the moment. I managed to find a drill screw that I was able to use to help anchor the awning, though none of the bolts I picked up the other day worked. One’s going to have to be enough, unless I do some major reconstruction. I did a little mending on my sheepskin saddle cover, then did a bunch of overdue bookkeeping until suppertime. Enjoyed a movie, now it’s off to shower and bed, as usual! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Monday, August 28, 2023 – Travel Day to Yankee Springs

Hi Darlin’,
I let myself sleep in a little, but it didn’t take too long to get packed up and moving by just after 10:00. I made a stop at Tractor Supply just south of Grand Rapids for Flash’s horse feed, (they apparently don’t carry Perform at the Big Rapids TC anymore!), and picked up some longer bolts for the awning, though I’m not sure they’ll fit. Arrived at camp before noon, though I missed the turn to the dump, so that will have to wait until the next camp. I was a bit concerned about having enough room in here, because on their reservation website they limit the trailer size to 40′ (I’m 47′), but when I got it there were cleary plenty of places long enough for me, and fortunately, the spot I chose was one of them. It also has a corral, so I’m sure the horses will be glad to not have to wear halters for awhile. Didn’t take me too long to set up, then I went over to my nearest neighbors, Amanda and Cameron, and they filled me in on some of the details. The only have a hand pump here in camp, but they have fresh water over at the people camp’s dump station, and they were just on their way over there anyway, so they led me there. I also checked in on the way back, so I’m all taken care of! They ended up buying a book, which was nice, and said they might come back in the next few days to ride and chat again. Then I got online to make an appointment for an alignment, it’s been pushed back to Thursday, which was fine, except I was about out of dry dog food, plus I had a book order online, so I packed that up and ran to the nearest post office, which is only about 10 minutes away, and took care of that. Family Dollar had the dog food as well as some LA’s Awesome Cleaner, which I’ve been wanting to get to clean my now working awning. Got back just as they were leaving, then I settled down to dinner and a Big Valley. It’s a beautiful evening, perfect temps, mid 70’s to mid 50’s at night, low humidity, no rain, absolutely stunning! I’ve been so fortunate to have such good weather this whole summer, it’s been fabulous. Anyway, movie, shower, bed, loving life! Love you, sweetheart! Good night!

Sunday, August 27, 2023 – Busy Day Packing Up

Hiya Sweetie,
Had a good night sleep, did my chores, then got busy with all the packing and extra little jobs that always accumulate when I stay in one place for a while. Did a load of laundry, did some housekeeping while the generator was on, moved the books from the truck to the back of the trailer, cleaned out the back of the trailer since it’s been over three months since I’ve had to carry two horses, sewed up Apollo’s feed bag, which he’s already managed to chew a hole in big enough to start losing feed, filled up his feed container, restrung the chair with baling twine since the stuff I used before broke already, and generally just put stuff away throughout the day. I waved at everyone leaving, Jody came by and chatted for awhile (and bought a book!), then Chris and Mervin came by and visited for awhile. After they left, I lined up the truck, did a little more packing, had dinner, and settled down for the evening. It’s a short drive tomorrow, so I’m not too worried about leaving early, so I left a few things to be done tomorrow. Watched a movie, now I’m ready for shower and bed! Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, August 26, 2023 – Two Rides Today

Hi Babe,
Got woken up around 4:00 in the morning by Apollo nickering, which told me Flash had escaped the highline. My fault, I knew when I tied him on I forgot to put the tail through the slip knot, but when I threw on my shoes and checked, he was standing right by the door, so I quickly tied him right and went back to bed. Hadn’t quite got back to sleep when someone came onto my site leading another horse that had evidently escaped, thought my highline was missing a horse until she got close and realized that no, both horses were there. She was talking the whole time, right under my window, and would have woken me up if I hadn’t already been awake. Anyway, she finally went away, I don’t know if she ever found the owner that night, or just waited until morning (which would have been a more sensible thing to do, in my opinion, rather than walking around waking up people. Anyway, I finally got back to sleep, then overslept, not leaving a lot of time before Alayna arrived. I was still eating breakfast, but she brought hers, too, so we ate together, then got the horses ready for a short ride. We ended up going about 3.5 miles, and it seemed like Flash was going extra slow for Apollo’s benefit, which was nice! After we got back, we chatted for awhile, then after she left I contacted Cindy, who had already left on a ride with her friend that arrived this morning. I ended up catching up to them, they were on the hunt for a throat latch that had fallen off her ponied horse’s bridle yesterday. I was looking too, then when I passed a huge group, I asked them if they had seen it, and they had! One of them gave it to me, so I called Cindy to let her know the hunt was over and she could relax. Then she decided she wanted to thank them, and we figured (correctly) that they were in the Group Camp, so we made out way over there. Flash started to get unmanageable again, so I had to run him out several times just to create less fuss. Toward the end of the ride, I actually got off the horse trail and ran him for another couple of miles, just to blow off some of the steam that seemed to be building up in him. I think I’m going to have to do another all out run with him like I did at Goethe the first year I had him, just let him run as fast and as long as he wants, hopefully it will be less than eight miles like last time, but he’s so fit now, it could be longer! I’m becoming convinced I’m better off not trying to ride with other people, that’s the only time he misbehaves, the rest of the time he’s brilliant! Tired of fighting him. Anyway, we got back to camp around 4:00, got him put up, made dinner and relaxed a bit, then went up to visit for a short while with Cindy and her friend. Now I’m back home, ready for shower and bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Friday, August 25, 2023 – Laundry, Errands, And a Nice Ride With Cindy M.

Hey Darlin’,
Had a lovely and somewhat productive day today. Did a load of laundry, ran into town to do some errands, including propane and feed at Tractor Supply, fuel and a little shopping at Walmart, dropped off a book order that I got back in July, but have only now been able to send in (hope this crazy post office won’t deny it because it has Florida as the return address!), then got back just minutes before Sam’s friend Cindy arrived. We made arrangements to ride at 2:00, which gave me time to put away all the groceries, the propane and the feed, and try to to put the screws I bought on the awning, but they were still too small, so I’ll have to run into town again. I don’t dare drive it with no screws in the top of the awning frame! Then got together with Cindy, who was riding a Missouri Foxtrotter and ponying her Paso Fino, and off we went! It turned into a lovely ride, especially after the clouds finally started to dissipate. We did about 9.5 miles, and some of that was going at quite a good pace, at last! So many people I’ve been riding with lately only want to walk, so it was wonderful to be able to really move out several times. And it still wasn’t enough for Flash, he wanted to go farther and faster than ever! At one point I had to just let him run at top speed for quite a ways, then had to wait for Cindy to catch up. She didn’t mind, it’s all good, and it was a very nice ride. Once we got back to camp we went our separate ways to take care of our horses, then her husband showed up with pizza and I rejoined them for supper. She had put up a cornhole game (very popular in horse camps) and we ended up inviting Jody to join us, who was parked nearby and to whom I spoke with for awhile when she arrived. We ended up playing cornhole (she had never played before, but did pretty well!) until well after dark, which was ridiculous, of course, but we had a great time. Finally got back home well after 9:00, ready for shower and bed! Good night, my sweet! Love you!

Thursday, August 24, 2023 – Awning Fixed, Quiet Birthday

Hi Sweetie,
A restful night, the usual chores, then I got busy getting the new motor into the awning. I managed to do it on my own, wasn’t sure I’d be able to, but didn’t really have a problem. I did pop a screw that connects the awning to the RV, and the other one was evidently missing, so I’ll need to get a couple bigger and/or longer ones to replace them. Debated whether to do that today or tomorrow, but I was in a lazy mood and the day slipped by. I did manage to update my website for book orders, now that I have new books, and that took awhile. After that, I just ended up watching a couple of movies, having a chicken burrito and relaxing the whole day. Didn’t even feel much like riding today, it was pretty hot and humid, so just a day off! I’ll get busy the rest of the weekend, a lot of folks coming out again, apparently, some that want to ride with me, so I’ll have company. Anyway, enough said, heading for shower and bed. Good night, baby! Love you!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023 – Packages Arrive, Dinner with Friends

Hiya Babe,
Slept late this morning, after not getting to sleep until very late last night, so my internal clock is getting a little screwed up. Happy to report that my air mattress stayed up, yay! I’ve been waking up on the bottom of the floor, but it seems to be fixed for now. I killed some time until 1:00, then went into town to pick up some things, stopping at the post office because I had an Amazon package being delivered there, General Delivery, like I’ve done many times before at many post office, but for some reason, the clerk there gave me a hard time. She claimed they NEVER accept packages for delivery services, despite it being addressed to General Delivery. I explained that I’ve done it many times before, and couldn’t see the problem. She said they hadn’t received any packages for me anyway, so I left. I finished my errands, then went over to my friend’s Chris and Mervin, who looked after Apollo while I was gone all summer. When I got there, I checked with Amazon and found that my package had since been delivered, so Merv and I went into town to go retrieve it, and something at the pharmacy for Chris. When I walked in and asked about my package, the clerk told me that yes, they had received it, but the Postmaster had instructed her to mark the package Return to Sender! WHAT??? She said that they don’t accept deliveries because, according to the postmaster, they can’t track whether the recipient has actually received the package, because they don’t have a USPS tracking number. What BS!! If someone sent me a first class letter to General Delivery, they wouldn’t be able to guarantee that either, so what’s the difference?? I couldn’t believe my ears!! I told her I’ve done this many times all across the country, and no post office has every questioned me about it, and she might want to straighten her Postmaster out. I mean, I’d already stopped by there, they knew I was expecting a package, and they STILL think they have to be able to guarantee delivery? How ridiculous! I finally just put my hand out and said, “Just give me the package,” and she finally went and got it. Thank goodness I didn’t wait until tomorrow to go back and pick it up (I was considering it!), or it would probably be gone already. I’ve had problems with this post office before, but I never imagined they would be this stupid about this. Anyway, it was my awning motor, so that will be my job in the morning. We went back to their house and had a nice dinner (breakfast for dinner!), I picked up my order of books, which I had wisely had sent to their house, so now I’m flush with books again, and got back to camp before 7:00, fed the horses and settled down for the evening. Very warm today, not cooling off too fast, so I ran the AC for a bit, taking a cool shower tonight! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 – Lazy Day, Except Fixing Mattress

Hey Sweetie,
Started slow this morning, and after chores and breakfast I tackled what turned out to be the only job I ended up doing today, finding the leak in the air mattress. It was right next to where the last leak was, along the seam, so I glued it all up with my old reliable Air Stop, two thick layers throughout the day. Once I got that done (you know what a pain it is to get down to the mattress with all the layers on top!), I realized I was in just a plain lazy mood. It was cloudy, and supposed to rain a couple of times during the day (it didn’t), so I just decided to make it a movie day. Watched a couple of movies, had some popcorn, and generally just took a day off. After dinner, I finally put the bed back together again, a hot and tiring exercise, but managed to get it done. Unfortunately, it looks like some of the baffling is going on my side of the bed at the feet end (it’s already done that on your side of the bed), so this mattress is truly on it’s way out. I did some research on it, and absolutely no one makes an air mattress that will fit in the space as it is now, and I’m not really interested in a memory foam mattress, too many bad reviews and not enough flexibility. I’m thinking I can get a twin air mattress, which I can fit in if I move the existing foam side frames around a bit. That may be my only alternative, unless things change by the time I need it. Anyway, that was the extent of my day! Good news, my next batch of books has been shipped and is arriving tomorrow, yay! Was worried they wouldn’t come in time, but they’ll be, unless Fedex screws up again, like they usually do. At least they’re being delivered to a house, so they better get it right! Also, my new motor for the awning should arrive at the post office tomorrow as well, so I’ll have my work cut out for me once I pick up my deliveries. Well, enough talk, I’m ready for my shower and bed! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!