Archives for September 2023

Saturday, September 30, 2023 – Long, Hard Work Day

Hey Sweetie,
Was up at the crack of dawn and got busy by 8:00. So much to do! Spent the morning loading up branches on to a long flatbed trailer and moving it out to the road, where evidently they’ll be along to pick them up at some point. I also raked up a lot of little stuff into piles, which I plan on burning later when the conditions are right. A bit too windy today. Later in the morning, Dave gave me a small gas chainsaw to use, so I was able to get a lot more done, though during a short break, I found a small electric mini chainsaw online and ordered it, I needed one anyway. Couldn’t believe I found one for $49!! And with really high ratings! We’ll see, but it should work on the trails, which is what I mostly bought it for anyway. Job one is to completely clear the circular driveway that goes around the property, so that’s where I put my focus, though I did try to do a little in the paddocks, that’s going to take some time, or a tractor, whichever comes first! Managed to take a few bites of this enormous elephant, but it’s a start. Finally quit about 3:30, just couldn’t physically do any more today. Tomorrow it starts all over again! Taking my shower early, will be in bed early, too, I’m sure! Good night, babe! Love you!

Friday, September 29, 2023 – Uneventful Drive to Suwannee

Hiya Babe,
After going to bed by 8:30 and falling asleep shortly thereafter, it’s not surprising I woke up half an hour before my alarm went off. Consequently, I was all packed up and moving out of the campground be 7:30, which was actually before the sun came up! Thankfully, had an uneventful drive, except for once again stopping for fuel at a One9 truck stop, not fitting into their car area, and had to go to their truck area, where I had the same problem with too big a nozzle, splashback shutting it off, and it timing out, twice, after only a minute or two while I was checking on the horses, making me have to go inside and have them turn the pump on again. In the end, they had one of their guys come out and “do it for me” as if I was doing something wrong, when the problem lay with them and the brevity of their time-outs. Whatever, I won’t be going there anymore, which is unfortunate, because they are about fifty cents less than their sister truck stops, Pilot and Flying J. Anyway, I arrived right at 3:00, met up with my hosts and quickly got settled in. I had to put the horses in a different paddock than last time because of all the trees that were down in the previous one, there is certainly a lot of cleanup that needs to be done! I’ll start tomorrow, though, since it was after 5:00 by the time I got everything set up, and that included Lola’s swimming pool, since she was panting so much from the heat. Ran the AC for a bit to cool it off, hoping it will cool down enough tonight that fans will be enough in the bedroom. Heading for shower and bed, since I plan to get up fairly early to get a good start before it gets too hot. Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Thursday, September 28, 2023 – Nice Ride On Starr Mountain w/Linda and Friends

Hey Darlin’,
Up before dawn even broke this morning, days are getting shorter very fast now! Was ready to go well before 9:00, I remember Linda came early last time and wanted to be ready. This time she was a few minutes late, but no worries, we got to the trailhead in plenty of time. There was a good crowd, and one girl showed up even later than we did, but Linda was ready to go, so she and I and one other woman, Terri, started off with Lola and Linda’s dog Annie. The rest of the group caught up eventually. We began at a small trailhead that barely had room for all out trailers, and started climbing. There was a lot of stones and rocks, but Flash’s feet are so hard these days, he doesn’t seem to be the least bit bothered. I did a little rasping on that one hoof that used to be split, and it’s almost perfectly back in shape again. After climbing to the top, then we went back down again at a slightly less grade until we came to a little bridge where we watered (Flash was the only one who drank, the other two horses didn’t), then came back a bit to pick up another uphill climb. The rest of the group caught up to us several times, but then Linda or Terri or I would start to move out. How wonderful that was to actually do some nice gaiting! After last weekend, where all anyone wanted to do was walk, walk, walk, it was fantastic to actually be moving again. Flash was a much happier camper being able to go at his own speed! Eventually we reached the end of that loop and started back toward the trailhead. If I had wanted, I could have ridden back to camp at one point, as the hill that runs the crest of the mountain eventually hooks up with the trails that come out of Lost Corral, but that was not in the plan today. We made it back to the trailhead no problem, with only one stop long enough to drop a log that was across the trail. Everyone got over it, but it was still a bit high for comfort, so they dropped it down. It was a nice ride, about 9.5 miles, with lots of mountain climbing, though I have to say, it wasn’t nearly as pretty as the Lost Creek trail that we did in the Spring when I came up north. Linda’s already enticing me with some other rides for the next time I come through, and if I wasn’t in a hurry to get down to Florida to help with the hurricane cleanup, I would have stayed through the weekend and done another ride with them. It was a beautiful day after the rain we had yesterday evening, starting out with some mist and fog which cleared up nicely, not too hot or cold, just right today! After the ride, we all went down to a nice Mexican restaurant in Etowah where we sat out on their patio, with Lola sleeping nearby, and had a great meal with a nice cold cerveza! I don’t eat out much these days, so it was a nice change. Got back to camp around 3:00, relaxed for a few hours before packing away the few things I had taken out, ready to get out bright and early in the morning. Long drive tomorrow, nearly 400 miles, I’m figuring it will take me about eight hours, but you never know what the traffic in Atlanta will be like! I’ll be up even earlier tomorrow, so I’m signing off to head to shower and bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 – Quiet Day in Camp

Hiya Sweetie,
Had a quiet day in camp today, didn’t have anything in particular to do except drive into town to get fuel, for a surprising $3.98/gallon for diesel. So much easier when I’m not attached to a 47′ trailer! Other than that, I mostly just read, though I did get the truck lined up under the trailer so all I have to do is drop it down, since here the trailer has to be jacked up high to be level. I also had to mess with the water to make sure the horses had enough to get through until we leave on Friday. Right after I fed the horses, it started to rain, which, according to the forecast this morning, wasn’t supposed to happen. The forecast for tomorrow is very clear, so it should be a nice ride. My friend Linda said to be ready by 9:00 tomorrow morning, so I’m heading to bed early. Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 – Travel Day to Lost Corral

Hi Babe,
Up with the alarm, got packed up and was on the road by 8:30. Made it safely down the road to the highway, which was tricky because there was a very serious dropoff to the stop sign, but I held it in low gear so we had no problem. Had great weather and a relatively uneventful ride to Lost Corral. The only surprise was when I stopped for fuel at the last truck stop in KY, expecting that the KY fuel prices would be less than TN, which has always been the case previously. I got a bit annoyed because the car pump area was too small for me, so I had to go to the truck stop area, which is usually a pain because the nozzles are too big for my truck so I have to go really slow, and it was the worst ever here. First, they wouldn’t take my credit card at the pump, so after half a dozen attempts, I had to go into the cashier and have the pump turned on. I set it up with the cap on the nozzle, which usually lets it go real slow, as it necessary with these big nozzles, then it inexplicably shut off at $41.62 and I had to go back inside AGAIN and get the pump going. Then I had the manager “explain” to me how it was set up to avoid splashback, in a condescending voice that I found extremely irritating, even after I explained that I was perfectly aware that big nozzles need to go slower in a regular pickup, but that’s no reason for them to shut off the pump and not let me start it again without coming inside, surely every person that had a pump shut off to avoid splashback wasn’t required to come back inside to have the pump reset! Anyway, it was annoying, and I finally just stopped way before I was full, because it kept turning off. Then, when I crossed into TN, I was shocked to see that the price in TN was more than fifty cents less per gallon!! When did that happen? KY used to always be cheaper, but not anymore! I finally arrived at Lost Corral around 4:00, much delayed from the debacle at the Pilot, and it took me awhile to get set up, longer than I had hoped, because when I arrived, the whole highline area was dirty again. I remember it was like that last time I arrived, though I left it clean, but apparently some campers through the summer didn’t feel the need to leave it the way they found it, so I had to spend time cleaning up manure and moldy old hay. I left the horses in the trailer until I got everything ready, and water was so slow coming out of my truck tank after I filled it that I ended up just filling my trailer and using the spigot on the trailer to provide enough pressure to fill the horses’ water buckets. I all took almost two hours to accomplish. Finally settled down for the evening around 6:00, though I fed the horses grain at 7:00, had dinner, watched a movie, heading for shower and bed. Long day, though Friday will be longer! Rest tomorrow. Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Monday, September 25, 2023 – Deep Clean and Prep Day Plus

Hey Darlin’,
Woke up with that rare feeling that I needed to clean today, and since I’m heading to Florida at the end of the week, it only seemed appropriate to do my seasonal deep clean. Spent the day spacing out all the chores so as not to get overwhelmed. It’s been such a long time since I’ve been on electric that I decided to take advantage, and did a bunch of loads of laundry, including the horses’ blankets and a bunch of rags, and just about everything else I could get my hands on. Did windows, floors, carpets, kitchen racks, mirrors, tea kettle, bathroom, you name it, I cleaned it! At least, on the inside, the outside is another matter! Once all that was done, I slowly started packing up for my long drive to Tennessee tomorrow. Well, not that long, I figure about 6-6.5 hours. Since I’m already familiar with Lost Corral, and hoping the best spot will be open when I get there to make things easier, it should be a quick set up. It’s supposed to rain on Wednesday, which will be a nice day to relax, since I suspect once I get to Florida I’m going to be nonstop busy for the foreseeable future. Thursday my friend Linda is supposed to be taking me on a long ride, we had such a lovely one together when I came north earlier this year. Spent a little time updating the website, after it crashed they fixed it with a backup which was over two weeks old, so I had to upload all my diary entries again. Didn’t have the signal to load the pix again, though, sp I’ll wait until I get to Florida where I’ll be able to use their wifi. Anyway, got as much packed up as I could, then settled down for the evening to some more Dirty Rice (mm mm good!), watched a little rom-com, now I’m ready for my long hot shower and a good night sleep! Love you, Sweetheart! Good night!

Sunday, September 24, 2023 – A Short Ride on Apollo Alone, Quick Trip into Town

Hiya Sweetie,
Another good night sleep, it’s amazing what earplugs can do! Jumped out of bed when I heard Trish leaving, said good-bye to her then went about my usual morning chores. Doug and his group fed me breakfast again (I’m afraid I’ve set back my cholesterol goals by a large margin this weekend!), then watched everyone pack up to leave. Got a little help moving my hay from the truck into my trailer, which was nice, then watched as everyone finally left. Started a load of laundry, then saddled up Apollo, boots and all, for a short five mile loop just to give him some exercise. He was a bit slow at first, but managed to warm up enough to move along a little. Trails here are a bit rough, lots of rocks and downed trees, so it was challenging, which for him is a good thing, it keeps him engaged. Took about two hours for that five miles, though, still a slug! Arrived back at camp and gave him a nice rinse and some extra hay, then jumped in the truck and drove into nearby Corydon. I had arranged to meet someone from marketplace that was selling an Etrex GPS (my old one has about given up the ghost!), but unfortunately, it was some weird model that didn’t have a cable to connect to my computer, it needed some special cable that was “optional” and hooked to a serial port on a pc. I wasn’t even sure if I HAD a serial port on my laptop anymore, and the fact that I would also have to buy a cable? That was a bridge too far for me, so I turned it down. Turns out I do have a serial port on my pc, but it was just too much trouble to convert over. I managed to get online and find another one in GA where the buyer was willing to mail it to me, for a reasonable price, so I bought it sight unseen and he’s mailing it tomorrow, so it should be waiting for me when I arrive in Florida, which I’m now scheduled to do on Friday. Staying here one extra night, leaving Tuesday for Tennessee, hopefully riding on Thursday with my buddy Linda, then heading to Florida on Friday so help do some hurricane cleanup. Settled down to some homemade dirty rice, ate way too much it was so good, now I’m not long for shower and bed. Considered riding tomorrow, but decided I’m not that enamored with the trails out of here, so I’ll wait until next time I come to O’Bannon State Park and stay at the primitive horse camp, which is right in the thick of things, although with no real facilities other than water. Or I might check out the modern camp at the top of the hill to see if they’re not too expensive. Anyway, a good day, Apollo did a good job, didn’t lose a boot, and didn’t stumble as much as he had been, so I guess he enjoyed himself. Another beautiful day with perfect weather! Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, September 23, 2023 – Another Fifteen Plus Mile Ride with Group

Hey Babe,
Had an excellent night sleep, thanks to my earplugs, and slept a little later because we had already decided to take a shorter route today. Was fed breakfast by Doug, our main camp cook (nice to not have to cook or clean up a meal!), then got on the trail about 11:30 or so. Today was a shorter ride, but we had a couple of folks that didn’t usually ride much, and should have probably been on a much shorter ride than the one Doug had planned, but at least today I had put his proposed ride into my GPS so I felt a little more relaxed about the trip. We started out with boots on Flash, but he kept losing the one where his hoof is flat in front, so I finally just took them off. He didn’t seem bothered after all the gravel and stone from yesterday, so I guess it was okay. He didn’t seem too bothered today either, but I was just trying to make him more comfortable. We took the trail down to a different river crossing, the eventually out to what’s called the Twin Chimneys, which are the remnants of a homestead house that’s been gone for, I’m guessing, at least 150 years, though, as the name suggests, two chimneys and a basement of stone remain. The newbies were suffering by that point, being a much longer ride than they should have attempted, so the going was pretty slow. As usual, Flash was impatient, and a couple of times I had to run him out to keep him from bunching up on me. It was a nice ride, of course, and I arrived back in camp around 5:30, just ahead of the rest of the group, since I had to let Flash finish the ride at his own pace. Got everyone put away, and once again got fed by Doug and Jason and some other contributions by folks, a lovely potluck. Lola was brilliant, laying down on a mat by their trailer door while a couple of the other dogs sat and begged. She’s such a good dog, and I’m very proud of her! Finally headed back to the trailer around 9:00, dealing with my website still being down, and considering staying here an extra day just to finish off a few trails I haven’t done yet, possibly on Apollo for a short ride. Found someone selling a Garmin GPS locally, my old one keeps fading out and turning off without warning, planning on meeting him tomorrow, I need to solve the problem since I rely on my GPS so much. Anyway, time for shower and bed! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Friday, September 22, 2023 – Nice Long Ride with Group

Hiya Darlin’,
Ended up having a lousy night sleep, woke up around 3:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep until almost 6:00, after three aspirins and putting in my earplugs. Amazing, it was such a long drive out in the boondocks, I never imagined I would end up a stone’s throw from an interstate, with traffic all night, but that’s what happened! Finally fell asleep for an hour before the alarm went off. We were scheduled to start the ride between 8:30 and 9:00, but it was more like 9:30 before we finally hit the trail. I had been under the impression that our guide for the day knew these trails really well, but that didn’t turn out to be exactly the case, so we ended up taking a few wrong turns and misjudging several distances, so we ended up going over 26.5 miles. I didn’t really mind, since Flash hasn’t been asked to do any long distances since the Shore to Shore, so it did us some good. Of course, I was fighting him every time other horses were in front of us, but before long, we were in front, and he relaxed and all was good. We crossed the Blue River a couple of times, and we were supposed to get down to the Ohio River, but never made it that far. Didn’t meet any other riders on the trail, but there were a lot of folks camping down at the O’Bannon primitive site, where I stayed last time I was here. The trails were a lot rockier than I would have liked, but Flash seemed to handle it all okay. At one stop, I checked his feet, and there was no sign of heat or bruising, so I guess his feet are hard enough to take the rocky ground. I’ll know better tomorrow when I check him again, but for the entire 26.6 mile ride today, he was barefoot. The last couple of miles I finally let him set his own pace, to get it out of his system, which has become our habit whenever we ride with other people, so we arrived back at camp a good ten or fifteen minutes before everyone else. Got him put away and fed, then we all gathered around a central trailer and had a fabulous meal of deep fried pretzels, pork tenderloin steak, breaded fish and a bunch of sides. I ate too much, but it was wonderful, especially since I didn’t have to do any cleanup afterward! Finally got back to the trailer at 8:30, headed to shower and early bed tonight, have to make up for the hours I didn’t get last night. Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Thursday, September 21, 2023 – Travel Day to Come Again Horse Camp, IN

Hey Sweetie,
Up a little bit earlier, though not much, finish my packing and was on the road by just after 10:00. Arrived at the commercial horse camp, Come Again Horse Camp, between Leavenworth and Corydon, IN near the O’Bannon State Park around 11:30. No one in the office but they had a whiteboard up with everyone’s name on their respective sites, so I headed on down and got myself settled in. Wasn’t there long before the owners showed up to greet me and take care of business, seemed very nice. They have hitching posts here, but I asked if I could put up a highline between two big trees on my site and they said that was fine. Got everyone settled, then headed out to do some necessary shopping. Was disappointed when the local Tractor Supply had NO Nutrena senior feed, I ended up having to get a bag of Purina, though I hate to change them that suddenly, since I’m almost completely out of other feed. Did some grocery shopping at Walmart, then headed down to a farm to pick up some hay that I found through Facebook Marketplace, which is my go-to way of finding hay on the road these days. Annette had some nice bales of mixed grass and clover, $6 for small bales, but it smells good and I know the horses will like it. Got back to camp by 5:00 to find Trish and her friends Doug and Chris had arrived and set up in my absence. Once I got the groceries put away I mixed myself a wine cooler and joined them. Doug is a great camp cook, and he fed me fabulously, glad I didn’t have to make my own dinner or clean up, either! It’s Chris’ birthday, so we had spice cupcakes for dessert, so decadent! Two more trailers full of Trish’s friends showed up around sunset, so we’ll have a full house on the trail tomorrow. Should be interesting! Left the group around 8:30, heading to my shower and bed early, we have an early start tomorrow, a planned 20 mile ride, so the alarm is going on tonight! Good night, Babe! Love you!