Tuesday, August 3, 2021 – Laundry and Runaround Day

Hi Sweetie!
Had a great night sleep last night, went to be early, got up at 8:00, got my chores and breakfast done, as well as a load of laundry first things. Surprisingly, the generator started with no problem, even though I didn’t run it at all yesterday, so I guess my solar panel is helping to get the charge up on the battery, just as I had hoped.. I’ve been chasing down some hay and was hoping to get some today, but the earliest will be tomorrow. We’re so close to civilization here that I wore my earplugs to keep out the noise of sirens and a little traffic, but it makes it pretty convenient to everything. The nearest Tractor Supply is less than 10 minutes away, so I went there and filled up a couple of propane tanks, plus ordered a couple more bags of Balancer because they could have it delivered by next Friday. Then I headed to Walmart for a few things (which, as always, turned out to be MORE than a few things!), then went to Kroger for fuel, though I had trouble finding the station, as it was behind the store rather than in front of it. Thought about riding when I got back, but decided against it. I’ll go tomorrow in the morning, and be back in plenty of time to get hay in the late afternoon. Spent the day doing some research, was a bit flummoxed when I went to the Waterloo website and it said that the entire camp was sold out for the whole week of Labor Day, when I was planning on being there. When I called, though, they said they just don’t accept reservations during that time, it’s first come, first served, and said I should have no problem even with a rig my size. I was relieved to hear that! Did some reading as well, and generally relaxed most of the rest of the day. Settled in for the evening, watched an interesting movie with Judi Dench called Red Joan, based on a true story of a WWII spy. Now I’m ready for shower and bed, so off I go! Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Monday, August 2, 2021 – Travel Day to Highlands State Recreation Area

Hi Babe!
I had a terrible night sleep, though I don’t really know why. The temperature was great, though I had to put the heavy quilt on, which was cozy, but I ended up reading until about 2:00, then still couldn’t get to sleep. Eventually I did, but then it was 9:00 by the time I woke up in the morning. No worries, though, my trip today was short, but I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before, I left behind my leveling ramp, darn it! I called down there as soon as I realized it (I had reach Highlands by then), and they claim they couldn’t find it, but the camp was nearly empty so I don’t know who grabbed it. Well, I do have that piece of 2X10 leftover from when I build the new rack for the water tank, thank goodness, so all I need is the metal ramp end, which I can pick up at Lowe’s or Home Depot when I go out. I was disappointed, but, hey, that’s the way things go, and it seems to me that that board had broken when I backed up on it this time anyway, so no big loss, I guess. Anyway, we arrived safe and sound at Highlands, a primitive camp with a single water spigot, which, I can’t believe this, has a spring-loaded handle! How dumb is that. Well, thankfully, that’s easily defeated with the right size bungee, so I managed to fill up everything before I parked anyway. The Michigan DNR website is weird though, it claims that only RV’s up to 30′ can fit into a 70′ site! I’ve been finding that in a lot of places. Fortunately, we got it straightened out in the office, and they did have a couple of sites available for the two weeks I plan to spend here, and one, #9, turned out to be just fine. All the sites have highline posts, but it’s not exclusively a horse camp, regular campers can come here, too. By the look of the highlines, none of them have been used in a long time! I decided to put up the fence so they would have more room to move around, and they’ve been stuck on a highline for several weeks now, and they really liked grazing and rolling, so I’m glad I made the extra effort. I arrived about 12:30, got to the campground around 1:00 when I started filling up with water, then got everything setup in a couple of hours. I didn’t put the screen room up at first, hoping the bugs weren’t too bad, but by 4:30 the mosquitoes started to make an appearance, so I put the screen room up after all. This place is pretty wide open, though they’ve planted some saplings around, (in places that will probably be a problem for a big rig backing up in twenty years or so!), but I’m certainly going to get my share of solar power! The forecast is for sunny skies all week, 70’s during the day, 50’s at night, so perfect weather. I’m going to experiment and see just how long I can go without running my generator (except for laundry, which I need to do), just to see if I can make it through an evening of watching TV and recharging my electronics from the solar energy I store during the day. With 15 hour days, and wide open spaces where I should get almost all of that converted to battery power, it will be interesting to see how that goes! Anyway, it’s already getting cooler, I’m hoping for a better night sleep tonight, so I’m planning on getting to bed early. I’ll be heading in for my shower soon, then bed, so I’ll say good night now! Love you!

Thursday, July 29, 2021 – Lazy Day in Camp

Hey Sweetie!
Well, surprise, surprise! Despite a 90% chance of rain, and radar that did look a bit looming, we ended up with virtually no rain last night. With earplugs in, I had a great night sleep. Temps weren’t really much cooler, but low 80’s is very tolerable, especially compared to what’s going on south of here! Decided not to do much today, just in the mood for a quiet day, so I mostly read, did a bit of work on my computer, mostly planning the next couple of months of travel and camping. Made my reservation for the flight out to Vegas for work in September, decided against trying to be at Loretta Lynn’s for the Fall Ride, logistics were just too complicated, so instead I’m flying out of Indianapolis. One of the Indiana ladies I’ve been riding with, and who’s a good friend of Trish, has a boarding stable, so I contacted her about keeping Lola and the horses and trailer there, and she was more than willing. I was even more ecstatic when she gave me her address and it turns out she’s only ten miles from the airport! Couldn’t ask for a better location! Plus it means I don’t have to rush south when it might still be pretty hot down there. I’ve pretty much decided to stay in Michigan as long as possible, especially now since I’ve bought my annual Recreation Pass, with two weeks each at three more horse camps just west of Detroit. I’ve done my research, and they’re the only three that have fairly easy access to water, i.e. it’s not a bloody 1st century A.D. hand pump! What’s up with that?? Anyway, that will take me right up to the time I need to get to Indianapolis, then after I get back from Vegas, heading south again. I’m determined to not get stuck in near freezing weather again! I’m always a week or two late getting far enough south to avoid temps where I can see my breath, and I’m going to do everything I can to make it to Florida, at least north Florida, before it gets too cold. I’ve also noticed my EECVI runs out in mid-October, and even though that’s a bit earlier than usual, I’d love to try to get down there before it runs out, so I can save myself that hassle of trying to get one on the road. But that’s a long way off, so we’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile, I’ve had my quiet day, had my shower, and now I’m ready for bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Monday, July 26, 2021 – Travel Day to Ionia Recreation Area

Hi Sweetie,
Got up with the alarm and got everything packed up and ready to go by about 9:30, then waited a bit for Alayna’s grandmother who wanted to see the trailer before I left. She came bearing delicious gifts of some melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls, one of which I had for breakfast on the way. A fairly short and uneventful trip here, though the site I was first assigned was way too small for me, so I drove around until I found one that works just fine, though it’s not really close to water or have corrals, like I had hoped. Regardless, it’s a nice spot with lots of room, even thinking of putting up the fence tomorrow since there’s a lot of nice grass here. It took me a couple of hours to set up because I even put up the screen room. I had been warned that the bugs here, particularly the mosquitoes, were brutal on the trail, and as I sat outside in daylight, they were already starting to get to me, so for the first time in a LONG time, I put up the screen room. It took me awhile to fill up with water and fill the trailer tank and all the horses’ water buckets, and it was quite a hot day today, though it’s supposed to get cooler after tomorrow. Alayna is coming to join me on Saturday, and Trish was planning on coming Thursday but isn’t sure she can make it now. Her mom’s funeral was on Saturday, and I think she might just need some time along, but we’ll see how she feels in a couple of days. Anyway, I’m all settled in, though it’s nowhere near quiet here, there’s a big group just a few sites down from me, and there scheduled to be here all week, lot of noisy, barking dogs and whinnying, neighing horses, so I’m not sure how peaceful it will be here. Looking forward to seeing what the trails are like here tomorrow. Meanwhile, it’s time for a much needed shower after all my sweaty exertion today, and looking forward to hopefully a good night sleep. Love you, babe! Good night!

Saturday, July 24, 2021 – Quiet Day

Hi Darlin’,
Another late start getting up this morning, even though I went to be early last night. It was cloudy and drizzly most of the day, so I took advantage and did a bunch of little chores, like try to beat my feed bins back into shape (one got a bit bent up when it was in the back of the truck while I was hauling Sandy’s horse), and sew hooks onto Lola’s safety vest because the velco isn’t holding as well as it should. No surprise there, considering how she loves to plop down into every muddy puddle we come across, it’s hard to keep the velcro clean enough to hold very well. During one bout of rain I took the bedroom window frame off trying to pinpoint where it was leaking. Not sure if I found it but there was one screw that seemed to be off-center right in the corner, and it’s been a concern for me, so I unscrewed it and then put it back as straight as I could, hopefully that will make a difference. There wasn’t any more rain today to confirm it, so I’m just going to have to wait for the next storm to check it. Did a few things with the mail I picked up the other day, and then pretty much just read and watched TV the rest of the day. It finally started clearing up around dinner time, turned ito a beautiful evening. So a pretty lazy, quiet day today. Tomorrow will be busier, Alayna is supposed to be coming by, she wants to ride Trail #24 and 25, which I did the other day for the second time, and it’s a long ride. Then I’ll need to do some packing, including moving the hay I bought from under the gooseneck back into the stall, I’m hoping I can get her help with that. Supposed to be a nice day, so everything should be dry, plus I need to get my laundry done and hanging before we leave, so I’ll have to get up early in the morning. So, another early night for me tonight, and an alarm in the morning! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Friday, July 23, 2021 – Finally Got My Truck Back

Hi Darlin’,
Slept well, only woke up when some rain came in early, but went back to sleep and didn’t get up until almost 9:00! Did my chores, had breakfast, then began my day with building the new framework for the water tank, since I was supposed to get my truck back. Naturally, every simple job turns into something more complicated! The screws that we used originally to screw the rubber chocks (which I’m so glad we splurged for, they’re still in perfect shape!), were mixed between Phillips and star shaped. The screws I bought were also star shaped, though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was just looking for the right length. I had no trouble getting the Phillips ones out, but naturally, I didn’t have the right size star bit for the old screws, even though I did have one for the new screws. Weird! So it took a bit of hammering and unscrewing with vice grips to get them out. I had to use the jigsaw to cut the 2X10, which took a lot longer than a rotary saw would have, but I did manage to get it done. The whole thing took about two hours, but it should last another 5+ years like the last one, maybe more if I don’t have to remove it for any reason. I was surprised I hadn’t heard from the body shop by then, so I called them only to learn it will be late before it’s ready, but that the new paint job was satisfactory to them. It was cloudy and occasionally drizzling so I didn’t want to ride, so I just killed the afternoon reading and watching TV. I got a book order, so I put that together, though the books were in the truck, so I ended up leaving early, running down and getting a book, going to the post office to mail it, then picking up gas in the rental, finally getting back to the body shop right at 4:20. Got my bill paid, and they brought the truck up, it looks great! I wish I could have afforded to have the whole thing repainted, but I just didn’t have time to get it all done. They did replace the hood, though, because it would have been more work taking it down to the bare metal, and the insurance company wouldn’t cover that anyway, go figure. Anyway, I drove away, then realized my radio wasn’t working so I went back. We played with the wires and fuses, still not sure what we did but we got it working again. Finally headed back to camp, arriving about 5:30, and spent the next two plus hours getting the frame into the truck, the tank into the frame, filling up the tank, then redistributing the water into the trailer and the horses buckets. We actually made it through this morning without refilling the three large buckets I put out on Monday, though I did add a couple of gallons from a bucket that caught some rainwater overnight. So I should be good with water, at least with the horses, but may need more in the trailer depending on how much laundry I do on Sunday. Finally settled down around 8:00, watched one hour of TV, now I’m heading to shower and bed, early! I have to get on a schedule that doesn’t have me going to bed and midnight and getting up so late! It’s these long days, they’re driving me crazy! Anyway, good night, babe! Love you!

Monday, July 19, 2021 – Truck Goes Into Shop

Hi Babe!
Woke up early with the alarm, got the horses fed, then headed into town to drop off the truck at the body shop to get the good repairs done. Enterprise rentals met me there with a little Nissan pickup truck, and for a minute I thought it would be too small for my water tank, but it turned out that it just barely fit lengthwise. Was afraid I was going to have to strap it in with the tailgate down, but we were just able to close it. Went to Tractor Supply and picked up a bag of feed and to return a pot that I had bought the other day, then Meijers to pick up a couple of grocery items before heading back to camp. I had noticed that a lot of slimy stuff had been growing in the tank when I emptied it out yesterday, so today I stopped and filled it about halfway, then got the pressure washer down and did my best to clean the inside. I actually hooked the washer up to the tank so that the water recycled, and was a bit surprised but happy there was enough pressure just from the gravity to make it work. Then I put in some bleach, filled it the rest of the way up, and got out a couple of scrub brushes and really scrubbed it down before draining it. I left it empty just in case I get my truck back before I need more water (I filled every container I had in hopes that I would have enough to keep the horses watered long enough), but at least now it’s really clean, and I can put water in it if I need to. When I took the tank out, all the boards that we had built as a frame had rotted out, so I’m going to have to repair that when I get it back. All that took a couple of hours and a lot of energy, so I decided not to ride or do anything else today, so I just read most of the day, then settled down for the evening. I paid for another week as well. Apollo was so cute today, he was on an anchor but he managed to get right over to me when I sat outside and snuggled with me for quite a while. We’ve seen some times together in the last 20½ years, all 48 contiguous states and so many other remarkable things. He’s such a good old boy, hard to believe he’s 25 now, and we’ve had him since he was four. Still in pretty good shape, though, but he’s come down with a case of rain rot that I’m treating with Listerine, per Maggie’s suggestion. Can’t tell if it’s getting better, but it doesn’t seem to be spreading any more, which is a good start. Anyway, time for shower and bed. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Sunday, July 18, 2021 – A Busy and Productive Day

Hi Sweetie!
Another good night sleep, off and running starting with several loads of laundry, washed and hung out to dry. Then I got busy housekeeping, overdue so I was pretty thorough, that took hours. Hard to believe so little square footage still takes so long to clean! Finally took the wash down around 3:30, and at 4:00 I headed out to pick up ten bales of hay at a farm nearby. Small bales, but only $4 so I can’t complain. Hope the horses like it. Settled down for the evening with Ramen and TV, fed the horses, now ready for shower and bed with fresh sheets! A busy day, but have to get up early to drop off the truck and pickup my rental, so I’m off toe bed early, too. Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Friday, July 16, 2021 – A Nice Ride on Apollo

Hi Babe!
Woke up to a beautiful, albeit cloudy morning, but the rain was gone and it cleared up throughout the day. After chores and breakfast and a search for hay (I want to get enough so I don’t have to use the rental truck to haul it next week,) I saddled up Apollo to take him on a little ride since he’s been standing around for so long. We had a nice 5.65 mile loop through Trail 5, which is probably the wettest trail here, and the one that has the little mud bridge boardwalks, and it was a little mucky in places, but not really bad. Before we left, I set off a couple of bug bombs, I’ve been seeing the occasional roach so I wanted to get ahead of it before it got any worse. Got back to camp mid-afternoon, let Apollo wander on his anchor for awhile, and later switched out Flash, who promptly wandered off to the campsite next door, so I had to go fetch him back and anchor him down. He was better after that. I topped off the water in the trailer and the horse troughs, I didn’t want to waste any, and don’t want to have any left by Monday when I take the truck in. I confirmed that was all arranged to exchange vehicles, so that’s taken care of. I mostly read the rest of the afternoon, watched a little TV, had a nice steak dinner and settled down for the evening. I took a quick run down to the dumpster to drop off a bag of garbage and was surprised I didn’t see more trailers here for a Friday afternoon. I have one couple a few sites away, one woman with a mule that parked almost directly across from me, and another woman parked next to her on the other side. Only one person at the bottom in the same site I was in last time I was here (and the time we came here in 2013), but the rest is empty, so I guess this little corner I’m in is a popular spot! Not sure why, it doesn’t seem to have anything special going on with it, other than a good cell phone signal, but that’s most other places here. Anyway, doesn’t matter, I’m here for another ten days, I’m sure I’ll see lots of people come and go. Everyone’s is settled in, and I’m heading off to shower and bed shortly. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, July 15, 2021 – Busy Computer Day

Hi Honey!
Rain came in a little while after I went to bed, so earplugs went in, and I slept well for the rest of the night. Since it was due to be a gray day, and I had planned to do some bookkeeping and other computer and paperwork the first rainy day where I had a good cell phone signal, today became that day! I literally spent almost the entire day getting caught up. I didn’t think I had let it go for as long as I did, was surprised to see unfiled receipts as far back as March! I also had to do some reports for Equity, and sent a check in, followed up on my insurance claim for the truck (I forgot I had a $500 deductible I’m going to have to pay, darn it! But at least I’ll have a nice paint job on the hood that was overdue!), and ended the afternoon by running down to the post office for a package that I thought was going to be delivered by Amazon Prime (who can usually track me down anywhere that shows up on Google Maps) but instead was sent by USPS, so they wouldn’t deliver to an uncontracted address so I had to pick it up. I ordered three shut-off valves for hoses of the firehose type with the flip over switch, such a superior design to all those ones with the little handles you have to push to one side, they always seem to fall apart or get stuck or leak or in the case of the last one, the plastic cover came off and it was so stiff to move it killed my fingers. I love these new ones. I originally bought a hose splitter with that type of valve and I loved it, so I got a couple more like that, and then I saw these single hose shut-off valves, which is perfect for the water tank in the back, so much easier! Anyway, got back to camp, several more trailers had come in so I’m guessing it’s going to be a busy weekend here. Saturday they’re having a Christmas in July gift swap and ride, I might participate in that just for fun. Anyway, settled in for the evening, binge-watching the 3rd season of Virgin River (and finished it off just now), glad to have all that other work done. Oh, and after all that rain, I only found two small spots of water on my bedroom window sill, so still not perfect, but a whole lot better! Still not sure where it’s coming from, but I’ll have to check in one day when it’s light out to find that out, but for now, it seems like all the rain has been coming in at night, so no luck on that at the moment. Anyway, ready for shower and bed! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!