Wednesday, May 30, 2018

No Horsin' Around! -- May 30, 2018

I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend!  I think most everywhere experienced HOT!  We're back at "home base" getting some things in order after a week at a new camp in the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana.

We left Young's Creek Horse Camp on Monday, the 21st and headed north within the forest towards Bloomington.  We stopped at the Paoli, IN Walmart for some ice and a few groceries not knowing if there would be another shopping opportunity before landing at our new campsite.

Little did I know, I was in great danger in this Walmart!  
I had worn my "UK" (Univ of Kentucky) ball cap into the store. 


An older gentleman pulled me aside and told me I was "taking my life in my hands" wearing that hat in IU (Indiana University) territory!  I explained to him it was in support of my great niece recently getting accepted at UK with a full ride scholarship (and ultimately deciding to go there).  I told him she was also accepted at IU....he couldn't understand why in the world she wasn't going there!  LOL! Anyway, we had a good laugh about it all but I hurried through the store gathering up my supplies as fast as I could....just in case!  We escaped safely and headed back into the forest...

A lot of the drive was less than two lane forest roads.  Really pretty!

But there were areas where it actually looked like civilization with some homes, fields, and a fair share of dilapidated farm buildings, which I really like.  I wish I could have photographed all of them, but Bo and I were anxious to get to our next spot and get set up before it got too hot.  We would be driving about 1.5 hrs....not far, but far enough for the sun to get high faster than we wanted it to!  

(I must have had the "painterly" effect turned on for this one) 

We were headed to the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area.  There is a lot of dispersed camping within this wilderness area, BUT, it is all walk-in......meaning, you park at a trail head and carry all of your camping paraphernalia to a campsite.!  That wasn't going to happen!  LOL!  Plus I didn't bring my tent with me.


Luckily, for those of us who enjoy a more leisurely approach to setting up camp, there is the Blackwell Horse Camp....our destination.

There are two loops to this camping area.  To the left is a quite large loop, which we toured around first.  There were several tents planted here and there and a few RV's.  My first impression, tho, was there was very little level least very little that wasn't already occupied.  So, we ended the loop and drove up a slight incline, past the entrance and park pavilion and there was the second, much, much smaller loop...all level and no other campers!  Perfect!  Not sure why they were all parked on the other side, but glad they were!

As you can see, this lush grass setting is quite different than Young's Creek Horse Camp which was enshrouded in trees with composting leaf carpeting.  

There really wasn't too much to analyze about where to park.  Immediately noticeable ----- there wasn't going to be any shade overhead.  In this un-spring-like weather, that wasn't really a good thing, but we were here and this is what it is.  The sun would be off us a little at the end of the day as it lowered behind the trees.  

So, we parked near the horse "corral" hoping it might deter big horse trailers from parking too near us. Bo isn't fond of animals larger than he is!  But, it was a Monday, so I figured the horse "traffic" would be pretty light during the week. was HOT!  No forest canopy.....just out in the bright sunlight which wasn't all that great.  We hosed off with the pressurized shower a lot.  Evaporative cooling.  Bo loves that!  It would have been murder without the pop-up canopy.  Rain was forecast all week, but it really didn't materialize.  Just a few raindrops here and there.  It did bring a little cloud cover, but not enough to really bring the temps down.  Every time I thought it was going to stay cloudy, 10 minutes later, the sun came back out.

Needless to say, we didn't take a lot of extended walks.  There was a trail at the far end of the loop, but it was just too hot and muggy to go exploring.  Bo found the grass to be a little cooler, I guess, even if he was laying right in the sun.

Ok....I've complained enough about the heat and lack of shade.  
There are plenty of good features about this campground!  

  • Lots of bathrooms
  • Very well maintained / super clean
  • A trash dumpster
  • Quiet
  • Little to no "traffic"
No other campers came to this loop all week, so we had it all to ourselves.  And we didn't see even one horseback rider the entire week.  No "horsin' around" here!  My hunch on that was correct.  So, all in all, it was a very nice camp spot.  I would come back here the fall!  Being surrounded by all the trees in full color would be ideal!  

I'll be finishing up my "business" at home base this week....and waiting for tropical storm Alberto to pass through.  As I write this, there's a big green and yellow radar swirl just to the west of my location.  No point in dealing with that if I don't have to!  

Plan to head out on Monday to a new (FREE, of course) spot....something a little different, I think.  Not within a national forest or state park.  I'm hoping Monday will have the weekend campers gone and some sites open.  I think there are only five sites at this camp ground.  A little risky, but there are other campgrounds within a few miles if this one doesn't pan out.  Always good to have a backup plan!

Thanks for your continued interest in my blog.
(I still haven't had a chance to check the Amazon links to see if they are working.)

So, until next time......stay cool....and enjoy the official start of summer 2018!  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Week in the Forest - May 14-21, 2018

Hi Everyone!

First, thanks to those who posted a comment.  Glad you are still hanging around with me!

We started out from the Saddle Lake campground and headed toward some off-beat area that I had heard about.  After several gravel roads that didn't look promising....

we turned around and headed to Young's Creek Horse Camp.  

This is our last night at Young's Creek Horse Camp in the Hoosier National Forest. We've been here since the 14th.   We are still in the southern part of the forest.  It's been a nice stay....except when we first arrived and it was 93*.  I had to put cool, wet towels on Bo at night.  It was HOT!  But it tapered off and most days have been in the high 70's-low 80's, with a few scattered rain drops here and there, but still a lot of sun.

This is a relatively small campground about 4 miles south of Paoli, Indiana.  When you first come in, there's a decent size grass area for the horses and a nice pavilion.  The restrooms and non-potable water spigots are in this area.

Once you pass the pavilion, turn right down the gravel lane and immediately you see the campsite loop.  It's small.  The campsites really aren't carved out too well, but luckily, I got what I thought was the best one......easy enough since I was the only one here at the time.  (A couple of campers showed up later in the week for a night or two.  They were quiet...did their camping thing...and left.)

There's not much happening around here.  We only saw two horseback riders all week and that was about 20 minutes after we arrived.  There's a trail at the bottom of the loop.  Bo and I walked part of it most every day.  I spoke too soon..... a very large horse trailer just pulled in up at the pavilion.  They must be staying overnight as it's 8:00pm.

I've made friends with the Park Ranger, Donald, and the maintenance man.  I had met both of them when I was at Saddle Lake last year before the broken arm dilemma.  Both are very helpful.  It's always interesting to learn something about people you run into.  The maintenance man's uncle was Roger "Jellyroll" Troy.  He played bass with The Grateful Dead and other great bands.  Who knew??

When we first arrived, there were lots of gnats and flying things around.  I had some mosquito netting so I put it up around my camp chair, under the pop-up canopy.  I think we must have just stirred up the insects because they really weren't bad after everything settled down.  But, I kept the netting up anyway since I went to the trouble of hanging it.  Bo stayed under it more than I did for some reason!

This site wasn't easy to keep clean could it be in the forest???  Usually I can keep up with sweeping off the outdoor rug, but not this week.  Between the breeze and Bo dragging his lead across it, a constant cover of dead leaves and twigs took over.  Not much was actually tracked into the van, but it still bugged me!  LOL!

Bo had fun in the leaves, tho!

No wildlife to speak of except the peck, peck, peck of a woodpecker somewhere.  I never did see it.  I guess as close, literally, as we came to "wildlife" was this:

 He was caught up in the mosquito netting.  Better there than in the van!  ACK!!!

We mostly just lazed around all week.  Bo liked this comfortable view and so did I!

 Tall boots in 93* weather, you ask??  YES!  Tick prevention.  
I give Bo NexGard and I never saw one tick on him.  It really works!  

Across the road, visible from the pavilion area, is this very handsome barn.

This area of Indiana is quite surprising in it's offerings.  A huge attraction is the French Lick Resort/West Baden Springs Hotel.  It is unbelievable. It's about 10 miles west of Paoli. I've never been there, but I did grab some photos  and a video from the internet.  French Lick Resort Website  More great pics on the website!  It has a glorious spa and casino!  If someone wants to foot the bill, I'll be happy to give an indepth review!  LOL!

This video details the interesting history of this fantastic resort:  .French Lick Resort History Video

Speaking of wildlife, there IS wildlife nearby in Paoli.  The Wilstem Ranch.  You can have personal interaction with giraffes and elephants.  It started back in 1915.  Pretty cool!  Here's the website:

That's a wrap from Young's Creek Horse Camp and the surrounding area.  We will be heading out in the morning to a new spot within the Hoosier National Forest after a stop in Paoli at Walmart for water, ice and a few snacks.  

It's amazing what you can find just a few hours from home!

Everyone have a great week!  Thanks for tuning in!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

On The Road Again, FINALLY!........May 12, 2018

Yep!  I'm back on the road after two years, one month, and ten days!  But, who's counting??  

I left off back on April 2, last post being photos of the 1700+ mile quick trip from Arizona to Ohio.  As I mentioned then, there were family issues and personal issues which needed attention....and yes, it has taken two years to finally get somewhat situated again, eventho' I will need to go back to my home base about every 3 weeks to check on things, at least for the summer.  I won't be going into detail, but it has been quite the roller coaster ride.  But, the main thing is......I'm roving once again!  So....I'm going to try to condense the past two years the best I can, but this post might end up lengthy just so we can catch up to today!

A lot of changes have taken place over the past two years.  Sadly, I lost Nikko to kidney disease on April 3, 2017...just over a year ago.  He was such a great travel companion.  This photo was taken just the day before he went over the rainbow bridge.  What a sweet boy......

He was primarily, if not all, Belgian Malinois.  I waited a [short] while and contacted a police dog trainer-friend who contacted his trainer friends.  Soon, Bo, a 1.5 year old, purebred Belgian Malinois came into my life.  He's a very handsome fellow!  And super strong!

Our one year anniversary was yesterday!  Now, at 2.5 years old, he's still puppy-ish in some ways, but soooooooooooo smart!  He started off with police training as a puppy....some aspects of that I wish I could erase, but that's not going to happen.  He knows several commands and is a very good traveler, albeit very protective!  "Alert" is NOT his middle's his first name!  LOL!  But, he's a keeper!

Next more Class C RV!  Not knowing for sure if I was going to be on the road again, I sold it for what I paid for it.  I bought a cheap car to get around while I was staying in a little efficiency apartment waiting to see what was going to be happening.  

About this time last summer, I moved out of the apartment....they were tearing the building down.... and bought a 1989 (yes, old, but in great shape!) Ford E150 Conversion Van....and more or less, moved into it!  I took the middle seats and the back fold-down bed seat out, made a platform bed and added storage units for clothes, food, and misc necessities.  

My one extravagance, a 65qt YETI cooler, is under the bed along with storage totes.
It holds ice/cold water for about a week.  Essential with no refrigerator.  

We (Bo and I) camped out for a few months last spring at a secluded homestead while a friend was remodeling the empty house.  That was super convenient!  Then we stayed off and on at the local state park during the week.  (Weekends are way too busy there.)  Finally, we headed out to the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana for some boondocking and a change of scenery...literally!  Mind you, this was all a year ago....

To get caught up to today, our big plans for last summer of exploring the tri-state area abruptly ended when I got back from Indiana after a short 10 days only to BREAK MY ARM!!!  My RIGHT arm, no less.  

That was around the 4th of July. Well, needless to say, that had me immobile for the entire summer and into the fall...then it was winter.  No traveling was going to happen in the cold and snow!  I was, however, finally able to do a lot of artwork over the winter....that kept me going!

Mono Print
Commissioned Acrylic we're FINALLY at May 12, 2018.  Bo and I have been camping at Saddle Lake in the Hoosier National Forest (Indiana) for the past few days.  We started out here last year, so we've done a 360.  It's a great spot...very quiet.  This is not RV life, exactly.  It is van-dwelling.  A lot less amenities, but overall, actually a lot easier than a 27' RV. problem!  Finding a place to dump your black water tank?  Filling up your 30 gal fresh water tank?  No tanks in a van!  Finding propane?  Nope!  No propane tank!  Also, no bathroom.  Luckily most every established campground has vaulted toilets.  If not....well....see all those trees???  LOL!  Just part of off-grid life, but a very minor inconvenience.  I have a portable solar shower which works great.  

Saddle Lake is about a .4 mile away from our campsite. It's a small, pretty lake for small, (motorized only) fishing boats.  There has only been very, very light traffic down to the lake....probably locals.  There are only 3 other campers here, none of which have boats.  Luckily, the way the campsites are situated, no one is near us.  

Bo LOVES the water!  
Nikko hated it! 

We will be here until Monday.  There are several options for the next stop....need to focus in on which one to choose.  Thankfully, there has been great internet access here at Saddle Lake.  Can't guarantee that in other locations around the forest.  But, that's part of the adventure!

Let me know if you are still with me by posting a short note below.  Would love to hear from any and all of you who didn't "unsubscribe" when I took my hiatus two years ago. I need to tweak this blog a bit...but I need to reacquaint myself with how to do that, so if something doesn't look right, I'll try to get it corrected by my next post.  I am still an Amazon affiliate, so if you are inclined, please use the link to get to the website for your purchases (if they still work - need to check that.)  Your  prices remain the same.  Thank you!  

So, until next time, you only go around once.....

do what you love and love what you do!