Time for a Change… an RV instead of a Horse Trailer with Living Quarters

We have had our Horse Trailer with Living Quarters for 6 years now and it’s time for a review. We trailered our horses a total of 4 times to different horse back riding vacations and pulled the trailer to many more vacations without the horses. Why, you ask? Things have changed.

We lost our horse, Bandit, first. After trailering him and Nugget down to Texas when we moved in 2013–he did fantastic the first year. (Texas was in a drought). Then the rains came and he started coughing again. But we were able to keep him healthy for a couple more years. But the meds he was on were discontinued in 2015 because they were loaded with an ingredient that the underground labs use to make Meth, and it was downhill from there. He wound up with full-blown Heaves (similar to COPD–can’t get the air out of the lungs to breath in) It was awful to watch–to this day Mike and I cringe when we hear a horse cough. Feb 6, 2016 we had to put him to sleep–he literally could not breathe.

We bought another horse at the end of February, Triton, and promptly took him and Nugget with us 2 weeks later to an RV/Horse camp outside of San Antonio. He did great though he was nervous. It helped that Nugget was calm and relaxed–always a plus. Then a few weeks later, Triton freaked out over a gate where we board the horses and threw Mike, fracturing his wrist badly. So we were out of commission with riding. But we had a wedding in Los Vegas to attend so we decided to take the horse trailer. It turns out the RV park we stayed in were used to horse trailers w/LQ (of course we called first https://www.oasislasvegasrvresort.com/) –in December during The National Rodeo Finals–that’s the majority that park there. It was a gorgeous place too. 2 swimming pools, a bar, a restaurant and a RV store. Plus it was beautifully landscaped. We were surrounded by Class As who were fascinated by our horse trailer. Ha.

We use our horse trailer w/LQ every weekend when we go see the horses out in Cat Spring, because it’s a good hour drive from our home and it’s right on the edge of the Hill Country (think gorgeous!). The horses are well cared for and this place has water and electric hookups which is fantastic–especially in the summer when everyone needs to run their AC.

Then in August 2017 we had a Purium conference up in Dallas we wanted to go to so we took the horse trailer w/LQ there too. Found a nice KOA campground which would take our horse trailer (quite a few we called would not) and so off we went. We got one of their Deluxe sites with the concrete patio, chairs & table with BBQ. We got to meet a lot of the other campers because everyone wanted to know what our trailer looked like on the inside!

At this time Nugget was having more issues with her stifle and was often stiff. She was always a trooper though and with the monthly doses of Adequan she was still ridable–trust me, she loved getting out of her pasture and go exploring.

At the end of September 2017 we had another family wedding to attend in Texas so of course we took the horse trailer to that. Being in a rural area we had no issues finding a RV park to stay in. The every next weekend we flew to NJ for another family wedding–we had decided that was just too far to tow the trailer, it would have added 4 days onto our trip–and the fuel cost was more than the airfare!

Seems there’s a theme here—weddings with vacations. We had another wedding to attend out in Marfa, Texas in June of 2018. We had weighed whether we should tow the horse trailer out there or stay in a hotel. When we discovered most of my family from NJ were flying out to stay in the hotel, we opt-ed for the hotel. The 8 hour trip out towing the trailer and the fact there was no real place to stay in the trailer once there, helped us make the easy decision. Then, one of my cousins died right before the wedding so we had a memorial service for him. Ironically, his wife drove their RV down from NM and we wound up helping her with the electric once they got to the sad, little RV park on the edge of town. (And yet, when I called, they wouldn’t let us take our horse trailer there). Really?

At this point Nugget was not ridable and seem to be hurting all the time. She was on Adequan and a daily dose of Bute (think aspirin for horses). But she was my beloved horse–we went up to the Ranch every weekend to hang out and love her. We let her eat Cool Ranch Doritos and she stayed close to us when we sat outside in our chairs. We also bought a ‘project’ horse, Strawberry, in October of 2018. By December of that same year, Nugget was hurting all the time and didn’t want to socialize with any of her pasture mates. (She used to love to socialize!) You could see it in her eyes–it was time to make the decision no one ever wants to make.

In 2019 we went to Padre Island National Seashore for 5 days for our wedding anniversary and of course we took the horse trailer w/LQ. We had a fantastic time and thought at that point it would be more fun to have a class A rather than a trailer—especially one where half the space is a huge closet–cause without the horses it’s where we put everything! Our other considerations: Strawberry doesn’t load onto trailers–the old owner warned us of that, and after 2 years–even though I win the battles on spooking, trail riding and ground work, it’s a lot of work. If she spooks, Triton spooks so it’s an on-going ordeal. It doesn’t sound like a vacation to me. So we are thinking of trading the truck and the horse trailer w/LQ to get a class A motorhome.

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Gettysburg Battlefield Trip

We decided to go for a long weekend to Gettysburg and packed the horse trailer and the RV with everything we needed so the Friday morning we left, we just had to load the horses, the cats and dog and ourselves and go. We took 2 vehicles–one to tow the horses and the fifth wheel RV trailer. Fortunately we have 2 trucks so we could tow them both.
The trip down to Gettysburg was uneventful, mostly highways and Artillery Ridge Campground had said to follow their directions on their website and not the GPS. The GPS takes you right through town, which tends to be very crowded and with tons of traffic lights will easily double or triple your time. We stayed on the highway while the GPS kept saying ‘recalculate’ and trying to make us turn at every exit until we saw the exit mentioned on the website. It turned out to be a straight run putting us on the very road we needed to be on.
We pulled into the campground, got out our Coggins & Health certifications, our reservations and got our site. Our campsite was complete with a 20×20′ paddock for the horses, water, sewer and electric for our RV, plus space to park our horse trailer & trucks. We got the RV situated, got the slide outs out and the cats and dog into the RV. We unloaded the horses which were happy to get out and stretch their legs, pull them into the paddock with some hay to relax and enjoy. Of course it was around 2pm and hot and humid –we were both power sweating at this point. Mike decided it was too hot to make lunch so we went down the road to a wonderful little BBQ place that does great smoked BBQ. The smell is amazing, so worth it after 4 hours of towing and setting up.
We relaxed for the rest of the day and planned our horse trail ride for the next day, Saturday. We woke up early, fed the horses and gave them hay and cooked omelets on the grill for breakfast. We got tacked up and started out around 10am which in hind sight was a little late since the temperatures were going up into the 90’s. The equine trail on the battlefield has some shady areas, but most of it tends to be out in the open, fields and orchards of newly planted peach trees that offer no shade at all.
The trails are well marked, with a couple of places where it’s muddy–with all the rain they’ve had, they have closed off, and made go a-rounds which can be tricky to find. The campground also offers horseback rides complete with earphones so each person gets a guided tour of the battleground and what happened where. Mike and I had done this on an earlier trip so we knew the general layout of the 4 day battle and where happened where. Imagine the soldiers trying to get over those interesting fences and you can imagine how scary and chaotic the battle must have been.
The horse trail does not allow you to go up to Little Round Top, the trail goes around the back of that mountain–but they had it closed off because Hurricane Irene had made such a mess of the trail the year before and it still hadn’t yet been repaired. We spent a good 4 hours out that day, and got back and hosed the horses, and ourselves off too, since everyone was sweating up a storm. In fact we got later that evening–a wild thunder and lightning storm. We made friends with another couple who also brought their horses and we all decided to go into town and get tickets for one of the many ‘ghost tours’ they have. Of course, by the time the ghost tour was to start it was starting to rain–but everyone went anyway–the thunder and lightning just added to the ghostly presence!
Sunday morning was another sunny hot day and this time we did an early morning ride which was so much more pleasant…the cool dew breeze was so enjoyable. We did a 2 hour ride and got a lot of photos this time. (See photos). The footing is wonderful for the horses, they do not need shoes–ours are shod anyway so it didn’t really matter to us. People are friendly, lots of other horseback tours–it seems 2 other places give tours too. Generally we get off the trail to the side, since we know these people don’t horseback ride and their horses are apt to follow you if you get too close. The guides are always appreciative and if you catch up with them while they’re crossing a road, will hold the traffic up for you to get across too.
The day we were to go home our horses figured out how to pick the latch on the paddock and let themselves out–and ran off. We had several other RVers plus the people we made friends with tried to help us catch them but no luck. When I called the campground office to see if we could get more help–the head wrangler flat out refused–which was disappointing to say the least. We finally got them out in a hay field to come to our new friend Rich with a bunch of carrots. There’s nothing like a carrot from someone who doesn’t ride them. Needless to say we and the horses were exhausted after that ordeal.
Moral to this is have an extra lock on the paddocks–because you never know. We have electric fence at home and they do respect that…they saw this gate in a whole different light–and it was easy to pick with a couple of quick, clever lips.
Fortunately our trip home was fairly uneventful except for some major traffic backup on Route 80 in PA. But it kept moving and only added another 1/2 hour on to our time. We enjoyed our trip to Gettysburg Battlefield and may do it again someday.

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Twin Elm Guest Ranch Trip

It was a few months before my husband’s birthday and we wanted to take a trip and go horseback riding somewhere here in Texas. He came up with Twin Elm Guest Ranch which also has RV sites for camping and pens for our horses in addition to having guest rooms and guided horseback riding. It sounded like a plan so we made reservations.

It was an easy ride on Route 10 west for about 4 hours and about an hour on back roads to get there. We were told not to in the front entrance (because we were towing a trailer) but to go into the second entrance which is much wider! The RV full hookup site are right there and the horse pens are under the trees on the other side of the driveway.

I just checked on Google and it’s all still there.  This trip is from a couple of years ago–a few months after that trip our 1 horse died from COPD (better known as Heaves) and then a tragic turn of events after that with a new horse, I haven’t written much about our trips. Twin Elm Guest Ranch – address: 810 FM 470, Bandera, TX 78003

The scenery is amazing. We went on their trails and there was one by the river (see photo) that was heavenly. They don’t have a ton of trails but we heard from other campers that the Hill Country State Natural Area is a large park with rugged terrain offering 40 miles of multi-use trails, a campground & primitive sites–and it was right down the road. Address: 10600 Bandera Creek Rd, Bandera, TX 78003. We didn’t want to do primitive sites because we also wanted to see the town of Bandera–which is a quaint town with lots of shopping and restaurants. So no one could watch the horses and we certainly didn’t want our horses stolen!

We spent 4 days there and then there was a weather alert about a frost. We still had our other trailer back at the home ranch and certainly didn’t want those pipes to freeze so we packed up and went back home on day 5. Of course, we didn’t realize the temps get much colder in Hill Country than where we normal ride and camp which is near Houston. Note to self…..check weather back home before dashing home!

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Brazos Bend State Park… Alligators, turtles and more, oh my!

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Brazos Bend State Park… Alligators, turtles and more, oh my!

My husband’s birthday was coming up and we were discussing camping trips. He stated he wanted to go to Brazos Bend State Park for his birthday, about an hour and a half away from us. When I asked him why? He stated he wanted to see alligators! Okay… I guess we’re going to see alligators then.

It’s 2020 and all the state park campgrounds in Texas seem to be all booked on the weekends so we booked 5 nights Sunday thru Thursday in November. The day dawned bright and sunny with the temps in the 70s. Perfect camping weather! We loaded up the critters… 3 cats and a dog, hitched up our horse trailer w/living quarters and set off. We had the GPS in the truck set and Google maps on my phone set up and running–just in case. It was an easy and uneventful drive down to the Park. Well marked and well maintained, the park rangers were friendly and helpful. The park store was even open… they just asked everyone to wear masks and everyone did!

We found our campsite, backed in and plugged in… it was wide enough to fit both our dually and the trailer side-by-side. A picnic table and concrete pad with grill right behind the trailer which worked out perfectly for us. Only downside: we had a tree behind us that had a nest of Japanese Beetles which would fly everywhere when it got hot enough. Ugh.

We walked inside our trailer and realized our Fridge had the dreaded ‘Check’ light on. The entire time we trailered down it ran perfectly on propane but now, plugged into shore power, we now had an issue. We tried resetting the fridge, no luck. Then we noticed the LED lights were going dim. We narrowed down the issue to DC power–which meant the battery. Mike put our portable battery charger on it and things literally brightened up. As soon as he took the charger off it, the lights dimmed back down. The battery was dead or our trailer charger was dead. We figured the battery–cause we knew where the charger was and it’s in a tough spot to get to. So we headed to AutoZone to get a new marine battery–and a flashlight because now it was getting dark. Ha. Figures… Murphy’s Law struck again!

We returned with the new battery, Mike installed it while I held the flashlight (’cause it was dark–and the mosquitos were out!) The fridge and lights went back to their normal brightness. Yay! Back to vacation time!

We did our first hike the next day, on Mike’s birthday, to Elm Lake down the hill from our campsite. (The camping area is up on top of a large flat hill, where the alligators would never want to climb.) Enzo thought we should be hiking our normal pace, not this slow searching mode. With several stops we started to spot an alligator head here and there laying motionless in the water. Then I saw a couple of people way up ahead who were taking photos of something, they had been standing in that spot for quite a while. This park is also known for its water birds–many people bring cameras and binoculars to check them out too. They moved off and we headed up the trail to their old location. We didn’t see anything unusual in that area except that the birds were very quiet and not moving much. Then I spotted the alligator up on the bank of the island out on the lake. He was huge! He was sunning himself in the sun. Wow. We got several photos and checked him out with the telephoto lens. Awesome creature. We saw a few more, but none others out of the water like he was that day. We hiked about 5 miles and saw all sorts of water birds and turtles that day. I was so happy we got to see that huge gator on Mike’s birthday!

We headed back to the trailer, had lunch and hung out by the picnic table in the sun for the rest of the day. Enzo crashed on the rug and we brought the cats out on their leashes to sit on our laps and enjoy the moment too. In the evening, deer came out into the field behind us to nibble in the fading sun. I checked out the map the park rangers gave us to plan the next day’s hike.

We never have any problems getting up when we are on vacation! The next day was also warm and sunny. We decided to go to the George Observatory and check out the Creekfield Interpretive Trail in that area. We hiked down to the observatory, somehow took the wrong trail and wound up going north when we should have been going south. Finally checked the AllTrails app which showed us where we actually were. So we changed our plan and hiked to Hale Lake close to where we were. We saw all these buzzards flying around the lake and smelled an awful smell like rotten meat. We were on a trail that was up on a small hill around the lake. There were buzzards everywhere so we knew something was going on somewhere on the lake below. This lake is shaped like a horseshoe so we followed the trail around until there was a trail that led to a gazebo at the center of the horseshoe shaped lake. From that vantage point we could see an even bigger alligator laying on the opposite bank of the lake right below where we first discovered the buzzards. We were so glad we didn’t check out that lake bank in the beginning! The smell (we thought) was a wild pig which the alligator had just eaten. The buzzards were hopping all around him but the gator wasn’t moving. There were 20 buzzards on the ground and many more flying around circling. We figured the alligator had to be 12-14 ft long. It was definitely the highlight of our trip!

The next day we hiked from our campsite down past the observatory, took the Pilant Slough Trail to Elm Lake, and took that trail to 40 Acre Lake Trail that circles around the most popular lake in the park, where most visitors go to check out the gators and birds. What was fun about this lake is people tell you when they’ve located a gator. One gentleman who had a really long telephoto lenses told us about a gator on the bank just around the bend in the trail near the water. We rounded the turn and Mike got a photo of the smaller gator catching a turtle and we were close enough to hear the shell snap. The gator was on land and was next eyeing Enzo who thought he was something to play with. NOT. I told Mike we were too close and we hightailed it out of there.

We also got to see a Loon… I’ve only ever seen them in Maine where I used to vacation every summer with my parents. They are one of my favorite birds. I love their ‘laugh’ and their haunting cry they often do early in the mornings or late at night. I was sure it was a loon but couldn’t imagine they could be found down here in Texas! They will dive underwater for minutes at a time and then reappear some distance away. I checked google and they migrate south when the northern lakes freeze over to winter in this area. I got a really good telephoto of one sitting in a bush near 40 Mile Lake.

We did about 7 miles that day & we were exhausted and we had a couple of blisters. Even Enzo was tired. Time to relax and eat some homemade cookies and watch the deer behind our campsite.

The last day we were there was overcast and cloudy. We drove the truck down to the park store and got a couple of souvenirs… wearing our masks of course. We drove to the entrance and got photos of the gorgeous carved sign of the Brazos Bend alligator. Then we drove to the main visitors parking lot and walked around the 40 Acre Lake and decided this would also be a great day trip to do. I’m sure in the Spring, the lakes would actually look like lakes and not swampy bogs. Then we drove back to the campsite, loaded up the cats and the dog, hitched up, drove to their dump station, and were on our way back to home base–the ranch.

We arrived back to the ranch, unhitched and we had the weekend to relax there. I knew that the full-sized bed in the horse-trailer was the one item that I hated and Mike said the living area was just too small. After 7 years, we had reached our limit. Friday evening sitting on our couch in that trailer, we were checking out motorhomes on RVTrader.com. Mike saw one at Holiday World that really looked interesting.

So the next morning we ventured to the dealership in Katy… about 45 minutes away from the ranch to check it out. OMG… it was in horrible shape. The paint was all chipped and peeling, it had damage to the outside and the tires were worn. We didn’t even go inside. On our way back to the dealership, the salesman mentioned they had a 2015 Tiffin Allegro Open Road on the lot, would we be interested in looking at it? Sure, why not–the price was in our price point. But it was 35 foot long and we were looking for something a bit smaller. (I realized I had shown Mike this unit a few months ago–and it had bunk beds. I had told him we could renovate that area into an office but he wasn’t interested in doing anymore renovations since that’s all we seemed to do on the horse trailer with Living Quarters.) So I braced myself as we looked at it…first the outside and then the inside.

It was in great shape. They had reupholstered everything and it looked really nice. We found a chip in the windshield and the right-side camera didn’t work–and they said they would fix both. It had been there since August… I guess people weren’t looking for an RV with bunk beds. They were willing to work with us on the price and our trade-in of the truck & horse trailer and a few days later the Tiffin was ours! We had to pull our horse trailer and truck next to our new-to-us Class A and transfer everything from one to the other. No small task! Plus we had the cats and our dog with us too. We had thought it wouldn’t take too long but it took several hours. Thankfully, we had food in the fridge and pantry (and they had turned the Class A’s fridge on too) so we made ourselves lunch. Yum!

So, it was done and we drove the Class A back to the ranch where our other vehicle was. Of course there’s a learning curve driving it! We pulled out of the Dealership, went a mile down the frontage road to our exit and put on the brakes–doesn’t stop like a truck, stops slowly…. and as soon we turned, the fridge opened up and everything came tumbling out! Fortunately there was a huge shoulder and we were able to stop and collect up all the food. Nothing broke! Yay! The rest of the drive was uneventful except the mile long driveway to the ranch. It’s really bumpy to say the least–we had to do 5 mph up it. (Normally it’s awful for a normal vehicle–but this was beyond awful!)

We got to our RV spot and this Class A backs up beautifully. No turning in opposite direction or waiting for the trailer to respond… it does it promptly! So nice and made the setting up process better. We parked it on the wood boards we have since we didn’t want the rig to sit in the grass. Trying to get it level is a trick though, since the whole campground slopes downward. We’re still working on that. But that’s part of the adventure!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

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Our 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip to Lake Somerville State Park

We decided to take our anniversary trip, which is in October to a Texas State Park since we have a Texas State Park Pass and have been using it all summer long for hikes and to get out in nature.

It’s 2020 and it’s been a long year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks and social distancing is a real ‘thing’ now. My husband has been working from home, but I’ve been a cashier for a Texas based food chain and they consider us ‘essential workers’. Good grief. We’ve been working our asses off–people are still buying way too much ‘stuff’ even now, way after the toilet paper ‘crisis’ in March 2020 when almost all businesses shut down to stop the pandemic.

We made reservations online for 5 days (because all the weekends were booked–another result of the pandemic–everyone decided to buy a camper and camp.) We booked Sunday thru Thursday night which worked for us, our anniversary was on Wednesday. It was in the Nails Creek Unit in the equestrian camping loop–the normal camping loop was still closed 3 years after Hurricane Harvey flooded and destroyed the electric to those areas. It’s a gorgeous area with trees, a lake and tons of hiking trails.

We woke up Sunday morning excited for our camping trip, packed up the camper, put the cats in their crates & loaded them in the Ram 3500, the dog happily jumped in the back too and we hooked the truck up to the horse trailer. We turned the power off from the box and tried to unhook the electrical RV cord extension from the retractable power extension hard-wired to the horse trailer and it broke. OMG. Mike looked at it and said if we stopped at Home Depot (which was on the way) he could fix it. So we were on our way.

We arrived at the Park shortly after 2pm which is check-in time and backed into our site. Mike spent the first 1/2 hour re-wiring our power cord in the 87 degree heat because we really needed our air-conditioner! Meanwhile I got the water hooked-up and all the other items unpacked. Every trip we go on, something happens or there’s an issue with the weather. We have learned to power through it or we would never go anywhere!

Soon the air conditioning was humming and the cats were happy. Our chairs were outside in the shade, and it was time for Step Two. (If you watch ‘Camping with Steve’ on YouTube, you’ll know what we mean! LOL!) We spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying nature by our campsite. Mike made Salmon burgers on the grill and we finally retreated inside to escape the mosquitos.

The next 4 day routine was getting up and having our green Power Shakes, going for a 5-6 mile hike with Enzo, back in time for lunch, walking to the lake to play in the water with the dog, and back to relax and dinner. The 5th day, we decided to check out another area of the park which you had to drive to because the bridge that led there was still destroyed after Hurricane Harvey. It looked gorgeous on the map with a huge lake around it and trails everywhere. We asked the ranger about it and she told us where we could park. No problem, we found the parking area and parked. It was overcast and it kept the temps down. We started off and hiked on a straight trail and headed upward to the lake that was shown on the map. The lake is actually a marshy bog. We hiked halfway around the lake and heard wild pigs squealing in the woods. We checked the map and it said if you hiked down a certain trail there was a pond where you could see Alligators. That sounded interesting so we started down that trail. We started crossing a field that had these nasty sticker seeds everywhere (Soliva Pterosperma or burweed) and we got them on our socks, shoes and on Enzo–and they hurt! We didn’t want to back-track so we kept on… the trail continued but didn’t go to a pond and all the other trails shown on the map weren’t there. Great. So we continued down that trail. I was also keeping track on my AllTrails app but my phone died, so now I was using a compass. We seemed to be going around the boggy lake but I couldn’t really tell, it was more like a dried mud area with tons of 4×4 tracks. The sun had come out and it was steamy hot in the 90s. The dog tried laying down a few times and we tried getting him to drink water, which he did. Finally we came to a dam and found the original trail around the bog. Mike commented it seemed like something from a horror movie. We were exhausted, we had blisters on our feet, and we estimated we had hiked about 7.5 miles…according to our Fitbits. We still had to hike back to the truck which was another mile or so. We decided never to do that hike again. Now we know why the bridge had never been rebuilt in the last 3 years.

Fortunately that was our final hike. Enzo wanted to go on another hike Friday morning but we decided to relax and enjoy the moment until we had to pack up and leave. Of course after we packed, hitched up and headed homeward, we got an error code message on the truck. The dreaded ‘Check Engine’ light. Seems every time we tried to accelerate up a hill, the truck would shift down, but wouldn’t pick up speed so we limped home. Fortunately this is Texas, and the hills here aren’t huge or steep. We got back to the ranch, parked the trailer and headed home. The cats weren’t happy they had to stay in their crates for another hour and Rudy complained all the way home. Good grief!

First stop the next day was the Ram dealer who told us there are ‘sub-codes’ and they would check them first. Sure enough, they were able to fix it and it wasn’t the computer or some other horribly expense part. If you googled the error code that is what came up. Which is what we initially did!

So it wound up being a good trip. We would definitely do that trip again. Perhaps in a bigger camper… hey, we can dream!

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Cherokee Trails Campground

Cherokee Trails Campground Trip

We're following a horse trailer on those narrow roads leading to the campground.

We’re following a horse trailer on those narrow roads leading to the campground.

We left from Fort Valley Ranch on a bright cold, sunny day and headed south to Tennessee on Route 81. I was pulling the 2 horse trailer with my Ram 1500 and Mike was pulling the 5th wheel RV with his Dodge Ram 3500. After about 4.5 hours we were off the highway and traveling back roads to our next destination. We saw signs for the campground but the roads kept getting narrower and narrower and I worried that our very tall RV was going to have an issue. Cars that were coming toward us had to pull over into the weeds to let Mike and our RV pass. Finally we got to the Cherokee Trails Campground and were able to stop and check in.

It’s a full service RV campground – complete with electric, sewer and water at every site. They have a large paddock near the entrance and a barn at the top of a steep hill that you cannot drive to. You must walk up the hill with your gear, food and hay—and of course your horse. It wasn’t cheap either – it cost us $212 for a 2 night stay. $20 per night per horse for stalls and an additional amount for the paddock each day plus the RV site fee. Hiking up the hill with the grain and hay was a real issue and it seemed to be an issue with others as well. There were 3 paddocks and if there was a horse in them the other horses had to stay in their stalls. You were to tack up at the barn too. We were not thrilled about having to haul our gear up there either. A wheelbarrow would have been helpful in that case.

Nugget eating grass in the paddock that climbs up the side of the hill.

Nugget eating grass in the paddock that climbs up the side of the hill.

The horse barn on the top of the steep hill.

The horse barn on the top of the steep hill.

There were a couple of dogs running around the place which caused an issue for our dog…he wasn’t thrilled that those dogs were running up to him while he was trying to do his business. They were other RVers dogs –not the owner’s. His dogs were well behaved and he was a retired gentleman who just enjoyed talking to people.

We checked out the trails and the only way to get to them was to walk on the roads. Having come up those roads we weren’t happy about being back on them on horseback. We talked to some of the other horseback riders and there was a trail you could take that would climb to the top of a mountain in the area. The views were supposed to be great. But the people who had gone were drenched in sweat and their horses were too. The temperatures were humid and climbing into the 90’s that day. We decided to give the horses a break and let them relax because they would be in the trailer again the next day anyway.

Looking down the main road from the campground.

Looking down the main road from the campground.

A view of the paddock near to the road that leads to the barn - though you were not to use the road with vehicles.

A view of the paddock near to the road that leads to the barn – though you were not to use the road with vehicles.

We went out to hunt for supplies and finally found a gas station and convenience/food store about 5 miles away. Not much else is around the area. It wound up raining so we figured we made the right choice!

The next morning we packed up and headed out to our next place in Tennessee…also about 4.5 hours away.

901 Morrell Creek Ln, Bluff City, Tennessee 37618
(423) 391-0118
http://www.cherokeetrailscampground.com/

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Mammoth Cave Horse Camp Vacation

In 2013 we promised some of our NJ horseback riding friends, Deb & Rich, that even though we were moving to Texas we would meet them somewhere and go ride with them again. We had original met them at Artillery Ridge Campground in Gettysburg, PA. We were admiring their horse trailer with Living quarters–and then had discovered they only lived about 12 miles away from us!

So in 2014 we decided to find a horse campground in the middle—and that wound up being in Tennessee. Google maps said that it would take us both about 12 hrs to travel there. Mammoth Cave Horse Camp had 5 star reviews so we made reservations. My husband and I realized we didn’t want to tow both the RV & the horse trailer so we traded in the horse trailer and got a ‘new to us’ 2005 Keifer horse trailer w/LQ that had seen some better days. We worked on the trailer every weekend in July so it would be ready for the trip.

Nugget was thrilled to get into the trailer–she hopped right on. Bandit was more careful, but with her nickering to him–he got aboard. We got an early start–it was August in Texas–which as they say: “you’re 6 degrees from the sun!” LOL

Of course, in Arkansas we hit traffic which turned out to be construction… and we crawled along for miles. Fortunately we had decided to do 2 days of 6 hrs each day so we were able break it up even though that day wound up being 8+ hours. The place we had made reservations at was called Bar Fifty Guest Ranch. Very pretty and very quiet. The horses loved getting out of the trailer and relaxing. They had lots of RV hookups, pens for the horses and trails. Definitely would be nice to come back too someday. Address: 18192 AR-84, Bismarck, AR 71929.

Next day we were up early and back onto Route 30. We traveled thru Little Rock and Memphis and finally got off the highways to the back roads of Kentucky. Finally got to Mammoth Cave Horse Camp and called our friends to find out where they were–they were already there and set up! We had the entire campground to ourselves. Wow. Address: 2578 Ollie Rd, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Beautiful barn and stalls for the horses and the campground is up a hill a bit away. There’s an outdoor riding arena and outside wash stalls for the horses. Tons of trails in Mammoth Cave National Park some of which are a bit rocky and some softer. Our horses were not shod and our friend’s were but none of us had problems with hoofs getting chewed up. Each campsite has a fire pit and a picnic table, full hookups and trees galore if you want them… some sites are in the sun. Since it was August and 90 degrees–Deb and Rich decided on a site with trees and we gladly joined them.

It was a glorious week–sunny with some afternoon thunderstorms–but nothing could bother us. Nothing as wonderful as camping with friends. Later in the week another horse trailer w/LQ pulled from Illinois and of course we all wound up chatting and trading places to ride.

Definitely Mammoth Cave Horse Camp is one of the most beautiful places to stay and ride with your horses. Sadly, our friend Rich passed away last fall from cancer. We are so very glad we got to spend some wonderful vacation time with him and his wife horseback riding in the woods of Kentucky.

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Four K Stables Trip

It was Tuesday morning and we were a little apprehensive about our next place to ride. We were getting into the deep south and kept losing cell service—‘Four K Stables’ sounded like a back-woods kind of place. We loaded the horses into the horse trailer and hitched up the 5th wheel RV and left Faye Whittemore Farms which was a lovely place.

We headed southwest toward Mississippi and our next destination. 4 hours of driving more highways—with losing cell service for long distances—was making us a bit wary. We got off the highway and onto some really pretty back roads. Four K Stables is on a side road right in a town. It’s an unbelievably gorgeous barn with a small campground and a round pen for horses. The owner looked at us and said “Not what you expected, right?” OMG no! The barn has 10 12×12’ stalls with the sliding doors and feed bins. Huge fans in the back of the barn to let the hot air out. Everything was polished and spotless—not the ‘rural hick cowboy’ feeling we were expecting!

We backed the 5th wheel RV into a campsite complete with water, electric and sewer. Got the horses settled in the round pen that was full of clover that they promptly ate. The owner laughed and said that he didn’t have to mow it now. We always give the horses a break the day we travel—let them enjoy the new scenery and relax. We set up our chairs and Mike grilled hamburgers for dinner. We sat and watched the sun set and then put the horses into their stalls for the evening. The stalls themselves were tall as well as large, I remember Bandit getting upset he couldn’t see Nugget in the other stall. Even warmbloods would be comfortable in these stalls!

Four-K-Stables is located adjacent to the Long Leaf Equestrian Trail. The Long Leaf Trace has a 23-mile equestrian trail and 39-mile biking and walking trail. This is where we went after we tacked up and headed out first thing the next morning. Riding early is important because even in May it gets hot down in Mississippi! The equestrian trail is right there—you can’t miss it.

The trail association really caters to horses—they have water troughs with automatic water pumps so they are always filled along the trail every so often. It’s well marked and even have small stop signs when they cross a road. Benches every so often so bikers and walkers/joggers can rest too. Really nicely done.

It was misting in the early morning but we went out anyway. We were out for about 3 hours and by the time we turned around and came back we were all sweating. We gave the horses a hose down and let them dry in their stalls with all those shavings—with those big fans on. They had so much room they could roll all they wanted. Mike and I decided they really had the life in that barn!

We decided we would come back in a heart-beat. The facilities and the owner were wonderful. It was a fantastic place to stop. The name doesn’t do the place justice.

Thursday morning, we packed up and headed out for our next stop in Texas … another 5 hours away.

Four -K- Stables
Four K Stable Road
Bassfield, Mississippi
Phone: (601) 943-5003
http://www.campgroundviews.com/listing/four-k-stables/

 

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Faye Whittemore Farm Trip

It was Sunday morning and we were excited about our next place to ride. We packed up the horses into their horse trailer and hitched up the 5th wheel RV and we were off! We headed southwest toward Alabama and our next destination. 4 hours of driving highways—with quite a few places where we lost cell service (and the ability to talk to one another) we were off the highway and traveling back roads. This is a family farm with a campground and paddocks for horses and we had a problem finding it. This was a bit of a challenge with Mike pulling a 5th wheel RV and me towing the horse trailer with our horses Nugget and Bandit. The driveway is well marked though with a large elegant sign. It is long a long driveway with a large dip—but the RV did just fine.

We followed the long driveway to the end and it opens out into a field with a pretty red barn. The sites are all under the trees in the far end of the field. The people are nice and friendly with thick southern accents—I can’t imagine what they thought of us Yankees. They told us just to ‘pick a spot’ and set up which we did. We unloaded Nugget and Bandit—put them in two of the many paddocks set up under the trees. There was only one other horse trailer with living quarters there and it turned out the lady was there full-time with her two horses. Her husband was working in another state—in so she was living there until he returned. It was a gorgeous 16’ short wall Bison trailer with a slide-out. Very nice! She was friendly and gave us some tips and ideas where to find things.

We always give the horses a break the day we travel—let them enjoy the new scenery and relax. They always seem to be excited to see where they are—looking around and nickering to any other horse around. They are very sociable. Nugget was a bit sore so we gave her some Bute to help her relax that arthritic stifle.

There are over 35 miles of trails of varying skill ranging from beginner to even the most adventurous rider. There is plenty of shade, waterfalls, bluffs and creeks, everything to keep it adventurous.

Monday morning, we decided to explore the area with a horseback ride. We tacked up Nugget and Bandit and they were happy to be exploring too. The trails were very pretty and easy to get to—we just walked to the other end of the field and found the marked trail. The weather was humid, sunny with clouds which helped keep down the heat. The trails were mostly in the woods, up and down hills and across some lovely streams. There were some gnats in the woods but that was it. We had a very relaxing ride though the horses were sweating by the time we got back. We hosed them off and let them dry some, put them in their paddocks where they promptly rolled!

That night we saw a storm coming across the field—so dramatic with the intense clouds. We set up the chairs to watch the storm approach and enjoy the evening. It was a wonderful stop. We agreed we would definitely come back here again.

Tuesday morning, we packed up and headed out for our next place southwest in Mississippi … 4 hours away.

Faye Whittemore Farms
1335 Forrester Road
Jasper, Alabama 35504
Mobile: Ricky 205.522.4137
www.http://fayewhittemorefarms.com

 

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