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The Good The Bad And The Ugly

I can’t believe it’s been five months since I last posted. So much has come to pass. When I last posted we were living in Congress AZ at North Ranch. We have since moved to nearby Westpark which is in Wickenburg AZ. Mainly because they have 50 amp electric, a pool, gym, billiards room etc etc. The reason we have not been mobile the last months are twofold. After receiving a prescription from my doctor here my stomach issues have very nearly disappeared. I thought this would free us to travel again. Then my Father ended up in the hospital. He has since been there again and did a stint in a rehab place doing PT and OT. I have been going back and forth between Tucson and Wickenburg every 10 days or so on average to spend a few days there. It’s a 300 mile round trip so it’s been kind of tiring. Meanwhile Olga has developed an issue as well. Her joints started aching and she began to walk like an old woman. For a while it got so bad that I joked that my 87 year old father could kick her ass in a foot race. At my insistence they finally gave here shots of steroid and anti-inflammatory drugs. She is walking much better now but the issue remains. She has undergone enough blood tests to diagnose the rarest illness in the world but as we sit here today we still don’t know what the issue is. She has an appointment with a blood specialist tomorrow and we are hoping that we will finally get an answer.

So that is a very very condensed update. Honestly, I have been just too tired to post very much. I do have some things to post about RVing that some of you may enjoy reading. I plan a review of GPS systems we have used. SPOILER ALERT! They all suck in their own way.

I’m going to get back to this whenever I can. For those of you still around…Boy, you must really be lazy about cleaning up your bookmarks.

Cheers

Let’s Go Get Un-Stoned

I apologize for not posting for a while. For those who asked here is the deal. My gall bladder stones continue to be an issue. I’ll need to have to have surgery to rid myself of this problem forever. The issue is that my current insurance will only cover the surgery if I go back to Vermont. Unfortunately I would have to have appointments with my regular doctor, consultation with a surgeon and then schedule and have the surgery, which could take a month or more. I would need to go by myself to save money and so Olga could take care of little Eva. An old manager I worked for in Vermont has graciously offered to let me stay with his family if I go back which is a really big deal. I just hate to be away for that long. Meanwhile in the background we are trying to rush to become residents of Arizona so we can get insurance out here and have the surgery done without having to cross the country. We have our licenses and will have our truck registered here next week. I got online yesterday and applied for health insurance in Arizona. Residency is always the biggest thing to try and prove. Between getting the licenses and registration as well as registering to vote we are hoping we are good to go. Until this is settled we will be staying close to home here in Congrress and the Escapees North Ranch. We have survived our first 100 degree days with no problem so I think we are in a good place

As things progress I’ll post about the latest
Thanks to those of you who asked.

Good Plan Gone Awry Part 3

Where to? Good question. We finally decide that we will go to Cottonwood where we had been late last year. Not my absolute favorite place but good enough for a week or so. So we get there and it is ten times more crowded than last Fall. We managed to find a spot to camp though so we were content enough.
So we are having dinner one evening and at the end I had a cookie. I don’t even remember what we had for dinner that night but I started to get a strange feeling in my gut. It kind of felt like there was somebody in there – probably a gremlin – who had a vice and kept making it tighter and squeezing my insides. So I tried taking some TUMS but the gremlins just laughed at that. I did my best to live with it that night but it gradually got worse and it kept me from sleeping. Finally at about 7 the next morning I woke up Olga and said I think I need to go to the ER. So off we go to the hospital.
I have to say that this was the most efficient trip to the ER I’ve ever had. As an active young kid I spend many days in the ER. Two knee dislocations, two broken collar bones, and enough blood and stitches to last a lifetime. I was taken in very quickly by the staff at the hospital and was in a bed within minutes of my arrival. I was asked for my pain level which felt to me like around an 8. They offered me morphine which I had never had before. I decided to go for a “cocktail” of stomach stuff like Maalox and some other stuff first. Unfortunately that did no good at all so I finally decided to go for the morphine. If there is one thing I know from all my ER time it’s that I am very resistant to pain meds. With both of my knee dislocations they had to give me twice as much Demerol as they originally gave me before it had any affect. So in goes the first shot of morphine. Nada, zip, zilch, nothing. So they give me another shot of the same amount. Still nothing. In the mean time they are zipping me around for different tests. I got a CAT SCAN, abdominal ultra-sound, blood tests and urine tests. Then more morphine, about half the original amounts this time. Finally I start to feel a little bit of relief. So after about six hours the only thing they can really tell me is that my heart is fine but I have gallstones. They give me some kind of meds to take before meals to settle my stomach and a pain killer.
We run to the pharmacy and get the scripts filled. I take the pain meds immediately as prescribed. I don’t know if it was the morphine or the combination of that and the other pain killers but the cure rapidly became almost as bad as the original problem. I was scared to eat anything at all so for the next couple of days I starved myself. My stomach was not giving me much of a problem but the meds made me feel like absolute crap. For the next 48 hours my brain was in full scale revolt. At one point I swear I actually hallucinated. I was just seeing an all white background with random letters, numbers and complex mathematical formulas just bouncing around the space in all directions and speeds. That really freaked me out. I spend one whole night lying there with my brain continually playing a game of solitaire with a deck that for some reason had 12 black 9s and 12 red 7s. I could NOT make it stop!
After that first night I didn’t take any more pain meds. It still took almost a week to get my head screwed back on straight. I did a ton of sleeping. While I’m doing this the worst thing that can happen while camping in Cottonwood happened. It rained. The place is OK when it’s dry, but when it rains there it creates the world’s worst mud. This stuff is like no mud you have ever seen. If you take one step outdoors your shoe is suddenly covered with mud making it about as big as a small snow shoe, and it’s damn near impossible to get off your shoes. Then some cattle came through as often happens there and they decided to do a Mexican hat dance right by our solar panels which became covered in mud. Feeling the way I did I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
That brings us nearly current of that saga. I’m still very shaky about eating and have lost a lot of weight as a result. My energy is still pretty low but I’m trying to take in some protein as I know that will help. So it’s back to our adventures. We are in Prescott to get a problem with one of our slide outs fixed and then we’ll figure out where to head next.

I’m baaaaaaack

To the literally tens of people who I’m sure read this blog I apologize for not keeping up much lately. I’ve been rather ill for the last couple of weeks and ended up in the emergency room for a day.. Details will be revealed in Part 3 – Yes Part 3 – of Good Plans Gone Awry to come soon. And I really, really hope this is the last part of this string of bad luck so I don’t need to write a Part 4

Thanks

Good Plan Gone Awry Part 2

So as I said in part 1 the reason for moving north was the temperatures. It was getting very hot in the middle of the state and we wanted to get cool. The temps up near Flag (so called to those in the know) were perfect for a couple of old Vermonters. Mid 70’s during the day and generally around 40’s at night. Sounds like heaven. So after we cross the southwestern Himalayas we get to our destination. We figured that we would hit our old spot on A1 Mountain Road and scout out some new places from there. We got there around 2:30 in the afternoon and headed down the road. Then things got un-fun. To get to the wide open spaces out of the woods where you can take bigger rigs you need to go over a cattle guard. Only the cattle guard had a fence with a lock across it this time. Nuts! So we took one of the side roads before the gate after turning around. Not an easy task here by the way. While there were spots available there were none that would accept anything bigger than a van or truck camper. Nuts. So we took our lives in our hands and tried a couple of things from campendium.com. One provided GPS coordinates which we followed to supposedly take us to a Forest Service owned area where we could camp. The only problem was that the coordinates landed us right in the middle of downtown Williams where I am 100% sure there is no Forest Service camping. While we were there we stopped at a 76 Gas station on old RT 66. Very cool little place. Maybe one of the few left in the world where they still come out and wash your windows while you gas up. Then I went inside to pay and they gave me a free bag of fresh pop corn.
So back we go to try another place. It’s starting to get a bit darker now. We follow instructions to get to one place that led us down a road to nowhere that just kept going with no access roads into the forest at all. After following this for quite a while we were faced with the need to turn around. Always an adventure in itself. Much like death and taxes another thing that you can always count on is when you get halfway turned around on a rural forest road, the one person within 50 miles will come tooling down that road looking to get by. I was in a position where it would take me about 37 more turns to complete the about face and only 25 or so to go back to the beginning so that’s what I did. Rather than trying the same thing again I decided to go just a bit further down the road. Amazingly just about a mile down there was a pair of tire ruts heading into the woods. Not enough to drive down but just enough of a widening in the road that I could put Bettty in 4WD and swing her through there as much as I could through the muck and come out the other side. Betty came through for us once again! It was a few minutes of bumpy and ugly but we got turned around.
Still it’s getting darker and we are running out of options. So we finally concede defeat for the day and get online to search for a campground. We find one called Canyon Motel and RV Park and luckily they had a place available. Since we were both needing a break we splurged for two nights instead of one. We got to our spot, unloaded our stuff and started to settle in for the night. We turned on the water heater and started to put together a little dinner while we waited. We could not WAIT to take a nice hot shower after a long day. Olga went in first and I heard a moan but it was not to be a moan of pleasure. We had no hot water. Nuts. I believe the words I used were somewhat more decorative than that but you get the idea. So we very unhappily got washed ala Little House On The Prairie, which I never saw but I have seen how it was done in those days.
We got up the next AM and fortune had shined on us. Our water pump was working again! Sweet!!! So we did the dishes and went out for a short scouting trip. Upon returning, once again, no hot water. Nuts! So I called a Camping World place not too far away and set up and appointment for the next day. We got there first thing in the AM and they took Firefly in to the bays. We went to a nearby place to grab some breakfast and use the Wifi. Then we came back and waited several hours for the verdict. Six hours and $175 for a broken connector (which I’m sure had to be made of Adamantium) later, we were out of there and happy to be on our way. But where to?
Find out where and the rest of the whole sordid affair in Part 3 now in process.You’d think things would HAVE to get better………..you’d be wrong.

Good Plan Gone Awry Part 1

After we left Joshua Tree we headed to Quartzsite…again. Olga loves the place and feels comfortable there. I’m ready to move on. Unfortunately it’s still Winter in much of the west so we had to kill some time before heading to Montana. So we decided to kill a couple of weeks in Quartzsite….again. The weather very quickly became unbearable. It was in the 90’s outside and even hotter inside the RV. We were burning through gas using the AC off of the generator and even Olga had to admit it was no longer really comfortable. We are from Vermont after all and melt in anything over 80. We eyed Flagstaff again where we were in November last year. There are several other pieces of Forest Service land there where you can camp so we figured we would try one of them.

People who do this lifestyle will tell you that they often use places like Campendium to find places to stay. These sites are great but has one small flaw in my book. People will often tell you how pretty a place is, how close to amenities, road noise, you name it. What often happens though is you really don’t have a good idea how much room there is for actual campers. Some places like Plomosa Rd in Quartzsite has limitless places to go and park your RV. Others have VERY few.

So we left Quartzsite and decided to take a different route this time. Rather than going to Phoenix and heading due north we took Route 89 which would take us through Congress and Prescott which we have never seen. Off we go on what for the first third was a very pleasant ride through the desert which is very green this year due to all the rain we bought with us from Vermont which usually has more than enough to go around. Anyway, we were riding along, tunes playing, sun shining and loving life. Then we got to a part in the road where it looked like it may get smaller. We pulled over and looked to see who else was going up there. Finally we saw a 5th wheel about our size go up and we said – or to be fair I said “well if they can do it so can we”. I’ll take a moment here to explain that I have a wife who is not at all fond of steep climbing roads with switchbacks and hairpin turns. I think she is 100% convinced that we will go sailing off the cliff a la Wyle E Coyote at every turn making a spectacular exploding fireball at the bottom. I on the other hand am far more practical in these situations. I doubt very much that there is more than a 27% chance of disaster. Combine that with extreme tiredness and it adds up to a chance in my mind that I am willing to take.

So off we went headed up the road. There was a sign saying no trailers over 40 feet. Ours is only 34 so I figure we are good to go. In my defense we DID make it because I’m here writing this and we are alive to the best of my knowledge. I have to admit that this was a doozy. There were quite a few places to pull out of the road if need be. Interestingly many of them held trucks with 5th wheels just like ours. But I have tremendous faith in Betty and we did it non-stop. Olga white knuckling it the whole 25 miles or so and hugging Eva so hard that now poor Eva is permanently bug eyed.