Sunday, June 16, 2019

Disconnected...This covers a wide span of time

Not a baseball photo, you take what you can get.
This was written before our son Scott passed away and I have decided to leave it as is. The next blog will jump over another long span of time and catch us up to the present.

This covers a wide span of timeThis blog post should really be two in one. We didn't have internet service for months while in the northwest, so what we have here is really old and just part of the junket. I will quickly add the next episode to get us up to speed, but no promises.   On the fast track from Las Vegas to La Junta, Colorado and Denver to Salt Lake City, then on up to the coastal mountains of the Oregon's Pacific coast where we've been settled in to a cozy spot in Thousand Trails Pacific City campground overlooking the sea. It's been a wild ride getting here, though! (Bear in mind this was originally written in Oregon last spring, June, 2019.

Las Vegas had been colder than we expected but the trip up to La Junta, CO was colder yet. Our son Scott and his family live there and our grandson Wyatt was to play baseball the next day. My old truck driving ways kicked in and I drove most of the trip without stopping except for fuel. I'm sure both of my sons who are truck drivers themselves are laughing at this, but we got there plenty early only to learn the game was cancelled due a nasty storm.

Granddaughter Kaylah with Organic Chem Degree!
Our stay in La Junta was wonderful and restful. They had room for our rig right next to their widened driveway and called an electrician to install 30 amp service. so all we lacked was sewer. We can go about a week in between dumps in normal conditions and longer if we're careful. 

Our daughter-in-law is responsible for elder care, as well as many social services and functions in La Junta and she treated us to a marvelous Mother's Day Brunch she organizes every year. It was a beautiful time and a blessed beginning of a wonderful week culminating with a granddaughter's graduation with her B.S. in Organic Chemistry. So proud of that girl!!! But we couldn't hang around to celebrate because...

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Jolly! 
A great granddaughter was to be married the very next day, 550 MILES AWAY! She and her new husband are Mormons and were wed in the Salt Lake Temple. Only qualified members are allowed in the Temple proper, so many attendees waited outside to greet the newlywed couple as they emerged from the building. 
Four generations.  
A delightful reception was held later in the day. The bride was beautiful and the groom handsome, it was a lovely party and we were tired out of our minds from having driven straight through in a raging storm that forced me to stop for a while because the snow was so heavy I couldn't see! Yes, I said snow, and lots of it. I was coming into SLC from the east when a freak storm hit, HARD!
We parked in a field out back of Norman our oldest son's house for a week, giving us time to see  enjoying our family so much. We have many relatives in the SLC area and got to see most of them. But all too soon, it was time to head to Oregon. The weather continued to be frosty but no blizzards to fight.
How nice to have breakfast with our talented and beautiful granddaughter Rio.

I love this picture, if I do say so myself.
The drive up to Pacific City was stunning. I love the Columbia River and was pleased to get a good shot of the train. We stopped and spent the night at a casino where they have a very nice RV/Truck lot. Across the street was a junk yard of sorts where I found a Nash Ambassador exactly like the first car I ever owned, even the same color albeit a bit rusty.
Many casinos have nice, safe lots and allow parking for one to several nights.
An aged twin to my first ever car.
We've been here in Oregon three weeks and it's time to move north to Chahalis, Washington for a three weeks stay with Thousand Trails there. It has been a wonderful stay except for electrical problems that new batteries didn't even cure. We bought deep cycle marine batteries and we have a portable solar charger, but the batteries either do not hold a charge or are not being charged. Isn long as we're plugged into shore power or running down the road, we're fine, but other than that, we have nothing.

Our site was quite small and way up on the mountain overlooking the Pacific. Lovely, but cold and often rainy.
Another problem is medical care. I have been trying to get in to see a pain doctor with no luck at all. No doctor of any sort will see me as soon as I say I have pain issues. I've been calling ahead to try to find care in our next stop... Praying someone can help. But, so far, no luck there, either. Yet, you can buy all the weed you want in both states!
This rig was stuck way out toward the water and the tide was coming in fast. The tow truck had quite a struggle!

Someone commented on a previous blog post that we weren't truly living full time on the road if we were using campgrounds much of the time. Well, it's all relative. We consider ourselves on the road but don't really mind if others have a DIFFERENT DEFINITION. We aren't here to prove anything, just living life the way we like it.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Las Vegas and Beyond

As we continued our trek from Orlando to Las Vegas for Richard to have a third eye surgery since he suffered a detached retina, we were constantly amazed at the mercy and grace of our Father in Heaven. Time after time, we were spared problems of weather and the inconvenience and costliness of breakdowns. 

We had a blessed Hanukkah at home, downtown, and at our synagog LevHaShem.
Richard with a giant Menorah in Downtown Las Vegas.
Once in Vegas, we checked into the Thousand Trails Membership Campground where we stay free for 21 days at a time. It was quite crowded with not even enough room between rigs to open the awnings, but  the people were amazingly friendly and helpful. We were in Vegas from October til May alternating three free weeks of camp with one paid week at Kings Row, which I must say was rather dated, but inexpensive and had roomy spaces... 
Richard sharing some cuddle time with Jasper shortly before Jasper succumbed to cancer.
We had volunteered here at the Lake Meade Nat'l. Recreation Area in the 2012-13 season and the 2013-14 season, so our recent stay was like a homecoming. During our first stay we adopted our dog Bingo from the Animal Foundation, and since our 25-year old cat succumbed to cancer while we were in Vegas this time, and we were all lonely, Bingo, Richard and I, so we adopted another furry family member, Baby Girl. She is elderly and had been abused but is learning that people can be loving and gentle. 

Baby Girl's contented face. She's not pretty, but she's sweet as can be.
The VA linked Richard up with Dr. Matthew Pezda, one of the leading retina surgeons in the country, and the surgery seemed to go well... however, as before, there was a bleeding problem which later proved to cause blindness in the center of vision. So, in spite of a six-month convalescence, he has peripheral vision in his right eye, but no central vision. 
Sharing a Passover table with old friends and new.
In spite of the disappointing results, our stay was greatly blessed. Especially dear was returning to our Las Vegas synagog Lev HaShem. And it was hardest to leave these precious souls we have loved so long. At least we did get to share both Hanukkah and Passover with them.
Real snow in a town of wonderful fake scenes.

We always try to poke around any place we visit and to experience it's uniqueness. We  visited  car show, trains, The Strip, some colorful monoliths in the desert, etc. Sometimes there are surprises, like the record-breaking snowfall that led local school systems to cancel classes for a "Snow Day!" 

My father Edgar Snider worked on this. It was called the Hoover Dam back then.
We are especially fond of the Lake Meade area where my Dad lived and worked for a time and where we volunteered.
A stop on our way to Soledad Canyon at the NV-CA state line.
Thousand Trails (where we stay free) at Soledad Canyon, CA
Exploring in California on my "Harley."
In the midst of our Vegas stay, we went to California for a month. We had plenty of time to explore around Soledad Canyon. It's such a blessing to have this scooter our kids got together and bought me.

While Medicare offers to provide a free "Health Coach" and other supportive services most of us don't need, they no longer seem to care if people need assistive mobility. 

We took a 5-day family cruise out of Long Beach, CA and it was wonderful!
While there, we sailed out of Long Beach. So wonderful to see so many loved ones. 
Phony anniversary prank.
As usual, our kids know how to have a good time. One daughter arranged for us all to dine together at two large adjacent tables. One night most of them decided to prank the eldest brother and his wife by telling the wait staff it was their anniversary (It wan't) And everyone had a great laugh. Note the big bow the staff made for our son.
Richard takes the little dogs on a walk at Lake Meade while our friends, the pros clean our motorhome.
We were especially blessed by special friends before we left. A therapeutic message and a professional house cleaning job made things so much easier for us. Sadly, we did not get such good service from the man we paid to clean the exterior of the motorhome. Perhaps we shouldn't have let him know we were leaving town, LOL

Heading northeast...
So now we are off to Colorado for a graduation and then to Utah for a wedding. The catch? These two. blessed events are one day and 550 miles apart.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Best Laid Plans...

Circumstances change our itinerary changed, and our schedule, but G-D's alternative provisions are a reminder that it always works out for good. He is right here with us.

We left Lake City, and as we approached Dothan, our next stop, we began to see the aftermath of a recent hurricane. Much had been cleared but there was much debris. Evidence of heartbreak and destruction was everywhere. We called our friends the Basarabs who were staying with friends because of the extensive damage to their home. They drove to meet us at the Alabama-Florida line south of Dothan where we had a wonderful time of sharing. Our couch is full of books so there was nowhere to sit in the motorhome, but we chatted on.
It's always an inspiration to be around Alexei, Svetlana and their amazing kids who are free with their hugs
We had not asked, but Alexei had arranged safe and quiet parking in front of the Dothan Messianic Worship Center. It had everything except 30 amp power to run our A/C. But we were tired and slept well in spite of the heat. Was so thrilled to see this place because I have prayed for several years that a Messianic congregation would form in the Dothan area where we lived for five years.

Our cat doesn't like his litter box. He prefers to go outside and will "hold his water" for a seriously long time. Here, however, he could go out as often as he wanted. He always comes right back in a matter of minutes, no matter where we're parked.

The RVi3. We love it, and it works great.

Our RVi3 brake assist was installed in Lake City, well, the unit just sits on the floor, but they needed to thread the breakaway wiring through the firewall, etc. The system responds the inertia as the RV brakes are applied and mechanically depresses the brake pedal of the towed vehicle. The unit weighs just ten pounds and can be set in place and calibrated in about 30 seconds.  

Richard waiting for me in Camping World.
Our super slide needs serious work, so, we  unhooked the "toad" (nickname for the towed passenger vehicle behind the RV) and drove to Camping World. They didn't have time to work on it... too busy with hurricane victims. But as he told us that, the mechanic asked if we needed a place to stay, with hookups! We had not mentioned we needed to power up our generator to keep the pets cool. So, we moved to Camping World where we were parked on concrete. Richard carried Jasper over to some dirt and greenery and set him down to do his catly duty, but Jasper flipped his tail and promptly rushed back to the concrete where he released a shockingly large quantity of urine then ran to the motorhome steps to be let back in. 

We visited our old Dothan houses. When we lived here we bought two fixer-uppers, repaired and upgraded them and then resold them. That was almost twenty years ago. It was sad to see their present condition. Two are trashed and the one we lived in still looks fine.  

We lived in AL for five years, 1999-2004
We saw some of our dear friends, but could not connect with many others. We were blessed to visit the Skippers and their fascinating dogs. Jamie Skipper is our G-d daughter and it's hard to imagine she is almost an adult! Joseph, her brother, is a budding author. I am helping with some editing, mostly grammatical stuff.

Jamie and I
Carol fixed us a special dinner which included the best warm from the oven banana pudding with perfect meringue. I was not embarrassed to ask to take a portion of dinner and dessert home. 
Joseph and I
The Siglers were busy becoming grandparents and we couldn't stay until Sunday to see most of our Harvest Church friends but we got special treat with a surprise visit with Janet Fleming who we thought was out of town. We also had a nice visit with Bobby Lewis. 

Just a little under bite. He didn't bite me...
Dallas was to be our next stop where we planned to attend Shabbat services and visit special friends. We had reservations for Friday and Saturday at Lake Tawakoni, a Thousand Trails Campground (free for us), but it was flooded and we discovered widespread flooding and travel advisories all over Texas. We thought we'd go north, but ice was predicted, so we stayed as far south as possible.

Jimmy with his deaf friend

As is our pattern, we got a late start and managed to leave by early Wednesday afternoon, but that's part of the freedom of retired life on the road, isn't it?  I did the late afternoon and night driving and it was late when we finally slept at the Atchafalaya Welcome Center near Henderson, LA. It was literally jam packed with trucks and at about 4:00 AM a trucker woke us up to ask us to move so he could get his rig out.

We had reservations for Thursday night at the Colorado River RV Resort, part of our free stays at Thousand Trails campgrounds. It was so nice. All kinds of wildlife, and the camp sites were arranged in small groups all over the property. 

This girl is made of nothing but love and hair.
We made 438 miles today, each driving about half of that and are parked at a small truck stop in west Texas at the 261 mile marker. 

All systems continue to be go. Only small rainy patches along the way. We've eaten most of our meals in the motorhome... In fact we have only bought one meal since we started thanks to sweet friends who have either bought us food or cooked it.

G-D has taken excellent loving care of us and now it is Shabbat, the Day of Rest...  and we shall.

Monday, October 15, 2018

On the Road Again, Finally!

We planned to leave Orlando to wander the U.S. of A. toward the end of July, but we finally got underway Oct. 12th with a lot of help from our friends Debbie and Kevin. Well, Kevin did the work Richard could not do while Debbie and I talked. But before we could leave, there were things to take care of...

Richard after his first surgery.
First off, Richard woke up one morning unable to see out of his right eye! Detached retina, not good! Two surgeries and three weeks recuperating set him ready for driving in the day time, still no bending, stooping or lifting over ten pounds. And his doctor wanted him to be all set up with another surgeon before she would release him. A few calls to the VA Medical Center in Las Vegas and we were all set.  Well, almost...

We tow our vehicle with the Blue Ox tow bar which we love. But we have purchased a new Ford Explorer so had to have a tow plate installed. Quite an undertaking. We had Carlos, owner of Auto One Repair, do the job. He's a master mechanic and an all round nice guy, and he is reasonable and reliable.

Charging my batteries at Disney World.
I use a scooter to get around and although our children pitched in and bought me a new one a while back, I've run the wheels off of it and it's range has begun to wane so I needed a new battery before I would have reliable wheels. I don't want to find myself locked inside a building like this again...

After meeting up with friends Connie and Sam for an inspiring performance by MercyMe at Disney World, I went to the American Adventure building to charge my scooter in the Indian Museum. They told me it would close when the fireworks began. I don't hear well but I assumed someone would come and chase folks out before locking up. But no one came and I began to wonder if anyone was about. I unplugged my scooter and toured the place only to find I had it all to myself. Then I shouted a few times. Nothing. So, I broke out. Not as bad as it sounds because all I did was duck under the velvet ropes and push the front doors open.

Carlos refused payment.
The scooter has to travel with us on a carrier that has never been quite right, as you'll note in the pictures. Our mechanic friend Carlos rewelded and set the carrier aright, even matching the paint on the SUV to the carrier arm... and when we tried to pay him, he just smiled and told us to have a safe trip. His heart is as big as our rig.
Auto One, I wish we could bring them on our trip.

The not quite right carrier... Huh?
We had to play Bingo one last time at Kissimmee South RV Resort, had to go out to eat once more with our daughter Athena, attend Beit Yisrael Messianic Congregation... it was hard to leave even though we both looked forward to it with happy anticipation.

Last Kissimmee South Bingo for a while. Hope they don't forget us.
 So, we finally head out, the first leg of our journey a short one, a mere 168 miles. We ate and fueled on the Florida Turnpike and laughed at ourselves, two old truckers who were already pooped out and not even three hours from the start point! But the excitement is real. 

Debbie at Olustee Depot
This is a new way of life for us, roving from place to place with no set obligations. Wow, we really are retired!. Our first stop, however is a place we lived for a year while volunteering for the Osceola Nat'l. Forest. We drove out to Olustee and checked out the depot I operated for a time. It looked lonely and some passers by, Debbie and Herman, said they had lived nearby for two years and had never seen it open. I was sad. Debbie said she might go talk to the Forest Rangers about volunteering.
Olustee Depot and Museum

Then we drove on out to the Olustee Beach Day Use Park and Boat Landing. The host space where we had lived was empty, but the park was clean and well kept.
Host camp site where we had lived.
And at last, we were off... Not towing the SUV, however.
 Most states require braking assist mechanisms when towing a heavier vehicle like an SUV. After much research, we ordered the RVi3 variable braking system. It's made in Colorado and arrived just before we were to leave so there was no time to install and still be able to worship at Kol HaMashiach. Hence, we did not tow the SUV behind the motorhome. Instead, we each drove a vehicle to Lake City and we have an appointment at Camping World to have the RVi3 installed in the morning before we leave.
Saw this cute place while still in our local area of Florida.

Sommer and Jerry led us in study.
Our old congregation here in Lake City, Kol HaMashiach has RV parking and hookups (not sewer) and graciously hosted us as they have before. We spent a time of worship and study with them on the Sabbath (Saturday). The regular leadership are in Israel just now so our capable guides were the Yunes.  What a blessing!

Dear friends Judy and Theresa
Then today (Sunday) we plotted out our stops for the rest of our journey, did a few chores, cleaned and filled our water tank and met friends to play Bingo at the American Legion Post #57. We've been away three years and yet a great many folks remembered us. The Caller announced our presence and the kitchen ladies were all excited to see us. Makes one feel so good. We wanted to play again at the Moose, but they play on days we won't be here.
Yay, they remembered us!

So tomorrow, we'll be off to Dothan, Alabama, the second stop of our journey. That's the plan, anyway, but stay tuned!