For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between MARCH 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Nov 29, 2011

MRI Time

Well, I gave the Physical Terrorist and anti-inflamatory a chance and hoped they would do the trick. I was supposed to call the doctor in two weeks (that was October 19th), but held out and finally called him, today.

They'll call me to schedule an MRI. The nurse told me to stop the PT and not to do anything strenuous. I asked if I could go camping and she asked me to hold on while I presume she was asking the doctor. The answer was no so I had to cancel plans to meet friends in south Georgia.

The doctor will call me with the results, and to talk about treatment options. He told me during the visit in October that dependent on the MRI, it might be possible to do a shot in the spine. If, however, he decides to do surgery, I'll be well enough to travel out west by March.

I've had worse pain in my life, and for a much longer period of time before a surgical fix. Still, pain wears one down, mentally, and when it takes away the simple pleasures (and obligations) in life, it starts to get depressing.

This is the last year that Jack and I will be able to travel. He's 10-1/2, now, and thank goodness in very good health. Seems like I picked one end up and dropped the other.

I winterized the trailer, today. Unfortunately, the first year I had it I remembered to bypass the water heater but forgot to drain it. It froze. I need tires before I go and I'd like to have an electric water heater installed, if that's possible.  I managed to blow my eyebrows and eye lashes off and singed my hair trying to light the one that came with the trailer.

Well, here's hoping that whatever the treatment is, I will be able to bail early spring. Maybe even meet two of my best friends out in Yosemite to see the frazil ice!

Nov 13, 2011

Meeting with Friends

One of my friends retired and in celebration took a "Victory Tour" this year. Her blog is on my sidebar. She officially ended the tour (will be back in her home after 99 days of travel). Several friends (some of whom had traveled 5 weeks with her out west) decided to have an official celebration at Desoto State Campground in Ft. Payne AL. I thought about taking a run over to surprise them with a visit, but they are on the move all the time so I didn't want to interrupt them. If they're not hiking, they are biking, if not biking, playing golf--well, you get the picture. I can't keep up with them when I'm healthy, but with my back, fawgedaboutit. But! They called me and invited me over, saying they were going to hang around the campground and that I wouldn't be interrupting anything. Because of PT, I couldn't go during the week, but I could manage one day.

I decided I could go over and spend the night in a nearby hotel in as much as it's a little under 2 hours from home. So off I went Saturday morning. Got to Fort Payne, made my reservations but didn't go into the room. Desoto was right down the road. It had been a pretty ride over. I couldn't wait to see them.

When I found their campsites, all was quiet. I thought it odd because I know at least one is up and at it before dawn every day so that surprised me. As quietly as I could I backed into one of the sites put my iPhone on and sat back and waited for everyone to get out of bed! Well, all of a sudden, they were ALL there--pups and all! They had taken a walk. I was so surprised for a minute that I thought they had all awakened at the same time and come out of their trailers at the same time--pretty amazing was my first thought. After happy greetings we went over to Bama Deb's site (my friend from Gulf Shores) and gathered around the fire.

This group of women is very special to me. We all actually belong to a larger group and we have camped together as often as possible. (I've been the absent one in the last year or so because of my trip west, Jack, and my back). I have made wonderful, lifelong friends-two of my best friends live pretty close by and aside from many camping adventures, together, we get together for lunch when we can. Without getting overly dramatic I'll say that they actually saved my life, I believe. They gave me a reason to keep going when each day was so bleak that I didn't want to go on, and they showed me that I could laugh, again. If I make the trip out west, I won't be with them for another year, but I'm hoping to be well enough to camp at least a couple of times in December--IF PT or surgery doesn't interfere. Then after the trip west, I hope to join them for many more campouts in the east and midwest.

We had a day of great conversation and laughter (always laughter in this group) around a great (roaring) fire and good food. They had brunch planned  and dinner! One gal in the group is an amazing cook (chef really), and some of the most delicious meals I've ever eaten have been while camping with her. She is Saffire's owner (her blog is on my sidebar, as well).

Jack enjoyed his day; being the usual clown that he is. The gals remarked about how healthy and happy he looks. He got to see his friends, and I realized just how much I had missed them all. Some of the pups are pictured in my blog when I was in New Mexico and we all met in Santa Fe, and one, Molly, when I camped in south Georgia last November.

I had about ten miles or so to drive back to the motel. One is right next to the other. I dragged everything up to the second floor and spent 20 minutes trying to make the key work in the door. No go. I lugged everything back down to the truck, drove to the office, and the lady made me another key. By this time I thought my back was going to break in two. She said she'd meet me at the door. Well, I didn't have the wrong key--I had the wrong motel! The motels share a parking lot between them, look the same, and the gentleman who had checked me in told me it was all the way to the end. Both motels have Room numbers 237 one near the end and the other at the end. Well, glad that "adventure" was over. Lugged the stuff up the right motel stairs, came out and got Jack out of his seat belt, walked him, and we went up to the room. I think it took me five minutes to nod off. I awoke a little after 6 a.m. so we were on the road within in a short while after another walk. Stopped for breakfast and we were on our way. Ran into Teresa (and Molly) as she was figuring out her route. She had an eight hour drive back to Florida. Deb left for Gulf Shores. Diane and Luanne were on their way north to Virginia and Illinois. Patricia was going south to spend some time with friends or family (forget which) before heading back to St. Louis. So, you see we come from all over--from the east coast to the west, and from far north to far south.

Unfortunately, I left my camera behind. I had it with my other things so I wouldn't forget it--but walked off without it. I hope they'll send me pictures. Patricia did put one on Facebook and I'm shamelessly stealing it. Desoto is a lovely park.
L-R Me, Luanne, Diane, Bama Deb, Teresa (Varietal Times) (and Patricia taking the picture)

I'm sure they'll be posting pictures on their blogs. Jack usually writes about our travel, but he's lazy and sound asleep after his big day, yesterday.

Nov 8, 2011

Our Little Oasis

I have written often about the nature center. Rich used to walk Lizzie and me there every day rain or shine.
After Rich was gone, Nancy walked me every day and Susie would take me, too. When I was sick last year and we had to stay close to the vet, Nancy took me here no matter what the weather so that I could get out. Since I felt well, I was able to go, and I never got tired of going.

Nancy hasn't been able to go because of her back, so Susie has taken over.

Today, though, Nancy took me out for my "short" walk and said she was going to try to make it to the nature center. I was so excited. I know it hurt her, but she said when we got there, "I'm so grateful we have this place, Jack."

I am, too.

Susan got off work early and as usual, even though I'd already been there, I conned her into another walk. Nancy said she was going to drive up to get some pictures. They didn't turn out as well as she wanted, but they give you an idea about how important the nature center is to us. Nancy only got pictures of a small portion of it. She waited until Susan and I came around the bend, and there she was! They've made the paths so that it feels like you're moving deep into woods, but the fact is that they are winding up and down and around. You'll see the creek that I get into once in a while when I can (it's dry, today)...and the mud! Yes!
This is Susie with me, but Nancy usually rests on this rock. In fact, Nancy rests everywhere when we are here.
They made a place that simulates a swamp.
This is one of the trails
Me and Susie on the trail
Wouldn't you think we were in the country? When we leave, we're on the busiest street in our town. Can't hear the cars from here, though.
Susie and me on a bridge
This is when I first saw Nancy
This is where I usually escape down into the creek
This is where Nancy stands and tells me to get up out of the creek or she'll brain me.
The rest of the pictures are just from different angles and of Rich's bench. Maybe some day, Nancy will be able to walk and take pictures of the whole nature center. She never takes the camera with us on our walks because there are a lot of roots and it's hilly and she's afraid to fall (and break the camera).

This is the bench that Nancy put here for Rich. It has his name, Lizzie's name, and my name on a brass plaque. Unfortunately, even though it has been weather treated it is aging from being exposed to the elements. Nancy sits here and thinks, and so do I. We can hear the little water falls. Maybe when it finally disintegrates, she'll put a granite bench.

Nov 1, 2011

Cozy Bear in Cherry Log

I spent a wonderful couple of days with my son at his cabin in Cherry Log near Blue Ridge. The ride up was beautiful, and I didn't get lost! It was good to get away from suburbia and the confines of the house. Jack enjoyed the new smells, and while I couldn't walk him far, at least he saw something new. He made himself comfortable by the fireplace; settled in comfortably as he always does no matter where he is as long as we are together.

John thinks of everything--he's an excellent host. We enjoyed several scenic rides on the back roads, ate at some great roadside restaurants (one called the "Pink Pig") and we went last night to see everyone in the county, I think (young and old), in costume in the town of Blue Ridge. We also took a ride to my younger son's cabin--Watersound in Blue Ridge. When they aren't using the cabins, they rent them--I was reading through the visitor books and saw some wonderful comments from people who had enjoyed their stays.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of the changing leaves and our ride through the countryside. I didn't take any of the Halloween celebration last night--easier to walk without lugging a camera.