Travel

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.

Jun 30, 2013

I Can Brag if I Want to and VIA 25Q!


John, my eldest son and his wife Lisa, recently went on a cruise. Before they left, they treated their three daughters and their dates to a Braves game, and as you can see they enjoyed the day. They are an amazing family.

All three girls went with them on their 25th Wedding Anniversary and they had a blast together. The rest of us, in the family, call them the "Father Knows Best Family". They are so happy all the time and love being together; I'm so proud of Lisa and John for raising their girls as they have.

Guess which one is the Mom!
This is the 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip. I can't wait to see pictures of the cruise John and Lisa returned from, yesterday.

John just called as I was writing and I told him about my thoughts regarding selling my house. He reminds me of Rich with his easy going manner and his willingness to listen--even to my pipe dreams--without judgement. He always brings logic and suggestions to the conversation. I saw a video of the Winnebago VIA, and it got me thinking that I could sell the house, truck and trailer and use proceeds to buy it and invest the rest.

I would buy a new unit. I know there's no insurance that things can't go wrong, but I think I have a better shot at least for a few years with new rather than used. I'm leaning toward the VIA 25Q  maybe towing a Jeep Liberty, but haven't discounted the View or Born Free. Our second motorhome was a Winnebago Chieftain. We loved that coach, but we should have gotten a diesel. The third was a diesel, but I hated the lack of inside storage space compared to the Chieftain. My needs are different, now, but I'm convinced that I want a diesel.

I could buy it, now, but I'd rather not go into savings that don't get replaced once on a fixed income because I want to remain independent. Well, we'll see. If you got this far in my dream, thanks for reading. If you have any view points or experience with the VIA, the View, or the Born Free, I'd love to hear them.

This whole idea was scrapped within days. Just not worth the investment at my age, and I'm grappling with the reality that my back will never be the same. I will still manage, somehow, to get to Tennessee in the fall, but after that I think maybe it will be time to sell the truck and trailer. I'll have to be content that I had the opportunities to go west, and enjoy all the memories of those trips.

Jun 21, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About My Sister

JUDY

My "little big sister", as I call her, is very, very special. We grew up on "the wrong side" of Long Island. From my very first memories, I remember Judy as a person that everyone liked. One neighbor, in particular, used to identify her when speaking of the two of us by saying, "You know, the one who always smiles". I don't need to tell you who he was talking about.

Judy is strong. She's strong for everyone who knows her. When we are together, we do nothing but laugh. She, without a doubt, has the best memory of anyone I've ever known down to the most minute detail. I thought of something just last night. When we were in our early teens, I remember a day when we were hanging out wash, and she was hanging our bras and she said, "OK, the 'girls' are hanging". That was long before it was even ok to SAY the word bra much less nickname them. We laughed so hard we cried, which was not unusual for us. I think of her every time someone says "the girls", now.

I was the only one in our family to move away from New York. Judy used to come down for the summers with my niece and nephews. Her visits, and those of my Mom and Dad, were something we so looked forward to.

When we lost our Dad, Mom depended upon Judy for everything. She lived right next door to her. All the things that I wished I could do for my Mom, Judy did. She always stretched herself paper thin to take care of everyone and everything, and a mighty fine job of it she did.

I've been packing, today, in anticipation of my trip to New York. I leave tomorrow, and I get more excited by the minute. Every time I wanted to make the trip, something came up. The only thing left besides actually getting stuff in the truck, is making several batches of sweet potatoes for Jack. Speaking of which, I never knew a dog that Judy didn't love and visa versa. She lost Rupert in July of last year. It broke my heart to see her lose him.

Judy is the director of admissions at a rehabilitation center/senior citizen home. Years ago, I asked her the name of the place and she said, "Waiting Room to Heaven". I thought it was such a pleasant name, but got peculiar looks when I would tell people. Only within the last couple of years did I find out that she was only joking. What a surprise. She treats every family and patient as though they were her own family. 

Okay, so this will make the post too long, but the blog is for me to look back on--maybe my kids. I left on Friday, but I could not take pain medication because I was afraid it would make me drowsy. I took 85/95 up. Horrible. Heavy traffic all the way and construction from DC to Long Island. I stopped late so I had a difficult time finding a motel that would take Jack. I wound up in what might just be the worst motel in the country--a Motel 6 in Durham NC in pain that I can't begin to describe.

The roaches were as big as my hand, room filthy, clientele...won't even discuss. It was a sleepless night.

Long, long drive on Saturday, but made it thanks to Judy cheering me on. I was convinced that it was going to take three days. My GPS had no idea where Long Island was, but my invisible co-pilot, cheered me on over the phone, giving me very explicit directions. Each call bolstered my confidence so I kept driving. Didn't get in until dusk and exited the truck like a drunk carrying something that had wires dangling which sent Judy into gales of laughter. 

I had started the counting hours sitting dead still in traffic in DC...3-1/2 hours so believe me I was exhausted. Going home through PA on 80...or is it 81.

I stayed with my sister--a sight for sore eyes--and my brother-in-law, with their youngest son and his wife and children right next door in the house I grew up in. I went to Mary and Ally's dance recital; great entertainment, was entertained by her little sister What little dolls they are. Mary was coming off her once per month steroid treatment so wasn't feeling too well; still she wanted to perform and she did a great job. Ally remembered all of her dance steps so we were very proud of her. 

I didn't get to see Xavior play baseball, but I understand he's very good. I saw Peighton receive an award for academic excellence; we were all very proud. Judy and I played on our computers while Frank (Judy's husband) screamed at the TV over one sporting event after another. We ate at Nathan's...ahhhh, the memories on Father's Day--took all the kids from next door. Judy took me on a tour of all the old familiar places and places that were ravaged by the storm.

And, I visited the neighborhood where Rich and I lived with our three kids when they were little; before we moved to Atlanta. There was a whole bunch of us that were not only good neighbors, but wonderful friends; laughing our way through life. There's only two of us left. Vinnie...just Vinnie and me left. Such a warm feeling seeing him. He said everyone still calls our house by our name as though we never left. I didn't stay long...the tears were close as he remembered, in the space of a few short minutes, so many wonderful memories we shared.
7 Hickory St.

Vinnie

Kids, Dance Recital, Award Ceremony, Baseball, Our Elementary School, and a Little Guy Who Screamed that he Wanted to Go Home Every time He Looked at Me.

Vinnie, Matt and Peighton, Clarabelle, Ally, Mary, Getting Ready, My Old School
Thank you for the old and new memories, Judy.

Oh, darn, I almost forgot. People at rest stops kept asking me if Jack is a service dog. In fact one woman saw me pull up, get him out of the truck and asked if he was a seeing eye dog (we both hesitated, then laughed like the devil) I can't explain this, but Jack goes into a definite mode on a solo long distance trip. He knows the routine, perfectly, travels like a piece of baggage, and when out and about he walks by my knee in a perfect "heel". He's always a good pup, but more of a clown when I travel with other people or even camp with other people. Alone, I think he remembers our long trip out west and becomes a guy that is just terrific. Had to come back and give him credit. 

And, there were once these days...ya gotta love him.

Jun 5, 2013

Another Miracle for Jack

Jack hasn't been himself of late, his back legs have been getting weak. He still gets excited to go any place, but has trouble getting up into the truck and on his couch. I took him to the vet, yesterday. He has arthritis, which didn't surprise me because of his age. After one dose of Previcox 227 I could see an improvement, and today he's back to his nimble self. Thank goodness. I am so relieved. The rest of his blood work came out okay, too. I wanted to mention the medication in case any of you run into the same problem with your pups. It's a non-steroidal nsaid.

It's expensive stuff. I pay $7.00 for any medication I take. I paid $138.00 for 30 pills for him! He's worth every penny so I don't mind paying it; especially with the results, and I'm sure I can find it cheaper on the web. I've never bought medication for him online and wonder if it is the same quality. Anyone have an opinion?

I'm off to NY on Friday now that I know he can make the trip okay. I'm getting used to the higher dose of pain medication so I'm set to go, too! I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to get drowsy. I'm not taking the trailer so I thought I'd pack a raincoat, hat, and sunglasses to see if I can sneak Jack into motels. I have no idea where I'm going to stop so I can't pick and choose pet friendly. I know Best Westerns generally are and Drury Inns. I'll wing it and do the best I can. I can always sleep at a Walmart in the truck if push comes to shove.

We thought Jack had a tick last week so Susan and I set about removing it. Wasn't hard to remove, but I was upset because I NEVER miss giving him his Frontline Plus. While at my son's this weekend, Jack was just not feeling well and really keeping to himself so I started to wonder if where the tick had been was becoming infected or whether we hadn't gotten the head. I had been putting Neosporin on it, but I decided to take another look and I felt something. "The head! It's still there! OMIGOSH! Okay, lay still, pal, I'll get it, lay still. Pull, pull, pull harder. Okay, almost done...Got it! Okay we're stopping at the vet tomorrow anyway and I'll have her take a look at it. Strange that it's bleeding so much. Thank goodness I had you vaccinated for Lyme Disease."

Vet: You did surgery on a skin tag.


Thanks, Mom!