Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Heading home

Carol had her appointment with the surgeon on Monday the 9th. All went well. By noon time we had checked out of Palm Garden and were heading home. What a relief. Gopher & I have been camping in parking lots since Carol fell on October 4th.
We arrived home about 3:30. My sister Ginny is back in Florida for the winter horse racing season. She spent the night with us.
In general, our plan is to spend November & December recovering then travel in Florida in January & February. After that, we'll decide.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Late October

Carol is progressing very well. She keeps telling her therapists she needs to learn how to climb three steps because that's how many steps are required to get into the camper. The staff at Palm Garden admires Carols amazing, cheerful, positive attitude. I don't think they get many residents like that. Carol is scheduled to be discharged on 11/21. By then we'll really be ready to head home. I come home on weekends to tend to things around the house, get the mail, etc.
Lots of our camping friends sent cards, e-mails or called. We both appreciated that.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October, 3 -20, 2009

On Saturday, October 3rd, we left for a trip that was to, with time, take us to the Spring rally of the Southeast Lazy Daze Caravan Club. The plan was to travel all through the Panhandle area of Florida. On Saturday, we spent the night at the Sumner Oaks Escapee campground in Bushnell. We were hoping some of our friends would be there but it was too early in the Season. Continued on to Manatee Springs State Park near Chiefland. We had been there many years ago when the children were young. On Sunday morning, I was walking Gopher and came back to the camper to find Carol on the floor. She was trying to make the bed and had fallen. I helped her up. Her leg really hurt so we decided to head home. By the time we got to the Ocala area the pain was too much so we used the GPS to find an emergency room. We would up at the Munroe Regional Medical Center (MRMC). The x-ray showed that Carol had broken her hip. On Tuesday Dr. Couch, an orthopedic surgeon, did a partial hip replacement. We were very pleased with the surgeon and the hospital. I "camped" in the hospital parking lot. Jennifer & Karen drove down to help. They arrived on Thursday evening and left Monday morning. I am so glad them came down. On Friday, the 9th, Carol was transferred to the Palm Garden rehab. facility in Ocala. We are very, very pleased with Palm Garden. The staff is just wonderful. Carol has an hour of PT & OT each day.

The four week followup appointment with the surgeon is scheduled for November 9th. The plan is to stay here at least until that appointment. Depending on how Carol progresses, we'll decide what to do from there.

What a disappointment. Carol was doing so well recovering from her stroke of June, 2006. She had, after almost 3 1/2 years, finally attained a measure of self sufficiency. We both wonder how long it will take this time to become self sufficient. I hope it's not another three years.

As I type this, we should be in Georgia with our friends. Instead, Carol is in her room and Gopher & I are "camped" in the parking lot of Palm Garden. Between Carol's positive spirit, and Gophers company, they keep me going. Gopher & I have been through it all together. From the heart attack in Rock Springs, Wyoming to the stroke in Cheyenne to the fall in Florida.

Oh well. We managed with the stroke; we'll manage with this.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

On our way home

Monday, August 31

Left Longmont about 8:30. Drove to the Sugarite Canyon State Park in Raton, NM. The main campground was full so we stayed in the Overflow area. Worked just fine for a one night stop.


Drove to the Junebug NF campground just west of Red River. Had the place to ourselves. We’re camped right on a pretty, little creek. No need for a leash on Gopher. I called Mom to ask about her dentist appointment. She didn’t recall anything so I called Dr. Davis. The “stub” that’s left after the tooth broke is too small for him to extract. He suggested an oral surgeon. The tooth doesn’t bother Mom so, as long as it stays that way, we’ll let it alone for the time being. We had been talking about heading home. We’ve been gone since May 1st. Mom’s doing well, seems very content.


Went to the Orilla Villa Recreation area. Camped on the Rio Grande River. We talked again about heading home and decided to do so. We’ve been gone since May 1st. That’s long enough; perhaps a month too long.

Left the campground about 5 a.m. About 5 p.m. we stopped at the City Campground in Childress, TX. A nice park. It’s part of a large recreation complex.


Stopped here & there for a rest but, practically speaking, we drove straight through to Florida. Spent a night in a campground in Tallahassee then finished a very, very long drive. We decided we would not drive like that again. We would plan a 4 to 5 hour driving day then a nights rest in a campground much like when we are just heading out on a trip.

We had a most enjoyable trip. On Monday Mom came over for dinner. Had a very nice visit. We're glad to be home.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Longmont. Suzanne & Family

Wednesday through Sunday

Went to the Fairgrounds Campground in Longmont. About 4:00 we went to Suzanne’s to help with the move as best we could. Carol played with Izzy & Oliver in the RV. We went out for Chinese. Today is the last day they will be in the house. Tonight Suzanne & the children are staying in a hotel while Chris finishes the final packing.
On Thursday, Suzanne & Chris had the closing on both their new & old house. Everything went smoothly. About noon time we went to the new house to help unload the rental truck. Everyday was spent putting things away. We took care of Izzy & Finn to let Suzanne get things done. On Saturday we took them to the Farmers Market.

Salida & DeWeese Reservoir


Drove to Salida. Went grocery shopping. The lady at the Welcome Center recommended a good bakery so we treated ourselves to a loaf of multi-grain bread and some pastries. Very good. Later we went to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campground just east of town. It’s right on the Arkansas River. There are six other RV’s here. It’s free. We are able to see the river from our site. As we get lower, it’s starting to warm up. The high today is in the mid-80’s. It’s good sleeping weather with a low in the mid-40’s. Carol likes the warm weather; I miss the cooler days in the mountains. The elevation here is 7,000’.


Nothing special. Just enjoyed a pretty day. Jennifer & Karen are at our house visiting with Mom. Took her shopping then made dinner at home.

Continued our journey. We went to Salida in the morning. Dumped the tanks & filled up with water at the city Visitors Center. First thing we went to Safeway & the bakery, filled up with gas then headed to the De Weese Reservoir State Recreation Area. The road to the reservoir was horrible; three or four miles of very rough washboard. When we leave here, we’re going to try the other way. Can’t be any worse. I hope. We arrived about noon time. Even thought it’s Saturday, we found a nice site right along the water. There are no designated campsites here; you just stop wherever you want. There are bathrooms & a dumpster. The camping is free. The elevation is 7,700’.

Monday, August 23, 2009 & Tuesday

Drove to John & Linda Leaches lot near Monument, CO. Had a wonderful visit. Gopher especially liked the place. There are several acres of vacant land for her to roam about.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heaton Bay to Ruby Mountain

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Went grocery shopping at King Sooper then took off for the Heaton Bay Forest Service Campground near Dillon. The campground has changed a lot since our last visit three years ago. The Pine Bark Beetles took their toll. The dead trees have all been cut down so there is no shade and no privacy between campsites. We got real lucky and snagged the very best campsite in the entire campground. We’re directly on the reservoir. Carol has a super view from inside, of the reservoir and the surrounding mountains. The best campsites are as follows: 21 (us), 19,18,22.


When we woke up it was 40* outside. Turned out to be a wonderful, blue sky, sunny day. We all walked to this small “island” that’s off the main path. Let Gopher run for a while.
Mostly we just talked and read our books.


Mostly had the place to ourselves. Let the dog run free. Went grocery shopping & dumped the tanks. Enjoyed a nice day.

Another nice, sunny day. 44* when we got up. Dr. Hoods office called about 10:00 am. He had reviewed Carol’s lab results and everything was just fine. Very good news for both of us. Since I hadn’t taken our blood pressure for some time, I decided to finish our “checkup”. Both of our pressures were quite high. The 9,000’+ elevation is the culprit. Not wanting to take any chances with Carol having another heart attack, we packed up. In general we were going to Salida. Drove through Leadville. At 10,325+_’ elevation, it claims to be the highest incorporated town in America. The days drive was just beautiful.
The elevation in the Buena Vista/Salida area tends in the 7,500’ range as long as you don’t head into the mountains. We stopped in Buena Vista for lunch and checked our pressures. Right where they should be. Going forward, we decided 8,000’ would be our maximum camping elevation with 7,000’ being even better. I remember Carol’s doctors in Cheyenne mentioning the 7,000’ figure. Rechecked our blood pressure readings after dinner. All’s well.
Poked around Buena Vista for a while then headed to the Ruby Mountain Campground which is a part of the Arkansas River Headwaters Recreation Area. This campground is very popular with river rafters. Set our chairs on the river bank and enjoyed a perfect day. We even changed into shorts. We say one couple on a rafting trip with their dog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Visit with Suzanne & Family

Saturday, August 08, 2009

On Friday, Carol, Suzanne & the children went shopping. Had pizza for dinner. On Saturday we went to the Farmers Market and briefly, to the County Fair. Later on Carol & Suzanne went shopping again then we all went out to dinner. We had a very nice day just being around Izzy and Oliver.
On Saturday we went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant.
On Sunday we went to church.
Tuesday: Carol, Suzanne & Izzy went shopping, to lunch then to all get haircuts. I got the camper all ready for our trip to Brainard Lake on Wednesday.
Wednesday: Carol had her blood work done at the Quest lab in Longmont. They will fax the results to Dr. Hood who will review them then give us a call.
After we got home from the lab., we all headed to Brainard Lake/Pawnee Campground. Izzy & Oliver road with us. They are just enthralled with “the RV” as they call it. They probably spend half the time we were at the campground playing in the RV. Gopher & I walked around the lake. Chris came up after work and we had a cookout. Hotdogs, hamburgers, beans, etc. After that the kids made Smores over the campfire. Izzy & Oliver really enjoyed sleeping in the RV. Izzy slept on the cab-over bunk and Suzanne & Oliver shared the dinette bed. It needed to be about 4” longer for Suzanne to be comfortable.
Had breakfast then walked to the lake for a while. Suzanne left about 11:00. They’re busy with school things, moving, etc.
Friday: Carol wasn’t feeling well. Couldn’t get a good nights sleep. That’s quite common for some people at higher altitudes. We left about 9:00 am for Longmont.
On Saturday, Suzanne had a garage sale and we took Oliver for a ride in the RV. Went to the Farmers Market then to a demonstration the Fire Department was putting on . He seemed to really enjoy the morning. We stayed at the Fairgrounds Campground for the night. Heading to Dillon/Heaton Bay, in the morning.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

On to Suzanne's house

Monday, August 2, 2009

Drove to Douglas, WY and spent the night in the City campground. It’s a very well maintained facility right on the North Platte River. By dark, there were six RV’s here. It’s just off of I-25 so it’s an easy overnight stop. All that plus it’s free. Has a water fill and a dump station.

Tuesday, Wednesday:

Did grocery shopping on the way to Fort Collins. Camped along the Poudre River in the Cache de Poudre Recreation Area. Stayed at the Stove Prairie Forest Service campground. Our site is right along the river. There are nine sites and by late afternoon, the campground was full. When we got there about 2:00, there were two sites available. On Wednesday night the campground host came around. He said all camp sites along the river were full for the weekend and there are only a few sites available for tonight or Thursday. On Wednesday, one site in the campground was occupied by a “reservation” tent.


We moved on to the Horse Tooth Reservoir near Fort Collins. We were able to get a site for tonight. Tomorrow, Friday, is a “maybe”. The host said this is a very popular campground for Ft. Collins/Loveland Residents. It’s only 15 to 30 minutes away. During the summer it fills every weekend. Like a lot of the other reservoirs we’ve camped on, the shoreline tends to be mud. There is another Australian Shepherd in a campsite near us. We let the dogs off their leash near the water and they just ran & ran.

We drove to Suzanne’s house in Longmont, CO. Arrived mid-morning.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bismarck to Wyoming.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Awoke to a rainy day. Decided to spend another night in the Bismarck area to allow the weather to clear up. In the morning we drove along the river in Bismarck then went across the river to the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. The park is known primarily as the headquarters of General George Custer and the 7th Calvary. The cavalry marched out of here on May 17, 1876 to confront the Plains Indians at what turned out to be the Battle of Little Bighorn. Custer encountered Chiefs Sitting Bull of the Uncapaoas & Crazy Horse of the Ogallalas, and four other Chiefs with about 7,000 warriors in total. We toured the very interesting visitor center & museum.


Left about 9:00 am continuing our trek to Suzanne’s house. Saw a sign for the Huff Indian State Historic Site. The mounds you see in the picture are the foundations of the huts the Indians lived in. We drove to Faith, SD and spent the night at the Durkee Lake City Park. You just park anywhere you want around the lake. We found a level spot near the boat ramp and fishing pier. All during the day, people stopped by to fish. This one fellow and his three sons, were catching fish to stock the pond on their ranch. They had a Border Collie. He was a little shy at first, Gopher can be really pushy, but with time they started playing together. Playing with Gopher means you run, I’ll catch you and give you a nip. Most dogs don’t like that game for long.


We got up extra early so we could get to the Black Hills National Forest early enough to get a campsite. It’s Friday plus the start of the huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis. The drive through Sturgis was interesting. Motorcycles everywhere, vendors of all things motorcycle, food stands, on & on. I suspect it would be a fun week for the bikers. The local paper said about 500,000 people would pass through Sturgis this week. We stopped at the first National Forest campground we came too. They had two RV sites available but we weren’t impressed with the campground so decided to continue on and take our chances. Stopped at the Pactola Reservoir Recreation Area. They had sites plus we got one with a great view of the lake. By mid-afternoon the place was full even though it’s an hour from Sturgis. The Internet said the campsites in Sturgis were going for about $70/night with a seven day minimum. That’s expensive camping. I see why people would rather drive the hour. This campground, without our half price discount, is $21/night. The difference would pay for all your other expenses for a day.
We parked by the boat ramp, let Gopher go swimming then had lunch. A beautiful, sunny day. It’s supposed to get cold tonight. The mid-40’s.

Saturday, Sunday:

On Saturday we drove to the National Forest Visitor Center. They had a nice museum we both enjoyed. Motorcycles are everywhere. Big ones, little ones, some with side cars, some of the trike design. Quite a spectacle. The local paper said the typical Harley rider is a white, middle aged male with 48 being the median age. It’s no longer the stereotypical biker crowd. That’s a problem the Harley Davidson Company is trying to deal with. How to interest the younger crowd, minorities and women in buying a Harley. Seems the younger people prefer the super fast imports to the classic American motorcycle and the larger minority groups just don’t gravitate to motorcycles. They prefer customizing their cars.
As we drove to our next stop, the Angostura Recreation Area west of Hot Springs, we continued to see hundreds of bikes. Did laundry in Hill City. The campgrounds and motels were full for over a hundred miles from Sturgis. Saw a bunch of bison along the road near Custer. The Angostura State Park Campground is nice. We got a site right on the lake. The beach, however, is a mix of mud and stones. Not at all like the beautiful, clear water and sandy bottom of the Pactola Reservoir.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pow Wow to Bismarck,ND


Drove to Devils Lake, North Dakota. Minnesota is starting to level our now. No more hills or lakes. It’s becoming part of the Great Plains which runs all the way west to the Rocky Mountains. Lots of hay, sunflowers & corn. There is a beautiful crop we were not able to identify. It was a plant about 12” high with the most brilliant yellow flower. The ground looked like it was shining when the sun hit the right way.
The plan was to spend the night at the Devils Lake State Park. At a rest area we picked up some local information and learned of an Indian Pow-Wow in the area. Off we went. What a great find this was. This must have been a major Indian event. There were a few hundred people there. Looks like most people camped in the area for the three day event. Besides the Indians dancing in full regalia, we had fry bread, tacos and a churrita(sp?) which is a long piece of dough, star shaped, fried then rolled in cinnamon & sugar. Carol hadn’t had one of those since the New Mexico State Fair we went to last year.
We continued on hoping to find a campsite along the way. The city of New Rockford has a very nice campground with an electric hookup, right on the highway. Free. Can’t beat free! It’s just us in the middle of a nice park. Some kids were playing Frisbee golf earlier. Let Gopher off her leash for a good run.


Changed the oil first thing. After that we headed towards Riverdale and the C.O.E. Lake Sakakawea project. Garrison Dam is the fifth largest earthen dam in the world. The lake is the largest man-made lake in America. It’s 178 miles long and six miles wide at its widest point. We stayed at the Downstream Campground.
The drive here was through beautiful cropland. Grains, sun flowers, corn, soybeans and two crops we didn’t recognize. The same plant with the brilliant yellow flowers and a new one with pale blue flowers. From a distance the blue plants look like a lake. Everything is just so green.


A bright & sunny day. When gopher and I were taking our morning walk, we came across a prairie dog colony near the campground. I let her off her lease. She didn’t stand a chance of getting even close to one. They chirped a warning signal and they all disappeared and stayed gone until we were far away. We left for the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn. Along the way we passed a huge coal strip mine. The mine supplied coal for two nearby electric power generating facilities. The Interpretive Center was amazing. It had artifacts from every tribe the explorers encountered on their journey and a complete set of printed artworks by the famous Swiss artist Karl Bodner. Bodner, accompanying Prince Maximilian, travelled in the same areas as Lewis & Clark but about thirty years later. We also visited the Fort Mandam Historic Site and Headwaters Visitor Center. This is where Lewis & Clark spent their first winter. This was the longest stop of their journey. There was a statue of the Newfoundland dog, Seaman, that accompanied Lewis & Clark on the journey. It is believed that at one time, there were over 30 million bison in North America. By the end of the 1800's there were about 1,500 left. This handful were saved in preserves devoted to the species. Much like the trees in Michigan, Wisconsin & Minnesota, that were so numerous the supply would last for all time to come, the bison were soon decimated. When I hear the arguments against Global Warming, I just shake my head. Don't we ever learn?
In the afternoon we continued on to Bismarck. When I came out of a grocery store, a guy was admiring the Lazy Daze. We started talking and I asked what the crops were with the yellow and blue flowers. The yellow is rapp seed from which canola oil is made. The blue is flax. Now we know. In Bismarck we stayed at the General Sibley city campground. A large, very well maintained facility. We read an advertisement about Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que and gave it a try. We agree this is probably the best bar-b-que place we’ve ever eaten. The meat just fell off the ribs, the beef brisket was excellent as was the beans, chicken, corn muffins and slaw. We would never have expected to find a Bar-B-Que place like this in North Dakota.
Overall, a wonderful day.