Thursday, June 16, 2011

In Virginia

We headed out this morning towards our daughters house in Annandale, VA. Tonight we're camped at the Newport News Park Campground in Newport News, VA. $30.45/night for water/elect. Driving here we got a good view of some of the Navy ships. There were two aircraft carriers and assorted destroyers and such. When I was in the Navy, we went through an overhaul at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Our quarters were in "temporary" WW-II houses. The claw foot tub had a piece of galvanized pipe sticking out of the wall that was the faucet. Every pay day, on the way home, I stopped by what used to be a Dairy Queen type place and bought a brown paper grocery bag full of jumbo steamed, spiced crabs. What a feast!!
The shipyard was my first introduction to strong unions. I was the ships engineer and we were having some work done on the ventilation system. A sheet metal worker was installing a new duct. Problem was, there was a piece of metal of some type that had to be removed before he could do his job. I saw him just sitting there and asked if there was a problem I could help with. He said he was waiting for an iron worker to remove the piece of metal. He explained that a sheet metal worker like he was, could only work on metal up to a certain thickness; after that it fell into the Iron Workers trade. I said, go have a cup of coffee and the offending metal would be gone when you returned. He said if that happened without the iron worker he called doing the work, the union just might file a grievance and shut down all work on the ship until it was resolved. That's the way the system worked and if you ever hoped to get out of the shipyard, you just didn't fight it. That plus swapping 5# tins of coffee and boxes of 45 caliber ammo. to get work done that had not been officially authorized. The Captain used to just smile when I told him what was going on. He'd been down that road before.

Leveling. Shortly after buying the 2000 Lazy Daze, I had Big Foot levelers installed. They are certainly convenient and gave me three years of trouble free use. On the other hand, leveling a 27' RV really is easy. It rarely takes more then perhaps five minutes; ten at the outside. Ever since I bought the new LD in April, 2008 I've made mental notes about just how often leveling was required. Not very often as it turns out. Only perhaps 20% of the time; maybe less. So far on this trip we've stayed in six campgrounds and have never needed to level. I'm going to skip the levelers, pocket the $3,000 and save the added weight. Besides, if Carol & I don't stay away from those bakeries, I'll need the surplus weight carrying ability just to haul us around. :-)

Alex called earlier. Her surgery went just fine. That's a relief. Anytime anesthesia in involved, there is a risk.

In the morning we finish the drive to Alex's house. We'll "camp" on the street as we've done in the past.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oregon Inlet

We continued north staying the night at the Oregon Inlet Campground. There is a large marina, the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, just across the street. For a good bit of the day, we parked over there watching the charter boats come and go. A full days fishing on one of the large boats is $1,600. Maybe next time.
The campground is nice. There is a large dune line separating the campground from the ocean. We've stayed in all of the NPS campgrounds on the OBX. Ocracoke is our favorite.
Tomorrow we drive half the distance to Alex's house in Annandale, VA. Her surgery is tomorrow. We'll get to her house by about noon time on Friday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Continuing north

This morning we took the free ferry connecting Ocracoke Island and Cape Hatteras. We had lunch at a great restaurant in Buxton. The Buxton Munch Company. The fish tacos and sweet potato sticks were excellent. After lunch we drove to the Hatteras Island Visitor Center area checking out the Cape Point campground. It's not much. Basically on open field with a view of a marsh area. Driving around we found a great day use area where we were able to back right up to the beach so Carol could get a good view. There was a Lazy Daze couple there from Michigan but they were just pulling out to continue the long trip back to MI.

Our view.

Gopher & I took some nice walks on the beach. There were lots of surf fisherman but I never did see anyone catch anything. Talked to a couple of guys about the fishing and they just commented that it sure beat working.

Need to be careful driving on the beach.

Another very enjoyable day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today is June 13, 2011

Five years ago today, June 13th, while hiking near Rock Springs, WY, Carol had a heart attack which was followed a few hours later by a stroke. On the 14th, we were to meet up with a group of friends to drive to the Lazy Daze Golden Caravan being held at the fairgrounds in Cheyenne. We made it to Cheyenne alright, but we were in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. This was exactly 41 days after Carol retired from the college where she was the director of the Medical Technology Department.
During Carols four week stay in the Cheyenne hospital, the three dogs and I lived alternatively, in an RV park and on the street by the hospital. One day while I was in ICU with Carol, two police officers came in looking for me. Seems the bank near where I was “camping” reported me as a suspicious person/vehicle. After seeing the circumstances, the officers contacted their supervisor and then gave me permission to camp on the street as long as Carol was in the hospital.
Carol finally flew home on a special jet staffed by a flight nurse to continue her very extensive rehabilitation in Ft. Pierce.
While in Physical Therapy, we told the staff our goal was for Carol to be able to go up and down three steps; that’s what’s required to get in and out of the camper. If they can teach her to do three steps, the PT would have been a success.
On October 17th of that year, we made our first trip since the stroke. I installed a few grab bars here and there, and we traveled with a cane and a wheel chair and Carols electric scooter, but we were back to our retirement plans after only four months. A very difficult four months to be sure, but we’re back on track. Our days of bike riding, hiking & kayaking are behind us , but we have simply adapted to the new reality. Today we’re at the Ocracoke Campground, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina. Since the stroke, we have visited every state in the Lower 48 at least twice, five of the Canadian Provinces and bought our second Lazy Daze. We have no plans to slow down.

We got to Ocracoke on this mornings 7am ferry from Cedar Island, NC. We found a really good bakery. Searching out really good local bakeries is part of our new reality. :-)

If you have never tried the App. on your iWhatever, or the website, YELP! It’s worth looking at. It lists, and gives user ratings, for all sorts of things like restaurants, bakeries, etc.; a big help when you’re new to an area. It also will find barber shops, Laundromats, grocery stores and such. We use it often.

Tomorrow we plan on just drifting around here and there.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cedar Island, NC

The original plan for today was to drive to the Cedar Point Forest Service campground west of Morehead City,NC. According to my research, it was a campground set in a pine woods. The more we thought about that, the less we liked the idea of a pine woods, no electricity, on a 90* day so we continued on. One thing lead to another and finally we wound up at the ferry terminal on Cedar Island. What a good "plan" that turned out to be. We're camped at a boat ramp adjacent to the ferry terminal. There is a nice strong breeze off the water. It's just us once again, as humans go. We have about 20 stray horses and a few cows as company. They just wander here & there munching on the grass up past the dune line.
There is a formal, private campground here but it's just a patch of dirt with hookups. Not a direct waterfront location like ours. Plus ours is free. Tough to beat free.
We had reservations on tomorrows 10am ferry but the reservation people called earlier to say that ferry had been cancelled. We're now scheduled for the 7am. We'll get up, board the ferry then have breakfast. It's a 2 1/2 hour ride to Ocracoke on the OBX.
Elizabeth, the women who is looking after Mom, sent an e-mail. She paid her a visit today. All's well. Hiring Elizabeth was a great idea.

Bought gas today in Myrtle Beach. $3.41/gal.