Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finally on the Road

It has been a very memorable week.  I provided the new Library Director with so much information that he certainly hit "information overload" more than once.  He is an experienced Library Director, and will do fine.  It is his "baby" now....some think it will be hard for me to let it go, but my sights are set elsewhere, and I wish him the best.

Thursday the Library Board decided to have a Hail and Fairwell, to welcome the incoming director and say goodbye to the outgoing director (me).  Thursday is also the day my Rotary Club meets.  One would have thought that the correct way of saying that is "My old Rotary Club", but at that meeting they made me an honorary member of the Club for the rest of my life.  What an unexpected honor!  I served as President of this club back in 1996-1997.  
The next year you serve as the Past President on the Board, and I also became the assistant editor of the newsletter working with Rudy Gandy.  Rudy was doing the newsletter on a typewriter, taking it to a local copy company to get enough copies made, he then folded them and put a stamp on them and mailed them out.  This was a very costly way to communicate to club members.  With my computer skills, Rudy got me the information and I did the newsletter on a word processor, printing out enough copies to mail out, and soon I started a Rotary Website, put the newsletter on it and started to email it to those who had email.  Within a few years we saved a bunch of $$$$, and soon 80-90% of the club members got it through email, and a few years ago we stopped the hard copy altogether.  We also now have an archive dating back to 1998.   Rudy passed away in 2005.  Around the year 2000 we were co-editors with his being more of an honorary position.  It remained that way through the rest of his life.  He had been doing the newsletter for probably 15-20 years before I got involved.  

That night at the Hail and Fairwell, the Mayor of Pine Bluff read a letter and proclamation, essentially naming March 29, 2012 as Dave Burdick Day within the City of Pine Bluff.  I saw many friends, past staff members, my daughter Stephanie drove up from Louisiana and my youngest son Ryan from Fayetteville where he attends the UofA...I only wish it could have been held at a time that the Libraries were closed so that any of the staff who wished to attend could have been there, and I wish my son Michael could have been there, and of course, Marcia, who is still recovering from hip replacement.

And no on to today...the day I finally head out and hit the road.  After spending part of Friday afternoon replacing my air filter in the motor home, it was ready to go.  Now when you think of an air filter for a motor home, you need to think big!

It did not take too long, and it is nice knowing that our RV has fresh oil, oil filter, gas filter, (Speedco did that work), and now a new air filter (25" long if you are wondering), the old one was very dirty, so the RV will run much nicer, and gas mileage will be much better.

Saturday I made into an easy day, no hurry, took my time, got ready to go. I went by the Library to say "see you in six months" to a staff member, and I got a blank key made for the HHR,   (A key that does not have a chip in it.  When we tow it, it has to be turned to the on (not start) position, put in neutral, and then turn the key off, but you can't turn all the way off, so it stays in the HHR.  Without the chip, it can't start, so it makes it hard to steal if a thief comes along during the night while I sleep.)

By 1:30 I had everything done, I said goodbye to Gwen, the RV Park Managers, and was ready to go.
I decided early on to drive through Altheimer, Stuttgart, Clarendon, and then up to Brinkley to reach I-40 so that I would miss the road work on I-530 between Pine Bluff and Little Rock, and the large delay one faces driving east from Little Rock to Memphis due to last year's flooding as they fix I-40.

Below is a shot just past Altheimer.
Eventually I made it I40, and Skruffy was ready for her first of many, many breaks as this trip makes its start.
By night fall, we were in Missouri, and for our first night we are staying in a Flying J, which is a very "RV" friendly truck stop.  Tomorrow we will be in Indiana within an hour's drive of of Life Essentials so that the lift can be put on the RV.  Then, heading to Florida because someone misses Bubba (and someone else misses Marcia).  :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Journey Begins

Marcia and I met online around October 2010 playing a game called Evony...yes, a War Game. I had been playing it for a year, she had been playing for a little over a year, and our paths met.  Soon, we were talking on Skype together for hours upon hours.  She was in Florida, I was in Arkansas.  In February 2011 we met for the first time, and a few weeks later we were married.  We both had a desire to travel.  I was the Director of a public library, she had already retired.  I gave the Library a year's notice, and here we are...a week from when that year is up (although I will be on a consulting basis for six months as we travel.)

Marcia has MS, and her left side is affected the most.  This has put heavy strain on her right side, especially her hip.  We decided that a hip replacement before we travel might make the trip more enjoyable, so in early February I took her to Florida, in late February she had her operation, and next week she will be out of therapy, the same day that the Library is having a reception to welcome the new director and say goodbye to the outgoing director, which is me, and announce the naming of a Branch Library in my honor. (blush blush)  I wish she could be here, but she is 900 miles away.

In November 2011 we purchased our American Eagle from PPL Motor Homes in Houston.  It is a 1998, and has just under 50,000 miles on it. It has a 325 hp Cummins engine, and is on the Spartan Chassis.  By our choice, we did not want slide outs, and this unit accomodated that.  A friend of ours from the "game", we call him "Tex", lives in Houston, and was a over-the-road driver for many years.  He met us at PPL, and looked over a few units with us.  He agreed that this was the "ONE", and we have not looked back since on that decision.  It is a wonderful motor home.

I head out a week from today, not to Florida to get Marcia just yet, but up to Indiana to get a "lift" put on the motor home from Life Essentials in Indiana.  Here is a image from their website of it.

Marcia wanted something that she could stand on, lift her up to the level of the motor home, and then step into the motor home on top of the step well cover.  This will do that, and it will fold up against the outer wall as we travel.  I will be at life essentials on Monday, April 2nd, it should take a few hours to install, and then I will be headed to Florida.  We just hope the doctor will clear her for travel when we see him on the 6th.  If so, we will hit the road immediately after Easter Sunday Services at our Calvary Chapel Church.

Our plan is, if the Doctor allows, to head out to the Sacramento area where my mother will turn 80-something on the 25th.  A few years ago I let her cut my hair to donate the 12" or so length of hair to an organization which makes wigs for cancer patients and others.  My mom was diagnosed with cancer back in the late-90's.  She has been cancer free, well, except for skin cancer, for all these years.  This is the second time I have grown my hair long for her to cut it...and probably the last.  It truly is a pain to have this long of hair.

While in California, where I was raised, we plan to see many sites.  From there...well, that decision will be made later.  Most likely, up to Oregon, eastern Washington, northern Idaho, Montana and make our way to the Chicago area where Marcia has family.  Then back through Arkansas so that I can finish up my retirement papers and see the Doctor who I hope will tell me that my blood pressure had leveled out to a reasonable level, and perhaps cut back on my medications, and I hope to have shed a few more pounds by then too.