Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Mom is Moving to an Assisted Living HOME

Before I get into mom's new place to live, I want to share a breakfast she and I shared on Monday. 

For many years after they moved back to the Sacramento Area, Mom and Dad would eat at the Cornerstone Restaurant on San Juan Avenue near Greenback.  Monday, Sandy and I wanted to show mom the new place we want to move her to, and we had an appointment at 1 pm to see it, and for them to see be sure they knew how mobile she is or isn't.  So I suggested to mom that we go to Cornerstone for a late breakfast, and she eagerly agreed.  I arrived to her place at 9:30, and she was sitting up and just about ready to go.  By 9:45 we were out the door.  Above is a picture off the Internet of the interior of the restaurant.  Off to the right out of the picture are 5 or 6 tables which will seat up to 7 or 8 people, depending how close everyone wants to sit.  Those tables are the ones a group of us, like Mom, Dad, Sandy, Arny, Patti, Marcia and I, would use.

Mom had not been to the Cornerstone Restaurant for a long time.  She enjoyed looking around, seeing if she recognized any of the workers, and made a comment that "It looked like it had not changed...".  Shortly after I took this picture, the waitress who was in charge came over and said, "Long time no see....How are you?"  Mom lite up like a Christmas Tree.  I let her know about dad passing, and asked about a few other staff that I remembered...none of them work there anymore.  Mom asked about the cook(s) and the lady responded that the one mom was asking about still works there, but is off on Monday...and that the guy working on this day has been there for about 5 or 6 years now, which is why he looked familiar to mom.

Mom ordered the Huevos Rancheros plate, I had a Veggie Omelet.  Look at how BIG her plate was!

Over an hour later, she finished just about everything but the potatoes, which I don't think she even touched.  By noon we were over at Sandy's, and by 12:40 we were on our way to our 1 pm appointment.

A little history ....   Mom and Dad moved to an Assisted Living Facility back in 2016.  They first lived at the Brookdale Orangevale Assisted Living facility, now called Blossom Vale Senior Living.  In the summer of 2019, they moved to The Terraces Assisted Living Facility in Roseville because it is closer to both Patti and to Sandy.  Overall, we liked the Terraces better than Brookdale...we have no idea what it is like there now that it is Blossom Vale.  Both of these facilities offered trips in their bus/van to area restaurants, and occasionally day trips up into the mountains or over to the Bay Area. 

After Dad passed, mom stayed in the same one bedroom apartment (for lack of a better term).  She enjoyed going on outings, visiting with other residents, playing Bingo and partaking in other activities.  This past September her last remaining sibling, Mary, had passed.  This seemed to hit her, even though she said it didn't.  Over the next few months she stayed in her apartment more and more.  She hated it when they forced her to stay in her apartment during various Covid attacks these past three years late March she seemed to hate going out.  She caught Covid in February or early March, but recovered with little difficulty.  However, that seemed to the straw that broke the camel's back.

Over the past two months I found that if we could get her out of bed for lunch, she would typically go down to dinner too.  So I have been going over there once or twice just about every day, and she has been better.  But the Assisted Living Facility staff just could not convince her to get out of bed like a family member could...but they charged us an extra $500 per month for trying, and typically failing, in that department.  We all felt she was headed for a Nursing Home, which we know she would not like at all.  Then Patti's renter (who works with older folks) told Patti about an Assisted Living Home which a CNA had told her about.  Last week Sandy and Patti looked into not only that home, but five others.  We all liked the first one they looked at, and that is where Sandy and I took Mom on Monday.  Patti turned in a 30 day notice on Monday with a "earlier if possible" request to the Terraces.  They have someone who wants a one bedroom NOW, so we are able to move Mom out this Saturday.  The home has no more than six residents, with a minimum of two staff always on hand.  There is another 'sister' home three houses down, and being in the very rural area of Antelope, the distance could easily fit eight to ten houses on both sides of the street if they were all pushed up next to each other.  The two homes occasionally have activities, such as a BBQ, from time to time.  The person in charge of the homes lives nearby, so we feel Mom will be safe and secure...and with more staff attention, we hope this will get her out of bed and active a bit more.  On the downside, if you want to call it that, she will not have her 'own phone', but only because she does not want to learn how to use a cell phone...even one made for seniors.  There will be no bus/van outings, but she has stopped those anyway.  The food choices at each meal will be more limited, but she is not a picky eater.  Depending upon how the cards are dealt from here on out, she may not end up in a Nursing Home situation because this home will work the resident the best they can, including through Hospice Care if needed.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Rattlesnake Gets My Middle Finger


Last Tuesday (9th) I found myself confronted with a small, young Rattlesnake which was threatening Indy.  I rushed over, got her out of the way.  Saw an opportunity to grab it, which I did just behind the head.  Lifted it up and the little sucker turned his head and tried to bite me (should have had him closer to the back of the head).  

I yell "NO!  NO!  NO!" and I toss the snake up against the stucco wall.

BAM!  I feel the most excruciating pain rushing over my entire right fingers.  I immediately WAKE UP, and cry out OUCH!   Yes, it was a dream...I had just hit the Closet/Dresser which is on each side of the head of our queen bed.  Marcia says, "Are you OK?  I heard you yell out NO! NO! NO! and then you hit the side of the closet...."  I told her about the known as the "Snake from HELL!"

I got up and went to my chair in our living area.  I could not move any of my fingers on the right hand.  I smothered my fingers with Aspercreme and just kept saying "OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!"  We have no ice.  I could have put an open bag of peas on it, but I did not want to clean up the peas from the floor when it broke open.  I sat there for a few hours just rubbing my fingers, eventually moving them a bit at a time, and suffer like no man has ever suffered before!  (well, a bit dramatic there, but at the time...)

Around 9 am I head over to Walgreens and get an Ice Pack that you freeze, two Ice Packs that you bust and they immediately freeze, a finger brace (shown in picture above).  By now it is only my middle finger that I cannot move, the other three hurt, but I can move them pretty good.  The middle finger hurts like hell. The brace helps immensely.  I start a regiment of putting the ice pack on my hand for 20 minutes every 90-180 minute intervals.  Sandy and Patti were leaving Wednesday for a week, and they both went by to see mom, separately, on Tuesday.

Here it is Saturday, four full days later.  I took those pictures of my finger with my cell phone on Wednesday, perhaps Thursday.  The swelling had gone down, but still is much better today, but still swollen right now.  I still wear the finger brace when I am out and about, but not as much when I am in the motorhome, or in Arny's garage or backyard.  I can put my entire hand around a cold can of seltzer (smaller but taller can than a soda or beer can.) 

So this is my bird finger as of now, just took it a few minutes ago.

This is as far as I can bend it without help (like a Seltzer can to wrap it around.)

I exercise it often throughout the day.  A little pain, but the mobility (and pain) is getting better.

As for the snake....I banished it to pit of fire...Indy was not harmed by the snake...

Note:  Mom turned 93 at the end of April.  She is having some imaginary visitors...little kids who she has never seen before.  Dad visits too, but does not answer her when she asks him questions.  I told her that she is probably having dreams which seem real when she wakes up.  Told her Dad could not answer her because he is with the Lord...communication has to go through the Lord, not directly with Dad.  That seemed to help a bit.

She is less isolated than before, but still likes to sleep for 12-14 hours each day.  With Sandy and Patti out of town, we will celebrate Mother's Day next Sunday.  Brother Bob is suppose to stop by tomorrow to see her, and I will spend a few hours with her too.  

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Good Bye Covid, Hello Lingering Cough


I don't know ANYONE who LOVES to be SICK.  It is just not much fun.  About the most fun I have ever had being sick was in 1964 when the Olympics were being played in France.  I had the flu, and as I recovered I watched the Olympics on a small TV (like a 5" by 3.4" screen) right there at my bedside.  THAT I enjoyed, even though I was sick as a dog.  This COVID crap, nope, no fun at all!

It has been four days since my last blog.  I have been well for the past two days, and feeling very good today...if you define 'very good' as being tired, exhausted, having a persistent cough, and feeling like you're in a brain fog.  Today is Marcia's first day of feeling well.  She is constantly a couple days behind me with this.

We both had a temperature while being sick with COVID.  Mine was a bit higher and lasted longer than Marcia's did.  I hit 101.5 at one point, but Theraflu and Advil brought it right down.  Our sore throats were about even, but her ears hurt much more than mine did, and is her biggest pest right now.  Thank goodness, neither of us found anything sneaking into our lungs.  Even the cough we both have comes from our throat, and not our lungs.

Indy the champ through all of this.  She KNEW we were sick, and as I recovered, she spent her attention on Marcia.  She is such a good little girl, until my brother Jim, sister-in-law Carol, or Niece Kathryn goes by, or she sees them in the kitchen window...then she turns into a little devil girl.  On the other hand, when her cousin Parker or her 'new to her' cousin Cocoa is out in the yard, she is just a happy little girl playing with her little doggie cousins.

Tomorrow we celebrate Mom's 93rd birthday, which technically is a few days away still.  I will sit in my camping chair near the door, Marcia will sit in the Motorhome and come up to the door now and then.  I doubt either of us are contagious anymore, but why risk it.  Of course I am especially looking forward to Arny's BBQ of Tri-Tips...I am so TIRED of soup and broth!!! 

As for this cough...I am afraid it will be with us for a few weeks.  I have it under control at times, then it hits like a female dog in heat...nothing seems to stop it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Covid Attacks Us


Three years and a few months after the Virus hits America, it has finally hit me, and now Marcia.  With the brain fog that I have had with this, and yes, I am still reeling from the effects of the virus, I wonder why I am even trying to write this.  If parts don't make sense, I am sure you will understand.

Since our arrival nine days ago I have spent a lot of time with mom, getting her to socialize again by doing lunch and dinner at the dinning room instead of her room.  She has had, and continues to have, moments of confusion, even seeing things that are not there when she is alone.  I think the socialization helped because she was not talking about people who were not there.  Then this past Saturday I went over to try and gather a urine sample that the doctor on Friday could not get...I had no luck too since she did her business before I got there.  I left around 10:30 and headed back to the motorhome.  By noon I started to feel very exhausted, with a unusual for me headache.  Three hours later of sleeping in my chair, having chills, head feeling like a T-Ball stand at a kids Baseball Game, I knew I was in trouble.

We tossed out our COVID tests because they were out-of-date just before we left Florida.  We did not bring a thermometer.  I went to Walgreens and went to the drive-up and asked for some COVID tests and a thermometer.  Despite the thermometers being ten steps from the drive through window, I was told I had to come into the store to get them.  I informed her how sick I was feeling...but nope, she would not get them.  So I went into Walgreens with a mask on, found the thermometers, got the tests, and left.  Back at the motorhome I test, and BINGO, Dave became the winner of the next person getting Covid.

Saturday night I got about 4 hours of sleep, with the last hour between 9 am and 10 am.  My head hurt so bad, and every bone and muscle in my entire body seemed to scream out in pain.

By Sunday night my sinus were blowing up in pain, yet I wasn't totally stuffed up.  By Monday my throat was on fire.  Started taking Theraflu Cold and Cough Medicine, the Green Tea and Honey Lemon Flavor.  It provided relief to the throat, which still hurts now (Tuesday 5 pm) but it is definitely showing signs of improvement.  

The headache was for the most part gone this morning, sinuses are fine.  No sickness or pressure in my lungs.  I am VERY tired, but Monday night I did get three episodes of sleeping for up to 90 minutes straight, but at least 60 minutes.  I get a number of cat naps.

Marcia started showing signs on Monday, and by Monday night she had the headache like I had, and cough which is like mine, but more frequent than I have had.  

So far Mom is not sick...but she was seeing imaginary people again.  Jim (oldest brother) and wife Carol arrived late Sunday and his daughter (Kathryn) arrived today.  Mom's 93rd birthday is a week from today, and I am confident we will be feeling better by then, but will still have to mask up around people once we end our isolation.

Last time either of us has been sick was late November / early December when we both caught a cold which Sandy caught from Dad just before he passed.  Where and How I got COVID will never be known.  Outside of going to lunch and dinner with mom at the Assisted Living Facility, I have been to the grocery store twice, Walmart, and got food from Jimboy's and Extreme Hummas, the latter on the day we arrived so it couldn't have been from there. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Sandy and Arny's Backyard Again


Here is a picture of the Backyard of Sister Sandy and BIL Arny's home from 2020.  It has not changed, except that we are here so early that the tree is just not blooming, ready to put out leaves in the next few days after it dumps a lot of yellow crap all over our clean motorhome.   Oh ya, that's right...we could not get it clean due to let it crap all that yellow pollen. 

Indy felt 'RIGHT AT HOME' with our return.  She greeted Jack, the next door neighbor's dog, first, then her cousin Parker (Patti's dog), and of course, Arny, Sandy and Patti.  Later in the garage, she greeted Joe and Ed, the next door neighbors, owner of Jack.  She did not bark at any of them, all the dogs got along great, and it is as if we never left!

Went by to see mom around 5.  She was down at dinner.  I told her I would be back around 10 am, and again around 4 pm tomorrow.  She has gotten off her eating schedule, and my first goal is to try and get her back on it again.  A number of folks commented to her how nice her hair was (Sandy cut her hair a day or two ago) and how nice it was to see her again (she had been taken her meals in her room the past week or two.)

She knew exactly who I was, and after dinner she drove her Hoveround right to her apartment, although as we got close she had a small delay in recognizing which door was hers.  It really sucks to get old...and we talked about that.  Overall I found her in fairly good spirits, she knew me and others in the dinner room, and after 10 minutes or so after to committing to meeting her at 10 am, she was able to repeat the time to me.  Can only hope she will be ready when I get there tomorrow.

Our drive today was fairly easy with only about a dozen crazy people weaving in and out of traffic.  One very dark blue two door car was followed very close by a CHP car, which turned its lights on him shortly after they passed us.  However, we did not see them for another 10 miles where the officer was busy giving him a ticket.  Yes, we are limited to 55 mph, but the speed limit was at 65...this guy was going around 80.  At that speed and that distance, the CHP had its lights on the guy for about 10 minutes.  Surprised he (CHP) did not have other CHP cars surrounding him and locking him up.  But oh ya, we are in California...where you can loot, break windows, toss Molotov Cocktails at vehicles and endanger people in the street, and business establishments and have it all be deemed a peaceful protest with no arrests.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Orange Grove in Bakersfield...again


We have probably stayed at the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield more times over the years than any other park.  Some we have stayed at for weeks, even months...but we stay at Orange Grove at least once, and many times twice per year as we travel back and forth from Florida to California.  The above shot is from 2019...tonight's spot looks much like this one, but we are on the far south side of the park.

Took Indy to their little Dog Park twice, and she met other dogs each time.  Right now, she is out like a light.

Hope to be at Sandy and Arny's by 2 pm, perhaps by 1 tomorrow.  Had planned on getting the motorhome washed again at the Blue Beacon, but they are closed for Easter.  Hoped to have dinner from Jimboy's too...but again they are closed for Easter.  

Last night we enjoyed a Good Friday service via the Internet, and then watched The Passion of Christ from Amazon...truly made it feel like Good Friday.  Hope to catch church as we drive tomorrow...Marcia can watch it while I listen.  Hope you all have a nice Easter Day.

Needles California


There always seems to be certain places that we seem to stay at every time we in that area.  Fender's RV Resort/Park in Needles, California is one of them.  Since 2015 we have stayed here at least seven times.  It is not a great park, it is more out of convenience and price (Passport America just under $20).  It is an easy drive from Phoenix (although the highway at times felt like we were in the Yukon again).  If we are coming across I-40, which we have a few times, it is just over 500 miles from Albuquerque...a distance I don't like to drive any more.  But from Winslow it is not that bad either.  From here we typically stay at Bakersfield, then up to Sacramento area.The first time we stayed here there was about 35 sites and 8 motel rooms.  

Then they bought the park next door, and now they have about 140 sites and 8 motel rooms.  We always stay in the front by the motel rooms so that we don't have to unhook.  Today we came in during lunch break, so we just went to our normal site and waited until the office opened again.  When the young lady got back from lunch, she quickly found me in the computer, and shortly after I was walking out the door to our site...the one I pulled into.  (To be honest, a person affiliated with the park told me it would be ok to pull into our normal site).

We have had a relaxing afternoon, and after Blue Bloods, which is from 9-10 here, we will be calling it a night.  Only 560 miles to go, and Bakersfield is right around the half-way point.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Dinner with Laurie, Quiet Do Nothing Day

You ever have one of those feelings like, "I should be doing something...but what I am doing is just sitting back doing nothing?"  That describes Thursday.  Other than taking Indy out for a few breaks, pretty much did nothing until we left to meet Laurie at Texas Roadhouse.

Laurie and Marcia after dinner

Leaving Indy alone is always a concern.  If I leave her treats, she does not eat them until we get home.  I don't have cameras in the motorhome, so what I have to say is just a "most likely" scenario.  

We are leaving, I have the TV turned up a bit and on FidoTV.  The AC is on, and AC fan is on constant low, so if it gets down to 74, the fan will still run.  I hear Indy doing a small wimper...I leave a window shade open next to my computer chair.  I go to that window and see her looking out.  We drive off.  More about this after dinner....

Laurie pulled up in her Mazda MX-5 (I think that is what it is) just before we do (she texted me a picture of her in the car).  We are all about 10 minutes early...which is typical with each of us.  Two hours later we are saying good bye.  It was a nice dinner, very nice company, and always too short of a visit.

It takes us 25 minutes to get back to the motorhome.  Indy has been alone for 3 hours and 15 minutes.  She is ALWAYS so happy to have us home, and I got her outside before Marcia got into the motorhome.  I sit out with her for a bit, but she won't do her business...she wants to lick my face, and then she wants inside.  Inside she jumps up on Marcia and then goes back and forth between the two of us.  I give her about 2 ounces of my steak that I brought back, and she gobbles it up.  Then I give her the bone (I had the Ribeye Steak with Bone-in).  At first she sets it in her bed, then comes over to us again.  I change my clothes, and take her out where she does do her business...and then she wants right back in.  She goes to her bed, where she left her bone, and for the next two hours the bone stripped clean.  I got her to bring it over to me after the first hour, and although she growled at the idea, I needed to cut off a small bone end that is barely attached...then I give her the big bone again.

As for what she did while we were gone...  The cover over the window of the driver door has this 'cave' which just fits her little head and neck as she looked out that window.  Marcia's window is the same.  My computer chair, which has a cover over it, now has the cover all bunched up on the seat, as she certainly put her paws up on the back to look out the window.  I am sure she went from window to window to window.  Eventually, she probably fell asleep.  Hard to say if she even watched the TV at all.  Now, she is crashed with a full tummy, tired from the anxiety of being alone, and tired from gnawing on that bone for two hours.  When I took it away from her I praised her at how well she did with it, and tossed it in the trash. 

While out with I caught this nice sunset with my cell phone. The cactus and bush was pretty much in the middle of the sunset, so I took a picture to the left of the cactus, and another to the right.  2 minutes later it was all gone...

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Lake Pleasant - Roadrunner Campground


This is our forth or fifth time we have been at Lake Pleasant just north of Phoenix.  The picture above was from our 2019 visit, as is the one below.

Yes, I/we took pictures, but without a photo editing program I can not make the physical size of the picture small enough so that Blogger will let me publish.  I plan on downloading Photoshop Elements once I am in the Sacramento area, and sometime, I hope, I will publish some of these pictures.

It was a very easy 160 mile drive.  My biggest concern was getting gas, but there was a Pilot right at the freeway entrance when we left the Fairground RV Park.

Check-in at the campground starts at 1:00 pm, and we arrived before 1:30.  We have a nice wide spot, level enough that we don't have to use our level ramps, and Indy has two or three dogs nearby to keep her attention...however, each dog is four times her size, but that doesn't stop her one bit.

I enjoyed using their showers...nice and clean, parking right in front of the facility, if only when you pushed the on button it would give you more than 30 seconds of water.

It will be nice to not have to get up in the morning at any particular time, and to have a relaxing morning and day.  We have been on the road for seven straight has been exhausting.  

We meet Laurie for dinner at 4:00, and Indy won't like that...perhaps I can find a dog movie to keep her occupied.

Tucson - Fairgrounds RV Park instead of Cracker Barrel

We were on the road by 8:30 headed to Tucson.  The winds started immediately, and were the worse so far over the past few days.  My hands still hurt as I type this blog!

As we got close to the Arizona State Line, we hit, or we were hit, by a small dust storm.  The picture below, which I found on Google Images, shows a bit of what we faced, except ours did not cover the entire road, just the edge of the dust storm was on the road as we drove by.

It was enough to move us over a lane, and then back into our current was just luck that no other vehicles were close to us at that moment.

Figuring that when got to Arizona the winds might die down, but they did not die down, but became more tolerable. 

While we were stopped at a rest area called Texas Canyon (it is a lovely rest area, very scenic) I looked and saw that temps in Tuscon were dropping into the mid-30's tonight.  I immediately decided to scrap Cracker Barrel, and go to the Pima County Fair RV Park like we did last year.  $35, there are hundreds and hundreds of spots, and we will stay warmer with electric heater going, and furnace backing up as it gets cold.

Crossing into Arizona meant another time change.  Arizona does not do daylight savings time, so for about half the year they are on Pacific Time, and half the year they are on Mountain Time.  Currently they are on Pacific Time.

As we parked the motorhome at our assigned spot, the guy who lead us there said that tonight's low 'could' be as low as 30...and next Monday the high is suppose to be 92.  What a swing in temps around here. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Vado New Mexico -- A Day of Firsts


Western Sky's RV Park is one of those older parks, but it seems that management has a good handle on those people who are in the park.  The picture above is the office, and the handrail on the right has seen better days...hope they replace it soon before someone gets hurts when it breaks.  The office has Christian literature, and the bilingual manager was super nice.  It is a Passport America Park and cost $22 for a pull-through, 30 amps, water and sewer (although I did not hook up the sewer since we emptied two days ago).  Note: they don't have 50 amp.  This is our first stay here.

We left Sonora at 8:15 after filling up at a Road Ranger Gas Station, and got two coffees to go.  First time I had ever been to a "Road Ranger", just the same as any other gas station convenience store.

It was a 415 mile drive today, gaining an hour just past Van Horn.  This is the first time I can remember while "RV-ing" that we did not stop in Van Horn for the night, or at least for gas.  The gas in Sonora held us over to El Paso.  We also gained another hour passing into Mountain Time, but our cell phones did not change time for over an hour!  That's another first for me, never had it take an hour to change over.

After getting fuel at Flying J, we took the bypass route, Highway 375, north around El Paso.  I had read about others who had taken this route...but now the construction is nearly finished, and the entire route is clearly labeled as "North Loop 375".  It was easy to follow, and it was much easier and quicker than going I-10 through El Paso, even though it around 4 miles longer.  So taking the by-pass around El Paso is another first for the day.

Finally, we had only sat down for less than 30 minutes when the wind made a couple of thumps on the motorhome.  My first thought was the slide awning had ripped and was thumping against the top of the slide...but thank goodness that was not the case.  This is the first time that I did not bring our ladder, so it was hard to see up on the roof.  But when I backed up far enough I did see that the old (2005 ear) satellite dome had this huge intent right in the front, a little to the driver's side.  Apparently the high winds pushed the dome in, almost as if someone sat on it.  Nothing I can is something we have never used and wish it was not up there, and I doubt it will blow away because it would have done that today in the high winds.  If I had a ladder, and had a Santa Suite, I would put a manikin up there and tie it down!

Tomorrow is a 300 mile drive to Tucson for a last Cracker Barrel overnight stop.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Sonora Texas


Some may not know who this is in the picture above.  It is Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Johnson, and it is she who is responsible for all the wonderful wild flowers that we enjoyed today on our trip, especially after we passed San Antonio.  

We enjoyed our stay in Baytown, nice to have cool air to fall to sleep with...and even nicer at 1 am when I turned off the A/C and we enjoyed the cool 65 degree weather.  At 7 am we were already up, and by 7:30 we were on the road.  Buc-ee's for gas and coffee, and an easy drive through Houston on Sunday morning.  San Antonio was a bit harder due to construction to the east of town...but by 2:30 we were in Kerrville, where we planned to stay.  

But WHY ruin a short day?  by 3:15 we were on our way to Sonora, another 110 miles down the road.  We are at a RV park called Elite RV Park, which is part of the Super 8 motel across the street.  All electrical outlets are locked...when you pay, you get a key much like you do a motel key for a motel room.  $35, but we again have electricity, Internet is ok, and having AC with temps of 90+ when we arrived is real nice.

Side note:  Yes, we did take pictures today.  I just did not have the urge to look at them, let alone download, edit, and publish.  Another day...

Saturday, April 1, 2023

On to Baytown, TX

We drove just over 200 miles today.  There was a lengthy stretch of construction just at and past Beaumont Texas which slowed us down for about 20 minutes.  Other construction areas did not slow us up too much, and traffic as moderate to light for most of the day except in Beaumont.  

Last night (Friday night) it was a bit too humid for my liking, and it was hard to sleep until after midnight.  Still we got on the road, after coffee percolated, by 8:45.

I mentioned before that our Continuous-Duty SPST Series Solenoid Relay  (which are designed with single-pole, single-throw (SPST) circuitry) may be on the brink of going out.  I got one from Amazon just before we left.  So far, when I check if the engine is charging the house batteries, the light has been green.  Today, it was not green.  We drove about 4 hours today, and for half of the drive the light was not green.  Finally, I clicked the storage/use button (again) and this time (after the fourth or fifth time) the light went green.  The only problem is that without it going green, the house batteries do not charge...which means we are limited to how often we can park at a Cracker Barrel, Rest Area, or other place without hooking to electricity, or running the generator.  I have the part...just don't want to put it in while on the road if I can help it.


We last stayed at Bayou Bend RV Park in Baytown Texas back in early December 2021.  It is a Passport America park, and is a newer park, cost $25 a night, and is clean, friendly and pet friendly.  Called last night and gave them all the info, and when we pulled up today our info was in a mail box near the door with everything we needed for our stay.  I even used their nice shower in their public bathrooms, and boy, did that feel nice!  

When I pulled into the assigned camping spot, known as a "pad" in some circles, I encountered something strange for the first time ever.  I unhooked the car, backed into the spot, and immediately started to hook up the electricity and power.  Just as I was getting ready to connect the cord to the motorhome, I sense the motorhome is moving backward.  I hurry to the driver door, open it up while yelling "what did you do", and put it in park (I thought Marcia might have been putting up the window covers and accidentally hit the stick shift).  Now both Marcia and I KNOW I had it in park previously...and Marcia was reading the packet of info from the park, and there is Indy with her paws on the steering wheel driving the motorhome!  We guess that when I put it in park and engaged the brake, that it was not fully in park.  Indy must have hit the lever, and pulled it into reverse.  Even with the brake on, it slowly moved the motorhome to move backward.  Luckily I was able to re-put it into park and stop it before it hit the fence behind us.  We always leave the engine going with full AC until I get the power hooked up and get the house AC going...perhaps we should think about that for the future...

To "TOP" matter off, after I get everything hooked up and went inside to put the slide out, I was a bit disoriented, and sat down to enjoy the A/C which was kicked in full blast.  About 30 minutes later I look out my window and what do I see?  Our car, sitting in the street still, waiting to be moved into its parking place!  I have never done that before either.

I KNOW this is April is my dad's birthday...he would have been 95 today.  NONE of this was or is an April Fools joke.

Before taking my shower, I went over to the local H.E.B. store to pick up a few things.  WOW, that store is HUGE.  They sell gas there, but I plan on visiting another Buc-ee's tomorrow, but their prices were $3.03 for unleaded, and $3.47 for diesel.  I have seen a few diesel prices as low as $3.35 today.  H.E.B. is HUGE by the way...reminds me of how big Fred Meyer stores are.

Tornado update:  21 dead, dozens injured in 6 states after the Arkansas tornado outbreak.  I think 6 died in Arkansas, perhaps more.  After seeing the damage and the video of the tornado, I would have though it would have been in the hundreds!  It is going to take years to recover from this tornado, and hats off to the authorities in Little Rock (Mayor, Police, Fire Department) and to Governor Sanders for all they are doing to assist those affected.  During the news conference last night that I say, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stood there with all these "guys", most of whom stood a foot higher than her, yet she was not intimidated, and all of those officials who were there were very complimentary of not only the Governor, but all the other officials and how they have been handling this terrible ordeal.  Hats off to them all...and prayers for all those who have been affected.


Friday, March 31, 2023

To Atchafalaya Welcome Center, Little Rock Tornado

The Atchafalaya Welcome Center is between Baton Rouge and Lafayette on Interstate 10...actually, below Interstate 10.  Located in the heart of the Atchafalaya Basin, the nation's largest river swamp, the Atchafalaya Welcome Center showcases a variety of exhibits showcasing the unique flora, fauna, and cultures found throughout the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. (

Aerial shot via their website.

The trucks are on the north side of I-10, the autos and RVs on the south side.  We have stopped here just about every time we take I-10 since 2013.  Back in 2013, the south side was not completed yet.  

Our trip today was again uneventful.  Traffic was thick at times, not very much traffic at other times.  Two areas of construction, but nothing that took us under 40 mph.

If you can, start your morning by going by a Buc-ee's.  As I reported previously, this place is HUGE.  And look at these gas prices!  Sorry, did not get the diesel price.  What I did get is a full tank of 48.5 gallons at $160.  Of course, two years ago it was only $125, but beggars can't be choosers!  And the two large (very large) coffees for $3.50 (that is not each...that is for both) was wonderful.  It was only 60 miles down the road from Cracker Barrel, and a Diet Pepsi held me over for that hour...we left at 7:00 am or so.

My sweet daughter texted me at 4:18 central time with a message of "Did you see the tornado that went through Little Rock?"  For the next 2 1/2 hours I was looking things up, watching Little Rock news stations online, and texting back and forth with Stephanie.  Having lived in Arkansas for 22+ years, and being very familiar with the area that was hit the hardest, it captivated my attention.  Thank goodness my children's mother is fine...a bad storm was heading right for White Hall, it broke up just a few miles before reaching it, then became even stronger after it crossed over the Arkansas River.

Look at the size of that sucker!  You can find video of this through google, but my connection is not good enough to download and upload to the was difficult to get good streaming of the tv station.  Glad we decided NOT to go through Pine Bluff, because today would have been the day we would have come through Memphis, into Little Rock and down to Pine Bluff.  

Tomorrow we have reservations at a RV park in Texas about 200 miles down the road in Baytown.  It will be nice to have a short day, and to have full hookups.  It also gives us the chance to zoom through Houston Sunday morning before the "Final Four" crowds are up and about. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

To Crestview Florida Cracker Barrel


We started our day at 6:30, on the road a bit after 7 (takes 20 minutes for coffee to brew).  Other than taking one bad exit along the beltway/turnpike, we were headed up the Florida Turnpike by 8 am.  Stopped for breakfast at the one and only rest area before I-75.  There was lots of traffic, but it all moved nicely except at a construction site or two along the way.  Arrived at Cracker Barrel (above) by 3 pm Central Time.  Had dinner finished by 5:30 from Cracker Barrel...yum yum yum!

We are parked just next to the tree on the left in the RV parking.  Only one other RV in the lot right now, and it is larger than ours, and pulling a trailer that is at least 18' they are off to the side (we barely fit with the car attached ourselves!)

Tomorrow we only go some 300 miles, stopping in the middle of Louisiana.  Temps right now are 77 at 6 pm, should drop to a comfortable 60 or so tonight.  We may have some rain tomorrow, but it should not be an issue...will check that out in the morning.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Quick Visit With Dean and Caryl

No pictures, but we enjoyed our 7 hour visit with Marcia's brother Dean and wife Caryl.  Amazing to us both, Indy did a little happy whine and dance when we went up to the door and entered their home.  She even gave them both a quick kiss...but with her nothing lasts long as she growled at Dean about 30 minutes later be he 'dared' to lay his hands on my shoulder as he past behind me! 

They cooked us a nice scrambled egg & sausage breakfast, and later wonderful beef, shrimp, veggie Kabobs with some Cauliflower Rice that they get at Publix in the produce section...just microwave it in its bag...way better tasting than the frozen ones.

Tomorrow we hope to get to the Panhandle and stay at another Cracker Barrel.  Leaving mid-week means that Spring Breakers have not affected us at all...but when we get to Mobile area and across Mississippi's Gulf Coast it will be a different story.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Phase One - 170 LONG MILES


So WHY is 170 miles "LONG MILES"????  Easy question, not so easy answer.

Got up at 7:30 am.  A little after 8 I went over, with nearly our last load of stuff, and brought the motorhome, with car in tow, back to the Condo.  By 9:30 or so, we were on the road.  I had accomplished just about everything I wanted to do before we left, working on it a day at a time for the last month.  (Not every day, but just about every day the past week.)  At our old storage place, they had RV Wash Stations, and that was nice...otherwise, parking it right out our back door is ideal.  But after 6 months, it needed a wash, so over to the Blue Beacon on I-75 near San Antonio Florida we went.  With the Flying J next door, we got her washed, got gas, got the waste tanks emptied, and it was already noon!  South a few mile to a rest area and it was time for a quick lunch.  Then it was 3+ hours of busy highway driving over to the Cracker Barrel.  Remember, it is Spring Break here, and Snow Bird Season, so it is busy.

About 90 minutes after arriving at Cracker Barrel and we got nearly everything "in its place" for the trip.  Got dinner to go from Cracker Barrel, and here it is just after 7 pm and we are nearly ready to crash!  Will spend much of tomorrow with Marcia's brother Dean and wife Caryl, and then Thursday we start the long trip out to California.

Almost forgot...Indy was very very possessive the past few days, snuggled up to me on the couch a lot, would not let me out of her sight if she could control things.  When I went to get the motorhome this morning she moaned and we were going to leave her or something!  Told her we would be seeing Sandy, Arny, Mom and Patti, along with her cousin Parker and neighbor Jack...she would tilt her head as if she was thinking about it.  I think she is going to LOVE being back in the backyard again...

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Seven Days and Counting - Our 2023 Travels


As we have for the past few years, we will start out our trip by going over to the east coast of Florida and visit with Dean and Caryl.  The picture above was last year...

This year it will be more like this.  We will be staying overnight at a nearby Cracker Barrel.  The RV park we stayed at previous is on my poop list.  We stayed there during Hurricane Ian, we were asked to evacuate, but they would not give us anything for the nights we lost by leaving early.  Also, with this day and age of INFLATION, their rates are for a minimum of three nights, and something around $90 per night.  No thanks.

Each year there are things that need to be 'taken care of' before we leave, and this year there is a good size list.  We have three of these Fantastic Vents in our motorhome, and two were not working...the one over the bed, and the one in the bathroom.  Now to be honest, "I" broke the one in the bedroom well over a year ago...the one in the bathroom has acted up for much of last year, requiring a good 'hit' to get the fan moving.  Well, the hits did not work anymore.  I figured it was the switch which allowed for it to be turned on when the vent hood was raised.  It ended up being the glass fuse holder.

As for the bathroom fan:  Above on the left is the vent lid switch, on the right is the fuse holder.  On the left, when the vent lid raises, the push down will pop up allowing for the power to contact, turning on the fan.  In the fuse holder, there is a glass fuse, which must be working for the power to make it to the fan.  In our case, the black body broke, not allowing the fuse to make contact.  Got a 'generic' type of fuse holder from NAPA for just under $20.

Four or five years ago I had to replace the bedroom vent fan.  When I did, I never secured the copper thermometer (looks like a pencil with wire coming out one end), and just laid it on the vent screen.  That worked fine...until some leaves came down onto the vent screen.  So I turned the fan on high, with the air exiting the motorhome...but a few leaves did not leave.  So I tapped the vent screen to loosen them up, which then took the thermometer right up into the fan, which busted that sucker right in half.  The fan had not worked since then.  Since I was on a roll, I took the fan apart, bypassed the thermostat, and now we have a working fan again, less the thermostat feature.

Other items I did included:

* Restringing and rehanging a curtain which busted last year

* Put a new screen on our entry screen door, which had a 3" rip in it

* Checked the batteries, filled as needed

* Lubed the slide and refreshed the slide seals

* Ran the generator for a good 1/2 hour with the A/C running for 10 minutes

* Filled all the tires up on motorhome and the HHR

* Lubed the car tow bar

* Put new wipers on the motorhome and the car

* Lubed the entry steps

* In the process of cleaning out the dust and dirt that a motorhome acquires while it sits

Have a travel map for Marcia and I to follow.  Has gas stops, nightly stops and a highway route.  Unfortunately, Google's "My Maps" does not allow for more than 10 route stops, although you can start up a second route...but this gets us to Phoenix, and I was still able to put in the various gas and nightly stops beyond Phoenix.

Unfortunately, we decided to skip going through Arkansas, but will hope to go through on the way back.  Mom turns 93 in late April, and she has fallen down at the Assisted Living Facility three or four times in the last 45 days.  She gave up her cell phone about 6 months ago, and now she has removed the computer which she use to love to get on, but it is just too much of a chore now days.  She even accidentally blocked my phone number from her main idea how she did it, but she also blocked about 4-5 other numbers too.  She still goes down to eat once or twice a day, sometimes deciding to stay in her apartment and have the food brought to her.  Her outing, where the facility takes a group out to eat, out for a scenic drive, stuff like that, are becoming further and further apart. Will she reach 93?  Yes, we think so.  How about 94???  Only time will tell.

So our plans for the 'summer' are to either stay in Arny and Sandy's backyard, -OR-, go up to southwest Oregon for a month or two before returning to the backyard.  

My results came back on my Cologuard test, and it was negative...good to go for three years.  (pun intended)

Getting Indy ready for travel too...gave her a pretty short haircut, except for her ears and tail.  I don't think she has been this short since the first haircut that Pet Smart did for us shortly after we got her.

And I did our taxes and got them off in the mail about a week ago.  First quarterly installment will be put in the mail before we leave. 

Finally, in the first time in nearly 10 years of living in the Condo, I attended an HOA annual meeting.  For those who have followed my blog long enough, you know we have not always seen "eye to eye" with the HOA leadership.  Two years ago we got a new president, and he has been real good.  His attitude is not that of "What I Say Goes", and there is no one on the board now that we have had problems with in the past.  They are trying to gather up all the rules and regulations and put them up on a One-Drive type of location so that people can have instant access to them.  In the future, if a President comes along with the attitude like in the cartoon above...well they won't be able to harass those who need a service dog or an emotional support dog.  (Indy is not the only dog living here now...there are two emotional support dogs here too.)

I'll try and post something each day of our travel...don't expect anything new unless we have a major breakdown or something like that. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023



I said "FAST"....I said "QUICK" .... and I meant it!   Our new computers are so sweet!!!  If Marcia told me once she told me a hundred times just how fast her computer is reacting.

First, our old computers...  We purchased them in December 2015 (for Marcia) and August 2016 (for me).  They were both ASUS, but Marcia's was a 32 bit while mine was a 64 bit.  They had the same size hard drive, same amount of ram memory.  At the time, we really loved them.  Six years later...not so much love, a lot of "putting up with". 

Our new laptops are 15.6" display (like our old ones), the keyboard is pretty much the same with just subtle differences (I use a portable keyboard so this does not affect me at all). The hard drive is twice as large (1 first computer back in1987 had a 40 mb hard drive and I was told I would never need anything larger!).  They have 20 gb ram memory (which is equal to 20,000 mb...compared to the 40 mb hard drive on my first computer this is just mind boggling!)  When you consider the processor speed, the modem speed, the numbers becoming numbing, and I am sure some reading this are already facing mind numbing with what I have said.  So lets put it in 'time' measurements.  When we turned on our old computers, it could take a couple of minutes for it to be ready to type on.  With these ones, it takes about 10-15 seconds.  On the old computers when we loaded a 'game' to play, it could take a minute before it is ready to play.  With these new ones, it takes perhaps up to 10 seconds.  Loading a news website is nearly instantaneous.  The same with email.  So far, there just is nothing to complain about.


We have a 100 mg Internet Connection here at home.  With our old computers, due to the modem, we were lucky to get around 40 mg on a speed test.  Above you can see that we now get the full 100 mgs.  We 'could' have got the 100 mgs 'IF' we did a hard wire connection to the router...which does not make sense having all these wires to step over and get tangled up in.  My Kindle got the full 100 mgs, so I knew what the higher modem speed would do for us.

Finally, we need a 12 volt power connection for when we are in the motorhome.  The power supply for my old computer is just like the one for the new computer...but Marcia's is not.  So I have another 12 volt power supply coming for her.  As I said in my last blog, I need to purchase a newer connection of Photoshop, which I have not done yet.

Since my last blog post 10 days ago, Marcia and I had dinner with her brother Mike and his wife Sandy.  Mike takes care of our mail and checks up on the Condo when we are gone.  A few days later Mike called to inform us that Marcia's cousin Mary, who also lived in Holiday, had passed away...she was around 93 years old.  

Per doctor's order, I was setup to do a Cologuard test in place of doing a camera up the ... err... a colonoscopy, which is never fun.  Well, this wasn't fun either, and it was even less fun when they responded back on Monday that my test needs to be redone with "not as much volume"  (I have heard people say that I am full of ....).  Well, ok then, looking forward to a redo of the dodo.  What is it that Forest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get."  Or, in this case, "what you are going to give...."

Sunday, February 12, 2023

My Final Blog Post ...

WHAT you talking about Dave?  Your FINAL Blog????


Ok, here is the Story ...

It is my last Blog, but only my last Blog with this older computer.  We bit the bullet and ordered two new laptops, Windows 11, 15.6 display, 1 Terabyte hard drive, 20 Gig Memory, 4 USB slots (2 x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.2 Type-C), WifI 5, etc., etc., etc.

They actually came in on Tuesday, by Wednesday I had most of my pictures copied over, by Wednesday night I was loading my 10 year old Photoshop, AND ... that's when my troubles started.  Loading it under the Windows 8 compatibility method FAILED something bad.  Did a restart, and could not get beyond the ASUS logo.  Spent some of Wednesday night, and nearly all of Thursday being the 'Techie' that I am to try and fix it, just to FAIL Miserably.  

You heard the story of how GUYS will keep driving when they are lost and NEVER stop to ask for help???  Well, Techies can be the same way.  The "Driver" will look at a map, the "Techie" will search the web.  By Friday around noon (because ASUS Tech Support does not open until 9 am Pacific Time) I called Amazon.  The nice lady tried to help, then she called ASUS.  The nice guy tried to help, believed me every time I said "Tried that already..." but we tried it again for 'him', and finally agreed that it was not going to be fixed by him over the phone, or by me sitting in front of it.  So I asked about a replacement, instead of sending it into a shop, and he said, "Ask Amazon".  The nice lady was going to call me back, and about a half hour after the two Techies gave up (ASUS guy and me), she did call back.  Told her what he said, and I asked if it was possible to just replace it.  She checked with her boss, came back on the line within 5 minutes and said YES!  Sent me a link for UPS shipping label, sent another link for the replacement computer shipping link so I can follow its path to our door.  Within an hour I dropped the old one off at UPS, and when I checked, the new one was already shipped, coming out of Indiana, will be here Tuesday.

In the meantime...I have been licking my wounds...

There goes my EGO down the drain...


We both had our yearly physicals, I mean, "WELLNESS" checkups.  (It is a medicare don't have physicals, you have wellness checkups.)  We both did pretty good, but my Glucose numbers are crawling slowly higher.  Due to family history, I asked, and she agreed, to let me take the lowest dosage of Metformin.  I also suggested that I monitor my blood as I did with Skruffy.  After February passes, I will send a six week report in to her which shows the tests results, along with a record of what I eat each day and the relationship of when I ate to when I took the test.  Marcia also saw her Urologist, and only has her Neurologist. 

A few weeks ago my cousin Cassie called.  She and Rick were down to visit their son Dr. Aaron Scott (Pediatric Surgeon) and his wife Emily (Senior Vice President with Baycare Health Care System).  Emily has lived in Florida for well over a year now, but Aaron just finished up his resident training at Baylor in Houston and moved here near the end of last year.  We all met (their paternal twins too) at a restaurant located between the two households and had a nice lunch.  Sorry, no pictures.  Hope we do it again when they are down visiting, assuming we are not out RVing.

Finally (I know there is other stuff, but this broken 'techie' can't remember everything anymore), my brother Jim sent me a very short but interesting link of a video of dad's mother and father at the 1951 Rose Bowl.  It might not be interesting to everyone, but to the "Burdicks", this is a gem.

Grandma is the lady in the middle, and Grandpa is following her.  The first lady in front of Grandma is Rose Ida Honeychurch, wife of Ives who took the clip.  This was taken just a few years before I was born, but it is exactly how I remember them.  Grandma passed in 1963, Grandpa in 1967.  I only wish the clip was longer...but having these 15-20 seconds are very precious to me.