Friday, December 1, 2023

Vado to Baytown

When we left Vado's RV Park we quickly came to the Texas boarder.  Our original intentions was to take the 375 highway to bypass going through El Paso...but they had highway construction going on and the exit to Highway 375 was blocked off.  Oh CRAP, we have to drive through El Paso after all.  Fortunately there were no problems, and a little bit of a slow down, going this route.

Here we are a good half hour past El Paso and we have open road, all is well.  We also filled up with gas at a Flying J, $2.79 a gallon, if I remember right, east of El Paso.   The lower the price the better in my opinion.  

From El Paso through to Sonora was very uneventful...just a lot of miles.

Going through the boarder check was interesting.  At first I did not think he was going to wave me through...then at the last second he said, "Go on through 'Dave' "  Now how in the world did he know my name?????????

Near the boarder check, stands this mountain monument.  It is called, in non academic worlds, Squawteat Peak, it is a breast-shaped hill in Pecos County, Texas.  In "common name" Squawteat Peak is a reference to the ethnic and sexual slur squaw, and is now generally avoided in academic circles.  Ok to have a CHILD (under 18) not be associated to this mountain, BUT it is OK to associate a child with sex change, with gender dysphoria, but HELL, we can't call a mountain Squawteat Peak because it looks like woman's breast!   What type of world has this become?????  That was the end of Wednesday pictures.  We got to Sonora and got our spot at the RV Park there, Elite RV Park.  Saw a BBQ establishment nearby and readily got BBQ for dinner.  Oh, it was good...nice to see young people in there working and running the place!

All day Thursday we had a light mist or slight rain through San Antonio headed to Houston.  Driving through San Antonio at 10 am was just for Houston.

When we got free of San Antonio, I looked to see how the traffic was doing in Houston, and it was great.  30 minutes later the same search did not look so great.  And 30 minutes later as we were getting closer, it looked like we would have issues.  The light misty rain turned into down pours.  The traffic came to a crawl as we came upon wreck after wreck.  

Due to heavier rains, we slowed way down, and crawled along the highway for over an hour. 

We had gotten through the worse of it, just to have these guys slow everyone up again.  The cars in the far left of the picture are having issues...and giving everyone else issues. 

We get passed that point and again we are laden down with slow traffic.  Because of the rain, which was coming down around 2-3 hours before we arrived,  it made for wet setup at the RV Park in Baytown, Texas.  

With steady rain when we got to the RV Park, I got a bit soaked getting set up, but the rain did finally subsided.  The timing of going through Houston was just perfect...predicting rain was not.  It took an extra 90 minutes getting through town to our destination, but we made it...can't complain about that.

We chose to stay at this park for two nights.  We both had a good nights sleep last night, and I did not get up until after 10 am!  Not much rain today until the evening hour, so Indy and I sat outside for a good 90 minutes.  She was keeping an eye on anything that moved...growling and barking as she seemed to feel necessary.

What better place to keep an eye on things but on top of the table!

She was such a good little girl!!!!

I did not unhook the car so I did not go around getting pictures of the park.  It is an older KOA park which is been well kept up.  The monthly rate is somewhere around $650 plus electricity, and the weather in Baytown is very nice as far as winter is concern.  Not a bad place to stay at for a few months during winter, that is for sure.  

Tomorrow we are off again headed for home.  Hope to pull in on  Monday, no later than Tuesday.  It will be nice to be home again, but we have sure enjoyed our trip this year, just wish mom was in better health to enjoy it with us.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Baytown Texas, 800 More Miles Down, 900 to Go

Ever wonder HOW did I do this or that when you were younger...but NOW it is like, "I wonder how I ever did THAT!   Case in point, when I was 22 years old, perhaps only 21, I left the Kansas City Missouri are, alone, and drove to Sacramento, alone, in about 28 hours...except for the 3 hour break I forced myself to take in Battle Mountain or Winnemucca so that 'Dad' wouldn't know how fast I was moving along.  This was back in '76 or '77.  National Speed Limit was a whole 55 mph.  States that decided not to follow, lost highway funds, so they all cooperated.  Following the speed limit would take me at least 31.5 hours.  Why did it matter at 'my age' back then?  Because he let me take his fairly new Toyota which got better gas mileage, was more comfortable, and very reliable as compared to my Chevy Malibu.  But my point is this....HOW DID I DRIVE THAT LONG, WITHOUT HELP, AND GET THERE THAT FAST???

Back in 1976/77 - 1,700 miles in 28 hours + 3 hour rest

Today we ended a two day, 800 mile trip.  WHY are we so beat up???  After setting up camp, I sat down in my reclining chair and 5 minutes later I said to Marcia, "I feel like the motorhome is still moving!"   I knew it wasn't, but in my hands and arms I could still feel it moving...


Today - 800 miles in 17 hours over 2 days with hour break each day

I will do a better post on these two travel days tomorrow...right now I feel like I need to 'veg out'.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Vado, New Mexico -- 1,200 Miles Done, 1,700 To Go

Before I get into the last two days of travel, here are a few pictures taken with the camera which I previously failed to share.

Mom sitting at the Thanksgiving Dinner table having her dessert.  She ate SO MUCH!

My wonderful sisters putting the food away after Turkey Dinner.

Headed to Arizona from Needles

The Colorado River and Arizona boarder

Coming into Kingman Arizona

Turned onto Arizona 93, headed to Phoenix

The other three picture above show various desert plants.  The desert is much more green this year than in the past.  That recaps our travel through Monday.

Monday afternoon we met Laurie, a longtime friend, at Cracker Barrel in Phoenix.  Her mother Joyce, one of Marcia's best friends, passed a few years ago.  The picture above was from our last meeting with her in April...neither of us thought about taking pictures Monday night.  After our dinner and visit, we decided to travel on to the Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande, getting us a good head start on Tuesday's travel, and keep us away from the morning rush hour.  

It was a nice quiet night at the Cracker of the quietest Cracker Barrel nights we have ever had.  Got up at the crack of dawn and got on the road.  

Picacho Peak caught Marcia's eye from a distance.  A state park resides there, and back in April 15, 1862, a battle of the Civil War took place here.  As we got closer, the sun was shinning bright upon the mountain...but I kind of like the distant, dawn pictures better.

The boulders in this area reminded me of Alabama Hills in California

There are dozens and dozens of these mountain monuments in Southeastern Arizona.

One of the boarder checkpoints.  I noticed the 'eastbound' camera array had shrunk to one.

Here is the famous Road Runner just west of Las Cruces

Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument overlooking Las Cruces

We made it to the Western Skys RV Park around 2:30 pm.  It was a long 350+ miles and very uneventful.  Stopped for a quick snooze and break for about 30 minutes close to the Arizona and New Mexico border.  There were a number of police cars, and we saw at least four vehicles pulled over which had an officer up at their door.

This is our second time at Western Skys RV Park, the first was this past April on our way out west.  It is pretty quiet, a bit older of a park, and the staff are very friendly.  For $20 Passport America rate, it is hard to beat...however if the weather was warmer, we would have stayed at the Road Runner Rest Area for free, which includes 24 hour guard service.

We have two long days in front of us, and then we are going to take a break.  Wednesday is a 400+ trip from Vado to Sonora Texas.  On Thursday we need to get through San Antonio and Houston...a little under 400 miles but passing through 2 major size cities.  If we get to San Antonio after 9 am but before 10 am, then we should be able to get through Houston before the night rush hour.  

Before I close I want to provide an update on mom.  She was released from the hospital on Monday.  She has about a week of an antibiotic, which is an addition to the antibiotics she got while in the hospital. The delirium is gone, but the memories of what "she saw" are firmly embedded into her mind.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Headed Home to Florida - Thanksgiving Update - Mom has Another UTI

We left Florida in late March, arrived at my sister's house in Citrus Heights around April 10th.  After 7+ months, all but 6 weeks camping up in Cromberg to get away from the heat, it is time to head home to beat the cold weather.  Our motorhome is not set up for colder in the Tampa area means we don't have to weatherize it...but it also means we need to limit temps below 32...we faced that back in 2017 when we stayed for Christmas, drove home in late December and early January and faced frozen water and sewer lines crossing Western Texas.  

We were off just before 8 on Saturday morning.  Drove to Lodi where there was a Flying J because we were in need of a RV Wash (Blue Beacon next door), Propane (we were nearly out) and gasoline.  Very small line at Blue Beacon, no lines at Flying J, so we were back on the road. Above is cell phone picture of the Propane being put in.  

In Stockton we moved from I-5 over to US-99 in light traffic.  Made it through Merced, where my Blog Friend Nancy had told me to expect very bad construction issues...but we got through without even a slowdown.  However, just south of Tulare we hit a car wall...and for the next 90 minutes we moved maybe a few miles.  In Tipton I got off the freeway, headed east, south, then west getting back onto US-99 near Pixley passing all the stalled highway traffic.  We got into the Orange Grove RV Park around 4:15, and barely got things settled before darkness hit.

We again were up and on the road by 8 am, and saw a lot of Desert (pardon the cell phone tired to get the few pictures out of the camera.)  We arrived in Needles before 2 pm and we are staying at Fender's RV Park and Resort, Passport America park for around $20.  Indy was happy to find this Oasis of Grass that they have near were we always stay (been here I think six times now, maybe as much as eight, and all but once we have stayed in the same spot.)

Tomorrow we meet our friend Laurie at a Cracker Barrel in Phoenix, we will stay overnight at the Cracker Barrel, and off again.  If our luck holds up, we should be past Houston Thursday which point the cold weather chances vanish for this time of the year.

For Thanksgiving Arny deep-fried the Turkey (one of his best fryings in our opinion) and we had Mom, Ed (a neighbor), Patti (sister), Sandy (sister), Arny (brother-in-law) and Marcia and I in attendance.  Since it was someone's B-Day, we decided to not follow our diet and eat some of everything, but keep it to the one meal with dessert.  It was all delicious, and everyone took home some leftovers except mom, she does not have her own refrigerator. 

Knowing that I would be busy Friday preparing to leave, I went by to visit mom at the Assisted Living Home on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  For the most part she was happy, talking good with just a little bit of the dementia showing through like when she asked how my Thanksgiving Dinner went (without her).  Unfortunately, by the time she arrived for the real Thanksgiving Dinner the next day, she was entering a Delirium stage.  By Friday she was back in the hospital, which is not the easiest condition to leave...but I had already said my goodbyes, and we both (mom and us) know when we say goodbye, it could be the last goodbye.  Today Sandy said she is going to be in the hospital until at least Tuesday to finish up antibiotic treatment...and when they send her home she will have a antibiotic pill to take for who knows how long.  Overall the Delirium is fading fast, but it always takes its toll on her.

May not post every day of the trip...and we have taken this trip so many times we are running out of pictures to take. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Addie Visits GreatGrandma, Ice Cream - Ice Cream - We All Scream For Ice Cream


Who do you think Mom is looking at?

Her Grandson and Great Granddaughter of course!  Her room has a door to the outside, and it was a pleasant day, so we kept the door open during their visit.  Of course, Addie wanted to be outside most of the time.  She was collecting rocks from the rock garden just outside the door, bringing them and putting them into a pile.  At one time she had a dozen rocks.  One time when she was 'gone', Mom said, "Where are you?"   She comes back to the open door, her upper body bent over to the open door side to look through the door with this look (and smile) that said "Here I am!", and then starts laughing.  She is saying a few words here and there.  One time a small dog that lives there barked and she said, "Bow Wow".  Some other words we heard were mom, bye, oops, and she even used sign language to tell Michael that she was thirsty.

I texted Michael later to thank him for coming.  They are headed to Italy with Ann's mother at the end of the week for ten days, so it was a busy time for them.  His reply was that Grandma was doing much better than last time he saw her about five weeks ago...just another sign that the infusion was far, no signs of any UTI's.

When I arrived for the visit, getting there about 30 minutes before Michael and Addie arrived, Ben (one of the 'chiefs' of the Assisted Living Home) was giving mom a quick manicure.  Two of the staff were watching training videos, which when I asked Ben said that they are required by the State of California to keep their training up-to-date.  Good to see that.

A week earlier when I was there to visit, I surprised mom with a Hot Fudge Sundae from Leatherby's.  (click the link to see what Leatherby's is)  Before her infusions she had an appointment with her Primary Care Doctor, and after she told Sandy that she wanted Ice Cream, real Ice Cream, not that stuff that McDonald's sells.  That meant a trip to Leatherby's and she had a big Hot Fudge Sundae that day.  Well, she was suppose to see her Primary Doctor again, but both Sandy and Patti were not able to take her.  I don't mind taking her to other appointments, but not the Primary where the doctor might suddenly say, "Let's remove your shirt so I can hear your heart and lungs better."  So they rescheduled, and on that day I took over the Hot Fudge Sundae so she did not miss out on that treat!

The previous week I took her to see her Dermatologist, and like last time, we went by Sonic.  This time she wanted a Burger...and a Shake.  Can you believe she finished them both!  (Although she saved just a little of the shake to take back to the "Home" so the others can see that she had a wonderful treat, and they didn't!  And I am NOT kidding...)

Besides the visit at Mom's place, I went down to see my Granddaughter, Son and Daughter-in-law a few times.  The house across the street from them has this lady living there.  Her longtime partner had passed a few years ago, and she LOVED Halloween, so the survivor still loads the front yard each year with decorations in memory of her deceased partner.  

Note:  It is interesting to watch the developing of my little 1 year old granddaughter...learning to walk, learning to talk, letting her personality shine through....while at the same time watching my mother, 93 years old, as she heads in the other direction...losing her short term memory, seeing things are not there, being disturbed because she can't do what she wants to do (I don't want to get up out of bed, I don't want to go to bed this early, I want to eat in my room, I want to go home).  Circle of life...

Thursday, September 28, 2023

September - Mom's Infusion Therapy Month


Of course, before the medical stuff...she has to enjoy a Sonic Hot Fudge Sundae!  Actually this was after a visit to her dermatologist.  She had a small skin cancer removed in latge August, and in mid-September I took her back to get her stitches taken out.  

It just happened to be very close to the only Sonic Drive-in in our area, which is weird since Jefferson County Arkansas, population 65,000 has three, and use to have four Sonics!   This Sonic serves a population of nearly 400,000 people!  The Hot Fudge Sundae was a good treat for mom, and I had a large Diet Coke, of course, my normal daily drink for 23 years while living in Arkansas.  

So over the past six to eight months, mom has had UTI after UTI.  It put her into the hospital a few months ago.  So they recommended that she see a specialist dealing with body infections.  This specialist decided that an Infusion (Infusion therapy — also known as IV therapy — involves administering medications intravenously) of an Antibiotic, twice a day over 20 days might rid her body of the underlying infection that constantly attacks her urinary tract.  This treatment needed to be done in a medical facility -OR- the family could be taught how to administer it.  With younger people, the person needing the infusion could be taught how to do it.  So on Saturday, September 8th, Patti, Sandy and I, along with Mom, went to be taught (while mom had the needle inserted and got her first, initial treatment.)  That evening they (Infusion's Pharmacy) dropped off all we needed to get started the next day.  Sandy pretty much did the mornings, I did the evenings, and Patti, who still has a job, filled in as needed (Sandy and Arny went up to Reno for the Air Races one weekend.)  They provided a link to a online training video which I used the first few nights just to be sure I was doing it all correctly.  After the third time I no longer used the video and left my Kindle Fire at home.

Since I had my Kindle Fire with me, I showed mom the latest video of Addie walking.  In mid-July she wasn't taking any steps.  Michael said that during August she would take a step or two, then sit or grab onto to something.  In late August they put her into a daycare, and by Labor Day she was walking all over the place.  In the video I showed mom she took over 30 steps before she purposely sat down to play with a toy.  LOOK at that smile on Mom's really perked up her mood.

Marcia and I got back to Citrus Heights from Cromberg on the 7th.  On the 21st we went down to Michael and Anna's for a visit.  Above you can see Addie waving at Marcia (who is just out of the picture.)  She was not only walking, but climbing up on the some furniture, bouncing a basketball (a REAL basketball!), and saying a few words.  She is so precious.  Hoping to get back for a visit this weekend!

Tomorrow is the 20th day of the Infusion, and mom can't wait to get the needle and stuff out of and off her arm.  Although her mild dementia is still there, the UTI's are gone and the delirium that is associated with the UTI's have diminished.  Unfortunately, some of the things she saw in a delirious state remain with her.  For instance, a tree fell on the house across the street (no, it did not, but she still believes it did).  Sandy was her sister Mary...I was Dad.  (Mom, I am David...look at my never had a beard...realization hit, but she still called me Al from time to time, but not anymore...for now.)  Only time will tell if this process truly rids her of the constant, recurring UTI situations.