Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mesa for New Years

We arrived in Mesa about 3 PM and found a place to park for the week. We are staying at Apache Wells RV Resort. You can see the exact location by clicking on the "Where are we?' link to the right.

We had the truck and trailer washed in Willcox. They do a pretty good job and sure save my back! When hooked up we are 65 feet long and 13 feet high. That's a lot of area to wash.

The weather was still cold and we even saw snow on the ground in Texas Canyon. I don't remember ever seeing that before. Traffic got heavy before we hit Tucson and the interstate from Tucson to the Phoenix area is always very crowded. It was not a big problem, but it did require a lot of paying attention.

We always cause a commotion when we arrive in a new RV park. All the neighbors come out to see if I can really park this huge thing. Then they all want to talk about the truck, trailer, motorcycle and satellite system.  A couple guys even climbed up into the truck to look at the inside.  I enjoy answering their questions, but it does make setting things up take a little longer.

We finished setting up and then made a trip to Wal-mart to stock up on groceries. We called Mom and decided to go see her tomorrow instead of this evening. We splurged and had Western Bacon Cheeseburgers at Carl's before coming home to rest up for the night. Traveling so far so fast has worn us both out.

Friday, December 29, 2006


We got an early start this morning and gained an hour when we crossed into the Mountain time zone so we went further than we had planned. Even with stopping for fuel in El Paso we arrived in Bowie, AZ at about 3:30 this afternoon. There was no reason to stop anywhere else along the way due to the cold temperatures. It never got above 46 degrees anywhere, it was foggy and we encountered drizzle in a couple places.

Whenever we pass through Bowie I think about the family visit to Ft. Bowie when we were growing up in Tucson, and about the return visit I made with my family several years ago to deliver the crossed sabers I had found to the museum there. Now it is a National Historic Park, but it was just some rancher's land when we visited back in the 60's.

There is a lot of snow on the Chiricahuas so it looks very different from the last time we were here.  We will leave here in the morning and stop in Willcox to get the truck and trailer washed. Then it is on to Mesa where we will try to find a place to spend a week or so.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Westward Ho

We are on our way west again. We left Denton yesterday and only drove as far as Abilene, TX where we spent the night in a city park by a lake. It was free but we had no hook ups. We were all by ourselves so it was quiet and peaceful.

Today we drove as far as Van Horn, TX. The wind blew very hard and it was no fun driving. Our fuel mileage was also seriously impacted. About 3 pm we ran into rain and the temperature dropped to 36. That was even less fun.

Tomorrow we will continue west and probably stop in Demming for the night. We don't like to go so far so fast but this weather is no fun. We are hoping for better weather in AZ.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Denton for Christmas

We will be back in Denton tomorrow to spend the Christmas season with Dayna, Chris and the kids.

We headed south as we mentioned in the last post. We spent the first night in Montgomery and had a pretty good shower during the evening and a couple more light showers before morning. That was about it. The next day, Thursday, we drove down to the Escapees park in Summerdale, AL where we had spent a week on the way to TN. We really like it there and since it is close to the Gulf it is about as warm as anywhere in the area. We spent three nights there and just did a little shopping and went out to dinner one evening. Gulf shrimp are good when you buy them near the Gulf!

We decided to return to TX by way of the southern route to try to stay as warm as possible. We spent last night at Poche's Fish n Camp in Breaux Bridge, LA. It was kind of a neat place, but cold and windy. They have about 10 acres of man made lakes that are stocked with bass. The campsites are right on the lake so you can almost fish from you door. It would be a good place to spend a vacation if you are a fisherman.

Today we came across the rest of LA and into TX where we are staying for the final night before driving to Denton tomorrow. We are at the Escapees park in Livingston.

We saw only a little damage while driving across LA yesterday. We took I-10 and then the I-12 shortcut that goes straight to Baton Rouge instead of following the I-10 loop down to New Orleans. There were a few billboards that were piles of bent metal and a couple light posts that had been knocked down, but that was about it. I guess they have gotten things pretty well cleaned up.

We plan to be in Denton until after Christmas when we will head west, so will probably not post much for the next couple weeks. Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rocket and Space Center, Huntsville, AL

We left Cleveland yesterday and drove to Huntsville, AL. It was only about 130 miles so we got a late start and still arrived before 2PM since we also changed back to the Central time zone. The Rocket and Space Center has an RV park on its grounds so we made reservations to stay here where we could walk to the Center. Unfortunately, the RV park is rather old and it was tough getting in and level.

Today we visited the Rocket and Space Center. This is really the home of the Saturn 5 moon rocket as well as where much of the American Space Program was developed. Werner von Braun led the facility here. The museum was very interesting and we spent over five hours there. Included in the admission were the IMAX theater, virtual reality simulators, a centrifuge ride and a simulated space launch. The space launch was nothing more than one of the rides that shoot you up in the air like those at amusement parks. Dianna (ever the kid) enjoyed it. I felt it would not be a good idea with my back, so I passed. There was a lot to see and we enjoyed it very much. We are both tired from standing so will just rest up tonight. We will continue our journey towards Denton tomorrow, but the weather forecast for the rest of the week looks ugly. We may head south toward the gulf again to try to avoid the coldest part of it. We'll see. Sure is nice not having to schedule things!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Darin and Diane's New House

OK Mom, here you go.

This is a close up of their house. The dormers really look nice.  The sun was very low in the sky so there is a lot of reflection from the side of the house.

This is a photo from up the street a little ways. They are on a cul-de-sac with only two houses beyond them. It makes for very little traffic.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

We had planned to go to Huntsville on the way to visit Darin, but decided to stop by there on our way back to Texas instead. We stayed an extra day in Summerdale and arrived here in Cleveland on Tuesday after spending Monday night in Montgomery. After all, traveling more than 200 miles a day is taxing when you are retired!

Darin and Diane have a very nice home. They are almost moved in but that is a big job. He still has to move his storage shed to the new place.

We had Thanksgiving dinner there today with just his family and us. It was very nice. Diane cooked both a turkey and ham so we all had too much to eat. Dianna made an apple pie and the world famous Lafferty chocolate pie. I don't think there is much pie left.

We plan to stay here until Monday and then head back for Texas.

We hope everyone else had a good Thanksgiving too!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Throwed Rolls

You haven't lived until you've been hit in the head with one of Lambert's Cafe's "throwed rolls"! It's a local novelty restaurant where we had dinner last night and they literally throw the rolls to you across the room! They have traditional southern dishes and "pass arounds" dishes (sides that they walk around and offer you all through your meal) like macaroni & tomatoes, fried potatoes & onions, fried okra, black eyed peas and their famous throwed rolls served with sorghum molasses or apple butter. We have enough food left over for two more meals each so we really got our money's worth! It was great fun!!

Before dinner we did some shopping and took a drive down Hwy 59 to Gulf Shores. It is only about 20 miles southeast of us and is a beautiful gulf resort area. Unfortunately, Katrina made a mess of it.

The recovery effort is well underway and most of the houses along the beach have new siding and roofs on them already. There are some places where no house exists because there was nothing left to put new siding on.

From Gulf Shores you can turn west along the gulf and drive about 20 miles to Ft. Morgan. Ft. Morgan, on the western end of the Alabama peninsula which shelters Mobile Bay, and Ft. Gaines, on the eastern end of Dauphin Island, were Confederate strongholds which guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay. On August 5th, 1864, the Union fleet, led by Admiral David Farragut, sailed between them in the greatest naval battle of the Civil War. During the battle, Farragut issued his famous order: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Torpedoes were what we call mines today. One of his ships was sunk by a "mine" that was set off by men in Ft. Morgan. The fort was originally built in about 1844 and was closed in the 1920's, only to be used again during WWII for a period of time. Here is a link to some information about it if you are interested. Ft. Morgan

We rode back down to the fort today on the scooter since we got there too late yesterday to do any sightseeing. It was about 80 miles round trip. Since it was only in the mid 50's today we wore down jackets, long johns and gloves which helped keep us reasonably comfortable, but I don't think Dianna is up for anything much colder. We still had a good time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Summerdale, AL and the USS Alabama

Sunday we drove down to Summerdale, a very rural town about 20 miles southeast of Mobile. There is an Escapees park here. Escapees is the full timer organization we belong to that provides our mail forwarding service. They also have several RV parks around the country. The price is very low and the parks are some of the nicest we ever stay in. This park is called Rainbow Plantation and has about the largest lots of any place we have ever been.

Sunday evening they had free entertainment in the club house. It was a bluegrass group who were very enjoyable. Monday we just goofed off a while and made a Wal-Mart grocery run.

Yesterday we rode the scooter to see the USS Alabama located in a park on Mobile Bay. We toured the WWII submarine Drum and spent over 3 hours touring the Alabama. That battleship is one large ship. It is the sister ship of the Massachusetts that I toured when I was in Rhode island. They also have a large number of aircraft on display, including an SR71 Blackbird. However, the aircraft were not in the museum. They were all sitting outside and are all damaged to some degree or another.

When Katrina hit it caused major damage to the whole museum. The building where the aircraft were displayed was torn open and the planes were blown around inside. In addition, when the storm surge came up Mobile Bay it hit the Alabama and lifted it out of the 30 feet of mud it was sitting in. It listed over several degrees and caused the boarding ramps to be destroyed. I understand it took several months to get the mud dredged out and the ship righted again. I had no idea that the damage was that serious this far east of New Orleans. That was one nasty hurricane!

Today we have not left the RV. A major storm arrived in the southeast last night with wind and rain. You may have heard reports on the TV. No real problem here except for a lot of rain and some gusty wind. It is supposed to be out of here tonight and we will continue our exploration of the area tomorrow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Gorgeous weather yesterday as we scooted the 16 mile tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park. For the most part the first half of the tour follows the Union lines during the 47 day siege and the latter half the Confederate placements. It's very interesting learning of Civil War battles from the South's point of view!

Every state that had soldiers there has a major memorial - very beautiful ones - and many smaller ones all over the park representing, I guess, places they were defending or attacking from. We walked in the trenches, tunnels and fields the soldiers did, thinking of all the blood spilled and lives lost in that crucial time in our country's history.

They raised a gunboat in the 1960s, built a "ghosted" framework and it is now on display. It sank in only 12 minutes from a mine with no loss of life. Amazing relics on display. (Did you know rhubarb's most common use is medicinal? We all thought it was better in pies!)

We drove around the old part of town enjoying the many antebellum homes still around. We were going to visit one today but they stopped tours until next Feb.

We did visit the Courthouse Museum today. Lots of stories of people from the area and many artifacts. Most were from the Civil War era but some up through WWII.

The North sure mistreated the southerners, black and white alike, after the war. They both did a miserable job taking care of prisoners. Over 26,000 southerners and more than 22,000 northerners died in prison camps. Not a very admirable time.

The temperature dropped by about 30 degrees today so we really had to bundle up to ride the scooter. Didn't do much driving around as a result so we were glad we enjoyed our day out yesterday. We leave in the morning for Mobile.

Side notes: Dayna won't need further surgery any time soon. She'll just have to live with the pain and fortunately she has a high threshold like her dad. Unlike her son who screamed and hollered at the ER Wed. as he had to have four stitches above his eye due to a skateboard accident. Continued to holler after it was numbed & he couldn't feel a thing!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

On the road again

We leave Denton tomorrow for points east. The overall destination is to visit Darin and Diane in their new home in Cleveland, TN. Their new home is only about 3 miles from the trailer they have rented for the past few years. They closed escrow yesterday and are in the process of moving in today.

Our planned route to TN is to spend a day in Vicksburg, MS to visit the National Historic Park there, then to the Mobile, AL - Pensacola, FL area to visit some museums in the area. Then up to Huntsville, AL to visit the NASA facility there where the Saturn 5 Booster was built, along with many other rockets.

It will probably be a couple weeks before we get to TN but we will be there in time to spend Thanksgiving with Darin and family. Then slowly back to Denton to spend Christmas with Dayna's family.

We don't know how much internet access we will have for the next couple weeks, but we will try to keep you all up to date on our travels as much possible.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Family News

Happy 14th birthday Deidra!

Dayna went back to work a week ago. She was pretty wiped out at first but gradually got her strength back. She saw Dr. Kristoferson Wed. who gave her pictures he took during surgery. The tear in her cartilage (I was wrong - only one is torn - the lateral meniscus) looks pretty bad and that's what he clipped a rough edge off of. The ligament is so stretched I'm surprised she has any stability in her knee at all. She goes back in two weeks to determine the next step. She can only bend her knee about 90% but I'm sure that's normal. It's just a wait and see game now but we know she'll have to have, at the very least, a ligament graft.

Darin and Diane have put a bid in on a cute little house in Cleveland and should find out today if it was accepted or not. It's got dormers and nice porches front and back. They wanted something larger but, to stay in the same school district, they had to settle for a smaller house with less land. It will be such a step up for them from the falling apart mobile they've been living in for years. They are so excited and we're thrilled for them.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Where are we?

I added a link to this page under "Other Links" that will answer that question. It links to a map used by many of us who have Hughesnet satellite internet systems. The majority of the users have a unit made by Datastorm that is mounted on top of their RV's and automatically finds and locks on to the satellite, but many also use a tripod mounted system like we do.

There is an option at the top right side of the map to link to Google Maps using our location. You can toggle to see a satellite view from there. No, you won't be able to see our trailer.....

I have to manually update our location every couple weeks or it drops off the map. I'll try to remember to keep it updated.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Since this is not "no news" it's not good news

The bottom line on Dayna's knee is that it's blown. All he could do today was clip a part of the medial meniscus that's torn and hope that will relieve her pain. Her ACL is stretched to the point it's folding over on itself, thus not prividing any support in her knee & why it hyperextends. Her lateral meniscus cartilage has a "double bucket" tear.

Her surgeon said the next step is an ACL graft which would be a 2-3 hr surgery & mean nine months of rehab. We didn't ask if that would mean she would have to be off work for that long or just a lot of PT. Probably the latter. If that doesn't work then she will need a full knee replacement.

She wasn't ready for this news since he had told her he couldn't see anything on the X-ray or MRI. She was beginning to think it was all in her head or something very minor and she almost cancelled today's surgery.

She's home and resting and only time will tell what the next step is. Thank you all for your good thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, October 8, 2006


We're back in TX at the same campground we were at before we left in June. Dayna is having knee surgery on Wednesday so we don't know how long we will be here. This is the knee injured in the trail bike accident when she was 13.

She has little control over it anymore. It hyperextends on its own and causes her a lot of pain. The doctors can't find anything on the X-ray or MRI so will be doing exploratory surgery arthroscopically. If he can find something fixable that way he will. Otherwise he will close her up and then reschedule major surgery for a later date. So right now our plans are on hold.

But her luck continues to hold - sort of. She was in a pool tournament with Sally employees a few weeks ago & won a TV!

Deidra & Dom have no school today due to one of those teacher days and have free tickets to the state fair so we are going to take them. But not until we drop the scooter off at the repair shop. The coolant sprung a leak before we left CA so the scooter needs to get fixed. That's the first of many repair/maintenance items we have to do while we're here.

Friday, October 6, 2006

HDT Rally

We arrived in Wichita on Saturday and joined about 45 others who tow their RV's with converted big rigs. Since everyone does their own thing, it is fun to see how each person customizes their rig. Some have motorcycle loaders like we do, some have very bare bones conversions and one even has ramps to load a car on the back of the truck and still pulls a big trailer. There are many colors and makes, though Volvo is more common than any other.

We spend a lot of time just talking and sharing experiences, but there is a schedule of events as well. The primary sponsor is Doonan Peterbilt that is located just across the street from the campground. The owner, Kenny Doonan, provides busses, technicians, space for the meetings and his considerable influence in the Wichita business community to arrange for tours and speakers.

The Rally started Sunday night with a pizza party kick off. Monday we had seminars on big rig testing equipment and brake systems. We also had a presentation by the Teton factory rep who came down from Wyoming to be here. Many of us have Teton 5th wheel RV's. Tuesday was a class on tires and a defensive driving course for those who wanted it. It was put on by the local community college. There was also a driving course contest for those who wanted to participate. That evening we had a BBQ.

Wednesday started with a tour of the Cessna Citation plant here in Wichita for those of us who were interested. It was very interesting so see that they still build every plane by hand. The construction methods have changed little in 50 years. After the tour we had a class on diesel engine maintenance, a presentation on tire monitoring systems and another presentation on RV suspensions and braking systems.

Thursday we had a roundtable Q & A session with Doonan's technicians, and then several of us visitied a B29 restoration project going on at Boeing. I really enjoyed that tour. They are rebuilding a B29 to flying condition. It is amazing to consider that it was built over 60 years ago. We also took the group picture yesterday afternoon. All the trucks were lined up in a large parking lot and the Wichita Fire Department brought over a ladder truck so the photographers could get a birds eye view of the rigs.

Things wind down today with only a motorcycle ride planned during the day and our final steak dinner scheduled for tonight. We may leave tomorrow instead of wating until Sunday but have not decided yet.

This has been a very enjoyable week for me. Dianna has not participated in much, but has spent a lot of time on the computer. I bet she really added to her Pogo points this week.

From here we make our way down to Denton for a few weeks. Time for doctor visits and a grandkid fix.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

On the way to Wichita

We left Las Vegas as planned on Monday. I had been watching a tire on the trailer and when I stopped to check it about 30 miles up I-15 it looked worse. I think I had a ply fail in the tire so I decided to put on the spare. Only took about 20 minutes and Dianna stayed cool in the truck.

We filled up with diesel in St. George, Utah and headed east. We followed the AZ-UT border and finally stopped for the night in Fredonia, AZ. The next day we continued east through Indian country, through Page, AZ where we crossed the Colorado river, then through four corners and on to the town of Mancos, CO which is near Mesa Verde National Park. We spent the night at a nice RV resort high in the pines. Fortunately, everything is almost shut down and there are very few people travelling in the high country right now.

Yesterday we travelled through Durango, Pagosa Springs and over Wolf Creek Pass. Do I ever love this truck! We pulled up and over the pass at the speed limit (35-45) with the cruise control set and stopped at the top for lunch. We fed a hungry and very friendly bird some crackers. There was still a couple inches of snow on the ground from a storm a week or so ago. Going down the other side of the pass was just as comfortable. I just put the truck in 7th gear and used the jake brake to control the speed. My foot rarely touched the brake pedal. Some different from the white knuckle towing I used to do.

We continued to Del Norte, CO yesterday and decided to stay a couple days. We arrived about 2 PM so had plenty of time to relax. Today we washed some of the bugs from the truck and trailer and took a drive to South Fork, CO, about 17 miles away, to see the property some friends purchased there. It is a very pretty RV development on the banks of the Rio Grande river. We chatted with some of their neighbors since they are in Texas now.

As you can tell, we are taking our time. We have only been traveling 200-300 miles a day and stopping to see things whenever we want. Dianna got tired yesterday as we were driving so we just pulled off the road and took a nap. Nice way to travel.

Tomorrow we will go about 250 miles to somewhere near the Colorado-Kansas border. That will be half way to Wichita, KS where we will go on Saturday. We will be there for a week as we join a rally of owners of converted Class 8 trucks like ours. We expect that there will be over 50 rigs there so it will be a fun time of looking and learning.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Credit Cards and Las Vegas

Looks like we have some catching up to do! Since we planned to leave California on Monday, we visited Dianna's parents last week. We took the Metrolink train up on Tuesday afternoon and back on Thursday afternoon. A nice visit but sad that we will not see them again for a few months.

On Saturday morning I received a call from Wells Fargo Fraud Department in which we determined that our main credit card had been comprimised. It was not stolen because both Dianna and I still have the cards in our possession. All the fraudlent charges were at Post Offices in the area where her parents live. The only time either of us had our card out of our wallets was when I purchased the tickets from the Metrolink vending machine. There were several people standing there at the time buying tickets as well, but something must have been afoot. They must have somehow seen my number (photographed with phone camera?) and made their own card. According to Wells Fargo the fraudlent charges were made by swiping a card.

This was a real problem since we planned to leave California on Monday and I needed to purchase fuel in Barstow and to rent a car in Las Vegas. I wanted to pay for the fuel ($500) with credit and you absolutely have to have a credit card to rent a car. Wells Fargo worked with us and was able to put a temporary hold on the card which we had removed just before buying fuel and then again just before renting the car on Tuesday. Then we permanently shut it off and have had a new card overnighted to a local bank branch here in Las Vegas. We pick it up this afternoon.

Of course, that is only the beginning of the fun. I have several payments automatically attached to that card so now I will spend several days changing them all over. We don't know what we should have done differently since we are not exactly certain how the card was comprimised, but we know it will take a good deal of time to deal with all the ramifications.

The trip over was uneventful. Towing an RV with our big truck is amazing. We came up Cajon Pass at 65 MPH. Some cars can't maintain 65 on their own. I was in the next to the fast lane and easily staying with traffic. Out across the desert with the cruise control set is just like it would be in a car. None of the mountain passes slowed us down and when we descended the 15 mile 6% grade we just shifted to 9th gear, engaged the jake brake, and never touched the brake pedal all the way down. If I were towing with a pickup it would have been white knuckle time.

We will be in Las Vegas until next Monday. We enjoy seeing the sights and strolling the big hotels. We really like Bellagio where we went a couple nights ago. Their water show is so neat.

We are on our way to a rally in Wichita, KS. It is a gathering of people who have converted the big over the road trucks like ours. There are lots of classes and an opportunity to learn and see what others have done with their trucks.

This is getting long so I will stop. We will try to post more often so it does not get out of hand like this.

Donna, we plan to be here until next Monday so you have a cheap place to stay Saturday if you want to stay with us. We are at the Sams Town RV park on Boulder Highway.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Your speed is ....

Most of you have probably seen the radar trailers that police set up to inform you of your speed. They are usually used when the speed limit drops quickly around a construction site or where they have a big speeding problem. Well, the State Park here has such a trailer.

When we first arrived we were given the electric cart we use. As we checked it out with the ranger we quickly discovered that most of the lights did not work. I told the ranger I would look at it and within a day I had everything working. The marine environment here had caused a lot of corrosion in switches and contacts that just took some sanding and WD-40.

The rangers were very impressed that I was able to get it all working so quickly and a couple days ago they asked me if I would look at the radar trailer. They said it worked up until about a year ago and several people had looked at it but no one knew much about it. They dropped it off last night and I looked it over this morning. I had no idea that ocean air could cause so much damage. Almost every wire is rusted through at the terminal strips and connections. In addition, the three batteries that run the unit are completely dead. It's hard to say if they died of old age or because the solar battery charger was disconnected.

Fixing this is going to be a real challenge. Since they have no manuals or schematics for it I told them they would have to obtain them first. I found the manufacturers web site but they will only deal with police or public safety officers so the rangers will have to order those themselves. I gave them a report of my findings and provided them with a list of things I will need. If they can get it all together by the time we get back here next March I will have something to keep me busy for a few days.

Oh, one other thing.... the radar gun itself it missing. Duh! I hope they just took it out for safekeeping, but I doubt it. Without that, the whole trailer is a lost cause.

We should be so lucky

Dayna's luck (Ipod, full pass to NASCAR race including pit pass, meals in luxury private box and free parking, various products, etc.) has struck again. She just won a half-day off from work by doing a puzzle about payroll terms. She'd only been in payroll less than a month when she won and said she wouldn't have if it hadn't been for her University of Phoenix studies. She's only got nine months to go until she gets her degree and is counting the days.

Darin and Diane are house hunting. It will be a first for them and they are very excited. The property their mobile home is on is up for sale so they have to find a new place to live. It's amazing how much house you can get there for so little - 3/4 BR house on 2-3 acres of land for around $95,000. It's beautiful country, rolling hills, streams and lakes all around them.

We are down to our last week here. We've told the Rangers we'd like to come back next spring and stay until we leave for AK. The park won't be open for camping until May 15th so we will work in the kiosk and do maintenance work until then.

We will leave the 18th for Wichita, KS for a big rig conference with stops along the way in Las Vegas and South Fork, CO where some good friends live. Lots of seminars and activities are planned in KS. We then drive back to Denton for his six-month check-up of his back and Deidra's 14th birthday. We want to spend some time in TN w/Darin & Diane the latter part of October and first of November. Hopefully it won't be as cold as it is between Christmas and New Year's when we normally go! We'd like to come to Mesa the middle of November and stay through Thanksgiving, then back to Denton for Christmas. After that we might spend some time in Yuma or someplace out in the desert saving some money for our trip. Staying back here for another few months will help a lot with our budget as well.

Richard has been avidly reading a few blogs of some retirees who made the AK trip this summer and one couple spent around $11,000 for a three month trip. They ate out almost every meal so that added greatly to their costs. If we only end up doing this trip once we want to do it right so will try to do as much as possible while we're there - about three months. One volunteer couple here lived there for 14 years and want to give us some tips before we leave.

I took the train, with Julie and Marie, to Denair over Labor Day. We went white-water rafting, my third time. This was the best trip I've been on. We really had to work, paddling furiously almost the whole time (wore & broke blisters). It was a level IV so it was very exhilarating! It was great seeing all the Esaus again. Aunt Reah and Uncle Linc had been unable to make Daddy's 90th so I'm glad I went. We had a bus ride to Bakersfield where we caught the train. We could see our train pulling out as we pulled into the station!! We got caught in traffic and the bus driver didn't radio ahead about our status which was a tad frustrating! We then had a 2 1/2 hr layover - oh well.

Other than that "life's a beach"! We've really enjoyed the weather and time to totally relax.

We did have a camper report a lost toddler last evening and one domestic fight a couple of weeks ago but other than that it's been pretty ho hum. Richard has been doing some repair work and I've embroidered three T-s for Donna, Carrie and Lauren as well as a sundress for Lauren. Donna, I forget to get pictures of everything before I sent them off so if you can take some I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Day in the Life of a Camp Host

For those of you wondering what we do all day here's our schedule:

7:15 am - do morning camp check
8:45 am - eat breakfast
9:00 am - pick up trash
11:30 am - take shower & eat lunch
12:15 pm - do afternoon camp check
2:00 pm - go for scooter ride or embroider or lay on the beach or watch TV or run errands
5:00 pm - 6:45 pm - dinner & free time & answer camper questions when we're on-site
6:45 pm - 7:30 pm - go for a walk
7:30 - 9:30 pm - free time
9:30 pm - pick up clipboard for camp check in am

We are putting in about 4 1/2 - 5 hrs a day which I think is more than plenty for volunteers. I sure don't want to do this all year but it helps with the budget and is a way to feel useful. (Donna - some day your turn will come!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Death in Paradise

When we went up to collect the clipboard for our noon camp check the young men who work the kiosk asked if we were aware of all the commotion. We didn't know what they were talking about so they told us a body had been found this morning (after our morning rounds) 1/4 mile into Camp Pendleton's property which butts up to the park's boundary.

Richard goes up & picks up the clipboard just before the kiosk closes each evening and when he was there last evening one of the Rangers was there waiting for a man to exit the park. The man was a convicted sex offender who had been arrested in this park a couple years ago. He was paroled a while back and one of his parole conditions was he not return to the park. The Ranger somehow knew he was there and so was waiting for him. He didn't leave the park while the Ranger was waiting last night and now we know why! Never let it be said Paradise is boring!!

I ended up taking Amtrak home yesterday - a nice excursion. We figured the price of fuel for a round trip in the truck vs. the cost of a ticket and it was no contest. So I had a nice ride and Richard didn't have to fight the horrible Sunday southern California traffic.

UPDATE:    Turns out the man wasn't murdered - he died of a heart attack.  But we had all thought the same thing, Daryl, that someone had gotten revenge.  Still we don't need those type of people around.

The train track is about 100 feet from our house but the station is about ten miles away.  The closest station is around five miles but the train doesn't stop there on Sundays.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Life is a beach and Dad Widener's surgery

Our days have been relatively peaceful since our last post. We do camp checks twice a day. The first is at about 7 to 7:30 and takes about an hour. The afternoon check starts about 12:15 and takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The work is not difficult but sometimes is it tough to figure out who is where and why. Basically in the morning we check for people who came in after the kiosk closed. We leave notices on their vehicles to come to the kiosk and pay. The afternoon check is to be sure people have vacated at checkout time so the new campers can get into their space. Sounds like it should be really simple, but it is not always. In addition to the 175 camp sites the park can have up to 800 day use vehicles each day. People are always parking where they don't belong and others do not want to leave by checkout time. Rangers write a lot of citations.

After our morning check we usually eat breakfast and then pick up trash on one of the trails for a while. It's good exercise and the park does not has enough staff to keep it clean. Many people stop to say thanks for cleaning. I always tell them I used to think pigs were four legged animals.

After our check on Thursday we drove up to Wideners. Dianna's dad had surgery on Friday to remove some more cancerous spots on his face. These were relatively small so it was not bad. He was awake and ready to be discharged by 11 am. He is feeling fine.

I left Dianna at Wideners and came back to San Onofre last night. I will go back to get her Sunday afternoon.

I know it does not sound like much, and that's exactly what is happening. We are just enjoying the beach area weather and doing very little else. Tough life.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Another day in the salt mines

Today we signed our work agreements, received our keys and were trained how to drive the electric vehicle we have at our disposal. That took about half an hour. Then we washed it and drove it up and down the campground a while to get the hang of it. That was it. I know it sounds like tough work, but I think we are up to it.

Daryl, the beach is at the foot of the 100 foot bluff we are on. There are several trails down to the beach so it is probably about a 1/4 mile hike to get there. The actual surf is about 100 yards from us. We can hear it sometimes, but with the road noise it is not often. Being on the bluff keeps most of the salt spray from getting to us so that is a good thing.

After our tough morning's work we rode the scooter into town to pick up my prescription at Walmart and buy a few groceries. Later this afternoon we took a walk down the beach to get some exercise.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

First 2 days on the job

We arrived at San Onofre Bluffs State Beach yesterday afternoon to begin our Camp Hosting job. We have full hookups. Our site is located about half way down the 3 mile long park and we are backed in toward the ocean. From our rear windows we have a glorious view of the ocean that people pay millions of dollars for!

The ranger whom we work for came by yesterday afternoon and dropped off some paperwork we need to fill out. He made arrangements to come back today at 10 to pick it up and begin our training and told us to take the rest of the day off.

During the day we have high speed commuter trains going by every half hour or so. They are not very noisy and since they are so short, are here and gone in just a few seconds. The road noise from Interstate 5 is not nearly as bad as we feared either. It is far enough away that we just barely hear trucks. It is nowhere near as noisy as it was in Aubrey where we were for a few months. There are also a couple freight trains that go by each night and they are going to take some getting used to. Two went through last night between 10 and 11. They lasted forever and were quite noisy. Dianna tells me that another one went by this morning between 5 and 6, but you couldn't prove it by me!

There are also a lot of helicopters from Camp Pendleton in the air most of the day. I have no idea how anyone thinks helicopters can sneak up on anyone in battle situations since we can hear them from a long way off. We also heard some tanks firing this afternoon, but they were not near. In fact, I was not sure what the sound was at first. Much less noise than the fireworks we saw each evening in Valencia.

At this point, after only being here for a little over 24 hours, we really can't understand why someone else has not jumped at the opportunity to host at this campground. Although the noise is certainly more than you would have in woodland campgrounds, it is certainly not as bad as might be expected. And the views and climate more than make up for it. I think we are going to enjoy this.

This morning at about 9:30 I got a call from the ranger. He said something had come up and he would not be able to train us today after all, so he said to take the day off. Hey! I can get used to this!

Since we didn't have to work, we rode the scooter into San Clemente to do some shopping and then went to the beach for the afternoon. Maybe tomorrow we will get trained and start doing something worthwhile. Then again, maybe not.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

New Jobs -- Sort Of

Well, not really. Our month here in Valencia is ending next Tuesday and we have been making plans to move somewhere cheaper and cooler. Our thoughts were to move up to a city campground near Lompoc where the cost is low and most days are in the 70's. Last week we decided to go to the beach and drove down toward San Clemente in southern Orange County near where we used to live. While there we looked around for campgrounds near the beach as we usually do in case we may want to stay in the area sometime in the future.

We visited San Onofre State Beach which is on the bluff south of the nuclear power plant. As we drove through we noticed the campground host spots were filled, but otherwise there were a lot of open spaces. The main reason is that there are no hookups of any kind, except for the campground hosts. On a whim, I stopped at the gate and asked about the campground host positions and if there were any openings. The ranger gave me a phone number to call.  I did and the ranger I spoke with said there was an immediate opening and asked me to send in an application if we were interested. He called two days later and said we can start on the 1st.

Camp hosting or volunteer work is one of the things we have planned on doing to help keep our camping costs low and to provide us with a place to stay where we would otherwise not have hookups. Many state, city, county and federal campgrounds, wildlife preserves and other kinds of facilities use volunteers in exchange for providing a campground site. It works well for everyone involved. Usually they require 30 to 40 hours of "work" per week in exchange for the site, but they are usually very flexible. We will be doing camp checks and answering questions for campers. We may also do some light maintenance and litter cleanup. We will not be cleaning restrooms!

Getting your first volunteer job is the most difficult because you have no references and past experience to point to. The best spots are scheduled months in advance so we figured we needed to get some experience under our belt regardless of the circumstances. And there are circumstances. San Onofre is on the bluff overlooking the ocean with Interstate 5 and the Amtrak line on the other side. The campground is built where the old highway 101 used to be and is approximately 3 miles long and only as wide as the old highway. On Interstate 5 in front of the campground is the imigration service border inspection station and a truck scale. Camp Pendleton is immediately to the south of the campground so you hear Marine helicopters all hours of the day and night.

So you can see, it will not be the most idyllic place to spend a few weeks, but it will give us a reference and make the next volunteer job easier to get. Our trailer is very well insulated and the noise from the surf helps drown out some of the noise. We will see how it goes. One nice thing about doing volunteer work is that you can walk away if things don't work out. After all, a lot of people pay $25 per night to camp there without hookups (the park is full on summer weekends) and they manage quite nicely with much less than we have.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New Job, etc.

It's not often you get a promotion after only being on the job for two weeks - but that's what has happened to Dayna! She started her new position (at a cut in pay) July 3rd. Monday she was called in and told her supervisor is quitting and they are not going to replace him. They want her to take over most all duties except supervisory ones in a new job they are creating for her at an increase in pay. When she graduates next May they will give her the supervisor's position (it's an accountant's position) at another increase in salary. She really loves the company as they have done so much for her in finding a job for her that will allow her to continue to work for them.

The family has agreed, after much conversation, that we need to have caregivers in at least eight hours a day, seven days a week for Mom and Dad. They only are getting between three & four hours now six days a week. Mom doesn't have the strength to stand and prepare meals and has finally recognized her temendous need. She doesn't want to hear that she can't drive anymore and this will solve the problem of their transportation needs as well. I called Mom's home health agency to ask them to look for some people to fill the need. They're going to get back with me in the next couple of days.

I've requested physical therapy for both parents as they are so very frail. My hope is they will get stronger and have a much better quality of life. Daddy has expressed an interest in getting a dog which we all think is great. Since he can't hear or see very well, trying to communicate with him is next to impossible. This will give him a hobby and somebody to get him out of bed for.

Deidra had her tonsils out today. I just talked at her - she sounds so miserable, poor thing. She's been quite a snorer so hopefully this will help that problem as well.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Birthday Parties

Saturday Julie had a surprise 25th birthday party for Marie (her birthday isn't until November) and it was a surprise!  She had it at a sports bar called Yankee Doodles on the promenade in Santa Monica and two blocks from the Santa Monica pier.  She did it early as she knew Dayna and Darin would be out here and it would be nice for Marie to have family there as well as her friends.  It was wonderfully cool there after the 90s & 100s in the valley all week.

Daddy's party was Sunday.  After a few people had arrived and we were just sitting around talking, Dom asked his mom when the party was going to begin.  Dayna had to explain that a party for a 90 year old is a lot different than a party for a nine year old!!

It was so nice to have a mini-family reunion.  Cousins were there who hadn't seen each in years, or ever, and an aunt and uncle who had never been to Mom & Dad's.  A lot of other siblings couldn't be there due to health issues (which we all understood).

We had worked hard all week in preparation; painting & putting up trellises in the front yard, planting vines to climb them, pruning and weeding, shopping and cooking and planning.  It was worth all the effort as everyone really enjoyed themselves - knowing that it may be the last time some of them will be together.

My cousin, Carrie, and I went back down to the promenade Tuesday.  We didn't have a chance to enjoy it on Saturday as we had Mom & Dad with us & needed to get them back home.  It was nice to be able to just relax in the sun and surf.

Donna, our company is now all gone and things have calmed down so I plan to get back to that sundress.  Sorry for the delay.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Travel to Valencia California

We reluctantly left our camp at Big Lake on Thur. morning and drove down out of the cool mountains into the hot desert. We purchased fuel and had lunch in Winslow and stopped for the night in Williams, AZ. As busy as I40 is, there are very few choices for RV parks along it's route through Northern Arizona. There are three parks in Williams and all are very expensive and crummy. They are basically parking lots where rigs are packed side by side.

When we arrived in Williams it was raining gently. It was actually cold and that was a nice surprise. After dinner we went into town where they have a nightly show on the main street. It is a very amature gunfight kind of thing, but the kids enjoyed it.

Friday we drove down out of the high country, across the Colorado River and into California at Needles. The themometer on the truck showed it was 108 and the temperature never dropped below 102 as we continued west to Barstow and then north on Hwy 58. We thought about just finding a place in the desert somewhere to spend the night with the generator running to keep the A/C going all night but decided to check out an RV park in Boron that was listed in our Passport America Camping Club directory. It turned out to be fine, but certainly no resort. We got full hookups, including 50 amp electric service for $10. That's a good deal! We will save the annual cost of Passport America in about 3 more stays at their parks.

We drove through Mojave, Palmdale and Lancaster Saturday morning on our way to Valencia. As we descended the mountains on Hwy 14 the traffic really began to build and we could tell we were in Southern California again. Our truck handles the trailer so well that it was not a problem at all, but I still hate the traffic.

We arrived at Valencia Travel Village where we spent 18 months a few years ago. They had our reserved spot which is only long enough for the trailer alone. We have to park the truck about 50 yards away in a parking area. We got everything set up and let the kids go swimming. They love the huge pools here.

We went into Granada Hills to see Dianna's parents and spent the late afternoon and evening with them. Julie came over too and we all went out to dinner at Coco's. After returning around 9:00 the kids had to go swimming again until the pool closed at 10:00.

This morning I got the satellite set up and we are back online for the next month of our stay here. I'll let Dianna update you on her parents and 90th birthday plans for her Dad.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Boondocking at Big Lake

We have had more rain but not enough. Yesterday we made a trip into Springerville for groceries and laundry. That was about all the excitement for the day. Last night we watched Return of the Jedi and I think the kids finally understand how it all connects.

This morning was our check out for Rainbow Campground. We have been here seven days and did not want to pay for any more days. They charge $16 per night and provide no hookups of any kind. They even charge an additional $3 to dump the holding tanks. I don't think I have ever paid more for less.

While we were wandering around the past few days we discovered several free boondock places where we could stay for free. We had heard that the forest service might be closing them due to fire danger so we stopped in town yesterday to ask. They gave us a map of the areas they are closing but the place we wanted to stay was not effected. This morning we left Rainbow and drove down the road about 10 miles to a really neat spot. I wish we had spent the whole time here. We are at the edge of a huge meadow nestled up against a forest. There is only one other RV in sight. And best of all -- it is completely free.

We are closer to Springerville now so we ran into town to buy propane today. We plan to stay here tomorrow and leave for California on Thursday. Three days to make Valencia. I think it's going to be hard to stay cool starting Thursday.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Chillin' in the high country

This is what relaxation is all about. We are doing a whole lot of nothing and getting pretty good at it.

We made our trip into Springerville for laundry and a few groceries. That was the highlight of Thursday. Friday the kids went swimming again for a few minutes and we went for a short hike in the afternoon.

Yesterday we did absolutely nothing. It was the first day we have had clouds and even a few sprinkles. Not enough to do anything about the dry conditions and even somewhat dangerous as the lightning is what they really worry about. It was really cold in the evening (57 about 8 PM) so we stayed inside and watched another movie. The first Star Wars this time. The kids are really confused about the timeline.

This morning we are having our first real rain. In fact, there is a major thunderstorm raging around us right now. We are getting a steady rain but no lightning close. I talked to one of the rangers yesterday who said we needed to get 2 1/2 inches of rain before they will lift the campfire ban. That ban sure puts a damper on camping activities and that most likely explains the fact that the campground is not full at all.

More later.

1:00 PM -- It's 57 degrees now and a gentle rain is falling.  We have the furnace running.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


This is Deidra posting today. Dom and I braved cold Big Lake yesterday. We took our blow up tubes and layed out in the lake for about half an hour until Dom got too cold and tired. Poppa and nana tried to convince us that it was cold but it actually wasnt that bad. But once we splashed ourselves and got wet the wind chilled us. So I just layed out on the beach while Dom skipped rocks.

Nana here. Looks like we need to make a trip to Springerville to do laundry and get a few groceries today. I bought the kids cross stitch kits and Dom has been working diligently on his. He's learned three stitches and how to count a pattern. I'm very impressed. Deidra got frustrated at the beginning & hasn't gotten back to hers yet. I started an embroidery project for Lauren (a sundress Donna is making for her), ran into some difficulties and haven't gotten back to it as we don't have electricity here. I will have to finish it in CA - sorry Lauren.

I got my baby fix in NM as two friends had babies in March. It was great! Haven't been around them in far too long. Dayna is there this week for her last trip as auditor. She starts her new job in Payroll July 3rd.

Sure are enjoying this 70-80 degree weather after the heat, humidity and wind in TX & NM. Lots of cloud cover this am so it's only 74.

Julie just wrote that Mom and Dad went to their doctor and he thinks Daddy has Alzheimers from some tests that were run previously. He gave him a B-12 shot & wants to see him in a month to recheck him. I'm not seeing symptoms but maybe this is the beginning and hopefully, with new meds that are out now, he can be helped.

We're planning a 90th birthday party for him next month. Dayna, Chris & Darin will all be there as well as other family members from CA. We're really looking forward to seeing some we don't see very often. Julie is also planning a 25th party for Marie the same weekend so lots of doin's!

Stay cool.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Big Lake

After much begging I finally relented and agreed to stay in Edgewood through Sunday. The church we used to attend has an annual Fathers Day car show that is quite an event. We stayed so we could see that and and it also gave us an opportunity to see a lot more old friends. Thanks again to Jason and Jeneane Weaver for the use of Weaver's RV Park.

We went to Gardunios for dinner Sunday. We needed a New Mexican food fix and they do it right. Once you have eaten New Mexican food you will never be satisfied with plain Mexican food again.

We left Monday morning and drove south to Socorro and then west toward Datil. We stopped at the VLA (Very Large Array) which is currently the largest radio telescope in the world. We have driven by there many times and had never stopped. Now we are retired so we don't have a schedule. Yeah! It was interesting and the kids seemed to enjoy it.

We continued about 15 miles west and stopped for the night at Datil Well, a BLM campground at the site of an old cattle drive. This was our first night without any hookups and we managed just fine. Nice quiet campground and only $5. They have firewood available for your use and we had a nice weenie roast followed by smores. Only drove about 150 miles.

Tuesday we continued west to Springerville where we stopped for groceries, and then up to Rainbow Campground at Big Lake. We camped here many times when I was growing up in AZ but it sure has changed. Everything is much more developed. Even without reservations we were able to get a very large pull through campsite. Even though it is a pull through, the loop is in the form of an arc. Our huge rig makes even these tough but I got it in eventually. Actually, back in sites are usually easier as long as we have room to swing the truck.

The campground is run by a private company for the forest service. Costs have certainly gone up. It is $16 per night with no hookups of any kind. We are trying to conserve water as much as possible since moving to dump and refill will be a major undertaking. Last evening we were going to take showers at the central shower facility until we found they charge $3 per person! We are going to be dirty or take sponge baths.

I need to work out a method of hauling fresh water and hauling away grey water. Our trailer can only be filled with a pressure connection so I have no way of just dumping water in. I need to rig up some kind of pump along with a large water bladder of some sort. As for hauling away grey water, I think I need to mount some kind of tank on the truck and then use a macerator to pump waste to it. Lots of things to do.

We took a hike when we got here yesterday afternoon. We went up the the fire lookout about 1 1/2 miles from the campground. The rangers there are really nervous. The fire danger is the worst in memory. Campfires are not allowed anywhere and other restrictions are in place. We will be very careful.

I set up the satellite this morning so we can check email and keep everyone posted on our comings and goings. We will limit our use since we are running off our inverter which uses battery. Until we add solar collectors for electricity we have to run the generator a couple hours a day to charge the batteries. The less of that the better considering where we are and the cost of gasoline.

More later.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

We get the hook

To catch you all up -- I passed the driving test (very easy) and we are now both licensed Texas drivers. I have a class A and M so I am also covered for the motorcycle.

We left Livingston Monday afternoon after getting the licenses and drove west on secondary highways to the town of Lampasas where we stayed the night. We found diesel there for 2.64 per gallon which was at least 20 cents cheaper than anywhere else on the trip.

Tuesday we drove as far as the little town of Brownfield, Texas which is about 100 miles due east of Roswell, NM. Many of these little west Texas towns have free campgrounds that the city provides to encourage travelers to stay and spend some money. We always appreciate those kinds of places. The chief of police dropped by to talk about our rig and take some pictures. He was really enthralled and wanted to someday do something like what we have done.

Wed. we drove through Roswell and headed north toward Vaughn. I am trying to take more senic routes and so decided to take a lightly traveled highway through Corona and come into Edgewood from the south. We drove about 40 miles on NM 247 and saw only a couple other vehicles when at about 1:30 the engine suddenly just quit. There was no warning of any kind. I coasted to a stop on the shoulder of the road in front of a ranch house (the only one for miles). We were in the middle of nowhere. Cell phones did not work and the nearest town was still 12 miles away.

I walked up to the ranch house and there was a lady there. Turns out it was a hunting lodge and her son owned it. They cater to celebrities who want to hunt and play cowboy. It was a really nice place and she gave us the run of it after letting us use the phone. She even left us there alone as she had other things to do. She said no one out there ever locked their house.

I called the towing insurance service (Continental Car Club) I had paid a few extra dollars for when we insured the truck and trailer. They were incredible. They had a big rig tow truck out to us in about an hour (from Vaughn which was about 45 miles away) and he hooked up to the truck and pulled both the truck and trailer together. His tow truck was not air conditioned and certainly not nearly as nice as our truck.

We had him drop the trailer in Edgewood at the church parking lot and then he took the truck on into Albuquerque. The Cummins shop was closed by the time we got there (about 8:30) so we left it in the parking lot. I unloaded the scooter and rode it back to Edgewood.

First thing this morning I rode back in to arrange repairs. About 2 this afternoon it was fixed. Turns out it was a wire that runs from the engine computer to the battery that had broken at the battery. The repair took all of 5 minutes and cost about .25 in parts, but you had to know what to look for. That wire is the only wire other than the main battery cables that runs directly to the battery.

I picked up the truck and moved the trailer from the church lot to Weavers where we have full hookups. They are good friends and have a spot next to their house which her folks use for their motorhome when they come to visit. We call it "Weavers RV Park".

My towing service just paid for itself for the next 50 years. The tow cost the car club about $950. We were towed about 120 miles, which is exactly how far the middle of nowhere is from Albuquerque. My bill from Cummins was about $200 which included reinstalling the drive shaft and troubleshooting the problem.

The heat has been unbearable this trip and we are anxious to get out of it. Here in Edgewood it is unusually hot and the winds are incredible. Huge clouds of dust are blowing everywhere. It is not a nice place to be right now and we plan to head for the White Mountains on Saturday.

Dianna may have more later but that's it for now. I do not set the satellite up when we only stay overnight so unless we find free wireless somewhere, our postings and communications may be a little show.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Well, almost. We left Denton Thursday around 11 am and took the blue highways to Livingston. We arrived at Escapees headquarters and campground about 5:30 pm and got settled in. South Texas is hot and humid this time of year and the pool was very inviting.

Friday we went to MVD to see about drivers licenses. Dianna did not have enough identification with her so she could not get her license until we brought in some additional documentation. I had enough stuff with me so I was able to take the Class A and the Motorcycle written tests. I had been given the wrong manuals to study so I just barely passed the Class A. Those tests contain some of the most useless information I have ever seen. Why would I care about the minimum and maximum heights of reflectors on trucks? Those were two of the questions. I want to drive a truck -- not build one!

Anyway, I need to go back on Monday to take the driving part of the test. Hopefully it will be more straightforward since I have been driving these big trucks for about 4 years now. But you never know....

Yesterday we just laid around and spent a lot of time in the pool. Same thing today except I took the kids to see the new movie Cars while Dianna worked on some embroidery project for Donna.

Assuming I pass the test tomorrow, we will head out for points west by early afternoon. Don't know where we will get to and don't really care, but it will be very nice to get out of the heat as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

On your mark, Get set......

We are almost ready to GO!!! Dom's team ended up in third place. They did very well and Dom improved a great deal this year. He likes baseball and will probably play winter ball next fall.

Therefore, we are ready to get under way. I have my 3 month check up (at 2 months and 2 weeks) tomorrow and we plan to leave here on Thursday for Livingston. I am doing very well and this is just a formality. You could not tell by looking at me working like a dog in the heat around here that I had back surgery. I feel fine and have no pain.

I have been working on getting everything ready including my motorcycle loader. It is designed to be installed in the back of a pickup or fastened permanently on the deck of a truck. I needed to install it so that we could load the scooter from the side in a rear position and then move it forward so the trailer will clear it on turns. I have worked with a local welding shop to fabricate some mounting hardware and finally found the heavy duty wheels which will be installed tomorrow morning. That is the last thing on my list.

Deidra and Dom are excited to be off on another adventure. They love to travel with us and we love having them although it is a very different lifestyle when they are with us. Seems we spend most of our time catering to them and things sure are more hectic. It is very obvious to us why young people have kids and not grandparents.

Internet access will be available most of the time, but any of you who correspond with us should realize that sometimes it will be a day or two when we are without. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

Guess that's it. Check back often as we will try to do a better job of keeping this up to date since we will now have something to report.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Retirement's not so bad

We've (mostly Richard) been working on getting our rig ready for the road. Our icemaker sprung a leak a week or so ago. It's in the water line to the ice-maker so it's just turned off. Have no idea what it's problem is and how we'll get it fixed. He's having fun running electrical lines and other kinds to hook up a camera to the back of the truck so he can see to hook up to the trailer. We found a portable sink that holds three gallons of water to put in the truck so except for a way to heat or cool it (without running the engine) it's got everything it needs to be a not so mini-motorhome.

Dom is in boy's baseball - first year of player pitch - and they will be in the playoffs beginning the week of Memorial Day. Their current record, with one game to go, is 9/4/1. He hit a double today that ended the game as that put his team 10 pts. ahead of their opponents! Games are called for pts ahead or time or innings - usually time.

Too bad Dayna had to miss her son's great hit. She's on a five state trip this week - TN, KY, IN (Evansville - Donna), IL, and MO - about 1000 miles of driving. We gave her our old GPS program & antenna after we got a new one that works a whole lot better. She's really been glad to have it and is the only auditor with one.

She and Deidra will drive to IL next week to be in a wedding so she'll miss Dom's playoffs, too. She's missed a lot with this job.

My dad fell a couple of weeks ago and cut himself on some glass, requiring 7 stitches in his forehead and 8 in his hand. Dayna was there shortly afterward and said he had a great shiner. This week my parents and Marie all have bronchitis. I was ready to fly out again but Mom's LTC ins. has finally kicked in providing help four days a week. That, coupled with Daddy's three, means someone is there everyday to help them. Hopefully, this will be all they need for awhile.

Our niece Patricia, Greg's oldest, won first place in a state-wide chemistry exam. She just discovered last year that she really likes chemistry but isn't sure what she wants to do with it. She goes to a two-week chemistry camp this summer and could win a spot on the team that goes to Korea to represent the US.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Retirement Lunch

The team I have worked with the last 8 years invited me to lunch today. We met at Pappadeaux Seafood in Richardson and had a nice meal. I will be on the payroll until the end of the month, but I have turned in my laptop and other stuff and have cleaned out my desk. I don't know if I will need to go in again to sign some final paperwork or not, but I am really feeling great about all this.

The guys gave me a gift card to a nice steakhouse as a going away present. Thanks guys, very much. Dianna and I will enjoy it.

I went down to Ft. Worth this afternoon to pick up a motorcycle loader I am buying from another Escapee. Unfortunately, the place he took it did not have it removed from his truck yet so I have to make another trip tomorrow afternoon. Then I have to work with a welding shop in Denton to fabricate a mount that will allow me to move it backward and forward on the truck bed. I need to move it to the rear to load, but move it all the way forward so the trailer will clear the motorcycle on a 90 degree turn.

Between physical therapy three days a week and getting ready to leave here on the 8th of June I am staying very busy. I hear that retirement is just as busy, or more so, than working a regular job. I hope not, but it sure is starting out that way!

Monday, May 1, 2006

Finally some big news!

Retirement!  I will not be returning to work.

I can't tell you how much I have looked forward to this.  I have been dreaming about it since I first started working and have grown more and more anxious over the past few years.  The time has finally come.

I had my 6 week post operative check up today and the Dr. says everything is coming along nicely, but that he still wants me to continue with physical therapy for another 4 weeks.  He signed a form that releases me to return to work on June 1st.  With that in hand I notified my manager this afternoon that my last day on the payroll will be May 31st, but that I will not be back to work.  He told me he already expected it and was happy (jealous) for me.

We plan to stay here in Denton until about June 8 when we will leave for Livingston, TX so we can get our TX drivers licenses.  I need a Class A Non-commercial license to tow our trailer with the big truck.  We will take the grandkids with us and make our way out to California to spend a little time with Dianna's parents before heading to who knows where.

So, there it is.  It feels good.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

New Laptop

In preparation for the day when I do not have the use of the company laptop, I purchased a new one yesterday. It is the Sony Vaio TX750P/B. The main reason for selecting this laptop was its size, but I still wanted something that would not be obsolete in just a few months. I wanted something very small so I can use it for my GPS while driving. I have been using my Thinkpad which was small, but this is even more so. It make it less obtrusive while sitting on the dash.

This laptop has a wide screen that is only 10.7 inches corner to corner. The screen is only 9 3/4 wide and 5 1/2 high and I have never seen a screen as thin as this one. It is only a little over 1/8 of an inch. This makes the print on the small side, but since I usually have it actually sitting on my lap when I am using it out of the truck, it is readable. I have experimented with increasing the size of the font, etc. and found it is OK as it is for my needs.

It has a decent processor (Intel 753), an 80G hard drive (only 4200 rpm), built in wireless, bluetooth and even Cingular Wireless WAN (at $80 per month it won't get used!), and a built in double layer DVD burner. With the battery, which should last between 4 1/2 to 7 hours, it only weighs 2.8 pounds. Really a featherweight. It came with XP Pro.

So far it seems great for my needs and I have only found two things I need to get used to. The keyboard does not have all the keys nor the great feel of my Thinkpad and I am very used to the button mouse. I have never liked the glide pad but that is all this has.

One other nice built in feature is the A/V capability. It can be used as a DVD player without even booting to Windows so it is also a basic portable DVD player. Of course the sound is terrible over the built in speakers but with a headset it is very nice. I don't know that I will use that much but who knows.

So, the fun of customizing, loading software and moving data is already underway. It will probably take several days to get it set the way I want.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I'll post an update! I am continuing to improve. That's it.

Didn't think that would work. I go to PT three times a week and do stretching and strength exercises. I am able to do more all the time, but I am still sore after each session. That's good they tell me. I also walk about one and one half miles every day. All in all I am making good practice and the ache in my back is less and less. I can no longer call it back pain. I go to the Dr. next Monday for my six week check up and will know what happens from here. I am still not released to go back to work and really don't see how I could as long as I continue with PT. It takes all morning and I sure don't feel like doing much all afternoon.

Dianna has returned from her week in California visiting her parents. They are both doing OK now. Seems she usually does not get there until things have settled down. By OK I mean that they are both at home, not in the hospital. The staph infection is much improved which is a good thing. They do have part time help coming in three days a week to help with cleaning and other chores.

Dom is in baseball again this year so we get to go to his games every week. He is doing pretty good this year.

Deidra is in her last year at the mid-school in Denton. Next year she will be attending the new mid-school near her home. That will be really nice. She currently catches the bus at 7:50 and does not get home until 5:00. That one and one half hour bus ride after school is a huge time waster.

That's about all I can think of right now.  It's tough to post when there is not much going on, but I appreciate everyone thinking of me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Vitamin D

Now I am following another Dr. thread as a result of one of the tests prior to my  back surgery.  Found out I have very poor bone density.  My GP said I was way to low for a man (I assured him I was, which he already knew) and ran a calcium and Vitamin D test.  My vitamin D came back way low.  No idea why.  I am taking mega doses for the next four weeks to see if that helps. Then I have an appointment with an endochrinologist to see if we can figure out why and if it is anything to worry about.  All my other blood work is fine.  The only blessing in all this is that I have met my out of pocket insurance maximums for the year so I have free medical treatment for the rest of the year.

I really don't want this blog to turn into a running commentary on our medical conditions but it seems the easiest way to let everyone who has an interest in us know what is happening.

I am going to PT three days a week and seeing progress in my strength and flexibility.   At this point I don't know if my backaches are due to the surgery or to the workout these two sadistic young ladies put me through.  It is certainly a big improvement over my condition prior to surgery.  Then I had back pain.  Now I have backaches.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

More Scam Artists

We advertised our truck camper for sale on an online RV trading site a few days ago. When we bought it we thought we would use it for our Alaska trip after retirement and for vacations with the grandkids in the meantime. We have used it several times, but it is really not big enough for the grandkids and us anymore and we have decided to take our trailer when we make the Alaska trip.

Yesterday I received a nice response to the ad asking for photo's and additional information. It sounded like they were interesed so I sent some photos and a nice response. Then today I received an email telling me that they had decided to buy it and went on to explain how they wanted to handle the payment. I would receive a cashiers check made out to me and sent from some company. The check would be for about twice what I am asking for the camper because the company owed the buyer that much money. I was to deposit the check and wire the difference to the buyer. Then they would make arrangements to pick up the camper.

Of course, I immediately realized this was a scam attempt. What many people do not know is that cashiers checks are very easy to forge and not at all secure. The banking rules in most states require that a bank make the funds from any deposited cashiers checks available within 24 to 48 hours. This they do. However, the actual behind the scenes check clearing process through the Federal Reserve can take up to two weeks. It often takes that long to find out the check is worthless.

I forwarded a copy of the correspondence to Yahoo security since the scam artist was using a Yahoo email account, not that it will do much good. You just have to be very careful. Never, never, never send or give anyone goods or money in exchange for a cashiers check without having your bank verify that it is genuine.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006


At Richard's first post-op appt. yesterday the surgeon said his incision has healed like a baby's. He was given the green light to drive again which was welcome news. He's sore in his stomach and hip area and was told that's because his spine was stretched during surgery to remove the old disc and implant the artificial one. That explains it! He now goes for PT three times a week. TBI (Texas Back Institute) has just opened an office closer to us so he will be able to go there instead. He's taking fewer and fewer pain pills all the time so it's just a matter of continuing the healing process.

I got my embroidery machine out a couple of days ago for the first time in several months. I had gotten so frustrated with it binding up over the holidays that it sat for some time. My first project was this shirt for Mom L and all went well, though I held my breath the whole time waiting for something to go wrong.  I also worked on some Easter items.

My folks have been in out of the hospital several times over the past few weeks. Daddy was admitted again yesterday (as my mom was being discharged for gall stones & pancreatitis) as a result of a minor stroke, severe dehydration and a staph infection in his arms which is no better after having been treated for a couple of weeks. Our niece, Marie, works at the hospital where they go so she's been helpful in getting good doctors to see them.

Julie is an accountant and works 80-100 hrs a week this time of year. She's taken quite a bit of time off taking Mom & Dad to doctor's appointments, the hospital, etc. Her bosses have been very kind in giving her the time but it's getting close to April 15 and they are beginning to make noises. Richard told me yesterday he feels he can handle things on his own now so I will be going out next week for about 10 days to help out. We've hired care givers to come in several hours a day but they can't do it all.

I'm so grateful I've got family in CA who can do much of the care giving but I think we are getting closer to pulling the plug and maybe moving out there for a time to get things settled for Mom and Dad.

Friday, March 31, 2006

New Bed

We purchased a new air bed a few days ago and it arrived yesterday. It was pretty large and we did not want to leave it outdoors overnight as there were thunderstorms all around us so Dianna decided to put it together after she got home from Dom's baseball game last night. With my supervision she managed to get it all done, but I think she is really appreciating me more lately with the realization that even simple things like putting the bed together take a certain amount of strength she usually does not have to summon. I actually hated to see her struggling with it because that is the sort of thing that is my job. I guess that is old fashioned thinking to some, but we have our roles pretty well defined and it has always worked well for us.

I am still moving very slowly. I feel much better and went all day without anything stronger than a couple tylenol. My biggest problem for the past few days was due to a side effect of the surgery and pain medication. At the risk of saying more than I want to, let's just say that I don't feel so "out of sorts" after last night.

My back was hurting again this morning so I took a pain pill and muscle relaxant. It really knocked me out and I think will try to take only half a dose if I need more. These are really strong codeine. I have absolutely no energy so need to work on building that back up. Talking short walks every day will help with that.

I see the Dr. on Monday for my first follow up and will let everyone know what he says.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Step at a Time

Well, things are moving along nicely. I'm pretty stiff and sore, but that's to be expected and it is not as bad as I thought it would be. It will take a while for all the swelling to go down and for everything return to normal but the anti inflamitory medication and the pain pills they gave me help keep it in check. I take one pill every 4 to 6 hours. The medication does make me a little light headed and dizzy so I have to take it slow. Sleep seems to be very high on my list. I seem to be spending more than 12 hours a day sleeping right now. Maybe I am just catching up.

I'm not ready for any 5 mile hikes just yet. I have done some walking around the park just to loosen things up, but the Dr. was adamant about not over doing. I can see where that would be a temptation. For now I am just going to watch a lot of TV (thank goodness for TIVO) and spend more time surfing the web than usual. My laptop is actually sitting on my lap!

I appreciate all the good wishes and concern from everyone.

Friday, March 24, 2006

He's Home!

Less than 24 hrs after major surgery & he's home - unbelievable!

His surgical team was the best around according to the pre-op and surgical nurses. He had the head of the anesthesia team as his anesthesiologist and one woman monitored him via electrodes and needles and a laptop computer. She watched for any nerve impact as organs, blood vessels and nerves were moved around during the surgery. If it looked like they were someplace they didn't belong she could tell them to stop & do something different.

Dr. Guyer showed me before & after films shortly after his surgery yesterday. All went according to plan. He has a three inch horizontal incision about two inches below his belly button (they wanted to make sure he has a nice bikini line!) He ended up with the FDA approved model instead of the experimental device but he's not disappointed. Dr. Guyer said his disc was even discolored, which he doesn't often see, so it needed to come out.

He was kept in recovery over twice as long as normal as his blood pressure was too low. He was laying on his side & when they rolled him onto his back it soon came up to where it needed to be.

They were getting ready to catheritize him last evening when he finally managed to pee on his own. He was most grateful he didn't have to have a Foley.

He was up and walking within a few hours of surgery and walked out to the car today. He said he was expecting it to be a lot worse from everything he'd heard but he says he's fine. All the pain associated with the surgery and since is far less than what he was experiencing with his back on a day to day basis since his last major episode last fall.

He climbed the four steps into our house with no problem and just acts like nothing's wrong. I attribute much of it to his very high tolerance for pain. We even went shopping at WalMart, before coming home, to get his prescription and some groceries, but he did use an electric cart there.

He can't drive or lift anything heavier than 5# until his two week post surgical appoint- ment. Now he just has to heal and from all indications it won't take long.

The facility is fairly new with all the modern conveniences, including a five-star chef and Direct TV, no TIVO though :-(. There are only 18 in-patient rooms as much of what they do is on an out-patient basis. news story Their entire staff is just awesome.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I know they made a difference. We were both at peace before and during the surgery.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Getting Ready

Today was the day to get all the paperwork and other preparations done for my disc replacement surgery on the 23rd. I am convinced that surgery is not done with medical instruments but instead is done with paper! In addition to signing about 100 documents and confirming that I do not have any allergies for the umpteenth time, I watched a video on what to expect before and after the surgery, got my back brace (velcro & kevlar belt), had a physical including blood tests, did my pre check-in at the hospital and met with my doctor.

You always want to have an experienced surgeon when you undertake these kinds of things. Texas Back Institute has done more disc implants than any other facility in the country and Dr. Guyer has personally done over 200 of them. There are few if any who have done more. The access surgeon is also very important and needs to have a high level of skill according to what I have read so I asked Dr. Guyer about that. He told me that my access surgeon has done over 3,500 of these procedures! Talk about an experienced team.

I know it is not going to be much fun and will hurt for a few weeks, but I really hope the end result is an improvement in my quality of life so I can do the things I enjoy for the rest of my life. Our RV lifestyle requires some lifting and a certain amount of activity and flexibility that I just cannot do now without serious pain. I just want to get this behind me so I can start living again.

I appreciate everyone's concern and thoughts. I feel about as comfortable about it as one can given the circumstances.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No news is good news

At least in the case of my folks it is! They are doing fine. Meals on Wheels brings them two meals a day five days a week. They have someone coming in to help clean. A local senior center has many activities which is what my mom desperately needs. With Daddy not being able to hear they don't communicate often and she needs a social outlet. She admitted that yesterday so I think she will start going out more, maybe even take an art class at the adult education nearby. She's really feeling great, symptoms all gone and she's gaining weight and getting stronger.

Richard goes in for his day of pre-op tests and informational meetings tomorrow. He said he's read that the "access" surgeon is critical in this type of surgery. He's going to ask Dr. Guyer tomorrow if he will be the one doing it. He's one of the pioneer surgeons doing this procedure and has done hundreds so Richard really feels comfortable with him. I'm glad because I'm nervous enough for the two of us!

Darin has been diagnosed with Reynaud's Syndrome and is on a new medication for it. The cold weather in TN seems to bring on his attacks. Hopefully the medication will bring him some relief.

We're sure glad we have a new nephew and that mommy and baby are doing great! Welcome, Carsten!!

Richard says he wants to spend our first summer after retirement spending time with our parents. He hasn't seen either for a couple of years. I'm grateful I've been able to make so many trips to visit. And Mom L. now tells me she's got her genealogy files confused again so I know what our visit is going to entail, at least for me! She does this periodically so she'll have some company I know!!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Racking Up Those Frequent Flyer Miles

Richard and I went to the airport together last Sunday, he to fly to Philadelphia and me to southern California. He returned Tuesday to fly out again on Thursday to MA. He won't be home until the 7th of March. He is scheduled for surgery on March 23.

I spent a week cooking, cleaning and tending to my parents. Bottom line - she was starving herself, unknowingly. She assumed her body would adjust to a reduced diet. ALL of her symptoms can be attributed to her not getting enough nourishment. She seems to always learn lessons the hard way.

A nurse will be out twice a week to take her blood pressure and other vitals. A physical therapist will go to show her some things she can do to build up her strength. Meals on Wheels will start Tuesday bringing two meals a day for each of them, five days a week.

Daddy was approved by his health insurance to have some in-home help. We can have someone come in as often as three times a week to cook, do light cleaning, laundry, make beds, shop, etc. Between the two I think they will be taken care of.

Mom was much improved by the time I left, fixing some meals herself. She's on an appetite enhancer which has greatly improved her appetite. We went for walks and out to eat a lot. She said she had months of not going out to dinner to make up for! Unfortunately my waist line didn't appreciate it though it did wonders for her morale.

Daddy has to have more skin cancer surgery. It was originally scheduled for next month but we postponed it for six weeks. None of us feel it's good for him to be subjected to all this anesthesia.

She had gained about 8 1/2# in a just one week's time so I left feeling much better about her (their) situation. Hopefully my next trip will be one of just enjoying our time together.

Dayna hasn't heard anything definitive about the charges against her but her supervisor has told her that some evidence is pointing to the lady who made the charges.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Good News and Bad

Good news - Richard has been accepted into TBI's (Texas Back Institute) study for the Kiniflex disk replacement. Bad news - it will mean surgery. He doesn't want surgery but has exhausted all his other options. He has to have a bone density test first to see if he qualifies, otherwise it will mean the disk fusion method.

This is a new disk product that is being studied in comparison with the Charite (which itself is so new insurance companies don't pay for the surgery). This surgery is paid for by the company that makes the disk. He won't know until after the surgery which product was used but they are both good so he doesn't really care which he gets.

He'll be contacted for the bone density test and then scheduled for the surgery, whichever it turns out to be. Recuperation time is a lot less with the disk replacement; he should be out of work for less than a month. They go in through the abdomen making the incision a little longer than one for an appendectomy. He will go home from the hospital in just 24 hrs. So, if all goes well he'll have the surgery sometime mid to late March. He's not anxious for the surgery but is anxious to stop hurting.

We're going to have to get my parents some help as Mom has fainted twice in the past two weeks due to very low blood pressure (60 over something standing up yesterday) which is due to her not eating and drinking properly. The doctors told Julie that Mom and Dad need to get some help so she's making calls today to see about LTC, Meals on Wheels and transportation. We've put the burden on Greg to tell Daddy he can't drive any longer. This is always an extremely tough time in parents' and children's lives when the roles become reversed.

Deidra has to have her tonsils out which she's not looking forward to at all. Dayna will be gone the week of spring break so it will probably be the first of summer vacation.

Dayna is having a really tough time at work right now. After her last audit in Alabama she came home to have LP (Loss Prevention) inform her the clerk at the store has accused her of stealing $1800! A more honest person you'd be hard to find and her supervisors here all know that. She was even fingerprinted last week as the envelopes the money was supposedly in have been found. She feels like a criminal and is having a hard time handling the stress of the accusation and investigation.

Sally doesn't usually put cameras into their stores due to the cost but there just happens to be two in this particular store as they are having other LP issues. The LP supervisor in the area didn't want to pull the tape for another couple of weeks due to his current investigation but the head of LP here told him to go ahead and do it as he wants to clear Dayna's name. We would all love to be a fly on the wall when the tapes are pulled as no one, including the store manager, know the cameras are there!

She's been told that if it were just between two employees at the store Sally wouldn't be getting involved but because she's corporate they have to investigate. Hopefully she'll hear something today.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Nothin' much new

Just a quick update before my husband starts harrassing me about not posting! He has another diskogram this coming Friday on the one disk that is in question. The one odd side effect from the previous one (and one that he's not complaining about but does question) is his back feels a little better. The surgeon has no clue why either.

He is Michigan right now working on a hardware update for CVS. They weren't well prepared for it so he's spending some long hours at their warehouse. He's due back Monday evening.

Dayna heads to NC this week after a trip to WA last week where she had to deal with some snow trying to get to one store. She should soon have enough FF miles to get preferred seating and some upgrades.

She's going to go see her friend, Crystal, in NM next month. Crystal is expecting her first baby (she's 32). Dayna really wants to be with her as they were very close when we all lived out there. She even lived with us for awhile so we're like second parents to her. Crystal has a special bond with Deidra that I know Dayna would love to be able to reciprocate with but, unfortunately, the distance won't allow that.

Friday, January 20, 2006

California & Texas

Health seems to be the running theme of our and my folks' lives right now. My dad had more biopsies and surgeries last Friday on six different spots. I am continually amazed that he can tolerate the general anethesia as often as he goes through this at his age.

Mom and I were in Denair when he had his surgery. We debated going but decided it was very important for Mom to go see her sister. Julie had made all the arrangements with different family members to be with Daddy while we were gone.

We almost turned around in Fresno as Daddy had an anxiety attack again. He had to go in for an EKG Thurs. morning (the day we left) to verify his heart could stand the surgery. He had driven Marie's car there as we had their car. He came out, couldn't find it and then spent a half hour looking for it. He got the security people to help but they didn't know what they were looking for so finally called Marie who promptly called her mom. Julie came right down and got to the house as Daddy was coming home. He had finally figured out which vehicle he was in but was in a total state of panic by the time he got there. He eventually calmed down with Julie there and all went well the rest of the weekend.

We had a nice visit up north though Mom and I were sick the whole time. I ended up in urgent care for a sinus infection & laryngitis - mainly to get on antibiotics to keep from infecting all the frail, elderly people there. It's so hard for me to go to CA as I usually spend my entire time taking them to doctor's appointments and I see their health deteriorating each visit. I know it's just a matter of time and that's difficult to contemplate.

Richard had an appt. w/the surgeon Wed. The surgeon wants a portion of the diskogram repeated as the results were ambiguous and inconsistent with the MRI & CT scan. His regular physician is out of town so he won't be able to schedule that until next week. The surgeon told him if the next diskogram confirms the MRI then he would be a candidate for a disk replacement or fusion. So ... more waiting.