Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Update - Not all yet!

Monday Blog 111907

It seems like forever since I’ve plunked myself down to write the trip home wrap-up to the page! Up super early on this somewhat chilly Monday morning, so I’ll give it a shot while the house is quiet! Hhhmmm! Wonder what that means?!?!

We left the campground just east of Hot Springs fairly early in the AM and decided to head back downtown to grab a few caches before we left. We also ended up downtown in the middle of the Historical District to do some exploring and stuff. Went into the Fordyce House, the National Park Visitor’s Center and watched a short video about the development of the hot springs and then the commercial development of it. Quite interesting. Even more interesting was the tour of the Bath facilities of the Fordyce House! The men’s and women’s bathing areas have been restored to their “heyday” equipment. There were areas where you could soak in the hot mineral water, steam cabinets, and massage tables with critically placed holes so NOTHING would get pinched or mashed while you were getting your steamy massage! ER, that’s steamy from the hot mineral water!!! NOT the OTHER steamy! At least that’s what I think based on the time of use of the springs!! Sharon wanted to know it the women’s side had corresponding holes placed for the comfort of the ladies!! I won’t go there!!! And to think, our massage tables now only have a place to put your FACE so your neck can be straight and not turned when you get your therapeutic massage!!! [:D] But, I will have to add that the heritage tables were made of porcelain and were not padded!!! I suppose that could make a BIG difference!! OK, enough already with the mental images!!!

While we were parked in a secure (read that “available”) parking space, we decided to have lunch at the National Café across the street from the Visitors Center. What a surprise! We both made the comment that what we ate there was probably the best meal we’ve had since we left home almost two months before. We have had some great meals because we ate out a lot in Texas, but nothing matched the flavors and presentation of our lunch at the National. It is highly recommended if you’re in Hot Springs! It doesn’t look like anything different from thousands of main street cafés just about anywhere, but WOW, there IS a difference!!

Sharon walked for her longest walk to date while we were exploring Hot Springs and did extremely well! She did get a little tired, but walking on crutches for three or four blocks would have made ME tired! Frequent rest stops made the walk possible and worthwhile! In fact, that contributed to our decision to have lunch at the National Café.

After we had lunch, we drove around Hot Springs and grabbed a couple of caches before heading out to Benton, AR. We really stretched ourselves and travelled all of 55 miles before we stopped for the night! Our somewhat late departure from Hot Springs put us into Benton just after dark. That helped our decision to spend the night there! That and the fact that Sharon was pretty well pooped after her “marathon” walk in HS! Didn’t take us too long to have our dinner of cereal and bananas and crash for the evening, AFTER watching Dancing with the Stars, of course!

Tuesday, Nov 13, 07

We woke up in Benton, AR fairly early and hit the road after we had a nice breakfast prepared by our private chef in the View! We decided to have breakfast “out,” and waited for a while to eat. Had to make a WallyWorld stop for groceries and a few items we decided we needed in the View, and stopped at the Dixie Café for whatever meal you have for breakfast at 11:00AM! Our table put us in the midst of law enforcement officers, some from Little Rock PD and some from the Arkansas Highway Patrol, some in uniform and some in plain clothes wearing badges and carrying sidearms! All total, there were 9 of them. We were well protected! Apparently, the AHP officers were part of a drug enforcement task force. We must not have posed a threat to their “business” because they freely discussed details of some of their adventures while they were there, comparing notes to help each other in their endeavors. Interesting! That’s about all I should say about what we overheard! When we left, I stopped by all three tables and shook each officer’s hand and gave them a big “Thanks!” for doing what they do so well! They looked a little surprised that someone would take time to do that! OK, so I got a warm fuzzy for doing it, too!! Oh Yes!, Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast is WONDERFUL!

After breakfast, we took one of the few “Interstate Highway” rides. For the first day on the trip, we had a target goal in mind before we left, and used I-40 to help us get there a little quicker. We jumped off I-40 at Forrest City and grabbed a couple of caches in town and proceeded south to West Helena, AR before crossing the Mighty Missipp and heading north to Tunica, MS. Wonder why we went THAT way?!? We did go to one of the casinos and headed for the buffet for dinner. (Way over priced and under good!) and then went over to the floor for a brief hand at the one-armed bandits (no longer an appropriate name – you simply press buttons now!). On the few occasions when we find ourselves in a casino, we set a small amount to “throw-away” and quit when that is gone. Sharon sometimes has a lucky way with the machines and this time, she did not disappoint! In fact, contrary to our normal pattern, we BOTH came out with over double our starting cash! It’s not likely to change any of our retirement plans but it was fun and we much more than paid for the buffet! Hmm, Free meal! That good!! Actually our luck held up longer than that. We pulled into the casino campground VERY late and I ignored the sign that gave instructions to go back to the casino hotel lobby and register before camping. I just found a site to use and plugged in electricity and water and went to bed, figuring to pay-up in the AM when the office opened. After Bulli was fed and completely walked, I strolled up to the office to keep us honest. When I walked in, I knew this was NOT going to be fun! The lady, er, woman who was on the desk was on the phone with someone who apparently wanted to make reservations. She was in the middle of reading them the riot act for some reason and had the patience of an over excited Tasmanian devil! I KNEW this was NOT going to go well, since I had so obviously and willfully NOT followed their explicit instructions! I was right! I stated my business which was paying for the night had just spent in their park. WOW! The bomb at Hiroshima was of less intensity! I got REAMED for so blatantly violating their system! OK, I’ll take my lashes with the wet noodle, lady, now get on with it! When she finally stopped long enough to get her breath, she tried to enter our data into the computer! After fiddling with it for a few minutes, she looked up at me and said, “I’m NOT going through all that just to collect one night’s pay! Get out of here and you NEVER stayed here!!” Thank you, mam, and have a great day!” WOW! Normally, I would have reacted MUCH different than I did, but somehow, the newer model “Joe” kept his cool and held a mild manner! Some of you who have known me for a long time may be totally astounded at that, but it’s totally true! Hey, and I wasn’t even on anything!!! I probably should have given a report to the casino management, but given all the “FACTS” of the case, there is likely NOTHING they could or would have done to improve the situation. All I’ll add to that is that there is a LOT of anger from somewhere in that woman and she should in no way be interacting with the public much less customers you’re trying to attract!

That is MUCH more information than I intended to give on that stop! The campground facilities, on the other hand, are the very nicest that I’ve ever seen. After working at the park in Nashville for five years, I very much appreciated their cleanliness, the basic design, and even the way the hook-ups are installed. It was well-thought-out in design and execution. The amazing part is that the way it’s designed, it puts a lot of rigs in a fairly small area and no one site feels crowded! It’s like it’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!

More to follow on the remaining days of the trip!


Friday, November 16, 2007


It only took us 8 days but we made it. Arrived home Thursday afternoon around 3 PM. More details to follow from the one who is good with the words and stories.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just draggin' on down the road!

Well, another night with WiFi running in the campground! We actually made it all the way into Hot Springs, AR tonight! Went to the Crater of Diamonds State Park late this AM and piddled around with finding our fortune among the dirt and rocks of the diamond crater! What and interesting place. This was a volcano eruption sometime in the early formation of the earth and it brought up these chunks of diamonds with it. Would like to come back sometime and be serious about the search. The odds are NOT in your favor but are somewhat better than a Blackjack table at your local casino!! [:D] It will be fun to have a go at it anyway! There were some pretty serious miners out there. Story has it that a local guy spent some time there almost every day and paid for his two kids college with what he had found! Even today, there was a one caret chunk found about the time we arrived!

We cached our way across US 27 and US 70 into Hot Springs just in time to run up to the top of the little hill and go up in the observation tower. I thought it must be a hundred feet tall or so but when we got in the elevator, the recorded message told us it was 210 feet high! What a view across the area! Worth the trip but we didn't stay long! We decided to leave pretty quickly and move on down the road. Made it at least five miles out of town!! Wow! We're running hard now!

Sharon's done really well. She's stretching the distance and time she can "run" around on her crutches! The road seems to be getting easier for her too, so we may pick up the pace a little BUT probably NOT! It's fun just poking along and smelling the roses along the way! Travel the way it should be - on the backroads to see what this country is really like!

We'll be home sometime! James, Carol and Abby will be coming in Thanksgiving Day, so we have a target date! Gotta be home by that Wednesday!! [:D]


Saturday, November 10, 2007

On the road to Nashville!

We are finally on our third night out of Plano! The first day we covered a screaming, no doubt record setting 171 miles and ended up in Halls, TX at the Hitchin' Post RV Park. Had a chance to "break-in" our memory of campground life and what is necessary when you land somewhere! Worked out well!

After the necessary morning chores of undoing the connections and leaving the Hitchin' Post, we spent quite a bit of time in Marshall, TX visiting the Marshall Pottery and the local WallyWorld to stock the food provisioning for the run home! Also picked up some 4 inch mattress pads to assist the normal cushioning of the View's convertable seating beds! Helped tremendously! By the next night, we had covered an astounding 76 miles as we screamed along through the east Texas countryside! In the middle of that, we fueled in the little town of Jefferson, TX and experienced one of the downsides to having an '07 or newer diesel vehicle. They require Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel fuel that contains less than 15 PPM of lead. All stations are required to stock this by 2010, but now, although many stations have converted, many do not! In large population areas and on the Interstates, this is usually not a problem, BUT in a town of 5000 or so, it CAN be a bit difficult! Had to make one or more stops to get the right stuff! There are conponents in the '07 vehicles that can be ruined by using the older, higher sulphur fuels. The cheap one is over $1500, so you can see that a "just this once" approach is NOT a viable risk to take. Thank you, EPA, for taking such good care of us! [;(] Glad we're being taken care of so well!!!

Our second night was spend at the Circle W campground in Atlanta! Circle W is a pseudonym for WalMart parking lots! Oh, and by the way, that was Atlanta TEXAS not the one that popped into your mind. We were lucky in that we chose the outside of edge of the parking lot as we soon were surrounded by 18-wheelers that were bedding down for the night! Closed the door and when we got up, all but two free-standing flatbeds that had lost their cabs were gone. Neither of us heard a thing! You’d think we’d have been aware enough that the one next to us would have shaken us out of bed when he fired that big thing up! Not a whimper!!! We had run the generator so we could use our CPAP’s but it wasn’t THAT noisy!!

We stopped in Texarkana, TX to have lunch (breakfast?) with Carole Say, one of our geocaching friends! We actually met her when we headed to GeoWoodstock IV in ’06, but she and Sharon had been corresponding for some time prior to that! Now, we’re old friends! Well, none of us are that old, but we feel like friends for some time!! [:D]

Tonight finds us in the Miner’s Camping & Rock Shop RV park just out of Murfreesboro, Arkansas. We plan to go to the Crater of Diamonds State Park Mine in the morning and dig up our fortune! If you have heard the news in the last couple of weeks, there have been two diamond larger than two carets found here within the last month. I believe the last one was just over 4 carets uncut that was found last week. Previously, about three weeks ago, there was one found that was 2.8 carets. Actually, we’re here because there is an EarthCache here that involves doing some of the mining yourself. That’s going to be one fun cache! Best I can tell after dropping by there today, it’s gonna’ get REALLY messy!

That pretty well brings us up to date for the trip, except for mentioning the few caching stops we made. Have found an average of 6 caches a day so far. Certainly not a record breaking pace, but that’s what we had decided to do before we left!

Oh, yes, Sharon is making the trip just fine! We’re stopping often enough that she can stretch her legs and not get to uncomfortable. Each day is getting better! She may make it after all!

Until our next connection (or home, whichever occurs first!),


Thursday, November 8, 2007

On the road with The GeoVanii!!

On the road again!! More than just a song to us at the moment! We tossed the last of our things in and were on the road around 11:30 this morning. Took the back roads to the ease out of Plano and made the drive through the country. Wylie, Rockwall, and Terrell were the major “burgs” on our route before we turned to US Hwy 80 in Terrell. When we came through Wylie, (that sounds strange – my brother-in-law is named Wylie!) we saw a ram-shackle little fall-down looking barbeque place. Knew instantly that it required a stop for lunch. We had just been talking about needing to grab a bite before we ran out of places to stop! Wow! Great “Q!” Best we’ve had since we’ve been here! Nice thoroughly smoked but mild, served without the ubiquitous overpowering tomato-based sauce, Just a nicely flavored broth-type sauce liberally sprinkled over on the meat! What a surprise to find this on the way out of the area! Reminded me of a place I stumbled onto just out of Macon, GA many years ago! Different type Q but the same measurement criteria!

We found that we could run about an hour to an hour and a half before we had to take a break for Sharon to get up and stretch out a little! That was one of the factors that has set such an uncertain time on our getting home! We did stop by some caches and they seemed to be just the ticket to get her out and limber again for the next run! All in all, it seems to be working out well!

I went to the office of the Extended Stay to check out and say thanks for all the extra things that that Daniel, the manager, has done to make Sharon’s recovery as good as it could be. When I mentioned that one of the best things he did was provide the type recliner chair for her, he asked if she had one at home that would be that comfortable. It told him that no, but we had found the model she needed to meet those criteria. He asked if we wanted to take THAT specific chair with us! WHAT!?! Sure enough, it was a style of chair that Extended Stay had phased out and he just happened to have one or two left in the storage room. Yes, we TOOK the chair! That will give us a little slack in having to run out and get one to fit her needs immediately! I unloaded the little trailer and reloaded to put the weight up front! Wow! Great care and what a give away!! Thanks, Daniel!!

Getting time to shut down and get her bed made! She is using the dinette for her bed and that’s also the computer room! In a small unit like this, things have to do double or triple duty!! Like me – I’m driver, cache grabber, dog walker, and a whole bunch of things else! Yeah, that’s me, Old Double Duty!!! [:D]

Until next,


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Free At Last, I'm Free At Last

Saw the Dr. today and he says all is well and we can go home. We’ll be out of here tomorrow morning.



What she meant to say was that we had her appointment early this afternoon and then things began to get really, really busy! We had begun to get things prepped to pack into the View and then the reality of getting it all finalized and loaded reared its ugly head! Candi Lind (MoosieGirl) came up for a last visit before we left and really was a great help in getting the rest organized and helped me load a lot of it. She went inside with Sharon and helped her organize and store all the kitchen things that we could not take out before now – actually those things we’ve been using everyday! Anyway, with Candi’s wonderful help, we have just a little of the last minute things to take care of before we leave in the AM. Thank you, Candi!!

Our plans for the trip are a circuitous route home. We will probably take the back roads most of the way. We have identified several caches along the way we want to grab between Dallas and Shreveport, LA. That will set us up to enjoy the “back way” up to Texarkana. The next stage after a night in each of those places is for us to go up into Arkansas to find an earthcache at a diamond mine just west of Hot Springs! That will likely eat up a day in itself! After that, the game plan is “take it as it comes!” These first days are programmed to have short drives to see how Sharon is going to weather the ride! We’ll likely stretch our legs a little after those first three days. At some point, I fully expect the “gotta get home” bug to hit and cause a greater increase in velocity of the View! Of course, the View has not had a taste of the hay in its new home stable, so it may not know where to go when that urge hits! [:D]

We will, in some ways, miss being in Texas! It still feels a little like home to us because we lived down here for so long! We’ve been out in the surrounds enough to let us enjoy it here, though. If I were to choose to live here again, it definitely wouldn’t be in the immediate Dallas area but just about anywhere down in the Texas Hill Country would be great! Unfortunately, much of that area has been “discovered” and will soon be overrun with more people than deer! Pretty soon, the deer will probably have to take out “people licenses!” Hmmm! Come to think of that, they’ve been doing the kamakazi act on people for a very long time!! You can see the results along the roadsides down there!!

I digress! Dr Emerson was very pleased with Sharon’s progress at this point! He even gave her the “crutch license” today for improved mobility! Even said she could use only one crutch if she’s moving around the kitchen or in close places! She’s to be on them until we come back through in May on the way to GeoWoodstock VI. We will have xrays made in January for him to check the melding of the bone/prosthesis connection. All in all, it was a great report from him at this stage. It would be easy to make a comparison with someone who has had a “normal” hip replacement and think that Sharon’s progress is awfully slow. On the surface that is true, however, the work done and the type prosthesis required for her make this a whole different ballgame. The strength of her hip depends now on that bonding that must occur. Without that, the work done would be for naught! Yep! We both think we can live with SLOW! “Patience, young grasshopper!”

This may be the last post until we make it home. If we have a connection, we’ll write a note when we can hit the net! Thanks to all who have been faithful with your support both will e-mail and with phone calls. You have meant more to us than you can imagine!



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Almost Done! Time getting short!

Well, here we sit on our last night before Sharon visits Dr. Emerson for her post-op checkup! It’s been a busy last couple of days since the weekend as we begin to wrap up our interests here before leaving as early as possible Thursday morning. This morning, I took the View over to the Sprinter dealer to get a couple of items checked out before we hit the road. There was a squeal from the brakes, a light rumble coming from somewhere, and, horror of horrors!, the air conditioner didn’t!! Thought I’d get a jump on the process by arriving at the dealer before they opened at 7 AM. Got there about 6:45 and already there were two Sprinters ahead of me!! The tech finished those and got to mine around 11:30! The squeal (brakes need to break-in and seat themselves), the rumble (probably a wheel cover making the noise - definitely NOT a wheel bearing!), and the A/C (leak in system. Found, repaired, and re-serviced!) were all evaluated/repaired by 2 or so! Not bad for a “walk-in”, I suppose. At least, I feel better about it before we start the trip home! Sharon expanded her repetoir of things she can do now! She managed to take Bulli for about three walks (short ones) while I was gone. They seemed to be doing well with and for each other! [:D]

When I got back, Sharon had the suitcases laid out on the beds and was in the midst of stuffing things into them! You can tell she’s definitely NOT anxious to get on the road! I picked up the little UHaul trailer we’re using to transport the “stuff” back in! Closed out the storage house into the trailer and with that, all we have to do is unload the two rooms of support equipment into the trailer and we’ll be ready to hit it!!

We had our last visit with Dave, her PT home therapist, yesterday! Dave has become a friend as well and we’ll actually miss his every other day visits. Bulli has definitely accepted him as “one of us” because he grabbed one of his little stuffed animals and brought it to Dave to get him to play with him! That, in effect, makes Dave “family!”

We’re making some serious assumptions here about leaving Thursday! Those assumptions include that Dr E is going to give the go ahead for Sharon to be off of House Arrest! As slim as that possibility is, he could always say, “N0!” If that were to happen, I may need to make a quick get-away to stay (hide) with some of you! Don’t think I want to be around if he should say that!!!

As we wind down, we want to thank each of you who have kept us in your hearts and prayers! I truly believe that has be a major reason that this has gone so smoothly for us all. Although it seems terribly inadequate, THANK YOU!

Until we’re on the road,


Sunday, November 4, 2007

"....and then there were 3"

Seems like only yesterday I was thinking how long 3 1/2 weeks was going to be before I went back to the Dr. and now it is only 3 days. Boy, time really flies when you're having fun. Ha, Ha!!!!
We managed to "fall back" with the time last night which was putting us to bed at 9 PM on the new time. You're supposed to get an extra hour of sleep but Joe managed to get up about 4:30 so don't know where his extra hour was. I slept until 7:30. Now that I can spend the whole night on my right side, I am sleeping better and longer.
We "attended" church via the internet this morning. Prestonwood Baptist Church has their Sunday services live so we can feel just like we are there.
Spent some time this afternoon in the View getting things organized as well as letting me try out all the available seating. I can't seem to sit in the passenger seat very long so I have 2 sofas to sit on plus I can lie down on one. Not sure how long I can do any of these on our trip home so we are glad we aren't on a strict time schedule.
My therapist comes one more time tomorrow and then we'll see Dr. "E" on Wed. If he gives us his blessing we will be out of here on Thurs. Then we'll probably be back home by next Monday.
Already I want to thank all our family and friends who have prayed for us and kept us in your thoughts. We have really felt all this love that has been given to us. I've also loved the cards and most especially the books. I think I am on my 8th book now-I've even let Joe read a couple of them.
We're trying to stay up later tonight and get our hours back to normal.
Until next time---------Sharon

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Three Day Update - A Lazy Man's Approach to Blogging!

I guess I'm more than a little late in posting this, the next day's notes! Some have even called me lazy in not posting! I can't argue an obvious point!! We've mentally shifted gears a little, I suppose! We've both been concentrating on outfitting the View for the trip home! Usually, with an RV, you just reach on the shelf and grab what you need or you run to Camping World or Wally World and grab what you need and run with it! This time it's a little different! Now we've got to crank in the "Support Equipment" for Sharon and what she needs to have accessible for the run to Nashville. Along with that, we're trying to stock up with the minimum items for normal living to get us there. Since we have a lot of "Stuff" stocked up from our old Class A coach at home, we don't want to duplicate more than necessary! OK, we can live with paper plates and cups for the trip. This is complicated by comments like, "Say, Hon, don't we have (blank) at home? No, I THINK we sold that at the garage sale but I'm not sure!" If you stack a few of those conversations back to back, it gets a little confusing and you then start the whole process all over for the next item or two! AAAAAYYEEEEEEEE! Let's just get home to figure it out! But, wait! We'll need one of those when we stop for the night!! AAAARRRRGGGGG! OK, maybe we'll now have TWO when we get home!! It's really been fun putting this all together!

I've taken it out enough to try to get a feel for how it's going to handle and ride for the run back! Seems like it's going to work alright! If Sharon wasn't on "house arrest" she COULD have gone with me on some of the runs, if she wasn't on "house arrest!" She COULD have very much enjoyed the short trips over to Ft Worth and up to Denton and by the Texas MotorSpeedway last Thursday while they were getting ready for a full weekend of NASCAR, IF she weren't on "house arrest!!" We drove our old coach around the track there not too long after it was opened! It was around 7 miles around it. Of course, that was on the perimeter road on the outside of the property around the parking lots! She may enjoyed some Texas barbeque at Angelo's in Ft Worth, IF she weren't on "house arrest!" We used to enjoy Angelo's while we lived there. In fact, it was our second favorite barbeque place down here. Our number one place was closed down by Codes while we lived here. Oh, it was clean enough, but the building was condemned because it was about to fall down! Such a minor detail to close such a great eating place!! We love Rancher Bill's!! I don't think the guy had the funds to rebuild there and an office was built on it's site later. Shame, shame!!! Yup, there's a LOT here that she COULD have done, IF she weren't on "house arrest!" BUT, I've really enjoyed going to some of these places because I'm NOT on "house arrest!"

I tried to look up some of our Taiwan friends in Krum, TX but all I had to go on was a Post Office box and could not otherwise locate them. I even went to City Hall but they couldn't/wouldn't even acknowledge that Aubry and Cynthia were even there! I asked if she'd dial the phone and let me talk to one of them but they couldn't/wouldn't even do that! Such is the way of modern privacy laws, I suppose! Well, that and small town skepticism about asking for someone and they don't know you!! Guess I'll have to collect my bounty reward sometime later!! [:D]

Well, have a load of laundry in! Clock tells me it's time to move on to the dryer!! Chat later,