Hunkered down in a 43′ x 12′ box…Thanks for asking…How about you?
It’s one thing when close friends and family (some tactfully and others not as much) remind me I have not written a blog in two months. Thanks however to John, Lynn’s ex-husband, whose reminder yesterday inspired me to put fingers to keyboard. He’s got terrific taste in women and unlike his father, possesses exquisite taste for craft beer… So, either thank or blame him depending on your level of amusement of this missive.
John, JudyBlu, Mom and Todd – here’s a rapid fire / mostly picture glimpse back at our adventures since I was wheeled out of the mostly- mediocre Havasu Regional Medical Center. Wash your hands and buckle up.
From the time I got home from the hospital, consuming healthy doses of Augmentin and potassium supplements, we checked my blood pressure quite frequently as I was often quite dizzy and found it to be low… averaging 115 / 69 with a low of 108 / 63. Our close friends and surgical nurses, Greg and Denise suggested that either low BP or dehydration were likely causes. We purchased some high octane powdered stuff called Liquid IV which I mixed into bottled water and pounded but the dizziness continued. About a week after my release, I had the not-so-bright idea to bend all the way over in the kitchen and pet Spangler who was lying on the floor. I stood up, the world went spinning and I was vaguely aware of the surprising forces of gravity upon me. Three things quickly happened in succession – 1) The top of my head clipped the (thankfully) padded kitchen chair seat a millisecond before all of me impacted the un-padded ceramic tile floor. 2) I wasn’t 100% sure that I passed out, so given my overall and all-to-recent experience at the Havasu Regional Hospital….I pretty much lied to Lynn and said that my socks just slipped on the floor. 3) Dig out the ice packs from the freezer.
So, once I figured out and fessed up that I did faint, I contacted my Charleston, SC primary care physician and asked for some guidance from afar. Having already received by fax my dossier of recent medical care, he asked a few questions and I added that I had lost 38 pounds since my physical in October. He directed me to suspend the beta blocker blood pressure meds that I’ve been on for 5-6 years and almost immediately my BP returned to safer levels, still under 120/80 and all dizziness has subsided. The added bonus is that this new virus can apparently more-adversely effect individuals on BP meds like my Losartan…so I’ve got being off those meds going for me….which is nice. Before I retired, I suspected that I’d lose a decent amount of weight from the lifestyle changes….lower stress, no first class snack baskets and 2:00PM gin and tonics at 32,000 feet and no irregular eating patterns from my old road warrior days.
Taking one step back before going forward, with all of the medical hoopla, I never shared anything about our awesome New Years Eve experience with the Xscapers group. They held a two night party in Quartzsite, Arizona, officially described as a “Blow Out”. This was our first true off the grid / boondocking experience and we were excited to drive Julie off the asphalt and onto the wide open desert. I’ll never forget the friendly event volunteers with smiling faces waving me left off the paved road and into the desert floor. To say that this desert is rocky, think pool ball sized rocks to the horizon in all directions. I clenched more than my grip on the steering wheel and into the desert Julie went. Unlike all previous campgrounds, there were no marked spots…no assigned spots. I kept asking people out my drivers window, “Where should I park?” The answer was always, “Wherever you want.” Thankfully, a female voice said, “Why not park right here, next to me” and that’s how Lynn and I met Wendy, a healthcare executive and full-time solo traveller with her two dogs. Thus began two awesome days in the middle of nowhere meeting and partying with about two hundred other RV’ers. At the center of the action and perhaps 75-100 yards in front of our rig was the BAT (Big Ass Tent) where live music, dancing and other shenanigans took place. In the photo below, our rig is the red mark with the BAT just above us.
Intrigued by the peacefulness of the Quartzite desert, after my hospitalization and two weeks of recovery, Lynn and I went back to the same spot, albeit with two hundred less friends, no BAT and no late night parties. It was very peaceful and completely silent other than the wind. Exactly what we both needed!
Our next stop was at Palm Creek, an extraordinary resort in Casa Grande, Arizona where we re-connected with a wonderful couple named Jen and George. We met them in Alabama when they were parked next to us. Although two months had gone by, it was just like we had seen them yesterday. With them, we enjoyed evening cocktails under blankets, went to a wine bar, a local hose race track and hung out by and in the pool. Finding friends like this breaks up some of the solitude of full time traveling.
We also invited Jen and George to a small concert by The Status Crowes, a duet of Michelle and Chuck Crowe. I may have tipped them $20 NOT to play Baby Sharks (True Story). The Status Crowes are a high energy acoustic duo with a repertoire of more than 1,300 songs. They are more or less an acoustic jukebox and we first heard them at the Xscapers Bash – yeah, the one where I got sick. Lynn was at the concert and I was in the rig with a fever but really wanted to hear them play….So as sick as I was, I walked the five minutes in order to hear them, if even for just 30 minutes. When Michelle finished a beautiful version of Desperado, I left on that high note. Like us, Chuck and Michelle are fulltime RV’ers living in a beautiful Tiffin Phaeton motorhome. These are the two that also helped us out so much by driving our rig to the next campground while I was still in the hospital. It was such a great surprise to find out they were playing at another campground only 20 minutes away from where we were staying.
During our two weeks in Casa Grande, Lynn took me on a “Mystery Ride”. Here’s the highlights of Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch. Their tag line is “The Darnedest Place You’ll Ever Visit.” It is like a petting zoo, except instead of petting the animals you actually feed them.
Finally, while at Casa Grande we took delivery of two Rad Mini fat tire folding electric bikes. These were not difficult to assemble and are a blast to ride….if only we could find suitable campgrounds with bike trails nearby.
After the splendor of the last campground….we went Casino parking lot camping at Casino Del Sol in Tuscon, Arizona for a week. Other than full hookups, it was a nothing special “campground” but Lynn got her slot machine fix while I sat at the bar and enjoyed Dragoon IPA’s and Lagunitas Pilsners (TYHMT). We enjoyed happy hour Asian food and while there visited a bunch of cool spots. Here they are….
We spent a morning at the Titan Missile Museum. It was awesome to walk down thirty five feet to the launch control center to reenact a simulated missile launch. Our guide was a retired USAF commander and she served at this very site in the Azizona desert. Fifty four Titan II ICBM’s were deployed in groups of eighteen around three Air Force bases, coming on line in 1963. In 1987, all missile launch sites were made non-functional as part of the START treaty with the Soviet Union and this is the only remaining site available for the public to visit.
Speaking of firepower, we visited the Pima Air & Space Museum, home to more than three hundred and fifty aircraft. Just like Wright Patterson’s National Museum Of The Air Force, this museum was amazing and one could easily spend a full day wandering all of the exhibits. Below is a peek at some of the interesting equipment on display.
Our next visit was far more serene and it was to the San Xavier Mission. The construction of this Catholic church was completed in 1797 and it is a sight to behold!
But wait….There’s more! Stay tuned for the next blog entry, coming sooner than later….like tomorrow perhaps.
Last thing…yesterday Lynn and I got to watch The Indigo Girls perform a 90 minute set from their living room which was awesome. Afterwards, while prepping photos for this blog, I listened to random Indigo Girls songs and one hit me particularly strong. I remember hearing Joan Baez or perhaps Peter Paul and Mary sing this when I was a little kid in the 60’s and until yesterday had never heard The Indigo Girls sing it. Its roots are a Scottish folk song from the 1600’s. Anyway….reading the lyrics yesterday struck quite a chord, so to speak…
The water is wide
I can’t cross over
And neither have
I wings to fly
Build me a boat
That can carry two
And both shall row
My friend and I
Lynn’s 2 cents – Wash your hands and stay home!