Friday, June 23, 2017

Major family crisis

After returning from our trip East on Tuesday, we had Wednesday to get things here at home a little bit back to whatever normal is.  It was an early bedtime Wed. evening and another good sound sleep in our home bed.

That was until around 1:00 am on Thursday morning.  There was a loud knocking at our door, but it took a while for our deep sleep minds to realize what was happening and then to get up and go to the door.  I ask through the door "who is there?" and the answer, "it's the police".  It was a nice local police officer that ask if we knew a woman named Wilma Purvis.  Of course we do, what's wrong?  He said that she was in a hospital in Tahlequah, OK.  He showed me a sheet of paper with that written down but said he couldn't pronounce the name. 😏  He told me the name of the hospital and took our phone number as someone from there would probably be calling us.  She had told them that we were her "to be notified" next of kin.

I made a couple of phone calls and talked with a doctor at the hospital that was attending to her and told him that we would be down the next day as soon as we could get there from central Missouri.

It was back to bed but with a disturbed mind there was little sleep.  Fortunately Jo was able to get back to some good sleep but I just caught a few winks while thinking about what we were going to do.  I got up at 4:00 am knowing we had a long drive ahead of us but took some time to plot our course on the computer before waking Jo up to get started.  Woke Jo up at 5:00 and we were on our way.

It was a 6 hour drive and we got to the hospital a little before lunch time.  Found her plugged into a heart monitor with leg pumping boots on.  A doctor came in to give us the full details of her condition that was mostly in agreement with my expectations, Alzheimer's and dementia with a UTI.  The discharge directions were, no more driving, 24 hour supervision, and to see her doctor for further medication recommendations.

She told us stories about her car that were disturbing but proved false.  She thought it would need some repair before driven again.  She had apparently driven through two tanks of gas and when she stopped was at 1/4 tank.  Her car was at a convenience store on the edge of town where she had apparently passed out which is why the emergency team had been called to take her to the hospital.  The hospital helped us find her car and after her discharge I drove her car with her beside me while Jo drove our car and followed us back to Springfield.

Thursday night we trusted her to stay in her house while Jo and I found a Motel as her house's extra bed (sofa fold out) just isn't a bed to sleep on, we tried it once and nevermore.  Then today we had her pack up some of her clothes and things so we could bring her up to our house while we found her a permanent place to live with assistance.

She has loved her house and it's location for many years but the 24 hour supervision just couldn't be made with her there.  Her lifestyle was going to be totally different wherever we found for her to live be it in Springfield or elsewhere so we decided it was best to bring her near to us so we could visit more often than a 2.5 hour drive would allow.

Again it was me and Wilma in her car with Jo following along behind.  Jo doesn't really like to drive but she had to make this long trip from east-central Oklahoma to Springfield and then on to our house.

Now after getting her settled it will be a long bit of taking care of her belongings in Springfield and all of her other affairs so our July trip is being canceled to allow for plenty of time to manage those affairs.

Our next trip on the books is for September but after we get these other details worked out who knows what we may work out to put the camper to use.

I'm just glad that she wasn't seriously injured with this jaunt but I'm also glad that this tragedy made a life changing decision for us.

The details of her Wednesday's journey will never be known even the new dent in her right front fender.  We're just totally happy that she wasn't injured in a more serious way.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A few comments on the trip

This was the first trip with our new Truck Camper and newer truck.  After 17 years of pulling a large 5th wheel trailer, we have now moved a different direction in our camping style.

The smaller size is nice when trying to get around in tight places and not needing 40 acres to turn around in.  It is not as comfortable as the larger trailers we have had as there isn't a sofa or recliners to relax in, only the bench seats around the dinette.  The bed is difficult for Jo to get around in because she can't get down on her artificial knees.  We did manage quite well for several days without electric hookups.  With a solar panel to charge our batteries, and the generator to use when needing the microwave we managed.  The only drawback to use of the generator is that it uses fuel from the LP tanks so we don't want to use it continuous for AC cooling.  It did work to cool the camper down after a days drive in the sun and then open windows and a nice breeze helped to make it livable.  I did however change our July trip plans slightly after this experience because we were scheduled for a three day stay in Canyonlands National Park without electric hookups and from the google earth images there aren't any trees for shade.  We now have a KOA campground with electricity reserved for those three days.

We also have developed a check-list for closing everything up inside the camper.  After one days drive we found one kitchen cabinet doors had come open from the rough road shaking and had broken dishes on the floor.  A couple of coffee cups, a cereal bowl, a french press coffee maker, and a wine glass were some of the losses.  After clean up, a trip to Walmart took care of replacement pieces.  Now a Velcro tie is on the list to secure those doors.

Our first night out campground was a USFS campsite in Indiana which is a good location but the site I had reserved wasn't very level, which we made work, however I looked around for another site that I will reserve for any future trips to visit daughter.

Our second night's campground was a very nice COE campground and reasonably level but it was about 12 miles off of the Interstate on a very twisting mountain highway so another campground will be utilized for future trips.  It would be a nice campground for a few days stay to make the drive in worth it but for only an overnight not so much.

Patapsco Valley State Park was a very nice campground and quite convenient for our visit with daughter.  I did locate another site number that I will reserve for our next visit.

Our last campground for this trip was a COE park near Wappapello Lake.  It was a nice quiet stay but again I walked around to locate another site to reserve for any future trips that might be made in that direction.

Another picture view along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Thursday to Saturday June 15 - 17

 Our drive on Thursday was totally along the BRP from mile marker 60 to mile marker 316.  Again lots of vista views on either side with wildflowers and wildlife.  We saw several deer, a couple of groundhogs, and a wild turkey.  The azaleas were more plentiful and varied.  Most of the ones on Tuesdays drive were a pale pink color but today we saw some bright pink, one lavender, and one gold colored bushes.  The parkway is lined with millions of rhododendrons per mile and we are about a week or two early for the grand floral showing.  I took one picture of one beginning to open.

 Our campground for the nights is the Linville Falls campground on the BRP.  Again without an internet connection, no television, and only enough Verizon signal for texting (no enough for voice).  We were here for three nights before we head westward toward the Martin Manor.

our back yard
 our front yard

 Then here are some pictures of a few vistas along the way.  In most of them we are above looking down on some clouds.

Tuesday-Wednesday June 13 & 14

Tuesday morning we left the Baltimore area and drove southwest through Maryland and West Virginia into Virginia. We entered the Shenandoah National Park on the Skyline Drive a little after 10:00.  This is a little over 100 mile drive along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains with a speed limit of 35 mph.  Most of the drive is less than that speed as the crooks and turns of 20-25 mph hairpin curves are plentiful.  The overlooks off to either side showing the deep valleys and distant hills are spectacular.  Camera pictures don't really show enough detail to show the beauty.

At the end of the Skyline Drive we entered the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Another National Park following the same crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The speed limit here is 45 mph but the views and beauty is the same.  There are many wildflowers in bloom, azaleas, mountain laurel, goat's beard, cow parsnip, and others.  We drove about 60 miles on the BRP to our campground for tonight at Otter Creek.  This is the lowest point in elevation along the BRP where the Otter Creek enters into the James River.

We spent two nights here in this quiet campground without electricity, internet connection, cell phone signal, or television signals.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Back to Martin Manor

A little past noon today we made it back to the Martin Manor.  It's been a very nice trip and I will post a few details with pictures in the next couple of days.  Right now it is starting the washing machine to get the dirty clothes taken care of and restocked for out next outing.

I must say it has been very nice to have the right tool for the job.  Our new truck (The Beast) has performed beyond my expectations.  Quite capable of hauling the 2.5 ton load on its back up and down steep grades and around tight hairpin curves in comfort almost like riding in a sedan.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

a few no tech days

Tonight we are back in civilization with full connections and technologies.  Our campground is a COE site near Nashville, TN.

I will post several updates of our past few days when I get back home and have more time to compose a legible posting.

Monday, June 12, 2017

end of a nice long weekend

We have had a great time with Phyllis from Friday through today.  Unfortunately she has to get back to work and we need to head back westward.  First we are heading down the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway for a few days before turning toward MO through TN.

We (mostly she) got the bird feeder area finished and here is the finished view.

She has another bag of mulch to put into the bed area and another feeder to hang on the tree.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

nice day & nice visit

It was a very nice day for a visit.  It started off with some company for breakfast.  While I was eating my Cheerios I looked out the window to see a deer grazing on our front yard area between the trees.

Phyllis had a little bit of shopping to do so we took care of that while finding a nice spot for a light lunch.  After the shopping trip it was nap time and then it was time for a game of cards, today they let daddy win. 😏

Phyllis has Restless Leg Syndrome and the medication for that is a pill she takes at supper time.  Around an hour after taking the pill it puts her to sleep so when she tells us that she took her pill it means that it's time to leave.  If she didn't take it at that time of day she wouldn't be able to sleep at night because of twitching legs.

Back in the campground we find that most sites are full because of the weekend.  Still the campsites are wide spread so it doesn't feel crowded.

Friday, June 09, 2017

beautiful day and good times with daughter

It has been a very good day with beautiful weather, thank you GWF.

Had lunch at the Double T diner, which is always good and the servings are sizable so we have leftovers enough for another meal.  The Double T is close to Phyllis' house and she is a regular customer known to the whole staff.  She doesn't cook in her kitchen so most all of her meals are eat-out and take home leftovers for another meal.  She has a little dorm room sized microwave that we gave her when she started college at MU which still works that does the re-heating.  She is so much of a regular customer at the TT that she can order whatever she craves whether or not it is on the menu.

Then I took her to Lowe's as she wanted a few more landscape blocks to line a small bed area in the back of her house.  I told her that I thought my truck would be able to haul that big heavy load. 😉

This is a picture of her house that I took after she had potted a couple of flowers that she bought with the blocks.

 Later as we were just sitting in her living room visiting with the TV on we finally had a glimpse of our two grand-kits.  This is Louise or as she calls her Ouisa.
 and this is Rozzie her first cat at this location.
She had a small kitten back when she was living near Greenbelt, MD before moving to Catonsville.

Near Baltimore

Here we are in the Patapsco Valley State Park in a very nice wooded campsite for our visit.  It is amazing to have this bit of peace and quiet this close to a Major city.  The map below shows our location at the small green tent figure.  Phyllis' house is three miles east of there between the campsite and the I-695 beltway around Baltimore.

Here is a Google Earth view of this park.  The push-pin and park name are located at the entrance off of US-40 highway.  Our campsite is somewhere near the white X.

And here is our campsite
Just outside of the park entrance is major traffic and any kind of shopping that may become necessary.  We are in the big city area but still in a peaceful setting for our evenings.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Back in the boonies

Sorry that I missed a post yesterday but we were truly as the title suggests, back in the boonies.  Our campsite yesterday evening was on the banks of Sutton Lake about 10 miles East of Flatwoods, WV.  The drive was on West Virginia mountain roads which were twisty and narrow, lots of Yoo Hoo corners.

Our internet wifi connection requires an AT&T cell signal and we had zero bars.  Our cell phone for calls and texting is Verizon and again we had zero bars.  We looked for over-the-air television signals and again we had zero.  This would be a great place to get away from technology and have a quiet vacation and there were several folks in the campground doing just that.  Here is a picture I took of our campsite overlooking an arm of the lake.
 And a little later we looked out our back window to see this across the lake arm.
We didn't see any fish from the bank but most of the other campers had boats and fishing gear around their campsite.

Today we completed our drive to Patapsco Valley State Park between Ellicot City, MD and Phyllis' house.  We are only 3 miles from her house set up in a nice wooded area.  We are far enough off of the highway to not have any traffic noise but close enough to get out for any needed supplies or hugs from daughter.  Here we have a strong ATT signal 😊, a strong Verizon signal 😊 and 99 channels of over-the-air television 😊 and still back in the woods. 😏

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Beast did good

Day one of our trip East for a visit with daughter Phyllis.  Also the first full day of hauling the TC (truck camper) loaded and ready to camp.  We did haul it home from the dealership on the other truck but that wasn't fully loaded and ready to camp.  We did use it for those two days on the way home but just to sleep basically.

Our GWF is still with us as the day has been just beautiful even if it was a bit breezy.  We are setup now in a US Forest Service campground in the Hoosier National Forest of southern Indiana.  The campsite is nice and shady.

I am real happy with the way The Beast handles the load.  When pulling the trailers I was never comfortable with speeds above 60 to 65 mph but now with the single unit it has been very easy to cruise along at the speed limit and now here in camp I'm really not all that worn out.  The first test for the new truck was the Mineola Hills area along I-70. At that location there are fairly steep downhill and uphill pulls.  Eastbound it is a 5% grade downhill toward the Loutre River and then a 6% grade uphill toward Danville.  The Beast held speed without braking on the down slope and pulled the uphill slope holding constant speed to the top without down shifting to a lower gear.

Another plus for The Beast is that at truck fuel stops the filler tube will take the high pressure of the truck pumps.  Our last few trucks would allow the bigger fill nozzles to fit in the tube but I always had to hold the trigger and only allow a slow flow of fuel.

Tomorrow will find us in West Virginia.

Friday, June 02, 2017

making use of available space

Taking advantage of the fact that our camper was built for a short bed truck and we are hauling it on a long bed.  This shelf that I built in the front of the bed is to keep the camper from sliding forward and crushing our taillights.
 Here it is with the camper loaded looking like a good storage area.
 A few heavy-duty plastic storage containers make for secure dry storage plus a good area to haul a couple of bag-chairs.  A couple of side boards (one on each side) will keep the chairs from sliding out during travel.
I had to add these chain links so our hold-down clamps would reach.  When we hauled this camper on our short bed truck these clamps were more vertical and fit well without these added chain links.
Jo's making progress on loading necessities inside and we are getting anxious for our first long trip with this rig.  Another advantage of this smaller camping unit is that we can make use of a MD state park campground that is only 3 miles from Phyllis' house, much closer than the RV park we had to use with the trailer which was 22 miles.