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Monday, June 19, 2017

Arrived in Maine

     We are finally here! Mark did his usual great job of driving (and parking) the bus. When we arrived, we had more friends helping than you can imagine. The Roths, the Floods, Debra Donnahoo, Dick Brann and several others were here to help us old farts get settled in. After we were hooked up, we sat down to get reacquainted and have a beer. Before long it was time for happy hour. We had about decided that it was too cold for an outside happy hour when Richard showed up with a glass of scotch and pulled up a chair.. So, happy hour happened. Durelle came prepared for the weather with a new blanket from Mark and Heather.

     Yesterday we were running the air conditioners.
      It is wonderful to be back with all these camping friends, and we are looking forward to four more months of the same.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day, etc.

   The 18th of June is often a triple (or even quadruple) threat celebration.It's our anniversary and son, Mark's birthday. It's sometimes Father's Day and this year it was the last day of the US Open. Daughter-in-law, Heather, bless her soul, easily manages to throw a major league shindig for a dozen or so. There were shrimp and veggie platters for dipping. There were two pound fillets of salmon and haddock as well as a tub of sirloin tips. Of course, Heather being Heather, she made a large, obscenely chocolate cake with mint and frosting. Here's the birthday boy with the first slice of cake.

     The rendition of "Happy Birthday" was better as a photo than as an audio tape.

     This is Mark with two of his kids and his granddaughter Brielle who will finish the sixth grade on Tuesday. I also took a sneaky picture of Brielle as she was playing cards with her great grandmother.

          The extension cord into Mark's house did not seem to want to reliably handle the air conditioner, so the generator ran all day...we have to keep Mocha cool! There is no set time for departure tomorrow. My motto is, "It's been a long time since I was in a hurry."

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nashua, NH

     Three days from Hanahan, SC to Nashua, NH...300...400...400. The first day is always short 'cuz we didn't get away until ten. We arrived in Nashua on Friday the 16th. There were substantial traffic delays all three days, but we haven't been in a hurry in a long time. Mark did an outstanding job of driving. It is NOT just a matter of turning on the cruise control and aiming it.
     We were approaching NH today with the hope that we could get home without one more fuel stop. No such luck. On I-495 in MA we got a low fuel light. There were no big truck stops along the way, but Mark said that he remembered a big station at exit 34 on route 3 in Tyngsboro,  MA that "looked large from the highway."  Sure enough, we saw signs for a Mobil station with 24 hr diesel. We found it, but only one of the six islands had diesel. To get there seemed impossible. We had to find a way to navigate around the building which had a drive thru for Dunkin Donuts and a car wash. To make the turns, which were designed for cars, required some turns that put both the right front and the left rear wheels over the curbing. It was not as big as he had remembered.  We made it undamaged.
     Then the pump would quit at $100, so I ran it again and pumped another 40 gallons. On the third try the pump said, "Go Away!" We arrived at Mark's at 1730.

     We plugged in to AC and water. The dish locked in on the satellite, and the internet connected.
     Tomorrow is a nothing day, but Sunday is a multipurpose celebration. Monday we head for Maine.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


     The first day is always doomed to be a late departure. The refrigerator contents have to be transferred. Since we haven't been on the road for a half year, it takes a while to get everything re-figured. For that reason our first day has us stopping in Enfield, NC...a 310 mile first day. We took some of the usual pictures.

     My goodness, do I look like the old fart. This was taken by a neighbor. Then I hopped in and, lo and behold, the refrigerator would not switch over to run on propane. We tried everything we could think of and could not solve the problem. I put in a call to ProTech at Durelle's request. Their tech said that the propane line may have had some air in it. He suggested lighting the stove top burners and consuming some propane.  It worked. The freezer is still not cold enough. It's only 22 degrees in the door of the freezer. It is finally making cubes, however!

    Mocha finally settled down to be comfortable on her first trip in the bus.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Getting Packed

     The bus moved to our driveway on the seventh of June to get packed for a Flag Day departure. It takes a little longer for us old farts to move into a new apartment.

    As you can see by the proximity to the garage door, it consumes the entire driveway and the Corvette is blocked. The trailer hitch and towbar extend over the gutter. The Jeep is in Cindy's driveway. The driveway is too steep to use either the jacks or the refrigerator. Note in the picture that I improperly positioned the auxiliary step so that it barely extends under the front lip of extended step. That meant that when the air bags decayed overnight, the steps were jammed together. Fortunately there was no harm done.
     There was quite a bit of work done on the bus. There was some paint shop work to fix the cosmetic damages from last summer. There were six(!) new batteries, a new bespoke mattress, and a complete wash and wax. How much did it all cost? Don't ask! ProTech, a local truck and RV shop, did the honors. Now we have to load it for a summer in Maine. There have been a number of times when one of us asked, "Now, where did we store that last year?" Cindy is helping, and Mark will arrive on Monday for a few Items I have saved for him. Tuesday morning we'll repark it curbside (with safety triangles out) so that it will be level enough for the refrigerator to pull down to temperature.
     We are anxious to get rolling.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


     Perhaps the most telling sign that our imminent summer move northward is getting closer is the state of our dining room table. It becomes a staging area for numerous odds and ends that are "going to go into the bus."

     There is no real pattern. You'll find dog chewys, Frogmore stew spices and some new shorts that I'm not allowed to wear yet. Not shown are two clothes baskets full of bedding and stuff. Since the loading of the bus is like moving into a furnished apartment, we old farts spread the process over several weeks. I'll pick it up on Wednesday, park it in the driveway and plug it in. We can't start the refrigerator because the driveway is not level enough. I'll park it curbside for the last day to give the refrigerator time to pull down to temperature. Cindy will be a great help, and Mark will get here two days before we depart. We are looking forward to escaping the heat and humidity of Charleston and reconnecting with all our camping friends in Maine.
     In thinking about those camping friends I have recently spent some time thinking about our many friendships. We all have many categories of friends and family. Durelle and I no longer have any aunts and uncles, but we each have a sibling, assorted cousins, two kids and a burgeoning assortment of descendants. We are just as close to the ****-in -laws. But beyond family, there are college classmates with whom we have stayed in touch for six decades and some high school classmates for even longer. There are friends from many Air Force assignments and from the post USAF career. There are neighbors, though they come and go more often. Many of you count close friends from church activities. In a separate category is Estelle Anderson, the neighboring teenager who carried baby Durelle into the house when she and her mother came home from the hospital. Then there is that special category of camping friends. It is not the scenery or the adventuresome cuisines that sets the RVing lifestyle apart. It is the almost instant camaraderie that forms when another rig pulls into the adjacent site and asks, "Where are you from?"

     We have been fortunate, over the last decade (+) to have spent a large part of each summer camped on the edge of Penobscot Bay in the mid-coast of Maine. For most of that time there have been six to eight couples that have been equally regular inhabitants. It frightens me to think that without the RV we would have never met. It frightens me because these several friendships seem a little closer than all the rest. While we do have some things in common, we are a pretty eclectic group with a variety of traditions and interests. Nonetheless, there is a special bond here, and it gives me pause because this may be our last summer there.

     On a lighter note, here is a picture of a picture.

     Melissa Cloutier Zotos sent many nice pictures of our second great-granddaughter, Madeleine, from Sydney, Australia. Our daughter, Cindy, selected one and had it converted into thousand piece picture puzzle. Because of large blocks of solid color, it took Durelle many hours to finish it. Now she does not want to disassemble it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Physical Therapy

     As loyal readers know, physical therapy has been a major part of my life for at least five years. I guess the first was some basic range of motion recovery after a "bunionectomy" on my right big toe. Then there was an only partly successful reconstruction of my right rotator cuff. Hip and knee replacements followed...again on the right side. Plus, a right bicep tendon ruptured. Finally, last year, I had some scaffolding installed to fuse the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lumbar vertebrae. The PT for the mechanical aspects of my repairs have gone pretty well, but they are all embedded in the larger issue of my peripheral neuropathy. Enter The Balance Center.
     Originally operating under the auspices of Clemson University and now the Roper, St. Francis Hospital, The Balance, Mobility, and Dizziness Center of Charleston, was tailor made for my circumstance. Since the Balance Center could handle some rehab matters better than an orthopedic facility could handle the balance niche, I spent a lot of time there. Interestingly, every employee of the Balance Center is a woman. In fact, the director of the adjoining sports medicine facility, who has great respect for their expertise and professionalism, once said, "The place is awash in estrogen".
     There's an old line that says that the difference between a terrorist and a therapist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist. The implication being that physical therapists are tough, unyielding, even humorless folks. The ladies at the balance center belie that caricature, mixing gentleness with only enough discipline to get the job done. I suppose the fact that the demographic of their patients is generally older than that of most PT facilities demands it, but gentleness is evident everywhere.
     Several years ago, after a vertigo incident, I began working with the director of the center, Allison Schryver, an acknowledged vestibular expert. One day she said that she was going to hand me off to someone named "Jensen". While it is normal for the lead therapist to make the initial assessment of the patient and then assign someone else to continue the treatment, my initial reaction was, "Here comes the JV squad". Well, it wasn't a Jensen but Jensine Adams, a lovely, accomplished professional with a specialty in vestibulor pediatrics who had spent a good deal of time as a team athletic trainer. In my five years with the USAFA wrestling team I got to know and highly regard the profession of athletic trainer. Jensine is definitely not the JV squad. While I did make some physical improvements, her greater contribution was teaching me how to properly accomplish the exercises that I would have to continue in order to deal with my strength and balance in the face of deteriorating neuropathy.

     I'm the one on the right. Seriously, it's a great crew and I have enjoyed working with all of them. Your job is to write a caption for that picture.
     I'll pick up the bus in a week and leave SC in two weeks. It's definitely getting too warm here.