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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

     As I'm sure many folks did, we sat on the front porch with the light on to witness the parade of scary and not so scary revelers.  Here's one of the not so scary.  Note the mittens in October in South Carolina.
     
     Trick or treating was not, however, the highlight of the day.  It was my couple of hours at the Roper-Saint Francis emergency room.  When I woke up this morning, it took a few minutes for the room to stop spinning.  Closing one or both eyes briefly made no difference.  Even after I sat up and waited for my gyros to spin up, I felt a bit sweaty and chilly at the same time.  Durelle said I was pale.  After sitting in the recliner for a half hour and moving as little as possible, I stabilized, but was still woozy.  We decided to visit our primary care physician who, of course, had a day off.  Another doctor in the practice filled in with, I'm sure, no reduction in competence.         After a number of diagnostics, she asked for an EKG.  There was a minor abnormality, and she wanted some further testing.  She called the emergency room and Durelle drove me down.  Actually, by then Cindy had arrived and led us there.  The went through a typical protocol of hook me up to some monitors, and inserting an IV.  The doctor called for some blood tests, a chest X-ray, and a cranial CAT scan.  The results of the latter were negative :-)  They were looking, of course, to see if I had had a heart attack, a stroke or perhaps just a TIA.  They determined that none of those things had happened.  They called it a BPV...Benign Positional Vertigo.  I guess that's the best possible outcome.  The Valium they stuck into the IV six hours ago has worn off.  My color is back, and I sat outside as the picture above shows.

     I now feel normal, but perhaps a bit limp.  I'll take it easy(er) for a while,but I think every thing is fine.  When one has a problem, it's nice to have some family around.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hibiscus.mutabilis


     Pardon the pompous title, but Hibiscus.mutabilis is also known as the "Confederate Rose".  I mentioned it last year about this time.  A couple of years ago a neighbor gave us a shoot to plant.  Like any self-respecting weed, it is now ten feet high.  It is probably too close to the house, but it should be easy to cut down and re-establish elsewhere.  In the fall it generates a lot of blossoms that emanate from a boll much like a cotton boll.  The blossoms don't last long, but more are generated every day.  The neat thing is that it waits for us to get back from our summer sojourn to start producing blossoms.  The first picture shows the entire (unkempt) plant, and the second is a close up of one blossom.


          We are getting squared away with assorted chores.  Durelle and Cindy have played golf.  They both broke 100, but Durelle won...again.
     Today I had a couple of chores...a stop at the hearing aid place, another at the Corvette dealer (wipers failed) and some PT for peripheral neuropathy.  I took the camera because Charleston is a photogenic city, but I accomplished nothing in the photography world.  I will keep at it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Charleston, SC

     Well, we are not wandering around to wonderful photogenic spots.  As a matter of fact, this is the time of the year when everything slows down for us.  I would like to take note of the recent announcement by Conde Nast Traveller that has proclaimed that the number one travel destination city in the WORLD is Charleston, SC ahead of Florence, Italy, Capetown, South Africa and Sydney , Australia.  You can see the article by clicking on the link below.
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20121017/PC05/121019368/conde-nast-declares-charleston-top-tourist-city-in-the-world
     With that in mind, I hope that you can consider stopping in for a visit.  We'd love to show you around.
     Tonight I took a couple of sunset pictures in the back yard.
     We are not travelling now.  The bus is in the shop for a number of odds and ends.  Detroit (not New York) is in the World Series and all's right with the world.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Angel Bus Mission

Today has been occupied by running a mission for Angel Bus www.angel-bus.org.  This is a wonderful outfit that takes advantage of the resources and generosity of motor home owners to transport patients to/from medical appointments.  Often times the patient needs the services of specialists not available locally, and the patient's health and public transportation do not permit normal travel.  A motor home with its bed, refrigerator for medications, AC for medical accessories, and room for additional care givers can provide an ideal solution.  I was scheduled for a mission back in April, but the mission was cancelled when the patient was hospitalized.   I mention this organization because I know that there are some motor-homers who read this blog that might not know about the organization.  Use the link, above, for more information.
   The passenger lives in the uniquely named town of Ninety Six, SC which is located about 190 miles NW of Charleston.  He had a noon appointment Monday at the Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston.  A motorhome was not needed so I used the 1986 Corvette, which he greatly enjoyed.  Since I needed to pick him up at 0800, I drove to nearby Greenwood to spend Sunday night.  I delivered him on schedule, but his clinical trial procedure did not allow him to be released before 1730.  At that time the traffic out of the city is more STOP than GO, but Cindy suggested a quick, early supper to allow the traffic to clear out.  It was an outstanding idea!  The Hominy Grill is close to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) as the Dunns remember.  You know me...my favorite entree is the one I have never had.  I had the goat stew with "hoppin' John" with field peas and rice plus the most perfect wedge of cornbread you can imagine.  He had a turkey club, but we were out of there in 45 minutes and onto an almost empty I-26 at about 1820.
    Below is a shot of Frank Dukes in front of the Hominy Grille.
     We got back to his house at 2120, which was probably the same arrival time as if we had waited on I-26 instead of the restaurant.  About an hour later I was back on I-26 at a Holiday Inn express, so I decided to spend the night and return on Tuesday.  Alas, there was no room at the inn.  It was 25 miles to Columbia for another shot, plus I would need gas there.  I had driven over 600 miles in the last 24 hours.  As it turns out, I was feeling fine, so I got gas and was home at 0034 on Tuesday.  By that time I had a bit of "dry eye", a growing "flat spot" and the whole wheat pretzels had lost their charm.
     Nonetheless, it was a fine day.  Mr. Dukes is an avid historian.  His articulateness is inhibited only by his impaired vocal chords, not his intellect.  We never turned on the radio, but enjoyed good conversation that made the miles fly by.  By the way, the second half of the trip I used the Jeep because on the first trip the wipers on the 'Vette failed and there were thundershowers predicted (which did not occur).
     So, for all you motor-homers out there check out the link above.  It is the perfect example of a win-win arrangement.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reconnecting with Neighbors

     When we moved to South Carolina eight years ago this month, we became good friends with our almost next door neighbors, Walter and Brooke McCants.  They were both recent Clemson grads, great sports fans, oyster eaters and owners of Golden Retrievers.  So, even though we were two generations apart, we shared a number of pleasant happy hours.  Walter has a significant position with the Charleston tourism bureau, while Brooke is a reading teacher in the early grades.  After nearly a decade of increasingly complex efforts toward becoming parents, they finally succeeded, and on 25 July Carson was born four weeks early at 6 lbs, 2 oz.
     This evening we went to their place for happy hour.  At our age I don't take many baby pictures, but the first one is Durelle and Carson.  Does she look like a happy grandmother?
     Did I mention that they were Golden lovers?  This is Berkeley.
     Somehow I failed to get a picture of the lovely Brooke, but here are a couple of pictures of Carson and his old man.
     Today was another step toward getting back to a life off the road.  We both visited our primary care physician, Dr. Amy Fairfax, and our dentist Dr. Lauren Davis.  There was a nice sunset I'm told, but I was inside working on a blog.  Oh, well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Back to Normal

     Many years ago, back in the early 60's in Alaska, there was a much beloved gentleman who worked "for" me.  It was Chief Master Sargent LaVerne (Buck) Braun.  There are several memorable quotations that I attribute to him.  One was, "Only GI's and millionaires can live like this."  That one came as we floated down the Yukon River in a John boat, fishing for rainbows.  Another was, "My idea of a great diet is, for supper, a rare steak, a salad, and a martini (or two)".  It has always been a good choice, although the the other meals sometimes get in the way.  Below is a picture of the first steak on the Treager since we have been back.
     Our normal procedure is to get a single steak, usually a rib eye, that weighs about a pound or so.  That is enough for the two of us.  The Treager is not a super hot grill.  It is more attuned to slow smoking, but it can get hot enough to sear a good steak.  So, with no potato and just a salad, we had a very nice supper.  The martinis were a part of the picture.  Thanks, Buck.
     Although we walked around the block tonight, our lifestyle is becoming much less adventuresome.
     Baxter appears glad to be home.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Off the Road

     Today we took the bus to ProTech in North Charleston.  We had a long visit with Wayne McCoy and his wife, Lisa.  Wayne may be able to retire on this job.  We've got the rear cap replacement plus a number of other issues.  The non retractable step is first.  I told Wayne that I had driven the thing for 1300 miles and a week without dinging the step, and that if he did it while moving it around his shop, I'd  take a large piece out of his posterior.  There are slideout issues as well.  At any rate it is out of our driveway and in his shop.  Speaking of our driveway, take a look at how it fits in our driveway.
     It fits...but.  We have made appointments for our doctor, dentist and veterinarian.  The battery charger has rejuvenated the '86 Corvette, and we are settling into a new routine.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 Statistics

     There are many folks, I assume, that are sure that the RV lifestyle is reserved for the "rich and famous".  Allow me a few moments to contest that opinion.  First of all, let me assure you that, among our MANY camping friends, none are either rich or, generally speaking, famous.  The numbers I will show for our summer are on the higher end of the range for the typical RVer.  We have a forty foot diesel pusher with most of the bells and whistles.  Our activities are not generally inhibited by budget constraints.  We stay in nice campgrounds not Walmart parking lots.  With that perspective consider the following:

Diesel fuel      808.219 gallons for $2955.80 or an average of $3.657 per gal.

Camping fees     $5030.33

Eating out      $2360.76

Groceries      $2481.93  (note that we normally eat in...many don't)

Totals     134 days, 5325 miles,  $16837.89,  $125.66 per day

     I think you will find that most vacations cost more than $125.66 per day.  As a matter of fact, you can see that by changing the life-style from continual vacation to regular day to day living, and by eliminating the cost of supporting another house, full-timing is indeed affordable.  Nonetheless, there are no plans to do so.  That 45 minute soak in a large bathtub yesterday was wonderful.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hanahan

     This will be short.  We got home today shortly after noon.  At a rather slow pace we unloaded most of the bus.  Cindy's help was greatly appreciated.  I drove from Massachusetts to South Carolina with the step down.  Can you imagine how many folks told me I was a careless, forgetful oaf?  All's well that ends well.  Durelle says the sunset is pretty, but the camera is still in the bus.  Oh, Well.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Home Tomorrow

     In August of 1960, as a brand new "brown bar", I reported to Keesler AFB to attend a year long radar maintenance course.  Allen and Joyce Wegner were neighbors who played a big role in acclimating us to the Air Force.  Al was a First Lieutenant, an exalted rank to me, who had spent 6-8 years in the Navy before becoming an USAF Officer.  Lee and Dodi were also "old hands" in that Lee had several years of enlisted time before going through OCS.  We all became good friends and have remained so through the decades.  Durelle and Dodi were in the Keesler AFB hospital having Cindy and Kathy only a few days apart.  We have had other rendezvous' over the years, but today was special.  We had lunch with the Myers in their beautiful home in Haymarket, VA.
     Later we headed east about 25 miles to visit the Wegners in Fairfax.  Somehow we have managed to connect with them almost annually, in a variety of locales, for decades.  As we have many times before, we parked in front of their house.  Today was a bit different because of the recalcitrant step.  We had a wonderful supper and watched the presidential debate.  As fellow Republicans, we enjoyed the Romney performance.  We left this morning just before ten after a nice breakfast of quiche, fruit and muffins.
     The facial foliage is a new touch, and we think it looks great.
We then drove about 340 miles to Lumberton, NC where we stopped for the night.  It is less than 200 miles to Hanahan; and, were we younger, we would have sucked it up and headed home.  Cooler heads prevailed. We stopped and will have a four hour day tomorrow.
     As we were enjoying our last evening on the road for 2012, Durelle exclaimed,"Look at the sky!"  So I grabbed the camera and tried to capture some unexpected sunset pictures.


     Tomorrow we will arrive home after five months and five thousand miles.  It has been a fine summer, but we are looking forward to getting home with bathtubs, newspaper delivery, a backyard for Baxter and the company of our daughter Cindy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Front Royal, VA

     Today was a 325 mile jaunt that seemed longer than it was.  There were no catastrophic show stoppers... just a bunch of aggravations that added up to a long day.  The first issue that has bothered since the toll booth on the Mass Pike is the fact that the electric step will not retract.  A good theory is that when Durelle had to get out to get a toll ticket (the ticket dispenser was way too low for me to reach), I moved forward before the step had fully retracted and it hit the curb.  At any rate it won't come in.  The fuse is OK, but there is no power to the step as indicated by the fact that the light doesn't work.  A call to Red Bay didn't help.  It is not really a problem as long as I know to drive accordingly.  The problems occur when my freedom of action is limited as in gas stations and those construction zones where the Jersey barriers encroach from both sides.  We had both today.  In addition I started the drive with the first nose bleed I've had in twenty years.  On I-84 and I-81 we had heavy rain, dense fog, hundred foot visibility and road repair all at the same time.  At one point we had all of those things plus signs that said "Deer Crossing" and "Falling Rock" to top things off. The heart of this region is Frackville, PA; Hi, Jeri.   It was a morning of a "leaning forward" drive that required more intense concentration than I want to sustain for a whole day.
     Fortunately, everything improved in the afternoon.  Even the road surface smoothed out.  The fact that the fuel pump at Flying J would only deliver three gallons per minute for an 82 gallon fill-up was the next to the last difficulty.  When we arrived at the campground, the site was unacceptable.  There was some sort of an insert in the sewer fitting the precluded attaching my hose and it was so unlevel that I had three tires off the ground.  So we moved, which was another hassle.
     From there things got much better.  We each had good showers and met Tom and Dagmar Loose for supper at a nice small place in Front Royal.  It was a excellent meal, and very nice company.  In the mid-sixties, while we were living on base at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska, Dagmar was our next door neighbor and frequent babysitter for Cindy and Mark.  The picture below shows the four of us.  It is not a great shot, because the flash didn't, but it shows the four of us over coffee at the end of a great meal.



Monday, October 1, 2012

We Are Heading South

     Well, after a long summer, we are southbound.  There were a couple of foliage shots in the campground that Durelle liked, so I tried my best to capture them.  I tried to tell her that I had all the foliage shots I needed, but I do what I am told.  Actually they are not bad.
          This morning as we were packing up to leave, Mark arrived.  We had a good visit, and he was available to assist the front, driver's side slide as I retracted it.  As I mentioned earlier,  it will stay in place until we can get back to Protech in Charleston to get it fixed.  We have been on the road since May and this bus has been "rode hard and put away wet".  
     We have stopped at a KOA in Cuddebackville, NY.  It is listed as Deer Park KOA because, I think, the signage would not permit Cuddebackville KOA.  Today we discovered that the steps would not retract.  We called Red Bay and followed their suggestions.  No Joy.  The good news is that an extended step is only a problem if you don't know about it.  It will present a problem as we sidle up to the curb in Fairfax.  Fortunately there are no more toll booths to navigate.  We also lost a lens over the door light as we hit a pavement break in NY.
     We have several good friends to visit in VA and we will be home on Friday with or without a step.