Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Once again it has been quite a bit of time since our last blog so we will tie our update in with our best wishes for a Very Merry Christmas!

Gary’s foot has continued to improve and we were able to resume our pre-Christmas activities.  Everyone loves a parade and our parade to love was the Mims, Florida Christmas Parade. 

Not many towns can have an Astronaut High School


Our RV Park participated in the parade and the people on the motorcycle are a couple of our neighbors.


And of course Santa had to make an appearance but he had the most radical Rudolph we had ever seen.


007Our Park had a potluck in conjunction with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.  We had a nice dinner with our visiting Marine and I would have to say the Park really came through on the toys.



20141206_141655Of course I had to decorate the Alley Cat.  And of course Gary had to faux complain that I wasn’t respecting her dignity.

Finally, we packed up the car including Alley, left the motor home behind and made the 1,200 mile trip to the Midwest for the Christmas holidays.  We are spending time in both Michigan and Ohio.  Our last gas fill up on the north side of Toledo, Ohio was at $1.99 a gallon.  Great to have low fuel prices when you are making a long journey.

Monday, December 8, 2014

To Mars

Orion Exploration Flight TestOne of the best things about being here on the “Space Coast” is the rocket launches that occur from time to time from the nearby Kennedy Space Center.  When we wintered here three years ago, we saw three rocket launches.  Our first one this winter was a rather momentous one.  Friday, NASA completed its first test flight of the Orion spacecraft – the first mission since Apollo to carry a spacecraft built to carry humans to deep space (picture at right courtesy of NASA).  The launch, orbit, re-entry and landing in the Pacific went off without a hitch.  NASA hopes that Orion will be the vehicle to take Americans to Mars somewhere in the 2020s timeframe.

We were up early two days in a row as the launch was called off Thursday morning because of some weather and minor technical issues.  But at least I got a good shot of the sunrise.  The next morning the sky was a little cloudier so we didn’t see the rocket for two long before it ascended into the clouds but I did get some pictures of my own.  Our viewpoint on the bank of the Indian River was about 8 miles from the launch site so it took over a minute from seeing the rocket start to blast off until we heard the huge roar of the blast.




Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Tough Couple Weeks

It has been two weeks since our last blog post and it has been a tough couple of weeks at least for Gary.  After blogging about the death of our nephew, Gary was able to secure airline tickets and a rental car to travel to Indiana even though it was the week before Thanksgiving.  The prices were actually very reasonable especially for last-minute travel but they did involve three airports both ways.  There just wasn’t enough time to make the arrangements for both of us to be able to go so I stayed behind and tended to the fort.

Gary said the funeral home estimated 1,100 people came through during the 6 hours of visitation.  Peter was a widely known and respected individual.  There was also a full house for the funeral at the church for the celebration of Peter’s life.

For the visitation and the funeral, Gary broke out the hard soled shoes that he hadn’t worn for two years and are virtually brand new.  He had a bit of sore foot after the first day of standing.  After the second day’s funeral, he could no longer put full weight on his right foot and had to limp to finish out the day.  When he woke up on the third day, he not only had a sore foot, but laryngitis which was a forerunner of quite a head cold to come.  When I picked him up in Orlando after his day of limping through a car rental return and three airports with the first day of a cold, he came up to the car and reported, “I am a mess.”

2011-11-24_17-05-49_88Thursday I had to drive up to the clubhouse for us to attend the Thanksgiving potluck as he could not have walked that far.  At least cold pills and an ankle wrap allowed us to enjoy a very nice dinner with tons of good food with several fellow RVers here in the Park.



20141201_210053-001The foot was somewhat worse by Friday as was the cold too.  By Saturday it had swollen up and turned red and I had to break out the crutches we had in the basement of the motor home for just such an occurrence.  Monday morning we headed off the the walk-in clinic.  (One of the down sides of being full time RVers and being a thousand miles from one’s primary care physician is that you have little choice but to find some urgent care facility where you don’t know quite what quality of care you will receive.)  The physician’s assistant that we saw gave her diagnosis of a blood clot and sent us next door to labs at the hospital for an ultrasound telling us that as soon as they confirmed the clot Gary would be admitted for five days of clot dissolving IV’s.  Gary was seriously lamenting that his lifelong streak of never having been admitted to a hospital was coming to an end.  But the ultrasound of his leg saved him – there was no blood clot.

The clinic strongly suggested that Gary head to the ER which he was somewhat resisting until the “you don’t want to risk your leg” was thrown out.  So off to the ER we went.  Their diagnosis was an infected foot and they gave Gary an injection of antibiotics and a course of antibiotic pills and four and half hours after arriving at the hospital we were out the door.

20141203_190232Two days later, the foot was definitely worse.  It was swelling more with the swelling starting to move up the leg and it was redder as well – just the conditions they told us to come back for if they happened.  Gary asked what the uric acid test had indicated at the last visit.  After some checking, they told him they hadn’t done that.  But this time they did only to come back and say it was above the normal range and that an acute case of gout was likely the culprit.  After another four and a half hours, he left with another prescription and this one seems to be working.  The swelling is going down and the week of crutches is no longer necessary.  And the cold has just about run its course as well.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Peter Boone–1975 -2014

193-001Gary’s nephew, Peter Boone, shown in this picture with Gary’s brother, Darrell Boone, and Peter’s mother, Sandra (Overman) Boone, died yesterday at the age of 39. Peter was born with spina bifida and was paralyzed from about mid chest down. He was never able to walk but always had the use of his mind and his hands and arms. He was in and out of hospitals his entire life and endured more than 80 surgeries. One surgery at the age of 11 left him without the ability to swallow, speak, or fully breathe on his own. His nourishment throughout the rest of his life was through a feeding tube. His breathing thereafter always had to be supplemented with oxygen. He could not speak for about 10 years.

033-001You might have thought given all these afflictions that Peter would not have had much of a life -- that he would have drowned in self pity. But Peter had a remarkable faith in God whom he always gave witness to. Peter finished High School (Southwood in Wabash County, Indiana) with a lot of his studies conducted from a hospital bed. The school built ramps so that Peter could cross the stage in his scooter chair to receive his diploma. The entire gymnasium of attendees gave him a thunderous standing ovation.

If you thought Peter would have faded away after graduation, you didn’t know him. Our employer, The Ford Motor Company, gave him some special discounts on a Van which Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services paid to have converted to hand controls with a hydraulic lift for wheel chair entry. Peter took driving lessons and at the end of them received his license. He completed an Associate Degree in Business at Ivy Tech – Kokomo, accompanied in the Van most days by one or the other of his two Grand Dads. In and around this same time, a very kind Doctor surfaced who said he thought he could restore a good portion of Peter’s speech. He did and Peter no longer had to write or be lip read to communicate.

141After receiving his Degree, Peter secured employment with Southwood High School as a classroom tutor for students who needed further study for their achievement tests. He was proud of his job and that he was supporting himself as much as he could. Peter was a huge fan of Purdue Boilermaker sports and had season tickets for the football games. Peter cheated death a number of times. Before one Purdue football game, he had to be rescued in the parking lot from a choking episode by his sister in law, a Nurse Practitioner who had accompanied him to the game as well as a Doctor who happened by the scene.

Perhaps Peter’s favorite activity was the annual Summer retreats of the organization, Joni and Friends, a ministry dedicated to extending the love and message of Jesus Christ to people who are affected by disability around the world. Over time, Peter didn’t just attend the retreats, he became a Minister at them sharing his love of God with the disabled who needed uplifting by the example of one who always kept a smile on his face through his faith and belief.

Peter was at work yesterday. He was feeling fine. He was tutoring students as he did every school day. He developed a breathing problem that extensive CPR could not overcome. God called for him to come to Heaven. He is walking, dancing, breathing, eating, and still wearing the same smile he always wore. He will continue to be an angel to other disabled individuals, just from a different venue.

Monday, November 17, 2014

From Sea To Sea

DSCN1778From Savannah, we made a one-day trip to the place where will will camp for the Winter – Willow Lakes RV and Golf Resort in Titusville, Florida.  We sure were glad we had left the Midwest when we did.  It was nice to see the Welcome to Florida sign – the Sunshine State even in the traffic of I95.

We Wintered at Willow Lakes three years ago – our first Winter of fulltiming -- and enjoyed the Park and the people a lot so why not return.  We rented a site from an owner who will not be using it this Winter.  Our site is nice with some trees, a view of a small pond through the windshield of the motor home, just enough of open shot to the sky to acquire the satellite signal, and hopefully is far enough from the golf course that we won’t be hit by any golf balls.


This completes our sea to sea travels over the past two and a half months.  From the Olympic Peninsula of the Pacific Coast in early September, we traversed the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia now to arrive at the Space Coast of Florida near the Atlantic.  That journey was one of 3,758 motor home miles.  We averaged 8.1 miles per gallon meaning we burned 464 gallons of fuel.  We have never come close to traveling so many miles in that amount of time, but it was well worth it to be able to spend some time with our first grandchild.  The motor home now will sit until at least March

Sunday, November 16, 2014


We loved Savannah the first time we were here three years ago and we loved it again this time.  We intended to spend 3 or 4 nights in the area and wound up staying a week.  What’s not to love about strolling the many squares of the historic district with the moss covered oak trees.   Or the houses and other structures which in some cases date back to the Revolutionary War.  Or strolling the riverfront and the shops in the old warehouse buildings of River Street.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

On To Savannah

DSCN1747Way overdue for a blog post.  It was a week ago Monday that we rolled out of Columbus.  Our next destination was Savannah, Georgia.  We weren’t planning to stop and explore anything in between.  Our usual travel days would have taken us three days to make the trip from Columbus to Savannah.  But it seemed a bit much to be on the road for three straight days so we decided to stretch and make it in two days.   Our first day of travel was 370 DSCN1720miles.  We know that for most people that doesn’t sound like a huge travel day, but for us it was by far the most miles we had ever traveled in a single day in the motor home.  Fortunately, it was an uneventful day of travel with no issues, just the way we like them.  I even drove the hills and hollers of southern West Virginny, but I also had some time to put my feet up literally and admire my new slippers.  We had to drive a couple of tunnels passing through Virginia. There is not a large margin of error taking a motor home through these.  We were expecting some peak Fall colors, but we were just a little too late.  There were still some bursts of color but a lot of trees already had dropped their leaves.


The first day our stop for the night was in Mt. Airy, North Carolina.  Just south of the Virginia border.  Mt. Airy.  The actor, Andy Griffith was born in Mt. Airy and the town is believed to have been the basis for Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD.  Our brief stop in Mt. Airy was at the Mayberry Campground and we even camped on Andy Taylor Street.


Our second day of travel also was an uneventful one.  We drove about 325 miles to get to our campground in South Carolina near Savannah.  North Carolina gave us a greeting on one of their road signs, but we had to share it with these Wilkesboro people, whoever they are.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Tickle Giggles

We are wrapping up our fourth total week in Columbus.  This last one has been a bit of a bummer as Gary still has his cold and we were only able to see little Victor one last time.  But I have a great little video to try to post.  Let’s see if I can make it work.  This video is of Andy tickling Victor and he is a giggling and giggling.

Victor's Tickle Giggles

Gary could not get an appointment with his Doctor while we were in Michigan, so he had to make a quick trip in the car up to Ann Arbor.  At least he was able to see the Doctor while we were here.  Our insurance mandates an annual physical from our primary physicians.  Last year Gary couldn’t secure an appointment and we were subject to higher deductibles throughout 2014, but it didn’t really matter as we haven’t had any medical bills of any account anyway.  He obtained both a flu shot as well as a shingles vaccine   And there were the usual admonishments to lose weight and watch the salt intake.  We both now have completed our annual physicals in 2014 so we we be back on the regular deductibles next year.

20141026_192412While Gary was gone, I cleaned the inside of the motor home and……..carved another pumpkin.  I carved another happy guy and I liked him a little better than the earlier one.  I also purchased a fresher pumpkin so he lasted a few days this time.  But now he is across the fence of the campground and into the woods for the enjoyment of the squirrels.

We were going to leave Columbus on Saturday, but now we will roll out of here tomorrow.  A cold front rolled in and we were in the 20s last night.  Our route south will take us through the Appalachians and there was six inches of snow in parts of those mountains last night.  We certainly don’t need to be traveling through anywhere with snow.  The weather now looks good for our journey so we are off to Savannah and then Florida – AND WARMER WEATHER!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back To Victorville

No, we didn’t make a sudden change of course and head west to California where Victorville is a town on the Interstate between LA and Vegas.  Our Victorville is Columbus, Ohio where our near four-month-old little grandson lives.

20141023_112210Tuesday night we went out to eat with Andy, Natasha, and Victor (well, Victor just hung out in his portable car seat).  We made plans to baby sit the little one on Thursday and Friday.  But then Wednesday morning Gary woke up with a sore throat – one he described as raw.  In our three years of traveling, we have avoided either one of us coming down with a nasty virus until now.  I sat with Victor by myself both Thursday and Friday.  Gary got to wave from a distance.  And this virus is a nasty one.  From the sore throat, in a couple of days it traveled into his head and sinuses.  And then after a couple more days it moved into his chest.  I sure hope I don’t catch this thing, much less the baby and his parents.  And here Victor wore his Grandpa shirt for the Grandpa who couldn’t get near him.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Michigan Visit Week 2

When you are back for a home visit, there isn’t a ton to blog about.  I guess we could describe each of our many meals out, but they were mainly eaten at our former favorite haunts without any fantastic new local delicacies to report on.  We could report on our various shopping trips, but JC Penny’s is not exactly new for us.

DSCN1665So, let’s see what I can blog about.  I carved a pumpkin.  This time I carved a happy face.  Unfortunately, when I went to clean the pumpkin I found it had quite a bit of softness and I only got about three nights of enjoyment from him.





20141016_223026I also decorated Alley Cat for Halloween.  Our friend Nancy gave us this colorful little costume.  Even though it attaches with the very same type of velcro straps that her regular holster employs, you would have thought she was pained to wear it by the way she barely slinked around in it.  Of course Gary was there to say he wanted to defend her dignity and released her from it.  But this one is going to get some additional wear by the end of the month.

Let me send out a request to Canadians – please come and take back your signature geese.   They foul everything and especially our campground. 

DSCN1670By the end of our Michigan stay it was just about at the peak of Fall colors.  The reds, yellows and oranges were beautiful.  But with those Fall colors came some Fall weather as we hit a low of 30 one night.  But by the middle of November we will be in Florida for our Winter stay.   We can still enjoy the colors of four seasons – at least in small doses.


We had to chance to go out to lunch one day with our friends from the brew club, the Kennedys.  I had the chance to see my sisters and parents several times and borrow their washing machine on a couple of visits.  We completed most of our appointments.  And we will be back at Christmas time as well.  It’s now back to Ohio for some more time with little Victor before we head off for some warmer weather.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Week In Michigan

DSCN1641After our week of baby sitting, we rolled north into Michigan for what will be two weeks of visiting family and friends and a few appointments.



DSCN1647We were unable to stay at “Camp Bagman”, the RV storage spaces behind the warehouse full of bags.  The Bagman had all of his spaces rented and no one was going out on a trip during the period of our stay. Instead, we are camped in Sterling State Park on the western shoreline of Lake Erie near the town of Monroe and about 40 minutes south of downtown Detroit.  We have not stayed here before and it is working for us just fine and especially with 50 amp full hookup sites.  Electrical Power certainly should not be an issue here.  Just south of the Park is DTE Energy’s Monroe Power Plant.  It is the second largest coal power plant in the US.  Not far to the north of the Park is Fermi 2, DTE’s nuclear power plant.  And just for good measure, there is another nuclear plant on the south shore of Lake Erie in Ohio – the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station of FirstEnergy Corp.


We have caught up with my family of course and have seen a number of friends.  We have knocked a few things off our to-do lists as well.  One special treat was that we were able to attend a meeting of the Downriver Brewers Guild, the brew club that we belonged to before we went on the road.  There were about a dozen of us at the meeting.  We took a bottle of mead to share from storage in my sister’s basement. We made this mead nearly four years ago.  We did not know how well it might have held up with this amount of age.  If we say so ourselves, it not only had held up very well; it was very tasty too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Week Of Babysitting With Baby Victor

DSCN1602After we finished up at Zip Dee northwest of Chicago, we headed across Indiana spending one night in Fort Wayne at the Johnny Appleseed Campground in a city park.  At the turn onto the final road to take us into the campground, Samantha, the voice of our GPS system announced,  “turn left on Harry Baalz Drive”. I still laugh at that street name. The next day we rolled on to Columbus, Ohio.  The day after setting up camp, our son Andy brought our one and only Grandchild, Victor, out for his first visit to our motor home.  After we received some instructions over the weekend, we spent Andy and Natasha’s work week sitting for little Victor in their home.  Their regular sitter was off for the week and we were thrilled to take on the opportunity.  And while sitting, we also made them a home-cooked meal each day.  Andy said it was the only week that they had ever sat down every night of the week for a meal together at their home.

DSCN1611This was my first introduction to Victor.  Gary had flown back in July, a couple weeks after Victor was born on the 4th of July, but this was my first chance to see and hold him.  Why do I look more thrilled than Victor?

Our week went well and rather quickly.  I gave him his bottle feedings and gave Gary the diaper duty.  Wow, it has been a long time since we were last doing these jobs.  We still haven’t been able to successfully sit the parents and snap a picture of them with Victor, but we did manage more than a few other photos.  He sure is a growing boy at more than 15 pounds at three months old.