First off, I’d like to apologize to all my followers and faithful blog readers, because I know it’s been two months since my last post. I know several of you have wondered if I fallen off the earth or something. It’s not that there has not been a lot of interesting things going on in my life to write about. Because there have been, especially spending the whole month of May in Europe with Crystal. But you see I’ve been somewhat under the weather with persistent digestive problems, and have not been physically and mentally up to the challenge of being creative and putting out new posts. More and that later in this posting. This post will be a little different than my normal ones, in that it’s going to be an update of why I have not been posting. When I first came out with this blog, I decided that I was going to design it to share the interesting places that I come across in my travels. Sharing the things that I think are highlights and would be interesting to others. I’m not much of a writer even though I’ve been told I’m quite the storyteller. I like to share lots of photos with brief captions and descriptions of the things I come across. I have other friends that have quite extensive blogs and some of them are actually daily journals that they share everything going on in their life which is all well and good and quite interesting, but you have to be a more creative writer than I am to do that and keep people interested. I like to stick with shorter post with lots of photos sharing the interesting things that I’ve come across in my travels. But for the sake of updating everyone, this post will be different sharing more of the ups and downs that we all have in our normal lives. It’s not that I’m not willing to share my ups and downs that go on in my life. As the ones of you that know me well know, I’m like an open book and quite often too willing to share. It’s just that I have chosen not to do it in this format. But if you’re ever interested on what’s going on do not hesitate to send me an email or give me a call. As so many of you know I will be more than happy to give you all the juicy details.
A quick update of things to come, I will be sharing some of the 1300 photos that I took during the month of May when Crystal and I were exploring Europe. Most of you know that Crystal (my oldest daughter) and I took a month-long trip of a lifetime hitting highlights all throughout Europe. In future posts I will be highlighting some of the things we did and got to see it truly was a wonderful experience. It will take some time and energy to sort through and pick out interesting things to share I could spend months writing about the wonderful experiences we have and all the things we saw. I know some of you that know me well, were thinking that I probably got locked up in some jail overseas doing some of my normal shenanigans. And that is why I have not been putting out any post. But I’m glad to tell you there were no such incidents, Crystal kept me on the straight and narrow most of the time. Even though there might’ve been a couple close calls. Here’s are some photos of a few of the interesting places we visited that I’m sure you’ll recognize. The Tower Bridge in London. The Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Coliseum in Rome.
Well now on to what has been happening over the last couple months. Back in mid-April I started my track from the San Diego area heading up to Washington to spend a little time with Crystal in April before we headed off to Europe. I decided to take the Eastern route following highway 395 on the east side of California rather than going up the Interstate 5 corridor which is always so crazy busy. I took this route last fall when I headed south, and enjoyed it immensely. The plan was to take my time and making several stops along the way to Olympia, so that I could arrive around Easter Sunday the 20th. Giving me ample time to get my RV in storage and Maxine to my good friend Jody, (who was going to take care of her while we were gone). Our flight to Europe didn’t leave until April 29. But God has a way of letting you know that he’s in charge and no matter what plans you make you better be ready for changes. My first stop was for a night just outside of Lone Pine, California, at Tuttle Creek campground where I had stayed this past fall. You can read more about it in my previous post here. A fresh dusting of snow came overnight leaving this beautiful view of the mountains as the morning sun came up. Yet in the campground there were lots of spring flowers in bloom. I only stayed one night with the plan to move on to the Reno, Nevada area the next day. Then the funniest thing happened on my way out of the campground there was a truck behind me and I pulled over to the side to let him go by. But instead they pull up alongside and rolled her window down, after noticing my RV Dreams bumper sticker to let me know that they were also RV Dreamer’s. At first, we did not recognize each other because we all had dark sunglasses on. But it ended up being friends that I met back in Quartzsite (for the first time in 2016), Harry and Vicki. This was totally unexpected and a pleasant surprise, it is a small world after all. We visited along the road for just a short period of time because we were both going in opposite directions but it’s funny how these things happen. I had touched base with Harry when he was working in the Black Hills back in July of last year when I stopped to visit Jim and Barb. You can read about that visit here on this post. Here’s a photo that Harry took and shared with me so I had something to put on my blog thanks again guys and see you down the road.
From there I headed north making good time and enjoying the pleasant ride. Planning on stopping near Reno for the night. I was about 100 miles south of the Reno area when the changes started to happen. I came to a rather steep incline and downshifted to get up the hill smoothly when something popped and I lost all power. The engine ran smoothly but I had little to no power to move forward not knowing what was wrong and couldn’t do much along the roadside I called AAA to come get me. Of course, this was a Friday afternoon and as anyone knows waiting for a wrecker usually ends up being a lot longer than you would think. The wrecker finally showed up and he knew what he was doing and had a big enough rig to toll my RV comfortably.
While I was waiting for the wrecker, I had time to do some research and make some calls and found a place in Carson City, Nevada that was qualified and willing to work on my rig (they also came pretty highly recommended and all the reviews). So, when the wrecker got there, I had a plan and a destination of Carson Truck & Auto Repair. Their name doesn’t imply it but they are actually specialists in RV repair and have an extensive shop and did wonderful work for me. But of course, as I said earlier it was Friday afternoon (April 12th) and by the time, I got towed in it was late in the evening and they were not going to be around until Monday morning April 15. So much for taking my time in enjoying several stops on my way to Washington. There was plenty of room to park outside the gate and I just hunkered down and spent the weekend wondering what this was going to cost and how major it might be. They got a look at it first thing Monday morning like they promised. After a short inspection they came back to me saying they had good news and bad news. The good news was the power loss problem was just a hose that popped off the turbocharger and wasn’t getting enough air intake to give it power. The bad news was the reason the hose popped off is the air exchange cooler was plugged and so was the radiator causing an overheating problem. Plus, there were several other things that needed some work. The only way to clean and fix the air exchanger was to pull it out which was a major project and they would need quite a bit of time, up to a couple weeks to complete it all. Well after weighing the options and talking to them explaining that I was going to be gone the whole month of May and if they were willing to hang onto the rig until I got back, I was more than happy to have them do the work and spend the thousands of dollars, to give it all the attention that it needed. They were more than willing to oblige. The plan was I would take the car and drive the 700 miles up to Crystals and stay with her until we left on April 29 for Europe. The only problem was Maxine could not stay in their apartment so I had to make arrangements for her. I talked to Jody and she was more than willing to take Maxine on a week earlier which was super great. So that meant five weeks away from my beloved Maxine, which was harder on me then on her. Because they spoiled her rotten. In matter of fact when I first came back, she gave me a look like who are you and what are you doing here. But that was short-lived and she hung really close to my side the next couple weeks after I got back. I stayed a couple more days at the shop preparing for my time away. I had to pick out and pack for the month-long stay in Europe plus I packed another bag for my time with Crystal in Washington. Also, I had to empty the fridge and freezer into coolers because I did not want to keep things in the RV the whole time I was gone. On midday Wednesday Maxine and I started the 700-mile trip we had ahead of us. The plan was to do about half the first day and finish up this rest the next. Being that it was Easter weekend I chose to spend a couple nights when Maxine in a motel as not to bother Jody and her family over the Easter weekend. We wanted to do a trial run to make sure that Maxine got along with her dog and cat ok, she did just fine. So actually, it ended up on Easter Saturday that I brought Maxine to their house and left her there, for an overnight stay. With the intention of if there were any problems, we would go to Plan B. All went well and so we decided to just leave Maxine with them. Rather than bouncer her back and forth they kept her until I got back from Europe. Once again thanks so much to Jody and her family, you were a godsend taking care of Maxine. The only bad thing with this plan is it meant when we got home on May 25, I had to head back to Carson City on the 26th so I would be there first thing Tuesday morning, the day after Memorial Day, to pick my rig up and head back to the Olympia area. I wanted to be back to start my host job before June 1. Everything worked out just fine and the rig is running better than ever. And I was so glad to just finally stopped traveling and hunkered down for a couple months and make the necessary doctors’ appointments that I knew were ahead of me.
And now a little more information on my digestive problems which are the main reason why I have not had the energy or time to be posting on my blog. Over the last couple years, I’ve had flareups where I would basically have’s flulike symptoms for a couple days, this would come and go and I made the best of it. I had consulted with doctors several times the last couple years and basically, they contributed to acid reflux and didn’t think too much of it. I even tried to get in to a gastroenterologist over the winter when I was in San Diego area but it seems nearly impossible to get a timely appointment. The week before we were leaving for Europe, I had another flareup and figured like in the past it would get better which it started to and I thought I would be okay. Plus, there was no way I wanted to cancel this trip. To make a long story short the whole time I was gone I had difficult time keeping solid foods down and lost considerable weight, I had good days and bad. A big part of the scenario was just like whenever I do a lot of traveling, I can have problems which my digestive system, and it didn’t help with me being on other people’s schedules rather than my own. It was not an emergency type situation but it also was not much fun either. I tried scheduling a gastroenterologist appointment, after week two while I was still in Europe. For as soon as I got back to the states, but they were talking at least a 10-week time before they could schedule an appointment. So, I didn’t set anything up and plan on just going to see the emergency care when I got home, because I knew this would expedite things (which it did). After a visit to urgent care and them running an ultrasound and some other tests along with blood work, they were able to get me into the same gastroenterologist office in a couple days rather than 10 weeks, funny how that works. After my initial visit the next day they did an upper EGD. They checked everything out and took a lot of samples for biopsies (which all came back clean). And there again to make a long story short I’m having problems with blockage between the stomach and small intestine and the food not passing through and backing up. So as of Thursday, I’ve been referred to a surgeon to explore the options of fixing this problem, but who knows how long that’s going to take to come together. I’ve been doing quite a bit better and got my strength back switching mostly to a liquid type diet and being careful of what and when I eat and how much. So that’s enough talk about those problems I’m sure everything will be fine but it’s just a matter of time. I can tell you one thing it’s not much fun dealing with the medical industry and all of its red tape. So, my plans might change considerably as the summer goes on depending on what I need to have done.
As of right now, I started here at Millersylvania State Park just 12 miles from Crystal’s house on June 1st as a campground host. This is a very nice and busy State Park because we just 9 miles from Olympia, Washington and about an hour south of the Seattle area, being so close to this busy metropolitan area keeps this Park hopping. The park is a very nice. It has a very large day use area with a couple swimming beaches on Deep Lake, several group site areas and about 150 campsites. There is also a concession stand down by one of the swimming beaches and a beer and wine garden at the other beach. So, on weekends it’s quite a buzz throughout the whole Park. Mostly this month of June I’ve been resting up and catching up from the very fun but tiring vacation in Europe. Crystal and I were on the go the whole month of May nonstop and both of us felt it at times. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. But it was nice to come back here and just do my daily routine. I have not been doing a whole lot exploring of the area as of yet, but now that I’m starting to feel better, I’m getting the itch to do some exploring. I have enjoyed the company of Crystal and Josh off and on through the month. And even my granddaughter came out from New York to visit for a week, she got out here to the park a couple times which was great. I hadn’t seen her in over a year, she’s turned into quite the young lady turning 20 soon. It’s a great bunch of people that I’m working with here at the park all the Rangers and Park aids are very nice. Both Maxine and I have gotten to be good friends with the other hosts Don and Vicky, who are just wonderful people and locals from the state of Washington. Also, Maxine has a boyfriend now Don’s service dog “Whiskey” a two-year-old male (Lab retriever mix) who she visits with on a daily basis. She likes to be the boss and he lets her, but they have great time running and chasing after balls that we throw for them. The plan is to spend the next month of July here at the park, and then move back down to Florence, Oregon to once again volunteer at the lighthouse like I’ve done the last two summers. But we’ll see how things go like I said earlier on about the time you make a plan; things have a way of changing on you. I find it’s much easier these days to just go with the flow rather than worry about it or fight it. While that’s pretty much it for now. I hope to get several postings out over the next few weeks of our time in Europe, but please don’t hold your breath. While that’s it for now thanks for following along God bless and safe travels to all, Rick
PS: I think I’ll leave you with one more photo of Crystal and I at the Lion Monument in Luzern, Switzerland. A beautiful monument in commemoration of the Swiss Guards, hewn in 1820-21 by Lukas Ahorn.
We watched your Europe trip via facebook, looked like you had a great time! Sorry about your rig and health problems, hope things work out and you have no more issues with both!
Thanks, the RV is great now running better than ever.
Health is doing somewhat better with a long term care plan in place.
Hope to get some more pictures out there from the Europe trip soon.