"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Friday, February 21, 2020

A Getaway!

After almost four months, we finally managed to get away for a few days.  Our destination wasn't that far, a couple hundred miles to the Gulf Coast.  Our first stop was at Davis Bayou campground, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.



A very nice campground with water and electric hookups. Built on a hardwood hummock surrounded by marshland.



The weather while we were there was beautiful, but quite cool.  Lots of creatures escaping the water and enjoying the warming rays of the sun.




While on a walk one morning I noticed an unmarked trail leading from the road.


The first unusual thing I found was this tree.  Years ago a large Live Oak tree had fallen, and a limb came to rest alongside another smaller tree.  The small tree has grown almost all the way around the dead limb.


Shortly afterward, I found a number of large concrete foundations.



The more I looked, the more old foundations I found.  My imagination was running wild when I saw the back of this old sign, which explained it all.


The remains of an old CCC camp from the late 1930's.  Just think what it would have been like for those guys back then.  Living just a stones throw from gulf coast marshland, during a hot Mississippi Summer. No air conditioning, clouds of mosquitoes, sand gnats, ticks, chiggers, etc.  They were probably all glad to sign up for the Army when the time came.

From Davis Island, we moved over near Pensacola, Florida; and Fort Pickens campground.  Still part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, but much larger than Davis Island.  Lots and lots of snowbirds.


 The weather in Fort Pickens wasn't the best.  Rain almost all day Sunday, and fog so thick on Monday that one could hardly see the end of the campground.  We stayed close to the trailer reading and napping most of the day.  Tuesday wasn't much better, with fog lasting all day, but it wasn't as dense.  We had a good breakfast, then did a ride along Santa Rosa Island to Navarre Beach, and back.



On Wednesday things improved and I hiked the mile to the old fort.  I've blogged about it in the past, so not much to add.  Just a few random shots with my phone.




Lots of bricks.  All handmade by slaves in the 1830's.  Walls four feet thick, and solid brick.



Almost two hundred years of wear, by thousands of feet on these.


Wednesday was also the best beach day we had. Though it wasn't sunny, the temperature was mild.



                                                          She really wanted that shell.


Wednesday was also was the only day we had a pretty sunset.  Here's a few shots from my phone, as well as the old Canon.






We're back home now.   Traveled all day in rain yesterday, and it's been cold here today.  Sunny tomorrow and Sunday, with rain again Monday.  Welcome to Winter in the South....jc




Monday, February 3, 2020

They're All Behind Us, Now..

Sure hope they don't return any time soon.  Medical issues, that is.

As I sit here on the Monday after the Super Bowl, I can't help but feel a little blue.  This is the first time in six years that we haven't been at Dome Rock, just West of Quartzsite, Arizona, on this day.  The Dome Rock Gathering of molded fiberglass trailers is the weekend after the Super Bowl.  We always arrived early, and usually stayed late.  Visiting friends from many parts of the Country, along with experiencing beautiful sunsets.



I feel it's time for an update on the past three months.  November wasn't kind to either of us as far as medical issues went.  First was Wanda getting referred to a thyroid specialist for a goiter that she had been dealing with for a number of years.  It was growing larger, and migrating down into her chest cavity.  We met with the specialist in Jackson on November 7, and he recommended biopsies, followed by surgery to remove the goiter and her thyroid.  The biopsies were done, and thankfully came back as benign for cancer.  Surgery was scheduled for January 7.


 Meanwhile, on November 15th. I left the house for my daily walk.  As I was walking out our driveway, I was hit with an excruciating pain in my left knee.  I could hardly walk back to the house.  Absolutely the worst pain I had ever experienced.  A trip to our family doctor returned a diagnosis of a probable pinched nerve in my "back"  He prescribed a steroid pack, gave me a steroid injection, and told me total rest.  Two days later, I'm back, looking for more pain relief.  And then three days more, and I'm back in his office.  He gave me another injection, prescribed an opioid pain reliever, and told me to go home, get in my chair, and only move for bathroom and bed for two weeks. His office got me an appointment with a spine specialist in Hattiesburg for December 5th.


I missed our large family Thanksgiving gathering for just the second time in 71 years.  Our kids came to our house, and I was tended to all day.  Made me feel like an old invalid.  After X-rays, MRI's, and more X-rays, the specialist's diagnosis was a  severely irritated nerve, caused by a herniated disc between the L3 and L4 vertebra.  I don't have a clue as to when, where, or how, the damage was done.  Physical therapy, and an injection directly into the affected area begin to relieve the pain.  By Christmas, I was able to walk without much of a limp.  Now, I'm pain free.  Just uneasy about doing much, as I don't want to irritate that nerve again.


Now, back to Wanda.  On January 7th., she went through a four hour surgery to remove two goiters, as well as her thyroid.  One of the goiters was the size of her fist. We were informed that a lot of things could go wrong with that type of surgery.  One of the worst being damage to the vocal cords.  Thankfully, she had an awesome surgeon, and came out of recovery talking.  A week later she was released from his care, with a followup in two months with our local physician.  Just a month after the surgery, the scar is practically invisible.


That brings us up to date.  If we had known that things were going to work out as they did, we would have stayed with our February plans.  But when one of us can't walk, while the other is facing serious surgery, it's difficult to plan into the future.  We're headed to Gulf Islands national Seashore in a couple of weeks.  Davis Bayou and Fort Pickens campgrounds.  Hopefully the wheels will still turn on the Casita.  It has never sat this long between trips.


Now, you know the "rest of the story."  Hopefully there will be travel reports from now on, and no more medical issues any time soon.....jc

Friday, January 3, 2020

Back in Time--September 1, 2008

Though we had owned our Casita for almost two years, it wasn't until September, 2008 that we took our first real journey.  I had officially retired in April of 2008, taking a pension buyout.  I also cashed out my 401K, and handed two checks to my financial advisor, reminding him at the time that he had my life in his hands.

We flew to Seattle in May for a much anticipated Alaskan cruise with friends.  June, July, and August were spent adjusting to retired life, and trip planning.  This was pre Sally.  At the time we had Ben, a beautiful red dachshund.



 
September finally came and we hit the road. Our first night found us in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  We spent the evening watching Hurricane Gustav take dead aim at our home.


After talking with friends and relatives the next morning, we continued on.  We made our way to St. Louis, then west across Missouri, and into the southwest corner of Iowa for the night.  On into Nebraska the next day, with the Bessey campground within the Nebraska National Forest being our destination for the evening.  It was a huge campground, set within the largest hand planted forest in the world.  Signs were everywhere saying not to drink the water as it was full of arsenic. Couple that with a nearby railroad which had a coal train every hour or so, and we understood why we were the only campers there.

We spent a mostly sleepless night due to trains blowing their whistles every hour or so at a nearby crossing.  After a quick breakfast, we continued on our way toward the Black Hills of South Dakota.  As we neared Alliance, Nebraska, we spotted a sign for Carhenge. Now how could anyone pass that up?







We had made reservations at an RV park just out from Custer, SD.  We wanted to tour Custer state park, visit Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial.





We were told the sculpture is so huge that the four Mt. Rushmore carvings would fit between the eye and ear.



We happened to be there on one of the two nights each year when night blasting is done.


We visited the Badlands.
 




We also took a day trip up into Montana to visit Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  Better know as Custer's Last Stand.




 

We spent a night in Sheridan, WY, and the next morning climbed the Big Horn Mountain range to the West.  Our next destination was Cody, WY.  Along we way, we found ourselves in the middle of a real cattle drive.  Moving the herd from summer pasture in the mountains to lower elevations for the Winter.



We were having a blast!!.....jc