Monday, May 31, 2010

Hospital Time on Memorial Day Weekend

It seems like we spent most of the weekend in the hospital at Mercy Medical Center - St Mary's Hospital in Knoxville.  Saturday I took Pam in to the emergency room (normal TRICARE procedures) to see a doctor.  They agreed she had a reaction to the Bactrim antibiotic she had been taking for 10 days to fight a Urinary Tract Infection.

Between the UTI and the rash - she has had a miserable couple of days.

She broke out with a rash, had a temperature and just felt bad.  When they got the right antibiotics and steroids going (along with a couple of IV's) she started feeling better and we went home.
This morning she woke up feeling better but the rash had gotten worse.  It moved from a rash to confluence. ? Not sure I used the word correctly there.

Basically it looks like she has a sunburn, hives, measles and a rash at various parts of her body.  When a small area of skin came off like a blister, I brought her back for the doctors to take another look.  They said it takes a little while for the steroids to take effect and wanted to admit her for overnight observation.  So that is where we are.

Thankfully she is getting stronger and she had no blood pressure issues, no breathing problems or the irritation of the rash is decreasing.  And she is on a diet of fluids which help with the sore throat.

We look forward to progress tomorrow and going back to Joan and Mikes for a couple of days before we head back to the Roadrunner at our campground in Michigan.

We will keep you posted.  Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mowers in Maynardville

Joan and Mike live in Maynardville, TN.  It is a small community but Mike is well known in these parts for mowers.  He buys and sells mowers and has done that for many many years.  He is an ace mechanic and can fix just about anything if he has the right part.
He does a lot of looking and trading and repairing.  Saturday morning we hit the road after a stop at McDonald's in Maynardville for a couple of cups of Senior Coffee.  Then we were off through the back roads to Clinton, Tennessee to deliver a mower and pick up two more.
I love driving through the back roads with Mike.  He and I have done that for 30 years -- every since I Pam and I were married and we'd come back to see family.  Today it was a beautiful day and a great day for a drive.

We got to our first destination and unloaded the first one with no issue.  Then we had to be a bit creative to get the two lawn mowers onto the trailer, but we did and were off to our next stop ~ out near Blaine, TN to see Roger. 
Roger has quite a collection.  He has rows and rows of mowers around his property and is known as the 'go to' guy when you need a mower part of any make and model.  Many of his mowers are trade-ins.  And a lot of his mowers he sells for parts.
Roger wanted to do some trading but Mike didn't see any good prospects that jumped out at him, so we dropped off the two mowers and went on to see the next gentlemen.  We went over a couple of hollers and and picked up a mower Mike had bought from him.

With that done, we went back to Mike's and spent the rest of the day around the house.  Kayla and Noah and Michelle came over for a while and Noah and I had a challenging few games of ladder ball.

Later, Pam was not feeling too good so she went to bed early.  Mike and Joan and I watched the last part of the movie, "Midway" and then a couple of episodes of "The Deadliest Catch".  By then it was time to call it a day.

Hope you all are having a great Memorial Day Weekend!  And thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yard Work III

This was a different kind of yard work yesterday.  Mike had the tractor with the blade on it and spread a lot of dirt around Dennis' yard so he could put in a lawn.
Dennis built this house last year and has it for sale.  It has 3,000 sq ft upstairs and the same in the unfinished basement.  All for $168,000.
Mike thought I'd enjoy getting on the tractor for a while.
He was right.  It was fun dragging dirt around!  With a little time, I think I could get good at it!

The next excitement in the neighborhood was the cement truck and workers who were repairing driveways.
Last year the county put down a new fire hydrant and water system and each driveway along the road was torn up.  These guys were setting the concrete and did a good job.

Mike volunteered us to help Dennis spread grass seed and cover it with hay.  We spend a couple hours out there doing just that.
Dennis finished up later in the afternoon before the rain came so it was good timing.  Fortunately, the late afternoon showers were fairly soft, so none of the grass seed floated away.

It was warm until it got hot, but it was a beautiful day.  It rained in the afternoon and we watched some golf on TV.  Joan fixed a great roast beef dinner and we sat and talked for a while.  Michelle joined us and we got all got caught up before she went home.  She lives a few houses away which is nice.

That was it for the first full day in Maynardville.  I forgot to tell you Mike and I got up and went to breakfast at the 33 Diner in Maynardville.  If you are in the area, you have to go and tell them where you heard about it.  It is worth the trip!

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Happy Memorial Day to all ~ please be safe!  And Happy 40th Anniversary today to Joan and Mike!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday Travels

It didn't start out like a travel day because when I talked with Pam at about 6:00 AM she was not feeling well.  She was feeling a little puny on Wednesday evening and had a full blown fever when she went to bed so I was not surprised.

The great thing about being full-timers is that we have the option to change our plans most of the time.  So we did and she went back to sleep.  I read and sat out by the lake for a while, then decided to go for a walk around the campground/RV Park.

It has some great roads and trails and I went at a brisk pace.  Before I even got a 100 yards I saw the turf farm next to us getting ready to cut some sections and load them on pallets.
It looked like they had done a few and I didn't see anyone around so there were no action shots.

A little later, about a 1/2 a mile away I went by one of the lakes that has one of the larger 'beaches'.  This is never going to compete with the Florida beaches,
but it gets a lot of use in the good weather and I'm sure it will be busier later in the day.

Further along the campground I saw some interesting 'cotton'.  In this part of the country the giant cottonwood trees shed their 'cotton' during the spring and it was doing that now.
From a distance in certain places where it was accumulating, it looked like a dusting of snow.

The other side of the campground (which is fairly large with 497 campsites) has plenty of great sites with good views.
Along the way I saw some swans and their cygnets (I had to look that one up...I mean really who knows what baby swans are called?).
Here is one for you,  I see all kinds of birds near the campsite and I have no idea what they are called.  I get the hummingbirds, the robins, I recognize a finch now and then or an oriole...but what is this one called?
Any birders out there that can give me some help?  Know it would be better it I had a full size tripod, a larger camera with a telephoto lens and those kind of things...but for now I will have to see what I can do with my Canon SD1200 IS Digital Elph...

When I got back to the Roadrunner, Pam was up and had eaten a little bit and decided she was up for driving to Tennessee.  I took a shower, we finished packing up and were on our way by about 11:30 AM.

I drove about 2 1/2 hours and we stopped at a rest stop.  Where we switched drivers.
Pam drove a while while I took a siesta.  I was ready to go after about 30 minutes but we were in the midst of a series of rain showers.  It was a downpour! at times.  Always figures...she is driving and gets bad weather or a long highway construction zone...  We switched again and I drove the rest of the way.

We had a hold up near Cincinnati where a tractor trailer was turned over on the other side of the freeway so that delayed for awhile as traffic crawled through that area.  Then as we progressed into Kentucky, the sky cleared and it was a beautiful evening and nice time to be driving.

By the time we got to Maynardville (451 miles and 9 1/2 hours later) we both were pretty whupped.  We arrived just before it got dark and got our things out of the car and talked with Mike and Joan for a while before we went to bed.

That was our Thursday, first walking around the campground, then driving to Tennessee.  It was a loong day!   Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesday started off with a beautiful view out the back window.  I awaken just before six and I saw the lake and sun rising quickly.  I scrambled out of the Roadrunner and went to the 'backyard' to see if I could capture some early morning photos.
It was spectacular early.  After that I made some coffee and went back out by the lake and read for a while.  It was peaceful and a great way to start the day.

At 9:30 AM we were invited for coffee to see fellow blogger RVers John and Judy.  John found the Roadrunner Chronicles some weeks back and emailed me that they were going to be here for a few days.  You can read his blog: Tire-Swing
We met and had a great chat about their family, business, boating and RV travels.  Before we left,  they gave us a tour of their beautiful RV.  They have made a lot of modifications and moved the TV from the front of the coach to the side and added a computer desk.  Their beautiful floor is not the heavy ceramic but a very durable composition that was put down with grout.  It wears well and looks great.

After our short visit we emailed them to see if we could get together in the evening.  Sure enough, that worked out too.

But meanwhile, we had an appointment with our friend Rod who is a pilot and was going to give us a tour of the hangar and airplane he flies.
We got the first class treatment and learned more than we could retain about the make, model and specifications of the aircraft.
It was quite impressive with an equally amazing set of dials and gauges to make sure everyone gets from point A to point B safely.

After that, we had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant and then we headed back to the Roadrunner.
Next we drove back to Detroit to pick up Adam from the bus terminal.  He left Chicago this morning on the Megabus and paid $23 for the six hour trip.  Not bad.

After we returned to the Roadrunner, Adam left for some errands and we stayed put.  We packed for our trip to Tennessee tomorrow in the Honda, and then had the chance to visit with John and Judy again.
They are very nice folks and very interesting.  We found we have a lot in common and like many of the same things.  They are planning on getting a newer motor home at some point and were interested in what we like about the Tiffin Allegro Bus.

We talked for a good long while, when outside and built a campfire before it got late and they returned to their campsite not too far way.

Hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend and a safe one!  Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday - Changes on a Beautiful Day

Yesterday we got up in time to take the Pathfinder in to the dealer.  The 'Check Engine Light' has been on and we thought we better check it out.  We decided to drop it off at the dealer, but after we started it, no light!  We drove it about 5 miles down the road and the 'Check Engine Light' still would not come on.  Instead of taking it in to the garage, we just filled up with gas at Sam's Club and returned to the campground.

Next we decided to see if Marg was up for lunch in Petrolia.  It was such a nice day, we thought we'd go for a two hour ride to Canada.  Sometimes that impromptu thing works and sometimes it doesn't.  Turns out she had appointments today so that didn't work.

Next we decided to go over to Proud Lake State Recreation area.  We have seen the signs off the freeway so we packed up a picnic lunch and went the scenic way, through the back roads.  Oops, we could not find the entrance to the park.  We must have drove 20 miles all around it, but still could not find it.  Our map is not very detailed and the signs and directions are lacking.

Next, we stopped at Kroger's for some vegetables and shish kabob stuff and then returned to the campground.

It is a nice but small laundry and the area around it is well groomed.
The people on this lake have a nice view.  In the distance is the largest 'beach' on the campground.

Pam had tried earlier to do the laundry but the washers were full.  It wasn't this time, so Pam loaded the washers while I took some photos.
The campground is gearing up for a big Memorial Day Weekend!

The we returned to our campsite where we had a picnic lunch outside.

Next we heard, from John and Judy, (Roadrunner Chronicles) readers who said they were in a site across our little lake.  We went for a walk and found their site, but they were out.  We have a scheduled date for coffee a little later this morning.

We chatted with the neighbors a while, grilled the shish kabob and had a very nice afternoon and evening.  We heard from our kids so that was good.   And we watched 'Dancing With the Stars' before we called it a day.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And thanks to all you 'Followers' who have joined us!  Are there more out there?  If you have thought about it and haven't done it yet, click on 'Follow' and join up!

Hope your day is a good one!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Medical Monday but I'm in good shape

Don't really know what to call yesterday, but I arrived at the hospital on time for my 9:30 AM angiogram.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but the hospital is in an area that is a little run down.  But you can't judge a hospital by the way it looks like on the outside.  Inside, it was great.  People were very friendly, the hospital was bright and clean and up to date.  It had been renovated and it was a 'new hospital' on the inside.

I checked in for my angiogram and waited about 30 minutes before I got taken back to the prep room.  The procedure wasn't scheduled until 11:30 AM so we had plenty of time.  I didn't take anything but my ID card and my phone.  I was told to leave all my valuables at home.  No camera so I don't have any pictures or 'before and after' results.

Speaking of results, I came out with a very good report.  Very minor blockage in two arteries.  Since I have a family history of heart disease (my dad died at 62 and my mom at 80) and my brother had a triple by-pass a couple of years ago, I thought it was a good idea.  I don't have a lot of symptoms except abnormal EKGs,  a left branch bundle block and pre-hypertension.  My cholesterol is around 200 ~ all of those things don't speak to anything serious but they are a little suspect...I wanted to check it out.

Bottom line:  I don't have any blockage (well some, but it is minor) and I should be fine with more exercise, losing some weight, watching what I eat and maybe some medication.  At 180 lbs, I am not obese, but I am not in shape either, so I need to get with it and be consistent.  None of this is really new but confirmation that things are OK is new, so it was worth it.

Back to the angiogram.   Carrie (one of the nurses) got me all fixed up and ready for the procedure and said it would probably be a catheter through the groin although sometimes they go through the wrist.  Wrist?  I have never heard of that..

The hardest part was waiting for the procedure and it took the doctor about two hours to get to me.  About 2:15 PM he showed up and went into action.  This team knew what they were doing and didn't skip a beat so to speak.

I was awake through the whole thing and it was fascinating.  They went in through my wrist and it was  over in 15 or 16 minutes.  He said things looked good and no cause for worry or concern.  It took them longer to get me cleaned up and wheeled back into recovery than it did for the procedure.  Amazing.  I was very pleased.

The nurse put on a radial wrist, hard clear plastic band that had a small inflatable bag over the incision.  The band was secured with velcro.  The very small bag was initially inflated to apply a lot of pressure over the incision, then every couple of hours, the nurse reduced the pressure.  About 7:30 PM she was satisfied the incision was healing and closed properly.  She removed the radial band and put a very light splint over 3 x 3 inch clear plastic bandage on my wrist and put a light splint on the back so I wouldn't bend the wrist.
My hand is a little blue because that is the color of the antibacterial soap they use these days.  They no longer use the orange/brown iodine soap.

We watched a movie, "The Morgan's"  and I had a couple of naps.  Finally, we talked, signed some release forms, then I was discharged.   I am to followup in 7-10 days with my cardiologist to finish up.  All in all, it was a great day and I am glad I had the angiogram done.  Now I know how things are with my heart muscle and it is in good shape.  But I need to stay on top of things.

On the way home, we stopped at McDonald's for a sundae and then got back to the RV in time to watch some baseball before we went to bed.

It was a good day and the weather here continues to be terrific.  Today is supposed to be the same.  Hope is it summer where you are!  Thanks for following the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beautiful Sunday

 Yesterday may have been the best day of the year, weatherwise.  It was gorgeous!  I think it got up to 83 degrees and there was only a little bit of wind.  Really, it was a nice breeze from time to time.

We went back to Oakpointe Church in Novi and were not disappointed.  We heard the senior pastor speak on 2 Timothy Chapter 1.  Then we had some time in the big lobby where they have coffee and bagels.  We chatted with our new best friends? Bruce and Ann.  They were in the same spot as last Sunday and it was good to see them.  Nice being in a big church were at least you know someone.

Then it was back to the campground and we got a few projects going.  First Pam tackled the outdoor entertainment center in the basement.  I think we have turned it on twice in the year we have had the Roadrunner.  Nice unit but we never use it.
And we decided we could take it out and use the storage space.  It was pretty easy to undo.  Just back out screws and terminate wires.  Pam wrapped them in black tape incase we decide we need them later on.  
Then I gave the whole unit to Tom who is a neighbor and the one who lends me his lawnmower each week.  He was glad to get it.

He and his neighbor turn on their radios to the same station and have 'stereo' outside.  This will give them 'surround sound'.  I am glad they are on the other end of the row here where we can't hear them...

Next Pam decided to make banana bread.  Then she decided I should make banana bread and she would teach me.  I followed the instructions, measured everything out, chopped up the walnuts, mixed it up, put it into the pan.
59 minutes later we had banana bread.  I don't know why, but me making it takes the magic out of it.  It didn't taste as good as Pam's.  Her's is the world's best.
I forgot to take a picture after it came out of the oven.  It is only half gone this morning which is out of the norm.  We usually polish off the whole thing!

I have found that I like hanging hooks better than hangers for my coats so a few days ago I picked up a wall mounted hook and put it up yesterday.  
For $1 at Dollar Tree it is completely functional and fits in the back of the closet out of the way nicely.

We watched some golf and were interested to see that the 16 year old Jordan Spieth stumbled a little bit down the stretch.  We were hoping he would win the PGA tournament at the Byron Nelson Golf Classic.  Still ~ he made the cut and made history by doing that.  Then the two leaders in the last foursome both hit into the water on the 18th hole which made it a little more interesting.  

After that, it was time for a walk and Pam and I put on our running shoes and walked for about an hour.  We went past one circle that was packed yesterday morning and Sunday afternoon it was completely empty!  This park must get a lot of week end campers.  In the other section, on the lake where we are, it seems to be pretty stable.  Most are seasonals or here for the summer.

After that we had dinner and watched a baseball game.  Yankees vs the Mets.  It was a good game but the it seems like the Mets dominated until late in the game and the Mets won 6-4.

I also talked with my favorite daughter on the phone for a long time (68 minutes!).  It has been a while since we chatted so that was good.  And I called my twin brother to see how he was doing.  (Isn't that what Sundays are for?  To call family?)  :)

It was beautiful day and evening and we loved it.  Summer is here!

Hope you have a great week!  Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Roadrunner Reflections - First Year Do Overs

First - let me say 'Thank You' and Welcome to our newest Follower:
Melanie Ditmars
Glad you're following and we appreciate you signing up!

Over the past year of the Roadrunner era, we have learned a lot.  And we keep learning.  I am not one to wring my hands and live in the past about what 'woulda, shoulda, coulda' happened.  We try to conduct our due diligence, think about it, talk about it and then 'pull the trigger' ~ do it!  As with most things in life sometimes it doesn't quite work out the way you thought it would...

Roadrunner Resets:  Do Overs....If I had it to do over I'd:

1. Get an Apple computer and shelve my Dell PC.  Apple is more convenient, less hassle.  I use the computer every day.  With my PC I had to worry about a lot of anit-virus stuff and the darn thing crashed at a couple of inconvenient times.  So far the MacBook has been great.

2. Get a laptop that is not so big.  My Dell PC has a 17" screen and takes up a lot of room.  A 14" screen is fine.  I thought I wanted a big, powerful laptop but the smaller computer works fine and is similar in size to the size I starred into at work for years.  I like the smaller one.  (Can you say iPad?)

3.  Keep my toolbelt.  Can't believe I got rid of that because I thought we wouldn't have enough room.  I threw away. Wow - that was one I wish I'd kept!  It takes a couple of years to break one in right but what are you going to do? Get another one and keep it!

4.  Keep our plastic folding saw horses.  We gave those away also, but we could have room for them and they would be handy to have.  With our NOMADS work, we have used a lot of Joe's tools and sawhorses.  He tows his truck behind his motor home and we aren't going to be doing that.  Those plastic saw horses would have come in handy more time than I can count.

5.  Spend a little more time and due diligence setting up our budget.  I totally missed the food cost with zero money set aside for eating out.  We are about $370 a month (on average) OVER on food.  Eating out is a big chunk of our expenditures.  We are about $400 OVER on RV Maintenance per month.  On a conservative note, we are about $500 UNDER on diesel fuel.  Totals:  $4300/month which about $1000 over budget.

6.  I would have signed up for the local county school system bus driver training course.  Our neighbor Debbie has worked there for years and she suggested (on the day we pulled the Roadrunner up in front of our house to load the last of our belongings into it) that idea.  It would have been nice to have thought about doing that about a year before we started full-timing.  Another option would have been to set aside about $700 and take an RV driving course.

7.  Once we bought the MacBook, I should have signed up for the training.  For $100 I could have gone in and taken a lot of classes and gotten some 1 on 1 help.  Instead I have to settle for the free ones.  You can't beat the Apple Store Genius Bar!

8.  Kept more appliances.  Yes!  We got rid of our electric skillet, big (12 cup) coffee pot, blender, and vacuum cleaner.  Now we have new ones and we have found places to put them all!  But who knew?  When you look at your 2200 sq ft sticks and bricks house and then walk through a 400 sq foot RV, you know most things are not going to fit.  As far as all that 'stuff' we got rid of--we not missing anything :)

That's all I can think of ~ I am sure there will be more.  We are excited about this lifestyle and this time of year.  It is summer in Michigan.  Yesterday Pam put away the ceramic heater and pulled out the fan!

And it was a beautiful day.  I polished 1/2 of the Roadrunner,
watched a neighbor and his grandson catch a fish in the lake,
mowed the lawn (which I love),
we had Rod over for flank steak on the grill
followed by time around the campfire as we watched more neighbors go by for an evening cruise on their pontoon boat.
It was a fun  81 degree day!

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And thanks too for all those wonderful comments!  Keep them coming!