Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting Older Is No Fun!

Well friends, here we go again.  Down the trail of health issues popping up out of nowhere, disturbing the best laid plans of men and mice. 

Rosie had not been feeling well for several weeks.  She was also losing weight like crazy, without intending to lose weight.  She has weighed about 135 lbs. for the last 40 years.  When she weighed in at the doctors office on Tuesday she was down to 118.  I have been nagging her to see a doctor before we left Yuma, and she kept insisting that “it” could wait until we got to Idaho Falls to see our regular Primary Care Physician.  Anyway, I finally convinced her to see my local PCP.  Her blood pressure was very high and her heart rate was over one hundred.  Now she is realizing something is really, really wrong.  Long story short, blood test results showed her Thyroid was working overtime.  The numbers were off the charts.  So in for a Thyroid Ultrasound and a visit with an Endocrinologist.  Diagnosis=Hyperthyroidism, also known as Graves Disease. 

Bottom line is our plans to leave today are history.  There are three treatments available for this ailment: Medication only, lasts for up to two or three years and then flares up again; Radiated Iodine Therapy, a one time dose of Iodine infused with radioactive isotopes, followed up by medication therapy; or surgery.  She has opted for the Radiated Iodine Therapy.  Since I have business appointments in northern Arizona on Wednesday that are coordinated with someone who is flying in from San Diego, we will leave here Monday and pull to Camp Verde, AZ.  On Friday, we will return here for the therapy and stay for however long is needed for follow up care.   We are grateful we discovered this now; and that it is not life threatening or debilitating.  Again we are finding the medical care available in Yuma to be first rate.  Also want to make a shout out to Medicare.  Without Medicare these last 8 months, we would be in dire financial straits. 

The next place we have actual paid reservations is Chatfield State Park near Denver on May 28th.  We should be able to make that if nothing else pops up with either of us, health wise.

I will post our end of the month expense numbers in the next couple of days.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weenie Roast

Some of our Canadian neighbors are leaving in the next few days and we are leaving next Saturday.  Our neighbors behind us, Orville and Rosemary, organized a weenie roast and invited us to join with them.  Canadians know how to have a good time.  Rosemary even went to the trouble of getting turkey hot dogs for me since I am supposed to avoid beef.  We contributed some chips and dip and a bottle of wine.  In addition to the hot dogs, there was potato salad, baked beans, fresh veggies, grilled onions and mushrooms, and fresh fruit.  Orville built a nice fire and got the coals just right to roast the hot dogs.  Here are some pictures from the event:

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                     Rosemary, our hostess.                                                Orville, on the right, tends the fire.

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                      Warming the weenies.                                       Some of the ladies attending.

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                            Me and my bride.                                            Building up the fire after the roasting is done.

After the food and drink, there was much conversation and camaraderie.   We have really enjoyed our neighbors in Yuma and look forward to seeing all of them again next year.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BLM Exploration

On Sunday we made a short drive about 20 miles north of Yuma on the California side of the Colorado river to explore the Imperial Dam BLM LTVA area.  For the uninitiated, BLM is the federal Bureau of Land Management and LTVA is Long Term Visitor Area.  There are BLM areas all over the USA.  Most of the LTVA’s seem to be in the desert southwest USA.  Most BLM areas allow free dispersed camping year around.  That means you go find a spot you like and set up camp.  There is a fee in the LTVA areas of $180 for the winter season (about 5 or 6 months) or $40 for two weeks.  For that one time fee you can travel between and set up in different BLM sites.  There are many campgrounds in the area.  Most are just unimproved barren desert.  Some, however, are equipped with bathroom facilities (flush toilets), dump stations and fresh water supply points. 

There are about 20 named sites around Imperial Dam, including, Senator Wash, South Mesa, Florida Flats, Naugy’s Knob, Gravel Pit, E. Skunk Hollow, Lonely Hill, Dogpatch and Cozy Cove, among others.  There is a BLM check in station near South Mesa staffed by a delightful couple that seemed to enjoy working with boondockers.  We chatted with them for a bit, picked up some information and drove around checking out the area.  There are all types of rigs here; big newer motorhomes, fifth wheels, travel trailers, and Class C’s both old and new.  Lots of solar panels showing and at least one personal windmill.  Here are some pictures, including some flowering cacti that got Rosie’s attention:


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We think this area looks like somewhere we could boondock for a week or so between LA and Yuma in December.  At this time, we plan to leave Yuma on March 30 and head north out of the ever rising temperatures.  We will make reservations to return December 15 for our next winter escape from snow and ice.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Temperatures, They Are Arising!

It hit 100f today at our location.  At least that is what our outside thermometer read; and this is only mid-March.  The warmer it gets, I keep moving our departure date forward.  As of today, we plan to pull out of here on March 30th, two weeks from tomorrow.  If this heat keeps up, the electric bill from running the AC will break our bank Smile.

It was an interesting week.  Tuesday I managed to come in second in the Pool Tournament.  I have played more pool in the last 2 months than I played in the 20 years prior to that.  Tuesday was also the day we had two new rocker/recliners delivered.  We found them at the local outdoor market on sale for $250 each.  They were individual closeouts, so they are the same fabric, style and construction, but different colors.  They are a lot more comfortable than the original recliners.   The main motivation for replacing old recliners was bleach stains on the fabric, and doggie chewed fabric from Annie having a separation anxiety attack the first time we left them in the camper alone.  The pooches have now adjusted to being left alone for up to 3 hours with no consequences that we can see.

Wednesday was Texas Holdum poker.  For the first time this season, I lost my $5 entry fee.  Oh well, I have won money in the prior 3 games.

On Wednesday I was checking our bank account on line and found a charge of $78.20 from a local fuel station that was not a legitimate purchase.  We had stopped for fuel on the day of the charge and I had entered the debit/credit card into the fuel pump just before the computer system for the whole fuel station crashed.  I put the pump handle back in the pump and we went to another fuel station to get diesel.  Apparently when the computer system recovered, the person that filled up after me got his/her fuel on my debit card.  The credit union was very understanding and accommodating.  I had to file a “fraud” claim with the local sheriff’s office, which they said happens a lot.  Once I had a copy of the Police Report, I called the credit union with the Case Number and mailed the original police report to them.  By the way, a shout out to Idaho Central Credit Union; they are a fantastic banking institution with superior customer service.

Thursday morning we took Annie in for grooming.  She was looking pretty ragged, but she is a beauty now; all bathed, sheared and nail clipped.  Thursday evening we followed some friends out to Spook Mountain.  It is a place in the desert where there is a nightly phenomena of white misty “clouds” forming in a little valley after dark for a few minutes, then the “cloud” vanishes, only to reappear in another part of the valley.  Very strange, and no explanation has been found to date for the event.  According to our friends, National Geographic sent a team out to study this event and they were unable to come up with an explanation.  Here are some pictures  of our group before it got dark:



Every one is seated looking at the area where the misty clouds will appear after it gets dark.

This morning I had my weekly blood letting to test my viscosity for my Coumadin regimen.  I was right on target with an INR of 2.2 (it should be between 2 and 3).  My blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels were also quite normal; and I dropped another 2 lbs.  Now I have only one more check on the 28th just a couple of days before we leave.  This afternoon was another pool tournament; I came in 4th, losing the game by scratching on the 8 ball.  I hate when that happens.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Major Breakfast Event!

March 10th already.  Four weeks from today is our currently scheduled departure from Yuma.  I say currently because RV travel plans can be written in Jello at times.  I continue to have weekly blood work done to check my “viscosity” level.  My last check on Friday showed an INR of 1.7.  It should be between 2.0 and 3.0.  So my Coumadin dose is nudged up to 3 MG a day.  All the other measures are good including blood pressure and heart rate.  The erratic heartbeat is reduced, so corrective measures other than medication may not be necessary.  That is really good news.

This morning we were invited to join 3 of our Canadian neighbors in a joint breakfast effort.  One of our neighbors had picked up an old used flat top grill somewhere and cleaned it up.  So the eight of us got together and grilled bacon, sausage, potatoes, onions and pancakes.  I prepared scrambled eggs and eggs to order.  Someone else ran the toaster and it all came together about 10:00 am.  What a feast. 

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Did I mention the screwdrivers (Vodka and OJ) for some?  Unfortunately, screwdrivers are on my “not to do” list, so I missed out. IMG_6495











In other news, we forked out some money yesterday for the camper.  We had the camper power washed, hand de-oxidized and hand waxed ($175) plus having the truck washed and waxed ($25).  After a $20 tip, we were $220 into cleaning and polishing.  Then we went to the local large swap meet and found two new rocker recliners to replace the two in the camper that Annie managed to mangle during a “separation anxiety” episode last year.  They are not identical in color, but are identical in construction, design and fabric.  Since they were “one of a kind” floor models being closed out, we got them for $250 each.We had found similar items in RV Furniture stores that were well over $500 each, so we felt pretty good about our find.  They will be delivered to our site on Tuesday.

I continue to enjoy billiards and poker while Rosie does the aqua exercise thing every weekday.  We are taking the dogs out to the desert every other day or so to let them run.  They really enjoy that off leash time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Already?

I admit that it is very difficult to blog when not much new or exciting is happening.  It has been about 11 days since I last put fingers to keyboard.

The good news is that my health has been stabilizing nicely.  The meds are being fine tuned to make my blood viscosity (?) just right.  My blood pressure is down.  My heart rate is down.  I am down 15 pounds since the day I went into the hospital.  There is no word yet on the next phase of my treatment for A-Fib, the shock treatment.  That should be interesting and will give me something to write about.

I am adapting to life without bacon, butter or booze.  I am even starting to eat some fresh fruits and vegetables (gasp), not saying I actually like them, but I am finding grapes, bananas and cantaloupe to be tolerable.  I will know I have gone over to the dark side when I eat an apple or a pear.  I decided my once a month top sirloin steak would be consumed on the first day of each month, so last night I got my eight ounces of medium rare sirloin.  It was very yummy. My new beverage of choice is CranApple Juice on the rocks with Club Soda.  Very refreshing and alcohol free.

Life here has been really routine since my last post.  A little excitement yesterday when I noticed a swarm of bees/hornets around the right rear corner of the camper.  I have wasted over 2 spray cans of various pest sprays to little avail.  I checked under the camper and I don’t see anything that would attract them.  The guy at the hardware store suggested spraying them with hot, soapy water.  It is supposed to “dampen” their ability to fly, encouraging them to go somewhere else.  Late this afternoon, I hit them with more hornet/wasp insect spray and the hot soapy water.  They seemed to diminish in number by the time I was through grilling dinner.  We will see if they are back in the morning.

We have started making a short run to the open desert about 2 miles from our location to let the dogs run off leash.  It is a popular off roading area so we have to keep an eye out for ATV’s and motorcycles zipping by.

Our new friends, Jim and Linda Schrankel came by for a visit and we went out to dinner at the Foothills Eatery.  They serve typical American comfort food.  Nothing special, but not bad; and the service is good.  Jim and Linda were camp hosts at Tollbridge County Park Campground near Hood River, Oregon last year and they are the ones who referred us to the County Manager, ending up in our getting the job for most of August, all of September and most of October.

The weather is warming up.  It was in the high 80’s today.  So far we have resisted running the AC since we are paying for metered electricity.  The nights are warmer also, resulting in less propane use for the furnace.

Here are the end of the month full timing budget numbers for February:


Camping – $495.00  The monthly rate at our RV Park in Yuma 

Diesel Fuel when pulling – $0.00

Truck Service/Repairs – $0.00

RV  Repairs/Service – $80.00  (wash RV and truck; and steam clean RV Carpets, including tips) 

Generator Gas/Propane - $29.57(all propane)

Metered Electricity – $68.58

Satellite TV/Radio – $103.00

Campground Pet Fees – $0.00

Laundry Card – $20.00

Total = $796.15

Thanks for stopping by!