All posts by sbahrns

2019 Summer RV Plans

Before I start on our upcoming trip, there is one other change that has recently happened to our family. If you remember, one of the unfortunate things that happened to us was the accidental death of our dog Montana. Those of you that have pets know that they become part of the family and are really missed when they are gone. Montana had traveled over 23,000 miles with us, and it just didn’t seem the same traveling without him. We had planned to get a new puppy in the summer after Montana was hit by the truck, and we had actually picked one out. A beautiful Australian Shepherd from a breeder in North Carolina. However, Liz’s accident resulted in us cancelling the new puppy. Well, once Liz recovered we decided to go ahead and still get a puppy. We contacted the same breeder and on January 22nd we picked up our new little girl, Brandy. We decided on the name Brandy because of the song by the same name. Some of the song’s lyrics contain the words, “She’s a fine girl with eyes that would steal a sailor from the sea”. We thought that really described her. She will never replace Montana, but she will be with us as we all start a new chapter in our lives.

Brandy at ten weeks old
Brandy at ten weeks old

Putting the pieces back together – my thoughts

Now that we are into the new year we are looking forward to our 2019 travels. Last year is behind us and we feel like we have a fresh start. We began in January by camping with friends in central Florida. It was Liz’s first time back in the coach since the accident last July and she did great.

Liz with Sue and Carl Grey

As I think back to the accident, I’m thankful that things worked out the way they did with our decision to not sell the house and go full time. Her recovery, once released from Brooks Rehab, was so much better facilitated being in our house. Our son installed grab bars in the shower and toilet area that really helped during the first few weeks of her recovery. She would have not been able to rehab in the motorhome. I think we would have probably stayed with one of our kids had we not had the house to go to. I certainly would not discourage anyone from traveling and living in their motorhome full time. After all that’s what we originally had planned to do. However, I would stress that it is important to have a plan of somewhere to stay for an extended period of time should an emergency similar to ours arise. Never in a thousand years did we think anything like this would occur, but fortunately we had the resources available to make the outcome successful.

Putting the pieces back together – part 2

The family support team

It would have been difficult for me to get through this ordeal without the direct support of my family and the encouragement of friends. Our youngest son, David, came from South Carolina to help for a few days. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay as long as he wanted because his job at the time didn’t provide any leave. Our oldest son, Doug, is a Marine and was on ship deployment. He called regularly to check on his momma and provide what support he could. I found a campground and moved the motorhome closer to the hospital. So my daily drive went from 80 miles each way to a little over 10 miles. My daughter in law Renee, thank God, is a registered nurse case worker in South Carolina and she handled many of the insurance issues with Blue Cross. She also researched rehab hospitals in Illinois and the Georgia/Florida area. Her involvement became even more important later as I will explain.

Putting the pieces back together Part 1

I apologize for the length of this story, but I think it’s important that I explain our experience in it’s entirety. Because of the length, I’ve divided it into three parts. It’s my hope that our near tragic accident, and how we handled it, will help others prepare for those unexpected incidents that we all think won’t ever happen to us.

We started 2018 excited about the upcoming year and our planned RV travels. 2017 was behind us and Liz’s back surgery in February seemed to help her condition. She was now able to tolerate her back pain and seemed to be winning the battle with her osteoporosis, which, by the way, was originally thought to be bone cancer because of the number of collapsing vertebrae in her back. We were also still stinging from the loss of our dog Montana in December of that year. He broke away from Liz on a walk and chased a truck which unfortunately ran over him. It was in our neighborhood and the speeds were low, but we believe the driver was distracted although he didn’t admit that. We rushed him to the vet, but his injuries were too severe to save him.


As I said we were looking forward to traveling in the upcoming year. Our travel plans would take us to North Carolina first to camp with some fellow retirees from my previous job, and then on to South Carolina for service at Freightliner followed by a visit to Illinois to see my mother who is in assisted living. Our first sign that this trip might be “jinxed” was when we got a call from the assisted living facility well before we could get to Illinois. They said that my mother kept trying to walk out of the building and that she was very confused and angry. We were told that this situation needed our immediate attention so we hurried to Illinois. Long story short our one week visit turned into six weeks. We were, however, able to have mom’s medication adjusted which stabilized her situation. Consequently, we felt comfortable continuing with our now modified travel plans.

Reflections and the monkey

If you haven’t read the post entitled – Changes To “Our RV Travels” Site, please do.  It will put this post in context and consequently it will make more sense.

Again Hello to everyone and sorry it has been such a long time since my last posting.  When I started this blog, one of my promises to myself was that it would always be fun.  I never wanted to try to monetize it in any way or feel that I had an obligation or duty to post at specific intervals.  Consequently, there has been gaps of differing amounts of time between posts and also a different focus in each individual post depending on how I felt at the time.  Having said that, I plan to continue to capture our travels so that we can have a historic record of it and can look back at our thoughts concerning the experiences at that time.  It is already fun to look back on our posts from the first year.  Finally, I hope that things that we have learned through our adventures and share here can be helpful to others who enjoy this type of travel and living.

Liz and I returned from what ended up being a ten week adventure that kept us mostly in the Midwest, Mid South, and the Mid Atlantic region of the country.

Create your own travel map

We viewed the full eclipse in SC, then visited with my mother in Illinois, traveled to Newmar in Indiana to have all our furniture re-upholstered, visited the Great Lakes region of Michigan, traveled to an RV rally in Marion, NC, then headed to the NC coast for a reunion with folks I used to work with who have RV’s, then back to Sevierville, TN for a week.  Finally we ended up at Lake Lure and

“Our rv travels” has a new site url

It’s been two years since we have posted to this blog. So many things have happened in those two years that it’s going to take some time to explain everything. It’s been a real roller coaster of emotions for us and a lot of our friends and family. I’ll explain more later, and be as concise as possible so as to keep your interest. Suffice it to say that all things considered we have been blessed with the outcome. Hopefully there will be something useful readers can glean from our experience. I should start by telling all of you that might still be out there reading this blog that we changed our Url from to That is as close as I could get to which is what I wanted. I believe that the new url better reflects our current status.

I’m going to start by publishing a post that I wrote over a year ago and never published. It will give you a little background before I move forward with what happened in 2018 and our plans for 2019. The post is entitled “Reflections and the Monkey”.

Freightliner Service at Gaffney, SC

Gaffney, South Carolina

Freightliner Lobby waiting for Service

For those RV owners that have motor homes with a  Freightliner Chassis, you may be familiar with the Freightliner Service Center located in Gaffney, SC.  As opposed to all other Freightliner Service Centers, the Gaffney location specializes in motor homes and is considered by many to be the best place to have your chassis serviced.  That’s not to say that there aren’t other great service centers, it’s just that Gaffney focuses on the motor home and treats it’s customer base in a way that builds confidence in their ability to properly handle all your needs.  In addition, they offer a two day course (Camp Freightliner) on their product to educate owners in proper maintenance and on performance of the many motor home chassis.  There is also a second follow on course that allows the owner to participate in the actual maintenance.  To facilitate your Continue reading Freightliner Service at Gaffney, SC

Time to Update the Blog and Hit the Road

We are about to get back into the RV world again instead of watching from the sideline.  We just had two new AC units installed at the house – Ughhhh – and everything setup for our extended absence.  Plus, Liz is doing better and ready for an extended trip. WhooooHooo!!  We did take three weeks at the end of May to meet some of my retired friends from work at the beach in NC, to get our yearly service from Freightliner in Gaffney and to spend a week at Lake Lure, NC at a nice motorcoach resort that we discovered so it hasn’t been a complete drought.  More on our trip a little later.

Below is a map of our upcoming adventure which will start on August 18th and end sometime the last full week of October.


An onlooker witnesses an annular solar eclipse. MY1211 1500684 CC: YS4
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Our first stop will be in South Carolina to view the eclipse (see previous blog post).  We have tickets for the Roper Mountain Observatory in Greenville, SC.  It’s in the path of totality and they have programs all weekend on the event and will have astronomers on site during the eclipse to explain what is occurring during each Continue reading Time to Update the Blog and Hit the Road

The New Year Brings New Challenges

Liz at Beau Ridge Casino

Christmas scene at Beau Rivage

Beau Rivage Lobby

We ended 2016 and started 2017 with a New Year’s trip to Biloxi, MS. If you have read some of our previous posts, you may know that we occasionally stop at casinos for a little entertainment. Well, if you haven’t been to Biloxi and like casino hopping it might be a place for you to consider.  It is a small city on the Gulf and easy to navigate. It has several great casinos, numerous RV parks, great sights and some great restaurants. The Boomtown casino has its own RV park with concrete pads and full hook ups for only twenty some dollars a night.

Bloody Mary on New Years Day

Oysters Bordeau at the Half Shell Oyster House

For the most part Liz and I had a great 2016. We were on the road more than home, had no major mishaps, saw a big section of this great country, attended several rallies and made many new friends. It was not, however, without its challenges.  We had our own ongoing  health issues and spent about five weeks managing my mother’s situation in Illinois.

When we returned home in November our goal was to get our bodies fixed and the house ready for the market in the Spring.  Our challenge to meet that goal became more complicated when Liz hurt her back trying to hold the dog back from chasing a golf cart in our neighborhood.  The twisting force caused her to herniate a disc in her upper spine which then pressed on the nerves connected to her shoulder and arm causing pain and some loss of use.  One doctor wanted to do surgery immediately and one wanted to wait 30 days to see how much improvement in her condition would occur.  We chose to wait the 30 days as the pain seemed manageable.  While in Biloxi, Liz  bent over to pick up something and felt a sharp pain in her lower back.  Unknown to us at the time was that the herniated disc injury  probably aggravated a 4 year old injury to her lower back which  ended up flaring up over New Years when she bent over.  Without going through all the trials and tribulations we had dealing with the local doctors since then,  we have finally ended up at the Mayo Spine Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.  We went there on January 17th.  She has at least 7 compression fractures in her spine and one herniated disc.  The good news is that we are hopeful that  we will find a path forward for a full recovery.  We return on the 31st for a followup.

Now…… We still have my knees and eyes to deal with.  The knees  have been a problem on and off for the whole Summer and Fall.    Without going into a lot of detail my knees have a lot of arthritis in them and the right knee has two tears in the meniscus.  So, the doctor has given me some medicine to hold me over till we can schedule arthroscopic surgery.  However, the long term solution appears to be total knee replacement.  As far as my eyes are concerned, before I left in June, my optometrist advised me that I would need cataract surgery when I returned.  I saw an ophthalmologist this month and I am scheduled for lens replacement on January 25th.    The good news is that I upgraded from the basic lenses and I shouldn’t have to wear glasses.

I tried to keep the medical descriptions of this post as short as possible, because I didn’t want to bore everyone with our personal health issues, but medical issues are an important consideration for everyone planning an RV lifestyle.  We are fortunate to have good insurance that is accepted nation wide so we are further ahead than many folks in that category.  I know with the unknown changes that might occur with the health care system under the new administration, many folks are concerned as to what their situation might be in the future.  Our concerns are more on the side of how debilitating the issue might be and can we handle it living in the RV?   Our answer to that question so far is yes.  We see no reason that our current medical situation couldn’t be managed from the RV.   The only real obstacle are the steps into the coach.  With Liz’s issue, its not a challenge  right now.  When it comes time to replace my knees, the steps will be a problem for a time.  My initial thoughts are that we can impose on our children and put the RV in short term storage.

I think in the vast majority of situations there is always a way to meet your medical needs and still stay in the RV.  We would normally schedule a return to our regular doctors for the routine stuff at a specific time of year.  If we needed to return for some emergency that we didn’t want to handle elsewhere, we would simply fly or drive the car back and leave the RV wherever it might be.  We would do the same for a family emergency.  If we couldn’t take the dog, he would have to go to a local kennel for a few days.  If it turns out that the time away from the RV would be longer, that can be worked out too.  FMCA members have a benefit where someone will drive your RV to your home location if you are unable to due to medical reasons.  The important thing is to be thinking about a plan of action and have a Plan A and a Plan B in mind should something happen.

Our situation has forced us to cancel our plans for the Tampa Super Show and our reunion with the Newmar Kountry Klub and Hoots folks.  To those of you who happen to check into this blog, we hope you all have a great time and we miss you!!