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!!


Time for the Holidays, Family and the Doctor

Happy Holidays from Liz and Steve
Happy Holidays from Liz and Steve

I haven’t posted in a few weeks because we have been in the process of taking care of our medical issues and enjoying our family for the holidays.  Once Christmas is behind us, we will start to focus on our January travel plans which will include the Tampa Super Show and taking care of a Cummins engine recall.

We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving holiday with our son Doug and his wife Jana in Northern Virginia.  We traveled the 650 miles north from Brunswick in our car, leaving the motor home behind this time.  Continue reading Time for the Holidays, Family and the Doctor

Our Trip Summary


We finally arrived home on November 7th pretty much emotionally and physically exhausted from our adventure.  We had a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery, special events and people we met along the way.  I’m not sure that there is too much we would have done differently.  However, you have probably heard the phrase “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”  This is certainly what happened to us on this trip.  Unexpected issues involving my mother’s situation in Illinois Continue reading Our Trip Summary

The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

The Balloon Fiesta was certainly the highlight of our trip.  It is impossible to describe how spectacular the launch of approximately 600 balloons in a two hour period can be.  This, added with the predawn “morning glow”  and the dawn launch of  the balloons with their propane burners lighting the multi colored balloons make this a must see event.

Morning Glow
Morning Glow
Ready to Launch
Ready to Launch
The Launch
Dawn Patrol

The Fiesta usually takes place in early October, lasting nine days and encompassing two weekends.  There are numerous ways to attend.  We chose to go with the Newmar Kountry Klub and travel from the Continue reading The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

From There to Here…

In the last post I briefly listed the stops we had on our way from the Black Hills of South Dakota to where we are currently in the Hill Country of Texas.  This post will give a more detailed overview of those stops.

Scott's Bluff National Monument
Scott’s Bluff National Monument

Our first location of interest was Scott’s Bluff National Monument in Nebraska.  Neither Liz nor I had been to Nebraska before and this monument was on the way to Colorado so we decided to visit.  It is unique in the sense that it the first large rock formation as the Great Continue reading From There to Here…

Catching Up!!

I can’t believe how long it has been since I last posted.  We have been so busy enjoying our travels and dealing with life situations that I just didn’t feel like pounding out posts on the keyboard.  Since leaving the Black Hills of South Dakota, we have been through the corner of Wyoming and Nebraska (Scott’s Bluff National Monument), stayed next to Rocky Mountain National Park, spent a week at the Newmar International Rally in Pueblo, attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, took a hot air balloon ride, visited White Sands National Monument, dealt with issues involving my mother’s health care that threatened to take us back to Illinois, and escaped damage to our home from Hurricane Matthew.  Phew!  I think it’s time to get rid of that house so we have one less thing to worry about.

Each one of the above named places and/or events deserves an individual post, but in the hopes of catching up on my blog, I will be posting the “Reader’s Digest Version”.  I do plan to write more about the pros and cons of attending rallies at some point.  This type of event seems to have a love/hate relationship with many RV’ers.   I also want to reflect on our first year of ownership of this motor home.  It is hard to believe, but we picked it up one year ago this month in Nappanee, IN.   October 12th to be exact.  We have spent seven months of that year in the RV and needless to say we have enjoyed every minute of it.

We are currently in Kerrville, Texas at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort attending our third event – The Hoots Rally.  “Hoots” is a group of Newmar owners who also are active participants on the iRV2 forum and love to share information about the Newmar product line and modifications they have done to their RV’s.  There are currently 37 coaches participating with numerous activities and seminars planned for the upcoming week.  Once we leave this event we will begin our journey back to Georgia (unless life’s events take us elsewhere).

More to come soon…..

Black Hills South Dakota – Part 2

Great Faces – Great Places

Mt. Rushmore
Mt. Rushmore
Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial

You will see these words – Great Faces, Great Places – on the license plates in South Dakota.  I think it really captures the essence of the most popular attraction in the state – Mt. Rushmore, but also highlights that it has much more to offer.   In addition to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse we loved the town of Deadwood in the north and its counterpart, Keystone in the south.  Then there are Continue reading Black Hills South Dakota – Part 2

Blackhills South Dakota – Part 1

Early Deadwood Saloon
Early Deadwood Saloon

I’m setting here on an overcast cool day in the Black Hills and am trying to catch up on my posts.   I had to download lots of pictures and organize them, then decide how best to write about our experiences.  The Black Hills are located west of the Badlands and, in my opinion, really divided into north and south with Rapid City being the dividing line.   We headed north first and stayed at Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort (highly recommended) which seemed centrally located to the area.  Deadwood, Sturgis and Lead are three of the towns in the Continue reading Blackhills South Dakota – Part 1

Minuteman Missile Historic Site

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, we occasionally stumble upon a gem like we did with the Buddy Holly museum in Clear Lake, IA.  Well, it happened again while we were exploring the “Loop” road for the Badlands National Park.  It is the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.  For someone that grew up during the height of the Cold War with Russia I remember the monthly air raid siren tests, the instructions to take cover under our desks at school, and my parents reviewing plans for a bomb shelter.  This site chronicles Continue reading Minuteman Missile Historic Site

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