Wednesday, September 28, 2022

We're back.....

 Greetings everyone!

It's hard to believe that it's been 5 months since our last post...
5 Months!

If you think time has been passing by fast...  just wait till tomorrow.
It only gets faster.

Anyway - we are getting ready for some travel so I wanted to bring things up to date, so
yesterday in preparation, I looked at the blog to see where I left off 
and was rather surprised how I left things.

We were in Alabama just finishing up with our windshield replacement, and then were planning
to run back to Tucson and try to get my knee repaired.

Then we disappeared for 5 months...  WTF?
Sort of like the cliff hanger of a Jersey Housewife season finale.  🤮
Sorry!

So....   Lets bring things up to date shall we?

We finished up our windshield replacement in Red Bay, Alabama and were back on the road headed
west by about 11am.    We decided that this was no longer a pleasure trip and might as
well get back to Tucson as soon as possible to try and get my surgery lined up.

Our map below shows the trip.

We made one stop at the Lake Eufaula KOA in eastern Oklahoma.
We arrived just prior to sunset.

We had planned on just staying at a Walmart, but the temps were in the low 90's and
that would have meant the generator to run the AC which I don't like to
do at Walmart type overnights, so we opted for a KOA with a hookup instead.

Trip map Red Bay, Al to Tucson, Az

The next morning we left Lake Eufaula around 0700 and were rolling up in front of
the house that night around midnight.

We covered the 1,600 miles in about 35 hours.

We had lots of pretty spring wildflowers to cheer us up as we motored west.



Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
The "old dog" being me of course.

Normally we have plenty of time and are not in a rush.
This trip being different we tried something new with the dogs.
Taking advantage of their habits - I know that soon after they eat dinner, they like to go and
answer natures call.    

Not wanting to waste a lot of time stopping to feed and walk them I thought why not try
to see if they will eat dinner while underway.

So...   about 10 miles prior to the next rest area, Kate put their food down...


No worries about the underway appetites...  they dug right in!

About the time the flight crew was finishing up with the desert and coffee service,  
I was final approach for the rest area.

Kate took them out for a quick walk and in seconds...
plop plop fizz fizz - back on the road we is.


Fuel was running in the mid $5 range.
Thankfully my Open Roads Fleet card saves me quite a bit at each fill up.
I saved over $250 just on the round trip to RB.


Coming down the big hill into Las Cruces, NM just as the sun sets.
We stopped for one last fuel at the TA on Motel Blvd, and then headed out on the last 4hr leg
to Tucson.


Arriving in Tucson, I set out trying to arrange for my knee repairs.
Unfortunately, since it was operated on in March, I had to wait 12 weeks before they could
operate again (infection worries).    So the knee replacement was scheduled for June 21.

So for those weeks waiting, my knee was somewhat locked in a partially bent position from which
I was unable to straighten it fully.

This allowed the muscles to tighten and contract and now I'm paying the price getting
them stretched back out again.

In case you were wondering or contemplating... 
This is what the cut looks like.


TKR Scar.  Held closed with mesh and super glue

The right knee was held closed by staples, 
but this Doctor used a mesh with superglue on the left side instead.
It was a much easier removal and felt more secure with less pressure points.

I actually tore the right incision open a bit when I was exercising once.   Not this side.

Having just had my right knee replaced last July 1, I knew what to expect this time around
and happily this one turned out to be much easier that the right was.

I've been having some trouble with my extension (getting it straight) but that is coming
along and other than that - it actually feels better than the one done over a year ago.


Contraption I use for stretching the knee straight.

While I was in surgery, Kate had some time to kill, so she decided to drive home and
re-arrange the living room.    She moved the couches 90°

I came home a bit hazy from the anesthesia and wondered what happened.


So, its been another summer in Tucson.
Not what we expected.

The days pass by with the rhythms of life.
The dogs constantly reminding us when its time for... (fill in the blank)


I've been busy with my Physical Therapy program.
Day in and out the PT creates it's own schedule that is sometimes matched by the coming
and goings of the afternoon monsoon thunderstorms.


And the season of clouds and storms do make for many interesting sunsets.


Almost every night this time of year is a great sunset.


I had to lay off working on the ship for a bit as it was not comfortable sitting for long at a desk,
but I've been able to pick at it a bit and do some clean up

Its been over a year and I'm currently about 95% done.  


I still have to put on all of the gun port hatches,
run a few more lines, attach anchors, and odds and ends touch-up,
but its getting close.


An earlier photo with a penny near a shroud to give you some perspective as
to the size of the details.


So...  that leads us up to the present.

I had mentioned in our last post that we were holding on to our return crossing on the Queen Mary2.

We did keep that booking and so are going to fly over to London, spend a few nights,
then meet the ship in Southampton and take it back to NYC

Young friends of ours will fly into Tucson and stay here with the dogs while we go roam about.

The key word for this short 2-week trip will be:
Luxury.

We'll fly to SFO on Tues Oct 11 and spend the night at the Grand Hyatt right at the Airport.

The room I booked is a corner executive suite with floor to ceiling windows.
It includes a telescope and binoculars so that you can enjoy some aircraft spotting while staying there.


Plus a separate living room with fridge, coffee, tea etc.





Weds Oct 12 we'll get on United 901 from SFO to LHR
We are flying their "Polaris Class" which is basically their 1st class long-haul service.

Separate suites with lie flat seat etc.



We'll arrive in London on Thursday morning Oct13 and stay at the Londoner Hotel
on Leicester Square for 5 nights.

Tuesday Oct 18 we'll get on the QM2 in Southampton as planned (minus dogs) and
enjoy 7 days in our first class cabin (with butler)

Tuesday Oct 25 we will arrive in NY and I have flights booked to take
us back to Tucson that evening.

While in London we'll be able to visit a few of the sites (such as Windsor Castle) together rather
then separately as we had planned.   Normally places like that do not allow dogs, so we would
take turns going thru while one of us hangs outside.
Since we wont have the pups this trip...  time to play while the Doodles are away!

Well, it only took 5 months, but that brings you up to date.

Next stop London!

Friday, April 29, 2022

There is always next year.

 Well - I have some bad news to share.
Our trip to England is over.

You might remember that this past February I had a knee injury and spent the better
part of March running around and getting things lined up for arthroscopic surgery.

After my PT visits etc - things were great and we hit the road full of expectations.

Just an hour or so after our last blog post, I proceeded to do my stretching and strengthening
exercises to continue my therapy, and as soon as I tried a "step up" I felt a tear and a pop
and sure enough - my knee is toast again.

So - today we'll make a u-turn and start to head west 1,600 miles back to Tucson with our
tails between our legs.

Disappointed - but not beaten.
Don't feel bad for us - we roll with the punches.

To update you.

After that new injury, I figured that I can drive without any problems, so since we were only
6hrs west of Red Bay, Alabama - where the bus was built - and we had our windshield scheduled
to be replaced there - we continued east yesterday and arrived in Red Bay at 3pm.

Dave Hester owns 1st Class Glass.
A glass shop across the street from the Tiffin Service Center.
Dave ran the Tiffin Windshield Shop for years and a couple of years ago he branched off 
and set up his own facility.

So at 0700 this morning we pulled outside of our assigned bay.

Waiting to enter the glass shop

Tiffin Service Center across the street

As more and more Tiffins are built - places to stay in Red Bay are
dwindling.   In the past few years I know of at least 3 new RV Parks that have sprung up.

Dave built one next to his shop and reserves some spaces for his customers.

1st Class Glass RV Parking

Dave knows his stuff when it comes to windshields.

Loosening up the gasket to remove the glass

Vacuum suction cups and crane to lift it out

In just a few minutes he has the old removed.


Within about an hour the new one is installed.


After the new glass in in place, a urethane glue is run inside the gasket to help seal
and hold the glass in place.


A super nice guy, he goes above and beyond.
He even installed the magnets that hold my "Magna Shade" in place,
and applied a glass "sealer" for me that I used to make it easier to remove bugs etc.

Neither of those jobs is his responsibility but that is the type of guy he is.

He installed my last windshield in 2019 and I never had a problem, a leak or whatever.

Anyway - I'm sitting here now waiting for a few things to set and then we'll back out of the bay
and start our trek back to Tucson.

Looking forward


We do have reservations for next year on the Queen Mary.
We'll be taking the QM2 to Hamburg, and doing a Europe/UK/Ireland trip,
so I'll need to get busy planning that.

We also still have our return reservations on the ship for October, and we are going to keep
them for now.   

The thought is that after a 2nd summer of post knee replacement
Physical Therapy - perhaps a nice treat will be to fly over to London, spend a few days, and
then take the ship back to NY.    

Without dogs we'll actually be able to enjoy the amenities of the ship
rather than spend all of our time on kennel duty.

For now - my immediate concerns will be getting everything from this years trip
cancelled and unwound, and getting my new knee replacement scheduled.

Last but not least....

We received many messages from our past post.
Lots of them are marked "anonymous" which is fine.
But since you did not leave a name its hard for me to reply to say thanks, but
we want you all to know that we receive every message and enjoy to hear all of your
comments.  Thanks and keep them coming.

Thanks again for following along.