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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

England Bound - The Adventure Begins!

 Finally - after 2 Covid cancelled years, and a third almost ended due to a knee injury,
we are on the road headed east.

Our destination is Brooklyn, NY where we will rendezvous with the Queen Mary2 on
Sunday May 15 and set sail once again.

The past few weeks have been a mix of packing, then downsizing our packing, and packing again.
Come hell or high water we've decided to pack much lighter this trip and I'm happy to say
Mission accomplished!

The dogs stuff actually take up more room than ours.

Other tasks included clearing the back yard of furniture etc that might blow around 
in the summer storms, and basically getting the house ready 
for being empty the next 7 months.

10 Trips to Physical Therapy later, and lots of stretching and strengthening at home, 
we packed up the bus and this past Sunday - April 24 - we hit the road.

The trip map below is taken from this blog - right side - "where are we today" link.
I've noted the 3 stops covered in this post.

You can always click on that link to see where we are or where we've been.
It defaults to the past few days but you can also select a longer time period to see more .

Loading the bus

Our first day was about 4 1/2 hrs east on I-10 to Las Cruces, NM

Entering New Mexico

Hacienda RV Park is easy in and out.   
I grabbed one of the super long pull-thru sites so as to make for an easy arrival and departure.
When in "Trucker Mode" like this - I only hook up the electric.

Hacienda site 177

Monday we headed north east up US 54 to connect with I-40 which we will take
all the way to Memphis.

Entering Texas

After an 8 hr drive, we spent the night in Amarillo at the Oasis RV Park.
The roads are getting sort of beat up in the park, and the prices are too high IMO, but there
is a Loves Truckstop right at the exit so you can fuel up before you stop,
 and be ready to hit the road first thing in the morning.

And next - Oklahoma

Tuesday - our third day on the road - saw us leave Texas behind and cross thru Oklahoma
and into Arkansas.

This is the day when you leave the dry sagebrush west behind and enter into the humidity 
and green deciduous trees of the east.

Western OK.   Dry Sagebrush Country

Eastern OK, 2 hrs later its green!

And finally we are in Arkansas.
The roads get a bit more crowded as the population increases.

Entering Arkansas

Our destination for Tues and Weds nights is Aux Arc Park, in Ozark, Arkansas.
It is an Army Corp of Engineers Park and we've stayed here a number of times.

Army Corp Parks are usually associated with a large body of water and are very nice.
This one is on the Arkansas River at the Aux Arc Dam and power plant.
There is a lock at the dam so watching the river traffic move thru the lock is an
added attraction of staying here.

Aux Arc Army Corps Park

We've stayed here a number of times over the years.
A mix of Water and W/E sites.   I even think there are some
FHU sites further down in the trees but be prefer to stay in this newer section with
its better sunshine and satellite reception.

The view across the street

View of the dam and lock 

It was nice to wake up listening to the birds singing.
I even saw morning dew on the truck.   It's been a while since I've seen that.

View from our side window

We've accidentally seemed to have picked a perfect travel weather window.
A slow moving high pressure bubble is pretty much parked over - and moving with - us
across country.  It looks like it may stay with us for the next 3 or 4 days as well.

So today is a rest day and then tomorrow we'll head about 6 hrs south east to
Red Bay, Al.   Where our bus was built.

Friday morning at 0700 I have an appointment to replace our windshield which took a
big rock several years ago on the Alaska Highway.   The cracks never traveled across the
windshield, and its not in my field of view - so I was able to defer the replacement till now.

After the windshield is replaced we will immediately hit the road.
Our next stop after Red Bay will be a farm in Tennessee for the night as we start working our
way northeast along the west side of the Appalachians.

Because we will need to take Covid tests to board the ship - we are being extra careful
and pretty much remaining in self-quarantine till then.
No visits with any east coast friends until we get back in the fall.

Stay tuned - its gonna get exciting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Ouch that hurts!

 It's hard to believe but it has been 2 months since our last post.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then....   a lot.

So let's bring you up to date.

We departed Quartzsite on Feb 8.
Ron, Maxine, Rob, & Pat all headed to Catalina State Park near Tucson,
and we headed back south to Senator Wash BLM Land north of Yuma.

Our plan was to get back together with R&P in 2 weeks at Organ Pipe Cactus NP, and then
all of us get back together a week after that up at Lake Roosevelt.

After 17 days of boondocking, our first stop at Senator Wash was the water fill and dump stations.

Potable water station at Senator Wash

We scouted around looking for a good spot to park.   This time of year it can be
challenging to find a decent spot but we arrived early and while not the best, we found
a large spot that took advantage of the prevailing winds to keep the dust down.

Our spot at Senator Wash

We spent 2 weeks here going to hikes and pursuing other projects

Picasso at work

Mid point of our stay, a cold front came thru with high winds and dust storms.

The next morning however dawned clear and cool with a setting moon.

A couple of days prior to departure my left knee started to bother me.
I had been feeling something for a while but nothing major.
All of a sudden it was becoming harder to hike so I took a few days to rest it.

Departure day - we headed south east thru Dome Valley enroute to I-8 east of Yuma.
We've never taken this route and it was a nice and quiet green ride thru the farm fields.

Dome Valley - NE of Yuma

Upon arrival at Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, I could hardly stand on my left knee.
Something was definitely wrong.

I'd had my right knee replaced in July so that I would have plenty of time prior to our
departure for England to get it back into shape.

All of a sudden, this wrench in the works, only 2 months before departure was starting to
get me worried.   I ordered a cane from Amazon and received that a day later, but even with
that, moving about was extremely difficult.

Twin Peaks CG site # 83 at Organ Pipe

We had planned on a week at OP but after some frantic calls to doctors in Tucson,
I secured an appointment in a few days so we had to pack up early and hit the road.

Looking East from Campground road

Long story short...
A couple of doctor visits, an MRI, and just a week ago a quick Arthroscopy on my left knee
and Voila...   my knee is feeling great!   Not 100% mind you, but I'm able to get around without
any assistance and almost pain free.
So now the next few weeks will be filled with 3x per week visits to Therapy, lots of home 
therapy, and steady progress.

Barring another shoe dropping, we are back on track and scheduled to hit the road on
April 25 and meeting up with the Queen Mary2 on May 15.

Some progress on Victory while home.

It should be an interesting trip.   I have a lot of great stuff planned including
renting a Motorhome in Scotland for 10 days.

Gracie, due to her age and poor hips however will not be able to do much walking around.
We dont want to leave the dogs alone in rental homes, so against all of my objections,
I've broken down and gotten a doggie stroller so that we'll be able to head out and bring her along.

My traveling freak show!

Oh the Humanity!

Fingers crossed - our next report will be from the road headed to NYC