Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Monday, April 27, 2015

Quick Stop in Keokuk

Sunday April 19- Both of us woke up pretty early. Wasn't sure that we would be able to go because Jeff didn't want me to drive in the rain. He got on line and looked at the radar, we had a window of good weather so we thought it better to get out of here early. I was pretty nervous to drive. The camp hosts here told us a good way to go to avoid a blind turn. I had a lot to do and not sure how to do it. Its just different because we usually each have our own jobs to do. I was doing Jeff's and mine. We didn't want to be careless and forget something. We got it hooked up and Jeff drove it to the dump station and showed me how to do all the dumping....never done that. Then he drove out of the camp loop and to the main road. We traded drivers there and away I went. It was really easier than I thought. I couldn't hardly tell I was pulling anything. The traffic was very light..(.answered prayers) we had already gone through most of the traffic. Another thing that was in our favor was it was familiar roads, so no surprises. We timed it just right and we only had a few sprinkles to deal with. When we arrived in Keokuk, Jeff switched positions with me. He drove it into the park. We had a site already because we had called. Jeff helped me get her unhitched and set up. I know now I can do it if I have to. I prefer Jeff doing it but until he's better I guess I'm it. After we set up Jeffs brother came over to visit. He just lives across the street from the campground. He brought his youngest daughter and her husband. It was nice to talk with family and get caught up. Mike and Sue Maerz stopped by he was a firefighter with Jeff. Then Teri and Matt stopped by, Mike & Sue's daughter and I worked with her for years. So good to see good people. It was a nice evening of visiting but both Jeff and I were tired, neither of us slept that good last night I was nervous about driving and Jeff was nervous about me driving.

Monday April 20- We woke up and it was really cold out there. We got dressed because Jeff had a doctors appointment. His doctor is moving away so Jeff wanted to get his prescriptions refilled. He needed to check in with his own doctor after his stroke too. They told him to. He already had this appointment set up from last year. That's one of the reasons we stop here on our way to Cedar Rapids. His doctor couldn't believe he had a stroke, we explained what happened and the meds they put him on. He was able to explain things a bit better to us. After we left here we went to get our taxes done. This is where I worked the last 10 years. So again did some visiting. Good news, didn't owe anything to the government. Jeff seems to be feeling better. He still gets tired and has some dizziness but feels so blessed to be doing all he can. Stopped at the store before heading home. I got some quarters to get the laundry caught up. Its been awhile since I've done that. Jeff got a call from a friend and talked with him. We had more company, Judy and Jeff's brother Fritz and wife Shawn came over. We have been receiving a lot of love. I waited awhile before putting anything out there. Now we are hearing from a lot of people.

Tuesday April 21- Another chilly day but at least the sun was shining. Today we did a lot of running. Went to Walmart and the Farm store, we drove by and saw my bosses were in today so we went back to see them. Then we had to go pick up Jeff's prescriptions. Next went to the firehouse to see Jeff's other brother Rick. We headed back home to get some lunch and a rest before heading back out for more visiting. Went to see Bill and Sue Abegglen. We went on a mission trip with them and they are just really special folk. We had a wonderful visit with them. Across the street from them is a park that is the new home of a rocket slide that Jeff and I both played on as kids. This slide was featured on American Restorations. They restored  the whole thing to look brand new. They didn't put it back in the same park, but it brought back good memories for us both.

Wednesday April 22- Today was doctor day.....We both had appointments set up that was going to take up most of the morning. One was cancelled so we got done earlier then we thought. We stopped by to see my sister Dru and her husband Jay. Had a nice visit with them. Time sure slips away fast when you are with people you love. We came home and had more folks stop by. I had made some soup cause the weather called for it.....brrrr. Jeff had a couple more friends call to check on him too. He's really doing well. He doesn't take as many meds and doesn't get as tired. His vision is clearing up and the dizziness is subsiding too. Now the hard part is the diet thing....making some changes. It very confusing to us, but we are learning. Tomorrow we are heading up to Cedar Rapids Iowa our final destination for a few months. Can't wait to see the kids and grandkids...........

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A big bump in the road

Monday April 13-Its moving day....they were calling for rain but we lucked out it only sprinkled a little. We are getting into familiar territory now. Driving through St. Louis is always kind of a challenge. Today it was even a bit more of a challenge. Its the season home opener for the Cardinals. We made it thru town and to Ed Babler State Park. Again we have used this park more than once before. Its a real nice park. We found a spot #7, had to fill up with water because these sites haven't a spigot. No sewer either but we do have 50 amp service. The sites are a bit tricky to get in sometimes. We didn't have a problem which was nice. They also have concrete slabs which is really nice and clean. After setting up, didn't take long because we only are gonna stay 2 nights we went to town. Stopped and picked up a few groceries then went to a BBQ place and got some meat to take home and make sandwiches. To finish off the trip its happy hour at Steak n Shake so I wanted a milkshake. We headed back and just relaxed the rest of the night cause tomorrow we are going to the zoo.

Tuesday April 14-Well we were gonna hit the zoo today but around 8 a.m. Jeff said he started feeling weird. He complained of a head ache, sick to his stomach, dizziness, vision problems and numbness on his left side. First he said he was going to go lay down, it wasn't long before he told me I was gonna have to take him somewhere. I didn't know where to go so I told him I was going to go ask the hosts. When I got back he had called 911. Which was what we should have done in the first place. He knew then what was happening. The fireman arrived and were wonderful.. they not only took great care of Jeff but gave me very easy directions to get to the hospital. I grabbed my purse and headed out. The camp hosts told me not to worry about anything here. They took care of the dogs. I headed to the hospital, Mercy, it was about a 25 minute drive from the park. The firefighters gave me a stroke phone so the doctor at the hospital could ask questions until I arrived. The bad thing was it was an older phone and when the did call I didn't know how to answer. They called 3 times. I did have a cell number of one of the firefighters so I called him and he called the hospital. Then they called me on my phone. It was a long stressful drive to the hospital. When I got there Jeff was in the emergency room. They had given him one CT scan and no bleed in the brain. They wanted to start a special stroke medicine called TPA, you only have about a 4 hour window to use this. With the quick response of the rescue team we were ok there. By 9:30 they had started this medicine through an IV. I asked what else could we do and they said nothing. It took about 1 hour for all the medicine to get through his IV.  It was hard being down there by ourselves making all the decisions but you do what you have to. By this time Jeff was really dizzy and his vision had gotten worse. After you get this medicine you have to lay in bed for 24 hours. Its the only FDA approved treatment for ischemic strokes. It works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. During this procedure Jeff had some pain in his left ear and down his neck. They rushed him back in to get another CT scan and it was still clear. After that they moved him to the ICU. They watched him very close. He seemed to be improving but it was very gradual. He was very sick to his stomach and couldn't really get any sleep. I hung out most of the day in the hospital. It was hard to head home but around 8 p.m. I headed back. I didn't have any idea how long he would be in the hospital or how long we would have to be in St. Louis. Right now its one day at a time.

Wednesday April 15- I sure didn't sleep very well. I got up early to make coffee, which I never do....I showered and paid for 2 more nights. The bad news is the weekend is booked up so not sure what we will do about that. One camp ground host came down and took our dogs out, fed them and had lights on for me when I came home. Another host was busy trying to find a spot for us over the weekend. I waited til about 9a.m. hoping I'd miss rush hour traffic. Its always busy though. When I arrived Jeff was feeling way better. A lot of his strength had returned. He was still dealing with vision problems and dizziness. The dizziness was making him sick to his stomach so he couldn't eat. Jeff likes to eat and usually does it even when he's sick. Around 10:30a.m. they got him up to stand and do some walking. He was dizzy but walked pretty good without much assistance. Next test was an MRI around 11:00. We thought the doctor would be in around 1:30 or 2:00 but that didn't happen. I think the not knowing was the worst. They were an excellent hospital and had a very good stroke care unit. I wasn't sure I was asking the right questions and Jeff didn't know what to ask either. During the day we had 3 different physical therapist come in each working on a different area. It seemed we waited most of the day for the doctors. Finally around 5:30 we got some answers. The first doctor didn't really explain things to well. By the time the neurologist came in I was a bit upset. I think she saw that and showed us Jeff's MRI and explained it a bit better. He feeling a lot better and by 8:00 they moved him to a room on another floor. This floor had special training in stroke care. Jeff loved the nurses and they were all very helpful and caring. We got even better knowledge from some of the nurses. They knew how to explain things. When I left the hospital that night I felt way better about the way Jeff was improving.

Thursday April 16- Jeff called me early, I thought that was a good sign. He was starting to worry about where we are going to go for the weekend. I told him I would go up and talk to the hosts. She told me she was trying to get ahold of her supervisor and would let me know. I brought Jeff some stuff from home and filled up the truck on the way in. I had never put fuel in either. Looks like I'm going to be learning a lot of new things. When I arrived I thought Jeff looked way better. He even got to get a shower so after that he felt way better. He actually got some of his appetite back. It wasn't long when we received a call from the campground telling us we wouldn't have to move...they are going to take care of things. Boy that was a relief. We even had a complete stranger offer to move there camper so we wouldn't have to. Nobody really prepares for things like this but we were in the best place. The campground and the hosts were so helpful and really eased our minds. The emergency care Jeff received was quick and precise. The hospital that we went to was one of the best stroke care units in the country. We didn't have family around but the people around us felt like family. During the day they continued to work with Jeff. By about lunch time they came in and said Jeff would be coming home today. Both of us were surprised, but happy. Then they asked Jeff about putting a heart monitor in him. After all the tests they still aren't sure what caused the stroke. He has had blood pressure issues for years but was on medicine and it has been better than its been in a long time. His cholesterol could be better but wasn't on medicine, so they want to rule out A fib. They came in and implanted a heart monitor and gave him a home based communication device. He just needs to be within 6 feet of it at midnight for an automatic upload of information that goes to the cardiologist. After that procedure and explanation we were getting close to heading home. It was about 6 o'clock when we left. I stopped to drop off his prescriptions, and back home. He is on a daily aspirin and Lipitor. We had instructions and are doing the best to follow them. We both thought it would be better to hang around the area to make sure everything stays the same. It was good to be home.

Friday April 17- It was good to be home in our own bed. I started a notebook to keep track of Jeff's meds. He has some for headaches, dizziness and nausea. Then we have daily meds too. He also has to check his blood pressure 3 times a day. They want him off of his blood pressure medicine for a couple weeks but watching it to keep it within a certain range. A lot to keep track of so that's why we started a notebook. I ran to the store to get some fresh fruits and vegetables. We are trying to get him on a better diet. Jeff did some walking and is working on working his brain as well. We watched the campers pull in. I saw one back in next to us. It was in the handicapped spot. That's whose spot we took. I went out to thank them and he was very nice. Then I went to go pay for the extra 2 nights and they wouldn't except it. We have been well taken care of that's for sure. Everyone here has been a blessing to us. So today we just enjoyed being at home, getting things figured out.

Saturday April 18- Jeff slept better last night. It was a very nice day out. We sat outside and enjoyed some of the sunshine. Spent a lot of time on the phone talking to family. Then Jeff started to explain some of the 5th wheel operations, the big foot levelers, the air hitch system, and some of the other things that Jeff had always done. I'm going to be driving her back to Keokuk Iowa tomorrow. I'm a bit nervous but most of that is in my head I think. Now we are just praying that the rain they say is heading are way wont arrive. I don't need anything else to hinder me. I'm ready to get moving down the road and closer to family. We will be stopping in Keokuk for a few doctor appointments then on to Cedar Rapids and our kids and grandkids. I have to admit this wasn't what we expected but we were blessed to be in a place that cared for us like we were family......we felt loved.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Heading North / short stops

Sunday April 5-Happy Easter to everyone. It was a cool morning with plenty of sunshine. Most of our stuff had already been loaded but still had to finish up before heading out. We are traveling to Montgomery Alabama. The highway we took, 331 was a lot of 2 lane so a bit slow to start. We also ran into some road construction too. One blessing we found was a real nice rest area on the highway. It was like those on the interstates and a welcome sight. We pulled into Woods RV park around 1:30. We got a pull through spot. It has 50 amp, water, internet and cable. We have stayed here before so it was familiar. Its really close to the interstate which is handy. You don't want to stray to far from the park its a bit sketchy.

Monday April 6-Our dog Belle woke up early so did everyone else. We started planning our route to Nashville Tennessee. We also called to see if they had a spot because we didn't make reservations. Also called Rend Lake in Illinois to get reservations since we would be there for the weekend. Went for a walk around the campground. We mostly stayed home, I finished the quilting part of the quilt I've been working on. I also had time to bake some cookies. Tomorrow moving day....

Tuesday April 7-We had quite a bit of rain last night so it was pretty wet and foggy out. We left around 8:30 with our directions in hand. We ran into road construction and 3 traffic jams. Also drove through 3 big cities, Montgomery, Birmingham and Nashville. After about 300 miles we pulled into Jelly Stone Campground. That's a long day for us. We like to keep our days to around 200 miles. It couldn't be helped this time. Our site was a pull through with 50 amp service, internet and cable.
We set up, its easier when you only stay a couple days cause you don't set everything up. I was hungry so we went out to eat. Jeff noticed the front tires on the truck, it seems the rubber is coming apart. Well that changed our relaxing plans for the evening. Went to camping world and looked around, got some prices on tires there. Jeff went back and did some research on line. There was a Goodyear not far from the park and Jeff made a appointment for tomorrow. Once Jeff saw those tires he knew we wouldn't be running down the road on them.

Wednesday April 8- Jeff got up early and headed to Goodyear. They said it would be a 2 to 3 hour job. He made all the arrangements on line. He wasn't gone to long, it seems the tires are at there warehouse. The tires can be there tomorrow. Well we had planned on leaving tomorrow so Jeff had to add a night. After he got home we went to the Opry Land Mall, wanted to get lunch out. First we looked around, love this mall. So many different stores and lots of restaurants. We walked over and looked at the Grand Ole Opry then went to lunch.

We both decided Mexican sounded good. We went to Chuys that was at the mall. Jeff checked the reviews and all good. When we got there and they brought chips and salsa, it was good right from the start. They make all the salsas and sauces by hand daily. The atmosphere was wonderful, our server was very helpful and fun. Our food was scrumptious. The servings was very large. We were very happy with the lunch choice.

After eating we decided to walk some of that lunch off at the mall. The bad part about that is we found a chocolate store so we had to get a piece of chocolate covered toffee. So good. After we got back we took the dogs for a walk around the campground, they needed there exercise too.

As we walked around the park we stopped for a few shots with Yogi. Tomorrow new tires for the truck.

Thursday April 9-Jeff left around 8 oclock to get the tires put on. I stayed back. He got back around noon with new meats on the truck. Jeff decided we should go back to the mall and try another restaurant. They have an Aquarium restaurant there. It has a huge fish tank in the center of the place. The tank holds 200 thousand gallons of water. Its full of all kinds of neat critters. Like diving without getting wet. Jeff got shrimp tacos, me I don't like seafood so I had a burger which was extremely
 yummy. Jeff liked his lunch too but wasn't impressed with the shells. What was inside was really good though. We even splurged for dessert....crème brulee my favorite. It was awesome. Again we both were really full so we walked some of it off. Well this time while walking we couldn't resist the cashews they were making. We are gonna be watching the weather tonight...storms are coming this way.

Friday April 10-Well we lucked out with the weather, only rain with a bit of wind but nothing like they started out predicting we would get. It had cooled off some. The last few days its been in the 80's. It was a really nice day to travel. Left around 9:30 heading to Rend Lake in Illinois. Traffic wasn't bad. We arrived at Gun Creek Campground, one we've used before. Its right on the lake which is really nice. We had to fill up with water because the sites aren't set up with a spigot. Pulled into site #50, we have actually stayed right here before. Since we had stayed an extra day in Nashville we had to do some switching here as well. I wanted Jeff to take me to Walmart to get fabric so I could bind the quilt and finish it. We happened to see a Pizza Hut and it sounded great so we stopped. Boy was that a good decision. It was the best bread sticks and pizza we've had in a long time. Our waitress was very good too. After we got back I started cutting the binding and getting on the quilt. Jeff got his poles rigged up to fish. He caught a real nice catfish.

Saturday April 11-It started off really cool so Jeff waited awhile before heading out in his kayak to fish. I stayed back and finished that quilt. This one is for my son Seth....hope he likes it. Jeff caught another fish this time it was a white bass. We took a walk around the park. Its really a nice quiet park.

Sunday April 12- Today it was really cloudy, but turned into a beautiful day. I made some potato salad for our fish supper. The fish turned out extra good. Most of the campers have pulled out so the park was really quiet today. Tomorrow we move again, this time St. Louis here we come.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Last Week in Florida

Sunday March 29-It started off kind of chilly, but it was still sunny. Sunshine makes all the difference in my book. It just makes you feel better. We stayed in and watched a sermon over the internet. We also watched a lot of campers pulling out. It was cool enough out, I sat outside and quilted. That's a good day. Outside in the sunshine and quilting. We had rode our bikes down the road and checked out this bar, planning to go back and listen to some live music. Today was that day. Usually they have live music nightly at 7 p.m. On Sunday the music is at 3, that's more our style. We got on our bikes and headed that way. The bar was called Shorty's....very friendly, service was great and the music was happy. The band was playing a progressive bluegrass, we liked it. Jeff tried there Grayton beer they had  on tap. He said it was good. I even partaked in a couple drinks....I usually don't drink.

We rode our bikes home and enjoyed the rest of the evening in.

Monday March 30- This day started off horrible and early. Belle woke us up around 4:30 a.m. she had another seizure. It has been almost a year and a half since her first one. This is something you can't get used to. It really gave us a scare. It seemed like it took longer for her to settle down. That modified our plans for the day. We didn't really want to leave her alone. I went on my walk and so did Jeff.

Since we stayed in I thought I would get some cleaning and laundry done. The good news is Belle seems to be back to normal.

Tuesday March 31-We got up earlier than usual so my walk was earlier too. It looked pretty cloudy on the walk to the beach but that didn't hang around long. The wind had calmed way down so we decided to bike on 30A going east this time. Heading this way you go thru Watercolor, Seaside and Seagrove. It was way more crowded this direction. We did make one stop at a little doughnut place. I stood in line  for a couple doughnuts. I was excited because of all the people, they must be great. I wasn't that impressed with the doughnuts, but everyone else seemed to be. We continued on our ride, went about 8 miles before turning around to ride back. We did ride out of the congestion and on the way back it seemed less busy. I guess everyone got to where they were going. It was so pretty that when we got back we decided to go to the beach. Jeff wanted to try to fish, I just wanted to enjoy the view.

Jeff didn't have any luck fishing, but I had plenty of luck enjoying. We went home and had supper. It was a real nice night so we made one more trip to the beach to see the sun go down. Well worth the trip.

A bonus this trip, it seems someone was really busy at the beach today....It was quite a castle.

Wednesday April 1-Up early again....can't wait to start the day. Today's the day we are going to put the kayaks in West Lake and try to catch some fish. Well we managed to get the kayaks in the lake, but catching the fish....nope. I guess they fooled us. (April Fools)  We still had a wonderful day. We went under some bridges to find new places to explore. We saw some ducks that were unique. Saw some flowers and it was a great way to spend a morning.

After we got back and put stuff  away we decided to run to the store. Jeff made a purchase of a tomato plant. He's been telling me how he going to grow his own tomatoes this year after paying for them last year. It was even on sale half price from the last time we were at the store...he's glad he waited.

Thursday April 2-Went for my walk early and noticed how calm the ocean was today. I told Jeff about the water so he loaded up his fishing stuff and headed to the beach. I went with. We got down there around 9:30 and it was very quiet with only fisherman there.

Jeff didn't have much luck but we met a guy fishing next to us that was.  He had better luck, catching a couple pompano. The good news he couldn't keep them so he gave them to us. Jeff wasn't about to give up that easy so I went home to get some lunch for us and we continued the hunt. At least today people were bringing some fish in. We ended up staying most of the day. I cant remember Jeff ever staying at he beach that long. I actually left before he did.

Looks like the sand castle on the beach is growing...Its good to see that everyone is enjoying it instead of tearing it down.

Friday April 3-Jeff got up early and went to the beach to try his luck on fishing again. I stayed back. I did go check on him when I went for my walk. When he got home I got started on the laundry to catch up before we take off. It's calling for rain tomorrow. We headed toward town to get lunch and go to Bass Pro shop. On our way we got a warning light on the truck. It said the DEF was of low quality. This happened one time before but it went out after adding more fluid. What's bad is after so many miles it limits your speed if the problem isn't corrected. That kind of put a damper on the day so we skipped Bass Pro and headed back. We stopped to get Ashton a second hermit crab. Then we stopped to fill up the truck and get some DEF fluid.

When we got home Jeff got on the computer doing research on this truck thing. He added some fluid which it really didn't need. The DEF light went out but the service engine soon light is still on. We are going to watch it and try to make it home to get it looked at.

Saturday April 4- Our last full day in Florida. It looks very cloudy and rainy. Jeff decided to head over to the Bass Pro Shop today. Thought maybe running the truck would help. We left early which was good because the traffic over wasn't bad. A nice surprise was by the Bass Pro Shop was other stores, ones I liked. I got a little shopping in. The drive back was a little busier. When we got home Jeff got the truck washed and we loaded most of the stuff up before the rain arrived. We celebrated our last night here by having a special dinner, filet and the fish from the other day. It was yummy. Ended the day quilting, getting really close to finishing. My doggy Soffee is my constant companion when I quilt.

Well tomorrow we hit the road heading north towards Iowa. It's bittersweet leaving this beautiful park but we our heading towards those grandkids which is super exciting. Can't wait to see them. The trip back will be slow because once we head that way I get anxious to get back. Bye Bye Florida til next year.