Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trek To Sutherlin

Today I am continuing our 2005 travel story, beginning on Saturday, March 26th. We had spent the last two weeks in the Trailer Villa Park in Redwood City, CA, which we used as a home base while visiting our oldest son AJ who lives in San Francisco. Now it is time for the Alfa RV to get on the road again with our next planned stop in Redding, CA.

Mileage from Redwood City we estimated to be about 240 miles. For a time estimate I guessed it would be about a five hour trip. I always estimate our time at 50 mph, which gives us times for stops we might make along the way. We usually arrive within one-half hour of my estimated time.

We took US101 north to San Francisco where we merged with I-80 east. We crossed the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to Oakland, then onward to Vacaville. From Vacaville we took I-505 north until it joined I-5 between Zamora and Dunnigan. We passed through Arbuckle, Bluegum and Red Bluff before stopping at the Mountain Gate RV Park in Redding. Mountain Gate is an Escapees Park.

The wild flowers were abundant which always gives us a lift. The grass and trees were green in the morning sunshine and we were happy to be on the road. We even passed a couple of fields of bluebonnets. I thought Texas had the bluebonnet franchise, but I guess we shared with California. It was dry and sunny throughout the trip and soon after we got checked into the RV park, it started raining. We stayed in for the evening.

On Sunday, we drove our Cavalier up to see Shasta Lake and dam in the rain. Kathi and I both enjoy everything about the mountains. Even the steep slow climbs in our motorhome are fun. On this day we were just enjoying the beauty of the mountains and surrounding areas. It was noticeably cooler as we went up Mount Shasta. We did most of our viewing through car windows and the windshield, because it was so messy outside in the rain. If I am ever in northern California again I would like to visit the Shasta Lake area again and see it on a sunny day when we can get out of the car and walk around.

Kathi had called the Escapees mail room in Livingston, TX on Friday to have our mail forwarded to us in Redding, so we were stuck in town until the mail arrived. Fortunately the mail arrived on Monday morning which meant we were free to travel on Tuesday. Our next planned stop was at the Timber Valley RV Park in Sutherlin, Oregon.

We got an early start on Tuesday, anticipating the trip would take about five hours to traverse through the mountains on the 250 miles trip. I do not like to go on trips this long, but the natural stopping points for us are about 250 miles apart on the west coast. We took I-5 north across the CA-OR state line and passed through Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg in Oregon. . The temperature was in the mid-forties in Sutherlin. We enjoyed the redbud trees and wild flowers with snow on the mountain tops in the background. What a great life for Kathi and I to share

Arlon by Alfa at Timber Valley in Sutherlin, OR.

Blue Jay hiding on Boondock 2 sign.

Deer at Timber Valley

Shrubbery at Timber Valley

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Along US 101

Today I continue our 2005 travel story on Thursday, March 17th. It was a bad time for Kathi, as she had the flu with achiness and a low temperature. Also, it rained almost every day while we were there this trip. San Francisco is known for having a lot of rain, but when the sun shines there it is one of the most pleasant places to be in the world. My uncles James and F.L both lived and died in San Francisco. James told me that it only took a few sun shiny days a year for him to appreciate living there. I understood.

We saw our oldest son AJ a few times during the next week, but mostly just to go out to eat – Kathi just did not feel entertaining. I worked with AJ on a take home exam for his Logic class at San Francisco State. Our RV was parked in Redwood City at the Trailer Villa San Mateo RV Park. The park is located on E. Bayshore Road just east of US 101. We could see the South Bay over the fence on the east side of the trailer park. It took us about 5 minutes from the park to get to 101, then about 40 minutes to get to San Francisco and pick up AJ.

The 101 goes by Candlestick Point where the AT & T Park is located. Both the SF Giants and Forty-Niners had their games in this park in 2005. The football team changed locations since then. We heard there was an RV park associated with this park and when we investigated we found the rate was about $75 per day. We kept moving, that rate is way out of the ballpark for us. I guess that means we got a home run by not staying there.

The 101 also goes by the San Francisco International Airport which is located east of Bruno, CA. It is about a twenty minute drive from the airport to the city, but most people take the BART into town. Bay Area Rapid Transit is a subway that has lines to take people to most all of the smaller towns within 20 miles of the bay area.

Wednesday, March 24th, AJ rode the Cal Train over to Redwood City and we picked him up at the train depot. We went to the Bay Meadows Racecourse in San Mateo and watched five horse races. It was a pleasant diversion and I won money on 3 of the 5 races. We had lunch at the track, then took AJ home and said our good byes as it was the last time we would see him for a while. It was time to travel and we were going to head north the next morning.

A rainbow over South Bay as seen from the Trailer Villa Park

One of my favorite pictures of AJ with SF in the background.

Another view of SF from a hilltop.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Staying With Larry

Sorry it has been a few days since I posted to this blog. We have been busier than normal.

My brother-in-law Larry Clark had a bone marrow transplant as part of the treatment for acute myeloid leukemia about 15 days ago. He is in the process of recovering from the chemo and transplant and the doctor thought he was well enough to come home. His wife, Andrea brought him home on Tuesday of this week.

One of the side effects of the medication is it causes severe dehydration, so he must drink three liters of liquids per day to keep his kidneys functioning. The magnesium in his body is also depleted, so we are giving him a magnesium solution every day.

Kathi and I stayed with Larry yesterday while Andrea was at work. Kathi got him to drink two boost drinks and a liter of water, while we were with him. She also fed him part of a tuna fish sandwich and two helpings of watermelon during the day. His appetite is gone and most foods do not taste good to him right now, but he has to eat to regain his weight and strength. He is down about 40 pounds from his desired weight. Food intake is a real battle because he is weak and listless and would rather sleep than eat. Kathi is a good pusher and encourages food and drink into him frequently.

This morning we took him to the Gene Therapy clinic on the eight floor of Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center. They took six vials of blood for blood tests and infused more magnesium into him. He also has a sore between his little toe and the toe next to it on his right foot that appears to be infected. Tomorrow we will take him to see a podiatrist before going back to the clinic.

I am not real clear on the schedule for next week, but I think we will take him to the clinic MWF. They will give him the magnesium and take more blood for tests to assure he does not need infusions of blood or platelets. On days when he does not go to the clinic, we will administer the magnesium solution at his home. The magnesium solution comes in a sphere about the size of a baseball and it is delivered under pressure. All we do is connect the tubes and open the clamp on the tube and the solutions begins to flow. Larry has tubes going into a vein in his neck to simplify infusions.

Our plan is to be here to help when and where we can until he is past the critical stage of recovery. I am anticipating three months where more attention is necessary. Everyone recovers at a different pace, so I am not sure of the timing. I suspect he will be on anti-rejection meds the rest of his life.

Another problem he has to consider is insurance. He is still on medical coverage from his employment before he retired. He will soon be 65 and have to go on Medicare. He is gathering information to make an intelligent choice about his insurance needs.

Kathi and I will be in the Pasadena, Deer Park and La Porte area for the foreseeable future While we are stationary I will continue discussion of our 2005 travels. Look for that in my next post.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Visiting the Bay Area

Sunday morning we woke up still tired from our trip from Lone Pine to Sacramento on Saturday. We had to go way further north than we intended, since all the passes were closed across the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. We finally got across near Reno and spent the night in the Sacramento KOA. Now our 2005 travel story resumes on Sunday March 13, 2005 as we move west on I-80 through Davis, Vacaville, Fairfield and Vallejo before reaching Oakland and taking the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. We took US 101 south out of San Francisco and passed through San Bruno and San Mateo on the way to Trailer Villa San Mateo in Redwood City. The drive was uneventful, but just being in the Bay Area is exhilarating. I am not sure why. Maybe it is the great temperature we always enjoy there.

As soon as we got our RV set up, we drove back into San Francisco and picked up our son AJ. It was good to be with him, even though we had seen him only a few weeks before. We enjoyed lunch together at an Olive Garden restaurant.

Monday morning AJ had a class he needed to attend at San Francisco State and a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, so Kathi and I enjoyed the day alone. We had a late breakfast at Stacks in Redwood City. The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch and closed in the evening. Stacks in on El Camino Real in Redwood City. If you are ever in the area, this is a nice place for a good meal. No matter what you order some kind of fruit is included in the meal. They serve a lot of fresh avocado and strawberries.

Tuesday, AJ rode the train over from San Francisco to Redwood City. The Bay area has some of the best public transportation found anywhere. We had lunch at Red Lobster in San Bruno. AJ likes the fried shrimp and I usually get the Sailor’s Platter. It offers fried shrimp, shrimp scampi in garlic sauce and baked flounder. Kathi has several favorites, but opted for the grilled salmon on this trip. We eat at a lot of chain restaurants in the Bay Area. The finer restaurants serve dishes that look pretty for the tourists and I normally cannot find anything I actually want to eat. Too finicky, I guess. I always have been about my food. I mostly stay with the same desired meals all the time.

On Wednesday we drove to Half Moon Bay. It is a short drive about half way between Redwood City and San Francisco. The weather was great and the scenery was fantastic. The ocean views are always enjoyable. Even the San Francisco sunshine seems cool.

We were enjoying driving around and visiting with AJ. We were going to be in the area for about two weeks total before continuing on north. We always look forward to everything in California, except the expense.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Flower arrangements on light poles in downtown San Francisco

AJ at the seashore

Ocean spray off the rocks in The Pacific

Arlon on the shore

Part of the shoreline

A great ocean view

Rocks off the beach

Friday, June 19, 2015

Our June 19th Activities

Kathi and I are taking a break from our travels this year to take care of some family business. While we are mostly stationary I have been posting some of our previous year travel experiences on this blog. We spent September, October and November of 2014 in Georgetown, TX to be near our son, AJ in Austin. We came to the Houston area to be near other family members for the year-end holidays. We moved into the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, Texas and are still there. We are usually on the Oregon coast by this time with my sister Carol and her husband Lloyd Jackson. We will miss them this year. We will also miss the cool Oregon coast summer temperature.

Just before Thanksgiving Kathi’s brother, Larry Clark was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His wife Andrea has a full time job and needs to spend as much time at work as possible to keep her employers satisfied. Kathi and I have been helping by visiting Larry at the Methodist Hospital and taking him for routine blood tests and infusions at the clinic on the 8th floor of that hospital.

Larry had a bone marrow transplant about two weeks ago. His bone marrow is starting to produce white blood cells again, which is encouraging. He has felt poorly most of the last two weeks, but he knows he has to keep walking the halls of the hospital to get released to go home. If he is not able to care for himself he will only be released to a rehab center. Next week his transplant doctor will run a DNA test to assure the new white blood cells are from the donated bone marrow. We hope that is the case. If so, he may be able to go home next week.

Larry’s taste buds are shot and not many foods taste good to him right now, but he thinks he may be able to eat Kathi’s meatloaf. We plan to deliver some meatloaf and mashed potatoes to him this afternoon. I think I even saw some deviled eggs. He has lost about 15 pounds this trip to the hospital and with home cooking and sometimes forced feeding (Making him eat whether he wants to or not.) we hope to build the weight back up quickly.

A bigger concern is that his immune system is very weak because of the white blood cells being so low. Kathi and I spent yesterday at their house to let the professional cleaners come in for service. Andrea had professional cleaners trying to remove sources of bacteria or dust that might cause respiratory issues. Larry will have to wear a face mask when he leaves his house, even in their back yard to prevent picking up any virus or pollen that might cause him to get sick. His grandkids will not be able to visit for a while.

After he is released from the hospital we will be taking him for blood tests three days per week.

My next post I will return to our 2005 travels, beginning with our move from Sacramento to Redwood City on March 3rd of that year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crossing the Sierra-Nevadas

Today I am continuing our 2005 travel story beginning on Saturday, March 5th. We saw our son, Christopher and his Marine company off to Iraq on Friday and now we are ready to move further north in California. We left the 29 Palms Golf and RV Resort heading to the Boulder Creek RV Park in Lone Pine, CA. We loved driving in snow covered mountains with moderate temperatures at ground level. The trees were green and the wild flowers were plentiful with brilliant colors. We were tired after the drive and stayed in for the afternoon and evening. Christopher called and they were already in Kuwait – the travel orders were changed after they boarded the plane. The military often changes travel schedules when troops are in the air for security purposes. They went from March AFB in Riverside, CA and stopped in Ireland for a few hours, then on to Al Asad Air Base in Kuwait. From there the Marines will truck convoy to their final destinations.

We took a drive into the mountains on Sunday and found the road blocked by way too much snow. We just got out and walked around the road block to see the local scenery. The views were exhilarating and it really made us appreciate our opportunity to be RV travelers. The next few days we spent inside mostly reading and enjoying the mountain views through our windshield. I really cannot explain my fascination with Lone Pine, but it feels kind of surreal to me, since I first heard of Mt. Whitney in the Humphrey Bogart movie, “High Sierra.” We paid for a week in the RV park, but we were sorry we committed for so long our second day there. There is very little we wanted to do outdoors with all the mountain passes closed.

Arlon at the Boulder Creek RV Park in Lone Pine

Mountains near Lone Pine

Another mountain view from the RV park
On Friday the 11th we drove north on US 395 through Independence and Big Pine on the way to Bishop. We enjoyed the drive, the snow-capped mountain views and a good steak at Sizzler. On Saturday we moved our RV north, planning to cross over the Sierra-Nevada Mountains and be in Redwood City to put us close enough to visit our oldest son AJ in San Francisco. We found all the passes over the mountains closed until we got to South Lake Tahoe. We finally crossed the mountains and stopped at the KOA in Sacramento for the night. The KOA was too expensive for us at $36 per night, but we were tired and needed to rest before going back south to Redwood City. The KOA was old and run-down which is unusual for KOA parks. Most of the residents appeared to be permanent.

 It occurred to me while we were driving that I had heard all my life about not being able to get over the mountains in the wintertime because of heavy snow and this was my first experience with that issue. The snow filled passages stopped wagon trains in my movie experience and I did not anticipate having the same issue in a car -- how na├»ve of me.  Now I understand. I never remember a road closed in Texas due to snow. This was just another exciting adventure for RV travelers.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My blog post today is about current events at or affecting the Boozer household. I will return to our 2005 travels next week.

We awoke to a deluge of rain about seven o’clock this morning. I remember hearing rain earlier in the morning, but my concern at the time was more sleep, so I do not know what time the rain started. I did remember our Jeep Commander had a leak on the passenger side and the floorboard gets wet when it rains. It must have been on my mind, because when I fell back asleep I dreamed of rain and flooded streets. In my dream, we were living in a house with a garage. I awoke disoriented and had to stand beside the bed a few seconds to reorient myself and remember we now live in a motorhome with no attached garage. Too bad about the wet floorboard, but good to be an RV traveler.

Our Jeep in front of our Alfa motorhome

Our Alfa See Ya' motorhome

 I usually cover the vent on the passenger side of the Jeep with plastic, but I forgot to do that last night, even though I did hear the weather report warning us to expect rain. After we got up the first opportunity I had to install the plastic was about 9:30 and for sure, the floor board carpet was already soaked. I will need to dry it out later today or in the morning.

It has been ten days since my brother-in-law, Larry Clark got a bone marrow transplant in an effort to cure his acute myeloid leukemia. He is sick and weak, as expected. He has lost weight and still tries to walk the halls at least once daily to keep up his strength. His transplant doctor told him he may be ready to go home the end of next week. His white blood cell count was brought to near zero with chemotherapy and yesterday it climbed to 0.17 and today it is 0.26. Hopefully it will continue daily increases. Being at home, he will have to return to the clinic on the 8th floor of Methodist Hospital three times per week for blood tests and infusions, if necessary. His appetite is gone again, but he did manage to eat cereal in the morning and half a bowl of taco soup for lunch each of the last two days.

Larry’s wife Andrea was home with a cold and sore throat yesterday and must get well before she can visit him again. His body cannot fight off infections until he has more white blood cells. Balancing her work with hospital visits was tough enough, then her car broke down on her on Wednesday when she was on the way to the hospital. She had AAA and had the car towed to the Firestone shop on Center Street in Deer Park. Kathi and I picked her up and went to the hospital to be with Larry for a few hours.

My sister, Carol and her husband Lloyd Jackson are on the road in their RV. They spent last night in Reno and planned to travel today headed toward Oregon and the Oregon coast. We will miss being with them this year. We have met in Oregon during the summer for about five years in a row. Maybe next year.

Kathi made tacos for our lunch today. Her recipe is much different from the Tex-Mex tacos we eat at restaurants. Her tacos have been a family favorite for thirty years. I love eating here. She normally makes enough to last for several servings, so I get to look forward to another taco meal later in the week. Hooray.

Pretty flowers at the entrance to Tuscan Lakes subdivision on League City Parkway.

Small lake at the entrance to Tuscan Lakes

Two people in a boat on the lake beside W. Walker St. in League City.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Preparation for Iraq -- Part III

This is a continuation of Kathi’s and my RV travels in 2005. We pick our story up on Sunday, February 27th at the 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park in Twentynine Palms, CA. (A quick aside to explain the spelling of the name of Twentynine Palms. The town was named because of the palm trees found there in 1852 by a surveyor, Col. Henry Washington. The town was originally called Twenty-Nine Palms and for years after Twentynine and Twenty-Nine were used interchangeably. The city council decided to standardize the spelling a few years ago and now Twentynine Palms is preferred. The 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park uses 29 instead of Twentynine since it reduces the size of their signs and advertising considerably. Often in my writing I get tired of writing Twentynine Palms so often and I just call the town 29.)

Sunday and Monday we stayed home in our RV and watched the neighbors. There were a lot of senior citizens there that were a lot more ambitious than Kathi and I. Many played golf at the resort every day and others put their clubs in their cars to drive to other golf courses. Some just came and went frequently. We never did find out what the frequent travelers were doing, since we did not find a lot to entertain us in Twentynine Palms. We ate in most days and usually left town for meals out. Our main focus was on the Marines and their planned deployment.

This must have been a Leap Year since Tuesday was March 1st. Christopher called and gave us his travel itinerary. That phone call upped the anxiety for us, but the Marines seemed to be looking forward to the experience. In retrospect, Kathi would have probably liked to talk about the anxiety and get it into the open. I never learned to express my feelings and was usually stoic about most things. I always picture a good outcome in my mind and dwell on that. I should have offered Kathi the opportunity to talk.

March 2nd and 3rd the Marines did not have anything formal on their schedule. Thursday morning we picked up our son, Christopher and his friend Cauthorn and we went out to eat and turned in their cable box. Friday the 5th we went to the base early and all the Marines had their gear lined up in the parking lot and ready to load on the bus to take them to the airport. There were about 350 Marines dressed in their cammies with rifles slung on their shoulders. Most of the guys were excited, except Andrew Harris who was unusually quiet. He told us he was okay, but I suspect he was feeling the same anxiety as Kathi and I. We had a disposable camera and took pictures of the event and none of the pictures came out – what a disappointment.

Around ten am we got to take a couple of the Marines with us for breakfast or lunch, whichever meal they were having at the time. Around one pm the busses arrived and they loaded their equipment and themselves for the trip to March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA. From there they made stops in Maine, Frankfort, Germany, Kuwait and the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. The Marines were then given individual assignments around the country backfilling for Marines who were on the way home. Christopher ended up in Kalsu which is about 25 miles south of Baghdad.

To us it was going to be a long seven month deployment and we were glad we had RV travel plans to occupy our minds.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Preparation for Iraq -- Part II

Today I am continuing our RV travel story on the third week of February 2005. Kathi and I stayed at the 29 Palms Golf and RV Resort while our youngest son, Christopher and his fellow Marines prepared for their first deployment out of the country – they were scheduled for Iraq.

Kathi and I stayed inside our Alfa motorhome most Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week. It was raining all over southern California and Los Angeles was getting it the worst. Their problems are always compounded by the mudslides.

On Saturday, February 19th Kathi and I picked Christopher and a few of his friends up from the base and we all went to The Rib Factory for barbecue ribs. Lunch was great and it was fun hearing the young men talk about their military experiences and their lives and families before joining the Marines. Everyone had barbecue sauce on them from eating the ribs and we took turns in the bathroom washing up following the meal. We were stuffed, but having a great time.

After lunch we went to the Bowladium, a bowling alley with a bar. Kathi watched as I bowled a few games with the young Marines. I could not bowl too long, because I have tennis elbow, even though I never played tennis. About two hours of bowling and beer and it was time to call it an end to a fun afternoon. We drove back to the base and dropped off the Marines. Kathi and I returned home to regroup.

Christopher called a couple of hours later and he and a friend wanted to go to a casino. We returned to the base and picked up the two marines. We drove west on California 62 through the towns of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley and off the high desert into the Morongo Valley. We continued west on I-10 to Cabazon and stopped at the Morongo Casino. Kathi’s casino money went up and down and I had a little luck and we all had a great time. It had been a long day and we had to convince the Marines it was time to move out so we could survive to play another day.

On Sunday afternoon, I spent a while on the phone with my oldest son, AJ working on his Logic homework. It had been a few years since my college days, but I still remembered enough to be helpful. Monday was another rainy, stay at home day. Christopher and his company went on a four day excursion to March Air Force Base. The rain continued and we continued staying indoors.

February 25th rolled around and the sun was shining – beautiful weather for Kathi’s birthday. It was a Friday and after the Marines were released for the weekend, Christopher wanted to do something. Along with Christopher, Kathi and I got Andrew Harris and Lee Calles and all drove to a casino in Palm Springs. The boys sang Happy Birthday to Kathi at dinner and each of them gave her $20 to play on a $5 slot machine. She was happy to oblige, but unfortunately did not win anything. The Marines were great and Kathi’s birthday was great, so you know I was great. AJ, Kathi’s mother and her brother Carl all called to wish her a Happy Birthday. I think she had one.

Next post: Preparation for Iraq – Part III

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Larry's Bone Marrow Transplant

I am going to postpone my “Preparation for Iraq – Part II” blog post until next time. Today I am going to discuss my brother-in-law’s bone marrow transplant.

His name is Larry Clark. Larry is 64 years old and turns 65 in September of this year, 2015. He was diagnosed with leukemia just before Thanksgiving last year. First he went through chemotherapy to put the leukemia in remission. He lost a lot of weight prior to the diagnosis. His normal weight is about 230 pounds which makes him look thin on his 6’7” frame. After the initial round of chemo his weight was down to 170 and his strength was gone. It took a couple of months of good food and moderate exercise to regain the strength necessary for the transplant.

He reported to the hospital on May 28th for his bone marrow transplant. His weight at check-in was 210.4 pounds. The doctors started him on a five day regimen of chemotherapy before the transplant. He lost ten pounds his first two days in the hospital. The feelings of hunger seemed to dissipate and the taste buds stop wanting anything. “Boost” vitamin-energy supplemental drinks increased in importance to keep him going.

The bone marrow donor is a female from Europe. That is all the information the transplant team will supply. The lady is a ten out of ten point match to Larry which increases the chance of success. The night after the final chemotherapy dose, the frozen bone marrow solution arrived from Europe and the bone marrow solution was administered. I am told the liquid looked like grapefruit juice.

This is the second day following the transplant and Larry is weaker, but still strong enough to take the required daily shower unassisted. He is extremely susceptible to infection since his white blood cell count was reduced to zero. For this reason visitors are limited and he has to wear a face mask to breathe filtered air when he leaves the room. Larry also tries to walk the halls at least once per day. He expects to leave the hospital before the end of June and the infection prevention protocols will stay in effect as his body starts rebuilding the bone marrow complex and blood creation ability.

Larry’s wife, Andrea is with him every day and keeps up with her job on the company computer while sitting in Larry’s hospital room near his bedside. Kathi and I visited on Sunday and again on Tuesday. I did not enter the room on Tuesday to limit introduction to unwanted bacteria. Carl Clark, Larry’s older brother drove in from Wimberley and visited with Larry this morning. Kathi plans to carry Larry a Rudy’s barbecue sandwich tomorrow – he thinks he may be able to eat that.

The transplant team and the clinic on the 8th floor of Methodist Hospital have been superb, including doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians and janitorial and administrative staff. I prefer you do not get sick, but if you do, Methodist seems to be a good choice to make.

Memorial day decorations still on display at the hospital

Some of the staff on the eighth floor at Methodist Hospital

Larry and Andrea

Larry with a big smile

Larry looking good

Monday, June 1, 2015

Preparation for Iraq -- Part I

Today’s post is a continuation of our story about our 2005 RV travel adventures.

We spent the first weekend in February 2005 with our two sons to have some time together before our youngest shipped out to Iraq. After a fun weekend enjoying casinos, food and each other it was time to get back to business. Our oldest AJ returned to his home in San Francisco, we returned Christopher to the Marines and Kathi and I stayed in our RV at the 29 Palms Golf and RV Resort.

Monday morning, February 7th, we went to the base and drove Christopher around to pick up the supplies and equipment he needed for his tour in Iraq. Kathi’s journal states, “It doesn’t seem real -- we should be sending him off to soccer camp – not to war.” Christopher was mentally ready to go since the day he decided to get in the fight. He was attending the University of Houston in the day time and listening to the news in the evening. He told us at the end of the semester he was going to join the military and do his part.

Now it was time to go and I know we were all apprehensive, but we did not discuss it. We agreed to think positive and make the best we could from the situation. Christopher had the necessary training and he had friends to fight for and with, so he was confident that he could do whatever task was assigned to him. Kathi and I were proud and worried – maybe concerned is more accurate. Today we are just glad he did his part to contribute and it is over for him.

On Tuesday Kathi made spaghetti for us and then we took Christopher and his Marine friends to the commissary for some food shopping. They each paid for meals out of their monthly salary, but Christopher seldom entered the chow hall. He preferred junk food in the barracks. The young Marines are always fun, but they were really fun to watch at the commissary. They all headed different directions keying in on their favorite foods, mostly snack foods.

On Wednesday Kathi and I went to see “The Aviator” about Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio was excellent in his part. He really displayed the eccentricity of Hughes. It was nice to get things off our minds for a few hours. The next few days we saw a lot of rain and stayed in the RV reading most of the time. On Sunday I picked up some of the Marines from the base to get haircuts before Monday morning duty call.

Monday evening we picked up Christopher and his friend Andrew Harris and took them out for Mexican food. On Tuesday I provided taxi service for a few Marines making final preparations for their tour of duty. Christopher sent me home with his will and other legal paperwork. That had the effect on Kathi that you would expect.

Next post: Preparation for Iraq – Part II