Sunday, August 30, 2015

Texas in July

Today I am continuing the Kathi and Arlon Boozer travel year of 2005. We left the Great Lakes area on Tuesday, June 21st and landed in Dickinson, TX on Thursday, June 24th. We were in the Houston area in plenty of time for us to visit her mother and step-father, prior to the breast biopsy procedure her mother had scheduled for Monday the 27th.

Kathi went with her mother for the outpatient procedure on Monday and the doctor told them he was sure the tumor was benign, but could not say conclusively until he had the lab results.

We pretty much returned to our regular routine for the Pasadena-Deer Park-La Porte area. We caught up on doctor visits and got our normal lecture about losing weight, less sugar in our diets and more exercise. After which we went to Las Hadas on Center Street in Deer Park for Mexican food. I parked in the back of the parking lot so we could get more exercise walking into the restaurant for lunch – no reason not to follow the doctor’s advice. We both went to the eye doctor and got new prescriptions for glasses.

We got a call from our youngest, Christopher from Iraq. He was doing fine and he told us his company commander had recommended him OCS and he was trying to decide if he was interested. We assured him it was his decision to make. He asked us to send him his transcripts for Deer Park High School, San Jacinto College and the University of Houston, so he would be prepared for an OCS interview while he was in Iraq.

On Thursday we went out to dinner with Kathi’s older brother Carl and his wife Cheryn. After dinner we went to their house and had a fun evening with a few adult beverages and a rousing game of dominoes. Life is good. Friday, the first of July, Kathi took her mother to the beauty shop and had a pleasant lunch afterward.

Here we were in Texas in July. One of the main reasons we decided to move into a motorhome was so we would be out of Texas in July and August – best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Sure enough it was getting hotter as each day passed.

We needed service on our motorhome so we drove over to the Freightliner shop on the loop to find out where to park if we stayed overnight on their lot, so we would be ready for service early one morning. Their parking lot was crowded and a lot of trucks moving around 24 hours a day.

We spent July 4th with Carl and Cheryn at their bay house in Bacliff. We had a small crowd and enjoyed watching the water from their back porch. There was a nice breeze that helped fight off the heat, but it was still more comfortable inside in the air conditioning.

Kathi had a nice visit and lunch with her good friend Linda, Moreau. Kathi’s mother’s biopsy results were good as expected. We got Christopher’s transcripts faxed to him. Our new and improved eye glasses arrived. We had seen doctors, friends and relatives and the world seemed okay. What was keeping us in Houston in July – nothing was holding us; so we started making a plan to get serviced at Freightliner and become RV travelers again. Hooray.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

South to Texas

On Tuesday June 21, 2005 we were in South Range, WI on the southwest tip of Lake Superior. Kathi's mother was going to have a biopsy the following Monday and Kathi decided she needed to be with her mother to support and calm her mother through the procedure. We changed our attitudes from being retired RV travelers viewing the states to rushing home to support the family. To us this meant driving until I was too tired to hold the RV on the road and find a place to stay near wherever we were. We talked to our son AJ in the evening and he was doing fine in San Francisco. He was still exploring and learning more about the city. We related our plan to return to Texas.

Our first stop was Grimes, Iowa, which was about 400 miles south of South Range. We checked into Cutty's RV Park which was very large and very crowded. It brought to mind the parks we had visited in Florida the previous year. We got set up and went out to eat dinner. We found a Red Lobster and the food was needed and delicious. We always enjoyed the chain restaurants where the menus and food are familiar. We got to bed early and prepared our mind for the trip the next day.

Next stop was the USI RV Park in Wichita, KS. Just under 400 miles had me worn out again. While looking for the RV park, we spotted an Outback steak house that sounded like a great place for dinner. We found they were not scheduled to open for a couple of hours and I could not wait to eat. Our second choice was Sonic. Kathi had a Sonic Burger with mustard and I had a foot long cheese coney with onions and a large order of onion rings. Just in case I got hungry later, I got a burger to go. We turned in early again and prepared our mind for another long day the next day.

The 23rd was on Thursday and we made about 375 miles, before I could not get the energy to go any further. We were now back in Texas and driving around the Freeways in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are always a headache for me. We spent the night at the Cowtown RV Park in Aledo, TX. This was a nice roomy park. We decided to eat in and had a light dinner before going to bed early again. Out youngest son, Christopher called from Iraq and told us he got moved from the night shift to the day shift. He was doing fine and liked working days much better.

Friday we took the short 300 mile trip from Aledo to the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX. I was glad the week of driving was over and we were ready to relax and make plans to see other family members.

The next morning we went to see Kathi's mother and her stepfather, Jim Hathaway. After talking for a while and catching up on current events, we took them out to Red Lobster for lunch. After lunch we were driving back home and Kathi told me she thought her mother was looking and acting older. On reflection, I agreed, but the thought had not occurred to me before she mentioned it.

We spent Sunday morning at a local laundromat to get all our clothes and bedding clean. After everything was folded and put away it was nap time for me. I was physically and mentally worn out from the rapid trip from Wisconsin to Texas. We made it to Texas in time for Kathi to be with her mother for the biopsy on Monday, which was what really mattered.

RV traveling is always nice, but family needs always take precedence over our traveling pleasure. We were glad to be near home base and ready for a few restful weeks, before our next excursion.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

South Range, Wisconsin

Monday June 20, 2005 we awoke to heavy rain and high wind. We were leaving Minnesota still headed for the Great Lakes. Our destination for the day was the Northland Campground in South Range. In the last few weeks we had taken our first trip through North Dakota and Minnesota moving so fast the places were a blur in my mind. Surreal is probably the word to describe my feelings about the trip. We were really there, but it my mind it felt like a dream. Now we were going to South Range, WI at the southwest tip of the shore of Lake Superior.

The trip on that day was the windiest trip we had endured in our motorhome up to that time. We pulled into the Northland Campground in heavy rain and wind and I pulled through the driveway to make room for other RVers to be able to turn in. I got a vision in my rear view mirror of a plump older lady with free-flowing hair blowing in the wind, wearing a shawl fluttering like a cape and waving both arms. The vision is etched in my memory. I though she looked crazy so I stopped to see what she wanted. It turns out she was one of the owners of the park and chased us down, wanting to know why we entered their park without paying. Well, that thought had never crossed my mind. Fortunately I had Kathi who can explain anything to anyone that will listen. Kathi listened to the lady, then explained what we were doing and they walked back to the office together to check us in. They ended being friendly, but I think the lady still thought of me as a suspect.

Did I mention rain? It was pouring when Kathi got back from the office soaking wet and she walked to guide me to the spot we were assigned. The park sites had two concrete runners for the wheels to rest on while parked. The roadways were so narrow there was not enough room to turn our forty foot motorhome and get all four wheels on the runners. I got our motorhome stuck in the mud. I exited in the rain and before I could walk to the back of the motorhome to unhook our tow vehicle, I was soaked. I think it made Kathi feel better to have a damp companion to share her misery. We got the car free and I was able to rock the motorhome to get us unstuck and made a loop to get a better angle to assure our back tires hit the runners of our parking space.

I got the utilities hooked up, slipping and sliding in the mud. Kathi was already through with her shower and drying off when I went inside. I was already fed up with the Northland Campground, the rain, the mud and Wisconsin and we had just arrived. I got in the shower and warmed up. Then we got dressed and went out looking for something to eat. We found the Black Bear Casino. The food was bad, but we had fun and forgot about the weather for a while.

Kathi had been dithering for a few days about what do about her mother, who had a breast biopsy scheduled for the next week on June 27th. Her mother was nervous and no one could calm her like Kathi. So, Kathi decided she needed to be in Deer Park, Texas for her mother. When we got home from the casino we determined a route to get from Lake Superior to Texas ASAP, planning to leave the next morning moving south through Iowa and Kansas and across Texas to the Houston area. We were going to leave the Great Lakes area without seeing a lake. That’s life.

Next post: South to Texas 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Missing Fargo

Today, I am picking up the Kathi and Arlon Boozer 2005 travel story. We left the North Park Campground in Dickinson, ND, heading for Fargo, ND. It was a trip of about 285 miles east on I-94. Kathi was looking for an RV park in Fargo while we were in route. She could not find one that she felt comfortable with, so she looked around the area and settled for the Country RV Park in Detroit Lakes, MI, which was about 50 miles further east, but closer to the Great Lakes – our final destination for this leg of our trip.

Since we knew it was going to be a long day, we got up early and hit the road while the dew was still on the ever prevalent crops in the farming country along highway 94. There were no towns, no traffic and no people on this Friday morning of June 17th. We made good time and I probably overused my accelerator as I often did on longer trips – speeding was still a habit I needed to break. An empty interstate sure made speeding compelling.

Along the way we discussed what we should do about Kathi’s mother having a biopsy in Pasadena, TX within a few days. Kathi was convinced by her mother’s tone of voice that her presence was wanted in Texas. As we normally did with family matters, I let Kathi make decisions about what she needed to do with her family and I supported her decision. This has been our practice since we married and it has worked well for us. We may discuss decisions and probable outcomes, but the decisions concerning her family were Kathi’s to make.

We got into Detroit Lakes and found a resort area with large lakes and man-made beaches. It was pleasant to see. We were used to seeing beaches in Galveston and on the Pacific, but inland beaches were new to us. Obviously the people appreciated it, because there were a lot of people in the water. Good fun and fun to see.

The RV park was great. It had wide and long spaces giving each occupant plenty of room to enjoy their stay. The rates were $23 per day which was more than Kathi wanted to spend, but we agreed it was a good value for the price. The grass and trees were green and shiny and the park was well maintained.

The next morning we drove to the Shooting Star Casino. They had a pull tab game similar to how lotteries work, but this was local and only for casino patrons. I bought five $5 pull tabs to see what the game was like. I pulled the tabs and read the messages and did not have a clue what the messages said, so I returned to the cashier and asked for an explanation. She looked at the pull tabs and started counting out $500 and pushed it across the counter to me and said, “Congratulations.” I never did get a translation for what the words on the tabs meant, but I no longer cared. It was the start of a fun casino afternoon and even more fun when I went over to tell Kathi what I had done and split the winning money for investment in slot machines. We always believed in keeping the economy rolling with fast cash circulation.

We spent Sunday at home and began planning for our hop the next day to the Duluth area and hoped the weather would be a little cooler, even as we got deeper into summer.   

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Current Events August 18, 2015

Today I am taking a break from our 2005 travel year to let everyone know what is going on with our family at this time. I will continue our 2005 adventures in my next post.

Kathi and I are doing fine. We are still staying at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, Texas. August in Texas has been hot as advertised, but we manage to stay cool in our motorhome in the daytime, thanks to the EdgeStar 12,000 BTU portable air conditioner we purchased several years ago to supplement the dual compressor basement air conditioner in our Alfa motorhome. We normally only have to use the portable in summer months. It also has a dehumidifier setting that is good for the Texas Gulf Coast weather.

The last few days we had some cooler temperatures with the temperature staying below 90 degrees. That is still hot for us, but better. We are used to spending our summers in a casino parking lot on the Oregon Coast where summer temperatures are in the mid sixties. As most of you know, we are staying in Texas this year to take care of our family.

My brother in law, Larry Clark has acute myeloid leukemia. He had three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant and is now in the recovery stage. All his original bone marrow was destroyed and the new bone marrow is now producing his blood. Among the many medications he takes to supplement his immune system while he has no natural immunity, he is taking a medication to control the rate the new blood is created. This slow down process is to allow his body to adjust to the new blood without rejecting it.

He spent the last month in the hospital to get extra fluids to combat a BK Virus that was causing kidney problems. He came home on Friday of last week, but now has a blood pressure problem. He has spent so much time confined to his bed that his blood pressure drops when he stands, causing dizziness.

Kathi and I are staying with him until he regains the ability to walk without the dizziness. We also take him to the Methodist Hospital Transplant Clinic twice per week to get blood tests and necessary infusions. Each day at home we give him infusions of magnesium diluted in a saline solution. The mixture comes in pressurized balls the size of a soft ball.

Larry's wife, Andrea is working every day while we are staying with Larry at home. When he is in the hospital, Andrea usually works half a day in the office and brought a computer to allow her to work at the hospital in the afternoons. Larry insists that no one stay with him at night in the hospital. We are all really glad he is at home and recuperating.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Dickinson, North Dakota

Today I am continuing the story of our 2005 RV travels, picking up on Saturday, June 11th. Kathi and I were looking at a map to decide on our next destination. We realized we were as far north as the Great Lakes and less than 800 miles away. We moved our minds into travel mode and decided to head that way, planning stops in Dickinson, ND, Fargo, ND and South Range, WI near the southern tip of Lake Superior.

We had spent three days at the Big Sky RV Park in Miles City, MT and were ready to move. We awoke to a beautiful Sunday morning with cool moderate temperature and sunshine filling the sky. We headed northeast on I-94 toward the North Park Campground in Dickinson, North Dakota. The high mountains were further west behind us and now we had a lot of level ground, straight roads and countryside views.

The rates for the RV park was $13 per day which was great for us, so Kathi decided this was a good place to stay and call for the mail. She called Escapees on Monday morning to get our mail forwarded to us. Mail delivery is 2-5 days depending on how remote a location we are in. We spent the day at home doing some light house work and a little reading.

Tuesday we awoke to windy and cool weather, so we decided to explore the area. We saw cattle and horse ranches on every country road we took. What fun. The scenery made me nostalgic, reminding me of my rural upbringing around Nacogdoches prior to moving to urban areas where Dad could find work.

June 15th was our oldest son’s birthday. We called and talked to him on the phone to see what he bought with the birthday money we sent him. He was doing fine and he had spent his money on a blender. He was still pretty thin at the time and I guess he thought a milkshake would be a good supplement to his diet – he likes being creative in the kitchen.

Kathi and I saw “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” at the movies. It was a fun diversion for a few hours, but I really only go to the movies for the buttered popcorn. The theater was old and the seats were uncomfortable, but at least it was not crowded.

On Thursday, Kathi got a call from her stepfather, Jim Hathaway. Jim told her that her mother had a mammogram and the doctors saw a spot that concerned them and they wanted to do a biopsy. It sounded like her mother was concerned about the procedure and Kathi felt like she needed to be there. Kathi decided we would move on to Fargo the next morning. She would talk to her mother again, then decide if we needed to go to Texas.

I got my map back out and look for a route to Texas, just in case we changed our minds on the way to Fargo – it never hurts to have an alternate plan.

Below are some miscellaneous flower pictures from our travels.

Flower bed by a driveway in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Arlon admiring flowers at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Flowers at The Mill Casino RV Park in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Hanging flowers at a small strip mall in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Bush by the parking lot of the Sleeping Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc, Colorado.

Through the windshield picture of yellow bushes along US 101 north of Lincoln City.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Miles City, MT

On Thursday, June 9, 2005 we departed the Bear Canyon RV Park in Bozeman, MT. Our Cavalier had some fresh paint and you could not tell it rolled off a mountain a week earlier. I promised myself to listen more carefully to Kathi’s advice next time she told me how to unhook a toad from the RV.

We took I-90 east through Livingston, Big Timber, Greycliff, Reed Point and Columbus. At Billings we left I-90 and took I-94 through Worden, Custer, Hysham and Hathaway and stopped at the Big Sky RV Park in Miles City. This trip was near 300 miles, so I estimated the trip would take about six hours. We made no stops along the way and I must have been pushing the accelerator, as we arrived about an hour earlier than I had planned. It was a scenic drive as most of them are in this part of the country, but it was mostly a blur to me. We were not impressed with the RV park, but the rates were better than what we paid in Bozeman. Kathi thought $18 a day was reasonable, so no complaints from me.

We were both weary after the long drive so we got our utilities hooked up and stayed in for the evening. Kathi made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. After cookies, bananas and peanuts while we were driving, a sandwich was plenty for me.

We awoke on Friday ready to see the area. The temperature was 65 degrees and the sky was big (as advertised) and filled with blue sky, scattered white puffy clouds and brilliant sunshine. We had a great time looking around the old city. Many of the buildings looked to be over 100 years old. I think we drove up and down every street in town, after which we went to the Cellar Casino. I won $400 soon after our arrival and I put aside $150 to buy a TiVo. We had our VHS tape recorder that we moved into the RV with us, but we were looking forward to using the newer technology when we got to a town with an electronics store that sold the TiVo. Obviously we were having good casino fun, so Kathi and I shared the rest of the money for re-investment in the casino.

Saturday morning we slept late and then went casino hopping. Remember the casinos in Montana had a 20 machine maximum and the choices were video poker or keno. I mostly played keno and Kathi played video poker.  This day she could not do anything wrong. Playing Deuces wild, she hit four deuces three times and also hit a royal flush for $760. She bought lunch at the Stagecoach Restaurant. The food was mediocre, but of course we did not care that much because we brought along the high from winning at the casinos.

We had a great time in Miles City, but being RV travelers and having spent three days in the same spot, we were ready to move along.

Next stop: Dickinson, ND

The pictures below are not from our Montana trip. They are pictures Kathi took through the windshield as we drive along the highways. We never stop for pictures when we are driving the RV, but we do see a lot of things that are picture worthy.

I think this is in Utah, north of SLC.

Note the road debris on the windshield. We needed a wash.

I cannot keep up with the trucks going up hill, but we always get to the top.

Puffy clouds in the Utah sky.

Kathi's feet enjoying the view.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bozeman

Today I am continuing our 2005 RV travel story. On Monday, May 30th we left the Jellystone RV Park in Missoula, MT and moved to the Bear Canyon RV Park in Bozeman, MT. Looking at the map it was obvious that we were wandering instead of traveling since our route on I-90 took us past Anaconda, where we stayed a few weeks prior to this trip. We did not mind, because we were retired and had no deadlines to meet nor schedules directing us. We felt free and we were wandering, selecting new locations on a whim.

We traveled southeast on I-90 through Deer Lodge, near Anaconda, through Whitehall, Three Forks, Manhattan and Belgrade on the way to Bozeman. Most of these communities were so small they were hidden behind the trees, which were prevalent everywhere along the route. Scenery was great along the way, majestic mountains with snow in the background, winding roads and evergreen trees everywhere. I guess I got too relaxed. When I was unhooking our car from our RV, I lost control of the car and it rolled off a mountain. I told that story in my March 8. 2015 post called “Adventures of a Toad.” Check the archives if you are interested in this funny and embarrassing story. It is well worth reading.

Needless to say, we spent a little less two weeks in Bozeman waiting for our car to be repaired. It was 65 degrees with sunshine, so we did not mind being there. The park was on a hilltop, but the sites were mostly level. We did not like staying there mostly because phone and internet services were poor. We did not have much else to do with our car in the shop, so we planned to drive our rental car around for several days doing some sightseeing.

The bad part of the mishap was that Kathi had been talking to my sister about meeting up in the near future, so the car tumble off a cliff put a hold on that idea. My sister Carol and her husband Lloyd started their RV travels several years before us and we got a lot of travel ideas from them. Even worse than that for us is that when our son, Christopher called from Iraq we kept getting cut off because of our poor phone signals. We missed some of the good stories he liked to relate to us, but we did get the message that he was okay.

Then the weather changed and down came the rain which lasted for three days straight. Somewhere during the rain we got cabin fever and went out in the rain to survey the area. The extra moisture did not diminish the mountain views. We were unsuccessful getting high enough to see the snow on the mountaintops, since the rain caused a lot of it to disappear. We enjoyed the attempt savoring the beautiful sights we encountered.

On Tuesday, June 7th we got a call that our car was ready a week ahead of schedule. We were ecstatic to be getting our car back and being able to move whenever we wished. Really good news. We got the rental car turned in, got our car back home and immediately started discussing our next excursion.

Next stop: Big Sky RV Park in Miles City, MT.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Missoula, Montana

Today I am continuing the stories of our 2005 travel year, picking up on May 21st and our trip from Great Fall, MT into the Jim & Mary's RV Park in Missoula. The RV park was nice, but it had a lot of trees which prevented us from being able to get on the internet or get good TV reception. I could position our RV where we got one or the other, but not both. Our satellite dish for the internet was located in the center of our motorhome and the dish for TV was located at the very back. We paid for a two day stay and looked around for other RV park options in the area.

On the 23rd we took our RV into Bretz RV to get our washer/dryer repaired. They were through with the repairs by 11 am and the dryer worked great again, which make Kathi happy. The washer only handled small loads, but it was nice to have for washing everything but bed linen. We were happy with the Bretz service and agreed that next time we were in the area, we would return to Bretz, if we had more maintenance work to perform.

We had seen enough around town that we wanted to stay for another week, so we checked in at Jellystone RV, which was only a block away from Jim and Mary's. Jellystone had big RV spaces and almost no trees. We were much happier there. This area was about seven miles from the nearest conglomeration of homes, so we did not get good cell phone reception. If we wanted to make a phone call we went outside and stood about 20 feet in front of our motorhome to get a signal. Having lived in the city all our lives, we were not used to “roughing it” in isolated areas – if you can consider living in a motorhome “roughing it.” I do not think we thought that way other than the sketchiness of radio type signals transmitted by air.

The next morning we took a drive up a mountain to a ski lodge and it started snowing on us. Of course, we were thrilled since the snow added to the beauty of the forest and surrounding area. Ski lodges are fun for us to see, just for the views. We do not go to ski lodges when people are skiing so we can avoid the crowds.

Missoula spreads across a good sized land area without much downtown, but a lot of strip centers around with good restaurants and small casinos. They also had large grocery stores and a Walmart which made us feel at home.

We were enjoying the weather with open windows in the day time and cool enough for a little heat at night. Our favorite temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees. It was nice to be outside, so one morning we went back to Bretz RV to look at new motorhomes. We liked one of the new Alfa Founders, but not as much as we liked the Alfa See Ya' we already owned.

We dropped by a different casino every afternoon and had a little entertainment, but never won anything of consequence. We enjoyed a little over a week in Missoula, but we had seen about everything we wanted to see, so on the 29th we stayed at home and got ready for our next travel day when we were moving on down the road to Bozeman.