Saturday, November 28, 2015

29 to San Francisco

Today I am continuing the progress of our 2005 travel year, picking up on October 25, 2005. It was a Tuesday and we spent the day traveling from the 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park, taking a scenic drive through Apple Valley and moving into the Boulder Creek RV Park in Lone Pine, CA. The trip was about 250 miles and we expected to be on the road between four and five hours, depending on traffic. Kathi and I were taking our youngest son, Christopher with us to visit our oldest, AJ in San Francisco. Christopher slept on the couch for much of the trip.

We took CA 62 west from Twentynine Palms to Joshua Tree, then north on CA 247 to Lucerne Valley where we switched to CA 18 to get to Apple Valley. I always wanted to see Apple Valley, because this is where Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had their ranch. They had both been dead for several years, so visiting the ranch was not as important to me as just being in the area. Nostalgia is a strange thing. We left Apple Valley and crossed I-15 at Victorville. We took US 395 out of Victorville and on into Lone Pine.

We were only in Lone Pine for one night on this trip. The weather was great and the mountains are always pleasant viewing. From Lone Pine we could see Mount McKinley which is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States and several other peaks nearby are almost as tall. If you want to read more about Lone Pine, you can see the blog I posted on February 27, 2015 titled Lone Pine. That post discusses the time we were in Lone Pine in October 2003. That trip we were moving south and this time we were moving north.

The next morning we left Lone Pine and drove through the Tioga Pass which led us into Yosemite National Park. This was an arduous journey, winding through the beautiful forested mountains. Yosemite is a place to visit and enjoy, not a place to drive through. We thought we might return someday when we had more time to spend in the area.

We talked to our oldest son, AJ while we were traveling and arranged for him to catch the Cal Train to Redwood City, which was our destination for the day. We got situated in the Trailer Villa San Mateo and parked our RV, then we met AJ at the train depot. We all had dinner together at Red Lobster, after which AJ spent the night with us in our RV. It was a little crowded, but we were glad to be together.

City Hall

Flowers on lamp posts

On Thursday, we drove into San Francisco to look around for a while. The weather was great, as usual. We had lunch at Olive Garden, then dropped AJ & Christopher off at AJ’s apartment. They were going to meet some of AJ’s friends in the evening and we were going home to rest and relax.

Jam-packed city of San Francisco

All building are close together

A few high rise buildings
Friday we drove in to take AJ to the grocery store. The guys apparently had a good time the previous evening. After grocery shopping and getting groceries put away we began thinking of the return trip to get Christopher back to the Marines in Twentynine Palms.

Overview of Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Season

Today’s post is an update on current activities.

Kathi and I are at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, Texas. We migrated here November 25, 2014. This is the first time since we started traveling that we have stayed at the same location for a year. We have spent a good deal of the time helping Kathi’s brother Larry Clark’s effort to overcome his leukemia. His wife Andrea is still working so Kathi and I have been staying with Larry in the daytime when he needs assistance and taking him to the clinic at Methodist Hospital for routine blood draws to assess his recovery status.

Larry has been in the hospital this week with a recurring bout of pneumonia. Hopefully, he is going to be released today, dependent on his blood results, to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Dr. Kamble (pronounced Cam-blay) is his bone marrow transplant doctor and lead doctor on his hospital stay.

Depression is always an issue with long-term illnesses and Larry is no different from other people. Dr. Kamble is more concerned with Larry’s mental health and that concern is greater than the physical health issue at this time. So maybe Larry will be home for Thanksgiving.

Larry’s daughter Amy Whitaker and her son Sean are in town from Kansas for Thanksgiving and other family members from around Texas will be here. Amy will be in town for about three weeks.

Kathi and I finally got the Michelin tires we have been awaiting for three months. We were supposed to get them from Canada, but Canada had to get them from Europe. They did not give us a price discount for the delay. They were also supposed to do a state inspection, but could not get the turn indicators to work. They worked after we got home, so I do not know for sure what the problem was. Monday I drove over to Freightliner to get a new flasher, just in case that was causing an intermittent problem. We went to Red’s Tire in Bacliff for an inspection yesterday and we found out my insurance card was out of date, so we had to return home to get on the computer and print out a new insurance card before we could get the inspection.

Our Alfa motorhome registration expired in July and I wanted to get a new registration sticker yesterday, so I went to the Galveston County Tax office yesterday to register. They informed me that since our permanent address is in Livingston, I would have to go to Polk Country to register. We opted to come home and register on the internet. As soon as we get a receipt in my e-mail, we will be able to travel at will.

We went to Honey Baked yesterday and picked up an eleven pound spiral sliced ham to go with the Turkey for Thanksgiving. Today, Kathi is making deviled eggs, green bean casserole and a corn casserole for Thanksgiving at Larry’s tomorrow.

I am wishing a Happy Thanksgiving for everyone. Peace.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Circus Circus

We are staying at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson, TX for an extended period of time and while we are here, I have been relating some of our previous travel adventures. Today I am continuing our 2005 travel story. I left off with us in Palm Springs with our son Christopher, Frankie Cauthorn, Jason Kepner and Frankie’s parents. We spent a couple of fun days together, celebrating the Marines being back in the USA from Iraq.

Sunday, October 9th, 2005 Christopher, Kathi and I returned to our RV in Twentynine Palms. Christopher spent the night with us and slept on the couch in our RV. We were all tired from the weekend activities and I am sure the Marines had not adjusted from the time differences from their trip from Iraq to California. Monday morning Kathi and I were up early and enjoyed watching Christopher sleeping hard on the couch. It was good to see him safe with us again.

Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, AJ’s hand was not getting better and he returned to the doctor to get it re-wrapped. He was still having a lot of pain in his hand and the doctor was not very sympathetic about it.

We took Christopher and a couple of his Marine friends running errands in Twentynine Palms on the base and in the town. The Marines were taking a one week leave beginning the following Monday, October 17th.  We were planning to take Christopher on a trip to Las Vegas with us for a few days.

Monday we left Twentynine Palms moving east, then north on Amboy Road. At Amboy we turned east on The National Trails Highway, also called CA 66 at this section of road. Just before Fenner CA 66 split off from the National Trails Highway and became Goffs Road. We stayed on CA 66 until it dead ended on US 95, which we followed north into Las Vegas. The trip was about 200 miles and took us a little more than three hours.

In Las Vegas we had rooms reserved at Circus Circus. We had stayed there several time twenty years earlier. There were many things we recognized and a few changes to the casino and the d├ęcor, but it was familiar ground. Christopher had a few good wins, but mostly we just had a good time being together. Three days is always enough time for Las Vegas and we were all exhausted again for our drive back to 29.

We spent the next week around 29 running errands with the Marines. Christopher picked up his dress blue uniform and it looked great. They were getting ready for the Marine Corps Ball in early November. The Marine Corps birthday is November 11th.

October 23, 2005 was our 41st anniversary. We were happy and felt we had already done our celebrating early.

Next stop: Lone Pine

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Marines Have Landed

It was Tuesday, September 27, 2005 and Kathi and I were in Twenty nine Palms awaiting Christopher’s return from Iraq. We found out he would be in Kuwait on October 2nd, so we knew we would be seeing the Marines soon. Andrew Harris and Christopher were best friends and roommates for a good portion of their time in Twentynine Palms. Kathi found out Andrew’s family was in town, so we drove out to the base to meet them. Andrew and five other Marines that had deployed with him had arrived in town a week ahead of Christopher. We had a nice chat with Andrew’s family and it was really good to see Andrew again. He got to hold his daughter for the first time and I am glad we were there to see that.

The next day Kathi and I took a drive around the neighborhood. Since there is not a lot of entertainment in Twentynine Palms, we almost always drove further west on CA 62 through Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley, then off the high desert plateau into the Morongo Valley. We bypassed Desert Hot Springs and hit I-10 near North Palm Springs. This day we went a few miles further west on I-10 to the Morongo Casino. The buffet was mediocre and too expensive and we had no luck at all playing their slot machines. We lost our play money and headed back to our Alfa motorhome.

We spent most of the next week trying to stay cool and reading a lot. We finally heard from Christopher again on Tuesday, October 4th. He was finally in Kuwait. We were glad to hear from him and glad he was out of Iraq and in a safer country. Their plan was to arrive in 29 sometime on Thursday.

Kathi talked to AJ on Wednesday and he had an accident with a revolving door and had a black eye and a fractured hand. His vision impairment caused him to have some unusual accidents over the years. He sounded okay, but a fractured hand was a real pain in more ways than one.

Our Marine final arrived in 29 about 7 pm. We got to watch them as they marched into Victory Field where we and other parents and family members were awaiting them. Many families were unable to be there, so we and the other parents greeted several Marine buddies along with our own. We felt it was important for all of them to feel wanted and we certainly appreciated their service and especially how they took care of one another.

We waited a few hours for them to be dismissed from formation, get their gear squared away, take a shower and be ready to travel. We headed to Palm Springs with Christopher, Frankie Cauthorn and Jason Kepner. They had a great time playing Jason’s “system” on a video roulette machine. They all managed to stay even for several hours and occasionally won a large amount of money, compared to the size of their wagers.  It was a great evening of fun with the Marines.

Friday and Saturday, Frankie’s parents were in town and we had some enjoyable time together socializing with them and our Marines. We had some meal time and casino time and it was all so enjoyable, seemingly for all of us. There was a lot of elation having all their Marine friends safely back in the USA.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Family Health Update

Kathi and I are doing fine. Our boys are well also. AJ is in Austin, Christopher is in Pasadena and Kathi and I are staying at the Green Caye RV Park in Dickinson.

The last report I made on family illness, Kathi's stepfather, Jim Hathaway was in the hospital with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. He was moved from Patient's Hospital in Pasadena last week to the Kindred Nursing Home across the beltway from the hospital. Early this morning he passed away from the pneumonia from which he was unable to recover. Jim has been a member of the Clark family for 45 of his 86 years – a long blessed life. He will be missed by all of us. His funeral is Friday at 2:00 pm at the Paul U Lee Funeral Home in La Porte, TX.

Jim's Children, Rick Hathaway, Becky Boyd and Jon Hathaway have been seeing to Jim's care at the hospital and nursing home. They also made funeral arrangements.

Kathi's brother Larry Clark was in the Methodist Hospital recovering from pneumonia brought on by his weakened condition while recovering from leukemia. Larry has since been released from the hospital and returned home, only visiting the clinic two days per week. Kathi and I took him to the clinic on Thursday. He is still weak and we use a wheel chair to get him around the clinic. At home he is able to get round using a walker, but we watch him pretty close. His legs do not support him if he stands for too long.

Saturday we got a call from Larry that his wife, Andrea was having severe stomach pain. We came over and found her laying flat on the floor at the foot of her bed trying to find a position that would relieve the pain. Pain medication on hand was little help. Andrea needed to go to the hospital for evaluation, but she could not walk. Kathi called an ambulance and had her transported to Patient's Hospital.

We were not very hopeful that the doctors would find the cause of the problem, because she had gone to the emergency room numerous times before and their best diagnosis was irritable bowel syndrome. This time they actually found a problem. Andrea had a obstruction caused by a hernia.

They called in a surgeon, Dr. Gelber. He operated on Andrea's stomach on Sunday afternoon. She is recovering in Patient's Hospital and will be there several more days.

In the meantime, Kathi and I are staying with Larry at his home. I stay with him when Kathi needs to go to the hospital to check on Andrea. Kathi has been using their spare bedroom for the last few days, since Andrea is away from home. I have been acting as gofer and staying in our RV in Dickinson at night.

Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers that have come our way. We appreciate all thoughts.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Biding Our Time in 29

Today I will continue our 2005 travel story, picking up on the week of September 12, 2005, with Kathi and me in Twentynine Palms, CA awaiting our son, Christopher and his fellow marines as they returned from Iraq. We had a few days to wait, but not sure how many, because the Marines never announce their travel plans.

Kathi was having some back problems and visited a chiropractor several times while we were in town. Kathi had back surgery a few years earlier and was still feeling the effects of the surgery. Some back pain and leg neuropathy had become routine. A chiropractor in Texas had been helpful to relieve the pain. After the third visit the chiropractor in Twentynine Palms suggest she take up yoga. Kathi assumed he did not want the short term business.

Wednesday we drove into Palm Springs to get some brake work done on our car. We had a good time looking around the area. All the green grass and colorful flowers were so much different from the desert atmosphere and appearance in 29 just about 30 miles away. We saw water sprinklers everywhere in Palm Springs. The golf courses were especially pleasing to the eye.

We visited the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA and had a great time. How could I not have a good time with Kathi in a casino? I think the casinos are her favorite places in the world. We both managed to double our allowance of play money and actually took it home with us.

We had lunch at the casino buffet. They had a nice selection of choices for lunch. Kathi had chili rellenos and said they were the best she had tasted since we had Mexican food in Van Horn, TX.

We tried to ignore the news in Iraq as much as possible and certainly did not dwell on it when our son was in country, but it was hard to avoid the news of the young men being killed every day. A bad situation. We were very proud of Christopher for being willing to put himself in harm's way to protect our country. We finally got a call from Christopher on Saturday and it was a relief to hear from him. He sounded good and his spirits were high,but he was anxious to return to the states as much as we wanted him to be here.

Monday the 19th it rained most of the night. Rain pattering on the roof of the RV reminded me of being at my grandmother's house in Nacogdoches, TX. She had a tin roof which always made the rain sound louder. Rain in the desert is always pleasant.

Our oldest son, AJ called to let us know his application had been accepted to San Francisco State. He would be returning to school in January to complete his education. More good news was always welcome.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hospitals and Thanksgiving

I have been lax in my writing the last two weeks and I apologize to the readers. Between Kathi being sick and trips to two hospitals to see Kathi’s brother and step-father, I have not been able to settle into my normal routine. Kathi is back to normal, which helps.

Kathi’s brother, Larry Clark is in Methodist Hospital. He had pneumonia and was unable to fight it off because of his lack of an immune system due to the acute myeloid leukemia. He is still in remission from the leukemia, but has lost 20 pounds the last two weeks in the hospital. He is down about 60 pounds from his desired weight. He is very weak, but wants to go home anyway. The doctors may make a decision any day now.

Kathi’s step-father, Jim Hathaway is in Patients Hospital in Pasadena. He went to the hospital with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. He is having trouble getting enough oxygen. Jim is 86 and his prognosis is guarded. Jim’s children, Rick Hathaway, Becky Boyd and Jon Hathaway visit Jim every day and have been helping doctors and nurses with Jim’s care at the hospital.

That’s enough medical news.

Kathi and I are still awaiting the arrival of six Michelin tires at the La Porte Tire Center. We are expecting a call from them any day now. They have been on order for about two months. It is past time to re-register our motorhome, which I could not do until we got it inspected. It could not pass inspection without at least two new tires. Any day now, I am sure all this will be behind us.

The rain the last few days left a stain on the ceiling in our motorhome. There is a small hole somewhere on our roof near the pantry that allows water to get inside. My brother-in law, Lloyd Jackson patched a small leak in the same area a few months ago and we made it through two rain storms with no leaks, then came the big rain last week and we sprung another leak in the same area. RV’s are just like with houses – repairs are continuous.

I talked to our son, AJ in Austin yesterday to confirm he is coming to stay with us over the Thanksgiving weekend. Larry is really looking forward to having the family over to his house on Thanksgiving Day. Kathi and Andrea discussed the menu while we were at the hospital yesterday. Everyone pitches in to bring food to the occasion. Kathi ordered a honey baked ham this morning that we will pick up a couple of days ahead of time and hopefully avoid the rush at the Honey Baked store. I am really looking forward to having AJ with us this Thanksgiving.

Marigolds near the entrance of Patients Hospital.

Virginia and Jim Hathaway about 15 years ago.

Jim Hathaway a few years ago.

A thin Larry Clark at Methodist Hospital.

Jim Hathaway earlier this year.

Jim Hathaway in the hospital last week.