Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kathy Update - 5

Hi Everybody,

Thank you so much for your good wishes and prayers, I'm back "home" in our Montana!  But Grant kept me up to date with your kind comments!! Thank goodness we were only 30 miles from the nearest hospital and not 300!! What with all of our travels through so many places that we in the middle of no where, it could have been very disasterous! It was a fine hospital, but it's a lot quieter in the campground with full hook ups than a hospital!!! How the heck are you suppose to get any rest if they're waking you up every 4 hours poking a prodding you?!

Raider was incredulous as I came through the door. He just stood there, wagged his tail but his ears were back. The expression on his face was, "Where the hell have you been? Do you know Dad had to feed me, take me for my walks and you're off who knows where?!!! 

Oh man,I was going through withdrawls not having email access for almost a week!!! It is amazing how so many people, even those we haven't even met, left such kind good wishes. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Grant is doing an amazing job on laundry detail and groceries all by himself! 

Ah, now for my favorite Lazy Boy and really rest!


Kathy Update – 4

Wednesday was good say for Kathy. They took her off of all of the IVs and the dreaded nose tube was removed. She was able to have soup and Jell-O for lunch. She was also able to walk down the hall of the hospital without being too tired.

Her doctor is very happy with her progress and says that she will be out of the hospital no later than Friday.

I moved our 5th wheel to Blythe this morning so she will have full hookups when she gets home and will be close to the hospital should something unforeseen happen.

We will be staying in Blythe until Kathy’s doctor says she can travel but, will be staying here at least a few weeks for her to regain her strength.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kathy Update – 3

Kathy hasn’t needed any pain medicine since Sunday and continues to improve. However, the dreaded nose tube was not removed yesterday and continues to cause her discomfort. Also yesterday the arm that has had the IV needle in swelled up and squeezed the veins closed.  It took some time to find a viable vein in her other arm with much probing with a needle.

She continues to tire easily from walking or sitting too long.

The doctor hasn’t said when the nose tube will be removed or how much longer Kathy will be in the hospital. We do know that Kathy won’t be able to eat even soft foods for a day after the tube is removed. She hasn’t eaten or drank anything since Friday night!

Today I will be moving our 5th wheel to a full hookup RV Park in Blythe, California to be near the hospital. My GPS says that it is a 60 mile round trip from our encampment near Quartzsite, Arizona to the hospital and back.

I do want to publicly thank the Montana Owners group for their help and support during this difficult time here in the desert. Every one of them came forward offering to help in any way they could. I especially want to thank Carl and Susan Youngren for providing puppy sitting for Raider through all of this. You have no idea how much it helps to know that Raider is in good hands while we are 30 miles away. I also want to thank Susan for making sure I didn’t starve. J

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kathy Update - 2

Kathy has gotten better to the point that she has started to complain about all of the tubes and wires that are attached to her. They have removed most of the tubes but the tube through her nose into her stomach really bothers her and they say at least another day. Monday she didn’t sleep as much during the day and her color is looking better. They had her walk around the bed in the morning and she was so tired she slept for an hour after her walk. They had her walk around the bed in the afternoon and she was tired but didn’t need to take a nap.

I think Monday was a harder day for Kathy because she was awake for most of it and just couldn’t get comfortable. She says she only has pain when the incision is touched or when trying to move.

The doctor continues to say that she will be in the hospital for “about a week” but, never says exactly how long she will be in the hospital. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kathy Update - 1

Kathy slept most of yesterday and when awake said she felt no pain. 

The Doctor said everything went fine and there is no reason to think that there will be any problems but it was major surgery and recovery will take time. She will be in the hospital for about a week.

 I want to thank all of you for your kind thoughts and prayers. I will update as I have news.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Emergency Surgery for Kathy

I had planned to write about what a great time we had in Quartzsite just as soon as we stopped doing so much that I would have time to write. However, Saturday morning I took Kathy to the emergency room at the Blythe Hospital. After a long day and a lot of test in the emergency room The CT scan show that Kathy had to have her appendix removed. Her appendicitis was atypical because she didn’t have the fever or high white cell count usually associated with appendicitis.

Once the surgery began the doctor determined that her appendix was fine but that she had a “growth” or calcified deposit of something in the wall of her bowel and a small hole in her bowel near the appendix. Whatever it was it has been removed and sent to a lab to determine what it is.

Kathy will be fine but will be in the hospital for about a week. I will write more as we know more.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

El Centro, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

I know it has been a while since our last blog entry and our only excuse is that the weather has been just too NICE to sit inside and write on the computer.

After our last entry, we stayed another week at Sunbeam Lake RV Park in El Centro. The weather was mid-70s during the day and low to mid-40s at night. The winds for the most part were light and variable. The days were clear except for a “burn day” when the farmers in the area were burning the stubble in the fields. Sunbeam Lake is actually two lakes connected by drainage pipes. The larger of the two lakes is a developed area with a bike path and picnic tables all around the lake. The second lake is undeveloped surrounded by fields and interstate I-8 at one end. We got in the habit each morning of taking Raider for a walk around the two lakes. The path around the undeveloped lake was a dirt road bordering the fields. In this area we would let Raider run off lead, something that he loves to do. After running around the undeveloped lake he was perfectly happy to just walk around the developed lake on lead. The total distance was just less than 3 miles. The birds on the developed lake were primarily Mallards and American Coots with a few American Kestrels, Northern Flickers, Mourning Doves, and White-crowned Sparrows. The birds of the undeveloped lake were primarily Double-crested Cormorants and American Coots with Black-crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, Roadrunner, Abert’s Towhees, Yellow-rumped Warbler and large numbers of Cattle Egrets in the adjacent fields.  

Our daily routine was to surf the Internet first thing in the morning to catch-up on the blogs of our travel friends, eat breakfast, take Raider for his  walk around the lake, eat lunch, a “project of the day” and 4 PM happy hour as we watched the sunset which always happened by 5 PM. Yes, this retired life is very busy. The “project of the day” might only be to get groceries, or do laundry, but also included several things we have been putting off around the trailer. Yes, even when living in a RV there are still “Honey do” lists. My most ambitious project was to run a second cable between the satellite dish and the DVR. This involved drilling holes in the floor and walls. Something I would never have done in our stick house. Both Kathy and I are amazed at the “handyman” things I have tackled since moving into the trailer.

After our week in El Centro we moved to Quartzsite, Arizona. Every January it turns into a RV Woodstock! Quartzsite is a very small town surrounded by miles of BLM land that offers free, no hookup camping on the desert. Each year during the third week in January there is a big RV show in here. Along with the 6 permanent “flea” markets there is nothing for an RV that you can’t find in Quartzsite. It is also known for it’s gems and stones. There are more places to buy beads here than anywhere! It is also the premier RV social event of the year. At its peak next week there will be tens of thousands of RVs camped on the desert, for a 10 mile radius in all directions. I think every known RV group has a rally site in the desert near Quartzsite during this week. Our Montana Owners.Com (MOC) group is no exception. With all of these RVs and groups there is a need for some people to arrive early to “stakeout” an area big enough for the expected number of RVs. Our MOC group is expecting 30 to 40 trailers to show up so we need a fair amount of space. We joined 6 other MOC couples to secure the space on Saturday. As the week continues each day a few more rigs are added to the MOC circle. One of the advantages of arriving in Quartzsite early is that not only do you get to watch the desert transformation from open space to thousands of RVs, but, you also get first crack at the vendors to spend money. The weather here as been very similar to El Centro, mid to upper 70s and lows in the high 40s. Unlike last year there have been no high winds or rain. 

This is probably Raider’s favorite camping spot, because the entire time he is here he can be off lead. Not only that, but he has dog buddies (owned by the other MOC people), that he can hang out with. The only downside is that the desert here is an all volcanic rock surface. All of the dogs are limping after a day or two here and it general takes them another day or two for their feet to get toughened up to the rocks. After that they don’t seem to notice it.

El Centro is near the eastern edge of the Pacific Time zone, so sunrise and sunset both came early. Sunrise was about 7 AM and sunset always being just before 5 PM. Quartzsite is at the western edge of the Mountain Time zone, so sunrise and sunset come much later. Sunrise is after 8 AM and sunset about 6 PM.

A typical day here on the desert is spent: surfing the Internet in the morning to catch-up on the blogs of our travel friends, eat breakfast, take Raider for his desert walk, stand around and talk to the other MOCers about who is due in today, eat lunch, go to town to shop for RV stuff, beads, beads and more beads, or spend the afternoon sitting in the sun catching up with whomever is the most recent arrival to the MOC circle. As I wrote earlier happy hour in El Centro started at 4 PM since the sunset so early. Here at Quartzsite because so many of us feel like we are still on “California time” happy hour starts at 4 PM and continues until sunset at 6 PM. Then most return to their trailers for dinner and reconvene at 7 PM for campfire time until 10 PM or later. Yes, this retired life can be exhausting.

El  Centro and Quartzsite slide show

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Adventure Continues

Grant is taking to heart this life of relaxation here in El Centro, so Kathy thought she would bring you all up to date!

Like everybody else, December was busy with family, friends and all of the medical doctors, dentist and eye doctor! It seemed like we had something going every day of the month! We’d wake up each morning going, “who do we see today? Friend or doctor?”

Among the benefits of returning to Coyote Valley RV Resort were all of the familiar faces. Rita, who works in the office, was there last year and remembered my jewelry creations. In front of a big group of people she asked, “Hey Kathy, did you make any jewelry this year on the road?! We’ve got to see what you’ve made. Maybe we should have a little show!” I busily went through the creations I could part with for a price, made a display and brought it over to the office/gift shop. The manager, Bonnie, loved my stuff and allowed me a spot in the store to display them all month for free! She, herself, ordered several goodies! In between doctors visits I was busy designing more items and did very well for the month! Now to go to Quartzsite and stock up on more supplies!!

On Christmas Eve, we were invited over for brunch at our long time friends, Pam and Gary’s house. Pam made a mouth watering Quiche Lorraine we all enjoyed! We were cozy by the fire with beautiful Christmas music in the background. I felt like we were at someone’s B&B!

Since it was raining, we let Raider guard the Montana for us, while we visited them. Their big lovable collie, Duffy, must have remembered us, because he nearly barreled through the screen door trying to get to us!! I could just imagine him and Raider having a grand old time running through their house, like they used to do in our big backyard in San Jose!!! Good thing we didn’t bring our buddy, I could just visualize him being a “bull in a china shop”!! So to Raider’s fans, he is quite OK, we just gave him the day off!

Since I am pyrophobic, we have never turned on the gas oven. You have to light it each time you use it, due to the fact there isn’t a pilot light. I don’t work well with flame throwers! However, I use the microwave/convection oven all of the time. But to make a perfect Christmas dinner I would need my old double oven I had back in the house. We did the next best thing, we ordered a Turkey Dinner from Lucky’s. All the fixings included a cooked 12 lb. turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a couple of side dishes, dinner rolls and one of the biggest Pumpkin Pies I have ever seen! Perfect for an RV!

Christmas Day we had Kevin, our youngest son, and his girlfriend, Veronica over for dinner. Raider wanted to be his brother’s lap dog the whole time!! We had fun opening presents and catching up from the last time we had seen them. For me, it was a mixed emotion feeling, because I enjoyed seeing them but knew we’d be back on the road and several months until we see them again!!

We were going to leave the 26th, but there was too much to get down in half a day! Between put away the Christmas tree and decorations, laundry, groceries and repack the basement, we decided to wait until Monday the 29th. “Maybe we’ll beat the traffic.”

Ha, were we in for a surprise! We think the traffic jam on Highway I-5 went from one end of the state to the other! At least we were going at the speed limit, but there were lots of other people going up and down the state that day!

We stopped for the night at Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield. You actually park in the grove, with trees just dripping with delicious oranges, free for the picking, too! As we walked Raider that afternoon, we came upon a familiar Montana and knocked on the door. Sure enough, it was Butch and Susan from the Montana Owners group we met in Quartzsite last January!! They were on the way down to Niland, past Palm Springs and we were headed a little farther down to El Centro. We promised to catch up and go to their favorite restaurant here in El Centro one day this week.

Friday morning we get a call and it was Butch. “How about we meet for lunch at Camacho’s today?” “Sure!”

Camachos is an authentic Mexican cuisine restaurant that has been in business for 65 years! It is out among the fields of hay growing south of the town. Our GPS was telling us the Mexican border was just south of us by a mile or so!! Very unique food, however they did not serve margaritas, only soda and beer! This place is always busy with the locals, because they are the only ones that know how to get there!

Not only did we meet up with Susan and Butch, but other Montana Owners, Pam and Ray came down as well. We also met them at Quartzsite last January. It was great catching up on what we all had done this past year! Especially with all of the other Montana Owners we had bumped into during that time period! Naturally plans were made for this year’s Rally in Quartzsite beginning January 17th. We all were hoping we could get the same area we had last year, because it was just perfect for a large group of 40 Montanas!!

When we got back to camp, Grant whipped up the “Webb Family Margarita Recipe” that our son, Tim, had perfected! His were outstanding when we visited him in October, since he made it in his ice cream maker! It came out like a perfect “Adult Slurpee”. Since we’re “roughing it”, Grant made it the old fashion way with a blender! They came out very good! So we toasted the sunshine and warm temps we finally found!

Bird Report:

Being at Sunbeam Lake, it is a magnet to water fowl out here in the desert. We have seen:

Cattle Egrets, by the thousands

Double Crested Cormorants, by the hundreds

Great Egret

Black-crowned Night Heron

Common Ground Dove

Eurasian Color Dove

American Kestrel

Red Tailed Hawk

White Crowned Sparrow

Yellow Rump Warbler

Ruddy Duck

Northern Shoveler


Green winged Teal

Cackling Goose

American Coot


Black Phoebe