For those people that still read my blog, I thought I would give you a recap. My last post was March 2013 when we returned back from Quartzsite and I will continue from there. It is a bit long……
For starters, I have NOT received a lung transplant yet and I am still “inactive” on the lung transplant waiting list because I am still too healthy for a transplant. Back in April 2013 I switched from using the air cylinders to using a portable oxygen concentrator from Inogen. Switching to the portable concentrator allows me so much more freedom to travel where we want to travel. The portable concentrator runs off of batteries and I started with 2 - 4 hour batteries, swapping them out when one of them runs low. I can then recharge the battery while using the other one ( I have since upgraded to 1 – 8 hour and 1 – 4 hour battery). I no longer need to find an oxygen dealer (Lincare was my supplier) to swap out the oxygen cylinders when I ran low. Also the small oxygen bottles that I used would not last very long, while this portable concentrator just goes and goes.
In May 2013, we made a trip to Hawaii to visit our good friends Glen and Janelle. They had been there for about 3 years and were going to be moving back to the mainland, so we decided to visit them so we could have a free place to stay while we toured Oahu and Honolulu. This was another reason for switching to the portable oxygen concentrator, it allows me to fly, go on cruises, etc. We stayed in Hawaii for about 10 days and had a great time doing the tourist thing. We visited Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Culture Center, Grand Circle Island tour with a visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation, a macadamia nut farm, Waikiki and Diamond Head. We had a great time, but wished we would have visited some of the other islands. Maybe next time!
In July 2013, we took the our 4 grandsons and our daughter out to the Grand Canyon. Our daughter followed us in her car while the grandsons rode with us. Our first stop was to tour the LBJ ranch in Stonewall, Texas and we overnighted in Fredericksburg, Texas. We then travelled to Abilene to visit a real good museum/display called Frontier Texas. It is located at the visitor center in downtown Abilene. We overnighted at a park in Tye, Texas just outside Abilene. We travelled to Amarillo and stayed just west of Amarillo at Westend RV park. That afternoon we drove over to Palo Duro Canyon and stayed to watch the musical “Texas” that they put on evenings in the canyon. They end the show with fireworks and a water show. It was very good! We ate supper at the Big Texan (it was ok). The next morning before we left we took everyone to see the Cadillac Ranch (all the Cadillac's buried in the ground with the rear ends up in the air).
From Amarillo, we travelled west to Taos, NM. We stayed there a couple nights and we toured the Pueblo, the Rio Grande Gorge. We left Taos and went to Santa Fe, NM. We stayed there a couple days and took one of the tours of Santa Fe where you ride a trolley around the city. From Santa Fe we went to Albuquerque and stayed on the west side. In Albuquerque we took the gondola up to the Sandia Mountains and walked around the top.
On a side note, when I get around 3000 feet above sea level I have to use the portable oxygen concentrator 24/7. So when I am driving I am plugged in to charge the battery on it, so I can do all of these tours. I am not very fast when walking around touring, but I can still do it but I am slow!
From Albuquerque we continued west to Williams, AZ and stayed at the Railway RV Pak. We stayed in Williams for about 4 days. From there we made a trip to the south rim of Grand Canyon, we made a trip to Sedona and took a Pink Jeep tour of Sedona. After the trip to the Grand Canyon our daughter and 2 of our grandsons (1 was her son) returned to Lake Charles. This part of our trip lasted 2 weeks and our daughter had to return to work.
So we would continue on with our trip with our other 2 grandsons – the twins. We left Williams and drove north to tour Four Corners and then stopped for the night in Cortez, CO. We took the twins to a Indian dance demonstration at the visitor center in Cortez. While in Cortez we drove over to Mesa Verde National Park and toured it. We left Cortez and headed east to Durango, CO and stayed at United Campground. We took a bus ride up to Silverton and then took the train back to Durango (almost ran out of battery on my concentrator on this trip). We then drove east to Pagosa Springs, CO and stayed about 3 days there. We took the twins up to Williams Reservoir and showed them the Poma Ranch we worked at one summer. We also took the twins fishing at one of the many lakes outside of Pagosa Springs. The twins also played in the San Juan River and rode it on a couple inner tubes.
After spending several restful days in Pagosa Springs, we drove east to I-25 and then north through Denver and stopped for the night in Longmont, CO at the fairgrounds. The next day we travelled to Lusk, WY. We had planned to stop in Cheyenne, but the Wyoming State Fair (Cheyenne Days) was going on and there was no places available in the area. From Lusk we drove over to Hermosa, SD and spent a couple days there. We took a day trip to Mount Rushmore. We also took a day trip to Custer State Park and we also took the very scenic Hwy 16 and toured Hill City.
From Hermosa we drove north to Rapid City and then east to Wall Drugs in Wall, SD. The twins really enjoyed this tourist trap. We kept driving on and spent the night in Mitchell, SD and took a tour of the Corn Palace. We were headed to Sioux Falls so Sue and I could renew our driver’s license. We spent a couple nights there and toured the actual falls that the city got its name from.
After getting our driver’s license renewed we left Sioux Falls and travelled to Altoona, IA and stayed at Adventureland’s RV park. Sue and I worked there in the summer of 2008 and we really enjoyed the people that worked there and the park itself. A lot of our friends still worked there so we got to see them and the twins really enjoyed the water park and the amusement part of the park. It was great seeing so many of our friends!
We left Altoona and travelled further east to Cedar Lake RV park and Christian Center which is close to my cousin Billy and his wife Brenda who live in Crown Point, IN. We stayed there a couple days and they fed us and had a birthday cake for the twins and took them to a candy factory for their birthday.
We left Cedar Lakes and we stopped at a dairy that had a great tour where they take you by bus through the dairy farm, then you get out and tour the birthing room and then where the cows get on a milking wheel that rotates and the cows get on the wheel by themselves to get milked.
We left the dairy and drove down to St. Peters, MO to meet up with our friends Alan and Rita. We spent a couple days there and took the twins to the Children’s Museum downtown. From there we drove to Branson, MO where some more of our friends are working at one of the shows in Branson and scored us some free tickets. The twins and I also went to see a cover band for the Beatles called “Liverpool Legends” and it is put on by George Harrison’s older sister. I also got a photo of the twins with her. They thought it was so cool!! They also learned how to ride a Segway at a place in Branson that you can rent one for a 1/2 hour and they teach you how to operate it.
From Branson we drove south to Shreveport, LA and spent the night at one of the casino’s RV parks. We just spent 1 night there and drove south to Lake Charles. Along the way we stopped in Alexandria, La to visit with Sue’s aunt and uncle and some of her cousins. We arrived in Lake Charles on the twins’s dad’s birthday (our son) and they were excited. Overall our trip with them was 5 weeks with just the twins for 3 of those weeks.
At the end of August we flew to Vancouver, B.C. to take a cruise of the Inside Passage of Alaska. But first we visited with friends that live in Squamish, B.C. and on the Sunshine Coast of B.C. around Sechelt. We stayed about 5 days with each one of our friends. They then took us back to Vancouver to catch the cruise ship. We boarded the Zaandam one of Holland America’s cruise ships and took off to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, John Hopkin’s Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park and then Seward. Our other Canadian friends from Ottawa met us in Seward and took the cruise back down to Vancouver with us. We had a fantastic time with all of our Canadian friends and of course the cruise was pretty awesome. We did the train ride in Skagway, a helicopter ride to a glacier in Juneau and some city tours in Juneau and Ketchikan.
The end of the year saw us running back in forth between the Houston area and Lake Charles. I still have to go to Houston every 3 months to get checkups. I am doing good in the sense that I have not gotten worse, which is great and can still get around some as long as I can drag the oxygen concentrator with me.
In January 2014 we again headed to Houston for my 3 month checkup. My lung capacity was the same, but my diffusion (the ability to get rid of CO2) has gone down a little bit. The check that every 6 months when they also do a CT scan rather than just a X-ray.
We left Houston and headed toward Quartzsite, AZ. In Van Horn, Texas we met up with some friends from Arkansas and Tennessee. They followed us out to Quartzsite to meet with other Tiffin motorhome owners. We stayed in Quartzsite for about 2 weeks and then we headed to Yuma for a couple weeks. We usually go there and spend time with friends in Yuma and attend a super bowl party at our friends Ed and LaVaughn place in the Foothills of Yuma.
From Yuma we headed up to Laughlin, NV and stayed a week at a RV park at one of the casinos. We left there to stay on some BLM land in around Lake Havasu City to attend the Winter Blast where the fireworks manufacturers show off some of their new fireworks. After attending the Winter Blast we left Lake Havasu City and headed back to Quartzsite to meet up with our friends from B.C (we stayed at their house when we were in Vancouver in August). Some friends from Washington state also came back with us.
We left Quartzsite and headed to Carlsbad, NM to tour the caverns. After Carlsbad we drove down to Fort Davis, TX. There we toured the actual Fort, attended a star party at McDonald Observatory and drove down to Alpine and toured the Big Bend Museum on the campus of Sul Ross University.
After Fort Davis we headed over to Fredericksburg, TX and toured the LBJ Ranch, the Admiral Nimitz World War II museum and of course visited all the little shops on Main street! We left Fredericksburg and drove just a few miles to Lazy L&L Campground on the lower Guadalupe River near Sattler, TX. From there we took a tour of old town Gruene (pronounced Green) where they have the oldest dance hall in Texas. We also went on a hay ride and bar-b-que cook out put on by the campground.
We left the campground and drove to Houston and got there in time to take a quick tour of NASA. We only got to stay in Houston one night, because we wanted to make it to Lake Charles for Mardi Gras. We arrived in the Lake Charles area and I took our friends down to see the Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana Spirits (rum distillery), the Mardi Gras Gala (where they show all the costumes for this year’s Mardi Gras season). When Mardi Gras day arrived it was so cold and rainy that no one wanted to attend the parade, so we stayed in and played cards.
The day after Mardi Gras we drove just about 60 miles to Rayne, LA and stayed at Frog City RV park. We took them on a tour of the Tabasco factory in Avery Island, ate lunch at a great place in Abbeville called Shucks. We also toured Vermillionville (a replica of a Cajun village) in Lafayette, LA. We also toured the Jean Lafitte National Park in Eunice, LA that told the Cajun life and how we got kicked out of Nova Scotia. Our friends from B.C. said they never knew about the Cajuns being kicked out of Canada. Wow! On Saturday one of my cousins that live in Basile, LA put on a crawfish boil and made some jambalaya for all of my friends and us. On Sunday, my other cousin that lives in Basile cooked us some sauce picante and some etouffee. Needless to say we have eaten very well on this trip!
After leaving Cajun country we drove to St. James RV park just south of Donaldsville, LA. We wanted to tour some of the plantations that are on the banks of the Mississippi River. I was feeling pretty sick that day, as I was still trying to recover from a bad cold, so I didn’t get to tour the plantation. They toured Evergreen Plantation that is still a working sugar cane plantation and is owned by one of my old clients in Lake Charles. They all seemed to enjoy the tour. The next day we took them all to New Orleans and spent all day around the French Quarter, Jackson Square, Café du Monde, etc. We then drove back to the RV park and we ate at a really good restaurant in Donaldsvile called The Grapevine.
We left our friends in New Orleans while Sue and headed off to attend the big FMCA Reunion Rally in Perry, GA. We attended several seminars there and saw some really good entertainment. This was the first time that we had attended a FMCA rally. After 6 days at the rally we left with 3 other couples and drove to Savannah, GA. We toured Savannah and ate at some great places there. We stayed there 3 days and then 2 other couples and us drove to Charleston, SC and stayed there for 3 days touring that area.
We left Charleston, SC and drove to Gaffney, SC to get some maintenance items done on the motorhome while the other 2 couples drove on to Sevierville, TN. Gaffney, SC is where our motorhome chassis was made. We took a tour of the factory while they worked on the motorhome. We had the transmission oil and filters change, the coolant changed and flushed, the rear end oil changed and the chassis lubed. They also checked all the hoses and belts and said they all looked good. We left Gaffney and drove to Sevierville, TN and attended a TRVN (Tiffin owners) rally. We stayed there a week and had a great time visiting with old friends and making new friends.
We left Sevierville, TN and drove to Simmons Tire in Florence, AL to get some new tires and wheel alignment. After getting new tires we drove to Red Bay, AL where our motorhome was made to get some warranty work done on the floor in our driver’s side slide. We stayed in Red Bay for about 10 days getting some items fixed and getting some parts. We left Red Bay and got back to Lake Charles around April 15th.
We left Lake Charles on April 23 so I could go to my checkup in Houston on the 24th. My checkup was good ( the same as before). We then left Houston and drove down to Victoria, TX for our Allegro chapter rally. After the rally we returned to Lake Charles.
We are still in Lake Charles until next Thursday, May 22 when we will head out to LaGrange, TX for another Allegro chapter rally.
Hopefully, I will have pictures to post and get back to posting at a regular pace.
Until next time!