Saturday, October 20, 2018

End Of Summer

It finally has cooled off some and it will get a bit chilly tomorrow morning. This has been the warmest summer I can recall. Soon I will be carping about rain and cold.

This is the first summer we have been home since 2011. We have done a "thousand" little projects that would have never gotten done with our usual travel schedule. 

Finally, I will be able to accomplish some projects that have been on hold all summer such as waxing KoKo and installing a new AC with the help of our S-I-L.

The last four weeks have been all about Dorothy. She is in her fifth week in a non-walking cast. One more to go, if the x-ray shows the proper healing. Then two weeks in a walking cast, and finally four weeks in a boot. 

Our Jeep had a sudden growth spurt. A 2.5 inch lift with 35" inch tires. Next new bumpers and more armor. I have to stretch to get in. We made need a wench to get Dorothy up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Post Polio

I only want to write this one time. So here is what's going on with Dorothy.

Dorothy had polio when she was 18 months old. It affected both of her legs, but especially her right foot. She had surgery at 5 and wore a brace. Polio destroys muscles and tendons. The remaining muscles are then overworked. In short, by the time she was 50 her walking was unstable and she was prone to falls, sprains, and fractures.

We took daily walks for our cardiovascular systems. This turned out to be the worst thing she could have done as it stressed her already over-worked muscles.

This is the reason we bought a Jeep. Our adventure needs could no longer be met by hiking so we needed something to get to off-road attractions.

The daily pain and swelling increased quite a bit this year and her stability was markedly down. She was a hip fracture waiting to happen.

She elected to have some very painful surgery to help stabilize her foot. This was done yesterday.

For those that can comprehend medical terms, this is the laundry list of what the surgeon did.

Right subtalar arthrodesis, bone graft from the tibia, percutaneous Achilles lengthening, osteotomy first metatarsal; exploration of peroneal tendons.

Three incisions were made on her foot and another on below her knee for a bone graft. Think plates and screws.

She was in surgery a little over 2.5 hours.

Her spirits were much improved today.

They will keep at the hospital a second night and then release her to a rehab facility for 7 to 10 days.

Recovery will take three months. The first 4 weeks will be in a no-weight cast.

She is going to be damn tired of my cooking before she can walk again.

We are in the process of lifting the Jeep to access the more difficult trails. Just hoping she will be able to get in and out of the higher Jeep.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

My Energy Level

For the last decade, my "energy level" has dropped every year. It was not great when we retired, but I could still hike 4-6 miles and stay up past midnight.

In the last 3-4 years, less than 2 miles has been my limit and I might start yawning at 6pm and will be asleep before 9.

I started using a CPAP during this time and it pushed my "energy level" way up, but the good effects wore off after three months.

I took CoQ10 and again my "energy level" went up for a month, then it went back down. I continue it as my doctor says it a good thing for anyone on a statin.

I had all sorts of tests done, even a heart cath. My heart and lung functions were considered normal. 

Meanwhile, my doctor was looking at my blood platelets. I don't know but guessing this is not a normal part of a blood test. They were low but on a roller coaster. After three years the trend, even with ups and downs, has been down. I am not to the required treatable threshold, but getting there.

Anyway, this is the reason for my complaint of fatigue.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Second Rant

This and the last post have been on my mind for several years. Maybe posting my thoughts will put them out of my mind?

My second rant about public lands concerns the self-appointed protectors. Those that want all public land to themselves and who will not share information except with vetted friends. They compound their sense of entitlement by resenting the federal agencies who administer the land. 

So, on the one hand, they will not share information with those that are not physically able to hike with them. These types need constant validation that they can still cut the mustard on the trails and having people with lesser abilities is repugnant to them. All the while they deeply resent park rangers for any restrictions that are placed on them.

We have met a few of these folks over the years. I will home in on a couple in Colorado. We met them through a mutual acquaintance. We wanted to know some Jeep trails that went close to the summits. At the time, Dorothy could hike 2 to 3 miles round turn.

I took maps with me so he could point out trails that would meet our criteria, but on two occasions he declined to respond to my questions.

Reading his blog I later figured out that he would never drive all the way to the trailhead. He would park farther down the mountain so the hike would be more vigorous for him and his wife. That's fine. But, I think selfish of him to require everyone to do it his way or not at all. I suppose it increased his self-esteem.

If you can not handle rock scrambling above 9,000 you are just not worthy of his association.

You have to be able to do this. Even when the snow is above your knees.

Fuck em!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Enough Wilderness Areas

In case you don’t know Wilderness Areas are federal lands that are off-limits except to hikers, boaters and horse riders. If you have a physical disability, tough, no access for you. Only those with the best genes in the prime of fitness are allowed in. Sounds discriminatory to me. But probably not to those want a private experience on public lands.

Few movements are better funded and coordinated or more messianic than the environmental left.

Wilderness Areas are very popular with the greenies. Many are established by You Sue, We Settle technique. All you need are folks who want to control access to federal lands managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, etc. A suit is filed to restrict access to the land. The agency agrees and settles.

There are also Wilderness Study Areas. These are BLM lands that someone wants to put off-limits to the unwashed - those who are not able to hike. They make their case to the BLM who thinks it's a great idea. BLM erects signs announcing it's now off-limits to vehicles. Congress is not involved. It's done by administrative fiat.

Here is a pissed off disabled woman being denied access to hoodoo's in southern Utah. Too bad she can not handle the 7.2 mile round turn hike. See the tire tracks that remain from decades of access.

Since mechanized vehicles are not allowed into WA’s, there is no need for roads. Fires in Wilderness Areas cannot be fought with mechanized means. Many Wilderness Areas border on National Forest and Parks, so fires easily spread from one to another.

It's not just land, some of the most scenic rivers are off-limits to mere citizens. You can raft the Colorado and Yampa rivers, but you will have to go with a guide who has a permit. No way you can get a permit. This is a most effective way of preserving the rivers as the Feds need only to control a few guides who are responsible for controlling you.

How much land is already designated as Wilderness Area’s? This 2004 map is the latest one I could locate and so it’s out date. The more saturated colors are Wilderness Areas. See legend.

Blow up the map in Colorado and see how effective the Greenies are there.

Here is a list by state.

Colorado has a nifty deal. You can apply for a grant from the revenue collected from marijuana sales to purchase public lands and have your own wilderness area. Just you and your best friends behind a gate.

Outdoor equipment companies support Wilderness Areas big time as the people that can hike them buy their expensive equipment to be able to fully enjoy their experience.

Sarah Margaret "Sally" Roffey Jewell is a British-American politician and businessperson who left REI to serve as the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior in the administration of President Barack Obama. 

The lovely Rose Marcario is the CEO of the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. The company is suing Trump over the administration's reversal of making half of southern Utah a part of the already existing Bears Ears National Monument. [You may recall that monuments are birthed by the President signing a paper] Obama pissed off the local Indians by making it a monument. But, you would not think that to be the case for the Indians supporting it were from California.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sweltering Here

We have been back home in Montgomery for 2 months.  It was warm when we returned, but it soon turned to just down-right hot and humid.  I expect that in August, but not in June. We should have summered on the Oregon coast.

Our oldest two grands unpacked Koko’s kitchen for me. It’s so much easier, and more fun, to pack than unpack. I’ve cleaned the inside which had lots of red dirt and then Don cleaned the inside again. Still lots of red dirt in the window tracks.  Don washed the rig. Bennett, our 15-year-old grandson, came over to help Don put the cover on Koko. It’s really heavy and a young person has so much more energy. So now Koko is covered up until we decide where we will go and when. Still needs waxing and several repairs. 

We have bought six fans. A tower fan for me next to my lounge chair, a replacement fan for my bedside, a new ceiling fan in the kitchenette, one that will blow your contacts out for Don when he works on the Jeep, a floor fan for the workshop and a replacement for the attic exhaust.

Montgomery has one of the top ten Shakespeare Festivals in the world! Our youngest grandson, Patrick, went to the Shakespeare Extreme Camp. At the end of five days, they do three 20 minutes skits from three different plays. This year it was: As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. They were well done and the kids did them in the original Elizabethan, which I found impressive since they only had a week to learn the skits and also how to present themselves as actors.

Don’s playing bridge every week and I am back at my volunteer job on Wednesday mornings.  If you are traveling, I hope you have a great summer and at some place where that is cool. We are trying not to be envious.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

On The Way To Alabama

Tuesday, May 1 - Dark skies and rain in the forecast made our decision easy. We packed up and headed east. A 1.25-hour drive all the way to Exit 2 in Colorado. We parked in a BLM area that Ed Daniels told us about. There is green grass!  Will do a little exploring in the morning before we go to Grand Junction and head south into the Colorado backwoods.

Grand Junction is the headquarters for City Market and they also have a Sprouts which always has great produce. We leave Whole Wallets and the like to others.

Wednesday, May 2 - Cooler and overcast with rain in the forecast for today and tomorrow. We got out early to drive the canyon south of us. Not bad scenery and we wound up overlooking the Colorado.

We decided to move 30 minutes east to the Colorado National Monument. This will put us conveniently close to Rattlesnake Canyon. We are going to try to hike some of it. It has the second largest concentration of arches in the world.

Thursday, May 3 - Fog, overcast and chilly this morning. The weather this trip has been as unsettled as the DOW. We wanted to do something, so we went into town and lucked into a great dining experience. It was a Chinese buffet. Yeah, I know but it looked good, perhaps the best buffet of our lives. I needed veggies! The sky changed to blue for a few hours, then back to overcast.

Friday, May 4 - Great weather. We headed to Rattlesnake Canyon to see some arches. Route finding is problematic. Many roads, few signs. We made it and started our first serious, for us, hike of the trip. We hoped to go two miles round turn. We only made it one mile, but had some nice views of the canyon and of one arch across the canyon. I might have made it in cooler weather, but there were too many obstacles for Dorothy. It's an easy hike for anyone in reasonable shape. There is a Jeep trail all the way into the canyon. It has not been closed too many years.

 The Arch We Saw

 The Arch We Did Not See

Saturday, May 5 - Down the mountain to dump at the rest stop. Water problems, site closed. Grumble! Found a Maverick with a dump.

We headed south on CO141 through a green canyon at 7,000 feet then descends through red rock to Gateway at 5,000. We stopped at the fire station to ask about camping options. They directed us to three canyons and we picked a spot under some Cottonwoods. From there we drove west into Utah. The ascent from the canyon was scenic, but once we topped the mesa it was not much too look at endless mesquite. We did have a view of the east side of the La Sal's. 

Worthless Information: Abandoned Uranium mines cover this area. The material for the first four nuclear bombs was extracted from the tailings of Vanadium mines. The government wanted "tons" of it, so this area, like Moab, this area is dotted with former mines. Cleanup continues.

More Worthless Information: The John Brown Road was smooth hardpan. There were several unofficial signs that pointed to Moab. I checked the map and there are four ways to get to Moab. The shortest/fastest route would be to intersect La Sal Loop Road (Castle Valley) which is blacktop. The others are Onion Creek, La Sal Pass, and Geyser Pass. Garmin routes back you back to I70 for 128 miles in three hours. I think I would take the dirt road the 31 air miles.

Yet More Worthless Information: Many cities in Utah name their streets 400 East NE, 800 South SW. Which seems helpful, but it confuses me. Colorado has their own scheme. Streets named B, C, and D are common. They really like streets named for the mileage from some common point. For instance, 4 2/10, four and two-tenths miles from some point. They are referred to 4.2, but the street signs and maps have them 4 2/10 or get this one 15/100.  

Sunday, May 6 - We continued south on CO 141 through what must be the worlds longest red rock canyon. Wingate formation I think. It changes to Entrada/Navado as you get close to Gateway. South of there it becomes part of the Great Gravel Pit that starts in West Texas and extends to the Pacific. Nothing to see here, move along.

In need of water to work it's Dolores Canyon gold claims the Montrose Placer Mining Company built a 13-mile canal and flume to deliver water from the Delores River.  The last 5 miles of the flume clung to the wall of the canyon itself running along the cliff face. It was constructed between 1888 in 1891 The 4-foot deep 5-foot wide hanging flume that carried 24,000,000 gallons of water a day - enough for three teenage girls to shower. It's construction dazzled mining pros with this sheer ingenuity.  The placer claim, unfortunately, dazzled no one and after three years the company folded and abandoned to the flume to the ravages of weather and time. It is now listed in the national register of historic places. This engineering marvel symbolizes the twist of fate for all in the pursuit of Rocky Mountain gold.

A short day turned into a long day. I had guessed we would be staying at one of the numerous campsites along the Delores River. I had not read the fine print, they are all boat in. We wound up at McPhee Reservoir just north of Cortez. 

We stopped for lunch at a pull out in Dove Creek. Dorothy was making sandwiches and the door was open for a breeze. 1PM on Sunday is when they test the air raid siren. It was right outside our door. We both had heart attacks.

Dove Creek must the bean capital of the world. The fields literally go to the horizon for a dozen or so miles along 481.

 The Back Side (eastern) of The La Sal's

 What You See When You Arrive In the Unincorporated Berg of Gateway

 See It Closer - It Would Look Great In Our Backyard

 A 5-star Resort Was Built

 The Back Side (eastern) of The La Sal's (Again)

 The Butte Seen From A Distant Butte

 The Delores River

Can You See What's Left of the Flume? - on the wall

Monday, May 7 - Made it all the way to Bloomfield, NM. This section of Crossing America is never scenic and is problematic finding a place to park. We settled into a private park and enjoyed sitting on their patio listening to Youtube tunes with their super high-speed wi-fi.

Tuesday, May 8 - Stayed at our usual Albuquerque place, Enchanted Trails. A decent park for $19. Albuquerque almost set a record yesterday, 93 degrees. Finally a Costco, so we could get some Angus hamburgers and 87 octane for $2.63, 50 cents less than in Moab. Got the Jeep tires rotated.

Wednesday, May 7 - Three hours east brought us to Tucumcari. Never stayed here before. An old park dating to the 1930's for a discounted price made us stop. We parked in the shade of a cottonwood tree.

 Our Home For A Night - Tucumcari, NM

The Old Cabins

Thursday, May 9 - A long day for us. 4.5 hours from Tucumcari to Elk City, OK. From the desert to green. I can always tell when we cross the magic 100th parallel to green pastures. By staying on the northern route, I40, trying for cooler temps, we missed good BBQ and still have 95 plus temps. We overnighted at a city park on a lake. Last year there was a goose that honked like a pig. Did not see any water foul this year. Blown away I suppose.

Friday, May 10 - East 3.5 hours to a COE park on Lake Eufaula. The trees are now tall and glow brightly in spring green.

Having abundant water and no reason to conserve it, after a week, I washed the cow shit off the Jeep.

Saturday, May 11 - A shorter driving day, about 2.5 hours to Lake Dardanelle near Russellville, AR. Another COE facility with hookups for $10. The wind was much lower today. The three days in OK it BLEW.

Sunday, May 12 - Got four hours more toward home. Parked at another COE cg, This one is south of Memphis. Almost full on Sunday. Long Mother's Day weekend? Nice lake, great breeze.

Monday, May 13 - Our last night on the road. And our most expensive. We wanted to stop in Birmingham and stock up on pita bread from a great baker. Birmingham is not camper friendly. There is only one private campground and it costs $40. The city of Hoover has a parking lot that charges $50. Regrettablynone of our friends have 20amp service. We will get to the bread store in the morning and then head home.