Eye Update and Firming Up the Jello

OK, things are lookin’ up ‘round these parts so I figured I would update ya’ll on stuff.

Connie’s cataract surgery appears to have been a success…she’s essentially healed from the surgery but is still a little blurry at distance since she doesn’t have new glasses prescription yet…that comes on the 26th. She’s reading fine though and we are both extremely happy ‘bout that. After her final followup on the 26th she’ll be “free to move about the country” and we have been firming up our travel schedule and reservations for the summer this week.

We’ll be heading up to VA the day after Easter to visit grand baby Alex and coming back the following Saturday for choir on Sunday. Neil has written down the Master Departure Action List of stuff we still need to do before we leave and we’re down to about 5 weeks left to get it all done.

We left 2 weeks of slop in the schedule just in case and because she needs to order and pickup new glasses…then we’ll hit the road on Monday May 15. Our itinerary from then is as follows:

  • Transit to Junction City for a week at Camp Horizons to get our galley seal fixed
  • Transit to Goodland KS the Tuesday after Labor Day for a week…this is mostly an expansion joint stop as there’s not much in Goodland but after the quick trip to Kansas and a week hassling with Ken there in the service department we might need a few days off…and it’s a nice spot that we can lengthen or shorten our stay as needed based on whether Ken needs more than 5 days to do the seals.
  • Transit via an overnight stop at Denver to Silt CO; then stops of 5-10 days at the following
  • Moab UT 
  • Blanding UT 
  • Page AZ 
  • Bryce UT 
  • Virgin UT 
  • Salt Lake City UT
  • Reno NV
  • Redding CA 
  • Canyonville OR
  • Salem OR
  • Port Angeles WA
  • Coeur d’Alene ID
  • Missoula MT
  • West Yellowstone MT
  • Crow Agency MT
  • Spearfish SD for the NHOG Rally
  • Denver CO
  • Albuquerque NM with our friends Bill and Linda for the Balloon Festival

From Albuquerque we’ll have 10 days and 1,600 miles to get to our reservation at the Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key FL before arriving back here in North Fort Myers on Nov 1. At this point we’re still talking about the route back…Neil’s first idea was to head straight to Foley AL and stay at the Elks Lodge there for 5-6 days before heading to Cedar Key but that part hasn’t been firmed up yet. 

All of that travel will result in a lot of photos and a whole lot more blog posts…I know we haven’t posted much this winter but by and large we’re just living and getting stuff done…so nothing really exciting to talk about.

We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for Connie’s surgery and recovery and things appear to be going swimmingly as one would say.

On to interesting things from the net,


You know what these are…doncha…

Scottish Headges

Why they’re Head-ges of course:-)

So very true…


This guy has a Sikh sense of humor


The Empire’s great question.

Deathstar memorial

Nailed it.


How to respond to a panic attack.

Panic whiskey

Guess bri has some issues.




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Connie and the Adventure of the Amazing Cataract Surgery

Ima thinking we’re doing this whole retirement thing wrong…here it is Wednesday afternoon and so far this week starting on Sunday our alarm clocks have been set for 0530, 0530, 0500, and 0600. Add in another 0600 tomorrow for laundry (gotta get up there early or it’s wait time) and 0500 on Friday so Neil can get to the RAM truck place on time for Big Red’s maintenance…and Ima tellin’ ya we’re just doing it wrong somehow.

Weather report for today…90 degrees, 36% relative humidity, light winds, and brilliant almost cloudless skies. I think we can safely say that winter is over here in Fort Myers. We’ve had the A/C on for almost a week now and doesn’t look like we’ll have the windows open anytime in the next 10 days or so at least…although we do try to open up early in the morning a couple times a week when it’s cooler and get some fresh, no-smelly air. 

Little known fact that you probably don’t care about…this is Gunther’s 500th post on the blog along with another 100 or so from Kara.

Anyhoos…the reason we’ve been getting up early…after Mass and choir on Sunday morning…was Connie’s cataract surgery on her left eye…which was the good one until she had her separated retina last May. Her right eye has been blurry, useless in the daylight, and B&W only since age 12 but with the retina detachment, subsequent vitrectomy to get rid of the scar tissue and yesterday’s cataract surgery brought on by the air inside her eye during the vitrectomy it’s been quite the year.

We got there at 0700 yesterday and by 0710 she was gone into pre-op…Neil sat in the waiting room until 0840 when they came out and got him as she was done…she had been back in recovery for maybe 10 minutes when he got there. She was woozy naturally…well, she’s pretty loopy anyway but it was even more so than usual…and had a patch over her eye. She literally couldn’t see anything once we got outside due to the glare in the light and her limited useful vision right eye.

We got home and had lunch…then dinner…and she spent most of the time sitting quietly with her eyes shut. Popped some Advil a couple of times and felt like there was something in her eye most of the night but was feeling a bit better by this morning.

We headed down again for her 0930 followup appointment today…she was reading on the 20/50 line which is about -1.5 diopters based on the Googles…the surgeon said he was aiming for -3.0 diopters so either he missed on the good side a bit or the Google conversion chart is off. In any event she’s fine, doing better than he expected, and he expects it to continue to improve over the next week or so. She’s got a final followup on April 26 at which time they’ll release her from care and do a complete refraction for her so that she can get new glasses. In the meantime…she’s gonna wait until Monday for a bit of the swelling to go down and then either just deal with it until then or get some reading glasses from the CVS to tide her over…she did try Neil’s -1.5 cheaters today and could read better than without them.

We came on home…stopping by the Just Ride Along LBS (local bike shop) to pick up Neil’s Cannondale bad boy…after 5½ years and somewhere north of 5100 miles in the saddle it was time for some maintenance. New chain, chain ring, crankset bearing cartridge, cassette, and brake pads and a mere $355 later we were out the door. Labor was just $75 for the tuneup charge and all the rest was parts. Neil can change tires and tubes himself but the rest of it just needs too many specialized tools, jigs and know-how that he just doesn’t have…so he hires a professional. So he’s good for another half decade or so although he’ll need new tires by the end of the summer. 

We had lunch then Neil and Connie went over and moved our friend Jeff’s 5ver from the site he was in over to site 55 where his rig will be permanently on Seminole’s Store and Stay program. You pay $150 a month and it sits on the site with power while you’re not here and the normal monthly rate while you’re in residence. Storage back in the back with no power is $90 a month but by the time you pay Seminole the move to and move from storage fee it’s just $100 or so to just leave it in place on your site. We hitched his rig up and Neil pulled it around…Connie came up and was the Mombacker for him. You know what a Mombacker is doncha? I’m sure you’ve heard them if you ever watched a southern garbage truck do it’s work…there’s one guy driving it and another guy out back yelling “Momback, Momback.” While Neil was perfectly comfortable pulling Jeff’s 32 foot or so rig around…and he did it quite professionally according to the peanut gallery watching him…he’s really not comfortable with anybody but Connie guiding him back in via the walkie talkie. Mostly he can see to back in just fine but she knows the things to look out for so he doesn’t back into a tree or power pedestal or whatever. Got in with one go although pride did force him to pull forward and then back to get it properly positioned fore and aft in the site and parallel to the patio…he didn’t want to leave it angled to the pad like some rookie would ya know…gimme a break.

After that we had a shower…I did mention it was 90 degrees, right…and are done for the day except for Happy Hour and dinner.

We’re really glad that her long struggle with the left eye is pretty much over…by the time the end of next month rolls around and we get her new glasses prescription it will have been just about a year to the day since the retina detached…it’s been a struggle for her but there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel…we just hope it’s not an oncoming train.

Ok, on to interesting things from the net.

Ever notice how Billy Joel looks *exactly* like Darth Vader with his helmet off?


Coolest duck evah.


Now we know that our readers probably have varying propensities to use…well let’s call it colorful language I guess…but there are really a few times in life when it’s perfectly acceptable to use the F-word. I won’t actually use it here…but provide the following photographic guidance on when it is OK to just go ahead and say it.






You recognize this one right…it’s an emotional outlet.


For those times when you just can’t find the book you’re looking for…it can probably be found here.


Why Yes…Yes they do.


Not safe RVing (may have used this one before).


I knew there was an explanation.



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Dang…Another Three Weeks

I guess that tells you how much is going on ‘round these parts…essentially not a dadgum thing.

Connie did have her cataract evaluation appointment last week and is scheduled for surgery on Mar 28. She’ll have a followup the next day and one at the end of April…and then hopefully she’ll be done.

Once we knew that schedule…Neil cancelled every one of our existing reservations for our original departure date on April 15…we had confirmed and paid for reservations through Memorial Day. At this point we’re planning on leaving May 15…that gives us 2 weeks of slop for any complications with her surgery and we’ll head directly to Junction City for our seal repair…assuming that we can get a service appointment for the week of May 22. If we get pushed later than that for service we’ll either stay here another week or so…or else go from here up to visit grand baby Alex and then head for Kansas from there. We may go up to visit Alex the week after Easter instead…won’t know that until we talk to Ken out at New Horizons and know when our service is scheduled for.

Neil’s been working on our tax return for last year, we worked at the Elks a couple of times, and that’s pretty much about it.

He’s also suffering through a cold…caught it last week from somebody at Ash Wednesday services and is feeling pretty lousy…hopefully he’ll be on the mend in another couple of days…well, he hopes so anyways as he’s tired of feeling lousy.

We had a computer failure last week…the main data drive on our file server that has all our documents, photos, and such on it started failing with read errors…luckily we have a daily clone of that drive and he just put the clone into service as the main data drive. The clone is also of the same vintage so he went ahead and bought another set of 4 TB cooler running drives and will be putting them into service in the next week or so. Once that’s done we’ll put a bullet through the failing one so it can never harm anybody else’s data ever again.

Interesting stuff of the week.

Nice observation on the green attitudes in millennials these days.


In today’s “Arabic for Beginners” lesson…three guys in a canoe means stop.


Progress bar seen on a Windows computer near you.


Bees vs wasps.


This is a seriously big feral hog.

SeriouslyBig Hog

Kids say the darnedest things (shamelessly borrowed from Art Linkletter).


From a questionnaire at healthcare.gov.


And finally…I really like senior moments like this one…the other kind not so much.



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Long Time I Guess…

Sorry ‘bout not posting in the last 2 weeks…but there’s really been nothing goin’ on worth writing about.

We’ve just been Elk’ing it…and staying around the old campground with not really a whole bunch of stuff happening.

We were able to get Connie’s initial cataract evaluation appointment moved up to Mar 2 instead of Mar 30…we’ll still be late leaving past our original planned date but maybe not as much as we thought. The scheduler told us it might be a month between the evaluation and the surgery and there’s a “come back in 30 days” thing…so we could be out by the end of May…or perhaps even some earlier depending on the surgery delay. 

Once we figure that out…we’ll have to rejigger our plans and decide on the revised travel plan for the summer. The Route 50 trip isn’t off at this point…but it is in jeopardy Neil thinks given the rig issue we found last week. We are committed to the NHOG Rally in Spearfish SD in late September and the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in early October with our friends Bill and Linda…but beyond that and having to work a visit to Junction City into the plan we’ll have to figure out the rest once we know the surgery schedule.

Ok…that rig issue. As you probably don’t know…there are rubber seals that keep the water out where the slides on an RV extend and retract. There’s a U shaped rubber piece that goes around the edge of the hole in the wall that is both glued and screwed with a bracket to the wall on both the inside and outside…with the slide hold being about 2 inches bigger each way than the actual slide. The U piece has 2 flapper things that stick out into the hole parallel to the wall and rest against the side (and top and bottom) of the actual slide. Then there’s a bumper shaped piece that slips onto the bracket that the back side of the slide overhang (on the outside) and the back of the facing board (on the inside) seats against when the slide is fully in or out.

Anyways…with 3 slides we’ve essentially got 9 seals plus the 3 on the bottom which are pretty much impossible to get to. Of the remaining 9…8 are arranged so that getting to both the inside and outside bracket is easy…just put the slide partway out and you can see the bumpers. Slide those off, remove the screws and bracket, put a new seal in and put it all back to gather. Easy peasy…probably a 2-3 hour job to replace a slide.

The 9th seal…well, that’s another story entirely. It’s the forward vertical one on the galley slide on the drivers side…and it’s hidden behind the slide itself, the overhead cabinets, the countertop, and the pantry…all of this makes it almost impossible to get to.

Guess which one of ours is bad? Yup…forward galley one. It’s not sun damage that dried it out…that would make it cracked and brittle. It’s gotten soft and gooey like gum…but only about the top 3 feet or so that’s 8 or 10 feet off the ground. To Neil’s eye it looks like some sort of solvent got on it and deteriorated the rubber but it’s never had any solvent on it. Rain, car soap, slide conditioner, and water soluble bug spray is all it’s ever had on it. Definitely not any of those and the bug spray is the same stuff we spray around all our slide seals for the past 5 years…so that isn’t it either. In any event…the seal needs replacement…it’s not leaking so it’s not critical but it is somewhat urgent.

This means another (crap) trip out to our favorite place to be…Junction City KS at the New Horizons factory. If we knew for sure that it was an easy fix then a repair shop here in FL could do the job…but there’s a possibility that the slide will have to be pulled out to get to the seal and that’s definitely a factory job. Neil thinks he sees a way to get to it without pulling the slide…but is not about to tell New Horizons how to do their job…at least not yet. We’re waiting on Ken at New Horizons to get back to him and tell him how long they need to fix it…then we’ll work that into the schedule somehow. If feasible…we’re at least tentatively on going out there sometime during the surgery wait/recovery phase so as to delay our eventual departure for travel season as little as possible and not have to spend travel season time getting fixed. That would mean an extra 2,500 miles of towing or 3 days out and back…but ya gotta do what ya gotta do…and after having last travel season torched by the detached retina we’re hoping not to have this one affected any more than we can. Gotta fix her eye though…then the rig and then travel season…but we’ll get it sorted out as best we can once we get all the additional information we need.

We did order some more outside stuff…Neil got himself a high output 2 burner camp stove and another collapsable table to sit it on…that way he’s got a real burner outside in addition to the grill and can better cook both side dishes and what we call “burning meat” at the same time.

Anyways…that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Connie did win a half share at Bingo both this week and last…which allows her to break even for those two nights.

Interesting stuff of the week.

Japan vs Russia. The upper shots show an intersection that became a sinkhole in downtown Tokyo that was fixed literally in a week. The lower ones show a little girl obviously outside her home in 1991 and the same girl grown up in 2015…note the still unmatched identically shaped pothole in both. And they wonder why they lost the Cold War.


An observation on modern art.


An observation on NASA.


An observation by a Native American on improvements brought about by palefaces.


Fred Flintstone must have driven by here.


What to do with your Christmas Tree after the holidays are over.


Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Shak’n’ Up The Old Jello

Yeah…Jello…you know, the stuff that all RVers plans are set in. Wouldnya know it. We got our plan for transiting across US Route 50 this summer about three quarters done…and Neil’s got reservations for campgrounds starting April 17 through when we get to the St. Louis area for Memorial Day…and then we had to go and have Connie’s 3 month follow up today.

She’s been seeing worse over the past month or so…and as we expected her cataract has ripened some…in fact her vision has worsened by 2 diopters since her last check in October. That’s as expected and common with her surgery…the chemical changes in the lens with the cataract increase it’s refractive index and hence make vision worse. So…her retina specialist referred her over to the cataract surgery guys at Bascom Palmer and we headed over there to get an appointment for her workup.

March 30.

Yeah, March 30…like 2 months from now. We were expecting maybe a couple of weeks but apparently not.

So we made the appointment and then thought about things on the way home. March 30 means it will be sometime in April at the earliest before the surgery gets done…and then there’s the inevitable series of “come back in 2 weeks” visits. While we don’t know her surgery date yet and won’t know the recovery process/visit timetable until the work up appointment…it’s not looking good. Apparently a lot of people down here get cataract surgery…and if it takes 2 months to just get a workup appointment I have no idea how long the surgery waiting line will be.

In any event…instead of leaving here as scheduled on April 17…my guess is that we’ll be at least to June 1 before we depart here and maybe even later…but then we won’t really know until the appointment on March 30. Connie is going to try and call to see if we can move that appointment up or get on a waiting list for any potential cancellations or vacancies but who knows.

So…all of these reservations Neil made…well, they’re crap now and we’ll just have to cancel them…although I think he’s going to wait until March 30 to do any of that unless there’s a cancellation window we’re running into. He’s also gotta stop by the office her at Seminole and alert them to the potential longer than expected stay. Fortunately April and May are sort of the off season here so staying in our site 101 shouldn’t present a major problem.

Anyways…that’s all the news that’s fit to print…

Hopefully we’ll be able to get some of the travel season away from southern Florida…because although the weather here in the winter is great it’s sort of hot, humid and beastly in the summer. We have tentative plans to be in SD for the NHOG owners group rally in mid September and were going to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival with our friends Bill and Linda after that before heading back this way…we’ll likely go ahead and register for both of those because the Balloon Festival will be sold out if we wait until we know for sure…we can always cancel out on them if we need to.

Enough of that whining…let’s have some interesting stuff.

The real women’s march.


So true…


Keep this in mind.


Google means something different in Vietnam.



For students or teachers?


This is a really neat waterfall named Pearl Falls in mainland China.


Jimmy Carter musta been on crack when he wrote this sentence about a single global civilization.


Flowchart for determining if you should eat bacon. We don’t need no flowchart ‘round here for that…obviously the answer is YES.


Screw the rules.


How to deal with an active shooter. situation.


And finally…best of the week…no words necessary for this one.



Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

Tampa RV Show and Friends

Lemme tell ya a little story before I get into the meat of the post. 

I freely admit that I stole this from Mike Rowe’s website…from a post titled “My One Cent”. For those of you who don’t know who he is…Mike was the host of a show named Dirty Jobs where he went around and did a whole lot of dirty, stinky, thankless jobs and made a TV show about it. He was way out in the hinterlands most of the time doing things ya never heard of…goose artificial inseminator, chicken gender evaluator, road kill picker-upper, and the like. He met what he called a lot of ‘real Americans’ who were interested in raising their kids and making their lives a little better than their parents were.

Anyway…there was this man who was elected as President of these United States and there were some things going on when he was elected…here are a few of them.

  • We were a nation divided over taxes, race relations, states rights, and the border
  • He was elected after a bitterly divided contentious campaign
  • The winning candidate was a Republican whom half the country despised and who thought he was going to lose
  • This Republican treated the press with contempt, vowed to restore the border, and vowed to transform the Supreme Court
  • This Republican was believed…by many citizens…to be on the wrong side of history
  • This man was thought…again by many citizens…to be a tyrant
  • He’s been declared to be unethical
  • He’s been declared to be an illegitimate President…then been attacked for defending himself against those claims
  • Nevertheless…he won the election fair and square…true he won less than half of the popular vote (which doesn’t matter anyway…we have the Electoral College)…but he carried 54% of the states and with their electoral votes the election
  • He’s been proclaimed as “the buffoon in then Oval Office” and “not my President”
  • He’s been accused of wanting to institute a police state where only white males are acceptable and all others are 2nd…or maybe even 3rd class citizens…or not even citizens at all

None of these facts are in question…so I ask you…who was this man…hold on…I’ll tellya in a minute.

Did I (well, Mike) intend for you to believe that he was writing about present day events? Did he want to play with your existing beliefs and biases…to juxtapose ironies and coincidences…to deliberately confuse the reader.

Of course he did…that was his whole point.

He was trying to compare the feelings of the country when that man was elected to the feelings of the country today…everything written above has been written about the man who will be sworn in as POTUS tomorrow Jan 20, 2017. He’s been called the next Hitler by many on the left…accused of destroying democracy (never mind that we don’t live in a democracy at all but in a Federated Democratic Republic where…according to the Constitution…all other powers not specifically vested in the federal government by the Constitution remain with the states…as we are after all the United States of America and not just America.)…the devil incarnate…an illegitimate President…and the list goes on and on.

Mike…naturally…received many negative emails about his podcast where he discussed this man…and hence wrote the My One Cent piece to explain. If you want to read them in the original form…take a look here. Speaking of podcasts…if you’re a fan of those sorts of things then you should check out “The Way I Heard It” which is available from his website or you favorite podcast aggregator. He’s a folksy guy who tells stories about people you might not recognize in 8 or 9 minutes…always entertaining and educating as well.

The man he was talking about in the podcast by the way…was not Donald J. Trump. I know you were convinced it was…but actually…his  name was Abraham Lincoln…the 16th President of these United States and one thought by many on both the left and right as in the top 3 of best President ever.

He wasn’t comparing the two men…and by no means was insinuating that the 45th President will be better or worse than the 16th…but to state that the feelings amongst our citizens with being severely divided and not trusting the other side are very similar. How will the 45th President rank? Who knows…let’s wait and see.

OK, what else we been doing. Long story short…not too much.

Neil ordered us some new computer network stuff and the parts necessary to convert our DirectTV installation over from multi-wire mode to single wire mode…this will allow us to replace our 5 year old receiver/recorder with a new one that’s half the size, has twice the storage, and most importantly has 5 tuners instead of 2…this limitation has caused us (well, Connie actually as she’s in charge of what we watch, what we record and when we do either of those) no end of trouble. With only tuners…you can record 2 things simultaneously…or you can watch one and record one simultaneously but if things overlap you have to find other spots on the calendar when you can record things and have to contend with the frequent 1 minute overlap in the scheduled times on the DirectTV guide. Anyway…with 5 tuners in the Genie we’ll not have to worry about that.

Yesterday we got up early and drove up to Tampa to visit the Tampa RV Supershow…we’re not buying another rig…and didn’t bring home anything other than memories and good feelings from our visit with our friends Bill and Linda Napier. We wandered around the show awhile…picked apart the specs and capabilities of various RV brands that we don’t own, wandered through New Horizons latest model which is a Majestic like ours but is built as a travel trailer pulled by a bumper hitch rather than a 5th wheel. The guy that bought it wanted to carry a SmartCar on the deck of his truck and didn’t want to have a heavy duty truck which that normally requires…so with the help of a pre-existing design the Majestic travel trailer was born. Looks pretty nice both inside and out…and shorter than the Majestic 5ver is.

We had both lunch and an early dinner with them before heading home about 1700.

We worked twice in a row at the Elks for dinner…working both fish last Friday and chicken last Monday…and will do fish again tomorrow night.

Neil finished (almost) maintenance on our water systems…disinfected and sanitized the fresh tank and piping, replaced the anode in our water heater, and changed out all the filters except the one under the sink for the fridge and sink-side water dispenser.

On to interesting stuff…

Bill sent me this with a “Thinking of You” subject line.


Ya don’t see this every day…I just don’t know what to say.


Nope…absolutely not.


RVing at it’s best.


And finally…when your mechanic calls in two priests…just let it go and buy a new car.



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2016 Year in Review

Well…just as I said last year at this time…another season in the books and we’re back at our usual winter site 101 at Seminole Campground, North Fort Myers FL.

Alabama’s football season ended last night just slightly short of the goal of another national championship. They fell 35-31 to Clemson on the last play of the game when the Clemson quarterback threw a short touchdown pass. It should have been called back for offensive pass interference…just like one of their previous scores should have been called back…but even though setting a pick play like they do in basketball is illegal it’s rarely called. The rules say that obvious attempts to impede the ability of a defensive back to cover his assigned receiver should be penalized. Teams that throw the ball a lot run what they call rub plays with 2 wide receivers on one side crossing…the outside one cuts inside and the inside one cuts behind him as he passes and goes outside. That’s fine…but in both of these cases the Clemson outside receiver blocked the outside defensive back into the other defensive back…preventing either from covering his assigned receiver. Clear case of offensive interference to me…but then I’m not a ref so that doesn’t really count. It’s not really sour grapes either…after we scored with about 2 minutes left to go ahead by 3 there were plenty of opportunities for the D to stop Clemson’s last drive. Unfortunately…the Clemson QB is really good and was feeling it by that point in the game and he was helped out by some outstanding grabs of passes on the final drive. They were also helped out by an injury to our power running back in the 3rd quarter which limited the offense.

Much was made of Alabama’s freshman starting QB last night and in the previous couple of weeks before the playoffs…but by this time of the season he’s not really a freshman anymore. Not as experienced as Clemson’s QB…and doesn’t have the touch he needs for long throws yet. His leading of the offense to score and take the lead with 2 minutes remaining was the way we should have called the whole game…but at this point in his career they were trying to get him to be a game manager and not game winner. Ah well…we’ll start up again in the fall.

The two teams have now played the last two championship games…with an overall point differential of 1 in Alabama’s favor…they really were the two best teams in college football this year and Coach Saban and the boys have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s only about 8-1/2 months until kickoff again…and Alabama once again has the highest rated recruiting class. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them back in the playoffs again next year.

Let’s recap the year…shall we.

We departed the day after Easter in the spring…our immediate goal was to arrive in Hanna IN on May 1 where we were going to swap BAT for Big Red. On the way we had stops in Valdosta GA, Knoxville TN and Charleston IN. We were originally supposed to be in Hanna for a week followed by heading back south to Chattanooga for the NHOG rally then northwards through PA and NY and up on into the Canadian Maritimes where we would spend the summer then head south to arrive back in Cedar Key FL for the last 10 days of October then on to Seminole on 1 Nov.

Connie’s eye…however…had other plans. As we drove into our scheduled stop at the Last Resort Campground in Hanna…the closest campground to Valparaiso where Big Red was being built…Connie noticed her eye issue…what she called a black rocket ship sticking into her vision from the side and loss of acuity. After parking we did a little internet research…figured it was probably a separated retina…and searched for a retina specialist who was in the Tricare Network. We found Retina Associates of Chicago…who have an office in Michigan City IN just north of Hanna. Called them and they said that since she wasn’t a patient to go to the ER. So we go there…they said to go to an opthalmologist the next morning for a consult. Did that…and he said “Yup, separated retina, go see a retina specialist.” His staff got her an appointment for that afternoon at…you guessed it…Retina Associates of Chicago office in Michigan City.

Long story short…she got a bubble injected into her eye to stick the retina back down, some laser surgery to weld it in place and a whole bunch of followup visits with the retina specialist up there. That…naturally…pretty much killed our Canadian Maritime plans as we spent May, June, and July in Hanna. We did get out of there for a couple of short trips in between follow up visits…the NHOG rally, over to DC and Midlothian to see Alex and various doctors and such, and spent the week of Independence Day up in the MI lower peninsula seeing where Neil’s ancestors were buried and the various sites up on the lake.

In late July…her doctor wondered why she wasn’t seeing any better as the retina healing looked great…so she ran a test and found that the center of her retina was bunched up. Turns out that a frequent complication of detached retina is that some cells get released into the goop inside you eye. Once the retina is flat again the cells attach to the front of the retina and sort of scrunch it up like a Kleenex…which means the vision doesn’t get better. Fortunately it’s an easy fix…basically you scrape the cells off and it gets better. Unfortunately that requires some more followup visits…and by this time it was almost the end ofd July. So we asked what happens if we wait 6 weeks until we get to FL…turns out that the answer is nothing, just longer before it gets fixed. So we packed up and left…did a quick run over to Kansas to visit Camp Horizons and get some warranty work on our fiberglass cracks…then skedaddled down to FL arriving on 1 Sep. She had an appointment with Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in mid September, had surgery the next day and we did all the followup visits down here…and her eye is pretty much back to normal. We originally planned on going up and doing our 10 days in Cedar Key the end of October…but then the hurricane went through there so we ended up just moving those reservations to same time next year.

OK, let’s have a few photos…just to help recap the year.

Paddlewheel steamer in Louisville.

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Small waterfall in Louisville.

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Hawk in KY or TN…can’t remember which.

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Amazingly brilliant green bug.

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Samplin’ a little bourbon in Louisville.

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Connie and her best Vanna White imitation as we picked up Big Red in Valparaiso IN in May…you can’t tell it here but she’s pretty much blind at this point as her separated retina was healing with the gas bubble in her eye.

Big Red 2

We didn’t get any closer to Chicago than this…she wasn’t comfortable going into the big city with limited visibility.

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Another waterfall…

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E8…the surviving eaglet from the spring 2016 nesting season by our local Fort Myers eagle Harriet and her mate M15. This was just a couple of days before he fledged (first flight) in March.


Connie at her alma mater for her graduate degree…Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant MI.

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Lighthouse on the lake shore at Frankfort MI on the western side of the lower peninsula…we spent the Independence Day week here.

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The dunes on the Lake Michigan shoreline at Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

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Tombstone of Neil’s 5x great grandfather buried in Michigan…he was one of the members of the group that founded the settlement that eventually became Detroit. The Connor Greenway in downtown Detroit is named after him and we visited both his second homestead as well as the original area he settled in on Connor Creek off of the Detroit river…but the original homestead is now covered by the. airport.

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The creek surrounding his second homestead…none of the structures are left but there’s a small peninsula in an oxbow bend on the creek where he lived.

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Abraham Lincoln’s father’s house.

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Back in Florida again…at Pelican Roost RV Park at Naval Station Jacksonville…by this point she was pretty limited visually…the retina had healed but the scar tissue on it hadn’t been surgically removed yet so we mostly just stayed around the rig pretty much from May to September when we got back south.

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Grand baby Alex’s second birthday party…we drove up there in December for the festivities.

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Ok…let’s check out the stats for the year…they’re not nearly as impressive as 2015 was but then we didn’t do much…out of our normal 7 month travel season we spent 3 in Hanna and got here to Seminole 2 months early so we really only had a 2 month travel season.

  • States visited: 13
  • BAT/Big Red Miles: BAT 1403 all towing, Big Red 6352 towing, 8329 solo, 14681 total. I expect this trend to continue with solo mileage on Big Red about the same as the towing mileage unless we end up buying another vehicle for our daily driver. Neil offered her a Harley trike…and she turned him down.
  • RV Miles: 7,755 on 29 towing days
  • Average towing miles: 267 (high of 445 and low of 78)
  • Car Miles: 2,298 until we donated it in May 
  • Campgrounds stayed in: 31
  • Number of RV travel days: 29
  • Northernmost and southernmost points reached: Lake Leelanau MI and North Fort Myers FL
  • Easternmost and Westernmost points reached: Junction City KS and Fairfax, VA
  • Number of contributions to the “Connie Meets the Town Drunk” page: just 1 but Mikey at Down the Street in Casey IL is one of the better contributions over the years…you can read about him as Town Drunk #6 on the Town Drunk page from the menu at the top of this page. We never did get our blueberry cobbler from him…dang it!
  • Bicycling miles: 1026.5 miles on 71 rides, average speed 15.22 mph, fastest speed 32.82 mph (musta been downhill)
  • Photographs taken: 663 frames for 20.24 GB…Connie’s eye limited our Fun Stuff© this season
  • Photographs published: 156
  • Blog posts published: 54
  • Blog views: 4836, busiest month was May with 909 views…the rest of the blog stats like champion commenter and such got deleted this year as WordPress stopped sending you the end of year review apparently…and I’m too lazy to figure them out…usually you get the summary from them the last day of the year but apparently they’ve stopped sending them out. Poop. MJ is still far in the lead with 188 total comments though.
Disasters for the year. Yeah…2016 was pretty much a year with a lot of problems in it for us…here’s a list of everything that went less than fully satisfactory shall we say.
  • Connie’s retina detachment and associated treatment and surgery when we got back down to Fort Myers.
  • Connie had some sort of respiratory disease at Easter right before we left…and couldn’t sing all the Easter music she had practiced.
  • Problem with our A/C condensate pump requiring ordering parts and dismantling half of the LR A/C unit to fix it.
  • Awning issue…we found the morning we were leaving in April that our awning would not fully seat…we figured it out but were scared to use the awning most of the summer unless it was a more lengthy stay. Finally got that fixed once we got back to Fort Myers as it was a real pain to get back in if we put it out.
  • Our Mazda 6 died while we were in Hanna. We got ripped off by the local Mazda place since we weren’t locals and they refused to make it right. Turns out that we ended up donating it to the St. Vincent de Paul Society anyway since Connie could not see well enough to drive safely from May until October. We hated to waste the 600 bucks we spent getting it not fixed though…the rip off artists at Kennedy Mazda in Valparaiso IN should never be patronized for any reason ever again. Service Manager and General Manager both declined to make it right and we could not convince them to let us talk to the owner. That would likely not have helped anyway as greed and lousy customer service that pervasive most likely starts at the top.
  • Fiberglass cracks on our rig on the driver side above the basement door and slide openings. Turns out that New Horizons had some faulty design and installation of the walls back in the 2012 time frame and we needed some relief cuts put into our wall after the fiberglass was repaired. The frame flexes and fiber glass doesn’t…hence you get these little hairline cracks. It’s an easy fix…and while we figured it was their fault so they should have fixed it we also realize they need to keep the company in business so their policy for out of warranty units like ours was to only charge half of the labor hours it took to fix the cracks and put in the relief cuts. Not as good as them fixing it on their nickel of course…but we are out of our 2 year warranty by over a year so that seemed fair enough.

So…what are our plans this year. Good question…we haven’t really made detailed ones yet but here’s a general idea of what we’re doing before Neil does all of the detailed planning.

We’ll again depart Seminole the day after Easter on April 17. Our first real stop will be Midlothian to see Alex and the kids. Don’t know exactly how we’re going to route ourselves yet but not through Orlando…we’re planning on spending the first night at the Elks Lodge just north of Tampa then overnight in Brunswick GA and Florence SC. Then we’ll head on up to Northern VA for financial/dentist appointments…and to do the portion of our Fun Stuff© from Ocean City MD to Fairfax VA via an overnight trip over to the coast without the rig.

After that’s done we’ll start the Fun Stuff© portion of the summer. We’ll transit the length of US Route 50 from Ocean City MD to San Francisco…all 3,008 miles of it although the signs at each end claim 3,073 miles…but it’s been rerouted slightly since those signs were put up. We used to live right off of US-50 at our sticks and bricks in Fairfax VA and always wanted to see the whole length. A lot of it is 4 lane at grade crossing highway, some is dual numbered with interstate highways, and some of it is just a 2 lane road. Nonetheless…we’re doing it…in fact the portion of it in Nevada is known as “The Loneliest Highway in America” and there’s a certificate you get for completing that portion of it. We won’t do our usual detailed planning of every stop along the way except for figuring out where to spend holiday weekends as reservations for those can be hard to come by. Instead we’ll meander as seems necessary as long as we get to holiday campgrounds on time and meet the rest of our schedule. We figure on spending May through July getting to the west coast…with particular time spent in Utah and Colorado as we haven’t seen the southern portions of those states…Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park all beckon us along with the portion of the road in Nevada and several earlier portions in Ohio and IL.

Once we get to the west coast…we’ll head generally northwards and catch northern CA and southern OR that we missed in 2013 when Neil broke his foot…our next real commitment is the NHOG Rally in mid September in Spearfish SD in the northwestern corner of the state. Our friend Joe Claxton and his bride live up near Coeur d’Alene Idaho and we hope to get by and see them…but it all depends on when we get to the west coast and how quickly we want to get to Spearfish.

Once the rally is over on 20 September…our next firmly scheduled stop is Cedar Key FL on 20 October. We were originally going to just meander south and east to get there…at least until our friends Bill Napier and Roy Brody got involved. They’ve got this itch to go see the polar bears in Churchill Manitoba…which means you leave the rigs in Winnipeg about 100 miles north of the border of Canada with ND and MN…and fly about 700 miles to Churchill to see the bears…then return to Winnipeg and head south. The bears are there in September and October…and the cold weather arrives by late or maybe mid October. Anyways…Roy is doing some information gathering and the plan is for at least the 3 of us…plus whoever else wants to come along…to sort of loosely caravan from the rally in Spearfish to Winnipeg. We’ll all make our own reservations and travel together or separately as we desire…more of a friends traveling more or less together than a formal caravan.

It’s about 3 days travel from Spearfish to Winnipeg…then figure a week to go up and back and see the bears. That would put us back in Winnipeg ready to head south by about the 3rd or so of October. That’s about 1950 miles from our reservation in Cedar Key on October 20…which means we would have 17 days to get there and it’s 6 or 7 travel days. If we go…we won’t be doing a whole bunch of Fun Stuff© on the way south…mostly just getting south. It’s 3 days to get to Cedar Rapids IA including the delay for getting back across the border…and by that far south we’ll be out of any real possibility of bad weather. We’ll probably…assuming the plans come to fruition…go ahead and plan to go via Winnipeg as we can always cancel it if looks like winter isn’t going to cooperate with us. The overall trip would give us about 9,000 miles before getting back here to Seminole…and maybe 1500 less if we skipped Winnipeg because of winter and headed home via Nebraska and Missouri instead.

Our guess is that although there will be some cold weather in Winnipeg by early October the likelihood of heavy snow conditions that last and essentially winter us in is relatively low. Even if it snows…the roads should be plowed in a couple of days and we should be able to head south…once back into the US we’re continuing to get toward less wintery climate. Neil’s wanted to see more polar bears and Winnipeg isn’t that far out of the way.

If Winnipeg and the polar bears doesn’t work out we’ll either head south to Albuquerque NM for a few days at the balloon festival there before heading eastward across the southern states…or we’ll just head south and east gradually from SD towards our eventual reservations at Cedar Key FL on 20 Oct and back in North Fort Myers on 1 Nov.

Ok…gotta have a couple of interesting things ya know.

Who wore it better?


You know what this is…doncha?


Why…it’s Fred Flint Stone of course. Wiiiiilma!!

This is an example of queuing level (lining up) Thai.


And finally…and no, this isn’t a political statement other than that a Republican president will be less likely to take any crap than a Democratic one.



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