Wow. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve updated the blog. Although it’s happened slowly, a lot has happened in the last 12 months. Here’s a quick rundown; some items may warrant a future longer post, but I’ll at least hit the highlights here.
We wrapped up our summer in Maine in early October. Maine itself deserves an extensive series of blog posts, including my experience as a workamper. [In general, we enjoyed the experience, but I did get itchy feet halfway through the 6-month commitment. In the future I will try to find positions that only require us to stay in one place for 3 months.]
While in Maine we: visited (many) tourist attractions, spent time with family and friends, traded in the Nissan Juke on a Jeep Rubicon, got some practice using the new digital camera and drone, and ate far too much seafood and Chinese food.
Among the minutiae of daily life, Andrea got her hair whacked off again (thank God!), donated blood twice (bringing the number of states to 8) and took many long walks with Elvis. I’ll sprinkle in a few photographs to whet folks’ appetite for the long-overdue updates. Frankly, I’ve had to refer to my extensive collection of photographs to remember what we did!
Side Note: I would like to figure out how to pull in my Instagram feed into this blog so that there’s something to view when I’m
not posting slacking. Plus the IG feed often features photos of Elvis, which most folks seem to find adorable for some reason…. 😉
Click on the smaller images to see larger photos. WordPress has made some significant changes this year and I’m not thrilled with the image options or the new editor. May be partly a learning curve, but whatever the reason, I apologize for the awkward layouts.
From Maine we went to upstate New York to visit my brother and his family, which includes my Mom & stepdad. We only had a week to spare, which was fortunate as finding a place to park our rig was near impossible. My dad also drove out from Michigan so that we could spend time together.
The campground I had booked was too small and swampy, and really didn’t understand the size of our rig (even though I have started telling people we are the size of a Wal-Mart truck)! We made some terrific ruts in my brother’s driveway (whoops!) before gaining permission to camp off-grid in the church parking lot.
My niece & nephew, of course, were in school and had after-school activities almost every day, so our time with them was limited. We did do some sightseeing, and there were a couple of evening adult games of UNO that had me crying from laughter. We got to see the kids in aikido class, and of course enjoyed many meals together.
Mom & I visited my brother Dr. Matt Elkins at his office at SUNY Upstate Medical University, where I participated in a blood drive. In addition to running a large portion of the pathology laboratory, he’s also Director of a large blood bank and a professor, and has several other titles that keep him working about 100 hours a week, poor sod.
Because Shawn still works the M-F 9-5, we try to travel only on weekends. Our next extended stay was in Oklahoma City to visit doctors (and start heading south – it was getting COLD up north!), but that was far too long to drive in one weekend. So, we spent a fairly un-memorable week just east of Indianapolis at a quiet KOA.
Our month-long Oklahoma stay was at another KOA to the east of the Oklahoma, in the town of Choctaw. A primarily residential and semi-rural area, the best part about the park was the 3/4-mile walking trail that wound through the dense oak woods surrounding the campground.
In OKC we established relationships with several new doctors. Shawn’s happy with his cardiologist, and I’m thrilled with my new internal medicine doc at the University of Oklahoma. They understand and support our mobile lifestyle, making use of electronic messaging and sending lab orders to whatever state we happen to be in.
Once again we did some touristy stuff, visited with various friends, and generally lived our basic suburban lifestyle.
Oklahoma is also where Elvis managed to scarf up a yummy turd of unidentifiable origin in the woods on our last day in town, ensuring that he would have horrific diarrhea in our next stop:
[Note that I spared you the sick dog pics….]
Aaa-aaa-aaa-ALBURQUERQUE! (Sing it Weird Al-style)
Our stay in Albuquerque was intended to be one week to spend Thanksgiving with family, but we ended up extending our stay to a month to deal with the aforementioned “doggy issues.”
I will make a long story short just to say that from his unauthorized “snack” in Oklahoma City, Elvis picked up a nasty coccidia bug which required 2 courses of antibiotics to combat the resultant diarrhea. He also had surgery to correct a condition in his left eye called “cherry eye,” and some dental work. Despite the dreaded cone, he developed a scratch on his cornea which necessitated multiple trips to the vet and additional medications. Sigh. It took about 6 weeks to fully heal from all of the trauma.
We stayed at a quaint historic RV park on the western outskirts of town, Enchanted Trails RV Park. They graciously gave us an end site, so we were able to fit all the vehicles on-site. (Whew!) The park is decorated in “old west” style, with many fixtures dating back to its trading post days.
My stepdad’s sister Mary and her son Steve and his family made us very welcome in ABQ, showing me several of the local attractions. We also enjoyed a terrific homemade Thanksgiving dinner.
We reconnected with friends Mike & Kat whom we’d met in Maine, who in turn introduced us to Lanni and Ben, two former full-time RVers who’ve retired early and settled down in ABQ. The 6 of us – and a few others – played lots of tabletop games and enjoyed a couple of gourmet meals at Ben & Lanni’s house.
The weather in ABQ was unexpectedly cold for the season, so I didn’t explore or hike nearly as much as I would have hoped. But I scouted out a few places to start with on our next trip through.
We wrapped up 2018 at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson. It’s tough to get monthly – or even weekly! – stays in Arizona in the winter months without booking well in advance. And – well, I didn’t. Probably would have had to rearrange plans anyway, what with the unexpected holdover in Albuquerque and all. But the fairgrounds suited us just fine. Yes, it’s a gravel lot – but we had full hookups, the price was right, and I had tons of space in which to walk the dog.
While in Tucson we once again reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. The highlight of the holiday season: we spent Christmas Day with a dozen friends in Mike & Kat’s large Class A motorhome – including Opie the black lab and Elvis! We toured several tourist attractions, but not all, leaving plenty to do on our next trip to town.
That wraps up 2018. Once I get this published I’ll start on a post for the first half of 2019. Okay, maybe it’ll be a monthly series…
Until next time!
-Andrea & Shawn