Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heading Out

Thonotosassa, Fl  Hillsborough River SP

We are leaving tomorrow for Vero Beach.  It’s  on the Atlantic (east) coast of Florida.  We may finally get to do some lobster diving.

We’ll be staying at Sunshine Travel Rv Resort, which is a Thousand Trails membership park,  so it won’t cost us anything.  We stayed there last March.  It’s an okay park,  but it’s your typical Florida winter snowbird park.  We will be glad to have  full hook ups again so that I can do some laundry. 

We love it here at  Hillsborough River State Park and decided this would be the place to spend Christmas.  We were shocked that our wonderful site #92 was available, so we booked the week before Christmas and a few days afterwards.  We really hate to make reservations, but you almost have to in Florida in the winter.

I’m keeping this short.   I’m going to go out and see if I remember how to ride my bike.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So Sad

We are so, so sad.

Sunday night we lost our wonderful little kitty  Squeaky.

There are a lot of tears flowing.

We are going to be okay, but we are so sad right now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Poison Ivey

Thonotosassa, Florida  - Hillsborough River SP

I think Al might have finally learned to listen to me. Smile

His little jaunt on the overgrown trail not only gave him a tick, but it appears he may have picked up some poison ivy.  He is extremely sensitive to it and just has to be near it to start feeling the first symptoms.  He has had poison ivy so many times and he has learned when he starts to get the “heebie jeebies” that he likely has been exposed to it.

Hurricane Irene was supposed to bring dryer air to Florida over the week.  The forecast was wrong. We got some pretty good rain yesterday afternoon and again overnight, and it’s still raining this morning.  That’s okay, we have nowhere to go anyway.  Squeaky is not doing well, so we need to be here.

We also got an unpleasant surprise yesterday.  Neighbors!    With all the empty campsites here,  they decided to park right next door!   On top of that, they are tenters.  I have no problem with tenters if they are a nice family type, but this group makes us want to double check our door locks and not leave anything outside.  The guy is all tattooed up and the three women look pretty skanky.  I hope this rain will make them re-think their plans, and leave.  They might be perfectly nice people, and they really haven’t been a bother.  They just look like they are criminals or drug dealers.

I got news from Adsense yesterday.  I finally earned enough and they have sent my first check out.  I’ll be getting a whopping $104.11.  It only took me a few years!  I  never started my blog to earn money, however, I certainly won’t turn it down.  Initially, I started it to help me remember places we had been.  As it turns out, the best part of writing a blog is all the new friends I have made.    You guys mean a lot to me.

I have decided to change the blog name once again.  After all, I write the blog…why should Al get “top billing?”  I think it flows better with my name first anyway.  Some of you have noted that there were problems loading the  header picture when I changed the name.  Is that still an issue?  Could it be just because I changed then name and after the initial load, it is fine? 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welcome to the Woods

Thonotosassa, Florida   -  Hillsborough River SP

Did anyone notice I changed the name of our blog?  I figured the old name wasn’t really appropriate any longer.  I wish I was more creative and could think of a better title.  Any suggestions?  I just changed the name…not the address.

I also have a question for you geeks on watching tv shows on the computer.  We have watched all the past dvd’s of the Breaking Bad series and the only thing left is the current season.  I have TiVo'd some, but missed the first 6 episodes.  I can’t find anywhere online where I can watch Season 4, episode 1-6.  Anybody have a good site?   Season 3 ended up with a cliffhanger (of course) and we’re anxious to see the next episode!

It’s been so darn hot and humid here that we haven’t had the desire to do much….not even a kayak trip. 

We have done some walks along the river path and around the campgrounds, but mostly have stayed inside where it’s cool.  Al found a nice trail behind another campsite, but unfortunately it’s a little over grown.  He likes the trail because he saw 5 deer there the first time he went.   I prefer a nicely maintained  trail where you aren’t walking through brush.

Al decided to go on a walk last night before dark.   I reminded him to check himself for ticks afterwards.  I thought he did, but this morning he found a tick embedded in his right calf.  With Lyme Disease on my mind, the first thing I did is go online and confirm the recommended method of removal.  Years ago, we used clear nail polish to suffocate them and them pull them out after they died.  Now they are saying that’s not the best method and that you should just pull them out with a pair of tweezers, trying to keep from squashing the head and sending their poisons into your body.   After you get it out, you are to wash the area and then put alcohol on it and then an antibiotic ointment.  They recommend saving the tick in a jar of alcohol for 3 months,  in case you get the Lyme Disease Rash.  That way the doctor can test the tick for the type of disease it’s carrying.  Just because you get a tick bite, doesn’t mean you will get Lyme Disease, but it’s something to be aware of.

Remember the red marks I posted a few days back?

Lyme disease and other tick borne bacterial diseases  BADA UK21

This is what we will have to watch for.  I know darn well that he got that tick on that overgrown trail and I really don’t want him walking there again.  Let’s see if he listens. Smile  Welcome to the woods!

 

The Hillsborough River is high right now.  You can see the river behind the little building.  Note the sign on the top of the building?

Hillsborough River - high water mark

That is the water level from 1988.  Hard to believe isn’t it?

Hillsborough River - high water mark

We went on a search for other possible sites which might allow our satellite signal.

Maybe site 93 would work. It’s large enough, has 50 amp and easy to get into.

possible sites with satellite - 93

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Site 91 is also a possibility

site 91 possible satellite connection

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or site # 94

site 94...possible satellite

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The following is a suspension bridge and the view of the river.

suspension bridge

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A resident gator.  I was a LONG way from him…taken with my stalker zoom lens!

sunning gator

The next picture is  of the empty and very pretty campground.  I think there are now 3 other rv’s here with us and all on the opposite side of the loop from us.  Just how we like it.

loup around campground

We just wish it was a bit cooler.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hillsborough River State Park

Thonotosassa, Florida

We made the long 25 mile drive to Hillsborough River State Park.  It is located in Thonotosassa, Florida, which is a suburb of Tampa.  We have been here many times and always enjoy it.

We didn’t know if our days of camping here would be over once we bought the “Big Guy.”  Thankfully, they are not.

Here we are at the check-in gate.

Big Guy at Hillsborough River State Park Entrance

Dang…this thing looks so big to us.  Can we navigate it around the curves and trees?  We love having all the interior space, but getting into campgrounds will be much more of a challenge.

Big Guy at Hillsborough River State Park Entrance

The main road is a paved one way 2.2 mile loop.  It’s plenty wide.  No overhanging trees to worry about.

Hillsborough River State main road - one way road

There are some horrendous speed bumps by the pool area, but just a few.

This is the entrance to the campground.  You can see how wooded it is.  Note the all the trees on the road straight ahead?  That’s where we have to go. Yikes!

entrance into campground

Our first choice was site number 96, which is a non-reserveable/walk-in site.  It was open, however they had it saved for a work camper that was arriving in a few days.  That didn’t seem fair to us, but that’s the way it is.  We can’t save them, but the work campers can.

Our second choice was site number 106, which has 50 amp and is a pull in site.   We paid for a week, then drove on to the site.  The loop road was fine for the most part, but there was one area where you had to be extra careful of the trees on both sides of the road.

a tight turn

We got over to number 106 and immediately noticed how “un-level”  it was.   It’s a lot larger than it looks and is a very pretty site. 

site # 106  --- too unlevel, no satellite

site # 106  --- too unlevel, no satellite

We put the satellite up for a test run, and it just kept spinning around.  Nope, no satellite here.  After a few minutes, Al thought we should see if we could change sites.  Site 92 was level and he thought we had a chance of getting the satellite signal. Al made a quick call to the office and we changed our site.

Of course that meant we had to navigate around that scary campground road again…and those two trees!

Al used the "Barney" method of backing into the campsite that we learned at Lazy Days.  We got right into the site with no trouble at all.  These classes are available online and I highly recommend them…even if you are a pro at driving a motor home.  I think everyone could learn something from this video series.  We especially liked the one showing an easy way to get into  a campsite.

The site was very level and plenty long enough.  We pushed the button for the satellite..never thinking we’d ever get a signal through all the thick trees.  Guess what?   We got a signal!  Note that pretty little satellite on the roof?  It’s working like a charm!  Our Verizon signal is also working great.  Internet and satellite..what more could you want?

Site 92, level and we got satellite

We have shade, trees, satellite and lots of room for the awning. 

We also have wildlife!

raccoon

Al spread some birdseed on the picnic table and when we came back from a walk we had company.

Isn’t he cute?  He’s just a baby.  I don’t know where his Mom or siblings are.

IMG_4195

This loop of the campground is not on the river.  The other loop is on the river, but those sites are smaller and mostly 30 amp.  Not big rig friendly.

We took a walk over to the river.  There is a wide spot in the river where the water doesn’t flow too well, so there is a lot of debris floating on the water, which is why the water looks so nasty.  Here is a picture of the resident gator.  He’s pretty big..probably 8-10 feet long.

gator

Mom came for a short visit after a doctors appointment.  We sat outside for a while and between our new Therma-cell mosquito repellant, and two fans, we weren’t bothered by mosquitos.

Mom

Our backyard view.

view out the back at site 92

Our patio.

campsite 92 at Hillsborough River State Park

Some blooming “Beauty Berries”.

Beauty Bush

Al already saw 5 deer.  This is the kind of campground we prefer!  Life is good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Change of Scenery

Lutz, Florida

We took a drive over to Hillsborough River State Park  yesterday.  It is one of our favorite campgrounds, and is close by.  We want to move, but still  be close to the Veterinarian,  just in case.

It’s a great state park and we have some wonderful memories from past camping trips there.  There is a nice 2.2 mile loop around the park which is great for wildlife viewing.  There are numerous trails through the woods and along the river and of course there is kayaking on the river.  They also have a huge pool, and a little restaurant nearby. 

We were not sure we could get the “Big Guy” (new motor home) into the campsites, so we decided to take a drive over and see if we would fit.

We had no trouble getting in with our 32 foot motor home, but we had our doubts on the new one.  That extra 9 feet can make a big difference.

We came to the conclusion that we can make it in.  There are quite a few sites that are plenty big and should be easy enough to get into.  The only issue is one curve in the road with pine trees on each side.  We will have to be careful when we turn that corner.  Our friends were just there in their motorhome which is I think 36 feet, so we should be fine.  I think we’re still just a little nervous about it and once we park it a few more times, we’ll be more comfortable.

The sites are beautiful with lots of trees and privacy.  Everything is green and lush and  lots of  wildlife.

We doubt we will get a signal for our satellite, and there is no sewer hook-ups, but it’s still a great campground and we’re anxious to go.  

We plan on leaving tomorrow. We hope to get site number 96.  It’s a non reserveable site and provided no one is there tomorrow, we can have it.  We have also picked out  a few other back up sites. 

The mosquitos were pretty thick, probably due to all the rain we’ve been getting.  I guess that’s one negative thing about a woodsy campground.

We stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a Thermacell mosquito repellent.  I have heard from several people that they work well to keep mosquitos at bay from your campsite.  It’s supposed to cover an area up to 15’ by 15’.  It was $22.88.  A friend of mine also told me that if you put a little Obsorbine Junior  on your body, it repels mosquitos very well too.  You just need to put a strip on your leg, arms and forehead and it keeps the mosquitos away.  We’ll see.

We are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irene, but all the reports are keeping it well offshore of Florida.   It will definitely stir up the waters on the east coast of Florida, so kayak diving wouldn’t be very good right now anyway.  Sometimes these storms stir up hidden treasure.   There were a lot of ship wrecks  (Spanish Galleons) along the east coast of Florida and people have found some very valuable things.  Al has a metal detector, so that’s something fun to do….if we are ever able to leave the Tampa area.

Shipwreck Chart Florida

Monday, August 22, 2011

Peace River Preserve or Campground?

Lutz, Florida

Well, first of all, Squeaky is doing okay.  She has absolutely no appetite though and we’re (me) having to “assist feed” her.  I like that term better than “force feed.”  She is on an appetite stimulant and Prednisolone, which should also help her appetite, but unfortunately nothing is helping.  I don’t know what is causing it, but we’re doing our best to keep her nourished.

Caregiving is tiring and stressful, and I decided I wanted to get out of the house for a while, so we decided to go on a short trip on Saturday.

We bought a Thousand Trails membership at the Tampa Rv show last winter and we are entitled to 30 days of free camping at select parks.  After we use our 30 days, we have unlimited camping at $3.00 a night.  We have only been able to use about 12 nights so far.

One of the campgrounds we have access to,  is called Peace River Campground. It is supposed to be a nice campground in a woodsy setting on the Peace River. 

We decided to take the 100 mile drive down to the campground to check it out.  We drove down to Arcadia, Florida and found the campground right away.

IMG_4132

It was woodsy.  The gravel roads were muddy and wet from a recent rain.  It looked okay, but not great.  It was a busy campground with lots of activity.  It is in the city of Arcadia, Florida.

There were a lot of primitive sites along the river as well as full hook-up sites further away from the river.  A lot of people make multi-day kayak trips, and camp along side the river.

IMG_4136

When we went to the office, and got some literature, we noted the rates were $58 a night, and no mention of it being a Thousand Trails Park.  A light bulb went off….this may not be the right Peace River Campground?  Sure enough, there is another one in Wauchula, Florida.  I guess we didn’t do our due diligence!

We eventually found the correct one, which is actually called  Peace River Preserve,  in Wauchula, Florida.  It is a very nice campground and not quite as far away from Tampa.

The roads were paved, although not all of them in the greatest condition.  The sites were not paved, and no concrete pads.  We liked the sites in the rows from d-30 to f-1.  They were in full sun, so the satellite would work.  They would be nice in the winter months when appreciate the warmth from the sun.

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Some sites were under trees and some were out in the open. 

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It was big rig friendly.  There are sites with 20/30 amp with electric and water only, and about half the sites are 30/50 amp with full hook-ups.  We liked the campground.  It’s a little like a state park (our preferred) but has the full hook-ups we have come to love. Smile

They have a nice boat/kayak launch onto the beautiful Peace River.

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Peace River Preserve (Thousand Trails

The usual sign you see around any  Florida fresh water.

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The river looked serene and beautiful and definitely made us want to kayak there.  The water is dark  reddish brown in color, due to the tannic acid from the Cypress trees.

There have been a lot of artifacts and fossils found in this river.  In 1996 an entire mammoth fossil was found.    It’s quite a diverse archeological area.

Here is an interesting site showing some of the artifacts that have been pulled from this river.  Some fossils date back 50 million years.  During this time, the sea level in Florida has risen and fallen many times, so you can find fossils for sea and land creatures.

Al found a Mastodon tooth many years ago on a dive in the Suwanee River.  It was our first ever artifact dive and we never found anything like it again.   This is a huge tooth that’s about 6 inches across.  Pretty nice specimen, huh?  The Mastodon lived some 40 million years ago, during the last ice age and became extinct about 10,000 years ago.  No one knows what caused their extinction.  They are a relative of the elephant.

Al’s Mastodon tooth

P1010266

A Mastodon

Mastodon   Wikipedia  the free encyclopedia

We didn’t have time to stay and explore very long, but we decided that the Peace River Preserve is our kind of campground, and we will be back.  Since we got our new rig, we are having to make sure the places we choose are large enough.  One of the trade offs of having a large rig, I guess.

After we got back home from our little jaunt, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the  tv series of Breaking Bad.    It’s a great  series and we are really enjoying it.  It’s about a high school chemistry teacher who gets lung cancer.  He has no health insurance and has to turn to “cooking meth” to pay his doctor bills.  It’s very good, and kind of reminds me of  Dexter, due to the strange twists and turns.  We are on season 3. 

Sunday, we spent checking out a few campgrounds in Zephyrhills for winter.   There are a lot of campgrounds there and they are reasonably priced.  We need to start thinking about trying to get a reservation though as they fill up quickly when the snowbirds start to come.  I’m hoping there are still some sites available, as a lot of people make their reservations year to year.  We want to go between Zephyrhills and some of our free Thousand Trails membership parks, but this may involve some reservations….and you know how we do when we try to reserve something.  Smile

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hitch Itch

Lutz, Florida

We have been here a week now.  Al has been doing his pest control accounts and I have been taking care of little Squeaky and taking care of some of those pesky chores that still manage to find us, even though we tried to run away from home! 

Squeaky hasn’t been doing well, but for the time being, is doing a little better.  It’s been a rough few days.

The Chemo (Leukeran) drug was not supposed to make her sick, but I think it did.  It’s so hard to tell with an animal though.   We stopped the chemo drug for a few days to try to settle her stomach.  I’m contemplating starting her back on it today. 

We are anxious to leave this area, and head to the east coast of Florida, but we’re afraid to get too far away from her Veterinarian.  This new vet has given us her home number for middle of the night emergencies, so that means an awful lot.

So, while we are here in one place, we are using the time to enjoy our new home.  Even though we have been living in it over a month, at Lazy Days we were back and forth to service so many times, we never could get settled.

I have decided I really like my Convection oven and washer/dryer.  How I ever lived without the washer/dryer, I don’t know. Smile I tried the corn on the cob recipe Margie gave me, but mine didn’t turn out as good as when I use the Nu-wave oven.  I think it over cooked it a bit.   I think Margie had the advantage of that good Midwestern corn!

The motor home is really comfortable and easy to live in.  I love having a comfortable couch again, and had forgotten how nice it is to watch movies laying on the couch.

It’s been too hot and muggy to get interested in doing much outdoors.  We may take a short drive somewhere tomorrow, just for a change of scenery.  I haven’t wanted to leave Squeaky very long, so a short drive is all we’ll get.  Maybe a drive to the beach to watch the sun set.

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s blogs about all their summer travels.  Have fun guys!!  Wish we were there!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hanging out

Lutz, Florida

Nothing exciting going on here, unless you count taking care of a sick kitty.

Squeaky started on her Chemo (Leukeran) on Saturday.  I just found out this is not your normal chemo drugs, but a drug that suppresses the immune system.  It doesn’t seem right to me to suppress the immune system on an ill cat, but I guess this is the only option we have.  The good news is that it doesn’t have the horrible side effects that normal chemo does.

We have not been getting much sleep around here.  The medicine seemed to cause her to be restless.  I don’t know if it was restlessness, or nausea, or some kind of discomfort, but Saturday and Sunday night she was up and down all night long….as was I.

I spoke to the vet last night at length and gained some more understanding on what to expect and what I can do  to help her.  I hope today will be a better day.  I hope to be able to get her to eat more.

I am documenting her treatment on a separate blog I created, just as a way for me to remember what is happening, and what is working.   I have kept the blog private so that no one is subjected to the boring details, but if anyone out there is facing the same thing (or is just interested) let me know and I will allow anyone to view it.  It just documents our day and what happens when I give her a certain prescription.  Hopefully it will help me with her treatment. 

So….no fun around here.  Al is working doing his monthly pest control accounts.  We’re still hoping to stabilize Squeaky enough so that we can get over to Vero Beach, where the lobsters are waiting for us!  Lobster season just started and we heard they are plentiful this year.   Florida Lobsters are not like you get up in Maine.  You eat their tails, not their claws.

The following is an underwater picture of the front of a lobster.  They hide in crevices and you have to “tickle” then to get them to come out.

This is what that process looks like.  Smile  When you put your head down, your feet float up.

Image Detail for   http   www.frandecker.com whimseypage images FLKeysLobsters_jpg.jpgbster

The next photo is what they look like, except they are usually backed into a hole.  When you grab for them they scoot back further into the hole and tease you.  They are very fast.

Image Detail for   http   keysnews.com files images 0331_Lobster

We picked up a new/used scuba tank the other day.  We have about 6 old tanks, but the dive shops won’t fill old tanks anymore because they are too old, and can explode under pressure.   We need to find one more tank and we think we’ll be back in business.  Al has checked our regulators (the part that takes the high pressure air from the tank and lowers the pressure so you can breath).    We don’t  plan on doing any deep diving, so they should be fine.   On the East coast (Atlantic) the water gets deeper much quicker, so we intend to take the kayaks out and dive from them.  (kayak diving).  My only concern is getting back into the kayak.  I guess I’ll have to practice close to shore.  I sure hope things will work out so that we can go.  We just want to stay close to our veterinarian for the time being.

I keep reading other blogs and seeing how much fun everyone is having.  We’re jealous!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Squeaky, Lyme Disease and Ticks

Lutz, Florida

We enjoyed our day not having to move or have any service people come inside.  The new refrigerator seems to be working fine, but we do notice opening the doors really bring the inside temperature up.  We never seemed to have any problems in the old Dometic refrigerator, but then again, it was half the size, so maybe that was why.  Margie said Norcold’s are known as “not cold.”  I guess we’ll have to live with it.

We got a call back from the Vet yesterday.  The tests results,  came back inconclusive, but likely that she has lymphoma.  They did find immature  lymphoma cells in her blood.  This may sound like bad news, but at this point, we are happy to have some kind of diagnosis that we can at least try to treat.  Even though it is not curable, we are hoping to give her some time and quality of life.  The way things are going right now, we would have a very short time left with her.   The vet called in a prescription for the chemo drug, Leukeran.   It was inexpensive ( $37).  We will give her a pill every other day.  Dr. Drake said cats normally tolerate it very well with minimal side effects…affects?    We start them today.  Wish us luck.  We feel better that at least now we are possibly doing something that might help her.  Yes, we love our girl!

I also wanted to give an update on my Mother.  She kept going to doctor after doctor and none of them could find what was wrong with her.  Last month, by accident,  they discovered she had a 95% blocked artery,  and they put in a stent.   Unfortunately, that didn’t make her feel any better.  She kept complaining of this discomfort/pressure in her chest.  We thought it was heart related due to the location of the pressure, but they assured us her heart was fine.  Of course, they assured us of that right before they discovered the 95-99% blocked artery! 

Anyway, after the stent, she thought she’d start feeling better. She didn’t, and still had that horrible feeling in her chest.

We think we may now know what some of her problems are.  This may help others.

Several years ago, she found out that she had Lyme Disease (caused by a tick).  I don’t know how she got it, because my Mother is NOT an outdoorsy type of girl!  Where she got a tick is a mystery to me.  She lives in a subdivision in the middle of Tampa and she doesn’t go hiking, walking, kayaking or anything like that.

She was treated for the Lyme disease, for months with some heavy duty intravenous drugs.  She had hoped that would help her to feel better when she finished treatment.  It didn’t.

Just by luck,  a few months ago, a doctor she visited (one of many) told her that they recently discovered that people with Lyme Disease can also have a number of other bacterial tick borne diseases.  At the time she got diagnosed with Lyme Disease, they didn’t know of the existence of these other infections.    She was tested and they confirmed  that she did have one of these other infections.  The doctor thought that could be causing some of her problems.

Three weeks ago she started on a new anti-biotic.  This one is by mouth not iv, fortunately.  She has actually started feeling better.  She has days where she can actually do something, besides nap and sit in her recliner.  We are hopeful this will solve her problems and give her a better quality of life.

I want to share what we’ve learned about  Lyme  Disease.  It is caused by a bite of a tick. I am no means an expert, but I do know that if you get a tick, it can very easily cause a problem that you may not know about for years.

If you get a tick bite, you will likely get a red spot on your skin soon after. 

It could look like this:

Lyme disease and other tick borne bacterial diseases  BADA UK 2

or this:

Lyme disease and other tick borne bacterial diseases  BADA UK

I think when you get this red spot or rash, is when you need to see a doctor.  Al has gotten several ticks on him over the years, but we don’t recall seeing any of these types of rashes.  We like to hike at the state parks and they can have ticks, even on marked trails.   We think he got his when he went off the trail a little bit, but we’re not sure.  For some reason, they seem to prefer him.

Al does pest control and gets calls frequently from some of the veterinarians that they have ticks in their office.  I guess the dogs bring in the ticks.  So if you take your dog to the vet, you could end up bringing home a tick.  Maybe that’s how Mom got hers. 

I found a tick on me last winter when I got out of the car to read a sing in a state park.  I was in a parking lot!  When I got back into the car I found a small tick crawling on my arm.  It didn’t bite me.  Just understand, that ticks can be anywhere, not just in the woods.  Be aware of them and that red spot/rash on your skin.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We Escaped!

Lutz, Florida

We did it!

We escaped the confines of Lazy Days!

The new refrigerator cooled properly overnight and we were good to go.

We had a bit of an issue with the service guy that replaced the refrigerator. (not Mike)  He was definitely not our best service rep and when/if we go back we will not use him again.

If you ever go to Lazy Days for service we would highly recommend Dana Smith as service advisor and Mike Ballard for repairs.  This guy can do anything and is very conscientious.  We trusted that he would do the job right and look out for out interests. We also liked Johnny Cook who is the slide out expert. Jose (unknown last name) did our Air Force One toad brake and was great.   He also puts on base plates and hitches.     If you get John Williams….request a new service tech.  He was like a bull in a china shop and not respectful of our property.  When he wanted to raise a day/night shade he just jerked up one side, leaving the whole thing crooked.  His way of doing things didn’t give us a good feeling and we weren’t comfortable that everything was done correctly.    On Wednesday night before he left for the day, he said he had to “fabricate a baffle” and do a few other things,  and that we should be ready to leave around noon the next day.  He had to give the frig time to cool down properly.   The first thing on Thursday morning when he got there, he said we were ready to go.  What changed overnight?  When did he fabricate the baffle, and do the other things?  When I questioned this, he blew me off.  Of course that didn’t set too well and we had to get a few other people involved.  We had been so happy with the people and service until this guy.  He was  definitely not an asset to Lazy Days from a customer’s point of view.  Apparently, he has had other customer service issues…we were not the first.  Anyway, after Mike checked his work, we felt  comfortable to go.  All in all we were extremely happy with our Lazy Days experience.  The good far out weighed the bad, but if he had been our service tech from the get go, things would have been very different.  They agreed to extend our "30 day warranty” another two weeks.

We did find out something interesting that we did not know.  Supposedly we were informed when we signed the paperwork, but neither of us remember it.  It turns out that our “30 day warranty” was not for anything chassis related.  So that means the engine and transmission were not included in this warranty.  That concerns me a little bit.  We did purchase an extended warranty, and hopefully this will not be an issue.  It was something we were not aware of.   We realize that we got way more warranty than most other dealers, but it was a surprise to us.  So, if you ever think of buying from Lazy Days (or any other dealer)  be aware.

We left with a new refrigerator, tires, batteries, slide topper, water pump,  toilet, shower head, slide seals, and probably a few other things.  I guess we can’t complain.

We got another  rv wash and were ready to go.  This was the first time we hooked up the toad to the new coach.  Everything (including the new brake system) worked fine and we were off.  We were both a bit nervous driving this big thing on the highways.  We had driven it around the Lazy Days Campground and Al test drove it a few times on the interstate,  but this was going to be the real test.  It was now ours, and we had to travel down Interstate 4, which is full of crazy drivers!  We do our best to stay off of I-4, but there was no way around it.  Al has always wanted one of those big air horns that the semi truck have.  He now has one and thanks to an idiot in a little white car, he got to test it out!  Smile

  Everything went smoothly and we arrived back at Winter Quarters Rv park in Lutz, Florida.  This is the campground we were at before we headed to Lazy Days.  It’s definitely not the greatest place, but we have a nice level concrete site with a little shade.  We have full hook-ups, we can use our awning and the satellite works!  I’m pretty happy!  We paid for a week, but will probably stay a bit longer.  Al needs to get some pest control accounts done next  week.  We’re hesitant to get too far away from the Veterinarian for the time being.  We’re sure hoping to be able to go lobster hunting sometime very soon.  We’ll see.

I wanted to pass on another of my “favorite things.”  Hey, if Oprah can do it, so can I!

When we first took delivery of the motor home (way back when) the lady in charge of the cleaning crew came by to make sure it was cleaned to our satisfaction.  It was.  I did explain the carpet cleaner left the carpet way too wet, but otherwise everything was fine. She gave me a can of this stuff to make amends.

Heavy Duty Carpet Stain Remover  Technicians Choice  for Sale Honolulu Aiea Oahu   Detailing Products Hawaii   Auto Detailing Honolulu  E Cars Auto Detailing  LLC

She said it is great carpet cleaner and could also be used for  leather, vinyl and lots of other stuff.  She said just spray it on a cloth, not directly on the leather/vinyl.   It is great on the carpet, but I haven’t used it on anything else because it’s not labeled for those things.  I may try it later.  It’s called Technicians choice.  It’s really great for spot cleaning carpet and high traffic areas.  I hope not to have to need it too long because this carpet really needs to go.  I have to get Al  “persuaded” before starting another project!  He tells me  to “forget it”  whenever I mention replacing the carpet. Smile He’ll come around.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Now?

Seffner, Florida

Guess where we are? 

Yep…Lazy Days.

Okay, here is what has been  happening.

First and most important we are having some major problems with little Squeaky.  She is home now and appears to be feeling better, but we’ve had a rough few days.

The vet we took her to last Friday was convinced most of her problems were due to a hairball that she had been unable to pass.    He felt even her “hypoglycemic event” could have been caused by the hairball.  I was hopeful this was indeed the cause of her problems.   He released her Saturday afternoon.  She was bright eyed and seemed much better.  As the day wore on she started looking worse and worse and we ended up having to take her back to the emergency animal clinic on Sunday afternoon.   We have now had some experience with the low blood sugar issues, and we are finally starting to recognize the symptoms.  Unfortunately, by the time I’m sure what the problem is, it’s almost too late.  When we got her to the ER,  she was starting to have  seizures and was really, really bad.  As soon as we walked in they recognized we had a major problem and came rushing out to get her, ignoring the other people that had arrived before us.  I quickly told them that I thought it was hypoglycemia and that she needed glucose fast.  To their credit, they started her on glucose immediately and she immediately improved.  Then they came out to get more of a history.  They kept her on a  IV glucose drip all night and monitored her blood sugar.  This is a great place.  They have overnight medical care, with doctors and a nursing staff.  It’s just like in a hospital, except I think you might get better care.  If you ever have a critically ill animal and the vet wants to keep them overnight, this is the kind of place they need to be.  I’m sure most major cities have some kind of animal ER.  They are expensive, but do a good job. In a vets office, the doctors  go home at 6 pm and the animal is left on their own all night.  At this place, there is a doctor on duty along with overnight nursing staff to watch the animals.  I read the charts and they actually checked on her many times overnight.

So Monday, we took her back to her vet.  He was off that day so we had two other doctors in the office looking at her.  Dr. Drake thinks the hairball was secondary to her real problem.  She is fairly certain she has lymphoma (cancer).  She did a needle aspirate of her spleen and its been sent to the lab for confirmation.  The good news is that it can be treated with Prednisone (steroid) and chemo drugs.  Evidently cats tolerate chemo drugs very well and it’s not too expensive (yeah right).  She would take a pill 2-3 times a week, so it’s something I could do. The vet was clear that this is a fatal disease and the best we could hope for is some time.  We certainly don’t want her to suffer though.  If this will help her to have some quality of life we’ll do it.  Of course we don’t have a definitive diagnosis yet.  We’ve come to accept the situation though, and we’ll deal with it.

She’s been home since Wednesday night, and so far we’ve managed to keep up the blood sugar.  I’m having to force feed her a little though, but she’s starting to eat on her own a little now.

Sooooooo….

 

The other news is that we are back at our “favorite” campsite….Camp Bayview at Lazy Days.

This is our view.

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Beautiful sunset, huh?

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We had some issues with the big living room slide-out. We had a guy named Johnnie Cook work on it.  He’s the slide out king, I guess.   He said after years of bouncing along, the slide just needed some adjustments.  He really knew what he was doing and the slide out is much quieter when we are putting it in and out. 

In the meantime, during the process of getting the slide out taken care of and having the toad brake installed, we just kept watching our refrigerator temperatures.  We had been having issues with it all along and Mike made several adjustments hoping that would fix the problem.  The problem with rv refrigerators is that since they don’t cool like a household frig, they have to give it 12 hours to test what they do.  The problem with ours was that after the 12 hours it would seem to be working fine for a few days and then we’d get a high temp again.  Finally last week-end we started having fairly consistent temps in the upper 40’s.  They scheduled us to come back to “Bayview”.   We weren’t able to get Mike this time and the guy we got, John, isn’t our favorite tech.  We will definitely try to not use him again.  Anyway, he had to go through the whole test and sit procedure before he could diagnose the problem.  We pitched a small fit and said we had the numbers written down and this has been done too many times.  It’s time to get it resolved.  Mike told him to pull the refrigerator out and check the box.  Some Norcold 1200 refrigerators had a problem with condensation getting between the box and the outside protective coating.  This caused delamination of the box and loss of cooling.  He finally got it removed on Thursday and after an approval from his boss, we got the okay for a brand new refrigerator!    Of course this meant another night in Bayview because they had to order it.  So it came about 2pm yesterday and he got it installed by 6pm. 

Here is a picture of the bad refrigerator.  Note the sides how they are bowed out?  That is the problem I mentioned.warped box on old refrigerator

Replacing a frig in a motor home is not quite like doing it in a house.  The first thing they have to do is take out a window! It’s too big to get through the door.   That involves removing the valance and day/night shades, which are all one piece (good to know for future reference).

Here is a picture from the inside with the window removed.

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There were about 5 guys and a fork lift involved in this process.  It was interesting to watch.

Here is a photo of the old one being removed.

Old refrigerator coming out on forklift

And the new one being brought in.

New refirgerator going in

Old refrigerator coming out on forklift

We had to stand outside during the process and we found this interesting moth on the side of the motor home.  It looked like he was made of wood.

strange looking moth

Once they got the new refrigerator inside, it was hooked up pretty quickly and the window re-installed.  Of course we couldn’t leave…they have to wait 12 hours to make sure the temperature goes down to where it should be.  It’s currently 35.4 degrees, so we think all is good.  He has a few things to do on the outside unit today, but we’re hoping to finally leave Lazy Days today.   I know, I just jinxed it, right?

We can’t really complain I guess.  This refrigerator cost over $4000 and with tax and labor it would probably have cost us $5000.  John said our extended warranty would only have covered the cooling unit…not the box, so we are very lucky Lazy Days stepped up to the plate and replaced it for us.  I know they really didn’t want to, but they did once they were sure what the problem was. 

We’ve had a lot of wear and tear/maintenance items replaced and repaired on their dime.  Hopefully we got it all!   We have been frustrated, but now that we got the new frig, we are thankful it worked out like it did.  The new frig looks exactly like the old one and they were also able to use the beautiful cherry wood panels we had on the old one. 

And one more sunset picture from “Camp Bayview.”

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Our “jello” plans to go to Vero Beach are postponed.  It’s almost time for Al to start on his pest control accounts, and with Squeaky’s health issues, we don’t want to go too far from “home.”  We will (hopefully) leave today and go to another campground…..NOT Lazy Days!

Wish us luck!