• Epilog

    Life on the road…

    32 campsites, 126 days, 3,024 photos and over 7,800 miles….and 1 heart attack.

    Well, I’m back home in Florida. After a hair raising trip across the south on Interstate 10 from the California-Nevada border to Interstate 75 in Florida, I am now camped under an Oak tree in Palmetto, where I have already made a new friend…an awesome brown and white 6 toed cat…ala Hemingway’s Key West. After only 2 days she is sitting on my lap “allowing” me to pet her while I type this epilog. Maybe it’s the little pieces of cheese I’m offering. The neighbors tell me she’s a stray. So I will make sure she has food (real cat food), water and companionship for as long as I am here. I’ll call her “Cheesy”. Oh, and she appears to have a brother. they are very similar in size and color so I’m sure they’re related. He is the only other cat (of which there are many around here), that she allows inside “our” home. I’m calling him “Dog”……because I really wanted a dog.

    The trip lasted a total of 126 days and covered a total of 7, 863 miles. 5,609 miles pulling my little home around and over 2, 250 miles exploring. Not bad for a 60 year old man with a 22 year old travel trailer driving a 12 year old Tahoe that now has over 235,000 miles on it…and it only used a half a quart of oil. It was indeed the trip of a lifetime and I’m already planning next year’s adventure. I’m thinking straight up I 75 all the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and turn left. I hear there’s great fishing and kayaking on some of those Minnesota lakes…and I’d still like to do a return trip to Alaska.

    I learned a lot about RV parks and campgrounds. Mainly to stay away from the $10.00 a night places. That was an adventure all by itself. From drunks wandering home from the local tavern falling against the side of your rig to hold themselves up, to kids sleeping in tents as permanent residents. Yes, that’s right. I actually saw 2 kids, a boy and a girl about 10-12 years old, get up in the morning from their tents, go inside their family’s run down travel trailer (that wasn’t much bigger than mine) and get ready to catch the bus for school. Dad left in an old beat up pick-up truck to go to work…I guess. Oh, and I should mention the brown water. The guy says “we just had it tested last week, but I wouldn’t drink it”. And trains…don’t forget to ask about trains. One place had 3 tracks within 50 yards of the fence and the ground shook whenever one of the trains came barreling down the track. There were also more full time residents in the cheap parks. Mostly people with addiction problems just trying to keep their buzz going. I guess for 10 bucks a night…you get what you pay for. Come to think of it, I kinda liked the cheap spots. Real Americans living a real life. And the thing is, they were no less friendly than the retirees in the high priced parks with their $500,000 land yachts. Everyone has a story to tell and we all enjoyed the comradery of “mobile life”.

    I met some great people while on the road…and some I’ve known forever but haven’t seen in years. Kim, it was so special for me to see you. It has been to many years and I promise it won’t be next time. And I loved seeing Caitlin and Cody. Cody probably would think I’m nuts but…He looks like me. Of course having Jason stop me out on the highway with lights flashing was great fun also. Thanks my friend, you made my day. I think fondly of Angie, my first experience with a full time resident/alcoholic/chain smoker. She would go on and on about that shithead ex-husband of hers. But I enjoyed hanging out with her for a couple of days while I was camped in Mississippi…and she could cook a pretty good burger on her grill. Oh, and she could mix a pretty mean screwdriver as well. As I am embarrassed to admit it, another one of my favorite people was the 82 year old guy who owned “Prairie Song”. I can’t remember his name but I’ll find it in my notes. Prairie Song was the place where the guy and his buddy spent 32 years building a replica of an old western town. He took me on a private tour and afterward invited me to “stay over” and help him as a caretaker. Sounded like a pretty fun gig. And then there’s Gary from Dallas who taught me how to catch the rainbow trout in New Mexico. Man that was good eatin’. We drove around in his brand new Chevy dually diesel truck (that he pulls his 40’ fifth wheel with) and listened to “Willies Roadhouse” on satellite radio. Fun guy to hang out with. There certainly are many others that come to mind but I can’t forget to mention Linda from Oatman, AZ. There is a picture of her in one of my Arizona posts decked out in old mining town cloths with a six shooter strapped to her side. I think she was the honorary (if not elected) mayor of Oatman. She and I had a great conversation on many different topics and I found her to be extremely intelligent…for a woman who has lived in a town up in the mountains with a population of around 120 souls for nearly 30 years. JUST KIDDING Linda…I think you’re great. Dang, I almost forgot Jerry. He saved my life when I was having my heart attack. Thank you sir, I owe you my life. In fact, I would like to thank all the people who helped me out when I needed it the most. From the neighbors at the RV Park who kept me calm and sitting upright while we waited for the ambulance to the cardiologist who rammed that wire up through my groin and into my heart…I didn’t feel a thing. And the ICU nurses were great at keeping me upbeat when I felt down.

    If I had to pick a favorite area it would be southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. I was totally enthralled with the mountains…and the trees…and the trails…and the fishing…and the wildlife…and the… I could live there if it didn’t snow 10 feet at a time all winter long. BRRR! My least favorite area would of course be the desert. Good God folks…I had a heart attack there!! It was 108 degrees nearly every day. The mountains were all brown and rocky with no trees…although beautiful in their own way. And the only wildlife was big eared rabbits that would run off like a bullet if you got within 50 feet of them and coyotes that you could hear every night but never see during the day. Now, I did enjoy the burros in Oatman. It was fun watching them come down out of the hills every morning to spend the day in town with the tourists and then wander back up into the hills around sunset. But the best wildlife viewing wasn’t even “out in the wild”. Bearizona Wildlife Refuge was awesome for wildlife viewing…because all the animals were fenced in. Well, I guess it is what it is.

    Anyone who has been following my adventure knows how I have been moved by my encounters with the Native American spirits. Each and every place I traveled where the Native Americans lived and died…before and because of the European invasion (I mean US), I felt spiritually changed. The energy in these areas was sometimes almost overwhelming. I sat for hours in places like the “Painted Desert” and “Apache Pass” in Arizona and was transported to a new spiritual level. I don’t mean to sound corny, just writing it as I feel it.

    I took 3,024 photos while roaming around from campsite to campsite. I will continue to add photos to my blog over the coming weeks. The photos are in no particular order…just like my world.

    The Adventure Continues…..

  • Rough Roads, Cool Temperatures and Ghosts in the Valley

    Life on the road…

    This week was mostly a travel week, putting in 1,024 miles on some of the roughest roads traveled so far. I think it’s great to warn people about the condition of the road by putting up signs every 5 miles that read “rough road ahead”, but why not just repair the road. I feel another government rant coming on…it’s OK, I’ll just keep it to myself. Some parts of I10 are so bad you have to slow down to a mere crawl just to keep your teeth from rattling right out of your mouth…or, like most people…drive 10 MPH over the posted 80 MPH speed limit and try to float over the holes. My poor little old travel trailer is getting bounced around like a sailboat in a hurricane.

    On Tuesday I travelled from Las Vegas to about 35 miles west of Phoenix. Tactical error on my part as I had to get up Wednesday morning only to sit in rush hour traffic all the way through Phoenix. We’ve all been there, people with anger issues weaving in and out of lanes, cutting off poor guys like me pulling little travel trailers…and just to get nowhere. And then there’s the guy in the pick-up truck 2 vehicles ahead of me who jumps out of his truck as we are sitting waiting for traffic to clear. He has a large gas tank in the bed of his truck with a nozzle attached and he proceeds to splash gas all over the side of his truck and onto the roadway while trying to put some in the truck’s gas tank. At the same time, the guy in the vehicle directly in front of me tosses his lit cigarette butt out the window. NO there was not an explosion…but damn that could’ve been real bad.

    Not all the best stories are told sitting around the campfire. While camped in Bowie, Arizona at an RV park that is adjacent to a rundown old convenience store/highway fuel stop, I had the unexpected pleasure of sitting around the picnic table out back with a bunch of old time locals. It was around sunrise and these 6 old guys were gathering for their morning coffee and bullshit session, so I decided to befriend them. Keep in mind that these guys are on the uphill side of 80 and don’t take too kindly to people insinuating themselves into their little group. But I have great stories to tell and…well…I’m a pretty cool old guy myself. After exchanging a few heart attack/fishing stories, another old guy pulled up in a beat up old grape colored Saturn. You know the one, chick-mobile all the way. As he got out of the car and limped over with his cane, one of the old timers jokingly quipped, “hey Jed, nice car. You turnin’ gay in your old age?” “Naw” he replied, “I wrecked my car and had to buy a new one”. I guess a new car in these parts means 25+ years old. Well of course there was a story attached to the grape colored Saturn. Apparently Jed and a couple of his cronies were out in the back 40 on horseback trying to remove a ‘Very Large” bee hive. But rather than use a proven conventional method of removal, they decided to lasso it and drag it down to the river. Already I’m struggling to keep a straight face…this is going to be good! Well…the bees didn’t take to kindly to having their hive attacked so they went on the offensive. Unfortunately for Jed, he took the brunt of their anger, being stung more than 40 times. Now Jed, being a right smart guy, knows he has to get to the hospital. So he high tails it back to the barn, jumps in his car and takes off “hell bent” like a mad man. “Why didn’t you just call an ambulance?” asked one of his buddies. “Didn’t wanna wait around for them sons o bitches” was his reply. So of course on the way to the hospital poor old Jed (keep in mind this guy has to be at least 80 years old) passes out at the wheel and runs off the road, crashing the car and rolling it into a ditch. Fortunately, the force of the crash wakes him up and he is able to find his phone to call for help. After being treated for minor cuts and bruises, a sprained ankle and his 40+ bee stings, Jed is released from the hospital and out looking for a “new” car. “I kinda like the color” he says…”and the chicks really dig it”.

    While in Bowie, Arizona I visited the ruins of Fort Bowie. The fort was built in 1862 to protect Apache Pass and the spring that was discovered in the valley. Water in this area was very scarce and the spring became the focal point of many battles over the years. For over 20 years Apache pass and Fort Bowie were central to US Army operations against the Chiricahua Apaches. Although the pass was discovered by Brigadier General James Carleton while he was searching for Confederate troops, the army found a much more worthy adversary in the Chiricahua Apache Indians. During one such battle, when the fort was nothing more than a few tents as a temporary encampment, the famous Apache Cochise and his band of warriors battled US soldiers intermittently for 10 straight days. Many lives were lost on both sides of the battle and at one point the commander of the US troops, Lt. George Bascom lured Cochise into his tent for peace talks. During the “peace” talks Bascom threatened to hold Cochise hostage in an effort to end the fighting. When talks broke down, Cochise escaped by slashing through the wall of the tent and eluding the soldiers. After this affair, war raged in the valley on and off for the next 10 years. Much blood has been shed in this valley and the ghosts are there to speak of it. To get to the site of the ruins and battle area you have to walk about 2 miles over a ridge and down into the valley. When I arrived in the valley, I could feel the presence of all the brave men on both sides. To be in an area where there has been so much blood shed and loss of life. I just sat down in the tall grass, closed my eyes and let the spirits tell me their tales. It was quite moving for me, having recently been through a near death struggle of my own. Hopefully the photos will help tell the story.

    I also visited the Chiricahua National Monument. It is an area of rock formations that have been created over millions of years, originating from the Turkey Creek Volcano which erupted over 27 million years ago…I wonder if they called it that 27 million years ago?. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

    I am now in Fort Stockton, Texas and I plan to visit the historic site later today. Tomorrow I head to San Antonio and then on to Florida by the end of the week.

    The Adventure Continues…

  • Life’s Little Up’s and Down’s

    Life on the road…

    What a GREAT week! I started off Monday moving from the Mojave Valley in Arizona up to Las Vegas (about 120 miles). After nearly 4 weeks in the desert with daytime high temperatures between 106 and 109 and NO rain, I woke up to thunderstorms and it rained most of the day. When I reached Las Vegas the temperature was 64 degrees as a front was coming through and I set up camp in the rain…AWESOME!!…and the low temperature Monday night was 58! What a welcome…and much needed change.

    On Tuesday I rolled into the VA hospital and was given a clean bill of health. The doctor who examined me told me I could “resume normal activities”. I explained to her that “normal activities” included intense bike riding, long trips in the kayak and hours upon hours of hiking. Her reply was “go for it” so I did. While there I had a very informative talk with the pharmacist. I told her about my recent headaches (before the heart attack) and that I had been taking Ibuprofen. Sometimes more than the recommended amount to combat them (same thing I told the doctors). She told me to STOP taking ibuprofen and that she believed that is what likely triggered my heart attack…an overdose of Ibuprofen? She also told me…In a very “no holds barred” way, to suck it up and try to live without any over the counter pain meds. She was not a fan of pain meds and she sure seemed to know more about drug reactions than any of the doctors I’ve talked to…I liked her…but she would not agree to come rub my temples when I have a headache.

    Wednesday I visited the Hoover Dam. 115 steps down from the parking area (no elevator for this guy), hike around the dam and 115 steps back up to the truck. I did the steps twice just to see how my body would react. I think I’m going to survive. The Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression, between 1931-1935. It is considered one of the great “Manmade” wonders of the world and when completed created the largest manmade lake in the country…Lake Mead. Over 100 men lost their lives during the construction. There was no OSHA back then (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and no unions. But it was the depression and men lined up to work in the extremely dangerous conditions. The dam was completed more than 2 years ahead of schedule. Something unheard of with today’s government projects…and the amount of concrete used could pave a 2 lane highway all the way from San Francisco to New York. That’s a lot of concrete. 3,250,000 cubic yards for the dam and 1,110,000 cubic yards for the out buildings and generator plants. It’s hard to realize the immense size of the dam through pictures. It is one VERY BIG WALL holding back a tremendous amount of water. And the security to get near it…they pulled me off to the side and did a cursory search of the tahoe before letting me in the parking area. Of course the tahoe is full to capacity with all my “stuff”. After looking through a couple of plastic bins they sent me on my way.

    Thursday I decided it was time to see how my upper body would react to an intense kayak workout. So I put in on Lake Mead around sunrise and started paddling. Those damn mountains sure looked closer than they were. Before I knew it the truck was just a dot on the horizon and I wasn’t even winded. I sat in the middle of the lake and had a great talk on the phone with Chandler while enjoying my banana, tangerine and granola bar breakfast. I circled a couple of islands (see pics) and made my way back, feeling invigorated…and sore as hell. What a great feeling…way better than death…I think.

    Friday I got up early and went to the Las Vegas strip, where I spent most of the day walking around the casinos and up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. What an interesting place…and what an interesting time to visit the casinos. The all-nighters were still there trying to win back what they had lost and the early riser retirees were there playing the slots and spending their retirement checks. As the day progressed and the crowds grew I found myself feeling claustrophobic so I made my way over to the Lake Mead Recreation Area and sat in solitude watching the sun set over the mountains. My kinda sunset…my kinda place.

    Saturday morning I went back to the Lake Mead Recreation Area and did about a 10 mile round trip hike up to the railroad tunnels that were used to transport workers and materials to the Hoover Dam construction site. The railroad is no longer there but the tunnels (5 in all) were pretty cool and the views of Lake Mead were spectacular. The temperature was in the low to mid 70’s, the sun was shining brightly and I was right where I wanted to be at that very moment in my life. If you can’t say that at least once in a while during your time here on the planet.

    Tuesday I will be heading for Phoenix. (I need one more day at Lake Mead…because I love it!!). With my Oatman plans all but dead, I’m going to start moving back towards Florida to spend the Holidays with my family. They tell me they miss me…and yea, I guess I miss them too. I will spend the winter putting together another big real estate deal (I Hope) and making plans to tour the northern states in the spring. If you live in the Sarasota/Longboat Key/ Anna Maria Island area and are in need of a spectacular Real Estate Professional, I’m the guy you need to call. With over 25 years as a licensed Florida Realtor, I know how to “get the deal done”.

    So stay tuned as I make my way across southern Texas…with a short hop into Mexico near El Paso…and on to the beautiful sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island, Florida. Home for the past 35 years.

    The Adventure Continues…..


  • Still Alive and Kickin’

    Life on the road…..

    So I have downgraded my body ache from “hit by a truck” to “hit by a Volkswagen” and I am managing it with 2 Ibuprofen a day. The bruising around my groin area is about the color of the tahoe and that’s where most of the pain lives. I am walking countless miles along the gravel roads that are so common in this area (still apprehensive about wandering off into the desert as I had been doing) while my bike sits idle. After my follow up visit with the doctor, I should be able to ride again. I am having some side effects from the drugs I’m on….mostly trouble sleeping and weird appetite swings. I actually grossed myself out by eating fish at Long John Silver’s…..and liked it! Hard to compare that with the fresh trout I’ve been eating. Oh wait, I have one more trout left in the freezer. Dang!… I forgot about that. Sounds like Sunday dinner. All in all I’m doing well and ready to get back into life.

    I want to thank my family for the flowers and support. You are the best and I love you all so very much. But I especially want to thank my 4 daughters for being the best corps/core family I could have asked for. They called every day and spent time talking and video chatting with me. You have no idea how much I needed that…Thank You! You all came through in a way only a father with this much love can appreciate. You literally saved my life. At that point when I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive, I thought of you all and how mad you would be if I died like this. So I fought back….because you don’t EVER want to piss these 4 women off collectively.

    The VA clinic closest to me in Kingman can’t even give me an appointment for follow up until December…Hang on, I feel some government rage coming on. OK, it passed. So my best option is to go to the VA hospital in Las Vegas and walk into the emergency room. Maybe I’ll fake passing out or something. Anyway, a few days in Las Vegas doesn’t sound all that bad and I found an RV resort that is giving discounts to veterans. That along with my Passport America discount means I can stay for a week for less than 100 bucks….and they have a pool and hot tub…

    I went to Lake Havasu on Tuesday looking for a place to launch the kayak. Found a great spot and one of the locals said it’s about the only spot because the lakeshore is mostly high cliffs. Pretty cool area with stark mountain backgrounds. I should be ready to check it out in a couple of weeks. The guys I talked to also said the fishing is great, so it sounds like my kinda lake.

    On Friday I visited Laughlin, NV and spent some time wandering around the Riverfront Casino and Hotel. Quite the “Family” place with a little gaming room for the kids…HHMMMM?? They also had a collection of antique cars on one floor of the hotel that was free to visit. Great way to spend an afternoon out of the 108 degree heat.

    Along Route 66 you see many places where people have stacked rocks (known as cairns). The historical reason for this is merely a way to define trails and direction. Travelers have used this method for centuries to lay out trails in the desert and to help fellow travelers find their way. They also offer important information about trails. Such as where the next drop off is…good to know. As these symbols are present along a paved road such as Route 66, one has to wonder at their more modern meaning. To be on the safe side, I erected my own stone tribute, thanking the spirits that inhabit the mountain for watching over me.

    My plan to winter in Oatman with the burros seems to have hit a minor snag. While I was having my heart attack someone else became interested in the spot. So now I have to wait another week to see if this person takes it. I guess if it was meant to be, it will work out. Of course as I spend time in the town (I go there every day) I have discovered some disconcerting attributes. Linda, who appears to be the unofficial “Mayor” says…”don’t drink the water”. Always bring in bottled water from Fort Mojave. OK, I can live with that. But to pay a water bill for water you shouldn’t drink?? The guy who owns this spot also owns the water company…and most everything else in Oatman. Talk about a monopoly. When I asked her about gold prospecting…”sure, plenty of people prospect around here, but don’t wander onto anyone’s land…they tend to shoot first”. She did tell me that once I get settled and meet a few of the 128 residents, they’ll be happy to help me out…if they like me. Of course there are 4 bars and no laundromat. Who lives in a town with 4 bars and no laundromat? Stinky people with beer breath…that’s who! Can I live with having to travel 30 miles to do laundry? Why not, the place smells like burros anyway…no one will suspect that I’ve been wearing the same underwear for a week. And there’s burro poop that needs to be cleaned up ALL the time…and one morning a horny burro decided to “get a little” right in front of my spot! What an odd place…..I love it! I really want this thing to work out, so we’ll see. I don’t really have a backup plan if it doesn’t. Maybe drop down about 300 miles to pick up interstate 10 and head back east. They say Florida is a great place to spend the winter.

    The Adventure Continues…..

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  • The Heart Attack!

    Life on the road…..

    I would like to start this week by offering my most sincere condolences to my friend Juliann Pick Reynolds in the loss of her father. Even though I have never met Juliann face to face, I consider her a great friend and a special Facebook Family member. She is always upbeat and there is hardly a day go by that she doesn’t post and share something that makes me smile….or laugh my ass off. I’m so sorry for your loss. Maybe today’s story will offer YOU a smile or 2. I would also like to let my son Matthew McClung Whitby know that I am thinking of him…..and tell Amanda I’m sorry for the loss of her aunt…I Love You Matt… Text me your new phone number Butt Head…

    OK, now let’s have some fun…

    On Wednesday morning I loaded up my camera bag, filled my orange juice thermos, packed my nutria-grain bars, through the bottled water into it’s rack on the bike and headed off into this God forsaken desert for my morning ride. Along the way I met and old brown (everything is brown here) Labrador Retriever who was out for HIS morning walk from one of the nearby homes. We stopped and chatted for a while and he even walked a ways with me and enjoyed some of my breakfast. He was a big fan of the Nutri-Grain bar. When I returned to my little “Home” I sat down in my camp chair with my morning coffee just as I do most mornings and started playing a computer game on my tablet. After about 20 minutes it dawned on me that I did not release 1 drop of sweat during my morning ride. At that very moment I broke into a VERY cold sweat. I tried breathing my way out of it but it was not working. By the time I got inside and was sitting down in my desk chair it felt like an elephant had just decided to share the chair with me. At one point I thought “this room is too small for me AND the elephant so one of us has to go”. Being a “Guy” I had to go through several scenarios before I could actually tell myself that I was about to take a stroll with the grim reaper. After about 20 minutes of denial I decided I wasn’t quite ready to kick the bucket so I drug myself out of the chair and opened my door to see my neighbor working on his rig. All I could say was…”I think I’m having a heart attack”. He went into action immediately and along with other neighbors helped to comfort me as we waited for the ambulance. My breathing had become something right out of a bad horror movie and although my chest was feeling the weight of the entire universe, I could not feel my heart beating.

    When the ambulance arrived, the Emergency Techs starting working on me. They got me loaded up, strapped in and ready for the ride to the emergency room. Now we are cruising down a road that is in really bad shape, with plenty of up’s and downs and holes and cracks and….. Believe me folks, an ambulance is not the way to travel on this road when you’re having a heart attack. So the ET says to me “I’ve got to get an IV going so you need to hold still”. That’s when I knew I was not going to die. I grabbed his forearm in a vise like grip and said…”Not on this fucking road”. To which he replied “Don’t worry I do this all the time”, at that point I all but passed out. I remember a short period in the ER when I woke up to a woman shoving a form on a clip board in my face telling me to “sign here”. What’s this I ask?….Her reply caused me to go into a total uncontrollable shaking spasm. “This gives us authorization to do open heart surgery if necessary”

    I woke up in the ICU with a nurse standing over me. Since it was a male nurse I knew I had survived….If I had died it would have been a beautiful female nurse wearing nothing but a nurse’s cap. I’m not saying my male nurse wasn’t good looking….just not really into guys that way. So he tells me I am not allowed to move from this position for 12 to 18 hours. He also informs me that a stint was installed in my heart by going up through my groin. He asked me how bad my pain was and I replied “go stand out in the middle of US95…..you’ll find out how bad my pain is soon enough”. So he loaded me up with Dilaudid and the world became a whole new experience. Now I may smoke a little pot occasionally but I have never been into hard drugs or opiates or anything of the sort and I strongly discourage anyone from messing with that stuff. But I gotta say, after what I had just been through, I’m glad I didn’t die just so I could experience this. I could feel all my pain just wash away and stream right out of my body. At that moment I felt like I could jump up and run a marathon.

    The ceiling in my room and the Dilaudid became my best friends for 16 hours. At that point my nurse told me someone from the catheter lab would be coming by soon to remove the catheter from my groin and to prepare myself for another round of intense pain. The guy from the lab looked just like Seth Rogen and sounded even more like him. He had to slide a 4 inch long catheter from my artery and then apply intense pressure for twenty minutes to seal it. Damn that HURT. Lucky for me my new friend Dilaudid was there with me. After he was done I had to lay for another 5 hours without a single movement to allow the artery to seal up.

    After about 22 hours I was allowed to get up and move around a little. Having eaten some food while laying on my back (Was not even allowed to lift my head), the first thing I did when I stood up was discharge everything that was in my stomach…all over the floor.

    On Friday morning…..and after everything I had been through, the most heartbreaking task still lay ahead. Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about my kids. I have spent my entire adult life not only trying to give them a decent role model to follow but also giving them the most unconditional love a parent can ever give a child. Now I have to call and tell them what has happened. By the time I was finished with this task, all the nurses and I were sharing a hell of a good cry. Then we had a hell of a good laugh looking at my original EKG from when I was being worked on in the emergency room. The nurses called it “the tombstone chart”……Hey!….That’s not funny!

    By noon on Friday I had decided it was time to say goodbye to my new best friend Dilaudid. I told the nurses I would not be requesting any more pain meds. Even though I still felt like I had been hit by a truck, I knew I had to endure. That SHIT will mess you up….If you need it to recover from an intense surgical procedure….cool….but please don’t play with it…..it’s not a toy folks.

    Friday afternoon I was moved to a private room and spent the next 20 hours trying to relax by walking around bugging everyone….I tried to explain my actions by telling folks….”only the best hospitals have a comedian of my caliber roaming the halls and lightening spirits”. When I wasn’t roaming the halls I was watching old black and white westerns on the television. A luxury I don’t often experience since I don’t own a TV.

    Now you would think when I was released from the hospital the whole trauma thing would be over….Not a chance! I walked out of CVS Pharmacy $493.00 lighter in the wallet for prescription meds. I have VA health insurance and I’m pretty sure I’ll be reimbursed….But what the hell is wrong with this country….Sorry, I promised myself I would never put my Facebook family through having to listen to my political rantings……But what the HELL! Is wrong with this country.

    Tomorrow I am going to drive up to Oatman (Don’t worry girls, it’s only about 10 miles from here) to see if my spot is still available. If it is, I will move my little “home” up there and spend the winter selling my photos to the tourists and befriending a few burros. I will not let this latest adventure slow me down or change my path. I WILL be leaving in the spring to tour the northern states and maybe even come back to Oatman next fall.

    The Adventure Continues….