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…..