Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy One Week Anniversary

Bill and his new knees have been together for a week now.  So far it looks like a great relationship.

A double (bi-lateral) knee replacement is the most complicated orthopedic surgery done through Kaiser.  It is major surgery that usually takes about four hours.  Five and a half hours after Bill went in the surgeon came out to give me the good news.  Everything went well even though the knees were "the worst I've ever seen" and he felt very positive about how improved Bill's quality of life will be.

From the time he moved from the recovery area to his hospital room to working with his physical therapist at home, Bill's progress has been amazing.  Every person on his medical team has been blown away by how quickly he is moving through the necessary steps.  This is not to say he is without pain and some frustration, just that he is very far "ahead of the curve" in his physical therapy and ability to get around independently.  Except for the mandatory discharge trip out of the hospital he has not seen a wheelchair. The day after surgery he was walking down the hall. Using the walker he is able to get around the house and Wednesday he took a couple of trips down the street.  He's definitely my hero!!

We are still looking at a 90-day rehab period and being right on track to reach our goals. 

In the meantime I've started a couple spreadsheets on campgrounds and domiciles and continue to feed my full-timer blog addiction on a daily basis. 

We made the decision to get rid of the truck before it sees 100,000 miles which means driving it VERY little before and after the 1000 mile trip to deliver the Seadoos to Clearlake.  We both love the F-150 and the King Ranch package makes it a very comfortable vehicle with all the bells and whistles.  But the MPG sucks for Bill's daily commute to Burbank and it is not going to be our toad.  Once the Seadoos are gone we'll have no towing needs and can figure out how to transport the trykes in the Tucson if needed.  We've narrowed down our toad choices to a Jeep or a Ford Escape.  Off-road capability is important to us as is decent MPG.  I'm leaning toward the Jeep Liberty for several reasons but have to be sure Bill can drive and ride comfortably (his height is an issue in the Tucson and we don't want to repeat that mistake).  While we really want a new motorhome, we will definitely get a used toad.  Getting it now means we can have it paid off before we hit the road.  I'd love the additional savings of getting rid of the Tucson now as well, but I'm not ready to give up that independence just yet!

So the knee surgery is off the list and recovery looks to be checked off ahead of schedule.  The holidays are just around the corner so we'll get some more family and friends time in before the end of the year.  In just six weeks we'll be able to say "next year" we're hitting the road - that sounds great!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Road Trip Mishap

We are supposed to be waking up this morning on the keys of Clearlake, CA, but alas we are back home. The good news is the trailer wheel did not fall off at 60 mph on the Grapevine and all the dangerous possible results of that mishap.

During our July 4th visit to Wayne and Marilynn's we arranged to return with the Seadoos later in the month.  We were ready to unload them and W & M wanted to buy them for the family to play with.  Good deal.  Health issues put that plan on hold until two weeks ago when M and I revived it and started making plans.  Our good friend Michelle would ride up with us, we would drop Bill off in Oakland on the way back to connect with his boys for an event they were attending; even Tessa would go along for her first road trip.  Fun times!

When we picked up the trailer from storage on Wednesday we hit our first little bump - none of the keys we had on the ring in the truck fit any of the padlocks on the trailer.  As we had locked them ourselves two years ago when we last parked it, and the key ring was in the ashtray this whole time, it makes absolutely no sense.  And none of the additional keys at home fit the locks either.....bizarre!  Bill was able to cut the hitch lock with our small bolt cutters so we could at least get the trailer out of storage and to the house.  One of the trailer lights wasn't working but it was still light, we had a short distance to cover, and he could fix it the next day. 

The seats are trashed from exposure and will have to be replaced, but the dirt came off with a good scrubbing so they were looking pretty good before noon on Thursday.  Another small bump when the non-working tail light was rusted inside making the removal of the broken bulb impossible.  And.....nothing we had was going to get the bigger lock off the storage box.  So with two new submersible tail lights, two new padlocks, and a rented huge bolt cutter I was feeling pretty good about resolving those issues before Bill got home from work - yay, back on track for Friday morning departure. 

We did miss our class at Kaiser but he replaced the tail lights in time to see Travis off for his big weekend.  Not a lot of trick-or-treaters this year so I finished getting things ready to go for the morning.  Bill got home, Michelle arrived, looking good for our big road trip.

Up early, truck packed, everything secured for the trip.  On the road before 6:30, before sunrise.  Lots of trucks on the freeway but smooth ride up the Grapevine.  Just before Gorman a Mercedes lost the full tread on their rear tire but got safely off the freeway with the tire making its way off the freeway as well.  This started the discussion on our own past experiences with blow outs and tire issues......all with happy endings.  We would soon have another tale to add.

While airing the trailer tires and cleaning the boats I had noticed a crack in the sidewall of the driver's side tire.  It didn't look deep and I made a note to keep an eye on it during the trip.  Because of that I had been checking on it for the hour we had been on the road.  As we got close to the top of the summit the tire was looking weird.  It seemed to be running at an angle, with the bottom of the tire moving away from the trailer.  I did not like that.  Fort Tejon exit was just ahead and I got off the freeway and on to a small side road to take a look.  Nothing wrong with the tire.  The same could not be said about the hub/wheel bearing.  Disintegrated, extremely hot, not going anywhere on that axle.

First order of business - say ten times "Thank god we didn't lose the wheel headed down the mountain, it could have been so bad!"  Being grateful for no flipping trailers and crashing cars is a good start to dealing with these little "set backs".  AAA didn't cover the trailer so we were on our own to make arrangements for transport.  After a few phone calls we confirmed our only option was having the trailer towed back to the Valencia area.  So we relaxed, watched the numerous deer who watched us back, walked the dog, enjoyed the beautiful blue sky and the trees.  We were pretty zen, all things considered

Even after the first flatbed wasn't wide enough to hold the trailer and Bill had to find us another option, our only concern was where to find a restroom.  We were parked between two Fort Tejon corporate office buildings but both had prominent "No public facilities" signs posted outside so we took the hint.  When the second tow truck showed up with an additional pick up truck for "backup", Michelle and I took off in our truck to find more welcoming "facilities".  Just over the freeway was the state park with no signs but a small building barely visible from the side road - yep restrooms!  And more deer grazing in the meadow next to them.....lovely.

Back at our "parking spot" the guys were making the trailer fit on the flat bed.  It took removing the side rails, jockeying the tires to squeeze them on the bed, and tightening the chains down really tight but we were ready to go.  Bill had to ride in the tow truck so Michelle and I headed out in our truck.  They got stuck in the construction traffic but we made great time and were able to drop off the dog and unload our luggage before driving to the axle place in Saugus.  

Not long after we arrived, the tow truck turned in.  While the trailer was unloaded I talked to the tech and got the estimate for the necessary repairs.  With the long distance tow plus new hubs and bearings on both sides it quickly turned into an $800 day.  Sure glad I got those boats out of storage to save us $90/month!  Geez.....but still saying "It could have been so much worse...."

We are all disappointed we aren't spending the weekend with Wayne and Marilynn and we still need to get the boats to Clearlake (they are not going back in storage), but I have to say that the incident further confirmed that when we hit the road we are going to be just fine.  It is so wonderful to be with a man who can just take things in stride without dumping anger and frustration all over the people around him.  Shit happens, you don't have to be shitty when it does.

One silver lining ....... we pick up the trykes this afternoon!  All's well that end's well.