Back in Q

December 6th, 2023

I’m back camping in Quartzsite now. The knee is coming along well and I can walk without pain once again. I have to be careful that I don’t do too much, because even though my knee is fixed, I’m way out of shape from a couple years of not doing much but holding down a chair. It sure seems wonderful to get out for walks. 

Quartzsite has been chilly. Mornings are in the low 40s and it usually doesn’t get out of the 60s in the afternoon. We have had two days of temps in the high 70s but it’s not supposed to last past today. I have been burning propane in the mornings, so even with all my solar and batteries, I have had to rely on fossil fuel for heat. The good thing is that I don’t use much in this small space. 

I have been working on some small projects around my rig. Seems like something always needs fixing. Just setting up my solar, propane bottles, rugs and chairs is more work as I get older. The nice thing is that I can do a little at a time. 

In another week I will watch Hanna for 4 days when Donna goes to Disneyland. It might be good to have a pet for company for a few days, but I’m not looking forward to taking her out to go potty in the early morning. 

That’s all for now. I just wanted to update my knee progress. I’m not having any pain while walking but bending it still hurts a little, and I wake in the night once or twice and need to move the joint to get comfortable. I think I’m doing great at 7 weeks since surgery. 

Knee surgery

November 12th, 2023

It is time to document my latest ordeal with my health issues.

On October 18, 2023, I underwent surgery for a total knee replacement. My knee has become progressively painful in the last few years, to the point that walking any distance further than into a store was unbearable. I was faced with the option of becoming a “couch potato” for the rest of my life or doing something to fix the problem.

I weighed two scenarios that were basically cons, and one that was most important for a happy lifestyle. Any surgery at my age is a risk. A young body will heal faster and recovery is a lot easier. The second drawback I faced is a steel rod that was inserted 35 years ago into my tibia and needed to be removed to allow room for the prosthetic knee parts. The rod in my leg bone was the scariest part of the operation and could cause severe damage trying to remove it. I weighed the negative aspects against the one positive outcome of the surgery- walking and hiking without pain – and decided the risk of the complications did not outweigh the hope of a better lifestyle.

I’m three weeks past my surgery now and so far everything is going good. My surgeon found that he could place the artificial knee parts without removing the rod. I was in terrible pain for a few days and had to rely on pain pills for a couple weeks. I used a walker for a week, then a cane for a few more days, and now I’m walking unaided and increasing the distance each week.

I’ve had a couple setbacks. I still have a hard time sleeping and I wake often, all tangled up in the bed covers like I was wrestling with and intruder, until I realize that my knee is hurting from placing it somewhere it doesn’t like. I had some sore muscles and joints that I blame on a zealous Physical Therapist that doesn’t realize I have not used those muscles very much in the last couple years. And sometimes I just don’t feel well for no particular reason.

All information I research shows that I am way above the curve in recovery. I’ll try to update my progress in a later post. The one thing I want to say is that none of this would have been possible without the aid of my sister Donna. She opened her home, provided me transportation, fed me meals, and nursed me back to health. I so much appreciate the care she so generously provides me to this day.

9280 Feet ASL

July 20th, 2023

On our way to the White Mountains we stopped in Show Low for groceries, dump and laundry. When I was young and Mom and Dad took us to Show Low, I remember it as being a small cow-town. Now it’s a big sprawling city complete with Walmart, Home Depot, supermarkets and almost everything you can imagine. I guess one reason the town has grown so big is because of its proximity to the mountains and still only a few hours north of Phoenix. 

We drove south from Show Low for about 40 miles, gaining a coupling thousand feet in altitude, and marveling at the beauty of the alpine meadows , pine forests and lakes galore. We found a campsite on forest road 117 and set up camp. We first intended to park temporarily, and then scout out different places to camp, but the more we looked around over the next few days, there were no places open that we thought would be better. 

The site we found had an open meadow that I parked in to get solar and satellite, and Donna parked back in the trees to get shade. The campsite was level and back away from the road just far enough to be quiet. We had a couple neighbors park nearby that were quiet and respectful. We were only bothered by a couple ATVs and motorcycles racing by on two days. 

Even at 9000’ the temperatures were getting up in the high 80s. I could use my AC and Donna stayed comfortable in the shade with just her fans. We tried sitting outside but the bugs and mosquitoes drove us back inside after a minute. One thing that would have been nice is if we had had a screen tent. There is a fire ban in all of the Sitgraves NF, so we couldn’t even have a fire to smoke the mosquitoes away. 

Since we have been here, we have explored nearby towns, lakes and back roads.   The nearest town, Springerville, is only 20 miles from our camp. One day we drove in and picked up a few groceries, visited a park with metal sculptures, and had a very good pizza lunch. Another day we went to Sunrise Lake and ski area, and explored a campground on Indian Reservation land. 

We tried to space out our trips to sightsee so we would have several adventures during our two week stay. Donna has been doing all the driving in her car, partially because there is room for Hanna, and partially because her car is more comfortable than my little buggy.  Both of our vehicles are low clearance, and I have thought more than once how nice it would be to tow a 4 wheel drive vehicle with high clearance for exploring back roads. 

Other places we have explored so far are Greer and Big Lake. Greer is a picturesque little community, nestled in a forested valley, dotted with hundreds of vacation cabins. It’s a total tourist town with several restaurants but few places to get supplies other than trinkets and souvenirs.  Big Lake is a popular camping, boating and fishing area. There are several campgrounds, one of which Donna remembers that Mom and Dad stayed at a few times. We both got an ice cream sandwich at the little camp store. Luckily, we had some cash because they charge an extra $3 to use a credit card. The cashier told me it was because they had to use satellite to process cards and that’s what they were charged. When I went outside, I noticed a Starlink antenna on top of the roof. 

We still have Hawley Lake to see and for sure another trip to Springerville to do laundry, get a couple groceries, and stop for another slice of delicious pizza!

White Mountains

July 16th, 2023

In the beginning of July, many low altitude places in Arizona were experiencing uncomfortable, hot temperatures. I had been camping near Payson AZ, a moderate elevation of 5000 feet, that usually remains bearable until the calendar signals the true start of summer. Payson is a good intermediate location between the low desert areas of southern AZ and the high plateau of the rim country of northern AZ. This year seems to be a crazy problem of migration to find comfortable weather. 

I was staying near Payson mainly because it was a convenient commute into the Valley for several doctors appointments. I was in no hurry to travel higher onto the Mogollon Rim because an unusually severe winter had left stubborn drifts of snow and muddy road in the forest.  Even though lower elevations were experiencing 90 degree temperatures, snowpack was still a problem getting into camping places in high forests. 

Eventually, good weather made its way up to the rim country and I drove up into the Sitgraves National Forest and secured a campsite in a campground known as FS171. After a few days, sister Donna joined me in her RV and we kicked around plans for where to go after my stay limit was up. At first, we thought about going over to New Mexico and staying in state parks. We enjoyed a previous summer, hopping from park to park and thought it would be fun to do again. I have been dissatisfied with New Mexico SP system mainly because they turned all the parks into reservation system. That’s not the way I like to travel because I never plan where and when I want to go. It’s way more fun to wander around and make it an adventure. 

We thought about other places, but I didn’t want to travel too far away from Phoenix because of regular doctor appointments coming up. When we looked at the latest long-range weather forecast, there were record breaking high temperatures forecast for all of the southwest. Places as high as Flagstaff were predicting near 100 degree temperatures in the coming weeks. I got an idea that we should go up into the White Mountains near Big Lake to beat the heat, and Donna agreed. 

In the next few days I researched places to stay in the White Mountains. I found a dispersed camping area near a place called Carnero Lake, that was only 100 miles from the campground where we were staying, was situated above 9000 feet, and because I had not been there since I was a kid, would be an adventurous place to explore.  Never in my travels over the last several years had I considered the White mountains, mainly because there is no cell signal in many areas of that forest. With Starlink that’s not a problem anymore.  On July 10, 2023, we packed our RVs and headed for the White Mountains. 

No Trails Yet

May 17th, 2023

Its been quite a while since I posted a blog entry. I like to make an entry once in a while to document what I’m doing, but my age and physical ability seems to dictate a different lifestyle than what I would like. I still try to stay active and work on improvements to my motorhome. But I take things slow, partially because I can’t do the work, and partially because everything cost money.

I’m not traveling a lot or hiking trails like I used to and I miss that. My knee is to the point where I will have to have something done or relegate to a sedentary lifestyle. I have appointments for a doctor that will hopefully do a knee replacement this fall.

With gasoline costing $5 a gallon and a motorhome that likes to drink it, I have been staying mostly in southern Arizona for the last two years. You can regulate the seasons by going up into the mountains in summer and scurrying down to the desert when cold weather moves in.

One thing I’ve definitely noticed as I get older is how we depend on our doctors a lot more frequently. In the last couple years I’ve had several thing in my body sputter. I won’t get into that now because I remember when I was young and healthy, how I hated to hear about all the old relatives and friends illnesses. Lol!

Right now I’m camped slightly below Payson, Arizona. It has been quite warm here but my AC is working well. I want to move up higher towards Flagstaff or Show Low but it is still quite chilly up there. It was a wild and snowy winter in the high country and all the snow has not melted yet.

That’s enough for now. I want to tell about a costly mistake to my electronics, travel plans, and of course, all mine and my siblings illnesses. 😉