Our Trek West (Installment 3)

It was a long drive (335 miles) down US-35 from Miles City Iowa to Kansas City Missouri. Normally we don’t push it this hard (we are retired after all) so we usually take our time.

We were on a schedule to get to Spearfish (South Dakota) before the Labor Day holiday weekend to make sure we could get a spot in the city campground and spend a few days with our friends Matt and Sherry before they were to leave Spearfish for points south.

But we wanted to stop and visit our friends Ron and Judy who live at Lee’s Summit (a Kansas City suburb) They had put us on to a great little city park just a few miles from their home. Once we were in the park and settled, Ron came and picked us up at the campground and took us back to their home where Judy had prepared a wonderful dinner for us.

Our nice shaded site at the Lee’s Summit City Campground

We had first met Ron and Judy when we all worked as volunteers at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in fall of 2019. We met up with them again when we were all at “The Big Tent” RV Show in Quartzsite Arizona in January of 2020. It was great to hook up with them again.

Our friends Ron and Judy

Kathy and I had also planned to meet up and visit with Carl who we had met in February of 2020 when we traveled with about 50 other members of our Escapees RV Club down into Mexico. While in Mexico, Carl had told us about his family’s mausoleum in Holden Missouri (near Kansas City). I was intrigued and wanted to see it if we were ever in that part of the country. Now was my chance!

We had told Ron and Judy about this over dinner and invited them to come with us the next day. They jumped at the chance as well. After all, how often do you get an invite to tour a mausoleum?

The next day the four of us jumped in their car and headed to Holden Missouri, about 30 minutes from the campground.

Carl was expecting us and gave us the “Grand Tour”. His Great-Grandfather built the mauseleum in the early 1800’s for his family, both those who had pre-deceased the construction and those that were to come in the future.

Carl aquuired the mauseleum from the family trust. He didn’t set out to own it, he was doing some family genealogy work and as a result of his research, he came across the mauseleum as part of the family history.

The more he looked at it and saw what a state of disrepair it was in, the more he was drawn to do something about it.

The roof has been replaced to stop any further water damage. Electric has been installed as well as a security system. Carl has opened the building and the surrounding grounds to the community for public events like craft fairs, scout campouts, church picnics and such.

There were 23 occupied crypts when Carl took possession and he has taken all the legal and ethical steps necessary to move the occupants to other locations. All the remaining caskets are now empty.

In looking at the pictures below (click on any thumbnail to open a larger view) you’ll notice that the entire structure is made of concrete. The walls, floors, stairways, and ceilings are all concrete. The crypts are also concrete with ornamental marble fronts that have the deceased name and dates engraved.

Now it was time to continue our trek west. We said our goodbyes to Carl and Ron and Judy and headed back to the campground for the night before starting our travels to Spearfish South Dakota the next day.

More to come in Installment #4 in the next few days.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Our Trek West (Installment 2)

Tuesday morning we left the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds and heading to the Ludington Michigan area. We pulled in to our Harvest Hosts location just north of U.S. 10 and about 15 miles east of the Lake Michigan shore at Ludington. We’d been in this area of Michigan many times over the past 50 years or so … starting with trips with the family as we were kids growing up, then spending our honeymoon in northern Michigan and most recently volunteering at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park during the summers of 2017 and 2018. So this in some ways is “Old Home Week”.

As a member of Harvest Hosts, we are able to stay in driveways and parking areas of wineries, distilleries, museums, galleries, and other small businesses who invite RV’ers to park on their property overnight. It is suggested (although not mandatory) that the traveler returns the favor by purchasing something from the host.

We pulled in to Craig’s place, tucked into the tall pines of northern Michigan. His gallery, just across the driveway from the house, is filled with all sorts of hand made woodcraft. Loads of small handcrafted smoking pipes, kitchen spoons and spatulas, and cutting boards along with much larger artwork. We bought a really nice mitten-shaped (Michigan) maple cutting board. We admired other pieces but living in a motorhome, we just don’t have the luxury of square footage for larger items.

Once we parked the rig at Craig’s place, we unhooked and drove the car about 15 miles south to PM Oaks at Baldwin. There we were to meet Kathy’s cousin and her husband who we hadn’t seen in about twenty years or so. They used to live in southeast Michigan (where we were from) but have lived in Traverse City for nearly a quarter century now.

We met at PMO as they have a nice shelter/pavilion along with an air conditioned clubhouse we could sit and visit at without feeling as though we were being rushed to leave like might happen if we met somewhere in a restaurant.

By now it was getting to be late afternoon, so we decided we would leave PMO and meet down the road for an early dinner. After that they would move on home to Traverse City and we would head on back to Craig’s place for the night Well ……..

That all SEEMED like a good plan but, … as I turned the key on the car … crank crank crank … but no start. We sent Sue and Loren on home as we had friends there at PMO who could lend us jumper cables, a ride back to our rig, and more.

We had the car towed to a shop down the street for repair, had dinner at Chuck & JoAnne’s (our friends at PMO) and then finally settled in for the night. The shop said they’d get the car in about 11a.m. on Wednesday and I reminded them that I needed to know ASAP on Wednesday if we’d get it back that day because we had an already paid reservation on the SS Badger to cross Lake Michigan on Thursday. If it was not to be that we’d be fixed in time for the trip, I needed to cancel in hopes that we’d get at least some of our money back.

Wednesday morning I connected with a fellow high school graduate of ours (Class of ’72) who, as it turned out had in the past couple of years purchased a former lakeside resort (3 cabins) on Lake Cecilia just down the road from PMO. We had connected on Facebook months earlier and made plans to get reacquainted (we hadn’t seen each other or even talked since 1972) on this trip. Because our car was in the shop, Rich drove on over to PMO and picked us up. We spent all morning and into the afternoon having a wonderful visit with Rich and his wife Diane at their beautiful cabin(s) by the lake. They’ve done a wonderful job remodeling/restoring while keeping the 1940’s vintage lakeside cabin theme. We envy their drive and their creativity – they’ve got a charming place.

I’m just angry with myself that I didn’t get any pictures of Rich and Diane or their lakeside getaway.

Afternoon found us back at PMO enjoying an early dinner with our friends Chuck and Joanne along with Mike and Deb. It was great to have the opportunity to reconnect with all four of them again. During our meal the shop called to say the car was fixed and we could pick it up anytime.

Turned out that the A/C compressor had seized up and trying to crank the starter over and over to get the car started then burned out the starter. So a new starter and a/c compressor was needed.

We also found out that an RV site right behind Chuck and JoAnne’s would be available for us tonight so Chuck chauffeured me up to get the coach and bring it back down to PMO where we could plug in for the night. Then Chuck drove me up to the shop to get the car. After supper Kathy and I took advantage of the opportunity to get in the pool and just unwind and relax for a couple hours. All the stress of the last day or two just melted away knowing the car was fixed, we were parked in a spot where we could have a/c and we would easily make it to the ferry the next morning.

Again, I’m so sorry I never took any pictures of our friends at PMO or our time together.

Once unloaded at Manitowoc, we moved up just a few miles, parked our rig at the Elks Lodge for the night, and drove the car up to Green Bay where we met our good friends Forrest and Mary for lunch at Mackinaws Grill.

We had a nice, although brief visit. We caught each other up on where our travels had taken us over the last few months. Forrest and Mary have an RV lot just 4 spaces away from us at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande AZ and they had come to visit us this past June while we were camp hosting at Dale Hollow Lake State Park in Kentucky. It was great to reconnect with them. Once again, I neglected to get a picture of Forrest and Mary too!

We went back to the Elks Lodge late afternoon, ran down the street to pick up some necessities at the local Walmart and then came back and enjoyed making new friends in the lodge. They welcomed us with open arms. We had a nice visit along with a couple drinks but it had been a busy day so we excused ourselves early, said our goodbyes and thank you’s and retired early to our home on wheels.

The next day found us driving 350 miles from Manitowoc Wisconsin to Mason City Iowa where we met up with Paul and Chris who we had first met when we were Workamping at Rainbow’s End RV Park in Livingston Texas. They had just (last week) finished up the sale of the family farm in Maynard Iowa, then they visited the Winnebago factory in Forest City Iowa to get a few small things taken care of on their (new to them) 2012 Winnebago Meridian 40′ motorhome.

Paul promised us that we would enjoy the best steam of our lives that night and they were right! My filet was “Melt In Your Mouth” good

Since Paul grew up in Mason City, he knew what to see and do for the short time we had available to us. We visited the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and others had performed at on February 2, 1959 before taking a flight to their tragic deaths in a nearby cornfield.

Here are some pix of the walls (and ceiling) of the “green room” where the performers prepared to go on stage. See how many signatures of the hundreds that are on these walls that you might recognize!

That’s all for this installment. The next leg of our trip will find us driving 335 miles from Mason City Iowa to Lee’s Summit Missouri. We meet up with friends Ron and Judy for time together along with the four of us visiting our friend Carl and touring his mausoleum.

I’ll fill you all in on that in the next few days.

In the meantime, take care of each other and stay healthy … we wish you well.

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Our Trek West (Installment One)

We left Ohio on August 20th after finishing up my hip replacement rehab. Our first stop was about 5 hours north to Romeo, Michigan to attend Kathy’s niece Lindsey’s wedding reception. The wedding was last year, but it was a small event with no reception because of Covid. The reception was a bright (and humid) Saturday late afternoon gathering under one of those huge white tents in the large back yard of her new husband’s parent’s home. There were about 100 people attending and we had the wonderful opportunity to visit with some of Kathy’s family that we hadn’t seen in years and meet some new folks as well.

We stayed 2 nights at Addison Oaks Campground, part of the Oakland County Michigan Parks and Rec.

Our camp site at Addison Oaks, about 10 miles from Lindsey’s wedding reception

When we arrived at Addison Oaks the first night we went on into Romeo for a walk up and down the main drag. This was the first night of the big annual “Dream Cruise” up and down Woodward Avenue and we got to see some of those cool classic cars from years gone by that were traveling to or from the cruise. While in Romeo we had a great meal out on the front patio at “Thee Office Pub”.

Beer Battered Cod, Mac N Cheese, and creamy Cole Slaw at “Thee Office Pub” Romeo Michigan

Sunday morning after the reception, we continued our trip west and moved on to the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. We were able to spend a couple super quiet nights (we were one of two campers) while visiting my sisters and their husbands at Owosso, Michigan.

Betsy and Bob live on the north side of Owosso. They moved there last year after living on St. John U.S. Virgin Islands for about 10 years. Their son and only granddaughter live within about an hour and B&B are able to see her often. Sometimes she spends the night and she (Kaia) was there when we visited. Marilynn and Rick drove up from Jacksonville Florida for our time together. We had a great time sharing stories from years past and getting updates on everybody’s health and welfare.

On Monday night we said our goodbyes, went back to the fairgrounds and pulled out Tuesday morning heading for Baldwin Michigan where we would spend a couple days/nights visiting our friends at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Resort where we worked as Park Supervisors the summers of 2017 and 2018.

And that’s where the problems started … more on that in my next post.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Time To Hit The Road Again

It’s been just 3 weeks since my total hip replacement surgery and the rehab is coming along great! I was able to set the walker aside after about 3 or 4 days and every day is better than the day before. If you’re really interested (maybe you’re considering having the surgery) you can read more about my recovery here.

So now we are set to head out from our daughter’s driveway here in Mt. Gilead, OH next Friday August 20th.

We’ve replaced the recliner in the coach with a new one. It takes less floor space, swivels, rocks, and reclines fully and is so much more comfortable than the leather one that came with the coach originally.

We also just had the entire coach washed and waxed. Normally this is a job that I do. I wash it about 5 or 6 times a year and wax it at least yearly. But this time since I am still recovering from my hip surgery, we were fortunate to find a mobile RV detailing service that came to the house and took care of the whole job in about 5 or 6 hours.

We had originally planned on leaving Ohio in early August and taking our time heading to Oregon visiting friends and family along the way and eventually ending up in Garibaldi Oregon to meet up with others from our Escapees RV Club at the Oregon Coast Hangout.

But a few things have changed. We are now going to our niece’s wedding in Michigan and that will not be until August 21st. This means that the rest of our trip will be delayed and if we were to still plan on getting to Oregon by Sept 6th we’d have to skip some of our other planned stops along the way.

Although we were looking forward to meeting up with about 30 other rigs at the Oregon Coast Hangout and seeing a part of the country we’ve never been to before and making new friends, we feel it’s more important to take the trip easy and instead stop along the way to renew old friendships.

Our planned route west as of this date (Aug 12th)

We will start out on Friday August 20th and head up to Addison Oaks Campground in Michigan where we’ll stay for 2 nights while we attend our niece’s wedding and visit with family a bit.

We’ll next head a little west to spend a couple days with my sister and her husband. They live in Owosso, Michigan and while there we’ll be staying at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. Betsy and Bob have a beautiful home with plenty of room for us but if you’re a full-time RV’er you can appreciate how we might be more comfortable staying in our own “home on wheels” and then we can just take the car over to their place for the day.

Our third stop for the next two days will be in the Ludington Michigan area. We will be staying at another Harvest Hosts location. We will be in the driveway of a local woodworking artist shop nestled deep in the woods. During the day we will be visiting our friends at Pere Marquette Oaks RV Park near Baldwin Michigan. We worked at PMO during the summers of 2017 and 2018. While there we’ll also hook up with a fellow high school graduate from 1972. I found out recently (on Facebook) that he and his wife just purchased a cottage on a lake just down the street from PMO. We’re also planning on spending some time with Kathy’s cousin Sue and husband Loren who live in the Traverse City are and who we haven’t seen in probably 20 years or more.

The next day will find us boarding the S.S. Badger car ferry and taking the 4 hour ride across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin where we’ll then meet up with our good friends Forrest and Mary who we know as our neighbors when we stay in Arizona at Rovers Roost. They are currently in Wisconsin visiting friends and family as well. We will spend the night at the Elks Lodge in Manitowoc.

Our next stop will be Forest City, Iowa. Forest City is the home of Winnebago Industries. Winnebago is one of the oldest camping trailer and motorhome manufacturers in the U.S. Paul and Chris, who we met while workamping in Livingston Texas in 2016 and have met up elsewhere in the country several times since then. Paul and Chris are in the process of selling the family farm and transitioning to full-time RV living and they’ll be at Winnebago Customer Service getting a few things done to their 40′ motorhome, so what better time for us to stop for a visit. Maybe we’ll get a factory tour while we’re there!

Ron, Kathy, and me posing for the camera

After spending a couple nights at Forest City, we’ll take a little detour off our “head west” trip and move on down to Holden Missouri, just southeast of Kansas City. Holden is the home of our friend Carl who is also a full-time RV’er and who we met on our Mexico caravan trip last winter. The three of us spent a lot of time together during that trip and really enjoyed each other’s company. Carl told us about the Miller Mausoleum that his grandfather had built and he had now inherited. An interesting story so we’re going to visit Carl, tour the historic mausoleum, and while we’re in the area we will also drive to Kansas City and spend a little time with friends Ron and Judy who we worked with at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2018.

After our time at Holden and KC, we’ll start heading back up through Omaha and Sioux Falls to get to Spearfish SD by about Sept 5th or so. Our good friends Matt and Sherry are working once again at DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery (where we worked with them in 2019) and we want to spend a couple days with them before they have to leave and head out to Louisiana and Florida for the winter where they’ll be volunteering at Barberville Pioneer Settlement.

That’ll get us through Labor Day at which point we will still have nearly two months before we want to get back to our RV lot at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande Arizona by November 1st.

We have been in touch with our friends David and Sue (also neighbors at the Roost) who are currently volunteering at Custer State Park. Their gig will come to an end October 1st so it may be that we will caravan (only 2 rigs) around Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada before getting back to Arizona.

Who knows … we’ll just play it as we feel like it as time goes on. We don’t have to be anywhere before November 1st and if we get somewhere and decide we really like the area, then we’ll stay a while longer. If we don’t care for where we’re at, we can turn the key and head down the road a little further.

Until next time … take care of yourselves (and each other) – Be safe and we look forward to updating you a little later down the pike.

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

My Hip Replacement Recovery

DAY ZERO

Since I’m going to be spending a lot of time relaxing/exercising/therapy over the next few weeks, I thought I’d make a blog post about it.

I certainly don’t expect everybody to be interested in reading past even the first paragraph, but it’ll interest me a few years from now (or sooner) when I have to have the other one done.

And if this diary helps even one other person considering the prospect of a hip replacement, then that’s great.

A little history first. I’ll be 67 in a month (Aug 16, 2021) and I’ve always been overweight, ever since having my tonsils and adenoids out at seven years old.

I’ve had left hip “discomfort” for about 15 years making it difficult to stand in line or to stand at church during hymns. Walking wasn’t as bad, (guess I just didn’t notice it) but I preferred to sit over standing. The ache down the left leg at night made it hard getting to sleep as well.

In January of 2020 I hurt my left knee coming down the stairs of the coach while we were in Arizona. I didn’t know what the problem was, only that it hurt like hell. We were scheduled to travel to Mexico for a few weeks in February, so I hoped it would get better with time and we continued with our travel plans.

After Mexico, we returned to Arizona and then started our trek east through Florida and up to Ohio. Now it was early March (2020) and Covid was gripping the country. With the knee still hurting, although we were scheduled to work at a campground in North Carolina for three months, we decided it would be more safe to just make a bee-line for Ohio where we could hunker down in the bunkhouse above Sara and Stu’s garage.

I was able to see Dr. Guth (Orthopedic surgeon) who gave me a cortisone shot in the knee and it took care of the pain for nearly a year.

As time went on, the knee still good, my left hip started to bother me more and more. At this point Covid seemed to be nearly a thing of the past and we headed down to Kentucky for a 3 month gig as Camp Hosts at Dale Hollow Lake State Park.

It was there that I called Dr. Guth’s office and asked to be scheduled for hip replacement surgery in July. Yes, there were X-rays and CT scans prior to the surgery to assure that I was a proper candidate for the procedure.

Day One

Kathy and I got to the hospital at 6am for my 7:30 scheduled surgery. I was escorted into Pre-Op where Susan and Ron helped me get ready for what was to come. They were great to joke with and really helped me to relax a bit.

Once the IV started flowing and some meds were moving in, I became even more relaxed and ultimately Dr. Guth came to say good morning and to mark the surgical site with his initials.

I also met Dr. Park (anesthesiologist) and we discussed doing a spinal block in addition to general anesthesia. I didn’t like the idea of the lower part of my body being numb and the necessity of needing to have a catheter installed as this COULD necessitate me having to stay overnight.

I opted for general anesthesia only. In a short while I was wheeled into the operating “theater” as they say ON PBS and within a minute or two it was lights out for me.

A couple hours later I woke up in recovery and stayed there, being constantly monitored for the next hour or so. I was moved up to the fourth floor Ortho unit by 11 am or so where Kathy and Sara were waiting for me.

During the rest of the day, I was visited by my surgeon, X-Ray, PT, OT, Dietary, Pharmacy, Social Worker, and Respiratory Therapy. I was glad to finally be released about 5 p.m. and we headed back to the motel.

At the motel, I was feeling so good, I told Kathy wanted to take a walk around the parking lot. What I didn’t realize was that I must’ve still had some pain killer in me from the surgery, it had only been about 6 hours since he sewed me back up.

It was a bit tight bending the hip enough to get in and out of the car. I used the walker to move around and I am real stiff, but making my way up to the bathroom and back.

DAY TWO

Although we have a few of the “comforts of home” (coffee maker, fridge, microwave), it’s still cumbersome living out of a suitcase for a few days. The bed at the motel is far less than comfortable, but the a/c works well and they got the TV working for us as well.

I’m needing to use the Gait Belt under my left foot in order to allow me to pull my leg up and onto the bed. My hip is VERY stiff and there’s a lot of pressure although amazingly not any sharp pain.

Kathy’s been switching ice packs in and out and using the ice in the cooler to keep them cold in between applications.

DAY THREE

It’s Saturday morning and I woke up deciding that we are not going to stay another day here at the motel. We will check out a day early and get back to Sara and Stu’s home and see how I continue to progress. The food will be better, there’s more room to walk and exercise, and we will both feel better being together with the kids again. Besides, the ice pack they gave me in the hospital leaked during the night and got the mattress wet. We told the manager when we checked out the situation so they would know they could just let it air dry.

DAY FOUR

Not a lot of intense pain, but more general pressure in the leg, probably from some swelling. Kathy is continuing to monitor the bandages. They’re called Aquacell and have real sticky edges and seal off the surgical site real well from any outside moisture or contamination. There are some red spots on the bandage, but no more than there were on Day One so that’s a good thing.

I’m using ice packs and Tylenol and that now seems to be helping. Still waiting for a good bowel movement. The anesthesia I’m told plays tricks on your colon and it takes time to wake it back up and have it back to normal. This constipated feeling is adding to the discomfort. I’m getting around a little more, still very dependent on the walker and unsure how much I can bend. I’m looking forward to my first PT session tomorrow.

DAY FIVE

I’ve been able to put a little more pressure on the left leg when standing, and this is the first day I’ve decided to take a shower on my own. I’ve been using baby wipes the last few days, but not feeling real “fresh” anyway so having a shower will be a great experience. I didn’t use a shower seat as I figured it’s less work to just put most of my weight on the right foot and do the best I can. I thought using a seat (getting up and down) would just be too difficult and dangerous in a wet shower.

Physical Therapy was great. Lisa (I know her parents and her in-laws) did a great job with me. We did about 15 or 20 different excercises, usually 2 sets of 10 or 15 each.

DAY SEVEN

Had my first really good night’s sleep. Kathy and I moved out of Sara and Stu’s house last night and spent our first night back in the motorhome on our own new Sleep Number bed. Restless leg was back bothering me again and kept me awake and jittery from bedtime about 10p.m. until well after midnight. I finally got up and moved to the recliner for an hour or so and took a couple Ibuprofen (in addition to the two Tylenol I took at 8p.m.). This relaxed me enough that the tingling stopped and i had a very comfortable rest of the night. We awoke at 6:30a.m. just after Stu left for work.

DAY 10

We took the bandages (Aquacell) off on day 10 and that really helped to alleviate some of the discomfort because the adhesive was pulling on my skin. On day 14 I had a follow-up visit with the surgeon and he removed the remaining stitches and that helped a little more. He also told me I could stop wearing the compression stockings (a real fashion statement) unless my leg started to swell again.

I’ve been going to physical therapy 3 times weekly and each morning when I get out of bed it’s been a better and better morning.

The therapists are really working me as hard as I’m willing to let them. When my sessions are done I feel pretty good and I can walk with ease. But when I come back home and sit for anything more than a half hour or so, things start to stiffen up again. I need to keep moving around to keep the muscles moving.

DAY 21

Although my left knee was acting up yesterday (It’s bone-on-bone with a torn meniscus) today it’s good once again. I’ve been dealing with this knee for over a year now and I hope I can wait another year when we’re back in Ohio to have Dr. Guth do the knee replacement.

I actually HAVE NO PAIN in the hip joint. My pain today (as it was yesterday) is down the front of the thigh between the hip and knee. (the quadricep muscle). They had me do some particularly difficult exercises Monday using this muscle and I think it’s still yelling back!

To wrap this up, I’ll say that all in all … it’s been not a terrible experience. If (when) there comes a time to do the right hip, I won’t have any qualms about moving forward to have the surgery.

My surgeon Dr. Jay Guth and his staff are wonderful as was the entire team at Marion General Hospital (Ohio Health) where I had the surgery done. I have no complaints with any of them.

ROBOTIC SURGERY

By the way, mine was robotic surgery and here’s a short 3 minute animation video of how it’s performed. Fascinating process and I’m guessing that’s part of the reason my recovery has been as good as it has.

If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing either you’ve had this procedure done, or maybe considering having it done. Or maybe you know someone who is considering having a hip replacement procedure performed.

I hope that by my writing about my personal experience, it might help to allay any fears or concerns you might have.

Take care and best of luck to you! Feel free to comment below or email me directly at herbsells@gmail.com with any questions.

Oh, and just so you know. The surgery was July 22nd and we are headed back out on the road in our motorhome on August 20th. This trip will be from Ohio to the west coast and then down to Arizona, and I do all the driving!

Herb and Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Motorhome dead …

We left Dale Hollow on Thursday July 1st and headed to Lexington Kentucky Camping World. We had made arrangements ahead of time to buy and install a new Sleep Number bed there because it’s priced at $300 below the price at the Sleep Number store. Further, if we ordered it from Sleep Number direct online, there would be no way to get rid of our old mattress.

Alex at Camping World of Georgetown (north side of Lexington) was great. He had the boxes ready and waiting for us. He and I pulled our old mattress out of the coach and got it into his dumpster and he and another young fella brought the two large boxes into the coach for us. Then it was our job to figure out how it went together.

Not a lot of room to work – See how Kathy’s a little flustered?

It had been raining all the way up to Lex from Dale Hollow and was still raining hard at Camping World. We just parked in the lot, fired up the diesel generator, turned both a/c units on high, and dug into the instructions. It took us about two hours to get everything hooked up and inflated since we had to read the instructions and we didn’t have much room to unpack things in the confines of the coach. But now that we are “experienced professionals” we can install yours in likely less than an hour!

Our plan was to move the coach down the street to Cracker Barrel where there is RV parking. We’d have our dinner there, spend the night, have a good breakfast before heading on up to Ohio.

As we pulled down the Camping World driveway to head around the corner to Cracker Barrel, the coach lurched and slammed to an immediate stop. It was as if we hit a brick wall! But I was able to put it in neutral and re-start the coach. It idled fine and we were able to make it the two blocks to Cracker Barrel.

In the Cracker Barrel parking lot for the night w/ all the other RV’ers

HAH! The best made plans ….

We went on into CB for a Comfort Food dinner as we were feeling kind of nervous about what was to come in the morning.

We stayed the night comfortably although I was thinking all sorts of terrible things about transmission (expensive) and engine (super expensive) problems that could be diagnosed.

I needed to do some research on what the problem was and try to figure out what the next step should be in the morning. I went to my favorite source of information for all things technical related to RV’s. It’s www.irv2.com. irv2.com is an owners forum that has a whole host of sub-forums that are specifically focused on; brands and types of RV’s, areas of interest (i.e. appliances, heating/cooling, solar, body/paint, technology, drive trains, engine types/brands, and transmissions)

I decided that this seemed to be a transmission problem because the shifter panel (It’s an Allison 3000 electronic transmission) showed a flashing “X” instead of “D” or “N”.

Within the Allison transmission sub-forum I found where an owner had posted that the transmission needs a good clean 12.6 volts to the TCU (Transmission Control Unit (Computer)) in order to operate. When the coach would shudder to a halt, all the warning lights on the dash would light up like a Christmas tree. They blink erratically along with the warning buzzers and chimes sounding erratically. It acted like a dead battery problem although I was always able to restart the engine.

Thanks again to irv2, I found the Allison diagnostic routine and trouble codes published online. The procedure produced a Code 35 which told me that the TCU had a “power interuption”. This further confirmed my suspicion that the problem was most likely a loose or corroded connection somewhere between the battery box and the TCU.

In the morning I made a couple phone calls and talked with Freightliner in Lexington and they told me that there was an Allison dealer just up the road about 4 miles from where we were parked at Cracker Barrel. I called them (Clarke Power Services), talked with Steve in their Service Department and told him we’d try to limp up to see him.

Turned out we couldn’t make it more than just out of the Cracker Barrel parking lot and just started to turn the corner into State Route 60 when we crapped out again.

I called our Escapees RV Club Roadside Assistance Service and they sent out Roberts Heavy Duty Towing to take us down the road to Clarke Power Service.

Although we had to wait a couple hours for the tow truck to arrive, the time spent wasn’t a total loss. We used this time to move some things we’d need over the next week or so from the coach into the car. We had to copmpletely empty the fridge and freezer into our cooler and cold bags. We had to pack a few clothes, all our meds, important papers, cell phone chargers. Being that we didn’t really KNOW how long we would be homeless made the “take with” list a little difficult to determine. We used the rest of the time, walking back into Cracker Barrel for breakfast!

CB’s yummy Breakfast Scramble with ham, bacon, & taters

We had a pleasant surpise while we were eating breakfast. The waitress came up to our table (as we were finishing eating) to tell us that our meals were paid for. Turns out, when Kathy went to the ladies room earlier, another customer commented on her Glacier National Park shirt. The lady said they used to live out that way. As they talked, Kathy told her about the mechanical problems we were having and that we’re waiting on the tow truck. They told the waitress that they wanted to pay our bill and then they left so we didn’t get an opportunity to thank them so we’re doing it here – Thank You so much!

WOW – Fast Service!

Steve from Clarke Power Services emailed me this morning to let me know the coach is fixed. The technician found a junction box mounted along the frame that had worked loose and the wires inside were corroded and loose as well. He repaired the junction and placed the wiring into a new box and tested. All is well in the world.

We’ll head on down to pick it up and get it back here to Ohio. My hip replacement surgery is scheduled for July 22nd and the doc says it’ll be a couple weeks long recovery until I’ll be able to drive the coach at which time we will be heading west to Oregon to join our Escapees RV Club friends for a 10 day long rally along the Oregon coast.

So long for now, thanks for reading and riding along. Take care,

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

All Good Things Come To An End

It’s been a great 3 months at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park. We’ve been Camp Hosts here. Not only is the park laid out beautifully with eighteen camp site loops of 8 spaces each (laid out in a wagon wheel fashion), but the work has been easy with plenty of unscheduled time available to us.

And the people – all the staff here have been just fantastic to get to know and to work with. We’ve been invited to come back in the future and who knows? It just might happen!

Some special people in our lives made our visit here really special. In early May our daughter and son-in-law (Sara and Stu) came down for a visit. They rented a camper right across from us. It was a great week! Stu got a lot of fishing in while we visited with Sara and as you can see from the pictures, we enjoyed some great meals together too!

In early June, good friends from Ohio and Arizona came for a visit. We shared a few meals together, we visited the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, we rented a deck boat and spent time out on Dale Hollow Lake, and we enjoyed each other’s company around the camp fire in the evenings.

Enjoying the slide off the deck boat on the lake

We want to acknowledge some of the folks at the park that made our time there so enjoyable.

Jenny (in the first picture below) is the General Manager of the entire park. She and her staff of about 45 are responsible for the campground, the lodge and dining room, the golf course, the picnic areas, and all the 3400 acres within the boundaries if the park. Jenny’s a super hard worker, great at multi-tasking and utilizes a great management style that has earned the respect of her staff. It’s a well-oiled smooth run operation that everyone at the park can be proud of.

Our next special person is Bobbi. Bobbi has responsibility to run the Country Store at the entrance to the campground. This entails registration of all new campers as well as keeping the store well stocked with all the goodies – food, ice, and souvenirs that travelers are looking for when they check in to a new place.

Robert, along with his work partner Jeff play a super important role in the campground. They do a super job of keeping the bathouses spotless. As we talked with campers, they always told us what a beautiful campground we had and what a fine job we did keeping the bathrooms so clean. We were always quick to tell them about and give credit to Robert and Jeff.

The spotless air conditioned bath / shower houses

Another special person that helped make our time at Dale Hollow (although I neglected to get a picture) was Gary, or “Speck” as he’s known at the park. Speck is the maintenance manager and he helped us countless times by getting us any tools or supplies we needed to do our jobs. He was also just a great guy to sit and talk with a bit. As he told us “just a country boy”. We always enjoyed talking with Speck.

You might recall that our arrival here was delayed from mid-March to mid-April because of my scheduled left shoulder rotater cuff repair surgery. I had the operation in Ohio on March 16th and the doc wouldn’t release me to drive the coach until early April.

Still, even though I could drive, my shoulder was still very stiff (and weak) and we knew I’d need some rehabilitation therapy in order to get me to as close to full range of motion as possible.

Once we got to Dale Hollow, I registered with Cumberland County Hospital and received twice weekly physical therapy through May and June. We went first thing in the morning Mondays and Thursdays. Sonya, Melissa, and Veronica did a wonderful job, the hospital is lucky to have such a great team running their PT department.

Not only did I get shoulder therapy, but both Kathy and I were able to receive traction (spinal decompression) for lower back pain. We’ve found over the past few years that we try to take advantage of this therapy whenever we find it exists in an area that we are in.

Kathy on the “rack” (Spinal Decompression Therapy)

We were originally scheduled to stay at the park through the July 4th weekend and depart on the 6th of July. We found out the week before the 4th that due to an administrative error our site was reserved for the July 4th weekend. Due to the fact that the park was reserved fully for the holiday weekend, we had no choice but to depart early.

That was fine for us since I had this upcoming hip replacement surgery with pre-op testing, it actually worked out great for us to head on out.

All in all, it was a great experience at Dale Hollow and we will miss our new friends. Maybe sometime in the future, we’ll be able to come on down for a visit. As a matter of fact we are already talking with our “gang of eight” about renting one of those big houseboats for a few days next summer!

Thanks for riding along with us, now to head on up to Ohio for a month or so to get this hip surgery and some rehab taken care of before we head west to Oregon. More on that to follow.

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Our Day Trip to Cumberland Falls

We’ve been camp hosting at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park since the middle of April and our time here is quickly coming to a close. We try to get a away from the park periodically to see the surrounding area. Although the weekends find the park full and it’s necessary for us to be here, the weekdays are very quiet and so that’s when we take off and do a little sight-seeing.

This week we heard about 76 Falls and Cumberland Falls. Although we’ve been to Niagara Falls and we’ve seen 15 or 20 of the falls of the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, we wanted to see what this part of Kentucky had to offer.

76 falls is located just north of State Route 90 near Albany. It’s part of the extreme southwest corner of Lake Cumberland and offers a wonderful hideaway for the folks vacationing in one of the many rental houseboats on the lake. The small picnic area at the top of the falls, along with the steps up to the overlook were most likely built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) back in the 30’s as part of FDR’s plan to revitalize the country by getting able-bodied men and women back to work.

We moved on from 76 Falls and continued north and east to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. It’s located right on State Route 90 southwest of Corbin, KY and alongside the Cumberland River. The state park is actually inside Daniel Boone National Forest!

You can see in this map the relationship between where we are working (Dale Hollow), Lake Cumberland, and Cumberland Falls. Dale Hollow is the lake at the bottom of the photo mostly in Tennessee, Lake Cumberland is the lake closest to Monticello, and Cumberland Falls as marked

This park has a beautiful lodge that was also built by the CCC in the 30’s and has been tastefully modernized while still keeping the historical and architectural value of a property nearly 100 years old. There are 51 lodging rooms, a restaurant on the lower level, a large veranda overlooking the Cumberland River, and a nearby campground with 50 camp sites, cottages, and cabins for rent.

Before we left, I had the opportunity to set up my portable ham radio station down by the river (found a great shaded spot) and worked a couple dozen stations both stateside and abroad. A great afternoon away with my sweetheart!

Thanks for visiting. Remember, you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box and then you will automatically get an email anytime we have an update here on the blog.

We hope to see you down the road …. in the meantime … be good to yourself and those you love!

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Camp Hosting @ Dale Hollow Lake State Park, Kentucky

May 28, 2021

Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park is located at the southernmost point of central Kentucky. A large majority of the lake is actually in Tennessee although the park is in Kentucky.

Dale Hollow Lake is about 26,000 acres while the more famous Lake Cumberland (just to the north and east on the map below) is about 65,000 acres in size.

You can see the KY/TN state border just below the red balloon at Dale Hollow

We started as Camp Hosts in mid-April and we’ll be here until just after the July 4th holiday. They wanted us for the whole season but Kathy and I like to keep moving a little more often so we try to get working/volunteering gigs of 3 months or less so we’re not sitting in one place for too long.

Our site is in Loop Q. There are a total of 144 sites, 8 sites in each of the 18 loops. The loops are all circle shaped unlike some parks where the “loop” is actually a convoluted tour of left and right turns with sometimes very limited distance between sites and parked cars making parking a larger RV difficult. It’s very easy to pull into any of our loops and back right in to your site. Everyone has a pie-shaped lot that is much wider at the rear than at the front “hub” of the loop.

Map of the campground from reserveamerica

All the sites have water and 20/30/50 amp electric. Some of the loops also have sewer connections, but not all so if you’re planning on coming be aware of this when you make your reservation on www.reserveamerica.com

I gotta tell you, the management and staff here are terrific folks. All the way from the General Manager, Jenny, all the way down the list through the maintenance crew, the kitchen and dining room staff, restroom cleaning guys, all the way down to the fellas that come around the park three times daily emptying the trash barrels. They all do their jobs very well, they take pride in their park and it shows in the overall condition.

We try to find the jobs that DO NOT require us to work 40 hours weekly. We’ve both done that (and more) over the years and we’re not looking for full-time jobs at this point in our lives. What we enjoy and try to find are gigs that will give us our site and utilities in exchange for 12-15 hours work (per person) per week. We make sure those gigs allow us to both work the same schedule and we often (not always) work together on the same task.

At Dale Hollow we tour the park regularly (3-4 times/day) and visit with campers and we consistently hear complements about the park. It makes us feel good even though we’re sure to explain that the credit goes to the terrific paid staff and not us.

Our responsibilities are pretty limited and easy. We are the only Hosts here where in other parks that we’ve worked at there’s at least one other couple so that all seven days of the week are covered. Management really only needs us here on the weekends since the park is nearly empty (and nicely quiet) during the week.

We start our day about 10am when we go to the Country Store (campground office) and pick up the list of those that are incoming and outgoing that day. Then we put those incoming Reserved tags on those sites and we clean out the fire pits of those sites where campers have left. We’re usually done with that task in 30-45 minutes. If it’s a Friday this will take longer because there are more families coming in for the weekend. This weekend (Memorial Day) we had 36 incoming on Thursday and we have 93 coming in today (Friday). Its gonna be a fun and busy weekend! And yes, I forgot to mention they supply us with a golf cart and all the other tools we need to do our job safely.

Our morning duties include putting out the “Reserved” tags

As campers leave we always check their site and their fire pit to pick up any litter and have the site ready and attractive for the next campers. Again, Sundays are always a longer day for us because everybody’s leaving and heading back to work for the week. But sometimes, just like everywhere else, some people have so little respect for others and they just have to ruin a good thing.

These idiots will be cited and banned from staying at any Kentucky State Park in the future

Although the bathhouses (including showers and laundry machines) are cleaned at least 3 times daily by the paid staff (Robert and Jeff), on weekends since the park is so busy Kathy and I follow up in the late afternoon and again just before it gets dark. Usually we just have to give them a quick wipe down and damp mop. The rest rooms are air conditioned and have great exhaust fans to take out all the extra humidity.

Kathy and I like to stay busy and so we volunteered when we got here to do some painting to the loop posts and the mini-golf score card posts as well to spruce them up for the season

We head down to the Lodge about once a week where we can always get a great meal at a deep 50% employee discount. Not only is the dining room clean and spacious allowing for a quiet and relaxing meal, but the staff is attentive and the view from the dining room veranda is beautiful.

A cloudy and chilly day on the veranda but a great view nonetheless

We’ve found a couple other restaurants that we like as well. Annie Ruby’s Cafe in Burkesville (18 miles north) is a great little place for breakfast or lunch along with The Bait Store in Burkesville. Just south of us at Sulpher Creek Marina is Mike’s Landing Restaurant on the pier. Now this place is altogether different in that they serve liquor but they also have a great dinner menu.

We will be here through the July 4th weekend. If you think you’d like free camping for a few months into the fall, call the park and ask for Jenny, the General Manager. I’m sure she’d be glad to talk with you.

We’ve got two other posts about our time here so far. You can read Settling in at Dale Hollow and Just a little hike to learn more about what life is like here.

When we leave July 6th we’ll be heading up to Ohio where we’ve got some medical appointments and I’ll be getting a hip replacement. By the way, my rotator cuff surgery that I had March 16th is doing great – I’ve been getting PT down here twice weekly and my range of motion and strength are coming back real good. I’m having the same surgeon doing the hip.

Our hope is to be back on the road by the 2nd or 3rd week of August and head to Oregon to meet up with 30 other rigs from our Escapees RV Club to attend the Oregon Coast Hangout.

From there we’ll slowly make our way back to our winter home at Rover’s Roost (SKP Co-Op Park) in Casa Grande, AZ by November 1st. While the Roost will be our home base in the winter, during that time we’ll spend a couple weeks in January dry camping in the desert at Quartzsite, AZ so we can join our friends at the Big Tent RV Show and then a couple more weeks during February in Mexico with our friends of Escapees Chapter 8 Mexican Connection on their annual rally.

Thanks for riding along. Stay safe, take care of yourselves and we look forward to reading any comments you might have. You can leave them in the block down below, or if you’re reading this from a Facebook link you can leave them there too.

Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy

Just a little hike

Once we kind of found our way around the county (grocery store etc.), we decided to do a little more roaming within the park.

Today was a short hike up to Eagles Point.  From here you can see a large portion of the lake, some of the islands (including trooper island), and on over to Tennessee.

Although the trail (from the Marina overflow parking lot) is only 7/10ths of a mile, much of it was uphill and my hip and knee were both crying out to me along the way. We heard a lot of little critters among the leaves in the woods as we climbed up to Eagle’s Point, but all we saw was a black snake along the way.

Once we got to the top, it became clear that the climb was worth the trip. We could see clearly (even though it was an overcast day) over to the lodge, to Troopers Island, and on across the lake to Tennessee.

Trooper Island is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and leased by the Kentucky State Police where they operate a camp for underprivileged children. Find out more about their mission by following this link.

I’ve been afraid of heights ever since I can remember. A 6′ stepladder is about as high as I can comfortably go. Kathy on the other hand …. is comfortable going right to the edge (as you can see in one of the pictures below)

Panoramic view from the top (Trooper Island in the distance)
Video from the top

That’s it for now … we have very limited wifi here. I have to come up to the lodge to get any reliable wifi.

Stay safe … Herb & Kathy

We’d really appreciate it if you would do us the favor of helping us continue to publish this RV / Travel / Workamping blog. Do you purchase any products from Amazon? If you do, it would be great if you’d use the link in the sidebar or one of the links below to get to Amazon … after that you can change your search. By making your Amazon purchases from our site, we will receive from Amazon a small percentage of your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more. We’d really appreciate your help. Thank you, Herb & Kathy
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