Saturday, December 29, 2012

We’re in West Covina, CA


Dec. 30, 2012                                                                                                                            Lorraine’s report

Happy New Year, everyone.  Sorry I haven’t written a lot lately, but you know how it is with Kaitlyn being around us most of the time.  It was hard for me to have her daddy take her away to come south, I really missed her, Lots!  It is nice to have her here with us now, Susy too!

I would like to tell Rick and Donna….Thank You….I loved the new Kindle Fire, been using it, just trying to get used to it, but I can get e-mail and check Facebook, even on the road.  Thank you!!!  

Christmas was wonderful, and we hope you all had a great Christmas;  may the new year bring us even more health, not so much costly cares or concerns as this year has brought to us. 

Until next time…


12/30/12                                                                                                                    Chuck’s report

I’m sitting here watching college football bowl games on TV Saturday night.  Lorraine and Susy went to the mall, they haven’t been able to do any after Christmas shopping together so they are taking time to go there tonight.  We came down to see the Rose Parade and attend the Rose Bowl game on Jan. 1st.  It will be a first time for Lorraine and me to attend the game and the first time for Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn to see the Rose Parade live.   

Let’s see, working backwards, we traveled from the Bay area down here to the LA area today.  We left there just before 9 AM and got here about 3:30 PM, a long driving day for us but we are set up now.  I had checked with most of the Elk lodges around Pasadena about a month ago and we were planning on staying at Ontario, about 40 minutes from Pasadena.  They have a few RV spots with 30 amp power and water at each site but no dump on site.

As we were driving down, I asked Lorraine and Susy to call a few of the Elk lodges again and see what they could find.  As luck would have it, they noticed in the book that West Covina has RV sites with 50 amp power and water at each site and a dump available also.  Seeing as how it is closer to Pasadena, they called but never did get anyone to answer so we decided to drive in and check it out. 

We got here and drove through the parking lot and found the RV sites, as advertised they have 50 amp and water.  We managed to get a spot close enough to the dump that I hope to be able to dump the gray tanks via a hose without moving the rig, YEA regular daily showers VS. navy type and the black tank should hold us until we leave next week so we’ll dump it the day we leave.  I’ve never heard of West Covina before but it looks like it will be a good base camp for us to stay for the trip down here. 

I talked to someone who was setting up at the lodge and he said just stop by the bar after 4 pm and pay them for our stay.  So when we walked over to pay we found they have a very nice dinner area with a regular menu and specials too.  We all decided to have prime rib, very good choice and it’s always nice to support an Elks lodge too. 

Friday we took down the few Christmas decorations we had and stored them back in Susy’s garage until next year.  I also stored all the extra stuff we carry in the car there until we return after this trip down here.  Lorraine went through some of her stuff and we put some sweaters in a shrink bag and stored them too.  She also cleaned out some drawers and such and we had some stuff to give to Goodwill. 

Friday morning early I also had my second appointment with the Behavior Specialist at the VA (I call her a shrink) to see if she can help me with my claustrophobic problem.  I have been getting worse and decided it was time to ask for help.  She gave me some suggestions and recommend a book but mostly she said I have to “face my fears” and put myself in situations I’m not comfortable being around.  I don’t like elevators, crowds, back seat of a car if it isn’t a four door or being in tight, constrictive spaces.  She suggested I need to go to these places and work my way through my problems.  After all those years working in the refinery and crawling through all the towers and vessels it seems strange to have issues now.   But I’m going to try her suggestions and see what happens, she said I can make an appointment and see her anytime we are in the area. 

Thursday I had another VA appointment in my ongoing sleep apnea problem.  This time we drove to the coast to Seaside, near Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach.  A few nice areas that Lorraine and I both liked.  Of course, it was sunny when we were there, I’m sure the weather isn’t always that nice but it was that day.  Because we were close and haven’t been in this area for awhile, we drove around and checked out a few spots, drove down to Big Sur and up to Santa Cruz before going back to the coach.  We didn’t check out prices for homes in the area but both of us said we could see us going there when we get off the road, prices being in our range of course.  But we aren’t ready to even check it out yet, hoping for a few more years of being on the road before we have to really start thinking about things like that. 

The appointment ended up being a “lecture” via a tele-conferencing set up.  It was about sleep apnea, problems that can arise from it and how it can be controlled.  I had read most of that type information on line already but it is something that I have to do, another step in the process of getting me a CPAP or BiPAP machine to use at night. 

Mark and Kaitlyn took off for LA on Thursday evening, Susy still had to work on Friday so we hung around and she rode down with us.  Mark is going to play in the Stanford Band, both at the Parade and at the game so he has to go to practices this weekend.  Mark and Kaitlyn went to Knox Berry amusement park on Friday and Saturday and he is going to bring her by this evening and she will stay with us thru the weekend and go to the parade and game with us too.  Susy could have played with the band too but decided to just be a “tourist” instead.  I know she would like to be with the band but it’s nice to have her with us instead.

We had a very nice Christmas at Susy’s place.  It’s always nice to see Christmas through the eyes of a child who still believes.  Kaitlyn was a very happy little girl, she got lots of stuff and more of “My Little Pony” stuff to add to her growing collection.  The rest of us got some things we needed/wanted but Lorraine and I try to get what we need/want when we can rather than wait for a special occasion.  And because we don’t have lots of space for “stuff”, Susy got us tickets to the Rose Bowl game, hence the reason we are here. 

One item that Lorraine and I got was from our son, Rich, who lives in Alaska.  He bought us both a Kindle, Lorraine’s is a Kindle Fire so she can access email and such from it as well.  Very nice surprise and great gifts, Lorraine has used hers away from the coach and it worked great.  Thanks Rick, nice presents!

The days before Christmas we spent a lot of time with Kaitlyn, Susy and Mark, going out for dinner or having it at Susy’s or our place.  Kaitlyn also spent a couple nights with us, she and Lorraine didn’t get to sleep too early however as there was lots of giggling and such going on.  Only good thing was they slept a bit later the next morning, Kaitlyn slept until almost 8, late for her. 

On the 18th I had my second visit with my primary VA doctor.  She reviewed the results of all the tests I’ve been doing and scheduled me for another round of Pulmonary Fitness Tests or PFT.  I guess there are some things that aren’t making sense, I have good lung capacity but can’t get good exchange or something to that effect.  Anyway, the next round of tests should help them make a diagnosis and maybe help me get back to breathing right.  I am better than I was a month or so ago but still have very bad days where I can’t seem to get a full breath and sometimes can’t exhale without an effort.  They have me on a different inhaler that I take twice a day along with the regular one that I use when needed so it’s hard to tell if I’m better or if the medicine is doing its thing.  

I mentioned to the doctor that I was seeing flashes of light in my left eye and have lots of new “floaters” too.  She had me go see the eye doctor right away, they were worried about a detached retina or something, said it could be something bad.  The eye doctor checked it out and put eye drops in to deaden it.  He then looked inside the eye ball while he poked and prodded it with blunt instruments so he could see all portions of it.  Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he called in the retina specialist who did the same thing only about 4 times worse.  I don’t like anything in or around my eye ball and didn’t handle this very well but the end result was they couldn’t find any major problem but want me to return in three weeks so they can do it all over again.  I made the appointment but am seriously considering not keeping it, I don’t like it.  They did say something that I’ve been hearing from other doctors too, “it may just be because of your age'”, the jelly in your eye gets thicker as we age.  I’m getting tired of hearing from the doctors that I’m getting old. 

I also told my primary doctor about my claustrophobic problem and she called the Behavior Specialist who happened to have an opening so Lorraine and I got to talk with her for awhile.  Lorraine said she really likes her and thinks she can help me, most folks who know me think I’m beyond help.  Like I said earlier, I’m going to try some of the things she suggested and hope I can ease some of my issues.   

Lorraine also had a doctor’s appointment but we got a call two days before saying he was called out of town and will not be back until after the first of the year.  We made an appointment with him for the first day we are back in the Bay area.  Lorraine is lots better, her speech was effected more than anything and it’s better.  Susy says she notices it but she also says if you didn’t know Lorraine, you might not notice anything out of the ordinary.  We are hoping the doctor can give her a few more ways to exercise her brain and get the new connections made.  But I would say she is about 90% recovered, I remember the evening it happened and she didn’t even know her name and couldn’t speak at all. 

All these doctor visits and trips to the hospital are getting old, that’s for sure!  I don’t remember the amount one needs in order to deduct medical expenses on taxes but I’m sure we have exceeded the minimum amount, ha.  But we are hoping the new year brings us better health and fewer medical issues.

With the upcoming new year it is usually a good time to remember and reflect on this year.  We have a good way of doing that by reviewing our previous blogs, which I do every once in a while.  Even though we didn’t write every week, we still managed to get 25 blogs posted this year, pretty good considering we didn’t post any while we were stuck in Washington while I was working this spring. 

We plan on staying here so Lorraine, Susy and Kaitlyn can go to Disneyland on the 3rd, we’ll drive back to the Bay area on the 5th.  We will stay there for a doctor visit for Lorraine and one for me then head out for Palm Springs and the FMCA Rally in Indio which runs Jan. 9th – 13th. 

The weather has been more like winter, rain and clouds with a few days of sun.  We actually ran into snow coming down to LA in the hills just North of town, pretty heavy for awhile but it wasn’t sticking on the roads.  The forecast here is for highs in the low 60s and lows in the high 30s, not too bad but a bit cooler than what we would have hoped for.  Oh what a tough live we have, complaining about the temperatures only getting to the low 60s in early January. 

So with that, I guess I’ll go through the pictures Lorraine has taken and post a few of them here.  I’ll do that in the morning (Sunday) and get this posted.   

Pictures of Kaitlyn at her school program.  She is sitting in the middle in the front row. 

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With a couple of her friends.

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On stage at school. 

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Different evening, this time with her Brownie group.

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Lighting a candle on the left and receiving a new badge on the right. 

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Out to Christmas Eve dinner, L to R  me, Lorraine, Kaitlyn, Susy and Mark. 


Christmas morning at Susy’s. 

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My shirt is a big lie. 

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YEA Dad, thanks for the present. 

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Lorraine with her Kindle Fire. 

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New toys all lined up under the Christmas tree. 


California coast pictures. 

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Ok, that’s enough of those.  Guess I’ll just wish everyone a Happy New Year!  Hope you and yours have a great year. 

Thanks   Chuck


Sunday, December 16, 2012

We’re in Santa Clara, CA


Monday Dec. 17, 2012                                                                                             Lorraine’s Report

It’s the week before Christmas and I would like to say how sorry we are for all the young children who were gunned down back east.  I can not imagine how all those people must feel; to take your children to school and then get a call that someone has shot them, in their classroom.  Our hearts and our prayers go out to all of those people and all the pain they must be going through.  I can not imagine this!!!  When we saw Kaitlyn, all I could do was just hold her; Daddy too.

Until next time,


12/17/12                                                                                                                                   Chuck’s report

After a good time in Palm Springs, we headed back to be with our daughter and grand daughter back here in the Bay Area.  We were only there for 10 days but it was nice to be in the sunshine and warmer weather.  Plus we didn’t have to deal with the doctor and therapists so there was no stress of keeping a schedule with them. 

While in Palm Springs we met with friends Tom/Dorothy.  We met them at a rally back in the summer of ‘08 in Wisconsin, they traveled to Alaska with us a couple of years ago and we try to visit them whenever we can and of course, being this close we had to meet with them.  We met at a restaurant and had a good visit, getting caught up with the changes in their lives and telling them about ours.  Unfortunately due to their schedule and ours, we were only able to visit one time but hope to see them after the first of the year again. 

Our friends Joe/Alice had to leave the 1000 Trails park but only moved to a county park about 15 miles away, close enough we could visit with them, meet them somewhere or they could come by our place.  We managed to do all of the above over the week. 

We also received a call from friends Steve/Sandy who said they were heading South and could stay in the area for two/three days if we could spare time to see them.  These are our friends who own a lot at Baker Lake back in Washington and we’ve done quite a few things with them over the past 4 years.  I managed to get them a spot in the 1000 Trails park and they found a site right next to us. 

We were able to do a few things with them, convinced them to stay over the third day too.  We asked Joe/Alice to meet us and all six of us headed out to see Christmas lights one night.  We heard about a house in Palm Springs that won a national award in ‘10 for the best dancing light show to music.  It lived up to its billing and can you believe we were able to park right across the street for three songs and most of the time there weren’t any other people there blocking our view.  I don’t know when they start decorating but with all the lights and the computer program set to music, I would bet they start sometime around the first of November.   They have a donation box in the front yard and all proceeds are donated to a charity.  I actually saw a spot on the news about them the next day and they do give all the money to a charity. 

Just around the way was a street with almost all the houses decorated for Christmas.  We parked the car and walked a couple blocks each way, admiring the decorations.  Lorraine and Sandy both took a lot of pictures and Sandy gave me a copy of the ones she had so I’ll have a bunch to go through and add some here.  Like most times, the pictures don’t show the full effect but when we see them we can visualize the whole thing in our minds.  After a couple of hours of looking at Christmas lights, we stopped off at In-n-Out for dinner, a good hamburger place. 

Next morning Steve and I toured a few of the new coaches at the RV dealer next door to the park.  We both were just looking and neither of us came anywhere near to buying a new one.  Steve/Sandy also have a Tiffin, theirs is a year newer than ours and has the wider door we would like to have but I ain’t changing rigs just to have a wider door, ha. 

After touring the coaches, in the rain no less, we decided to visit an oasis a few miles away.  Lorraine and I have been there before, Joe/Alice had introduced us to the place about 3 years ago.  It is located right on the San Andrea's fault line and has water coming out of the fault and flowing for a 1/2 mile or so.  The palm trees in the area aren’t kept trimmed like most of the ones in people’s yards and such but allowed to hang down, sort of like a skirt.  This makes a nice place for animals to live and with the water there are quite a few, although we haven’t seen anything except for lizards and birds in our trips there. 

After the oasis, we continued driving just to tour the area.  We stopped for lunch in Desert Hot Springs, then retuned back to the park.  We got together later and played cards, visited and had a good time. 

Next morning Steve/Sandy headed out to AZ. to be with their daughter and grand kids for Christmas.  They have spent most of their winters since retiring in the Phoenix area and this year we may just meet them there for awhile.  After they got ready, we wished them well and gave them our best wishes and safe travel.

It wasn’t too much later that we got a visit from Joe/Alice, they were returning to the park.  They managed to find a site almost directly across the street from us and got set up.  Later Lorraine fixed up some snacks and we went over to their coach for a couple of hours to visit.  Once again, we enjoyed our time with these fine friends and will see them early next year as they will be in Hemet for the rest of the winter and we are planning on being back in Palm Springs, about 50 miles away.  See you then Joe/Alice.

Saturday morning we got everything set for traveling and took off.  We had planned on going a couple of hours past Bakersfield but by the time we got there, I was ready to stop for the night so once again we stopped overnight at the Orange Grove RV Park.  I picked a few oranges and tangerines, they are ripe and ready to pick and very good. 

Sunday we completed the trip to Santa Clara.  A couple of hours before we got here we got a call from our Son-in-aw asking if we were set up yet, Kaitlyn was excited to see her Nana and wanted to come over.  But we still had to drive a couple of hours and get set up first.  When we got in, we called and told them to come over, boy was Kaitlyn excited when she saw Lorraine, came running up the stairs yelling “Nana, Nana, Nana” and gave her a big hug. 

Lorraine and Kaitlyn had a good afternoon being together playing, drawing and coloring.  Susy came by later (with dinner) and we all had a good evening until it was time for Kaitlyn to head home and get ready for bed. 

Only thing about the trip over is the California roads need some work, they are falling apart.  I already had a rant a few weeks ago about the stimulus package not being spent on roads and such and all that holds true even more after seeing the condition of the highways here. 

The weather this past week hasn’t been anywhere as nice as the first part of our stay in Palm Springs.  We’ve actually had some rain and temperatures about 15 F less than the 80s we were seeing.  But the skies over there clear up soon after the rains, it doesn’t stay dark and gray long.  We didn’t have any rain on our way over but the closer we got to the Bay area, the more clouds we had. It started raining last night and it’s still sprinkling this morning.  The forecast is for rain this week, sort of like back in Washington.  I would rather have the warmer weather and be wearing shorts instead of long pants. 

Our plans have us staying here through most of this month, spending Christmas with Susy and Kaitlyn.  Lorraine and I both have doctor’s appointments this week, here’s hoping for more good news on that front.  We will be leaving for Pasadena the following Friday or Saturday, we haven’t decided exactly yet. 

I’ll go thru the pictures Lorraine has taken the past week and add some here then get this posted. 

Tom and Dorothy on the left, 1000 Trails park on right

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A road runner in the park.

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Our rig “decorated” for Christmas.


The dancing Christmas light house in Palm Springs, notice the different colored lights depending on the computer. 

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Some decorated houses along Candy Cane Lane. 

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The oasis a few miles from our park. 

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Lorraine, Sandy and Steve.

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Steve standing on the bridge over the running water.  Sandy going under a low tree. 

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Pictures from the drive back to the bay. 

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Joshua Trees or a type of cactus that only grows at certain elevations, usually around 4,000’.

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Kaitlyn and Susy playing with Kaitlyn’s My Little Pony collection. 

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Ok, now to get this posted. 


Thanks   Chuck