Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nashville Symphony

Our friend, Bill, invited us to attend the Nashville Symphony last evening at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center (Wiki Commons image)

The concert was "Pixar in Concert" -- a compilation of of the music and imagery from Pixar's  thirteen feature films, performed by a full orchestra.

While the orchestra played music from each of the films, corresponding video images were displayed on the huge video screen in the hall.  The films represented were Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Toy Story 2, Cars, Up, The Incredibiles, Monsters Inc., Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Brave, and Monsters University.

It was indeed a delightful evening.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Change is in the Making

On May 11, 2005, the sale of our house was completed and the next day we headed down the road in our one-ton truck pulling our fifth-wheel home on wheels.   We were officially full-time RVers beginning a new adventure of traveling, exploring, discovering, and enjoying.  There was excitement and everything about RV living seemed so new and refreshing.

We found ourselves stopping at a state park and staying several days before moving on. We came upon places of interest and stayed a few days and then ventured on to the next discovery.  By winter of that first year we had made our way to the Rio Grande River Valley where we anticipated spending a short time in one place and moving to another, and another, and another.   Instead, we discovered an RV park that we liked and made that our winter-time home base and did a lot of exploring of the Rio Grande River Valley from that location -- in our truck, on the bicycles, and by tour bus.

Lake Hope State Park, Ohio.

But when spring arrived, it was always time to hitch up and travel north -- visiting family in the upper mid-west and exploring the sights of the United States and Canada.  We saw a lot of beauty and met many fascinating people.

Malaquite Beach, Texas.

But from time to time we would ask ourselves, "How will we know when it is time to "hang up the keys?"  (That phrase is RV jargon for giving up full-time RV living.)   Will we know when it is time? Will it be determined by faltering driving skills?  Or will there be other considerations?

Ten years has passed!   Where did that time go?

The Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

Once again this year as April came, the trailer was prepared for travel.  The itinerary for at least the first month was well prepared.   But MarySue's dentist discovered that she had an abscessed tooth that needed attention before we could travel.   About the same time Bruce was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia.   That, of course led to a consultation with a hematologist, a gastroenterologist. Then there was an endoscopy, a CT scan, plus an endoscopic ultrasound.

Eight weeks later -- 8 weeks!   The tooth has been extracted!   Bruce's hemoglobin is back to normal. We are finally on the road.

But during the delay of those eight weeks, we began to ask ourselves the hard questions. What if there were a serious medical problem while we were so far away from family?   Now that we are in our mid-seventies do we really have the energy to continue the full-time RV living with all the work that goes with it?

And some time during those eight weeks we both came to the conclusion that now is the time to say "good bye" to many friends in our winter location and to make one final trip back to Ohio.  

The list of friends includes people in the RV park where we spent our winters, people we met at many different places where we went dancing.  people we know through symphony concerts, people whom we knew at the church we attended during winter months.

Edcouch, Texas.

Saying farewell is tough.   It is emotional.   It is draining of energy.  There is a deep pain in leaving behind those whom we have loved and whose presence we have enjoyed.

But already we have received an invitation to be part of a church group in Columbus.   Already we get almost daily emails inviting us to the Country Western Dance meetup group activities in Columbus.

We look forward with eager anticipation to spending holiday times with our son, Joel, who lives in Ohio.   We also look forward to giving up the increasing amount of care and maintenance required by a fourteen-year-old fifth-wheel trailer.

We don't know all that is in store for us in the months to come.  But we do look forward with hope.

And we say with Dag Hammarskj√∂ld,  "For all that has been -- thanks.  For all that will be -- yes." 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

North Little Rock, Arkansas

The Downtown Riverside RV Park is located in North Little Rock just across the Arkansas River from the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

From our trailer we had a clear view of the river, the walking bridge, and the William J. Clinton Library.

Funded by many donors, the old railroad bridge has been fitted with a delightful walking/biking trail across the river.   The Presidential Library is seen beyond the last span.

In the foreground is the William J, Clinton Library.   To the left and further away is the world headquarters of Heifer International -- one of our favorite charities.

We have memories of touring the library several years ago.   Unfortunately, our time this year did not allow us an opportunity for a return visit.

A current exhibit of dinosaurs is advertised by moving dinosaurs at the entrance to the Presidential Library.

Our trailer is on the river bank, as viewed from the Clinton Presidential Bridge.

During breakfast we looked out the rear window and watched this group of barges go by.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, Texas

We have always enjoyed Texas State Parks because of their beauty and their great variety.   The campgrounds at Texas State Parks have always been quite satisfactory as well.

Located in the Pineywoods area of northeast Texas, the park covers 641 acres of land on the northern shore of the lake about ten miles southwest of Mt. Pleasant, Texas.

We enjoyed meeting up with special friends at Vaughan's Catfish Restaurant located on the north shore of Lake Bob Sandlin very near to the entrance to the state park.   The food was wonderful and the meal provided a wonderful opportunity to spend time with Willis and Rebecca.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Movin' On

For more than ten years we have enjoyed our "home away from home" in deep south Texas.

We've had fun designing our little site to suit us, planting flowers to attract butterflies, and gardening just a little.

We've watched our RV park grow in size and numbers of residents, and, from the first day we came, we have made many friends.  In fact, our winter neighbors are more like family than friends!

As we have traveled back and forth between Texas and Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, we have seen a lot of beautiful scenery, given thanks for safe travels, laughed and gasped at the antics of other drivers, and camped overnight in some memorable campgrounds.  Over the years we have visited friends in Quebec City; Maine; Arkansas; Sault Ste. Marie, and the upper peninsula of Michigan; North Bay, Ontario; Minnesota; Door County, Wisconsin; Kansas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; the New England states; the Smokies. the Adirondacks and Appalachian mountains; and many lovely places in between.  We have been richly blessed!

Several years ago, MarySue insisted we develop a Plan B for living arrangements for the inevitable day when we would have to give up traveling.  We spent about two weeks researching Continuing Care Retirement Communities in the area of Columbus, Ohio.  Our younger son lives just about a 90 minute drive from there; close enough to visit but far enough away to lead his own life!

This spring, a series of events prompted us to accept that NOW is the time for that move.  Just as we were preparing to head north on our annual summer migration,  some blood test results sent Bruce into a series of diagnostic tests that is not over yet.  He has one more test to complete but, at this point, the doctor who scheduled the test says, "I'll do it because it was ordered by another doctor but, on the basis of the reports of the tests you've had already, I'd say you have nothing to worry about."

While all this was going on, our dentist discovered by X-ray that MarySue had another infected tooth.  She had one removed about a year and a half ago and this new one was the next tooth, and the support of a bridge!  So, while Bruce was keeping the doctors, labs, and radiology departments busy, MarySue was started on a round of dentists: an endodontist who attempted a root canal (which was not successful); an oral surgeon who extracted the infected tooth and the attached bridge and grafted in bone tissue into the gum in preparation for implants in the fall.  She now has a big hole in her mouth but she is OK.  

All of this put us at least six weeks behind the travel schedule we had planned on -- and it gets HOT in south Texas in June!  We began to consider this a "wake-up call" that it might be time to consider Plan B!  In the midst of this travel delay, the CCRC contacted us with the news that they had several apartments available that met our requested size -- and one had an outdoor patio!  That hastened our decision!

Our plan at this time is to leave south Texas on June 18, drive to Ohio and take possession of our apartment in Westminster Thurber Retirement Community in early July.  The facility is the one we had chosen in our previous research.

The apartment we have chosen is on the 7th floor of Thurber Tower (the high rise building in the center of the picture above) and has one of the center outside patios.

In the meantime, in ten days, we need to sell our RV site here in Texas.  Then, as we travel toward Columbus, Ohio we will be making decisions about selling the RV and trading the truck for a smaller, more traffic friendly vehicle.  There will be some furniture to buy because most of the furnishings in the RV are built in.  We might be settled into our new location by the end of the year!

Your friendship has been so precious to us over the years that we wanted to keep you in touch with what is going on in our lives.  When we know what our address will be, we'll let you know.  Of course our e-mail addresses and phone numbers will remain the same.  We invite you to visit, whether or not we are settled in!  The "Welcome mat" is always out for our friends!  We hope that your lives are as exciting and blessed as ours -- but more settled!