Six Weeks Already?

Tomorrow I’ll visit my doctor for my 6-week check up and hopefully be cleared to begin transitioning out of the boot. I can’t believe it’s already been six weeks since my lapiplasty surgery!

So how’s it been going? I think the best way to describe it is…slow. While the six weeks have seemed to fly by, the days have sometimes been long and difficult. Little by little, however, my incision has turned into a pretty good looking scar and the bruising on my toes has faded. All good signs, right?

In the past few weeks I’ve focused on going to physical therapy twice a week and doing my exercises faithfully. We’ve been working on range of motion and strengthening of my foot while being careful not to interfere with the healing process. Some days I have quite a bit of pain on the top of my foot near the incision, but hopefully that’s normal nerve pain that will eventually disappear. There’s still some numbness here and there but it seems to be lessening with time. All of these sensations and daily variations have been fascinating and encourage me to follow the doctor’s orders to remain non-weight bearing and focus on PT, elevation, and ice. And, I’m trying to pace myself and not run around too much, which is a real challenge! Oh, and I got a pedicure (which makes everything better 🙂 )

We also took in a new family member during this “down time.” My sister Mickie had been keeping my father’s two dogs since Dad passed away last year. Sadly, last month she had to put down Bebe which left her with Bobby. We had lost our Nica last year and were looking to add to our little family. Gratefully Mickie allowed us to take Bobby into our home. We are happy to once again be a family of four. Bobby seems to be settling in and is a real hit around our dog-centric neighborhood. Even Mia is getting used to him!

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We also celebrated my birthday with a family dinner. Having Mickie and Jay over was a real treat and the red velvet cake, decorated lovingly by my sister, was a nice touch.

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With lots of time on the couch while healing we’ve had time to dream about our next adventures. And, if you know us, you know we don’t dream too much without action. During this time of isolation and recuperation we began to assess our needs for a bigger RV for our future explorations. After a number of stops to “just look” at our local RV dealer we’ve settled on a new home on wheels! Here’s a sneak peak.

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If the doctor approves my transition out of the boot and the stars align with the delivery of the new unit, we should be back on the road by next week. We are searching for remote areas, which will allow us to enjoy the great outdoors while social distancing. Our larger rig will also allow us to be even more fully self-contained, meaning we won’t need to use public restrooms or restaurants along the way.  Stay tuned for the big reveal and a complete look at the new RV in the coming days!

Patagonia Lake State Park and Harvest Hosts

Our winter road trip continued south to Patagonia Lake State Park. This beautiful park is located just north of the US/Mexican border near Nogales and is a haven for birders. We aren’t really into birds but we enjoyed our time there nevertheless. Steve enjoyed running on the trails each day while I rested my ailing foot. While the weather was unusually chilly, we still got out to enjoy the area a bit. Nearby Tumacácori National Historic Park reminded us of the long history of southern Arizona, punctuated by Spanish Colonial Jesuit missions.Not far from Patagonia Lake State Park is the wine growing region of Sonoita/Elgin. Of course, we checked out a few of the wineries while in the area. Our favorite was the funky, women-owned Arizona Hops and Vines, which pairs its wine with yummy snacks like BBQ chips, Cheetos, and Cocoa Puffs. How can you go wrong?After our time in southern Arizona we headed east towards Texas and our next destination, Big Bend National Park. However, RVing is not really about the destination as much as it’s about the journey. And what a journey we had!

We try to vary the kinds of places in which we camp. On this three day portion of our trip we stayed at a winery, a dairy, and an RV resort. First we stopped in Deming, NM and used our Harvest Host membership to park on the property of the D. H. Lescombes Winery and Tasting Room and enjoyed live music, wine specials, and dinner with others who were staying the night.

The next night we stopped in San Elizario, TX at the Licon Dairy, another Harvest Host property. We were the only campers there, but the dairy attracts a steady stream of locals who come to buy the legendary azadero cheese and to visit the farm animals. We bought some cheese and fed the animals, including the camel and many, many goats. Fun!Our journey was not without a small challenge that Steve met head on. Our kitchen faucet started leaking after our time in Patagonia and it soon became apparent that the cheap plastic faucet that came with the trailer needed to be replaced. So, on our way through El Paso, we set up shop in the parking lot of Home Depot and made the repair. Steve had to do some contortions to get to the pipes, but he got it done!Onward!

Quartzsite and LTVAs

We are excited to begin our first really big road trip as RVers. If all goes to plan (and we know it won’t) we’ll be on the road for about 10 weeks, drive over 3,600 miles through four states in the southwestern US, and experience some incredible events.

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As a rite of passage we began our big trip in Quartzsite AZ during The Big Tent RV show. In this area, dry camping is done on either free BLM land or in long- term visitor areas ( LTVAs) which are large desert areas that offer limited trash, sewer, and water services on-site.

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There are no assigned spaces and very few rules. You just find spot in the desert and make it yours.

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It’s $40 for two weeks or $180 for the entire season, so it attracts quite a variety of people!

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RVers come from all over to take part in various events.  Some come for the rock and gem shows and some come for the entire winter season to enjoy the near-perfect weather. We were here for four days of the ten day RV show and that was enough.

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If you like swap meets, fair food, and riding ATVs, this place is for you. Set up around town you’ll find temporary bars, makeshift grocery stores, and lots of vendors selling rocks.

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While I’m in a boot while walking to try to heal my sore foot, the doctor cleared me for biking. So, we enjoyed a little mountain bike riding through the desert and of course some beautiful sunsets.

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However, camping in the desert with no services amidst a lot of dusty ATV traffic gets old quickly.

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Still, Quartzsite in January is “the place to be,” and we enjoyed the RV show, swap meets, and the festive atmosphere.

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After four nights we headed south seeking a bit more tranquility. 

We found what we were looking for at Squaw Lake which is adjacent to the Imperial Dam LTVA site in Winterhaven, CA.

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Originally we planned to use our 14-day LTVA pass that we bought for Quartzsite. However, the Imperial Dam LTVA, located near the Yuma Proving Grounds, offered separate fee areas that were more picturesque and had more services. Squaw Lake Campground is basically a parking lot turned into a campground. With asphalt, showers, and flush toilets, it is worth the $7.50 per night. And the views were worth a million bucks.

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Squaw Lake is connected to the Colorado River and is teeming with bird life. Over our three days here we soaked in the tranquility and beautiful views.

Our kayak would have come in handy here but instead we explored the nearby LTVA by bike and Steve got in some good long runs.

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Look at the picture below. You can see all of the RVs that dot the landscape in the LTVA behind Steve.

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The LTVA here is huge and broken into numerous neighborhoods. The campers here come back year after year. They even have a little “liberry,” a converted old Airstream, where you can exchange books.

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We met people from all over who are basically doing what we’re doing: roaming from place to place and enjoying whatever adventures present themselves   We’re sure there are more adventures ahead.