Friday, July 8, 2016

On the Road Again (Finally)

Wow!  It's been awhile since we last traveled with many interesting and challenging adventures along the way.  We returned home from our winter trip to Texas sans the rig which we left in San Antonio for some new upgrades.  We piled most of our belongings into a small U-Haul that we pulled behind our SUV and headed home.  Once home the Captain went to his local orthopedic surgeon to confirm he had a torn meniscus in his left leg.  Since it was going to be a month before we had to drive back and pick up the rig in San Antonio we decided this was a good time to get his leg fixed.  The Captain had also been having some problems with his feet so we figured the orthopedist could address that issue, too.  Little did we know..........

Several weeks before his surgery I was out walking our two pups when I came across a black lab that looked like a mess.  At first I thought it had the mange but when it got closer I realized it had been in a horrendous dog fight.  It took two days and the Captain's help, along with many dog treats, to finally capture him.  And that begins our adventure with Rowdy.

This is how he looked the day we caught him.  Since it was a Sunday we took him to an emergency vet. He was in a great deal of distress with a high fever and swollen lymph nodes.  The vet said without help he would have died from sepsis as the infection was going into his blood stream.  We had to give the vet a name for him so I picked Rowdy.  
The vet sedated him and then shaved all the fur off his muzzle.  He brought us in to see him after he had cleansed all the wounds.  It was unbelievable how many bites he had.

The vet told us he had many other bites all over his body so it was a gang attack but the other bites were healing and the antibiotics would take care of them. 

This is how he looked after his surgery with a special cream smeared on his face to prevent itching and help to heal the wounds.

Twice a day the Captain diligently smeared the cream on his face and Rowdy was a very good patient.  We kept him in the garage so our pups wold leave him alone and also because he was dirty and full of fleas.

A week later we took him to our regular vet and he was given all his shots and tested for heartworm which luckily was negative. We checked with all our neighbors within a mile radius and no one claimed him.  One woman said he had been living in the woods and occasionally showed up at her house and shared a meal with her dog.  We knew he was young though, probably around a year old or less.  The final step was to get him neutered which was accomplished a week later.

After a pill to kill the adult fleas (we already had him on Frontline but it wasn't enough), and a deworming to get rid of the intestinal bugs followed by a nice warm bath,  Rowdy joined us in the house.  No bugs, no fleas, a tummy full of food, and a family to love you. What more could a pup ask for! 
Rowdy thrived and he quickly lived up to his name.  He became good friends with Desi and they played together all the time.  Lucy looked on with contempt because she is beyond those shenanigans at her mature age.

His face healed nicely and started looking like the beautiful lab that he is.

Rowdy also learned to love the water and retrieving a ball was one of his favorite games.

In our area there is an organization called Dog4U that helps unwanted or stray dogs to find a forever home in Massachusetts.  We knew we would not be able to keep Rowdy and honestly, it broke my heart because he was so easy to love.  But traveling in an RV with three dogs is difficult and it wasn't fair to Desi and Lucy because Rowdy was young and needed a good deal of attention. So we contacted the group and they made arrangements to have him shipped to the Northeast.  The state of Massachusetts has very strict spay-neuter laws so there is a shortage of animals to adopt.  A continual need for adoptable dogs and cats alleviates some of the overpopulation in the southeastern US but there are still tens of thousands of animals being euthanized each year.  Before Rowdy left I wrote a bio on him which went to the no-kill shelter in Sudbury, MA, where he was going. Five families had signed up to adopt him before he even arrived. The shelter very carefully vets all potential adopters to make sure the dog is placed with the right family and he was placed in his forever home in less than a week.

We received this picture of Rowdy in his new home.  They have renamed him Murphy and he is already becoming a BFF with their cat, Mercedes.  Looks like there are children's shoes in the background which means he has kids to play with which is great because he is such an active pup.  But I still miss him alot, he was an awesome pup.

Not too long after Rowdy left us our oldest granddaughter, Katelyn, graduated from college.  We went to the graduation and also helped empty out her dorm room to bring back all her "stuff" to her mom's house.

There she is, second from the left, that good looking red head with the big smile on her face.  She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics with honors in three years so we are very proud of her.

Katelyn with her mom, Beth, and brother Lee.

Katelyn and her fiancee, Cole, who is studying to be a minister.

Our other daughter, Lynn, and husband Anthony, with theirs kids,  Madeleine and Dane, drove all the way down from Pennsylvania to attend.

Interesting........our oldest graduated from college and the youngest, Madeleine, is starting 1st grade this fall.

After the graduation Katelyn jumped on a plane and flew to France and Austria for a ten day trip with some other students from her school.  When she got back we helped pack all her "stuff" up again and drove her back to Winthrop to move her into an apartment she is sharing with two other girls while she matriculates in an advanced Master's program for the next 12 months.  Whew!

Oh yeah, a picture of a couple of old people who also got invited to the shindig.

Okay, back to the Captain story, or should I say Captain Stubby which is now his current name.  A week after his surgery he was not using a crutch as he should have and stepped wrong pulling his hamstring in the same leg that had just been operated on. That really messed things up and we are still struggling with it today.  We went back to the same doctor regarding the pain in his feet which the doctor diagnosed as plantar fasciatis and spent way too many weeks messing around with orthopedic inserts with still no relief.  After an x-ray of one foot and an MRI the doctor recommended aquatic therapy which was a good four weeks after going through regular physical therapy for his knee.

Finally, in frustration, we went to a doctor in Charlotte who is a podiatrist and surgeon and we brought along copies of the foot x-ray and MRI.  The doctor never even looked at them, in fact, he scoffed. He started massaging the Captain's foot and we heard a sharp and painful crack which was the doctor moving the cuboid bone in his foot back into the proper alignment.  He said the Captain had cuboid syndrome which is:

A condition that develops through either a single traumatic event or repetitive strain over time.  The cuboid bone is one of the seven tarsal bones located on the outer side of the foot.  The bone is cube-shaped and connects the foot and the ankle.  The cuboid helps provide for the stability of the foot and the movement of the toes, in addition to ensuring proper weight distribution and flexibility along the plantar fascia that runs along the sole of the foot.

 Turns out you can't even see the problem on an x-ray or MRI. So much for the orthopedist that we were seeing in our home town.  He may be okay on knees but he knows nothing about the feet.

We saw the foot specialist several times before we left on our trip this year.  He had to manipulate the cuboid bone in both of the Captain's feet.  The problem came about more than a year ago when we were clearing land on our property and the Captain twisted his foot wrong which caused this very small bone to pop out of alignment.  It is a much more common occurrence than we knew and happens often to runners and athletes.  The Captain's had become chronic because he tried to work around it for so long.

So now we are into special exercises that I do on his feet each day, a change in footwear to running shoes versus walking shoes because they have a stronger arch, and deep tissue massage which helps mainly his hamstring which is still causing way too much trouble.  What a mess!  Captain Stumpy is slowly improving and that is what is important.  

Out next adventure was our younger daughter and family moving from the Philadelphia area to Richmond, VA, and the purchase of a home in the suburb of Glen Allen.  It is a very nice area with good schools for the tots and the Captain and I became the advance crew arriving two weeks before they got there.  During that time we painted rooms, repainted all the cabinets and shelves in the kitchen and bathrooms, replaced a sink/cabinet in the utility room, changed out the electrical switches in the rooms we painted and other sundry jobs.  
Captain Stumpy working on base molding after he removed the old utility sink to be able to put the new one in.

We needed to get the new one in before the movers brought the washer and dryer since the room is a little on the snug side.

While in Richmond, VA, the RV park we stayed at could not accommodate us for a couple days so we drove over to Charlottesville to check out the area.

We took a drive up to Carter Mountain Orchard and saw some great views of the city below.

It was a nice place and the peaches we purchased were delicious. 

Our next stop was a place called Michie Tavern, a Virginia Historic Landmark that was established in 1784 by a Scotsman named William Michie.  The tavern served as the social center of the community and provided travelers with food, drink, and lodging.  It was owned by the Michie family until 1910.

The property has many Civil War artifacts for sale along with a general store, metal shop, tours of the old buildings and a very popular restaurant. 

This is a tear catcher popular during the war when those mourning the loss of a loved one would collect the tears in a bottle with special stoppers that allowed the tears to evaporate. When the tears were gone the mourning period ended.

Civil War items for sale.

A 100 lb cannon ball from the Civil War on sale for $800.

Amazing the difference between the two.

The metal shop had some lovely items.

The main restaurant was very beautiful but too crowded to get into the day we were there.

We visited several wineries in the area including one called Gabrielle Rouse. Run by two sons whose father had come here from Italy and started the vineyard, the tasting room was set in the woods in a very peaceful area. The wine was quite good but the funniest part was the family dogs interacting with our pups. Desi and Lucy were on leash and one of the owner's dogs took Desi's leash in its mouth and started walking him all over the property. 

Their yellow lab leading Desi into the woods near the tasting room.

The whole time we were there Desi was led around and didn't seem to mind a bit.  Other wine tasters were amused and took multiple pictures of the pair. 

One of the wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail.  We did not stop in.

Oh, did I forget, we also babysat a 130 lb Great Pyrenees for ten days until our daughter's move to Virginia was completed.  Richmond has had a good deal of rain this season and Daisy is afraid of thunderstorms so it was another adventure with her each day.

Sharing the rig with Daisy and our two pups.  Since we had just had our carpeting replaced in the rig and Daisy is a panter and drooler, we gated off the back area which made our space even smaller.  Notice I was drinking a glass of wine:)

Daisy freaking out during one of the many thunderstorms we encountered. 

Giving her melatonin only calmed her down a small amount so during the bad storms we sat up with her at night until they passed.

While babysitting, we took her into a groomer for a bath, haircut, and fur thinning and this was the results.

What a face!  Gotta love her.

She even posed long enough to show off one of the Captain's hats.

Finally the furniture arrived and we helped Anthony to get it all moved in and accounted for.  Several days later Lynn and the kids arrived.  We painted a few more rooms, helped arrange furniture and hung pictures on the walls to make it look more like home. 

The Captain checked off boxes as they were taken into the house.  By this time he could barely walk.

And then the day to leave came.  We finished as much as we could accomplish, left Lynn, Anthony, and the kids with tons more work to do, and waved goodbye as we headed north toward our rendezvous in New York.

Waving goodbye to our daughter as we left her in her newly purchased home.  We did promise to stop back in the fall on our way home knowing she already had more plans for us!

Driving through Virginia into Pennsylvania with all the beautiful mountains in the background.

A good part of the trip was driving along the beautiful Susquehanna River in PA.  

We spent the first night in a small town in Pennsylvania.  Early the next morning we left for our first stop in New York.  Or so we thought!  Our rear passenger hydraulic slide decided it didn't want to stay in and luckily we saw it happening before we left the campground.  The Captain jammed a piece of firewood into the gear section to keep it mostly closed and immobilized and we headed north. Entering New York we found an RV service center that took us in right away.  They fixed the problem but after testing it several times they saw there was another issue.  The motor controlling both slides on the passenger side was failing and they recommended it be replaced.  So that is on order now and when it comes in we will drive back to the service center and have the old motor replaced.  Never a dull moment with Captain Stumpy and his entourage.  Peace!

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