Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Heart By-pass Surgery

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

Here is the typical advisory to readers about this post: Although this blog is primarily about RV travels, it is also a means to document some important events in mine and my family's lives. It is my hope that my grandchildren and their children will be able to read it in the decades to come. This post is another update on the medical issues of my youngest son, Brandon. The posts in this blog, even those that are not travel related, are open to anyone to read and on which to make comments. The comments are encouraged. Just letting the readers know that this post is not about travel.

The last post was dated about a month ago. At that time, we were waiting for a heart cath to be performed on Brandon. It was to be the last test before he would be placed on the "active" waiting list for a kidney/pancreas transplant. After he had passed previous tests, including a stress test, we thought the heart cath would be a mere technicality, although in the back of our minds we are never sure about anything. 

Brandon had the heart cath on November 15th. Afterwards, the cardiologist showed us the video and gave us the bad news. Two of the three main arteries of the heart were 99% blocked. He would need at least a double by-pass and possibly a triple. Brandon was essentially living on one artery. If that one failed, death would be almost instantaneous. The good news was his heart was strong and had suffered no damage since there was never a "heart attack". This was one of the "unexplainable events" (miracles) that happened over the last month. We told the doctor that Brandon had walked into the hospital for the heart cath and he had been power washing the back patio a week prior. When asked if he had any chest pain or shortness of breath, Brandon said "no". The cardiologist appeared shocked that there had not been any symptoms or why he had not had a heart attack.

Since Brandon was taking Plavix, an anti-blood-clotting drug, he would have to wait 7 days for the plavix to leave his system before any major surgery. They immediately admitted him to the hospital and assigned him to bed rest while waiting for the 7 days to pass. The bed rest was required due to the doctor's concern about a possible heart attack from any physical activity.

The kidney doctor was worried about Brandon's elevated creatinine level which meant his kidneys had indeed taken a hit as a result of filtering out the dye used during the heart cath. To prepare for what he thought would be a kidney shutdown, the doctors installed an "emergency/temporary" hemo-dialysis port in Brandon's chest. Although the peritoneal dialysis catheter was installed a month prior to the heart cath, it was still not usable. The kidney doctor wanted to perform a hemo-dialysis prior to the surgery but the heart doctors were too concerned about the dialysis stressing the heart so much that it could cause a heart attack. The kidney doctor deferred to the heart doctors but continued to monitor the kidneys. Each day that went by, and each blood test taken while waiting for the surgery, showed either a small improvement or no change in his kidney function. Now the kidney doctor was surprised just as the heart doctor had been after the heart cath. Unexplainable. The dialysis port would remain and they thought for sure it would be needed after the surgery since the kidneys would again suffer from the heart and lungs being shut down during surgery.

The by-pass surgery was scheduled for November 21st. The surgeon told us that Brandon's case was so unusual that he had consulted with four other cardiac surgeons. The recommendation of two of the four was to NOT do the surgery. They did not say what else to do, just that the surgery was too risky. They were concerned about heart attacks and strokes while on the operating table. Fortunately, our surgeon was confident the surgery was possible. He hoped to be able to use two arteries in the chest as by-pass vessels. This would negate the need to remove veins from the leg for that purpose. It would depend on the condition of a possible third blockage. The doctor would make that call during surgery. This may seem minor, but in Brandon's case it was a major deal. If they had to cut his leg open to find usable veins, this would cause recovery problems since they would be cutting on his one good leg. In addition, the arteries near the heart would last 30 to 40 years, while veins from the leg would last half that time. Again, good things happened. The surgeon was able to use the arteries near the heart since there were only two blockages. He said the stents that were installed about 10 years ago were totally blocked and that they had never seen that before in all of the by-passes they had performed. He was still amazed that Brandon had not had a heart attack or showed any symptoms.

After surgery, Brandon had all arteries leaving the heart now flowing full. The kidneys rebounded even more with the new blood flow and the emergency/temporary hemo-dialysis port was removed after never being used or needed. Chances are he will need dialysis sometime in the future, but will be able to do the peritoneal dialysis instead of the hemo-dialysis. 

Brandon was released from the hospital on November 29th and sent home. He was offered some in-patient physical therapy for the residual effects of the previous strokes but he declined. He had been through 2 sets of those in-patient PT programs in the past and didn't think it would be of benefit to him. He is now recovering at home with his 5 dogs while waiting to begin cardiac rehab. 

Partial summary of "good things" that were part of a bad deal:
1) had he not have had the heart cath as a part of the kidney/pancreas transplant review, he surely would have had a massive heart attack. If he would have survived that attack, his heart would have been severely damaged. 
2) although the doctors anticipated it, his kidneys did not shut down as a result of the heart cath or the by-pass surgery.
3) the heart surgeon was able to use the arteries in the chest for the by-pass instead of harvesting veins from his leg. 
4) while he was only using 1 of 3 main arteries prior to the surgery, there was no damage to his heart. 

Through it all,,,, Brandon attitude remained, "it's just another thing". Remarkable. He has been an inspiration to so many in the way that he dealt with this bad news as well as bad news he has received in the past. 

The cardiac surgeon, who has performed hundreds of these by-passes, explained it best when he said, "he could not scientifically explain many of the things about Brandon's case."
Olivia giving Uncle Brandon a hug before surgery.

Me talking to Brandon after the surgery.

Brandon's first steps after the surgery.

Brandon being wheeled out of the hospital one week after open heart surgery.

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Another Update on Brandon

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

Things have began to move quickly for Brandon. From what I can see it is a good thing and not being prompted by bad health. To be placed on the waiting list for a Pancreas/Kidney transplant, each person goes through a rigorous battery of health tests. These tests are used to see if the patient is not only healthy enough for the transplant surgery but also healthy enough to be "rewarded" with a transplant organ. They do not want to waste a valuable organ on a patient that is not healthy enough to survive long enough for the organ to be a benefit. That sure sounds hard-core and callous but it is what it is. The transplant board makes life and death decisions all the time as to who is active on the list and who is inactive.

Brandon had his carotid arteries checked by ultrasound and they were clear as a bell. That was good. He also had a stress test, EKG and Echo which all showed good. The one test that remains before being placed on the waiting list is a heart cath. It is needed to check the stents that were installed about 10 years ago. The heart cath uses dyes that are squirted into the arteries while images are taken of the arteries around the heart. The kidneys are used to get rid of the dyes after the test. It is believed that the last job of Brandon's kidneys will be to rid his body of the dye. After that job, they may shut down completely or be reduced dramatically. This means he may go directly to dialysis after the heart cath. To prepare for this, he had a Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter installed last week. It is installed in his stomach to do the type of dialysis he chose. Hopefully, his kidneys will handle the dye without degrading too much and he can delay the dialysis longer. 

The heart cath is scheduled for November 15th. The transplant coordinator says if the cath shows "good to go", Brandon will be placed on the active waiting list. At that point, we wait for a phone call. When it comes, we high tail it to the hospital and hope. 

Ya'll take care of each other. 
Be safe out there and maybe I'll Cya down the road.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

An Update

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

Well, well, it's been a month since I've posted to the blog.
This post will serve as an update of Brandon's condition. It will also used for future reference and documentation for Brandon to use in the years to come as a history of what he has gone through.

I'm camped at my usual campground in my hometown. There are a few choices of campgrounds but I like this one the best, but only if I can get my usual campsite. It is a level site on the top of the hill with tall pines to my western side which puts Liberty in the shade beginning around 3:00 in the afternoon. Those trees will also block a lot of the storms that enter this area from the west. Before I left last time, I asked the manager to save the site for me and that I would be returning in 4 to 6 weeks. He said he would do that and it wouldn't be a problem. When I returned, someone was in my spot. The manager was very apologetic and said it was a mistake. He started to tell me he would reduce my rent for the first month but I stopped him in mid-sentence and said "everything happens for a reason" and I would just pick another site until my usual site opened up. He said OK and I thought that ended the conversation. However, when I was paying the rent for the month, he ran my credit card through his cell phone app and reduced the amount by $25.00. I didn't catch it until the process was completed and he started laughing and telling me what he had done. He turned my words back at me and said "everything happens for a reason" and that I couldn't complain about what he had done. I thanked him and was reminded of another reason why I like the campground. My regular site opened up about 10 days ago and I'm camped in it now. 

Brandon is still waiting to be put on the kidney/pancreas transplant list. If all goes well, that process should begin around the first week of December. It may have been sooner but he had to have been quit smoking for 3 to 6 months before being put on the list. The reason being is they don't want to transplant an organ into someone unless they show they will take care of it. Brandon's smoking is a strange story. Brandon was smoking about a pack a day before his first stroke. Not a smart thing to do, but never the less he was doing it. After his first stroke, he didn't have any craving for a cigarette at all. It was as if the stroke had flipped the switch in his brain that controlled the craving. He never picked up another cigarette until after his second stroke. The second stroke apparently flipped that craving switch back to the on position. But when he found out he could get a pancreas, which would cure his diabetes, with the kidney transplant, that gave him the incentive to quit smoking even while having to fight the craving. He quit right before I left on my last trip. When I returned after being away a month, the changes were very noticeable to me. He was walking better and with more confidence. He looked healthier with better color in his face. Overall he looked stronger. These things were easy for me to see since I had been away for a month. He said he could feel the changes inside him. His words were that the cigarettes had been taking away something inside him and that he got some of them back after quitting. He is still hanging in there and says the cravings are mostly gone. Once he finishes proving to the transplant people that he is cigarette free, they will begin the final process of placing him on the official waiting list. 

Brandon's GFR (kidney function) is still hanging in at 14. Less than 20 is considered kidney failure. So far, he has not exhibited any symptoms of kidney failure, but we know they will be coming soon. With kidney failure, you have two ways to stay alive. One is dialysis and the other is a transplant. We are working towards the transplant but must also be ready for the dialysis in case the kidneys fail before an organ becomes available. In Brandon's case he will have to wait for a deceased donor since he will be getting a pancreas transplant at the same time he gets the kidney transplant. They won't take a pancreas from a living donor because that will make the living donor an insulin dependent diabetic. 

There are basically three means of dialysis. They vary by the location on the body and the type of treatment. One is to draw blood out of the body, clean it, add any nutrients and then put it back in the body. This is the type of treatment most people associate with dialysis. To do this type, you have to have a place on your body to connect to your blood system. This connection is called a fistula. It is minor surgery where the surgeon connects one of your arteries to one of your veins, usually in your arm. Remember, arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and veins carry the blood back to the heart. Creating the fistula is like building a crossover on a four lane highway. When a tube is connected to the fistula, you can drain blood out of the body, clean it and pump it back in. This type of dialysis is usually done at a dialysis center 3 days a week with each treatment lasting 4 to 5 hours. We met with the surgeon and his team who does the fistulas. Our first meeting was to find the size and location of the arteries and veins in Brandon's arms. We then met with the Doctor to discuss things. That discussion did not go well. Remember, Brandon has very, very little use of his right arm and hand. He does everything with his left arm. We asked if the fistula could be placed in his right arm and the doctor said No, the veins and arteries were too small in size. We asked what kind of restrictions would be placed on Brandon's left arm while the fistula healed. I specifically mentioned Brandon use of his cane for walking long distances. The doctor said he could not use his cane for several weeks. When we heard that, the three of us (Brandon, his mom and me) knew that would be a problem. We explained that he couldn't use his right arm due to the stroke and if he couldn't use his left arm even to use a cane, that meant he would essentially be a paraplegic. We asked how long for the fistula to heal and he said sometimes it would be a 2 to 3 months for it to "mature" to the point of being usable. Brandon decided against the fistula in his one and only good arm due to the possibility, however slight, that he could lose the use of it and become paraplegic. His mother and I agree 100%. It just wouldn't be worth the risk. 

The second type of dialysis is through the stomach. A catheter is placed in your stomach lining. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for the catheter to heal before it becomes usable. After it heals, a certain amount of special fluid is allowed to fill an area around your stomach. The fluid stays in there for an hour or two during which time you can go on about your business. After the "dwell time", you reconnect to the catheter and drain the fluid which has attracted many of the bodily waste products that is usually filtered by the kidneys. This process doesn't involve blood at all. You do this about 4 times a day in your home, every day or every other day. You can also do this method while you sleep. You will be connected to a machine that will put in and take out the fluids while you sleep. This type of dialysis is called Perinatal Dialysis (PD).

The third type of dialysis is usually reserved for emergency or temporary and is located in the side of your neck. 

We will meet with the doctors soon to put a plan together. Brandon must choose which type of dialysis set-up he prefers. He's been through a lot, but is still hanging in there both emotionally, spiritually and physically. As he has said before,,,,, it is just another thing. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trip Wrap-up, Red Skelton and an LST

Location: New Vision RV Park; Oaktown, Indiana
Location: Boomland RV Park; Charleston, Missouri
Location: Willow Beach Campground (COE); Little Rock, Arkansas

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone
click pictures to enlarge

This is the complete route.
I've been to three campgrounds since the last post, so I guess it is another catch-up post. I'll be home tomorrow so this post will be used to not only get caught up but will also be a wrap-up of this trip. 

I left the FROG rally on Thursday which was two days early. I saw no reason in staying longer since they had completed the work on Liberty and I received the free tank pump-out on Wednesday morning. I was looking to go to Evansville, Indiana to see a Navy ship that has been on my "to-see" list for a while. Strangely, the closest RV park with a decent rate and good reviews was about 50 miles away from Evansville. But the name of the park was "New Vision RV Park" and with a name like that I just had to give it a try. The reviews were good and since it was a Passport America campground, the price was right too at $16.00 a night. 
Campsite at New Visions RV Park. It was a nice park.

The ship I wanted to see was the only operational World War II LST in the continental U.S. For those that have read this blog in the past, you know I visited another LST in Muskegon, Michigan a couple of years ago. Here is the link to that post >>>

I won't re-hash everything from that post because a lot of it would apply to the LST in Evansville. It is still amazing that 1,000 LST's were built in only three years. That was averaging one per day. That kind of manufacturing capacity is one of the reason we won the war. 
Looking aft towards the superstructure.

Berthing compartment with "racks" 4 high

Looking down the length of the tank deck. There would have been 20 Sherman Tanks lined up in here ready to hit the beach on D-Day

Only the U.S. was capable of producing so much in such a short time period.

On the LST in Muskegon, there is a picture of a letter that was written to "all veterans" by a little French girl. It was so insightful and thought provoking that it has stuck with me over the last two year. I'm posting the words here, but the picture is on the post that I linked in the previous paragraph.

Dear Veteran,
I'm writing to say "Thank You", and, through me, 
there are thousands of children speaking
to thousands of Veterans.

Like us, you were young and carefree, but, 
when you were only twenty years old, 
Liberty called - called you, to say;

"I'm dying. Come and save me !"

And you arose, 
full of courage and zeal, 
to answer that call.

You underwent training,
day after day, for "D" Day, 
and one day in June, 
you arrived by air and sea.

And you fought with the heart and soul of a free man,
so that we, too, might be free.

You saw your fellows fall on our 
beaches and in our fields
and, in spite of your grief and your 
injuries, you stayed on and fought
side-by-side with us.

And so, dear Veteran,

I want to tell you,
regarding those dear to you who sacrificed
their youth and are now resting in peace,
the sleep of the just, that

We Are The Children They Never Had.

And to you, dear Veteran,
who offered your bravery
and your most promising years
for this our land, I say to you,

We Are Your Sons, Sons and Daughters of Liberty,
who want to say to you today,
a heartfelt, "Merci !".


From the mouths of babes,,,,, Her overall letter really stuck with me since reading them two years ago, but a couple lines were extra special to me. One is "fought with the heart and soul of a free man" and the other is "we are the children they never had". 

I'm afraid the current generation and possibly the last, has forgotten what happened during World War II. I suspect the current history books used in school probably glosses over this time period. 

Enough of this, maybe I'll pick it up again in a future post.
On the way back to the campground from the LST, I saw a sign for the Red Skelton Museum of Comedy. 

Apparently, Vincennes, Indiana was his hometown.

He was one of my favorite comedians when I was a child. His TV show ran for 20 years. Once, when asked why he signed off his show with a "may God bless" instead of the usual "God bless you", he replied,,,, "Who am I to tell God what to do". Nice, very nice. It was a great accidental find.

I left New Visions after two nights and went to a campground I've stayed at before. It is Boomland and the campground is an excellent overnight stop. It is $12.00, cash money, for full hook-ups, including 50 amp power. I picked a campsite but had to move to another due to bad electricity. I usually hook up to the electricity early in my set-up procedure so my Surge Guard can check out the quality of the power while I'm doing some of the other things. My surge guard told me there was very low voltage on one of the 50 amp legs so I moved to another site which showed good power. This is about the 3rd or 4th time my Surge Guard has protected me from bad power. This does not include the power surges it protects against when the power clicks off and on.
I passed these in Indiana. They are old school buses being used to haul ripe watermelons out of the fields. Someone was thinking out of the box.

Campsite at Boomland. Not bad for $12.

After one night at Boomland, I moved to a nice little Corps of Engineer campground along the Arkansas river near Little Rock, Arkansas. It's a small campground and if only about 10% filled. I'm guessing the bad weather that has been blowing through here over the last few days may have scared some folks away. Liberty has handled the weather well. I'm parked under a pecan tree so I'll have to check her roof to see if some of the pecans that has been landing on her has done any damage. I won't go into how many times the word pecan is mis-pronounced.

Campsite at Willow Beach Campground. That is the pecan tree that is dropping pecans on Liberty when the wind picks up. It's been a rainy two day here so I've just hung around the campground except when I went to town to gas up and found a Chinese buffet that was excellent. One of the best I've had. 

Tomorrow is moving day and after about 280 miles, I'll be back in Mansfield. I'll probably be stationary for several months since Brandon will shortly be placed on the Pancreas/Kidney Transplant waiting list. Once the waiting starts, a patient must be at the hospital very quickly after receiving the call of an available organ. I'll post more about that transplant process in the future. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lake Erie and The FROG Rally

Previous Location: Sterling State Park (el. 590 ft); Monroe, Michigan (4 days)
Previous Location: Middlebury KOA (el. 870 ft); Middlebury, Indiana (1 day)
Current Location: Elkhart County Fairgrounds (el. 800 ft); Goshen, Indiana

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell phone
Click pictures to enlarge
Route through stop #8

Looks like I'm playing catch-up again with the blog. It is hard to write about things when I'm not exploring a lot. I left the St. Clair River with a little tinge of sadness. It is a really nice looking river and without river levees blocking the view, it is easy to see a long ways up and downstream. I hope I see it again someday.
Last look at the St. Clair River

It was only a short tow to my next stop in Sterling State Park which is another Michigan park. However, I did have to backtrack through the outskirts of Detroit again but this time with no excitement. Whew!!!. I chose Sterling because it sits directly on the shore of Lake Erie. I was lucky in getting the last campsite on the first row next to the beach. The water was a little clearer than it was at Maumee State Park but still a dirtier than Lake Huron and the St. Clair. I had high hopes of catching a nice sunrise coming up over the Lake, but on the days that I did wake up early enough to see it come up, there were too many clouds. Oh well, maybe somewhere else down the road. The only thing I explored while at Sterling was the River Raisin National Battlefield from the War of 1812. They had a nice little museum but the battlefield was small and plain. Apparently most of the battle site had been purchased long ago by private individuals. Other than that short trip, I just lounged around the campground and enjoy the view of the lake.
Campsite at Sterling State Park. Camped as close as you can camp next to Lake Erie.

Man-made sand beach area. The sand had ground up shells that was a little rough on the feet.

Lake Erie at evening time.

This is the best sunrise I could get.

After leaving Sterling, I camped one night at a KOA in Middlebury, Indiana so I could empty my tanks in preparation for the FROG Rally. The KOA was a typical KOA in that it is overpriced for my needs, but it is like McDonald's, you know exactly what you're going to get with very few surprises.
This is northern Indiana and Ohio. It obviously isn't the place "where corn don't grow". (name that song,,,lol)

They also beans. I liked this picture because of the contrast between the red barn, blue skies and black highway.

I got gas at a Love's truck stop and took advantage of a nice oversized parking lot. I enjoyed a Hardee's Cheeseburger with curly fries. While eating I watched my two traveling companions and thought about many of the places we have been. It was a nice lunch stop. 
Saturday morning I moved to the Elkhart Fairgrounds where the Forest River Owners Group (FROG) Rally is held each year. This will be my third time to attend. One of the great things about this rally is they do free work on your RV. Last year, I received $4,000.00+ free work to Liberty. You can use the archive for August of last year to find the blog post. This year I only have about $1,000.00 worth of requested things. But I got a surprise this evening when two technicians from Airxcel (manufacturers of my AC units) showed up and asked if they could look at the fan on one of my AC units located on the roof. I asked why and they explained that the company had improved the blade design since my AC unit was built and they would be glad to upgrade it for me. I asked if anyone had refused that offer and they said "no, yet". So up the guy went and sure enough I had the old style blades. He replaced them and said it will run more efficiently and quieter. He also oiled up some things while he had the cowling off. While the guy was doing the work on the roof, I was talking with his partner on the ground. He mentioned they also made my hot water heater. I told him I hadn't had any problems with it and that I change the anode rod on a regular basis. He reached in his truck and grabbed a new anode rod and gave it to me. I tried giving them a tip but both refused it and simply gave me their business card. They said it was be appreciated if I dropped an email to their boss, which I will do. Remember, this work was all free of charge and wasn't even on my list of requests. I asked if they were being reimbursed by Forest River and their answer was "No, Airxcel was doing it free of charge just like Forest River does just for the word of mouth advertising and to highlight their good reputation.
Campsite at the FROG rally. I got lucky this year and have a great campsite with shade.

Since I'm in Amish country, I took this picture of the carriage barn at the local Walmart.

This is one of the buggies leaving Walmart. I thought the pictures worked well with the "Tractor Supply" store in front of the buggy.

This is after they turned right out of Walmart. I followed him for about a half mile before he turned off. 

Today, was the first official day of the Rally and I had a nice breakfast, attended a great seminar on slide-outs, looked at several new RV's and walked through the Vendor's display. I bought three new water filters for my in-RV filter. I replace it yearly and usually have to order them at $30.00+ each. I bought these today for $10.00 each so I'm good for the next 3 years. :)

If they finish working on Liberty early, I'll be heading back south early. 

I'll try not to take so long to post update again. I think I've said that before,,,,,uhmmmm.   

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Flat Tire?? and Beautiful St. Clair River

Location: Algonac State Park (el. 640 ft); Algonac, Michigan 

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone

Stop # 5. Algonac, MI

I took my time in preparing to leave Maumee State Park since it was only a couple of hours of towing to get to Algonac. The dump station in the park could handle two RV's at the same time and the dump hose was provided by the park. This is rare, but I have seen it a couple of times before. Just as I started to dump my tanks, a lady pulled up behind me in a motorhome. I motioned to the empty dump station next to me but she hollered out the window that it was easier for her to wait instead of turning the motorhome around. OK then. 

I pulled out of the park about 10:00 with thoughts of arriving at Algonac shortly after noon. Going through Toledo, Ohio was a snap and I was through before I knew it. Detroit was next on the list. I routed myself on the outskirts as much as I could in hopes of avoiding any bad parts of town. That is the problem with going through large cities, it is hard to tell you're in a bad part of town until you are actually in the bad part, which then could be a little late. I have been in some large cities where I accidentally ended up in places where I knew I needed to get out of quickly. These have always been while exploring and not while towing Liberty. I was in one city out east, late in the afternoon, when a police car pulled up next to me at a red light. The policeman motioned for me to roll my window down. With a serious voice, he said, "Don't be in this neighborhood after dark, or you won't get out." I was going to ask him a question as to which way was out, but he rolled his window up and the light changed to green. Anyway, I consider Detroit one of those cities that I don't want to mess around in, especially while towing Liberty.

I have a Temperature/Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
on Liberty's tires. I added it after purchasing Liberty. There are large sensors that you screw on the tire valve stems 
That round thing on the valve
stem is the sensor that
unscrewed itself.
using a special device. The device is to keep any curious kids from taking them. They continuously sense the temperature and pressure of the tires and send the information to a monitor in Freedom. If any tire goes higher or lower, in pressure or temperature, than the range you program, an alarm will sound. I've 
This is the monitor that rides
in Freedom. The number on
the left is pressure and the
one on the right is
temperature. The black dots
represent the tires, including
the spar tire.
used this system for 3 years without any problems. I will admit, I pulled my hair out trying to figure how to set up the dang thing but once it was set up it has worked fine. On moving days, I turn it on while getting things situated for travel inside of Liberty. Within a few minutes, I know the pressure of each of Liberty's four tires. I did this before leaving Maumee and all tires were within a pound or two of the required 65 psi which meant we were good to go. 

So, I was approaching Detroit when the TPMS alarm went off. Of course it shocked me,,,scared me,,,, nearly gave me a heart attack captured my complete attention. I looked at the monitor and it showed a tire at 56 psi and falling quickly. When it cycled back through the tires, it was then at 54 psi. I was in the left lane of a three lane interstate because the right two lanes were rough as a cob. I found an opening and got to the outside lane just as an exit appeared. There wasn't anything at the exit except for about a dozen "oversized" escort cars apparently waiting on loads. I found a place to pull over knowing that I must have picked up a nail and was counting my blessing that the tire didn't blow. As I stopped, the pressure was down to 51 psi. As I got out of Freedom, I was glad those escort vehicles were there because this was one of those places I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I inspected the tire and didn't find any nails. Of course I couldn't inspect all of the tire so the nail could be on the bottom. I got my old style pressure gauge and TPMS special tool from the door of Freedom to check the pressure in hopes that the monitor or sensor was malfunctioning. When I put the special tool on the sensor, the sensor was loose and I heard a puff of air come out. I could unscrew the sensor without the need of the special tool. Wow, could I be this lucky? Apparently, the sensor vibrated itself loose and unscrewed itself just enough to allow air to come out as the sensor jiggled. Double wow! The escorts vehicles were preparing to leave so I quickly got my air pump and put 61 pounds in the tire before the pump stopped and needed to cool down. I said to myself that is good enough and reinstalled the sensor. I packed everything up as the last of the escorts left and climbed back into Freedom. I turned on the monitor and it showed the 61 psi in the tire. I quickly hit the on ramp and was back on the interstate. The monitor would give a reading for that tire about every 45 seconds as the system would cycle through all of the tires. I kept an eye on the monitor and the psi did not go down. It went up a few pounds which is normal as the tires heat up. I started looking for a truck stop but didn't find one and didn't like the looks of any of the exits, so I just kept going. The pressure held all the way to the campground so I was pretty sure I didn't have a nail and it was just the sensor unscrewing itself. Using my better air pump, I put 65 psi in the tire and it has held for two days, so I am satisfied as to the reason for the problem. I sure am thankful to whoever was looking out for me. I'm also very thankful they sent those escort vehicles to sit there for a while. And since I think everything happens for a reason, I need to figure out the reason. I will air up all of the tires before pulling out of here tomorrow.

The reason I came is was to confirm my memory as to the color of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. I've told numerous people about the brilliant blue color of the lake since I first saw it 3 years ago. I also saw this campground that sits just across the RIver Road from the St. Clair River. I've seen two beautiful rivers in my travels. One is the St. Clair and the other is the Columbia River which sits between Oregon and Washington state. The blue color wasn't as bright this time because as some of the locals told me, it is a little dirty right now due to some storms.This color is more of a greenish blue but is still very nice to see. 

Algonac State Park on the left and the St. Clair on the right.

My campsite. The St. Clair River is in the distant background.

Some docks along the river. 

This is the size of a typical Great Lakes Freighter.

The Blue Water Bridges connecting Canada to the U.S. The ship on the left is an old Light-Ship that is open to tours. I toured it and wrote about in back in 2014.

This is great park located in Port Huron. The water is rushing by at a very fast speed. 

A very uncomfortable "thinking bench" but I took a picture anyway.

Just "Two ships passing in the ,,,,,,,,"

I'm only posting this one because of the gull. "Jonathon Livingston Seagull"?

I talked to these guys that were fishing. They said they catch salmon, pike, steelhead and a few others. They were saying the dirty water was going to make the fishing great. I didn't see anything caught while I was there.

A better "thinking bench" looking over the Black River as it empties into the St. Clair on the right. That is Canada in the background. 

Just a few of "cottages" on the river. If I win the lottery, I plan to buy one of these for a summer house. LOL
Tomorrow is moving day with another short haul. Tomorrow I'll be camped within a stones throw of Lake Erie. It is a state park located between Detroit and Toledo. Yep, that means I'll be backtracking through the Detroit area. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.