Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mount Nebo and Lake Dardanelle

Location: Old Post Road Corps of Engineers Campground (el. 330 ft); Russellville, Arkansas

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

Stop number 12. Next stop
Mansfield, LA.

As I left El Reno, the landscape changed again. Trees became more and more common. Once I crossed into Arkansas it was as if the Great Plains were but a distant memory. I chose a Corps of Engineer campground on the Arkansas river near Russellville, Arkansas. I know, I know, I remember the "bad juju" COE campground a month ago. But like I said then, I had never stayed in a bad COE campground and don't expect any more to be like that one. This is the first campground I have ever stayed in where they allow you to dump your grey water on the ground at the campsite. I'm not doing that but there are several RV's that are watering trees. 

Interstate highway 40 in eastern Oklahoma

The trees are crowding in which restricts the view to the left and right. I have mixed feelings about this "semi tunnel effect".

Nice COE campsite with the Arkansas River right out the back. That dam in the background is what brought me here. 
This is another project which my father helped build. This was earlier in his career so he would have been the Concrete Superintendent for the construction company. The dam is about 55 years old and still looking good. It is a hydro dam so it has been producing low cost electricity for all those years. 

That is the lock gate on the right. I've only seen a could tows passing by. I guess it is still too early for the harvest in the plains.

One of those concrete pours in the dam is the one that "encouraged" my older brother to go to college. He graduated high school while we lived here and started work in one of the several concrete crews my father supervised. This was intended to be a summer job before starting college in the fall. He liked the money and mentioned to my father and mother that he would just as soon work construction instead of going to college. That was a mistake. The next concrete pour, little did my brother know, but my father told the foremen to work my brother just short of killing him. When that 10 hour pour was over, my brother was covered head to toe in concrete and he was flat worn out. That evening while eating supper, he informed my parents that he had changed his mind and thought college was a great idea. He didn't learn about my father's "teaching experience" for several years after her graduated from Arkansas Tech, located right here in Russellville. Yep, my brother stayed behind while my parents, sister and I went to the next project, this time in Pennsylvania. 

The dam made a nice lake called Lake Dardanelle. That distinctive tower in the background is a cooling tower for a nuclear power plant. Wow, two environmentally friendly power plants within a few miles of each other. Arkansas, the Natural State. :)

Another view of the lake

Last view of the lake.

Sun setting over the dam. A nice breeze is keeping the skeeters from attacking but the lightening bugs don't seem to be affected by the breeze.

A view from on top of Mount Nebo. It is a nice state park on top of a mountain just a short ways away from the campground. 

Oops, this is another view of the lake. This time from way up high. Nice views from Nebo. Probably in the top 10 that I've seen around the country.

Each end of the mountain has an overlook. I was lucky to be the only one there at both. 

This is one of the better bench pictures in a long time.

That sign will make RV'ers pucker up a little tighter. 
 Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be sleeping in Mansfield tomorrow night. I'll be there at least one month. 

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Oklahoma; Driving Across the Prairie

Location: Lake El Reno RV Park (el. 1,400 ft); El Reno, Oklahoma

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
Click pictures to enlarge

Stop number 11

The title of the post is a line from a song. If you know it, put in the comments. A fantastic prize awaits all who respond correctly. But wait,,,,, if you do so within 10 minutes of reading the post I will double your prize and you will win two, yes, two, fantastic prizes. (Just pay additional handling charges.) 
Just kidding about the prizes, but the title is a song lyric. 

As the title says, I drove across the Oklahoma prairie. The total drive on Friday was a little over 440 tiring miles, with about 300 miles of it in Oklahoma. I had planned to drive to Dodge City, Kansas before turning south but made a wrong turn in Lamar, Colorado. I didn't realize it for 30 minutes or so when I wondered why I was headed south instead of east. Oh well, I had looked at several different routes with all of them about the same mileage. The way I looked at it, I missed that turn for a reason. I just don't know the reason, but since everything happens for a reason, there must be one. I arrived in El Reno close to 5:30 in the evening which is way, way later than I usually arrive at a campground. I stopped here about a month ago. It is a city owned park with a first come, first serve system where you pay the iron ranger after getting set up. It is a nice park and I'm using it for a 3 day rest. I've dropped about 7,000 feet in elevation over the last few day and I can really tell a positive difference. The wind here in Oklahoma will drive a person crazy. It is blowing consistently at 20+ mph with gusts in the 30 mph range. It has blown this way both times I've passed through here. I will avoid Oklahoma as much as possible in the future. 

Driving 300 miles across the Oklahoma prairie had me thinking about what I had learned in high school about Oklahoma. The only two things I remembered was several Indian tribes has been relocated to the Oklahoma Territory and of course the Oklahoma Land Rush. That Land Rush happened between 1889 and 1895 when about 15,000,000 acres of land was up for grabs to whoever was quick enough to claim their homestead. The homestead was 160 acres of land and it was yours free of charge after 5 years if you improved it by either agriculture, living on it or used it for some type of industry. Most of the nearly 100,000 homesteaders used their land to raise cattle and grow crops.

Most of the homesteaders would have been in their 20's and came from all of the eastern states looking to start a new life with free land and hard work. They would have been in their 50's when the Great Dust Bowl hit this area during the 1930's. Sixty percent of the homesteaders and farmers lost their lands during that decade. The ones who survived and retained their lands, probably increased their land holdings by buying up adjacent property for very little money. As the children of the homesteaders grew into adults, many would leave the farms for the cities and when their parents passed away, the farm would have been sold. Usually it would have been sold to neighbors because it wouldn't have been the "right thing" to sell to strangers. As time went by, what started out as a 160 acre homestead may have grown 10 or 20 times in size. But, you can still see signs of the original homesteaders lives. Some of the signs are clumps of trees which were planted to surround a house and serve as a wind or snow break. Other places you could see the left overs of root cellers/storm shelters. How many hard lives had passed through this area that I was casually driving through? How many times had those fields been plowed, first by horses, then by tractors. Sometimes, it was as if I could see those ghosts still working the fields and waving to me as drove down the road. Those work days would have been long and hard with no trees for shade under which to rest and maybe eat a bite of lunch or drink some cool water. Nothing but hot sun and that dang wind. And what a wind it is,,,, I've only been here for 3 days and the wind is always blowing. I'll be glad to leave. I hope by slide toppers survive.
I believe that is wheat on the right. There were some locations that were harvesting. I don't know how many cuttings per year they get in this area.

I think that was called Indian Butte. I also tried to get the spiral vapor trail.

An old home place. They were scattered everywhere.

Another tree that had been planted by someone in the past. Picnics and dinners were probably had beneath its boughs, now, it stands alone.

Can you imagine plowing these fields with a horse and plow. Hard, hard work. Then to see it all blow away in the 30's. Wow.

Some of the old homes looked a little newer. Possibly from the time after the dust bowl and perhaps after WW2. But they all, had the trees around them.

The more trees, the bigger the house and out buildings. It would be interesting to know if that bunch of trees were the home of original homesteaders. 
Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading to a Corp of Engineers Campground just downstream of a dam my father work on near Russellville, Arkansas. 

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Life's Circles, Forks and How a Family Was Created

Location: La Junta KOA (el. 4,250 ft); La Junta, Colorado

Current Route. Stop #10.

This blog post will not have any pictures so if you're expecting them, you will be disappointed. Well technically that thing over there >>>> to the right is a picture, so maybe just one. It will be a personal blog post written with my grandchildren and their children in mind. The subject will be some family history that may be of interest to them in the distant future. You non-family readers are more than welcome to continue reading and comment if you so desire. 

I created this blog a little over three years ago to document my RV travels. It was a way to record my travels, campgrounds, explorations and thoughts about this great country of ours. Those posts were snapshots in time. Frozen forever in this blog. I have gone back to previous blog entries and sometimes it is as if another person had written it. Sometime in my mid-teenage years, I learned a life lesson about just that thing and it has stuck with me ever since. Surprisingly, it was from some TV show. I don't remember the name of the show, but I remember the lesson. Something tragic had happened to the TV family and the father was speaking to his son about it. He told him that when some major event happens in our lives, whether tragic or happy, we should never ask the question, "what is going to happen to me now?". Instead, the correct question is "who am I going to be now?" since every major life-changing event changes us into someone else. That's some heavy duty stuff for a teenager, so I thought on it some more until it made sense. For example, once you get married, you become a spouse, once you have children, you become a parent. Those are good examples. Some not so good examples, are when a family member dies or you have a major medical problem. Those things change who you are and the way you look at life and you become someone else.  

From time to time I have used this blog to post about my past. There have been posts showing some of the houses in which I lived as I was growing up in different states. There were some of the construction projects my father help build. There have also been some about the death of family members as well as their successes. This one is going to be about how my personal branch of the Goza's was created.

Let's start in the fall of 1973. I graduated early from high school and enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. That was two events that changed me into someone else with the enlistment being a big one. I wasn't just young and impulsive. I enlisted with my eyes wide-open and was anxious to start on a new and great adventure. Adventurous it was, but I won't go into those now. Instead, fast forward to the summer of 1977 and I only have a few months before my discharge. What to do, what to do? That was the question I was asking myself. Do I re-enlist, and if so, then the Navy would be my career. That wouldn't be too bad. I had reached the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class in the critical rating of Operations Specialist. I had been on-board ship for 3 1/2 of my 4 year hitch and shipboard life was not a problem for me. There was a hefty multi-thousand dollar bonus and choice of duty assignment if I just signed the papers to re-up. 

My other option was to leave the Navy, go to college and become a Civil Engineer. My father was a Construction Superintendent for a national construction company. It was a family owned company so over his career, he worked for with many Civil Engineers. My visits to the construction projects and talks with those engineers is what put the thought of becoming a Civil Engineer in my mind. That was something I had planned to do right after high school but my mind wasn't in the right place at that time so I took the detour into the Navy. By the time of my discharge, I would have been out of school for 4 years and although I had completed dozens of training courses in the Navy, I wasn't fooling myself into thinking college would be easy. The Navy had also matured me way beyond my 21 years and I anticipated there would be problems with some of the more immature students who had only recently graduated high school. This was in the late 70's when there were some conflicts on college campuses. 

And there it was again, just as it had been at other times,,, a fork in the road of my life. One (re-enlisting), was a safe and pretty much known commodity. The other (college), was a real unknown. Either choice would create a "new me". 

I chose to leave the Navy and go the college route. I started my planning a few months before I was discharged. I had several thousand dollars saved, a car that was paid off and my G.I. college benefits. Uhmmm, next question I needed answered was which college to attend. I had moved around my entire life so I didn't have a permanent home. I literally could choose any college in the country. Now that is freedom. Of course to solve the problem, I bought a book. I don't remember the name of the book but it listed every college and junior/community college in the country. It also listed the degrees offered at each and the current tuition costs, etc, etc. I don't remember all of the thought process of choosing or the pros and cons of each school but somehow I decided on Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado (town sound familiar??, one of life's circles). Heck, I had never even been in Colorado. I just picked it out of a book and found it on a map. I thought it would be nice to be near the Rocky Mountains. Little did I know, you can't even see them from this town. I had also been hankering for a motorcycle and figured that would play a part in my life as a carefree single man.

So, the plan was finalized. I would be discharged in late November of 1977. I would pack all of my belongings in my sea bag and drive my Chevy Vega to the town of Justice, West Virginia. That was the place my parents were currently living while the company my father worked with built the R.D. Bailey Dam. The plan was for me to work for the company as a member of the survey crew until the fall of 1978 when I would head off to college. That meant I could save more money and buy the motorcycle. I paid cash for a brand new Suzuki 750 in the spring of 1978 after the snow melted. That scooter was fast! 

Oh, did I mention the girl who worked in the company office at the dam. I met her a day or so after I started work at the dam. She was real pretty and just a few months younger then me. (you can see where this is going can't you?). Well, up jumped another fork in my road of life. She asked me to go for a walk one day and six weeks later we were married. That's not a typo, six weeks is correct. She had a son named Jerry who had just turned 3 years of age. The date that the three of us got married was June 9, 1978 (tomorrow would have been 39 years). My father was the best man at my wedding, and last month on May 13, 2017, I was the best man at Jerry's wedding. Another one of life's circles. 

Well now, I worked the day of Friday, June 9th, got married that evening, honeymooned over the weekend at a state park and then back to work on Monday. You can sure tell what a romantic soul I was back then, unfortunately I didn't improve much over the years. We had to quickly modify the individual plans Kathy and I had when we were single and come up with one for the three of us. There's that fork in the road again. Where do we live? What do we do to make a living? It seems she didn't have a lot of hard fast plans of her own and she was more than happy to leave West Virginia, so she and Jerry sort of adopted mine. We sold my Chevy Vega and her Chevy Monza and bought a new Red Chevy Monte Carlo with a T-top. It was a sweet car. Notice I didn't say we sold the motorcycle. I figured I would be able to ride it to school while leaving the Monte Carlo for Kathy. That made enough sense for me not to sell it. By the way, it still wasn't licensed. 

I don't remember the exact date, but would guess it to be sometime in July of 1978, about one month after our wedding. We rented a U-haul truck and packed everything we owned inside, including the motorcycle. Along with the truck, we got a hitch to tow the Monte Carlo. My father showed me how to take the drive shaft out so it could be towed without a dolly. Off we go, a brand new family of three, heading 1,300 miles across country to a town none of us had ever been to or knew anybody in the town. I don't remember stopping except for fuel and eating so it was a long and exhausting trip in that truck. We arrived in La Junta and the first thing I noticed was no Rocky Mountains in view. Darn, strike one. We got a motel room and started looking for a place to live. We contacted a realtor who showed us several houses and apartments but none suited us. Looking back, that may have been the official reason, but perhaps neither of us were too excited about the town. I have looked at the town again yesterday and today with the eyes of a 61 year old and it looks OK. Back then, we never even drove by the college, but I did yesterday and it looks really nice. 

After a couple of days unsuccessfully searching for a place to stay, that fork in the road came up again. Do we continue looking or do we go somewhere else. Hmmm, I knew of another place. In fact, it had been on my list of possible colleges. Alvin Community College in Alvin, Texas. It had pre-engineering classes which I needed before transferring to a four year school to finish up. An added benefit is that my older brother (10 years older), lived in Alvin. We called him from the motel in La Junta to see if he could find out if the fall session had started. Remember, this is way before internet. He called me right back and said it started in a few days. He also said we could stay with him and his family until we found a place of our own. So, Kathy and I decided to follow that fork and traveled another 900 miles to Alvin, Texas. After a couple of weeks, we found a trailer for rent in a town down the road called Manville. Kathy stayed home with Jerry while I drove a school bus for extra cash and went to classes. Life was good. We celebrated our one year wedding anniversary as I finished the school year with high enough grades to know I could compete, academically, on the college level. Another decision was needed as to where to go to school next. Stay in Alvin for one more year or transfer to a four year school. That decision would wait until the end of the summer of 1979. The three of us packed everything up again and headed back to West Virginia, minus the motorcycle. Money got tight and I wasn't riding it much so we sold it (never did get a license for it). After working on the dam for the summer, we decided to go to Lafayette, Louisiana where I would enroll in the University of Southwest Louisiana. And wouldn't you know it, another family member lived there. My sister and her husband lived there and we stayed with them for a couple of weeks until we found a place of our own. I enrolled in USL, now called ULL. Kathy started work at Eckerds Drug Store and was very successful in working her way up to assistant manager. She was very impressive at her job.

Three and a half years later, in the fall of 1982, we graduated from USL, our daughter Brittanie was born and we were faced with another fork in the road. Where do I work? As it was seen in the past, we didn't have a problem moving anywhere in the country. Again, like some of the forks in the past showed, it was freedom. We received a pretty good job offer from the construction company my father worked for and we were very tempted to take it. It would mean Jerry and Brittanie would live a life similar to the one I grew up in with moving from town to town as construction projects started and finished. Wow, I had to think that one over pretty hard. I liked the life in which I was raised. It never really bothered me moving every 2 years or so. One of the things that I did miss out on while growing up was staying in a place long enough to develop long term friends. The only kids I knew longer than a couple of years were the children of the other company employees. Would I want that for my children?

Another offer came in from the State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development. They were staffing up in the northwestern district for the imminent construction of the Interstate Highway 49 and were looking for young engineers. The starting pay was smaller but the long term benefits, job stability and promotional opportunities were greater.

Two offers with two distinctly different paths. Kathy was leaving this decision up to me.

I chose the DOTD and began work in January of 1983 in the town of Mansfield, Louisiana, about 35 miles south of Shreveport. Two years later Brandon was born and that made us a family of five. After years of baseball and gymnastics all of the kids graduated from the same high school with friends they had known for over a decade. They cruised the same streets after getting their drivers license and could recognize most of the people in town by sight. Jerry went on to college and graduated from Louisiana Tech in Ruston, Louisiana. Brittanie also went to college and graduated at Louisiana State University at Shreveport. Brandon chose a different fork than his brother and sister and graduated from Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas. By the way, he also had a heart stint installed while going to UTI and it only set him back about one week. 

Along the way, the marriage that began in that summer of 1978 ended in the early fall of 2006 after 28 years and 2 months. It was a sad day, and I learned too late that you never take anything for granted, even marriages. In the spring of 2014, I retired from the DOTD after 31 years. I had reached the highest position a person could achieve in the district. Another promotion would have meant moving to the state capital in Baton Rouge. Even though I probably could have received another promotion, I just didn't have it in me to make the move. 

Jerry, his son, step-son and new bride live in Sulphur, Louisiana which is in the southwestern corner of the state near the Texas border.

Brittanie, her husband and daughter live in Plain Dealing, Louisiana in the northwestern corner of the state near the Arkansas border.

Kathy and Brandon live in Mansfield, Louisiana. They are in the house we bought when the children were still small. Brandon is the one that never wanted to leave the town he was raised in except when he went to Houston to attend UTI.

And me, I live in an RV named Liberty, towed by a truck named Freedom, and travel around the country. I guess I do have a few more moves left in me. 

So here I sit, in the town where Kathy, Jerry and I thought were were going to start our new lives together, 39 years ago. We were wide eyed and in our early 20's with nothing but our futures ahead of us. Little did we know the ride we had began as just the Goza3 eventually would became the Goza5. 

Life's circles and forks are all around us, you just have to look for them. And remember, everything happens for a reason.

Tomorrow is moving day. Yep, I'm the Goza that is still moving. The move is going to be a long one, almost 450 miles. I don't like moving such great distances in one day any more, but there is nothing that interests me between here and Oklahoma City, so I'll just drive. If I get too tired, I'll find a place to stop. I expect it to be a good thought-clearing drive. 

Grandbabies; I hope this piece of history is of interest to you. I also hope it helps me remember it in a few year if my memory fades. 

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Out onto the Great Plains (just pictures)

Location: La Junta KOA (el. 4,250 ft); La Junta, Colorado

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

Current route.
Campground number 10

It was a pretty morning as I was getting hitched up and ready to leave South Fork. The 8,200 feet of elevation had begun to affect my breathing if I did anything even semi-physical. I would be glad to drop down the 4,000 feet to the Great Plains.

Anyone that goes east/west in southern Colorado recognizes what I think is Blanca Peak. And if I remember what I learned a few years ago, Blanca is the female name. 

Some of the unique housing but with a great view

This one was taken at a "chain up" pull out that I stopped at and treated it like a rest area. 

This is going up the last pass in Colorado. It is named La Veta Pass and is between Alamosa and Walsenburg. It is a long smooth grade. Not as steep as Wolf Creek but much longer.

What goes up must go down. Going down the other side of La Veta Pass.

No mountains left in sight. For the southern folks, I believe those are snow fences. They help keep the roads clear in the winter by intercepting some blowing snow before it gets to the road. 

Last view of the Rockies in Freedom's side mirror

This is the beginning of the Great Plains that stretch across the mid section of the country.

Campsite at the KOA. I usually don't stay in KOA's but this one was convenient to La Junta.
I'll be here for two days before moving on. This is the second time I've been to La Junta, with the other time being in 1978. I'm still thinking it over about telling that story. 
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wolf Creek Pass and The Rio Grande River

Location: Goodnight's Lonesome Dove RV Park (el 8,200 ft); South Fork, Colorado

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

Current route. Campground number 9

I pulled out of Monticello kind of early and the landscape quickly changed as I entered Colorado. It was remarkable how quickly it changed to more agricultural use. It made me wonder if plowing and planting the open sage brush land just across the border in Utah would create the same landscape. 

Fresh plowed fields in Colorado. A dramatic change from Utah.

After about 50 miles or so I could see the snow capped Rockies of Colorado. They looked nice.

Storms on the mountains
Wolf Creek Pass was still ahead of me and the storms were beginning to worry me. Dry roads would be much better when heading up and down such a high pass. Wolf Creek Pass and I have a history. I crossed it back in May of 2015 the day after a snow. You can read about that here,,,

This time it looked like rain and I was hoping it would stay rain because at the high elevation of the summit, anything can happen. Well, sure enough, the rain changed over to big drops of wintry mix. Just as if someone was throwing big handfuls of a snow cones on the windshield. Freedom and Liberty handled the climb just as they did two years ago. A long steady 9 mile pull in 2nd gear. I pulled over at the summit and was glad to see the rain slowing up some. The downgrade is always the "butt puckering" part of the passes. Going up you worry about transmission, radiator and oil overheating. I monitored all of those on Freedom and even after such a long pull in 2nd gear, all were in the normal range as if she was running on flat ground. I sure was glad I opted for the upgrades when buying Freedom. If you have problems going up, you can just stop on the shoulder and wait. Going down is totally different. You have to make sure your in a low enough gear to help slow you down, but not so low that it rev's the engine up too much. Even in a low gear, with such a long (8 mile) downslope, Freedom was continually increasing her speed. The tow/haul mode in Freedom helps a lot by staying in the lower gears. Over the 8 miles down, I probably only used the brakes 4 or 5 times. You never ride the brakes or you will burn them up and be really screwed by not being able to stop. I would put on the brakes and slow Freedom way down, then let her start freewheeling again until the next braking. In between braking, they would cool off in preparation for the next time. Everything worked out just fine. I was proud of both Freedom and Liberty (yep, I'm just a little touched). 

A little climbing, but not yet to the beginning of the pass. Still hoping the rain holds off.

Ut oh, rain starting, road is wet

Climbing the pass but on dry pavement, maybe it was just a passing shower
Wrong again. Once it started, it was heavy then changed over to wintry mix. The temperature dropped 25 degrees. 
Alright, once I broke over the summit and started going down, the pavement was dry. Maybe the rain was gone.

I couldn't outguess the rain. You see how much is on the road. If you weren't paying attention you could easily start "slip sliding away". Extra credit for those who remember the song and who sang it. Heck, it is from 40 years ago. Since it came into my mind, I'm playing it on youtube as I type this caption. Memories.
Just 13 miles past the summit of Wolf Creek Pass was the campground. It is Goodnight's Lonesome Dove RV Park. The cabins are all named after characters from that show. It isn't very crowded at all and that telephone phone just behind Liberty has the WiFi antenna. I'm saving some phone data for sure. 

After getting set up I drove up the canyon leading to the headwaters of the Rio Grande. This is wide valley with the river running through it. Who ever originally found and claimed this valley was very lucky. 

I didn't make it to the headwaters due to darkness. This is one of crossings. It a little like when I went to Lake Itasca to see the beginning of the Mississippi River. The water in this picture makes its way all the way to the Gulf of Mexico on the border of Texas/Mexico. It was cold coming out of the mountains. 

All is well when you see the reminder of God's Promise that he places in the sky every now and then. 
Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be heading to a small town called La Junta. It is still in Colorado but just a little ways out into the Great Plains. It will be the second time I've been to this town with the last time being in 1978. There isn't much of interest in the town except for some old memories. I may write about them just to document them for the grandkids.

Just as I've done a couple of times before, I'll be putting the Rockies in my side mirror tomorrow. It is always a bittersweet time because I never know if I'll see them again. They are magical and magnificent. 

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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Good News/Bad News and Canyonlands

Location: Mountain View RV Park (el 7,000 ft); Monticello, Utah

Pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone and Nikon D5100 camera
click pictures to enlarge

Good news/Bad news. It seems like that happens a lot in life uh? As I posted on 5/5/17, my son Brandon had a preliminary kidney/pancreas transplant evaluation. At that time his kidney function (GFR) was 23 with 20 being the threshold to qualify for a kidney transplant. Well, he had his function tested again and it was 20 this time. He will need to complete the evaluation process before being put on the waiting list. The evaluation will be scheduled in a week or so. Once he is on the list, it will be for a pancreas and kidney. Brandon is very excited about getting a pancreas as that will mean he will no longer be diabetic which he has been for 23 or his 32 years of life. However, after the transplant, he will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life. Like he said, he was going to be on insulin shots for the rest of his life so taking another medicine wasn't new. So, in all of that news, it is hard to determine which is good and which is bad. It's bad that his GFR dropped, but it's good that it dropped low enough for the transplant list. It's bad that he will need a kidney transplant but good news that along with the kidney will come a pancreas too. It's bad that he is diabetic, but its good because patients who are diabetic qualify for a pancreas. It's good news that patients who need both organs usually get them quicker than patients waiting only for a kidney. It's bad that since he will be getting a pancreas, a live donor is not possible, that means a deceased donor only. It is a lot of mixed emotions, but as he has proven time and time again, Brandon will be up for the challenge and will be another inspiration for others. 

I will be heading back to Louisiana until he gets his transplant. It isn't a time-crunch emergency so I won't need to deadhead back as fast as I can. I'll be heading east tomorrow and stop for a day or two every 200 to 250 miles. I figure to be back in Mansfield by the 15th.

Before leaving Utah, I visited Canyonlands National Park. I took a lot of pictures and am posting them here without captions (if anyone has questions about the pictures, post them in the comments).

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