Not much of a writer, more of a talker. The more you practice the better you get, right? Lord knows I need some practice typing as well as writing.
So let me introduce myself to you, the readers. I will be fifty next year, I am active duty Army, single (divorced), a mother of four great kids, grandmother of four awesome grand babies and a fur baby mum; Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) and Lab Mix. I will have lots of stories on the kids and pups.
Home is were I lay my head at any one time. I have been to many places in my short life. My Father was active duty Army as well for many years until he retired in the early 80’s. I have been to Texas prior to my current station. I started school in Hawaii, Makakilo Elementary. My parents and brother and I were also in Okinawa, Japan and Fort Know, Kentucky. Although I don’t remember Japan, I have seen numerous pictures and it looked amazing.
My brother retired after 20 years in the Navy and my mother after 32 years of service to the Department of Defense (DoD). As you can see, my family is very patriotic. I love my country and want to see as much of it as I can before I can no longer travel by myself.
I have had a number of back pains for years due to the severe scoliosis I have. After enlisting and deploying I returned with more than the usual pain in my lower back and left shoulder. After x-rays, they couldn’t believe that I had made it through the physical at MEPS, (Military Entrance Processing Station). My back X-ray. As you can see, I was wondering how I can stand straight.
Many of the disks at the top and bottom of the curves have limited space between then and now they are beginning to rub. The nerves are pinches and causing numerous issues, everything from numbness to lighting running down the leg. I am still taking the Army Physical Fitness (APFT) Test every 6 months and passing even though my back burns like fire and it takes a couple weeks to get back to normal with a little help from my friend, Ibuprofen. I joined later than normal age in life, late 30’s, and I don’t regret a thing. I have met lots of interesting people, made long lasting friendships and have been able to visit places I would have never been able to go if not for the Army.
Now with the back started to be more painful, I need to try and figure out what I am going to do with myself. My parents have been divorced and both remarried for years. My mother is in Colorado and my Dad, Ohio. Two of my four kiddos are also in Ohio and the older two are in West Virginia with the grand babies. I’ve never been one to enjoy the cold weather. Anything below 70 degrees is cold. Ohio and West Virginia are both very green and beautiful, but they both get snow. Yuck. I have been seeing a pain management doctor who has helped me relieve a lot of the pain. I have had my nerves burned (RFO) three times. They do it every 9 months, since they grow back. Then I tried injections. They seemed to help but only for a couple weeks instead of months like they had hoped. Now they are talking surgery. That I do not want, ever. I know people who have had surgery only be be no better off, while others are only worse. I think I’ll pass until I have no other choice. Now I take 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen when its not really bad, or Ill take the pain meds he gave me. I try not to take the pain meds to often in fear of becoming another statistic in the country.
I love my job and I am fortunate enough that even with the pain, I can work. I am in the office most days unless we are out in the field doing exercises. Since the pain is becoming more and more, I know my time in the Army is limited. I am trying to do 20 years, but that’s still 9 years away.
I purchased a 2018 Coleman Lantern BH, 27 foot travel trailer back in April of this year. I camped in Caballo Lake, New Mexico for a practice run. I needed to make sure that everything was working before I made the long track to Ohio and then West Virginia. It was a beautiful drive. I loved being about to pull off into a Pilot or Flying J’s to sleep. I didn’t cost me a thing and they had great coffee and clean restrooms for me in the morning. Since I have a three year membership with Good Sams, I also get a discount on fuel at both places and some of the campgrounds I used.
I drove through the back roads heading toward Ohio and found that- that is not a good idea. My F-150 only gets 12 miles to the gallon pulling the trailer and I was nervous a time to many. I stay on the major highways now. There are more rest areas and gasoline stations and that makes me feel a whole lot safer. I enjoyed myself tremendously. The freedom to travel when and where you want is great. No worries about finding a motel or latrine when you have to relieve yourself or get some rest is my favorite while traveling. I started out shortly after work and I was tired just after four hours of traveling. I pulled over and slept for five hours and was up and running again. I was fearful at first since the largest vehicle that I had ever driven on the roads was my F-150. I have a military license to drive 5 tons and HMMVS but I have always driven them in the motor pool and in the field environment. I had lots of room and nothing to fear. I also had a huge fear of backing in, but I am a lot better than I ever thought I would be. I still try and get the pull-thru sites when I can.
I stayed in Ohio at a Campers Resort. It was very clean and filled with lots of campers with their children and fur babies. My two, Shiner and Jäger are loud mouths and I am trying to get them use to being out and about. I liked the resort only because it offered all of the amenities to include a pool. I used the pool one of the days and it was nice and refreshing. The downside was that the sites are small and very close to another camper or RV. You can hear your neighbors very easily and I enjoy listen to music while I am outside. I found it a little hard to do. I didn’t want to impose on other campers with my choice of music. After my four day stay, I pulled out with the fur babies and headed to West Virginia.
West Virginia was nice. It was a simple camp site with a number of full hook ups and a few tent sites. The showers were close. I always try and use the sites showers and toilets. I figure why use mine if they have ones that are clean and close to my site. I hadn’t showered in my camper yet so, one of the days in West Virginia I tried it out, and had plenty of room to turn and move and get myself clean. I do need to update the shower head, like all of the advice I have read and viewed. The cheap one that came with the trailer is a little difficult to turn the water off and on at the head. You want one that is easy to turn off and on to save water. I haven’t done any boondocking yet, but before I do I will change it. Since I am still working full-time, I can’t just up and go. I have to take leave and schedule everything. I love being out there doing nothing, or choosing to hit the trailhead.
I took my brother with me during this last trip and it was short and sweet. Spend a whole day driving from my home base El Paso, Tx to Southern Utah to see a couple National Parks. Zion National Park was beautiful and truly breath taking. The colors are vivid and motivating. Even at my age and my back issues, I was able to hike a couple of their short trails that brought me to some pretty nice spots.
After Zion Above, went headed Northeast to Bryce National Park. We paid $35.00 entry fee for Zion. The following morning we headed to Bryce. We went through Zion to get to Bryce. They wanted us to pay the fee again. We forgot our receipt from yesterday. The fee is good for seven days. They let us pass. Thank goodness. If you ever make this trip, there is a faster way to get to Bryce, we took that way home, but you don’t want to miss the awesome winding roads and perfect views you get to see driving through the park. Just don’t forget your receipt, you may not be as lucky as we were. There’s a tunnel that you have to drive through. We waited about 10 minutes to pass through. The traffic takes turns going through the tunnels due to the large vehicles passing. The wait was perfect, I took pictures.
Bryce National Park above, is just filled with colors. On the way up the road, there were many spots that had been burned. I believe these were controlled burned but I can’t be sure. There are multiple trials all through both parks. We drove up to the top of the park and drove down stopping at every overlook to gaze at Gods paint brush. The colors were pink, gold, browns and a number of greens splashed all over the landscape. In awe is all I can say. These pictures do not do the park justice. You must see the beauty with your own eyes.
After completing our two day trip to the parks we loaded up and headed south to northern Arizona. Although I have been to many places, I haven’t yet been to either of these parks or the Grand Canyon. We had reservations at the Flagstaff KOA. I have to say that the Zion River Resort were we stayed had the best bathrooms I have ever seen at a RV Park. They were one single room that had the toilet, shower, sink and large bench. It what huge and private. Very nice. The KOA on the other hand, which was more expensive, (the name) had the norm. Large lock room type showers and four toilets. I almost showered in the camper. The water pressure was great but no shower head. The KOA’s dog run was fabulous. They had two and they both had grass, tress, and a couple agility runs. Shiner had a blast. They had bowls in it and a spout just outside the run. Their backyard here at home is nothing but small rocks, so grass is a wonderful thing. Jäger was born in Hawaii and was there with me for three years. He loved running through the grass and hitting the beach. Shiner, well he’s a Texan, but still , who doesn’t love green grass between your toes.
Jäger and Shiner. Time to relax after a long trip home. What they don’t know is that we are packing up for another trip in two weeks. I am going back to Ohio and then West Virginia. I will get to see all my grand babies this time. The last two, Alexander and Isabella hadn’t been born yet. Little boogers were due and I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to head home so I could return to work on time. They were born four days later.
I want to do this full time. I watch the You Tube videos and read books on the subject and I realize that this type of life style is not for everyone, but I am sure that this is for me. I can live out of my trailer with no problem. I would love to have a Class A. I have been looking at them. I saw a couple Thor’s but after a few reviews, they seem to be junk. Winnebago has always had a good reputation and I also saw a few of them I like. I want to buy one now so I can get it paid off before I get out. My only fear is, I buy one and soon after, my back goes completely out and I can no longer stay in the active Army. Not sure I’d be able to keep it and travel them. My Coleman is paid off, and its nice not having a monthly bill. I still owe on my truck right now as well.
Until next time. Travel, be free and love you!