From the Hot Seat to the Pucker Seat - and Beyond! (June 12th - June 22nd, 2022)
I last checked in on Sunday, June 12th, from Springfield, MO. While Ted and Azlan washed the Jeep, dropped off laundry (it's pretty cool you can pay by the pound to have your clothes washed, dried and folded - we don't splurge on it often but sometimes it's worth it so we can free up our time to see cool stuff or get important adulting things done ; ) and then they explored the Wonder's of Life National Museum and Aquarium. Monday, June 13th, I gave Apollo a bath in a cool dog washing station at Cook's RV Motor Park, and Ted took Apollo to our friends house for one more romp with their dogs, before we packed up and I jumped in the "Hot Seat" (or shall we call it the "Pucker Seat"?). It took us about 4 hours on the road with no stop for gas. I drove most of it but Ted gave me an hour and a half break so I could do some heat compresses (I'm still feeling the groin and armpit pains), rest a little and eat some food - and of course, use the bathroom. The whole reason we got a Class A motorhome was so that I could use the bathroom without us having to stop - otherwise we would be stopping almost every hour! The drive went smoothly and we pulled into DraftKings and Casino Queens RV Park in East St. Louis, IL around 4pm. This is the first large RV park we have been to that didn't have an office or a way to reach anyone in case of emergency. We had a code that we used to get in and out of the gate and all of our information arrived by email - no people. It was also really really hot. The RV "park" was a huge concrete pad with gravel spaces in between (I'm guessing to mimic the usual grass we normally see at RV parks). Ted was feeling a little off, and by now we have deduced that his off feelings are in fact anxiety related. The heat didn't help, but he walked with Apollo for a bit, and observed the Arch from across the Mississippi River, then we cooled him off and he started feeling better. Knowing he was feeling better, I drove off for a Zumba class in a little town called Fairmont. It was great to dance off the driving stress with some fun people. Tuesday morning, I joined the ZT's Fit Fam for a Virtual session just outside the Glamper while Ted took Apollo for a walk to the Arch and poked around a bit. Unfortunately, Apollo poked around a bit too, diving into a green slime pool of a lake (one day after I bathed him, of course)! Afterward, we went to The Magic House - St. Louis Children's Museum. What a great place filled with fun and educational activities for kids (and maybe a cool Lego table for adults to play at...if there aren't any kids playing first that is). Azlan loved the Jack and the Beanstalk climbing tree...from the basement to the roof of the second floor! He had a blast! It was also here at the Magic House that I got to have a virtual call with my Primary Care Physician's office in Stuart, FL to discuss the issue of my lymph nodes. She emails me orders for some blood work and a CT scan that I can try and book while we move around. After my virtual call, a bracelet making session, a drawing and scanning session, and a grocery pit-stop we returned to the motorhome to take a nap. We had 5pm tickets to go up the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch so we left early to explore the underground visitors center for a bit. The Arch itself is 630' wide by 630' tall, forming a weighted catenary arch clad in stainless steel. The tram to the observation room at the top is a five foot diameter short barrel with five seats in a semi circle with a door that has small vertical rectangular windows. Ted chooses not to attempt this ride, and I wholeheartedly agree considering the health issues he's been having. Azlan and I enjoy the ride up and step out of our travel pod only to find that the floor beneath our feet is still in an arched form. We gazed out the small horizontal rectangular windows over the Mississippi River, the city of St Louis and the eastern suburbs...we even found our motorhome, where it was baking in the sun across the river in Illinois! We meet back up with Ted, hit the gift shop and then go walk around outside underneath the Arch before returning to the Glamper for a Chili-Mac dinner and cuddles. Wednesday, June 15th is moving day again. Ted takes Apollo for his morning walk while I prep the motorhome. They found Malcomb B Martin Memorial Park, which is directly across the river from the Arch with an ascending/descending ramp walkway up four levels and provides a spectacular view of the Arch! I get started with the driving towards Louisville (pronounced Loouhllvul), Kentucky. After a few hours in the Pucker Seat, Ted gives me a break to use the bathroom, eat, heat compress...nap...and then he stops for Apollo to pee. I finish the last hour or so of the drive after that and we arrive at the Louisville South KOA Holiday in Shepardsville, KY. Let the fun begin! We check in and the stairs proceed to break (the entry steps to the motorhome are on a motor that moves them in and out when you open and close the door. This motor is still working, but not moving the stairs...FML!). Ted had called ahead from the road and requested a shaded site...after the heat we experienced in St. Louis, we are worried that we might break the ACs running them 24/7 at full blast. He had to give up a pull-through site to get a shaded site - which I am surprised about considering how much of a fuss he's put into needing a pull-through site in the past so he doesn't have to disconnect the trailer. So, as we pull up to our new site, Ted stops...its not shaded. He picks the one next to it, the team at the KOA get all the info squared away on their end, we park and start to set up. We don't get very far in our setup process as Ted quickly finds that the site only has 30 AMP power instead of the 50 AMP we need to run both ACs. We stop and wait, with the generator running, while Ted tries to get us a 50 AMP powered site in the shade - and he succeeds after about 20 minutes! #poundwinning We get all set up however the hose is stretched from the city water spout to our Glamper connector at it's max limit...hanging in the air, being pulled taut. This could have been fixed by moving the Glamper one foot back (not sure why we didn't do that in the first place). Since we started the trip, the water has been tasting very chlorinated and since it's consistent as we move, I blame the water filter. We unscrew the water filter to get pictures so we can buy a new one but when we put it back, its leaking like a sieve - yet another issue (really big eye roll here and maybe some loud cussing too). Ted drove to Indiana, just over the bridge from Louisville, to an RV store. He got a new hose (so we can combine them together to make a longer one), a new filter, and after some trial and error with Lowes, a new o-ring to stop the leaking...all this after calling every mobile RV mechanic and leaving messages about the stairs...talk about anxiety! Finally, the hose works, the filter helps the water, and the leak stops...but the stairs are still broken (at least they stay out when the engine is off so it's not catastrophic while we are stopped). Even after a rough start, Kentucky ends up being lovely. While Ted was doing his errands and fixing the RV, I took Apollo for a walk down this cool nature trail leading to some rock formations at the back of the RV park, I took Azlan to play on a giant inflated bounce tarp and then to the pool. We wrap up the night with dinner, cuddles and late night snacks after Azlan is in bed.
Thursday, June 16th, is a new day! Our friend brings our mail over after our family hike through the KOA nature trails. Mail has always been an issue on the road. We have had to ask someone to collect it for us, then we have to time it right so that it gets to the place we will be in. We already missed one mail batch in Kansas City (oops!).
Side note: Just want to thank all our friends and family helping us out while we move around. Whether it be watering plants, checking on the house, shipping us mail, receiving our mail, letting us stay in your home, cooking amazing food for us, or simply just showing up to our RV to say hello - We thank you and appreciate you!!!
After our hike and hanging out with our friend for a bit, Azlan and I leave for the mall while Ted does a remote session with his therapist to discuss the anxiety/feeling off situation. When we were in Stillwater, OK we saw that our friends had started a summer reading challenge for their little girl as she was learning to read. For every 10 books she read, she would get a prize. We hadn't used bribery with Azlan for school work yet but we were willing to try in hopes it would motivate him to want to do more. He had been having issues as school with taking his time and reading questions to understand them. He would simply skip or guess answers when he didn't understand the question right away - something his teacher brought to our attention several times. He is very smart and he knows the material he's tested on, he is just lazy about re-reading for comprehension. So, we take the book bribe idea and make ours for 30 minute reading increments - every 10 times he reads 30 minutes, he gets a prize and at the end of 50 sessions he gets a grand prize. At the mall he selects a DVD and then on our next stop at Walmart he chooses a Bakugan (little characters that transform into balls) as his 20 day mark prize. We all reconvene at the Glamper a few hours later and that night I go to a fun Zumba class at Crunch Fitness.
Friday morning I talk myself into a solo STRONG30 session in the pavilion (STRONG30 is a martial arts inspired cardio muscle conditioning workout that is about 30 minutes) and then we opt for a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park where we learn about the longest cave system in the world - having had it's first explorers about 4,000 years ago! The system was formed by water seeping through the ground and limestone sediments over millions of years and to this day they still have not completely explored all the caves - they just keep on going and connecting back to other caves. The historical tour took about 2 hours and had 2 miles of exploration, our tour Ranger was great - funny and informative. After the tour we did a 1.5 mile hike in the park and headed to Walmart on our way home. Ted took Apollo for a walk and Azlan got to bounce on the big tarp again. That night Ted and I hung out outside having drinks and talking after Azlan was in bed.
Saturday morning, June 18th, I pulled out my weights and did an upper body and core workout on the gravel, grass and table while the boys took Apollo for a hike at Pine Creek Barrens Trail. I then cleaned the Glamper and started to set up for our forthcoming party at 2pm. When the boys arrived back home it was tick inspection time. Ted inspected Azlan and sent him into me, I found another 5 ticks on him. Then it was Apollo's turn, adding my total up to about 12, then Ted's turn brought me up to around 20. I stopped counting ticks and instead just took pleasure in burning them as I pulled them off the boys. Can I just take a second here to say that I HATE TICKS! I am getting better at finding them though, always look on the bright side. The problem with these tick inspections (T.I.) is that they take quite a while and we forget to add in the extra hour needed when we plan our day. It all worked out though and our friends started showing up around 2pm for our get together. We all hung out and had a great time and I must say that one of our friends made the best mac and cheese we have ever eaten. I cried a little when we finally finished the leftovers 4 days later. The festivities wrapped up around 9pm as it started getting dark. It was great to meet new people, see old friends and connect for the first time or reconnect after many years. That's what it's all about anyway, making human connections. We had another great meet up for the books!
Sunday was Father's Day. I volunteered to take Apollo for a walk so Ted could sleep in and do cuddles and watch TV with Azlan. One of his buddies gave him this great card that talked about how Ted was a great father figure during his Army career - yes, Ted totally teared up! I then cooked us Captain Condit Breakfast Sandwiches upon my return and Ted decided he wanted to go kayaking. We got set up with Yakking Off Adventures - the name totally had my mind in the gutter and giggling a lot...as did all their promotional materials - Time to Yak Off (what a hoot)! We got dropped off at the launch point and took a 2 hour leisurely float (with some short bursts of all out paddling just for fun) through the Salt River before we got picked up by the mini bus. It was a fantastic time and I know Ted really enjoyed this part of his day. We closed out the afternoon with another trip to the store and I made us a delicious beef stir fry for dinner. Ted and Azlan even caught some fireflies to top it all off!
Monday, June 20th, we all went to Ft. Knox early so that I could workout with my friend and the boys could walk the dog. After that we packed up the Glamper and Ted drove us out of Kentucky and into Indiana where our first stop was in a motel parking lot so we could push the stairs back in and bungee tie them so they would stay put when we hit the deeper pot holes on the road. Next stop was for gas and we still spend an hour plus getting gas these days due to that kink in the hose. We have to hold the nozzle in the right place and only allow a small amount of diesel to flow into the tank, otherwise it overflows and the pump shuts off the diesel and we have to start it back up again. Oh yeah, and in case you haven't noticed, gas and diesel prices are super high!!! We paid 6.19 per gallon this time - Ouch! I drive us the rest of the way to the Indianapolis KOA Holiday in Greenville, IN - just East of the city (and also back in the Eastern Daylight Time zone). We eat some lunch and take a nap before I go walk Apollo and Ted and Azlan go play in the pool/splash pad. Our laundry is piling up...ok, let's be real, the laundry is over flowing but we are only in Indiana until Thursday and then we will be staying at a friend's house in Chicago for 5 days. We opt to do a load of essentials in the Glamper washer/dryer combo. This is the smallest washer I have ever seen and it takes 3-4 hours to wash and dry one tiny load of socks and underwear. The unit also shakes the Glamper just like those vibrating beds they had in motels back in the day. You know, put a quarter in and the bed starts shaking like a belly dancer's shimmy. Personally I think the washer/dryer unit is a waste of space and I would much rather have the closet space it occupies - especially since in the last 4 years that we've owned the Glamper we have used the washer/dryer less than 5 times. But, it got us through and hopefully the amount of laundry we have won't break our friend's washer and dryer in Chicago!
On June 21st I go get my CT Scan at RAYUS Radiology and blood work at Quest Diagnostics. I had some time to kill before a Zumba class so I walked around Hobby Lobby all by myself and then had some Starbucks - it was blissful to be able to roam the isles and poke around at my leisure. The Zumba class at VASA Fitness was fire and hopefully these ladies can make it down to ZT's Fitness Studio one day and we can dance together again. After I got back home, Ted and Azlan went to the pool while I bunkered down and started writing this blog. I was smart this time though, I made notes about what we had been up to everyday so I could reference back and not have to sift through my overly full memory as long. Ted did some writing too before we headed out to our friend's house for dinner. I watched my friend's daughter play a softball scrimmage (these 8-9 year old girls can play pretty well) and then we had a late dinner before planning dinner for the next night and parting ways.
Wednesday morning Ted took Apollo for a walk while I slept in and Azlan lounged on the couch. I opted to stay home in hopes that the RV Repair guy could fix our stairs while Ted and Azlan went to the zoo and guess what?!?! He did fix the stairs! $812.50 later we had a new motor on functioning stairs! After the boys got back we took dinner over to our friend's house for one more hang-out session and photo op. With our Glamper steps fixed and our laundry piled up our visit to Indiana came to a close. Stay tuned for CHICAGO!!!!
Lots of Love,
Daisa, Ted, Azlan and Apollo