Driving America

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Changed Dog........Key.

If any of you remember any of the discussions I had about Key barking at everything, big or small, alive or not, moving or just standing still, all the way to Alaska and back......then this story is as hard to believe as Key's survival after taking a nose dive out of our motor home at about 60 mph on the Sam Houston Toll Road in Houston, Texas last month. What a sick feeling we had and the feeling of helplessness was more than I could stand. We literally cried all the way back to Fort Worth thinking of what had happened. The belief that he was dead, but not able to find him made it all the worse. If things had not turned out the way they did, it would have been really hard to enjoy RV-ing the way we have without him being along with us.. Linda even expressed that it would have been a chore to her to even go any where in the motor home without him after what had happened.

So, when we decided to run back down to Kemah last weekend, I was curious to see what reaction Key would have to climbing on board the motor home and moving down the road. Would he pull back and refuse to get on board or what? When we got to the motor home and finished getting it loaded we grabbed the dogs and they just went right up to the stairs and jumped in like nothing had happened. So far, so good. Soon we were out on the road and although I had not heard a peep out of either dog, that really wasn't a test because we hadn't passed anything that usually sparks a aggressive barking with paws on the window sill.

Within several minutes we were out on the highway and I could see the first open field coming up with cattle in it. I made a mental note that all the windows had been checked, again and prepared for the barking to begin. As we passed the cattle, we heard....nothing. Nothing! Not one peep. I looked around and there was Key, sitting in the dinette seat looking squarely out of the window, directly at the cows. Linda and I looked at each other, like "did that really happen?" With my eyes on the road I asked "What's he doing now?" Linda said he just laid down. Wow, that knock in the head must have been pretty hard. And that's the way it was all the way to Kemah and the same back home. Neither dog barked at anything while we were in the motor home. In fact they slept almost all the way down there and home too.

When we got back from Kemah, Linda took Key into the vet for his check-up and to see how an ear infection he had been treated for before all of this happened, was doing. It was fine but the vet discovered a chipped (it has a hole in it) Canine tooth which is going to require either an extraction or a root canal. Without one or the other, there is about a 50/50 chance it will become abscessed. That can be dangerous in dogs (humans too).

Friday, he has an appointment with a specialist that will determine what treatment will be best. Personally, I am leaning toward the root canal. Mainly because the recovery time is only a couple of days and the extraction will take longer to heal. The root canal cost almost twice as much as the extraction but we really don't have the time to do an extraction because we leave for Albuquerque in 12 days. When Linda and I were talking this over today, considering the cost, we both said "We don't have a choice" both at the same time. At least we're both on the same page on this.

The vet and her staff checked him over and could not find anything else wrong with him, except he had lost a couple of lbs since he was last weighed (that was just a couple of days before we left for Kemah the first time). The vet said don't count your chickens before they're hatched on the "no barking thing". According to her he just may not be in his comfort zone in the motor home yet. Maybe...but he slept almost all the time we were moving....seemed pretty comfortable to me. Also the way the tooth broke and the cut on his tongue indicates a hard blow to the mouth, so he may have been unconscious for a period of time.
So, that's where we are right now. Well know more on what will happen after Key gets to see a specialist. He is a pretty special dog, isn't he.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The New Ride

With a certain amount of sadness, we gave up the reins to our trusty Rockwood 33' travel trailer a couple of weeks ago. She went all the way from Fort Worth, Texas to Fairbanks, Alaska and back, a total of 10,887 miles without even a wimper. We traded her in for a real motor home. Real , in the sense that we can stop any time we want and start enjoying the RV without first getting eveything disconnected and ....well you know what I mean. This is a 2007 Damon Daybreak; 30 feet with the 10 cylinder Ford Workhorse engine. It only has 1500 miles on it. It looks brand new.

With a new ride comes a new web site: http://www.drivingusa.us/ . We have some trips coming up and we are just as motavated now as we were planning our trip tp Alaska. It should be fun.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back In The USA....revisited

As we entered the inspection lane at the border to speak with a U.S. Customs officer, I was reminded of how much better things were the closer to the U.S we got. As we were cleared to pull out and continue our journey, the officer said "Welcome home". Yes indeed! How lucky we are that our home is in this great land called America. So today I received an email from Col Madden, Ret. USAF and a classmate from some 51 years ago and this message from Baxter Black. I don't know anyone that can say it better. Please take a look.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back In The USA

Today is it! We are on our last leg before entering the lower 48, headed back to Fort Worth via Seattle and Salt Lake. What a trip! 8000 miles so far and still at least a couple to go. It will be good to get across the border today....back in the USA.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

3rd Leg: Offutt AFB, Nebraska

3rd Leg: Topeka to Offutt AFB, Nebraska
Distance: 232 miles
Two more toll roads out of Kansas ($6.10) and we’re into Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. Visible even on the west side of Missouri and Iowa are fields with crops partially and sometimes completely under water. Our navigation system selected the main gate to Offutt AFB instead of the one on the opposite side of the base that was close to the FAM Camp RV Park. As we approached the gate I could see that this was probably not the best decision we could have made. For about a hundred yards just inside the gate were serpentine barricades set up for security purposes. It didn’t look very passable with a 33’ travel trailer following us. I said to the guard “This might not have been a very good idea”. He said “Hey, a big tour bus just came through and he made it OK”. After he checked my ID and told us we were on the wrong side of the base he said if you can get through you can cut through the base to the Bellevue gate and then the RV Camp is right by the lake, etc. So, why not? We towed that 33’ trailer right down the main drag of Offutt AFB, right in front of the Headquarters building and right out the other side, no sweat.
We’re all checked in the RV camp (run by the AF) and it is a really nice place. Linda said “Well that takes care of the base tour for tomorrow”.
Tomorrow we will still visit the memorials here at Offutt and see what else we can find.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Leg: Oklahoma City!

First Leg: Fort Worth to Oklahoma City
Distance = 204 miles,
Thoughts From The Road:
Leaving Texas and entering into Oklahoma you see highway and medians and parkways the way they ought to be. The road is great and the grass is managed beautifully and each time I’ve been this way it looks like it was just mowed. I can remember when I was a kid growing up along the Gulf Coast in Texas we thought Texas had the best highways anywhere. A lot has changed since then of course, but all one has to do is just get out on the road and you can see that the massive amount of traffic streaming up from the Rio Grande Valley along I-45 and I-35 northward, plus population growth in the State, places a huge strain on highway maintenance. Almost all of the main roads traveled today are 4 and 6 lane highways. Back in the old days most roads were 2 lane roads and passing the car in front of you with oncoming traffic, was a learned skill, one that is almost lost with the multi-lane highways of today.
We pulled into the Twin Fountains RV Park under darkening skies and the immediate threat of heavy rain. I hurried with the hook up before it came with the thoughts of Iowa running through my head. I finished just as it started to rain, harder, so I ducked inside to wait for the satellite dish to align (no cable here). Since the last it was on was in Fort Worth it will take a few minutes to find the satellite. Ah, success! We will have TV tonight. This is a very nice RV park…nicely laid out but like so many others it is close to a busy street and there may be some road noise tonight. We need to get to bed early tonight though because we are going to try to make it to Topeka early enough to run over to Kansas City for some of Arthur Bryant’s famous Bar-B-Que. Well, just as suddenly it started to rain, it now has stopped and the sun is shining. Hey, let’s grab the doggies and go for a walk.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

If it's Houston.....it's James Coney Island

When my brother and I were growing up in Houston, one of the best memories in my life was eating at James Coney Island downtown. I remember we use to cut through our neighbor's backyard to the bus stop, catch a bus to downtown Houston and head over to James Coney Island on Walker Street. We would sit there and consume at least 3 or 4 chili dogs and a 6oz coke then skip around the corner to a movie theater. After that we'd head back for more chili dogs. I think the secret was how finely those onions were chopped. Anyway, by the time that was over we could barely make it to a bus stop much less climb on board for the 20 minute ride back home.

This coming weekend I will try to re-enact that scene I remember from days long ago. We're going to visit by brother for a couple of days there and fortunately we won't have to go downtown (there are several James Coney Island places near him now) and we won't eat as many (maybe) but no trip to Houston is a good one without at least one trip for chili dogs.