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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Update 12/22/2015

The last couple weeks have been quite interesting to say the least. I try to keep a record on my calendar of how I feel each day after chemo so I can try to avoid the same side effects as before. Well this last chemo sent me for a loop, I had the exact opposite problem from the first time. So as the TV commercials claim I didn’t have bricks I thought I had solid cement in my gut, but I was to eventually remove it with a couple magnesium sticks of liquid dynamite.

As time went on I had the tired feeling almost every day without any improvement. Finally I accepted that this must be what I should be feeling. I had a bloody nose each time I blew my nose and it would get plugged up especially at night when I used my CPAP I would get to the point I could hardly breath. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Finally a week ago I started feeling very tired and weak, I thought I was in the downside of my chemo treatment. Friday I was so tired, I even let Sarah drive me to the dentist. On Saturday Sarah and her sister Cynthia went shopping, I began feeling better so I thought I was on the upswing of feeling better. Both days I had a difficult time keeping my eyes open, all I wanted to do was close them and not sleep but just keep them closed.

Sunday I got up, showered and dressed for church. By the time I finished breakfast I didn’t feel lot going anywhere. After lunch I still didn’t feel any better so Sarah took me to the ER and the VA and they said I was dehydrated. I have never, to my knowledge, been dehydrated but it feels terrible. They gave me two bags of fluid and after the first one I felt a hundred percent better.

It was a lesson well learned, I now believe the stuffed up, dry nose was a symptom of the dehydration.

So that brings us to today. We are in Beloit to see a Veterans program put on by granddaughter Madyson’s class. I am really looking forward to it. We will be here until Sunday and then head for Ames, IA to see granddaughter Alexa and family. Heard from Tiffany today saying Alexa made the honor roll at school. I am very proud of her.

(I stopped writing here for a bit, will continue now.)

December 22, 2015
I don’t know where this year went but it is only three days until Christmas and I have all my shopping done. Thank you internet.

I just about didn’t get my last chemo session because my blood count was so low. For you medical types my WBC was 2.2, and RBC was 2.91, both are supposed to be above 4.0. I hope the numbers will be better for the next chemo, Jan 6, I will have gone 5 weeks between treatments and hopefully the numbers will be higher. I have felt weaker this go around but this again is due to the chemo and the low numbers. We have a treadmill now, it is in the garage, and I have walked on it several times, it takes a lot out of me but I know I have to do it. The garage is usually 50+ degrees when it is in the twenties and thirties outside. So not too bad.

I took care of the bloody nose situation, we had a humidifier installed on the furnace and it has made a huge difference. No more bloody nose in the morning and the little cuts and splits on my fingers are not as numerous.

Last Wednesday I was trying to open a soda bottle, I have stopped drinking soda for the most part, but every so often I crave it so I buy the little 10oz bottles. Anyway, I was trying to open the bottle and my shoulder popped, it hurt like the dickens. So we made a trip to the ER at the VA, don’t you just love abbreviations. They took x-rays and didn’t see anything but put in a request for physical therapy and orthopedic appointments. We’ll see what happens from them. I took some hydrocodone when I got home and the house could have burned down and I don’t think I would have cared. I took it again the next morning and haven’t had any since. I know it can become addictive but I have a problem with how it makes you feel; you have to really be in pain to take too much of it. Anyway, I have been getting by with Naproxen for inflammation and the shoulder still hurts depending on what I am doing but it feels much better.

In a moment of weakness, I bought an Xbox One because it had this great racing game on it, also a game called Fallout 4. I get the Xbox and load the Fallout game and I am lost I don’t understand the concept of the game and what do you do. So a week later Carl & Merilee and Rusty come down for a visit and Rusty gets on the Xbox and begins to show me how to play the game. It seems you just go with the flow and sort of make up the game story as you go along. We’ll see how this goes.
I still have the WiiU and Eli can still best me on the racing games on both the WiiU and the Xbox, he’s only five. Maybe I need more practice.

We didn’t make it to Wisconsin to see Mason & Madyson perform in a skit at church, but their mother, Sarah Ann, sent us a video clip of them doing their thing, we loved it. I have to admit I didn’t recognize Mason right away until Sarah Ann told me which shepherd he was. I love the internet, a week or so before this we were able to watch Madyson’s class Christmas program. I would still rather be there in person.

Thursday night we are going to go see Emily, Isabel and Eli in their Christmas program at church. It should be fun.

If I can get up early enough we are going to go to watch the kids open their gifts Christmas morning and then we will go to church.

Sarah and I want wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a BLESSED NEW YEAR.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Update 12/01/15

Haven’t been on here for a while so let’s get caught up, but first I want to remind you of my: Our Go Fund Me site; https://www.gofundme.com/db7q945h. Please send this to all of your friends or any social sites you might be on. We want to raise enough money to supply all the vets with t-shirts. Thank you for your help.

Since my last post, we have been to Beloit to see the kids. Madyson’s class had a veteran’s day program and so we went to see it. Carl & Merilee went with us, we had a great time. The program was about forty minutes long and very well done. What impressed me was the class, second graders, memorized the songs of each of the five services. I wish I had a recording of the program. Excellent performance for all of them.

On our way home we stopped in Ames, IA and had a nice visit with Tiffany and her family. We met at the Hilton Garden Inn and visited for a bit and then went to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Great time and good to see the kids. Alexa surprised us by telling us she had made the honor roll at school. Very good Alexa keep up the good work.

Back home I went in for another chemo and the doctor said the chemo I was on wasn’t doing the job so they changed me back to the three day chemo treatment. I don’t have much trouble with it so it didn’t bother me to change.

Nephew Rusty came for a visit. He is a traveling OR nurse and is in between jobs so he came for a visit. It was great seeing him and he kept me company while Sarah and Daniel went to Des Moines to move Cynthia to Omaha. Cynthia sold her house in Des Moines and bought one here in Omaha, about six miles from us.

Thanksgiving was at Daniel’s house, he has a big house. My aunt and uncle, Shirley and Ernie and their kids Mike & Dan and their kids plus Marie’s folks, Cynthia, Sarah and I. Daniel smoked a turkey and grilled a turkey and we had a ham, plus all the trimmings. It was quite a feast and very delicious. The weather was not very good but everyone ate their fill and made it safely home.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I ended up in the emergency room dehydrated. I was feeling well and I was tired plus I had forty-five minute episode of constant shaking I couldn’t stop. So anyway we went to the VA ER and they took care of me. It was interesting because when I got to the ER I couldn’t keep my eyes opened, it wasn’t that I was tired I just wanted to close my eyes. After the first of two bags of fluids my eyes popped right open and the feeling of wanting to close them went away.

I had my doctor visit today for my chemo tomorrow, but that isn’t going to happen. He is putting me on the four week schedule of chemo so I will have it next Wednesday and then the next one will be Jan 6, 2016 and then four weeks after that. I don’t have a problem with this schedule, it worked well for the last treatments and I pray it will work well this time also.

The schedule changed does keep us from doing a couple of things we wanted to do but I don’t worry about that I just do what the doctor tells me to do.

I bought an Xbox One and am trying to learn how to use it, it has a great racing game and a couple other games I will have to take some time to learn. I think I am going to enjoy it a lot, just wish they had some flying games for it.

I finished a great book, “Chickenhawk” by Robert Mason. It is a true story about the author’s experience as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam in 1966. I recommend it, it is good reading.

That is it for now.

In case I don’t get another post out, Sarah and I want to wish each and every one the best of the Holiday Season.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Veteran's Cause

As some or most of you know I am trying to raise money for t-shirts for veterans who complete chemo therapy.

This is from an email I received from the VA nurse who ordered the last batch of shirts;

"Just want to let you know I ordered 131 shirts today @ little over $9 a shirt! This company was terrific working with me. Free shipping and should arrive the first week of December. Ironically I had a flurry of emails today wondering why Lincoln and Grand Island didn't get any of the first 27 shirts we got. So I have already sent a message to them asking what their need is for shirts. I gave one to a patient today and he cried - I cried too!"

These shirts mean a lot to these veterans, it fulfills a sense of accomplishment in a time of seemingly unaccomplshments.

Please spread the word of our campaign so we can continue to buy more shirts and continue to help these veterans feel a good sense of accomplishment.

Our Go Fund Me site; https://www.gofundme.com/db7q945h

Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Blog Date 10/07/2015

Ok, it is official, Sarah and I are here for the better part of the winter. My guess is I will have chemo with the last session the day before Christmas. We are ok with that and if all goes well we hope to go to Mardi gras the first part of February. I would like to go over to Texas on the way home but we will have to see how it goes.

I haven’t had too many difficulties with this chemo, the usual, but with this one I get some sort of prednisone which is used to enhance the chemo, that is my understanding, and it has a side effect of not letting you sleep a lot at one time. So I am getting used to being up early and napping, sometimes, in the afternoon. I’ll adjust to the schedule, actually I get a lot done in the early morning.

I did make a startling discovery today, in fact while eating lunch. Somehow my mouth moved over night. Now I have had a problem lately of getting my food in my mouth and I didn’t think much of it, but today the problem became more noticeable. Now I look in the mirror and the mouth is in the same place, at least it looks like it, but it isn’t there when I go to put food in it. I may be on to a medical phenomenon but we’ll have to do some more study on the subject. Again this time a lot of the different foods don’t taste good or have no taste at all, I thought it would take longer to get to this point, but it is already having an effect on me. The one item which tasted good the last round of chemo and does this time also are the bags of noodles, they are a dollar at most stores, quick to fix and they are very satisfying.

I have been doing a bit of reading lately. One book is about a cat and a murder, I know you may ask what am I doing reading a book about a cat, actually it is a five book series and I am trying to keep up with Sarah and besides my aunt says I need to try to understand cats better.

I have a WWII book, a Bishop Sheen book of quotes, and God Never Blinks, a group of stories a lady put together, not real sure what they are yet but will find out in the next few days. I have plenty of books to read which is good because there isn’t anything on TV at two in the morning.
I saw today where the new Microsoft windows phone may be out in December, I want one, and Sarah says I don’t need one but we’ll see. I use Windows 10 on my pc and I like it so it should be good.

I bought a Wii U so the grand kids could have something to do when they come over. Ok, I bought it because I wanted the newer cool race games. So here I am using the old bar type controller and I think there has to be a better one, something like what I see everyone using when playing Xbox etc. So I go out to Amazon and what to my surprise I find what I am looking for, so I order it. I get an email saying it will be here Oct 3, I wait and I wait, no controller but I look up the tracking and it is out for delivery by 8 pm Oct 3. It is finally delivered Oct 5, ok at least I have it. I open it and I have never used one of these before so I really don’t know what all the buttons do. I get the pamphlet out to see if I can learn to use this thing and it is in Japanese. Now I spent a couple of weeks in Japan, eons ago but not enough to read this thing. Trial and error will be my teacher or I suppose I could invite the kids over and they could teach me to use it.

I need to stay away from people for the next few days, they say the immune system gets quite low, it did this before and I didn’t have any problem so I plan on following the same routine and I should be fine.

Until later I wish you all God’s Blessings.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Update 10/1/2015

Yesterday I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. Now I don’t like going to the dentist and I don’t like getting my teeth clean, but now it is a necessity of life for me. So I get to the office and check in. The VA have kiosk where you check in and it gives you a printed receipt for the visit, on mine it said STUDENT. Now I know I am no longer a student, except of life, so I decided my dental person was a student. I ask, she said she was and I figured my life was over.

We get to the torture room, I mean, yeah torture room, and I proceed to tell her how much I do not tolerate dental pain. I told her since she was the only dental person in the room, she get hit if I have any pain.

So she says she will numb the area and sticks a cue tip in the back of my mouth. I forget to tell you, I am having a deep cleaning on the lower right quarter and IT IS BEING DONE BY A STUDENT, there is an instructor who checks the work and is there for questions. Anyway this young lady thinks she is going to fool me by hiding the syringe with Novocain in it behind her back until the last minute but I saw it and it wasn’t pretty. She actually did a pretty good job of giving the shot. It did deadened most of the teeth she worked on, didn’t quite make it all the way to the front but I didn’t hit anyone.

Today I had my first chemo of this go around. I take a Dexamethasone pill, four actually, the day before, the day of and the day after chemo. These are a steroid to keep the feet from swollen. Well let me tell you they may keep my feet from swelling but you are wide awake because they won’t let you sleep. I told the nurse that this morning at chemo and she said it would be that way for the three nights I take the pills. I probably won’t wake up until Tuesday when I go to sleep Sunday night.

Chemo went well, no nausea yet but we’ll see. We were there about two and a half hours, not bad. I did get breakfast, cheese omelet, hash browns and bacon but not toast, don’t know what happened there.

Bit chilly here, 46 when we woke up, high of 61 or so, I guess fall is here.

Not much else is going on as you can see. Most anything I do now for the next month or so will all be medical and I doubt many of you want to hear about those exploits so I probably not write anything for a while unless it is out of the ordinary.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Update 09/28/2015

I am doing well with the tooth situation. I haven’t had any pain or other problems, went back last Friday and the dentist said it all looked good. So other than a cleaning this Wednesday I don’t go back until March and then they do something with the implant and we go from there.

Last Tuesday I went in for my regular oncology visit. My PSA has been rising but last week it was above eight so the doctor order a CT scan and bone scan. I had been having pain in my back and he wants to rule out bone cancer. Well today they called and he wanted to know if I could get down to see him this afternoon. We had hoped the no news is good news adage would apply here but no such luck.

Two lymph nodes in my stomach had increased some in size and he said we could wait for three months and see what they looked like then or we could begin a chemo treatment right away, a different drug. So Thursday I begin treatment, Thursday every three weeks, should take 2-3 hours. Side effects will be similar to the last treatment and my hair was just beginning to look good. According to the doctor the drug they are going to use Docetaxel has been very effective in the treatment of prostate cancer. So we will see where it takes us.

So our plans to go south in January are out the window, we’ll see if we can make it somewhere in February or March.

I feel truly blessed to be given these chances at having these treatments, I would rather not be going through any of it but I am very thankful I am at this VA Hospital, they are very good at what they do.

So unless something earth shattering comes out of the bone scan I probably won’t write for a while, I’ll wait to see if anything interesting happens.

Please keep me in your prayers and send me lots of positive thoughts, I know they all help.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Not much going on

It is interesting living in a stick built again. I find neighbors are still nice and I enjoy the surroundings but when I get the urge to move on I find the house no longer has wheels, so I am somewhat stuck where I am. I don’t find it distressing but it was fun when we could pick up and go wherever we wanted. More on this later.

August was a busy month. We returned from our train trip and immediately went to Wisconsin to watch Mason play baseball. Sadly Madyson didn’t have any activities for us to see but we did get to spend more time with her.

Mason is improving his game every time I see him. I believe he will be very good when he gets to high school. The group of kids he plays with will all go to the same high school, if that coach isn’t watching them now he better begin because he is going to have a great core of players all trained and ready to hit the diamond hard. I really enjoy watching these kids play.

Madyson, even though she didn’t have any dances, she was showing us what she does in gymnastics. She is trying to perfect the cartwheel without touching the ground. She is good, I believe she will surpass her aunt Catherine before long.

We stopped in Des Moines on our way home, we were able to have lunch with Tiffany, Matt and Alexa, we don’t see them as often as I would like but it is always great to see them.

We also had a chance to visit with our friends Orren & Norma, Mike & Sheri and Russ & Candi, and Cynthia as usual it was great to see them. We still have to get back to Des Moines to visit a few others we haven’t seen for a while, hopefully we can do that soon.

Back in Omaha we were able to visit with Rick & Jana and John & Cindi. Rick & Jana are still on the road and traveling this summer then will continue with working somewhere this winter. John & Cindi are heading south this winter to the Benson, AZ area, I don’t remember the name of the town.

We had some doctor appointments and my urology visit wasn’t with the results I wanted. My PSA is climbing, I know it isn’t supposed to do that, so we will see what can be done about it when I see the oncologist in a couple weeks.

I broke a front tooth last April and last Friday the dentist finally pulled it. Now I do not like going to the dentist but I have to admit it wasn’t a bad time but not pleasant. The dentist did everything she could to make it as painless as possible and other than being put to sleep I think she did a good job of it, except that during the procedure one of the dentist took a 20# sledge hammer and was pounding on my face to help loosen the tooth, I guess, but I thought they were trying to break open my face. I can’t imagine anyone going through all that without Novocain.

Last Saturday Carl and Merilee came down and picked us up in there new motor home and we headed for Kansas City to visit Steve & Lynne and kids. We had a great time. We got to meet Zack’s girlfriend Olivia, very nice girl. Allison and Nick are well, they both doing good and growing up to fast.

It was fun being in the camper again but it made me truly realize I wouldn’t be able to do the job of seting up and tearing down the camper anymore, my strength is not there to do it. The thought of washing the bugs off the windshield wears me out. I did help with that job when we stopped for fuel and it was all I could do to get my side of the windshield done. So it comes down to when we travel we will stay in motels, which is ok because I still want to travel.

Hopefully we will get to see some of our friends this winter as we hopeful will be able to go south. Our plans are to head to Florida for a few weeks if we can find a place to stay.

Until later be safe.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Amtrak to Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, and then home to Omaha.

I apologize for the length of this post. I began typing and it just kept getting bigger.

A big thanks to our son Daniel for taking us to the train depot last night, Thursday July 16. Our train wasn’t due out until 11 PM but we didn’t want Daniel to stay up to late so we got to the depot an hour early or so we thought. The train was running late, an hour late, so we waited. Our train arrived and we were able to get into our sleeper bedroom. We had way too much in our suitcase because it about killed me carrying it up the stairs to our room.

A little bit about our bedroom. Our bedroom is not as big as the bedroom we had in our fifth wheel camper and this one has a toilet/shower combination with the sink on the wall by the door. The toilet is very tight quarters and nearly impossible for me but I manage. I did get some sleep last night but not enough. Sarah says she didn’t sleep well but she also got some sleep. Now Sarah is sleeping in the top bunk, me in the bottom one, she hasn’t quite mastered getting in and out of the bunk but I being the great guy I am, I watch her backside.

As you can see the room isn’t very big. I am sitting on the lower bunk, the upper bunk folds down from the ceiling.

This is the hallway outside of our compartments. Just like in the James Bond movies they are narrow. I had to stay in our room until others would pass, to large people had a great deal of intimacy when passing in the hallways.

Larry and Kathy are with us, they got on the train in Burlington, IA and had to sit in the Omaha destination car until Omaha and then get their luggage and get off the train and go to their sleeper car, which was behind our car.

Larry told me that in order to be sure we got breakfast we needed to be there by 6 AM. So I set my alarm for 5:30 AM, it should have been for Mountain Time not central time. So when my alarm went off I called Larry as instructed, he told me then Mountain Time not central time. I was a bit early but since I was up I got up and since Sarah was awake she got up. So for our first night on the train it wasn’t too bad.

Breakfast was pretty good, I had an omelet with cheese and Sarah had scrambled eggs, both had croissants.

After breakfast we went to the observation car. This car has half of it with tables and the other half has big windows with seats which face the windows so you are looking outside all of the time. I took a lot of pictures there and will take more as the trip goes on.

Bob & Jim were in the observation car, they are volunteers for Amtrak, and they tell all about the tunnels, switchbacks and towns all the way to Grand Junction, a very nice feature. One of the interesting things on the switchback, the train cannot go up more than a 3% grade so the railroad uses a series of switchbacks to get up a mountain. Outside of Denver going up the mountain there is a certain location where the winds can be strong enough to blow a train off the tracks. So to counter that the railroad has taken some old hopper cars and filled them with sand and rock and welded them to a section of track to act as a wind break. Here is a picture of what the cars look like,

You can see the weeds growing in the cars.

Lunch was an Angus Steak Burger & chips, not a bad burger with it being nuked. The food is good but, I believe, it is reheated type it was still good.

Spent the afternoon between the observation car and our room, this is the way to travel if you have no time constraints and the train goes where you want to go. It is probably the most expensive way to travel but you get to see some beautiful country.

Dinner was Angus Steak, baked potato and vegetables with ice cream for dessert. Sarah had salmon, baked potato and vegetables with ice cream for dessert.

Well again we had a snafu with the alarm. I had set my phone alarm for 5:30 thinking we would have crossed over to Pacific Time by 5:30 but that didn’t work out. My alarm went off at 5:30 which was actually 4:30, so I went back to sleep. We did get up in time for breakfast at 6:30. The reason we want to be there when the dining room opens is after the car is full then you go on a wait list and we don’t want to be on the wait list.

So far I have taken 2-300 pictures, a lot of them will be deleted but we have gone through some fabulous country.

When we were traveling alongside the Colorado River we saw a lot of people rafting. One of the nick names for this river, or at least this section of it, is Moon River. I thought that was because Perry Como liked tubing the river and sang about it, but boy was I wrong. It is called Moon River because the people rafting on it like to moon the train as it passes them. We saw the biggest full moon on a very small raft. Another guy almost upset the boat trying to get his pants down before the train passed them. That was more an interesting type of scenery than beautiful.

For the sake of any youngsters I purposefully blurred the photo.(I wish I was that good of a photographer)
We are almost to Reno, NV and the landscape is a desert type but one section of it looked white, I wonder if it is just a type of sand or if it could be salt it is most likely just the minerals in the ground. Don’t know, I guess I could try to find out but will have to wait until I have Wifi.

Saturday, July 18
We made it to Sacramento, CA. We got off the train and took a cab to our hotel the Delta King.

This is an exact copy of the Delta Queen. The bedrooms were dated but ok, best part is we got to shower. Now our bedroom on the train had a shower but there is no way I could take a shower in it, way to small, my shoulders touched wall to wall.

Here is a history of the boat: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_King
I did not know the Delta Queen had a twin, according what I found in the above article and asking question of the personnel on the Delta King the two boats did operate together in California.

Rusty, Sarah’s nephew, came to the boat, he is a traveling operating room nurse and is working in Sacramento. We walked around for a bit and since we were all hungry we went to Fat Bar and Café or something to that effect. The food was good with good size portions. We were all tired, except for Rusty, so the old people went back to the King and went to bed, Rusty went home.

Sunday, July 19, Sarah and I got up early to go to church. I found one, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. It didn’t look to far from the King but we still took a cab. It was less than a mile. This is a beautiful church, it is the home of the bishop and therefore a bit bigger than most of the other churches in the diocese.

After mass we decided to walk back to the King and did so. We walked by a park with quite a few homeless in it. We saw a line of people and figured it was most likely a church ministry for the homeless and they were feeding them breakfast. What a nice way to start a Sunday morning.
We got back to the boat, called Rusty, and went for breakfast, it was free in the restaurant.

Rusty showed up about fifteen minutes after we finished eating. We drove over to the State Capital building and looked around inside. A very nice building, took a few pictures and bought a couple items.

From the capital we went searching for food for Rusty. He wanted to try a pizza place he had heard about. The pizza was very good, I had a piece or two.
Then we drove back to Old Sacramento and parked the car, the car is Rusty’s.

We went into a candy store that had every type of candy you would ever want. They had a jaw breaker candy as big as a softball, it was $15. I didn’t buy anything.

Then we were looking for something to do and Larry suggested a boat tour on the Sacramento River, we did this and it was very nice.
Afterwards it was time for ice cream, so we found a shop that sold ice cream, candy, and brittle of many different flavors or types. Have you ever heard of bacon brittle? Didn’t try it but I wish I had now.

We walked around the area and had a drink at the Firehouse Restaurant, nice place but dinner cost a bit more than we wanted to pay and we weren’t very hungry.

We walked over to a park and parked ourselves on a couple of benches. There was a singing group, kids from San Diego, performing under a big tent, they were pretty good.

We decided to get something to eat before we had Rusty drop us at the Train Depot. Joe’s Crab Shack was no more than 100 feet away so that is where we went. Sarah and I split a meal, I wasn’t very hungry.

Rusty dropped us at the train depot about 8:30, our train was scheduled to leave a midnight.

Rusty thank you very much for spending the day with four old fogeys. We enjoyed being with you sorry we couldn’t walk around as much as you wanted.

Kathy, Sarah and Rusty.

The wait in the train depot wasn’t bad except it was hot. They are doing a renovation to the depot and so no air conditioning. The train was thirty minutes late, not too bad.

We got on and our bedroom was all made up into sleeping quarters so we went to bed.

I don’t know what time I finally went to sleep but I was awake at 5:30 and with breakfast at 6:30 we got up.
After breakfast we went back to our rooms and relaxed. With luck we will be on time into Portland.

We arrived on time in Portland, very nice Amtrak station. They have several trains in and out each day, all commuter type or short haul except for the once a day Amtrak north to Vancouver or south to San Diego.

We called Enterprise to get our car, they came and picked us up and we headed to Colleen & Darrius’ house.

Now Colleen & Darrius have a two bedroom condo, so Sarah and I stayed with them and Larry and Kathy stayed in the guest house. It is a one bedroom apartment, very nice and plenty of room.

Had a great dinner and walk down to the river. There is a very nice park by the river. They have concerts there on Wednesday nights.
It turned into a late night, went to bed at 11:15.

Tuesday, July 21
Up early, couldn’t sleep I had congestion so I couldn’t use my CPAP, so I got up and did some reading and dozed on the couch.

Darrius grilled chicken breasts for lunch, it was excellent.

Darrius, Colleen, Sarah, me, Kathy and Larry

The ladies did a bit of shopping this afternoon. Us guys did our own thing.

This evening we met Brad & Suzanne for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. You might remember them from our first winter in Mesa. Suzanne taught a class, I don’t remember about what and Brad worked on the Décor team with us. Brad spent most of that time working with John Cline and myself. John and I spent most of our time eating ice cream and supervising. Brad took a lot of ribbing from us but he was a good sport and at times gave back as good as or better than he got.

Anyway we had a great visit with them and learned all about what they have been up to for the last couple of years. They have gotten off the road and have returned to Portland and their old jobs. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with us.

Me, Sarah, Brad and Suzanne

Wednesday, July 22
This morning we were up fairly early, had a great breakfast got ready to go to visit Brian, nephew, who works at Nike. (I tend to tease my sister Colleen a lot but she has achieved a lot in her life and I admire her for that. Plus she is one fabulous gourmet cook and Darrius is a master of the Weber grill. So all the meals were great.) Enough of that, now on to Nike. This is the second time Sarah and I had been there. Nike has a square mile campus and are building more and adding to their current campus. While we were there the top 100 lacrosse players in the country were there for training and learning more about their sport. I would also think Nike is listening to them about the equipment the players use to be able to develop a better product.

Brian gave us a tour of the grounds and we had lunch in one of the several dining rooms on the campus. We did get to the employee store and Sarah and I got new shoes and she got a jacket. The one complaint I do have is the store cares nothing in the FAT man category. In fact, now this is an unscientific observation, but I believe I was the oldest and fattest person in the store the whole time we were in there. But hey, I still enjoyed looking at all the stuff in the store.

Later Brian, his wife April, their kids Ethan and Amelia came over for a cook out. Darrius cooked on his grill and we ate at the outdoor patio by the club house, it was a mere fifty feet from their door. Again a great meal.

During dinner Ethan sat next to me and he told me about his track camp he was attending that week. He said they learn a new event each day, sometimes two, I believe today he was learning the javelin. I had a great visit with him, he is a very intelligent young man who will grow into a very intelligent adult.

After dinner it was time for Ethan and Amelia to hit the hay so with hugs all around we said goodbye.
Later the rest of us walked down to the river park to listen to a band I never heard of and can’t remember the name but it was fun. It was amazing to see the number of people attending the concert. They bring blankets, chairs and picnic baskets full of food and wine. There are a few vendors there also. It is like a big party.

Brian, April, Amelia and Ethan and Moxie

Thursday, July 23
This morning the ladies went shopping and Darrius, Larry and I went to the golf driving range. Darrius bought some new golf clubs and wanted to give them a swing. Larry wanted to try out the new clubs also, I went along to give unwanted advice. The guys were hitting away at the balls when I noticed two youngsters down the line from us. These boys must have been 6-8 years old and they were hitting the ball straighter than I ever had in all my years of playing golf.

Anyway, the guys got to where they figured they hit enough balls so I gave it a try. Even though I am not a good golfer I do miss getting out on the links and whacking the ball around. I tried and I felt the hit in my right hand to the point I don’t believe it would be worth the pain and frustration of trying to golf again, let alone the pain in my hand.

Our time in Portland has come to an end way to soon. We had a great time with Colleen and Darrius, wish it could have been longer but it was great visit. We thank you both for being such gracious hosts and can’t wait to see you again. Hopefully you can make it to Burlington this fall, Sarah and I will gladly come over to see you.

Our train was due out at 4:45 pm so we headed to the depot about 1:30, I dropped everyone off at the depot and took the rental car back to Enterprise. A nice young lady took me back to the depot and we planted ourselves in the Metropolitan Lounge, this is a place for passengers with sleeper accommodations on the train. It was nice in that it had cushioned chairs and free beverages. They also provided red cap service to put our luggage on the train and in our compartments, which really helped me in that the stairs in the train car are very narrow and steep.
As per Amtrak’s reputation we were told the train would be late leaving Portland because it had arrived late that day and the cleaners were still working on cleaning the cars. The cleaners do okay, but they need to do a deep cleaning in the cars and in the case of some of the cars Amtrak needs to either refurbish or get new cars.

We did finally board about 5:30 and got under way shortly after that.

Again we had a sleeper with toilet and shower. A bit more on the toilet accommodations, the toilet in our sleeper was smaller than that in an airplane, I could stand in it and my shoulders just about touched the walls. Forget sitting down, I tried and I couldn’t get back up without opening the door. You had better like who you are traveling with because if you are an adult you won’t be taking a shower in you compartment. I did find toilets and showers on the lower level of the car that were a tad bit bigger. At least you don’t have to open the door to stand up, which could be a bit embarrassing if there was a line up outside the door to use the toilet.

Enough of that, we enjoyed the scenery as we headed to Spokane, WA. Now part of our ticket price included meals on the train. I can, from memory, tell you every item on the menu and the menu was the same on each train. I will tell you this, in my opinion the French toast, omelet are the best for breakfast. Lunch would be the hamburger and hotdog. Dinner the steak was the best, although I didn’t try anything else for dinner. Sarah had salmon one night and I had a taste, it wasn’t too bad.

However our train from Portland did not have a dining car, the train out of Seattle and the Portland train merge in Spokane.

Private cars attached to our train in Spokane.

So Amtrak gave us a box dinner but nothing to drink with it, not sure what that is all about but that is what they did. You could have chicken, beef or salmon, I chose wisely, I chose beef. The other meals weren’t all that good and they ran out of the beef so I would think there were a lot of half eaten dinners thrown out that night.

With a sleeper you don’t make up the bed at all the car attendant, or porters a name they don’t use anymore, make up the bed for you. Our attendant, Courtney, wanted to know if we wanted the top bunk made up, I said yes. Sarah and I aren’t newlyweds anymore and for me at least I get closterphobic and would probably keep Sarah awake all night, she slept on the top bunk. They do keep the trains cool day and night, I had to get a second blanket a couple nights.

Friday, July 24
We are headed across Montana and the scenery is breath taking.

Here is some mountain we saw, I believe as we were leaving Portland.

So we didn’t do much but watch the scenery and sleep, did do some reading and of course we ate all three meals, I won’t go into that again, suffice it to say Amtrak should expand their menus and have less microwavable food but we all know that probably won’t happen.

Saturday, July 25
I slept all the way across North Dakota except the times I woke up either due to a long wait in Williston or the roughness of the ride. This section of the track had to be the worst ride we had been on since we began the journey. I think I did get off the train in Fargo, not sure. My aunt who is from ND asked me where the depot was in Fargo, I told her it was right next to the tracks.

Once we started across Minnesota and Wisconsin the landscape was not new to us, it looked a lot like Iowa and Nebraska, so I read a lot.
Somewhere along the way we lost four hours and arrived in Chicago at eight thirty, Larry had made reservations at the Hampton on Wacker, in fact they called him to see if we were in fact going to be needing the rooms, he said yes but we were on Amtrak and the guy said ok he understood. I guess Amtrak has the reputation of being late everywhere.

Our rooms were nice but small, I thought maybe this was like a boutique hotel but Larry said no this was the size of all hotel rooms downtown, unless you want to pay out an arm and a leg for a bigger room.

Sunday, July 26
We were supposed to leave today at 2:00 pm but Larry and I both received calls and text messages telling us the train was leaving early, noon, no other explanation. I figured they knew they would lose time and figured this would help them along the way.

We were at the depot by eleven and waited in a special area for seniors, military or people who had children under ten with them. We had coach seats from Chicago to Omaha and they were not too bad. They had two electrical outlets and they reclined. I used the outlets but declined on the recliner idea.

We were on time in Burlington so Larry and Kathy got home before we did but we did get home on time, 9 pm.

We were in the second car from the engine so when the train stopped in Omaha it seemed like a mile and a half walk to the depot. I went looking for a cab and there were none outside so I called the first one to come up on the search on my phone. I got the company’s voice mail box and the recording said it was full, this was a company with four stars. I tried another and was told there should be taxis there but they would send one down. Finally a yellow cab showed up and we headed home. We arrived about ten and our journey was over.

Post Script:
We all enjoyed the trip but will probably never ride the train for this length of time again. I am glad we had the sleeper but you still don’t get much sleep, I would imagine though you get more than if you are in coach. The meals leave a lot to be desired, they aren’t that good, except for a couple of items. The Amtrak personnel were all very nice and tried to do as much as humanly possible to make sure you had a pleasant trip. We met a couple of interesting individuals and overheard some very interesting conversations.

A big thanks to our traveling companions Larry and Kathy, it made the ride that much nicer.

As I said we enjoyed the trip and don’t regret the train ride. But we all agreed the next time we will fly.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Decided to post again, life isn't boring as I thought.

Last Saturday, July 3 was the dedication of the Mississippi Valley Veterans Memorial in Burlington, IA. Sarah and I went to Burlington, July 2, with a stop in Mt Pleasant to see Dave & Shari Frantz, then on to Burlington where we stayed with my brother Larry and wife Kathy in their new condo. (Sorry Colleen we were the first to stay there.) They have a very nice place, except I had to climb to the third floor because the elevator was being used for people moving in but I didn’t have a problem with that. The stairs are not steep, more of a gradual incline which made it easier for an old man like me. 

Larry made blueberry pancakes Saturday morning, they were very good.

We went out to dinner that night with Mark & Sharon Brueck and Larry & Kathy, went to Big Muddy’s, good place to eat.

The dedication on Saturday was well attended, I thought the ceremony was a tad bit to long but they did have a couple of tents set up to sit under. Here is a picture of the site, it really looks good in person,

They have over two thousand names on the memorial and room to add several thousand more. It is a memorial to all who have served in any of the armed forces including the Merchant Marine. The names are of the living and dead. Here is a link to their website, http://www.mvvets.org/.

Took aunts, Millie and Marcella, to church Saturday afternoon and then Millie went to dinner with us. We met Larry & Kathy and their daughter Jill and her daughter Emily at Gator’s restaurant. I don’t know if I have ever put up their website, http://www.gatorsgrillandspirits.com/.

Sunday we didn’t do much we went back out to the memorial and took some pictures, I can’t find all of the ones I took, then went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Unbeknownst to me the women’s world cup was on so we got to watch some of it. I don’t understand the rules of soccer but I do enjoy watching the matches.

Monday we headed home after having breakfast at Perkins. I did get to see Ray Siefken at Perkins, I haven’t seen Ray for a lot of years. We played baseball together at Notre Dame High School my senior year there. We had a good team, 8-1 for the season, lost in the district tournament.

Tuesday I had a dental appointment, a surgical consult as they call it. They will take out the rest of the broken tooth and if no infection is present put in an implant. Now I am what you might call a BIG BABY when it comes to the dentist. I made that fact known and the young lady, the surgeon, said she would make it as painless as possible, but you know, she says, there will be some pain. Thanks a lot. Anyway surgery is scheduled for September 4, start all the pray chains now I will need them.

Thursday Sarah went to the doctor, her leg had been hurting for a couple of days, and found out she has a blood clot in her leg. The pill, Tamoxifen (sp), she takes for breast cancer has a side effect of causing blood clots. She got some medicine, expensive, but it seems to be helping, she doesn’t have the pain she had before. She will see her regular doctor Monday and hopefully he will say she can go on our train trip to Oregon, we do have a bedroom on the train so hopefully the doctor will ok the trip.

I said in my last post I wouldn’t be posting anymore because it was boring living in a house, well in light of the past week, I will recant that statement, this past week has been anything but boring.

Next post after our train trip.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Good News and Bad News

This won’t be too long, suffice it to say Sarah and I have been keeping busy, some days we don’t know where the time has gone.

We haven’t taken any long trips just short ones. Went to Wisconsin a couple of times, saw Tiffany and family in Ames, and went to Burlington to visit family and friends. It doesn’t look like we will get to the Des Moines area until August or September. Other than that we have pretty much been hanging around home.

We have decided to put in backsplash in the kitchen, the builder only put in a four inch splash and we wanted more, so next Monday we are getting that done. We spent quite a bit of time watering our plants, seems the sprinkler system wasn’t working. After investigating the situation we come to find out the main water line for the system was cut by the concrete guys putting in a foundation for one of the new homes. It is now fixed and hopefully our grass and plants will get watered. We may still have to water a few that don’t get watered by the sprinkler system.

In July we are heading to Portland, OR on the train, I may have mentioned this before, returning through the northern states to Chicago and the back to Omaha. We have been looking forward to this for a long time.
This month I have doctor appointments, I see the doctors every three months. Two weeks ago I had my urology appointment and they found my PSA on the rise. A rise in the PSA is caused by the prostate not playing nice. They said they would write it up for the oncologist.

Today I saw the oncologist and he asked how I felt, I said I feel fine. I told him I have trouble staying outside if the temps are above ninety or more, he is having a blood test run on the thyroid, they took a gallon and a half of blood from me today so they have plenty to work with. He also commented on the rise in my PSA, he is putting me on Bicalutamide 50 mg, I was on this for a month or so when I first started with my Leuprolide shot, it basically hits the prostate with a double dose of drugs.

So the Bad News is I have a rise in the PSA and I have to start taking another pill, but the Good News is I can still travel and so Oregon here we come.

I have decided to stop blogging, although I will continue to send updates on my cancer treatments. If you do not want to receive them please let me know, you won’t hurt my feelings. With us not being on the road anymore and we have sold both the truck and camper we won’t be camping anymore, there really isn’t much to write about, living in a house can be quite boring. So the blog site won’t have any more updates to it after this one.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bennington, NE

Here it is the middle of May already, this year is flying by but all is good.

After we got back from our trip east we had a few doctor appointments. I was first with my eye doctor appt. They did their thing and said I had a very slight change in my vision and the doctor said I didn’t need to get new glasses unless I wanted to, I decided to wait.

The next day it was my turn to go to my primary care physician, PCP, I had never met her yet. She gave me the once over, nice lady, and (hang on Sarah wants me to go for a walk, I’ll be back in 30 or so), ok now I’m back. Walked a little over a mile. Back to my commentary, the doctor refilled all my scripts for the next year and said call if I need anything.

Then it was Sarah’s turn. She had her mammogram on a Monday and saw her oncologist the next day. These were new locations for her, it took us a bit of time to find the mammogram place but we finally did and I am here to tell you it had the best Wifi of all the places we have been to. The oncologist was new to Sarah, Dr Lemon, nice guy. His PA saw Sarah first and asked a million questions and then the doctor came in and did his thing. Sarah was comfortable with the visit and that is important for her to feel comfortable with the doctor.

We went to Wisconsin the first weekend in May. Mason had a tournament on May 2 in Marshall. We lived in Marshall for about thirteen years, the kids grew up there so it is home to them. Mason played two games on the first diamond the boys played little league on many years ago. It was fun to see the town and the changes they have made since we lived there. We got to visit with Jack & Bel but ran out of time to call and see anyone else. I am sure we will be there again so we will get hold of others we know there.
On the way home we stopped in Ames, IA for the night. It was Tiffany & Matt’s anniversary so we all went out to dinner. Alexa got to go swimming at the hotel and we had a great visit.

Tuesday we stopped to see Cynthia and then went to lunch with Laurie, Marci and Marie all of whom I worked with at Marsh. We had a great visit and it is always good to see them.

We didn’t have time to see anyone else so we will make a trip to Des Moines to do that in June.
I had to get my port flushed, it is supposed to be down every six weeks, so I went to the VA to get it done. It took about twenty minutes and I was out of there.

Ernie & Shirley invited us to join them and their kids for Mother’s Day lunch at the Bohemian Café, http://bohemiancafe.net/. We had never been there so we joined them. What great food and the portions are huge. We had a great time visiting with everyone, although I didn’t get to visit with the kids as much as I should have but we will see them again.

Monday night we had dinner with John & Cindi, they had just had their kitchen counter, back splash and floor redone and we wanted to see it. McKean’s did the work and they did a magnificent job. So Sarah and I went to McKean’s, http://mckeans.com/, to see what they had. What they have is a showroom with every type of floor, counter top and back splash you would want. Our house has about a four inch rise off the counter and we want a regular type back splash so we are going to get it done. Don’t know when but sometime this year.

As some of you remember I broke a front tooth on our trip east. My dental appt is the first week in June and I am dreading it. I want to get the root pulled and some type of replacement tooth but I do not like going to the dentist and with the hot flashes and frequent trips to the bathroom I am going to tell the dentist put me under and do whatever you have to do. We’ll see what the VA policies are for this, should be interesting.

June is my month for seeing the urologist, oncologist, blood work and my shot so I will be poked, prodded and pricked.

Until later.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trip East, Spring 2015

March 29, 2015

Carl & Merilee arrived to go East with us.

Went to Daniel’s for ribs, very good.

March 30, 2015

I was at the VA this morning to get my shot. We all ate breakfast at the VA and then hit the road.
We drove to Cheryl and Rod’s house in Mokena, IL. Spent the night there. Thank you Cheryl and Rod for your hospitality.

March 31, 2015

We decided to drive to Niagara Falls through Canada.  When we went through customs at the border, the young lady had no sense of humor, but we were able to get into Canada in spite of that. We drove to London, ON, stayed at the Hilton downtown, very nice hotel. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant, we had a great host, can’t remember his name but he was a lot of fun.

April 1, 2015

We had a short drive to Niagara Falls, ON, here we stayed at the Hilton on Fallsview Ave. We took this incline car, that is what they called it,  ride down the side of a hill to see the falls. We bought tickets to go behind the falls and got wet, not real wet but there was the mist coming from the water. All I could think of was what if the rock crumbled, we would get wetter. Actually we didn’t get wet except when we looked at the falls from above. We wanted to ride the Maid of the Mist but there was too much ice on the falls so they weren’t running the boat.

We were walking back from the falls and decided to find a place for dinner. We went into Ruth Chris Steakhouse, http://www.ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/niagara-falls, great place to eat, expensive but very good.

April 2, 2015

Drove to Hershey, PA to visit Hershey Chocolate World. On the way to Hershey I bit into a frozen ice cream bar and broke a front tooth. I haven’t had this big a gap in my front teeth since I was ten or twelve.

Stayed at the Hampton Inn, they didn’t have our rooms ready, we weren’t the only ones they evidently didn’t have enough help, but they gave us a bottle of water and a candy bar for us having to wait. I would have rather had a credit on my room rate.

April 3, 2015

Went to a dentist, at 7am, to have them tell me what, if anything I could do to fix my tooth and what I need to watch for as far as infection etc. Since they couldn't help me I have to wait until I get home to get it fixed. So I called the VA to see if I could get my dental work done there. The lady in the dental clinic said I had to be verified, I told her I knew who I was, but she said the VA had to verify if I could get dental, I can so I will. I have an appt for June. The dental lady said to call if I start having pain. The only pain I have right now is the perceived pain I am going to have when they do whatever they will do. I wonder if they will give me NO2 when they clean my teeth? 

We visited Hershey World and ended up buying a bit of chocolate and some pens which smelled like chocolate. It was an interesting experience.

We drove to Gettysburg, PA and toured the battlefield. I had seen it in the mid-seventies and it is still very interesting. I look at the stone walls around the battlefield and think about the guys who were laying in wait behind them. I can't imagine being a soldier then it had to be a rough life. Over 600,000 Americans died in this war that is a lot of young men. 

After Gettysburg we drove to Ashburn, VA to the Hilton Garden Inn. We are going to be here for five days.

April 4, 2015

Went to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon a must visit if you are in the Washington DC area. They are doing some rehab on the house so it isn't picture perfect but the grounds and the view of the Potomac are spectacular.

The rest of the day we relaxed and Sarah & Merilee did some laundry.

April 5, 2015 Easter Sunday

We went to church this morning at 8:45. I knew it being Easter there would be a lot of people at church so we arrived a half hour early. Two reasons, to make sure we could get a seat and also to make sure we sat in the back of the church, I want to be close to the bathroom. 

After church we headed for the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. This was a great visit, I was amazed that all the cadets are housed in the same building, 4500 plus. The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. It would be interesting to spend a day there to watch what the midshipmen go through on a daily basis.

For lunch we ate at McGarvey’s Saloon, great seafood. This place was recommended by our tour guide and he was right they had good food and very good service.

April 6, 2015

Took the hotel shuttle to the airport and the 5A bus to downtown Washington DC. It was an hour bus ride downtown but if you have ever driven in Washington DC, then you know you don’t want to drive there. It was a $7.50 bus ride each way , unless you are old like me then it is $7.50 round trip,  but we could not have driven into town and parked for that kind of money.

We bought tickets on Old Town Trolley tours, a great idea, thanks Lynne, we were able to see and learn about the different buildings along the mall and elsewhere in town. We did go into the Air & Space museum for a bit but the most interesting thing we saw was at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery.

We saw the usual ceremony of the changing of the guard. We also saw two laying wreaths at the Tomb by two schools. It was awesome, the young sergeant who played Taps was fabulous. I also got to see the World War II memorial, it was on my list, I didn’t get to see the Vietnam memorial but I have seen it before. Sarah wanted to go to the DAR building but it was too late to get there when we got back from Arlington. 

All in all it was a great day.

April 7, 2015

Yesterday did me in and today we rested.

April 8, 2015

We left the hotel about 8:15 for Santee, SC and the Hampton Inn. We wanted to go to Charleston ut there was a tennis tournament and all the hotels were either booked or the price was so high they were unaffordable to us. When we got to Santee we were hungry. The hotel recommended a BBQ place so we drove out to it. They were closed, evidently they are opened Thurs – Sunday. We did find a good place, Clarks Inn and Restaurant, good food.

April 9, 2015

Today we had lunch with Carlene Reece, a friend of mine from my days at Ruan. Carlene is the same as when I last saw her fourteen years ago, she is funny and hasn't aged a bit.. We had a great visit and lunch. She recommended a carriage tour of Charleston, we had never been here before, Old South Carriage Company, http://www.oldsouthcarriagetours.com/. What a great choice, we had a very good guide, can’t remember his name, but the horse’s name was Dave. We saw some very interesting buildings and architecture. 

After the tour we found the “market” and ended up buying a few things. We then had dinner at Bubba Gump’s and bought more things there. 

April 10, 2015

We left Santee for Asheville, NC and had to stop in Orangeburg, SC to ship the things we bought yesterday to the kids and some things home for ourselves. We were running out of room in the car. It is amazing how much you can accumulate in such a short time. 

We arrived here in Asheville a little after one, our rooms weren’t ready so we drove a round and found a quilt shop for Merilee and Sarah.

April 11, 2015

Saturday we headed out to Biltmore Mansion, http://www.biltmore.com/visit/. If you have never been there it is worth the trip to see. We toured the mansion, it is a self-guided audio tour, and there were also a lot of signs with detailed information on whatever room you were in at the time. When we got to the second floor I was beat so I sat down and let the others tour the second and third floors. I did go to the basement with them. I had toured the house before many years ago so I didn’t care if I saw the upper floors or not. We ate lunch in the Stable Café, as the name would indicate it was the stable for the mansion, the hay/alfalfa salad was great. Just kidding I had a burger, very good. I did end up spending a bit of money on souvenirs etc. I also found the candy counter, actually it was a store unto itself and was the candy ever good and pricey. 

After lunch we went to the winery. Now this has changed a lot since I was here years ago. They have expanded the wine shop and added a Bistro and a few other shops. They do produce a lot of wine here but I thought it was a bit over priced for the quality. Sarah and I did a tasting and I didn’t think the wines we tasted were as good as some cheaper ones I have had in the past.

We ended up having pizza for dinner, it was good, I think we had it delivered from Pizza Hut.

April 12, 2015

Today Sarah & I went to church at the Basilica of St Lawrence, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_St._Lawrence,_Asheville, it was packed, we got there early enough to get a good parking spot. It is a smaller church on the inside compared to what it looks like from the outside.

Carl & Merilee went to the Mother Earth show at the agriculture center, they said it was worth the money for it.

We then headed back to Biltmore, we had purchased tickets for a carriage ride of the property. We were a bit early so we toured the Biltmore Hotel, very nice place and quite a bit more than I want to pay for a hotel room.

Our carriage ride was ok but really not worth the money except that you get a spectacular view of the backside of the mansion. This time we remember the driver’s name Marty and the horses, Pat & Jesse.

Dinner was at the Bistro located next to the winery, good food and not to expensive.

April 13, 2015

We headed for Nashville, TN today and the Wyndham Hotel. We arrived early afternoon and our apartment wasn’t ready. This is a time share location and the rooms are nice apartments. To kill time we drove around and stopped to get tickets for the Opry Tuesday night. Went back to the hotel and was able to get into the apartment. Later we went over to the mall and ate at Macaroni Grill and walked around for a while.

April 14, 2015

Remember this a time share resort, so they have all sorts of activities. This morning they had a breakfast honoring veterans, you had to be a registered guest and sign up for it. The lady in charge of it did a great job. All the veterans stood and told a little something about themselves and their military career.

I ended up taking a nap this afternoon. When I woke we went to Logan’s Roadhouse for dinner, not too bad but we have had better.  

Then it was off to the Grand Ole Opry. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but it was interesting. I didn’t know any of the performers except for the Gatlin Brothers, and they were not that great. It was fun to watch the audience and the stage hands as they prepared the stage for each performer. Late night though didn’t get home until after midnight.

April 15, 2015

This morning we went to see Merilee’s sister Susan and her step daughter Mary. We had a nice visit and lunch with them.

This afternoon we took the hotel shuttle bus to downtown Nashville. It was interesting but unless you like to drink and listen to LOUD country music it isn’t the place to be. We did eat dinner at Jake’s BBQ, it was recommended to us by another guest, it was good but Smokey D’s in Des Moines is better.

Tonight it is early to bed so we can get an early start in the morning.

April 16, 2015

Ok, up at six and out the door and on the road by 7:15. GPS indicates 760 miles and a bit over ten hours, I figure twelve hours or more depending on how often we stop and for how long.
It was an uneventful drive, Carl and I took turns behind the wheel and the weather was good with only a few showers in Tennessee. We arrived home about 8:45 pm, long drive, 4000 miles, but it is nice to be home and to sleep in my own bed.

April 17, 2015

Carl had and appt to get their car in for a warranty item before they headed home to South Dakota. We dropped the car off and went for breakfast, then took them back to their care and said our goodbyes until next time.

We had a great trip, we saw a lot of country and only one mishap, me breaking a front tooth. Carl & Merilee were great traveling companions and we would do it again.

Until next time, that’s all folks.