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Women Driving their A Classes
robandbarb posted a topic in General DiscussionMy husband and I own an A Class and I drive it about half the time. We've only owned it a less than a year so we are definitely new at this. It doesn't seem common that many women want to drive. I was just curious if anyone knew the statistics on how many women did drive. Do you enjoy it? Any tips from what you've learned? Also, I would like to hear from any that might do it full time and what are some tips on not getting so tired so easy. Thank you, Barb
Mad Truck Driver, What Do You Think?
huffypuff posted a topic in General DiscussionI was on I-210 5 miles from I-5 in southern cal when a ABF double swapped the rear of his trailer across my front in near collision. I had my cruise control set on 60 MPH and had no problem with being passed as many other vehicles did so. First he pass me on the right in a lane he was supposed to exit, he was going about 10 mph over the speed limit and I didn't signal that it was clear. I also had a car to the left of me so I couldn't change lanes. When I blew the horn to let him know he wasn't clear he responded with the finger. I had to hit the brakes and change lanes when the car passed to get away from that crazy driver. One friend told me that some truck drivers don't like mom and pop driving slow in their motorhome. To save time on 5 minutes video the truck appears at 2:50 minutes.
Driving In High Wind
steve.anita posted a topic in General DiscussionWe are in Nevada and there are wind advisories. Some days they have red flag warnings and we know we cannot travel during a red flag warning. Other days there are wind advisories and we don't know when it is unsafe to drive our motorhome. We have a 40 foot allegro bus. Is there a rule of thumb, when the wind is above so many miles per hour, you should not go?
That's How We Roll
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaWe have just completed one busy week while putting some serious miles on the motor home. We've made a few trips like this before. I would like to think that this is the last one but somehow the need to quickly move from one place to another seems to keep popping up. Unlike much of our travel, this trip was in the middle of summer in the very places we have avoided during the summer for the past 12 years. We have never been at home in Edinburg, Texas in July. The same could be said for June, August and September. I had cataract surgery on both eyes in May, just before the FMCA rally in Gillette, Wyoming. We made the trip to Wyoming and then returned to Edinburg so I could get my new glasses. Louise had a series of meetings in Austin starting on July 14 so we decided to make the trip back to Texas in the motor home and then set out for cooler locations in mid-July. Meanwhile our daughter in California requested some babysitting time with their two girls, ages 5 and 8 and the timing was really tight. They were taking a trip on Tuesday, July 23 and wanted us at their home in Valley Springs on Monday the 22nd. With the hot weather we decided we would stop at RV parks each evening rather than staying at rest areas and Wal-Mart stores. We would have electric to operate the air conditioners through the night and a quiet place to get good sleep. We started out on Sunday the 14th of July in Edinburg, Texas. We spent the Saturday before departure in the motor home doing our normal daily activities. We've started doing this as a means to find those few things we have forgotten. We eat and sleep in the motor home while parked at the house. If something has been forgotten it is just a few steps away. The toad was hooked up before we went to bed, the motor home was in the street, ready to roll first thing in the morning. Louise likes to sleep late, I like to drive at daybreak during the coolest part of the day. We would drive early, reaching San Antonio shortly after noon. Louise drove on to Austin while I stayed in San Antonio to have the engine and generator serviced at the Cummins Service Center on Monday morning. I stayed at Greentree Village RV Park just off I-35 and six miles from the Cummins shop. Sunday, July 14, 231 miles. Work started at noon and was finished at 4:00, just in time to join the rush hour traffic leaving San Antonio. Couple that with a heavy thunderstorm and flooding roads meant really slow traffic on I-35. I headed to Austin to join Louise. She was attending an orientation workshop for The Silver Haired Legislature, a senior citizen group that works to influence issues of concern to all seniors in the state of Texas. The orientation started Sunday afternoon and continues through Thursday noon. I parked the motor home at McKinney Falls State Park just outside Austin and Louise joined me there Monday evening. Since she had the toad during the day, I was free to explore the park and relax in the motor home. Monday, July 15, 70 miles. My relaxing schedule ended on Tuesday afternoon. I had fallen asleep with the computer on my lap. I heard a sound like an awning snapping. Since it woke me up, I didn't have a clear idea of what happened. I looked out the windows and everything looked fine. A little later I decided to go outside to check the awnings. I found the slide out cover on the living room slide was slack, laying on the roof of the slide. I got on the ladder and sure enough the spring that holds the awning taut had snapped. I got on the computer and looked up Carefree of Colorado repair shops in the Austin area. I had to leave a message at both shops. Now the problem was that we were scheduled to be on the road Thursday afternoon and I couldn't drive with an awning flapping loose. I've taken that awning off before but it isn't easy and is at best a two person job. I was alone and needed to get the job done quickly. I dug out the owners manual and looked over the instructions. I found a way to get the roller loose from the mounting just enough so I could slip the awning off the roller and off the roof at the same time. Then I put everything back together but with no canvas this time. With that done I went back to the computer. Since I couldn't get in touch with the local shops I'd call one near our destination. I called Paul Evert's RV Country in Fresno, California. We have dealt with them before and they are one of several shops around the country that are really friendly to traveling RV'ers. The other criteria that puts them at the top of our list is the excellent quality of their work. They were very helpful, the spring could be replaced and they called Carefree and confirmed that the spring was in stock. From the information in the owners manual I didn't think there was any alternative to replacing the entire awning. There was no part number for the spring. Paul Evert's would have the spring Monday which is when we could be there. Things were working out pretty well. Thursday we left Austin a little ahead of schedule. I topped off the fuel tank with almost 50 gallons of diesel at $3.76 a gallon at an Exxon quick shop. We were on the road at noon headed for Abilene, Texas; Clovis, New Mexico; then to I-40 and on to California and Fresno. We drove through some afternoon showers, something that Texas dearly needs. We stopped for the night at Lubbock, Texas staying at Lubbock RV Park on the northwest side of town. A spectacular rainbow had many campers out admiring the show as the sun set. Thursday, July 18, 416 miles. An early start on Friday morning put us into Gallup, New Mexico and the USA RV Park on the west side of town. I had just finished the outdoor work when the rain started. There was a good shower and everything was wet in the morning. Friday, July 19, 462 miles. Saturday morning we started at sunrise again. With the fuel tank near empty we made a stop at Speedy's Truck Stop on the AZ-NM border. A gallon of diesel was going for $3.76 cash (or debit card in our case). We purchased about 102 gallons and were off to cross Arizona. This was to be our long drive day. We paused for lunch at an exit just beyond a closed rest area. Before leaving Arizona we stopped at the US 95 exit to Lake Havasu City to top off the tank at the Pilot station there. We got an additional 32 gallons of diesel at $3.79. That was 2:00 in the afternoon and I told Louise leaving the station that she could pick the stopping time and place for the evening. We discussed possibilities and she decided on Barstow as the goal. A check of campgrounds and we decided to stop just short at Newberry Mountain RV Park in Newberry, CA. The park didn't look too promising as we drove up to the office. That turned out to be a real surprise. The owner was quite pleasant, we maneuvered into our site which was way too short but she said not to worry, just pull through far enough to leave the space behind clear. Louise wanted to do some laundry so I hooked up all utilities. It took every inch of sewer hose we were carrying but we were able to get everything hooked up. During the night we had a good thundershower - in the Mojave desert! Saturday, July 20, 509 miles. Sunday morning we started a little later. I was up early to unhook and stow the hoses while Louise slept in. It was shortly after 8:00 when we pulled onto I-40 for the trip to the end of Interstate 40 where it joins I-15. We left Barstow on CA 58 to Bakersfield, CA. After a short lunch stop on CA 99 we rolled into Paul Evert's RV. We checked in with the sales staff receptionist and got our assigned space for parking. We have electric and water hookups and a Monday morning appointment. Louise will drive to Stockton on Monday to pick up our granddaughters while I have the motor home at the repair shop. After the repairs I will leave headed for Watsonville, CA which is between Monterey and San Jose. Louise will meet me there and we will spend four days with the girls on the coast in an attempt to avoid the 100+ temperatures expected in the central valley of California this week. Sunday, July 21, 258 miles. In the course of 8 days, Sunday to Sunday we drove almost 2000 miles, got maintenance and repairs done, attended a 5 day orientation workshop and moved our base of operations from our home in deep south Texas to the central California coast. Along the way, we enjoyed a few new roads and many miles of familiar territory. We enjoyed exploring the new and had fun remembering some of our previous trips over the familiar roads. This summer we are celebrating 12 years of traveling in a motor home. We are enjoying one fabulous adventure.
I Can See Clearly Now
tbutler posted a blog entry in Tom and Louise on Tour in North AmericaI can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day. Those are some of the lyrics from I Can See Clearly Now, by Johnny Nash. It is one of my all time favorite songs and I've been whistling it a lot lately. What follows is a detailed description of my encounter with a common eye condition, cataracts. If you have cataracts and have had them surgically removed, you know the story. If you have them and haven't had them removed, you should read the detail. In many cases, the surgery can give you good vision again. But first, I've got to share with you some conditions that may alert you to your failing vision because this comes on slowly and as with all small slow changes, you hardly notice. My apologies to Jeff Foxworthy for what follows. If you think newspaper ink has become almost the same color as the page, you might have cataracts. If your birdie putt disappears but didn't go into the cup, you might have cataracts. If the screen on your GPS on the dashboard is getting fainter so that you can hardly see the map, you might have cataracts. If you have noticed that there are more hazy days lately, you might have cataracts. If road signs have become impossible to read from a distance, you might have cataracts. If the left turn arrow of the traffic signal is too faint to be seen, you might have cataracts. If your nose is touching the computer screen, you might have cataracts. If you've quit reading books and magazines, you might have cataracts. If you haven't seen a sky filled with stars lately, you might have cataracts. If you are seeing fewer birds, you might have cataracts. In 2002 my optometrist advised me that I had a small cataract in my left eye. There was an area of cloudiness in the lens of the eye. It didn't seem to be causing me any vision problems so he said we would monitor it to see if and how it progressed. At each biennial exam he would comment on its progress or lack of progress. It didn't seem to be much of a problem. This past year I have noticed more and more difficulty seeing (see the list above), but the problem seemed to be my right eye, not my left. In March I was back in Missouri and stopped in to see my optometrist. He found a severe cataract in my right eye. He said the left eye had progressed some but was still borderline. I wasn't staying in town long so I would have to find an ophthalmologist when I got back to Texas. I started with the internet, learning about cataracts and cataract surgery. I found out that cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the US. I also learned that it is 98% successful and that the most common complications are relatively minor and affect people who have other serious health problems. The web site was an excellent source of independent information. All the types of replacement lenses which are available are described with their benefits and limits or problems described. There was one very interesting entry, a description of his own cataract surgery by an ophthalmologist. There are numerous articles which address many aspects of eye health, cataracts are just one topic on that site. The site is operated by Access Media Group, a healthcare publishing company specializing in eye care. The company's primary business, All About Vision®, is a website providing information to consumers about all aspects of eye health and vision correction. A friend, a retired optometrist suggested one way to find a good local ophthalmologist would be to consult professional organization web sites so I went to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Entering my zip code gave me a list of a half dozen ophthalmologist within 30 miles of our home. I also found a listing of local surgeons on another web site, Eye Surgery Education. Finally, I asked my physician for a recommendation. I now had three sources and a number of possible surgeons. My physicians office made an appointment with their recommended physician. When I arrived for the appointment I learned that the doctor wasn't in, hadn't been in all week. I was welcome to see another doctor in the group. I wasn't happy with that arrangement, after all they had called to confirm the appointment only a few days before. I left discouraged, it would be another week or two before I could get an appointment with another doctor. The second doctor I chose had an office which was definitely high end. He was a very professional doctor but had one particular premium lens that he liked to install and talked down all others when I asked about them. Then we were sent to a scheduling consultant who reminded Louise and I of the worst used car salesman we could ever imagine. He exaggerated, misrepresented, and exhibited an alarming lack of knowledge about lenses. He informed us of the doctors fees which were well above the charges that web sites indicated for premium lenses. It took me about ten minutes of this to walk out on this sales pitch. I still can't imagine that doctor sanctioning his presentation. It would be another two weeks waiting for the next appointment. I went back to my list and picked a doctor from the AAO list. I read about this doctors background, education and years of experience. Everything looked promising but I was now leery of the whole genre of ophthalmologists. When I arrived at this office I was first tested by an assistant who did an excellent job of explaining the testing and measurements she was taking. Then I went to see the doctor and she completed her exam and we talked lenses. I told her what my concerns were and what I expected from a lens. I wasn't after the most expensive, nor the most convenient. Some lenses can allow you to do away with glasses entirely. Some have different focusing zones, others are flexible like the body's natural lens and can be flexed to focus on different distances. The lens I chose is a fixed lens which will give excellent distant vision but will require reading glasses for close vision. Dr. Alexander agreed with me that given my concerns that was a good choice. We set up surgery dates for both the right and left eye, one week apart. By the way, both of the doctors I saw agreed that I needed cataract surgery on both eyes. The left eye didn't have the spot that was in the center of the right lens but it was generally cloudy throughout. We planned to do the surgery on my worst (right) eye first. Surgery was done in a surgery center. Prep included about 4 dozen eye drops, some to sterilize the eye, some to numb the eye and finally the ones to dilate the iris. I had an IV with a sedative to relax me. Then I was wheeled away to the operating room. Dr. Alexander came in and began to work. She works through a microscope for the entire process. I am pretty much immobilized by a protective cover on my eye which is fastened to the bed. I can see light but can't feel a thing, no pain, no pressure. The light keeps moving and Dr. Alexander requests one thing or another from her assistants. I have read about the surgery and seen movies simulating parts of the surgery so this all sounds familiar. Soon she announces that she is finished with the surgery and everything is fine. I am wheeled out to recovery where I get some juice to drink, the IV and heart monitor are disconnected, I am put in a wheel chair and am on my way home. I have a clear cover on my eye, I can see but I'm looking through plastic. It has holes around the edges for ventilation and the central area is transparent. I can see, everything is blurry and way too bright, sunglasses help. At home I am able to eat for the first time since midnight. Slowly through the day my vision is improving. I notice that the houses are really white, the grass is green and cars are really colorful. I'm like a railroad crossing signal, right eye, left eye, right eye, left eye. Wow, my left eye is really bad! It is just the first day and I'm looking through a plastic cover and I'm seeing better with my right eye than with my left. Following surgery I have to continue eye drops and sleep with the patch on for a week. There is no pain following surgery, no discomfort, only the steady improvement in my vision. The next day I have an appointment with Dr. Alexander. The plastic cover is removed from my eye and I can really see how clear my vision is now with the new lens in place. I'm on restricted duty, no lifting or bending so I catch up on some of the light work around the house and on the computer. Later in the week I do some painting that we'd put off for some time. By the weekend I'm able to mow the lawn. The following Monday, May 20, I'm back to the surgery center for the left eye. The story is much the same, I remember more of the operation this time but the results are the same. I'm writing this just hours after the plastic cover has been removed from my left eye. I have a pair of reading glasses purchased off the rack at Walgreens that function as my reading glasses for now. I can see clearly now. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home this afternoon and the experience of walking through the produce section was amazing, the colors are now so bright, vivid compared to what I was seeing only two weeks ago. It is as if I am seeing the grocery store for the first time. I am amazed how far down the highway I can see, even reading signs from distances I could only imagine a few weeks ago. I can see all obstacles in my way. The old hazy gray world I was living in is now gone. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day. Have you had your eyes checked lately?