Suni Sands Time Capsule

Fri, Mar 16, 2018

We booked the Suni Sands RV Park because it was near a Walmart, a muni golf course, easy access to the border town of Los Algodones and had great reviews on TripAdvisor.  What I didn’t know was that is was a time capsule.

Why?  Because the travel trailers, ie, mobile homes, were put here decades ago and haven’t changed a bit.  All nice and tidy and fully occupied by snowbirds, primarily Canadians.  And everyone is super nice 🙂



Yuma Air Show

Thu, Mar 15, 2018

We moved into the Suni Sands RV Park in Yuma, AZ last night and it’s near the airport.  Little did we know that there’s an airshow this weekend.

We found out early this morning when an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter flew figure 8’s right over our heads.  And I mean he was right there.  I can’t believe how low they let them fly but I was loving it.

The F-35 is our most modern fighter and is a stealth aircraft.  Here’s a shot of the profile:


The F-35 has three variants.  One for the Air Force that’s designed for air superiority.  A second of the Navy that has air craft carrier landing capability and a third for the Marines.

There’s a Marine base here (in the desert??) so naturally they are flying that variant.  It is a STOVL aircraft, ie, designed for short takeoff and vertical landing.  Here’s she is coming in for a landing.  At this point, she’s going low and slow but went into a stationary hover a few minutes later.


Here’s a good shot of her belly where you can see that the main thruster is pointed down.  The plane also has a giant fan to keep it level during hovering.  You can see the intake in the photo above and the exhaust near the front of the fuselage.


And this is what you get when the thruster is pointed out the back:


And another:


One last shot when the plane was banking straight over my head.  He’s flying horizontally with the left wing pointing straight down.  Funny perspective because it looks like he’s going straight up.





1957 Airstream

Mar 8, 2018

While strolling the NASCAR RV grounds at Phoenix International Raceway, I came upon this 1957 Airstream.

The owner said he bought it for $450 about 20 yrs ago and has been taking it to races ever since.


Not much to the interior as all he did was install a couple of beds and a shower.  Still pretty cool 🙂


NASCAR at Phoenix Int’l Raceway

Thu – Sun, Mar 8-11, 2018

During our trip to Baja last year, we met a group of full timers who travel together to special events.  This weekend’s NASCAR race is one of those events.

I love cars and car racing but have never really been into the NASCAR scene and have never attended one of their races.  So this was a first for me.

We settled into our spot alongside the 86’ers and did what all NASCAR attendees do:  we opened a beer.  The first of many that weekend.

The RV grounds are laid out in the desert in one giant grid.  Here’s our street with our Airstream on the far left.  The grid went on for what seemed like miles.


Cars are on track most of the weekend and are either tuning their cars, qualifying or racing.  Here’s the race on Sat that’s sorta like AAA baseball, ie, it’s one level below the top.  That’s a Camaro pace car with the field right behind.


Oops!  Blown engine.  Better bring out the street cleaners.


And Sunday’s race day.



Palm Creek Days Are Nearly Over

Tue, Mar 6, 2018

I’ve been offline the past couple of months because, well, there hasn’t been anything post worthy.  Carol and I have been relaxing in the Palm Creek RV Park and there’s been no adventure travel.  Just lots of R&R.

Last Fri marked 14 weeks since my ATV accident and I’m pretty much healed.  I no longer have pain from my fractures, ie, three vertebrae, two pelvis, one hip and one rib.

I still have some lower back pain but that’s probably because I’ve been beating too many golf balls on the driving range.  And my right shoulder will never be the same.  I don’t understand the physiology but the clavicle has been repositioned and isn’t going back.  So I have a bump that sticks up but it works so I’m grateful for that.

Palm Creek RV Park has been our home since Dec 26 but we’re leaving on Thur.  So tomorrow is a cleaning and organizing day.

On Thursday, we’re heading to NASCAR weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway and then we’ll spend three days with my parents in Mesa, AZ.  Then over the border at Yuma for a teeth cleaning and then a two week return to the Emerald Desert RV Park in Palm Desert.  Then back to Marin on April 1.  Yippee!

Two Activities Per Day

Sat, Dec 30, 2017

It’s a day early but Happy New Year’s everyone 🙂

Yesterday marked five weeks since my ATV accident and I’ve been healing, albeit slower than I had hoped.

My right hip, rib and shoulder are still sore but I’m returning to somewhat of a normal lifestyle.  For example, I can walk without my cane but the pain builds throughout the day and I’ll start to limp (which minimizes the pain).  I’ve also returned to the gym but am working with light weights otherwise my rib or shoulder will complain, depending on the particular exercise.  And I’m a long way from running and road cycling is still out as I can’t afford a fall, not with unhealed vertebrae.

The good news is that I’m back to two activities per day, somewhat of a retirement goal for me.  In the past, it might have been a run or ride in the morning followed by an afternoon hitting golf balls.  These days, it’s the gym or a swim in the morning and then chipping & putting or perhaps the wood shop in the afternoon.  The latter has been fun as our wood working club has every tool and machine imaginable and the guys and gals in the club are really good.

The Road to Recovery

Fri, Dec 8, 2017

Two weeks ago today, I joined a group of guys for a day of riding Honda Quads in the CA desert.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it up one of the climbs and the Honda and I tumbled back down the hill and the Honda rolled over me pushing my legs into my chest.  The result was seven fractures:  three vertebrae, three in my right hip and a rib.

After four nights in the hospital (two in the ICU), I was discharged and walked out under my own power.  Thanks to crutches, that is, as my right hip was not able to support my body weight.

Over the past few days, I’ve transitioned to a single crutch and can walk a bit without support, although very gingerly.  I’m hoping to ditch the crutches for a cane in the next few days.

I’m also required to wear a TLSO brace (thoracolumbosacral orthosis) whenever I’m out of bed.  Mine was made by Aspen and is designed to immobilize my spine to allow the fractures to heal.  Basically, it prevents me from rotating or arching my back and I could be stuck in this thing for 2-3 months.  We’ll see.

Sleep continues to be a challenge as any movement, such as rolling onto my side, creates pain in my hip and rib.  I’ve learned how to do it with the least amount of pain but it doesn’t always work.

As for meds, I have a prescription for the generic form of Vicodin, a mixture of hydrocodone & acetaminophen at a strength of 5 – 325 mg.  The other option is Percocet that is a mixture of oxycodone & acetaminophen.  Oxycodone is similar to hydrocodone and is the active ingredient in Oxycontin.

5 mg is a low dosage and no doubt reflects the current state of opioid addiction sweeping the nation.  Nonetheless, it’s been fine for me as I’ve only taken 13 pills in the 11 days since my discharge while the recommended dosage is one every six hours.  I’ve been able to do this since the pain subsides if I don’t move.  Steady as she goes, no?

Boredom.  I’m not one for sitting around all day and that’s another of my challenges.  Don’t laugh but I watched an NFL game last Sunday.  First time in years (decades?) that I’ve sat by myself and watched football.  Seriously.  And just for the sake of full disclosure, I’ve watched plenty of TV golf, at least on those days that Carol was willing to give up the clicker 🙂


Fractures in the Desert

Wed, Nov 29, 2017

The good news is that I was released from the hospital last night but the bad news is that I have seven fractures and the next fews months are going to be rough ones.  Here’s what happened.

We’re in the Emerald Desert RV Resort and our neighbors are a wonderful Canadian couple who’ve been down here the past few years.  They are also  friends with other Canadians and one thing they like to do is go four wheeling in the desert.  So when he extended an invitation to join them for a post Thanksgiving day ride, I was all in.

As in the past, the plan was to rent Honda quads from Steve’s ATV Rentals in Salton City nears the Salton Sea.  I joined most of the group in choosing a Honda 250 that weighs about 400 lbs.  I nice combo of power and weight.

Here’s part of the group as we are preparing to hit the trails.  The single seat Honda is on the left.


So off we went into the Ocotillow Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area for a four hour ride.

The area is full of dry washes with plenty of hills to climb.  Here’s my neighbor’s son climbing a small hill just as we were getting comfortable on the quads.


Later we were climbing hills many times higher looking for new challenges.  And that’s where I got into trouble.

We don’t have any pictures but I went up a steep one, lost traction near the top and started sliding backwards.  When the Honda got a little sideways, it pitched me off and tumbled right over me as we went down the hill.

The Honda caught my legs and pushed them into my chest and I heard three quick pops.  Uh oh, I thought, those are vertebrae.

When we came to rest, I was under the Honda but not pinned down.  My first reaction was to wiggle my toes and feet and thank goodness, they still worked.  (This is the second time I’ve been in this situation with a vertebrae fracture; back in ’83, I had a parachute accident and my first move, after coming to rest, was to wiggle my toes).

The accident knocked the wind out of me and it took a good ten minutes to get back to my feet.  But I was able to walk back to my Honda, with assistance, and fired it up.

By this time, it was late afternoon and time to head back.  For me, that meant a ~60 min ride at 5-8 mph depending on the terrain.  Every bump was a new experience in pain as my hips, lower back, right shoulder and chest were all sore.

When we got back to the truck, I was no longer able to stand under my own power and the guys put me in the back of the truck and took me to Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert.  So chosen because it was the closest hospital to where we were staying.

I was admitted, went through triage and X-rays and learned that I had a few broken bones.  Since that hospital doesn’t have a trauma team, I was transferred to the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

Then once again through the admittance process, triage, X-rays, etc.  The attending ER doc told me that I have two fractures in my right pelvis, one on my right femur socket, one in my fourth rib on the right and three fractured vertebrae in the Lumbar (lower) section. I also have strained ligaments in the rotator cuff of my right shoulder.  Yikes, I thought it might be bad but not this bad 😦

All of the fractures are non-displaced and should heal on their own except L4.  That one suffered a ‘burst’ fracture and there’s a loose piece on the stomach side of the vertebrae (so away from my spinal cord).  The neurologists have determined that no surgery is needed for L4 so long as symptoms don’t develop, ie, numbness or twitching of the legs.  Fingers crossed.

The staff put me in the ICU late that night and I ended up four nights in the hospital.  I’ve got to tell you that it was absolutely no fun.  To protect my spinal cord, I was instructed to only sleep on my back.  That’s not the way I sleep so I was up basically all four nights.

And the pain!  Every time I would move, something hurt.  If it wasn’t my hip, then it was my rib.  If not that, then my shoulder.  Very ugly situation.

Since there was nothing more to do except let things heal, I wanted out.  It was a bit of a fight but I was released last night and am resting in our Airstream.

I have a lot of follow-up physical therapy to do and will be wearing a spinal brace for the next few months.  Here I am in the ICU with it newly attached.


My right hip is sore and can’t bear my body’s weight so I am getting around on crutches.  Being mobile is nice but there’s pain every time I get up, move or try to sit down so a price to be paid.  My focus now is getting through the first few weeks, being weened off of the crutches and hopefully, getting to a point where the pain is manageable.

Long term I’m hoping for 100% recovery but I might not be so lucky this time.

Carol’s been an angel and I can’t say enough about how much I love her.

Thanks all and keep the rubber side down 🙂

Running in Palm Desert

Nov 8, 2017

For a runner, the beauty of the Bay Area are all of the hills and trails for running.  But not in Palm Desert.  Lots of flat, boring concrete.  Makes a run feel like work.  Yuck.

Here’s what passes for a hill in this neck of the woods 😦