Now in Sarasota, Florida

Now in Sarasota, Florida

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Tyler Texas and Mark’s Headache

April 30 – May 03, 2018:   

My (Mark) first medical issue ever happened on Monday night April 30th. It was a travel day for us traveling from Monahan’s to Ranger Texas; a 265 mile trip.  That is a really long trip for us!  We stayed at the Horseshoe RV Park just off of Interstate 20.

We decided to have a decadent over the top dinner of hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls.   We don’t eat this way very often but we were in the grocery store and just decided that we would have this some time while we were traveling.  It’s pretty quick to make.  After eating 3 of these crescent dogs I started to read an article on my phone when I noticed I was getting a headache around 7 pm.  

Around 7:30 pm I was laying on the bed waiting for the 3 ibuprofen I took to kick in.  I also had a heating pad on the left side of my head.  This was by far the worst headache I had ever had.

By 9pm we went to bed and the headache was still there.  I was now alternating ice and the heating pad which gave very little real relief.  Around 11 pm I asked Patty to look up a local hospital ER that I could go to.  Going to an ER is just not something I would do for myself and had never done before but something was really wrong.

We went to the Eastland Texas Memorial Hospital about 9 miles away.  This is a tiny hospital and it was sort of hard to find even with our GPS.  It really isn’t some place I would go on purpose but it was the closest place as we were really in the middle of nowhere.

This is a very small hospital where there was the only one other patient in the ER the whole time I was there.

I got right in at around midnight and after a few questions and some prodding and poking I got a CT scan.  I was sort of amazed they had one of these machines in this tiny hospital.  Now we had to wait for the results.  I also had a Blood Pressure at 198/90 which is real high for me.  I have never had pressure that high and my pressure is normally not even close to hypertensive.  

They don’t have a radiologist at the hospital, they use a service.  The service gets the scan via the internet and reviews it somewhere else in the country and then send in a report via the internet.  We were told that it would take 5 – 20 minutes to get the results.

At 12:30 am the ER doctor said that he would review the CT scan for anything big and if the review had not come in pretty soon he would give me shot to relieve the pain and something for nausea which I didn’t really have.

The ER doctor came in around 1 am and said he didn’t see anything and gave me the shot and the anti-nausea med.  By 1:30 am the pain had mostly gone away.  I still had a little but felt good enough to go back to our RV home.  However, my blood pressure was still at 150/85!

Tuesday the 1st of May was also a travel day to Tyler Texas.  I still had a slight headache when I got up and a weird chest pain.  It hurt in my center upper chest when I when down the steps in the RV.  Basically it was just annoying, no real heavy pain.

We were doing our usual internet news reading before getting ready to leave and travel to Tyler TX when my phone rang with the Eastland Hospital.  The woman on the phone asked if I was still having a headache to which I said I was having a light one this morning.  She said that they just got the radiologist report from my CT scan last night and it showed a slight shadow in an area of my brain.  She said that if I was still having headaches I should get an MRI.  Well SHIT!  We thought they had the report from the radiologist but we were wrong about that!

I asked if I could get the report and they that I could I just needed to sign for it.  So I went in to get to get it before we left the area.  I wanted it because when and if I get the MRI I wanted this report so it would move things along quicker when I went in for it.

OK, so now I have the report and I read it in the truck in the parking lot of the hospital.  Not so sure it is a good thing giving me a medical report because I will study the crap out of it whether it is about me or Patty.  I was a little scared after I read the report!  It said that I had an area of unusual density about ½ inch by ¼ inch in the scan.  It went on about the location which I am still not sure about.  Anyway, the scary part was what the radiologist suggested it could be.   It could be a meningioma or other mass, a localized hemorrhage is possible, Aneurysm is possible.   The other interesting thing was that the report didn’t get to the hospital until 8:59 am!

I looked all of this up on the internet back at the RV and yeah, it could be life threatening and, maybe not!  The meningioma is usually a non-malignant tumor.   These things are somewhat common and usually grow real slow and many people don’t know they have them until something else is being looked for.  I don’t like this but that is not real scary.  The hemorrhage and the possibility of an aneurysm is pretty scary since it made me feel like I had time bomb in my head!  I didn’t discuss with Patty what we should do so we went on to Tyler Texas.

Along the way I could really feel the pain in my chest when I went over bumps in the road.  It seems to affect my headache too.  I also developed a new pain; it was in my upper legs.  When I walk or straighten out my legs it hurts like hell.  I can also feel it in my head!  FYI, the chest pain has gone away but the leg pain has increased to the point it is hard to walk around much at anything that with a slow gait.

We will be here in Tyler TX for 2 nights.  We are now basically closer to our site in Elsa Texas than to where we are going in Sarasota Florida by a couple days.  I discussed with Patty the possibility of going back to our site in Elsa and getting the MRI there or just continue to Sarasota Florida and do it there.  We decided to wait and do it in Sarasota.  We are not happy with the medical care in south Texas for one and we know we want to be in Florida on a more permanent basis.  Yes it is a risk but one we both decided to take.  I am just going to take it real easy until I can get the results of an MRI.  That means no more exercising!  That is a real killer for me but I have gone through this before, however not for a long time.  I have a few time pushed myself and got hurt and then I had to lay off exercising for many weeks.  So this is similar but much more at risk.  I want to get fixed so I can return to normal exercising.  Let’s hope anyway.

We left Ranger TX after I got the CT scan report.  We headed another 230 miles to Tyler Texas. 

Of course we had to stop at Buc-ee's on our way through Texas.

The roadside wild flowers are really in bloom now!

We stayed there at the Texas Rose RV Park.  This RV park is quite the gem.  The owner Ricky and his wife Annette really try to make your time there great.  They had brand new charcoal grills with charcoal near by and lighter fluid for your use.  This was at each campsite! They really are just good people.  Oh, they are passport too so it was just $30 for 2 nights of 50 amp full hook up!  Great little place to pull over and visit with Ricky and his wife while passing through.

Our site at the Texas Rose RV park
One morning we were up at first light and the park office/coffee bar was open for business.  It looked really cool this morning so I tried to capture the look in this photo.

So, for Tyler Texas we decided to take it easy and just do as much as where I felt comfortable doing.  We took a short tour of the rose gardens at the Rose Garden Center and we took a truck tour of the Azalea historic area.   These were easy and quite nice to see.  We also had lunch in downtown Tyler.

This place is a must see in Tyler TX and it is FREE!

I caught a honey bee in this picture

We were there just a few days too late for the blooming of the azaleas.  We did get to drive around the historic area and see the houses though

Lunch at Rick's on the square in downtown Tyler TX.
I learned that Tyler TX was very important to the Confederates during the Civil War because of their factories for munitions and arms.  Most of the south did not have much in the way of manufacturing but Tyler TX did.
This monument in the center of town is dedicated to this fact.

Tomorrow is another travel day.  We will be leaving Texas and entering into Louisiana for just a one night stop and then a 2 night in Mobile Alabama. After that will be the next post

Stay tuned!

Monahan’s Sandhill’s State Park TX – Propane Hose Damage

April 27 - 30, 2018:  

Our next stop after leaving Arizona is 210 miles to El Paso for just one night and then another 250 miles to the Monahan’s Sandhill’s State Park all in Texas.  We just cruised right through New Mexico from AZ to TX.

We got just a bit complacent on our travel to El Paso.  We knew that we would need to get fuel because we didn’t start with a completely full tank.  Diesel was very expensive in New Mexico but I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough to get to Texas.  I also didn’t want to stop around El Paso for fuel because it is very busy almost all of the time.  With about 30 miles of fuel left in the tank, we stopped at the last exit in New Mexico and got fuel for $3.49 a gallon!  Since we were just 40 miles from the RV Park I just purchased $20 or about 6 gallons of fuel.  Those 6 gallons is only good for about 50 miles pulling the RV.

Purchasing a small amount of fuel was the second mistake we made.  The first mistake was not calling ahead to the RV Park to make sure they had room for us.  After all it is a Friday night and we are near a large city.  Generally there isn’t a problem with space if we are not near a big city and not in a tourist destination or State and National Parks.  

We were also coming through El Paso in rush hour.  I don’t know why but El Paso seems to be traffic congested all of the time but during rush hour, worse!  To make matters worse for fuel consumption, the RV Park is near Fort Bliss so we have to take the Transmountain Highway (I 375) to get there.  Route 375 has multiple grades with one grade of 8% and a total climb of 2500 feet!  

By the time we get to the RV Park we are nearly out of fuel again! And just to add to the tension, the RV Park is on the other side of the 4 lane highway.  Soooo, I am supposed to make a U-Turn crossing 3 lanes of trafic at an official U-Turn place during rush hour!  I managed to make the U-Turn without too much trouble and we arrived at the RV Park to find that they didn’t have room for us.  

There is another RV Park just up the road and on the other side requiring another U-Turn. Patty called there and they also do not have room for us.  So here we are with about 10 miles of fuel left, heading the wrong way on the highway, and no place to park for the night.  Yeah I was not a happy camper and I took it out on Patty.  I am very sorry for that!

The first order of business is to get fuel before we do anything.  The best way to do this is to drop the RV someplace, get the fuel, and then hook back up.  We found a less than desirable place in an industrial area to drop the RV.  The area is basically a big truck entrance road to several warehouses. The only place to put the RV out of the way required us dropping it on the edge of the road in very uneven sand, not great.  As we were dropping the RV a guy pulled up in his pickup and said that we really shouldn’t put the RV there because the big trucks use the edge of the road to turn into the nearby access road.  I told the guy we would be right back after we fueled up.  He said that wouldn’t be a problem but don’t take too long.  Boy did I need any more pressure or what! 

While getting the fuel I was planning our escape from the sand.  The road is narrow and it will require us to back up a ways and make a K turn to get back to the highway but still still going the wrong way.  I would again need to make one of those U turns across 3 lanes of traffic!

We got back to the RV and that there had been no issues with us being in the way of any trucks. We hooked and made the backup K turn and were able to make another U turn to head the right direct on 375.  Whew!!

Patty made a few calls while I was pumping the fuel and got us a space for the night about 16 miles away at the Roadrunner RV Park on Interstate 10.  By the time we got to the Roadrunner RV Park we were only delayed about an hour!  It really felt like 3 hours.

Roadrunner office in El Paso TX

A cool caboose next to the office at the Roadrunner RV Park

Sometimes is feels like when it rains it pours.  As I was returning to the RV after getting settled up with the RV Park office I noticed our RV smelled like propane!  I am thinking that we probably had run out of propane and it smells like that when we are running on fumes.  I opened up the propane compartment door and I could hear the gas running and one of the tanks was very cold.  That was a little strange that I could hear the gas running that loud but I just thought that it had to do with running out of gas.  So I just turned off the gas and we moved to our site and set up.

The next morning before we left the park I was going to connect the BBQ 20lb tank to the RV so we could keep the fridge running while we traveling.  We have always ran the fridge when traveling, some people don’t.   The first thing I found out was that only one tank was empty and the second one was half full.  So we were not out of fuel.  Then why did I smell gas and why can I hear it running?  I messed around with the tanks thinking it may have something to do with the regulator and having one tank empty.  What I eventually deduced was that we have a large gas leak somewhere.  The leak would however need to wait until our next stop. We were just going to travel without the fridge running.  It’s really no big deal to have it off for 3-4 hours.  The fridge is closed and everything is already cold so the temperature only goes up a couple degrees while we are traveling.

On next stop was 4 hours away (253 miles) at the Monahan’s Sandhills State Park.  This Texas state park is just off of Interstate 20.  The park is just like being at the beach without the water.  They have huge sand dunes that kids like to sled down.  It is also pretty cheap to stay there too at $24 a night for 50 amp w/o sewer.  For just a couple of nights that is fine for us.

Kids use plastic round disk sleds to slide down the sand.

We are at this state park on a Saturday and Sunday night, Saturday night is usually hard to get especially in a state park.  Patty had reserved this a few weeks ago so we were good here.  However, we arrived a little after 4pm just before they closed at 4:30pm.  The woman ranger behind the desk had the personality of a board!   We told her who we were and she said “we were hoping you were the Hooley’s, we are full and may not have a space for you if you got here any later”.  Anyway, we got our nice space #1 directly behind the main parking lot and where all of the action is.  This Sunday, tomorrow, there is a kite festival here at the park!  Our site is in probably the best viewing area for where the kites are going to be.

We got set up and now I wanted to find out where the damn propane leak is.  I know it wasn’t leaking before we left Arizona traveling to El Paso.  On our way from Arizona we have very high winds with quite a few tumble weeds crossing in front of the RV.  I missed most of them but did hit one of them.  So I am sort of thinking that maybe the tumble weed damaged one of the exposed propane pipes under the RV. 

I enlisted Patty's help in finding the leak.  I laid under the RV near the first propane pipe at the front of the RV that feeds the generator.  When I was in position she opened the propane tank valve so I could hear the propane if there was a leak.  Nope, not there, but I could hear gas running further down the RV.  It sounded like it was coming from the area of the fridge slide.  I found the flexible propane hose that comes from the pipe on the frame of the RV and goes into the slide under the fridge.  I didn’t see anything that looked like damage so I ran my hand along the hose and there it was.  A huge 2 inch hole in the rubber gas hose!  It wasn’t a tumble weed that did this; it was the hose lying on one of the RV wheels when the slide is retracted.  It doesn't lay on the tire when the slide is open.  And you can't see it when the slide is retracted.

This is the swinging hanger for slide wiring and the propane hose that feeds the fridge and the stove.  This after I added a couple yellow wire ties to hold everything up.  Still, even after being tied up, the wires and hose are very close to the tire!

but after looking under the slide with the slide retracted, the propane hose and wiring are squeezed very tight. I guess I should have looked up here before now!

The hose is hung from a support that has ties to allow the hose to slide while remaining away from the wheel when the slide is retracted for travel.  A couple of these ties had broken allowing the hose to rub against the wheel.  It is possible that the tumbleweed damaged the ties.  It was an easy fix to add a couple of plastic wire ties to hold up the hose but the damage was already done.  Now the hose needs to be replaced.  

The propane hose attaches to the metal pipe on the frame of the RV with a quick disconnect.  The quick disconnect has a shut off valve so this hose could be removed and we could still run the furnace, hot water heater, and the generator from propane if need be.  We wouldn’t be able to use the stove or the fridge though and the fridge is really the only thing we need at this point.  However, like I said before, it’s not a big deal to just turn off the fridge while traveling.

The RV Frame propane pipe with the shut off valve and quick disconnect hose

Same with the quick disconnect hose disconnected and before I put in the pipe cap

The flair connection at the back of the fridge

I closed off the propane valve and remove the hose with the quick disconnect.  There is also a plastic pipe cap to fully close off the pipe to keep dirt out that I put on too.  Then all I had to do was pull on the hose and to get the 5 foot of damaged hose out of the RV.  The hose had completely been cut in two by the wheel.  The other 5 foot was a much harder job to remove and one that I was not going to do here when I just had just a short time to work on it.  

The hose enters the slide at one corner of the slide and travels in the subfloor of the slide to the other side of the fridge and then enters the slide directly under the connection to the fridge gas piping.  I wasn’t sure just what I was going to do to ultimately fix this but I wanted to know if I could purchase this hose or have it made.  In order to do this I needed the information about the metal ends of the hose and the size and length of the hose.  I already had the first 5 foot of the hose and the quick disconnect parts.  Now, I just needed to disconnect the fridge end from the fridge and then cut off the connector and I would have all of the parts.  That was relatively easy to do.  The hardest part was disconnecting the hose from the fridge.  Of course the connector was in a very tight space making it a little difficult to get a wrench on the connector.  But after about 30 minutes I managed to get that off too.

I cleaned up the parts so I could read the information on them.  It looks like I have a ¼ inch hose with the same size quick disconnect and a 3/8 inch flare nut on the other end.  The hose measured up at 10 foot long.  I also got the manufacturer info from the hose but I wasn’t sure that would be useful.  I googled the hose info and found that I could get the hose from a different supplier at 12 foot long for $25 from Amazon.   

This is the half of the hose that I removed and the flair connector that I cut off from the Fridge connection

Close up of the hose where it wore through by rubbing on the tire

I am still not sure if I want to install the hose but at least I could buy the hose and then have an RV tech install it later in Florida if I decide I don’t want to do it.  The problem I see with the install of the hose is that it may be tricky getting the old hose out of the subfloor and the new one in.  Both ends where it enters the slide subfloor are full of white caulk and mixed with various wires.  All of that caulk will need to be removed and then the wires split away.  And then hopefully the hose is not secured somehow inside the subfloor.  This will be a subject for a post from Florida in the next month.

The kite festival was nice but not something we would have come here to see.  We did have the best seats to see all of the kites right from our dining room table in the RV.  It was still very windy so the kites were a little hard to get into the air.  But they did and with the bright blue sky they looked very nice.

Kites and more kites!

That concluded this post.  Our next post will be about our travels from here to Tyler Texas.

Beautiful Sunrise over the dunes

Beautiful sunset with moon rise over the dunes 

Stay Tuned!