Travel Log for February, 2004
Month 0 of the Magical Book Tour

Updated March, 2004

Log Date: +2135: 040206: 33N27.13': 116W52.12': 2,191': Jojoba Hills SKP Resort, Aguanga, CA

This first day of record, the 6th of February, the 2,135th day of our retirement, begins Phase IV of the lives of Sam and Alice Penny. When we were younger we worked our butts off, then we retired, then I was elected to the Board of Directors of Jojoba Hills SKP Resort and Alice and I again worked our butts off. Those first three phases of our retired lives is told in our earlier travelogue: RV Travels of Sam and Alice. During that time I transformed myself from an aspiring author into a published author with the printing of Memphis 7.9 in August of 2003.

Alice and I knew we wanted to get away from the implicit and implied commitments of Jojoba Hills. It had been a great experience, but we knew that only by getting away could we cut the umbilical cord that bound us to the park. The termination of that experience can be found in Early February if you are really interested.

Our satellite antenna farmWe planned our escape carefully. We had been procuring our toys for the trip, including our satellite antenna farm: a DISH 500 Satellite TV and a DirecWay6000 Satellite Internet Connection. I had already upgraded the batteries in our little Automate to four AGC 6volt batteries and added a couple more solar panels. We had already prepared lists of what to take and what to leave. We were READY.

Plan 1 was that we would be packed and out the gates of Jojoba Hills on February 7th, the second day of record. However, the Fates intervened and . . .

Back in December I decided I should have a complete physical exam by both my general practitioner (Dr. Ebersole) and my cardiologist (Dr. Wood) before leaving the area for an extended length of time. Dr. Ebersole's visit proved to be fairly easy and he let me go without a problem. But Dr. Wood asked for several tests just to be sure I could stand the trip and scheduled a final review for February 24.

So we changed our plans to depart on February 26th. However . . .

At least that gave me time to get some needed work done on the truck. I took it in for tire rotation and found I also needed to replace the brakes. Then I needed to work on the yard, and repack the little trailer, and go to some more meetings, and . . .

In early January I had an echocardiogram in Dr. Wood's office and it looked pretty good. A week later I had a Holter monitor check and a cholestral test that was way too high on triglycerides and LDL. The doctor upped my Lipitor to 80 mg and scheduled another blood check. The Holter monitor showed some problems, but nothing really serious.

In the meantime we had the opportunity to exchange our larger Automate with our smaller traveling Automate in storage. This would be a great chance to pack the little rig and find out what might be missing. So on Saturday, February 7th, I backed our truck under the big rig, lifted the legs and pulled it out -- the truck, that is! I had not paid attention and the hitch was not locked. After 118,000 miles the Fates finally caught up with me and I experienced something I had swore would never happen to me. The trailer stayed in place and dropped on the bed of the pickup, waking everyone on our street.

I took the truck into Faith Auto Body and found my inattention had done over $4,500 in damage. We contacted our insurance agent to arrange for an appraisal the next day and rented a truck, leaving the Dodge at the Faith Auto Body shop.

After eight days an appraiser finally came to check the damage, so nothing was being done to get us ready to travel. The delay cost us an extra $500 for car rental. I pleaded and built a fire at the Auto Body shop and hoped the truck would be ready in time, maybe even by February 24.

On February 19 I went back to Dr. Wood's office for a thallium/techninium stress test to determine just where blood flowed through my heart. When I returned the morning of the 24th for my blood recheck the nurse gave me a heads-up that Dr. Wood had found problems with the stress test results.

Alice and I met with Dr. Wood that afternoon, and he explained that there were some abnormalities in what he saw and felt that he should look more closely at just what was going on. When he told me the odds of returning in a year in good health based on what he had seen (only 80%), I said, "Sure, I'm retired and not in any hurry, but let's find out as soon as possible." The good news is that he was able to schedule an angiogram for Friday morning, February 27. All I had to do was complete the pre-op and show up.

So we changed our plans to depart to February 29. However . . .

We hoped to pick up our truck before I went into surgery, but it was delayed. We finally had a commitment to have it done by the afternoon of the 27th after my angiogram.

When I went in for pre-op work the hospital nurse informed me that I would have to go to the doctor's office for a wound check on March 1 and then for a follow-up visit with Dr. Wood on March 12. I was getting frantic. I had an "appointment" to be at the Memphis Science Fiction Conference on March 27 and time was getting squeezed. Maybe we could leave by March 15 and rush across the country.

Alice and I arrived at the hospital Friday morning at 6:15 and by 8am I was in the "cath" room where the crew set up up for the procedure. This was my fifth experience so I was calm. Besides, the mixture of benadryl and vallium smoothed everything out. The procedure went well and before Dr. Wood left he informed me that there was no serious deterioration in the status of my bypass grafts, so I would be free to travel as soon as the wound was checked on Monday. I would just have to get lots of exercise and be agressive about my medications. The March 12 appointment was not necessary. Hurray!

By noon I was out of the hospital and after a short rest Alice and I went to pick up the truck. They finally finished it at 6:30 that evening and we drove home to supper and bed. Over the weekend we finished packing the little trailer and fixing up the yard for our departure.

Our scheduled departure was now March 2, 10am. Maybe then we could get the book tour underway. Nothing more could go wrong, or so we thought. We had forgotten about the Fates.

[Book Tour] or [Mar 2004]