Although I made a quick stop in San Juan a few years ago on the way to a cruise, it has been many more years since I have spent more than a few days in Puerto Rico. Let me state up front that since my little camera died just before my trip the photos taken by this island girl in Puerto Rico were taken from my phone (there are a few from my niece’s phone) and should not be compared to the fabulous photographs that Hector normally includes in our posts. But on to my trip.
Just as I was thinking that I needed to plan a visit to my family, my friend Katherine from Atlanta called me to tell me that her daughter, Kirstin, was going to get married in San Juan and invited us to the wedding.
We knew that we would be in the Southwest at that time of year, so I purchased a ticket from the Phoenix airport and we made our way to that city before my flight. Unfortunately, Hector had to stay behind to take care of Angel.
The wedding was to take place in Old San Juan, my favorite part of the city, so I booked an Airbnb apartment a couple of blocks from the wedding venues. Upon arrival, I took a taxi to Old San Juan thus avoiding driving or parking, which can be quite a hassle there due to the narrow streets.
Our arrival in Portland was the start of a flurry of activity: cleaning out Island Girl inside and out, vet visits, shopping, visits and outings with friends and a flight to Miami and back. So here comes a tale of two cities.
On our way to Portland, we stopped by the Blue Beacon to have Island Girl and the Coquí washed. Though we were planning to do further cleaning, this initial wash was a way of getting some of the excess Canadian and Alaskan grime off both vehicles.
We also replaced a damaged wheel cover on Island Girl and while we were at it removed the valve extenders on our back tires as a precaution (we have heard of many problems with these). We went with some simpler valve extenders, a little harder to use but more durable.
And we stopped at the auto glass repair place to get the windshield and sunroof on the car replaced. We finally had a clear windshield, after months of staring at a bullseye! And the tarp and duct tape sunroof is gone!
Our friends Tim and Becky generously allowed us to park Island Girl on their property near Portland. We spent the next several days emptying out Island Girl’s basement compartments and generally cleaning out all the nooks and crannies inside and outside, removing much of the dust that had accumulated there from driving on all of those gravel roads in Alaska and Canada. What a summer!
Best of all this gave us the chance to hang out with Tim and Becky. We enjoyed several get togethers to catch up on our lives since we saw each other last winter in San Diego.
We have so much to be thankful for. Our family and friends, our health, the new friendships we have made amongst the fulltime RVer and blogger communities. We are also thankful to live in a country where all are free to express their opinions, and for the opportunity to live our dream and explore this beautiful continent with our faithful and fierce companion, Angel.
Today we are especially thankful for the people who toil in the fields and harvest the food we are about to eat.
And last but not least, I am thankful to have such a loving husband who is cooking our wonderful Thanksgiving meal!
Without getting into too much detail, here is an Angel update. Lets just say its been a long week here at Camp Lopez.
As we’ve mentioned Angel has been dealing with a bladder illness that we’ve assumed was cancer and she’s generally been doing really well on the medication she’s been taking. We took her to the vet here in San Diego for what we hoped would be a routine follow up since the meds can have adverse side affects. We found out that she had elevated calcium levels in her blood, a very serious matter.
After some diagnostics it was determined that she had a small tumor on her parathyroid gland causing it to overproduce calcium. The good news is that it can be surgically removed, the bad is that it is a delicate operation with potentially complex aftereffects. When the overproducing gland is removed, you get the opposite problem, calcium levels are then too low. Also very serious.
In spite of our concerns we decided to proceed to remove the tumor. We took her to the dog beach on a stormy Monday for a frolic by the ocean and the surgery was last Tuesday morning. The plan was to keep her in the hospital for a few days to monitor her calcium levels and let her other glands compensate and return her calcium levels to normal. Usually this takes about 3 days.
The surgery went well and the first few days went pretty much according to plan. But unfortunately things have been going a bit sideways and we aren’t out of the woods yet. Her calcium levels dropped, she has had some seizures, her calcium levels have not yet returned to normal, and her recovery is going slowly.
So we wait and worry and remain hopeful that all will be OK. Thought we’d share this quick update with Angel’s friends and ask your continued good wishes for our furry friend’s recovery.
Miami is where most of my family lives and it had been a while since I saw them. And although I was worried about leaving Brenda alone to deal with potential Angel health issues, we decided that Angel was doing better and I should go. So Brenda stayed in Tucson at the beautiful Catalina State Park with Angel while I took off for a quick hop to Miami.
It was a busy but very fun week surrounded by people I love. What could be better?!
My spunky Mom Rosa and my Bro Gus and Sis Ana Rosa
My lifelong buddy Al and his adorable honey Bonnie were my gracious hosts. Al and I went off to Golden Rule Seafood to load up on just a few stone crabs. Oh sooo good.
Brother Gus and his friend Leslie came over to Al and Bonnie’s and not one little crab survived the experience!
Almost a year passed since we stopped in Denver last November. And what a year. In the winter we traveled around New Mexico and Arizona and settled for a while in Southern California, in the spring we headed north mostly on the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington, in the summer we visited Vancouver Island, Vancouver (the city), and beautiful National Parks in Western Canada, and in early fall we visited more national parks in Montana and Wyoming. Whew!
8000 miles on the RV, who knows how many zooming around in the Subaru, three Canadian National Parks in two provinces, eight US National parks in eight states, one trip to Miami for a wedding, and lots of great adventures later it was time to head back to Denver for our annual pit stop.
Island Girl had been running hot when going up long grades causing us to have to drive slowly and carefully to avoid overheating. This overheating problem had been getting progressively worse, so we scheduled a thorough check of our radiator along with our annual oil change and RV chassis service right as we arrived in Denver. Hoping to get all the major RV service over with and then enjoy our stay at Cherry Creek State Park.
Meanwhile we’d made plans with many of our friends and family and were really looking forward to some quality time with them. Starting with Hector’s cousin Roy and wife Cindy who we stayed with while Island Girl was in the shop.
Our last stop in the Oregon area was Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, although our campground was located by Stevenson, Washington, on the other side of the river. As we drove inland towards Portland we came to a detour. Turns out the direct road was closed and the police were diverting everyone. So we had to take the long way around.
But, since Portland was on our way, we had planned a couple of errands on our way there. One was a stop at Camping World. We had an unfortunate incident at our last campsite – one night someone stole our barbecue and our one-gallon propane tank – just like that. We were both pretty furious about it, and it was the first time anyone ever lifted something from our site – after a year and ten months of fulltiming. Ugh!
Even with the detour we still had time to stop at Camping World and buy a replacement barbecue and propane tank, as well as some water filters. We also stopped at the Blue Beacon to have Island Girl washed. Not bad.
Mt Hood Oregon
Our first day we took a driving tour of the area, including the Fruit Loop, a loop drive that goes through “approximately 35 miles of orchards, forests, farmlands and friendly communities” on both sides of the Columbia River. What a great idea to create and “event” that connects these places for visitors.
Yes, we’ve been quite busy here in San Diego, and five weeks have passed rather quickly. And what else did we do the rest of our time on the coast of San Diego? Well, for starters, Hector’s brother Gus joined us for a fun-filled long weekend. Hector had been hoping that Gus could join us here in Southern California, so we were really excited about his visit. Continue reading →