Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Finishing February

Thursday February 22-28, 201                                                       Most Recent Posts:
Quail Run RV Park                                                                           Another BIG Bump in the Road

Wesley Chapel, Florida                                                                    Exciting Wildlife Encounter at Oscar Scherer


I think rather than call this situation another big bump in the road I should have called it another huge hole we fell in since that’s how it feels.  We were moving right along inspite of the medical difficulties and then we just fell into a hole.

We’ve been here at Quail Run since February 7.  Seems like a Very long time.

So what did we do during David’s first week out of the hospital?  Mostly he slept and did what walking he could.  He did some reading and his breathing and other exercises. 

The Home Health Care nurse has been here twice and says she will come twice more.  The Physcial Therapist  has been here and says David’s breathing and mobility is great so he doesn’t need PT; that he can move into Cardiac Rehab as soon as his Cardiologist approves.

Other than reading, I’m  walking, cooking, grocery shopping, reading and filing books in the Park library. 

I’m out most mornings at dawn.  The skies are lovely,  what I can see of them over the wall separating us from the I-75 interstate over which the sun rises.



This picture, taken from up the road looking back toward Winnona on the left, is about as much of a sunrise as I get.


Over the course of these weeks I’ve done my usual 10,000+ steps daily around and around the park.  David built up to walking for 2.4 miles and 6365 steps one day by the end of his first week back. He’s been a little less determined since then so his mileage and steps have been fewer.  He says it’s too cold out.  HA!  Otherwise his recovery seems to be on track to this point.  Follow up cardiac appointments are in March.

Quail Run has about 300 sites and two different looking sections.  The “old” section has many lovely Live Oak Trees which provide wonderful shade as I walk up and down the streets over and over.

park map

Here’s the map of my daily travels. Before I explain, notice the pink star at the pond on the right.  I’ll refer to that later.

As for my route,  I set out from Winnona.  She’s the Blue Star upper right near the yellow number 1.  I head along the red path.  Up and down each tree  lined street until I get to the “top” .  There I cross over to the “new section”, with fewer trees, at yellow #2  and head up and down the red path.  When I get to the Green Arrow at Yellow #3, I start back going up and down and up and down the other way. 

I follow the green arrows to #4, then to  #5 and then back to # 2.  I cross over to the old section and the take same route backwards to Winnona where I turn around and .  do from #1 to #2 again and from #2 to #1 again.  By the time I’m back at the Blue star and Winnona I’ve done 4 times up and down the streets in the old section between numbers 1 and 2 and twice in the new section.   Confused?  All that, and it still isn’t 10000 K steps.  But you can see why I get pretty sick of it.

Here’s some of what I see in the older tree lined streets between #1 and #2.  The trees are beautiful and much appreciated when that sun starts beating down.


We were on a street like this when we were here in 2012 dealing with David’s stem cell transplant and boy was it a good thing since we were here in July and August.  Having the shade kept our electric bills from going through the roof. 


Looking up Quail Run’s main street.  The old section is on the right and the new is on the left.


Here’s the new section with its much smaller trees.  No dirt, no sand, no gravel but I still don’t  like it as well.



Quail run advertises “No rig too big” and clearly in the new section there are some huge ones with giant tractors.


Giant rig, tiny toad.



This cab has a plaque of Jesus in the center of the dashboard windshield.  He follows you with his eyes as you walk by.


Not a great picture but the best I could do with my phone which was all I had at the time.  It’s actually kind of spooky.


The only really big tree in the new section.  It’s a beauty.


Remember the pink star I mentioned earlier when I was talking about the map?  Well this is what that “pond” looks like.  When we were here 6 years ago it was a real pond.  Not sure what’s happened.  As you can see it’s right on the edge of the interstate fence.


But the Sandhill Cranes don’t seem to care about either of those things.   I hear them nearly every morning flying over and calling.  I don’t always see them on the ground but when I do they are hands down the highlight of my walk.





When I get to this point on my last loop, I can hardly wait to be finished.  Only one more street down and one more up.   Winnona is there on the left just across from the white truck on the right parked in front of the laundromat.


Thank goodness there is Winnona to come home to.


Another BIG Bump in the Road

February 7-February 22, 2018                                                              Most Recent Posts:
Quail Run RV Park                                                                      Exciting Wildlife Encounter at Oscar Scherer
Wesley Chapel, Florida                                                              Birding and More at Oscar Scherer State Park

As you can see from my header, we are not spending two weeks at Koreshan State Historic Site where we had hoped to be and we will not be spending the following two weeks at Kissimmee Prairie State Park a designated dark sky park that I’ve been wanting to return to for the past 3 years.

Instead we are spending a month 32 miles North of Tampa in Wesley Chapel Florida at a private RV park in what for us is a very undesirable site.  But, all of a sudden, in the middle of the winter, in Florida, when you need, at the last minute, a place you can stay for a month or two, you have to take what you are lucky enough to find.   We are very grateful that Quail Run RV Park was able to find a spot for us.  The park appears to be completely full.

Yes we can nearly shake hands with our neighbors, yes we have the laundramat and dog park right in front of us.  Yes we have Interstate 75 right behind the wall which means we don’t have to see it but we have to listen to it all day and all night.




What would make us give up two beautiful Florida State Parks for this?  Well an emergency of course.


Those of you who have been following us since the beginning, and how I love you for it, know that David was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in our second year of full timing.  We’ve been dealing with that on the road since then.  The drugs to treat the myeloma have caused him increasing heart problems that have been treated with, of course, more drugs.

On Sunday January 12 in the afternoon while doing absolutely nothing at Hillsborough River State Park,  David had a totally unprovoked and sustained episode of angina.  Longer than anything he’d ever had before and long enough that he should have, but refused to, go to the emergency room.

He says he didn’t want to miss his appointment with his Myeloma Specialist which was at 10:00 the next day.  After 90 or so minutes the angina finally subsided and he did make his appointment the following day.   His Myeloma specialist of course insisted that he see a cardiologist and the cardiologist insisted that he have a cardiac cathetorization and the results showed that his heart condition had worsened to the point where something had to be done.  It was no longer being controlled by medicines.

After much testing and consultations with his myeloma specialist here, his cardiac doctors in Virginia it was determined that this condition was so serious he would go off all his myeloma treatment in order for Dr. Calderia at Tampa General to perform coronary bypass surgery.

So on Wednesday February 7th we check out of Oscar Scherer and move north to Quail Run.

On Sunday February 11th, he visits The Nook Restaurant for a send off breakfast.  Just what a man going in for by pass surgery should be eating don’t you think?



When we arrived back home, in the mail he found two more books in the Lonesome Dove Series.   Carrie sent them to him to take to the hospital as he was finishing Lonesome Dove which she got him as a Christmas gift.  Way to go Carrie!!  Receiving packages is one of the benefits of a long term stay.


On Monday February 12th, one month from the angina attack he went into the hospital for the surgery. His brother Roger had flown in at a moment’s notice from Texas to be with him both before and after the surgery.   I caught them chatting as we waited for his appointment to get preped for the surgery.

This is the last we saw of him before they took him in for surgery at noon.

David had a triple by pass in which his heart was not stopped or put on a machine during the surgery.  I find this absolutely amazing.  We were told the surgery normally takes 3 to 4 hours.  David’s was done in 2 hours.  Apparently all the hype about Dr. Calderia was true.  He’s fast and he’s good.

By 4:00, David was in his room in the ICU.  He spent one night there was released to step down care the next day on Tuesday.  This too was amazing.  Everything just worked like clock work.  His heart was doing fine.  Roger came in on Sunday night before the surgery and planned to go home on Thursday since we expected David to be out of ICU by then.   When he was out on Tuesday, Roger changed his flight to Wednesday.  Best laid plans . . .

Then Wednesday morning David's heart rate soared into the 150s and his Blood Pressure plummeted.  Atrial Fibrillation they said and immediately ordered different medications with plans to return him to the ICU.  But within 2 hours of being on the medications they settled his heart back into rhythm.  We were told this is not an uncommon situation immediately after by pass surgery.  After 3 hours of perfect heart rate, the order to move him back was cancelled and things proceeded as we had hoped they would.   Boy were we all relieved.

Here are the boys chatting in David’s step down unit private room just before Roger had to leave to catch his plane.   Thanks Roger so much for coming.  It was great to have you here with us for this worrisome adventure.


By Wednesday late afternoon, David was back to business as usual checking medical labs and reports and email on line with his new reading book on his tray. 


20180215_135457Although he continued to get stronger and be able to get out of bed, walk down the hall and even up a few steps, all necessary accomplishments to being able to be discharge; still his heart went in and out of afib.  He also developed two small clots.  One in his left arm and one in his left leg.  Then his right arm swelled up from I can’t even remember what. 

It just seemed to be one thing after another keeping him in the hospital.


Finally today, 10 days after the surgery he’s dressed in his own clothes and ready to leave the hospital. 

I pick him up, he has no trouble getting in the car and it’s clear from his smile that even a ride in the car is a great thing.



And now begins the rest of his recovery which will include home health care and eventually cardiac rehab.  He’s doing amazingly well.  No problem getting in and out of the car.  Walked right up the 5 steps into the motor home and after a couple of naps and a big dinner walked 300 steps around the block. 

He’s got a long way to go and we have no idea how much advantage his Myeloma has taken of these weeks off of treatment or when he will be able to begin it again but we’re grateful for the amazing surgical talents of Dr. Christiano Calderia.

He’s very happy to be relaxing with his feet up checking his email and reading his reams of discharge instructions back in his own home.


We don’t know if we will have to cancel any more of our reservations to accomodate his rehab although I’d really like to and move North. This has been the hottest February in Florida we’ve ever experienced.  It’s like July with temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s all month long.  The last 4 days are the hottest since records have been kept for this area.  Feels like a hot and humid summer not the last week of February.

One day at a time from here but we think we’re over the worst part of this Bump in the Road.

Exciting Wildlife Encounter at Oscar Scherer

February 2-6, 2017                                                                      Most Recent Posts:
Oscar Scherer State Park                                                            Birding and More at Oscar Scherer State Park
Osprey, Florida                                                                              From 26 to 82 Degrees in Florida?


During our last week at Oscar Scherer we were still enjoying our wonderful site.  We had several birds visit our feeder and they were fun to watch.  The squirrels never gave up hope that they could climb the pole and were always there on the ground when the blue jay threw the bird seed in every direction. 

We mostly had catbirds, cardinals, tufted titmice and blue jays coming around.



IMG_0163 I can just imagine how mad he was that he couldn’t jump from that branch over to the feeder.


At times we had several birds all waiting in various spots for a chance at the songbird feeder.  The long white bag hanging below the squirrel and the female cardinal is a thistle feeder but no one showed up for it.   In addition to the cardinal, there are two tufted titmice in this picture.  Do you see them?


Finally a day or two before we left, the greedy blue jays had emptied the feeder and we took it down rather than refill it.


Not only do they fling the seed out with their beaks but they tip the feeder to the side and spill the seed out.


Again this week, I went out every morning on the Green Trail where there were always birds to spot.  Not one day went by when I didn’t see the Bald Eagles and others too fast to catch in photographs.  I very often saw the Scrub Jays whose pictures I featured in my previous post along with the juveinle eagles.  The link to it is in blue above.



If you look closely on this map, you can see the campground road on the lower, south, side of the river.  The green trail begins there and shortly there is a brown trail/service road that comes into it from the right.  It isn’t on this map but it nearly parallels the back of the campground.

On our last Friday, I had just started out on the green trail and out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving down that trail off to my right.  I was surprised to see it was a cat.  They aren’t common outside in campgrounds like dogs are. And then I jumped to my senses and realized that this was a very BIG cat.  He stopped for a second less than 5 feet from me.  I stood perfectly still.  He must have decided I was OK as he came on up the trail toward me, rounded the corner, turned his back to me, trotted in front of me and went loping ahead in the direction I had planned to go.  I quickly put my camera up after I recovered from my shock.  The pictures aren’t great but here they are.   What a THRILL!!  


What a set of paws.  I’m very proud of myself that I didn’t break my ankle as a result of my excitment in seeing this cat as I did in 2001 when I encountered one while hiking the Appalachian Trail  in Virginia.


We finally had some really beautiful weather this week and we spent an afternoon at Nokomis Beach.   This is my idea of where to be in the winter.


How about the beach bum in his blue sunglasses and safari hat?


A group of skimmers moving in with the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico behind them.



On our way back to the car we watched a large cruiser go through the raised drawbridge on the road we take to and from the beach.


As you can see, Oscar Scherer has a number of hiking trails.  They are color coded.  Green is the one I most often hike.  It is closest to the campground.  On this day we set out from the campground, went across the bridge, beyond Osprey “Lake” (boy what a stretch) and over to do a piece of the red trail.  We were looking for another scrub jay family on our way to what is known as Big Lake which is off of the yellow trail on the far right.  More on that later.

Although we didn’t find any of the Scrub Jays, we did come across an unexpected body of water that isn’t on the map.   Unexpected discovery is great fun.


Don’t think this was a new discovery for him.


It’s a beautiful blue sky day.  We’re walking down a sandy trail and out of the corner of my eye, right on the edge of the trail . . .


I see this.  Do you see it hanging there?


I stopped to look and take some pictures and he scrambled further up.  You can see his head really well camouflaged.


He’s the Rough Green Snake.  Very handsome.


Just FYI, surprised me but clearly in Florida, they hike in dresses.  Wonder where he told her they were going.


We crossedthe Legacy Bike Trail running between Sarasota and Venice..  This is not it.  It is paved.  This is the yellow trail on the way to Big Lake where we expect to see more water birds.


We cross the South Creek further north of the park.  Looks beautiful.  Later on we find that we can no longer access this area of the creek from the park in the kayak because of the hurricane damage this past fall.


Tracks along the creek.  One of them is racoon.



When we get to Big Lake we are dumbfounded to find huge earth moving vehicles and piles of sand.  No one mentioned this in any information in the park.  What ARE they doing?


We walk down to the elevated platform to see if we can figure out what’s going on in our state park.


Sort of looks like they are making a little island out in the middle.



The birds don’t seem to mind.  Of course there is no machine activity this late in the day.


We walk on down the trail on our way back determined to ask at the Nature Center about what’s going on here.


We spot another large machine tearing up the ground on this side.  I’m concerned about the invasion of exotic species like the Brazilian Pepper on all of this disturbed ground.


W’e find an illegal short cut from the yellow trail up to the Legacy Trail which shortens our trip back in the sun.


Bicyclists pass us on the Legacy Trail.  This is the first time we’ve been to Oscar Scherer and not ridden on it across Route 41 and down to the beach.  David is having some balance issues and we think it’s not safe just now for him to be on a bicycle.


On the final leg of our hike we pass Osprey Lake.   It’s just outside the nature center and to call it a “lake” is a joke.


But it suits this tri-colored heron just fine.


We stop at the nature center and are told that Big Lake is a borrow pit created when they built the road to I-75.  As it’s not a natural lake, it fills in.  They are taking this opportunity to dig it out and create an island in the center for a rookery.  Should be interesting.  Sure is a mess now.


These two weeks have gone by rapidly and we’ve only had time to get out on the creek for a paddle this one time.

The beginning of this paddle is simply hilarious as David tries to use their “easy” entry bar to just slide right in to his kayak.  You grab the bar where he has his hand, sit into your kayak and away you go.



Not as easy as it looked.  The kayak seems to be getting away.



I don’t think this is how it’s supposed to work.


Shoe is off but he’s pulled the kayak back and eventually gets himself and his paddle inside.  Don’t know how I got these pictures I was laughing so hard.   Well done David!!


The creek is wide at points but narrows as it goes up toward the campground


We pass by some sites that are directly on the water.


A couple of mallards are along the bank.



We pass under the auto bridge that goes into the campground.  It’s pretty narrow for a big rig.  One lane.  If someone is coming in.  The person wanting to leave has to wait.



The creek narrows further as we approach the walking bridge from the north end of the campground to the Nature Center and “Lake” Osprey.


Though there are rocks that create rapids just beyond the bridge, in past years, at high tide, we’ve been able to go on under the bridge and up into the other end of the creek which we saw on the Yellow Trail.   But today I’m turning around.


The water is deep enough but just beyond it, a large tree blocks the passage.  Probably hurricane related.  This particular area around the bridge is often the fishing spot for a lovely green heron.  I don’t see him from the kayak today.


But I did see him from the bridge earlier in the week.

He’s spectacular.

Heading back into the wonderland.


We pass a fishing yellow crowned night heron.  He doesn’t seem to care at all about us.


Even though it’s been a couple of hours, the mallards are still in the same area we saw them before.

The Live Oak Trees reflect beautifully in the dark water of the creek.


We know we’ve reached the park boundary and are almost to the inland waterway when we see the houses appearing before us.   Wonder what the hurricane was like for them.

It’s sure been a great afternoon on the water for us.


On our last Saturday night, we went down to see the drumming down of the sun again.  We never did get there on either of our Wednesdays at Oscar Scherer.  It’s a smaller more intimate gathering on Wednesday and I’m sorry we missed it.  But the drummers and others are great any time.



A couple of women who know how to shake those jingle hips.


Not sure who their long haired friend ws but that’s some outfit he’s wearing.


Every kind of drum, every kind of drummer.




My personal favorite drum.


The birds were gathering all along the shore as the sun continued down.



All  kinds of dancers, all kinds of costumes.  We thought this one was the most “unique”.


We gave our best dancer award to this beautiful young woman.


These aren’t just any hula hoops as you’ll see.


Dancers of all ages with smiles on their faces.


The sun’s power could only push the dark clouds aside in a small area.  But still its orange ray came across the water and up onto the shore.


The drumming intensified as the sun appeared to sink into the water and the clouds to close the door behind it.


At this point, the cheering and clapping begins and continues until the ball of fire can no longer be seen.


But the party goes on and the colored lights come out.  Remember those hoops?


A cape of lights.  I absolutely love this.  So did David apparently.  These are his pictures.





Our stay at Oscar Scherer is over and it’s clear why we keep returning here.  We were headed to Koreshan State Historic Site when a change in plans came up.   More on that next post.