Tuesday, August 2, 2016

RV Road Trip - New Hampshire to St. Louis

In June we took a 3 week trip in our new RV to the midwest to see family and friends, run Grandma's Marathon, and explore a bit of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We have decided that the RV is a great way to travel, relatively inexpensive, nice for the dogs, stress-free for us.  Here is the story of that inaugural trip!

Monday June 6th. We drive across Massachusetts and New York to Brockville, NY outside Rochester. Hills and wind make for terrible gas mileage on our first day. The RV park is pleasant, quiet, rural. We set up camp; the new wire fencing makes a nice little yard for the dogs. We have an outdoor rug but it's too windy for Lee to lay it down. It's nice drinking a beer and hanging out in our little yard, but the dogs growl and bark at every passerby. Very annoying! They need a long walk but we are too tired.

That night I have a disturbing dream. I'm asleep in the RV. Suddenly I'm awake in a strange house. Where am I? I go outside, there is Lee. I ask him, "Do I have Alzheimer's?" He looks at me strangely, and says "Yes, of course!" like this was something I should have known. I realize I am having one of those fleeting moments of lucidity that Alzheimer patients sometimes have. This is frightening and I start to cry.

Later in the morning I realize that the majority of my dream time with Alzheimer's was....nothing. It was only when I became lucid that it was frightening. This was both reassuring and upsetting. I hope it's not a premonition, but if it is I guess it's nothing to be afraid of. It's mostly just nothing because my memory would be gone, a kind of living death.

Tuesday June 7th. I get up early because I'm supposed to run. But as I'm drinking my coffee I read an email my coach sent me last night. We've been emailing back and forth because my run on Sunday was very challenging and I was feeling discouraged again. His email said "don't run today, take another  recovery day." I immediately know he is right but I need a figure of authority to tell me that rest will be more beneficial than a run at this point. 

Now we're on our way to Ohio. The weather is more pleasant, although it is still windy. 

Thursday June 9th. Even getting up at 5, this morning's run was another hot one. It wasn't THAT hot, mid 70's by the end, but I'm working on speed and I'm not acclimated. All I can do is slow down, add more walk breaks, and run by feel. I have to work so hard for crappy times in the heat! It sucks. 

This RV park is a really nice place though. We are in St. Peter's Missouri, out in the St. Louis suburbs, on a large lake. There is a dearth of trees, and the high today is in the 90's, so we have the RV aircon on. There's a nice breeze, and with the awning up we had shade on the side of the camper until around 3 pm, but now we're inside. Earlier while I was outside with the dogs a neighbor came by to say hello and admire them. We've already met another Westie, and people love to tell us stories of the Westies they've known and loved. The girls are great, playing, hanging out in the shade, greeting people politely. But Cossy has to bark at every passing dog, every baby stroller, every truck. Defender of the pack! It would be funny if I didn't worry that he is annoying the neighbors.

If the lows are in the 40's and the highs are in the 60's for the race next Saturday in Duluth I will be fine, and will be able to do my best, whatever that ends up being. But if the highs start climbing into the70's I'm toast. I'll just have to chalk this up to a learning experience and save all the techniques and knowledge I've gained for another marathon.

In the evening we go to see Ray and Al, my aunt and uncle. We eat at Lesters, a deli favorite. We brought the dogs with us but left them in their soft sided crate in their house and they did great. 

Friday June 10th. I didn't do the fartlek run, with the heat I'm erring on the side of caution. That morning we went to pick up Nancy and Charlotte, my mom's cousin and friend. We were going to try to find the tree and the brick paver we had dedicated in Forest Park in honor of my parents. It was beastly hot, and I was a little worried about the ladies. They are both much more spry than my mom, but heat is heat and I didn't want them to have to do a lot of walking around. 

We had a pretty good map. We knew the tree, an Ohio Buckeye, was on a hillside near the Art Museum. We found a nearby parking spot thanks to Nancy's handicapped hang tag. We wandered around checking for the tree. There are pines, redbuds and dogwoods, but what the heck does an Ohio Buckeye look like anyway? Finally Lee found it. It was bigger than we thought it would be. We took a few pictures, and I got out my mom's ashes and sprinkled them at the foot of the tree. I felt like I should say a prayer or recite a poem, or something, but I didn't.

Then we walked around the corner to the area near the Worlds Fair Pavillion to find the brick paver. We knew what section it was in but we still had to read a bunch of the brick dedications before Nancy found it, practically at our feet.

Then we went over to the Boathouse to eat lunch. Although it was warm it was shady and they had their fans on so it wasn't that bad.

It was really nice to see Nancy and Charlotte, but it made me miss my mom a lot. It seemed so strange to be hanging out with them without Hilda. I felt like she was going to show up any moment. Maybe she did....

That night we drove over to Webster Groves to see Sarah and Jay Moore, old friends from Columbia. They took us to a great local restaurant, Robust, that had wine flights and lots of very yummy small plates. I especially liked the figgy flatbread and the baked Camembert. As we sat there finishing our meal my cousin Michael showed up! He said he might try to come and I was so happy that he did! He knows Sarah and Jay from work they all do at Doorways, a housing association for people with HIV and AIDS. It was a wonderful evening.

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