No, not in the raw, but as in raw wind. And more wind. One of the things campers learn early is that perfect conditions rarely exist. When we planned this trip a little over a week ago, the weather did not look great. Cool temps and rain every day. Then as the week wore on, the weather guys took most of the rain out of the forecast, until we were down to a slight chance late Sunday night or early Monday morning. How did that work out? Torrential rain, a little hail, and wind Sunday night until about 10 Monday morning; a couple of hours of cool sunshine; then clouds, wind and cold. Last night, more rain moved through and winds have reached gale force.
So yesterday afternoon, it was time to rethink the plan to have the soup potluck outside in the shelter of one of the campers. Because nothing except the Pentagon would have been shelter against that wind. So we hauled our soups and desserts over to Ken and Harriet's fifth wheel, and managed to seat eleven for supper. The soups were the perfect antidote to the fall weather.
Despite the weather, there is some fall color and has been wildlife to watch. Because of the weather, there has been time for reading, visiting, and napping. It is still my favorite season.
One More Chapter
In one of the three books I have in progress that don't seem to be getting anywhere? Nope. But with the help of our friends, we decided to try one more camping trip this fall. Saturday was our anniversary so it was perfect timing. Six couples are spending a few days at West Overlook campground on the Coralville Reservoir. It has the special quality of being about half an hour from our house, so yesterday afternoon, brother-in-law Ken ferried our trailer up here before going back to get his own. Despite beautiful weather and emerging color on the trees, it was an afternoon fraught with mishaps and difficulties one would not expect with experienced campers.
First, we put water in the wrong tank, as did another couple in our group. That necessitated more time to fill the right tank as well as time to dump the wrong. We got to our spot and parking was achieved fairly painlessly, but another couple in the group were in the wrong spot and had to move. Ken and Harriet left to get their camper while we continued our set-up. Things were pretty well done inside, and I was retrieving the lawn chairs from the back of the truck when I heard my husband yell. The water on the toilet stuck on and water was running all over the camper. Turning off the water pump stopped the flow and three-fourths of our towel supply mopped up the flood but now what to do?
It's always a good idea to camp with a farmer. They can fix anything with anything, Ron "happened to have" a couple of fittings that he cobbled together to shut off the water to the toilet. Flushing will be accomplished with a jug of water and we can have the water back on in the sinks and the shower. Things settled down for awhile and I began to piece together a simple supper when Ken and Harriet returned. Harriet was holding her arm in pain. She had fallen and jammed her elbow. Butch tried to tune in the TV with no luck and forgot to bring his Kindle so he didn't have a book to read. (This is a situation I cannot comprehend. Under no circumstances do I forget a book.) And as the evening chilled, we turned on the furnace only to find it not working. Fortunately, we have a space heater as well. I mean, what kind of camping do you think we do? Roughing it? Ha!
So a good night's sleep was welcome. Even the crashing thunder and lightning in the middle of the night couldn't steal that. We shall see what today brings. The menus for the rest of the stay are a definite plus. Tonight we are having a soup potluck: ham and bean, chicken noodle, potato and cheese, and autumn vegetable, plus bread and dessert. Tomorrow, Ken is smoking a couple of roasts and the rest will provide sides. With hashed brown casserole, green bean casserole, salads, and desserts, it will be the ultimate in comfort food. Camp on!
October: Change, Renewal, and Memories
I haven't blogged for a while because we haven't camped for a while. My husband's treatment for cancer has created a roller coaster existence with some highs of no pain, no appetite loss, good days, and clear scans and some lows of fatigue, frustration, skin rashes, shingles, cataracts, and bad scans. In between, at the top and bottom of the curves, we wait: for appointments, callbacks, test results, prescriptions to be filled, and on hold for all of the above. Anyone who has dealt with this insidious disease I'm sure has had similar experience. There's a reason why you're called a patient, because you have to be.
This is the second fall since the diagnosis. October has always been a special month to us. We were married in October 56 years ago, and although we couldn't afford a honeymoon at the time, we have taken a number of wonderful trips around our anniversary. Since we have retired, we have particularly enjoyed some fall camping trips. In 2015, we traveled through Tennessee to the Great Smokies, to Savannah and Skidaway Island, back to Stone Mountain for a Sisters on the Fly event. and back home through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. The next year we traveled with his sister and brother-in-law to South Dakota and then Fort Abraham Lincoln in North Dakota, Little Big Horn in Montana, Devils Tower in Wyoming and back home through the Black hills. On that trip, we hit as many Lewis and Clark stops as we could. In 2017, we traveled through Michigan to the Upper Peninsula and immensely enjoyed the waterfalls, parks, and cruises that we found there.
Last summer, until the diagnosis, we fully intended to take another trip although we hadn't decided where. And then everything changed. It has been difficult emotionally and physically for both of us. But I just finished reading a book that I have found extremely helpful. E.A.T.: an Unconventional Decade in the Life of a Cancer Patient by Kathy Bero chronicles the author's experience with inflammatory breast cancer, which has a very low life expectancy. She was diagnosed in 2005, underwent grueling chemo, a mastectomy, and radiation, and is today cancer free. However she credits a great deal of her survival to meditation, reiki healing, and diet. I happened to be reading this book when a decision was made to put my husband's chemotherapy on hold because the drugs he has had to take for the side effects are defeating the purpose of the chemo.
It seems like the perfect time to launch an intense diet of cancer fighting foods, because unlike the drugs, we don't have to worry about side effects. And perhaps with a few weeks that are not consumed with medical appointments, we can gain renewal from our favorite season with some day trips and practicing the mindfulness that Kathy Bero also stresses. I have always been a person who spends a lot of time anticipating events in the future and not enough appreciating the here and now. Time to change that too.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.