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Monday, January 12, 2015

Shingles but not on the roof--- and upcoming winter vacation plans

Shingles!!!!  Steve and I had the opportunity to both get our shingles vaccine.  We had to have it done before the end of year, as we were switching health insurance companies, and the new one wasn't going to cover it unless we were 60 or older.  The old company covered it regardless of age.  It's quite an expensive vaccine.

Now, I know there is controversy about if people should get vaccines or not, and I am not up for a debate here.  So please just respect the fact that we made the choice to do it.  We have had two friends in the past who were set back months on end with horrible pain and misery from shingles, and still suffer from nerve damage and painful effects of having had shingles. (Shingles are a virus that is adult chickenpox)

We did our vaccines before the end of December, and thought all was well.  For Steve it was... but dangnabbit, I had to be like 3 in 10,000 people who suffered some sort of reaction!  The injection site got a huge red circle after 7 days, and I started breaking out in an itchy red rash with throbbing pains underneath it on my torso.

I got back into my doc on the morning of the 8th day, and he said it must be a type of reaction, but not sure if it was full blown shingles.  So we are precautionary treating with anti-viral meds and a medicated cream on the rash.  So far so good, no blisters and the rash is fading.  The itchiness is fading and I am not a risk for spreading anything.  Whew!  That was a close call!   Would I do it again if I had the chance all over?  I don't think so.  But hindsight is 20/20.

The weekend was fun with a five year old birthday party for our granddaughter Chelsea.  She was surprised with a party at  the indoor waterpark in TundraLodge, near Lambeau Field in Green Bay.  What fun on a cold winter day in Wisconsin to be inside swimming, splashing, and eating cake and pizza with all of her cousins and little friends!

Then on the RVing front:  we are planning to escape the cold and snow of Wisconsin about mid February.  We can take about 6 weeks vacation time and have to be back by the end of March.  Here is a very basic map of the areas we are headed to.... so if any of you RVers along the way want to "Meet N Greet", please shoot us an email at pfundt@gmail.com    

It's kinda warming up a little out there today, with sunshine!  The temps might reach into the high teens!!!   So I am going to take down the outside Christmas decorations (the inside doo dads and tree are already down)  

Then... as the sun shines on the motorhome and warms it up, I will head out with both of the dogs to introduce little Binney to the motorhome! She needs to become familiar with the sights and smells, plus where the water and food dishes are.  Little Binney rides fine in a crate in our car, so we assume she will do well in the motorhome too.  Finnegan loves it and each place we stop is a new adventure to sniff and see new things.  I think she will follow his lead and latch onto his excitement.  Every dog we have had loves to travel, so I am hoping Binney will too.  Finney's bed is usually up under the dash on the passenger side, so I assume Binney will curl up right snug tight to him as well. 

I will kick in the heater for a while and warm it up, and take inventory of what is in there and what I need to pack up for vacation.  It doesn't take much to load up for vacation, because we leave complete linens, dishes and a lot of clothing in the rig. Our camping gear and lawn chairs etc. are all in the basement bins, as are Steve's tools.  He just needs to add the big air compressor and his portable firepit. All I have to do is add the extra clothes, dog supplies, stock the fridge and bring our computers... off we go! 

The motorhome has already had a recent oil change this fall, the fuel tank is full, enough for the first 800 miles, and the propane has been filled up too after last outing.  We just have to attach our tire pressure monitors, hook up the Tracker and roll away! We will leave the water system winterized until we get south enough to avoid freezing at night.  

It's hard to determine an exact "take off day" because we have to watch the weather forecast not only for Wisconsin to have dry roads to take off.. but watching the weather about 500-600 miles south of us too.  We try to drive a lot the first day or two and cover a lot of ground to get above freezing.  Once we hit warmer temps, we generally slow down to 200-300 miles a day.  

One year we slid our way into St. Louis right after an ice storm and moochdocked in our friend Sam and Donna's driveway  http://samdonna-5thwheelvagabonds.blogspot.com/  and left the next day right ahead of another ice storm!  It was a close call, so we will watch the weather a little closer this time.  Steve's job is pretty flexible that if he needs to leave when the weather breaks a day or two early he can.  Or if it's too bad to leave, he can still go to work a few extra days and not waste vacation time sitting at home waiting for the weather to clear to go. 

We make no plans, no reservations, and just wander as best we can.  We "boondock" alot, meaning camping out without hookups or going to regular campgrounds. We have 500 watts of solar panels on the roof for power, and four large batteries to run off of.  We can run lights, tv's, computers, etc just like being at home when we live off the grid in our motorhome.  If we need to, we also have a generator on board to fire up for extra power or charging.  We even have a built-in washer/dryer on board.  Our water holding tank is 100 gallons, and if we are frugal, we can go 10-14 days on that. We do buy bottled water in gallon jugs for coffee making and dog water drinking.  We learned long ago to never change the dogs drinking water as we travel.  "Long haired butts" on sheltland sheepdogs are NOT good for travelling if doggies are sick with diarrhea!  Been there done that. Hauling along a few  5 gallon jugs of our own home water for the first part of the journey works, but by the fourth or fifth or sixth weeks, we have to start buying bottled water for them.  They are worth it! 

Once we get out west, there is a lot of BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) that we can stay on for free.  I have a lot of notes and maps of good places to hang out.  A few years ago we found boondocking free places just south of the Grand Canyon and spent a lot of time in a high tourist area for no fees. Sitting out in the desert in the peace and quiet is what we crave the most... and boondocking allows us that freedom. 

There are some fellow RV bloggers we want to meet up with if we can, and some fellow RVers that we have known for years to touch base with.  The more we wander, the more we make new friends too... so future Meet N Greets get logged into our next trip!  LOL 

I think we could use some sunshine, desert warmth, and get away from work for Steveio. Last winter we went to Florida, the winter before it was Texas, and the winter before that was out West into the desert of NM, AZ and So. CA.  We found we like that area the best, and can't wait to get back there! 

And.. on the fiber end of my blog, I have been working on some new quilt squares to randomly put together into a quilt.  Perhaps it will go in the motorhome.  We will see.

I am making up the patterns as I go, and arranging half square triangles into interesting blocks.  The fabrics are all woodsy themed prints.  I got them from Joann's on our last vacation in Florida.  They were called Elements Earth marketed by Joanns for them with their own label, and I bought a jelly roll of 2.5 inch strips and a bundle of five fat quarters.  The cream is just a fabric I had on hand to add to the blocks to make more contrast.. plus make the fabrics stretch out further!

On a final note, if you happen to have some extra prayers or good wishes of love and healing, please think of my sister-in-law Shirley who has had another set back in battling cancer.  She is back in the hospital, so prayers and love and support for her family are needed at this time....  Thank You.


  1. It will be fun following along with you this winter. I hope you can dodge bad weather, it's been strange this year. Have fun!

  2. Looks like a great birthday party. So sorry you won't be coming through my part of Texas this year but I will enjoy following your travels anyway. Prayers for you SIL's recovery.

  3. I will pray for Shirley and her family. After seeing my Mom suffer from shingles I wouldn't think of NOT getting the vaccine. And if I had a reaction to it, it probably wouldn't be half as bad or last as long as full-blown shingles. I am so sorry you had a problem with it, but give you huge credit for trying. While my Mom had shingles all her grandchildren, including my kids, all caught chicken pox! My youngest sister also caught it from Mom. I think some people who have never been around anyone with shingles have no idea how horrible it can be - much worse than chicken pox.

  4. We do hope and pray that your sister-in-law has a complete recovery. Thanks for sharing your travel plans with us.

  5. I still think you are better off getting the vaccine. A full blown case of shingles would have been much worse. So glad you were able to get relief quickly. So glad you are getting on the road. You have quite a trip planned. We left cold oklahoma and are in Casa Grande, Arizona. Will be in this area til the end of March. Safe travels and prayers for your SIL.

  6. That quilt is going to be absolutely gorgeous. I love the colors.

  7. I'm glad that you got the shingles vaccine, and that you are recovering from you reaction. Hoping you come my way and we can visit in Quartzsite AZ. Those quilt blocks ar very beautiful!

  8. I'd enjoy a meet and greet if you get near Yuma. Lots of LTVA camping at Imperial Dam.

  9. I feel for you with shingles. I had Internal shingles in November. It took 4 doctor visits of 3 different doctors, scopes and cameras down my throat, 3 different medicine before he thinks he found out what it was. Actually I told him after I diagnosed it with lots of googling.

    5 weeks I was sick. I lost 12 pounds, had no energy and couldn't eat for days. No fun. I have not had the shot, and I still haven't gotten a clear answer if I should get one.

    Take care, looking forward to following your trip.

  10. Prayers are coming to you all. We are so looking forward to your traveling to our chosen area! Hopefully, we will meet.

  11. I would love to meet up with ya'll sometime. You aren't coming to Arkansas this trip and we are leaving in Feb. for Houston. (new grandbaby coming in March) Hope to catch up with you sometime. If we were visiting oldest son we would be in Amarillo. Dang! Catch you next time. Prayers for your sister-in-law.


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