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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Funeral and then Southbound and Down

Sadly our family gathered in Bloomville Ohio over last weekend to say goodbye to our darling stepdad, Lowell Hall.  It was a small family prayer service in a tiny country church..... His long time friend and pastor lead the memorial. Both of Lowell's sons sang and played songs for their father.  The sweet ladies in the church hall put together a wonderful meal afterwards.  Cousins John and Laura brought a memorial service flag as Lowell had been in the Marines... along with a lovely display case and a bible for mom.   We gathered in prayer and said goodbye to a man who was a big part of all of our lives.

Lowell Dean Hall Sr., 78, passed away at his residence surrounded by family, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016.
He was born in Jenkins, Kentucky, to Elzie and Norma Catherine Hall (Conn).
Lowell is survived by his wife, Rita Mae Hall; three sons, Michael D. Hall, Rick G. Hall and Lowell D. Hall Jr.; a daughter, Tonya M. Miller; 13 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and seven brothers and sisters.
He was a revered stepfather and grandfather.
Lowell was preceded in death by a son, Gregory A. Hall and his sister, Charlotte.
He proudly served his country as a U.S. Marine following the Korean War.
He was a member of the Adams Township Freewill Baptist Church. Spending time laughing with family and friends, camping, riding motorcycles, hunting, fishing and restoring vehicles were his favorite activities.
According to his wishes, there will be no formal funeral services.
Donations may be made to Adams Township Freewill Baptist Church in his honor.
Lindsey-Olds Funeral Home, Bloomville, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Steve and I hung around for a few more days, helping Mom acclimate, as well as my sister and her husband.  Lowell's kids all helped with adjusting and details and getting things smoothed out for Mom to deal with the loss.  Everyone felt the loss and did what they could to help.

Mom decided to return to their home in Florida, she said it is full of good memories.  We had promised Lowell that we would get her and her car back down to Florida if that is what she wanted. They had left Florida 6 months earlier to seek better health care up in Ohio.  Lowell's daughter Tonya is in the health services field and set him up with better docs and end of life care than he would have gotten from the VA in Florida.  Thank you Tonya for all you have done!

Steve and I dashed back home up to Wisconsin in our car, and started loading the motorhome.  We got hit with a huge damp wet snowstorm that delayed our intended departure date by 2 days.

I stacked things by the door and Steve hauled them out.  He had a few things to finish up at work the next day, and was able to leave work at noon.  By 2 pm, he said the weather looked like dry roads for Wisconsin until later evening when more snow was predicted. So we hit the road before any more snow came down... as long as the pavement is dry, we avoid the corrosive road salt that eats away at the delicate underpinnings of our motorhome.

We did Milwaukee rush hour of 4pm ... and hit Chicago rush hour by 6 ish.  Only one slowdown, not so bad afterall!   We kept handing out the money at each toll stop and did all of the Illinois, Indiana and Ohio toll ways... Towing a vehicle behind our motorhome adds to the tolls for big bucks, we had miles to make up fast before the weather turned bad on us.

We normally don't like driving in the dark, but Steve recently updated our headlights on the motorhome to some that were much brighter.  Our Safari's are notorious for dim headlights... and many other owners did various work-arounds of adding different wiring or a relay to make them brighter, but it would burn out the headlight bulbs faster.  So instead, Steveio found a farm implement light that had a brighter beam, and had to only bend a bit of one prong to make it adapt to our rig.  Voila!  Problem solved and we could see at night!

Since we could see well, we zoomed along until 9 pm upon reaching Findlay, OH.  We pulled into a nice quiet Walmart and settled in for the night.  Tired, but happy that we had avoided the snow and road salt of the north.  

439 miles 

Early in the morning, we called Mom in the nearby town of Bloomville 25 miles away.  She finished putting her last few things in her car and paid her last few bills, and headed out to meet up halfway.  With a round of hugs, we swapped over where I drove her car, she took over the passenger seat, and Steve headed on out with the motorhome.  Off we went, Florida bound! 

We drove until about lunchtime, and pulled into a wayside to make some sandwiches.  Rut Roh!  Steve saw leaking diesel fuel behind our coach coming from the engine!!!!  We examined the leak and found it to be the high pressure return line about 3 feet long, had a leak near one end.  We had replaced that same line back in 2007.  It had rusted through again. ARGGHHH!!!!   

We called ahead 45 miles to the Cat dealer in Troy, OH.  The parts guy on the phone just said "Nope, can't get the part till Monday" .  Done.   Gee whiz.....  This was only Friday and a possible snow storm was on the way. So Steveio figured the drip was small and far between, lets limp it down 45 miles to the Cat dealer anyhow and talk with the shop guys. Not just the parts guy.  So we did. Whew... I followed and I sure was tense.  

We pulled into the Cat dealer by 2 pm and Steveio headed off to chin wag with the guys. Hmmm wonder of wonders they COULD get the part, IF we paid a courier fee!   Sure nuff!!!  The part arrived by 4:30 pm.  After taking a hit to our credit card of over $200.00, Steve put the part on in 10 minutes flat.  We were on the road by 4:40! 

 What a guy! 

On the road again....

We were able to zoom along down into Kentucky before too late into the night. Whew..... We found a wayside with truck overnight parking near Lexington KY and pulled into a nice corner spot.  We were emotionally drained and tired.  We settled into bed, while Mom cuddled on the loveseat with the doggers....  Finney and Binney were enjoying all of her attention. 

Finney remembered Mom (and all of her treats) and soon she won Binney over her shyness and she learned that Mom was a good cuddler. 

667 miles

Soon semi trucks were pulling in, and the almost empty lot was filling up fast.  About 3 am a big car hauler jockeyed in next to us and kept it's engine running all night.  Our carbon monoxide detector went off, and we discovered his idling exhaust pipe was right next to our passenger window. We opened windows on the other side of our rig, turned on a fan and reset the alarm.   About an hour later it went off again!  We realized that it was not just the one truck, it was combined with all the other idling trucks in the low-valley lot, we were getting gassed out!   

It was time to move on, though it was the wee hours of the morning.  We could barely work our way out of the lot around the car hauler next to us that had us penned into the corner.  We cleared him by mere inches as Steve swung out to get through the lot.  Back on the road in the pre-dawn hours was not fun by any means.  We stopped for some awful tasting coffee, because we hadn't had time to perk any ourselves.  I sure missed my Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee beans freshly ground and perked!   

We put on some miles into Tennessee to get to some warmer weather.  Since our rig was still winterized, we had only been using jugs of water and a teakettle on the stove to wash up.  We knew the Escapees have a nice campground at Raccoon Valley near Heiskell TN just north of Knoxville. It's only a mile or so off the interstate, and we pulled in to ask if we could fill with water.  For a $10 fee, we could pull into one of the sites, and proceed to rig de-winterize, fill with water, and check for leaks that might have developed over the winter.  (none..whew!)   We told them we would be back in March to spend a few days too, as it's near my friend Linda's house.  We had time to make a little lunch, and even take a little nap before hitting the road again. 

Mom was eager to get home....  so we drove on as far as east of Atlanta .... we try to avoid Atlanta at ALL costs!   We scoot around on route 20, but there was some construction that slowed us down.  We hit a nice quiet Walmart near Sugar Hill, GA and settled in for the night.  It was a smaller Walmart that closed down at night, and all was quiet, serene, and we got a GOOD night's sleep! 

1,048 miles 

Sunday was our final leg of the journey.  The "sitting down" for long periods while driving my mom's car was taking it's toll on me.  I have had some esophageal and stomach surgeries that hamper my ability to digest properly, and sitting for a long time really messes me up.  But we trudged on with only 380 miles to go..... 

Our Safari friends Mel and Paula had been camping nearby in Georgia and decided to join up with us at a wayside and become part of our little convoy!  Mom and I followed in third place until we turned off the interstate to the exit past Gainesville, Fl... Then we moved into first place to go on to Williston! 

Whew! We honked our horns as we caravanned past Auntie Lois and Uncle Sam's house on the corner and turned down Mom's road and into her yard.  I grabbed Mom's hand, and led her to the middle of the front yard.  We clasped our hands, we looked up to Heaven and I told Lowell that we did it!  We brought Da Momma HOME!  Just like we promised him during his last weeks of life, that we would take care of her and get her where she wanted to go.  It was his only concern. Tears streaming down my face, I knew we did what we had to do, even if my gut was twisting in knots most of the way. 

1,427 miles 

Quick as a whip, here came Auntie Lois down the road, followed by Uncle Sam (Uncle Poops to me) .... laden with trays of donuts, bags of cookies and lots of hugs! Friend Paula added the kleenix as we all needed it.   This pic says it all.......

Mom and Lois are the only sisters, no other siblings.  They have lived two houses apart here in Florida for many years now.  They need each other and have gone through thick and thin.  And now Mom needed her sister more than ever.

Uncle Sam came over with ant spray and his hoe, and went to work on the huge fire ant hills that accumulated over the last six months while Mom and Lowell were up in Ohio.  Auntie had pre-loaded up Mom's fridge with food, and got the water on, and brought over the newest mail... and welcomed us all with her famous peanut butter cookies!  The guys got the motorhomes parked in the yard and we all got a well-deserved night's sleep..... 

Now to help Mom to adjust to life without Lowell.  This is hard.  

We will stay here for the remainder of our vacation and do all we can to help. 


  1. Your family has seen to much in to short of a time and I am sorry for this latest loss. I'm happy you and Steve were able to get her home and I know you will get your mom all settled in. Hope you feel better soon too.

  2. Bless you for helping your Mom! It is good that her sister is nearby.

  3. You are a good daughter. blessings to you as you all adjust.

  4. So good to have you in FL. I'm sure all will work out.

  5. My goodness! That was a whirlwind of a trip. I am so thankful that Steve could get the part and install it for your motor home. I am also very thankful that you all made it to Florida safe and sound. May God bless you for seeing your mom home and helping to get her settled in through this time of mourning. It is great that her sister lives so close and can help and be a tremendous support for your mom.

  6. It is very, very hard when you loose a loved one, but life has to go on. We can adjust, but will always have void in our life.

  7. Being able to be there for family is what it is all about. Now for some R&R.

  8. So hard to comfort your mom while your own heart is broken. I am so sorry for your loss. As much as I hated leaving my Mama (actually my step-mom)it was a great comfort to know that my step sister is right next door. Promised my dad I would not forget about her. Those are promises you have to keep!


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