I’ve seen so many posts on social media about 2016 being such a horrible year, anxious to move on to 2017. I believe those posts primarily reflect the feelings of loss, especially for the many celebrity deaths and the Presidential election. While I share some of those same feelings, I do not at all think 2016 was a horrible year. Vickie and I carefully planned and executed the road trip adventure of a lifetime! Of course, we were faced with challenges we might not have faced had we not taken this course, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
These last couple of months have gone by so fast. We often get the question, “So, what do you do all day?”. It’s a fair question, and one I would probably ask of someone in our situation. The answer, “We just stay busy.”
In November, we visited our friends, Lori, Ginny, Roger, and Jody at the NASCAR campground. We were supposed to stay 2 nights but ended up only staying one. I think we have just come to terms with the fact that we’re spoiled humans and prefer modern day conveniences. The next weekend we stayed at my sister-in-law and niece’s house and took care of their 3 dogs while they were out of town.
All 3 of us spent Thanksgiving with our framily, Baugh/Terrazas/Kaiser. We feel so special to be invited into this family.
Our Christmas weekend was time with Adi and Vickie. Adi’s birthday is the 24th and we did fun things to celebrate her. She spent two nights with us that weekend and we stuck with tradition staying in our pjs and watching holiday movies. Having all 3 of us together under the same roof for a couple of days was awesome!
We had one of the best New Year’s Eve’s ever! Through a couple of our Hilton memberships we had a room booked at the Elara Hilton Grand Vacations hotel on the Strip. It was an amazing room! We had a 1 bedroom suite on the 51st floor overlooking the Eiffel Tower. It had floor to ceiling windows in the living room and bedroom. The window shade in the living room doubled as a large screen that displayed whatever we were watching on the tv as well as a tv in every room, including the bathroom. It was Vickie’s dream come true. We saw Elton John at Caesar’s Palace on NYE after which we enjoyed a delicious 5 course meal at Searsuckers. We left the restaurant at 11:57 and rang in the New Year with the other 500,000 people hanging out on the Strip. The fireworks show was great, but it was chaos. We had to walk back to our hotel because Uber had shut down their app. NOT fun. We saw one other show while in Las Vegas, blew the allowance we had given ourselves, had some good food and hung out in our hotel. We were also hoping to sell our HGVC timeshare while there, but that didn’t work out. We’re going to have to hire a timeshare realtor to help us sell. Spending NYE in Vegas is something we’re glad to have done… ONCE.
Vickie is still meeting with our personal trainer, Lisa, 3 times a week. I suspended my workouts in early December, but look forward to returning to the exercise as soon as I get my body in a better place. We have enjoyed visiting with my Gram on a regular basis and reconnecting with friends.
Adi seems to be on a positive path. She is taking steps toward better health and greater self sufficiency. It’ll be a long journey, but taking steps forward will help achieve success. I feel that this path will allow us to proceed with our plan to travel in 2017.
The pain I’ve experienced with my back and knees resulted in a suspension of my workouts. I was forced to pursue the root cause of my pain. Having no health insurance to speak of made this financially stressful. We want to spend our retirement money on our adventures, but our plan to continue to travel was at risk if I couldn’t get my pain under control. I had MRIs done and learned that bulging discs and degenerative disc disease (arthritis) are the cause for pain in my lower back, and torn meniscus is the cause for pain in both knees. All this said to me was ‘$$$$’. I was mentally preparing myself to return to work so I could have the health benefits to address these issues. Our friend, Lori, recommended we go see the doctors at Arizona Pain. Vickie and I agreed that if my pain could be addressed, without causing additional damage, within a specific dollar amount then we would be willing to spend the money. I was not optimistic. We consulted with the doctor and, much to our surprise, came up with a plan that could remove my pain in my back for (hopefully) 1-2 years and completely fix my knees and…. for LESS than the dollar threshold Vickie and I had set. I have already had the first of two procedures on my back. I am scheduled to receive a Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) on Jan 12. This procedure will focus on the nerves in my lower back. I am scheduled for the first of, most likely, four Plasma Rich Platelets (PRP) procedures for my knees on Jan 26. This procedure will allow my knees to regenerate the necessary tissue to heal the meniscus tears. After talking with the doctors and researching these procedures, my optimism is renewed and I am looking forward to a ‘pain free’ life.
In short, Adi is doing well, and because it looks like we will be able to physically handle the adventure, we have made the decision to proceed with our overseas travel plans. We’ve modified the itinerary by reducing the scope and timeline from an 8 month duration to 5 months. We have provided our revised plans to our travel consultant, Patrick, and will meet with him to discuss the next steps. Our anticipated date of departure is May 2.