Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shake Down Cruise For Retirement

A Shake Down Cruise for Retirement.  As some of you know, we're currently on our first "long" pre-retirement practice run (like a Shake Down Cruise or Sea Trials, as the Navy would put it).  This is our longest trip in the trailer, yet, almost a full month.  This particular post might not be too interesting, as not lots of pictures and it's a bit personal and introspective, but it's things I'm thinking about and felt like writing them, so if you don't care to read it, it's okay, although there are a few interesting things at the end, LOL.  

We are presently in Gulf Shores, Alabama, "camping" (which is where the introspective  NEXT post is going to come in, LOL) at the Gulf Coast State Park.  We are having a great time, now that I’m over a horrible reaction I had to some medication the Dr. put me on just before we left!!!  It made me honestly NUMB from head to foot and EVERYWHERE in between.  I couldn't taste or smell or feel my mouth.  I could have had a colonoscopy or catheter or oral/dental work done and not felt a thing (unfortunately, that made personal  issues a problem, too, and I had so much mucus/saliva I was drooling and sweating like a St. Bernard in August.  My motor control was nonexistent (good thing I didn't have to drive), my blood pressure was up and down like crazy, and I was in a daze, it was like I had had a stroke.  It was awful and took about 10 days to work its way out of my system.  Not a good way to have a vacation, but also glad we were on vacation, as if I had been home I would have just tried to keep going through it (and since I was sick before we went with my “COPD crap” might have ignored it thinking it was just more allergy etc.) and put a good face on it and not realized something was very wrong.  I took it for 8 days (I had noticed I was sleeping so deeply, the first few days, and had so much mucus and slobber I was soaking my pillow at night and having horrible sweats and was hot all the time, but didn’t have a clue why.  But then I suddenly quit sleeping and thought it might be because of the new med  and that saved me because I decided to switch it to mornings.  Within 15 minutes of taking it I noticed the numbness, starting in my face, and it just got steadily worse all day, so I knew it had to be that medication—apparently I hadn’t noticed it at night because I was sleeping (at least at first) and it took 10 days to get mostly gone out of my system.  So Thursday is the first day I could actually feel everything except my nose/sinus areas.  The front of my face is still a bit tingly, but at least I can feel it again. So, that's all on the personal front that I probably shouldn't have posted and kept to myself, LOL.  But Oh well. . . 

So, here's my short report on 
Alabama (more details to follow in the next post).  The weather here is lovely, although I suspect it would be unbearably humid in the summer, as it’s humid now and we’ve had the air on the whole time.  I keep forgetting that it’s just April.  We’ve had mostly sunny skies, only one major stormy night and today, Saturday, is overcast, cooler, and rainy.  They keep this place fogged for bugs, so it’s not buggy at all, but I suspect that’s why we’re not seeing things like turtles and lizards and frogs and snakes.  Oh well, I’d rather avoid the bugs, LOL.  

There is an  Osprey nest just down from us with a pair in/on it.  The first few days we were here, one was on the branch with the nest and the other one perched on a nearby tree, but now, the one is IN the nest and the other one is perched on the branch by the nest.    

I'm afraid the next paragraph is going to seem very judgmental/prejudicial/maybe even snooty, and I don't mean it that way, at all, just observations, and generalities, of course all people are different, individually.  As anyone who knows me well, knows, I'm a people watcher, and I'm very intuitive/empathetic.  Not much of a joiner or partier, but I LOVE to watch and observe people.  For example:  When we've been in the Smoky Mountains hiking, in the past, you could tell where people were from, just by how they greeted or even reacted to one another on the trails.  People from the midwest were always friendly, but not overly friendly, "Hi, how you doing?  Made eye contact, smiled etc. Similar to the "waves"--first finger off the steering wheel even to complete strangers in the Midwest, LOL.  People from the South, of course gave themselves away with their accents, but they were always super friendly, eye contact, hi, how you doin' the trail ahead gets real steep, but it's worth it, etc., with Texans being the most outgoing, friendliest of all, "here, this bridge is kind of narrow, let me help your kids across".  People from the New England area tend to be more aloof, might say "hello", but never "Hi, how ya doin", LOL.  They also don't tend to make eye contact as much and are much more quiet.  People from the West tend to be very standoffish, make an obvious effort to go AROUND you on the trail, like they're afraid you might bother or touch them or interfere with their hike or kids or something.   So, when I talk about "people", it's just generalities from the general vibes people give off.   

So, with that explanation out of the way:  Alabama is much different than I expected.  Being on the beach/coast (even if it’s just the Gulf) I expected it to be like Florida along the gulf coast (bikini or less clad thin women, very nicely dressed and coiffed people on the town, at restaurants etc.)  Without meaning to be judgmental or prejudiced or anything, it’s a totally different type of people, here, and we're very comfortable.  Even on the beach, not many bikini clad young people (until you get down to the FL panhandle, LOL).  People down here are “normal sized” and very laid back about showing it (women my size in bikinis????  YUCK!!!, LOL).  Whatever you happen to have on, where ever you happen to be, whether it's Walmart or a restaurant, barefeet, no tops (on guys), swim suits or sweats or t-shirts.  It’s a slower paced place, not as many places to eat (which is good, we’ve eaten in camp mostly).  Appears much lower socio-economic (except the fancy rentals on the beach etc.) as far as the people who actually seem to live here, more either working class or retired, (and the retired people must not be in the areas around the beach because unless they're vacationing, you just don't see them much).  Much less care to dress, oral hygiene, missing teeth, crazy hair, etc.  Verle says Alabama is “construction grade” and more “our kind of people”, LOL.  They rent from “Y’all haul” rather than “U-Haul” (that’s a joke).  Very nice, caring, kind people (in general), eager to help people out and calling everybody hon, sweetie, etc. 

It’s a pretty place, lots of green and tons of water, both fresh and salt.  The sand on the beach is the whitest, softest (hardest to walk in, my calves are about done in, LOL) sand I’ve ever seen.  

Apparently the shells take quite a beating coming all the way up the Gulf and end up pulverized by the time they make it to Alabama, which is what makes the super soft sand, but also means almost NO shells.  Daughter, B,  said Biloxi was like that too, no shells, but not as fine of sand.  

I think I'll stop here, as this is getting long and I have 2 more I want to get written today.  One about the wonderful beach we found and why we almost aren't coming home, LOL and another about how camping seems to be changing.    

I see it’s supposed to be back to 32* at home tonight or tomorrow night, I’m sure glad we’re here, rather than there.  I do truly enjoy the warmth here.  So, we’ll be home in about 10 days, (N & family will probably be glad for us to take charge of the chickens, again) hopefully the warm will be back, up there and we’ll just go right into summer, LOL.  See you next post.  smiles

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