Sunday, May 13, 2018

May 2018 - The trip to Florida and progress on our building project and Bill's knee saga.

On April 26th we went to the Tucson Orthopedic Institute, as a referral from the Tucson V.A., where Bill was given a shot of Cortisone as a first step to try to avoid needing a total knee replacement. Though there is still some pain, the shot helped immensely so on April 27th we opted to go to Florida to pick up and move our  storage there to one we now have in Sierra Vista, close to Benson. We were able to get a very good deal through Enterprise , on a One-Way rental of a 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan, which apparently they needed in FL (probably for the Orlando market). Instead of having to pay a driver to take it there, they give a renter an excellent rate to drive it there for them. And so it was. Our total rental cost was just $60.07. Since we had the room in the van we stopped at rest areas and slept in the back to save money and be able to get there faster. Mary got the back with blankets and a sleeping bag as bedding, and Bill slept in the front passenger seat. This (below) was the van we got.

After a comfortable drive for two days on I-10 Eastbound (except for driving through San Antonio and Houston), getting onto I-75 on April 29th suddenly we noticed an unexpected high volume of traffic, in both directions and even though it was on a Sunday.  Suddenly we remembered why we settled in Benson AZ… away from the maddening crowd and tourists, yet within 5 miles of a Safeway and Walmart, and 25 miles from a town large enough to have all our preferred restaurants (like Popeye’s, Schlotzky’s, Culver’s, and has larger stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart Super Center, etc., and within 45 miles (on I-10) from Tucson, which has everything else, including Costco and a major V.A. medical center.

The above plaque was at the Florida Welcome Station on I-10 Eastbound near Pensacola. We found it very inspiring and thankful for their tribute to our servicemen and women.

Here's a sampling of the heavy traffic on I-75 (both northbound and southbound) which as you can see was not even truck traffic but cars for the most part. It was not a holiday weekend so we can assume only that it is just a symptom of Florida, after having the peace and tranquility of the light traffic of Benson and Sierra Vista in Cochise County in Arizona.

While in The Villages we stayed at the Motel 6 in Wildwood, which was not the most comfortable place but economical and convenient. We spent one day (Monday) running errands getting stuff we wanted that we cannot find in Arizona, like Fresh Market Kona coffee, 1.75L Brugal Rum for just $24, Dominican Longaniza from Compare supermarket, 2 cases of Yellowtail Riesling wine from Total wine and Cheng’s  Chinese food. That night we were too pooped to even get together with any friends and had to turn in the van and pick up the truck the next morning and then load the Penske truck to leave the following morning.

This are the beautiful wildflowers along the FL countryside and in some fields. In Arizona most wild flowers are yellow, and then there is a lot of cacti that are also flowered.

On  May 2nd with the truck loaded we left Wildwood and headed north on I-75 and then west on I-10., staying overnight at the Comfort Inn in Gulfport MS (where they gave us a King suite for a King room rate and included a great hot breakfast) , then at the Days Inn in Boerne (almost as comfortable as the Comfort Inn and  with a suitable breakfast.  From Boerne TX we had to navigate through a pretty bad storm and we were anxious to get back home to Benson so we drove straight through (12 hours taking turns, and arrived at our lot by 10pm on Friday May 4th.)

Mary driving the truck,

Look at her... Even though dead tired she can still muster a smile, and still looks beautiful.

Checking the truck before taking off from Boerne TX.

The truck at a rest area just past Las Cruces NM, almost home.
Though very tired, gluttons for punishment the next day we drove to our new storage room in Sierra Vista (about 25 miles away and unloaded the truck, then turned it in to Penske.) This rental was also a One-Way rental, with a 16-foot truck, but did not get as good a deal as with Enterprise. Still with Bill’s military discount it was decent enough.
With the storage transfer behind us and Bill’s knee still feeling better now we can focus on trying to get our casita plans drawn, electric and utilities connected and eventually the house built.
The  North and South side walls are going up. And as you can see the backyard view will be to the East, across the valley and looking at three mountain ranges.

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