Hello from Medford, New Jersey! Home of cabins, pine trees, gypsy moths, and some pretty friendly people who talk very funny (sorrry, Suzanne). I got in to town late yesterday afternoon after a one night stay in Gettysburg, and a rainstorm driven drive from Pittsburgh on Thursday. The gas tanks on me and my chariot are both running low. My car I can fix at the station down the way. As for me, my energy level will take a few days to restore.
For those of you who have been spared all my annoying medical details to date, I should tell you that part of the reason for this adventure was to restore some “vitality” to a body that has been on a downhill slide for some years. (People who have heard the story way too many times can skip to the last sentence.) In 2002, I had multiply cardiac bypass surgery (CABG) along with 4 angioplasties, three stents, and a little “clean up” surgery to fix some clipped muscles in my chest. During the CABG surgery, my surgeon discovered an enlarged heart and a septal defect (hole) between my ventricals. Along with all of this medico-carnage, I inherited the family tradition of arthitis. Several vertebrea (L3-L4 and L5-S1) are a mess and have compromised two nerve bundles. One nerve bundle has been radio-ablated (fried with sound waves). One remains to wake me at night and make walking and sitting without drug therapy a chore. Actually, the only real complaint I have (besides the pain, of course; I’m no saint) is the constant fatigue and sudden onset of exhaustion. So far on this trip I’ve only had one serious incident of daytime sleepiness. Fortunately, the folks in New Jersey have a very nice welcome rest stop on 95/295 coming from Delaware. Before I could nod out I found a nice shade tree and slept soundly for almost 2 hours yesterday afternoon. It meant I hit a bit more of Philly rush hour than I wanted to but…at least I was awake for it!
The fatigue and pain cut short my visit to Gettysburg (along with a cash poor wallet due to some poor budgeting on my part). I originally planned for 2-3 days of touring at the most famous of US Civil War sites. It was pretty clear by the time I got in from Pittsburgh on Thursday that the only touring I’d be doing was in my dreams. However, this too was problematic as there was a very large contigent of Harley bikers (and other wannabees) in town for a bit of pre-4th tuning up for a version of Rolling Thunder for the holiday. There may not be anything cooler than the sound of a well maintained Harley in the early morning unless sleep is a demanding need. (Actually, I think Rolling Thunder and other demonstrations by US bikers are tremendous and I will have more to say closer to the holiday.)
I’ll try and re-tour Gettysburg on my way back West in late July. For the time being, I’m going to enjoy a few days of recouping in the Jersey woods, reading, and sorting through the boxes of ephemeral that I’ve accumulated so far on the trip. My road weary body sends it’s thanks to Suzanne and Nicola for the use of their special retreat. The cabin is charming and I hope to get some needed but minor maintenance work done on it over the next week or two. You both are okay with me painting the window frames electric blue, right? 😉
Pictures of Medford will follow later today. I did add one photo to the trip gallery at http://picasaweb.google.com/jtholste
This fierce creature is JJ the Wonder Dog, my sister Gerri’s constant companion and faithful guard beast. He really is sweet but very territorial and protective of my sister which is fine by me. Gerri has taken the greatest beating of time and the genetic “deal” in the family. Rheumatoid arthritis, RSD, Lupus, and a family of quite often insensitive siblings has given her the life of Job. Fortunately, she has a large reserve of patience, a maturing, talented daughter, and a great dog to help weather her personal storms. She, however, does need air conditioning if she wants visitors in the summer 😦
Tidbits: Some time this morning, probably on an errand to the store, I will break 2,000 miles on this trip. It will probably come in the parking lot of the Starbucks in Medford. States traveled in to date: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware (a quick shortcut around Philly on the way to Medford). Coming up: New York, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisianna, Texas, and New Mexico (Donna, Arizona is still on the list if time allows!)
Reading will be the rest much needed for my mind this coming week. I hope to finish John Scalzi’s Ghost Brigades (Sci Fi), along with one book on Lincoln and another on Gettysburg. Reviews will probably follow as you all now know how difficult it is for me to refrain from commenting on…everything.
On a past topic…if you are so inclined, check into the DefCon web site (Defending the Constituion). This progressive site is dedicated to protecting key aspects of the Constitution especially in the area of church/religious entanglement with public/state issues. Highly recommended (means that I really like them and have given them money).
Below is a link, found by DefCon, to a breaking story on the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Possibly a case of “reap what you sow” here?