Mainly our time in Merced was spent visiting friends, drinking beer, playing cards (Pitch), playing darts (poker darts & Cricket), and general maintenance on MH.

Our plastic headlights lenses had been yellowing (again--more UV damage) and were scratched. Plus one had water in it. It really restricted the light at night. I bought a 'Permatex restoration kit' at the local NAPA store. It had 4 different grades of sandpaper, a polishing cream & instructions. I removed the headlight with water in it and using an air hose, blew the water out and dried the lens. Then resealed the edges of the lens. Using the kit I worked on the discolorization. It came out great. Hard to believe a $10-15 kit would do that well. New headlights would have been a few hundred $. Then did the other lens while it was still on the MH. (No water in that lens). While removing the first lens I noticed that the heater core cover was cracked at all the mounting places. A couple were broken. I made new braces and installed them, then replaced the lens. This might seem like a simple project but it was time consuming. The satisfaction from the final results and the money saved was worth it.

We received a call from Illinois that Kay's dad was not feeling well. Kay's sister Mary was with him but needed to get back home to Tallahassee by fri. We cut our Merced visit short and prepared to leave. Night before we were to pull out, LZ developed a cough and coughed all night. Kay called an emergency vet number and they told us it would be OK til we could see a vet in the AM. They gave us a number for them and said they opened at 6:30AM. We were there at 6:30 and they said the Drs don't come in til 10AM. Seems like the place we called could have told us that as we needed to see a vet and not the office workers. Came back at 10:30 and saw the vet. He took Xrays and said that LZ's throat was restricted and gave (sold) us some meds to relax him so it could heal. We finally got on the road at 1PM. So much for an early start.

Drove to Barstow and stopped for the night as we were very tired since we had been up all night with the dog. Found a small RV park and settled in so we could get an early start the next day. The mgrs of the park gave us directions for a shortcut to get back on the interstate which I plugged into my GPS. Next AM we woke up late and as we were getting ready to leave and a large tanker truck pulled in and proceeded to pump out the parks septic system. They do it once a year and this was the day. Of course the pumping place was in the middle of the road at the exit/entrance. 1 1/2 hrs later we were able to go. Using the new GPS coordinates we took off. We passed what looked like the place he told us about that was on the corner of the turnoff. BUT--the GPS showed that it was not the right place. Went on down the road and finally figured I had entered the wrong road on the GPS. Looked at the map and the next exit showed a road that went over to the other interstate. BUT--when we got off at that exit, it was a gravel road. We turned around and went back to the original (correct) turnoff. On that road we ran into construction, road down to one lane. As we were waiting for our turn the flagman came up and said it would be awhile as the road equipment had broken down and they would have both lanes closed while they fixed it. Finally the road opened up and off we went. We could see the interstate ahead BUT--we had to stop for a train. If you have been out west, you know that the trains out there are looooooong. Very long. When the train passed and we got back on the interstate it was noon. So much for another early start. We made it to Gallup, NM where we stopped for the night.

It looked like that at the rate we were moving we were not going to make it back to Effingham before Mary had to leave and we needed to be there so Kay could take her dad to his DR appt.

So next morning I said I was going to drive straight thru to Effingham. It was 1300 miles and we definetly don't like to travel that much between stops but you sometimes have to make exceptions. This was one of those times. Next AM we took off and stopped only for fuel and at rest areas for the dog to do his thing & for us to stretch our legs. Made it back to Effingham around 3AM on the day of the Dr appt.--Fri, Sept 21.

The bad part about all this is we wanted to take our time going to Illinois and visit with friends in Colorado & Arizona. Also we were to meet with Clara's family in Las Vegas in the beginning of Oct. Oh well--we are flexible.

Mary had been thinking that Jerry's (Kay's dad) problem was with his meds. Kay went thru all his meds and his procedure for taking them. He was taking too many conflicting meds plus he was getting confused on when to take what. Basically he was being overdosed. Kay discussed it with the DR and he confirmed it. She got a list of what he should be taking and when it should be taken and monitored it for the next week and we could see an improvement in Jerry's health.

A decision had been made months before to move Jerry down to Savannah to live with Clara. This would be in Nov. We were to be in Effingham by late Oct to start packing. Since we were there early we started packing anyway. Jerry had a couple of important Dr appts in Oct and early Nov so we couldn't leave before then anyway. Plus we had our annual VA appts in Oct.

We had also planned to do our annual trip to DC for Veteran's Day to be with the other Ia Drang survivors. We were debating whether to go or not this year due to the unexpected expenses we had earlier this year. Then we got a call from Clara. She had kidney cancer and was going to have a kidney removed in early Nov. Our decision was made--no DC this year. We would be in Savannah then, doing what we could to help.

During our time in Effingham, besides the packing, we visited with family and friends and went to the Elks, VFW and Danny's. We also got to be friends with the neighbors behind (Mooney) where we were parked and those across the street (Barr). Shelby Mooney is about 8 years old and if she sees me outside she comes over to walk LZ. AND to talk to me. I know everything that goes on in that neighborhood now! She is a character and keeps me laughing with her stories.

While we were in Effingham, Kay's phone (Nextel) broke. It is the same one she has had since we hit the road in '99 and she hadn't wanted to update as she really liked it's features. We had another just like it and called to transfer info to it. They said to take it to the local dealer and they could do it. Yeah-Right! They couldn't because it was an older phone. So she upgraded thru Nextel--for a price. That got me thinking about my phone (Verizon)and I went online to look up our account. I could upgrade to a certain level phone for nothing. So I now have a new camera phone.

Had to pay to upgrade a broken phone with Nextel, which we have been with for over 6 years, and was able to upgrade with Verizon, which we have been with for 4 years, for nothing. Doesn't make sense to me.

With everything going on this 2 month period I took very few pics but will post a couple.