Sunday, February 26, 2006

2:03 PM Sunday February 26, 2006

It’s confession time again. There are only a couple things that really frighten me and one of them is traveling up and down mountains in the motorhome. When they are unavoidable (we use both east and west trucker’s mountain pass books), on all the upgrades I am positive the engine is going to blow up and on all the downgrades I’m convinced the brakes will fail. You must know seeing my friend Ardella was VERY important to me (and I continuously reminded myself of that fact during our drive up the mountain to Payson yesterday) because this kind of travel is so very scary for me.

Phil takes it in stride but a 6% grade or steeper breaks me out in a cold sweat and turns it into a white-knuckle ride for me. In addition to the several 6% hills, they’ve thrown in a couple 7% downgrades to be negotiated across the ups and downs of AZ highway 87 through the Mazatzal Mountains in the Tonto National Forest. Actually, it is a wonderful four-lane road and in a car or even our little Lone Ranger it’s a fantastic drive. Then, just as we reached the turn into the RV Park our remarkable Penny the Pace, who had worked so hard for 120 miles just quit. She started again, then quit again and Phil coaxed her to the door of the office. After sitting for about 30 minutes while he checked us in and we picked our site, she started again and ran perfectly. Vapor lock? Phil insulated the gas line and routed it away from the exhaust when this happened back in Minnesota last year. We thought we had the problem solved—maybe not, or maybe it was something else this time? If so, I'm sure she'll let us know once we’re on the road again.

Once we were set up, we drove the Lone Ranger into Payson and spent the rest of the day and early evening visiting with our friends and eating some homemade green chili and beef burritos and pinto beans, prepared by Donald and their son, Jason. Yummm! Don and Ardella were both looking good yesterday but Ardella is having a very difficult time keeping her blood pressure high enough. Consequently, when she stands up she very nearly loses consciousness and has gone down twice. Lack of food (nothing tastes good and she’s lost 21 pounds since I saw her last), lack of salt and high blood pressure meds have contributed to the bottom falling out of her blood pressure. She called her doctor and he told her to stop taking her meds and get busy eating some salty foods to get some sodium into her body. By the time we left, her numbers were on the rise! Isn’t the human body an incredible machine?

Note: When we leave the top of this mountain, I will be driving the Lone Ranger and we’ll hook back up at the bottom. Phil and I will keep in touch with Walkie Talkies and I will follow to keep an eye on Penny’s brakes. This should definitely lower my anxiety level and without a toad it will make it easier for our much loved Penny the Pace! I’ve been told I’m silly for worrying but unfounded or not, this fear is a reality for me. Hopefully, this new method of traveling across any mountains will be our solution.

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