The Adventures of Me & My Shadow # 98 in MD,VA,WV,PN,OH,IN.IL,IA,NE,SD & return DE,NJ,NY & return 5/15/2004

4,000 miles this trip. Odometer now 46,905. Miles this year 5,680.

From Jeff’s place in MD, Hi Everyone!!

I made a high speed, 33 hundred mile, round trip to Sioux Falls, SD for a Doctors appointment. I didn’t take the motorhome as the price of fuel is too high. I paid from $1.74 to $1.94 per gallon on the trip in a 1992 Ford Crown Victoria with over 162,000 miles on it. I had made an appointment to see Doc. Olson, the best Doctor in the world, to get my Defibrillator checked. He did the bypass surgery on my heart 14 years ago and implanted my first defibrillator over 10 years ago. Without him I would not be alive today. I have been to several cardiologist in the USA, Doctor Olson is the only one who sees me as a friend, the rest of them see me as a source of income. He knows more about hearts and defibrillators than all the others put together. The checkup went well, My second defibrillator has not done anything since it was implanted after the battery expired on the first one, the pills that Doc. Olson has me on have my heart working like it is supposed to, and I feel good. Who could ask for anything more.

Many of the other doctors want to put me on Pacerone, a very powerful drug to stabilize the heart rhythm. Doctor Olson will not give it to me as he says it can shorten my life. I told Doc. Olson I would see him again in about six months before I head South for the winter.

Now, I have to tell you about this 12 year old Ford car that I made the trip in. It looks like new, inside and out. It belonged to a rich buddy of my son Mark. When it got 160,000 miles on it, the rich guy decided he wanted a new one, so he gave this one to Mark. Mark didn’t like it so he gave it his brother Jeff, who suggested that I drive it to Sioux Falls as it would get better mileage than the motorhome. The motorhome would go 2/3 the speed and burn about 3 times as much gas as the ford car. The first time I drove the Ford I was on a back road and it was so quiet, I looked at the speedometer and I was going 80 MPH. I slowed down but thought that the speedometer must be reading high. On the trip I found out that the speedometer and the odometer are correct. I also found out that the traffic most places is very heavy and very fast. The Posted speed ranged from 55 to 70 MPH and most of the traffic was going 65 to 80 MPH most of the time. One time, I thought I would get a speeding ticket, The posted speed was 65 for cars and 55 for trucks, I was in the left lane, slowly going past the 70 MPH trucks and I see in the mirror a state trooper coming up behind me. I signaled for a lane change and moved over between two trucks. I don’t think the trooper even noticed me as he kept right on going at about 75 MPH, so I moved into the left lane and kept passing trucks. Some other times, I would not know how fast I was going as the speedometer on the Ford only went to 85, and I went past that just to stay out of the way of the guys and gals in a hurry.

The Ford had an overdrive tranny and got very good mileage 24 to 27 MPG on the way west. On the way east, in IA I stopped in a rest area to eat some chow and call Jenny, every thing was working good before I stopped. When I left the rest area, I tried to accelerate to get up to the speed of the traffic, the car shook all over. I found that if I kept a very light foot I could get up to speed. At one point it started to accelerate all by its self, with my foot off of the pedal, it slowly got up to 80 MPH, reaching down I pulled up on the pedal and it kept going till I tapped the pedal with my foot. It scared the hell out of me, I wondered if I would have to turn the ignition off to stop it from going faster. I tried to figure out what had happened. I didn’t know if it was the engine or the transmission that made it shake. At the next exit I pulled into a truck stop and started checking things. The engine oil and transmission oil levels were OK, I see some linkage from the tranny to the throttle lever on the engine was disconnected, a plastic bushing had broken in half and one half was missing, it was what had held the linkage in place. It was getting late and I knew I would have to wait till the next day to find a Ford dealer and get a new bushing. I went into the store at the truck stop and bought a roll of electricians tape and I got it wrapped around the linkage to hold it in place but the pin was not centered in the hole. I tried it and it was a little better than before and just before it got dark I stopped again. I cut the tape off and put the half bushing in so it would hold the pin in the center of the hole and wrapped tape around it again to hold it together. This time it worked much better and I was able to drive it all the way home but the mileage has dropped down into the teens so I had to stop more often for fuel. The old car is starting to show it’s age.

I got a new bushing from the Ford dealer here in Salisbury, MD for $2 and put it in, I also bought a Repair Manual and will see if I can find out why the gas mileage went so low after the bushing broke. I have never owned a vehicle with fuel injection so it is all new to me and with my memory loss, learning new stuff don’t come easy. I don’t know if I’ll find time this summer to get my solar panels rigged up, just since I have been back I have been busy fixing things and doing things for the family. I drove my granddaughter Rebeckah to driving lessons, helped put new front brake pads on a pickup truck and a car. They keep finding things for me to do and with the high cost of labor in shops, I am glad to help them out, it keeps me out of trouble. I will admit that I would soon die if I had nothing to do, But I have other things to do!

On the way west, I stopped in Gladstone, MO and had a short visit with my brother Gerald & Evon, spent the night and then headed north to Coleridge, NE, my old home town. I had a nice visit with an old childhood buddy and his wife. when we were kids he lived across the field south of us. We got to reminiscing about a phone system we rigged up, this was before Cell phones and dial phones. The standard phones were on the wall and you turned a crank on it to call out. As I remember it, the one we rigged up was voice powered and we talked and listened into the same thing. we only ran one wire. Darrel was in charge of it so he remembered more than I did. His dad was a rural mailman and in his garage was a model T Ford that had been converted to a snow vehicle, another rear axle had been added and caterpillar tracks ran between the two axles, the front wheels were off and runners were installed. To me it looked like it should work but Darrel said the engine didn’t have enough power. I have never seen another one. After spending the night, I went over to Marv & Jackie’s place, Marv was my boss when I worked at the Alfalfa Dehy. Plant. Had a nice visit before heading to my cousin Elno & Barb’s place To visit and spend a night so I wouldn’t have to stay in a motel in Sioux falls. It was here that I was reminded that in my old age I’m not as fast as I used to be. We saw a small bull snake in his front lawn and Elno wanted to capture it and take it out in the field to turn it loose. In my younger days I would catch them by getting their attention with one hand and grabbing it behind the head with the other hand. This time it worked the other way, it got my attention when it bit me on the finger trying to get it’s attention. We finally got it in a bag and took it out in a field and turned it loose.

Now I can’t close this story without bitching about something, this time it’s the high cost of prescription and over the counter drugs. Lately on the national news I hear a lot about trying to find ways to get the prices of drugs down. While I am listening to 5 min. of news about the high prices, I have to listen to 10 min. of primetime TV advertising from people who are not Doctors, trying to sell me prescription drugs. Now I believe, if they were prohibited from advertising drugs on primetime TV they could cut the price in half, and still make a profit. If the drugs are good, they will be promoted by the Doctors who prescribe them, and the people who use them. The other day, when I was getting a prescription filled, by April, the best pharmacist I know, she is very efficient and friendly. I was telling her my opinion of why the prices were high, and she gave me her opinion. She told me that the drug companies are owned by insurance companies, and if this was prohibited the prices would be much lower. I did not know this. Now we have two ways to get the prices down, if we could just get the right people informed the price of drugs could come down a long ways.

I just got some good news to report. I had lost my wallet and I got word that it had been found. This is quite an adventure story, it began when my son Mark asked me to ride along with him in a truck to deliver a load of plants from a nursery in VA to a nursery in Long Island, NY. He picked me up Sunday about noon, he drove all afternoon and we spent the night in a motel in Long Island so he could make two deliveries early Monday morning. It was an interesting trip, I had not been to NY for a few years and it has been some time since I have made a trip with someone else doing the driving. Just like the trip to Sioux Falls, the traffic was heavy and heavier going 5 to 10 MPH above the posted speed limits, or moving a few feet now & again in construction zones. We saw several wrecks in the west bound lanes of the Long Island Expressway when we were in the east bound lanes. About 6:00 PM he stopped to fuel up and I ran in to get a sandwich as it was time to take my pills (one of them says take with food).

This truck has a long wheelbase with a cab over engine, the seats were right above the front axle, it had stiff front springs and a light load. It was the roughest riding truck I have ever ridden in, even on smooth stretches of road, I was bouncing up and down in the seat. This was one time that being fat would have an advantage, it would compress those stiff front springs for a better ride and I would have more padding on my rear end. In the Motel was a folder with a lot of advertising in it, one was for a massage parlor that charged over $100 per hour for a massage. I figured that on the round trip, my bony old butt got a $2,000.00 dollar massage.

I didn’t miss my wallet till Monday night when I was home and going to bed, it sure gave me a sinking feeling, I had no idea where it could be. I called the credit card people and cancelled the cards and ordered new ones. I wondered if I had any money left in my accounts. On Tuesday morning, I went to have some blood taken for some tests to be faxed to Sioux Falls. A 12 hour fast was require for one of the tests, was the reason they couldn’t do it when I was in Sioux falls. When I got home from that, I found out that a cleaning lady found the wallet next to the thrown in the restroom at the nursery where the plants were delivered. It must have fallen out of my pocket when I dropped my pants to make a deposit. In my wallet were two prescriptions given to me in Sioux Falls, for drugs I am taking, the cleaning lady found it and turned it in, they saw the prescriptions, called Doctor Olsen’s office in Sioux Falls to get the phone number where I could be reached. When I called the gal in the nursery in NY, to tell them where to send the wallet, she was curious to know. If I had a Virginia Drivers license and address, why was I, living in Maryland, going to a doctor in South Dakota, and loosing my wallet in a nursery in New York? I told her it was because Doctor Olson don’t make house calls. So the morel to the story is: if you are like me and move around a lot, and you loose your wallet be sure you have a prescription in it so they know where to find you.

Till next time, Dallas, or Dad if it fits.


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