What the %#@#!

I love to walk.  Wherever Lisa and I have been in our travels with her work – I have found some amazing places to hike.  In Gettysburg I walked the battlefield almost daily.  In Loma Linda, California I found walking among the palm trees and orange groves in the shadow of Big Bear Mountain to be the most picturesque hike of my life.  Stone Mountain offered marvelous scenery and even Arizona’s desert had an appeal.  Walking has been a good way to stay in shape and explore areas of God’s amazing earth that driving past in a car would have missed.  Walking forces me to slow down and that can be a really good thing.  Though arthritis in my left knee and some foot problems that need surgery have me limping some of the time – I walk on and have enjoyed every step along the way.  Well – mostly.

Here in Cambridge Ohio I found a “Rails to Trails” six mile paved path called the “Great Guernsey Trail” situated just a couple miles outside town.  I began walking the path about a week after we arrived and averaged about five miles per day after walking every morning and afternoon.  The path is sandwiched between a rather large creek on one side and a large marshy area on the other that must be a favorite spot for duck hunters in the area.  Cranes can be seen standing with their long legs in the shallow water and ducks and geese are prevalent.  During my walks I have spotted numerous critters including deer, chipmunks, squirrels (some solid black), rabbits and beaver.  Recently on a trip I noticed a black form about fifty yards ahead laying in the middle of the path and thought at first it was a limb that had fallen from the canopy of trees overhead.  As I got closer I noticed it’s head start moving and at first glance thought I was looking at a very large snake.  I slowed up and waited to see what the creature (whatever it was) would do and just as I got a little closer – noticed it begin moving off the path and that it was a very large turtle.  A VERY large turtle.

Now let me explain something – I am a city boy – let me be clear about that.  I love the outdoors and I have a fond appreciation for wildlife and God’s creations.  But when it comes to being out in the wild – I would much prefer having electric fences, cages or glass enclosures separating me from them – especially things that slither.  As I walked on – now wary of the possibility of these prehistoric looking turtles being in the grass beside the pathway I was walking – I realized I did not enjoy this walk nearly as much as I had five minutes before.  After walking another quarter mile I again noticed something rustling in the grass beside the path ahead of me and eventually came upon the knarliest snapping turtle I had ever seen.  Being just a couple feet from the thing as I passed – it seemed to be protecting the nesting area it had dug out.  Geez!  The thought occurred to me that I may need to start carrying a pistol or a harpoon on these walks.

I managed to get back to my truck without any violent encounters with the other snapping turtles I passed (and there were about five).  My conclusion was they were coming up from the swamp and creek to lay eggs and were protecting their offspring.  ‘Don’t worry Mommy (or Daddy) – you leave me alone and I will leave you alone’.  In fact, you come after me and I am running.  Now you may be laughing at the thought of being chased by a turtle.  But I noticed one moving with incredible speed along the path at one point and as slow as I am – I’m not sure I could outrun it.  No – let me take that back.  If this hideous creature comes after me trying to snap my toe off – it ain’t gonna catch me.

The next day I again set out on the Great Guernsey Trail having regained my confidence after seeing a senior adult lady on a walker braving the journey.  Surely if this poor thing can survive this Jurassic path – so can I.  After again passing several snapping turtles I became more comfortable with my walk.  Then the snakes.  Why did it have to be snakes?  As I walked along keeping one eye on the path and one on the mutated turtles, a man on a bike approached and warned me that a four foot long snake was laying off the side of the path just a few feet ahead of me.  “Oh! Okay!”, I said nonchalantly as if I was kin to the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, and handled snakes on a regular basis.  He passed me – and I turned around and high tailed it the other way.  I think I almost passed him on the path back to my truck.  You would have thought I was watching a tennis match as my eyes scanned both sides of the path watching for the turtles from hell and four foot long snakes ready to attack.  What’s next?  A mountain lion?  Black Panther? Charging Rhino?  At one point an insect landed on the back of my leg and I almost crapped my pants.  Get me the hell out of here!

I have now found another really good place to walk.  It has really wide walkways, and plenty of things to see.  I have to admit some of the creatures I have encountered there have been even uglier and scarier than those God-forsaken snapping turtles.  But at least Wal-Mart has restrooms!

Take Care!  Steve and Lisa


A Long First Week

One week down here in Ohio and one Lisa and I are glad is over.  After waiting for paperwork to be completed Lisa was finally cleared to begin work this past Friday and was met with a warm welcome from the director of her department.  And no wonder.  The girl she was to be working with quit the day before and as of right now Lisa is the only Echo-Tech at the hospital.  It looks like thirteen weeks may have just turned into twenty-six.  Dealing with all that was not easy – especially since she has been sick with an upper respiratory infection.  But she has soldiered on and is hoping to survive this first full week.  We both have learned that the first couple of weeks in a new place is the hardest adjustment and being sick makes that almost unbearable.  My stomach bug and her respiratory problems have made us very unhappy campers.

It has been interesting watching Lisa prove how good she is at her job and when doctors start questioning her ability they quickly find out she knows what she is doing and in some cases knows much more about ultra-sound than the doctors.  This happened yesterday after Lisa was warned that one of the Cardiologists would challenge her at every turn but – she should stand her ground.  No problem.  Lisa’s southern charm combined with nearly thirty years of experience disarmed the doctor in rapid order and when Lisa explained some of the places she had worked including Atlanta and Loma Linda, California – game over.  This ain’t her first rodeo.

So people are nice but not ‘out of their way nice’ here in Ohio.  We find it much like our experience with people in Pennsylvania.  But it makes it fairly easy to connect with people who seem to love (even need) southern hospitality.  I predict people will be in tears when Lisa leaves this place – I know her too well and soon many others will.  Her track record speaks for itself.

Love, Steve and Lisa




In Ohio

It has been a rough first week for Lisa and I here in Cambridge Ohio.  We arrived here on Monday and after practically causing the entire campground here to evacuate while we attempted to back our RV into it’s slot – we finally unhitched to the cheers of those who had gathered to watch the fiasco and collapsed.  I wonder if my “backing up disability” counts for some kind of compensation?  Our next campground will have to have ‘pull through’ sites or else we may end up in the Wal-Mart parking lot for three months.  I can pull our RV through Atlanta, Arizona and anywhere on earth – just don’t ask me to back up.

Apparently one of the things we did not realize we had packed with us from Owensboro was a flu bug that our son and Lisa’s brother had contracted while we were with them before leaving.  It hit me first Monday night and I am still not completely recovered three days later.  Lisa has now got what appears to be a slightly different version and (hopefully) not as severe.  After waiting for all the lab work, police reports from every state she has worked and enough paperwork to make Tolstoy blush – she finally made into work this afternoon (Friday) and at least can get some of her orientation completed before getting a fresh start Monday morning – we hope.  After rushing to get here to have her fingers printed on Tuesday – it has been what my mom often called “hurry up and wait”.  Sounds like a government job to me.

Cambridge reminds us of Hanover/Gettysburg Pennsylvania where we stayed back in 2012 for five months.  The town is small but charming and has plenty of everything we really need – restaurants, groceries, fuel and (of course) a Wal-Mart.  We are hoping to get back to Gettysburg which is about five hours east of us to visit with friends from our stay there.  It is great being just six hours from home and we know if our need to see our grandson gets too intense – we can just drive home.

Lisa is looking forward to checking out Cambridge glass – which was made here years ago and is famous in the area.  Much like Hanover there are plenty of antique stores and an extensive Amish community just north of us that we hope to check out soon.  In the meantime we just look forward to feeling better and finding out what it is like being a Buckeye.

Take Care!  Steve and Lisa

When Things Don’t Feel Right

In all the places where Lisa and I have traveled with her job – there has not been an opportunity come along that we did not feel genuinely excited about.  We were thrilled to learn about her first placement in Hanover, Pennsylvania – just thirty minutes from Gettysburg – and we even looked forward to the long trips west to Loma Linda, California and Kingman Arizona.  But this past week that good feeling could not be found.  In the words of Barry Manilow – we looked high, low and everywhere in between – just trying to get the feeling again.

After two months we were beginning to get a little anxious for her next assignment and were ready to accept about anything that came along.  Almost anything.  A call came in on Thursday this past week that a three week job came open in Oklahoma and the job was here if she wanted it.  We researched the area and talked about it.  We then researched a little more and talked a little more.  Then something very unusual happened.  We both said we did not want to go.  Something just did not feel right about this and though we needed the work – we were willing to wait for something better.  Let me repeat – we were willing to wait for something better.

The next day Lisa received a call from a hospital in Cambridge Ohio and by the time the hour long phone interview ended – she was offered a thirteen week job at a place just six hours from home.  And this time – we both were feeling good about it.

I don’t always trust my feelings.  It has served me well to ignore my emotions when making a decision and instead weigh all the facts.  In the case of the job in Oklahoma there was really no reason to turn down the offer but the strong negative feeling we both experienced was enough to rely on.  As it turned out our feelings led us to this place in Ohio and after arriving last night, we have high hopes that this will be a really good place to spend the summer.

We know very little about Cambridge – other than it is the birthplace of John Glenn.  We will learn more about the area in the coming weeks and will continue to blog our newest adventures.  We feel blessed to have so many read about our travels and encourage us from one assignment to another.  That really makes us feel good.

Love, Steve and Lisa