Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 - First Camp of the Year

When the invite arrived from our friends at vanderlust to join them for a campout over the New Year we were excited go with them.  But alas it was not to be as a few days after the invite a trip to the doctor revealed that a pain I had in my arm was golfers elbow.  As much as we wanted to go we felt it prudent to limit the driving and stay home.  Ah but the call of the wild was too strong and it was not long before we came to a compromise.  We would find somewhere local and limit the time away to just one night, after all we felt bad that Benny was stuck on the drive.

So where to go that would be easy to get to and a mini adventure in its own right.  We thought of going to one of our favorite spots such as Deception Pass.

After much debate we finally decided on Manchester State park on Bremerton Island.  The bonus was that we had been meaning to visit for sometime, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity.

Packed and ready to go we headed to the down town Seattle ferry terminal with a quick detour on the way to pick up a green juice and it was a good green juice.

It was a cold, crisp and sunny day which made for a great view of the city as we headed out of dock on our way to Bremerton Island the home of a US Navy base.

Arriving in Bremerton we made a quick stop over in town before we headed out to Manchester State park.  The drive to the park was great it followed the water around the bay with views of huge aircraft carriers either being renovated or scrapped, not sure which one it was but it they were impressive to see so close regardless.

After a very pleasant drive we arrived at the park.  Note to GPS users, our GPS wanted to take us down the wrong road so if it is a choice between following your GPS or the brown state park sign, follow the sign.

Arriving at the park is pretty much like arriving at most state parks in the pacific northwest.  That is secluded spots with lots of trees.  As we pulled in a man was walking in the road and flagged us down.  Now when you are flagged down in a state park you don't expect someone to be begging for food but that was exactly what we encountered.  No messing around, as soon as I had the window down he asked for food.  I won't lie it was a disconcerting feeling, a mixture of pity and apprehension with a dose of "not sure we want to leave Benny".   We decided that we would head out of the camp area and pulled up down the street for an earnest conversation as to whether or not to stay at the park.  Given our options and the time of day we decided we would stay.

A walk with the dogs and a stroll by the water cleared the air and we took in the sights and listened to the seals chattering away until the ranger found us and politely told us the park was closed.

 Returning to Benny we headed back to the camp ground only to be greeted by the same man who had begged for food earlier.  Only this time he was not hungry and was more interested in the Van and where we were from.  It was during the conversation that I got the sense that he was a little disabled and was probably not an axe murderer although Sarah was not convinced.

We found our spot and pitched in for the night.  With the heater running at full blast Sarah cooked us up a stew and after a relaxing read we settled down for a long restful night sleep.  

Well that was what I thought until at 4am'ish I was rudely awoken by Sarah.  She told me she could hear screaming and was scared.  Now that is not something you wake up to everyday and at 4ish in the morning it took my little brain a little while to wrap itself around what it had just heard.  Then there it was a Scream in the night.   Yup, I won't lie not the most reassuring sound to hear in the middle of the night and a fleeting axe murderer thought might have entered my mind.

Then the screaming stopped and all was silent.  What to do? my first reaction was to go take a look, like that always works out for people in horror films right?  Well even if I wanted to there was no way Sarah was letting me out.  I took comfort in the fact that Candy and Daisy were both silent.  If anyone comes even close to the van they go nuts so I knew nothing was close by.  So with nothing else to do but hope no one was hurt or being attacked I did the only thing I could which was roll over and try and reclaim some sleep.  Yes we did think of calling 911 but when all went silent we decided not to.

Well sleep was not going to happen when around 4:30ish the emergency services arrived.  That answered the screaming question and knowing that help was being rendered put our minds at ease so we could get some sleep.  Not so much, turns out sleep is really difficult when your van is lit up like a party barge.  Eventually the emergency services pulled away and we were able to put screaming, axe murderers and spooky things that go bump in the night out of our minds well mostly.  I finally got to sleep but poor Sarah had to listen the seals having a good time - sometimes it is an advantage being deaf.

The next day on our way out of the park the park ranger flagged us down.  With trepidation I rolled down the window.  He was a really nice guy and wanted to let us know we had actually overpaid for the night and we had change waiting for us at the office.  Now that is something I don't mind being flagged down for.  We asked about the goings on during the night but he did not know anything having only just heard about it himself.  As for the chap begging he was known and been asked not to disturb other campers but was otherwise harmless.  We picked up our change and headed into Port Orchard for a look around before heading home.

Port Orchard is 15 minutes from the State park and an artsy town with lots of antique shops.  A great place to poke around for a couple of hours.  We did not find any new treasures but enjoyed the stop. With our ferry time approaching we headed out and caught the ferry back to Seattle for the trip home.

Well we wanted a mini adventure and we definitely got one.  Until we see you on the road remember to Max Life Out.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 - 2015 Christmas and New Year

As I mentioned in my "Golfers Elbow" post the holiday period has been a mixed bag and that means there where good times to be had and have them we did.

We picked up our tree from the tree farm we have been going to since living here just after Thanks Giving.  It was great to be able to go get it together and it marked the start of the holiday season.

A trip to see Mary Poppins was an opportunity to get dressed up and take a trip down memory lane. Along with the Wizard of OZ Mary Poppins was a holiday favorite that truth to be told I started to avoid a good number of years ago.  So I was not initially thrilled at the thought of seeing it live but the enthusiasm of my fabulous wife soon rubbed off and I was looking forward to the show.  I was not disappointed, it was a fun and engaging spectacle with a good amount of artistic license that Sarah was quick to point out.  I even found myself singing alone, albeit quietly, no sense in scaring people now.

We took our next door neighbors and good friends to see a local production of "It's a wonderful life" performed in the manner of a 50's radio show.  As a favorite story of ours it was fun to see the performance at a local school.  The evening was rounded off with a pumpkin spice late made without milk or coffee and was quite the creation.

Christmas Eve we took a trip into Seattle and wandered Pike Place Market.  The trip was a life saver for me as up until then I was unable to find the present I wanted for Sarah and was afraid I would fail in my mission.  The stars however aligned and I found the perfect presents just in time. 

Christmas was a day for togetherness as our small family enjoyed each others company and the gift of being able to spend it together.  The girls managed to destroy there presents in under 5 minutes flat.

Our friends next door cooked up a slap up and fancy meal to celebrate the holiday and in our best bib and tucker we went round for an evening of good food and company.  Not sure about the bow tie but it was a talking point.

We caught up with some old friends we have not seen in years and spent time with some new friends. and saw the New Year in quietly at home to fireworks from Seattle on the TV.  It was a cold night and I did not envy those that had to fight there way out of Seattle.

We had planned to join some friends camping over the New Year but did not feel up to risking a long drive with golfers elbow and my current state of health so we opt'ed for a one night camp out on Bremerton Island at Manchester State park and that is a story all of its own so look out for the post.

At the weekend our tree and the holidays got taken down and packed away marking the end of the holiday session and the beginning of a great new year.

Injury Recovery Part 38 - Golfers Elbow

I hope you had a wonderful holiday period.  The holiday period has been a mixed bag of feelings and emotions as the recovery journey continues and to be honest I have not felt much like writing about them as I really wanted everything to be perfect.  It is funny how long it takes to realize that things are already perfect and to stop thinking about it and just get on with enjoying the gift of life.   You see yo yoing is just part of who we are and every day brings us new challenges large and small.  It is how we choose to deal with them that matters.

I am continually being educated and humbled by my recovery and forced to accept that recovering from a serious injury happens in layers, takes time and dealing with setbacks is par for the course.

It has been a bit of a "so what's next" period with a definite desire not to find out at times.  During my recovery exercises a few weeks back I started to notice my right arm aching.  I did not pay too much attention to it but as the weeks went by the ache did not go away until the nagging pain started to play on my mind.  With a concern it might be a blood clot I went to see the doctor.  I received the good news it was not a blood clot but the surprising and somewhat disappointing news that I had Golfers Elbow the companion to Tennis Elbow, and I don't even play golf.  Golfers elbow is a repetitive strain injury (RSI) and it is unclear what brought it on. 

Talk about frustrating, first my tooth causes delays in recovery, then low back pain and now golfers elbow.  As you can imagine it is hard to maintain a positive attitude when you take 1 step forward and 3 steps back, that is until I re-balance myself with a simple statement "Today is a gift, if things had gone differently I would not be here today".  Then the simple fact that I am here and able to enjoy time with Sarah, family and friends brings everything into perspective.

Golfers elbow is just another hill to climb and overcome.

Whatever hills you have to climb I wish you awesome success in 2015 and remember to Max Life Out.