November 21 2011

Looking forward to having some adventures in Tucson during the month of November, I left Kodachrome Basin on October 25. The first night on the road was spent at the Wal-Mart in Page, AZ. It rained hard that night – why does it always rain when I’m going through Page? However my third attempt at caulking the skylight seemed to have done the trick and there were no leaks.

Arriving in Tucson on 10/28, I headed for Casino del Sol and discovered the furthest south parking lot absolutely jammed with RVs. What’s going on? Someone came over to my window as I sat there in shock and asked if I was there for the Desert Bluegrass Festival. Well, I hadn’t planned on it, but it sounded like fun. I found a spot in amongst RVs of every size and type; this was a delightful and totally unexpected adventure in Tucson.

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That evening there was a free concert – six bands in competition – so I went  over to listen for a bit. For the next two days as I was working in my rig, I heard the plinking of banjos and mandolins, the deep beat of the bass, and the strumming of guitars as groups of passionate bluegrass fans got together throughout the parking lot and jammed.

Jamming at the Desert Bluegrass FestivalJamming at the Desert Bluegrass Festival

I talked with my brother Steve in MA and discovered that Dad had gone into the hospital a few days before and was not expected to make it through the day. Later that evening, Steve called to tell me that Dad died just 20 minutes after he left the hospital. A favorite nurse was with him stroking his back and he just went – so quietly and peacefully. He had turned 95 a few weeks before, so he lived a good long life; I was so thankful that I made the trip to see him the end of August. I’ve heard from several people that it’s quite common for patients at the end of life to wait until family members leave before they relax and let go.

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Gilbert Ray CampgroundGilbert Ray Campground - Tucson, AZ

There seems to be a new policy here when they have big concerts, as all motorhomes have to move out. So I headed down to the Desert Diamond Casino for a night. The following weekend was the grand opening of the new hotel here at the Casino, as well as a Tim McGraw concert, so all motorhomes had to again move out for the duration. I asked whether I could stay if I bought a ticket to the concert, but was told “no,” so I moved over to the Gilbert Ray Campground in Tucson Mountain Park for three nights. My adventures in Tucson got a little quieter - it was kind of nice to be surrounded by cactus, mesquite and palo verde instead of asphalt, and I woke each morning to a chorus of coyotes yipping joyfully as they greeted the sun.

I drove into town one day to see the landscape exhibit at The Drawing Studio and parked next to Armory Park on 6th Avenue. The park was filled with tents and people engaged in the Occupy Tucson movement. Late that night they were “evicted” from that park and moved over to another. That adventure in Tucson is still going strong as I write.

I've ordered Wild Alaskan fillets from SeaBear before - they are delicious!

Wild Alaskan Salmon Dinner Fillets

Occupy Tucson - Armory ParkOccupy Tucson at Armory Park, Tucson

November in Tucson had been planned to deal with doctors, dentists and vets. Three nights before my dentist appointment, I was flossing my teeth like a good girl, and a tooth popped right out of my mouth. I can’t remember what was done to that tooth originally, but it had a post and a fairly snug fit, so I stuck it back in and it stayed there until the dentist re-cemented it. I was very thankful it hadn't gone down the drain!

The next day I saw my oncologist for the annual checkup. There was a bump that had been concerning me, mainly as it was growing next to the site of the lumpectomy done seven years previously. Over the next two weeks my adventures in Tucson took an unexpected and upsetting turn. He sent me to a surgeon who did not like what she saw; she told me, since I had had radiation the last time, the only option if it turned out to be cancer would be a mastectomy. A subsequent biopsy confirmed the bump was cancer; an MRI the next day showed that it didn't seem to have spread any further.

This was one adventure in Tucson I hadn't anticipated; I talked with friends who had been through this, or knew someone who had, and discovered there is a tribe of breastless women out there I never knew about. By the time I saw the surgeon again I was quite clear that I did not want to go through this again and told her I would have a bilateral mastectomy with no reconstruction; surgery was scheduled for December 12. At this point I do not know what other treatments will be necessary – the oncologist will determine if I need chemo and my appointment with him is on 11/29.

Bijou NappingTaking a Break From Adventures in Tucson

In between all those appointments, I looked for and found an apartment, got new glasses, bought a bed, and made lists of what  furniture/lamps/incidentals I would need to find at area used furniture stores. I also took Mehitabel in for servicing twice which ate up a whole day each time. Concentrating on the things that weren’t scary, I forged ahead.

What's Next for Adventures in Tucson?

I was overwhelmed and grateful for the support and encouragement I received from family and friends, as well as from people I didn’t even know. I was a member of the Escapees RV Club and, when I arrived, had contacted another member who lives here in Tucson to see if we could get together while I’m in town. We had talked once; she happened to call again the day I got the bad news. When I told her what was going on, her first words were, “What can I do to help?” She offered to take me, and Bijou, to stay for a couple of days after the surgery – she has a real house as well as an rv. Another woman, alerted to my presence in Tucson by a mutual friend, invited me for Thanksgiving.

Working the Slot Machines at Casino del SolWorking the Slots at Casino del Sol

What do you do when life deals you a hand with some bad cards? I would play the hand I was dealt – I didn't especially like this adventure in Tucson but there was nothing to be gained by whining about it. I was and would continue to be all right, and I’d be joining that group of very brave and resourceful women who had gone before me. I’d be making new friends, and looked forward to spending the winter and early spring having happier adventures in Tucson. It would be nice to spread out a little in an apartment, and take some drawing and painting workshops. Much as I loved RVing, I'd enjoy being off the road for a while.

Abundance for Life

Caution:  Using this program could cause radical changes in your life. It certainly did in mine. I ended up selling my house and all my belongings to become a full-time RVer! Best decision I ever made! Basically, it changed the way I look at the world.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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La Encantada Mall in Tucson 
Hi Susan, I enjoyed meeting you in the mall yesterday! And also have certainly enjoyed reading about your adventures on your website! I will be back …

On the RV Interruptions 
Susan: I certainly wasn't expecting that kind of news from Tucson when I finally got caught up on my reading. You are obviously a strong woman and will …

More on the News from Tucson 
I think you are one of the strongest, most self-motivated women I have ever met and you'll make it through this, just as you've conquered past hurdles. …

RV Adventure Woes 
Hi, Susan - Sorry to hear of your woes and wish you the best next week. Keep me in the loop, and don't make us all wait too long for news updates! Will …

Hanging Out in Your RV 
What I think're an even more extraordinary woman than I had realized. As we were best friends in primary school you were just like me, I believed. …

RV Adventures Interrupted 
Susan, let me first begin by offering my condolences on the loss of your Dad. You're right, he lived a long life, but it's still hard to say goodbye. …

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Adventures in Tucson at Casino del Sol

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