Mike does most of the research and selections for our campground locations. I do most of the research for our daytrips and outings once we get to our new locations. We have learned to divide up the ‘chores’, so neither of us gets too bogged down with the time it takes to line up travel plans. We don’t have a long and detailed itinerary planned for The Lower 48 in 48 Tour, which is a little counter-intuitive for the organizer in my brain… but I’ve learned to go with it.
With regard to where we move along our route from stop to stop, the process is not too complicated. We usually have a brief discussion about the general direction and distance we would like to shoot for on our next leg of the journey. Mike takes that basic information and typically starts by looking at a map of campgrounds on a website called www.allstays.com. He starts whittling down the options after looking at things like price (our goal is between $30 and $40 per night), hook-ups, online reviews, and satellite photos. We learned that all parks are not open year -around, so the search gets a little more tough in the winter months when some places are closed for the season. Once he finds a workable option, he calls for the reservation and then gives me the details. I don’t often ask too many questions until the decision is complete.
When I left Michigan to fly to Oregon for my uncle’s funeral, the plans for our next stop had not yet been finalized… I knew we were planning to go to Indiana, but I was still waiting to find out where that would actually be. Mike picked me up at the airport in Grand Rapids upon my return, and we decided to go have dinner to catch up on the last five days. When I asked if he had made our next reservation in The Hoosier State, I was slightly surprised that his first selection criteria for this location had been the proximity to a reputable hospital and medical community. As he was explaining to me how the hospital was about 45 minutes from the campground, I remember wondering why there had been no discussion of any hospital services at any other time we had discussed Indiana.
It turns out that a growth had been discovered on Mike’s left thyroid back in 2011 before The Martins American Adventure had ever commenced. He had a biopsy done at that time and, when the results came back negative for cancer, he chose to ignore the issue. Fast forward to three year later, and the growth was becoming too large to ignore. While I was away on my trip, he decided that he was going to see a doctor at our next stop in Fort Wayne and (if necessary) schedule surgery. I had been suggesting he go see a doctor about his neck for several months, but Mike does not listen to my advice. He waited until I went out of town and then had the brilliant idea all by himself to go see a doctor. Typical. I call it Reverse-Idea-Origination-Syndrome. This is how it works: I have an idea. I tell it to Mike. He puts it in the back of his brain for a week or two (or a few years). One day it miraculously pops to the forefront of his thoughts and he magically thinks he thought of it all by himself. Then he suggests his brilliant idea to me. I praise him for being so smart, creative, blah, blah. We proceed with the plan.
Oh well, I don’t care how we got there, I was just happy to learn that the Bluffton/ South Fort Wayne KOA would be open until October 31st. Mike said he thought that would be enough time to get taken care of and healed back up before we moved again.
We arrived on a Wednesday at the beginning of October. Mike had his first appointment with Dr. Herr at Ft. Wayne ENT on Friday morning. Friday afternoon he had an ultra sound, and the following Thursday we were back at the doctor’s office for results. Dr. Herr confirmed the thing was BIG and needed to come out. The next step was a biopsy on the following morning. We waited about a week for those results to come back. Thank goodness they were negative – just like the 2011 report. Now Dr. Herr knew he would be doing a routine thyroid operation and not cancer surgery. We were all relieved for that. Mike went in a few days after that for the surgery, and then had one -week recovery time before it was time to travel again.
In between doctor visits we mainly just watched the fall colors transform the landscape. We walked the dogs on several hike and bike trails throughout the region, cooked, read books, and enjoyed as many campfires as possible. It was a low key stop that turned out to be somewhat unexpected but very successful.