Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Well, I was going to post something last night, but a giant storm over the Hughes NOC in Virginia had us off-line all evening.

The pictures Louise posted below are of the KOA (ugh) in Abilene, TX (also ugh, but here's the map). You may recall that the vet in Andrews was going to refer us to a clinic in Dallas for Opal to have a myelogram. He was going to make calls on Monday for a Tuesday appointment. So Sunday morning we headed due east to Big Spring, fueled up, and then blasted up I-20 to Abilene, planning on blasting the rest of the way to Dallas on Monday.

There are not many camping options along I-20, and the choices are more limited if one requires power. Abilene had two AAA-rated campgrounds, and, believe it or not, the KOA was the nicer of the two. We also needed groceries, so we ended up driving around Abilene for twenty minutes looking for a store. The city is physically huge, sprawling for several miles in all directions, yet we had great difficulty finding a supermarket. We finally ended up shopping at a Wal-Mart, and having dinner at the nearby Olive Garden. Outside of this one little district, the city seems to be defunct, with oodles of boarded-up storefronts. Of course, it's hard to assess any town in the bible belt on a Sunday, since the sidewalks stay rolled up.

We settled in at the KOA, since they had 50 amp service and a pool. Although, in hindsight, we could have run our genny the whole time we were in Abilene for less than we spent at KOA, and we probably would have had essentially the same experience.

Monday morning, the dog had recovered even further. She was going up and down the stairs without much trouble, was more alert, and was returning to her old self. Around 10am I called the vet as we had previously arranged, and we discussed the situation. When we picked up her x-rays on Sunday morning, I had handed him a couple of articles I plucked from the internet on Metronidazole Toxicosis, and on Monday morning he was pretty much in agreement that this was the most likely diagnosis. We agreed that the recommended strategy was now continued observation and supportive therapy, and that we would hold off on a myelogram unless there was a symptomatic relapse. He allowed in any case that a clinic would be unlikely to want to proceed with the radiology given that her symptoms had mostly disappeared.

So there we were in Abilene, on I-20, just 160 miles or so from our destination of Fort Worth, where we do not have to be until Wednesday. We bailed off the interstate and headed north a bit to our originally planned route of US-180, a much more comfortable sort of road for us.

That landed us here, at Mineral Wells State Park (map), just about 50 miles west of Fort Worth. The park has 50 amp service (though there are also loops for primitive camping and 30 amp service) for $15 per night, and there is a nice lake, a small store, and some other ammenities here. The sites are wooded and have good separation -- more than twice as nice as the KOA for less than half the price. We paid $3 extra for a "premium" site, meaning it fronts the lake. Although the swimming beach is a mile away, we were able to swim right from our site, and this is the best water we've been in since Mexico. Checkout isn't until 2pm, so we will probably get another swim in before we leave here today.

As of this morning, Opal seems to have made a full recovery, so we are very relieved. Tonight we will find ourselves somewhere in the Fort Worth area, a full day early. We will not go directly to our reserved campground, since it is reputed to be a crappy little place. We chose it because it is right on a city bus route that will take us to the convention center. We don't want to ride our motorcycles in our convention duds in the heat, nor do we want to have to pay to park them, so access to transit was our main campground selection criterion.

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