First RV Trip

Vicki and I had the weird idea that maybe instead of spending crazy amounts of money to fly out to BC this year, we instead rent an RV and spend a couple of weeks going out, and a couple coming back. And we could take the dogs with us!

But of course, before we want to commit to a month on the road, we thought we’d better try a short trip. So we rented a motorhome from and about the last available campsite in the Adirondacks. We had an awesome time. I think even the dogs liked it.

Unfortunately, the rental place wouldn’t allow us to pick up the vehicle until after 2pm, and the campsite wouldn’t allow you to check in after 9pm, so there was a bit of a rush. We took the RV home and basically just dumped everything through the door without thinking about what goes where, and hit the road. We ended up barely making the time cut.

Possibly a good sign for what PRP is doing for me, but I made the 5-ish hours of driving without any extra pain in my hamstring/performis/ischial tuberoscopy/quadralatus femoris area.

Because we booked at kind of the last moment, we were in a campground that didn’t have any electrical hookups. It did have a dumping station for dumping the black water and grey water tanks on the way out, and numerous water taps for filling up the fresh water tank. But the lack of electrical hookup and the generator quiet hours meant we had no electricity to run Vicki’s CPAP, so that didn’t do either of us any good for getting a good night’s sleep. Also we had to run the generator for a few hours during generator hours just to charge our phones and iPads and stuff.

We didn’t do much on Saturday except hang out under the cool trees reading. We did get things kind of put away but without a lot of rhyme or reason. We went in to Tupper Lake for dinner. Finding parking kind of sucked. We ended up parking in the lot of a high school.

Sunday we spend some time discussing pros and cons of RVing, and whether motorhomes are better than trailers. I think we want to try more RVing, although we probably won’t do the cross country trip until we have some more experience.

We took a bit of a diversion on the way home. I think we did 8 hours of driving, which is more than my pain area can really take.

Things that weren’t great with the motorhome:

  • The bed was tiny, but actually not as uncomfortable as I thought it was going to be.
  • The vehicle is a monster to drive, and it made me reluctant to want to drive off the campsite to do something. You’d practically have to pack up everything just to go down to the shower building. I wonder if we need e-bikes to get around the local area?
  • Backing up is a pain.
  • Finding parking is a pain.
  • The motorhome we rented was kind of tiny inside. Afterwards we looked at the bigger size they rent and it looked like it would be better. For instance, the bed in ours was wall to wall, which makes making the bed a pain, but the larger one actually has some room to move around it.
  • The motorhome we rented had dark paneling and the overhead lights were a terrible color temperature. If we owned, we’d definitely make it whiter and brighter.
  • We spent about $250 on gas, for about 13 hours of driving and 4 hours of generator use. And $6 for propane to run the fridge and water heater. I don’t think we cooked on the indoor stove because the weather was excellent and the Coleman did a great job.
  • The motorhome is very noisy when driving, partly due to the giant engine (that might just be because we’re used to a Leaf and a Prius) and partly because of the shaking and rattling of everything in the back, including the buffeting of the actual walls of the RV.

On the other hand, it we went for a trailer and tow vehicle combination, I think we’d see the following changes:

  • Price of a trailer plus truck or SUV tow vehicle probably isn’t much different than the price of a motorhome, but I could trade in the Prius against the tow vehicle, which would probably reduce it by $20K or so. Man, I’d hate to give up the Prius, but it gets so little use I guess it’s not like I could justify having two vehicles sitting idle while we use the Leaf all the time.
  • Driving a giant pickup truck doesn’t exactly fit with our aesthetic, but you know, needs must. I think I’d rather have an SUV than a pick up, but there seems to be very few SUVs with decent towing capacity.
  • It would probably be quieter inside the tow vehicle without all the drumming of the wind and the rattling of every little thing inside the trailer. On the downside, we also wouldn’t know if stuff fell out of cabinets immediately.
  • We could set up the trailer and unpack it, and then wouldn’t have to pack everything up if we want to drive to the nearest swimming beach or go out for dinner.
  • In a similar vein, I’ve never seen a motorhome with leveling jacks, perhaps because you’d have to jack the wheels off the ground, but most trailers seem to have them. Our campsite had a small slope, but not enough to disturb our sleep or make things roll off the counter.
  • If we get a truck with sufficient towing capacity, we could upgrade the trailer without having the change the truck at the same time.
  • We could carry bikes and kayaks on the truck, and wouldn’t have to climb up on a 12 foot tall trailer to unship them.
  • On the downside, it would be even worse to back up and park en-route, although much better once we’d dropped the trailer at the camp ground.
  • The other downside is that it seems virtually impossible to rent a vehicle + trailer combination to try it out.

I still have hopes of someday being able to resume kayak racing. I’d love to be able to bring an RV to a race location and spend a couple of days enjoying the country side (and maybe reconning the course) in comfort before and after the race.


Today was one of a long excruciating series of attempts to find some relief for my “butt pain”. I’ve had diagnoses like sciatic nerve demylenization, high hamstring tendenosis, ischial bursitis, performis syndrome and probably some other things I’m forgetting. I’ve had cortisone injected in my spine (where the sciatic nerve comes out), in my ischial bursa and in my hamstring, I’ve had physical therapy for all those diagnoses, and I’ve even had a electrodes implanted in my spine for a pain stimulator. So far nothing has worked.

The last doctor who worked on me suggested I look into getting an ischial bursectomy, but after calling 7 or 8 doctors in places like Texas, Kansas and New York City, all of whom whose websites said they do it, I got told over and over again that they don’t actually do it. I actually found one who said they do it and they booked me in for an appointment. And yeah, the front office person who booked me in had actually checked with another staff member to make sure they do it. This was in a fancy clinic in New York City just a block from Central Park. We had to fly down there and back. And when we finally saw the doctor, he said he doesn’t actually do that procedure, but he said he was going to suggest something less drastic. I think I surprised him when I asked him if he meant PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma?) or Prolotherapy. He was going to recommend PRP, and he confirmed the feeling I’d gotten from my research that while both are not FDA approved, many people find PRP helpful, whereas prolotherapy is pretty dubious.

The best thing about PRP is that I could have it done here in Rochester, and didn’t have to fly somewhere. Also, while it took a few weeks to get in to see the doctor who could do it (who was also the guy who’d shot cortisone in my hamstring), I got the appointment to have the procedure a week later (ie today).

So I had it today. First they took a bunch of blood – they tried to take 90ml but my blood kept coagulating so they had to stop at 78ml, after jabbing those giant 17G needles in me 3 times. They centrifuge it, and the centrifuge spits out a bag with plasma and platelets,and another bag of red blood cells. Sadly, they throw out the red blood cells, so there goes some more of my left over aerobic fitness.

Then it’s into the OR where they put you face down on a table and inject some lidocaine and then the platelets right into the hamstring. The lidocaine hurts like hell getting the needle in, then it feels just semi unpleasant as they inject it, and then it feels a different type of unpleasant when they inject the plasma.

Then it’s all over, until a few hours later when the lidocaine wears off and you realize your entire leg hurts like hell all along the hamstring, and you can’t take anything except Tylenol because the whole point of the procedure is to cause inflammation to start the healing process, so you can’t take any anti-inflammatory.

I’m really banking on this working, because my only remaining option that I know of after this is to keep searching for a doctor to do an ischial bursectomy. I found a video on YouTube that showed a doctor actually performing one of those, so maybe I’ll try to track that doctor down.

Pain sucks, fighting for treatment sucks harder, and the mental toll of this whole drawn out process is enormous. It’s only taking a pretty heavy dose of an anti-depressant and the love of family that gets me through the day and keeps me from giving up.

Well, that was a waste of time and money

So our house network looks kind of like

-fiber-[Fiber Modem]-[Router/WAP]-[switch]-[security camera]
-[living room drop]
-[dining room drop]
-[Mac Studio]

The cables represented by dashes (except the fiber one) are supposed to be Cat5e, but they might only be Cat5. The switches are 10/100/1000 Mbps and all three of the wired computers are running 1000 Mbps. The new one, the Mac Studio, had to be coerced in that speed, because it didn’t seem to be capable of negotiating correctly. I wrote that off to the fact that the switch is several years old and came out before 2.5G/5G/10G Ethernet was a thing. The WiFi is 802.11ac (I think) although I never really saw even close to the theoretical speed out of it. I think most of the time would show the computers on the wired connections getting somewhere between 600-800 Mbps and the wifi only getting maybe 40 Mbps on a good day. But that was perfectly adequate for most uses – I want the faster speed on my wired computers because I’m uploading big video files and running various servers.

A few months ago, Greenlight told me that they were updating my fiber to 2Gbps. At the time, because my whole network is 1 Gbps, I didn’t think much of it. But recently Vicki’s been complaining about the WiFi being too slow and dropping out whenever the microwave is on. Fair enough, my experience is that home routers is that they need to be replaced every 5 or 10 years, and this one was in that age range (I think.)

I’ve been looking for routers that can do at least 2 Gbps on the fiber “modem” side, and also on the uplink to the switch. I did some investigation, and couldn’t find one at a decent price point. But then a couple of days ago I found a review of “best routers” that seemed to be saying that one of the routers could do the trick. It also had WiFi 6 which should speed up some of the WiFi’d devices. I also found some switches that said that they could do 2.5 Gbps on all the ports.

I spent a very frustrating time yesterday trying to get it all set up. My first problem was I forgot that because I’ve got a static IP, I had to manually enter the WAN IP address and other stuff. I got it all set up, the switches were showing 2.5 Gbps from each other, from the new router, and from the Studio. Speedtest was showing the wired computers were making 900+ Mbps up and down, and WiFi on my iPad was just about as 2/3rds as fast.

One weird thing I noticed is that the link between the router and the fiber “modem” was still showing at 1 Gbps. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the review I read mislead me. The router is capable of 2.5 Gbps WAN, but only using something called “Dual WAN”, which I think means using the both the port labeled WAN and the first port labeled LAN to connect to the fiber modem. But since only that LAN port is 2.5 Gig, I’d be able to get data to the router faster, but it couldn’t go out faster to the upstairs wired computers. I suppose that might make the WiFi a bit faster? Also the fiber modem only has one port, so I’m not sure how to make use of the “Dual WAN”.

I tested port forwarding and all that stuff and it all seemed to be working just fine, when I decided to see if copying files between the 3 wired connections were any faster. (In retrospect, they probably wouldn’t be since 2 of the three computers are only capable of 1 Gbps.) Soon after I started the copy, the Linux computer completely stopped talking to any network. I rebooted and it still wasn’t talking. I fiddled with a bunch of configuration, but the only thing that got it working again was putting back the original 10/100/1000 Mbps switch upstairs. Not sure why that happened, or why switching the switch could fix things.

At that point, I was having trouble with my Mac Studio. The Ethernet kept dropping and coming back up. I looked in the hardware settings for the Ethernet port and it was set to Automatic instead of Manual like it was supposed to be. And every time I switched it to Manual and reconfigured everything, after I clicked “Ok” and then clicked “Show Details” again it was back to Automatic. I eventually gave up on that and just used my old Thunderbolt to Ethernet dongle I used to use with my work laptop when I had one. Actually after I woke up this morning I had an idea and deleted the Ethernet configuration and made a new one, and it worked fine.

Meanwhile I reconnected most of the other devices to WiFi, including the Roku, and right now with Vicki watching videos on one of her devices and me watching videos on the Roku, Speedtest is showing the WiFi speed down to 30-40 Mbps again. Sigh.

So honestly I think I’ve spent a lot of time and money, and given myself a terrible day of screwing around with things that used to work and then didn’t work, and now work again, and all for nothing really. And I still have to manually re-attach some of the Wyze cameras to the WiFi, which in one case will involve going up on a step ladder to push a reset button and show it a QR code.

Drone around and find out

On Saturday, it was a pretty nice day so I took my Mini 3 Pro drone with me cross country skiing. They were snow making so after doing one loop to check everything out I decided to take the drone around a “half loop” where I’d ski just the bit with no snow making and back, because skiing through the area where the snow makers are active is like skiing through a howling blizzard.

I set up and started “Active Track” mode and started off down the Hale Bopp trail and then past the lodge and around half of the Ares loop and back. The drone did its usual excellent job of following me, even correctly reversing course where I did. However when I got back to the lodge area, I discovered it wasn’t following me. Looking at the controller screen, it was about 200 meters up the trail, just around the end of the s-turning downhill run.

I took manual control and flew it back to me. I decided I’d take it for one last run up the Hale Bopp trail and back, so I pointed its camera at me and set up and started “Active Track” again. I stashed the controller under my jacket as per usual and was getting my gloves back on and my hands in the ski pole straps when I noticed it slowly circling me to the left. I don’t know if it thought I’d started moving and was circling to get behind me or if I’d accidentally put it in POI instead of “Active Track”, but it looked like it had a mission and it wasn’t the one I wanted it to be on.

Before I could dig the controller out of my jacket, it softly touched down on the blanket of snow on the roof of the lodge building. The snow was deep enough that it sunk in and the motors wouldn’t restarted because they were blocked with snow. I was still getting a video signal, however, although I didn’t realize that could be useful to me until it was too late. (Foreshadowing!)

I asked the guy who was working inside the lodge if they had any means of getting snow off the roof or anything, and he said they didn’t, but he handed me a plastic tube that was approximately 10 feet long and just not quite long enough to hit the drone. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get it down. I also realized I would need to leave very shortly to get to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Unfortunately I also realized at that moment that if I’d thought about it before I started futzing around with sticks, I could have downloaded the videos off the drone onto the controller, but now it was too late.

My poor little Mini 3 Pro

I left Bristol, and once I got home I made a plea to members of the Rochester Cross Country Ski Foundation that if they’re going to Bristol to have a look for my drone and let me know its status.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go back to Bristol on Sunday because the Banff Mountain Film Festival was a matinee, but I received a couple of reports that was still on the roof.

Monday morning I set off loaded for bear. I had 3 things with me, as well as my ski stuff:

  • My big drone, the DJI Air 3
  • A tie down rope for my kayaks that has a metal hook on both ends and
  • A 50 foot dog leash

I tied the tie down rope around my drone so that one of the hooks was dangling below it. I clipped the dog leash to it to act as a safety so if the big drone crashed, I’d be able to bring it back.

There was no snow on the roof at all, but the drone was sitting exactly where I left it. The snow obviously hadn’t slid off, and I think it sublimated off rather than melting because there was no signs of melting and refreezing, even in the snow off the trails. That bodes well for the drone actually not being water damaged, but time will tell.

My plan worked perfectly. I was able to slide the hook onto one of the arms of the stuck drone, gave it a little tug and it started sliding off the roof. It hit a window sill on the way down and bounced a bit, but I managed to catch it in mid air.

Safe and sound!

I haven’t fired up the Mini 3 Pro to see if it still works – I’ve decided to wait a bit to let it warm up and dry out. But at least I’ve got a fair chance of getting the videos off the SD card.

Cross country skiing

So three winters ago, I decided to see if I could possibly get back into cross country skiing without buggering my knees up too much. For most of that first winter, I skied at Cumming Nature Center, which is about the nearest place that had rental equipment. I had just come off a really great year of kayak racing, except for the hip pain that was making it increasingly untenable to keep paddling, and I pretty much did no paddling after August except for the Long Lake and Seneca Monster races.

So I was still pretty fit when I took up skiing, and I really enjoyed skiing around Cumming which had a great network of trails and a variety of conditions. Also their rental equipment was pretty great. The only drawback was the driving distance. I usually arrived at Cumming just as the sitting pain was becoming unbearable. On the way home I’d have to stop at least once and walk around and stretch a bit to alleviate the hip pain.

After four or five times renting, I decided to buy some equipment, a mixture of stuff bought on-line and my friend Dan’s old skis. Dan introduced me to something called “Start Tape”, that was like a 1-wax system that you applied like a tape to the wax zone of your skis. I don’t know if it’s because the wax pockets are so much better engineered that when i was skiing in the 70s and 80s or just that my expectations were lower, but I’ve continued to use the Start Tape.

Buying also meant I could ski closer to home at Durand-Eastman park, which had a mixture of groomed trails and skied in trails, and wasn’t a bad place to ski as long as the weather held. I still went back to Cumming and a few times to Bristol when snow was scarce on the ground because Bristol makes snow. It’s only a 1km or so loop, but it’s consistent snow when everybody else is ice and puddles. And when the snow is good, they have an additional loop that’s about 1.8km.

Only drawback of Bristol is that most of their customer base appears to be skate skiers, so they’re not very consistent about putting in grooves. Due to the knee problems that caused me to quit skiing the first time in the 1980s, I don’t do skate skiing any more, and I really want those grooves.

By the end of that first winter, I was tolerating the length of the drive better, and I was skiing as much as 9 or 10 kilometers at a time. A far cry from when I was training for the Canadian Ski Marathon and loppers, but I sure remembered why back when I was doing everything (skiing, orienteering, backpacking, canoeing, etc), cross country skiing was my favourite. If you don’t believe me, look at my domain name,

Second winter came along, and this time I did almost no paddling during the summer because of the hip pain problems. And it turned out to be a complete wipe-out for snow – the only place I skied was at Bristol, around and around that 1km loop. I think I made it up to 7 or 8 kilometers at a time. The driving wasn’t bothering me as much, and I’d often go 3 times a week. Still felt great to ski. I often felt like I was slower than the slowest skate skier, but faster than the fastest other classic skier. I took my drone a few times to get footage of myself skiing using “Follow Me” mode which was pretty cool.

It’s now the third winter. I did get out a very few times in the kayak this summer, but only for an hour or so each time. But the fitness is way, way worse this year. Most of the skiing has been at Bristol, because we haven’t had much good snow. Cumming hasn’t opened for more than a day here or there, but not fully groomed, and I managed Durand once before it all melted away. And I’m slow, just horribly horribly slow. I get one decent loop which takes about 1.5 times as long as it took me two years ago, and then the rest of it is ski for a bit, catch my breath for a bit. I’m up to 3 loops and a bit of this out and back trail called Halle-Bopp. Maybe 4 kilometers total. It’s sad. But if the winter lasts a bit longer, maybe I can add another loop or two by the end.

Except I’ve got a problem. I feel like I shouldn’t even write about this in public, because people are going to tell me to stop skiing. The problem is that my knees are acting up. My right knee especially. For a day or so after I ski, I get a terrible stabbing pain when walking up and down stairs, and sometimes even when walking on the flat. I’ve been grinning and bearing it mostly because I don’t want to give up skiing, but I’m extremely concerned.