Orange Beach AL, December 2020 – January 2021

When we got to Pandion Ridge at the beginning of December it was just over 1/2 full. I guess I expected it to be fuller but it was OK. We had no neighbors on either side of us for most of the month.


This was going to be our first Christmas away from home in Minnesota. We are at home where we are in out coach but it was going to be different. Susan has a sister in Minnesota and there are some cousins on my side but that’s about it for Christmas. We usually celebrate with just a few family and friends so with just the two of us it seemed like it was going to be OK.

We had the usual Christmas group (the same folks come for Thanksgiving too) over for an early Thanksgiving dinner in mid November. We wanted it early enough to avoid any Covid-19 surprises. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner, perfect.

We were being really careful. Susan had cataract surgery on one eye in October and the second eye in early November. Covid-19 tested negative for both and we wanted to keep it that way.

We got out the red chili pepper lights for that Christmas feel.

And a very cool hat, just right.

All masked up, a nice wreath and we were set.

We had our favorite campfire DVD playing on the TV and seasonal music too.

And presents under our makeshift tree. We made lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner. And French Toast made with Bailey’s Irish Cream topped with maple syrup and whipped cream for morning breakfast.

We opened gifts, lots of nice additions. We got a National Parks Edition of Monopoly, a pair of new breakfast plates, several new jigsaw puzzles and much more. Thanks!

Best Laid Plans

We had a list of things we wanted to do while in the Mobile area. A ferry ride to Dauphin Island and a day of exploring. A visit to Bellingrath Gardens. A visit to Fairhope and more places to see. And with easy access to the bike trails in Gulf State Park lots of bike riding.

We started out riding in the RV park for a few days and then out into the park.

The trail from the RV park to the paved trails in the State Park crosses a marsh on a boardwalk and then on a sandy path through the woods over a small rise and down to the paved trails.

We rode east to the Powerline Trail, south to the Campground Trail, west through the campground past the campground offices and then north along the Gopher Tortoise Trail. The Gulf Oaks Ridge Trail leads up hill to the east to the highest point in the State Park and then downhill a ways to the Magnolia Trail back to Pandion Ridge. It is about an 8 mile loop.

I was just behind Susan as she slowed to make the turn on to the Magnolia Trail, a transition from pavement to sand where she stalled in the soft sand and I watched her fall over to her left. It seemed to be in slow motion. Her foot was caught under the bike, I thought she had sprained it or maybe worse.

I called the RV park office and they sent Jeff over in an electric cart. If it was just a sprain we could get a ride back. We both looked at her ankle and helped her up to sit on the cart seat. And then we called 911.

It only took about 10 minutes for two ATV like vehicles with four EMTs to arrive. They checked her out, checked blood pressure, got personal info, determined something was broken, administered some pain meds, applied a splint and wrapped it up in swaddling cloth.

The EMTs transferred her to one of their vehicles. I gave her a kiss and promised to see her soon at the South Baldwin Medical Center, about 13 miles north. Off they went. I loaded my bike on Jeff’s cart, a nice couple staying in the RV Park had taken Susan’s s bike back earlier. I never figured out who they were to thank them. The EMTs transferred Susan to a waiting ambulance for a lights and siren ride to the ER.

I grabbed Susan’s purse, my wallet, keys, a hoodie, some water for both of us and left for the hospital. It seemed to take a long time to get there, much longer than any of the subsequent trips but that is just the way the first time always is.

I found Susan in one of two ER evaluations rooms, full of machines, monitors and beeping things. They had her hooked up, drip fluids, more pain meds. The docs had seen her and ordered X-rays. The ER was busy, they rolled some guy in whose head was all wrapped up, bloody, no idea what was going on. Someone was having a heart attack, a car crash, a father was there with his daughter who was in serious distress.

We got moved to a smaller, much simpler room and we waited. We were a ways down on the urgency of the cases that showed up that night. The nurse was in and out checking on us, she gave Susan another dose of pain meds.

The Doc came in with X-ray pictures, Susan’s left tibia (shin bone) was broken about 3 inches above the ankle. It was aligned OK so they put on a sock and cotton batting wraps and a water activated fiberglass material that hardens in just a few minutes down the back of her leg and under the foot and another down one side and back up the other. That all got wrapped in an elastic wrap.

I went to get the car, they brought her out in a wheel chair with a set of crutches and some pain pills for that night and a prescription for more to get filled the next day. She made it into the car with lots of help and after about 8 hours in the ER we left for home in the dark.

We got back to the RV park about 10 PM. Susan was pretty unsteady after the pain meds she had gotten. She got out of the car and into a camp chair, not at all likely she would make it the 40 ft to the coach door even with as much help as I could offer. So I moved the table and everything else out of the way, turned the car around so I was backing up, folded down the bike rack, opened the back hatch and we got her the few feet needed to sit on it and propped her foot up on the tire holder. She held a flashlight and guided me as I backed up to the front door of the coach where we got her over to sitting on the steps. And then backwards “bum scooting” up one step at a time and then sitting on the passenger seat.

I moved the car back to its normal position and helped her get ready for bed, we were both tired. Crutches are not easy to use at first. She didn’t have far to go in the coach but there isn’t a lot of room to maneuver either. But we made it, foot up on pillows, her spare pain pill at the ready, water at the ready. She was asleep in a flash. My head was spinning for a couple hours.

So in one afternoon we had quite an adventure, not one we chose but stuff happens. And now our plans change to fit our new reality, better or worse sort of thing. We are safe and secure.

More later, Much love,

Roger and Susan

One thought on “Orange Beach AL, December 2020 – January 2021”

  1. OMW Roger. Not the way you want to start your winter escape for some warmth. I can relate to Susan’s struggling in the coach and getting in and out of it. Will be praying for quick healing.
    Love Bill and Jan Velting


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