Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘September 19th, 2019’

Lyme Disease

Here is what I have learned about Lyme Disease so far. The bright red (“erythema migrans“) lesion I had was the site of the bite. I assumed I had just been bitten, but it could have occurred 3-30 days before that, probably while fishing in the northeast US, the classic area for Lyme Disease. It is not itchy or painful. Sometimes it will clear in the middle, becoming a target lesion, but not always. Not everyone gets the red lesion. Once the tick has fed, it drops off, so I never saw a tick.

The bacteria that do the damage are Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii in the US

You can get Lyme Disease again if bitten by another infected tick.

The test: A simple blood test, results within a day.

Treatment is relatively simple with antibiotics. Three weeks of Doxycycline.

Early symptoms: rash, Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes, none of which I had, or thought I had. I’m 72.

Later symptoms from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20374651

  • Erythema migrans. The rash may appear on other areas of your body.
  • Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
  • Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell’s palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
  • Several weeks after infection, some people develop:
    • Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat
    • Eye inflammation
    • Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
    • Severe fatigue

The first symptom I had was very weird: (The red bite was on my right leg and lasted three weeks and was gone by the first symptom) I woke up at night with severe right leg pain. I had just done an 8-hour difficult hike up Gross Morne Mountain, and wrote off this pain as normal. There was no pain during the day. I could hike without pain. Then I couldn’t sleep at night due to the pain. It wasn’t a muscle and it wasn’t sciatica. Nothing I took alleviated the pain. It went away as quickly as it arrived in 2 weeks.

Second symptom: Severe left jaw joint pain, popping, clicking, difficulty opening and chewing. I thought I had that for life, but it disappeared in 2 weeks.

Third: Low grade headache and kept taking Emergen-C thinking I was catching a cold.

Fourth: Neck pain, left side (5/10). I was carrying a camera with a shoulder strap everywhere I went, so switched sides or didn’t carry it.

Fifth: joint pain in left ring finger: pain 5/10

Sixth: Mild chest pain riding bikes one day

Prevention: I have two pair of Bug Pants from https://www.bugshirt.com. Lots of people make them now. I stupidly didn’t take them on this trip. They look weird only because they have a foot strap so it tucks into your shoes or socks. However they are very comfortable and they work. The pants and Bug Shirt were developed for people canoeing in northern lakes and rivers to keep mosquitoes and flies off.

Drive Bangor to Fahnestock State Park, NY

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I95 in northern Maine is very pretty, but it gains traffic as you get closer to Portland. Then it gets very busy. 295 – terrible. 84 through Connecticut – terrible, with potholes and heavy, crazy traffic – a country gone mad! We thought this direction over to I81 would be better than I95, but I will never drive these roads again. The only good thing is that the entire system is being worked on, which it sorely needs.

We stayed at very nice Fahnestock State Park, which looks like it has a lot to offer – lakes and trails and a nice beach on the lake. Natural rock formations make for private alcoves for campsites. We had a whole loop to ourselves. Campgrounds are funny things. At then end of a long day of driving, all I wanted was a safe place to camp to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Although the campsites were marked well, they weren’t your typical back-in or pull-through sites. Having the whole loop to ourselves, I just pulled up the side beside a picnic table. Another camper pulled in behind us. The lady came out and Martha walked up to talk to her. They didn’t know how to park either. After setting up, Martha went over to see how they did in the next loop down, which they had all to themselves.

I was really too tired and emotionally spent from yesterday’s events to join in, listening from the top of a little hill. As they talked and laughed, I went down. They were a very nice couple from Ontario, just starting a trip touring the US northeast. Martha made some suggestions of places to visit and camp and said we had been in Newfoundland. The wife had been there, but the husband had not. He asked if I liked it. I told him how much I loved it and encouraged him to go. I should have given him a card for the blog, as it would give him more information.

Back at the trailer another camper pulled in. It was a car pulling a small teardrop camper. A middle-aged couple from NYC was on their first camping trip. They had just bought the camper, but couldn’t get it inspected in the city. Since the cost was only $7, $6 of which goes to the state, no one wants to do inspections. They had found a place nearby to do the inspection, and turned it into their first camping adventure. Of Oriental descent, the man asked if we had the whole family in that big Airstream. “Just the two of you?! So you have water and a a bathroom in there? We will go park closer to the restroom, because we don’t have water or a bathroom.” We told them if there was anything they needed, to come knock on the door.

The next morning Martha took a shower and saw the Oriental couple, asking how their first night was. Apparently it all went fine. Since we weren’t sure how to get back out of the campground, I drove up to the road. Seeing the wife walking down the road, I stopped, rolling down the window. Now look, we’re in the woods in a strange place. Women don’t like men in big pickup trucks stopping to talk to them, so this delicate, little lady was understandably hesitant. I quickly asked how their first night camping was. “Oh, I saw your wife earlier”, now recognizing the truck. “It went fine, and we slept well, thank you.” I continued to the main road. We had come in on a parkway where trailers are not allowed, so I wanted to make sure we had access to a state road. Driving back down, I saw the husband loading the car, so I stopped and asked how it went. “I had trouble unhooking the trailer. I almost come to get your help, but finally I figured it out. You have kitchen in your camper? And a big bed in the back goes crosswise?” “Yes, a kitchen and table, but two twin beds in back”, I said. “Ooooh, this is not good”, he said with concern. I laughed and told him he is much younger. He laughed and said, “Well not so much.”

After hooking up, we went over the hill to say goodbye to the Ontario couple. He came out sipping his coffee with the excited look of being on a new adventure on a beautiful day. We wished each other well and safe travels.

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Just across the border from Canada is the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. I love these places and had passed it on the way up to Nova Scotia, so we stopped in to see what it is all about. Volunteer, Michael Close, explained the refuge with suggestions of what to do.  We only had about two hours for a visit, so we walked the Headquarters Trail, about four miles. It was the middle of the day, but we saw two ducks, a garter snake and some turtles. On our way out, we drove a four-mile gravel road, a narrow, one-way gravel road. We pulled the Airstream, passing two other cars. We stopped by a lake and ate lunch, Martha’s homemade lobster rolls. Next time I plan to hike the wilderness trails.

“The refuge consists of two divisions. The Baring Division covers 20,016 acres (81.00 km2) and is located off Rt. 1, southwest of Calais, Maine. The 8,735-acre (35.35 km2) Edmunds Division is between Dennysville and Whiting, on U.S. Route 1 and borders the tidal waters of Cobscook Bay. Each division contains a National Wilderness Area, thousands of acres managed to preserve their wild character for future generation.” from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moosehorn_National_Wildlife_Refuge.

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