A piece of lava led to a detour in our road trip. Although we had no idea at the time, the detour originated a year-and-a-half ago on a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, when George and I took a short hike through a sun-scorched lava field to see some petroglyphs. Old lava flows are tricky to navigate. They are hard on the feet, with unpredictable, contorted shapes. I sprained my ankle running through some old lava on Kauai a few years ago.
This time it was George’s turn, when his foot caught an edge and he tripped and fell. He broke his fall with his left arm and scraped his knee, but it seemed as if he had been lucky—no major injuries from the often razor-like lava edges. We continued on to see the petroglyphs.
The first consequence of that fall hit us when we returned to the parking lot and realized that the rental car key was missing. We had only one key and the rental car agency was on the other side of the island. The key must have fallen out of George’s pocket when he tripped, so we retraced our steps and started searching. We were soon joined by a sympathetic Japanese couple, who seemed delighted to stop and help. After about ten minutes, when George and I had moved farther along the trail, we heard a commotion of exclamations behind us. The Japanese couple found the key. They were almost as excited as we were and I stunned the poor man, who spoke little English, by giving him a hug. All was good—we thought.
But the second consequence of the fall was more subtle. The next morning, George’s left shoulder hurt. And it continued to hurt. Likely some rotator cuff damage. After we returned home, physical therapy and steroid injections improved things enough so that it appeared that he would not need surgery. But during this trip, his shoulder continued to nag and he had it checked out again during our stay in Athens. The MRI showed that he needs surgery for rotator cuff and tendon damage. A dilemma—do we continue on the road and have surgery after we settle down or have it done now and stay in one place for a couple of months? Not a choice really—sooner is better.
We lucked out and found a dog-friendly, affordable cottage to rent for two months on St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast. We are putting our trailer into storage, George will have his surgery in the middle of December, and then we will have time to appreciate this amazing area while George recovers enough to hit the road again. I will be able to appreciate it more than George, of course, because I won’t be in pain with my arm in a sling. But this is good place to chill.
We used to come to St. Simons—a small island on Georgia’s short coastline—on long weekends when we lived near Atlanta, but I had forgotten just how lovely it is. There’s a funky-ish little town with a pier and lighthouse, a gorgeous curved, dog-friendly beach, an old fort, and massive live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, so dense that they create dusk underneath in the middle of the day.
Our little cottage is a five minute walk to the beach and a ten minute walk to town. We won’t be driving much, except to explore. We will be taking plenty of day trips, but there also is a lot to see on the island. On our first evening here, I headed to the beach. I emerged from a dense tree canopy to be met at the beach with a double rainbow, followed by a burning ball of orange sun dropping into the ocean at sunset. Oh, yes. I like it here.
Having surgery while you are on the road is not easy. In short order, we had to find a good surgeon, a place to stay, a place for the trailer, cancel our reservations, and readjust our plans. It’s been a hectic scramble, but things seem to be working out nicely so far. A twist, a turn, a trip, and here we are.