It has been a much different week than I may have surmised at the onset. The rains have given way to blistering humidity and temperatures far above the norm. It’s hotter than Tipper after she heard that Al had fondled a global warming junkie in an elevator. Perhaps the result of the humidity, maybe lingering effects of the past chest cold and bronchitis but for some reason I disengaged my trache. This was not through any fault of my own, but shear bad luck. In a coughing bout, the tubal conduit that provides air to my lungs simply became airborne. To the astonishment of myself and a few onlookers, this projective wafted a good four feet in mid air. Replacing it always takes the nimble fingers of my personal former surgical nurse. However, this time was different. Robin’s efforts were all in vain because the flanges holding the device in my windpipe were broken. Gone, simply gone to our astonishment. Needless to say its been a week of severe discomfort. This would call for a trip out of LIW in order get this fixed. Sleeping is almost impossible without the trache and REM is totally out of the question. Erin’s dear friend, a nurse herself and brain tumor survivor, alerted me that it may be possible to procure my needs at Duke Medical Hospital. So a flight scheduled for Raleigh was in order. This would prove to be a double bonus as I would get my much needed Erin fix while traveling Tobacco Road to and fro’ from Durham. But prior to my leaving, Mike the Porkmeister, hosted a Hawaiian Luau at the Gnome Cafe. This was another of his Friday Night Special palette stimulators. Pulled pork, pork loin, chicken on a skewer, rice, grilled veggies with Hawaiian sauce were the fare that piqued the taste buds into a frenzy. Usually there is a limited number of patrons that can be accommodated. If not, Mike would be serving into the late hours as his cuisine is not only award winning but may be the best damn thing you ever introduced to your mouth. Then it was hop on the bike and make the trip to Ryan and Carolyn’s. A night at their home would allow me to catch an early flight out of Philly. The medical expectations in Tar Heel land fell a bit short as the trache that I needed didn’t match any available ones. It will take a special order and another trip back to Pittsburgh to rectify this nightmare. However, the few days that I spent with Erin were priceless. We were able to share some private thoughts, fears, dreams and wishes that seem to bond a father and daughter with an uncompromising intensity. While at work, I ran errands for her, got her SUV serviced, cooked and pampered her to my hearts’ delight. But day prior to my coming to Raleigh, I received an email from Tom and Nancy, a workamping couple that we befriended some two years ago. As a stroke of luck they had two off days from the KOA stint in Fayetteville, NC and would be coming home. They live just a short jaunt from Erin’s and my call concluded with the fact that I would call upon them on Wednesday. I drove to their home and after exchanging hugs, kisses, and handshakes they hosted me for lunch at the “Over the Falls” cafe in “old Wake Forest”. Their daughter Debbie and two month old granddaughter joined us for some sustenance as well. For the next three and a half hours we shared our workamping experiences and caught up on whereabouts since our last engagement. We returned to their home and escaped the humidity of the day by sitting on the back porch in front of a fan sampling glasses of wine. Their hospitality and camaraderie only intensified how much we had missed them. Both Robin and I shall spend time with them following my surgery on our trek South for the winter. We’ll be able to set up in their adjacent driveway as they established an 50 amp electrical hookup, waste disposal, and water all under shaded maples. This may be the best free campsite I will ever engage. Back at Erin’s we sampled some wonderful cuisine of our own during my last night there. Leaving her is always tougher for me as I grow older. No matter her age, she’ll always be my baby. Ryan retrieved me at the Philly airport and treated me to lunch and then I spent some time doing data work for him at his home office. By five, I was getting antsy to see Robin. It was a great break after two months together in a traveling bus but now I was missing her severely. I hopped on my bike and decided I would avoid the beltway and take a “blue highway” route back home. As my thought process wandered to a myriad of venues while looping around West Chester, I missed my exit. It proved advantageous. Not only did I miss a great deal of rush hour traffic but Rt, 322 gave me winding roads, farmland and eye candy that I would never have seen if I hadn’t been daydreaming. I rumbled into our site at LIW about 6:30. Robin’s provocative smile, the fishnets and five inch heels framed by the RV’s entry door proved eye candy beyond a masterpiece. The vision welcomed me home with a smile that wouldn’t end. Yes, it’s still a bitch living without my trache, but the visit to my daughter, seeing old friends Tom and Nancy, and coming back to my vamp of three decades was a fair trade-off. We’ll make a trip back to Pittsburgh at weeks end to have my surgeon ease my discomfort and relieve my airway with out patient attention.