June 26....

I just got back from my orthopedic doctor.  He agreed that arthroscopic surgery on my knee is the best option of the three. (The other two options: wait until after my trip, or get the knee replaced now.)  The surgery is scheduled for July 13th.  With one week to recover enough until I can do the preparation work, and two weeks preparing and packing, that puts me on the road on August 3rd at the earliest. That's what I am going to shoot for.  If the surgery turns out to be insufficient to cure the worst of my knee problem, that's a risk I will have to take. Of course, as with every single trip I have taken, anything else can happen to delay the trip, but that's the name of the game.


Update on OTR9 June 24, 2017

I cannot believe that it has been exactly two months since my last (my first, actually) posting for On-The-Road-9.  Time is flying. I wish I had more to report than I do, but I don’t.  In brief…
The Defender is still with Dean (at Independent Rovers in Bethesda) for repair, etc.  He ordered the parts about a month again and they arrived two weeks ago, my hope is to get the Defender back in a week or so, and then come the trial runs to make sure I have the confidence to take it on another long road trip, after that confidence was atrophied last year.  I have confidence in Dean and his crew, so I should have no trouble regaining the confidence I once had.  If I cannot regain full confidence, even for no visible reason, I will have no choice but to put the Defender on the market.  But if I do, no one is going to get any bargain.  That Defender is too magnificent a machine to sell it for anything less than what is worth to me, and if you knew how much I put into it this last year, you’d know how much that it. 
As for Donner, there are no issues. I have learned hw to control his allergy, which causes him to develop a skin infection if left untreated.  Frequent baths and a tri-monthly allergy shot seem to do the trick.  Of course, the big issue with Donner on the road is how to keep him contained in the Defender.  I will not take any chances this year and will secure him all the time, whether I am in the vehicle or not.
The big issue hanging over the whole trip this year is with my own mobility.  I had back surgery on January 30th, and while that cleared up a few symptoms, my mobility was still affected. So, back into the hospital I went for a right hip replacement.  Unfortunately, two weeks into the recovery, although the replacement itself was successful and ceared up a couple of symptoms, my right leg mobility was almost as bad as it has been since this whole saga started in 12/2105, maybe worse. As it turns out, it seems to be my right knee itself, which is surprising since I had arthroscopic surgery on that knee in April 2016 and no one told me that I was a candidate for a knee replacement.  Next week I see at least three doctors to give me an assessment of what they think.  If I have to have a replacement, there is little chance that there will be any road trip this year since the recovery period for that would take me into late September.  One option, of course, would be to postpone that replacement surgery until after my trip, but that would restrict my options for destinations, not to mention my mobility.  I would prefer not to be 6000 miles and 25 days from home, only to develop a serious problem that I know might occur in advance. As for now, I will focus on physical therapy to help, and do all I can to get back in shape.
As for destinations, the key factor is when I can get on the road and driving what.  I will start giving this part of the planning serious consideration this week.  Under the best of circumstance, I probably will not get on the road until early September.  I do know one thing, however, and that is that I am quite anxious to get back on the road.  It’s like I feel a huge magnet pulling me towards it.  And when I go to retire at night, I pop into my head one of the several thousand memories of road trips past and then let my mind take me off into some far off place on the road where nature and solitude are in abundance, with only my beloved dogs to keep me company before I fall off into a deep sleep, just as I do on the road.