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How time flies. Got cancelled out last year because it started raining the day before we were supposed to take off for Death Valley and unfortunately we had to cancel. All along I figured I would re-schedule the trip to later this year or more likely Feb-March of 2018. However, in the last month I ran into some medical obstacles that I thought for sure would make the trip all but impossible in my case. I'm facing three operations, a hand operation scheduled for later this month, no big deal and shouldn't affect any plans if the ride is in 2018, but the other one is the deal breaker. I was told I needed double hip replacement surgery last month, prompted by torn labral hip cartilage and torn tendons. However, I got a second opinion and the doctor indicated he believes the torn stuff can be repaired by a hip arthroscopic doc he knows and believes my arthritis due to trauma in years past isn't bad enough (yet) to warrant invasive replacement surgery. So I called the other doctor right away and he will review my x rays and MRI and get back to me. If he says I'm a candidate then I'll go that route and roll the dice on replacement surgery based on how the arthritis goes this point forward. My only concern is if it does get worst, how long will that take, if that can be quantified. I don't want to undergo the knife when I'm pushing 80, lol.

The back thing came about because the radiologist reviewing my hip x rays saw some irregularities and snitched me off, lol. My ortho doc indicated the situation may require back surgery so now I'm scheduled for an MRI of the area. I've had back problems for year, apparently aggravated when I cracked three vertebrae and a bunch of other things when I crashed in 05. Fortunately I wasn't riding my Ducati at the time, it was a Honda 600RR with an addicting 14.5 rpm limiter. Oh well, it's gone crunched like a beer can under an elephant foot. I've always said I would have never crashed my Ducati like that, the Honda with it's turbo like power band put you into the next corner at warp speed. I was like the character played by Peter Sellers in the movie Dr. Strangelove when he couldn't control his right arm/hand from going into the Hitler salute. I had the same problem with my throttle hand when riding the Honda in the hills.

Currently, besides discomfort, I do have a problem in my right ankle that I learned recently is likely caused by the back issue. I can't drive a car in bumper to bumper traffic for longer periods unless I pull off the road and rest my ankle for a minute or two. The aching and pain in the ankle under those conditions is reason enough to take this one step further. I don't have to drive in bumper to bumper traffic since I work out of a home office, so I can avoid it most of the time, but now the condition is affecting everyday driving, just starting to show it's ugly head in the last month. No problem on the bike thank god!

To me, this condition would not curtail a Death Valley ride and I just got hip steroid injections yesterday, hoping they will offer relief through Feb. I've had good luck with them before, we will see. In the meantime I'm assuming everything is going as planned and I'm excited I might have a time window to pull it off. This is something I've wanted to do for years, but this ride is complicated by weather since we have to go over the Sierra Nevadas in the winter in order to catch the best weather in Death Valley. Another dice roll for the most part, to wit the cancellation on the first attempt. I have also mapped out an alternative route as well, taking the valley down and cutting over in the area of Bakersfield. The southern Sierras are generally milder than the northern passes. The worst case scenario is if I have no choice and have to undergo the double hip thing, that will put me out of action for an extended period for the kind of activity a Death Valley ride requires.

So, if anyone is interested let me know.
 

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I'm interested and overdue for a DV trip. Catching the wildflowers in Spring is awesome; that's mid March if I'm not wrong. If we're moteling it,,, I suggest Beatty NV. Rooms $60 vs 160, gas $2.50 vs 6.99. If camping, StovePipe Wells; for $11 you can use the ammenities of the hotel across the street; pool, showers. And they have a nice bar/restaurant.

Maybe we should name this the West Coast Meet Winter Edition.

@redpato
@slo Boys
 

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We will be there in mid-March staying at Stove Pipe Wells for our annual dual sport ride. If you happen to be there would be happy to share some good times with everyone.

John you need to get all of this health stuff sorted and get out on your bike before I am riding you around in a sidecar attached to that 999R dammit! ;)
 

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Regarding hip replacement...my dad just had this done at 77 years of age. Walking two days later. Not even any pain meds. His doctor did not do the arthroscopic surgery, he said he has better results with the "standard" procedure. My dad had arthritis and it was painful for quite a number of years. Over the last 10-12 months it became so painful he couldn't really walk enough to go grocery shopping. I mention this for two reasons: his arthritis progression was slow for about 10 years then it became faster (you may have time before you need to have the replacement), talk to some people who have had both types of surgery (arthroscopy isn't always the best procedure).

Good luck on you ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Regarding hip replacement...my dad just had this done at 77 years of age. Walking two days later. Not even any pain meds. His doctor did not do the arthroscopic surgery, he said he has better results with the "standard" procedure. My dad had arthritis and it was painful for quite a number of years. Over the last 10-12 months it became so painful he couldn't really walk enough to go grocery shopping. I mention this for two reasons: his arthritis progression was slow for about 10 years then it became faster (you may have time before you need to have the replacement), talk to some people who have had both types of surgery (arthroscopy isn't always the best procedure).

Good luck on you ride!
Your response is very accurate on all counts. Hip replacement usually goes well, but like anything else involving invasive surgery, I've heard some stories of the procedure not going well, kind of scary from that standpoint. However, I'm more concerned about them cutting into my back, there is where the odds change. If it gets to the point, just like in your dad's case I might not have any other options since the discomfort level suddenly increased in the last couple months. But, it could be the labral cartilage and tendon tears got worst. Previous trauma certainly contributed to my condition today, the severe hip dislocation I had playing football put me in a neck to ankles body cast for a year and I still remember the doctor telling me I will get arthritis when I got older, then I fractured the other pelvis in the motor accident. I might be doomed, lol. Further confusion enters the equation when one doctor says I need the replacement and my second opinion doctor has a different take on the course of action, now I'm going in to see a third doctor and in the back of my mind I'm thinking is there a monetary incentive involved here? Sad to say there can be in the medical field when there is a bigger monetary reward to perform surgeries, not saying this is an epidemic, but the doctor recommending full replacement is a co-owner of an orthopedic practice with about 6 other ortho docs. The same practice that recommended another surgery on my left shoulder that I declined (the first one performed by a different independent Orthopedic doctor, in that case surgery was the only option). I decided to do the steroid route with rehabilitation and that resolved things and that was over three years ago. I did ask the first doctor, the one recommending the double hip procedure if what I have can be resolved through arthroscopic surgery and he said "no".

I've had the pain and discomfort now for about 8 years now in both hips, mainly the right hip, not terribly bad most of the time, but I can't say that has been the case in the last couple years. For some reason it got way worst after I underwent an MRI last month and I think it was because they forced my feet in during the procedure and this aggravated my condition. This foot angle must be avoided during post hip replacement rehab, I've read it could cause a dislocation and that is something you really want to avoid. I believe another reason why my condition has progressed is the fact I got involved in astrophotography about 2.5 years ago and that requires a lot of stooping and bending when setting up equipment in the backyard. During a follow up I had with my primary today, I asked him if arthritis progression can be predicted and he said it depends on what kind of physical activity you are doing. He said stooping and bending doesn't help or anything that puts stress on your hip joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Scott, that would be outstanding if we happen to schedule it the same time you guys will be there. We can't follow you around, but we can certainly socialize during free time. I'll keep you and others here up to date on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm interested and overdue for a DV trip. Catching the wildflowers in Spring is awesome; that's mid March if I'm not wrong. If we're moteling it,,, I suggest Beatty NV. Rooms $60 vs 160, gas $2.50 vs 6.99. If camping, StovePipe Wells; for $11 you can use the ammenities of the hotel across the street; pool, showers. And they have a nice bar/restaurant.

Maybe we should name this the West Coast Meet Winter Edition.


@redpato
@slo Boys
I booked rooms at a motel in Beatty the first time we tried this, you are correct on the better prices and the folks there were super accommodating to our needs. They moved things around to put us all in a single row of rooms and didn't give me a ration of crap when I had to cancel on short notice. Actually, I wouldn't have blamed them for charging a late cancellation fee, but they said if they could book the rooms there would be no charge. He also said it shouldn't be a problem because that is the busiest time of year in the valley. Like I said, I had an alternative route set up to traverse the southern Sierras and I forget the name of the layover hotel outside the valley, but you probably know it. It's next to Lake Isabella and looked like a pretty good hotel on the website. I remember they advertised of offering an outstanding steak dinner, that sounds really good after a long ride. I have to think about booking rooms early, but these medical issues have my head spinning. I'm going to put it out there to the group I'll go forward (assuming everybody can coordinate the time off) on the preparations, but don't be surprised if I can't make it. Hate to say it, but that's the reality of the situation. I hope you can go! The closest I got to the wild flower bloom was from 30k feet in the air flying to Vegas last year. I could clearly see the flowers dominating the lower hills in the desert areas, it was impressive. It was the best year for that due to the heavy rains we had last year. However, with the screwy weather patterns, we could go right back into drought conditions and consequently have no wildflower bloom. Our summer sucked with the oven like temperatures, I'm really concerned how this winter will turn out. If not for the break in the 4th year without normal rains we would be in deep shit this year. I have many customers back east and their historical weather patterns have been turned upside down as well. Ok, I'll say it, Climate Change! But then you see a congressman from the south walk into the chambers with a snow ball he picked up outside and promptly threw it to the floor and said, "this is proof there is no global warming" I think he was from Oklahoma.

I'll keep you informed on our progress for this epic ride. I doubt my right hand will give me any problems by then, but just in case I bought a manual cruise control for my Road King. Even with a good paw, it's a nice accessory to have when cruising down the highway. I've read many accounts of motorcycle riders returning to the valley multiple times, they never seem to tire of it. It must be magical that's my take on it. I wish I could pack my tripod and camera gear with me, I would love to get some shots of the Milky Way under those super dark skies.
 
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