Susan Straley’s Memoir, Alzheimer’s Trippin’ With George, Details the Support System Used With Her Husband

About Alzheimer's Trippin With George

By Susan Straley

My finger hovers above the mouse button. The curser pauses over the orange “publish” button on the screen of my laptop. I am sitting at our motel room desk in northern Idaho. We are a long way from our home in Florida.

It is after midnight. George has been sleeping for hours while I have uploaded the day’s pictures and written about the amazing and… interesting experiences of the day.

I sit in the late night silence, hesitant to click, my brain flipping over possible consequences. A single tear traveling down my right cheek has now stopped mid-stream as if it too is waiting for a decision.

Earlier that cold, rainy day we had hiked up Pulaski Trail outside of Wallace, Idaho. Parts of the climbing mountain trail were narrow, bordered by steep cliffs on one side and precipitous declines on the other side. It was a great walk with kiosks along the route that told the story of a great fire and a group of fire-fighters that survived. We probably walked over 3 miles, maybe over 4. This was something to celebrate because an early symptom of George’s dementia was loss of balance and walking had become a challenge. We had been doing exercises to keep George mobile. The work was paying off. We were about 1⁄4 mile from the end of our trek and I stopped and turned to George behind me to give him a hug and a cheer. He was shivering from the cold.

Then I felt an unexpected warmth. I stepped away and looked down. There was a dark spot growing on the crotch of George’s pants. He also looked down, but did not seem to comprehend what was happening and what to do about it. I guided him to finish his urination into the bushes.

So here I am, sitting at the desk in the dim motel room. I had been encouraged by the growing audience of readers of the blog to tell all and be open and honest about our experiences. “It will help so many,” they told me.

Already I was hearing from other caregivers that they excitedly checked for my posts every day. The posts helped them feel they were not alone in their emotions and experiences.

So I had written openly and honestly about this day. But now I sat in doubt. What about our friends? What about the children? What if George has a cognitive moment or … what if he recovers and the diagnosis was wrong? This man, this respected Mechanical Engineer and Computer Programmer is losing balance, language, and control of his bladder and bowels.

The tear that was resting on my cheek is now being pushed down further by more tears behind it. It dangles from my jaw and then falls onto my wrist. My finger goes down and I hear the click… Published.


The first book in the Trippin’ series, Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George – Diagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles, is the journal of George and Susan’s “last hurrah” trip after learning that George had progressive dementia. The book is getting great reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. A common comment, “I love it! I couldn’t put it down!” Even those who have never cared for someone with dementia have found the book informative, fun, and gripping.

The second book is a continuation of their story after they return from their road trip. The story demonstrates that life can still hold  great joy for both the caregiver and the one living with dementia. The Journey Continues – Alzheimer’s Tripping with George, Over The Bumps with Friends, Family and Community Support was just released in spring of 2019. The e-book version will be launched in the fall.


Susan Straley was born with an urge to wander. “My parents were often searching for me. At three years old they found me several blocks away playing in a mud puddle,” said Straley.

In 2008 Susan and George semi-retired and moved all their belongings into storage except what they needed for a long bicycle trip on their recumbent tricycles (reclining seats on three wheels). They pedaled around Wisconsin.  The journey took 40 days and was the start of Susan’s writing career as she uploaded pictures and stories to an on-line journal.

The Straleys then moved to Inverness, Florida, a small town is located along the 46 mile Withlacoochee bicycle trail.

Susan and George have since gone on several other tricycle trips, the longest was from Northern Illinois to their home in Central Florida.

Susan still enjoys riding recumbent tricycle with friends.

Susan invites you to join in the fun as she keeps trippin’ at  Sign up to receive a chapter from The Journey Continues FREE and to be notified when Susan launches a book or starts another travel journal.

You can also join in the fun on Facebook at Susan Straley Writes.

Click here to view Susan’s COVID-19 YouTube Video

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