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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mexican lunch in Arizona

The last day of another month. The year is ¼ gone! Good thing I remembered as it is time to back up the laptop again.
Another warm day yesterday here in southern Arizona. It’s not even getting very cool at night now. Also had lots of black clouds in the afternoon. Very black ones again today over the mountains just east of us. 20% chance of rain tonight. We even heard some far away rumbles of thunder.
this is today - looking east

looking west behind us 
It’s weird when I’m here at the table working or playing on the laptop I tend to look up to glance at Bill. For years I’ve looked up to the right and there he was in his chair. Now he’s not there! Oh that’s right his chair is now on the left.
Yesterday we met our friends for lunch in Green Valley and it was kind of like being back in Mexico – except for one major action. We went to a restaurant where we’ve eaten several times. I ordered Fish and Chips, which comes with coleslaw. “Oh, we don’t have any coleslaw. Would you like something else?” No – that’s okay. Bill ordered a Reuben sandwich. Our friend ordered a hamburger. A hamburger! “Oh, we don’t have any buns. Would you like it on bread? We have sourdough, wheat, white or rye.” He took it on sourdough – which was as hard as a rock when delivered. Wife of friend ordered Buffalo Wings. 30 minutes later waitress brought three meals. She looks at wife and says, “I dropped your wings so it will take a minute for them to make another order.” Eventually we got all the food. The difference between here and Mexico – in Mexico they would have gone to the grocery store and bought buns and cabbage and then fixed the meal. Except for the hard bread/bun the food was good. And the company was wonderful. They are now in New Mexico on their way home.
In the same area is a True Value Hardware store that carries the type of hat that Bill likes. So we went in there and he picked up another new hat. His were getting kind of used. On his way to his distinctive car with his distinctive hat on his head and new one in his hand.
Then on to Safeway for groceries. Today we've stayed home - we'll be leaving here Thursday morning. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quiet Day

Weather here in Amado, AZ continues to be very warm – low 90s. Enjoying my chair closer to the AC. The low humidity – about 14% - is again drying out the wood used in the cabinets. Big cracks appearing between the pieces of wood. But when we get home the wood will swell back up and be fine. Makes me understand a little about what is happening to my skin too. Looking like a dried up prune.
Pretty much stayed in the campground yesterday. I had to get my NASCAR fix by watching the truck race. All three of Kyle’s trucks finished in the top 10 – good day. Then Bill watched a soccer game between Argentina and El Salvador. Argentina won.
Fixed dinner here last night. Have to cook once in a while.
This morning we went over to the Cow Palace for a delicious breakfast. Bill says there omelets are perfect. Then, of course, watched the NASCAR cup race.
Tomorrow we are meeting Canadian friends that we met in Mazatlan last year for lunch. Small world. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Need to take a happy pill

The header is the view from the RV park
Can we go back to paper and pencil and rotary phones and no electronic gadgets!!!
All kinds of things going on. First and foremost we’ll be staying here in Amado until Thursday the 2nd. We have decided to go to Las Vegas again before going home. Completely forgot that it was the week before Easter. That’s what happens when you are traveling and/or getting old. Anyways. Went to 1000Trails web site to check out availability for the 30th. They have one of the most aggravating web sites I’ve ever used. Put in the dates I wanted. Not available. Couldn’t make reservations. Call the membership phone number. So I called the number listed. Well great – message – closed call back during business hours – Mon – Fri etc. etc. So called the reservation number on the membership card. Enter this, enter that, push this, push that. Give dates – okay. Dates not available push 9 to exit. Wait I don’t want to exit. Started over again – changed dates. Not available push 9 to exit. So I pushed 0 0 0 0 0! Oh boy got a person – oh nope – message – call back during business hours! 
So back to the computer – entered membership number, pin number, got correct campground, entered dates, # of people, type of RV. ENTER – not available – changed dates – okay available! Wow! Will be held for 10 minutes THEN THE PAGE DISAPPEARED while I was looking for the confirm button! Okay dates available back to phone to enter that same information. NOT AVAILABLE! What the? So back to computer – same dates – not available. Throw computer across room – no didn’t do it just thought it. Started completely over. Went to web site, put in all information hit enter – Push to reserve site! Push push push. Oh yes, now have reservations in Vegas for the 3rd through the 17th. Where are real live people when we want to talk to them? 
We will make one stop somewhere between here and Vegas to break up the 450 mile drive. Suppose I should try to find a spot or we might end up staying beside the road. Quartzite?
Then Bill went up to office here to extend leave date. Got 10% discount because I mentioned them on the blog! Neat.
Yesterday a friend from home mentioned it was snowing there.
Got up this morning and rearranged furniture. Bill is always freezing – his chair was right next to the AC vents. I am always hot – my chair was near the fireplace and the big oven like windows. So now – my chair is by the AC and his is by the big windows. We couldn’t just sit in the different chair as mine is material and his is leather. I “glow” too much to sit on leather. So here is our new arrangement.
We both also have our own fleece throws. Mine with M & Ms on it for the #18 NASCAR. Bill's with his favorite icon - a happy face. 

Bills chair and ottoman in front of the fireplace and the bookcase he made. Perfect size for paperbacks.  Behind the chair is the wicker basket that is full of stuff. To the left of the fireplace is a cabinet  Bill calls his wine cellar. Does have some bottles in it. 
My material chair it is a recliner too but I like the ottoman (from the chair we got rid of - it has a towel slipcover) The AC vents are on the floor between the chair and the smaller windows. The shelves behind the chair hold DVDs and books. Got the table at WalMart it has the lamp and book holder underneath. 
 All the comforts of home. 
No plans for today – a truck race and a soccer game – unfortunately overlapping in time.
Spring time and plants blooming are playing havoc with Bill’s allergies. One of the reasons we want to go to Vegas is to see how he does there.
And more fun with Verizon – when we went to the store earlier in the week we were told a replacement tablet would be delivered to the store by Friday [yesterday.] We didn’t hear from anyone so I called them. Of course the guy who told us that is now on vacation for two weeks! Asked clerk to check if package for us was in. On hold for 10 minutes. Called back – told new clerk same story, also that some one was supposed to be checking. Let me ask who it is – HOLD – okay I located him, he is picking up the phone now. HOLD 5 minutes. Hung up called back. I want to talk to the manager. Um I’m a manager. “A manager or THE manager?”  Um the manager for this shift. Okay, told story again. Let me check. “NOOO – don’t put me on hold.” Oh, okay, just a minute. … silence on phone…So tell me what is going on again. “A replacement tablet was supposed to be delivered to your store today. Along with the box to return the broken tablet.” Uh – okay. Wait a minute…Okay I found the box to send your tablet to tech support. You have to send the old tablet in and they will check it and then send out a replacement tablet. “WHAT??? – the tablet was supposed to be delivered.” Oh we won’t do it that way – you can’t get a new tablet until tech checks out the old tablet. So you can pick up the box and mail in the old one. When they check it they will mail the new or repaired one back. “No I don’t think so – we will not be here – we leave tomorrow.” Well that’s all that can be done. “Why were we told it would be here today?” I don’t know, but you have to mail etc. etc. “You know what, forget the whole thing. We’ll take care of it somewhere else.”  Forget it? You aren’t going to pick up the box? “NO, goodbye.”
So either we’ll go to a Verizon store in Vegas to see if it can be replaced before we leave Vegas – I doubt it – or we’ll wait until we’re home to do it. In the meantime the warranty will probably expire.
We did go out later to the WalMart and then for dinner at Denny’s. Where I’m sure the waitress is still talking about me. I ordered from the senior menu. Couldn’t decide between chicken and tilapia. Waitress came and I ordered. A few minutes after she left I forgot what I’d ordered. When she brought it it kind of looked like tilapia to me so I asked for lemon and tarter sauce. She gave a kind of funny look but said okay. When she left Bill said “I think you ordered chicken.” I looked at my plate and cut the meat – yep chicken. Waitress still had a strange look on her face when she gave me my lemon and tarter sauce. I felt rather stupid but didn’t want to prove that. So I squirted lemon on my chicken and ate it with tarter sauce. And that was a very good combination and I’ll probably do it again.

No more telling on myself – race is about to start. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

A walk in the desert - Amado, Arizona

Friday morning - today it is supposed to reach 90 - way to hot for March. Tomorrow too in the 90s Home is looking good it is in the 60s there. Today we're just kind of waiting to hear from Verizon to see if the replacement tablet comes in. If it does we'll go pick it up and then make plans for leaving on Sunday. If not guess we'll be here a few more days. Still not sure which way we'll go when we head out. 
Yesterday we stayed around home until later in the afternoon when we went out to Mac's Pub and Patio in Green Valley. Met friends there for dinner. Always great fish and chips there. Yum. Also while there we went to a hardware store for some screws for the license plate on the Jeep. A couple shook out on the rough road coming home. And Bill found the store carried his favorite hat type. So he got a new one. And put one of his new beaded hat bands on it. Very dapper. 
That's about all we did. I did take a walk through the desert here next to the campground. Just some pictures from the walk. Mean looking plant. 
 This guy looks fat and healthy lots of new little buds on it. 
 I like these - they look so stately.
 A barrel cactus - I think. Yellow buds on the top. 
 Tiny little flower - about the size of a dime - adding color to the landscape.
More color in little flowers.

 Isn't this weird  wouldn't like to fall on one. 
 These guys are really nasty. 
 More small flowers try to exist out here. 
The campground has added a few new touches this year. A little sitting area. This is the Mountain View RV Park in Amado, Arizona. They are a Passport America park but discount only good for one night. It has 30 and 50 amp electric. Of course water and sewer and cable TV. The WiFi is good throughout the park.  It has a pool, lounge with a little store and book exchange. The new owners are really working on improving it. 
 Another patch of pretty yellow flowers. 
 Another area of new plants and picnic table. 
 All of the site numbers are on a hand painted piece of curved metal. 
 Our space.
And that is about it for today. Watching the NASCAR truck and cup practice. Not as fun without Kyle racing. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MiFi is working and a nice ride.

Changed the header to a picture taken when we were here in November.
Boy, Bill got up before me this morning. Don’t know whether it was to turn on the furnace or to try out his new chair.
The pretty new chair and ottoman. It is much smaller than the old chair. This one swivels and reclines. Haven't taken the protecting piece off the ottoman yet.
It was delivered yesterday afternoon. And they took the old chair.
The old chair - it had a cover over the tan leather which showed every speck of dirt. This one did not swivel or recline.
When I got up the furnace was running and he was in his chair watching a rerun of the Barcelona game. Just a grinning.
Sure is pleasant the way the desert cools way down at night. But looking at the weather report it will be getting up into the low 90s during the day by the weekend!

Yesterday we went back to Verizon and got our data GBs taken care of – but their plans have changed. We had 15GBs a month – their plans now are either 14GBS or 16GBs no more 15?!? So we have 14 and it started up as of yesterday. And of course the price went up – more for less. Did I mention that while we were in Mexico our Verizon cell phone did not roam – it worked with the Mexican cell companies. That was nice. 
It was such a nice day today we took a ride up to Madera Canyon. From desert to mountain.
 Looking back down the mountain towards Green Valley, AZ. The change in temperature from the valley to the mountain was a surprising 15 degrees lower at 5400 feet.
I think this was part of a Bed and Breakfast. Cute little place. Lots and lots of bird watchers in the areas. Lots of hiking trails.
The Santa Rita Lodge. They have lots and lots of bird feeders. And there were lots and lots of bird watchers there. I wouldn't mind having the money for all the binoculars and cameras there. 
 A closer look at one of the bird feeders and it customers.
 Back down to the desert. I think desert is my favorite landscape. So serene yet formidable.
Very nice ride. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taking care of every day things

Got up this morning and it was pretty cool in here. Noticed Bill had his side of the electric blanket on. He got up a little later and turned the furnace on. Then the sun came up and is coming in through the big front windshield. It is now hot in here – expect the AC to turn on soon. Wow, he just got up and wanted to know why it was so hot in here. Duh!
So yesterday we kind of kept busy and managed to spend some unexpected money. First we stopped in the office of the RV park and extended our stay until Sunday then went across the street to the Cow Palace for breakfast – Oh No they were closed. Had a delicious breakfast there on Sunday. So we headed to Green Valley to the Denny’s there and had breakfast. The bacon here in the US tastes so much better than the bacon in Mexico. Right next to the Denny’s is a Verizon store so we went in there to see what could be done about our Tablet that quit working four months ago while we were in San Carlos the first time. They tried and tried to get it to work. Final conclusion was they would give us a new one. All well and good EXCEPT they can’t exchange it in the store. They have to mail us a new one. But we don’t have an address here. Okay they’ll send it to Indiana. No we want it now. Well go to the corporate store in Tucson maybe they can exchange it.
We were on our way to Tucson anyway to the LazyDays RV place to get a new 30/50 amp plug so okay. Turns out both places were on the same street just at opposite ends of it.
Went to Verizon first. Same story cannot exchange it at the store. But they would order the replacement to come to their store – probably be delivered in five days – then we could pick it up and mail the old one back in the postage free box they will provide. So now the big question is…Will it get there before we have to leave the campground on Sunday?
From there we went to LazyDays. Found the plug right away (will return the ones we bought at WalMart on the way home) While Bill was getting the plug I happened to spot a beautiful nice size leather recliner that also swiveled and had an ottoman. I showed it to him. He sat in it. We will have it delivered today! The chair he has now does not recline or swivel and is too big. So we’ve been looking for a different one. Will take pictures when it gets here.
From there we headed home with a stop at WalMart to return the plugs. While there I remembered it is almost Easter so I went in search of PEEPS. Have to have my annual box of PEEPS. I only like the yellow ones – I know there is no difference but…No yellow chickies but I did find yellow bunnies. YES. First thing I did when we got home was to break the cellophane covering on them so they can get hard. Only way I like them.Well I did eat one - ears first of course.
On Sunday Bill had started to sneeze and his eyes were running. Saturday after going to the store I’d replaced the AirWick plug in scents with new ones. Couldn’t find cinnabon ones so got apple/vanilla ones. They were pretty strong. Took them down and put in plastic and in a drawer. No more sneezing! Hope it was that easy.
Oh yah, have a new problem with Verizon. Just got a message that we’ve used up 75% of our allotted gigabites this billing period. WHAT!!! We’d only been using the mifi for two days. Then I read the rest of the message – our allotment of 1GB – 1GB – we have 10GBs a month. I had put the data on suspension while we were in Mexico for 90 days. The 90 days ran out the end of February and I got a nice message that the suspension period was over and we would get our plan turned back on. Well either it isn’t back on or someone screwed up. So another call or trip to see them.

Still looking for a new header – don’t like this one and for some reason it takes forever to load. Taking it down as soon as I post this. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Winter in Mexico recap

Another cool morning here in the Arizona desert. The good news is during the day it isn’t getting real hot yet so we can keep the windows open and the AC off. The bad news is Bill’s allergies have started again. Zyrtec doesn’t seem to help – so maybe today we’ll go to a drug store and see if there is anything else. Guess we’ll keep the windows closed and use the AC if necessary.
We didn’t do anything yesterday except go out to breakfast and then come home and watch TV. Barcelona won their game, yippee! And then we watched the end of the NASCAR race. Not happy about the winner.
So decided to recap our four months in Mexico.
We spent 126 days in Mexico this year. Entering mid-November. We traveled 2200 miles in Mexico in the Alfa and another 2100 miles in the Jeep! That’s a lot of driving intense as it is in Mexico. Zillions of topes and a whole lot of toll booths to the tune of $640. On the whole the roads were pretty good. Except for the stretch in southern Sonora between Los Mochis and San Carlos. But they are being worked on. Bill rates them overall an 8 out of 10 – 10 being the best.
$1700 in campgrounds for an average of $13.50 a day. Expect for the two nights in the truck stops we had full hookups everywhere – and mostly 30amp electric. The park in San Carlos even had cable TV available.
Some campgrounds had WiFi at the site - some had it available in the offices. We used the TelCel Banda Ancha Internet service to stay online. It cost us $119 for the four months and we still have a couple of days left.
Our biggest expenses was eating out – sometimes three meals a day! Averaged out at $13 a day.
This year except for Bill’s cold and two day upset tummy we both remained very healthy. So much better than last year when we were both in the hospital! And his allergies didn’t bother him there at all.
No mechanical problems with the Jeep or the Alfa except for the clack, clack in the wheel which cost us $33.50 for the mechanic to take the wheel off and liberate the stone that was in there. For the first time in 10 years that wheel is not ticking.
We also spent $740 to have all nine storage bay doors on the Alfa refiberglassed and painted to get rid of the blistering that had been getting worse for years.
All in all it was a very good winter. We met a lot of great fellow travelers who we hope to keep in touch with and visited with many of our Mexican friends. Enjoyed the beautiful cities and small villages and great weather.  

If we head home following the shortest way it is 1700 miles. We could do it in eight days if we drove every day. NOT. But we usually wander around some. After all at home there will still be nights below freezing! So no real time for getting home. And so far no route in mind. 
Hum...have to find a new picture for my heading. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Last Miles in Mexico - Back in the USA

Good cool morning from Amado, AZ. [Amado is between Nogales and Tucson- it is where we stay every year coming and going.]  It is almost 7 a.m. and very cool in here. In fact I have a sweat shirt on. I know Bill will turn the furnace on when he gets up. [yep - he did]
So about yesterday’s trip – it was MUCH better than the stretch before! For the most part the highway was in decent to really good shape. Some repaving has been done between San Carlos and Hermosillo.
All in all we had a very good year in Mexico as compared to last year. Neither of us were sick, no car or RV problems. Hallelujah.
But back to yesterday. We left San Carlos around 7:15 and arrived here in the RV park about 1:00 – 280 miles. A little over six hours which included turning in our car’s paperwork…and going through the US border.
Traffic was light and we were soon coming to Hermosillo – I hate going through the city. 
Though it wasn’t bad this time. We were through in about 15 minutes. Only one short detour just before rejoining the 15D – just a couple of blocks and there a policeman directing traffic where we rejoined the 15D – thank goodness as there were no traffic signs or signals for the oncoming traffic.
Through the toll booth and on north. As usual the military check point had the trucks backed up for a ways. But our lane only had two vehicles in front of us.
So we zipped right up to the check point and much to our surprise were waved right through. Last year we got stopped and someone came in to check around. And the year before that everyone was getting stopped to be X-rayed.
Some more topes – won’t miss them – and the toll booth near Magdalena. Just beyond that last chance to buy some souvenirs. They look so pretty.
We reached the Km21 point where we turned in our permit for the Jeep. Took about 10 minutes then we were on our way again. Can they make those pass throughs any narrower?
Our last Mexican check point. Pretty well marked.
The hardest part of this was again getting through the passageway. Really had to watch the mirrors.
Getting close to the USA border. I don’t remember the sign saying RV’s before. We arrived here at 12:00.
At this point we had to get into the far right lane.
As we reached the end of the divider one of the lady vendors – came up to the window and told us we needed to get to the right and she would stop traffic for us. She said now the US is giving tickets if RVs don’t get in the bus lane. So over we went.
Waiting for traffic to move so we can get to the bus lane. No one else was in line.
As usual a border patrol van was blocking the entrance. So we prepared for a long wait. A couple of minutes later an officer came to the window and asked for out passports and said he would move the van. Pulled up to the booth, stopped and a lady officer knocked on the door. She gave us a new set of guidelines for what can be brought into the US. Then checked things out. I forgot we had potatoes so she took them and then found a package of Oscar Meyer wieners – made in US – and took them. She took them because they were opened – if they’d been closed they would have been okay. Had a nice chat with her. She left and we drove through the last barricade at 12:25!
The fastest we’d ever got through. And on a Saturday afternoon!

On towards Amado where we had one more Border Patrol check point to go through. Got to the RV park around 1:00 and settled in,.
 Mountain View RV Park - Amado AZ
 We've got full hook ups with 50amps. Could have cable but we've got our own satellite TV which started right up. The park also has fast WiFi but got our Verizon MiFi set up and running. So nice to be back in US with all our goodies working. 
We made a quick trip to Denny's for lunch then to WalMart to restock up on groceries. Also needed a new 30/50amp plug - ours had had enough of the uncertain electricity in Mexico and gave up the ghost. 
This morning we went across the freeway to the Cow Palace for breakfast. Bill is looking at a beautiful 1976 Cadillac ElDorado. 
Breakfast was delicious. The back of the menu with some information about the restaurant. 
Now we will just be relaxing. Waiting for the soccer game - El Classico - between Barcelona and Real Madrid. One of the best games of the year. This year I'm not so interested in the NASCAR races as Kyle is still recuperating. Good thing because both events are on at the same time. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Next stop Arizona

We'll be on the road soon after I post this. Hopefully this next stretch of road is better than the last. But we do have to drive right through the large city of Hermosillo. Ugh!
Kind of off the wall but I thought this was a pretty table setting at the restaurant where we went out to dinner the first night we were in San Carlos. Good food too.
Nice and cool out yesterday morning in San Carlos so I got busy and did some cleaning – now it smells nice in here. Clean carpets, floor and wood polish. Then we got together all the stuff we’ll need to cross out of Mexico and into the US. Counted our pesos and made sure we have enough for the tolls. What we have left over will be for meals – hopefully we’ll be almost out before crossing. Also checked to make sure we had some US money and I knew where it was. Sometimes I put stuff away and it takes months to find it again. 
Bill got the name of a mechanic to come look at the left front wheel and try to figure out where the clack clack noise was coming from. It was kind of a comedy of errors – not what you want from a mechanic working on a front wheel.  
The mechanic showed up – then left, then came back, then left and then came back. Each time he left to get a bigger tool. Each time he was gone about an hour – his shop is two blocks from here! Finally he got a big enough tool – and got everything apart. Nothing was wrong. Most they can figure out a rock got inside. There were scratches there. But nothing wrong with wheel or brake. Finally all back together and he left with his big tools.

OMG the 15 vehicle caravan that was in the back with us in Mazatlan just got here. That is going to fill the park up.
Other than that didn’t do much. I fixed dinner to use up some Italian sausage that we bought here. It said Made in the US but you never know.
Some one asked so here is a picture of three of the blouses I got the other day. They are so cool and comfortable. 
And our last sunset from Mexico this year. 
Next time I post it should be from Arizona