Monday, January 31, 2022

Look Who Came Today

Yesterday we got new camp neighbours. Petra and Gerd arrived from Germany. 

In the fall of 2019 the German couple purchased a nice motorhome in Vancouver BC. Their idea to travel through large parts of North America began in October that year. Through a Facebook group we got into contact with them. We told them where they could camp at almost no cost - the Holtville Hot Springs LTVA near the city of El Centro, CA. They followed our advice and got to know a lot of nice people there. The very same people we also know. At one point they also went down the Baja for some time, but then returned to Holtville. 

Then the Pandemic hit. Flights got canceled and restrictions imposed for international travel. It was March 2020.

Petra and her husband Gerd got worried about how to get back to Germany. It seemed no flights were available anymore. They even considered a cruise ship to Europe for their return. But that was canceled as well.

Finally, they found one of the last flights out of Phoenix,AZ. Their nice motorhome, a Damon Challenger, got parked in a vehicle storage. Petra had no idea when they would be able to return.

Fast forward to November 2021. more than 20 months had passed since they had left the US, always thinking of their interrupted journey. Could they start thinking of returning?

Around Christmas, Gerd broke a rib and they had to postpone any further plans for a return to Phoenix. It seemed quite hopeless. 

Meanwhile they had found out that BC insurance would not renew their policy. The only way to get the motorhome back on the road would be to import it to the US, get a title and then sell it. 

I was able to supply them with respective information about how to do it. And one day this month, Petra sent me a message.  that they had booked their flights back to Phoenix,AZ.

After getting a temporary license for 30 days they came over to see us today.

They still have to go down to a border station to see a CBP-officer, but at least their motorhome is back in use.

We had never met in person, but it is safe to say that we were immediately "on the same page" with this nice couple from the German State of SAARLAND.

Tonight we had dinner with them under our awning. We share the love for dogs with them and Dixie was friendly to them from the first moment.

We are now  looking forward to a great fellowship for the next 6-7weeks.

I hope, tomorrow, I will be back on the subject with photos.

On a different note I have been able to finish up the "repairs" of various dental problems. I am now sporting 2 new bridges and an uninterrupted row of teeth. No more gaps, Sir!  Talk about a renewed infrastructure!!

And I even got myself a new pair of eyeglasses! Btw. I found it mindboggling that the optometrist was able to get these eyeglasses within less than 48hrs, while we regularly have to wait 8-10 days in Canada for new eye glasses. Even if the price level wouldn't be so much lower in Mexico, I would have preferred to shop there compared with Canada. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

What Runs At 500mph And is Highly Dangerous?

 If you live at the coast you must've heard about the danger of Tsunamis. Recently warnings were issued for the entire west coast of the Americas and Canada. An underwater volcano had erupted in the archipelago of the Tonga Islands. It was a massive explosion, throwing ashes 20kms into the air.

The South Pacific nation of Tonga is still cut off from the world two days after an underwater volcano erupted – triggering tsunami alerts across the Pacific.

Tonga comprises 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited, and has a population of about 105,000 people

So tonight I was wondering why Tonga was flooded sustaining a lot of damage, when the arriving Tsunami was only about 4ft tall. The question was also why the same degree of devastation would not be caused by a regular storm. After all the South Pacific has always had its fair share of the world's most powerful storms.

So, to investigate this, I dug into the internet, and Bea helped me with finding the best search clues.  What I found was absolutely amazing. Depending of the depth of the ocean, a tsunami will run at jet speed (800kms/h) across the ocean. 


Yes, that's right.  

And the erupting volcano is only 45miles (70km) from the nation's capital Nuku'alofa. The surrounding sea at Tonga is about 6000m deep. The speed of the wave would have been 245m/sec or 882 km/h (more than 500mph) It took just 285 sec (4.7min) before the tsunami was hitting the shores of parts of Tonga. 

And indeed, it is the speed with which the wave will hit the shore, which makes the difference to a regular storm wave. Storms can cause flooding, but the energy in the water will be much lower as the waves will roll thus losing energy. The tsunami hits with jet speed and creates much more damage ashore. If the nearest coastline would be 3000kms away from the start of the tsunami, the wave will reach that far-away coast line in a little more than 3.5hrs. 

As a comparison, you might imagine a truck hitting your house at 30mph. It would cause some significant damage, but if the truck hits your house at 80mph, your house will be gone. 

The height of the arriving waves will vary and depend on the depth of the water. Coasts with shallow water will see higher waves than areas where the water is deep along the shore. 

We can study the very same effect at the Bay of Fundy, where we live. Campobello Island has an average of 25ft of difference from low tide to high tide. But as the high tide rushes farther north of the bay, it finds shallower water and a much more narrow bay. That means that the amount of water rushing into the bay over 6hours of a running-up tide, will cause much more difference between low and high tide. In fact, as an example, the town of Alma at the Fundy Nat'l Park quite often has a 35ft tide. 35ft is an awful huge amount of water, yet the total amount of cubic meters is the same as around Campobello Island. The difference is the depth and the width of the bay.

You can calculate the speed with which tsunamis will run, by checking out this website:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

I Have Lowered The Antenna

The aerial on our trailer has been lowered to transport position. That does not mean we are leaving. It is simply the result of my frustration with what TV channels are blasting around these days. This must be the new low in what Americans are served through their Home TV. I am well aware of that most people will have additional pay-channels where they can choose what they want to watch and possibly they might find some good stuff there. But the free channels are just - - -  junk!. And here, close to the Mexican border, that includes every free channel in Spanish. Between endless commercials they show stupid shows destined to entertain brainless people,

So, no more of that. Luckily for us, there is YouTube. YouTube makes it possible to watch real news. News, which has not been converted into a Fox-style entertainment show, but where facts of the daily happenings in the country are presented. As an example of the visible difference, I took a picture of the German Channel 1 evening news.

Instead of having a group of joking show-style ladies and guys, a single, well-dressed gentleman appears who presents the news without ANY FORM of political bias. Already in school we learned about the difference between facts and opinion. American shows are presenting opinion dressed up as facts. But in our complex and multifaceted world of today, we should all know the difference. It could keep us from hating each other, but rather contribute to further a constructive conversation to make things better.

Here is the link to the show of January 18 of the German channel 1 (ARD) Even if you don't understand German, you will see the difference. Go ahead and compare it with any American (not only FOX) news show.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A "Toothy" Experience

Monday morning began at 5:30am when our alarm clock gave off its typical PING-PING-Ping. And that was a good thing as I had misplaced my wristwatch only days earlier and had not been able to relocate it within the 4 walls of our trailer. But hey, it's just another mystery in our household. 

The reason for the early wake-up call was, of course, that I was slated for another visit to my Algodones dentist. And today I was to receive my crowns!

After the usual morning chores, I hit the road at 6:30 PST (7:30 MST) Arriving at the border parking lot, it had already begun to fill up quickly. From the parking lot one can look down to the border station. 

Except for images of the inner-german border in Berlin during the cold war, I have never seen any border created as ugly as the border between the US and Mexico. When Ronald Reagan said "Mr. Gorbatchev, tear down this wall", he would never have imagined this embarrassing construction along the southern border to Mexico.

I made my way through the chaos of town, down Avenue A then turn left on Calle Tercera. And as usual, I didn't count all the invitations for "great" deals shouted at me on my way to the dentist offices. I have heard that there are around 450 dentists in town, and I assume a similar number of optical stores, which all compete with eachother to get your business. I put a friendly smile on my face and shaking my head every time I received another "great deal". "AMIGO, we have the best prices" or "SENOR, you looking for dentist?" It's only a few minutes of walking to the office of "Dental Solutions", but you gotta watch out all the time. Hint: Avoid walking through the narrow sales tunnels the vendors have established on the sidewalk. Try to walk out on the street, traffic permitting. It's way faster!

Well, by now the girl at the reception knew my name. If that doesn't give you a good feel, I really don't know.

A new-to-me doctor (how many do they have there?) invited me into the chair, and started by putting one crown after the other on my teeth, well, first they were placed only loosely to try the fit, then removed again for "cementing" them in. Every crown made a little "click" when put in place. The last one was the bridge. 

To begin with it all felt like a bit unusual, but over the course of the day I hardly noticed the new teeth anymore.

The cost of this entire " repair operation" will blow you away. I paid USD 1,250 all included. Can't beat that!

Stepping out into the warm sunshine only about one hour later, I began the return walk to the border. It was only 10:15 MST and there was no waiting line at the border. I just blew through and back into the US.

Returning to camp, Dixie had one of her "Oh-dear-where-have-you-been-that-long" wild welcome dances. It always marks one of the highlights in my life when being welcomed home that way. I believe only dogs can show that wild affection to their owners.

The day progressed with really nice temperatures around 75F, and I made a shopping trip to El Centro for propane, groceries and drinking water. 

But could you blame a guy to get tired after being on his legs since 5:30am? I think not. So I took an hour-long nap in the trailer before it was time for coffee. While in town, I got groceries at ALDI. To my huge delight, I saw that they had further discounted the German Christmas cookies. Where else can you get packs of gingerbread cookies for 62 and 99cents respectively?

Btw. I also made an appointment for Bea at the dentist. She's been having toothache for a coupla days now and before it gets out of hand, she better gets it fixed.

Friday, January 14, 2022

We Are Getting Ready for Warmer Temperatures

 I know that this is probably a provocative headline for some readers. I am fully aware that the North-east is getting pounded with snowy and extremely cold weather. F.ex. our sweet home on Campobello is just enjoying a wild winter storm with wind chills down to -30C (-22F).

But we are indeed seeing higher day temps as we are getting into the middle of the month. And a sure-fire sign of that is that the sunny side of the trailer is getting too hot for hanging out there. So I have to move myself over into the shade. I know, this will be of no interest to read about for you, I'm just sayin..

Below: Sunset

    The Irrigation canal
But we have our struggles too... Thursday I had a 9am appointment at "Dental Solutions" in Los Algodones, MEX. Yes, this is the same place where I got removed an aching tooth during a long-winding session of 90 minutes. Now that the gaping wound had healed, it was time for step#2 - the preparation for crowns. During that procedure my charming female dentist discovered that I had to undergo a root canal first, as a cavity appeared to be dangerously near the nerve. So before I knew it, I found myself back in the waiting area until another doctor called me into his cubicle to do the root canal. And I have to admit, he really was the specialist he introduced himself to be. The professionalism and speed of how he went about it, I had never seen from any other dentist before. Naturally he was assisted by 2 super charming young ladies. LOL.

So once we were done with the root canal I was again moved to another room and back to my previous dentist lady. The next 30 minutes I spent with various pieces of some big-time rubbery stuff in my mouth. I had to bite into it leaving the imprints of what ever was left of my teeth in it. When the stuff was removed out of my mouth it wasn't rubbery anymore. It had all hardened and felt more like a rock now.

It was the last thing I had to go through at the dentist that day. When I hit the street again I felt dizzy. The sun was high up and it was too hot. When I approached the border I saw a pedestrian line-up 4 blocks long and even stretching up a hill beyond the regular waiting area. It was only 12:15pm and the line was longer than I had ever seen before. I had thought of driving our van across the border, but without Mexican insurance it is not a good idea. The line of waiting cars was long as well, but it was moving at a much faster pace. 

It took me 2.5hrs to get back into the States. 

Monday morning I'm gonna be back there again to receive my crowns. Then it is also time to prepare for 2 bridges. Oh my.....

Today I had a strange coincidental meeting.

When I left the campground I just saw a very special rig leaving in front of me. It was a flat-bed truck with a home-made wooden cabin-style unit on top of it. Seeing it my mind told me that there was something known about it. Hadn't I seen this thing many years ago?

Of course I had! The first time was in the winter 2010/2011 right here in Holtville. The 2. time I had seen it, was in the summer of 2012 in Lubec Maine.

This picture is from February 2012

....and 10 years later

And here is a video link: 

Some interesting folks for sure!

Monday, January 10, 2022

So We Are Halfway Through - already

 As if I wasn't aware of it already that we have (almost) reached the halfway point in this year's winter trip, somebody at home had to remind us about it.  We left home on November 11 and tomorrow is January 10.

By March 10 we will at least be thinking of planning our return. And the days are still flying by. We are mostly staying put in camp, that is, except for getting necessities, like water, groceries, propane, gas and of course, going to the dump station. Some times it is the laundry also.

There has also been a snowbird breakfast on January 1. No, it wasn't pancakes, but "Egg-in-a-bag". Egg-in-a-bag is 2 eggs with finely cut veggies, spices put in a zip-lock bag and boiled in water until ready, usually after 15-20minutes. It was new to us as well.

Instead of driving a whole lot, we walk a coupla times a day. The walk along the canal especially is a great one. 

Above: Dixie on observation post. She can watch who's coming on the road, 
but can't be seen herself

Bea is looking for birds and Dixie is sniffing along all the new and unfamiliar smells. Most days she picks up a little stick and carries it all the way home. The desert is full of secrets for her. Naturally, we don't want her to get too curious either, like f.ex. digging up some hibernating creatures, aka rattle snakes.  Me, I am immersed in the view across the blue water enjoying the great peace.

And when the sun has gone down, darkness is coming soon. Then we have supper and we may decide to join the camp fire crew, or just remain in our free-wheeling home to watch a movie. Life can be so simple. We had already found that to be the case many years ago. Just the fact the we only have a fraction of our personal belongings with us - and still manage just fine. It is thought-provoking that we gather so much "stuff" at home that once we are done on this earth, relatives or friends have a heck of a time to clean up in our mess.The weather has been great so far, I am just enjoying the view every morning when I see the rising sun in a blue sky, while back home people have been dealing with the usual nasty winter weather and lately, even a foot of snow, followed by rain today. Shudder!