Thursday, December 28, 2023

A Crown Went To Waste

It's time to restart blogging again. Christmas, sort of, got in the way. But I need to go back prior to Christmas.

Last you remember, I was just getting ready for a crown on my tooth. Well, meanwhile, the tooth is gone and the crown went into the waste basket.

The day I was to return for getting the crown, the pain had returned to the area and I was not convinced that the crown should be glued on until the reason for the pain had been found.

Border to Algodones

So I called and canceled my appointment to see whether the pain would continue to the next day, which it did. with a new appointment the next day, I returned to Algodones. After another x-ray, now without the crown, they found that my tooth had a crack. Only solution was to an extraction. Honestly I was happy with that, for who wants a continuous problem lasting over Christmas. Checking out I paid $60 for the extraction, but ending up with another $80 for the prescription medication. Just the meds would probably have run at $200 on the US side.

By getting to Algodones early and getting out early one can avoid these long waiting lines

Fast forward to today, I am a happy camper once again. We are done with Christmas, the weather is still wonderful, and today we even received our lost/invalidated bank cards in the mail. 

We are still doing our morning walks, though a heavy rainfall a few days ago made it impossible to walk along the canal, as the ground there is mostly clay, which gets really sticky and builds up under our shoes.

Today, we also did a trip to El Centro, mainly for laundry and stocking up on a few groceries. When dropping in at ALDI, I was really disappointed to discover that all the good German Christmas goodies had already been cleaned out. Nothing left but terrible tasting Hershey products. Yukk!

In a few days we will enter another year. 2024 will most likely not get any better than 2023. The world is at odds with wars, unrest, unhappiness, and I don't believe that any thing good could possible come out of that. There is no reason whatsoever for any optimism. So it will rest on ourselves to make the best of it for us and others.

Thanks for stopping by again!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tuesday Evening Blues

It shouldn't really be of any concern. I mean what day of the week we have. Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday etc. It's all the same. They are days spent in the desert, sometimes meeting people - new people or people we know. Some just give us a wave, others stop by for a chat and yet others show up for coffee at the adventure rig.

But some days stand out, as they are are getting filled with off-routine. Like f.ex. today. It's Tuesday and I became aware of it as I woke up at 3:30am and had a toothache.  Damn.... what's next?

Now, I have had a feeling that something could be off with my tooth health. And my hunch had made me book an appointment in Los Algodones,MX for Wednesday. But now I got a toothache of sorts and I couldn't sleep anymore and it was only Tuesday!

So, as quietly as possible (the floor is squeaking) I tiptoe into the bathroom, shut the door, switch on the ceiling light and reach for my 800mg Ibuprofen, which are remnants from a 2-years ago visit to the Mexican dentist and a brutal extraction lasting 1.5hrs that time. (another molar)

But the pills are sooo big, I need water and lots of it. drinking glasses are in the kitchen - or wait, I could use my coffee cup still on the counter. I need a light there too. Unfortunately in the dark I rake the trailer keys from the counter while fumbling after the light switch. With an ugly too loud noise they hit the floor. Hm...I hope Bea didn't hear that.

After I have the pill down my throat I drink most of the water from the coffee mug. That will get me making frequent visits to the bathroom for the rest of the night. Yup!

Back under the covers, I decide to change my dental appointment. I got to get rid of this problem. Hate to be up during the night nursing some toothache.

I am amazed when I wake up and see daylight filtering through the blinds. The dental office opens at 8:30am Mountain time which is 7:30am Pacific. I gotta get up and ready for a phone call.

I am lucky and get an appointment for 11am Mountain Time. (they call it Arizona Time there)

I arrive 15 minutes early and start wandering along busy crappy looking streets in Algodones. The town never invests into any upgrades of the outer appearance. It has been looking exactly the same over the last 17 years, which was the first time we went there.

Making my way to the side street where the office of DENTAL SOLUTIONS is located, I am constantly being talked to and showered with offers for the cheapest pharmacies, the best dentists and the greatest selection of eyeglasses. And I have to watch out so I don't stumble over older women holding out little containers hoping that some coins (or $$-bills) will drop into hit. It's Mexico and it makes me a bit sad, course it shouldn't be like this, as it shouldn't be in the US or Canada either. Yet, I am afraid it will not go away, but rather increase.

Inside the office, I am beckoned into the narrow hallway serving as a waiting area. I find a seat in a comfy looking white couch. After 45 minutes it's my turn. Xrays follow and the doc is dumbfounded as the corpus-delicti-tooth already has a root canal, meaning there is NO NERV  to be inflamed. Where does the pain come from?

They focus on the crown of the molar, which is subject to pressure from the bridge which was installed on the lower gum a year ago. We decide the crown has to go and be replaced with a new and lower one. So I am moved to another room for getting an imprint. From previous visits I am used to getting some soft pliable material shoved into my mouth followed with the command "BITE". Then the softball in my mouth used to harden and serv as a form for an imprint and the final crown/bridge. 

Not so today!

Technology has just done another major step to make these dental visits resemble a vacation from home. The beautiful Mexican girl I have by my side has now placed me in a chair beside of a huge computerscreen. She appears to handle a sort of very thick electronic stick which she starts moving around and around in my mouth. To my endless surprise I see my entire tooth assembly appear on the big screen. What in the world is this? I ask. "I scan your teeth. It's a scanner"!

And that dear readers, marks the end of my visit to the dentist office today. The tooth scan (call it the toothfairy) is now giving those dentists an exact idea of how to form the crown which will fit perfectly tomorrow at noon. Other than in Canada, where people have to wait for such luxuries for a week and longer, these Mexican experts have the replacement ready the next morning. I call that expert service delivered at a much lower price than in the US or Canada. Next please!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

As Christmas Is Slowly Settling In

Some readers who know me from previous blog postings (aka Christmas postings) are aware of me being a total Christmas nut. Matter of fact I have been exposed to sooo many beautiful Christmas celebrations that Christmas has become an integral part of me. Beginning in my early childhood days with parents who knew how to create the Christmas spirit for their son, I have carried these rich traditions with me all my life. I need Christmas music and candle lights like I also need daily food on the table. 

Naturally, snow and deep forests would help, but I have gotten used to this southern climate where I can greet Christmas in shorts and T-shirts. And when the sun sets on the western horizon around 4:30pm and darkness comes after 5pm, our outside Christmas tree decorated and illuminated with solar LED lights starts flickering its lightshow for the passerbys. Inside we are having a light chain around the dining slide-out to throw a golden shine around. 

Tonight we are also having a very thin sliver of the moon in the south-west. 

Looking west towards San Diego

I think the combination of warm days with beautiful walks along the scenic canal with the alure of Christmas has a special attraction for me.

And Bea is always on the look-out for the rare bird she hasn't yet taken a picture off. 

So you see, Christmas happiness has arrived with us. 

And today we are especially happy. After a week of having trouble with our Schwintek bedroom slide-out, we were able to solve the technical challenge. First we had to replace one of the slide-out motors, once that was in place it turned out that the whole thing had to be synchronized to pull in and out evenly. I finally figured out how to do this and this morning a call of victory went out from the bedroom. 

Together with the repair of the water heater these do-it-yourself repairs have saved us a couple of thousand dollars.

When I experienced my recent arthritis attack, it became clear that it is imperative that Bea also knows how to drive and handle this trailer. Otherwise, any emergency could end with us getting stuck with this rig in the south. So Bea's trailer driving lessons are to be scheduled and once that is going on, you will find another posting about it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

We Had A Visitor

Her name is EMMA and she's just 10 months old. Her owner and fellow camper had to travel to LA for the day and so we were dogsitting EMMA.


We had been a little curious about how Dixie would react to a small charming dog in our trailer. Amazingly, it all went very well. That is, as long Emma would keep her distance from Dixie's bed. Obviously, that was where Dixie said ENOUGH of this!

But Dixie is probably one of the most accommodating and friendly dogs you would find. She just about gets along with any dog unless she meets aggression from a counterpart.

Emma was dropped off at our place shortly after 7am, and after realizing her owner was gone she began to cry. But it went over after half an hour. after which she crawled up beside the bag containing her food and leashes. And she stayed there until she got bored. After she decided she was done mourning, she came out and was looking for us and Dixie. Emma began a charme campaign and let me say she was very successful with that. She is just such a  cutie pie.

She also came along when it was time for our 2.5-mile daily morning walk. 

During the afternoon she slept on our couch and after dark she placed herself confidently between Bea and myself probably dreaming of her owner returning to pick her up again. And he did come at around 9pm. Emma was beside her self when she saw him come through the door.

So much fun to have a visitor like her putting a highlight on our day here.

Cuddling up with my reserve dad

I wonder whether Emma can find me here?

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Ongoing Recovery And Life Returns To Normal

This year's trip south has been a rollercoaster of sorts with all kind of unexpected things happening.

The more I think about it, the more I also can enjoy "normality" again. Our days are now following a routine which was built years ago when we first arrived here in 2005.

Back in 2005 I was just 53yrs., and we were both the youngest around here. Everybody around us was much older. Now the tables have turned. A new generation of campers is coming here. Recently, we have seen very young people with small children here. I guess they have remote work, so they don't need to live in a permanent brick and stick home.

Now, we are up with first daylight (or some times earlier) having a nice European breakfast with rolls, jam, eggs and coffee. Next is our morning walk half around the campground and up the irrigation canal. 

Back home again we usually clear up the trailer for the day, or run a few errands to town, which we did today. 

Afternoons are lazy time, with napping or puttering around outside. Between 2:30pm and 3pm it's coffee time. Some times neighbours show up for a chat. After coffee it's time for a Dixie-walk again and from 4:30pm the sun will be gone behind the western horizon, 30 minutes later it's pitch dark.

Now it's time to think of preparing supper. Bea made a delicious pasta with meat sauce today. What a delight!

While these days are flowing one after the other, my personal recovery is taking place. I have become a pill eater which sort of manifests that I am officially old now. Never thought of that and it still seems foreign to me.

I still feel just a tad of the pain, early in the morning, but it's only in a finger or two. A little tingling...barely.

When the drama is over - peace is soo much more valuable!

Our every-day morning walk, Bea finds a lot of birds around here, while Dixie is looking for sticks she can carry home and I am just enjoying being here.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Hello, Life Is Good Again And We Celebrated With Donuts!

 Coming back from Yuma yesterday, we were in a better mood. My swelling had started to go down, the pain was gone and I got a prescription for meds to help me negotiate this problem to its end.

I ran over to the pharmacy in Holtville to fill the prescriptions so I could start treatment right away in the morning.

The big question in my mind was, would I be able to sleep through the night? 

With the pain gone and feeling reasonably tired after a long day, I was in bed at 9pm. Within minutes I had entered into a deep sleep. The pain did not return, my hand healed over night and at 6am the next morning I was back to normal. Got up, made myself a coffee and a warm porridge breakfast and relaxed on the couch awaiting full daylight. At 7:30 I drove down to the Hot Spring and put myself into one of the hot pools. Could heaven be sooo wonderful? I felt just great. Beside of me was a gentleman from Minnesota. It turned out his name was Peter. Haha....Over the next 30 minutes Peter and I had a great conversation. Coming down from Minnesota, Peter was of Norwegian heritage. Minnesota is full of them Scandinavians. So why not meet one of them here in the pool?

The day turned out to be wonderful with lots of sun, and feeling so invigorated, I decided to drive to El Centro to pay a visit to my favorite grocer in town. Of course, it's the German ALDI market.  Not only do they have the best prices on most groceries but they also import the WINTERNACHT Christmas collection of goodies from Germany, whiteout which we cannot celebrate Christmas.

          ALDI'S display of German Christmas Goodies

And my very own selection of it. BTW. the little Stollen in the front came in a package directly from Germany

So I went a little overboard with this today, telling myself that after all, Christmas is only once a year.

But I also went to Walmart, which is only a block away from ALDI. I steered right into the bakery section where I grabbed a box of 12 wonderful looking donuts and another bag of 24 of our morning rolls. Walmart is the only one having these treasures. 

All set for the party

And here are they, except two who already had another invitation

We had invited all of our friends for a get-together at 2:30pm for a Donut Party. Needless to say we had a great time together. 

And high above, I had hung the sign of last winter's unfortunate Cherry Pie production. 

Now off to vacation time, cause it's about time

Friday, December 1, 2023

Congratulations Sir, You Got Osteo-Arthritis

 When a nurse or doctor had asked me, I always gave them the same answer: "No, I don't take any medications". And they all had seemed so surprised. A guy of my age not taking any meds on a regular basis seemed unheard of.

But that has now changed for ever. After another "night from hell", we both had gotten enough and decided to drive to Yuma for paying a visit to the ER at the Yuma Regional Health.

And we made sure we got there early in the day. Entering into the ER-unit itself was impressive. It was a huge waiting hall with maybe 7-8 people waiting in a space where there could have been room for hundreds.

Positive surprise right away!

After 30 minutes of waiting I was called in. I will spare you all the details, but this facility is the best hospital I have ever seen. Modern, well-equipped and stocked with friendly and competent people. I just wish my province of New Brunswick would sport something like this.

When the tests had ended, I saw my doc again and he had no really bad news (all the tests seemed fine) BUT the diagnosis confirmed what I had been expecting all along:

Sir, you got Osteo-Arthritis,

And there you have it. Cold and clear. Better adjust to it, boy or else...

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Maybe This Is The Year We Should've Stayed At Home

 Of course, you have been wondering why blog posts were interrupted. 

There is a very reason to it: I am sick!

I think it all began on the 3rd. day of our trip. I had body aches when getting out from behind the wheel and my fingers had been tingling after hours of driving.

From there it went all downhill. 

Excruciating pain in my right hand, especially at night, depriving me of sleep for 4 nights, as of now. The hand is all swollen up and feels "on fire". and I still have body aches all over. Words like ARTHRITIS, GOUT and other scary scenarios are spooking around in my brain. This goes along with unreasonable chills, having me looking for my jacket even when inside the trailer. Monday will find me in an ER and hopefully, we will know more by the evening. Meanwhile, I got a numbing cream to put on my hand to douse the pain, which I hope will allow for some sleep again.

Bea is taking this very heavy and has thrown around ideas of going home. It even affected her nightmare scenarios. But that doesn't look too attractive, especially in my current condition. I'd rather fly home and get it checked out, but Bea and Dixie would have to stay behind. So for now, we have landed on the ER-visit on Monday.

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner with our friends and enjoy the company of all those people, many of which we have known for years.

Using this key board hurts my swollen fingers, so I'll call is quits for today.

Friday, November 24, 2023

What The Other Half says....

 if you click on the following link you can get the actual view of my better half with some updated infos about how this adventure is going now.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

We Were ridin' Into The Sunset

Little Baby Tarantula
A miracle happened this morning. Something so unbelievably unreal, that all I could say "WOW".

My phone rang and a glance onto the display read "NAPA Auto Parts". Now, was it that they had given all up on the van or did they already close for Thanksgiving???

None of the above. The lady said "Your van is ready".


There it was. Our adventures along US Highways could continue.

I told Yves about it, and his eyes lit up. Ready to go? Ready to go!

Last evening in WHY

Arriving at the shop I saw the van parked outside the gate. It was like an apparition. After 8 days in the shop, it was finally ready to serve us again.

I quickly crawled under the van to check on the cables - they were all shiny new. I tried the shifter.... it worked just fine.

After paying up (it wasn't so bad) I drove over to Olsen's groceries, filled up 2 5-gal water containers got a few more groceries and made it over to the gas station. Compared to other places in AZ, Ajo takes the cake when it comes to the highest gas prices. Cheapest was $4.05 (minus my rebate). Even out in Gila Bend, which is notoriously expensive, the price of gas was significantly ($3.59) lower. But we needed a fill-up.

We also needed a fill of a 7gal. Propane tank. There was a station on the other side of the road, and that's where I went. Price tag said 4.89/gal. What?

I know that even in California propane is $3.99. What on earth is wrong here in Ajo? I guess local town council has decided to take advantage of the fact that the town is enroute to Mexico, thus increasing local taxes and that everybody needs to stop for fill-ups. Well, I wouldn't want to stay there for the winter. 

Btw. the BLM in Why is a great place to stay for the allotted 14 days, we loved the views and the walks and lately even some friendly people stopped by to say hello.

But the camp can never be home for us. Simply because "Home" for us is at the Holtville Hot Springs BLM.

After we had dumped our waste water at the Coyote Howls RV Park ($12) we hit the highway 85, first north to Gila Bend then following I-8 via Yuma,AZ all the way to Holtville.

Mural in AJO

I can get a kick out of Bea's comments when we are approaching the BLM Camp. "I can see the water tower" "Now I can see the Power Plant", and needless to say I can't but getting excited myself and now I have to control my gas foot, cause in CA vehicles with trailers cannot exceed 55mph.

We had started from Why around 1:30pm and were now heading west against the setting sun. Minutes after the sun had gone below the mountain range in Mexico, we arrived at the LTVA. (Long Term Visitor Area)

Thanksgiving traffic on I-8 near Yuma

Our Turn-off

We found "our spot" marked off with lights and a funny reminder of a disastrous pie I once made: "The Cherry Chisel Cake". How sweet of friends to remind me that I should not mess around with pie baking anymore. :-))

Even after it got dark, friends came by to welcome us in camp. It was just wonderful.

We are tired now, but I need to say that we are not the only ones being happily back here. Dixie went to inspect her old spots right away and I am so amazed with her ability to remember certain geographical locations.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Continuing Saga

 Aah...this was to be THE morning where we would receive a call letting us know that our van would be ready for pickup. After breakfast we did our Dixie-morning walk. It was a bit chilly when starting out, but warmed quickly so that I got rid of my sweater. The sky was super blue, not a single cloud to see.

Returning to camp site, Yves and Louise were up and outside with their coffees enjoying the nice morning. Chatting away with them the time flew by quickly. Since I had had a bad sleep last night, I napped a bit on the couch.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time. Hours ago, I had wondered why the shop hadn't called yet. So now I grabbed the phone and dialed their number. The news I got was simply devastating. The part from the GM-dealership had not arrived and after talking to the dealer it became clear that it was never shipped either.

What in the world?????

Yes, we would have to wait yet another day, but tomorrow, Wednesday, the part would definitely be in Ajo.

Honestly, I have given up all hope of getting the van back before Thanksgiving. Wednesday will be the last day before everything closes until Monday or even Tuesday which will then mark 14 days here at Why, when the plan was 3-4 days only.

I am furious about such sloppy business attitude and wonder whether I have landed in a desolate part of Africa or whether this indeed is the United States.

So here we are awaiting another day in the Arizona desert.

We Still Haven't Made It To California

 And you might just imagine why we are still hanging out in WHY,AZ. Of course, it is the ongoing drama with our van.

Today was supposedly the day when our van would be fully repaired, with transmission shifter cables installed. After calling at 8:15am I learned that the parts had arrived. At around 12:30pm I called again and was told the van would be ready in another hour. Half an hour later our friend Yves drove me to town. After getting some drinking water and a few groceries, it was time to pick up the van. 

We quickly found out that the van was still on the hoist. Oh boy!

Then we were told that a tiny safety washer clip was missing. It was a crucial part as it would hold the 2 wires together. It didn't come with the new cables and Napa didn't have it. Needless to say, I was very disappointed.

We went back to the town center where we had a coffee and a pastry. (yummy! ]

We did a walk around the old Spanish plaza, then I called the shop again. They had now ordered it from a GM dealer (in Phoenix?) and it would be in Ajo in the morning.

Naturally, I am wondering why there hadn't been this washer clip when the cable had been taken out? Did the mechanic lose it? (it's really tiny) Or hadn't it been there at all? Questions without answers.

What we did get an answer for is that the lower cable had never been replaced at the Chevrolet Dealership in Freehold, NJ. That makes a lot of sense, as I discovered the cobber wire which I had put on it, was still wrapped around the gear lever at the transmission, when it failed again here at the BLM.

The shifter cables made by DORMAN come with a really crappy bushing. So NAPA has replaced it right away with a better bushing.

Now all we have to do is wait for another day, and another attempt to pick up the van.

Interestingly our van hasn't been the only vehicle which got in trouble out here.

Yesterday late afternoon we saw that another van had pulled up not far from us. What was strange about it was the position with the rear hanging sort of down in a hole.

Shortly after I was approached by the owner of said van, a young German lady who was in dire need of help. It turned out that she had tried to drive through a small wash, but underestimated the climb on the far side. Since her van was an extended Ford Transit with a long rear overhang and on top of that a mounted Bike rack on the receiver hitch, she got hung up in the rear, in the process damaging here waste water pipe as well.

Yves had a shovel and we dug like crazy to free the rear from the hard gravel she got stuck in. At the end, we tried to throw rocks and pieces of wood incl. a chain under the rear tires, but nothing helped.

The Transit just getting pulled out

Bettina, got stuck there for the night.

This morning she called the same company I had used last Monday and a lady driver operator showed up. With the help of a winch the van got out of the ditch and Bettina looked much happier.

Afterwards we had a little chat with her and learned that she was on a one-year adventure trip in North America, starting her trip in Alberta, Canada where relatives gave her the van. Talk about an adventurous lady!

And this, dear readers, were the doings of the adventure team, Bea, Peter and Dixie for today. But I am sure there is more to come.

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Sunsets Of The Deserts

 We have heard it several times: What are you doing in the desert? Why are you staying in the desert?

The questions deserve an answer. First of all, there is the weather. Dry and warm air persists throughout the winter.

Rain is extremely rare. And when it comes in February/March the desert turns into a flower garden.

The Desert is not overcrowded like f.e.x Florida is during winter months. If one seeks solitude, one can find it in the desert. 

The areas S.California, Arizona and partly Nevada offer BLM areas, where folk may set up camp, either in 14-day free-areas or with a permit valid for 7 months for $180. This is by far, the most budget-friendly solution for camping. Just 2 - 3 days in an average private campground could cost you the same amount. 

Most areas are so spacious that you will not have to park anywhere near "the other rig". Eastern states do not offer BLM areas for camping.

Deserts are natural and in most cases undisturbed areas where the view and experiences in nature are abundant. And part of the latter are stunningly beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

What I haven't mentioned yet: We have always met our best friends in the desert. There we find folks with similar interests, most of whom pursue a simple lifestyle close to basic needs.

Another thing why we really like to stay at BLM is the personal freedom. Naturally, common courtesy is required also in a BLM camp, but the limits are generously set. You want a campfire at your site? Go build one and invite your neighbours. Look up in the dark sky and you'll see millions of stars. 

The desert invites to desert walks. With open eyes you may see and follow natural life on the ground. Special insects, coyotes, birds, lizards and so much more lives on the desert floor. And yes, snakes are part of it, but there is no reason to be afraid of them. During cooler winter days they hibernate. Night temps are cool or even cold. The ground doesn't retain the higher day temps, and snakes and lizards become sluggish to immobile and don't appear in the open during winter days.

These are the most prevalent reasons why we and others are seeking the desert, rather than doing camping in a strictly regulated RV Resort, where the yearly fees can be thousands of Dollars.