Monday, March 6, 2017

Out and About

Apache Junction, AZ  - High 62  Low 53  Rain

I am so thankful we have understanding neighbors here in AJ when it comes to Rocky.  Because they are, we are able to go out and do a few things. We try not to be gone too long because I’m sure all the barking gets really nerve wracking. I do know that he will curtail a lot of our sight seeing when we get back on the road but we will do the best we can.

We had a chance to meet up with friends for happy hour at Rustler’s Roost. The restaurant and bar sit up on the hillside and offers a fabulous view of the valley.

Jeff, Tina, Mike, Deb, Terry, Jeri, Janice, Jerry, me and Jim

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After drinks, food and visiting, it was time for us to go home but Jim just had to go down the slide.

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There is a slide from the upstairs bar down to the dining room area. Almost everybody went down the slide but not me. With my bad ankle I don’t take any chances. Once our group got the fun started, everybody in the bar wanted to take a turn going down the slide.

Jeri got this great picture of Jim

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Fun times.

Then on Friday six of us from here in the RV Park went to do an Escape Room Adventure. Once again, we did not escape and since Jim and I seem to be the only common denominator in our three tries, it must be us. 

Mickey, Ginny, Jim, Pat and Polly

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Even though we didn’t escape from the Wild Wild West Room and it is so frustrating, we still had a great time and I would do it again.

We also met up with the RV group again at Organ Stop Pizza. If you’ve never been here you really need to make it a must stop. The organ is magnificent. And everybody really liked their pizza. Some of the group had ice cream sundaes for dessert. Jim was in that group and he said he’d go back just for the sundae. We sat upstairs where the chairs have backs. Down on the main floor, the seating is on benches.

Once again I didn’t take any pictures, so this is one from the web that shows how huge the restaurant is as well as the organ.

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Hopefully we’ll be able to have one more get together before everyone scatters. I know lots of folks are headed to Escapade in Tucson but we aren’t going.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

We’ve Been Busy–But I’m Not Sure Why

Apache Junction, AZ   High 67  Low 42

After our arduous trek through Organ Pipe, we returned to our spot at Santa Fe RV Park. We had a wonderful time while we were on vacation, but it always feels good to get “home”.

First order of business was to catch up with friends here in the park and out to lunch with Paul. We went to the Mongolian Grill and chowed down on lots of stir-fry.  We also met up with Paula at Red Robin. Made Paul join us again – somebody has to take charge of his social calendar. We also went to see Aunt Happy who is still doing as good as always.

Sunday, I got a phone call from Faye inviting us to Sunday dinner at their place. She and Don are parked at the RoadRunner RV Park here in AJ. No way I’d turn down dinner with friends. She had stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer that were marvelous. And she also had marinated soda crackers. I know that sounds strange but they were so good. And easy – so it’s something I can do. Dinner was ham sliders, potato salad, and deviled eggs with avocado. Delicious.

Check out the recipe at crackers.

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Second on our list was a follow up doctor appointment for Rocky Joe. The growth on his side did not look any better and the vet said it needed to be removed and sent for a biopsy. We decided that while he was under, we’d have the hole in his mouth fixed. When a tooth was pulled earlier, it left a big hole that never healed over. Bacteria and other icky stuff can go up in the hole and into the sinus and cause real problems with infection. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday.

rockySurgery went well. He did have to have another tooth removed, so he’s down to only three teeth. It hasn’t affected his ability to eat though. He goes back in a couple of weeks to get all the stitches removed. Now we need to decide what we’re going to do with his barking when we’re gone.

We bought a Barkwise Vibration collar. Janna said that they had really good results with Emmi. We aren’t doing so good. He could care less that this thing is vibrating around his neck and that there’s a sound that is supposed to distract him. Jim talked to customer service and they told us that it could talk a week or so before results happen so he is still wearing the collar. They offer a 45 day return policy so we’ll see if any changes happen in the next few days.

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I had a doctor’s appointment mainly to check on my anemia and to establish a doctor down here. I was very pleased with Dr. Lea.

My computer died. It would not connect to the internet and nothing Jim or Paula or Paul suggested worked to fix it. After several days, Jim ended up taking it to Best Buy for help. I was worried it was fatal and I would need to get a new computer. But the guy was able to fix it by resetting some drivers (whatever that means) and didn’t charge us anything. In the meantime, I’ve gotten way behind on reading blogs and I may never catch up.

Haven’t taken many pictures lately. Have a couple more adventures to blog about later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Organ Pipe National Monument

Why, AZ   High 79  Low 57

After leaving Yuma, we headed for Why, AZ. We were going to boondock while we were there but I decided I wanted a really long shower so we pulled into the Hickiwan RV Park. What a great park.

We only had one day to spend in this area and I wanted to see Organ Pipe National Monument. We took the pups with us so the neighbors wouldn’t complain about Rocky barking the whole time.

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We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and watched the video on the monument and the Sonora Desert.

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Organ Pipe NM covers 516 square miles and was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.

There are several drives you can take to see parts of the monument and we decided to do the North Puerto Blanco – South Puerto Blanco loop drive. You need a high clearance vehicle for this 41 mile road.

I read that this route takes four hours and I should have known better, but we like adventure. Well, this one was not fun. It took us almost five hours to do the 41 miles because the road is beyond rough. Jim was lucky if he could do five miles an hour without shaking us out of the truck. Our back and neck muscles were sore for a couple of days after this adventure.

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The first ten miles weren’t too bad but then the road turns into a one-way road and once you start down it there’s really no turning around to go back.

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The Organ Pipe Cactus Biosphere Reserve is a first-generation biosphere reserve created in 1976 for the conservation of the unique resources representing a pristine example of an intact Sonoran Desert ecosystem.

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We didn’t see much wildlife. We saw one coyote who moved too fast for me to get a picture. And we saw a couple of birds. This one I actually got a picture of. I’m pretty sure he’s a Phainopepla according to the information I got from the visitor center.

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We expected to see a lot of Organ Pipe Cactus but that’s not the case. Organ Pipe like the warmth and cannot grow in a cooler or cold climate. There are several Organ Pipe in the monument but not in the numbers we expected. They do grow very abundantly in Mexico. The few that are in the United States are protected by being in the National Monument.

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We did not see any drug smugglers, illegal immigrants, or Border Patrol agents but there are several of these signs throughout the park.

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There are also water stations identified by these flags provided for people walking through this area.

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More pictures of the scenery.

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Bonita Well where we stopped for lunch.

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Driving along the South Puerto Blanco portion of the loop takes you right along the Mexican border. The truck in this picture is driving on Highway 2 in Mexico and that is the fence that separates us.

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A little further up the road, the Wall starts.

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There are a couple of much shorter drives and next time those will be the ones we take. I really would like to come back and spend a week in this area.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yuma Roundup

Pilot Knob, CA   High 74  Low 53

We boondocked at Pilot Knob when we got to Yuma. We were parked with Freddy and Delcie, Jerry and Janice, and Ed and Linda.

I took absolutely no pictures while we were there except for a couple of sunrise and sunset. I’m really out of blogging practice.

We had lots of errands to run while in Yuma and made three visits to Mexico to the dentist. We had a chance to meet up with Ray and Cindy one more time for dinner at Lin’s Buffet along with Cindy’s Mom and Sister.

We had a couple of campfires and Jim had an exciting run across the desert. Rocky Joe was being so good about staying attached to Jim’s side when he went outside. On our third trip to San Luis Rio Coronado, we took the pups with us. When we got home, we let them out and normally they head straight for the door. This time, Rocky got to the door and looked under the RV.

An RVer who was parked about 50 yards away, had their four cute little fluffy dogs outside. Rocky spotted them and was off as fast as his short legs would take him. He was ready for the attack. Jim took off running after him, yelling at him but he wasn’t going to stop for anything. We are so grateful that those fluff balls were all in a pen. But I was sure that Jim was going to have a heart attack chasing after him. Needless to say, Rocky will not be off leash every again.

lutes-logoOutlineWe met up with friends at Lute’s Casino for dinner. This place is not a casino, just a restaurant and very eclectic. Check out the pictures at Lute's. I had a good hamburger and Jim had a grilled ham and cheese “philly style”. You know I do not like cheese, but his sandwich looked really good and he said it was excellent. I’d order it without cheese next time.

How about a sunset picture this time.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Gathering

Maricopa, AZ   High 74  Low 49

We are currently back in Apache Junction but I have a few blogs to catch up on.

Before heading to Yuma, we knew that several of our good friends from back when we first started RVing were going to all be close to Maricopa on their travels in different directions. We were able to meet up with five other couples and what a fantastic time we had.

Back row: Paul, me, Jim, Freddy, Doug, Jerry, Jeri, Terry     Front row: Marsha, Delcie, Toni, and Janice

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We did a lot of visiting and catching up with everything we’ve all been doing in the last few years. Got to sit around the propane fires at night, enjoy a pot luck and several happy hours.

Most of us also went to the seafood buffet at Ak Chin Casino. Very disappointing and very expensive. $32 a person. Never again. Thank goodness the company was exceptional.

Safe travels wherever the road leads you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dental Work in Mexico

Yuma, AZ   High 75  Low 54

This is a long post but I wanted to record the info for future reference.

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I broke one of my bridges about three years ago and finally decided to bite the bullet and get a new bridge. It ended up being a five tooth bridge because I had also broken one of the anchor teeth.

I contacted my dentist in AJ to get a ballpark figure on the cost for a bridge and was told it would $1000 a tooth or more. So that would be $5000.  Mexico sounds better and better.

I got an appointment with Rubio Dental Clinic in Algodones and they quoted me $550 per tooth. A whole lot better than the US dentist. My appointment was for 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Thursday night we were sitting around our campfire and Lynn mentioned that one of the guys in an RV parked out here had gone to San Luis Rio Coronado to the dentist and said he’d never go back to Algodones. I remember reading an article in the Escapees Magazine about going to San Luis for dental work and how pleased they were. I also read a couple of blogs about going to the same dentist in San Luis.

Delcie, Freddy, Ed and Jerry (Janice had a tooth pulled and wasn’t out with us.)

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Freddy, Ed, Jerry, Carol, Linda

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On Friday Jim and I decided to drive down to see about making an appointment because Dr. Bernal doesn’t have a toll free US number. San Luis is about 28 miles south of Yuma on Highway 95. There is a parking lot at the border for $5 and you walk across just like at Algodones. But what a difference.

From the moment you cross the border in Algodones you are bombarded with people trying to get you to go to their dentist or optical store. Others are trying to push their wares onto you and lots of others are begging for money from you. You learn to ignore them but it’s really aggravating.

Not like this at all in San Luis Rio Coronado. For one thing, almost nobody speaks English. It’s really hard to ask directions when we don’t speak their language. Everyone was really nice and wanted to be of help but we weren’t getting anywhere. One of the gentlemen found another guy who could speak English and he actually took the time to walk us over to the dental office.

Lots of traffic

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There is nobody trying to sell you anything or trying to get you to go to their store. Very enjoyable other than the language barrier. San Luis Rio Coronado is a huge city – 250,000 people. It is what I expected of a city in a foreign country. Regular stores for the residents. Not a tourist town.

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We walked into Dr. Sergio Bernal’s office and he asked what we needed. His English is exceptional. I explained my problem with the bridge and that I figured I might also need a root canal in a tooth on the top. He immediately took me back to the chair and took a look in my mouth.

He had to cut the bridge off in order to see what kind of damage had been done to the anchor teeth and one of them was broken. So my four tooth bridge went to five teeth. He explained what needed to be done and quoted me a price of $150 per tooth. I said go for it.

Modern buildings among the regular stores

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He did all the prep work and took the impressions. Told me my bridge would be ready the next day. Then he checked my tooth on top and said that the pain was from food being stuck in the gap where my gums had receded. He cleaned everything out and told me what kind of floss stick I should get.

san luis rio coronado7Then he ground a couple of Jim’s teeth that needed to be smoothed out. He was also having trouble with food getting caught under a cap so Dr. Bernal fixed it.

We were only there for about 1/2 an hour and we were ready to go until the next day. He worked up the cost and decided he only wanted $700 for everything and he didn’t want us to leave a deposit. That is just incredible.

san luis rio coronado6The return trip across the border was a long wait. Dr. Bernal advised us that 20,000 people cross the border every morning into the US for shopping and work. However, it was a shorter wait then we’ve had trying to get back from Algodones.

Saturday afternoon we were back for the bridge. He put it in and started the adjustment work. He listened to what I told him about how it felt and worked with me until the bite was comfortable. I also have a bridge on the other side of my mouth and that has never really fit right. So Dr. Bernal also did some grinding on that side to make sure I was completely happy with my teeth. All of this for just $700.

The crossing back to the US was only 10 minutes this time. Note to self – go to San Luis in the afternoon.

Now, I want you to know that his office is definitely not a modern place with up to date equipment. It was more like a dentist’s office I went to as a child. It’s old and well used. But Dr. Bernal has been a dentist for over 30 years and I felt completely comfortable with him. He has a wonderful sense of humor and will take as long as you need to make sure you are happy with his work.

After leaving his office we stopped to get Jim a taco at an outdoor vendor. Once again, the guy did not speak English so Jim kind of used sign language to let him know what he wanted. He gave us a taste of the drink he was offering and it was really good but we have no idea what it was. The meat was too spicy for me but Jim really enjoyed it.

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Went back today for a small adjustment that I needed. Jim dropped me off at the border and then took the pups up to Walmart to wait for me. I knew it wasn’t going to take long and there was no reason for him to go with me. I walked across the border, down the half block to his office and into his chair. Was done with the adjustment in about five minutes and headed back across the border. Only about a five minute wait. I will definitely go back to Dr. Bernal for any other work that I may need.

Savings:

U. S. – $5000 or more

Rubio Clinic Algodones – $2750 or more

Dr. Bernal – $700 total

 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dwarf Car Museum

Maricopa, AZ  - Forgot to check the weather but since no coats were needed, that’s all that matters.

Doesn’t a Dwarf Car Museum sound like some place you really have to see? Especially if you like cars as much as Jim does. And it was more than we could have hoped for.

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10 of us headed out to the museum. Women in one car and men in the other. And just to let you know, the gals enjoyed this museum as much as the guys did.

I took the following information from Ernie's website.

Ernie Adams, originator of the dwarf car, has made a name for himself building Dwarf Race Cars and scaled down replicas of classic cars called Dwarf Car Cruisers.

The first Dwarf Car came to life in 1965 as a 28 Chevy two-door sedan made out of nine old refrigerators. Ernie began gathering the materials for this little car in 1962. By 1965 he had enough materials and an 18 hp Wisconsin motor to begin construction. With a homemade hacksaw made from a chair frame, hammer and a chisel, Ernie began construction. Because this is the first Dwarf Car ever built, it is known as “GRANDPA DWARF.” This first Dwarf Car is still driven today.

This is Ernie revving up his 1940 Ford Cruiser.

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The first two Dwarf Race Cars were built in Dec. 1979 and early 1980. The Dwarf Race Car idea came about after Ernie Adams and Daren Schmaltz had attended motorcycle side hack races in Phoenix, Arizona.

The first race car

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During the drive home, Ernie expressed concern that three-wheeled racers were to slow in the corners. He said they could improve considerably by adding a fourth wheel to help thru the corners. Ernie suggested that adding a car body would also help spectator appeal. ​The first Dwarf Car race took place at the Yavapai County Fair in Prescott, Arizona in September, 1983. There were 12 cars registered.

This is Ernie’s Parts Department.

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The guys were fascinated by the details involved in creating these cars.

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After leaving the Dwarf Race Cars, Ernie had learned a lot about bending and shaping metal. He loved to see heads turn in admiration of the Dwarf Race Cars while being towed down the highway. Ernie knew it was time to change and put his metal shaping skills to the test. Now he wanted a fully dressed Dwarf Car with fenders, chrome, finished interior and most of all street legal and the Dwarf Car Cruiser was born.​​

How about a 54 Chevy Bel Air.

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What is amazing about these cars is the fact that they are exactly like their full sized models – including the grills and wheels and chrome. Ernie customizes each one as an exact replica. If you looked at a picture of the car, you would not know it was a dwarf without a reference.

Jim’s Favorite – (and the car he would buy if we ever win the lottery – but full sized) – a 1939 Chevy. Gives you a perspective on their size.

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Jim also really liked the boat and the 30’s Ford that had a hitch to tow it.

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Be careful about backing into this hood ornament.

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This was Delcie’s favorite. No matter how long you looked at it, you could find something new. Even had a pot belly stove inside.

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Imagine cruising along in a 1942 Ford Convertible

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1950 Mercury

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Rust Rooms – not rest rooms

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Does anybody have any information about the history behind a monkey chandelier? This one is hanging in Ernie’s garage.

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We had a wonderful time at this free (donation) museum. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.