Catching Up

It’s hard to write a post when so much time has gone by where I’ve not written much.  And really, I don’t much like writing about events that are weeks or months old.  Here goes anyway: 

After leaving Mazatlan, we drove straight through (10 1/2 hours) to San Carlos to stay at Totonaka RV Park for a few days.  For those who have never taken their motor home to Mexico and maybe just want to get your feet a little wet, this is the place to go.  It’s just a 5 hour drive from Nogales on safe toll roads and also no vehicle permit or visa is required unless you go farther south than San Carlos.  The park manager (I think his name is Jose but can’t remember for sure) is so nice and welcoming.  The sites are big, it’s quiet, easy walk to restaurants and stores, nice views, clean town, all the amenities, safe, etc.  Just be sure to have pesos on hand for the toll booths each way because they don’t accept credit cards or dollars.  Altogether it cost us the equivalent of $290 US dollars in toll road costs to make the round trip drive to just north of Puerto Vallarta.  Nogales to San Carlos round trip is about $50-$60.

You may recall that I drove to Mexico in December with my mother but I may not have mentioned how welcomed we were by Mexican border officials, the federal police at inspection stops, gas station attendants, and ordinary citizens on the street that waved as we drove by.  It seemed like everyone was just overjoyed that these two old ladies were not afraid to visit their beautiful country and wanted to make us feel even more welcomed.  My mother’s name is Margareta and mine is Evelyn.  Everyone just loved saying Margareeeeeta and Evaleeeeen! My mother flew home and then it was just Steve and I driving back to the U.S.  Even though everyone was nice, the officials were back to being “official” acting and we didn’t receive quite the enthusiasm as before. 

Before we crossed the border to the U.S. I made a list of the food items we had; in particular produce, dairy, and fish.  Two different U.S. border agents thanked us because they didn’t have to recite a long list of “do you have……. and do you have ………?”  The only thing confiscated was our eggs which I didn’t realize we could not have unless they were cooked.

Then it was on to Yuma so that Steve could get his tooth implant completed in Algodones.  It took three appointment over a 7 day span and all went well.  He’s happy and our bank account is happy.   I have checked dental prices in Algodones, San Carlos, and La Penita and Algodones has the lowest which I believe is due to so much competition.  It’s hard to pin down but I’ve heard numbers of between 300 and 400 dentists open for business in town.  This year we noticed that several dentists have remodeled their offices and the town in general is getting more spruced up.  However, the remodeled offices have dental prices reflected in their fancied up new offices.  We really like Marquez Dental and believe him to be honest as far as what work is needed.  Many dentists will recommend fillings and crowns for the tiniest discoloration they find.

And we also stocked up on medication at the Purple Pharmacy which is right on the corner after you cross the border.  Thousands of Canadians and US citizens buy prescription drugs in Algodones every day in the winter and so the drugs have to be just as safe as ours – if there is such a thing as safe drugs.  Even with prescription drug coverage, I still save buying my cholesterol drugs and don’t have to see my doctor every 6 months to write a prescription.  I paid about $45 for a years worth of Zocor.

We always get our hair cut in Algodones which costs just $7 total for both.  I’ve had my haircut 5 times now in Mexico and can honestly say these have been my best haircuts in years and years.  Mexican hairdressers go to school for two years before they are licensed and I feel they give a more precise haircut than I’m able to get in Colorado Springs.  There are only two negatives about Algodones:  1)  The shopkeepers really hound people to buy their wares 2) The long line to clear U.S. customs to walk back across the border.  Early morning is best.

We parked Tulip at a friends house in Yuma and that was interesting.  She lives in the Fortuna Foothills where there are large subdivisions and each lot has a low brick wall around it.  People either park their RV on the lot, have a mobile home or a stick built house.  Our friend belongs to the Escapees Club and bought in this area because she knows 28 other Escapees who have done the same.  We were fortunate enough to meet many of her friends at a party and also at the weekly movies and dinner get together.  Many stay the winter on their lot and then most take off again in the spring in their motor homes.  Prices for houses and lots are very reasonable in this area.

We usually drive the Colorado/Yuma route via Albuquerque and Tucson but that has gotten old and we dread it.  This time we drove to Phoenix where we spent the night at Camping World.  The next day we drove all the way home via Farmington, Cumbres Pass, and Alamosa.  What a long haul!  If you ever drive that way, be sure to gas up in Farmington or the next town because there’s not much of anything for a long way after that.  And I sure wished I had pictures to show you but wasn’t thinking and reformatted my camera disk before downloading the pictures.  The route took us through Chama, NM  where there is a station for the Cumbres and Toultec train.  This train goes up over Cumbres Pass and into Antonito, Colorado.  The scenery is very pretty and Cumbres Pass was fairly easy on the New Mexico side.  The Colorado side was more winding and also since it was in the shade, there was ice on the road which Tulip had no problem with.  There is absolutely no traffic the whole way from Farmington to Alamosa in the winter but also no good places to spend the night once past Farmington because it is too cold.

One week after we returned home Steve was contacted for a job that he had applied for last year and that’s where he is working now.  This job should be pretty safe from layoff because it’s a manufacturer of medical devices. 

As for me,  I had the stent out last week which was a very easy procedure.  I timed the doctor and it only took 40 seconds.  However, the intermittent kidney pain every day since has been no fun.  There are many discussion threads on the web about the pain after a stent is removed (it goes from the kidney into the bladder and is about 12 inches long) and some people say it lasts for months.  There’s also a common thread that urologists don’t like to tell you anything and in fact it’s hard to even get to see one later.  Mine spent maybe 3 minutes most in the room and as he was leaving (door already open) said someone would call me to schedule shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) for a stone in my other kidney!! Well, that happens next Friday the 5th and I am not liking what I read on the web about the “after” on that either.  Sure wished I was one of those people that liked pain meds but they make me sick and itchy and for kidney pain the doctors will tell you that the only thing that is truly effective are IV meds (like morphine etc.).

Glad this post is done and now I can hopefully keep up to date.