Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I survived my first trip into Mexico!

Los Algodones, Mexico was the destination and new prescription glasses were the game. (Gee, that sounds SO much more dramatic that it actually was....LOL!) Of course the first stop was the Post Office to see if my mail had arrived and if my birth certificate was in it. It had and it was....we were Mexico bound.

It was a true hop, skip and a fact the entire trip from our boondocking site to Algodones via the Post Office was under 30 miles. We parked the car, $5/day, and headed into town.

Once we crossed we could already see a LOOOOOOONG line of folks waiting to cross back to the U.S. even though it was only 3 pm.

We headed pretty straightaway to the optical shop that Doug had used before, Algodones Optical, since we weren't sure how late they stayed open. After trying on several frames from a wide selection and price range, I settled on two I liked. One for regular glasses and one for sunglasses....IF the price was right. I wear progressive lenses so in the US it's not uncommon for them to run me over $400, even with cheaper frames. Well, the price was right...I walked out with my eye exam and two pairs of glasses (on order, will get them Friday when we return for dinner with a group of RVers) for.....$155!

Doug wanted to get his shoes shined so once we found someone to do that, I wandered a bit just taking it all in. Much of the stuff being sold was either not to my taste (already have enough leather everything) or too big/bulky for my little RV. I did find what looked to be one interesting vendor who was engraving stuff on small leather pieces (like key fobs, etc) but since he was already packing up for the night, I didn't bother him. I hope he'll be there on Friday.

There is a ton of inexpensive jewelry, some handmade, some from China I suspect (as I suspect for many items being sold). Lots of t-shirts, clothes for youngsters, knick-knacks, hats (may have to try some of those out ), pottery (although much of it is probably the cheaper resin), rugs, and more. As I wandered in & out around the shops I found a nice central eating spot with music.

Once Doug was done we continued perusing things, checking out the prices in the liquor stores (some great buys there but each person can only bring back one bottle) as well as the pharmacy prices. I may get some of my meds refilled on I can get cheaper at the Wal-Mart $4 price but another is much cheaper there.

Since it was now getting close to 5 pm, we noticed most shop owners were closing up. Most of them pack everything into totes, only to have to take it all out the next day. It was an exhausting procedure to watch. What didn't get packed away was carefully covered and tied down. While wandering the deliveries were starting...time to restock the liquor stores and pharmacies. Talk about tight parking! Check this out....and there were vehicles on both sides of them parked just as close! Eeeek!

We stopped for dinner at El Rancherito, checked out the line (still long) and then headed to another restaurant where we could sit, listen to music and watch the antics of the non-locals, who were obviously having fun. The live music was geared to Baby Boomers and several were dancing and singing along. Vendors strolled amongst the tables, hawking their wares - the best selling item seemed to be the "hair hats" that I first saw in Quartzsite. I did notice that the best sales were being had at tables where the liquor seemed to be flowing pretty freely.

I had ordered a Diet Coke and Doug got a Martguerita which came in a rather large glass. I got a kick out of my Coke being "Coke light" and all the writing in Spanish.

Eventually some of the vendors' children came out...some of the older ones were selling wallets & other small items but my favorite was this little boy who came out with his pet snake and startled several folks...until they realized it was a puppet!

Around 7 pm we headed back out, the line was empty except for some of the folks from the same restaurant...although they had obviously been there MUCH longer than us. My birth certificate was barely glanced at and my purchases smiled at. All in all, a nice day. I'll report this weekend on how well my new glasses work out!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reporting in from California!

Been a while....

Someone sent me an email telling me that they always knew when I was having fun because I wasn't blogging. Well in this case it's only somewhat true. We left Tucson around 9:30 on Saturday the 23rd. Had a breathtaking sunset to appreciate on my last night there and nice driving weather for the trip to Yuma area.

The trip was fairly eventful until 5 miles out from a planned stop at Dateland, AZ for a "Date Shake" (I opted for hot apple pie ala mode). My new Pressure Pro system started to alert me to high pressure on my inside right dual. It was running at 93, all the other tires were 83-87. After a 30 minute stop it was still over 90 so we let a little air out and it closely matched the other tires. I don't know what could have happened and think I would like to keep it that way. Thank you Pressure Pro!

Here are a few photos as we approached the east side of Yuma. You'll notice a few wild flowers on the sides of the road from time to time.

We arrived at Ogilby Rd, BLM area just west of Winterhaven, CA and in the Algodones Imperial Sand Dunes area, and got set up. I arrived with a sinus headache and took it pretty easy the rest of the day. I went to bed early and was up in time to snap a couple of sunrise photos (you KNOW how rare that is....LOL!)

The headache was a bit better...until the afternoon when I started losing my voice as I do when exposed to smoke and certain fragrances. At the social hour I got a bit lightheaded and went back to rest...before I knew it, it was Monday morning.

The plans for Monday were to head to the Winterhaven Post Office and pickup my mail, if it had arrived. Then we could use my certified birth certificate and cross the border for my first trip into Mexico, visiting the border town of Los Algondones.

We found the Post Office but unfortunately my mail wasn't in yet. It might arrive that afternoon but we decided to just come back Tuesday afternoon and then head into Mexico for a few hours. On the way out of town we saw some migrant workers picking, cleaning & packing up some lettuce. Quite an interesting and well organized operation.

Last night's sunset was beautiful and I didn't even realize how well the flag stood out until I took a look at them today. Enjoy!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where did the week go?

Once again, time flies...whether you're having fun or not. I have accomplished several things this week...besides running around with Doug on his errands. I did get my passport application finally submitted. Phew....what a hassle but a requirement for the future. I also emailed and got a couple more certified birth certificates. Since the passport will take 4-6 weeks AND will have to be sent to me by my mail forwarding service, this will allow me to still visit Mexico when the chance arises (hoping to get some discount eyeglasses).

The weather has been pretty nice for the most part, one night of rain and maybe 2 cloudy days...not including today when it's been a little cooler and spitting rain off & on. I managed to get everything done to the rig in preparation for moving, getting fresh water & dumping is all that's left to do.

Some may remember that my bike wouldn't start while in Casa Grande at the Gypsy Journal Rally. I had tried charging the battery but nothing changed and I had planned on getting one while here. Well we unloaded the bike and after a short false started. Hmmmmmm...... Now wondering if maybe I might have some bad gas? It seems to not be running at 100% and is harder to start, but start it does.

The other thing is maybe some transmission issues. The guys couldn't get it into gear when they loaded it in Casa Grande. Today Doug took it around the block and it clunked majorly when he put it into gear, then he had a very hard time getting it into neutral. I called the Parker BMW dealer and my warranty is good until April 2009 so that may be my next stop. Always something....

Anyway, we're headed to Winterhaven, CA to meet up with the Boondockers BOF again. That's just outside Yuma and when my birth certificate arrives, we'll be taking a trip to Algodones.

Not many photos taken but here are a couple of the ground squirrels and some bird who liked to sit on top of my satellite dome and chirp.

And here are some nice sunset photos taken a few nights ago...before the full moon and eclipse that I MISSED! Grrrrr.....LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flash - Crass - Brash - Class

Huh? What the heck is she talking about? Motorcycles... sometimes they reflect our egos, sometimes our alter-egos. Some are flashy, some are brash while other border on the truly crass. Classic lines, new and naked, some chrome bling here, a technical or performance farkle there. Even if we leave them stock, that in itself reflects on how we feel about riding and our bikes.

I mentioned that I had gotten some pinstriping added to my BMW. As you may, or may not know, adding custom paint to a BMW is considered akin to putting plastic rhinestones on a classic blazer (okay, bad analogy but it's all that came to mind...LOL!). BMW riders are into farkles that improve performance or otherwise enhance the riding experience. It's not done to add "dash" or a personal look to the bike.

If you're not into motorcycles and haven't attended any shows, rallies or other events in recent years, here are some photos I have taken over the last six years. I think you can easily see the ones that evoke the image of class, brash, crass and flash.

So when I decided I wanted something custom on my new BMW, Squirt, I knew that it would have to be done with a light hand. No funny frogs, no flames, something understated. I had pre-arranged with an artist friend that we would barter some custom work in exchange for my putting up a website for him. We discussed the color, settling on a slightly darker blue-grey than the stock paint on the bike. He spent some time looking over the lines of the bike and trying to decide how to make it all flow.

When the day arrived, we pulled the saddlebags off since he wanted the pinstriping to flow down the side of the bike. I left the artistic side to him, knowing he understood my desire to keep things on the simple side.

The end result was PERFECT! The color changes with the light and it flows with the lines of the bike.

I will eventually get "The Lily Pad" pinstriped on the doors of the motorhome and possible some light matching pinstriping along the front edge of the hood. Michael, aka Wolf, also is starting to do small, custom-sized acrylic paintings on canvas to fit in those little spots between the overhead cabinet doors. Not sure what I will get as yet but I know it will be amazing. Just check out some of his work on his website, daWolfdidit.

On another note, I managed to snag a few sunrise photos, not overly spectacular - even the birds were sill napping. Shortly after sunrise I got to hear "Reveille" played over the base loudspeakers. Not having been in the military, for me it evoked images from Girl Scout Camp (as does "Taps").

I hope to get some photos of the ever present round-tailed ground squirrels around the campsite as well as the almost daily visiting Gila Woodpecker. Today he thought my awning arm needed to be de-bugged. LOL! Couldn't grab my camera quick enough to get a shot. Earlier in the day there was a beautiful hawk sitting on the trailer beside the RV across the field from me...too far for a good shot though.

Till next time - keep on rollin',