March 7th, 2021
During our celebratory (we sold Tigger in one day!) hotel stay, we went over to a Walgreens and had passport photos taken in connection with getting Mexican residency. Fran had written the Vegas office an email and was told, yes they are aware of the phone issues and they gave us a helpful tip about getting the online system to work: get online after 3pm on Thursdays so we’ll try that.
Wednesday, we checked out of our hotel and Doug dropped Fran off to grocery shop while he took the trailer to get it washed. Unfortunately, when they washed the trailer, they must have applied too much pressure as the paint wore off in one place!
NOTE: We got some flag decals and covered up that spot with a Canadian flag and in the equivalent spot on the other side, we mounted a US flag. We have purchased a Mexican flag too which we will stick on when we get there (in the middle).
We then made our way eastward figuring we’d make out way towards Moab slowly with the plan to head west again in April to visit Serena after she settles into her new job in Reno and Kurt joins her.
Fran has been meaning to remove the sticker adhesive off a spot on the trailer as well and when working on this, found that the paint comes off really easy so it seems maybe there’s only one coat of the colour on the trailer and she’s reluctant to rub too hard.
So to cover that mess up, we designed a large 12×12 logo decal, had it printed and stuck it on:
So the weather was still rather cool and rain was forecast but we decided to visit Valley of Fire State Park which we hadn’t been to in a few years. The rain began shortly after leaving Vegas and at the turn off for the park, we discovered that the left turn signal wasn’t working! WTH?
We couldn’t check much in the hard rain so we decided to park before the park for the night and visit the next day. Well, the sun came out shortly after stopping and it was only early afternoon so we went for it anyway.
We drove all the roads and made a few stops but didn’t do any hikes.
We did come across some big horn sheep by the side of the road:
Check out our galleries for more pics.
We were going to camp outside the park but knowing we had the turn signal issue, Fran called the Toyota dealer in St. George and made an appointment for the next day. We pushed on to Mesquite so our drive would be shorter in the morning and parked in the free RV parking area outside the Casa Blanca hotel/casino. It was still quite cool and after a short walk before the sun set, we stayed indoors. (We also dug out our down jackets to wear the next few days).
Thursday, we made it to St. George well before our appointment and parked at the Walmart where we planned to leave the trailer while Doug went to the dealer. Upon unhitching the trailer, we discovered the signal worked BUT stopped working again once we hitched up again – so it’s not the truck. We cancelled the appointment and Doug did some research and we tried a few options with no success.
That afternoon we went to the public library to use the internet in the hopes of getting an appointment with the Mexican consulate – at 3:50 pm Fran logged in and yes; there were times showing up so Doug got on with his laptop and we both got appointments for March 30 and 31st – we’re not sure we can go as one appointment so to be safe, we got two.
We were so glad to have received that tip and Fran emailed the person back to thank them and let them know we were successful and to ask if we could go together. They replied saying it may be possible but to keep the second appointment in case there isn’t sufficient time at the first. We are pretty darn happy. So we have about three weeks until that appointment so we need to make a plan on our direction. Right now it’s raining in St George and it’s cold (single digits C / 40’sF) and that’s not our cup of tea.
Doug tried a few more things on the signal issue with no luck. We found an electrical mechanic online and made an appointment with them for Friday morning. It was yet another cold night; without power. While parked we had to use our furnace a few times during the evening to kill the chill.
Friday morning, after spending the night in the Cracker Barrel restaurant parking lot that allows RV’s, we awoke to rain and the forecast looked bad all day.
Upon arriving at the mechanics we were asked to reschedule as they would not be able to work outside on the trailer issue. So we just cancelled it completely and decided to head back to Vegas where the weather was better. We had to pick up parcel at the post office here in St. George that was supposed to arrive today, and while we waited for it to be found (it had arrived but was not sorted) it began to snow! (not a great photo but it was snowing).
So that was definitely a sign: we had to get out of here. Fran got the parcel at 9:45 and we hit the road with the defective turn signal and hope to get it repaired in Vegas.
We returned to the Kings Row Campground where we’d spent a few weeks in October and November and although it’s not fancy, it’s cheap and has the services we need. They were practically full so we didn’t get our choice of site but we got settled and now will have some “routine” until the end of the month. The Wi-Fi here isn’t the greatest in the world but we can reach the office Wi-Fi from our spot and Doug set up our Yagi system which helps but it can only be as good as its source. After the appointment we’ll know if we should head to Mexico right away to get the paperwork finished and get medical insurance or if we have to wait a while.
It’s still quite cool for us here but starting tomorrow the sun returns and gets a little warmer each day.
Saturday we awoke to mostly cloudy (but no longer black clouds) and Doug pulled out the anode on the hot water tank to check it and saw it was fairly corroded so we’ve begun an Amazon cart.
Since we’ll be here for maybe 3 weeks, we have time again for shipping things. Hopefully our Chase bank cards, truck title and a few other things will be in our mailbox so that we can order our mail to come here before leaving (we also need original hard copies of our bank statements for our consulate appointments and Doug has ordered those from our main bank).
Doug worked on the darn left signal issue on the vehicles. We spent time testing wires for shorts etc. – finally after a couple of hours and thinking maybe we just needed a new harness, he found a loose wire at the trailer end of the harness! Yeah – he beat the electricity devil!
It’s spring in Vegas:
Sunday we had an awesome day. One of our “to do’s” here was get vaccinated. As we are deemed “residents of South Dakota” and we have no desire to be there at this time of year, this has been an issue for us. Right now most states are only vaccinating 65 and older or people with underlying conditions. However, many places have “waste lists”. While we were in Yuma we didn’t qualify or didn’t know about waste lists then. When we learned about this upon arriving in Nevada, we were told you had to be a resident of the state showing ID and maybe a utility bill. So that counted us out. Later we learned that some locations get their vaccines federally and that could be an option but finding out who got what was a daunting task. When we were in Utah for a couple of days, we learned they were doing 55 and over but again you had to be a resident . Upon returning back to Vegas, Fran got on a FB page for “vaccine hunters” and learned that Walmarts here will do out of state people and you just show ID and insurance.
So this morning, Fran called three different Walmarts and confirmed no residency is required with them (but an insurance card is so we could show our travel insurance info) and got us on their waste lists; all of them said they are like five pages long! We thought “oh well, all we can do is all we can do”. Fran had also read that if you’re lucky, they call you first because of your age BUT you have to be able to get their within fifteen minutes.
Well, not ten minutes after the third call, Fran’s phone rings and it’s Walmart! Can we get there in fifteen minutes to receive our first dose!?!? So we jumped in the truck and got over there as quick as possible after figuring out which Walmart it was while driving.
We got to the pharmacy department, and began the sign in process; when we showed her our travel insurance info on Doug’s phone, the clerk said “I’ll just bill the government”. That worked for us.
So the second large item is off our list! We received the Moderna vaccine.
Now the third thing we have to sort out it is medical insurance. Our current travel insurance expires soon and is getting more and more expensive each time we renew. Since we are in the US we could get Obamacare but that won’t cover us out of the US. This is the main reason for the change of residence to Mexico but the hoop we have to jump through is an address to get insurance. All the companies we’ve reached out to say you have to have an address in Mexico and that you’ll need that for the temporary residence appointment in Mexico (that takes place AFTER you get the visa from the consulate and arrive in Mexico).
Today was super windy and cooler but still sunny most of the day with a few sprinkles in the late afternoon and early evening; way better than snow!
Doug began looking into insurance and found some international companies that will let us use a PO Box service in Mexico as our “address” without actually living there so we are rethinking this temporary residence thing. Some plans even cover the US so we’re still investigating.
Tuesday after a treat at DQ, we took a drive down the strip as we’d not done that in a while – slow traffic at the top end due to lots of construction around the new Hilton Resorts World but that made it easier to enjoy. Once we got to the nicer end of the strip, traffic moved and it was not as easy to view it all.
Wednesday, Doug went out for his marathon walk while Fran ran errands and we both enjoyed the sunshine and the warming weather – back up into the 20’sC / 70’sF.
Thursday, we decided we’d run out of the “free” things to do in Vegas – we’ve been here many, many times but never went to see the Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay. So Fran found discount tickets online and we booked a time for the afternoon.
In the morning Fran did laundry and chores while Doug did some maintenance work on the trailer batteries and the hot water tank (new anode and flushing). He also installed new locking latches on the pass thru as we learned from that RV inspector for Tigger that everyone has the same keys for those storage units!
Enroute, we went to Costco for lunch and gas and arrived just at our “appointment” time at the Mandalay Bay. We guess our expectations were a bit too high; while it was interesting and don’t regret going, we’d read that it takes 2-3 hours to visit; we saw all the tanks in about 45 minutes! Unless you stood at each tank for about fifteen minutes, it seemed hard to extend the visit to 3 hours! Also there were one way signs on the floor so you weren’t supposed to backtrack (although we did near the end at the biggest tank. It was not crowded and everyone wore a mask.
Photos from our phone’s camera did not turn our well but here’s a few videos:
Afterwards we walked over to the MGM for a Fat Tuesday slushie only to discover our fave flavour was not available – they’d swapped it out with some St. Patrick’s day flavour and needed to have that “tank” empty before returning the mudslide back. Oh well, we know from experience that this location is usually the only one with mudslides so we left disappointed.
Friday it was quite warm and sunny: 27C / 80F. A perfect weather day in Fran’s mind; the wind came up in the afternoon as it’s supposed to be cooler again tomorrow but we’ll take it anytime we can get it.
Doug finished the flushing out of the hot water tank that he began yesterday and continued with the search for health insurance – we have found an address to use in Mexico so that’s a big step in the right direction. We have not decided as yet to proceed with temporary residence (although we have not cancelled our appointments) because it may be that we can just use a Mexican address and get the insurance without living there – we’ll see.
Joshua’s birthday was Saturday the 20th and we video chatted with him while he opened his presents. Our baby boy is now 34!
Sunday, Fran had a another zoom meeting with her sisters as some medical stuff has come up for her mom and the sisters want to all be on the same page. It’s nothing life threatening but it sure makes not being able to visit that much harder.
Now as you know we have a 2021 Toyota; now can you believe it does not have intermittent wipers? We couldn’t; since we don’t often hit rain, we really didn’t realize this until we were annoyed last week in St George etc. where we had a couple of wet days. Fran found one on Amazon and Doug installed in on Monday. It’s the little things in life, right?
New one installed:
We had a few very windy days last week and we noticed that the Yagi pole for the Wi-Fi extender was leaning more than we were happy with; Doug went to Lowe’s and managed to find something that might keep it in place better and got that set up on Tuesday:
He also finally managed to sort out our health insurance problem and we’ve found an international company that doesn’t require a Mexican address; as long as you have an address outside the US so we’re going to use our son’s address in Canada and we will be covered almost globally including up 45 days of emergency coverage in the US. We cannot apply until a month before we leave the US so we will have a few weeks with no insurance before we enter Canada in late May/early June.
We have been looking into seasonal campgrounds near Joshua for the summer; now it’s just a matter of awaiting their response to our booking requests. Fingers crossed – there’s one about 2km from his house at a conservation area so we are hoping for that one.
So Wednesday we decided to do an outing again; this time to Sloan Canyon Conservation area where there’s a 8km / 5 mi hike into and through a canyon of petroglyphs. It was a sunny but quite windy morning when we started out.
The hike starts at the parking area and heads towards the canyon.
Entering the canyon it takes a while but you start to see the odd etching.
Then you reach what seems like a dead but we saw a couple come from that direction and checked out where they came down; looked rather extreme to go down, let alone up.
So we watched another couple climb up the cliff/hill and followed their general path and made it up. We began to see many petroglyphs and saw two sheep:
We found a way down and saw many more petroglyphs and chatted with some of the other hikers before continuing on to where this trail meets the Cowboy Trail and hooks back into the Petroglyph Trail back to the parking lot.
Next stop was the Cactus Garden at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory.
This is free but of course, you feel like you need/want to check out the chocolates too!
One more stop today was the Sam’s Town Casino where there is an indoor garden/wild space with mechanical animals: a bear, lynx, eagle and an owl around a huge indoor waterfall.
On our way back to the parking lot walking through the casino, we found an empty area and played a few penny slots. Everyone was masked and it was not busy. After a few minutes we were actually approached by a waitress for drinks so we decided “why not” and indulged. Well after putting $3 in the slot machines, $2 for the waitress we came out about 45 minutes later with $10. We call THAT: cheap entertainment!
Since Doug has found us insurance that will work without having to get temporary residence, Fran attempted to cancel our appointments with the consulate; not possible online and when you call their 1 877 number you can no longer find a way to speak to a human. So she’s emailed the helpful person at the Vegas Consulate and advised we’re not coming and that if we decide to go down this path at a late date, we will, of course, get a new appointment time. We got no response but hopefully they told the right department.
Friday and Saturday were pretty usual days except for one more decision we made: we are going to travel for our 40TH anniversary in May; details to follow. We have been mulling over what to do in our minds for a few months including delaying until next year but since we will be fully vaccinated by the end of the month (two weeks after our second shots) and there are countries allowing vaccinated visitors that can show proof of vaccination into their countries without quarantining; a game changer but of course, you are expected to travel responsibly which of course, we agree with.
On Sunday afternoon, our friend, Dave Brown rolled into Vegas and joined us as Kings Row Campground for a couple of nights. We bought ourselves some “Vegas Attraction Passes” and plan to do four things before we leave the city; three of which we’ll do with Dave during his stay here. So after a chat and then lunch, we made our way into the city to Axe Monkey Las Vegas.
After a demo we had an hour of axe throwing which none of us had every done. We where shown three methods of throwing and tried to master them all.
Afterwards we went to the Bar Code restaurant that we’d been to last fall on Flamingo and enjoyed dinner on the outdoor patio with cold beer.
Monday morning, Dave went for his for vaccination shot and around ten joined us at our site. We wanted to do the Vegas Scavenger Hunt today but despite the Attraction Pass website saying it was possible to do any day, the website where you get the download to do the hunt, said only Wednesday to Sunday. So we went to the Strip to visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The ticket lady was confused by our passes and didn’t scan them but did let us in. It was okay to visit but we were glad we’d essentially gotten in free.
The weather was quite warm today – reach about 30C / 86F and the sun was in all its glory.
Next we walked to the Miracle Mile Shops (the Strip was actually busier than we liked and we moved as quickly as possible while still allowing Dave to enjoy the views) to get some lunch before returning to our truck to drive to a location that had high speed go karts to use for an hour.
This was quite fun. We rode the high speed (up to 47mph) go karts twice and the slower ones once. This area of the “fun palace” was not very busy and they had single use head protection (like a bathing cap) to wear underneath the helmets we had to wear and they were sanitizing the helmets between uses.
After happy hour at our site, we parted ways as Dave was leaving in the morning to head towards Denver. It was sure nice to see him again and we plan to meet up again in Ontario this summer, where he too will spend the summer (he’s actually a resident of Ontario so he can only spends 7 months out of the country to keep his medical coverage).
Fran heard from Serena that she had arrived safely at her sister-in-law’s place outside Reno just over the California border on Monday evening and she started her new job today, Tuesday. She said the people were great, there’s a lot to learn and she’s hoping she is up to the challenge. We have no doubt she’s got this.
As mentioned above, Fran has been trying to arrange a seasonal campsite for us at the Tottenham Conservation Area near Joshua, Today after several days of back and forth with Parks & Rec, she got confirmation that we could reserve ; we’ve chosen a site and await payment instructions next week due to the holiday weekend.
An awning we ordered for the back window arrived and we’ll install that on Thursday as Wednesday Doug did his biweekly marathon walk.
The weather cooled off a little on Tuesday (low 20’s / low 70’s) but the sun was still the only thing up in the sky. It was quite windy in the morning but calmed down by early afternoon.
We have purchased and begun perusing a guide book for our anniversary trip next month – makes it seem more real. (Not going to reveal location yet!)
So being just another sunny day in Vegas, it was good weather to install the awning. Naturally the holes in the plate you have to install to the wall of the trailer did not line up with the framing of the trailer so first Doug had to find the frame work, mark the spot, drill the hole in the wall, and then mark the plate where the new holes would be.
After a few hurdles involving incorrect tools and two missing screws, “we got ‘er done” and then it got partially cloudy.
But we know that won’t last and all is good.
The weather is heating up; we’re going to be in the low 30’s C / low 90’s for the next several days. This is more the Vegas Fran remembers from when we “lived” here back in 2014 when we first moved into Tigger until she retired in April that year. She was using AC while working “from home” even in March back then.
Friday afternoon we ran a couple of errands before stopping by the MGM to get some mudslides to cool off. We have booked flights and a car for our 40th trip and the planning begins (wait for it…..).
The weekend was pretty hot and we had to turn on the AC to cool off the trailer in the late afternoon until after dark. By then we were able to just have the windows open and run fan pointing at Fran.
We spoke to both kids for Easter and the grandkids shared the riddles from the activity books we gave them. Serena moved into their apartment in Reno on Sunday and awaits Kurt’s arrival in about two weeks. She has purchased a bed and couch and we will buy them some other furniture as a house warming gift. She told us that Nevada has now opened vaccinations to all adults so she will book an appointment online for herself.
Sign of the times: we’ve been invited to our nephew’s ZOOM baby shower next month! They got married back in 2019 (we attended) and now they are expecting their first. The invitation includes an RSVP link, a registry link and a Zoom link for the date, will follow.
Tuesday we received confirmation of our campsite booking in Canada, paid it via credit card and got our receipt so we’re all set. We can stay until nearly the end of September. As of now, they advise that Ontario is on lockdown and the showers will be closed but we can always use our own or shower at Joshua’s as we expect we’ll be there a lot.
When we went to Mexico during our time in Yuma, Fran got new glasses and Doug got new lenses for his prescription sunglasses. It seems that when they put them in, his original frames cracked (they had warned us of this) and they repaired them but they have broken again and again so today, we went to Costco and ordered a complete new set. They won’t be ready before we leave on the 12th but they will courier them to Serena’s. We will be advised when the store here gets them by text and be provided with tracking info the next day if we call them.
While we were at Costco we stocked up on a few things we’ll need for our 3+ months in Canada (nonperishable things like TP, cereal and the like as they are more expensive up there).
Wednesday Doug went looking to get a pedicure and got that done; Fran plans to go Friday.
Thursday Doug started the day washing the roof of the trailer as well as the awnings.
We later went on our final “event” with our sightseeing pass: to shoot rifles! Fran had shot many guns years ago at a Women Wilderness seminar back in BC so this gun was new to her too.
We shot a Colt Commando 9mm – got 10 rounds each; Fran’s went super fast as it surprised her how fast the shots fired off. Doug learned from that and was able to stop shooting a couple of times.
Not that we EVER have felt that gun control is not necessary but it reinforces why no civilian ever needs to have such a weapon; so powerful and without proper training, so dangerous.
After running a few errands we returned home for the afternoon.
It’s still quite warm these days and last night we had the AC on all night. Temps are in the low 30’sC/low 90’s F still and it’s well after midnight before the temperatures drop into the mid teens C / mid 50’s F. We are disappointed that the AC is so loud; we have to really turn up the volume on the laptop to hear anything in the evening; kinda sounds like a jet taking off!
Friday, Fran went for her first pedi in ages:
Fran found some hints online about quietening our AC unit and today Doug opened it up and realigned the “divider wall” and added some HVAC tape where air might be escaping. It’s much quieter now and functions better so it’s colder.
Saturday was the 7th anniversary of Fran’s retirement and Doug’s transition to part-time. SO we decided to celebrate with treats over two days; first day we went to Baskin and Robbins for some yummy ice cream and Sunday we went for, you guessed it, Fat Tuesday slushies.
Over the past couple of days, in preparation for leaving on Monday, we had the truck washed, Fran cleaned the inside, we both washed the outside of the trailer and washed items like mats, towels, etc. that don’t get cleaned with regular laundry. Can you tell we are so ready to get back on the road?!