Sunday, April 30, 2006

10:40 AM Sunday April 30, 2006


The appraiser’s estimate for repair on the Lone Ranger is $3,500. This past Friday the lady in the body shop office said she would be ordering the parts needed “right now.” She also told Phil it would take 5-7 days to receive them. Where from? Is there a central American “parts warehouse” from where all Ford parts must be ordered? They most likely will come via truck … obviously a slow truck (unlike the 18-wheelers we’ve experienced on the interstates) cross-country. Okay, not much we can do to hurry that process.

Then she said, once the parts arrive we are looking at about two weeks for the work to be done. What!!! Phil says even taking into account the paint matching process he believes there is no more than 40 hours of work. Since the squeaky wheel gets the oil, we will be “in their face” every day hoping to keep things moving.

Unfortunately, even if they manage to get the work done in a timely fashion we will still need to reschedule all of our medical appointments to later dates and postpone the week of shop time we wanted for Penny the Pace in Albany, OR because to make the current dates and get the blood work needed we were scheduled to leave last week. So much for planning!

On the bright side … we really like Yuma. In spite of the fact that the weather is getting warmer every day and triple digits are in the immediate forecast, we will try very much to enjoy the extra time here in this beautiful desert country. My aunts are leaving for WA on Monday and we are going to miss them. But, my cousin, Nada lives here year-round so we’ll still have family in the area. To quote Martha, that’s “a good thing”!

Last night the five of us went to “Britain’s” restaurant and had a farewell dinner together. Great steaks and prime rib in a very cowboy-like, barn style atmosphere. It was great fun with great conversation along with good food … perfect combination. Aunt Elaine suggested going to this eatery and it did not disappoint. Even Nada had never been there before so she was happy to have the opportunity to check it out.

Last week Phil and I drove down to the border and walked over to Algodones Mexico where we bought a few months worth of my diabetes medications. We saved hundreds of dollars and finally found out what all the fuss is about. It’s no wonder thousands of seniors make the trek a couple times a year. It’s easy, it’s fast and the employees of the pharmacies are helpful and very knowledgeable. We also picked up some anti-viral ointment ($4 vs. $14) and one 7-day round of antibiotics (no prescription needed) as well as Phil’s Beta-blocker medication. His medicine is cheap in the USA but 70% cheaper in Mexico … making it nearly free so of course we purchased a three-month supply. Before we headed down there, I made a list of all our meds and what we pay for them to use for comparison and it was a useful tool while we were shopping.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Graceful flowering bush (name unknown) in Yuma. Posted by Picasa
Yucca (?) in bloom in Yuma. Posted by Picasa
See the little bumps on the top and arms of this Saguaro? They are flower buds!! I'm going to get to see these cactus bloom this year. Very exciting! I'll get better pictures soon. Posted by Picasa
Green Prickly Pear coming into bloom all over Yuma. Beautiful! Posted by Picasa
Purple Prickly Pear coming into bloom all over Yuma. Fascinating! Posted by Picasa
Fourth Avenue Junior High School in Yuma AZ. Designated a Historic Landmark in 1982.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 24, 2006

12:20 PM Monday April 24, 2006

Sunday we had a wonderful get-together with my aunts and my cousin at a great restaurant here in Yuma named "J.B.'s". They serve "brunch" until 2 PM on Sunday and it was very good as well as reasonably priced with a nice senior discount. Afterward we all went to Elaine's and spent several enjoyable hours visiting. Beverly browsed through a box of Nada's original watercolors she has had copied onto note cards and she picked out three of them to frame. Nada does beautiful work and is very prolific having shown her originals in two art fairs here in Yuma recently as well as receiving a very complimentary review in the local newspaper. I am very proud of her! I think I will ask her permission to post a couple of her pictures on the blog.

I'm feeling much better with each passing day. Thank goodness! Also, thanks to everyone who wrote with suggestions about how to avoid further urinary tract infections. Several proposals make a lot of sense and I will certainly take them into consideration. Again, THANK YOU!

Still no news from our insurance appraiser. Phil left a voice-mail and is waiting for them to return his call.

L-R: Joy's Aunt Elaine, Joy's cousin Nada, Joy and Joy's Aunt Beverly on a beautiful afternoon in Yuma AZ. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 22, 2006

11:55 AM Saturday April 22, 2006

The past four days have been very eventful to put it mildly. Where do I start? This past Tuesday morning I began feeling the telltale signs of a bladder infection. This would be the fourth one in the past nine and a half months! Totally frustrated we headed for the Yuma Regional Medical Center and emergency room. Four hours later, after the lab agreed with my diagnosis we picked up my prescription at Wal*Mart. The E-room doctor had prescribed an antibiotic that “will kick butt” and I was instructed to take it four times a day for ten days. It is called “Nitrofur 100 mg” and it kicked butt all right … mine!

I felt well enough on Wednesday morning to ride to Palm Springs, CA airport with my Aunt Elaine and Phil to pickup her sister, my Aunt Beverly. We had stopped for a bite of breakfast and coffee along the way and I couldn’t finish my food because I was beginning to feel nauseous. By the time we arrived at the airport I was feeling weak and feverish and totally exhausted and I decided to wait in the car. Beverly arrived and we cancelled plans to tour Palm Springs and headed home to Yuma. Phil drove and I dozed wishing I had stayed home. We arrived about 4 PM and I took another dose of the antibiotic and fell into bed. Phil began reading the “side effects” of this medication and it dawned on us that my illness was not from the bladder infection but most likely a reaction to the antibiotics … I was experiencing every side effect cited!

The next morning, rather than spend hours in the E-room again, we went to a small “Urgent Care” clinic and the doctor agreed I was reacting to the antibiotic and prescribed a much gentler, user friendly antibiotic (Cipro) to be taken twice a day for seven days. Phil went off to Wal*Mart to get the new prescription after dropping me off at home where I went back to bed … still feeling sick to my stomach and like I’d been beat up … I ached all over! I fell fast asleep, woke up two hours later and discovered Phil wasn’t home yet. My first thought was that he had stopped at Elaine’s house and was visiting with my two Aunties then I began to wonder if he had been involved in an accident … which I decided was overreacting and tried to go back to sleep which was impossible.

Finally, he came through the door, extremely upset because he had in fact had an accident. Thankfully he was the only one involved … he ran into a light pole in the Wal*Mart parking lot. You will see that the amount of damage was significant considering he was moving at less than 5 MPH. He was befriended by a couple from AK who loaned him a pencil and tablet and put him in their air-conditioned auto to start making calls to the insurance company, the tow truck and Aunt Elaine to come get him and take him to the rental car company. Actually, he was very efficient … he was finished and home with the rental car in less than three hours.

With the toxic antibiotic mostly gone from my body, I was feeling so much better by the next morning and we went to the Ford Garage where our insurance company suggested we have the truck assessed and repaired, took pictures and transferred some of our personal things into the rental car, a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix. Nice car but not as cozy and comfy as our “Lone Ranger”. Hopefully, the appraiser won’t decide our little truck is totaled but it is ten years old so it is certainly possible.

This accident will delay our leaving Yuma for a week or two at the very least which will cause us to change our plans. It looks like a straightforward trip back to WA without any side trips will be in order. But, that’s the beauty of fulltime Rving! There is always another time just around the corner to see things we’ve missed along the way.
Aunt Beverly gets a big hug from her sister, Aunt Elaine in the Palm Springs, CA airport. Posted by Picasa
The bashed in left side of our pretty little Lone Ranger after it's encounter with the light pole in the Wal*Mart parking lot. Posted by Picasa
Phil transferring some of our personal things from the truck to the rental car. Posted by Picasa
Our rental car ... a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Table set for our Easter dinner at Elaines. She cooked ham and all the trimmings with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Posted by Picasa
Nada brought lilys for Elaine. They were lovely. Posted by Picasa
L-R, Aunt Elaine, Joy and cousin Nada. Posted by Picasa

12:37 PM Sunday April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

We're going to Aunt Elaine's house for dinner and my cousin from another branch of my family, Nada, is going to join us. Elaine and Nada met for the first time yesterday afternoon when we all had dinner at a local buffet restaurant called, Hometown Buffet. The food was good and we had a great visit, then happily, Nada accepted Elaine's invitation to dinner today. They are not related to each other but they are both related to me and I am so happy they have finally met since Elaine spends each winter in Yuma where Nada lives year round. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship between two of my favorite family members. Now, here is the rundown on our solar system repair:

In January of 2005, Starlight Solar of Yuma, AZ installed our solar system. Although the package has worked flawlessly ever since, the gauges have never worked properly. Phil had been totally frustrated so when we returned to Yuma in the spring of 2005 we went back to Starlight. We were only going to be in the area for a few days and since we were on our way back to WA, they suggested we stop at Blue Sky Solar in CA and have a new controller installed. Okay, we did that but the problem persisted.

As you all know, we continued north to where we had our breakdown in Albany, Oregon. While that repair work was being done at McKay’s Trucking, their mechanic discovered some scorched wires and built a heat shield to protect them so no further damage would be done.

So fast forward to spring of 2006 and we are in Yuma again. This time Starlight Solar found time for us (although they were swamped and busier than ever) and we took Penny in for inspection of her solar system and hopefully they would be able to make necessary repairs.

First Larry checked the new Blue Sky IPM remote and started narrowing down possible problems. Then he unhooked the groundside of the batteries and suspected a short to ground because it was still drawing juice so he put a tester on both ends.

Although he couldn’t imagine his employees doing such a colossally stupid thing, he crawled underneath and started tracing wires to find where they might be damaged. This is when he found the damage from the wires being installed too close to the exhaust system. The heat shield had done a good job but he was dumbfounded and very apologetic about the harm done before it was installed. Larry then proceeded to remove all the damaged wires and rerouted all new wiring.

End result: problem solved, three hours of labor, no charge and Starlight Solar accepted total responsibility. It’s not often you find that level of responsibility in a business owner and we heartily recommend Larry and Debbie at Starlight Solar.

New home of Starlight Solar in Yuma, AZ Posted by Picasa
Phil explaining the problems we've been having with the solar gauges to Larry, owner of Starlight Solar. Posted by Picasa
Beautiful Bougainvillea in bloom everywhere! Posted by Picasa
Ballet of Ocotillo blossoms against the clear blue Arizona sky. Posted by Picasa
Closeup of the two and three inch thorns on the branches. Lethal looking! Posted by Picasa
Gorgeous, fuschia colored prickly pear cactus. Posted by Picasa
Arizona State Tree - Palo Verde (means "green stick") in bloom. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 14, 2006

Phil's favorite sweet treat is an apple fritter. GOOD fritters are hard to find unless you are in the Yuma, AZ area. We found these fritters last year when we stayed for three weeks and were so impressed we talked about them all the way around the U.S. This year we found the bakery still in business and still making the best apple fritters in the country!

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Six inches across, this cinnamon rich apple fritter is full of sweet apple chunks and covered with a yummy glaze. Delicious! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 08, 2006

10:19 AM Saturday April 8, 2006

We have arrived in Yuma! Beautiful blue skies, soft warm breeze with an 87 degree high forecast for today. My "to do" list is a mile long after boondocking for a week. Laundry, grocery shopping and some minor maintenance on Penny the Pace if possible. Our space here at Desert Holiday RV Park is the equivalent of Wal*Mart with hookups but it will do just fine no longer than we're going to be here. My Aunt Elaine lives just across the road (in the winter) and we took her to dinner at the Golden Corral yesterday afternoon. It was the first time she'd ever been there and fortunately, she was mightily impressed. I think she'll find her way back there again one day. Of course, it's one of our favorite places to eat so we know we'll go back at least once more while we're in Yuma. Auntie says the famous Yuma Flea Markets are pretty much shut down for the summer so we don't know if we'll find our solar system installers still in the area but we'll go check it out. Phil has some questions to run by them if they're still here. They move the operation north in the summer along with most of the temporary RV population who depart this desert oasis en masse each spring. Most of the RV parks are nearly empty now but there's still plenty of traffic on the roads which tells me there are lots more people living in Yuma year-round than there used to be. My aunt Beverly will be arriving on the 19th of April and the two sisters will drive back to WA together taking the scenic route I'm sure. I know we're related because they also have the travel bug and for years have traveled all over the west together visiting family and seeing the sights.

Friday, April 07, 2006

10 :19 AM Friday April 7, 2006

We are in Gila Bend, AZ this morning. As soon as I'm finished updating the blog, we'll be going on down the road to Yuma which is only about 117 miles from here. A very short drive. We will be staying at Desert Holiday RV Park which is just across the street from where my Aunt Elaine lives in the winter. Very handy! We will also check in with my cousin, Nada, an authentic desert dweller who lives in Yuma full time.
It was hard to leave our friends and especially hard for Phil who has been catching fish like crazy every day and having a ball out on Don's pontoon boat. They were expecting Don's sister and brother-in-law to come by the lake soon after we left so they won't be alone. Ardella is doing pretty good as is Don after his surgery last December but with health problems like they have, things could change in a heartbeat (literally). We left with promises to be back this fall and hopefully, we can keep our word.
Don filming the loading of a 50 (or maybe even bigger) foot tour boat on to a huge trailer at the boat ramp next to our camp. What was he thinking when he got dressed this morning? Posted by Picasa
One last stop--dumping the gray and black water tanks before heading down the mountain.  Posted by Picasa