Heading back to the USA…

After spending a couple months in Mexico…it was time to head on back to the dull old boring US of A. But I had a plan. I was thinking of visiting the Grand Canyon. But first, I spent a few days in San Carlos enjoying the weather and fairly good WiFi at Tontonaka RV park.

All settled in.

All settled in.

The weather was hot so I had to throw on my sunshades right away. Started out getting right on WiFi and planning my next adventure. I had been thinking that it’d been a long time since I’d been to the Grand Canyon and during my web searches for places to stay, found a newer RV park right next to the GC RR terminus. Huh. Cool. Wasn’t that expensive for the ride so I bought myself a ticket and actually made a reservation at the RV park, one of the few times in 9 years of full timing I’ve made one. With that all done, I made several trips downtown San Carlos for shopping and stuff. Nice little town.

Kind of empty this time of year.

Kind of empty this time of year.

One of the things about this RV park is that they have American TV from stateside on a private cable network. One of the few RV parks in Mexico that does…as far as I know. But the equipment is like 25 years old and there’s been problems with it for years. I have mentioned it nearly every time I’ve been here, nicely of course, but nothing ever seems to happen, other then lip service.

This time, after they told me that no one had complained, ever, and I knew that to be untrue, I went around the park and asked people how their cable was. Had about 10 complaints in a half hour. Many of them said they don’t even try to watch it anymore, or that it’s always been bad. So I go back to the office and talk to the owner…the guy who’s always giving excuses about it and messing with the equipment saying, “There, that should clear it up”, which it never does, and tried to convince him that the video distribution equipment he can get today would be much better, and much less expensive then the stuff they’d gotten years ago. We’ll see if my suggestions had any effect next visit.

One handy thing about Mexico, in fact about every country in the world except the US, is that the pharmacies will fill your prescriptions using your empty bottle. No need to get a new prescription from a doctor, like in the US. I was running short, biked down to the pharmicia and had my refills in a few minutes. Cool. Another thing I noticed is that I could take less then my US meds because the stuff in Mexico seems to be more effective at lower doses. Hmmm, reminded me of the ABC news report of a few years ago about the drug companies sending the VA old, expired medicine and charging full price for it. They were caught, but I think they’re up to their old tricks again.

After spending a week in San Carlos, off I went to Nogales to cross the border. I don’t usually do it on weekends, trying to cross during the week to avoid traffic but this crossing, on a Wednesday, was not typical. Took almost two hours to get through customs. Most of that time waiting in traffic.

Long line, long wait.

Long line, long wait.

Very few RVs in the queue. When I got up to the front, a US border agent moved a couple cones and waved me through an empty lane. Of course all RVs get an inside inspection but I’d pretty much used up all my food so there wasn’t anything for them to take this time. I’d boiled my eggs so those were safe, all my meats were on the approved list, etc. And 10 minutes later, I was back in the US. Off I headed to Amado and the Mt. View RV park for a week of relaxation. It’s only 20 minutes from the border so I arrived early. They had improved their WiFi and parked me right under their new WiFi AP. Nice.

I tried to put out my awning, but the WiFi/light pole was sort of blocking it so I only extended it to within about 1/2″ of the pole. About an hour later, the wind kicked up and rocked the RV, even with my jacks down it swayed quite a bit. Heard a funny noise outside and when I went out to check, found this:

Awning jammed!

Awning jammed!

Somehow the awning unlatched itself, unrolled a bit, and jammed itself into the pole. I couldn’t get it to unlatch and roll up and because the wind was still whipping around like crazy. I tied it off as much as I could and waited for evening when I expected the wind to die down. Sure enough, it got calm around 6pm. Had to mess with it for almost an hour to find the method it took to get it to roll up. I considered moving the RV but rejected it as a possible damage move. Unlikely, but I didn’t want to take the chance. I lucked out as there was no damage to the fabric or mechanism when I finally got it un-stuck. But, the release latch was now operating incorrectly. Seemed loose, like a ‘C’ clip had fallen off inside the mechanism. I had to poke it in with my pull wand to get it to change function. Not fun when there’s wind, or if you’re in a hurry to leave. Damnit. Another thing to fix.

After a couple weeks at Mt. View, planning my Grand Canyon trip, catching up on the US news and my favorite TV comedies, generally screwing around, it was time to head up north. I needed to refill my larder so I stopped off at Winco in Mesa, Arizona then headed on to Quartzsite. Spent the night there then due north through Parker, Lake Havasu City, and on up to Kingman, AZ where I turned off the freeway and took the back route to Grand Canyon Caverns. Just to visit again. I liked it when I visited last year and wanted to spend another 2-3 nights there. It would have been more fun if there had been more then just 2 RV’s there. No one to talk to. But I did enjoy hanging out in the restaurant.

All settled in.

All settled in.

Jackrabbits galore around here. Tried to get some pixs but they always seemed to bound off as I grabbed my camera.

Ahhh, peace and quiet.

Ahhh, peace and quiet.

I parked in a spot I thought I’d have a good chance at getting on the WiFi way over there in the restaurant, and I was finally able to do that after the sun went down. But only for an hour. I had asked just after I arrived if I could bring in and hook up my own AP to their setup but the gal acted like I wanted to dance nude in the moonlight out in the RV park. Silly person. Running into technical ignorance isn’t fun when you’re trying to accomplish something as benign as extending their WiFi for the convenience of their guests. Can’t seem to convince them that some RV’ers would stay longer if they had WiFi out in the RV park.

Anyway, I had fun there, stayed for 2-3 nights and then headed over to Williams, AZ. Set up in the Grand Canyon RR RV Park. What a nice, nice park. Paved all over, take Passport America card (1/2 price camping club), clean, close to town. With halfway decent WiFi and cable TV.  Got online and upgraded my GC RR ride tickets to first class. That will be the subject of my next post. The GC railroad trip.

 

 

 

 

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One Response to Heading back to the USA…

  1. SamG says:

    Nice article. Hadn’t heard that about the VA meds. Is it true? I’ve been on their generic lipitor for 6 months and have noticed body/mind changes.
    You talk about wifi. I purchased an antenna from Ebay for $36. Imported directly from China? Plastic and aluminum back. Swivel mount on 4″ post and receiver is 8″ square with 15′ usb cable. And driver disk. Will use it on road but capture wifi from Home Depot 1/8 mile away. 3 bars. While in storage.
    3 years ago I flew out and visited Flagstaff. Enjoyed the GC, ruins, and the Petrified Forest. Visited my vacant land in Sun Valley. Maybe this coming Spring leave here to move there. Enjoy your ventures. Have you visited Canyon de Chelly?

    The story I saw on national TV (I think it was on ABCs 20/20) generated a congressional investigation with the CEOs of a couple VA drug source companies testifying. As I recall they admitted they were doing that but of course it was a mistake and they wouldn’t do it again (sure). Slap on the wrist by congress of course. My experience is my own, but it seemed like that I could take less of the Mexican drugs then the US drugs. It was after I noticed that that I remembered that 20/20 story.

    I have purchased a high gain WiFi antenna recently (last Aug. ’13) and it probably has the same features that yours does. Probably the same chip set. It’s a Signal King, and the features sound like the antenna you described, except mine is only 4″ square. Works great. The first time I used it was in an area I was getting 4 WiFi AP’s with my old antenna but after installing the Signal King, that jumped up to 20. Always get a nice strong signal in RV parks.

    Yeah, I’ve been to the Canyon a couple of times. I spend most of my time in the West and often in the South West to take advantage of the great warm and dry weather so I’ve gone to many ancient Indian ruins and similar sites. My next couple of blog posts, after the Grand Canyon RR post, will feature two ancient Pueblo sites.

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