January 29, 2016
We’re ba-a-ack. You just will not believe this. We we were all packed , provisioned and ready to go. We stopped at the insurance agency to purchase a 3 -month Mexican auto insurance policy, because they don’t accept US auto insurance. The agent was asking us questions to process our forms.
“Do you own or lease the truck, Mr. Reilly/“
“Then we’ll need a letter from the leasing company granting you permission to drive into Mexico”
“No problem, will you accept an email”.
ring -ring ring – ring
“Hi, this is Tim Reilly. My lease policy is number #———. Will you please email me a permission letter to travel into Mexico?“
“I’m sorry Mr. Reilly, that is against our policies – no exceptions.” What? What?
As you can imagine, at this point I was about ready to stomp my feet, and cry. No Mexico? Ay, Dios Mio.
You may remember this sad-sack character named Fericito, on Saturday Night Live, played by Fred Armisen.
Rather than cry the blues, we did the best we could. We drove to Winterhaven, CA, about 15 minutes away.. We parked our vehicle on this side of the CA – MEXICO border, and walked over through a maze to Los Algodones, Mexico.
Notice the two flags at the border crossing.
Los Algodones is a colorful little town boasting over 350 dentists, all within ten minutes walking distance from the border.The dentists names are even on the street signs.
Los Algodones is a strange and colorful little town. It is dedicated to Dentistry for tourists. These dentists are mostly trained in the US. Everyone “out here” is aware that you can have dental work done for about 1/3 the price of the US. Tim and I both had our teeth cleaned for $35 each. That’s a steal if you don’t have dental insurance. Dr. Carlos Velas, at Gator Dental, who wore sneakers, jeans, and introduced himself as “Carlos” did the work himself.
No assistant, no paper cloth to cover one’s torso, and no bowl to rinse/spit in. He did a full examination, and proclaimed everything as “good”. I believe him because he also does fillings, extractions, veneers, crowns, and implants. Tim was also given a clean bill of tooth health.
Los Algodones has more square feet of dental offices than any other place in Mexico – probably the world. It also has pharmacies, optometrists, restaurants, liquor stores, curio shops, and a few places to enjoy a really good margarita.
Beautiful straw hats at one stall.
It is said that on an average January day, over 33,000 tourists walk across this border. I know that’s correct, we waited in the line to get back to the USA.
After we got our teeth cleaned, we went to Paradiso for music, Mexican food, and a few Margaritas to help chase away the blues.
Here we are enjoying margaritas. But I did find a new drink I loved. It sounds gross, but it’s delicious. It’s a Bloody Mary, and you add beer to it and stir as it goes down. The glass is rimmed in chili powder. It’s called a Michelada – delish!
Knowing that unless we purchase the truck, this is our only trip into Mexico for now, certainly not the one we’ve planned and waited for. Perhaps we’ll buy the truck – we’ll see.
In the meantime, we thought about going north to the Grand Canyon, and then on to Las Vegas. But after checking the weather, that was a resounding NO WAY! So, we are headed east, along the most southern route. We are currently in Las Cruces, New Mexico for a few days. Then we’ll tackle Texas and beyond. Thank goodness we don’t need permission to cross Canada and go into Alaska. That’s still on tap for the summer, but you just never know…
Our first night headed east was spent in Benson, AZ. It’s an amazing park called Butterfield RV Park and Observatory. The big draw? It has an actual observatory – a real one.
So tonight we went to the show – only 15 people at one time. There was a wonderful 16” university grade telescope,
At about 7pm, Lance the self-named “astronerd”, opened the aperture of the dome. We were invited to step up onto the ladder to see the most wondrous sights. Betelgeuse, Sirius, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, open-cluster stars, globular clusters, and the newborns that make-up Orion’s sheath. It was an experience like no other, and it took a lifetime to see it. We discussed the possibility of asteroid or comet strikes on Earth, and the likelihood of life on other planets. You may not know this, we didn’t. Arizona is the center for astronomy in the world. The main reasons are the clean air, and lack of light pollution, particularly in the deserts. Even the Vatican has an observatory here. Wow, what a night. You know the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens” – for us, today, it couldn’t be truer.
This morning just before we left Butterfield, we were invited to view the sun through an amazing telescope. Michael Kidd is a mathematician and computer scientist who studies astronomy for fun. Again, seeing the sun, through filters course, was a first for us.
Note: I would never have believed when we started out, that this lifestyle would present us with so many “first”, so many brilliant minds, and such mind-bending experiences.
Note #2 – Michael Kidd writes a blog – you can find it at www.turtleherding.com