Friday, March 23, 2018

Day Trip to Tecate and Other Stuff


About a week ago I developed a toothache, which was better the following day but the gum was sore and swollen. We had planned to go to Mexico soon since I needed two old crowns replaced and Jim needs one also, but I thought I should get this checked out right away and surprisingly found a dentist in nearby Temecula who could see me on Saturday. She found nothing wrong on the x-ray but gave me a prescription for antibiotics and recommended I see an endodontist for a possible root canal.

Not wanting to spend well over $1,000 on another root canal, since I had one on the same tooth years ago, I asked around at Jojoba Hills and found that many people recommend Adame Dental in Tecate, Mexico, about 100 miles from here. Jim got an appointment also and on Wednesday morning we made the scenic but winding drive south through Julian to Tecate.

We paid $5 to park in a small dirt lot about a block from the border on the US side.


Walk past the duty free store and straight through the turnstiles to enter Mexico. After that there is a customs office where I had to put my purse on a conveyor belt to be x-rayed.


It was so nice to enter Mexico and not be immediately accosted by vendors or panhandlers, since Tecate is not a big destination for winter snowbirds looking for cheap dental, optical or drugs. Adame Dental is just a couple blocks from the border in a very attractive building.


We both saw Dr. Ramirez, the endodontist, and had a consultation and x-ray. He told Jim he thought they could just replace his old filling instead of having to do a crown. He did not want to do anything to my tooth until the infection improves, so we are going back on April 10 when I will have a deep cleaning around the tooth that has the infected gum, and then he will determine if I should just have the crown replaced or if it needs another root canal. The antibiotics have kicked in, my tooth does not hurt, and the gum is feeling much better so that sounds good to me. He also gave me a recipe for a solution of peroxide, baking soda, salt and water to rinse with three times a day, and an antibacterial mouthwash to use at bedtime.

After our appointments we walked to the town square, Miguel Hidalgo park, just a few blocks from the border. The population of the greater Tecate area is over 90,000 but it has a small town atmosphere.

Cute house along the way.



Benito Juarez, President of Mexico from 1861 to 1863 and 1867 to 1872 spoke the timeless words on this memorial “El respeto derecho ajeno es la paz”, meaning “Respect for the rights of others is peace”.




Tecate was designated a “pueblo mágico” or “magical town” in 2012. “The government of Mexico created the 'Pueblos Mágicos’ program to recognize places across the country that imbue certain characteristics that make them unique, historically significant, with great traditions and offer magical experiences to its visitors.”



The largest employer is the Tecate Brewery, which stretches on for blocks.


Since we didn’t have numb mouths, on the drive home we splurged and stopped for a slice of pie in Julian, which broke up the drive nicely. Looks like we’ll be making more trips to Tecate over the next couple months.

In other news from Jojoba, we will be moving to a different site after the first of April. As much as we like where we are, this site is unimproved and with the rain we’ve had lately we have standing water and mud in places and don’t want to deal with getting dirt and rocks to fix it up. The couple in the site next to Terry and LuAnn are leaving the park so we are doing a site swap, as they call it here. On paper we are swapping sites but in reality we move onto their site when they leave and they give up our site. In the deal we are acquiring a golf cart, which we may end up selling, and a lot of things we want like a gas grill, patio furniture, some garden tools, a fountain, lawn ornaments, and a very nicely landscaped lot with trees and a lovely view. Pictures to come after the move.

We attended a New Member coffee last week, where we got to meet all the members of the board of directors and also the park employees. Next week there is a block party for the 400 sites, our new neighborhood, to say goodbye to Kent and Cookie, who are leaving, and to welcome us to the neighborhood. It will take place on the newly redone patio next to the pool and spas.



Other than that we’ve played a bit of pickleball and have started playing ping pong in the evenings. There is a good-sized group that plays three nights a week on three tables, doubles only, which gives everyone a chance to play quite a few games. It’s been a lot of fun and a good way to meet people. So far life is not bad here at Jojoba Hills. Just waiting for it to warm up so I can use the pool.

And although I don’t usually talk politics on the blog, I had to share this about the spending bill that was passed today. Nice to see something positive about public lands in the news for a change.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Short Visit to the Coast: Morro Bay, CA


Last week we made our way to Morro Bay State Park for a gathering of 45 Lazy Daze owners. It’s 350 miles from Jojoba Hills, although about 50 miles shorter had we not skirted north of LA to get there, but we wanted to avoid as much traffic as possible. We drove 150 miles the first day, spending the night at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, CA. It’s just a basic parking lot but at $25 for a full hookup back-in site it is reasonable, or $30 for a pull-through.


After a long walk around the perimeter of the fairgrounds we went to check out nearby Bravery Brewing Company.


We highly recommend The Shroud, an imperial stout. They had 3 types, regular, one aged in brandy barrels, and another aged in tequila barrels. They were all very tasty! The Quadrivium Belgian ale was also excellent. And it’s a comfortable dog and kid-friendly warehouse atmosphere that doesn’t serve food but allows you to bring in your own. We stopped and picked up dinner at Chipotle on the way there. We enjoyed it so much that we took the same route back to Jojoba Hills and stopped for the night again in Lancaster so we could visit the brewery once more.


From Lancaster we were able to take mostly backroads to Morro Bay, only having to travel on I-5 for 15 truck-filled miles on what is called The Grapevine. Not something we want to do on a regular basis! It was a clear day when we arrived, so we went for a walk along the bay and then I joined the ladies only happy hour while Jim went over to visit (and drink scotch) with friend Tom from Fort Bragg. There is a nice boardwalk trail along the water just across from the campground.



The sites are close together but since most of our neighbors were other Lazy Dazes, it wasn’t so bad.



I didn’t take many photos from the get together but this is one of the tech talks where we discussed any issues, questions or problems people were having with their Lazy Daze. Larry Wade, who knows all things Lazy Daze, is in the blue jacket on the left. He is the organizer of this get together, along with his wife Renee. Check out the cat, Smokey, whom I sat next to and gave lots of attention, whether he wanted it or not.


One of the women in the group trains seeing eye dogs, so we got to meet this beautiful eight month old puppy, who was extremely well behaved.


The weather was a mixed bag, being nice on our arrival day, to having one entire day of fog, and another with rain from early afternoon on through the evening. In the rain we drove to San Luis Obispo to use the YMCA, eat a delicious vegan lunch at Bliss Cafe, and pick up a few things at Trader Joe’s.

Although miserably damp, cold, and windy, we went for a walk in the fog, with Jim only making it about a half mile before he decided to head back to shelter. I continued along the Embarcadero’s quaint but touristy waterfront where I could not even see Morro Rock.





The rock finally made a brief appearance.


Our last day turned out to be gorgeous, so we went for a 13 mile bike ride along the Embarcadero to Morro Strand State Beach.


Morro Rock is a 581’ high mountain of volcanic rock.



The stacks of the now defunct power plant a half mile from Morro Rock are an iconic part of the landscape.


We got to see and hear some sea lions on a pier and a few in the water.


Not a great photo, but this guy rolled around clapping his flippers and then eating what looked to be a clam.


Handsome great blue heron.


The other side of Morro Rock from the bike trail.


And the beach and Pacific Ocean.


The lovely view from our last group happy hour/pot luck.


The gathering was a fun time and we got to talk with quite a few people we’ve met in the past but hadn’t seen in awhile, and also added some new names to our Lazy Daze list of friends. To those of you we met for the first time who read the blog, thanks for following along. Hope to see you down the road!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Back in the Hills

IMG_2237                                                One last scene from McDowell Mountain Park


On Thursday February 22 we left McDowell Mountain and set out for California, driving 260 windy miles to BLM land just south of Joshua Tree National Park off I-10. It was our first time using the new Blue Ox Avail towbar we bought back in December, and being a bit different from the old one we had a little trouble getting it to lock when we started off. Jim read the instructions after the fact and it should be easier from now on.

We’ve stayed at this area before and had trouble getting level, as we did this time, but finally found a fairly decent spot for the night. Wouldn’t want to try parking here if it’s raining.


There were quite a few other RVs scattered about.


Desert artwork we found on our walk.


The next morning we drove another 80 miles to Jojoba Hills RV Resort, taking the “short cut” over Hwy 74, a portion of the Palms to Pines Highway. It’s a beautiful drive, although steep and winding, and in the past we have unhooked the car and driven separately. We didn’t find a good place to pull over as we approached the road in Palm Desert so we just stayed connected and Jim did a fine job of getting us over the mountain. The road rises to almost 5,000’ and there was still snow at the high elevations. Unfortunately Jojoba Hills is in a fairly remote location and not easy to get to, but that’s also part of its charm. Many people with bigger RVs take the longer route, continuing west on I-10 and going south through Hemet, which adds about another 30 miles.

Our site, which we are very happy with so far.


How nice to have a shed for our bikes and other things we’ve been hauling around in the car.


Our neighbor across the street who lives in the 5th wheel has a Lazy Daze as his travel rig, and you are allowed to park it at your site for a few days in preparation or return from a trip. There is a large storage lot across from the office where you can store another RV or vehicle at no extra charge.


We love having no neighbors behind us or on our driver’s side, just the desert.


The pond across from our site.


Another pond across from the clubhouse, aka “Friendship Hall”.


Friends Terry and LuAnn were here for four more days before heading off to Chile, so we spent time with them, having happy hours and dinners. LuAnn is a great bartender, making us blood orange margaritas and bourbon smashes. One afternoon we met them at our favorite Temecula brewery, Karl Strauss, for happy hour and a bite to eat. It was as good as we remembered, and of course the company was great.


We were sorry to see them go but in exchange for keeping an eye on their place they are letting us use their golf cart while they’re gone. Although we are still walking most places, it has come in handy for hauling laundry and picking up some packages at the mail room. We’ve talked with them on the Zello app from Santiago, Chile where they arrived safely but tired. Zello is a very cool walkie-talkie app that can be used anywhere in the world for free as long as you have WiFi or data service, and amazingly the sound quality is better than most cell phone calls.

We’ve had a couple meetings, one to go over our membership paperwork, and the other with a couple from the welcoming committee to answer questions and review the different volunteer opportunities in the park. We signed up for the park’s internet service the other day, and a guy came over to hook up the router and modem and make sure it all worked. He is from JCATS (Jojoba Communications and Technical Support committee) and Jim got to talking to him about volunteering with them. I was surprised that Jim managed to get up  and go to an 8AM meeting on Friday, and plans to go to another meeting on Monday. He said it was technically way over his head but he likes learning about all that stuff, and the park is switching to a different internet system in a couple months, so they have lots of work to do.

The weather has been cold with a few days of rain since we arrived so we haven’t played pickleball in the mornings, but we did hit the ball around one afternoon just to be sure we remembered how. There have been people out there playing when it’s only been in the 30s and 40s but we just can’t bring ourselves to do that. It will warm up again and we’ll have plenty of opportunity.

We do like having the fitness center so close, although we got spoiled by the machines at Anytime Fitness in Fountain Hills. Here they don’t have as much equipment, but we’re just having to do things a little differently. I joined LuAnn for Zumba last Sunday and plan to go back tomorrow, and yesterday I went to a two hour line dance class. I took line dancing classes when we were in Mission, TX 5 years ago so I’m pretty rusty, but it was fun and good exercise. I can’t talk Jim into going, but maybe I will one of these days.

On Wednesday we are heading out for a week to Morro Bay State Park and the big Lazy Daze get together. We attended it in 2014 and look forward to meeting up with people we haven’t seen in a long time. Besides, it’s a good excuse for another visit to the beautiful Pacific coast.

Since we have no more cat photos, birds will have to do. These cedar waxwings were sitting in the mulberry tree on our lot one morning when I got up. I love the way the two in the middle appear to be having a heated conversation while the others are ignoring them.


See you next week at the coast!