Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Few Hikes and Upcoming Road Trip

We finally got out for a few hikes over the past couple weeks. It’s easy to get lazy and just hang out here at Jojoba Hills since we can walk, play pickleball and ping pong, work out, etc. without leaving the park. But I was wanting to do a real hike, so on one of our grocery shopping trips to Temecula we stopped along the way at Dripping Springs, a forest service campground with two very nice trails. We’ve hiked the Dripping Springs trail a few times, and Suzanne and I hiked the Wild Horse trail a couple years ago but Jim didn’t join us so he wanted to check it out.

It’s a good trail that gains elevation from the start but it’s mostly a gradual uphill trek with nice views.




Another day we drove 20 miles east to Warner Springs, where we hiked along part of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. We’ve hiked to Eagle Rock in the past but this time decided to go a few miles in the other direction and see what it looked like. This isn’t the most scenic part of the PCT but it was an easy hike with not much elevation change.




Resident wildlife along the trail.


Across from the fire station where we started is the Community Resource Center that accommodates PCT thru-hikers with a store, showers, laundry and a place to pitch your tent. There were a lot of tired looking hikers hanging around. They get around 2,000 hikers stopping by during the months of April and May heading north from the Mexican border where the trail begins.


Our last hike was on Tuesday when we joined a group from Jojoba Hills and drove about 40 miles to Idyllwild where it was almost 20 degrees cooler at 6,000’, a nice respite from the desert. We hiked the 5.2 mile out and back Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. Jim actually had a good time, despite looking so serious in this photo.


Suicide Rock, where we’ve hiked in the past. Neither of us remembered to bring a camera, so our phones had to make do, hence the strange colors.




Lilly Rock.


It was a fairly easy trail with about 700’ of elevation gain, one creek crossing and only a few rocky areas. And mostly in the shade.



We came upon this woman with her two well-behaved dogs, who do their part by carrying their own snacks and water.


On Thursday we met up with Hemet friends George and Tina for lunch in Temecula at Garage Brewery. It’s our new favorite next to Karl Strauss, and Jim really likes their Marshmallow Milk Stout on nitro. Since we saw them last year they’ve been to Iceland and even rented an RV there for a couple weeks. This fall they are taking a seven week Silk Road adventure tour. It’s always interesting hearing about their travels. I just wish I had thought to take a picture of Tina’s sassy pink hair!

And lastly, a few photos from our yard.



The amaryllis are just gorgeous.


We saw this on a street in the park. Not sure what it is but we knew he was non-venomous so Jim nudged him out of the road so he didn’t get run over.


Tomorrow we’re heading off to Prescott, AZ for a couple weeks to meet up with friends, then we’ll come back to Jojoba since we need to return to Algodones to finish our dental work in a few weeks. Also Terry and LuAnn will be back tomorrow (sadly we will miss them) and we’re looking forward to spending some time with them before we all head out for our summer travels.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Chores, New Site, and Teeth

When we aren’t on the move I find it hard to sit down and blog, but here I am. We’ve been staying busy with pickleball and ping pong, walks/hikes around the park and surrounding BLM land, working out in the fitness room, chipping away at our to-do list, and more trips to Mexico for dental issues.

Jim was tired of looking at the yellowed headlights on the Subaru, so he researched and found a do-it-yourself kit by Sylvania. The result was much more dramatic than the photos show.





It made a huge difference but it remains to be seen how long the results will actually last. We even washed and waxed the car to go along with the clear headlights, and Jim  also changed the oil.


I found some water on the floor behind the toilet which we thought was coming from a leak at the vacuum breaker. Jim ordered a new one so we kept a bowl on the floor to catch the drips for about a week after it arrived because he was dreading trying to get back there to replace it without having to remove the entire toilet. He finally decided to tackle it and found that it was just a leaky grommet, not the entire vacuum breaker, and it was fairly simple to replace. It’s always nice when a repair turns out to be easier than anticipated.

It’s not easy to work on the plumbing in our cramped bathroom.


Jim also replaced a couple of vent covers on the roof that were cracked. It has been such a joy to be able to order things we want without trying to figure out how they are going to be shipped, since we now have an address where we can receive packages from any carrier. We’ve been getting lots of Amazon deliveries!

Here are a few photos from one of our hikes behind Jojoba Hills. There are miles of trails on the adjacent BLM land.

The smoke plume is from a controlled burn in the forest.




Looking down on the park.


Jim scrambling up some rocks in his camo outfit.


I’ve been pruning trees and shrubs with the landscape committee on Wednesday mornings. Each day volunteers bring home made cookies, coffee and water to the other volunteers. Everyone is always ready for a break by the time they arrive.


Last Saturday a group of about ten of us helped clean the patio area by the pool, wiping down all the furniture and scrubbing the floors. Hard work! Volunteers do almost everything around here so there are lots of ways to help.

We moved to our new site a bit over a week ago. I love the shade and all the wildlife with the bird feeders and fountain. Our view from inside is blocked by some of the trees but you can’t have everything. It feels odd to actually own patio furniture, a grill, and a golf cart, although the golf cart is having a little mechanical issue which will be looked at on Friday, so we aren’t using it yet.



I hope we can keep these succulents alive.



That is Terry and LuAnn’s 5th wheel on the right, but we can barely see it for the shed and vegetation.


It’s been nice being able to grill our veggies for a change.


This pair of Mallard ducks has been hanging around our site. They’re very cute, and whenever the female decides it’s time to go the male follows right along, just as it should be Winking smile



More of our visitors.






The hummingbirds appear to have so much fun splashing around in the water.

Jojoba Hills 2018

Last Thursday we went back to Tecate to the dentist, where I had deep cleaning done around the tooth with the gum abscess. She said the pocket was very deep and I needed to see the periodontist, who was not there that day, before they would decide if the tooth could be saved.

Jim thought he was getting a filling, which the endodontist recommended when we were there the first time. The dentist who was going to do it looked at his tooth and the x-ray and said he needed a root canal and a crown, not a filling.They both did agree that there was a crack in the tooth. Jim told him the tooth was not even bothering him anymore, and could he just do a crown, since a root canal could always be done at a later date if needed. He said he would not, because that wouldn’t fix the problem, and that was that. Jim spoke with the endodontist and asked him if someone else in the group could do a crown or filling, and he said no. I guess if they disagree, you are just out of luck! It was a very strange visit, and needless to say we left there not feeling very confident about Adame Dental, despite several people here at Jojoba having had great experiences there.

The following day we called Dr. Maria Fonseca in Algodones, who did our crowns last November, and we were told to come in on Monday at noon. It was a scorcher that day, upper 90s, and we were hoping it wouldn’t be very crowded, but were surprised at the number of cars in the border parking lot. I went first, Dr. Fonseca took an x-ray, looked at my tooth, probed around the gum, and said there was a fracture and decay going down into the roots and that even with another root canal the prognosis was poor for saving the tooth.

I was ready for something to be done, and she asked if I wanted it pulled. Jim kept saying I should think about it, but I just wanted it out, so she called the oral surgeon to see if he was able to do it that day, and within 10 minutes Dr. Roy Cabrillo strolled in, numbed me, and had the tooth out of there. They were concerned it might break off and I would need more extensive work to get it out, but it was my lucky day.


I asked him to put in the bone graft material so I would be ready for an implant if that’s what I decide to do. I had a lot of bone loss from the infection that has probably been there for a long time, so if I didn’t have the graft done at the time of the extraction it would involve a more complicated procedure later if I want an implant. I am glad it’s over, although I really hate losing a tooth. It’s been uncomfortable but nothing that didn’t ease up with some ibuprofen.

Dr. Fonseca agreed that Jim’s tooth could be filled, but that a crown would be a better long term solution given the crack. She also found two small cavities, so she filled them and Jim will get a crown on the other tooth when we go back in six weeks for me to get a replacement crown for the tooth next to the one that was extracted. She said they can have the crowns by the next day so we’ll probably just spend the night in Yuma when we return since it’s a three hour drive from here. Luckily even though the line to get back into the US was a couple blocks long, it only took about 15 minutes to get through customs.

So that’s some of what we’ve been up to the past few weeks.  Oh, and it’s finally warmed up enough for me to make use of this!