Saturday, April 29, 2017

Our Yuma Drug Adventure

So here we are back on the road for the summer, touring the western USA yet again.  We left Jojoba Hills on Apr. 20th, though not quite as early as we had hoped.  The number of last minute things that had to be done in order to close up our fifth wheel for the summer took significantly longer than we had planned.  We had already moved most of the stuff  that needed to go into the Winnebago, but the refrigerator had to be done that morning since we had no place to plug in the travel rig and had no desire to arrive in Yuma with an ice chest full of green, fuzzy "stuff".  There were also a number of last minute transfers of various sorts, flushing the waste tanks, turning off propane, unhooking electricity, storing the golf cart and a myriad of other bits and pieces that had to be dealt with.  Even all of this might not have been so bad if not for the requirement that the completion of each task required an obligatory rest period before the next job could fairly be tackled.  Don't ask me why... that's just the way it is.

So instead of hitting the highway at 10:00 or 10:30, we finally got on the road at about 12:30 with our destination in Yuma a good 5 hours away.  But first we had to fuel up at the Seven Eleven in Temecula.  This is the first rig we've owned that requires DEF (that's "diesel exhaust fluid" for the benefit of our fellow neophytes).  I don't know exactly what it does, but it has to be added to a little tank on the drivers side of the coach or you are sentenced to hell.  The RV dealer had given us about a quarter of a tank to start with, but since I have no idea how fast it gets used up we thought we might add a little.  So I went into the office of the Seven Eleven and asked for some.  The two attendants with heavy foreign accents looked at me as if I had just arrived from another planet.  They had no idea what I was talking about.  Now my understanding is that every new diesel engine sold in America after 2010 has to use this stuff and the station did sell diesel fuel.  But they continued to maintain a stance of total ignorance as to what DEF was or where I could get any.  I walked next door to the service bay where a nice mechanic did at least know what I was referring to, but they don't sell it.  I could get it at Walmart.

Well, we were not in the mood for a Walmart shopping expedition at this point, so we decided that our quarter tank of DEF would probably get us to Yuma and hit the highway.  The drive was long but pretty uneventful and we pulled into our campground about a quarter to six.  The front office closed at 5:00, but there were lots of empty spaces, so we picked one and parked.

Vicki enjoying her fish and shrimp.  Doesn't she look happy?
At this point we had not eaten anything all day except a handful of trail mix, so we were ready to chow down.  Rick and Lynn Dahl had told us at ping pong Monday night that we ought to try Mr. Fish and Chips on Foothills Road while in Yuma and since it turned out that it was just 0.8 miles from our camp site, we decided to give it a try. 

It turned out to be a hole in the wall in a strip mall with a walk up counter and a menu that looked like we had ended up back along the Oregon coast.  Besides fish and chips, they had shrimp and scallops and clams and all the other fried goodies we had enjoyed along the Oregon coast a couple of years ago.  They may also have had oysters, but if they did, Vicki didn't notice, so I was spared the sight of her eating those again.  I went ahead and tried the fish and chips while Vicki went for a fish/shrimp combination plate.

The fish was excellent with good breading and just the right amount of grease dripping from the fillets.  The french fries also had a slight breading and were delicious as well.  We also split some clam chowder that was a little thin for my taste but the flavor was good.  Definitely a place we will be back to the next time we are in this neck of the woods.

The next day it was time to replenish our drug supplies for the summer, so we picked up Betty, Vicki's friend from her old hospice days, and she brought along her friend, Barbara, and we all set off for Algodones, Mexico.  We got to the parking lot on the American side of the border, paid our 6 bucks to park and started walking toward the gate when I innocently asked Vic, "You did remember to grab our passports, yes?".

Back to the car, back 15 miles across Yuma to the motor home to get our paperwork, then back to the parking lot where we paid another 6 dollars to the local Indian nation.  A pain in the rear, but well worth it to avoid spending the next 6 months in Mexico.

The purple pharmacy in Algodones
Once on foreign soil, we first went for lunch.  We debated about it, then opted for... Mexican food!  It was pretty good, though we did not inquire too closely regarding the origin of the meat.  We then headed for the big purple pharmacy to get our meds.  Each of us takes about 4 different drugs and some of them they only carry in a smaller dose than we needed, so we would have to take 2 pills at a time.  Six months worth would keep us going until we get back to Jojoba and cost about half as much as our "affordable care" copay in the states.  But they do take up a lot of space.  We had carried in a bag but it was too small so we put the left overs in a plastic bag and headed back to the good ol' US of A.

We proudly presented our passports at the border.  I was carrying the plastic bag and the customs guy I talked to didn't give me so much as a second look.  I went out the door to wait for Vicki.  And waited.  And WAITED.  I finally got curious and re-entered the building to see what the hold up was.  It turns out there is a three month limit on how many prescription drugs you can carry across the border and her customs agent was educating her as to this fact.  He wanted to make sure she understood, so he told her over and over again.  She was afraid he was going to confiscate her stash or send her back to the pharmacy to return half the stuff.  In the end he finally let her through with a stern warning not to let it happen again (like he would know).  When she came over to tell me her sad tale of woe, he even felt obligated to walk over and give ME a piece of his mind as well.  Of course, I stood right up to him.  Like hell I did.  I said "Yes sir.  Thank you sir." and meekly sidled my way over to the American side of the border and out of his domain.  Gotta pick yer battles.

Wetlands Playground
The next day we toured around Yuma a little.  In particular, we visited the Yuma West Wetlands, which is a little park right along the Colorado River with a boat launch, a fishing pond, a picnic area and a children's' playground approximately the size of Disneyland.  This playground, the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground, was built in 2007 and opened to great fanfare.  It burned to the ground in Dec., 2014 with the help of a demented arsonist.  Not to be deterred, the city reconstructed the whole thing and it reopened almost exactly one year later.  It is a  fabulous place for kiddies so one can only hope the kerosene and matches brigade will steer clear this time around.

Our next stop is supposed to be Gila Bend.  We were going to go see some petroglyphs there but with the temperature headed to 102 we will probably just hunker down in our rig with both ACs blasting and then move on the next day to Prescott, which should be much cooler.

Just to make those of you still in California feel bad