Thursday, December 17, 2015

Best Dentist in Algodones Mexico: Isaias Iniguez D.D.S.

Okay, the work is all done and my mom's teeth look and feel great.  After the curfluffle on her first appointment the dentist sent his daughter to pick her up at our RV and drive her back and forth to Mexico.  Part of the reason was to make sure they never had to see me again. 

My mom had an 7 tooth bridge put on her top teeth.  She couldn't have dental implants due to a blood disorder that makes any surgeries life-threatening.  The dentist also recommended against it because she was having an allergic reaction just to metal in the removable bridge she used to have.  She couldn't have metal implants in her gums.  A bridge was her best bet, and we're glad we got a good dentist who understood her needs and gave her what she wanted.

I say Dr. Isaias Iniguez is the best dentist in Algodones because he did the job right.  He's also the only ADA certified dentist in the town.  His office is sophisticated with state of the art equipment.  Although he relies on his wife and daughter for English translation, he takes pride in his work and makes sure that everything is done perfectly.  He schedules follow-ups to ensure his work is still holding.  He's meticulous and is a clear master at what he does.

He's not the cheapest dentist but here's how it broke down:

My mother paid $3500 for the 7 tooth upper bridge. Her last quote in the USA for the same work was $6,000.   It took three visits when you include the initial consultation. 

Ignore her bottom teeth.  Only the top ones were fixed.  She had a falsey thing she put in for her gap between the top teeth before and the metal was just destroying her mouth.  She's much happier with her new choppers which are rooted in a bridge. The bridge goes deep into her gums and is very sturdy.

You'll see that on the right side, her two natural teeth don't match.  We're okay with this.  We wanted something that mostly looked good, was permanent, and was going to last her for the rest of her life.  These are zirconia teeth, which is supposed to be the best they had to offer. 

We are happy with Dr. Isaias Iniguez DDS.  He's skilled and you can trust your mouth to him.  We recommend him.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sultan Then And Now

My kitty Sultan when we lived in bricks and sticks in 2012

And here he is in the RV today!  <3

Minor Dental Update

My mother has a temporary bridge in right now.  They drove her all the way home rather than face my wrath again when I picked her up.  She should have the final result in a week.  I'll update again then.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mexico Dentist Morning Clusterfuck

Yes I swore.  I find that most adults who stick their noses up at colorful language are sanctimonious and hypocritical.  Honest people swear. 

Today is my mother's dental appointment in Algodones Mexico with Isaias Iniguez D.D.S.  She's there right now getting the work done, so this isn't a rant about the actual work.  I don't know how that is yet.  I will report on it as soon as I do.

What this rant is about is the bullshit this dentist put us through this morning. 

Our instructions:  Call us when you're 15 minutes out.  Go to the last U-Turn before you enter Mexico.  We will pick your mother up there.

That's what I did.  No one ever came.  We called.  They said for her to go into Mexico and go to the Purple Liquis pharmacy. 

Um. NO.  That was not the plan.  First off we were told we were going to be picked up at the U-Turn so my mother left her good walker at home and just brought her cane.  She knew it would be hard to fit the walker in their car, and figured she wasn't going to be walking much anyway. 

Now they're saying for her to walk the long treacherous sidewalks into Mexico, and to have her stand in hawker heaven hoping that she gets into the right car?

I insisted that they come pick her up as they promised.  They said wait for a red CRV.  It never came.  I called again.  They hung up on me.  Another call.  Now they're not answering.  Everything goes to voicemail.

I would have said fuck them at this point, but they had a $500 deposit.

So I had to park in fucking $6 parking lot and get the broken 3-wheel walker out for my mom, hoping it wouldn't fold out on her.  Now we have to walk all the way to the fucking dentist through the store encapsulated sidewalks with assholes trying to rip us off at every step.  A cart blocks our way at one point and we have to fight our way through.  God I hate Mexico.

We get there and I cause a scene in her crowded waiting room.  WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?  HUH?  HUH?  DON'T FUCKING HANG UP ON ME!  DON'T LIE ABOUT PICKING US UP WHEN YOU WEREN'T GOING TO!  The middle-aged receptionist started apologizing in a panic and claiming she never told us to wait outside the border.  "We can't cross the border."  Bullshit.  You drove us out last time!  "I feel so bad I was going to pick you up myself.  I would have done that for you!"

I don't get why she thinks saying that makes it right.  My mom's Mexican pastor told me he was going to help fix my sprinklers at my old house and I was so happy that I bought a projector for his church.  But he never did it.  When people asked him why someone had 'donated' a projector he said, "Oh, I was going to help her with this huge sprinkler system."  Was going to.  He never did.  He got his projector and had me pound sand.

Is that a Mexican cultural thing?  Thinking that saying you're going to do something is just as good as actually doing it?  My mom has another similar anecdote from another Mexican from her church.  'Oh I told her I would help her.'  But you didn't help her when she asked.  'Yes, but I said if she needed anything to call me.'  Uh...she did call you.  You didn't help her.  'But I said I would do anything for her.'  You didn't.  It doesn't count.  It's flapping gums.  STFU. 

This is turning me racist.  I'm not going to believe promises if culturally it's believed just saying something is as good as actually doing it.

IT'S NOT.  Do what you say!  Don't lie!  Don't break your promises!  I don't care what fucking country you're from, this should be universal.

This was all on the idiot receptionist at the dentist (who I believe is the dentist's wife).  It doesn't mean the dentist himself is bad.  I'm hoping my mom still gets everything done correctly because they have our money.  If her teeth are fixed properly then their initial lies, secondary lies, and the bullshit hassle I just went through comes out in the wash. 

If anything goes wrong I will use everything in my power to lambast this bullshit dentist.  People research.  I will make sure he's on ever 'bad Mexican dentist list' there is.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 7, 2015

In love with Yuma AZ

Welp, we've found our winter spot!  We're going to stay here until at least the end of March.  Yuma is everything we've been looking for with low crime and a low price tag.

I'm at an RV park with a gym again, something I booked deliberately.  The difference between this RV Park and the one in Nevada is that this gym has classes.  Add this to the fact that I'm on a diet with all my food delivered and it's just like being at an expensive spa!  (If I could get up early enough to do most of the classes).

We've got casinos, we've got big box stores, we've got low traffic and low RV rent.  I went swimming today!  Swimming!  In December!!

It's warm during the day, but does get really chilly at night.  We've had the heat kick on a few times. 

The people here are SUPER FRIENDLY.  We're all snow-birds!  There's no local clans like in Pahrump, though the locals I've met are super nice too!  I've actually gotten to know two of my neighbors here.

On top of all that...there's a church for my mom in walking distance.  She went yesterday and was welcomed warmly with a gift bag.  How cool is that?!

Yep...we're good here.  @-@  Time to dig in for a few months.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Shopping for a New RV?

Yuma Arizona is a bit of an RV Mecca.  It's not solely for RVs and snowbirds the way Quartzsite seems to be, but it is a very RV-Centric city.  The population swells in winter and lowers in summer, but there's a large static population that gives you year-round amenities:  Target, 99 Cent Only Stores, restaurants, department stores--things we lacked in Pahrump, NV.

Pahrump has the casino culture my mom and I love, but in that respect Yuma shines also.  We've found numerous Indian casinos all around us.  (I want to say 'Native American' casinos, but 'Indian Casino' appears to remain the standard term, even by the Native Americans who own and operate said casinos ::shrugs::.)

We drove through Quartzsite with thoughts of boondocking there a month or so, but we were wholly unimpressed.  What does Quartzsite really have going for it except for the level boondockable land?  A few big festivals...and what?  I don't like living in a place that's convenient to no where.  We already established this during our Thousand Trails days.  I'm not going to boondock in Quartzsite just because it's cheap.  I need a good quality of life to go with my frugality.

Yuma offers that, and it's several degrees warmer than Quartzsite.  We don't have a clan like many Quartzsitesians.  We're new to this and don't have a network of other RVers to connect with.  Quartzsite just isn't for us.

Yuma?  Now in Yuma I can see sticking around long term.  All winter in fact.  That's the current plan.

Many months ago I was shedding the chains of Thousand Trails and excitedly booked our next few months at various RV parks.  Pahrump, then Yuma, then San Diego. 

We were booked at the Mission Bay RV Park in San Diego for the month of January.  This park costs $875/month but I felt I could swing it, and I felt it would be worth it.  I'm sure it is worth it, but I'm not sure I can swing it.  I'm a writer who depends on selling ebooks for a living.  The climate has changed with new Amazon rules and I'm faltering right now.  I could probably still afford the RV park, but I wouldn't have any money left over to actually enjoy San Diego.  The huge rent would be a stressor. 

I'd given a $220 deposit back when I booked the park.  A pleasant conversation with an understanding reservationist today cancelled my reservation and will get me back the deposit minus a $25 fee.  I really hope to see that credit on my card in the next few days.  Then I can breathe a deep sigh of relief.  San Diego is not in the cards for us right now.  Saving money is!

The $350/month rent at this park in Yuma is much more doable for me right now.  After that accident I had on the way here I'm ready to dig in and just stay here until the end of March...maybe even April.  We'll see how it goes.

I don't like towing the RV.  I'm still not able to back into a space and I struggle to get gas on the road.  My little SUV huffs and puffs to pull our home and needs gas way too often.  I don't get to gas up at those big diesel gas pumps.  I have to struggle into gas stations that were meant for cars.  It's a huge pain.

The answer to my travel woes is a Class C or Class A RV.  Yuma is loaded with RV dealerships.  So we spent the day visiting three of them.

La Mesa RVs had a 2004 Itasca on it's web site that I felt would suit our needs well and was under $30k.  So we went there first.  The unit I want is not in Arizona.  :(  The sales agent showed us a bunch of other options, all over $60k.  We oooed and ahhhed at the beautiful rigs--and my stomach and chest got tight with worry.  There really wasn't anything perfect for us, so we moved on.

My mom liked RV World, and the salesman was super nice an helpful.  La Mesa had preapproved us for $60k worth of financing.  RV World said $100k.  And my stomach got even tighter.  We were showed immaculate brand new rigs with all the bells and whistles.  Gorgeous fixtures.  Wondrous space.  Cab-over bunks I could climb in with full sized beds.  My mom fell in love with the priciest rig we saw.

And I started feeling sick.

We escaped without any paperwork signed.  I told the guy to call us if a nice used class C came in with the floor plan we needed that was under $30k.

As we're driving back I told my mom that I just couldn't buy a $60-$100k RV.  What I valued about our life above all was our freedom, and a gigantic monthly payment every month for the next 20 years was going to take that freedom away from me.  I'd be scrimping and scrounging and working my ass off to try to keep up with the payments.  No matter how many 'good' months I had in the future I would likely never have enough to pay down that debt significantly.  It would be a millstone around my neck until I was my mother's age.

The better solution was just to move the trailer less frequently and tough it out when moving time came.

Our current trailer has one problem:  Moving it.  This includes going from point A to B where I'd have to get gas, and parking it when I got to the multitude of parks out there that don't have pull-thru spots.

But once we're at our destination, parked an unhitched, this is the perfect RV for us.  My mom has her bedroom with her nice new mattress in the front.  I have my bedroom with a shelf for all my stuff in the back.  We have a nice big bathroom that's easy to maneuver in.  I have my 'office' in the RV dinnette.  My mom has her computer/lounging space in the RV sofa.  She has a card table in front of her to eat her meals and use her computer.  We like being able to disconnect our propane tanks and drive them somewhere to get them filled.  We like boondocking with our solar panels.  We have a nice kitchen and plenty of space.  We just like our RV!!

And I only owe $22,800 on it.  Seven months ago this was $32,000.  I've been paying it down like crazy and at this rate I may be free from that payment in two or three years.  That's less stress on me to hustle and make money.  More freedom to spend time having fun instead of worrying about bills.

This is our only debt and debt is a curse that robs you of your freedom.  I just can't take on what amounts to a house payment!  If I get a motorized RV it has to be 10 or 15 years old so I won't be saddled with huge debt.  And then I might be buying a host of problems and a short life-span of usable full-timing.  I just don't want this.

So we're sticking with the EVO.  I'll just have to keep struggling to tug it along.  It's worth it!  It's freedom, and that's the most important thing in the world!     

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Yuma Arizona and Dental in Mexico

So yesterday we went to the RV park I'd booked in Yuma Arizona and settled in.  It's a day early, but Pahrump was just too cold and we were itching to go.  After the accident on the way I'm now itching not to go ANYWHERE.  I kind of want to cancel my San Diego RV park booking and just stay here the rest of winter.  Yuma's a really nice city.  It has everything me and my mom like and it's as warm as we're going to get it seems.

Anywho, my intake flange for my water connection cracked in half in Pahrump due to getting brittle with cold.  I just replaced it myself with a new flange from Al's RV shop here in Yuma.  Hopefully I did the repair right and it will work out.  It seemed simple...but RV stuff seldom is.  I'll keep an eye out for leaks the next few days.

After getting the part from the RV store I took my mother to Mexico.  She had decided against getting dental work done there after seeing some crazy prices online.  We still came down because she's never been to Mexico.  I wanted to stock up on those antidepressants that worked out for me too.  We parked in the Q casino lot for $6 and walked on in.

I got my pills and we wandered around.  Spent $20 on a stupid hat that I'm sure my mom will only wear once.  She bought the same ball in a cup toy I'd bought for her because she wants to give it to her grandson.  My price: $10.  Her price after speaking in Spanish:  $5.  Mierda!

Anyway, the sidewalks are cave-like due to the shop canopies.  You can't walk five steps without being harangued.  This woman chased my mom down with a hooded shirt, and she just didn't want it, you know?  I looked at jewelry at a stand and the woman started the same scam the guy did the last time I was there, 'Please buy something.  I'm so hungry.  I don't have money for a taco for lunch.'  Ugh.  I bought earrings for $8.  I'm a sucker, but I also applaud her entrepreneurial spirit.

We finally went into one of the little dentists just to have a break from the peddlers.  This was a pretty enough office, and who knows, the guy might be a good dentist.  But he claimed my mom's teeth were too loose for a bridge (something the other dentist refuted with an X-Ray) and tried to sell her a $900 removable plastic denture thing instead.  We really wanted something permanent for her.  (Not implants, however, since a blood disease makes any surgery potentially deadly for her).

We continued on and found a dentist with ADA certified plaques.  So we went in.  I believe we found one of the quality dentists, Isaias Iniguez D.D.S.  The office was nicer and better equipped than many USA dentists.  The customer service was top-notch.  They drove us back across the border at the end of the session as a courtesy.

That's not to say that they aren't out to upsell you and try to get you to buy more services than you need.  The woman at the desk (a sweetheart) is a shrewd saleswoman and she was aggressive in trying to get rid of the mercury fillings in my mother's mouth.  Not something we cared about.  Not something she really needed.  Every dentist offers us veneers.  This is a want, not a need.  Being able to chew is a need for my poor mom.  (The friendly professional woman also pitied me for my yellow teeth, which are the color of aged parchment.  I don't care.  I'm not whitening them.)

Anyway, my mother is suffering with a 30 year old removable denture thing that is causing an allergic reaction in her mouth and damaging her gums and other teeth.  It's WAY past time to get rid of that junk.

We're getting her a 7 tooth permanent bridge for her upper teeth made out of posh zirconia (I couldn't get them to offer a cheaper material) for $3,500.  It's expensive, but cheaper than in the USA and direly needed.  Her appointment is next Wednesday.  I'll post an update on how it goes.  FYI, they could have done it tomorrow, but we need time to gather the cash.

Tomorrow we're going RV shopping.  I dream of a class-C with an easy to climb up bunk  ;_;  I'm so over towing this trailer.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crashed the RV

While trying to get gas in Vegas at a stupidly awkward gas station I ended up crashing into post.  I really screwed up and my confidence is shot.

The pumps were set up in a way that's like trying to park in a slanted parking space if you came in from the wrong direction.  And I clipped it.  Because I'm a moron.  UGH.

Then I struggled to find another gas station that I could manage.  I really thought I'd gotten good at this, but I haven't.  I'm a mess.

We left Pahrump today to head to Yuma.  With the RV accident we only made it to Laughlin.  We're in the parking lot of the Riverside Casino boondocking for the night.

We saw a whole lot full of RVs so we just huddled up next to one.  The security guard said it was fine.  We're home for now.

You might notice that there is a satellite on top of our SUV.  It's the mid-season finale of Walking Dead, people.  We're watching it right go.

It's nice to have all the luxuries of home no matter where we drive our home to.  If I can just keep from destroying it...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Leaving Tomorrow and a Mexico Mix-Up

Tomorrow we hitch up and get the heck out of this frozen tundra.  We are going as far south from Pahrump Nevada as one can go without being in Mexico, Yuma Arizona. 

Since we're leaving two days early we're probably boondocking one night in Quartzsite and then one night in casino parking in Yuma.  Then we'll move into the RV park that I booked and paid a deposit on.

The truth is...I actually already drove down to Yuma two days ago.  I've been having issues with my antidepressant for a while and finally just stopped taking it in October. 

Once it was out of my system I had a crisis I'm not going to go into.  It told me I needed to be on something, but I wasn't going to go back on a medication that wasn't taking care of the depression.  I got in touch with a psychiatrist friend who advised me to get on a regimen of Wellbutrin.  It's an antidepressant derived from amphetamines, so you can benefit from the effects in a few days rather than weeks.  Unfortunately I couldn't get an appointment with him or anyone else to prescribe me the new antidepressant.  It was Thanksgiving week.

You can walk into a pharmacy in Mexico and get prescription pills without a prescription.  I left my mom and the cats in Nevada and drove the five and a half hour drive to Mexico alone.

I had hear you just go to the Quechan Casino, pay to park in their lot, and then walk to Mexico.  This is true, but there are two Quechan Casinos, Quechan and the "Q".  I WENT TO THE WRONG ONE.  I was driving around like an idiot trying to find the border crossing.  Finally, I just asked some guy on the street how to get to Mexico.  The guy sent me to San Luis Mexico.  Not Los Algodones.

Los Algodones:  Safe during the day.  Tourist Trap.  Easy in, easy out.  Everyone speaks English and takes American money.  Pharmacies, Doctors, Dentists, Glasses.

San Luis:  Desolate.  Scary.  AK-47s

The border crossing for San Luis is 20 miles from Yuma at the end of the 95.  I wanted to get the stupid pills ASAP, so I went into Mexico after 4pm Mountain Time, with dusk fast approaching.  I thought maybe 'San Luis' was the province name and that this was Algodones. 

No.  This is not where you're supposed to go.  This is not where any gringa who doesn't speak Spanish should be going, particularly when the sun was descending fast.

Once I had crossed the border into San Luis I was greeted by a man in military fatigues holding an AK-47.

@_@  WTF IS THIS?!

There were several more armed soldiers scattered around.  The street I entered into was empty and the stores were already closing.  There were none of the pharmacies, dentists, doctors, etc., I'd expected to find en masse.   

It quickly dawned on me that I was NOT in Algodones.  My wide-eyed horror caught the attention of an old man who quickly ushered me off the street.  I found myself in a store that had bottles of Viagra and Cialis in a glass display case.  So I asked the worker in my horrible broken Spanish if he had Wellbutrin.  He offered to sell me 15 pills for $35.  This was an obvious rip-off (though in retrospect, maybe he meant Pesos?) but I figured I could just get some here so I could at least start on the prescription and then I'd go to Algodones tomorrow and get more.  

He called two places but couldn't get anyone to bring the pills.  So he said that he could just sell me Xanax in the meantime and then I could send him a Moneygram and he'd mail the Wellbutrin to me when he got it in. 

"Yes!  Of course!  That sounds awesome!" I gleefully said like idiotic moron, "I'll just carry a scheduled drug over the border and have it seized by Federal agents who will probably charge me with drug trafficking!  Oh, and we've known each other so long, a whole five minutes, I'm sure you'll send me pills after I send a Moneygram that I can't possibly get back once it's sent.  This sounds great!" 

I got the Hell out of there and ran back to the border crossing to get back into the USA. 

There was a line...a HUGE line...a monstrous line.  When I got to the front I realized there were two lines and I was in the stupidly long one.  They both went to the same place.  x_x  Ugh.  It took me two hours to get to the checkpoint.  I hate lines.  It was cold.  The sun went down.  I was in Mexico after dark, but the soldiers with AK-47s were wandering around us and made me feel slightly safe.  That was probably naive.  I obviously don't know anything.

It was easy enough to get through the border with my passport card.  I ran back to my car and went to the hotel I'd book in Yuma.  Still without pills.  Today was Thanksgiving and in my rush to get to Mexico I hadn't eaten all day.  I drove around until I found a Chinese restaurant that was open and finally got something to eat.  Then I bought a GoPhone from Walgreens (because I hadn't owned a cell phone prior to this) and called my mom.  She had a much nicer Thanksgiving than me because the pastor of her church had invited her over to share their feast.

The next morning I researched online and found the correct 'Quechan' casino called the Q.  Things went a lot easier.  You park in their pay lot for $6 and walk into Mexico.  This time I saw a true tourist trap and no soldiers with guns.  Hawkers hassle you every few steps.  I was suffering from lack of sleep and proper medication and was rude to them.  I shouldn't have been, but later, when one of them tried to scam me, I felt less guilty.

I was sold some Mexican version of Wellbutrin, 100 pills for $35.  This was at the purple Liquis pharmacy you see right as you cross into Mexico.  No prescription needed.  Great.  I bought some prozac as a back-up but probably won't be taking it.  That was $4 for 100 pills. 

(The Wellbutrin seems legit, and I am having positive effects from it. I will be going back to stock up.)

On my way out I stopped at an open-air gift shop place and bought my mom a Ballero or ball in a cup toy, since she'd played with one as a child.  The guy selling the Ballero asked me if I wanted Xanax, Oxycontin, Adderall, or Ativan--all drugs that are generally illegal to take over the border. 

I said I wasn't interested in going to prison, but thanks anyway.  He assured me it would be fine, because he truly cared about me from the two seconds we had spoken.  He tried to take my arm and walk me down the street to the "Pharmacy" he ran out of his house.  He assured me once again that I would not get caught because they put them in fake bottles so I can carry them across the border.  WTF!!  I broke free of him and headed back toward the crossing. 

As I'm leaving this is what he said, "You got to eat a big feast of turkey yesterday.  I didn't have no turkey.  I have nothing.  You should buy at least something."  -_-  I did buy something.  I bought the overpriced Mexican toy.  And he was awful portly for someone who doesn't have anything to eat.  I'm insulted that he tried to pull that shit.  Is any tourist this dumb?  Why am I seen as an easy mark?

I'm really annoyed that I have to fight so much in order to do business in the 'good' Mexico.  Everyone has such a low opinion of the country.  I felt this was unwarranted ignorance, and that the places that are safe to go should not be prejudged.  But when people are trying to do this shady business, for someone who wasn't even interested, it's making me understand the bad reputation.  People like this creep are just ruining Mexico for tourists. 

Algodones is relatively safe.  Go during the day.  Leave early so you don't have a long line at the checkpoint.  Don't go to the shady brothel/bar.  Don't buy stuff you know you're not supposed to.  Don't trust anyone.  Don't pay for something unless you have the merchandise in hand, even at the big Liquis pharmacy.  Don't assume you're getting what you asked for.  Write down the name of the active ingredient in English and Spanish before you go and make sure that's what it says on the bottle.  Don't pay someone a large bill and let them run off to get you change--they won't come back.  Don't stay in Mexico after dark!  The police are as corrupt as these vendors.  They will not be on your side.  You're just a walking dollar sign.  You're a privileged American and they are in a land of turmoil.  They don't feel any obligation to deal with you fairly. 

I've also heard not to go to the dentists the hawkers try to take you to.  There are reputable dentists there that don't use hawkers because word of mouth brings them traffic.  A Canadian RV blog tells of the horror in his mouth after going to a dentist a hawker brought him to.  They're not all good.

That's the impression my short visit left on me.  When I return with my mother, maybe I'll see it differently.  As it stands, I'm not impressed.

What I am impressed with is the city of Yuma.  It looks like a fine metropolis!!  I can't wait to live there.  I'll report more on that later on.  Hopefully this will end up as our winter base, since it looks really nice.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dreaming of Moving On

So it's almost the end of our second month in Pahrump and we are itching to hit the road.  I admit this park is great.  Awesome spaces, cheap rent, no electric/ant problems, nice cafe, a store, garbage and propane service.  Also my mom's church is here and she knows her way around town enough to drive herself places.

What's bad is the weather.  It's FREEZING!!  I'm in a sweater shivering as I type this.  We do not have a space heater and have been using propane.  It runs out so fast!!  It seems to take a gallon a night to heat this place.  We've bought 15 gallons so far and will probably need at least 5 more to get us through. 
Our poor kitty Precious needs two blankets every night now.

Yes, we should probably buy a space heater or two.  I just don't know where we'd put them, both when we travel and while we're here.  My mom's room is mostly closed off from the rest of the RV and there's no place to stick it in her bedroom without touching the walls.  Same with my little alcove.  We could stick it in the middle of the RV but will that little thing really work?  I just don't know...

For now the plan is to keep ahead of the weather.  We are continuing south. 

I'm going to boondock a night in Quartzsite Arizona to see if we want to spend February there.  We're well equipped for long boondocks, so long as a honey wagon will pump us and we get some LEDs to replace some of our inefficient lights.  It would be cheaper than an RV park, and that's great for a few lean months ahead.  I would love if it was 'good enough' so it can be my go-to place when I'm broke.

On the other hand...I don't want to be miserable.  So we'll see.  :/ 

For December we've got a month at an RV park in Yuma, and then a month in San Diego.  Hopefully we'll stay good and warm.

Friday, November 20, 2015

My Latest Book

This is what I put out this month if you're a fan of my writing (and I know most of you aren't).

Adults only.  Kindle USA, Kindle UK, Kindle Germany, Kindle Australia, Kindle Canada, Kindle France, Kindle Brazil, Kindle Italy, Kindle Japan, Kindle Spain, Kindle Mexico, Kindle Netherlands, or Kindle India. Everywhere Else: grab it in ANY format from Smashwords.   Coming soon for Barnes & Nobles, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, and Google Play—just search for it!

Yes, I literally do put out a new novel almost every monthI'm crazy like that.  NaNoWriMo?  Puh. Every month is NaNoWriMo for me. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Who Buys Matching Class A Winnebagos?

Behold the gentrification of an RV Park!

The descended on our RV park en masse one night.  Matching Class A Winnebago RVs.  Seriously.  I don't even.

They're chatty and smiley too.  Probably Canadian or Minnesotan.  You know how those types are.  Flush with their cold weather climate money.


I think it's gotten way too cold to stay here, but I was too dumb to continue south.  I hope our black tank doesn't freeze before we move on to Arizona.

Meanwhile our new neighbors are in shorts and tee shirts with their screen doors open.  "Why did you close the pool?  It's only 40 degrees!"

Friday, October 23, 2015

What I Wrote This Month

In case any of you are interested in my writing, here's my latest novella.  Turn off your Adblocker if you can't see it.  It's an Amazon picture link.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

'This Place Feels Like Home'

The title to this post is a quote from my mother.  We're at the Treasure Resort in Pahrump, and have decided to stay here until the end of November (weather permitting).  It's easily the nicest RV park that we stay at.  And since we lived in Pahrump for 2 years prior to going full-time, my mom attends her old church here and knows how to drive herself around on her own.

Things have changed since we were here last April.  Namely...

There's a casino in the cafe here now!!!  And that suits us fine.  We like to play the games now and then.  Having a smoke free casino right were we live is Awesome!!!

I've also taken up bird watching.  A lot of humming birds were buzzing in front of my window, likely because a past resident had a feeder for them.  I went out to get them one and decided to get a regular feeder too.

Here's the view out my window now.

It turns out that lots of people have humming bird feeders, but I haven't seen any seed feeders besides ours.  And boy has it been a hit!!  Gorgeous pink birds have been stuffing their beaks while larger birds dig through the litter on the ground to get what they drop.

I'm trying to get a good picture of the pink males of these birds but it's so hard!!!  Hopefully one came out.  They're so beautiful!

We're still on the Personal Trainer Diet, and will remain on it forever probably.  I've had to modify things due to weakness.  My body isn't able to do straight Atkins without a large intestine.  I had to take two days off to recover my strength.  Now I'm starting again with a new plan my body can handle.  BANZAI!!!

One more attempt to photograph that pink bird....

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Languishing in Pahrump

We are at the Treasure Resort in Pahrump, NV, taking advantage of their full gym for a month to kick our weightloss into high gear.  I had a drink last night and gained two pounds along with a puffy face!  Won't be cheating with alcohol ever again!  My diet, The Personal Trainer Diet, that sends you all the food, is still perfect for me.  Delicious food.  Cheap.  And my appetite no longer spikes due to blood sugar.  I saw it spike last night after I cheated with a drink.  I don't want to go back to that roller coaster.

If you've been thinking about trying this diet, today (October 11) is the day to do it since they're doing $100 off.  That means $269 gets you a month worth of food (and it's really delicious!)  I say that's cheaper than buying groceries.  Please check it out with my link:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Home Again...

I say we're home again because we're back in Pahrump, NV, where we used to live.  We'll be spending a month here using the sweet gym at the Nevada Treasure Resort to kick our weightloss (thanks to the Personal Trainer Diet) into high gear.
I felt bad about not regaling you with pictures from Tonopah.  So here are pictures from the next town south of Tonopah, Goldfield, NV.  What's Goldfield all about?  Here's the plaque in front of the courthouse (above) to tell you:
It's a nice stone carved plaque, but honestly, this is a boom/bust town currently in it's bust cycle, the way Tonopah is.  Here's the typical buildings you see there:

I peeked inside one of these derelict mining era buildings and here's what I saw:
So...yay?  Don't say I never give you pictures!

We stopped there for breakfast on the way down to Pahrump.  The pickings were slim, but we still managed to get two omelets for our trouble.  One wonders how people get by in tiny 'no supermarket' towns like these.  It was a little depressing.

Night of Peace and Quiet

Last night I kind of got the appeal of boondocking.  It's not just finding beautiful scenery or convening with nature.  Boondocking like we did last night gave us PEACE AND QUIET.

We were sardine canned into that last RV park.  As I said, I hit someone's awning as I drove in because there were large RVs crammed into limited space spilling out into the road.  We couldn't open the door of the SUV without hitting our RV steps.  We had to bend our side mirror in or the people in the RV next to us would bump it as they came out of their RV.

Being so crammed in there meant that every conversation came into your space.  People were extremely inconsiderate.  They thought nothing of having an outdoor powwow at 2am.  Because all these RVs around them were just empty buildings, apparently.  Not homes filled with people TRYING TO SLEEP!!  More than once I slammed my window shut loudly to give some inconsiderate jerks a hint.

But voices weren't the only source of noise.  Fricking motorcycles.  Loud.  Beat up.  And with riders who loved to rev rev.  I guess having a loud noisy thing between their legs helped make up for other short comings.  There was a note posted on the doors of the restrooms saying that people needed to get mufflers for their horribly loud motorcycles.  As if that helped.  The noise wasn't only during the day, but at night.  Sometimes very late.  I was flabbergasted at how inconsiderate these people were.  No one else existed except for them.  They had to be raised in barns or something.  I just don't get it.

Then of course, there was the drama.  Not just the domestic violence in the RV right next to us, that required us to call the police, but screaming fights all the time.  Often spilling into the street.  We saw two women beating each other with clenched fists and trying to knock each other down in the middle of the narrow road.  They were fighting over 'dope' because one of the girls kept screaming about it.  It took meth-lab Harry (my name for a horrible mean old jerk who appeared to have a meth lab in his RV) to come out and scream obscenities at them to make the fight stop.

Okay, Meth-Lab Harry.  He was often washing a tupperware container full of stuff outside with a hose, guarding it carefully, not wanting anyone to see what he was cleaning.  His RV REEKED of paint thinner.  He had people coming at all hours of the day for 15 second visits, and, here's the clincher, HIS RV HAD A CHIMNEY.  Meth lab?  Yeah, probably.  Besides the fact that he was putting that horrible stuff out on the street, he was just a HORRIBLE person.  He berated his wife constantly.  They sometimes had shout fests, but usually it was just him telling her to shut her f**king mouth.  He was also yelling at everyone with dogs to, 'Shut that f**king dog up.'  And he kicked a girl out of another guy's RV (I don't get the situation, but apparently he had power over this other guy) and when she tried to come back, because she was made homeless, he said, and I quote:  'You don't f**king live here anymore, bitch!  Get over it!'  And slammed the door in her face.  Meth Lab Harry has a reckoning coming, and I will not shed a tear when he's taken down.

So, last night we were in this BLM land.  A half mile from the highway.  Nothing but mountains and clouds.  Complete solitude and peace.  Oh Lord...last night was just what my spirit needed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tonopah Nevada Boondock

Hello from Tonopah!  We made it to the BLM boondock described to me here:!10273&query=sitedetails

This looks like a good boondock.  You don't pull off by the BLM office as described on that site, but go further until you see a dirt road with a cow rail across it on you left as you go south on 95.  This will take you to a circle of dirt with lots of unlevel spots.  Scout around past the old fire pits and you can get a level-ish area.  It is easy on, easy off, just as reported, with a big circle to drive around to get back to the dirt road.

The pictures are from the Tonopah station, where we stopped before getting here.  It's a tiny casino with an unspectacular cafe.  I wish we'd gone to the BBQ place we passed before getting to it instead.
It's cloudy, but our batteries are still charged up from the RV park.  We should be fine for one night.  It's a good temperature here with a nice breeze.

Tonopah is a beat-up old west town with a lot of relics from the past that would look like deliberately built tourist buildings elsewhere, but are just really old buildings here.  There's a lot of old buildings in town that still have the old west facades from the 1800s, but you can tell they are just old, and not trying to fake that look. 
There's a lot of old mining relics, dilapidated and dangerous looking.  Also a gigantic old hotel that was just completely abandoned.  It's a real eye-sore as you drive into town. 
Anyway, when I'm driving and towing the rig I'm too stressed to be snapping pictures.  You'll have to make do with what I snapped at Tonopah station.  If you prefer to stay at an RV park, rather than a perfectly good boondock, we were quoted $27 to stay in the RV park there for the night.
I'm glad we didn't plan to stay here long.  It's kind of a depressing 'One McDonald Town' like Pahrump.  At least in Pahrump we have my mom's church and that kick-ass RV park we like.  So...tomorrow we continue onward!
This isn't the majestic kind of boondocks you get from RV Sue.  It's desert scrub brush, broken bottles, and scorched earth firepits.  Meh.  It will do for tonight.  It was halfway between Reno and Pahrump so it was the perfect stopping place.
Some kids pulled over to rock hunt but quickly either got bored of it or creeped out by our presence and left.  I think we'll be safe for one night.  Wish us luck!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Getting About Time to Hit the Dusty Trail...

So we leave Reno day after tomorrow.  The park was kind of a bad scene.  I hate to say that I had to call the police over some really upsetting domestic violence making the trailer beside us jump around.  Honestly though, things are usually quiet and we made it through our month here just fine.

Yes, this was kind of a dumpy place, but the power worked without fail.  The tap water was drinkable with no stink to it.  No ants.  The showers were serviceable.  The staff here was super nice too, very easy going, and people were generally friendly when you were friendly to them, no matter how mean they looked in passing.

I would still recommend this place for people to stay at, but with caveats.  C'est la vie.

Well, we've been on the Personal Trainer Diet for a little over three weeks now.  I've lost 14 pounds and my mother lost 11.  We're committed to sticking with the program and have ordered twice so far.

If the food didn't taste so good, if the prep wasn't so easy, and if the price wasn't so great--then it might have been a problem.  But this makes dieting so easy we'd be dumb not to stick with it.  I'm telling you, this is a great program to check out:  THE FOOD IS DELICIOUS.  And it's cheaper than buying groceries for a lot of people. 

Please use my link if you sign up.  I get a referral bonus.  I've already gotten one!  Who ever ordered with them through me THANK YOU SO MUCH!  Once again, yes, a month of food WILL fit in your RV freezer and fridge.  Check out my other post about that with a picture (two posts ago).

I've tried to sell some of my friends on the diet.  Some are saying they can't live without carbs and sweets.  Look, if my Puerto Rican mom and me can live with out rice (BELOVED RICE!)  And if I can give up my beloved taffy, then YOU CAN DO THIS.  And when you start seeing the weight come off you will get very motivated.

My mom and I still eat out.  We've been going to the Grand Sierra Resort here in Reno and ordering their delicious salads.  I have a steak salad and my mom has a variation of a Chef salad.  And we both fawn over how delicious these salads are as we eat them.  And it occurred to us, we *claimed* we were committed to losing weight before we were on this diet, but we never ordered salads before.  We always ate huge fattening portions of food thinking it would somehow come out in the wash.  Actually being on a diet with strict guidelines has gotten us to eat the way we *should* have been eating.  And as we eat the big salads, which do not hurt our diets in any way, we realize how delicious they are!  Why were we so bullheaded before?

We're heading down to Pahrump soon.  We'll be staying at the Treasure Resort, where we stayed for a month when we first started full-timing.  This RV park has a full gym that they sell memberships to.  What a great chance to kick our diets into high gear!  I am seriously looking forward to working out every day.  I want to get some serious muscles going!

Before Pahrump, however, is a boondock in Tonapah.  We boondocked for three nights in a row before we settled into this park.  It was chaotic, but kind of fun.  I liked waking up somewhere different each morning.  I love being able to move my whole house whenever I want.  It's great to just park somewhere and have everything we need, even if we don't have hookups.

Hopefully there will be no boondock boondoggles as has happened in the past.  I'm doing BLM land.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Reno: Land of Meth and Depression

Reno might have a nice area where people are happy, but where I am life is all meth and sadness.  I'm sorry to put it that way.  Looking out the window of my RV today I see people stumbling around with no teeth and covered in scabs.  I saw the guy next to me crying over his RV because he's been kicked out for not paying and can't get his battery to hold a charge.  And then I'm reminded that we only got a spot here when they kicked out another destitute deadbeat who had only been allowed to stay because no one else wanted his spot.  Until we came.

It's not about me, obviously.  I will leave at the end of the month with a strong notation in the travel log to NOT STAY IN RENO.  Sparks, yes.  In fact there was a much nicer park on the Truckee river that I wish we had gotten a space in.  It was only $50 more a month than here.  Carson City, hell yes.  My mom found an awesome doctor there that we are going to make an effort to keep as her PCP.  But  Reno is a bad scene.

I really thought Reno was nice.  I was a guest at a convention here some years ago and got a great impression.  My mother was a delegate for Hillary Clinton and came to Reno some years ago and also said she loved it.  I don't know if we both had blinders on, or were just in the right area, but it's a much different city to us now.

I was so high on my freedom from Thousand Trails that I tried to delude myself into thinking that this switch to urban camping was a glorious new chapter.  It may well be, but I started out in the wrong city.  We've gambled.  We've gone to a museum.  We've tried to be happy here, but the depression around us hangs like molten lead clouds.  You see people walking around in their underwear because they no longer care.  People living in tiny TINY trailers that you can't stand up in.  And little kids trying to play in spots that are so crowded we can't open the car door without hitting the RV steps.  I finally admitted it today.  This place is depressing.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Month Worth of Weightloss Meal Plan Food in an RV Fridge

I need to lose weight.  I've gained 70 pounds over the course of two years due to a bone tumor that was in my leg.  It was removed a year ago, but the leg still causes me too much pain to jog like I used to.

A little background:  I'd been fat for most of my life.  I remember being weighed at age 12 for the track team and I tipped the scale at 207 pounds.  At age 16 I was 250 pounds, and I stayed around that weight into my adulthood.  Then, at age 35 I had several months of a catastrophic life episode too personal to discuss here and I went down to 180 pounds.  This was the lowest I ever weighed since I'd hit puberty.  I was eating healthily and running 2-5 miles almost every day.

Skinny me when I was a guest at an Anime convention.  I don't look like this anymore.
 Skinny Yamila lasted three years, and then the bone tumor started causing me shocks of pain.  It would feel like my knee cap was shifting.  I figured it was just arthritis and didn't bother to get it checked out for over a year.  Then I got Obamacare and figured, what the heck, I might as well use it.  That's when a 6 centimeter bone tumor was discovered on the ball joint part of my femur.  -_-  It was a bad time.

Anyway, today I am a sad 259 pounds.  Being fat didn't used to bother me.  I thought I was a very pretty fat girl (I still am) but the fact is, I was skinny-ish once.  I'd like to go back to that.  My mother needs to lose weight also.  It's time to get this done!

Well, the goal of weightloss was on our every day to-do list.  We spent a month at a park with a full gym with the thought that we'd lose 20 pounds before we took off on our full-time RVing adventure.

But we didn't lose squat.  We still haven't.  I've gained 10 pounds since we've been on the road.  -_-

Something's got to give.  I've tried doing our own meal-plans to lose weight and I just screw up.  I will be good one day and binge the next.  My mother has perfect will-power, unless she sees me eating ice cream.  If she sees it she wants it too.  It's my fault for putting it in front of her!! 

I need to do something drastic if I'm actually serious about losing weight.  So here it is.  I've signed up for the Personal Trainer Food program.  They sent me a month worth of food for one person.  My mother and I (two people) are eating this for 15 days then we'll order another month's worth.  It was MUCH cheaper to order this than our normal food budget.  There was a great Groupon going on.  It's EXTREMELY affordable.

My only qualm was if I could fit a month's worth of meals in my tiny RV fridge and freezer.  The answer:  Yes.  Here's what it looks like, people:

Yeah, we're full to bursting.  The crispers were already full before we got the stuff, so technically it's not all Personal Trainer food in there.  But, yes, if you clean out your fridge and freezer you will have enough room in your tiny RV fridge/freezer for one month of this diet.  They said it's fine to have up to 17 days worth of food in the fridge.  Since we're two people eating one month of food the stuff in the fridge should be gone long before it can go bad.

The food tastes great.  I've only done one day, but so far so good.  I hope this will be the kick in the ass I need to finally lose some weight.  If I don't, however, this is still good because it's cheaper to do this program than to buy groceries.  Win-win.

Okay, would you like to try this out?  Well, I'll give you the info...but I want the referral points!!  Pretty please?  If you use my referral link I might get enough points to pay for our next shipment. 

So here's the spiel they told me to give you:

Personal Trainer Food is a weight loss meal delivery program that delivers 28-days of restaurant-quality food to your doorstep. It is easy, fast and convenient! Best of all, it really works.

Here's how you can save $50 off your first order by using the promo code "Healthyfood"

1. Be sure to start your purchase by clicking on my referral link here:

2. Choose your meal plan and customize your menu selections.

3. Proceed to checkout and enter 'Healthyfood' in the promo code box and press apply.

If you have any questions about Personal Trainer Food or need help placing your order, you can call 1-800-273-1686 x205 and talk with their support team-- they are really great!

Here's to your health!

If you give it a try please use that link up there so I can get the points toward my next food order.  I'd seriously appreciate it!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Learning As We Go

We are in Reno at a cramped RV park in the middle of the city.  It's not a very nice area.  However, we have no more water, electric, or ant problems, and we're in a metropolitan location loaded with amenities.  We can also get mail here, which makes life a lot easier.

It is TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT and made tighter by people spilling into the already narrow road.  We hit that awning on the left with the cone in front of it on the way in.  I'm not going to get into that whole situation because it was very upsetting for me and my mom.  At the time of this writing the situation has been resolved, a gift bag was delivered to the poor people who's house we almost destroyed, and we feel we are back on reasonably good terms with this neighbor.

The same can't be said for some other unidentified neighbor who vandalized our satellite.

But, first things first.  Let's talk about our TV situation.  We've been full-timing since April.  When we set sail it was without satellite TV.  I felt TV was making us fat, so I wanted to go without it.  I planned to just buy a few shows now and then online.

Our tight/expensive data plan will not allow for video downloads.  I still held out and didn't get a set-up.  I figured it was going to be expensive.  As we were leaving the San Benito park to go on an outing we saw a Dish Network contractor setting someone up.  We got his info and had him set us up with a Tailgator Automatic Signal Finder Dish the next day.  This was only $325 and $50/mo in total.  Much less than the cost of a similar set up I saw online.  Yay, we had TV again, right in time for the new season of The Walking Dead!

Anyway, here we are in this inexpensive big-city RV park.  EVERYONE here is a permanent resident.  When I called I was explained that he would be kicking out someone behind on their rent to get me a spot for one month.  In hindsight this was a big red flag.

Well, here we are, safely parked.  Level.  Slide out.  All set up, and quite comfortable.  Yes, there are people hollering at each other and shifty looking people wandering around doing shifty looking things.  We really don't care much about it.  We lived in a similar place in Las Vegas for eight years. 

What we *do* care about is how they were all circling our Tailgator.  Everyone in this place has the grey $75 satellites that you have to manually find a signal with.  I was warned not to get one of those if I move a lot, because set up can be a hassle.  So I always knew I was going to spring for something like a Tailgator.

But here, it's like a leaving a Mercedes Benz unlocked with the keys in the ignition.  Every creepy looking guy shuffling around at 2am was eyeballing it.  We were also getting a lot of comments from people whenever we were outside.  "Those things cost $500, huh?"

After sweating the situation our first night here I went out and got a chain and padlocks to secure it to our rig.  That wasn't going to stop a more determined thief, but at least they had to cut a chain now.  Before this anyone could have just unscrewed the cable and walked away with it.

Apparently my security measures offended someone here.  When we went out today someone had cracked an egg on it.

Seriously.  What a nasty, pointless, stupid thing to do.  But it was a wake up call.  Yes, I'd lived in scuzzy areas before without a problem, but I fit into those areas.  With a 2015 RV and this expensive satellite I no longer fit in.  We seem like rich people to this crowd of 80's and 90's RVs (and at least one from the 70s).  These are poor people living in the cheapest was possible.  Which...isn't that cheap, but is certainly cheaper than renting an apartment.  One of these people has decided that they don't like us and our having nice things they can't afford.

So, I just got down from the roof of the RV.  I cleaned off the dish and put it up there.  It's chained to the top of the ladder.  I'm too fat to be climbing up and down that ladder, but it had to be done.  Ugh.  Whatever.  I won't let this spoil our time here, but I doubt we'll ever return to Reno in the future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Three Successful Nights Boondocking At Three Different Locations

So, as I mentioned before, once we left San Benito we had three nights to kill before our RV Park reservation on September 1st.  This meant three nights of boondocking.

The first boondock was halfway between Paicines California and Reno Nevada.  We spent the night at the Gold Run California rest area on I80.  This was a last minute thing since we had planned to stay at the Camping World in Rocklin, CA, only to be rudely sent on our way.  I WAS GOING TO BUY A $@%&ING BIKE, TOO!  Yeah, I know, Lemonis ain't shedding no tears, but still.

Anyway, I read some where that you could sleep at California rest areas from 6pm to 10pm, so we pulled on in.

The Gold Run Rest Area Report:
  • It's easy on, easy off, even for tow vehicles pulling 32' travel trailers like I was.  This is typical of rest areas.
  • The signage says you can stay up to 8 hours at the rest area.  We stayed 10 or 11 and had no trouble.
  • I parked in truck parking in one of the extra long lanes.  It was Saturday night and every space filled up with trucks as the night wore on.  Some guys complained about our RV being in a space close to our window.  Other campers were parked along the perimeter rather than in a truck space.  I would probably find a perimeter spot if I had to stay overnight at a rest area again.  The other reason to park away from the trucks is...
  • The big-rig truck farts go on all night and are seriously loud.  I had ear plugs, but my poor mom looked haggard the next morning.  
  • The rest area has vending machines, bathrooms, and the usual tourist flyers.  No restaurants or gas.  The vending machines only take dollars or coins and there is no change machine.  (We used our laundry quarters to get two Lunchables from the vending machines for dinner).  There is also a beautiful pond in the back which gets less beautiful when you read the sign that says 'Keep Out - Raw Sewage.'  There are shaded nature trails around this cesspool which people who spoke French or Polish were happily hiking, oblivious to the poopy danger mere steps away...
While at this rest area a tattooed young hippy (early 20s) was going truck to truck asking to borrow jumper cables.  Since I had the totallity of my possessions with us (the advantage of a truly mobile home) I came out and started shrieking, "WHO NEEDS JUMPER CABLES?  I GOT YOUR JUMPER CABLES RIGHT HERE!"  The hippy happily accepted it, then asked for a few other tools he needed, which I had immediately available in my emergency kit with the jumper cables.  I gave him the whole thing.

An hour later he knocked on the RV door to return the kit.  I asked if he had gotten things taken care of.  He explained that their alternator is blown so they will limp to the next town with a 24 hour Walmart to buy some jumper cables so they can keep jumping ever time they need to start, until the get to Reno where they can try to get work, and hence pay for a repair.  Since I have two emergency kits in my SUV (one a free gift for rabid gamblers from a casino in Vegas, the other a free gift for signing up for a Discover card) I gave him one.  Someone like me really doesn't have room for duplicates in her life.  He was very grateful and offered to pay.  I told him to 'Pay it forward.' And he got excited because this is his life's philosophy.  He's a 'chiver.'  I asked what that was and he mentioned Bill Murray?  @-@  ::vacant stare::  Well, cool!

I like being one of those kind strangers people meet along their journeys.  :)  But I digress...

The next night we went to the TA Truck Stop in Sparks Nevada, just a hair's breadth from our final destination of Reno.  I heard that such places were good spots for blacktop boondocking.  I researched this one specifically and got confirmation that RVs were welcome to stay overnight.

The TA Truck Stop in Sparks, NV Report:
  • This is a massive compound with huge bays where big rigs can get diesel fuel, and somewhat less maneuverable regular unleaded gas pumps.  The only pump you'll safely get through when towing your RV is the outside one, so basically park behind whomever is at this pump and stare at them until they get the $#%& out of your way.
  • Yes, RVs park in the regular sized car lot overnight and are welcome to do so.  HOWEVER, if you're like me your 32' travel trailer with 8' SUV (I think?) will not fit in two spots the way a class A without a toad would.  The options are to take up a dozen or so spots by parking lengthwise across them, or to park in the truck area.  (Don't do either.  See my next boondock report).  
  • The truck area is a horrible option, because it freaking fills up to the point that truckers are paying to reserve spaces in advance.  Further, these ain't pull-thrus.  The big rigs were backing into spots.  I got lucky because I have a handicapped plate due to my mom's mobility issues.  There were three handicapped big-rig spots in front of the truck parking area, next to the diesel pumps.  I presume RVs aren't supposed to park in the truck area (though no one seemed to be policing) but my handicapped placard got me a pass, I felt.  No one complained next to our window like at the rest area.  If somebody did complain I could complain back at them for not actually having a handicapped plate.  The FedEx driver tandem towing two rigs and the spry guy with a refrigerated truck had no handicapped plates or placards.  I'll forgive the FedEx guy, cuz he was just going in for dinner and there was nowhere to park his two trailers.  The spry guy who had a prostitute in his truck bed gets less of a pass.  I don't mind the prostitute so much as her pimp who stood around inspecting our RV while she worked. -_-;;  Let's not tell my mom about this.  
    • The three handicapped spots, and a lined out area between these spots and the truck scale FILLED UP so the only way for rigs to get to the parking area was to drive through the scale or through a diesel pump.  The pumps always seemed full.  Trucks parked at the pumps once the lot filled up, two deep in most lanes.
    • The handicapped spot we were in was not wide enough for us to put out our slide more than 12 inches and we had to fold up our steps when we went inside.  One of our windows was nearly taken off by a passing truck.
  • If I haven't already convinced you to avoid the TA for your boondocking needs, you remember how I complained about the truck farts from the rest area?  Holy crap...this was stereo truck farts all fricking night!  Sometimes they were so loud my cat would run from the window screaming Bloody Mary! The stupid exhaust fumes set off my carbon monoxide sensor twice!  I woke up with a sore throat, red eyes, and nostrils full of partially hardened liquid cement.  I'm still recovering from that toxic environment as I type this.  Trucking is damned unhealthy!!
  • Now let's go into the TA.  They have a nice convenience store, heavy on trucker items, but able to fufill all your junk food needs as well.  There is also a restaurant that puts out a salad bar around lunch time.  The food was eatable.  The salad bar I'll probably avoid unless you catch it right as the worker sets it up.  Right outside the salad bar is the entrance to the casino and yeah...
  • OMG THE SMOKE IN THIS PLACE!  It's funny, I've been away from Nevada for several months and I missed my casinos.  They became romanticized places of sheer novelty and entertainment in my gambling-withdrawling mind.  I totally forgot that most casinos are giant fricking ashtrays.  I swear I did not smell one cigarette the whole time I was in California.  Back to Nevada and BOOM.  Holy crap is it thick!  And old!  Even if no one is smoking there is a stench soaked into walls.  I didn't want to stay in there because I knew I was going to stink.  Why, oh why, has Nevada not picked up on vaping yet?  I know it's still not healthy, but at least it's less stinky!  Anyway, my point was to avoid the salad bar unless you like tobacco leaves in your salad.
  • There's a 'gun museum' in this TA.  Two glass cases.  If you like guns you'll probably find it interesting I guess?
  • The only other reason I can think of boondocking here instead of my next suggestion is if you want to partake of one of the prostitutes visiting the truck beds.'s a real short drive to a legal brothel, y'know?
My last boondock, and where I'm typing this post right now, is Baldini's Casino in Sparks.  Keep in mind:  RENO DOES NOT ALLOW BOONDOCKING!  This is why casino boondocking can only be found outside of Reno in neighboring cities like Sparks.  There are many tempting casinos in Reno that you would *think* allow boondocking.  Some even have extra lots that are just screaming for RVs to park in them.  This is because Reno used to allow it, but doesn't anymore.  Check the dates on any boondocking reports you read from the Atlantis or Grand Sierra Resort.  They're old.  These casinos no longer allow boondocks.  (I think the GSR converted their old boondock lot into a legal RV park?)

Baldini's Casino in Sparks NV Report:

  • This is where you should go to boondock instead of the TA.  It's only 1.5 miles away from the TA.  The reason I didn't just go here is because I thought you could only stay one night.  
  • YOU CAN BOONDOCK MULTIPLE NIGHTS AT BALDINIS.  In fact, there are permanent residents here, but the RV lot still has loads of space.  There are also two lots available just for RVs.  
    • First off, go park your rig in the RV lot closer to the casino, if there's room.  If not, go across the street from it and park there.  
    • Next, go into the casino and go to the Player Rewards desk (or whatever it's called).  You know where you sign up for a player's card?  Tell them you'd like to park your RV overnight in their lot.  They will call security for you to make this happen.  While you're waiting for security sign up for a player's card.  You can't boondock unless you're signed up with them.
    • The security guard will need your plate number and player's card.  He will take your information for their log book and will give you a two day pass to park overnight there.  
    • After two days you can get another pass if you want, but they will check your player's card to make sure you've been gambling.  He said they need to see modest activity in order to renew the pass.   
    • You can continue getting passes as long as you frequent the casino.  Like I said, there looks to be some permanent residents in the lot, including one in an unhitched travel trailer.
  • The lot was spacious when we came here and easy to find a space.  Easy in and easy out.  Maybe it gets crowded sometimes, but not when we were there.
  • The lot is INCREDIBLY WELL LIT at night!!  I feel kind of safe, but I won't get cocky. 
  • There are no trucks here.  No truck farts!  No exhaust!
  • You need to go play in Baldinis even if you're not a gambler to 'pay' for your spot.  I mean, do this even if you're not renewing your spot in two days.  It's just showing consideration for the sweet boondock.  My mother won $100 today!  Seriously!  She bought in with $5 and the machines kept hitting.  It was 'new player card' syndrome (we see this all the time) but still was pretty sweet.  The security guard said there was blackjack somewhere but I never found the tables.  There's plenty of machines, including the newer fancy ones.  If you are opposed to gambling you should think of it as just paying for your RV spot through a machine...that might want to pay you back.
  • The casino has a gift shop and two eateries.  One is a fast food 'hospital cafeteria' type affair where you can get a burger basket (burger and fries) for $1.99 at the time of this posting.  It's not 5 star cuisine but it's cheap!  You know how I like cheap.  We had this for dinner and were very happy with the decision.  The other eatery is a sit down restaurant with moderately priced fare.  The current special is steak and shrimp for $7.99.  We ate there for lunch and were happy with it.  The bread pudding was the bomb diggity.
  • The best thing about this boondock is that it's QUIET.  ;o;  My mom is catching up on her sleep and my cats aren't freaking out from large truck farts.  Yes, it's under a flight path, and the planes went low enough to rattle the RV, but they stopped flying at sundown.  There were only two while we were here.  One tried to tear the roof of our RV I think...
  • Oh, I should also mention THEY WERE NICE!  They were happy to give us a pass.  They were happy to have us boondock.  I didn't get that, "Okay, fine, but be gone by morning," attitude you see at many a Walmart.  They actually want RVers here.  ;o;  Such a wonderful feeling.  
The battery alarm is time to wrap this up.  It happened yesterday too around this time.  Apparently I have to learn to be more power frugal on long boondocks.  We will be boondocking all month in Laughlin in November...hopefully I can learn to be more energy efficient.  I really should have turned that last light off earlier...