Saturday, October 31, 2009

Viva la dentist!

Obviously, I no spreche es habla espanol...but we had a very good experience at the dentist in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.

We spent the better part of the day over there yesterday and did more than see the dentist. We are very excited about the care and result of our first trip to the dentist is Mexico. Great care, great people, great price, great experience.

I read other blogs about their time at the dentist and am glad to say ours was a good one also. We look forward to returning for more dental work.

We parked at the International Bridge again today and walked across into Neuvo Progresso, Mexico. The New Image Dental Clinic is 1/2 block down the first street on the left.We found the office pretty easily. I had the phone number of the New Images Dental Clinic (Veronic Munoz, DDS who has two other dentists on staff) and called to confirm the appointment and make sure I had directions. If you want the phone number, let me know. The office and waiting room are about three years old. It was nice, nothing fancy by U.S. standards, but it was clean and comfortable. There were two other American couples/patients there besides us. We arrived about 11:15 for our 11:30 appointment.I asked Lupita, my dental hygienist, if I could take a few pictures while she finished up my cleaning. (This was my first attempt at photography while in the dentist's chair...a product of my long arms and decent aim with my Canon camera...)Pam was impressed with how quickly her dentist picked up on Pam's history of periodontal disease and asked probing questions. He was very thorough and provided some insight into her occasional jaw pain that U.S. dentists have not been able to link together over the years.

While Pam was in the chair, I visited with Betty and Bill who are regular winter visitors to South Texas and clients of New Image Dental Clinic.

Bill was in getting bridge work done and Betty and I talked. After a while, I found out she is Lynda's sister. I have followed Bob and Lynda for a long time on their blog: The Slow Gypsy Life of Lynda and Bob. What a small world! We have yet to meet Bob and Lynda face to face but hope to one day soon.

After our time at the dentist, we got a few meds at a pharmacy on main street.
Then we had lunch at a nice restuarant and did some Christmas shopping.
We also got a streetside vendor demo of a veg-a-matic like tool before we returned to the Roadrunner.


We are glad to have been able to find a good dentist in Mexico. Pam had x-rays done and we got an idea of some things we will need to address later. And we look forward to returning.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles. And a special thanks to those of you the signed up to 'Follow' the blog. More on that later. We appreciate the growing readership and look forward to the possibility of getting to know you.

More later today on Twitter as we head out to Edna Texas for Texana State Park for an overnite stop.

Friday, October 30, 2009

On the road to Progreso, TX and the Mexico border

We drove south from San Antonio to Progreso TX. We stopped in Harlingen, TX at the Vistor's Center and picked up a lot of maps and booklets. Great information. We should have done that a while back. Many of the tourist brochures have a brief history of the towns and different regions of the state.I find myself wondering about the history of the towns as we drive through them. The tourism booklets do a great job of giving some basic details. I like the maps too because I tend to lose track of where we are or how we got there because I'm usually not the one studying the map.

We are camped at 1015 RV Park (on State Road 1015) in Weslaco, TX about 2 miles from the International Bridge and border with Mexico.

Once we got hooked up and settled in, we decided to go to Progresso. We found a parking lot at the International Bridge and walked across. It cost $0.25 so we put a quarter in the turn stile and next thing we knew we were there.
This was our first trip to Mexico in probably 25 years. We went to Tijuana, Mexico for shopping when we lived in San Bernardino, CA back in the mid 1980's.

Nuevo Progreso seems like it is here for the Winter Texans and curious people like us. South Texas and the whole region is a large area for people up north who like warmer weather this time of year. In fact, the camphosts here at the RV park are from a small town near Chicago.

Nuevo Progreso seems to be safe and pleasant enough. We walked around for about 90 minutes.
We looked for a rug for the Roadrunner but this doesn't seem to be the place for that.It looks to me like they are trying to get their road repair work finished before the heavy U.S. tourist season starts in the next month or two.

It has lots of shops full of stuff we don't need, but we did see some yard birds that looked interesting... :)
I am fascinated by the whole place. We have been to similar places (Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Greece, France, Canada) over the years and find it interesting. All different but the same.The peanuts and spices looked good in the grocery store.

The town has a lot of businesses for dental work and generic drugs. The main reason we are here is to check out a dentist that was recommended to us. We will let you know how that goes.This was my last shot heading back to the U.S. side before the Mexican Army guard waved his hand that pictures were not a good idea...I think after our dental appointments we will probably try to visit a nearby birding area and/or state refuge.

That's it for now. Thanks for checking in. Comments are always nice - we appreciate them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Travel Day to Fort Sam Houston

It was a beautiful day to travel from our campground site at Lake Lavon, near Wylie, Texas. Before I started with the disconnects, I wanted to make sure the sun was up and that I could see everything outside. No fun doing all that in the dark unless I have to. Everyone knows how to tear down and set up a motorhome if they have done it a few times. But we didn't quite get the idea before we became full-timers so I thought I'd briefly explain what we do. This is for those of you that haven't seen it.

Inside, we stow everything so nothing falls out of cupboards. Pam uses the no-slide cloth type of material between pots and pans and lids so nothing 'clangs'. I clear everything off the dining table/computer table. I usually leave the computer running so I can add a few 'Tweets' when we stop for a break.We clear off countertops, put bubble wrap in the pantry cupboards (and refrigerator if needed) and clean up the floor of the bedroom so the slides are not obstructed. We lock sliding doors and make sure all drawers and cupboards are closed. We close all windows too. We put away the computer printer and other things I can fit under the sofa.

Outside, we close the slides and lift the jacks. Our Tiffin Allegro Bus (the Roadrunner) came with a the metal rod to pull down three outside awnings. It also serves nicely to pull the orange plastic platforms I lower the jack onto.
I have to disconnect the 50 amp power cord, turn off the breaker, and remove the water hose. Once that is done I do a 'walk-around' to make sure all doors are closed and hoses are stowed. (The other day we saw a guy in the campground dragging his power cord when he went over to the dump station. I wish I had my camera!)

We don't hitch up usually until after we finish at the dump station. Once there, we take out and connect the sewer hose and connect the water hose which sprays the inside of the black tank to make sure no 'stuff' gets stuck inside.
We always empty the black tank first, then the gray tank. Once that is done we take the tow bar from its normal resting position on the back of the Roadrunner. Then we separate the arms into a fork which then attaches to the baseplate on the Honda for towing. We hook up the safety cables, the electric wire connection and put the lynch pins in place.

That is about all there is to it. If there is a problem with the sewer hose or an accident, a water hose is right their for clean up. I also carry a spray bottle full of Pine Sol and one with diluted bleach solution. Accidents happen...

It took us about a hour to get ready to roll and do our business at the dump station.

Once that was done, we hooked up the Honda and headed back toward Dallas and the Wednesday morning traffic. We went south toward Waco, Austin and San Antonio.

A few miles outside of Waco, my Pressure Pro tire pressure monitoring system showed the tires were a bit over the max air pressure, so I pulled over and let a few pounds out of each tire. It was easy and only took a few minutes. The readout we attached on the driver side of the cockpit beeps when the pressure gets above or below 12.5% of the programmed settings. It is a nice safety feature I am glad we purchased.

We successfully navigated through the busy San Antionio freeway traffic and found our exit to Fort Sam Houston. It was recommended to us by the camphosts (John and Maria) at Ellsworth AFB, SD (outside of Rapid City) when we there in August.

We arrived at Fort Sam Houston about 3:30 and ran over to the commissary to load up on groceries. We also had to get a smoke oomb to take care of some spiders and spiderlings we have seen in the Honda. Yikes! When did they join us?

The travel camp at Fort Sam Houston is really nice. All the sites have full hookups and drive-thru level pads.
We had a brief visit from Jim and Sandy who are fellow Tiffin owners. They spoke a bit about their new shades and their visit to the Tiffin factory in Red Bay, Alabama. We have an appointment there on December 3.

We also did a couple loads of wash at the laudromat 50 yards away. We heard from Linda, a relative of Pam's, who lives 40 miles away but we missed having dinner with her. We will have to get together next time we come through town. This is a place where we definitely want to spent some time. We have been to San Antonio before, but never in an RV.

That's it for today - we leave shortly for Mercedes/Progreso Texas for our dental appointments across the border on Friday. Thanks for checking out this post of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Walks and Computer

It was a much nicer day today than it has been for the last two days. The sun came out and stayed out. The campground here at Lake Lavon, East Fork Park (COE recreation area) is still pretty soggy but the wind stopped blowing and the rain quit.
Posey and John stopped over and we decided to go for a nice walk around the campground.They have a lot of experience in this area and in South Texas, so Pam and wanted to pick their brain a bit. They offered some good advice for our trip to Progreso, TX -- our next destination.

For a good part of the day I did some reconfiguring on my laptop. I reinstalled some software, downloaded drivers for my printer, and backed up my data again.Last week after my computer crashed, I was able to have a computer store back up the data off my laptop. I have two external hard drives, so I copied the backed up data onto my second one.

It took a while, but I am more comfortable knowing I have the data in three places: my laptop and each of my two external hard drives.

Later we ran some errands and then went over to Kelly's place. I had some time to take my buddy Ed (her dog) for a long walk.
We have enjoyed the last five months with Ed on our travels but it is time for him to settle down in Kelly's stix and bricks. We'll see him again when we return during the week of Thanksgiving.

We played some ping pong at Kelly's before we returned to the campground.

That's it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles. We'll be posting our next one from Fort Sam Houston outside of San Antonio. Thanks for checking in.

Tires and Taxes

We will be leaving East Fork Park (Army Corps of Engineers recreation campground, east of Dallas) tomorrow so we are getting ready. Yesterday I attached a tire different adapter to my air compressor so I could finish filling my Roadrunner (RV) tires. The next thing was to plug in my Pressure Pro tire pressure monitoring system and check the readouts. It all worked like a champ! We feel much more comfortable knowing we can see when/if we have a problem with the tires. A blowout on this 38,000 lb rig would not be good. If a tire starts to loose pressure the Pressure Pro will give me quick notice things are not as they should be.

Posey and John are in a nearby campsite so we visited for a few minutes. They have been to South Texas often in their 10+ years of full-timing and Posey let us borrow some booklets and brochures. We are heading to that area tomorrow and now have some more good info on campgrounds and a local area map.

Next, we went to find the nearest H&R Block tax preparation office. It was about 8 miles away. We wanted some help with the latest correspondence we received from the IRS. We owned a house in Fairfax, VA. We also were part owners in our daughter's condo in Chesapeake, VA.

In tax year 2007, the IRS had a question on how much the mortgage interest and real estate taxes we paid. In order to reconstruct the situation I needed Form 1098 for both properties. We located one but not the other. We had to call the mortgage company to obtain the information which will take 10-15 business days.
Then we called the IRS and asked them to make sure we understood their issue and asked them to make a note of what we were doing to remedy the problem. Bottom line is that it looks like the IRS will be getting another check.

The good news is that since H&R Block did our forms that year and we had 'Peace of Mind' coverage, they may pay the amount we owe. Once we met with the tax advisor (Mike), he asked that we get a copy of or 2007 tax return and all supporting paperwork. We returned to the Roadrunner and located the documents and sat down with Mike again.

Our tax question will be re-visited once we get the other 1098 from the mortgage company. That will take a few weeks. We will be back in this area for Thanksgiving next month.

Later, we had dinner at the Roadrunner with Kelly (and Ed her dog). We watched another disappointing game of the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. (How messed up is that situation where the owner takes the play calling away from the head coach and brings in a 'consultant'? And a quarterback who is playing awful?)

And that was our Monday - thanks for viewing. If you haven't left a comment in a while on the blog, feel free to do so :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chuck

Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX is the home church of pastor Chuck Swindoll. He is an outstanding Bible teacher and communicator. He is heard on his daily radio program, "Insight for Living".
He has been the pastor at Stonebriar for 11 years. Pam and I have listened to him on the radio for 30 years and have gotten some of his tapes and books.

We met our friends Brent and Betty at Stonebriar. Since we were early, we got our seats and saw that Chuck was talking with some folk in the congregation. To our delight we were able to go over and introduce ourselves.
He is very personable and was interested in our RV lifestyle and asked 'what is the best and worst things' about full-timing? We get that question often.

Twenty minutes later the service started and he spoke about 'Finishing Well'. Many people in life start well, and continue and maintain well but...don't finish well. It was a timely message for us.

We want to finish well. Part of living that out is to find our niche, our calling. We are doing that with our work in volunteering and helping with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and NOMADs.What I like best about Bible teachers is when they are able to take scripture and make it practical and relevant. He did that--and gave us plenty to think about.

After the message we went over to their house with Janet, a long time friend. We had chili and some great fellowship. We saw their beautiful home again and Brent showed off his ceramic Hungarian grille.
Our time passed much too quickly but we did our best to catch up after all these years. They have two children, Jeff and Michelyn, and are raising their two grandkids who are now in high school. We left and promised to get together for a game of Mexican train next time we are nearby.

We went over to Kelly's and helped with her headboard project. We used some wood I previously cut for a ledge/lip type of fastener on the wall. We leveled it and it worked well.
Meanwhile, Kelly put on some padding with her staple gun, then mounted some flowers. It looked great. More flowers to follow. She was happy with the outcome and will finish it up in coming days. Look for the final result on her blog: PunchInTheFace Design.

The weather was kicking up and we made it back to the Roadrunner in time for a full fledged thunderstorm. Lightning flashing across the lake was beautiful but we prefer those calm evening sunsets.

We watched the Yankees finish off the Angels to advance to the World Series on Wednesday. By then we will be on the road toward Mercedes, TX. We will be spending time there so we can go across the border to Progresso, Mexico where we have dental appointments.

Then it will be on to join fellow NOMADS Joe and Frances Kossman in Galveston for a Revolving Team Project (RTP). We will be there from Saturday Oct 31 leaving Nov 11 for Livingston TX and the Escapees Bootcamp.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lady Bears Undefeated

Pam and I went to Baylor with Kelly to watch her play in the Alumni/Lady Bears lacrosse game. It has been an annual event that started eight years ago. We had a few extra moments and took a quick tour of the basketball/special events building. Kelly's graduation was held there in 2004.The current team is just starting their season and this was their first scrimmage. I felt bad for the alumni because most haven't touched a stick in months. Still, the alumni jumped out to a 3-0 lead. By halftime the score was even at 4-4. The alumni came back late in the game to tie it at 8-8.
Among the cheering fans on the sideline were Sheay (one of Kelly's current roommates) and some friends who also went to Baylor. It was a very entertaining game. The alums were a bit winded but they kept firing at the net and making goals! The refs were talking about overtime and the alumni put a stop to that! They were happy with an injury-free tie game.Afterwards the Lady Bears passed out game shirts to everyone and all posed for a group photo.Then the alums wanted one of their own.Later we joined quite a few of the girls and their families and friends at Crickets, a bar and restuarant in downtown Waco. Since it was Homecoming Weekend and the football game was over (Oklahoma State beat Baylor 34-7) most places were crowded.
After dinner we took a driving tour of the campus. They have done a lot of building over the last few years and Baylor is striving to become a top tier university. It is a beautiful campus. One of the hot spots on campus is Common Grounds. It is an amazing coffee shop on campus. We stopped there before we started out on the 2 hour drive back to Dallas.

We took Kelly home, spoke a little with her roommate Meesh and went back out to our campsite at East Fork Park, near Wylie. That concludes another post in the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thanks for viewing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tires & Friday Night HS Football

According to our Pressure Pro Tire Pressure Monitoring System, I have a tire that is a bit under inflated. I called our RV factory rep at Tiffin motorhomes and asked if our air compressor connection under the driver seat would inflate our large RV tires. He said, '...er yes, but it is going to take a while, it is going to take some time.' I took that to mean that was not a very good option.

I remember Howard (RV-Dreams.com) recommended a Sears Craftsman 1.5 gal 150 psi air compressor and found the nearest Sears store that had one in stock. Cost $99.00
I also picked up a Slime digital tire gauge, (model 20071) at Walmart for under $20 though it is listed for $24.99 online.

I spent a while removing each Pressure Pro sensor and filling up my tires. I did the Honda first then did all the Roadrunner tires except the outside rear tire that are a little tougher to get to. I will probably finish up the first of next week.

Later in the day, we went over to Kelly's house. I walked Ed while Pam was doing some wash and cooking dinner. After dinner we went to our first Texas High School football game.

The Lake Highlands Wildcats were playing the W.T. White Longhorns for their Homecoming. It was a lopsided game but it was fun being there. The opening ceremonies were quite a sight. Kind of like college games. The stands were full for the home team (Lake Highlands) but pretty empty for the Longhorns.Lake Highlands had some pretty big plays including one that laid out a ref for a few minutes. Half time was really quite a production. Not only did these kids move all over the field, they played some tunes from Phantom of the Opera.
W.T. White had a smaller group of kids at halftime.We sat near our friends John and Posey (whom we met at our Santa Fe Habitat project last month). They have a son-in-law who is the head football coach at Lake Highlands HS and we able to get us tickets. Kelly is involved with Young Life at the HS and the nearby Junior High and was there with some of those kids. She stopped by to say 'hi'.
It was fun to see what goes on on Friday night in Texas at football games. They are a big deal. Lots of family and young kids too. Great place to spend the evening. Lake Highlands was ahead 40-0 so we left shortly after half time and made it back to our campsite.

That closes out another day in the Roadrunner Chronicles. Thank you for viewing our travels.