Sunday, November 30, 2008

November in Quartzsite

This is an exciting time in U.S. politics! We stayed up on Tuesday, November 4, to see the outcome of the election and to hear Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

McCain gave a very gracious concession speech...what you saw in his concession speech is the person I've always considered to be the "real" McCain. I hardly recognized the angry man he became on the campaign trail. And then there was his unfortunate (IMO) selection of Sarah "Ya Betcha" Palin as a running mate.

Of course, the people parked next to us where we are currently staying think we're communists because we voted for Obama, but then they have lots of very strange ideas!

The glasses that we'd ordered after seeing the eye doctor came in the day after the election. It has been about 3 years since we had our last checkup and both of our prescriptions had changed during that time, so it was great to get the new glasses.

We drove down to Yuma to shop at Sam's Club and pick up another package of The Missing Link Plus at PetsMart for Maxx.

Since we are considering taking our third trip to Alaska this coming summer if the price of fuel doesn't go back up to the $4-$5 range that it was this past summer, we applied for our Passport Cards, since we will need them to get back into the U.S. after June 1, 2009. Passport Cards are less expensive that a "regular" passport ($45 vs $100), but they are good only for land/sea entry into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. They cannot be used for air travel. Since we don't travel by air and don't plan on going to any country other than Canada, the Passport Cards make sense for us.

I completed and printed out our Passport Card applications at the above-referenced website, then we made an appointment at the Blythe, California post office where they also took our photos.

We had a nice visit from the couple who bought our Lazy Daze, Carl and Connie, when they stopped for the night on their way to Yuma for the winter (they live near Fairbanks, Alaska during the summer).

After much hemming and hawing, I finally ordered a netbook...a small computer that I can easily carry with me in the truck as we travel to access information and connect to the Internet. I ordered an MSI Wind's a little bit bigger than some netbooks (10" compared with 9" for the Dell Mini 9), but it comes with a 160GB hard drive compared with a maximum of 16GB for the Dell. The one thing I like about the netbooks is that most of them come with Windows XP rather than the newer Vista. I upgraded from the standard 1GB DDR memory to a 2GB DDR memory.

I finally cancelled our HughesNet account and will use the Verizon USB727 modem and Cradlepoint 1000 router (which creates a WiFi hotspot in our RV so that both Earl and I can get online at the same time). We still have the Sprint air card, but when that contact is up at the end of March, I'll be cancelling it, too. I realize that there are going to be places we will have no access to a cell tower, but we had enough success with the Sprint air card this past summer (after adding a Wilson antenna and amplifier), that we should have Internet access much of the time.

Of course, if we do go to Alaska this summer, we won't be able to use our Verizon USB modem in Canada (well, we can, but it would cost us $2.05 per megabyte [MB], so that could add up very quickly). However, according to people who have made the trip within the last year or two, there are plenty of WiFi hotspots along the way, so we shouldn't be out of touch for too long at one stretch. Also, our Net10 phone won't work at all in either Canada or Alaska, so if we have to call someone, we'll use a calling card we bought from Costco a few years ago...I called Verizon, the calling card carrier, and they gave me the toll-free number to call while we are in Canada.

I bought the Verizon USB727 modem and Cradlepoint 1000 router (as well as the Wilson antenna and amplifier, previously) from the They did everything, including setting up the account with Verizon, so that when I got the equipment, it was pretty much a "plug-and-play" deal. Great people to deal with!

About a week before we were supposed to leave Quartzsite, Maxx came down with a cough. On the Monday before Thanksgiving, we took him to the vet and got some pills. The vet said that if the pills didn't take care of the cough to bring him back in 10 days and he'd do a complete blood panel.

Since we were planning on leaving the day after Thanksgiving, we debated as to whether we should just extend our stay by another week or sign up for another month. If we extended our stay for only another week and Maxx ended up needing a full blood panel done, that would take some time to get the results back, making it necessary to extend our stay for a second week. Since a 2-week stay would cost us just about as much as a one-month stay, we decided to stay until the end of December.