Currently at Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming, NM:
Wow, things can certainly change fast, even in the laid-back world of full-time RV living.
This past Wednesday we walked across the southern border into Puerto Palomas, Mexico to have lunch at the Pink Store. We always enjoy the good food and the lively atmosphere at this establishment, especially with the coupons that the state park hands out for a free round of drinks. On this particular day, they had a full house for lunch as a tour bus pulled in with a big group of hungry and thirsty American seniors.
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Went across the border to Palomas for lunch today at the Pink Store. Afterward we walked around town until we found Panadería Sanchez (recommended by locals) where we bought a few pastries. Then we stopped by the dental clinic and made an appointment to get our teeth cleaned tomorrow. Cost is $40 cash/$45 credit card for cleaning and checkup. . . . #rvlife #fulltimerv #lifeisgood #vivalamexico
After we finished lunch we wound up taking a walking tour around some parts of Palomas that we hadn’t seen before, as we searched for Panadería Sanchez, a local bakery that had been recommended to us by Doña Irma at Irma’s Kitchen in Columbus. It took us awhile, but we finally located it and purchased a few pastries to take home with us.
On our way back to the border crossing, we stopped in at American Dental Care, located on the plaza right next to the Pink Store, to inquire about getting our teeth cleaned. Since we no longer carry dental insurance, we have to pay out-of-pocket for dental care, but we still want to make sure that we keep our teeth and gums healthy. We were told that the cleanings would be $40 cash or $45 by credit card. The office looked modern and clean, and the staff spoke great English, so we felt comfortable making an appointment for the following day.
On Thursday, it was a little rainy so we didn’t do much of anything until we had to head back to Palomas for our dental appointments. They took both of us back at the same time to adjoining stations (with a partition in between). This was the first dentist I had ever been to that started the procedure by applying a numbing gel to my gums–great idea! She then proceeded to clean my teeth using the high-pressure water method (no scraping with a metal tool). Luckily, she had given me a pair of eye goggles to wear because water was flying everywhere! 🙂 She polished my teeth and then gave me a good flossing–all in all, a great job.
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Today was our first time to be “dental tourists”. Since we no longer carry dental insurance but we still want to maintain our oral health, we decided to get our teeth cleaned in Palomas, Mexico, at one of the many dental clinics that cater to U.S. citizens. They do everything from cleanings to implants here. We were both very satisfied with the cleanings we received—the office and equipment were modern and sterile, the staff spoke English very well, and the price was right, $40 each when paid in cash ($45 if using card). We wouldn’t hesitate to go back again! . . . #rvlife #fulltimerv #lifeisgood #dentaltourism
Andy was also pleased with the cleaning that he received. He has some crowding and overlapping in his bottom teeth so his cleaning took a little longer, but he said that they were very thorough and meticulous about making sure to get in all those little nooks and crevices. We paid $80 cash for the services, and would definitely go back to see them for our future dental needs.
So at that point, we had three more nights to stay at Pancho Villa State Park. Since the weekend was approaching, the park was starting to fill up again with more rigs pulling in as the day went by. I had not slept well the night before, so I went to bed early.
On Friday morning (yesterday), the cats woke me up at the usual time, a little after 5 AM, wanting to be fed. My routine upon arising is to turn on my iPhone and open the Google app, not because I want to search for something, but because it has a bright, white screen and serves as a little nightlight to enable me to find my slippers without waking Andy.
The Google app always presents a list of news items that their algorithm has decided I would be interested in, based on where I am and what I’ve been looking at on my phone. The very first item in that list was a headline stating that New Mexico had suspended overnight camping in all their state parks in response to the coronavirus.
Of course I opened the article to read it and found out that all state parks in New Mexico would be closed to overnight camping effective Friday, March 13 through April 9, unless it gets extended. This is part of the ban on public gatherings that was instituted the day before by the New Mexico state government–no non-essential gatherings of more than 100 people are allowed at present.
I waited until Andy’s alarm went off at 7:30 before letting him know. At that point, we weren’t sure if we were going to be kicked out of the park or if they were just going to stop any new arrivals from coming in. By 9:00 AM, the park staff were going rig-to-rig, letting everyone know that, yes indeedy, we all had to clear out by 2:00 PM.
There were some very disgruntled people, to say the least. Some of them had only arrived the day before and were planning to stay two weeks in the park. I really felt bad for the poor ranger that had to deliver the news to these people–the messenger is always the one that gets hammered.
Before the ranger even got to our rig to talk to us, I got on the phone and called the Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming. If you remember from our last post, we had gotten concerned about how crowded the state parks were getting and whether or not we would be able to find a first-come first-serve site at our next stop, so we had reserved a monthly site at Dreamcatcher as a back-up plan. Our reservation was scheduled to start on Sunday (tomorrow), but when I talked to them, they said we could go ahead and check in early. So luckily, we had a great place to go to while others were scrambling to make alternate plans.
Before we started breaking camp, I drove over to the little grocery store in Columbus to stock up on some items that I knew would be in short supply at the stores in Deming, based on reports we were getting from others in the park. I bought some more brown rice, dried beans and oatmeal. The store did have toilet paper in individual rolls, but since we already had an adequate supply, I didn’t purchase any.
When I was checking out, I told the owner of the store that I was surprised to see toilet paper on her shelves, since there was such a crazy rush on TP in the stores now.
“Oh,” she said, “I have a limit of one roll per customer now.”
“That’s good,” I said. “All the stores should be limiting the number that customers can buy.”
She replied with a sly smile, “But they don’t have any!”
I got back to the park with my little haul, and found a place to store it in the rig. When the park manager finally came around to give us our official notice that we had to leave, we were already in the process of breaking camp. We knew from the early-morning news article that the ban on public gatherings was the reason for the closure, but we told the park manager that it seemed a little backwards to kick out all the rigs that are perfect self-isolation units, and still have the park open for day use where random people will all be sharing common bathrooms. He agreed, but told us that the “kicker” for the decision was that almost all the people camping in the park are in the high-risk group for COVID-19, meaning over the age of 60. He gave us a rain-check, good for one year, for the remaining two days that we had already paid for. He was a nice guy, not his fault at all.
We left Pancho Villa SP about 11:45 and headed to Deming, arriving at Dreamcatcher RV Park about 12:30 PM. After checking in, we got to our site which is a back-in site and not a pull-through. This was the first time we’ve had to back into a site since we left Livingston, Texas in mid-January, so it’s a skill that we’re still developing. It took a few minutes, but Andy did a good job of getting the rig backed in and placed where we wanted it.
We’ve got full hook-ups here (water, 50-amp electrical service, and sewer), and we have very good over-the-air TV reception (no cable). The monthly rate here is $225 with our Escapees membership. There is wi-fi in the park, but you have to purchase it. I went ahead and paid the $30 for monthly access because using my iPhone as a hot-spot in an area with lots of competing wireless signals is an exercise in futility. The wi-fi isn’t fast, but at least I can connect my laptop to the internet to take care of business and blogging.
After getting set up yesterday, we went to the Wells Fargo ATM to get some pocket cash, and then we went to Walmart. We needed to get some fresh produce for salads, but mainly we just wanted to see what the shelves looked like. Of course, the toilet paper, hand sanitizers and liquid soaps were all gone. I found one lonely little roll of paper towels sitting on a shelf. The canned goods were pretty scarce, as were the frozen vegetables.
Fortunately, we don’t eat the same way that most Americans eat. There was plenty of tofu, Tofurky Italian meat-substitute sausage, frozen lima beans (evidently they’re not a hit with the Hispanic crowd), whole-wheat spaghetti, meatless spaghetti sauce, and veggie burgers. We found a good stock of canned beans WITHOUT salt, and there were plenty of fresh vegetables in the produce section.
So at the moment we have a well-stocked pantry and we’re in a comfortable place for the next month. At that time, if the state parks have re-opened for camping, we will make our way north to another state park on our way to Colorado for the summer. If the state parks have not reopened, we will probably just extend our stay here in Deming if there is space available. It’s a very fluid situation right now, just like it is all over the world, so we’ll just roll with the flow as things develop. If all else fails, we can just go boondock in the desert somewhere.
We hope all of you are doing well and staying healthy. I spoke with my parents yesterday and urged them to stay at home and avoid crowds as much as possible. Mom is 79 and Dad is 83, and they both have the kinds of health issues that make them more susceptible to not only COVID-19, but the other typical contagious illnesses that proliferate this time of year.
Mom told me that the hospital where my brother works is totally full right now, just from “normal” things like flu, stroke and heart problems. It is imperative that we try to work together to slow the spread of this new virus to prevent the type of crippling overloading of our healthcare system as we’re seeing in Italy. We’re doing a LOT of hand-washing, we’re keeping anti-bacterial wipes in the truck, and we’ll be doing our shopping at off hours (although there was a report yesterday that some companies, including Walmart, are considering changing the hours of some of their 24-hour stores to be closed overnight to allow for restocking and cleaning of the stores).
Stay safe out there folks, we’ll get through this and we’ll all learn valuable lessons from it.
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