Slowly heading west for California, while crossing Arizona, this week was spent visiting old friends.
Between Douglas and Bisbee, we did a repeat of one of the most unique and best boondocking experiences we've ever had: Belle Starr's Silverado Ranch.
Since our last visit, Belle, now eighty-three, has suffered a broken hip and has, as she puts it, " traded my motorcycle for a wheelchair." We were glad to find her as spunky as ever and also happy to see other boondockers on the ranch who had been staying and helping with the ranch chores. Merryl and Janet from Washington had been a great help and, thanks to the efforts of Serene and Culy, the horses as well as the grounds have been nicely groomed and look very inviting. We stayed two days, during which time Belle had organized a campfire night. Just as we were leaving, we were happy to see another camper pull in. Without the boondockers helping out, I honestly don't know how Belle can manage yet, somehow, she just does. Despite her set-backs, she remains self-reliant, outspoken, and full of her usual quick-witted sense of humor which wins over every one who stops by to spend time camped on her ranch. If you're traveling through southern Arizona, don't miss a stop at Belle's Silverado Ranch.
You may recall that, when we purchased our Sea Eagle inflatable kayak, Randy had to give up carrying his guitar because there's only so much room under the bed - not enough for both the boat and guitar case. I thought I'd follow up by reporting that he did find himself a travel guitar before we left home. Actually, after trying out a few, he settled on a three-quarter guitar which he happened to find used. It's called a Baby and he's quite pleased with it. And when he's pleased .... you guessed it, I'm happy. The cloth guitar case takes up much less space but, even better, with two bungee cords, the guitar hangs from the ceiling, above the foot of the bed where we don't notice any loss of space.
Storage solutions for a small space...hmmm, how many more items can we carry if we just hang them from the ceiling?
The final bit of news: We've now got mobile broadband! After talking to several other RVers and doing our own bit of research, it appeared that Verizon had the best coverage of all the carriers. We considered the option to sign up for a contract even though, when back in Canada, roaming charges would prevent us from using it there. Paying the early cancellation fee might still make it a better deal. In the end, after visiting three Verizon stores across New Mexico and Arizona, we were ready to buy, only to find out that, as Canadians, without a social security number and US address, a $400.00 deposit was required. We'd also have to come up with a fake US address to register and later, when we cancel the contract, make an address change to have the deposit returned to us. And not only this one time - the next time we travel, to restart the plan, we would again have to pay the deposit and change back to the US address. We decided it's not worth the hassle.
Instead, we went with the Prepaid Verizon plan - more expensive but really the only option. The USB stick purchase was $129.00 and I can load it monthly. $50.00 gets me 1G or $80.00 buys 5G and depending on how much I use the first month I can adjust what I buy from month to month. It's too bad there's not a 3G option - 1G may not be enough, yet 5G is probably way more than I need. For us, it's a CRAZY amount of money to stay connected but this was a gift from our daughter and son-in-law. On previous trips, wi-fi connections and libraries, whenever we come across them, have been just fine. What's changed? Well, we have a grandson now and, at eighteen months, he's already well aquainted with Skype video calls! We miss him so much. Thank God for Skype!
And Thank You, Anna, Ed and Pieter!
Days On The Road At Time Of Writing: 21
Camping Costs To Date: $27.00
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