Friday, July 21, 2017

All The Way to Argentina


A plug for our book All The Way to Argentina it chronicles our journey from Los Angeles, CA to Buenos Aires, Argentina in our 24 foot motorhome. It was January of 1978 when we left. We returned to California in February of 1979. We were: my husband, myself, four of our young sons and a family friend - also male.  We drove the Pan American Highway, such as it was through Mexico, Central America and south into South America. Traveling through all but one Central American country and all but five South American countries. In 1978 no other motorhome had crossed from Panama to South America. We drew a lot of unexpected attention as we passed through big and small towns.

The book is available in hard cover, see side bar and as e-books from Nook and Kindle. We had many adventures, funny and scary and boring during our epic journey
Just before we loaded into the motorhome.
 Customs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our Red, white and blue Pace Arrow motorhome.
 Seven people living inside a Living inside 24 foot motorhome on the street in Buenos Aires.
We were entering Argentina. We had crossed through the railroad tunnel into
Argentina. We were at 12,000 feet in the Andes. An excerpt from the book ... 

     We were all busy pulling on sweat shirts and jackets. Bill was fussing through a drawer.
     “What are you looking for?” I asked.
     “My Argentine passport,” he answered. “I want to enter Argentina with it.” (Up till then used his US passport.)
     “Why, what’s the difference?” I naively asked.
     “I was born here, I’m proud of it,” he replied as he pulled it out of the drawer. He put on his coat took the rest of the paperwork and our U.S. passports and stepped out into the increasingly cold air.
     I watched as he disappeared in to the beige stucco building right next to the side of the mountain, the Aduana building. Then I started to dig out more warm clothes for everyone.
    A half hour – 45 minutes – an hour passed.  What’s taking so long? ………
     As Bill entered the building he walked up to the counter where he handed the paperwork and passports to the fresh faced Milico (private) behind it. Glancing around he noticed the room was decorated army style, everything olive green. The young man took the paperwork and studied it for a minute. “Where are you from?” 
     Bill, “The U.S.
      Milico, “Where do you live there?”
      Bill, “Los Angeles, California.”
     Milico, “Why are you here?”
     Bill, “I drove all the way here with my family to show them the country where I was born.”
     Flipping through Bill’s Argentine passport the Milico asked, “Why doesn’t your Argentina passport show the countries you came through?”
     Bill, “Because I was using my U.S. passport until now. But I am proud of being from Argentina and I want to use it to come back home.”
     Hum…Milico, “The vehicle is yours? Well there is a problem. You can’t bring in a vehicle registered in another country if you are from Argentina.”
     Bill, “But I’m from the U.S.
     “No Argentine citizen is permitted to come in with a vehicle,” emphatically stated the Milico.
    “Oh, then what happens to an Argentine who drives to Chile for a visit and then comes back to Argentina? Do you take his car away?”
     Emphasizing each word a very agitated Milico said, “That is different you are from the U.S. with an Argentine passport. You can’t bring it in – it is from the US.”
     “Call your Sargento! I want to talk to him,” Bill responded. 
     The young man picked up Bill’s passports and walked over to a closed office door. He raised his hand and tentatively knocked.  When he given permission to enter he opened the door and turned to look over his shoulder and frowned at Bill, as if saying “What a pain in the ass”.  He went in and closed the door behind him. All this time several other soldiers sitting at desks behind the counter were keeping busy pretending not to listen. Now all pretense of indifference had stopped and everyone looked from Bill to the closed door waiting to see what would happen next.
     The Milico came out of the room, his shoulders back and a smile on his face. He was followed by his Sargento, an older more confident looking man, who now carried the passports. The Sargento walked over to the counter and slammed the passports down. Several of the soldiers at the desks jumped and grinned.
     Pulling himself to his full height he bluntly stated, “As an Argentine you cannot come into Argentina with a vehicle that is registered in the United States. You and your family can continue but the vehicle will stay here if you insist on using this passport.” As he said that he shook the Argentine passport under Bill’s nose.  “So you must use your U.S. passport.” he concluded.
     Bill got angry. “Don’t bullshit me, I know better. I went to the university to learn the laws of this country! You can’t threaten me. I’m an Argentine citizen and you can’t say I can’t use my passport. I want to speak to your superior, now!”
     At one of the desks a soldier quickly stood up and went through another door. He came back preceded by the Mayor (Major) in charge of the Aduana
     This smartly uniformed professional career officer went up to Bill and asked what was going on.
     Bill answered, “I‘ve come back to my country with my family after living twenty years in the United States and this gentleman (he pointed to the Sargento) says I can’t come in with my vehicle because it is registered in California.”
     The Mayor picked up the passports and looked through them, “I can see you are a citizen of the U.S. from your American passport. And you are still a citizen of Argentina. What I can do is give you a three month Tourist Visa for the vehicle and then you can extend it later in Buenos Aires.  That’s if you use your U.S. passport. If you want to use your Argentine passport then the vehicle can’t enter the country.”
     Bill blew his top. “Look I’m an Argentine citizen and that vehicle is mine. I’m going to come in to my country with it, as a proud Argentine. Or, I’m going to go outside set my Argentine passport on fire and warm my hands with it. Then I’ll come in with the U.S. passport and say to hell with the Argentine government. “
     “You can’t do that.”
     “Watch me! I’ll burn it right outside your door. Who can stop me?”
     The Sargento spoke up, “I can stop you. We have the power…” (Macho man!)
     Seeing the blunt ignorance on the face of the poor overwhelmed man, Bill replied, “What are you going to do shoot me?”
     The Mayor broke in, “Wait, wait, wait, I will call my superiors in Mendoza. I can see what you are trying to do. You want to be able to show your family how proud you are to be Argentine.” 
     “That’s right.”
     “Let me call.” And he disappeared back into his office partially closing the door behind him. Bill stayed leaning against the counter as the Mayor made his call. Without realizing what he was doing Bill reached into his pocket and took out an Eisenhower silver dollar coin and started playing with it. At the same time trying to catch what was being said on the phone. Every so often the Mayor would say “Yes Sir” and as he did he would half salute and his heels would click together. An officer to the core. 

It was a very interesting evening.

Summer days continue to roll on.

The sky cleared up nicely yesterday [wrote this Thursday forgot to post] afternoon after our morning rains. And the temperature wasn't broiling only baking. But there was a nice sunset again.
Watched the dirt truck race last night - it is always an exciting race. But this year it seemed to be more of demolition derby than a race. 
This morning I got up around 5 a.m. Got dressed, poured a cup of coffee with the thought of sitting out on the patio watching the sunrise. I opened the door and stepped outside. It was like walking into a bowl of potato chowder. The heaviness of the air almost knocked me down. Put the coffee cup back inside, grabbed the camera and took a quick picture then back inside and closed the door. 
At 8:00 we took the Jeep over to the mechanic to get his new tires put on and then we went to the RV dealer to pick up the Jayco. Brought it back to its storage area.
At 10:30 we went back to mechanic to pick up the Jeep, back home to drop off the Ford and then to grocery store in the Jeep. Bill wanted to check out the new tires, balance and alignment. All seems good. The Ford is now in the back yard under a cover and the Jeep will be our main mode of transportation for a while. 
By 12:00 we started to think about going somewhere in the RV - maybe up north in Oregon and Washington. Some place cooler. Most routes heading that way seem to be having problems either with fire or heavy smoke. So will have to think about that. I did map out a trip but it came to over 3000 miles so we might want to scale it back a little - if we do go.
And so it goes - we continue to do not much because of the heat - though today will ONLY be 104 - below normal which is 105.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tuesday Vegas Valley Sunset Wednesday Rain

We have been having some weird and beautiful weather and skies the last couple of days. Here is last nights sunset from our front yard. 
I will let them speak for themselves.





 Wednesday morning about 6:00 looking out over The Wetlands The storm is about over Lake Mead directly east of us. 
 By 7:15 our TV went off due to lack of signal, then the rains came accompanied by loud claps of thunder. And then it hit us. These are taken from the TV when it had signals. When it rains in the desert you have problems. 
 Shorts and an umbrella. Out for a walk in the rain. 
 Several accidents, people just don't believe water can move a car. Plus a lot of cars stalled out. 
 More like something we'd see in Indiana than Las Vegas.
This is an intersection we drive through all the time. Glad we weren't out today.  
Needless to say we didn't take the Jeep in for it tires nor did we pick up the RV. Tomorrow is another day. It rained hard for a couple of hours. With more forecast for the rest of the week. Today it was only 99 - but with the humidity it was worse than when it was 114!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Just busy work today.

Last nights sunset. How much prettier when there are clouds in the sky.
The clouds were from the spotty rain we had. in the south west part of the valley they had a cloud burst. Street flooded, trees down, cars stalled. Here now at drop.
Managed to get out this morning before it got too hot and took a short walk. Need to do that more often. 
Also worked on my window in the garage while it was still bearable out there. Got the border glass rough cut. Now i needs to be ground into final shapes. Unless it gets a lot cooler that will wait for a while. 
Also worked on my second pillow. Had a bright idea for the ruffle around the edge. One of those ideas that about half way through doing it it didn't seem like such a bright idea any more. But it will look cute. 
We got the tires for the Jeep so guess that will be on our agenda - take it in to get them put on. Tomorrow will be an "exciting day" we will get the new tires put on the Jeep and we will pick the RV up from the dealers! - Time to go somewhere?
Had to put gas in the Mustang so stopped at the station on the corner where all the metal sculptures are. While Bill put the gas in I took some close ups of a few of the sculptures. A better look at the tree I posted about yesterday.  See the dark clouds in the background, storming over Boulder City and the lake.
 Here I have four of them. The tree, the green and pink plant and the blue bush. The fourth one is way to the right where the lady is walking. It is a raised tree sort of thing. 
 A look at the bottom of the three sunflowers. It says David - over some strange stuff. 
 The mean looking bird perched on one of the flowers. 
I also went inside the station to ask about them. The day maintenance man makes them. He had already gone home when we were there. Will have to stop to talk to him some time during the day. Would love to meet him. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Vegas in the summer.

It is cooling down, only 110 yesterday late afternoon. Parts of the valley got heavy rain, we didn't even see any. But there is rain in the forecast for the next five days! And MAYBE even one day below 100. Will believe that when I see it. by late afternoon the sky around us is getting a little darker. Thought I even heard a rumble of thunder. 
 Took this last night, missed the nicest part of the sunset but did manage to get one of the micro bursts of rain. See it coming down there on the right. 
 Bill was up bright and early this morning and managed to catch part of the sunrise. 
 My favorite corner near us where all the metal sculptures come and go has a new one,. It took me a while to realize it wasn't a real shrub but a metal one. Too bad there was so much in the background. See how real the top of it looks. 
 A closer look at it. Looks like bed springs for the leaves. 
Watched NASCAR yesterday. My favorite driver has to quit making mistakes if he wants to make the playoffs this year. Two speeding penalties. But at least a Gibbs car won.
Been working on my second pillow off and on. Should get it done this week. Just have to finish and attach the ruffle. 
I'm reading an Erma Bombeck book "Forever Erma" [Barnes & Nobel Nook $1.99] It is a compilation of her old newspaper columns. I'd forgotten how funny she was. And some of the things she said that were funny and fine then are sure not PC any more. Too bad we've become such an uptight society.
Today starts the 4-side inspection by the management of our section of the park. Wonder what they will find this time that we need to take care of. We do have five dead plants still in the ground by front door. Don't want to replace them until the weather is a little friendlier to transplanting.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

More hot weather and hobbies

Another scorcher of a day here in Vegas. Outside the kitchen window in the shade the thermometer says 113 - and it is 4:30. We did get out and about a little yesterday and today. Here is pic of the biggest sun flower on the corner that I missed the other day. The bunch of three are on the right. Always enjoyable to look at them.
 We were walking through WalMart just wasting time going up and down the aisles - both for the walk and the AC - when I saw this crock pot. WiFi Enabled??? Why does your crock pot need to go on-line? Shows how far behind in technology I am getting. Also saw a commercial for a refrigerator that has a note pad on the door. You write your grocery list on it and it sends it to your phone so you have it with you when you are shopping. I'm sorry I really don't think these things are necessary. 
 Went over to get the rest of the glass for my new window. Got the border - shown here. It is just rough cut, needs a lot of work to fit it all in. But just too hot to stay in garage for very long. 
 The whit part between the border and the flowers still doesn't have any glass in it - it will be a light blue glass but won't cut it until all the border is done. 
 This is my bathroom where the window will be going. Just making it big to fit one side of this window. Will take down the sun catchers and put the big window up here. And some day I will make a companion piece for the other side of the window. 
I've finished one of my sewing machine pillows. This is the back side. See the outer border is just strips of pink and blue materiel.  
The front side has a more interesting border. 
 Saw this car while we were out and about today. No sign or anything on it just the red, white and blue. Sure couldn't miss it. 

Back home and watched the Xfinty race. Kyle won from the pole. 
Working on my other pillow during the race. 
Fixed dinner last night, kind of a picnic dinner chicken with Famous Dave's BBQ sauce on it, potato salad and corn on cob. Quick, easy and good. With leftovers for lunch today.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

More of the same

The AC goes off at 10:30 and comes back on at 6:30! And starting this weekend we are looking at [maybe] rain for five days. With temperatures at normal - ONLY 106.
We have most of our yard picked up for the "four-side" inspection next week. Still have to pull the four dead plants up, but need to keep them to give back to the nursery to get new ones. 
I've finished the quilt. It is not big, but I think it is cute. I put double batting under each picture and then stitched around all the animals so they have some dimension. 
 The finished quilt. Colorful and cute. Put a neat backing on it. Cats in all bright colors. 
Now I have my pillows to make. Also got this material in Mexico. Cute for a sewing room. Four different designs, still have to decide how to finish the edges of the pillow off. Ruffles or cording??? Then I have to remember how to do either. Do have to put a border on them to make them big enough. 
Yesterday we went over to Glass Art Inc. here in Vegas so I could buy the rest of the glass for my new window. Also had to get some new grinding bits for my grinder. So now I can do the border then will do the sky. Sure hope I can cut the 3"border strips without too much breaking. 
Other than that not doing much. I finally finished  a jigsaw puzzle I was working on. Now we can use the dining room table again. 
Sorry about not having anything to write about, but it is just too hot to go out and about.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

HOT HOT HOT

Well we are under a Heat Advisory for the next few days. Temperatures from 114 - 120 until the first of the week. Humidity is also going up with showers probably in the surrounding mountains. Our poor AC is having a hard time keeping up with the heat. It just came on now. Not ever 7 a.m. yet.
I continue going out to the garage every morning to work on my window. Getting fewer and fewer pieces done before I get too hot to work. And I have to go to the glass shop soon for the frame.
Bill has put a fan in the doorway between the laundry room and the garage and it helps some.
And now we have a fire in mountains - luckily it is a long ways from town, 35 miles,. Hope they get it under control before the smoke settles over town. It was set by lightening.
The Ford went to the mechanic yesterday to get new spark plugs. Hope that helps with its starting problem. But now Bill is thinking fuel filter problems. He is also checking into tires for Willie, he needs them before we go anywhere.
Next Tuesday the RV goes in to get the camera problem fixed. Maybe then we can get out of here again tho it doesn't seem to be cool any where. Except at high altitudes.
It never cooled down last night. I was outside this morning at 5:00 and it was already too hot to walk. 
Making a quilt with some really cute material.

Have as much done as I can until I get out to buy the batting...Maybe tonight or very early tomorrow morning. WalMart is open 24 hours. For a great grand who didn't get one when she was born, we were in Mexico. 
Two NASCAR races today. One that didn't get run yesterday because of rain and regular Cup race tonight.  Kyle has pole for both races. Well he won one and came in 5th in the other. 
Sunday morning now. We got out of the house early 6:30 and went for breakfast and to WalMart. I got the batting for the quilt so will work on it today.
It is supposed to be cooler today. This was yesterday in the a.m. This is always in the shade. 
Today it is supposed to be much cooler -  only 105! With humidity as we are now in monsoon season. Clouds this morning for the sunrise. 
And even more clouds later as we were heading to WM. The sun is lighting up the mountain. And it looks like some rain is falling. 
As we went by the corner of Tropicana and Boulder Highway I noticed that there were a couple of new metal sculptures there. This is a really new one. Haven't seen one like it before. 
This is out of focus but the light wasn't red long enough to get a good picture. When we left for vacation the beginning of June there were three sunflowers here - when we came back there were only two! but I see the third one is back again. Also there is a really big one just a few feet from this group. Missed it with the camera though. 
It doesn't take much to amuse me. Some day I'm going to try to find out who puts these here. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Slow life in Las Vegas

Every thing is moving slowly here lately - well everything here in our home any way. The reason - the weather! It is hot. Notice it is not cooling down at night either. And the Monsoon Season is approaching. Humidity starts going up over the weekend. Even the breezes are slower. 
Speaking of the weather. At midnight July 1st recreational marijuana became legal here. People were lined up for blocks to purchase it. It was just foolish during the dark night hours but became dangerous during the sunny daylight hours. We went out for a bit and went by a place selling it. It was about 9:30 a.m. and the whole parking lot was full of people in line. When we came home about noon we had to stop for an ambulance to go by. Where was it going? The pot place. Someone had collapsed in the parking lot from the heat and sun. And the line was still filling the parking lot. Oh my!
Monday we picked up both my sewing machine and my laptop from repair. Laptop is working good. Haven't tried the sewing machine yet but did turn it on to see if it had it's lights. Yes! I'll be able to see what I'm doing. Novel concept. 
Been slowly working on my window. Can only do it first thing in the morning before it gets too hot in the garage. So here are a couple of pictures of it. Work in progress. These pieces have just been rough cut so I could lay them out and see how things looked. Couldn't get the whole window in one picture. The bottom.
The top flowers. The blue and orangiesh pieces will be the sky and maybe the frame. Don't have enough for the frame so will have to go buy something. 
I try to get out there every morning and do a little bit. I've got a few of the pieces sized and ground down. Just need to be cleaned up and foiled later. This flower and leaves are done. 
 Only got part way on this one, tomorrow is another day. 
I noticed this in my sewing room. While we were gone, I'd closed up the AC vent and closed the door. This candle was laying on its side. Do you think it got hot in there?
Watch Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney yesterday. I really like that movie. Then watched the concerts/fireworks from both Washington and New York. Lots of the music from the movie. 
We heard fireworks going off here until very late at night. Over 200 calls to the fire departments yesterday. Mostly trees on fire. 
Gots to pay some bills and gather up car paperwork to take up to the office to get new parking/residency stickers for our cars.