Part of our Taco Tuesday ritual was picking up Ellen in the van on our way to JR’s. On our last Taco Tuesday, the night before we Indiantown, a few more hitched a ride. L to R, Duwan, Ellen, Tina, and Jolie.
As you can see we have made quite a few improvements since the last time we posted a pic of the interior of the van – the latest being new curtains over of the lower cabinets.
January 3 – January 23, 2018.
Journey to Tucson, First Leg.
When we left Indiantown Marina on January 18 we had one small plan, get Greg to the dentist. For sometime now Greg has been spitting out deattached crowns and parts of his teeth. Since dental care is so crazy expensive, he has been regulating mastication to a few select molars and has eliminated hard to chew foods (pretty much all raw vegetables) from his diet. And although he has seemed fine with this state of things, I really wanted to eat salads again.
One of seminars we attended at the Rubber Tramp Rendevous last winter was about dental care in Mexico. There we learned about the Mexican border town of Los Algodones. Dentists in Mexico charge anywhere from a third to half the prices of dentists in the US and Los Algodones boasts 350 dentists in a 3 by 4 block area right on the Arizona/Mexico border.
Of course, going to a dentist anywhere can be a dreadful situation and choosing a new doctor is always kind of daunting – so research was going to be imperative. But because we were anxious to get on the road we decided to save the research until we got to our friend Deanna’s house in Tucson.
Before we could get on the road, though, we still had a few things to deal with after we hauled Blue Wing out of the water. We had already bought 6 months of food and couple months of beer. Leaving anything on the boat was not an option after hearing too many horror stories of rats taking up residence on boats in the storage yard this past summer, getting into food stores, and eating sails. (If you are interested in knowing more about these resourceful rats, check out this blog post from my friends, Chris and Jim) We were able to return much of the food and drink, but Aldi wouldn’t take back any and we didn’t want to return any of the beer we bought at the local Indiantown IGA grocery store since when we bought it we were given as bonus for spending over $100 of a couple chicken quarters and half a turkey (which ended being a bonus for other people since we gave it all away). So I sent out a note to the Indiantown Party Posse with a list of what I had left and offered everyone a 10% discount. Most of the food got snapped right up. But apparently our friends in the Posse are a little bit higher brow than Miller High Life (I know, it isn’t hard to be that high brow), so Greg started asking around the marina until he found a buyer for a good portion of the beer we had left.
We spent the next week making deliveries around the marina in between preparing Blue Wing for storage, doing a few small sewing projects, transferring our home from the boat to the van, getting Ballena Blanca packed and ready to hit the road, and searching the internet for new salad dressing recipes.
Right now, this very minute, We are trying to stay warm. We were camped outside of the southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park, but it was tooooooo cold at 1800 feet above sea level. So we threw everything back into the van and headed down Box Canyon Road. As our altitude dropped, we started to feel warmer, but we lost bars on the phone (which we need since we are still waiting for a package). So we kept driving until we were under 100 feet and the bars reappeared. Box Canyon is actually very pretty and we are so glad not to be freezing.
* All pics are click to enlarge.
First stop on our trip to Tucson was at the Osceola National Forest on Ocean Pond. We were just looking for a free place to camp and had no idea that our view was going to be this beautiful.
Lots of cyprus tress with cyprus knees along the edge of Ocean Pond.
We visited the Olustee Civil War battlefield near the Osceola National Forest. Toward the end of the war 5,000 northern troops tried to march through the narrow stretch of land between Ocean Pond and the Gulf of Mexico to destroy a railroad bridge that crossed the Suwanee River.
After the planned ambush by 5,000 southern troops was exposed, the two sides battled it out here in the pines at Olustee. Key northern officers were taken out of action and the disorganized northern troops fled.
From Florida we headed to New Orleans to visit my niece, Ariadne. First stop after arriving in NoLa – Parkway for po’ boys. And what kind of po’ boys do vegetarians eat? French Fry Po’ Boys!
My niece makes her living as a playwrite, crafts person, and French Quarter Ghost Tour Guide. This was the first time we had gone on one of her tours where we learned about the spooky history of New Orleans.
Ok – so as I have stated before in this blog, we don’t want to get political here — But we did actually do something political while we were in New Orleans. And I’m just going to say, NoLa knows how to have fun with their politics. Who can argue with Dance For Peace?
A little off the beaten tourist path in New Orleans is Music Box Village, populated with small musical, playable structures.
Greg plays one of my favorite structures in the Village. Inside he is pulling cords which spin modified ceiling fans which make a subtle whirling and moaning “music”
Are they decorations or something you play?
Some of the houses were made of homemade or transformed musical instruments and some were electronic. You can see Greg across the way trying to figure out one of the electronic ones.
Ariadne plays chimes.
Greg playing drums.
Some of the houses were elevated. It was fun just to look around.
Another view from above.
The most fun thing we did while we were visiting my niece is an Escape Room. It was expensive, but we totally, totally recommend it. ** Please take note my Cabbagetown friends – we will be doing an Escape Room this summer!
Escape Rooms are kind of what they sound like – you and your friends are put into a room and you have to escape by solving a mystery and/or finding clues.
The first room we came to on our adventure was this waiting room. And we waited until someone greeted us, but they never did — so I finally picked up the telephone and someone answered! First puzzle solved – How to get into the Escape Room!
On the road after we left New Orleans we were looking for a place to get off the highway to eat lunch when we found this baby alligator rescue.
Bob leads the way as we continue our journey to Tucson, because like the billboard says, it’s Better Out West.