After a few days into our stay at the Pilot Knob RV Resort in Winterhaven, California, we are feeling quite at home here and surrounding area. Thanks to the super introduction from our Canadian friends, who both keep each a lively written internet blog, Bill and Patsy from Ontario, by taking us under their wings and showing us the city of Yuma, AZ. Benno is already confident navigating the streets of the busy city as if we had been here before. Bill and Patsy also indicated they would like to show us the border crossing to Mexico and the Mexican sister city to Yuma, the city of Algodones, too. I have checked out the various grocery stores and compared their merchandise and prices while making small purchases for items we had previously run out of. Benno got introduced by Bill to the toy store or Mecca for men, the famous tool center “Harbor Freight”. This is a must pilgrimage for all two legged males. When you are in the store, you will notice even the grumpiest male wears a bright smile, believe me!
Here at the RV Park there are several activities offered to participate and join for some fun, but so far we have been too busy to even look at the activity plan. However, the ice cream social, which is offered at most RV Resorts, we didn’t miss last Sunday. For a buck ($1.00) per scoop (a very generous scoop) of ice cream and toppings of your choice it is a good deal and great opportunity to meet and chat with other RVers. Upon walking out of the clubhouse after eating the ice cream, Benno found a cute painted rock. Someone had placed it in the garden to be discovered. Whoever finds it can decide if he wants to keep the rock or re-hide it for someone else to find. The idea is to take a picture of it and post the picture and location on Facebook. Patsy and Pat have been working on several rock paintings as a hobby so they can hide their own creations at various locations throughout the park.
When we arrived at the Pilot Knob Park our travel trailer and the truck showed that we had encountered some nasty weather before coming here. The management does not allow us to wash the trailer or truck in the park so we took the truck through a car wash in town. As for the trailer’s grime we have to hire an outside company to come in and do the job, so one more item on the agenda list. While we were setting up the travel trailer, Benno wasn’t able to turn the direction dial of our TV antenna after cranking it up on the roof. A small piece from the direction dial extrusion to the antenna base had broken off. In town there is a RV supplier called: “Hilco RV Parts” and that is where we went to see if they had a replacement part. We would have driven right by the store had we not had the address because there were no windows at the building indicating it was a store and the door is painted white to blend in with the walls. Inside we found a huge amount of merchandise and perhaps a lot of consignment articles as well. They had an extension tube for the direction dial at $3.25, which solved our problem. At the back of the store, in another room, there were several axle springs of various sizes sitting on a shelf. Of course at a fraction of the price we had paid!
On Tuesday Rob and Pat (from Durham, Ontario) picked us up to come along for a visit to Algodones in Mexico. As well Bill and Patsy took Ken and Nancy along in their truck and the 8 of us would go as a group over the border to visit this touristy town. After parking the trucks at the provided huge paved parking lot and looking at barbed wires on concrete barriers ready to be moved to block off the road to Mexico in case of trouble, we wandered over the border to Algodones, Mexico to meet all the vendors eagerly waiting to sell us their goods.
Many of the stalls carry the same items as their neighbors and if you are really interested in buying any of it, the game is to negotiate, or haggle over the price that is being asked as not even one piece of merchandise carries a price tag. I pointed at a necklace that I liked so Benno started the bartering game for it and shortly after presented me with it.
Bill and Patsy guided the way as they had visited the area already a few times so they showed us around pointing out the best vendors. If you need a new pair of eyeglasses or dental work done, you probably would not get a better deal anywhere else. Also prescription medication is sold here over the counter and for a fraction of the price we would pay in Canada or the USA and not to forget, booze is also offered at a price that makes us Canadians just drool.
At a vendor for custom painted signs we stopped to watch the artist create a painting from a clean canvas to a finished landscape completely done with only spray cans. To paint the trees he used a scrunched up plastic shopping bag, which he dipped into a puddle of various colored paint. He jokingly called it: paint brush Mexican style. To create the birds he used a piece of cardboard dipped into splash of black spray paint. The whole painting took approximately 20 minutes including a coat of clear paint dried with a torch. It was quite a show.
That was a really fun time going to Algodones, especially in company with all our friends, which made the experience a great outing. You can really tell we had a blast from the picture while we were sitting in the food court for a snack and drink and a little rest from all that haggling.
Finally, I thought I tell you about an embarrassing thing that happened to me yesterday to give you a little chuckle. We take our dogs for walks several times a day. The RV Park has a dog walking area behind the fence, which has a gate with a padlock. When we arrived we were given a park brochure with the front gate access code. On the brochure is also printed a code for the padlock for the dog walking area. The gate had always been open all week long and I did not memorize the padlock combination number since the lock was not in use. Guess what? Yes, yesterday late afternoon I was in the dog walking area with our two dogs and when they were done with their business ready to go home, I found us being locked out. Someone hadn’t noticed us, although the area is wide open, and locked the gate. I talked to several people walking their dogs on the other side of the fence but wouldn’t you know it, not a single person knew the access code! One fellow even made a phone call to his wife asking her to look up the combination numbers, but she could not find the code. (It is printed sideways in tiny print on the brochure) The office was already closed for the day and Benno had no clue we were out there and had gone to the clubhouse. Finally, another helpful guy walking his two dogs located the night manager who came to our rescue.
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