Wednesday, March 13, 2013


How nice to be outside last night doing a bit of stargazing under a clear night’s sky in a short sleeve shirt.  To me, that is always special.  Sunrises are earlier these mornings & with the temperatures rising each day we are out for our a.m. walks sooner.  Think we got over 80 degrees today & it was very typical of a hot July day in southern Ontario.  On our walk we came across neighbor Matthew out grazing his young family of Sheep in the cooler morning air.
Good news is that Kelly scored 92% in her written Arizona driver’s license test this morning.  She had thought it was only the written test she had to do.  Then they dropped the bad news part on her.  A vision test plus a driving test was required as well.  She was not mentally prepared for that.  Bit of a struggle with the vision test which really stressed her out for the driving test.  A quick trip next door to McDonald’s for a pail full of coffee to steady the nerves & it was back to the License Bureau for her driving test.  Orange cones were placed in various parking lot places for Kelly to back around & park, etc.  Did OK there but then it was out onto the highway with the lady Examiner heading for one of two round-a-bouts in Wickenburg.  Round-a-bouts are built for no other reason than to confuse & be-frazzle unsuspecting motorists who are not used to them.   We are not used to them!!  Bit of a ker-fuffle as Kelly & the driver Examiner lady got themselves into a wrong lane confusement but Kelly managed to wheel it over into the right lane with tires screeching & headed for downtown Wickenburg….as instructed.  Kelly said the Examiner made a big face careening out of the round-a-bout scuffle & she thought her license was doomed for sure.
DSC_8655Next, a stop sign on a hill.  No problem.  A few more twirls around the streets of Wickenburg & it was back to the driver’s license place they headed.  Kelly figured the frightened Examiner cut the test short once she regained her frazzled nerves from the round-about incident.  Now here’s where I kinda get blamed for something again.  I had meant to take the tow bar off the front of the Jeep upon returning from Borrego Springs last week.  Of course I forgot.  Kelly pulls up to a big tall curb & forgetting the tow bar was on….crashes into it propelling her & the examiner over top the windshield into a couple heaps on the sidewalk ahead of the Jeep.  Ok, so that never really happened but Kelly said the driving Examiner lady did make another big face after the curb crash.  Total doom now for sure, but hey, no damage to the Jeep or tow bar.  The Examiner never says a word & they proceed into the building…..without the Jeep of course.
Lady hands Kelly a copy of ‘How To Stay Alive In A Round-a-Bout’ & tells her to study it.  Kelly figures that’s it, no driver’s license today.  But suddenly a turn of unsuspected events.  The driving Examiner lady proceeds to issue Kelly her very first ever official Arizona Driver’s License.  Yay team:)))))))  My question is, when the lady Examiner handed Kelly her driver’s license……did she make another big face…………Confused smile
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With Kelly’s Arizona driver’s license in place it is now up to us to decide on where to register our Class C Motorhome.  Will it be Arizona or will it be Ontario.  We are still weighing the pros & cons & all the ‘what if’s'.’  It has to be a right decision not only for now, but the future as well.
What is discouraging about importing a vehicle into Ontario are the additional side costs.  The vehicle has be inspected by a Canadian Government approved facility to insure it meets all Canadian standards.  It is Canadian Tire who has that contract.  The mandatory inspection at Canadian Tire is where the RIV is done.  A charge of $260 has to be paid to the ‘Registrar of Imported Vehicles.  Another $100 charge if your vehicle has A/C (air conditioning) And you have to have a recall clearance letter.  In Arizona we can get that letter free from a GM dealer.  In Canada the cost for that letter is $270.  We know this because Kelly called GM in Michigan.  That call was re-directed to GM in Oshawa Ontario & the person on the line gave Kelly a number to call about that recall letter.  That is where she was told the letter would cost $270!!  Boy, this one sure sounds ‘fishy’ to us, but that’s what the person on the line told Kelly.  Oh, & then there is the ‘Gas Guzzler’ charge.  Depending on what 8 cylinder engine you have in your particular vehicle being imported there is also a charge ranging from $800 to $4000.  I know this all sounds very bizarre & I am shaking my head writing this but Kelly did do her homework & these are the answers she received to her phone call questions this past week.  If I have any of this wrong, maybe somebody out there could correct me & I will do an updated corrections if that’s the case.  Also keep in mind, each Province has it’s own set of rules, regulations, do’s & don’ts.  What may be easy to do in one Province is not necessarily so in another Province.  Also keep in mind, we are dealing with questionable Government agencies & inadequacies here.  A lot of bureaucratic red tape & pure BS!!!!!!!!!   
Emily from EMILY'S ADVENTURES IN RETIREMENT had the following questions in Tuesday night’s comments.  “  Will you be doing any "boarding" up of your Congress home - shutters on the windows and doors, in case window glass is broken, etc.? Will there be someone to "keep an eye on" your place while you are gone”?  Answering Emily’s questions I can say we will be doing the same as last year which means closing all the curtains mainly to keep out the hot summer sun.  No boarding up though.  Both electric & water shut off.  And yes, we do have a neighbor who will be coming in regularly to check our house.  He will be grazing his sheep here to help keep the weeds down as well.  Our Mexican neighbors on our north side will also be keeping watch on things as well as a neighborhood watch program in operation.  Yep, we’ll have lots of eyeballs on the house alright.  One of the few pluses about living in a neighborhood is local security.
Busied myself planting 23 Cactus plants this morning that were brought over by a neighbor in his wheelbarrow.  Placed the cacti along our new fence line by the road.  In a few years these cacti will form a tall thick impenetrable green wall.  My goal is to eventually surround our property with greenery making it totally private.  It is nature I want to see when I look out the door, not neighbor’s house’s, yards, RV’s, sheds, or any motorized vehicles.  The idea is to turn our 1 acre piece of property into a perfect boondocking site with electricity & running water:))
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I never think of ourselves as having or driving a convertible.  But we do.  With our convertible we can also take the doors off, flop the windshield forward onto the hood & turn that convertible into kind of a dune buggy as well.  Of course we have a Jeep Wrangler & have never done any of those things except take the roof off once just long enough to take the dogs for a ride.
If it wasn’t such a PITA to put the soft top on & take off we might do that.  The hardtop roof we now have on the Jeep can be taken off easy enough by two strong armed people but it’s just too much for Kelly to help lift.  And with our cool winter days & cold winter nights here I just don’t see it as a practical thing to do anyway.  Maybe in the warmer Spring, Summer, & Fall months but we’re not here for most of that.  If our Jeep had an automatic fold down top we would use it for sure. Especially here in the southwest for daytime desert cruises. Press a button & the roof folds down, press a button & the roof goes up. Come on Jeep makers, let’s work on this concept & give us older adventurous folks an ‘automatic’ easy top down break for our Jeeps eh:))
And speaking of the Jeep, it looks like we are pretty much due for a new set of tires.  When towing a vehicle one cannot take any chances on worn tires blowing out.  We had to replace one of the original 4 tires just over a year ago & the replacement, although the same make & model as the the others, had a different tread design & I’ve never liked that.  Always seems to be some kind of hidden expense lurking around every corner:((  And speaking of corners……..
GROANER’S CORNER:(( In an arithmetic class one day, the teacher says to one little fellow, "If you had a quarter, and you asked your father for another dollar and 50 cents, how much money would you have?"
"One quarter," the little boys says.
"You don't know your arithmetic," says the teacher, shaking her head.
The little boy shakes his head, too. "You don't know my father."

- Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- "If having a soul means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals
are better off than a lot of humans."
(James Herriot)
- The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.
- It is not so much having nothing to do as it is not having the interest to do something....AL.


  1. I wonder what is the "down-side" of just putting Arizona plates on? Seems like there would be no problem since you do own an AZ residence?? Maybe Canada has some law limiting how long it can stay on your property with U.S. plates?

  2. Congrats to Kelly on getting the license. "How to stay alive in a roundabout", Indeed! That's about what it amounts to and I don't see why we have them, except it's a European concept and anything European has to be superior, right? I hate those darn things! I took my test in Ireland and had to go through a roundabout, but driving in the wrong direction. Scary to say the least. (I didn't pass the test.)

  3. A big congrats to Kelly on getting her license. Some "forward thinking" city planner had a few round-abouts put in here in Eugene. We hate them, especially at the busier intersections. Love that picture of Pheebs coming back to tell you she smooched a sheep. I just love that dog!!

  4. Isn't it great to have such great neighbors to watch over your place. And I too loved the picture of Pheebs running back to tell you about her smooch. Wow, I didn't realize all one had to go thru up north in owning an RV. I was just tired reading all you wrote!

  5. Congrats Kelly!!! Once I caught on to the roundabouts, life was easier. Always yield to traffic on the left and watch for idiots who don't! Wish my bird photos were like yours Al but Jim reminded me that I didn't have your super duper camera...sigh.

  6. I too wonder about what the down side is to an Arizona plate. Will Kelly also have a Canadian license? What about you. Will you get an Arizona license too?

  7. It only matters that you have new license in hand...... what it took to get it will be long forgotten........ Can't Kelly vacation with her Arizona class c in Canada... Does she have to be here in the USA for 6 months and a day...?

    But then there are the health insurance questions.... I thought Ontario was 5 months in Canada to qualify. They just changed BC to that recently... I get into trouble with dual states let along dual countries... LOL

  8. Congratulations Kelly!! I think if I had to take a driving test I would need more than coffee!! Will Kelly also maintain a Canadian license??

  9. Al, tell Kelly I have to take my driver's license test next February and I'm already nervous! I'll be 62 then...will need the eye exam (I already know that...), but if I have to parallel park, I'm DONE! :-(
    Cheryl Ann

  10. Good morning Al, you sure have your place lookin neat,,,,,
    It bugs me dealin with our govt...but a life necesity for sure.....

  11. Thats great that Kelly got her licence.
    Can't see any point in spending all that money to register the RV in Ontario.
    Good luck whatever you decide!

  12. Way to go Kelly!

    Do the cacti you planted grow fast? I know the saguaro do not.....your yard looks really pretty. I love the paths!

    It's amazing to me that the birds can nest in all the prickly cactus...nature is sure fun to watch!

    I got a BlackRapid strap yesterday. Love it!

  13. Congrats to Kelly on that piece of paper. It can be stressful.
    I got very used to roundabouts in Europe. They're everywhere. It was only ever so slightly stressful when I had to drive in England. Needed to do a brain switcheroo. That ain't easy when there's not that much to switch!
    In the back of my mind I had this idea that you'd simply leave the rig in Arizona and go north for the summer. Easier at the pumps and then there's no hassle at the Border.
    I once considered borrowing/renting a motor home from a gentleman we knew in New York State, and the Border folks pointed out that, as a Canadian driving a vehicle with US plates, they'd charge me all the fees you mentioned, as I would be "importing a vehicle". We had a little back and forth about car rentals, and they said they turned a blind eye to that situation. I still don't understand that aspect.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  14. Al, the RIV inspection is free! You have then already paid $260. That covers the inspection. The inspection itself is a 15-minute affair and absolutely ridiculous. Since it is a federal inspection it is the same all over Canada. (well, maybe not Quebec :-()
    The $260 can be paid at border crossing. If your RV has no daylight running lights, that would be the only thing that has to be changed.
    The provincial inspection would be additional.

    If Kelly had performed in New Brunswick like you described, there wouldn't have been any drivers license for her for sure.

    Do you have a covered spot to park your RV? If not the heat will take a toll on it.

  15. Al, one more thing: As long as your main residence is in Canada you are not allowed to drive a vehicle with U.S. license plates into Canada.
    We have been through it and it wasn't any fun at the border. They will stop you right there at the border!

  16. Good for Kelly! She's a can-do gal for sure. Wonder why she had to do the driving test? All we had to do to transfer from Oregon was the eye exam!

  17. Congrats to Kelly, I know something like that can way on you until you get it over with. Wow reading about your decision confuses me to no end. I don't know why governments have to be so confusing, you would think they would be happy to have people like yourselves doing the right thing and move on to criminals. :)

  18. Congrats Kelly...jolly good show!!

    Roundabouts are a boon to driving. They eliminate all the stopping and starting at stop signs and red lights and keep traffic flowing. Yes they take a little getting used to but once mastered, Red lights and stop signs seem archaic and wasteful. IMO.

  19. that was an amazing story about Kelly's test experience, and I am happy to see that she got her license. Go Kelly! I will be really curious to see what the down sides of licensing the rig in Arizona, since you detailed an awful list of downsides of the Canadian side of things. I guess it boils down to how long you can keep it in Ontario and still get it back into the states easily. Good luck!!

  20. Meant to also say it will be interesting at the border Al. Driving a registered Arizona vehicle while towing a Ontario regged vehicle. Better get ready to do some fast talking.

  21. Been following your blog for a long time..very enjoyable..we blog too.. Rolling Earthquake
    For yor tire hunt try I've found that they have the best prices and are great to deal with. Safe travels to you & yours.

  22. I absolutely despise round-abouts. Our friend, Paul, is in Australia and they drive on the left side - can you imagine doing that round about?

  23. Congrats to Kelly!
    Hate Roundabouts!

    You with CDN license drive the CDN licensed jeep across.

    Kelly with the AZ license drives the USA licensed motorhome across.

    Easy Peasy?