Well Rested in Nogales

The last two days have really helped me to recoup from my brutal dash across the entire length of the US in 3.5 days! I’ve been going to bed early and getting up without an alarm, which is what makes all the difference in how productive my day is going to be.

I still set an alarm though, just in case, and Siri is very reassuring about it:


This morning’s complimentary breakfast included quesadillas and salsa, which is much more my speed than are pancakes, plus fresh fruit salad. Very yum! I can’t believe the quality of the breakfast we get!

I hadn’t planned to do any other work besides proofing this week, but ended up accepting two of the three requests from other clients.  That’s how things roll when you’re a business owner. Sometimes, the client’s needs precede your own.

Early afternoon, I headed out for linner after getting a recommendation from the front desk to go to El Canton, literally around the corner and in front of the Mexican consulate. It’s a Chinese restaurant that isn’t really showing up in the search results yet (it’s not even showing up on Google Maps or through a Siri search). The clerk said that it’s the most expensive Chinese food in Nogales, but it’d be obvious why when I got there…

I stepped outside and was promptly hit on the head by something that was, thankfully, not a coconut, but… a date! I’ve never seen a date palm before!


El Canton is a rather swanky looking restaurant, but, thankfully, Americans don’t dress up. Meals were quite expensive, averaging about $14 each. But there was a small buffet for $10, more expensive than the other buffets in the city, but the first bite of my super fresh and delicious food explained why. I had chow mein, three different kinds of broccoli, and several kinds of meats. Everything was tasty and nothing was overly salty or sweet. What a gem, and tucked away out of sight!

BTW, I had a reader comment on how Chinese food and ‘Mexican’ don’t seem to go together, but there are tons of Chinese restaurants in the parts of Mexico I’ve been to, so I think it’s a popular cuisine with Mexicans. In fact, in the Duolingo app I’ve been using, nearly all the food-related exercises are some variation on “I ate Chinese food”!

I then went for a long walk to the border and back. As I mused on Facebook, it’s funny how walking to Mexico the first two times I did it felt so special and now there was nothing to it.

I stopped en route at a Goodwill store that was rather interesting. Everything is thrown onto huge tables, unsorted, and you have to dig through it for treasures, then pay by the pound. I had a bit of a poke around, but didn’t find anything.

There was a McDonald’s at the point of no return, so I paused to get a McFlurry (Oreo, please), and check my emails since I was waiting for something from a client. I had a decent view of Nogales, Sonora, from my seat.

Mexico is behind a fence:


Coming back home, I saw this billboard advertisement for a casino resort (it says, “Amigos con beneficios”). As they say in Spanish, jajaja! I wonder if this phrase really has the same connotation in Spanish, or if it’s a joke for bi(multi)lingual folks!


The weather was lovely today, not too hot, and perfect for a walk. I’m glad that I’m finally discovering a little bit of Nogales beyond the frantic pace of Mariposa Road.

Off Kilter

It’s been a weird day, time-wise.

I’m technically in the Pacific time zone now, but have to work according to an Eastern schedule, so that means I had to be at work for 5:00 a.m, which has thoroughly thrown off my eating schedule.

It was easy to get to bed early last night since I was so exhausted and I was awake around 4:15 without an alarm clock. There was work waiting for me, so I made a coffee and got cracking. By the time 6:00 rolled around and the restaurant opened, I was beyond ready for breakfast!

I took my computer and phone down with me to the restaurant so that I could respond if any work came in. Breakfast was an excellent buffet with lots of options, no excuse to leave hungry. The coffee was good, too. I look forward to seeing what they have tomorrow as they said that the options change daily. Based on today, I know it will be worth waiting to leave on Friday morning to do so on a full belly.

Despite a good breakfast, I was ready for lunch by 10:00! I had a bit of a picnic, but was displeased that the fridge runs super cold and all my food was frozen! Carrots lose their structural integrity when frozen and thawed, so they end up rather chewy!

I clock out at 4PM EST and another colleague stays on till 5PM EST, but I like to keep a weather eye on my emails if the daily article hasn’t been mailed out by 5PM in case something crops up with it. That was the case today, so I sent a quick email about that and then went off to find food.

My choices within walking distance were Pizza Hut, Denny’s, and Mexican fare, not too inspiring. I’d been to Denny’s twice a very long time ago in Savannah and in San Diego and thought the food was crap, so I didn’t go again until a couple of years ago in Red Deer when it wasn’t my decision. The food I had then had nothing in common with the Denny’s I remembered, ie. it was really good. So I decided to take a chance on that today.

I wound up paying $7.25 for my meal with the tip and I would have paid twice that and thought I got a bargain… I could not believe how good the food was, its freshness, or the quality of the ingredients. Yes, at a Denny’s chain diner! Mind blown.

I had their new $6 ‘Baja quesadilla burger’, which is a real beef patty topped with a bit of cheese, pico de gallo, and avocado, then sandwiched in a flour tortilla. It comes with a side of forgettable and over salty Mexican-style corn chips and meh salsa, so ignore that part of the meal. I actually don’t care much for the taste of beef (but I appreciated that I was eating real meat, no fillers), so I added a liberal amount of Cholula sauce to give it the flavour it needed. As for the pico de gallo, this was the real thing, no skimping on the jalapeños. Between that and the Cholula sauce, my eyes were watering, but I wasn’t in major pain, not like I would have been at time last year eating a moderately spicy meal. Plus, there was tons of avocado to soothe my wounded taste buds! Since I didn’t eat the chips, the meal came in at a very reasonable nutritional count (I appreciated that Denny’s has the nutritional info for everything printed right on the menu).


After linner, I decided to walk down to the Walmart since my phone said it was 2.5KM away, meaning just far enough to get in a leg stretch, but not so far as to feel like a slog. The temperature was cool compared to yesterday, so the walk was very pleasant. They didn’t have any warm weather stuff either, but I poked through the clearance items for treasures and found a top I liked.

Like the server at the Denny’s, the Walmart cashier also only spoke Spanish to me, so I now know I still remember my numbers. 🙂 Nogales is really a good prep stop before entering Mexico!

It was a lot hotter out when I left Walmart and it was uphill most of the way back to the hotel, so I definitely got in some exercise today.

When I arrived back at the hotel, I popped in at the front desk to get my breakfast coupon for tomorrow. The clerk asked me to confirm that the room is okay (YES!).

Now, it’s time for a beer slushy. Dang, that fridge really does run cold!

Deming, NM, to Nogales, AZ

I had a decent stay in Deming. My hotel room at the Grand Motor Inn was really good and a bargain at $48. It was freshly renovated and the bed was super comfy. I got my best night’s sleep in a long while there. But I did not appreciate that they vacuumed from 8PM until well past when I finally fell asleep past 10PM. It didn’t stop me from going to bed, but it did make it hard to listen to the show I was trying to watch and it felt almost impossible to relax. So points off for that, but after such a good night’s sleep, I can forgive a lot!

The only real restaurant within walking distance was the one attached to the hotel and it was well rated, so I ate there. First time reviews have lead me completely astray. All but one thing in my meal were appallingly abysmal — the watery salad, the super cheap instant potato flakes covered in canned gravy, and the overheated frozen veg. But the steak was absolutely perfect by my standards, a sharp contrast to the rest of the meal. They at least got the important part right! Thanks, Ed and Linda, for commenting so late with restaurant suggestions. 😉 😉 😉

After dinner, I walked to the Walmart just for the leg stretch to see if they had what I wanted clothing-wise. Nope, it was all plus size cold weather gear, not a tee-shirt or a pair of sandals in sight. So that confirmed that I needed to stop in Benson today.

I had thought to do a lazy morning at the hotel, but was ready to go around 7:30. Or, rather, I wanted to hang out with a huge pot of coffee and a book. I didn’t even trust the coffee at the hotel restaurant (even though it smelled good) and didn’t feel like making my own, so I decided to drive to the IHOP down the street because I knew I could get a giant carafe of good coffee for just $2. After sitting for a bit, I decided to try their food for the first time and ordered two pancakes with bacon, which wound up being surprisingly good. Glad to know that a pancake house knows how to make pancakes! 😀

I left Deming just shy of 9:00 and headed for the Walmart in Benson, directly on my way to Nogales. I discovered it on the way to Nogales last year from Tombstone and like it a lot better than the one in Nogales. I got there around 10:30 local time, so 11:30 by my body clock.

Unfortunately, they also didn’t have any warm weather clothes. I guess Walmart stocks its stores the same regardless of the climate. 🙁 I did get one thing on my list, some comfy cheap capris to wear around the house. There were two identical size medium pairs in black, so I snagged both. At $3 a pair, I would have been silly not to! But I struck out on tee-shirts. They had lots of camis and tank tops, though. I also got all the things on my friends’ shopping list.

I then made a stop for lunch before pointing the truck towards Nogales. I like this drive a lot, off the interstate and through some windy and scenic backroads.

My first stop in Nogales was the post office, where there was a package waiting for me. I was amused that my driver’s license signed Rae was not good enough to prove that I’m Rae versus my legal name (it’s been good enough for banks and other post offices), but my business card was satisfactory!

The hotel was just a half mile from the post office and if it hadn’t been so dang HOT, I would have parked there and walked. It would have definitely been easier than driving. Nogales isn’t an easy to city to drive in.

Even though my reservation said check-in was at 3PM and it was only about 1:45PM, there was no problem with letting me have the room right away. I’d booked through Priceline.com and had followed up with a request for a quiet room preferably upstairs because I would have to work. The hotel is undergoing major renovations, so they put me up in a block at the back that is not in service yet, in a HUGE newly renovated room, and told me to make sure I ask if I need anything because they might forget I’m there! 😀 They also put in a proper desk and computer chair for me! Wow, talk about service! I also get a full cooked breakfast every morning, all for just $65 per night including the tax! I figure I can take advantage of breakfast by monitoring emails on my phone as I walk to the restaurant and bring my laptop there to do any assignments that come in.

I just wanted to crash by this point and not have to go out again for a bit, so I went right back to my truck and drove to Mariposa Road to run a few more errands. First stop was Don Smith Insurance, where they still had me on file. I got a liability only policy with legal coverage for $127, roughly the same price as last year in USD. I was in and out in probably two minutes!

Next stop was Safeway, literally next door, to get some lunchy and snacky stuff to make simple meals in my room. I also got a six-pack of Bud Light and have four nights to get through six beers… 🙂 Final stop was Panda Express for dinner.

I’m ready to drop; it’s been such a long weekend! But I’m so pleased I made it here without incident! I start work in 12 hours (5AM), so I’ll be turning in very, very, very soon.

Nogales, AZ, to Silver City, NM

I got my work done this morning, then went to Walmart to get a SIM card for my phone. That did not work out and that’s all I’m going to say beyond the fact that I haven’t missed shopping at Walmart. 😀

Fuel was $2.39/gallon and I took on 12.5 gallons ($30), which was almost three quarters of a tank and plenty to get me to today’s destination. It was weird to pump my own! I had to go in an pre-pay and did that in Spanish, too, adding yet another new linguistic accomplishment. 😉

I pulled out of Nogales around noon local time and headed for Silver City, New Mexico. I knew that there is a huge Walmart in Benson not too far from I-10 right on my route, so that was my first destination.

Coming up to Benson, there was a customs check point…

The two cars ahead of me slowed down and were waved through without stopping.

I was not waved through, so I stopped and quickly removed my sunglasses. I was asked how I was doing, given a once over, and told to go on. Much more pleasant than my inland customs encounter in Texas that I never blogged about.

Walmart in Benson had the Go Phone SIM cards, but no refills. I figured I could just buy the refill online with a credit card…

While there, I had a look at shoes because I wanted to replace the pretty walking sandals I wore right through this winter. The pair I bought in Mexico are good for short trips, but not long walks, and so a good pair of walking sandals I can wear with dresses and skirts was on the budget for this trip. Walmart has the exclusive North American distributorship for the very high quality, yet inexpensive, ‘Earth Spirit’ brand and I had a look at what they had in Benson. I found the exact model I just wore through in a different colour (neutral beige) and they had one pair left in my size for just $19! That was a no brainer of a purchase!

From Benson, I continued on to Willcox to use the internet at McDonald’s to set up the phone.

That didn’t work out too well seeing as you can’t buy time online with a Canadian credit card. So my phone is a brick until I can get a refill card. Thankfully, there’s a Walmart here in Silver City, so I’ll check there in the morning.

The landscape driving east along I-10 was much like my beloved rolling hills of southern SK, but the hills were a tad higher. Lots of olive green and bright blue sky.

Texas Canyon was amazing!

These rock formations are amazing!

These rock formations are amazing!


Not even the most impressive!

Not even the most impressive!

Before I knew it, I only had five states left to visit…

Five states left!

Five states left!



I stopped at the New Mexico welcome centre, but it was, of course, too late in the day and it was closed.

It was spitting rain by the time I got to Silver Springs and cold. I had to pull out closed shoes, socks, and my heavy coat!!!!!!

Needless to say, I was not going to sleep in my truck. So I took a room at the cheapest place in town, which was NOT cheap, more than 50USD, the Motel 6. But it’s a rather nice room, with hardwood floors rather than carpet and there’s a fridge and microwave. I have a budget for this trip and if I run out before the four weeks is up, I run out and I rush home, that’s all there is to it.

So I got, in logged into my email, and found a HUGE out of the blue rush project waiting for me. Huge as in I have to type all day Weds, Thurs, and Fri if I want to get it done by the deadline. Needless to say, I’m getting a motel in Truth or Consequences tomorrow for up to a week, depending on the rate!

Pizza sounded good for dinner since I could have cold leftovers with coffee for breakfast. I was happy that there’s a Little Caesar’s here as that meant supper and breakfast for under 6USD and, as I’ve said in the past, I think their pizza is very decent.

Tomorrow, I am going to the Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. It is the only thing in New Mexico that I have to see. Not quite a bucket list item, but it’s something I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. I’ll then move on to Truth or Consequences. Lovely readers are expecting me after that in Albuquerque, then Santa Fe (thank you!), so my route is taking on a life of its own.

Even with hills and wind today, my gas mileage was at normal levels. I can’t believe the improvement!


I think I might have mentioned it once or twice of the winter that the Isla casa didn’t have a comfortable spot for relaxation since both the bed and sofa were hard.

As some of you may have noticed, I have a somewhat leaner profile than when I first started blogging. It might have also been quite obvious that I am an apple shape, with all my weight concentrated in the abdomen area. To get a semblance of a waist, I had to lose weight everywhere else first. The end result was knobby knees, hips, shoulders, and buttocks that desperately need not just padding, but also springiness.

Working this winter was pretty much agonizing. Even after adding a cushion to the computer chair I bought, it wasn’t enough. It felt like I was sitting on daggers, hence why I had such a hard time focusing for long stretches of time. The gals on my weight loss support forum told me to look for a doughnut cushion so that the bones would not press on anything, but I couldn’t find one in Maz.

After so much pain during the day, work was finally done and my only options for relaxing were the sofa, which didn’t have a single soft spot, or the bed, which was barely better. I was okay leaning back on pillows, but not sitting up, and I had to learn to sleep on my back since there was too much pressure on my knees, hips, and shoulders on my side and I would wake up with bruises.

So I spent most of the evening last night at the desk on the computer doing emails and answering blog comments until my behind had firmly enough of all the abuse (the truck seat is no longer comfortable either) and I was tired anyway. So I went to bed and…


It was like sinking into heaven. The mattress was thick and had lots of give. I could roll over without all my knobby bits hitting a hard surface. For the first time in months, I was comfortable and not hurting. It’s amazing the things that the human body can get used to, isn’t it? Pain just became my new normal and I used walking to get out as many kinks as possible.

The room was quite dark and quiet and I fell asleep very fast. I woke up around 4:00 absolutely frozen, though, so I turned on the heat and went back to my comfy nest. I’m going to have to pull the flannel pajamas out of the truck and repack my overnight bag since I didn’t think to take into consideration cold nights when I was sorting my clothes.

It’s also quite cool this morning, so I threw a cardi on over my sundress to schlep down to the office for coffee (still very decent). I’m finishing up my breakfast, I need to get started on my work. I don’t plan to get far tonight and it will likely be a sleep in the truck night. After much deliberation, I have decided to skip Las Cruces and am heading for Truth or Consequences, as accommodation there is cheaper. Bu until I hear about work, there are no motels in my future, so I’m in no hurry to get there.