The Metropolitan Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 5, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bad refrigerator. But a good dentist!

Yes, we have a bad refrigerator. But it is certainly more important to have a good dentist!

The gas burner on the fridge has been giving us problems for the past week. It was getting worse, and yesterday I took it apart yet again when it got to the point that it wouldn't effectively keep the contents cold.

Yesterday morning, we left Sherman with lots of time to spare to get to Ruth's 10:00am root canal appointment. Once again into central Mazatlan. We've been there about five times now, which is amazing since we never planned to go there at all originally!

We got to the dentist office of Dr. Luis Gerardo Beltran Valdez (669-982-7928) at about 9:20am and he was sitting reading the newspaper. He got up and greeted us right away, and got Ruth into the chair for an inspection. He's a root canal specialist. Sure enough, Ruth needed a root canal. He took three different x-rays and explained what he was going to do, and that it would take between one and one and a half hours. If everything went smoothly, his part of the job would be done. If not, she might have to return the next day.

And everything went smoothly! The job took about an hour.

We hadn't asked in advance what the cost was. We figured that it wasn't something that we were going to shop around for, and given that Mazatlan has so many dentists we figured there must be pretty standardized pricing.

We went to pay the bill, and it was 2,500 pesos ($205 CDN, $180 USD). A little more than we thought it would be, but a whole lot cheaper than it would have been if we had to pay a dental crook in Canada or the United States. Looking online after the fact, I saw some Mazatlan dentists advertising prices around 3,200 pesos for a root canal.

A lot of gringos get dental work done in Mazatlan, so the prices are on par with what many of the border dentists charge. Had we been back at Hacienda Contreras near Valle de Juarez, it would have been cheaper. Oh well.

Dr. Valdez speaks good enough English, he was efficient, and the price was fair. And most importantly, Ruth says she has no pain this morning!

The job is not done yet though. Ruth has another appointment this morning to get a crown installed at a different dentist. I'm guessing that will be another 3,000 pesos ($250) or so...we'll see.

Back at Sherman, I once again tried to fix the fridge problem. There appears to be enough gas pressure. The flame lights right away. But within 5 seconds to 30 seconds, the flame snuffs itself out as if someone simply turns the gas off. But then as the system senses that there is in flame, you then hear the gas valve shut off. So, the flame is going out before the system shuts the gas off. Makes no sense. I thought maybe the flue is blocked, causing the flame to back pressure on itself, but when I hold a match above the flame, the flame from the burner goes out, yet the match stays lit. Enough so that it instantly relights the flame.

I'm starting to think that the orifice for the burner is worn enough that it's affecting the flame just enough to make in unstable, and yet I wouldn't have thought so. I'm stumped and it's very frustrating!

But despite dental problems and fridge problems, this is a pretty tough place to have a bad day!

Lots of people enjoying the beach.

The view from where we had lunch.

Having fun in the water.

This morning, we went to turn the water pump on. Nothing! Man, we have never had so many things go bad all at once. I'll look at it sometime today. This is Sherman's way of telling us not to leave him alone for so long again!

Looking out Sherman's front window, the Holland America Veendam pulled in to port. It's just a small ship with 1,350 passengers.

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35 comments:

  1. Too bad everything happens at once, but you will get things fixed.
    Loved the beach there mostly pretty quite, warm water, friendly vendors and good reasonable restaurants.

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    1. I'm not sure why things seems to happen that way but they do, luckily Kevin is a very handy guy!

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  2. Glad you got along well, Ruth. With the prices in Mexico, it will only put a small dent(al) in the budget. Que les vaya bien!

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    1. Haha Paula, that was a good one! So far the root canal is doing well, we will look at getting the crown put on in one of the border towns.

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  3. The one and only time I've had a root canal (*thinks* maybe 2003?) it was an even thousand dollars for the root canal, and then the crown, emergency visit with my own dentist ahead of time was over and above. A couple hundred bucks sounds like one heck of a deal. Mind you, we had coverage at the time, so we weren't out of pocket anything. Good luck with the fridge. I have nothing to offer in that department.

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    1. Yep, after hearing what others have paid in both Canada and the US, we definitely got a great deal.

      I wonder what the dentists would charge if you told them you didn't have insurance.

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  4. All Readers,

    Quick question about costs which was brought up by the recent post regarding touring a friend’s Holiday Rambler.

    My question revolves around how expensive the RV lifestyle seems to be when compared to other alternatives (using technology like AirBNB and Couchsurfing to find short terms stays of say 2-3 months in different locations around the world and shipping 5-10 boxes of personal items to each location).

    So here are my assumptions of costs based on a new RV – obviously you don’t need new but thousands of people buy them every year so worth looking at.

    Monthly Costs (8 year ownership term):

    Depreciation $3,645.00 USD ($500K new to $150K after 8 years = $350K total / 8 years / 12 months)

    Sales Tax $364.58 USD ($500K * 7% /8 / 12)

    Interest on Loan $1,000 USD ($100K down and finance $400K at 5% per year) This is bit of a guess depending on term etc.

    Cost of Capital $748 USD (Only using down payment not loss of gains on principal paid over time - $100 K earning 7% average over last 8 years including downturn)

    Gas $750 USD (15000 mile per year at 5 MPG and $3 per gallon)

    Maintenance $500 (total guess here but this would include tire wear, repairs etc etc)

    Parking $600 (assuming long term seasonal like RV park in Isla for winter with hookups internet etc)



    TOTAL $7607.58 USD PER MONTH


    Caveats:

    • Yes a NEW RIG – understand but again thousands of people buy new every year
    • Yes you can write off interest on debt but benefit depends on your income, tax bracket, tax rate etc etc. At $500K USD per year income a $12 K write off doesn’t have much impact
    • I am focused on out of pocket monthly costs including depreciation and opportunity costs
    • I am NOT comparing this to living in a house but traveling to warm places in winter and anywhere you want in summer while staying in one place for 2-3 months at a time. Renting small cottages or villas with high speed internet. Driving a small blue car there with just the possessions you need etc.

    Any thoughts???

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    1. Seems like this is a good question for one of the RVing forums. Kevin might be generous enough to answer your off topic question, but you'd find a wider audience and lots of advice on RVing forums like Escapees, etc.

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    2. Sorry. Forgot this was the root canal thread...

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    3. Here are my thoughts. First, although thousands buy new every year, few ever spend $500K on a rig. You can reduce your depreciation by an order of magnitude by simply paying about a tenth of that. New. Second, you might consider not mentioning couchmooching in the same post where you boast about earning $500K a year. Just a thought. Thanks.

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    4. Thanks Dugg. Insightful and appreciated.

      For the record I wasn't boasting and my income isn't $500K USD per year - it was actually $740K USD last year since you seem curious. It was a great year and I'm very fortunate.

      Coach surfing and AirBnb are also fantastic communities and great resources for meeting new people regardless of their and your backgrounds. No one judges and you come as you are. My advice is to give it a try!

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    5. Andrew this is a very difficult question to answer especially for us. Everybody RV's differently and everybody has a different budget to deal with. Kathe is right you need to go to an RVing forum to ask a question like this. There are many of them out there like www.escapees.com, www.rv.net.

      As for AirBNB and couchsurfing, they aren't long term ways of travel. AirBNB to start off with isn't very cheap anymore and couchsurfing is great but you don't always get responses back from people you have contacted. As for traveling this way we have our expenses posted at the end of each month so that can give you and idea. Also if you want to stay longer term somewhere and want to ship 5-10 boxes then you have far to much "stuff" and you should seriously consider what you really "need". We have done several stints where we have traveled for 5 to 7 months just out of two small suitcases and we managed perfectly fine, having said that we aren't normal!

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    6. Thank you for the thoughtful answer Ruth and for taking the time to reply. Good points and will take your advice about reposting.

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  5. Glad all went well. It wasn't the same dentist whose office I walked out if. No way was I going to let some dentist do a root canal on the wrong tooth.

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    1. My tooth is still doing well after almost a week. I will get the crown done when we get to one of the border towns.

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  6. USD$180 is about the going price for root canals in Los Algodones (right across the border from Yuma) as well. Crowns another $200.

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    1. Thanks Dugg, I think that is what we will do for my crown.

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  7. Andrew your right on except low on maintenance. Oil change will run you $500..Rv repair will cost $125 up an hour and your limited on what you can do if full timing.Fuel is the main thing rvers are concern about.I tried to convince people thats one of your least expenses.You left out insurance and campground membership.
    I full timed for 16 years and loved every minute of it and knew what it cost but would do it again.

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    1. Carl - thank you so much! Appreciate it. Yes, I forgot insurance and campgrounds. Good point. Also good thoughts on maintenance costs and I'll add those to my spreadsheet.
      Great hearing you would do it all again and I'm sure the memories and adventures are worth every penny.

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  8. Sorry to hear about the fridge. Sounds like some replacement parts will be in order but that the fridge itself is ok. Great that you can look into things in such detail yourself. I do think Sherman is giving you a heads up. Use it or lose it sort of thing???

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    1. Yep, we will definitely be get Sherman outfitted with some new parts, he sure does deserve it!

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  9. Sherman wants some quality time parked near an RV parts store! Good deal on the dental work Ruth!

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    1. Yep, we have quite a list for him when we reach Arizona.

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  10. Don't know much about RV fridges, but is it possible that there may be a kink in the propane supply line?

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    1. Nope, the gas was definitely getting through. Kevin has got it sorted out now and it has been working beautifully ever since.

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  11. I hope Ruth's tooth gets sorted (with no pain :)), dental work in Canada is so bloody expensive you are fortunate at what it costs there. Happy New Year to the two of you!!

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    1. My tooth feels wonderful unless you have insurance in Canada or the US, I don't know how people can afford to get their teeth fixed!

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year's too and wishing you the best for 2015.

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  12. Not sure why, but we've found rv problems seem to come in waves. Two or three things to deal with and then it's all good again for a while! Anyway the good news is you should be fine after this round...sorry that's not much help, I know!

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    1. Forgot to mention, being the recipient of several Algodones root canals and crowns, my experience has been positive, for the most part...did need to have one crown recemented later.

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    2. Kevin has managed to get the problems sorted out, hopefully that's it for now.

      Good to hear that you were happy with the work done in Algodones. I think we will be going to one of the border towns to get my crown done as well.

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  13. When it comes to fridge problems I would not fool around due to personal experiance..We lost our 38ft Monaco Windsor Class A diesel pusher thanks to a refrigerator fire. Thankfully no one was inside or injured. Be Careful!!!

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    1. Thanks for the warning, Kevin is pretty knowledgeable about the workings of the fridge and took great care while working on it. Sorry you lost your motorhome to a fire and thankfully no one was killed or injured.

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  14. Why is Ruth going to a different dentist for the crown than the one who did the root canal? Just curious! That sounds like a great price to me based on the dental work I have had done in the US. H

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    1. To be honest I am not sure why the root canal specialist didn't do the crown but I guess it was just something that he didn't do. I am going to go and get the crown done in one of the border towns because the other dentist couldn't get the crown done as quickly as I would like, in fact if I stayed and had it done I would only be getting the crown put on, on Monday and we didn't want to wait around that long.

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