500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A new computer!

We left the Home Depot in Nogales, and our first stop was for gasoline! Sherman's tank was running dry. I used gasbuddy.com to check out the lowest fuel prices in the area, and found a nearby station at $1.759 per gallon ($0.582 per litre CDN).

Man, that is getting to be some cheap gas!

Filled up the motorhome from empty for $96.52 ($120.65 CDN). I put in 54.87 gallons (207 litres), and the tank only holds 60 gallons (228 litres) so it was getting pretty dry.

Next stop was another Walmart to look for a little laptop. They've got one on sale for $218 ($272.50 CDN) but again, they were out of stock.

So we hopped on the highway north towards Tucson. Don't normally drive on the interstate highways, but there's not much other choice in this area!

Scenery from the road.

Arizona.

Arizona.

Arizona.

We pulled in to the Best Buy store in SW Tucson. Their website advertised a 15.6" HP laptop for $229.99. Sure enough, they had one in stock and we bought it!

We also bought a Verizon "jetpack" mifi for internet. Only $49.99.

But of course while these are great prices in U.S. dollars, they are not so great when you add in the 25% Canadian exchange rate.

So, with 8% Arizona sales tax, the laptop came to $248.62 ($310.77 CDN).

I checked my email, and there was a note from our friend Renate who we had met at Hacienda RV Park in Mexico a couple of years ago. She's been a loyal reader of this blog for many years and noticed that we were heading her way. She's parked up with her motorhome at Casa Grande RV Resort and asked if we had time to stop by. Of course we did! And it so happened that was about where we wanted to stop for the night anyhow.

So, back on the road...

Arizona.

Huh?? I thought the U.S. was stuck in standard? What's with the metric road sign? Are they thinking about joining the rest of the world??

Nice lookin' overpasses.

Ruth relaxes while I drive. There's no topes or livestock on the road to watch for!

Yep, we're in Arizona.

More nice lookin' overpasses. And signs that are back in miles.

They must have lots of taxpayer money here.

I gotta admit, it looks nice.

We arrived at Casa Grande RV Resort, and I went into the office. No way were we paying $28 ($35 CDN) to park for a night, so I asked if we could dry camp in their storage lot. Yep, for $10 ($12.50 CDN) that would be fine. Sold!

We went and socialized with Renate for a while. Then she came over for a drink in the evening with her dog Rocky. Nice to see you again Renate...hopefully we'll see you again over the next few weeks.

Renate, with her dog Rocky.

I tried to get our new Verizon "jetpack" activated. It's all supposed to be "plug and play", and really it was very simple.

Only one problem. 

The very first thing that it does is bring you to a website so that you can pay for your data package. That's fine, but it won't accept our Canadian mailing address or credit card combination. I tried numerous different addresses with a couple of different cards and it always comes back as "address invalid".

The only other option it gives is to pay with a Verizon card that you can buy in many stores. So we'll have to go pick one up, or stop in at a Verizon store and try and get it sorted out.

Today, we're arriving at Quartzsite!

This is the laptop we bought, except we paid $229 at Best Buy!...




34 comments:

  1. Welcome to Arizona!! Scottsdale is a busy place this time of year and with the Super Bowl coming up.....well it's just a busy place to be.

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    1. Thanks for letting us know, we will stay away from that area then until things settle down a bit.

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  2. Great price on your HP. Hope you have better luck with HP products than everyone else I know has. I love Arizona's bridges and over pass art. Really nice. Why not make our infrastructure beautiful if we can. What a run around trying to pay Verizon. I'd say Canadian money and addresses are just as good as any other. What's with them?

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    1. We had our last HP laptop for 7 years, problem free. So now you know someone who has had good luck with an HP product. :-)

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  3. Interstate 19 is the only one in the USA with signs in metric, has been that way since it was built in the 80s.

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    1. Very strange that they did that and one that highway only!

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  4. That metric sign is a bit odd. Wonder what's up with that? That's still a pretty good price for a laptop I'm thinking.

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    1. We would love to know their thinking on that too!

      Yep, it is a great price and so far Kevin is pretty happy with it.

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  5. We zonies love snow bird dollars they bring in....hence the beautiful overpasses :-) There are hundreds of snow birds camped all over Arizona....thank you for bringing your dollars and your loonies :-)

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    1. You are welcome Rita and it is worth it to see such decorative overpasses. :-)

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  6. The metric sign might be to help our neighbors in Mexico acclimate to travels in southern AZ. They come across the border to shop :-)

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    1. We can understand that but we don't see it at any of the other border crossings at either the Mexican border or the Canadian border because we both use the metric system. So it still has us a little stumped! :-)

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  7. Sorry you are having so many problems with the jet pack. We really like ours.

    We are arriving at the Q also. Actually in about 20 minutes. Safe travels.

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    1. The Jetpack works great and we are happy with that part of it, they just don't make it easy for Canadians to buy the airtime with a Canadian credit card. We have it all sorted out now, so we are good to go.

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  8. The price of gas is certainly helping your budget! Once in a while, things have to go in your favor. :c)

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    1. Yep, the price of gas offsets the increase in the price of food and our Canadian exchange rate so we are grateful of that.

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  9. I'm very interested in the Verizon jetpack mifi you purchased so I went online and on a c-net review it said it was $200 but only $50 if you had a Verizon Account. And it was extra for the data and very expensive. Now I know you don't waste your money so can set me straight on how this all works?! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Buying the device outright was $49.99 at Best Buy. I saw the same device at Walmart for $59.95. This is for "prepaid" data usage, so there is no Verizon contract account. There are three data packages available, one is weekly only for 250 MG, the other two are monthly. One is 3GB for $60, the other is 10 GB for $90. Yes, fairly expensive. But everything I've read says that the Verizon network has the best coverage. Only drawback with this particular device is that it's 4G only. That means that if you're on the fringe of the network, it won't pickup an available 3G signal.

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  10. Thank you so much for your quick response! May I ask you how much data you use with your blog and downloading pictures per month?

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    1. Not so quick on the response this time....sorry! It's difficult to judge exactly how much we use just with the blog and uploading pictures to it. I would guess about 35 MB per day, so 1 GB per month maybe? Doing a blog post often also involves doing google research to make sure we get facts and locations and prices and things as accurate as possible so for us there's more than just pictures and the actual blog post itself.

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  11. The low dollar is hurting all of us right now but still I bet you paid more than $310 CAN for the HP you bought 7 years ago.

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    1. Yep we sure did and even now with the exchange rate I bet you couldn't find the same computer in Canada for $310 CAN so we are still pretty happy with our purchase.

      Delete
  12. Nice laptop. For our Verizon , we got a refill card at dollar general and they are everywhere, even Quartzite. Once enter the PIN number you just need to stop at a dollar General anywhere and instantly add on you account, withg that same card, ready for you to activate it when needed.

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    1. That was what we tried to do at the Verizon store but they wanted to charge us a $35 activation fee, which we wanted no part of! We got a card from Walgreens so we should be go to go now.

      Delete
  13. If you call Verizon the reps will get the payment through using a Canadian card, they somehow know how to work around the issue..

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    1. We can't call them because we don't have a phone but we did stop by at one of their stores and that didn't go well (check out today's post!). We have now got it worked out and have internet so we are happy campers. :-)

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  14. I also have the MiFi Jetpack 5510L thru Verizon, I pay $50/month on contract as all my phones are thru Verizon but have the option to suspend it if out of the country etc. It is quite slick for going down the road etc but alas, where I am parked right now in Northern California it is fairly useless, I've searching all morning for ways to boost signal but seems like that will be expensive. Good thing I have free Wifi thru RV park but not secure....

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    1. We found that Wilson supplies cell boosters and if you know you are in areas where the cell signal is weak they may be just what you need but it is really only worth it if you know you are in areas like that quite a bit.


      We never worry about using unsecured sites!

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  15. We buy a Visa Gift Card for those situations. They work like a prepaid visa. You can get them at any Walgreen or CVS and load them with whatever amount of money you think you'll need, at the time of purchase. They also work well for those times you get geographical restrictions on Amazon.

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    1. That sounds like another great idea, we will try to remember that in the future.

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  16. Wasn't too long ago that I was looking at that same Arizona scenery. I remember being rather stumped by the km road sign as well. In fact, I had to find a second to confirm I hadn't imagined the first.

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    1. We like the mountainous areas rather than just the flat scrub areas but it really is an interesting area. We were the same, we had to check out a few of the signs before we believed what we were seeing, and we still don't quite understand it!

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  17. Hope you like your HP laptop. Had mine just over 3 years and it's fab however need to change to something more lightweight when we get backpacking again later this year. Computer guru nephew is trying to convince me the Macbook air is the way to go - we shall see !

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    1. Kevin had his old one which was an HP for over 7 years and he loved it, even though it was big and heavy he brought it backpacking with us. This one is slightly smaller and a little lighter. Many people have mentioned to him that he should get one of these "chromebook" type of laptops similar to the Macbook Air but he likes having our own memory and not relying on the internet to store the information and pictures. There were also other features that he prefers to have that you can get with the "normal" laptop and you can't with a "airbook".

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