It feels different living away from Minnesota, not better, not worse. Just different. No snow, no cold, predictably warm and sunny days and a mad excess of shopping and restaurants.
Yesterday afternoon, while driving the five hours to Las Vegas from Scottsdale for the weekend, we stopped for gas in the desert town of Kingsman, Arizona, a familiar stopping point for a travelers along their way to California or Nevada.
Getting low on gas with another hour plus to go, Tom pulled in to a busy gas station, right off the highway. Lo and behold, they didn’t accept credit cards, only cash a customer may have on hand or, from their cash machine conveniently positioned on the gas pump island, in order to collect a $2.75 “processing fee” from the machine for every transaction.
By avoiding paying standard credit card fees by allowing only debit cards, the gas station was allowed to line their coffers with the excess revenues they were generating from the cash machines!
What a rip off! Customers were furious as they were sucked in by this scam grumbling as they begrudgingly complied.
Not my guy! He whipped out of there so fast that his SUV’s tires were squealing, We proceeded a quarter mile down the road to pump gas at a station with no such policies. As he was filling the tank he realized that the gas he was pumping was $.50 more per gallon! Oh good grief!
Everyone had warned us about getting ripped off outside the US! Ha! It was a good reminder to be suspicious; not paranoid, to be mindful; not obsessive, wherever we may be. So we shall.
So today, situated in to our comfortable family member’s home in Henderson for the weekend, located in an ideal area, we prepared ourselves for several tasks today:
1. Go to MailLink in Las Vegas and pick up all of our accumulated forwarded mail from the past two weeks.
2. Go to a CVS or Walgreen’s pharmacy to have take additional passport photos necessary to apply for our second passports (will explain this soon) and also as required when applying for certain visas around the world.
3. Apply for Nevada driver’s licenses and voter’s registration. (We’ve been warned that the wait is horrifying. More on that in a moment.)
4. Find a good restaurant for breakfast.
5. Find our bank in order to deposit some checks that had arrived in the mail.
6. Locate a Target store to purchase a new FitBit pedometer after the most recent device fell apart. (I must get back to tracking those 10,000 daily steps, severely lacking over the past two weeks.)
OK. The Nevada DMV, a pure nightmare, we heard. We had talked to several residents warning us to be prepared for hours spent waiting in line. Of course, we had a plan. Showing up 15 minutes before they were to open at 8:00 am and getting in the growing line outside the building seemed like a reasonable solution.
Upon arriving at 7:43, we cringed as we witnessed no less than 40 people in line while a light rain was falling on a chilly morning in the low 50’s. Unprepared, arriving without jackets or rain gear we decided to tough it out. We were tempted to drive away and come back at a later time, anticipating that the line might lighten up later in the day.
Let’s stay, I coaxed Tom, he too in a lightweight long sleeved shirt. In line we went. At 7:55 they started letting us inside. Much to our surprise, there were no less than 25 stations utilizing a sophisticated numbering system, reminiscent of a computerized female voice moving the cattle-like crowd in sci-fi movie we watched years ago.
In no time at all, we were both seated in front of a DMV “officer” providing our copious documents to satisfy the state’s requirements. We were well armed.
An hour later, we were out the door with our Nevada residency in tact, former Minnesota residents (Tom, a lifelong fifth generation Minnesotan, that predates Minnesota statehood) and me, having enjoyed the frozen tundra and Minnesota nice (to be missed) for the past 40 years. Thank you Minnesota. Hello, Nevada.
And, soon, my friends…48 days…hello, world.