The 2½ hour wait at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles…

While in Penguin, Tasmania in 2017 we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints!  For more photos, please click here.

We each had over a year left until the expiration of our Nevada driver’s licenses. However, with uncertainty at this point as to when we’ll return to the US, we needed to take care of this task before we depart Nevada in four or five days.


We both dreaded the process when the DMV in Henderson (and other locations) usually requires appointments to avoid waiting for hours. The last time we did this, seven years ago, the line extended outside the building with no less than 100 impatient applicants pushing and shoving to secure their spots.


With Tom sick all week, we avoided going. But as time wore on, we decided we’d better take care of this regardless of how he or I was feeling. When we awoke yesterday morning, it was raining heavily.


We imagined standing in that long queue outdoors in the rain with both of us still coughing (especially Tom) and getting soaked. I’d packed our cheap plastic rain protectors in the blue bag and by 9:45 am we took off.


Imagine our elation when we drove into the parking lot and there was no line at all! Apparently, due to the inclement weather, people decided to wait and go another day, which proved to benefit us greatly.


Upon entry into the building, which was packed, within minutes we got a number from the receptionist, found two adjacent chairs and began the long wait, making sure we didn’t miss the call of our number over the PA system.


We realized the wait would be long, but we were so pleased to avoid standing outdoors in the rain, hardly a whimper crossed our lips during the over-two-hour wait.


Some may say, the facility is disorganized with so many applicants always waiting to be seen. In fact, we perceived it as being very organized and well-planned with friendly customer service and systems in place to facilitate a somewhat painless process.


I played with my new phone while Tom never took his eyes off the screen with the numbers that had been called and those numbers upcoming. The time went more quickly than expected and by noon we met with the rep who would process our renewals.


The process itself took about 30 minutes when the rep was curious as to why we were renewing early which apparently is unusual. She then continued to ask many questions. Of course, we had nothing to hide, but we didn’t want to get into our entire story.


Finally, our temporary licenses were issued and we were directed to the area where photos are taken. Amazingly, there was no queue there and we breezed through the process in a few minutes.


Once out the door, we sighed in relief. It was finally done. Next time, we can again apply online when every other renewal time, an applicant must apply in person.


We feel as if we accomplished a lot while in the US, amid both of us being sick; we applied for and received our visas for India, applied and are awaiting our “second, four-year” passports and now renewed our driver’s licenses. It’s been a huge relief to get these time consuming and cumbersome tasks out of the way.


Our next project…deciding on how we’ll spend the two unbooked months in India after we’ve completed the Maharajas Train tour on February 8th. Planning this is a big project and we just may have to wait until we get settled in Arizona next week. Plus, we still have to work on hiring an attorney to assist us in getting the visa waiver to return to South Africa.


I’m off today to visit my sister Susan once again. I’d intended to go yesterday, but when we returned from the DMV so late in the day, I realized I’d be stuck in rush hour traffic, in the rain, on the return drive. No thank you. I’ll be on my way soon.


Have a pleasant day!

__________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2018:

Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day. It’s summer during this time of year in South Africa and with the drought and lack of bodies of water available to the wild animals, they may seek a refreshing dunk in the cement pond in our garden, intended as a source of drinking water. For more photos, please click here.

Turning the corner…Still lots to do…

Two years ago today in 2017, in Pisco, Peru, we spotted these children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  For more photos, please click here.

While we were about one week into the most recent cruise, one early evening at the beginning of the free-drink-happy-hour (two hours long), I wasn’t able to take a sip of my wine. I felt queasy and dizzy.


Tom walked me to the cabin, helped me get situated into bed while I encouraged him to go back to the event to enjoy the evening’s camaraderie and bring me a small plate of food from the buffet before he went to dinner in the main dining room. There was no point in him sitting there with me.


Before 7:00 pm, he brought me a plate of roasted chicken, grilled fish, and steamed veggies. By 9:00 pm, he’d had dinner and returned to the cabin for the night. 


I had no idea why I was dizzy but by morning it passed leaving me with a peculiar little cough that eventually blossomed into the full roar of the virus from which we’re still experiencing now. It’s been 34 days since the onset.


As I mentioned yesterday, Tom is now suffering as I did over two weeks ago in Minnesota when I went to Urgent Care twice only to ultimately discover after taking antibiotics and cortisone, it is truly a virus with little to be done other than to wait it out.


Of course, if either of us had suspected it was more serious than the virus we contracted while cruising, we would have sought more medical advice. We had no fever, no symptoms of pneumonia, no chest pain (although our stomach muscles ached from coughing, a common side effect).


Yesterday, I awoke to feel dizzy again, on top of awful coughing, and this morning that is totally gone and much to my delight, my cough has lessened dramatically. Oddly, it came in with dizziness and left with the dizziness. Go figure. I’m finally out of the woods, or so it seems.


Tom is insistent we go to the DMV today but again oddly enough, it’s going to rain today. A visit to the DMV results in a long outdoor queue often standing for hours. We weren’t able to book an appointment based on a lack of availability while we’re here before we depart for Arizona next week.


The end result? Today, rain or shine we’ll stand in line at the DMV, to renew our driver’s licenses. Yes, we have raincoats but no umbrella. Who has an umbrella in Nevada? It rarely rains here.


I’d planned to see Susan today but that’s up in the air based on how quickly we are able to get through the line at the DMV. If not today, I’ll go tomorrow. Perhaps, the lines will be shorter today with it raining.


Out of the small backpack, I just dug out the total-body-coverage cheap plastic raincoats we’d purchased in Thailand for 85 cents each which have served us well on several occasions over these past few years. We’ll see how they work for us today.


No doubt, I’m dreading this DMV thing but it has to be done. Tom offered to go on his own but I too, need my license renewed and it makes no sense for us to go separately.


We’ll continue to keep our readers informed of the infinitesimal activities of our time here in Nevada. Soon enough, a little excitement may ensue as we begin to pull ourselves out of the throes of the virus.


Happy day to all, rain or shine.

__________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2018:

This fluffy little one captured our hearts. For more photos, please click here.

Our new residency…State of Nevada

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.