1500 Miles to the Dentist
I grew up on a farm. We raised tobacco and beef and other things to make ends meet and most of the farms around did the same.
As a child of the 50's I was taught to work hard , obey your parents and respect my elders. So when at age 12 when I was visiting some neighbors and ,they went to take some tobacco down to strip, I went along to help.
Things went pear-shaped when these guys introduced me to a different way of doing the job. Instead of dropping the sticks of tobacco to the ground and then picking them up ,they wanted me to catch the sticks before they hit the ground. And I did for a while and the in a moment of bad timing I looked up just in time to see some sticks just before they hit me in the mouth. The force knocked both my front teeth back and I fell to the ground.
That began a long series of painful dental visits the resulted in the eventual loss of one tooth and the installation of a bridge that was in for 35 years til it wasn't.
In the 21st century the American dentist expect you to make boat or Porshe payments for them, so off I rode to Mexico.
After visiting an oral surgen for a consultation and to check prices I was told to expect $1800.00 per implant with additional charges for extraction and for the teeth to go on the implants. I said thank you for helping with my decision , I'm off to Nuevo Progreso.
I serviced and loaded my '92 KLR and headed South-West.
This is the first pic I took and I'm already 500 miles from home, Kentucky to this spot in the Holley Springs National Forrest in Mississippi.
I stopped to spray the chain with W-D using my home made "Quick- Stick".
I saw the official version for sale in an Aerostitch catalog priced at $50 , and made my own out of scrap for a little time and $0.
As I was in a "get -there " mode , I didn't stop for many pics on the the way but I did a U-turn when I passed this.
It just caught my eye.
I had a lunch of gumbo and shrimp salad in Vicksburg then jammed across the Mississippi river to Monroe, Louisiana on I-20. I really prefer not to be on the interstate but this looked like the best way at the time. It was dark by the time I reached Monroe and I gassed up and went south on 165 with Lake Charles as my goal. I reached it at 12:30 P.M. and got a room.
This was my longest day yet on the KLR, 687 miles.
The next morning I headed to the gulf hoping to find breakfast in Cameron 40 miles away. I only found one eatery in Cameron and they weren't open.
On the way out of town I saw an abandoned machine shop.
Anyone see a bussiness opportunity?
First ferry ride of this trip. $1 to cross Sabine Pass.
I rode on alot of roads that had been milled but never saw any blacktop being laid. Milled roads make for a squirrley ride.
I finally got some food in Winnie, Texas and this was outside when I left.
On the way south through the Bolivar Peninsula and lined up for the Galveston Ferry. Ferry ride #2.
As these folks were feeding the gulls I kept flashing on the Hitchcock movie "The Birds".
South of Galveston I connected a series of farm roads to get to Highway 77. Here I'm taking a "Dew" break.
I pulled over to check this historical marker.
I rode on through the night and checked into this $35 ,no credit cards please motel in Harlingen. The rooms were built in duplexes with a porch on the front and a guard duck on the roof.
Distance covered to here, 1499 miles.
Mexican dentistry tomorrow.
Good luck and safe travels! :1drink
Loving it already. Go bk brkr baker, go! Serious question, I too have the mermites but they leak when it rains. Did you do anything to remedy this? If so, what?
When I modified the boxes I left the top lip that the rubber seal sits on and haven't had any leakage yet. I rode through some torrential rain in Tn.,Ms., and Texas this trip with no problems.
Looking forward to the next portion of your dental adventure :thumb
Thanks for posting. I too remember working tobacco back when it was all done by hand....I managed to keep my teef though...:D
Nice pics, and what about your teeth check up?
On Monday morning I got up and eventulally found the border crossing to Nuevo Progreso . I parked in the secure parking lot and paid my $1 fee. I left most of my stuff in the room and ran a cable through the sleeve of my jacket and the chin bar of the helmet. I also used a bike cover over everything.
To enter Mexico you simply walk over the bridge and put a quarter in the turnstyle. And now you're in a different country.
That's Mexico to the left and Texas to the right.
Due to the recent narco wars the army places an armored car here in addition to about a dozen machine gun toting soldiers. Just so you feel safe.
I had a Google map I'd printed at home and used it to completely miss the dental clinic. Google had me several blocks further in than the clinic's locatation.
A cab driver called me over and asked if I wanted some "putzy". I told him no, I just wanted to find the clinic. I walked by him a couple of times and it got to be a game. "Putzy?" No ,no putzy for me.
I tried my cell phone and it rang then cut out , then Manny from the clinic called back. Eventually he determined I had gone too far and waited at the door for me.
I went upstairs to the clinic and met Edgar , the doctor that does the implants. He got excited to see what I needed and asked to take pictures so he could show another client with similar needs . So we did that and I went downstairs with one of the nurses to the pharmacy.
I was instructed to place a pill under my tounge 45 minutes before the surgery . They said it would be a while and suggested I have lunch. So I did.
And the Mariachi band played.
Quite a festive lunch.
I wandered around a while more checking out a leather store and some liquor stores to kill time. I went back to the clinic and they still hadn't finished with the other patients. After a while a woman from Texas that worked at the clinic suggested we go down the street for a drink til my time.
The 75 cent margaritas for on the clinic and after a couple we went back. She couldn't get over the fact I'd ridden to there for the dentist and went on and on about her fears of motorcycling.
I countered with "What sounds scarier to you, riding a motorcycle or going to the dentist in Mexico?"
That seemed to quiet her down.
Then it was my turn.
A few injections of novacaine and the work began. In fairly rapid sucsession, two teeth were extracted, three implants were inserted and the temporary bridge was attatched.
As I sat in the waiting room trying to stop bleeding, the lady from Texas voiced consern again about my riding . I trold her I was fine for that.
Later as the sky went completely dark outside I went to one of the doctors and pointed out that I still had a molar that needed a crown. I offered to come back the next day but he said with the time to prep and the lab work it would take all day.
So he said "Let's do the impression, trim the tooth and if we have to do the root canal now."
So that's what happened. They told me to return at 1:00 the next afternoon and the crown would be ready.
After preparing the tooth for the crown, it was time to pay. Most people as I found out pay by debit card , I on the other hand had a boot full of hundreds. Earlier in the day I got a shoeshine from this guy.
He had been all over the boot and failed to feel the envelope.
So as I spread hundreds all over the desk I inquired about a cash discount. I suggested 10% ,but Manny wouldn't bite. He did offer 3%, because that was the transaction fee for the cards. So I pocketed $100 to be enjoyed on the trip home.
So I walked out of the clinic and 11:30 P.M. to completely deserted streets. At the border the Mex. Army had gone home for the night. Back across the bridge the U.S. border guards asked several questions including ,Had I flown in?.
I said no I rode my motorcycle that was in the parking lot across the street.
It's still there isn't it I asked. I have no idea was the reply.
So I walk over to the lot and the bike is there unmolested. But the security is gone home also.
The following morning I cleared out of the room and packed all my stuff .And rode back to the border to finish up.
I parked in the same spot and covered the bike.
I took a few street shots on the way to the clinic.
This five story building houses the clinic I used.
After all the activity at the clinic yesterday I was suprised to find things calm and quiet today.
The crown wasn't there from the lab yet so Brenda told me 30 minutes. I'd learned yesterday that 30 minutes was really an hour or more. So I went out in the street.
I walked to the leather store and bought my wife a bag, then was offered free admittion to a gentalmans club that had been closed the previous day.
The doorman said he needed to search me before entering. So I asked why?
He said to see if you have a knife.
I said 'Of course I have a knife. Would you walk around in Mexico without a knife?"
So inside the club , I ordered a cervasa.
Then a string of girls came by one by one to welcome me. The floorman came over to tell me they were a full service club.
I could have a private dance, get a room, a BJ or some putzy.
I declined the offers stating I was only there to finish at the dentist before heading north again.
What a bunch of friendly girls!
Well back at the clinic, the crown finally arrived and was cemented on. So goodbye everyone, see you in six months.
Before I left I went in a store and had a margarita and bought a bottle of Don Julio Reservito. Down the street at Angel's I went upstairs and had a tamale lunch.
Then I rode over to South Padre Island just to see it.
The place was nice enough , but the big buildings blocked out most of the beach veiws and noone picks up the plant litter so I moved on to the north.
I rode on into the night , hoping to get through Houston in the middle of the night. But it was not to be, after stopping for a $3.12 value meal at Mickey D's I ran into some torrential rain. And then the bike died.
AS the rain was coming down I set up my tent at a farm's gate and tried to get some sleep.
Turns out I had neglected to turn the gas back to the main tank and had run out with it on reserve.
But with a KLR there is reserve and the is the over the hump gas. All you have to do is lay the bike down on til the left bar touches the ground and you're good for 10 more miles.
So which ten?
Acorrding to my map there was three possibles.
Continue north , hoping to find a station.
Try for the 11 miles to Tivoli.
Or go the shorter distance to McFaddin and if there was nothing there, the map showed a road toward Tivoli.
The map lied. McFaddin had a mercantile that looked to have closed during the Johnson administration.
So I went for the back way to Tivoli. I didn't think the gravel road would be on my map, but it went in the right direction. It just went out in a field of cows though.
I was able to procure about three quarts from a lady at this house. She told me the closest gas was 16 miles up 77.
I almost made it. I had to lay the bike down once more to get enough to get there.
I hate the high cost of dentistry so I'm in.
Great pics BTW! :clap
What was the cost for the dental? Happy with the work? Not to pry but I'm sure many are as curious as I am.
In Ky. I was quoted $1800 per implant and that didn't include extraction. Or the bridge to go on the implants.
I also needed a crown on a molar. A friend told me of his recent experience with having a molar crowned. It cost him $1000 for a root canal plus $1000 for the crown. The bad part is they botched the job and ended up having to pull the tooth.Then they offered to put in an implant for $1000 and add the tooth for another $1000. This was in the U.S.
So I figured in Ky. the cost would be $1800 x three +the bridge at $600 + the crown and root canal at $1000 each. So about $8000.
In Mexico I got 3 implants with the teeth for $3000. And the crown and root canal for $340.
Then I negociated a 3% cash discount , final bill $3240.
I have to go back in 4-6 months for the permanent teeth on the implants.
It is a substancial savings and the care was as good as in the U.S. Bare in mind they did this work in 1 and a half days. I'm sure if it was done at home it would have been drug out over 8-10 weeks and multiple visits.
I prefer the get it done and over style.
The work was done 10 days ago now and so far so good.
When I do go back I'm going to have some whitening and other cosmetic procedures done.
I rolled on toward Galveston to avoid the Houston metro mess. I stopped to get a pic of an old house and wittnessed the WienerMobile in traffic.
The house was used for weddings and parties. Pretty nice.
This is the Moody Mansion like the sign says.
Would make a good ADV clubhouse or party location.
On the way to the ferry I spotted some "Painted Ladies".
Then it was on the ferry for ferry ride #3.
And north on the Bolivar Penninsula.
Obligatory beach break.
I rode on into Louisiana and got a bite in LaFayette . Then down 90 and got a nicer room in Franklin.
I'm lined up to spend my dental discount on dinner in the French Quarter tomorrow.
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