Our cell phone's SIM cards ran out...No more phone calls, maps or data on our phones...Three days and counting...

 
See below for details on this cactus.  I shot all of today's photos at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve including the blooms on this cactus.
 As it turned out, the T-Mobile SIM cards for our phones with calling and data ended a few days ago.  At that point with only four days remaining until we leave the US, we saw no reason to add more calling or data at a cost of $80 for one more month.

As a result, we were subject to using our Skype account to make the multiple calls we needed to handle yesterday.  With no charge using our Nevada phone number on Skype ($5 a month) we were able to make all the calls on my computer at no additional charge based on the fact that all the calls were to toll-free numbers.
Opuntia pinkavae, common name Bulrush Canyon Prickly-pear is a species of cactus which originated in northern Arizona and southern Utah.
When making calls to non-toll-free numbers we pay a minimal charge of $.023 per minute and are able to call any phone number, cell phone or business anywhere in the world. 

If we talk for 60 minutes, the entire cost is $1.38, fees for which are subtracted from funds we prepay into the account as needed.  If we run out of funds, Skype reminds us to add more money to the account.  Thus, we don't get a "bill" in the usual sense.
 
Of course, if we call another Skype account, there's no per-minute charge.  All Skype to Skype calls are free from anywhere in the world.  It's only the calls directly to cell phone numbers or land lines of that result in the $.023 per minute rate.  (As an aside...if Skype is installed as an app on a smart phone, free calls may be sent and received on the phone using the app if both parties are using Skype).
What a lovely spot to stop and enjoy the views.
Without a working SIM card in our phones, we no longer have "maps" or any type of driving navigation when we're away from Richard's home.  While inside the house, we are able to use the house's Wi-Fi on our phones for a connection.  It's only when we leave that we no longer have a connection.

This may seem complicated for some world travelers who insist on having a cell phone contract.  Our rational?  Why pay $100 to $200 per month or more for US phone contracts for both of our phones and data when we can purchase SIM cards in any country never paying more than about $20 a month?
There are mountains surrounding the entire Las Vegas valley.
In reality, who do we need to call?  When we don't have a rental car, we need SIM cards to contact our driver to pick us up and deliver us back to our vacation home or to other locations.  It's not as if we're calling Domino's for "pizza to go" or calling family and friends talking for extended periods.  We save those conversations for free Skype-to-Skype calls or when using our $5 a month Skype phone number to call phones at $1.38 an hour.

If Tom and I separate for a few hours while one of us is shopping or runs an errand, we can call one another on our respective phones using the appropriate SIM cards installed. 
There's nothing quite as stunning as water and mountains to create an astounding scene.
Also, we've found that using SIM cards prevents us from potentially spending huge sums when calling friends and family members from our phones while utilizing a cell phone contract or using data on our phones.  It causes us to be mindful of how we use our SIM cards and how easily we can chat with anyone from our computers.

In most cases, we have a decent Wi-Fi signal that allows for a very clear conversation.  In most cases, we find the person to whom we're speaking having signal issues when they're out of range, not us. 
Who knew the desert so close to Las Vegas could be so beautiful?
As an example, I tried to speak to my friend Chere last night using our Skype number to her cell number.  She and her husband were driving to Wisconsin and the signal was so poor on her end we had to cut the call short until such a time as she'd be able to get a good signal.  Even in the US, cell service is yet to be perfect.

Yesterday, having postponed my visit to sister Susan until today once I upload this post, I took off on a few errands, one to pick up VSL3 Probiotics (in pill form) when a kindly pharmacist at a Smith's Market agreed to special order them for me. 

I prefer the powdered product which has a much larger number of bacteria at 450 billion but he was unable to get this high dose in the US (on this over-the-counter product) compared to the pills at a paltry 120 billion.  Based on this dose, I'll take a minimum of two pills per day. 
These two Mallards found rocks on which to stand in close proximity to each other.
With my current supply, I have enough pills in my possession to last for the next four months.  Once we're settled in Costa Rica, I'll check and see if I can find more for when we head to Africa in less than seven months.  Certain products simply aren't available in some countries.

That's it for today, folks.  We'll be back tomorrow with more.  Today, I'll say goodbye to my dear sister Susan which no doubt will be emotional.  Tonight, we're heading out to a movie and dinner on the Las Vegas Strip with Richard and friends, our final night out on "the town." 

Enjoy your evening wherever you may be!  We'll be thinking of you!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2016:

Check out the size of the fish and steak portions from the groceries we purchased in Phuket, Thailand at a warehouse type market. The brats in the bottom right of the photo are gluten, grain and sugar-free.   Using this app to convert the Thai baht (THB) $3,803.25, we discovered we'd only spent US $109.38 for all this!  In the US, this much food would have been at least twice as much.  For more details, please click here.

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