Friday, September 30, 2011
New needles and swabs are provided and nurses and social workers are on standby. Safe disposal of used needles is provided. Addicts are going to inject no matter what the laws say and it is best to provide a place for them to do so that protects the addict from HIV and Hepatitis and also protects our kids from stepping on used needles in their schoolyards. Addicts also know they are not going to be arrested. A win - win situation and it proves that sanity can prevail. Needless to say, conservative groups are outraged! Tough! I think the drugs should be provided as well. This would stop 90% of thefts and robberies in Vancouver.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
You could justify it in the end
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.
- Joni Mitchell
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
He was thrilled to find that even at 160,000 miles it burned absolutely no oil. He is good at the mechanical end of things but a little shaky in understanding the electrical stuff like, "Why would you install 6 volt batteries when the coach needs 12 volts"? He is a nice guy so I do not mind walking him through it although I sometimes get the feeling he thinks I do not know what I am talking about. ;)
He asked my advice on a couple of maintenance issues and thanked me for taking such good care of the rig. It made me very happy to get that call as I always hate selling anything for fear that there are hidden problems that I do not know about and pass on to the new owner. I am glad they like it and it has a lot of life left in it. As a matter of fact, I often wish I had spent some money on it and kept it instead of moving up. It has more power (Chevy 454) and a much heavier frame than the new one (2005 Ford V10) as well as getting better gas mileage.
Monday, September 26, 2011
After pickup I grabbed the bins to carry them back to the house and almost got blown down the highway myself. Norma says the news was reporting 80 mph winds which is almost hurricane strength. Just a breeze for those of you on the Gulf Coast but for here it was noticeable!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
One thing I like about FB is that they seem to have limitless space available for photos whereas Google has lots of space but all your Google applications (Gmail, Blogger, Picasa) share it and I fear I am getting close to filling up my allotted space just with my Blog photos. If this happens, I will have to either eliminate old photos or buy more space, neither of which I look forward to.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I was mixing up a cheese omelet this morning when I noticed a large splash in the ocean out the kitchen window. I was almost sure I saw a large fin in the water so I called Norma and we went out on the porch to watch. A minute or so later a huge Orca Whale surfaced, blew and rolled! It was a couple of hundred feet offshore right at the end of our driveway! She hung around the area and surfaced a couple more times, obviously filling her stomach on herring or pink salmon. It was a great show but by the time I thought I should grab my camera, she had left for more fertile feeding grounds. It is not a scene that translates well into photos in any case as they are quite a distance away and do not normally break the surface by all that much. The best photos are taken when you are above them and looking down at an angle. They never give me enough time to get the tripod and telephoto lens out. It was still quite a thrill to get a look at this visitor!
This partly made up for the beating I took in the markets last week! And of course the final visit to Norma's implant specialist in Victoria. The bill was a little less than it could have been because some of the items on the original bill were not done at our request. It was bad enough in any case.
We still have enough money left over for a winter in Mexico!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The fence does seem to be doing it's job though. My friend Kelsi reports that Norma's fence is working so well that it has actually driven many of the Island deer onto the ferry and up to her place in the Okanagan where they are now munching on her vegetation. One of the deer actually had Kelsi send Norma a photo of her.:
Sunday, September 18, 2011
We went out and bought one of those newfangled counter top sinks and a new faucet set to go with it. I got my reciprocating saw out, put a new blade on it and started cutting out the old sink. It was tough going because the Corian was almost an inch thick in places but after a ton of (probably carcinogenic) dust which I tried to keep out of my lungs with a mask, I managed to cut around the outside and removed the old sink part of the counter top. The new one fit nicely over the hole and after a few hours of fitting the new tap and drain stem and modifying the house drain to fit, it was done! The drain leaked a little upon testing but after tightening everything up, the leak stopped. Norma does not really like the way the new white sink goes with the old counter top but I think it is perfect!
The front panel under the sink is still off because I am building a drawer to take advantage of the space we gained by using the counter top style sink. It will get finished tomorrow. Life is Good!
Friday, September 16, 2011
The battle would rage for eleven years before being ended on February 21, 1821 with the Plan Of Iguala, or the "Plan of the Three Guarantees" which established Mexican Independence, Social Equality for all social and ethnic groups in the country and acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church as the official religion of the new country. * I would have supported two of the three...
In remembrance of this victory for the People, every September 15 at 11:00PM the Grito or Cry For Independence is issued by the President and all State Governors from their respective palace balconies. It goes like this with the speaker calling the statement and the crowd answering with "Viva":
¡Viva Hidalgo! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Morelos! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Allende! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros! ¡Viva!
¡Viva nuestra independencia! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva!
¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
It is unbelievable that any intelligent person could consider voting for them!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I was driving north through central Oregon on my way home after a solo RV trip. Norma had yet to retire so I had headed out on my own for a couple of weeks. I was driving along with the radio on very low to the point where I could hardly hear it. The music had stopped some time before and there was just a steady drone of voices I could not make out. After a while I turned it up and thought it was a discussion of a movie or something, not a subject I was interested in. I hit the "scan" button but every station I landed on had the same thing on!
I turned it up louder and that was when I began to understand what was going on. The first plane had hit and there was mass confusion. Almost right away the second plane hit! I was in the desert and the first thing I noticed was there was hardly any traffic. Soon a police car raced past me with lights and siren doing well over 100 mph. Then a fighter aircraft screamed past overhead at low altitude following the Interstate. I realized that the Country was being attacked and here I was driving down the highway in a foreign plated motorhome that could contain who knows what! It was time to get off the road.
I pulled into Bend, OR and found the nearest RV park. I walked into the office to find the two people glued to the TV. They told me to park anywhere and to come in and register and pay in the morning. I parked, hooked up the cable and watched CNN non stop for the next two days.
EDIT: Here is an email I just received from Michael Moore on the subject of 9-11"
September 11th, 2011
There is not much more that needs to be said today. We all know how we felt on that day, and we all know what we've lost in this past decade. I said what I had to say about 9/11 seven years ago -- and thanks to some kind stranger who has posted it for free on YouTube, I'd like to share it with you again today.
Let's make the next decade one of peace.
P.S. I'd also like to share this essay from former NY Times Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges. It is blunt and honest and worthy of reflection.
"Andrés de Jesus is 57 years old and resides in the city of Estelí, Nicaragua. He is married with five children and he is a merchant who sells lubricants. He has been in this business for seven years and started it through a loan, as he did not have his own capital. Prior to selling lubricant, he worked simultaneously in transportation and as a merchant selling basic grains. However, he decided to leave that business since it wasn’t very profitable and his earnings were very low. As a result, he decided to sell lubricants and has had better earnings than with his previous businesses.
He is requesting the loan to purchase lubricants. With this investment, he plans to keep his inventory stocked with all types of lubricants his customers demand. He considers the location of his place of business to be good for sales. However, he needs more products to sell so that he does not lose customers. He wants to improve his place of business, expand it, and improve his sales. His next goal is to provide his children with a professional education so that they will be someone in life and will be independent."
If you want to try out Kiva for yourself just click on my Kiva link on the right hand side of the page. You loan out $25 to someone trying to start or improve a business and you are repaid over time. You earn no interest but get the satisfaction of helping out.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
This photo is not mine, it is a stock photo off the Internet.
Friday, September 9, 2011
We just had an earthquake! I was in the office and felt the room swaying back and forth. I stood up and had to grab the desk to steady myself. Norma was in the bedroom and the mirror and TV started swaying. We went outside but by then it was over. It lasted maybe 30/40 seconds. It was centered at Nootka Island on the west coast of Vancouver Island about 160 KM from Campbell River. Cool! My first earthquake!
I was just on CKNW 980. They asked for comments from people who had felt the earthquake so I called in.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
He drew a few lines in the sand. He would not abide with taking away the rights of the middle class, of the benefits they had fought and paid for. He said he will fight against the removal of collective bargaining rights. This is what Americans need to hear. He has his vision back! The campaign is on!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Hi Sandy and Darrel,
First of all, thanks for following our adventures. You will love Mexico and you have the perfect rig for Mexican roads and RV parks.
Our medical insurance comes from our Desjardins Visa card company in Quebec. It is the only one we have used and are very happy with it. Norma broke her hip in Tucson several years ago and they flew us both home in a Lear Jet for repairs and then back to Tucson to pick up the motorhome.
Vehicle insurance comes from Mexico Bob's San Xavier Mexico Insurance in Arizona. We have found them very reasonable and if you have been following the Blog, you know we have had three claims. They have paid everything. Also remember you can get a refund from ICBC for all the time you are in Mexico. Just keep all the receipts you can to prove you were out of their jurisdiction.
As far as border crossings, we always enter Mexico at Lukeville, AZ / Sonoita, MX. This is because we visit friends in Yuma on the way down and also get glasses in Algodones, just across the border from Yuma. Lukeville is an easy crossing and is a short days drive to Edgar and Anna's Punta Vista RV Park in Santa Ana. Coming back, we have used Lukeville, Laredo, TX (Columbia Crossing) and El Paso, TX (wouldn't cross here again - Juarez is scary). The same rules apply going in either direction. Cross as early in the morning as you can and do not spend the night on the MX side near the border. The best method heading north is to spend the night about 100 KM from the border in MX, wake up early and get to the crossing before 10:00 AM or so. We have never had a problem, this is just the recommended method and that is what we do.
Also, have several sources of cash available. We have three debit cards as well as four credit cards. We have had several cards compromised over the years while in Mexico as well as one ATM card swallowed by an ATM. None of this has cost us anything but just in case it happens again we carry lots of cards. Mexico is a cash economy so do not think you can depend on credit cards for day to day expenses. Buy pesos as soon as you cross and please do not try to use USA dollars.
The drug violence is just that - drug violence - and does not affect RVers. Having said that, we always use common sense, stay out of drug areas and late night bars, don't drive around at night, don't flash money around.... Pretty much the same as we do at home. "Situational Awareness" as my retired US Military friend Belgique calls it. There have been more RVers murdered in Canada (2) in the last few years than in Mexico (0). Do not believe everything you see on FOX News.
The following is my response to a followup email:If there is anything else we can help with or explain further, just email! You also might want to join this Mexico RVing Forum.
In the USA we use T-Mobile pay as you go cell phone and in Mexico we have a Telcel pay as you go phone, both very cheap to buy and load with time but expensive if you have to use them to call Canada. Skype is our main method for calling home. Walmart in the USA sells another very cheap pay as you go cell plan. Unless you have an unlocked SIM type phone, you will have to buy phones for each country but they are cheap.
We also bought a Telcel Internet Broadband stick for Mexico. It offers 3 GB of data for about $300 pesos a month. Coverage is excellent! We also have a Virgin Broadband stick for the USA. They are all pay as you go.
WIFI coverage is fairly good in Mexico with most RV parks having WIFI of varying quality. Usually you have to take your computer to the office or some other designated area. There are Italian Coffee Company stores everywhere that have WIFI as well as many hotels and restaurants. We just got tired of carrying the laptop around and bought the Telcel Broadband plan. It worked everywhere.
Be sure to buy a copy of the Travelers Guide to Mexican Camping by Mike and Terri Church. You can order it from their website or get it from Amazon.ca. This book is indispensable for Mexican RVers. It gives directions to and descriptions of every RV park in Mexico. You will not be able to find most RV parks without it. Do not go without it, you cannot buy it in Mexico (unless you run into Mike and Terri as we have three times)!
Take lots of reading material, English books are very expensive and hard to find in MX. Take extra RV supplies (white hose, in line water filter, toilet chemicals, sewer hose) as they are not sold in MX. Be sure to have at least two 20 / 30 amp converters as 95% of RV park outlets will be the three prong household type. Be sure you can plug in. I also carry enough oil and a filter to be able to change the oil once in MX. There are many roadside mechanicos who will do it for a few pesos if you have the parts. Multi grade oil is hard to find in MX and synthetic oil is impossible to get. Take a gallon of distilled water from the USA for your batteries. It is not available in MX.
Plan on using your generator much more than in Canada or the US as power is not as dependable in MX. For example, in Merida every three spots share one 20 amp breaker! If a park is crowded there is a good chance voltage will be as low as 99 volts. Get a cheap meter from Canadian Tire and learn how to use it.
Mexican butter does not taste anything like ours. I can get used to it but Norma hates it and stocks up the freezer with butter in the USA. Beer and Chilean wine is reasonable in MX but if you drink scotch, take it with you. Every city of any size has a Walmart Superstore and Mega is the other large grocery outlet. There are quite a few Sam's Clubs.
Experiment with food. Do not be afraid to eat at street taco stands. If you have not traveled much you might get a intestinal infection. It is not a big deal and will not last long. We take Imodium with us but pharmacias are very good and carry almost everything we get at home although with a Spanish name. It is recommended to get a Hepatitis A (corrected - thanks Kathe) shot before you go and we did. Mexico is not "dirty", in fact restaurants are usually spotless. Eat in the centros and squares. I love Mexican restaurants! They never rush you and you only get a bill when you ask for it, "La cuenta, por favor". You can sit at a table on the square ("jardine") for hours and watch the young people. It is a great way to spend an evening. In MX we dine out an average of once a day, maybe more. You can dine out cheaper than buying and preparing food in the RV.
We use taxis most of the time as streets are narrow and confusing and parking is difficult in the cities. It also lets you have that second (third?) glass of wine. Cabs are very cheap but establish the charge before you get in the cab as the (very) odd one will try to overcharge.
Like you say, our paths will likely cross. Mexico is a small country!
Added:Another thought I should share. To be clear, we have never had a problem with crime in Mexico. One attempted (failed) camera snatching in Guadalajara and one smooth talking con artist who "needed" to "borrow" $400 pesos to pay school fees in San Miguel de Allende (successful). But that could happen anywhere.
However, our friend Les was robbed at gunpoint in his motorhome in a gas station. Les is a retired British Bobby and had the good sense to have a "dummy" wallet. It is an old wallet with two or three hundred pesos plus an expired credit card and a few old business cards in it to make it look real. He carries it on the front consul. When the bad guy stuck his gun in the window and demanded money. Les grabbed the fake wallet, threw it out the window and when the robber bent over to pick it up, drove off. This is what I am going to do from now on, carry a fake wallet. This is good advice in any country!
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I unplugged the motorhome from the workshop and let everything run off the batteries just to see what would happen. The fridge cycled on and off a few times and the TV played away. After a couple of hours my voltage had dropped a volt or so proving what I already knew. The fridge will be fine running while we are driving and the batteries are being charged by the vehicle but my battery capacity is insufficient to run the fridge overnight while we are boondocking in a Walmart or such. It will be fine while we are stopped for a meal but that is all. This is no problem. I will turn the fridge off overnight and the insulation will keep it cold until we start up the next morning. It will not be used for perishables, only water, juice, beer, etc. When we are in an RV park it will just plug into a regular plug. It will make life much easier traveling in Mexico.
Photo shows a 140 amp breaker, mine is the same only 80 amps.