Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carlos Slim Is A-OK Again!

I have my Telcel problems fixed! We were having breakfast and asked the English speaking waitress if there was a Telcel Service Center nearby and she directed us to the nearby city of Guaymas. We drove over there and found the building. I asked the receptionist if anyone spoke English and she took me to a teller station where she served me herself. Indeed, both SIM's and their corresponding numbers had expired and I had to buy new ones at a cost of about $150 pesos each. I then paid $500 pesos for a month of broadband and was told there was a promotion and I would receive 6GB of data instead of 3GB. I do not know if this is for the whole winter or just for this month.

The phone was the same problem. It was expired. She assigned me a new number and I bought $100 pesos of time. We are communicating!

And even better..... Skype works perfectly on the Telcel stick! I just tested it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Telcel is the Mexican telephone company and it is owned by Carlos Slim, arguably the richest man in the world. He usually does a pretty good job but I am having problems with him right now.

We have both a Telcel pay as you go cell phone and a Telcel pay as you go Broadband Internet stick. Neither has had any money added to it for about 18 months. I think this means the accounts have expired and I will have to buy new SIM's and purchase new time. Yesterday Edgar from the RV park took me to the Santa Anna Telcel store to take care of both these problems. The first store the woman claimed her computer was not working properly and she could do nothing for me. She sent us to another store. Back in the truck, Edgar told me she thought I was a Gringo (American) and made up an excuse to not help me. The woman in the second store knew how to help me but was out of SIM's. She sent us to the third store. There the woman asked me where I had bought the stick and I told her Playa del Carman. She then told me I would have to go back to Playa del Carman to buy more time. It is on the other side of Mexico. Her solution was to throw my stick away, buy another identical one from her for $700 pesos and then, for $500 more pesos for a SIM and time, she could get me Internet. I passed and she sent us to an OXXO store where the clerk told me it was not possible to buy time for Internet, only cell phones. I told her my phone had expired and she did not know how to deal with it.

There is a Telcel store here in San Carlos and I hear the guy there speaks English. This will make things easier so I will go there tomorrow!

The Crossing

Everything went smoothly at the border. We were the only RV in the parking lot so we had the attention of two ladies to process us. All our papers were in order and they collected the $20 USA each for our visas and then made an error on the deposit for the car. Vehicles pre year 2000 are supposed to be $200 USA and they charged us $300, the deposit amount for slightly newer vehicles. It does not matter as we will get it back when we leave the country.

We pulled into Edgar and Anna's Punta Vista RV park in Santa Anna at about 3:00 PM. It is always nice to chat with these two. Edgar is a Mexican and Anna in an ex-pat American. They told us they were having a much better year this year as the RV'ers are coming back to Mexico. Last year they had to sell off part of their property to make ends meet so they are very happy to see us all! Last night there were about eight rigs in, most of them in a caravan heading for La Penita RV Park. It was being lead by Carol, the owner of the park, from Cortez Island near Campbell River. I kept my thoughts on caravans to myself...

Up bright and early today as everyone was pulling out. They had us boxed in so it was nice to see the parking lot emptying at about 9:00. We bought gas, had breakfast and headed south towards San Carlos. We found the Hermosillo bypass easily and then made our way onto the construction detour thanks to Kathy's description. It was a pretty rough detour and somewhere along the way we ran over some cow manure so the undercarriage smells pretty ripe. Norma is threatening to climb underneath with soap and a scrub brush. She is only saying that to shame me into doing it but it will not work!

The restaurant across the street is having an all you can eat fish and chips night for $100 pesos ($8) and the Totonaka RV park gave us a coupon for a free margarita each at the same place so that is where we are headed soon.

We parked next to a rig from Alberta with his Starchoice dish set up so I asked him if I might use it. He did not seem too anxious and was worried  that it might degrade his signal. I assured him it would not and told him if it did to just disconnect us. He said he would do that. I will have to take him a cold cercesa for his trouble!

It is 81 outside and 78 inside. Life is Good!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lions Roar!

It was a great Grey Cup game yesterday! It was pretty much all BC but Winnipeg got close enough a couple of times to keep it very exciting. It was great to see the home team win though!

We are up early today (7:30) to get ready for the border crossing. We will be in Santa Anna tonight and may be able to pick up the WIFI from the hotel down the street. If so, I will post a report. Stay tuned!

Map picture

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ajo, Arizona

We are parked in the Shadow Ridge RV Park in Ajo. It is the location of one of the largest copper mines in Arizona and scene of a major, sometimes violent, strike by the United Mine Workers after Phelps-Dodge fired all the Union miners and brought in scabs and armed security. The strike lasted several years until the mine shut down due to declining world copper prices and the costs of the strike. The abandoned mine site sits idle right next to the town which is now populated mostly by Border Patrol agents and retirees from all over. Not many businesses are operating in Ajo these days. Most gas stations and restaurants are shut down and the Mexican style square downtown is almost deserted. The temperature today is a pleasant 77F.

The RV park. Nice showers, great WIFI and $60 for three nights after my Passport America Discount.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

As we were leaving Yuma yesterday I decided to make one more try to find a new pair of sandals for myself. My old pair were wearing thin and it is very difficult to find any kind of size 13 shoes in Mexico. We drove past a Big 5 sporting goods store and decided to stop in. It was about noon and the store had been open since midnight when the Black Friday sale had begun.

I did not expect to find much left but was surprised. I guess the economy has dampened people's spending habits but the store was almost empty of shoppers and I got a salesman almost immediately. It is always funny in Arizona when you ask for something associated with summer wear. Although it is 70+ outside, it is still "winter" to them and "summer" goods are put away. There are lots of winter jackets on the racks but no bathing suits or sandals! The salesman said he saw some in the back and would see if there were any size 13's. He came back with the one and only pair which were very similar to my worn out pair which I bought at Costco a couple of years ago for $29. There was no price on them but when I took them to the till I was happy to see them ring up for $15 as the "Black Friday" 50% off shoe sale was still in effect!

I am all set to hike the Mexican plazas and jardines! Life is good!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Storm At Home

This photo posted in the local newspaper was taken in Campbell River on November 25 during a storm warning. It was taken right at the end of our driveway looking out towards Quadra Island. That "Big Rock" is about 20 feet tall and is normally high and dry on the shore! I hope someone is picking the driftwood off our driveway!

Here is what Jason, our housesitter, had to say about the storm:
"There were logs and debris surging over the high tide mark, and onto the highway. Waves crashing almost OVER the big rock, I put my rain gear on and walked down to the water and realized that there were full sized logs being tossed around like toothpicks, and so I retreated back across the highway and up the driveway at a safe distance to watch the chaos......."
There is another storm scheduled for tonight!
 City of Campbell River issues a public warning for the storm expected to roll in Friday evening

Leaving Yuma

We leave Yuma today and head for the thriving metropolis of Ajo, Arizona. There we will park for a night. or maybe two if I decide to watch the Gray Cup game from there. Then it is on to Lukeville and the border crossing! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Algodones, Mexico

We got up early yesterday, dressed and headed out to Brownees Restaurant for breakfast. It is an old 40's or 50's looking restaurant on 4th Avenue that looks like it has been operating continuously for many decades. It is always full at breakfast time, the prices are great and the quantities large!

We then headed for the huge parking lot on the USA side of the border and walked into Algodones. We were immediately inundated with calls for us to come and look at some wares or other but we are used to this and headed straight for Algodones Optical, a short block from the crossing. We were there early and were sent in for our exams right away. I had forgotten to get a new prescription written before we left Canada but over the years I have grown to trust the local doctor. He examined my existing glasses and then tested my eyes using the existing prescription as a baseline. He told me that my left eye had not changed over the last two years but my right side needed a very slight adjustment. He then tested the pressure and declared my glaucoma under control.

I was getting new lenses for the glasses I bought in Nuevo Laredo last year which were never right. The prescription on the right was fine but the left was way off. Wearing them gave me a headache so they went into the drawer. Norma was also getting new lenses for a pair she bought last year. She had taken them into an optical shop in Canada to be tightened up and they succeeded in breaking both lenses! We were told to come back for the new glasses in four hours. Mine would be ready in three hours but Norma's would take longer because they required an additional process.

We wandered around town noticing all the improvements that had been made in the last year. New plazas, storefronts and sidewalks were noticeable. It is very nice but the hawkers are just as loud and annoying, employing their old tricks like putting things into your hand and then refusing to take them back while trying to engage you in negotiating a price. I have been around too long to fall for this and simply refuse to take anything from them. These tactics disappear as soon as we get a couple of hundred miles below the border. We stopped for some fish tacos in a favorite spot and they were as good as ever. We then found a seat on a plaza and people watched until the four hours were up. We arrived back at the optometrist to find my glasses ready but Norma's not. A call to the lab told them they would be a little longer so we sat in the office until they got there. Mine cost $160 and Norma's $240. All were progressive focus and transition as well as scratch coated. Prices are going up a little for glasses and our friends Muff and val have been recommending a different store. We stayed with Algodones Optical because we have been going there for well over ten years and have always had good service.

Today we are having a communal dinner here at our spot here in Cocopah. Norma is out grocery shopping and my job is to hook the barbecue up to the RV propane tank. It 10:30 and is 70 degrees out. It will get warmer by dinnertime. Life is Good!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What About Those BC Lions!!

What a game! 26 to 3 over Edmonton and the game is only half over! It looks like BC vs. Winnipeg in the Grey Cup Game next Sunday. It is warm and a little overcast today in Yuma. Tomorrow we will walk across the border into Algodones, MX for new glasses.

Yesterday we drove across town to visit with Kathy and Eric, some old friends from Terrace, BC. They are on their way to Mexico as well and we will see them down there as well. Football, good friends, new glasses, sunshine and Happy Hours! In Yuma, Arizona, Life is Good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not Much Happening

not much happening here in Cocopah. We are catching up with friends we have made here over the years including Muff and Val from Vernon, BC. I met and worked with Muff almost from the day I started working for the telephone company way back in 1966. We have remained friends even though we only see each other once a year or two. Some friendships are just like that. Dave and Sharon came over last night for Happy Hour. They parked beside us for the three years we spent extended time here. They have since bought a park model in another park but we always manage to see each other. Gena and Carl from across the street and Perry and Sharron from up the road were here as well. We are a fun bunch!

I set up the Starchoice yesterday (I still refer to it by that name and not Shaw Direct. I resist change). We got a really good signal in just a few minutes using the DishPointer site. The BC Lions play in the Western Semi-finals on Sunday and I do not want to miss that game. The new receiver with the DVR works well in the bedroom. It will be nice to be able to record our favorite programs and watch them at a more convenient time. The downside is I now requite three of the four antenna outputs which makes sharing a dish hard to do. This is a normal practice in Mexico where a signal is sometimes a little harder to find.

Maybe I will try out the pool today. It is in the high 70's during the day and cools down nicely at night for sleeping.

We will rest up and stock up here for a few more days. I promise to get the camera out and post some photos.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Big News

The big news here in Yuma is that my Virgin Broadband works here this year! Last year there was no coverage and now there is. Thanks Virgin!


We stopped in Parker yesterday afternoon and found the place Contessa and Colin got their AC fixed. Randy dug into the workings and announced there was no freon in the system! He said the first thing to do was to fill it and add dye so they could see the leak if there was one, He put in two pounds of freon and turned the AC on. Ice cold air poured out! It was working! He told us to monitor it for a few days and if it quit working to bring it back to him for further repairs. We loaded the car on the dolly and drove to Walmart for the night.

This morning I fired up the Mazda and turned on the AC. It blasted me with cold air. It was still working! If it fails in Yuma I can drive back to Parker for repairs. We headed south.

Two hours later we pulled into Yuma, bought a few groceries we needed and checked into Cocopah Golf and RV Resort for ten days. Perry and Sharon, our friends from Spokane, WA met us and invited us for happy hour. Life is Good!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Crescent Moon

As you will recall, I installed a 120 volt fridge in the overhead area of the motorhome. This is intended to carry non-perishable items like water, juice and in the case of yesterday, a 20 ounce can of Bud and Clamato mix. As I turned a corner in Bakersfield, CA, the child proof door lock on the fridge door failed and everything came tumbling out, most of it hitting me on the right shoulder. The one exception was the 20 ounce can of Bud and Clamato which whacked me right on the bald spot leaving me with a bloody, crescent moon shaped dent in my skull! It was only my head so there was no serious harm done but this morning as I was combing my hair I was reminded of the dent, which has now morphed into a bump.

I also noticed in Bakersfield as we turned off the highway that one lone gas station was trying to pull a fast one. Gas has been $3.65 to $3.89 all through California. This is about 10 or 20 cents per gallon higher that WA and OR but CA has always done it's own thing and is currently trying to pay off a huge debt. Anyway, this lone Chevron gas station was trying to flog gas for $4.79 per gallon! A full dollar a gallon higher that it's neighbors! The surprising thing was, there were cars at the pumps! Perhaps there are Americans (the 1% we hear about) who do not mind paying an extra dollar a gallon when all they have to do to avoid it is drive a block or three up the street but I am not one of them. A dollar a gallon means about $60 a tank for me and I held on until I found gas for $3.69.

Well, now for breakfast at Denny's which in my case will be a $5.29 build your own Grand Slam (poached eggs, hash browns, pancakes and for the fourth item, two extra eggs). That will do me for breakfast and lunch! We will then pay $10 to dump and fill with water and will soon be on the road to Parker, AZ and hopefully some AC repairs on the Mazda. Temperatures hit 80 on the road yesterday but cooled down quite a bit overnight. That is the way it is in the desert. Despite the bump on my head,  Life is Good!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We Are In The Desert!

We are parked in the Flying J gas station overnight RV parking area in Barstow, CA. We stopped here because there is a Denny's and Norma wanted a turkey dinner. We ended up in a long RV parking spot and it is very quiet here as the trucks have another lot to park in. We will just stay right here tonight. We get a couple of channels of TV and my Virgin Broadband works.

Tomorrow we will head to Parker, Arizona where my Blogging friend Contessa had the air conditioning on their motorhome repaired. They were happy with the work so we will let the same place have a go at Norma's Mazda. We are still a few hours away so we will call them in the morning to see if they can take us.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Still Moving!

We are in a HUGE truck stop on I-5 about fifty miles south of Sacramento. As can be expected, it is full of trucks with a couple of RV's off in a corner. We walked next door to a Carl Jr's where I had one of their excellent fish burgers and Norma had the taco salad. The Virgin Broadband is working well and we are getting two channels on the TV.

We stopped at the Olive Pit in Corning and stocked up with $65 worth of various olives, Garlic stuffed, bleu cheese stuffed, anchovy stuffed, pimento stuffed and one or two I can't remember. They are on the front seat of the car with the $230 worth of booze we bought yesterday at our favorite roadside liquor store just over the California State line on I-5 (on the right, you can't miss it). It is a friendly place with "best in California" prices so we bought about eight 1.75 liter bottles of the normal variety of imbibments. I finished off today by buying a $50 bottle of single malt for yours truly at a small liquor store across from the Olive Pit! It will be a busy six months!

While we were getting the oil changed in the motorhome today, I was browsing through the liquor section of Walmart to see how much we saved (quite a bit!) when I noticed that the Walmart "Oak Leaf" house brand of wine had been "rolled back" to $1.97 per bottle of merlot and cab. It is actually pretty good wine so I bought a few. "Happy Hours" await! Life is Good!

Anderson, CA

We are parked for the night in the Walmart Superstore in Anderson, California. This has become a regular stop for us as we have always had the vehicles serviced here. They have bulk synthetic oil and their prices are usually lower than anywhere else. It was 6:30 when I backed the car off and walked over to the service center. I asked them if they had time to do the Mazda tonight and they said, “Bring it over”! It was finished before their closing time of 7:00 and cost me under $50 for a full synthetic oil change and “safety check”. I thought it might need a new battery but it load tested just fine. We will take the motorhome in tomorrow morning.

I have no Virgin Broadband here so I am saving this post to be sent tomorrow from the road. Norma is getting two networks of digital TV so she is happy. Life is Good!

Well, darn! I probably could have had Internet last night. I just noticed my Internet stick had rattled loose from it's perch in the Cradlepoint. I pulled it out and pushed it back in and it is working...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Case You Were Wondering...

In a survey of 200000 ostriches over 80 years, not one tried to bury its head in the sand.

A Little Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Finally, some positive news!

The Real News                                                                                                                  November 10, 2011

Ohio Referendum Repeals Republican Anti-Union Bill

Controversial bill backed by Governor John Kasich and state Republicans that would have eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees repealed

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To ...

We crossed into Oregon at about noon today and stopped at Camping World. We had a purchase from last year to return and one of our Fantastic Fans had quit. We got our money back from the return and went over to the service desk. She told us that Fantastic Fans are guaranteed for life and she would call them for us. They told her to trouble shoot the fan and if it needed repairs or replacement to go ahead and do that. One of the guys came into the rig and confirmed all the tests I had done. There was power, the fuse was good, the fan would not run, etc.

He then climbed up on the roof, took off the cover, fiddled around, sprayed some WD40 and suddenly the fan started working. I felt pretty stupid but the service woman cut the basic charge in half so it only cost me $30 instead of $60. I don't think she should have charged me anything but they did go out of their way to accommodate us. We still walked out of the store money ahead.

We then crossed the highway to the Les Schwab Tire dealership where we had bought six new Toyo motorhome tires two years ago. They told us that we could stop any time we drove past and they would inspect the tires for us. He checked the tire pressure and every tire was 10 - 15 pounds low! He topped them off and I asked him to check the car and dolly as well. Those tires were also low! I don't know why. The motorhome sure handles better now!

The funny Part:

We stopped for a very late breakfast at a little mom and pop restaurant in Oregon. It was very good. Norma only made it half way through her plate of ham and eggs and I just barely finished my plate of eggs and hash browns. Huge portions!

The bill was $18.50. I pulled out a brand new, fresh from the ATM American twenty and put it with the bill. I realized there was not enough change left for a tip there so I reached into my pocket and came up with $1.75 in Canadian coins which I put on top of the twenty. That amounted to a $3.25 tip for an $18.50 tab. Not bad I thought.

We got up to leave and the waitress came over. She pulled out the bill and the $20 and then started moving the coins around with her finger while looking at them as if they were Martian money or something. She looked up at me and said, "Don't you have any American change"?  I said, "Look, the USA $20 covers the bill and the rest is a tip. If you don't want it, don't take it! Put it in a can and someday you will have enough to visit Canada!"

We then drove on and realized that with all the stops we could not make it to the Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, OR before dark. I searched for Walmarts on the GPS and Norma called the first one to ask if we could stay there. They said, "normally yes, but right now most of the parking lot is being repaired so we have no room.' We drove to the next and they told us there was a city ordinance against overnight RV parking but directed us to the Eugene Walmart Superstore. There were also "No Overnight Parking" signs there but we were told that everyone parks on the adjoining street and no one is ever bothered. So that is where we are tonight. Tomorrow we will find out if there is snow on the Siscuse Pass between OR and CA.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Back In The USA

We had an uneventful drive down to Victoria and arrived at the Black Ball Ferry just in time to pull into their parking lot for the night. About twenty minutes later brooks called to say that they were in a pub just up the street so we walked to there. A few minutes later Linda's parents arrived and we went for dinner at Santiago's. We all walked back to the motorhome for a few more glasses of wine. Brooks and Linda had a meeting in Victoria this morning so they had booked a hotel room that they could justify their company paying for so that meant they did not have to drive all the way home to Shawinigan Lake. Linda's parents live nearby so everyone made it home safe if not entirely sober....

At 8:00 we walked over to buy our $252 ferry ticket and waited to be pre-screened by USA customs. The ferry did not leave until 10:30 but after customs there was no time to go for breakfast so we had a bite on the ferry. One thing BC ferries has Washington  ferries beat on is food! Norma had chili and I had a lukewarm bowl of clam chowder. At least it filled the void.

We stopped in Port Angeles long enough for me to buy a month of pay as you go Virgin Broadband for $40 and then a tank of gas with our Safeway discount card for $3.61 per gallon, the cheapest we saw all afternoon. We are now parked in the RV friendly Walmart in Chahalis, WA. Dinner will be microwaved frozen dinners. We are happy here in Walmart and Walmart is happy that we spent $190! Life is Good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We Are On Our Way

We will be pulling out in about two hours! Tonight we will be at the ferry dock in Victoria and tomorrow at the Centralia, Washington Walmart. I may have my Virgin Broadband working by then. I will post when I can!

Smokin' Joe Frazier, Dead At 67

Smokin' Joe Frazier died tonight of liver cancer. He was best known for his long time rivalry with Muhammad Ali. Frazier won the undisputed heavyweight title with a 15-round decision over Ali at Madison Square Garden in March 1971, in an extravaganza known as the "Fight of the Century". However, Ali scored a 12-round decision over Frazier at the Garden in a non-title bout in January 1974. Then came the "Thrilla in Manila" championship bout in October 1975, regarded as one of the greatest fights in boxing history. It ended when a battered Frazier, one eye swollen shut, did not come out to face Ali for the 15th round.

Frazier was known as a "Blue Collar" fighter who just waded in and whaled on his opponent with a series of jabs, setting him up for to his notorious bone crushing left hook, the single blow that ended many fights in Joe's favor!

Frazier walks away with Ali struggling on the canvas in 1971:

Thanks for the memories, Champ!

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Am Hiding

Norma and her friend Nancy are loading the motorhome and I am hiding in the TV room. She is trying to stuff all the food from the pantry, kitchen and fridge into the motorhome. I dare not tell her it will not fit, she will find that out in due course. Then they will try to fit everything in our 20 cu. ft. freezer into the 2 cu. ft. RV freezer. She has two whole frozen Sockeye salmon and a half a frozen halibut she wants to take to Mexico for Christmas dinner. There are also a few pounds of frozen smoked salmon she wants for happy hours. I heard Nancy suggest taking a cooler and keeping it filled with dry ice for a month and a half. It is not going to happen. I am hiding!

Jason, our housesitter, and I drove the motorhome into town earlier today to fill up the propane tank. We had left the fridge running on propane when we got home in April and it emptied the propane tank. I was afraid there might be air in the system and I might have trouble with it but the fridge fired right up. The RV is running fine except for the square tires it developed over the summer. By the time we got home, it was smooth.

I will get a lube and oil change in both the motorhome and Mazda somewhere in the USA and we will be set to go. It will be a long afternoon! But I am hiding in the TV room!

This morning I went to the Royal Bank to buy some pesos to put in the safe. All they had were 1150 pesos for which they charged me $97 CAN. That is WAY over the exchange rate which says I should have been charged less than $87 CAN. At least we have a few pesos to get to Santa Ana in case the ATM in Sonoita is not working.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spending Money Like There Is No Tomorrow!

We went down to renew our auto insurance on the motorhome, car dolly and Mazda for a year. That was over two thousand unhappily forked over. We then bought travel medical insurance for six months for another $1900. When we got home I called Lupita, our Mexican auto insurance agent in Nogales, AZ. I gave her my Visa card number for another $700 or so to insure the motorhome, dolly and Mazda for six months in Mexico. It was a rough day financially! The faithful but aging Honda will remain parked in a corner of the lot for the winter and may get replaced next year.

The only thing that took the edge off all this spending is the fact that we get a refund of our Canadian auto insurance for the time we will be in Mexico. That means we will get half of our annual premium back! Good times!

The market did "OK" for me last week despite the fluctuations and I netted a $2500 profit, mostly on my gold stocks. Things could be worse. If the upward movement continues, it will pay for our winter in Mexico, which is as it should be. Otherwise I will be eating tortillas instead of Pescado a la Veracruzana.

The Master Plan is to pull out of here on Tuesday. We will spend Tuesday night in the Black Ball Ferry lineup in downtown Victoria and will meet Brooks and Linda and Linda's parents for dinner out.

I will be watching Canadian football tonight. Our BC Lions are on a winning streak so I have to cheer them along.

Wow! BC beats Montreal 43 to 1. That is it for the regular season, playoffs next!

Friday, November 4, 2011


One of my fellow Bloggers entered Mexico yesterday and encountered the new process! It took them an hour and a half to jump through all the hurdles so I am spending some time to make the process easier. Copies of all documents are required and the price of getting them done at the border has jumped. The other problem is you have to give up your place in line to get the copies done.

I am now making multiple copies of vehicle registrations, passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, drivers licenses and everything else I can think of.

There is also a new $300 vehicle deposit required that they never had before. You get it back when you leave the country. Many are complaining about this but I have no problem with it. They are having a problem with illegal importation of vehicles and this is their method of stopping it. It is their country and they can make the rules.

Our friends were also asked how much money they had in each currency. I have been asked this at the USA border but never in Mexico. I never know what the "correct" answer is. Are they worried you do not have enough money to support yourself or concerned you have too much and will be buying drugs? Who knows? We never take pesos into Mexico but stock up at the first ATM across the border. Maybe this time we will take a few hundred USA with us. We can always convert it to pesos later or just keep it in the safe until we get back to the USA.

I am always nervous crossing as you never know if the rules have changed from one year to the next.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I finally gave up on trying to repair my old windows XP desktop. It was struggling along but finally bit the bullet last night. It froze and when I tried to restart, it said it had a disk failure. Nothing would fix it and I could not reload and backup images on it.

I unplugged the bad drive, jumpered my old "E" internal drive as a "master", downloaded openSUSE 1.4 and stuck the disk in. It opened and offered to install. It is now working (I am on it) and I am working through some little difficulties. I am a complete novice with Linux so I am starting at the beginning.

Norma is busy cleaning the motorhome for the fifteenth time so I am hiding in the computer room.