Friday, November 30, 2012
I cut and drilled a short piece of metal strapping I was smart enough to bring along and we dry fitted all the broken pieces. I went next door and recruited some help from a neighbor to hold the door while I did the repair. I used some Gorilla Glue on all the broken edges, screwed the reinforcing metal strap in place and then propped the door level but not closed while the glue set. The package says it will cure to 80% in two hours and set completely in 12 hours. We went for dinner while we waited the two hours and then gently closed the door. Gorilla glue is very strong but it dries an unsightly color and swells as it dries. It will finish curing overnight.
In a couple of days we will file down the rough edges and glue overflows, mask the repair off and spray it black. It will again be stronger than new. Life is good!
I just have to add that it was only a week ago that Norma was questioning the need to pack along my 50 (or 75) pound tool box. 'Nuff said.
The bypass is actually pretty simple. After the toll booth just before Hermasillo you count five lights (one of them is a flashing light) and turn left. There is a sign pointing to Guaymas and the Fiesta Hotel is on that corner, follow the arrow. Stay on this road, there will be signs pointing to Guaymas. When you pass the prison on the right, get in the right lane and stay there. A kilometer or so later the right lane will drop down to an underpass where you now turn left onto the Hermasillo highway. You are on your way!
The road is not great. It is very washboardy and has a lot of construction and many lane closures. It was a slow drive.
We checked into the Totonaka RV Park at about 2:00PM and paid our $900 pesos ($72) for three nights, a lower rate than last year. We set up the Starchoice, had happy hour with our Canadian neighbors and then headed across the street to Charley's Rock for camerones (me) and crab (Norma)! Delicious! Worth the trip just for the camerones!
Oh yes, there was an incident when Norma opened the fridge door. I will report that tomorrow. Stay tuned!
The photo is Croft with Edgar and Anna. Edgar is a real, live Mexican and Anna is an American ex-pat from Oklahoma. Anna recently drove all the way home to vote for Obama! My kind of people! Some people can't get off their asses to vote locally. Anna drove from Mexico to Oklahoma to make sure her vote got counted. She deserves her share of the win.
We got up at 8:00 Thursday Morning, a little late for trying to hit the border early but everything went well anyway. We retraced our steps from the Walmart where we spent a quiet night (but with the parking lot lights in my eyes all night) back to the highway and Exit 4. We then followed the road to the truck crossing, staying in the far right lane on the USA side to avoid the barriers and sharp turns in the car lane. There was no barricade like Contessa found and we drove right through, waved on by the USA Border Inspectors who showed no interest in us at all.
We then bypassed the Mexican Customs which at that point was only inspecting vehicles taking the exit into Nogales, MX and got on the toll road heading for Hermasillo. In a couple of kilometers we came to Mexican Customs on that road but we got the green light and were waved right through. A few days ago Contessa was stopped here and questioned over the amount of booze they had on board.
After a few more kilometers we arrived at the Aduana buildings where we got our six month FMM’s and TIP for the Honda. We were first in line at Migration where we filled out the applications and showed our Passports. We then headed for the Banjercito where we paid for our FMM’s (+/-$25 each in pesos) and got the TIP for the Honda ($200 USA deposit and +/- $75 USA fee) which we paid for with a credit card (in pesos) because it is easier to get the deposit back that way. On the way back to the rig we stopped at Migration, showed our receipts and had our FMM’s and Passports stamped. We are now legal for up to six months. Easy. Most people spoke at least some English. Total time spent? About a half an hour.
We then drove on the fairly bumpy, under construction toll road to Santa Anna and Edgar and Anna’s Punta Vista RV Park where we got the only pull through with hookups. Anna is always very chatty and updated me with all her stories before taking $150 pesos ($12) for the night. She was telling me how two of her customers had their freezers gone through at the Lukeville crossing and their salmon and beef taken. Another of her customers said had been told by a “uniformed officer at the border” that they did not need FMM visas. Anna told them they did need them and were in the country illegally. The woman said, “I will believe a uniformed officer before I believe you” and they carried on. A day later they sheepishly stopped by on their way back to the crossing to get their visas after being asked for them at an inspection station near San Carlos. You have to know the rules or at least believe people when they tell you the rules! They did not even look at us at the Nogales crossing. It is hot here in Santa Anna but they have pretty good power. Good enough that we can run the A/C on low, a good thing because it is 91F outside.
It is 2:00 and we are going to walk down the road to a nice, clean little three table stand for fish tacos! Maybe a shrimp cocktail later. Life is Good!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
We will have no Internet until we get to San Carlos on Friday afternoon where there is a Telcel store.
I am happy, Norma is pacing and talking to herself, "What if they ask....."
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
EDIT: Perhaps someone with up to date info on where we get our FMM's and car permit could let us know in the comments. Do we get them at the border or is there a "KM 21"?
Yes, we are in casa Grande. Long Story. We might end up in Mexico or we might end up in Texas. More to follow...
We have not gotten our visas or anything yet, just the (non-refundable) vehicle insurance.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Well, we are still here. The guy who was supposed to come to service the generator called this morning to say he was sick and could he come tomorrow morning instead. No problem, sick is a good enough reason. We talked to our friends Muff and Val and decided to go out for a nice dinner tonight. We went to the Olive Garden, had dinner and a glass of wine and headed home.
The generator guy is supposed to be here at 8:30 and check out is 11:00. If he is done in time we will head out for Ajo, AZ for the night and get ready to cross the border. Good times ahead!
Saturday, November 24, 2012
There are rumors flying out there that the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) may be merging with the United Steelworkers Union (USW). This may or may not go ahead as any merger would require a 66 2/3% vote of the membership.
Be that as it may, our pension plan is a separate entity and cannot be transferred to, taken over by the Steelworkers Union or merged with their pension plan. Relax, our Pension Plan will continue on as it is with the same name, Trustees and administrators. It is one of the best pension plans in Canada and remains fully funded. Your monthly cheques will keep on coming for as long as you are around to cash them!
No one is "giving" our pension plan away! Relax! Order another Mojito! You can afford it!
Thursday, November 22, 2012
November 22, 1963 is a day I am sure all of us old enough remember vividly. It was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
We visited Dealey Plaza and the site of the Texas Schoolbook Depository in 2010 and here are the two posts I made at that time:
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
We parked the car on the US side and walked into Algodones. The hustlers and “guides” are at you right away asking if you want dentists, prescriptions or glasses. If you show any interest they will lead you to the store that gives them the most money for their services. We always say “no thanks” as we know where we want to go for everything.
First stop was Algodones Optical. I quickly learned that the anti reflective coating my optometrist in Campbell River told me I should have would take two weeks to have done. Well, that is out. I will try again further down in Mexico when we park for a while. It is not an emergency as my glasses are still good and I have my last pair for backup. Norma, on the other hand had broken her pair and was using her backups. She ordered a new pair without the anti reflective coating and they were ready in three hours.
While we were waiting we had some fish tacos and then found a small jewelry store where Norma asked to have her jade ring, which had a tiny diamond chip missing, looked at. After looking through his loupe he said he had a diamond chip the same size and could do it while we waited (and watched) for $30 US. I know we took a chance on the quality of the stone but it is so tiny, you almost need a magnifying glass to even see it. They offered to clean the ring (and all our other jewelry) for free. The last time she had that ring tightened and cleaned back home it was almost $200 so it was a good deal no matter what.
The young jeweler started working but discovered he had to solder which meant taking the jade stone out. As he was bending the claws that held the stone one of the claws that was badly worn, broke. He said he could replace it for another $30 so that is what he did. The job took him two hours and the total cost was $60 US. The owner of the store kept me entertained with stories and free shots of tequila while Norma watched and worried as the jeweler worked.
If you need a jeweler in Algodones, the place is called Rodeo Drive at Plaza Pueblo #206. It is in the same inside mall as the main Algodones Optical store. It is straight down the street from the border, in the second block on the left side of the street. Nice, friendly guys and not out to rip you off.
When Norma retired in 2003, we treated each other to heavy, matching gold bracelets. Mine cost $1100 and hers $900. As the Algodones jeweler was cleaning hers, he asked what she had paid. He asked if she wanted to know what it was worth today, pulled out his electronic scale and told her $2,800! Mine weighs about 25% more. I love gold!
Monday, November 19, 2012
I also got a new prescription for glasses to be filled there. My optometrist back home reminded me to get all the coatings on the next pair. Evidently my present pair and missing the anti-reflective coating although they seem fine to me. The good news (I guess) is my prescription has not changed since I bought these two years ago. I do not have to worry about prescriptions any more since Canada has reduced drug prices to the point that they are almost the same price at home as I was paying in Mexico.
The BC Lions went down to defeat yesterday. At least now I do not really care if I see the Gray Cup game. I am more a fan of the team than I am of the sport itself so my interest wanes as soon as "my" team is knocked off. This applies to football, hockey and baseball.
The weather is still perfect here in Yuma. Not too hot and no wind. Have a great day everyone!
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Our friend Muff dropped by for a bit today. He is just getting over some medical problems and feels like he has gone a few rounds with Mohamed Ali. He is slowly recovering and of course the good news is they are here! Muff and I started working together in 1967 near Vancouver and although we moved on to different locations and jobs within BC Tel, we have remained friends with him and Val through the years. We will get together again for a short Happy Hour.
The old row here at Cocopah is thinning out. Muff and Val bought a park model and are moving to another part of the park this week, Dave and Sharon from Spokane bought a park model in another park, Perry and Sharon moved to another park and Carl and Gina bought a park model a few rows away this year. It is pretty much just us in the old row this year. A couple of things are to blame for the changes. The rates are going up quite a bit in January and the golf pro was let go with some of the golfers not liking the way he was treated by management. All of this combined with the general economy made for some good deals in park models. Things change.
The BC Lions are playing in the Western Finals against Calgary. Calgary is playing the better game and are leading at the moment. Sad times for Lions fans like me.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Driving through town we noticed an Air Cadet car wash in the Pizza Hut parking hut. On a whim we asked if they could do the motorhome and told them we had long brushes. "No problem" they said. I asked how much and he said whatever we wanted to donate. They were a little disorganized as young kids will be, but ended up doing a pretty good job. They washed and dried the whole rig and went back over a couple of spots that Norma pointed out that they missed. I gave them $50 and they were very happy.
After breakfast we went back to the front End Shop and they were almost done. At around 1:00 PM we had paid the $180 charge and were on our way to Yuma. Two hours later we were paying for one week at Cocopah RV and Golf Resort. I set up the StarChoice while Norma walked around socializing. Our neighbours from Washington State came over for Happy Hour and then we went in. It gets very dark very quickly here in the desert. Our friends Muff and Val are here but were on their way out for dinner. We shall see them tomorrow. Tomorrow is also the BC Lions semi final football game.
If you are passing near Parker, AZ and need air conditioning work done, I highly recomend The Front End Shop. They have mechanics and will do any other work as well. The owners are from Zacatacas, Mexico. They are very nice guys and you will get a square deal from them.
Friday, November 16, 2012
We decided to drive all the way to Parker today so were on the road for over nine hours (seven hours driving and 2 breaks), the last hour in the dark. We could have stopped half or two thirds of the way but we wanted to be first in line in the morning to get the Honda’s A/C serviced. We had to buy enough gas at Needles, CA to get us into Arizona where gas is cheaper. I put in $50 worth at $4.59 and when we got to Parker, I filled up at $3.56. A dollar and three cents per gallon cheaper!
We are bedded down at the very RV friendly Walmart in Parker and Norma is over getting something to microwave for dinner.
I am keeping this brief as the Internet is REALLY bad here and I don’t want it to drop off before I hit “Publish”!
Thursday, November 15, 2012
We hope to get up early and head towards Parker, AZ (about a 6 hour drive) where we will get the air conditioning on the Honda topped up at The Front End Shop where we had the Mazda done last year. We have to get it done Friday or Saturday as they are closed Sunday. I called them and was told to "Just bring it in. No appointment necessary!"
We walked over to Carl's Jr and got a fish sandwich meal each. I ate 1 1/4 and Norma ate 3/4. It does not sound like it is going to be a quiet night. The trucks are passing pretty regularly.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Manuel at Les Schwab drove the rig into the alignment area and did his check. He came out to tell me it needed new bushings and he could fix it for $152. It took him about an hour and a half and we drove it back to the RV park before the sun went down.
Tomorrow we will head south again and see where we get. No plans, no reservations.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The tire store had FOX News playing in the waiting room and I sat and watched it for a half hour. I think this is the first time I have watched it in my life. What a bunch of crap they are spreading! No wonder Americans have such weird ideas. Present company excepted of course.
We drove the 40 miles to Corning, confirmed our appointment and went to the Olive Pit store. This is like a candy store for olive lovers! They have dozens of flavors of olives, oils and spreads and all are available for tasting!. We tasted a few and picked up a few to buy. They now have a wine tasting room as well but it was only 2:00! Another time.
We checked into the Heritage RV Park and discovered it was no longer Passport America and our half price deal was no longer valid :(. We booked for two nights at the Good Sam rate as it will be late afternoon when the alignment is done. We dumped the tanks and set up the StarChoice as their cable brought in only four very weak channels. Norma wants to watch Dancing With The Stars in HD.
We are being slowed down but we have lots of time. Life Is Good!
We had dinner in their restaurant and caught the shuttle back "home" around eight where we fired up the generator to make a pot of coffee. We used the extra down comforter for a very cozy night! We were up at nine for our drive over the mountains to Anderson, CA.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Oh yes, on the way here we made our annual stop at All Star Liquors on I-5 just on the CA side of the State Line to pick up a few happy hour bargains. My Canadian friends will appreciate the prices.
Cutty Sark Scotch - $14 for 1.75 litre
Russian Standard Vodka - $15 for 1.75 Litre
Canadian Club - $15 for 1.75 litre
Bacardi Gold (Puerto Rican)- $18 for 1.75 litre
Glenmorangie Lasanta Single Malt sherry cask extra mature 12 year old - $37
Drambuie Black Lable - $20 for 750 ml
Glayva - $30 for 750 ml
We left $320 there but are stocked for the winter! Except for beer. And I might pick up another bottle of Single Malt in Corning, CA. at the liquor store across from the Olive Pit.
Needless to say, we stocked up! They did not have a great selection of single malt. Oh yes, Walmart had their house "Oak Leaf" Merlot (Napa Valley) rolled back to $1.97
Sunday, November 11, 2012
We pulled into the tire store and they adjusted all the pressure. All the tires were a little low and one was down a bit more than the others. I will get it checked again soon as there might be a problem. Both front tires are showing a little extra wear on the inside rib as if there is a slight toe out problem. He suggested putting them on the back and moving two back tires up front. They could not do it on Saturday so they suggested stopping at another one of their stores down the road. We will call ahead and make an appointment in Anderson, CA where we will also get oil changes in both vehicles.
At Camping World we picked up and installed a new outside shower hose that broke last year. We also needed a new Fresnel wide angle lens that sticks on the back window so I can watch the car in the rear view mirror.
It was too late to head out after doing these chores so we spent the night in the parking lot behind Fry's Electronics away from the highway noise and had dinner at Sheri's Restaurant next door. Today we will drive as far as Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, OR about 100 miles from the California border. It was cold last night but not as bad as the night before. It will be getting warmer every day now as we move south.
The Virgin Broadband is working well with the Cradlepoint WIFI Adapter. It gives us a WIFI zone about 100 feet around the motorhome that up to six people can use at a time. Very neighborly and very convenient!
Life is good and getting better.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Crossing by ferry is a little different than by land. On the Victoria end US Customs scans our passports into the computer and gives us a cursory inspection, asking where we are going and for how long. They then put a color coded tag under the wiper, I guess to let their friends in Port Angeles know how trustworthy we seemed. We got a red tag with "2" printed on it. Whatever that means. One motorhome behind us driven by a single man with a big dog got a yellow tag.
As we drove off the ferry in Port Angeles, we went through a portable X-Ray machine just like the ones in Mexico and then up to the booth. One inspector looks at your window tag and directs you into one of two lines. I guess red tags meant low risk yesterday because we were asked the same questions as on the Victoria side and after giving the same answers, we were waved through.
There were not even any drug sniffing dogs in evidence yesterday. I wonder if that is because Washington just voted to legalize pot? Maybe.
Piece of cake!
Friday, November 9, 2012
We pulled into the ferry dock in downtown Victoria just as Brooks, Linda lee and her mom and dad showed up. We went for a drink until our reservations for dinner came up. It was a great evening with lots of catching up with the newly weds. Linda's mom and dad are just back from a trip to England which they enjoyed. After dinner we walked back to the motorhome for a nightcap and then to bed.
We boarded the ferry at about 10:00 and got to Port Angeles at about noon. The food service is really lousy on this ferry, nothing like the BC Ferries. Norma had a reheated "Breakfast Bun" and I a bowl of clam chowder. With two coffees the bill was $14.00.
We are now in the Centralia, WA Walmart where we did a little shopping. I then went over to Radio Shack in the adjoining mall where the very nice young woman got my Virgin Broadband working for me. Usually they just sell you the air time and you have to take the time to enter codes to get it onto your account. She did everything for me and by the time I walked back to the rig, I had Internet from my Cradlepoint WIFI adapter.
Tomorrow will be an easy day to Portland, OR where we will make a stop at Camping World and the tire shop where we get free service for the life of the tires we bought there two years ago. We just need a visual inspection and the pressure adjusted after being parked all summer.
Life Is Good!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
If we are in the Black Ball Ferry parking lot in downtown Victoria shortly after the ferry leaves at 3:00 or 3:30, we can sleep in the parking lot overnight. Brooks and LindaLee along with LindaLee's parents are meeting us and have some dinner plans set up. It will be nice seeing everyone.
There is no WIFI around the ferry dock so I will not post until the next night (as long as I can get my Virgin Broadband Stick up and working). The goal for Friday night will be the Walmart parking lot in Centralia, WA. It is good to be on our way!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Now I just got another email asking if I would take the names of only three neighbors and do the same! Sorry Mr. President, I would if I could!
Norma is busy trying to stuff every piece of clothing she owns into the motorhome. It is a job I do not even offer to help with! I just hope she leaves room for my ten t-shirts and five pair of shorts.
The US election is under way and the first results have been posted. It is a 5-5 tie in a tiny town in the NE where polls are opened at midnight so they can always be the first to report. It will be a long day.
My prediction is a comfortable win for Obama. I will go out on a limb and say he will win 285 Electoral College votes. 270 are required to win. I have my Obama t-shirt ready to wear when we cross the border!
Friday, November 2, 2012
It is very easy either from the Red Cross site or the PayPal site.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
I still have to call Lapita at San Xavier Mexico Insurance for the vehicle insurance. That is always a painless process and they email the papers to me to be printed. I will do that tomorrow.