Friday, September 26, 2008

Tioga & George Passes Three Million Hits!

My friend George of the Blog “Tioga & George” will hit three million visitors to his Blog today! We met George down in Mazatlan last winter where he was boondocking on the beach. He is a very interesting guy with a very interesting life and if anyone wants to have a look at his website, here is the link:

He has made a video to commemorate the occasion and has posted it today. Have a look at it and you might be lucky enough to be visitor #3,000,000,000

cropped George

Monday, September 22, 2008

The War in Mexico

grenade On the evening of the 15th of September there was a cowardly grenade attack on a happy crowd in Morelia out celebrating the proudest day in Mexican history, Independence Day! 107 innocent people were injured and 8 died. Morelia is the home town of the President of Mexico so there is every indication that a message was being sent. It has always angered me to hear people constantly telling us that Mexico is unsafe and that they would never go there. In my mind it has always been one Drug Gang killing off another Drug Gang and I knew it was unlikely to affect my safety in the country I have grown to love. Let them go at it, I thought. This latest attack has widened the traditional field of victims in the drug war.

The Government quickly rounded up all the usual suspects but released them one at a time, unable to find the perpetrators. Hopefully it was a single loony trying to make an unclear statement or to excise some demon in his mind. This happens all over the world every day. The attacks were not repeated so the idea of a conspiracy seems more remote.

I hope it wasn't but if it was part of the drug war, what can be done about it? The quick solution would be legalization of drugs on both sides of the border. Failing that, the USA Border Patrol should start pointing their guns the other way, at the people buying all the drugs that cross the border and financing the killings in Mexico.

Although federal officials are still uncertain, I fear that all this recent violence is in one way or another a part of the current drug war. Will it affect our travel in Mexico? No, but we will continue to be aware of where we are and what is going on around us. We do not use drugs or associate with people who do so we will never (at least knowingly) be around people who could be the perpetrators or victims of these attacks so we will be as safe as we can be under the circumstances.

When we went with our friend Les to Juarez to buy glasses earlier this year, we made a pact. If any one of us felt uneasy, we would immediatly leave, no questions asked. I think that is a good rule when visiting any unfamiliar area.

We live in dangerous times but Mexico is no more dangerous than anywhere else. Buildings are being blown up in the USA, subways are being bombed in London, trains in Spain, the list is long. If we stayed away from all these countries, we would never go anywhere and that is not an acceptable option for us.

September 28, 2008 Edit:

Three men, all members of the East Coast drug cartel Los Zetas, have been arrested and have confessed to the bombings.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trik-L-Start Installed


When we brought the new motorhome home, it sat parked for a couple of weeks. When I tried to start it the battery was dead. I could find no obvious reason for this and the battery had been replaced when we bought the rig in April. I charged the battery and all seemed to be well but I was still concerned. I had a small 1.5 amp solar charger that I placed on the dash and plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. That kept everything charged as long as the sun hit the dash for a few hours each day. However, this would not be too convenient when we are camping as we might be parked in the shade or facing the wrong way for extended periods of time.

I then discovered the Trik-L-Start. It is a small electronic device that is wired to both the coach battery and the start battery. It provides a small charge to the start battery when the coach battery is being charged which because of the new solar panels is pretty constant. As soon as I completed the wiring (I hard wired it in instead of using the included battery clips) the “Charging” LED came on. After an hour or so it switched to “Maintaining”. Now my life is even easier!

Only five weeks until we leave for Mexico!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mexican Independence Day

To all our Amigos Mexicanos:

This is the day to remember your History and to be with your families. You have a beautiful Country and have much to be proud of!

Este es el día para recordar su historia y para estar con sus familias. Tiene un hermoso país y tienen mucho de que enorgullecerse!

Feliz 16 de Septiembre:
El Grito de Independencia


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Solar Panel Installation

I have been wanting to install solar panels on the new motorhome since we bought it in April. Our needs are very low, just enough to keep the batteries topped off while it is parked and to allow us to boondock for a couple of days at the most. Canadian prices for solar panels are about double the USA prices so we had decided to wait until we are in the States. I then found a deal at Costco’s online site for four 15 Watt panels complete with all the wiring, a controller and an inverter for $318, shipping included. This was a pretty good deal so I ordered it.

Yesterday I finished the installation. I stole the design from "Stan" on the Escapees RV Forums and it looks pretty good. Thanks Stan! I had to buy some aluminum angle to mount the panels and I passed the wires down the fridge vent and into the battery compartment. I checked the batteries early this morning and they were sitting at 12.8 volts and right now, after about three hours of sun, they are at 13.5 volts so everything is working! Free power from the sun!