Monday, November 30, 2009

Off To Villa Corona

I can't believe we have been here a week! I was wondering what to do tomorrow and Norma reminded me we were leaving in the morning! We have decided to spend Christmas in San Miguel de Allende but do not want to arrive there too soon so we thought we might go to Villa Corona and it's hot pools for a week. It is a bit out of our way but worth it!

There are several hot pools next to the RV park and our payment for the RV park gives us unlimited use of the pools! They do not filter the pools but rather empty and clean them every night and refill them every morning from the local hot springs. This means the pools are very hot in the morning and cool down over the day. There is also a small pool that they fill at night for the exclusive use of the RV park and small hotel on the property.

There is free WIFI available but not in the RV park. I will have to carry the computer over to the pool area to get Internet. I will try my new Hawking antenna there. It might just work from the RV park. I will post when I can...

EDIT: Norma is not feeling all that great today. She had a headache last night and did not sleep so we are staying here one more day to let her recuperate before we head out. This is what is so nice about not bothering with reservations and tight schedules. I will wander over to the Oficina and give Andreas another $200 pesos ($16 CAN) for an extra night. Oh yes, and Ron another ten pesos ($.81) for a day of Internet. Life is good.

I see it is minus one in Campbell River!

Two Day Party

Somewhere very close to the RV Park here is a field you can rent for celebrations. These events would include weddings, birthdays and such. One of these parties started Friday night with music going on into the small hours and more fireworks than I have ever heard. The firework displays went on every couple of hours continuously all weekend! Day, night, it made no difference! It was a big party! We were awoken at seven Sunday morning with a huge fireworks display that lasted several minutes.

Fireworks are very popular and cheap in Mexico and are set off as much in the daylight as they are at night.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guadalajara Centro

In spite of the attempted theft of my camera, we had a nice day in Guadalajara. We had detailed instructions for getting there from the RV park by bus and subway but decided to take cabs instead.  We drove over to the nearby WalMart where we parked for the day and found a cab. Some cabs down here have meters but most do not, this one did not. I asked how much to take us to the Centro and was told $130 pesos. This did not seem out of line so we jumped in. After more than half an hour of speeding in and around traffic we arrived. We walked around the plaza for a while, had lunch and walked some more.

We had planned to stay in the Centro to have dinner later but by 4:30 we were both tired and ready to head home. We stopped a cab, this one with a meter, and gave instructions to take us back to the WalMart where the car was. When we got back the meter read $130.5 pesos so the amount we were quoted on the way down was right on.






Big Ears Chair


The Three Amigos.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

A First For Me

We got out of the cab in Guadalajara's Centro this morning and started walking up a street when a Mexican who spoke very good English approached us. He told us to hang onto my camera and Norma's purse good because someone was watching us. He called him "El Lobo" or, "The Wolf". I could not see who he was referring to but I had my Nikon over my shoulder with my right hand holding the strap near the camera.

About a block later I felt a violent tug and was pulled slightly to the side. A young man had hold of my camera with both hands and was trying desperately to yank it from my shoulder. I had at least a hundred pounds on him and as long as the strap did not break, the camera was going nowhere. I yelled "No!" and held the strap with my left hand and grabbed the camera between his hands with my right. After a very short tug of war the thief let go and ran, mixing with the crowd. A bystander took off after him but lost him at the corner.

I should have grabbed his wrist instead of the camera but you always think of these things too late. Anyway, this was the first incident in three years of traveling in Mexico and it will not change my feelings for the Mexican people or greatly change the way I act down here. It was a valuable experience and reinforced what I have always said. Be aware of your surroundings. I perhaps should have taken the warning of the stranger more seriously but as they say, "All's well that ends well".

The Tree Falls

There was a storm back in Campbell River the other day and a tree came down. A couple of years ago Brooks and I scouted out all the trees behind the house and fell all the ones we felt were a threat, leaving the root systems in the ground to protect the bank. This particular tree was judged to not be a problem. It came down in the middle of the night and missed the roof but rubbed the side of the house. It is now a pile of firewood in the front yard. Photo compliments of Rae.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Tonola Market

Tonola is a suburb of Guadalajara that holds a huge street market every Thursday and Sunday. The market is the second largest next to the one in Mexico City and attracts thousands of people. There is everything on sale from copied CD's and DVD's to trinkets to high end hand made furniture. The merchants are very friendly and there is none of the high pressure you find at some other Mexican markets.

Here is Norma doing some hard negotiating for a set of three iguana wall hangings. The price started at $300 pesos and she paid $260. Not bad!


George: Things I would rather do than go shopping with Robin and Norma:


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We arrived in Guadalajara yesterday afternoon after a stop at Tequila, the small village near here that lent it’s name to the traditional drink of Mexico.

We negotiated our way around the crowdwd perifico to the road where the only RV park is located. We checked in and went to see Ron, the ex-pat Canadian, ex-pat American who now makes his home right here in the RV Park. Ron has a satellite Internet system hooked to a wireless modem that he shares with other RV’ers for a nominal fee. It works very well. We met Earnie from Kelowna who is parked right behind us and asked if we could plug into his StarChoice dish. This saved us the work of setting our own dish up.

Robin and George followed us from Mazatlan and arrived here a couple of hours after us. We  were having a couple of drinks before they went to find their hotel when Robin suddenly became very ill. She had a serious bout with the toilet and collapsed on our bed. As luck would have it there is a retired nurse staying right behind us and she kept a close eye on Robin. She was in no shape to go searching for a hotel so her and George stayed in our bed and Norma and I pulled out the couch. Robin felt much better in the morning and has been improving all day. She bounces back a lot faster than I do but then she is much younger.

Tomorrow she plans on feeling well enough to visit the huge Tonola Market just east of Guadalajara with us.

Tequila (The Town)

Just before we arrived in Guadalajara we passed by the town of Tequila. We did not have any of the nectar so we decided to make a stop to explore the town and stock up. We found a place to park the rig (no small feat in small Mexican towns) and walked several blocks to the Centro. We passed a shoe store on the way and Norma could not resist adding a couple of pair to her collection. We then found the Centro and it’s many tequila shops where I resisted sampling any as I had some distance yet to drive. I bought a bottle that was recommended by the shop owner.

After a nice lunch we dropped into the Jose Cuervo shop for a look. The dining patio was full of a graduating class of nurses who were celebrating graduation with some margaritas. They were friendly and fun to watch so we joined them for one drink. It tasted so good, I bought another bottle of Tequila and one of tequila liqueur.

Shoe Shopping


The Nurses


Map picture

We Lose Track of People

And it is a shame. Jack Nichol, one of my old acquaintances and mentors died a couple of weeks ago and I did not know. Jack was a former leader of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union which along with Don Garcia's Longshoremen and our Telecommunications Workers Union (with a couple of other Unions) formed the "left" of BC's Labour movement. Jack was a brilliant negotiator, a fiery orator and a fierce advocate for working people . As George Hewison of the UFAWU says, "With his grade 10 education, Jack was smarter than any lawyer we ever hired".

Jack was one of the people who helped convinced a stuttering 30 year old at his first BC Federation of Labour Convention that he just might be able to make a small difference in the lives of working people. Jack, on behalf of the tens of thousands of people whose lives you helped improve, thanks.

Charles Campbell of The Tyee has an excellent article on Jack Nichol and the Memorial here.

Homer Stevens and Jack Nichol back when the world was sane and we still had a resource industry:

Homer and Jack

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Near Ixtlan del Rio

We had breakfast at Arnaldo’s and said goodbye to some folks we had met at the RV park and hit the road at about 10 AM. We followed the cuota to Tepec where we thought we might stop for the night if an inviting spot leapt out at us.  That did not happen and we were not going to leave the highway to try to find a place to park it Tepic as we did that two years ago. We did find a spot back then but also scratched the side of the RV on some branches on one of the narrow streets and then got lost trying to find Highway 15 again. This time we just bought gas and kept going.

About 25 KM east of town on the way to Guadalajara is the little village of Ixtlan del Rio with a toll booth on the highway. That is where we stopped for the night. There is a parking lot beside the toll booth beside a tiny convenience store and a few pleasant guys are selling tacos to the truck drivers who pass by. There is also a spotless little comida economica (cheap meals) restaurant here. We walked over to it and Norma had a bowl of their soup and we both had coffee and flan. It was very good and the bill came to a little over $60 pesos, a very good deal.

There is no TV and no Internet but I have a book to read and it will be a pleasant night as long as the trucks do not use their jake brakes all night. It is pretty level so it should be OK. I will post this when I can.

Here we are parked with the Big Boys:


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dinner Out

We went out for dinner with George, Robin and their friend Gord to the new marina down the road. It was a fantastic meal with George, Gord and Norma having lamb, Robin the chicken and me garlic prawns (what else?). What was even nicer was Robin and Norma treating us!

It is 9:30 and we are back home. I will get a good rest and we will head out in the morning. George and Robin are going to meet us in Guadalajara on Tuesday afternoon. We want to visit the Tonola Market where our friends Les and Sara were just today. You can read about their visit here.

The Internet is working well right now but it probably will not last. I will post from the road when I can.

Leaving Monday

We are leaving Mazatlan Monday. We were hoping the new Durango Cuota was open so we could see a couple of places that are on the list but it is not to be. We will head south to Tepic and decide at that point where we will head. We will end up in Guadalajara but might make a side trip on the way. It will all depend on how we feel when we get to the crossroads.

The Internet connection here has been very disappointing. It is on for a few minutes and then off for a few hours. It makes it very hard to post the Blog on a regular basis. The office is always crowded with people trying to fix it but to no avail so far.

We are going over to Robin and George’s for a swim and a cold drink and with any luck I will get a better sleep tonight and be fresh to drive tomorrow. Someone was trying to leave at 6:30 this morning and decided to let their diesel idle right in front of us while they looked for someone to unlock the gate for them. I was unable to go back to sleep after they left.

I am not sure when I will be able to post again, or even if I can post this, but I will when I can.

Breakfast at El Quelite

George and Robin called this morning to see if we wanted to take a drive up to El Quelite for breakfast. El Quelite is a small puebla north of Mazatlan just off the libre highway. It has a beautiful restaurant. We were joined by Gord, George and Robin’s friend and Gord’s Mexican neighbour, Anna who brought her two month old son Joshua. It was a great breakfast with great people!

The Tortilla Press


Robin and Anna

Robin Anna

Gord, George, Robin, Anna & Joshua


Mazatlan Malacon

We went for breakfast yesterday at a little restaurant across from the beach It was a beautiful day!



Tropico de Cancer


A simple sign with huge significance. I am back in the Tropics!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some People's Kids

We stopped at the Mega today for a few groceries. At the end of one of the isles some security guards had three American or Canadian teenage girls (17-20? Hard to tell these days) surrounded and emptying their pockets. I can imagine the tearful phone call home: "Mom, help, I'm in a Mexican jail for stealing a 30 peso lipstick!" Stupid, stupid, stupid! They should check Passport applicants for brains!

On a more positive note, the Internet is back here at the park.

Internet Down

I am getting a good WIFI signal but no internet. This has been an intermittent problem all day but tonight there is no connection at all. I will save this post and send it when I can.

We extended our stay by one day so I can watch the BC Lions play Montreal on Sunday. Hopefully the problem will be fixed by then.

We went downtown for brunch and Internet works here. Filipe is getting someone in at the park to work on it but it is yet another Mexican holiday so who knows…….

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Pie!

Someone asked for a photo of the pie. I just happen to have one!


Today was a quiet day. We went over to George and Robin's for a swim in their pool. Robin broke out her supply of Tillamook cheese and George mixed a round of his famous Bloody Caesars. It was another great day!

Highway 40 and Daniel's Pie

George and Robin picked us up this morning for a drive to the small village of Copala on Highway 40. The purpose of the trip was twofold. One, we had been told that the new cuota to Durango was completed. I was excited to hear this because it would be the perfect route to Durango and Aguascalientes, two cities we have not yet seen and which are high on my "to do" list. George did not think the road was open yet and offered to drive us all out to check on the construction.

George was right! The new road is open for the first few miles but then is barricaded off. We drove out the old road, nicknamed "The Devil's Backbone" as far as Copala. The new road parallels the old road and is obviously a long way from completion. It will be another year or two at least. One of the photos below is a section of the new road, wide and straight with wide shoulders. It will cut the time to Durango from about six hours of nerve racking driving down to about three hours of relaxing crusing.

Driving to Copala has another benefit. Here is located the world famous Daniels Restaurant with it's equally world famous Banana Creme Coconut Pie! It was so good I could not stop myself from buying a whole pie to take home. On the way home we stopped in Villa Union for a delicious seafood dinner. There is no doubt now, Life Is Good!

Norma and I at Daniel's Restaurant:

New section of the Durango Cuota:
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Wild Time In Campbell River!

The woman who is staying in her motorhome at our place back in Canada is blogging about the huge storm going on there right now. It makes an interesting read! Here is a link.

Dentist and Prescription Day

Two years ago I developed a minor infection in my gum and found a local dentist here in Mazatlan to go and whine to. He examined me, took some x-rays and cleaned everything up for very little money, about $400 pesos as I recall which is about $35 Canadian. I dropped in to see him yesterday and have an appointment at noon today for a checkup and a cleaning.

Norma will stay home to supervise the washing and waxing of the rig which is happening at the same time. It is a busy day in Mazatlan!

Well, I am home from the dentist, enjoying freshly cleaned and polished teeth. Dr. Francisco Gavito spent over a half hour on me and charged me $500 pesos or $41 Canadian. He reported that my teeth are in excellent condition.

While I was downtown I refilled my Xalatan prescription for my glaucoma. In Canada it cost me $39 for 2.5ml and here, $385 pesos ($35 CAN) for 5ml. It is half the cost here. I love Mexico!!!

George and Robin were over for Happy Hour last night and as a consequence, I found myself out of rum. Mega Stores had a liter of "Hencho En Mexico" white rum with a free t-shirt on sale for $5 something Canadian so I could not pass that up. I am now ready for another Happy Hour.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I really like the drive from Los Mochis to Mazatlan on the cuota (toll) road. The highway is wide and smooth, passing by lush farmland. There are two toll booths on the 431 KM stretch, the first costing $308 Pesos and the second, $200. The "North Beaches" road from the highway to the RV park is open but under construction with a long one way dirt section. We now need a wash.

We checked into the Las Jaibas RV park at about 3:00. The park looks pretty good but is almost empty! They raised the rates to $35 USA per day last year which chased many of the regulars away. He has lowered the rates back down again this year but the damage may have already been done. We paid $1900 pesos for a week which is about $155 Canadian.

We called my niece Robin and George who have a condo just up the street. They invited us over so we went there for a drink and then we all decided to go out for dinner. They have done some improvements to the marina on the way to town and Gus-Gus (pronounced Goose-Goose), one of the nicer downtown restaurants, has opened a new restaurant there. I had garlic shrimp and Norma had a bowl of soup. She was still full from eating 80% of her steak the night before.

I had a beer and a rum at Robin and Georges, a couple of margaritas with dinner and a couple of scotches when they dropped us off and woke up with a minor headache this morning. I should know better!

Las Jaibas has an excellent WIFI signal so Skype works well from here. I called Brooks & Linda and got an update on how their fencing and decking business is doing. They are busy and it looks like it will be busy all winter. Canada has a home improvement tax incentive going right now so many people are using it to do work on their houses. He and Linda are also working on plans to enlarge the business and that is going well too. I am very proud of the two of them. It is hard to build a small business in todays economy but they are both hard workers and will make a go of it.

I also called my sister in Kitchener, Ontario. She is home from the hospital after an operation and says she is feeling well. I don't entirely trust her as she has been known to lie about how she feels, something she learned from our mother. I will keep checking on her.

Dish Alignment for Dummies

Today I set up the StarChoice dish. I was having a bit of a problem finding the signal when a neighbour dropped by with a brilliant solution. You find someone with a working signal, place a piece of paper on the dish and trace where the shadow of the feed horn lies on the dish. You then take this paper to your dish and turn, raise and lower your dish until the shadow of your feed horn matches the tracing. You will now be very close to the correct orientation. Magic! It only works of course when the sun is in front of the dish and if the dish is the same size but what a labour saver - not to mention the frustration.

Well, back to doing nothing, something I do well in Mexico...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Los Mochis

It was a fairly long drive today (431 KM) with a couple of stops. We stopped at the VIP restaurant in Navajoa for brunch. VIP is probably the closest thing you will find to a American/Canadian type establishment here in Mexico. Maybe a little classier than Denny’s and have an English menu. Big deal, I can read a menu in several languages! They serve breakfast all day so we both had eggs, mine fried and Norma’s scrambled. Mine came with some very greasy hash browns. Not bad but it cost $180 pesos, quite expensive by Mexican standards.

We then walked across the street to a Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club where we renewed our Sam’s membership but did not buy anything. Not far down the road we crossed from the State of Sonora into the State of Sinaloa and drove to Los Mochis for the night. It was a little dark when we got here and I usually avoid driving in the dark. I made an exception tonight because the cuota road was in good shape and I kind of remembered it from the last two years.

We have always stayed at the only RV park in town but I never liked it. It has no amenities and usually does not even have anyone to check us in. We were paying about $200 pesos a night for a little electricity and the privilege of being kept awake all night by dogs and roosters who do not own a clock. Tonight we are trying out the truck stop behind the big Pemex on the highway. It has a huge (maybe five acre) parking lot that is about a quarter filled with trucks. Mexican truckers are much kinder than those in the USA and do not run reefers all night. It is actually very quiet here and we are the only RV. There is a small but spotless restaurant attached to the Pemex and we used the $200 pesos we saved on the RV park to buy dinner. Norma had the filet mignon and I had Pescado Veracruzana. Norma said the filet was perfect and it must have been because she ate 80% of it, a record for her. Mine was good but not as good as my own recipe. It was spicy, which it is not supposed to be. The bill was $240 pesos or about $20 bucks.

I tried to find WIFI with the Hawking but for the first time, it failed me. There are about 20 stations out there but all are encrypted. I will save this as a draft and post it tomorrow from Mazatlan.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moving On

We are leaving beautiful San Carlos this morning, heading towards Mazatlan. It is almost 500 KM, too far for one day so we will boondock somewhere along the way tonight. My new Hawking may allow me to connect to the Internet so I can post. If not, see you in a couple of days!

Friday, November 13, 2009

This and That

Yesterday we went to the Telcel office to buy $200 pesos of pay as you go cell time. I heard they were copying passports before they would sell time to try to control the use of "throw-away phones" by narcos. They did not ask me so I guess it is only new customers buying a SIM card. I was prepared and would not have had any objection. We all have to help.

I might be in another "tear my hair out" situation trying to get a very simple job done. I lost the pin and hitch pin for the dolly in California. I bought a large bolt, nut and washers to replace it but I need a 1/8" hole drilled through the bolt for a hitch pin. Up to now I have been making do by using two nuts tightened against each other but tightening and loosening them requires laying on the ground with two wrenches. Yesterday I found a mechanical workshop in Guaymas and made them understand what I needed. After a ten minute search they finally admitted that they had no drill bits. I spent another unsuccessful hour or so trying to find another shop that might be able to do the job.

I do have a drill (and bits) and tried to do it myself but it is hard steel and without a vice to hold the bolt steady, I broke four bits and still have no hole. This all reminds me of my frustrating attempts to get my StarChoice dish repaired two years ago. Everyone down here is willing to help, but few have the tools required to do the job. I may buy more bits and make a "vice" out of my vice-grips and the dolly. I can't afford to tear out any more hair. A drill press would make it so simple. I wonder if there is one in Mexico?

Well, I made a vice with my vice-grips and the edge of the car dolly and tried again. I have come to the conclusion that the bolts are hardened steel and cannot be drilled without the proper tools. This conclusion came after four more broken and two dulled bits and a hole less than half way through the bolt. I will continue using the two wrench method until I can find a good machine shop with the proper equipment. It is not the worst situation, just a little inconvenient.

I Probably Should Not Show This

Posted without comment........

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


This car parked in front of our neighbor for a couple of hours tonight. It may as well have had a flashing neon sign saying, "FEDERALIS!" What is going on??? After a couple of hours a clean cut young guy came out and left. Our neighbor did not volunteer anything and I had the (uncommon) good sense not to ask. It is a mystery..

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Camerones Ajo

Garlic shrimp. Before:


I did finish the vegetables while we were waiting for the bill. Ah... Paradise!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

San Carlos Sunset


San Carlos

We left Edgar and Anna at about 10 this morning and headed for Hermisillo. Hermisillo is the capital of the State of Sonora so it is a very busy city. There is a complicated bypass that passes to the east of the city. It is described very well in the Church's book and is also well marked with signs. We stopped at the first toll booth where we were charged $96 pesos as a four axle vehicle, as I believe was correct. At the second toll booth we were charged $96 pesos for a truck and an additional $60 pesos for the car as if it were following behind. This, I believe, is an overcharge but my Spanish is not good enough to complain and more important, to understand the response to my complaint.

On the positive side, regular gas is $7.70 pesos a liter which translates to $0.61 Canadian. I am not sure what the cost of gas is in Canada right now but it is much cheaper here. As long as they keep working on the highways, I do not mind paying tolls to keep the highways in good shape.

Here is a out the windshield shot of Mex 15 and the approach to a toll booth:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Made It!

We are in! They did not ask for the marriage certificate, the woman who processed us spoke good English so we filled out the forms, paid our fees and drove through.

Highway 2 to Santa Ana is in excellent shape, last years bridge projects are all completed and we made it to Edgar and Anna's Punta Vista RV Park by 3:00. It is nice to back in Mexico! Edgar's only pull through was taken so we had to unload the car and dolly but it is a small price to pay. There are a couple of guys from Hemet, CA here who are heading down to a bass lake to fish, one couple from Oregon who are driving into Central America and another couple from BC who we have not met yet.

There was no Internet when I turned on the computer so I plugged in my new Hawking dish and it found one! It is a weak signal but enough to let me post the Blog. I am going to wander over with a cold beer and talk to some folks. Life is very good!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Border Preminitions

We have neighbors here at the park who were turned back at the Mexico border because the VIN on their registration did not match the VIN on the vehicle. It was close but not perfect. They have had the vehicle into Mexico before but this time they took a magnifying glass to the VIN tag and found a discrepancy. They told us that while they were there another couple got turned back because they did not have a marriage certicicate. After all my warning people to carry their certificate, we left ours at home. They were not asking everyone, so we might slip past. I have my fingers crossed.

Ajo, AZ

We are back in Ajo. It is an old copper mining area that has pretty much been re-inhabited by Border Patrol people who have purchased many of the super cheap houses left behind when the mine closed. One thing this area does not have a shortage of is Border Patrol!

The RV park here is a much more reasonable $12 per night with Passport America and includes 20 channels of TV and WIFI. The town is suffering from the recession and most of the restaurants are closed so we will probably have fried eggs and potatoes tonight while we get the paperwork laid out for the border crossing.

I researched the very interesting history of Ajo last year when we were here and if you are interested, you can read about it on my post from a year ago.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hawking WIFI Dish

I have been thinking about a Hawking WIFI booster for a long time now and after reading of Tioga George's success with one I decided to take the plunge. I mentioned to a neighbour here in the park that I was buying one and she told me she had one that she did not use and would sell it to me "cheap". I tested it out and it seems to bring in a stronger signal than the built-in laptop antenna. We are having "Happy Hour" with them soon so I will see what kind of a price I can negotiate. The newer ones with the 810.11n technology are $69.99 at Best Buy and Circuit City.

Well, that was some tough bargaining! I wanted to pay a fair price and Gena wanted to give it to me for free. I finally talked her into taking a tiny bit for it but far less than a fair price. Thanks Gena and Carl, it will be well used in Mexico!

Leaving Yuma!

We are leaving Yuma tomorrow morning. We will follow I-10 to Gila Bend and then south to Ajo for the night. In the morning we will head for the border at Lukeville.

We had fun here, meeting up with some old friends and meeting new ones. The weather was perfect and we had a chance to relax and stock up with some stuff that is unavailable or hard to find in Mexico.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Got ID'd!

Well, I don't know whether to be insulted or pleased. I bought some beer and got asked for ID. That has not happened for a few years. I know I look young for my age but after all!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Watching the BC Lions!

I hooked my StarChoice on to Mike's antenna across the street and am watching the Lions play Edmonton tonight. I could set up my own dish but it is a lot of trouble to do that and we have regular cable in the park.

Earlier tonight we went to a fish and chip dinner here in the park. Not bad food and a nice conversation with a couple from Saskatchewan.

The weather was a little cooler today thanks to some clouds that hung around all day. It was a refreshing change! I thought it would take me longer to complain about the heat but it was nice to not have to deal with the heat today. Well, back to the game......

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still Tweaking

The bedroom TV has been giving us problems for some time. It requires a very strong signal coming into the RV to get it to work. The park here has cable but it has a very low signal strength from being split so many times. The front TV works quite well although a bit grainy but the rear TV with an extra 60 feet or so of wire is not so good. It will not receive some of the lower end channels. I remember dealing with this problem in Mexico last winter but forgot what I had done.

While downtown yesterday I picked up a 19 dB video amplifier and wired it in this morning. When I opened the wooden cabinet under the TV I discovered that I had already put an amplifier in the circuit that I had bought in Mexico. It was however, only 15 dB so I replaced it with the more powerful amplifier. This did the trick and the rear TV is now the same quality as the front, a little grainy but receiving all the channels.

This indicates to me that something else might be wrong that I have not yet discovered and that I am only treating the symptom. I recently bought a new TV distribution box but have not yet installed it. It is not an easy task as the new box is a little larger than the old one and the cutout in the cabinet will have to be enlarged. I have all the tools to do this so it might be something I will tackle in Mexico. If that does not solve the problem I will have to look at replacing the cable that goes from the distribution box to the rear TV. I bought a tool to put proper ends on co-ax cables today so I will also be able to shorten some of the cables inside the cabinet and reduce the cable length by 15 or 20 feet. This is due to the fact that the shortest pre-made cables I can buy are 6 feet long and I have used several of them to connect various components where shorter cables would have been better.

In the meantime. I will install the surplus 15 dB amp in the outside bin where the cable entrance is located. This will give the incoming signal an additional boost and should get rid of the graininess. It is an ongoing project but everything I do now should make a positive difference. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bummed Out

Rant Alert!!!!

I am in a post USA election funk! It is not even my country but I still feel bummed-out over last night. Of particular disappointment to me was the defeat of the same sex marriage bill in the State of Maine. This bill overturned an earlier decision to allow people who love each other to get married in Maine. The reversal of this decision was promoted and openly financed by various Churches and other homophobic right-wing organizations whose goal is to force their own misguided "morals" down everyone else's throat.

I support the comment made by Jesse Ventura on the issue:

"You can't put a civil rights issue on the ballot and let the people decide. You have to have elected officials to who have courage to make the right decision. If you left it up to the people, we'd have slavery, depending on how you worded it."

  • Former Minnesota Governor and pro wrestler Jesse Ventura, responding to Maine's vote on CNN last night.

Jesse is right. The USA appears to be only one vote away from from kicking non-white kids out of their schools and sending them and their parents to the back of the bus again. I thought (hoped) that a self-proclaimed civilized society had progressed beyond the dark ages, but I was wrong. You cannot trust people to vote on human rights, period. Someone has to be the grown-up and make the proper decisions.

Washington State voters did pass a watered down version of the Bill but with very wishy washy language. A same sex marriage in that State is now “almost”, just about”, “sort of” equal to an opposite sex marriage but “not quite” and can't actually be called a “marriage”. Hate and Homophobia reign!


On the bright side, Carrie Prejean, the homophobic former Miss California who claims “God” was whispering in her ear when she gave her ignorant and hateful answer to a same sex marriage question during the Miss California competition has just made new headlines! A video has surfaced of the pure little Ms Prejean starring in her own little “hand-made” porn production. It seems she could not afford to hire a co-star so she went the distance solo, if you get my drift. A few minutes of this little production was shown to the pious little miss goody two shoes while she and her lawyers were in a conference with pageant officials over her lawsuits with the pageant after they blurted out that they had paid for her boob job and they now want their money back. She counter-sued for a million because now everyone knows she had a boob job. This was fun enough by itself and now the video surfaces and everyone can see her “handiwork”! She walked out of the meeting and the lawsuit "empty handed". This almost makes up for the voters of Maine ruining my day! Almost but not quite...

There! I feel better. The soapbox is stashed away again (for now). Back to thinking about Mexico.

EDIT: OK, I lied. Here is one more tidbit from TMZ:

"We have more info on Carrie Prejean's abrupt about-face during the settlement negotiations with Miss California USA lawyers -- when they showed her the X-Rated version of Home Alone ... starring Carrie herself. When the video started playing, Carrie's first reaction was "that's disgusting" ... and Carrie denied it was her. Then, the camera angle changed ... and panned up to her face. She was caught red-handed ... so to speak. Carrie was rendered speechless and immediately began talking with her lawyer. We're told it took about 15 seconds for Carrie to drop her $1 million dollar demand."

And from the Conservative website Idiocratic:

"So – my fellow conservatives – Was defending Carrie Prejean worth it or did we prop her up on a pedestal a little too soon? Was it really a good idea to see her as our poster girl just because we salivated over a few sentences that she uttered at a beauty pageant? We should have known better using a beauty queen to try to get our message across. What were we thinking? And yes, I am sure that we can thank our good friends on the left for digging up these uncomplimentary images and video about Prejean. That’s what they do best. But if the allegations are true, then Prejean is a hypocrite and we all look like idiots. The point is, we can’t just go embracing every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there that says they are opposed to gay marriage. Maybe we should do a little of our own digging next time?

I'll stop this soon. I promise! The thing is, it is fine for her to have her opinions and indulge in a little self amusement once in a while. No problem! What is not OK is that she is such a biggoted hypocrite and is given full access to the airwaves to spew out her hatred. Why can't we all just get along?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yuma, AZ

It was a short drive to Yuma where we pulled into the Cocopah RV Park. This is a beautiful park on First Nations land with it's own championship golf course. We booked for a week (at $35 per night!) as we have a few things to do before we go to Mexico.

Today I got a new thermostat installed in the Honda as it boiled over as soon as I started driving it in the eighty degree heat down here. It was doing that in Mexico last year so I got the radiator flushed in the summer but that did not help. The new thermostat should do the trick and I drove it back from Pep Boys with the gauge staying on the cool side even with the A/C turned up.

I also stocked up on books for Mexico. It is almost impossible to find English books down there and when you do, they cost a fortune. Rae got me started on the Stephanie Plumb mystery series so I bought a bunch more of her series. They are easy to read, humorous mysteries much along the line of the Archie McNally series, which I read all of. The friendly lady who owned the used book store recommended a few more titles she thought I might like so I came away with two bags of books and $60 lighter in the wallet.

Our friends Muff and Val from Vernon are not here yet but Dave and Sharon, a couple from Washington State we met here a few years ago are back this year and we joined them and a couple of other neighbours for "Happy Hour" tonight.

The "To Do" list is getting shorter. Life is good!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lake Havasu, AZ

Today we made it as far a Lake Havasu. We have been here before and do not feel the need to walk across the London Bridge again. We parked at the new WalMart but were informed that the city had passed an ordinance against overnight parking. The WalMart security guy was very nice and told us to drive to the old WalMart where we would not be bothered. We followed his directions and are parked in their vacant lit parking lot next to a grocery store that appears to be open late.

The weather is fantastic. It is well over 70 and is already t-shirt and shorts weather. No quilt again tonight!

Regular Unleaded on the California side of the state line was $3.10 per gallon and on the Arizona side, $2.55. We had to fill up two times in California.

Gas so far: $675, RV parks: $0, zip, nada, Fun: priceless… Life is good.

14 on “66”

Our travels today took us along Interstate 40, the highway built to replace old Route 66. Parts of the Historic highway still survive along with the derelict businesses that used to thrive along this former lifeline. Sometimes the old Route 66 parallels I-40 and it is possible to drive on it for a ways. We took one of those opportunities today and it was a very nostalgic experience driving along the old narrow highway that people come from all over the world to see. The surface was in need of repair and most of the signs have found their way into rec rooms all over the world but there was no mistake that it was Route 66.  We covered 14 miles of Route 66. All I needed was a ‘53 Corvette and I would have gone all the way to Chicago!



Bakersfield, CA

It was another long day of driving today and we pulled into the Bakersfield Walmart just after dark. The store had moved o the parking lot was deserted. It was Halloween night but the rowdies must have been busier somewhere else because except for a couple of fire trucks and police cars racing by in the middle of the night, it was very peaceful. I walked over to a Carl’s Jr. to pick up some food to go and practiced a little of my Spanish on Juan, the clerk. He seemed very surprised that  a white guy was speaking (terrible) Spanish to him but he quickly recovered and was very nice. I was surprised than there was little off air TV in Bakersfield. We searched around but found only three digital signals that faded in and out.