Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Wonderful World

Happy New Year!

Happy New Years everyone! Have fun, be safe and if you drink.... you know the routine!

We are staying in watching TV tonight, our normal routine. We have not gone out on New Years for many years, probably not since Terrace when we called a cab at about 1:00 AM and waited three hours for it. Not my idea of fun.

There is a bit of a party going on in the RV park clubhouse where they have a band and snacks but we decided not to go. Our niece Robin and George are arriving tomorrow afternoon, staying at a nearby "Route 66" style motel for two nights and then they are on their way to their Mazatlan condo for a few months. Maybe we can arrange a "meet-up" for them with our other friends in Mazatlan. We always have fun with Robin and George!

Anyway, I hope all of our readers had a very good year and I know you will all have a good 2016! Talk to you next year!

Croft & Norma

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tornado Vs. RV Park

Garland, Texas

Maybe we will stay put for a while!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Eve Happy Hour

The weather cooperated, the food was great and everyone had a good time! Our friend Shadowmoss and her mom came over as well as Phyllis, our neighbour from behind us and then along came Jim and Sandi from the Blog, Where Are The Dixons Today?

It was chilly but we had the propane fire pit going as well as an electric heater so it was quite comfortable. I had to give up my short pants and find a pair of jeans for the occasion but that was a small sacrifice.

The food was great and the conversation even better. Always nice to meet new friends. The Dixons have been on the road for a long time but are "stuck" in Apache Junction for a while until Jim gets over a medical problem and then they are off again! Great people.

I forgot to take photos until it was too dark. Again. I will have to bring the camera out before people arrive in the future.

The Christmas Dinner Potluck is taking place today at 1:00 PM so we have to start getting things together for that. It should be fun.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Norma and I wish everyone the very best! Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Papa Noel Getting Ready!

While Santa is up in the North Pole readying his sleigh which is pulled by reindeer, way down south in Louisiana, his alter ego, Papa Noel is preparing his Pirogue (pea-row) to be pulled through the swamps by his eight pet alligators, Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee and, if it is misty, Nicollette, lighting the way with her glowing green eyes.

In the tiny villages and communities along the Louisiana Bayous, residents gather to light community bonfires to show Papa Noel where there are children waiting for his visit.

It will be a busy night for both Santa and Papa Noel!

In Mexico however, the children are waiting until January 6 and a visit from The Three Kings who will visit every home and leave a small gift at every child's bedroom door in a shoe that the child has left for them. Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve they will receive gifts from their family. Mexican kids are lucky, they get two Christmas's.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


A tank of propane usually lasts us a month. The only thing we really need it for is the water heater and the fridge when we are traveling, when we are in an RV park the fridge runs on electric. However here in Mesa we have been running the furnace for an hour every morning to warm the place up enough for the electric heater to keep it up until it warms up around noon. That burns through the propane

Yesterday I checked and we are down to a little over a quarter of a tank. Time to top it off. We called a couple of delivery places and were given a couple of reasons why they could not deliver to us. 1) They are not allowed to deliver to our park(?) and they are not taking new customers. 2) We live on the wrong side of some street and they are not allowed to deliver to us (?).

Not finding anyone willing to fill our tank and no one really willing to explain why, we called another large nearby RV park to see what they do. Well, the bottom line seems to be the fire department will not allow the filling of RV tanks in Mesa. The way around it is to rent a tank for an annual fee and they will exchange it for a full one when required. Not for us.

We have to leave some propane for running the fridge when we leave so the next solution was to go and buy another space heater. I bought one identical to the Lasco I bought at Target stores a month ago and it will stay in the front while the other one will stay in the bedroom.

We have blown the 30 amp breaker in the motorhome a couple of times so I am running the second heater right off an extension cord to the 50 amp outlet in the pedestal. Actually I plugged the bread maker, ice maker, extra fridge, computer, front TV and satellite receiver into the same extension cord to the pedestal to take those loads off the motorhome's 30 amp breaker.

On the way home from Target I stopped for gas at Fry's Grocery gas bar. I knew I get a discount on gas depending on how much we have spent in the store but was unsure how much. I scanned my discount card and was told I had earned a $.30 discount per gallon for up to 30 gallons! This brought my price per gallon down to $1.57! $14 to fill the Honda! Good deal!

Life in Mesa is cool, but good.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Earth View!

A gorgeous shot of Earth with the moon in the foreground, captured on Oct. 12, 2015 by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cactus Lesson Learned

Did you know that when you drag Christmas lights through a cactus they pick up thousands of microscopic, invisible needles that then transfer to your hands and clothes? Well, they do and they hurt when you touch anything and try as you will, you cannot see them to pick them out. 

If you knew this, why didn't you tell me?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Another Open Live Writer Test

including a photo. I copied the photo to ‘Desktop’.
Nope. Error 403. Taking the photo out and trying again

Yup, worked with no photo

An Actor In The Family!

Our oldest granddaughter Jayde is studying in the Victoria Academy of Dramatic Arts and is in their first production on Dec 22 - 23, a stage adaptation of Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, a story set in an early 50's Welsh Village. Congratulations Jayde and as they say, "Break a Leg"! Wish we were there to cheer you on!

Doesn’t she look like a future star?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

We Have Live Writer Again!

My friend John over at On The Road Of Retirement has figured out how to get Live Writer working again. You uninstall the old Live Writer and install a just released version but click on John’s Blog and he will tell you all about it.

I am using it now so if you see this post, you know it works! Thanks for searching this out John!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What To Do?

We are comfortable here in Mesa and there is lots to do, BUT we have never been content to sit in one place too long and the temptation to just sit around and do nothing is great.

We basically have three choices for the rest of the winter: 1) stay put, 2) head down the Baja like we sort of had planned and 3) drive over to the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast.

The cheapest choice is 1) stay put. This holds some attraction with the falling value of the Canadian dollar. We could arrive back home with more in the bank than we left with.

Reverting back to our original plan for Baja would be fun. The downsides are twofold: 1) El Nino! It will be a wet winter on Baja. Wandering off the main highway could result in bad roads and overall miserable conditions. 2) Price of gas. Mexico has become out of step with the rest of North America in it's gas prices. Combined with the fact this is the longest route (1.900 miles each way) makes this a consideration when driving a rig that gets 7 MPG. With gas costs of about fifty cents a mile, gas costs alone will be an extra $2,000.

We have always enjoyed 3), the RGV, the Gulf Coast and Texas in general. I love the food and the people, at least the ones not packing. It is much closer (1,200 miles) and gas is much cheaper in the US, well under $2 per gallon adding only a little over $1,000 to our current winter budget. The weather in the RGV should be good as it is about the same latitude as the south Baja. Going there, we might be able to coordinate with Chris and Juan and arrange a short road trip with the car down to Monterrey, Mexico to visit them for a few days. This will give us our "Mexico Fix".

Lots to think about in the next few weeks. Whatever we decide, Life Is Good!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Big Windows Update

I bought another month of Virgin Broadband Internet yesterday and as soon as I started it, my main Windows 10 laptop started doing a major update. By the time I noticed it had already used up almost a Gig of data! What to do? I had no idea how big the download was and did not want to shut it off and fail the update if it was almost finished, Darn. I am on an "Unlimited" data plan but it has a soft limit of (I think) 4 GB when it slows me down to a crawl for the rest of the month. When it does this I can do basic stuff as well as voice Skype but not video Skype. Not a great situation with Christmas approaching.

Oh well, if it uses too much of my precious data I can always buy more for $40 US so it is not the end of the world.

I left it going overnight and this morning it was done and waiting for a restart. There was a huge 2 1/2 GB dent in my data allotment but hopefully it is finished. It is now restarted and updating, telling me it is 24% done. I am happy I have two computers!

We were discussing going to the park's Christmas Dinner potluck. I am not big on these crowded affairs but it might be fun. Norma can get her turkey fix and I can get my fill of fancy deserts. I wonder if our friends here in the park are going?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bloggerfest 2016!

If you are anywhere near Quartzsite on January 23rd, mark this day on your calendar! It will be a fun afternoon meeting some RV Bloggers. It is being hosted by George and Suzi and will be a blast. If we are still around the desert, we will be there.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Where Were We On This Date In......?

2008?  Patzcuaro, Mexico

2009?  Villa Corona, Mexico (near Guadalajara)

2010?  Mission, Texas (on our way to Florida)

2011?  Mazatlan, Mexico

2012?  San Carlos, Mexico

2013?  Rio Grande Valley, Texas

2014?  Desert Hot Springs, California

2015? Right here, Mesa, Arizona

Maybe time to rename Croft's Mexico to Croft's SOB (South Of (the) Border)?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chill In The Air

There is a chill in the air here in Mesa. I woke up on and off during the night to pull the covers up and when we got up at 7:00 it was downright cold! We had an electric heater but it was not working properly. I think the thermal switch that prevents overheating was malfunctioning and shutting the heater down far too early. I did a little research on line and went over to Target Stores to buy a Lasko unit. It required a bit of assembly but seems to be working well. It has a nice fan and pushes warm air throughout the RV.

This is our 4th or 5th heater and so far is the best one. It even has a remote so I can turn it on and off at night! Pure luxury!

Our neighbor/friend Shadowmoss came over for a visit this afternoon and we made tentative plans for an outing on the weekend. It was nice to see her.

I am watching Canada's Grey Cup game on TV. Edmonton vs. Ottawa. I am cheering for my old hometown Edmonton but so far it is not all that exciting.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


We are in Mesa! The only drama was buying propane. We found a Flying J that sold it but after trying for five minutes the attendant announced his equipment was not working. We parked and went for breakfast (Daybreaker in the Foothills - very good) and when we walked back he was filling another RV. He said it was now working so we pulled around and this time it worked! Two hours for breakfast and propane.

The highway got busy as we approached Phoenix but the GPS lady got us right to the door of the park. The office was closed but we had already been assigned a spot so we just parked and hooked up. The office will be open Monday.

The suggested time of 2 hr 13 min is way off, it took us about 6 hours including the propane / breakfast stop. I now have a frozen pizza that is calling my name.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Being Lazy

We have not done much in the last few days. We had neighbors over for a happy hour once and went to our friends Muff and Val's for dinner once but other than that we have just hung around the RV. We did hire a crew to wash the motorhome for $1 per foot and an extra $5 for the roof. They did a good job but with the dust here in Yuma, it did not stay clean long.

The plastic drain plug in the water heater started leaking so I replaced it with a brass one that should last forever.

We are moving to Mesa, AZ tomorrow. This next park, Mesa Village, is where we stayed for a month last year. It is a quiet residential park with a nice pool and hot tub, close to lots of shopping and restaurants.

After that we have no plans except to see where the desert breezes blow us.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Our Florida Friends Gone - Just Like That

We just learned this morning that Paul and Dodi, the Florida couple we met in Mexico when they were abandoned by their RV caravan and then visited twice at their home in FL have both died late last month.

Paul went first with a sudden brain aneurism and was followed a couple of days later by Dodi who simply could not live without Paul.

Paul and Norma were born on the same day in 1942 and Dodi and I were about the same age. Makes you think.

We had a lot of fun with Paul and Dodi in three countries, Mexico, the USA and the Bahamas. Very friendly, generous people. Paul was the very definition of "a colorful character" and made the best Bloody Marys I have ever tasted!!

Here we are enjoying a late breakfast on Isla Aguada, Mexico in 2010. Miss you guys! Smooth sailing and,  "Keep the wind at your back and the sun on your face"!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Really Happened In Dallas

November 22, 1963 Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas

If you are a Conspiracy Theorist like me, or just interested in modern US history, you will find this Salon article interesting.

Mesa and Finding StarChoice Signal

We booked a month at the same Mesa, AZ park we were in last March. It is convenient, has a great pool and hot tub and is cheap at $450 US per month including electric. We booked the same spot we had last year. We are both tired this year and just want a month of doing almost nothing. Decisions will be made as we go.

I went to Dishpointer to get the dish pointing information for the park and what do you know, the satellite image has our motorhome in it! They updated their image file while we were parked there. You can see the motorhome, the Mazda and the dolly. Cool!

Speaking of StarChoice (or any other satellite service), if you cannot find the bird easily and there is someone else in the park with the identical dish and LNB, here is an easy non-invasive way to copy their settings. First, set the skew as listed on the Dishpointer site. Then aim your dish in the general direction of the bird (you can use the compass setting on the site) and leave the tightening bolts slightly loose. Now go to your neighbor's site and photograph his dish from the front making sure to include the shadow of the LNB as it falls on his dish (see photo below). This can be done from outside his property but if you see anyone you might want to explain why you are photographing his dish.

Now quickly go back to your own dish and adjust your altitude and azimuth so the shadow on your dish matches the photo. You have maybe five or ten minutes to do this before the sun moves too far in the sky. You will now see bars on your setup screen and can easily do the fine tuning required to get a perfect signal, Obviously, the sun has to be in a position to cast a shadow for this to work.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Great Dinner With Old Friends!

Our friends Muff and Val McMurphy have a park model in Yuma where they spend a few months escaping the Vernon, BC winters. They are always busy with their golf and active social life but they got a night off last night and decided to spend it with us.

Muff and I started working for Canadian Telephones and Supplies (CT&S), an offshoot of BC Tel around the same time back in the mid 1960's and met shortly after that on a job in Chilliwack. Our wives to be met shortly after and we all became fast friends, the kind of friends that if you go a year or two without seeing each other, it is just as if you were never apart when you finally do get together. Our friendship continued on through our work (and political) lives where we were both active in our union and worked together on several projects for the telephone company. When we both retired we continued to see them at retirement do's and down here in Yuma.

Yesterday Norma raided her well guarded freezer for some very nice BC salmon, halibut and prawns which her and Val marinated in teriyaki sauce, threaded onto skewers and cooked in the convection oven. They turned out perfect and shared our plates with some potato salad. They were so good, they were eaten before I thought to take a photo!

Here are our friends. Funny how we are all aging except Val who insists she is keeping up with us age wise but it sure does not show!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back In The USA

We checked out of the room and got into the short lineup for the USA border crossing, declared our two bottles of booze (tequila and Kahlua) and drove back to the RV park. First check was the fridge and it is fine so I guess that particular drama is over.

I have to think out the teeth thing, it was quite a shock when they almost doubled the cost on me. We will stick around in the US and make plans.

Since we did not spend any money at the clinic we had to pay for our own room but at the 'patient' price of $35 US per night instead of the regular $50.

The whole peso/dollar thing was very confused. We always spend pesos in Mexico but that does not work in Algodones where only dollars are used which we had hardly any of. There is only one ATM in town and it had a sign on it indicating it was out of dollars and only had pesos. So here we were with nothing but pesos in a US dollar economy. Pretty much everyone was accommodating, using their smartphones to convert their prices to pesos, the only exception being the hotel and attached restaurant who objected to taking pesos and who charged us an unfair exchange rate.

The other problem in Algodones is keeping track of the time. Baja California Norte is in the Pacific time zone but because 99% of their customers come from Yuma, AZ all the medical clinics work on AZ time. Most other businesses run on Mexico time so you can see how confusion reigns.

Anyway, it is nice to be back to the RV and our own soft bed. We are paid up here until Saturday and there is nothing to do around here so we shall relax!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Not Cast In Stone Yet

I need time to think. This decision does not have to be made in one day. I am getting by quite well and am in no pain. I have time to think about this major financial outlay. I had a good chat with Miguel, the consulting dentist this morning and he said I did not really need the extra two times four rear molars on separate implants, that I was doing fine now without them and that if I took them off the estimate the bill would come down about $4,000 US! Much better. We are going back to the RV tomorrow and then on Saturday moving up to Mesa where we will relax and do some thinking. I have a written estimate and assurance that the price will not change in the near future. They did not charge me for the X-rays and scans they did yesterday and they arranged for the special patient rate of $35 US at the hotel. We will spend tonight here because I did not get my margarita and fish tacos last night as I did not get out of the dentist office until after the sidewalks were rolled up for the night. Back in Vacation Mode. Life is good! Baja is on hold. For now.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Well, Here It Is

The Decision:

We had dinner and discussed our options. It is a lot of money but dirt cheap compared to having the same work done in Canada or the US. Doing it all at once means I only have to deal with temporary plates for six to eight months. Splitting the job into two would be a little easier on the cash flow but would mean temporary plates for twice as long, something that does not enthuse me in the slightest.

I think I am going to go for it. It is much cheaper than the $40,000 we paid for similar work on Norma ten years ago in Victoria. My cost will be $8K USA now and another $4K in six to eight months.

It is still a lot of money! My rainy Day Fund will no longer survive more than a small hurricane. But then I have to take a substantial payment out of it in 2016 anyway.

Short Term Consequences:

We are putting off the Baja trip. One reason is the money we will save but the main reason is being close to the clinic for a few months if I have to run back. Another reason is I suspect I will have trouble eating for a few months and I know I will have a better selection of food in the US than in Mexico. We are going to call and see if there is a spot in the same Mesa, AZ park we were in last year. It is nice and quiet and has a great pool and hot tub. We also made a couple of friends there.

All in all, it will reduce stress as I recover from major oral surgery.

I think this is the final decision.


Well, my $6K USA job has turned into a $13K USA job (plus the $3K spent last winter). Lots of reasons, bone loss in the top front being the biggie and they cannot guarantee the job if they attach to weak teeth. Lots to think about before 9:00 AM. "All On 4" job it's called if you want to Google it. I will be.

We Survived The Storm!

Up early after hardly any sleep because of the howling wind and rocking RV all night. I got up at 4:00 AM to re-set the StarChoice dish that blew over. It is easy to do when I can see the setup screen through the back window.

Now we are packing to go to the dentist and hotel in Algodones, MX. Margaritas and fish tacos tonight (if I can feel my mouth)!


1:30 AM and crazy wind blowing! The heavy chairs are scattered around the site and the windproof satellite dish mount is upside down. It is howling so bad and the rig is rocking so sleep is just wishful thinking. I am so happy we did not extend the awning!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Catching up!

Sorry for disappearing. We drove a long way to Barstow, CA on Thursday and I was just too tired to post. I thought I would do it later but you know how that goes. We set up in the friendly Walmart but were kept awake by a jerk on a chopper who took delight in circling the parking lot about every hour. There must not be much to do in Barstow, which if memory serves is the location of the last standing drive-in theatre in the USA. I think they have now built a new one in Iowa or somewhere but that does not count. When I was a kid I had a friend who lived right behind a drive-in theatre in Vancouver. There was a hole in the fence so he, his sister and I used to sneak through the fence and sit on the ground beside a pedestal to watch movies for free. Their mom would make us popcorn.

We remembered our Dutch friends Claudia and PJ were staying in Parker, AZ so I shot off an email asking them which park they were in and saying we might stop by if they were in. They were in the La Paz County Park in a dry camping site right on the river, $22 US per night. We paid for one night at the office and pulled in beside them. After hugs and greetings PJ showed me a 20 amp outlet on the lamp post behind him and told me the manager had told him it was OK to plug into it. Bonus! Claudia and PJ are getting their truck and camper ready for sale so they can head back to Holland to look after their rental properties and work for a while to build up the bank account to pay for the next adventure in Australia and New Zealand (which may involve an RV)! At some point they are thinking of opening a B&B in Holland! Book us a room!

There was a big Jeep club having a "do" in the park and had food stands set up so Claudia and I walked over and picked up some wood fired pizzas for everyone. For $8 each they were very good. We had a couple of drinks and chatted until about 8:00 when the bugs came out and it cooled off so we went to bed early.

We had a great sleep right on the river until we were awakened by birds chirping and walking on the roof. We said our goodbye's, stopped in Parker for breakfast and headed down Highway 95 through Quartzsite and on to Yuma. I gassed up on cheap Arizona gas ($2.05 per gal), headed back into California to the turnoff for Algodones, Mexico. We pulled into the Sleepy Hollow RV park where we found the office closed but a pickup stopped and told us to just pick any spot and the office would be open Monday. We will pay $150 for a week

It is very hot here, 90F so we took our time setting up. StarChoice was very easy to find so we are just taking it easy. We will have a salad later, relax and pack a bag tomorrow and walk over the border to Algodones and the Sani Dental Clinic on Monday morning. The clinic owns a hotel right in Algodones and you get a free room for the duration of your treatment, which in my case will be three or four days.

PJ, Norma and Claudia

Happy Hour!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Santa Nella, CA

In Santa Nella, CA, a wide spot on I-5 south of Stockton, CA. Gas stations, restaurants and a small $28 a night RV park. We tried two previous truck stops but found no place to park except between reefer running big rigs and I did not want to face that after a long drive.

We stopped at the Olive Pit in Corning to stock up on three jars of fancy olives, feta stuffed, anchovy stuffed and pimento stuffed. This decision was made after ample sampling.

StarChoice was hooked up after a short delay finding the RV park in Dishpointer but then it went well. A nice relaxing evening watching TV and eating. About 600 miles to go. The adventure continues!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Anderson, CA

We drove through the mountain passes today getting into California finding no snow along the way. We passed through the CA Agricultural inspection with no problem as all we had were tomatoes and onions, both of which were allowed into the state.

We then stopped at All Star Liquors to stock up for the winter. For Canadians the priced here are incredible! 750 ml of single malt for $19.99US and 1.75 litres of vodka for $17.99. For under $200 US we have enough booze for the winter with probably enough left over it will cause problems on the way home. All we have to buy is beer and wine. And tequila but we will take care of that in Mexico.

We are in Anderson, CA where we just got the oil changed in the motorhome and the Honda. Cheaper than last year. A welcome savings given the dollar but go figure. We will park overnight in their parking lot and head out in the morning after Norma gets her nails done.

The trip so far has been uneventful, just as I like it. So far I have talked to two Americans and one Canadian who are incredulous that we are driving into Mexico. The last one, an American told me it was very dangerous. I told him it all depended on which drug cartel he was a member of. I said if he was a Zeta then Mazatlan is very dangerous and if he is a member of the Gulf Cartel then he should stay out the northeast of Mexico. He looked at me strangely and I asked him which cartel he belonged to. He said he did not belong to any drug cartel so I told him he had nothing to worry about and that he would be welcomed anywhere in Mexico just as we are.

I am getting tired of answering this same question. Can you tell? Mexico is safe. Safe as Canada and maybe safer than the USA.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day Three

We are parked in the free RV dry camping area at Seven Feathers Casino on I-5, 99 miles from the OR / CA border. We put in a longish day today and actually gained a day as this is where we usually spend our fourth night. We will catch the shuttle to the casino later and donate a few dollars to pay for our stay.

StarChoice set up very easily using the DishPointer site where you enter an address and it shows your location on Google Maps with the path to the satellite highlighted. This let us find the bird in about 20 seconds after setting up the dish and connecting the four cables.

Anderson California tomorrow where we will get oil changes in both vehicles and maybe a set of cheap tires for the Honda.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

We're Off!

We are parked at the Black Ball Ferry dock in Victoria using their free WIFI! One panic with the fridge on the way down but OK since then. Fingers crossed. We visited with LindaLee's parents last night. Lots of fun. Janice and I had our requisite 'discussion' on politics. I'm right, she's wrong but it is not likely we will ever agree!  :) The discussions are always fun and she keeps me on my toes.

I stopped at my bank on our way into Victoria and when I got back to the rig the check light was on! I reset it and drove to the ferry and when we got there it was on again! I reset it and it worked fine all night. That fridge is causing way too much stress!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Short Delay

Launch Delay
We had the burner on the fridge cleaned on Wednesday, Norma loaded the freezer on Wednesday night and all seemed well. This morning (Friday) I got up early to turn the rig around and load the car on the dolly and noticed the 'check' light was on again! The food was still frozen but the inside walls of the fridge were room temperature. We quickly put all the food back in the house freezer. I called the repair shop and he said to bring it right in and they would look at it. I was there just after 8:00 AM and the tech diagnosed a blown re-igniter board. He changed it and told me he was 95% sure that would fix the problem. The main board was working fine and that narrowed it down to the re-igniter. He said we would know within 12 hours if it was going to fail again. If it does then it becomes a major diagnostic problem taking several hours so our fingers are crossed. Another failure may be the indicator that it is time for a new fridge. Paying six hours labour at $100 per hour plus parts is just not worth it when you still end up with a repaired ten year old fridge.
In any case, we do not want to be in the US or Mexico with a bad fridge and nowhere to keep our 50 pounds of frozen fish. We will stay an extra day and leave here Saturday, catching the Sunday morning ferry to Port Angeles. That will give the fridge 24 hours to tell us if there is still a problem. We will sleep in the rig tonight so we can keep an eye on the 'check' light. We will still make it to Algodones for my November 16 dental appointment. If all goes well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Glitch Update And Other Expenses

We took the rig into Bill Howich RV Repair. The fridge only needed the burner area blown out with compressed air and it works fine - no charge. The ceiling fan (did I mention it did not work?) worked for them and works now. It just needed a drive to the repair place. The furnace was another story. The main board was shot so they replaced it with a Dinosaur brand board ($236) they had in stock and replaced the high limit switch ($34). Add labour and taxes and it came to $650! Ouch!

I called Desjardins in Quebec for travel medical Insurance and feared the worst as we are not getting any younger. I was pleasantly surprised when she told me $3,700, only $200 more than last year. About $10 per day each. Great. I then called for Mexican vehicle insurance. I had advice to change to another company but we stuck with San Xavier as they treated us really well with two previous claims and their price was only a little higher. The peace of mind was worth it. Anyway that came to $684 US to insure the motorhome, dolly and car for six months. After currency exchange, it totaled out to $923 on my credit card. In BC we are lucky because when we get home I can claim whatever portion of my Canadian insurance that we were out of their jurisdiction (Mexico) for and get a refund of more that what the MX insurance costs. Move to BC folks, it's a perk!

So that is the major expenses done. Ferry to get off the Island will be around $350 followed by gas to get to Algodones and the dentist and after that it will be only ice cold beer and fish tacos! Oh yes, and wait for the magic of compound interest to re-fill the piggy bank. Ya, Right!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Baja Is Small

I have to keep reminding myself how small Baja really is! The total drive from end to end is only 1800 KM and the very bottom, Cabo San Lucas, is right across the Sea Of Cortez from Mazatlan which we know is only a two or three day drive from the border. Maybe a better comparison would be the drive from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, CA which I once did in one day when I was young and foolish and we only had a four day weekend off.

We will be doing a lot of parking and exploring, spending a week or so in every popular/scenic location as we travel. For the most part we will be traveling the same route back as we did on the way down so we will gain knowledge of the best places to stop for the return trip. We may take a couple of side trips but we will decide that as we go.

Gas is more expensive in Mexico than it was last time we were there but considering the reduced distances we will be traveling we should get by with ten or twelve tankfulls for the time we are there.

It will be an adventure. A shorter drive, but still an adventure.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quicken Discovery

I have been using Quicken for my personal finances for about 20 years now. For travel, I have always used a general 'Cash' account to track cash spending using the same account for whichever country I am in, converting the currency I am using to CAN with every transaction. I estimate the amounts and once every week or two I reconcile what I have in my pocket with what Quicken says I should have. It is always within a few dollars so I just change a large cash purchase (usually groceries or dining) to make it balance. Close enough.

Yesterday I was playing in the Google sandbox and discovered Quicken offers multi-currency support! I set up two new accounts, 'Cash (US Dollar)' and 'Cash (MX Peso)', told quicken which currency I wanted to use in each and presto! Quicken communicated with the MotherShip for the current exchange rate and is now tracking my spending in the currency of each country at the appropriate exchange rate! When I ask for a report, on say, how much I have spent on gas, it converts the amounts back to CAN dollars within the report. I will still have to do a reconciliation once in a while but it should be pennies (pesos) instead of dollars. Life is Better!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Starting Off Glitches

I was checking out the motorhome today to make sure it is ready to go next weekend and a couple of problems showed up.

The fridge does not want to work on gas. It runs for a few minutes and then the 'check' light comes on. I have tried it several times and the same thing every time. It works fine on electric. The furnace is the other thing. Sometimes it clicks like it is trying but shuts down immediately. I know I have gas because 1) it shows full, 2) the range burners work and 3) the hot water tank works on gas. Both items worked when we parked the rig in April.

These are two of the things I do not have the expertise to work on myself so I made an appointment at the local RV repair place for Tuesday morning. A very similar scenario happened a couple of years ago when the fridge and hot water tank would not work on gas. However that time everything repaired itself just by driving down to the repair shop. I got there and tried to show the guy that neither appliance worked and what do you know! They both fired right up and stayed on. You can't fix what ain't broken so that was that.

Monday would probably have been a better day but we have an appointment with the house sitter to show her around and we have to go down and but the motorhome insurance. Then I have to maneuver the rig out of it's parking place and aim it down the driveway.

I am not too stressed about this. Everything else works!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The High US Dollar Is Hurting!

I am just booking my Mexican vehicle insurance. My friend Rae found a company in Nogales where she got a good deal. I checked out their prices but they are only a couple of dollars less than San Xavier where we always get ours and where we have had two claims and great service. We will stay with them. The last time we bought Mexican Insurance was in 2012 and cost in US which converted to $740 CA for six months coverage. This time it will be $920 CA, almost $200 more, mostly because of the inflated US dollar. One nice thing about living in BC is we get a refund on our Canadian vehicle insurance for the time we are out of their jurisdiction. This refund will cover the cost of the Mexican insurance but we will not get the credit until after we get home.

I still have to call about Travel Medical Insurance and I am not looking forward to this call. We paid $3,500 Canadian last year for six months but we are both a year older and may be penalized for this, Getting old sucks. In Canada this cost is tax deductible as a medical expense.

I am waiting for a money transfer before I commit myself on either of these. I had to dip into the 'Rainy Day Fund' one last time before I converted to a RRIF as I also have a $5,000 CA dental bill as soon as we get to Yuma and Algodones, Mexico on November 16.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chow Down

It's my suet! No it's not, it's mine! No it's not!

Saturday, October 24, 2015


To the frustration of many of our RVing friends, we do not make set plans. People ask us, when will you be in such and such city. The fact is, we never know, even when the date gets close we may decide to stay another day or week where we are or we may decide to take a different route entirely at the last minute. This is the way we travel. We have friends who know down to the day and hour when they will be arriving somewhere and this fine tuning of plans allows them to make reservations, something else we have never done.

This year we will enter the US via the Victoria - Port Angeles ferry and make our way to Yuma, AZ. I have a dental appointment on November 16 in Algodones, Mexico where the part 2 (of three) of my implant - bridge work will be done. I called and confirmed this as I was under the impression they were going to complete all the work in November but no, I have to go back one more time as early as June 1 but I will probably wait until November 2016 and do it on the way south again. The cost will therefore be split over three winters which is a financial bonus. The cost in US dollars will be, $2,450 plus $3,780 plus $1,950. Again this is in US and the total is $8,180 US. I paid the first payment when the Canadian dollar was higher but this years payment will be with 77 cent dollars and will translate to over $5,000 Canadian. Ouch! Still a bargain when compared to what the same work would cost done in Canada or the US.

We will park the motorhome either in the casino parking lot at the Algodones turnoff on I-8 or at the Sleepy Hollow RV Park near the US - MX border crossing. We will be staying at the clinic owned hotel in Algodones during the three or four days of my treatment to avoid waiting at the border every day. We will also buy our Mexico Tourist Visas at the immigration office in Algodones. This will save time and inconvenience later.

After the dental work we will head west on I-8 to Tecate where we will cross into Mexico. This will probably be done early on the morning of November 21st or, if we decide to wait until after the weekend, the 23rd. This will be a late start into Mexico but the plan is to stay on Baja so it will give us lots of time.

As usual, this is all subject to last minute change! Stay tuned.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia will be hitting Manzanillo, Mexico sometime later today. This is on the west coast just south of Puerto Vallarta and will be carrying winds of 245 MPH! This is the strongest hurricane ever recorded and it's winds are currently strong enough to level concrete buildings!

Steve, a Blogger I follow lives there and as far as I know is staying to ride it out! You can check out his blog here.

10/23/15 Friday, 05:00AM MDT Hurricane Patricia is roaring toward the southern coast of mainland Mexico and is expected to make landfall somewhere near Manzanillo late today. Patricia is now a killer Category 5 Hurricane and expected to further intensify by the time of landfall. Patricia has a current barometric reading of 880Mb, making it the 5th deepest tropical cyclone barometric reading and has become the record holder of the strongest sustained winds of a tropical cyclone anywhere. This system will have the potential to level concrete block buildings on landfall. Coastal storm surge and extreme surf will destroy all coastal installations. We recommend if you are within the projected path cone of approaching Patricia you abandon property and seek shelter 50-75 miles away immediately. Patricia is forecast to still be a Tropical Storm well inland when affecting the third largest population center in Mexico, Guadalajara. For those in the storms path who believe they have weathered hurricanes before, this will be like nothing anyone in this hemisphere has ever experienced and has the potential to be a terrain altering event.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Canada Election Part II

Some of my commenters on both the Blog and on Facebook might want to watch this little video. Reminder, the Black Cats and the White Cats are actually our Conservatives and Liberals.

Mouseland, narrated by Tommy Douglas, founder of the CCF/NDP.

I Have Been Avoiding...

I have been avoiding saying anything about the recent Canadian Election. I have been suffering from mixed feelings that I am having trouble putting into words. But here goes.

First I am very happy about what happened in our own riding, North Island - Powell River where my candidate Rachael Blaney of the NDP was elected. In fact all the Vancouver Island seats went NDP with the exception of Sannich - Gulf Islands which went to Elizabeth May and her Green Party. This was the only win across Canada for the Greens whom I don't like because although they are good on environmental issues they are terrible on economic issues and end up supporting the Conservatives more often than not.

Harper and his Conservatives had to go, there was no question about that. He has always been a war monger, taking Canada from it's traditional peacekeeping status to that of a participant in ground and air warfare. Canadians were fed up with that as unlike the US, our economy and 'national pride' does not depend on continuous wars. The other thing he did which was totally repugnant to Canadians was to hire a 'consultant' from Australia who introduced Islamaphobia and hatred of Muslims into the campaign. This action turned my and most other Canadian's stomachs.

His introduction of his "anti-terror' Bill C-51 as well as his hotline to report neighbours conducting 'un-Canadian' activities was unpalatable and designed to separate Canadians into what he called "Old Stock" Canadians and 'foreigners' who in his opinion have no business here. He also actively supported the Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Deal which will take thousands of Canadian jobs. These are just some of the issues that wrote Harper's ticket out of town.

So... the options. There was a huge push to elect the "Liberals", who also support Bill C-51 and the TPP Free Trade Deal. I use quotation marks because Canada's Liberals are anything but liberal. They are just another right wing party that has become very good at hiding their true agenda. They campaign from the left and govern from the right. With a Conservative you know what you are getting. He looks you right in the eye and says he is going to screw you and that is exactly what he does, screws you. No surprises, you get what you vote for. A "Liberal" on the other hand will look you right in the eye and tell you he is your friend and as soon as you elect him, he screws you. So that is what we have for the next four years, a Liberal government. Will they prove to be better than the Conservatives? Maybe but only because no one could be worse.

My party, the NDP started out high in the polls as Canadians turned to a government as far away from the Conservatives as possible. Then the Liberal machine started their fear tactics of "if you don't vote Liberal you will end up with Harper again". They accomplished this with their Strategic Voting campaign which took hundreds of thousands of votes away from NDP candidates (many were incumbents) and shifted them to the Liberals. One pollster estimated that 6% of Canadians fell for this fear tactic. The result was a huge majority for the Liberals and the NDP falling into third place behind the Conservatives. A sad situation for those of us who have spent our entire adult lives working for this Democratic Socialist Party.

But as Party Founder Tommy Douglas, quoting Andrew Barton often said,

'I am hurt but I am not slain.
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
Then I'll rise and fight again.'

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Putting The Flower Garden To Bed

Here is Norma and her lawn boy, Beau, cutting back the rose bushes. I took the photo from the safety of the TV room while they were working outside.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Canadians must convert all their RRSP's (deferred tax savings) into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) on or before the year in which they turn 71. For me that is 2016!

This will mean turning my "Rainy Day Fund" into an income fund (different than a locked in annuity) that I have some control over. There is a minimum amount that I must take out every year but I can request more if I want it. All money that comes out is taxable income in that year but is considered pension income and is eligible for Pension Income Splitting with your spouse. The amounts increase annually for a number of years and then start to decrease until it is used up by the time they expect me to die at age 99. This is all dependent on what the fund earns going forward so the figures are just a guess and will be readjusted at every payout.

This payment can be taken as a lump sum once a year or can be divided into 12 equal payments throughout the year. Either way, in the end this will increase my annual income by more than I need. But then, it can be used to pay for stuff I was dipping into the fund for anyway so it will not make any huge differences in our lifestyle. I will take it as a lump sum every April starting in 2016. Just another meeting I have to go to before we leave!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Rant

We decided to take advantage of early voting to avoid 1) the rush on Election day and 2) the distinct chance the Conservative government will come up with a way to keep us from voting.

We arrived at the Early Voting station at about 2:45 and not only was the building full but there was a lineup of about 100 people outside. It took us almost an hour to get inside the door and another half hour or so to get to our table. I have known the poll clerk for over twenty five years but she still asked for my ID. I guess because she knew me I only had to show my Voter Information card and drivers license with my photo although the guy at the door said to have our information card and two pieces of ID ready. The whole process took almost an hour and a half. While we were in line I noticed two people walk up, say "to hell with this" and walk away.

This is how you discourage voters. The good news however was the guy at the door who we sort of know who told us there were many more young people turning up than they expected. Hopefully this is all bad news for Harper and his gang of Conservatives. People do not show up to support a government, they show up to defeat it. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Is It Just Me Or What?

We got audited for our income taxes! This is the second one we have had and like last time it is for claimed medical expenses. Come on, we are 70 and 73 years old, expenses are bound to go up!

The big item was our travel medical insurance at $3,500 with the rest of our claim being my prescription drugs and a dental bill for Norma as well as a pair of glasses Norma was forced to buy here in Canada. Total medical deduction was around $7,000.

I dug out our tax file and found all the receipts. Now we have to write a bunch of information on each of them and send them in. Everything balances, no worries, we will avoid jail time.

The last time it happened was when Norma had her $40,000 dental implants done and they wanted all the receipts as well as a letter from the dentist saying why it was necessary to travel to Victoria about ten times for treatment and why we had to stay in a hotel each time (deductible expenses). That year took a lot longer to organize the receipts and letters but it sort of served them right as we found a receipt we had not claimed for so we ended up getting a cheque from them as a result of the audit. No such luck this time as everything balanced.

Friday, October 2, 2015

45 Years

Where did they go? It was Brooks' birthday yesterday so we drove down to their place at Shawnigan Lake for a quick visit and to take Brooks and LindaLee out for dinner. LindaLee made reservations at Bridgeman's Bistro in Mill Bay and we got a seat right on the water. Dinner was great and the company the best!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Moon Eclipse

Bad Moon On The Rise

I almost forgot about the celestial phenomenon Sunday night and was watching TV, recovering from John Hogan's retirement party when John's son Tim knocked on the door to ask if he could park here as the parking along the sea-walk was all taken up by viewers. I grabbed my camera and monopod because it was easier to get than my heavy tripod and headed down to the beach. I realized too late that I should have taken the tripod but by then it was too late. I did manage to get some shots of the Blood Moon rising. It was already in eclipse by the time it rose above the heavy haze over the Sunshine Coast

First Glimpse above the haze:

Blood Moon:

Eclipse Ending:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gate Mod

I made a modification to the sliding gate that the deer infiltrated the other day. I added some wire fencing to the top to make it about 5+ feet high from the inside and 7 feet from the outside (it sits on top of a short retaining wall). Not that high but they can't get a run at it so it should be good. The neighbor normally parks a car on the other side as well. No more deer through there! The old telephone guys will notice the aluminum bracket that allows the gate to slide is part of an equipment bay guard rail.

This guy was not too happy that I interrupted his lunch!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Well, it had to happen. There is a hidden sliding gate between us and the front of the next door rental house that is only used when they fill their oil tank. They have  a wood burning heater they use most of the time so the oil hardly ever gets filled and the way the motorhome is parked you have to walk most of the way around it to check the gate. Something I never do.

Yesterday morning Norma got out of bed and let out a yell as she went running for the front door. I looked out to see a mom deer and one of her fawns munching on the flower garden. It takes two of us to corral them out the gate, if there is only one they just keep walking around the house in a frustrating game of merry-go-round. One of us has to go one way and the other the other way forcing them out the gate.

As soon as we got them moving they headed straight for the motorhome and out the little gate in front of it. Sure enough, the gate was wide open! I guess the neighbors had oil delivered and the delivery guys neglected to shut the gate behind themselves.

No real harm done, the flowers have pretty much had their day for this year. We had actually discussed leaving the gate open for a week before we left to let the deer do some trimming but that is over a month away. Anyway, after surveying the damage they did chewing one of the tastier plants right down to the roots Norma decided that plan is off the table now.

Mexico is calling me!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sunny Day!

Finally! No clouds in the sky and a forecast for a couple of good days. Time to get things done

I collected all the bird feeders and took them into the workshop to be filled. Well, here is the first problem, a rat has been visiting and the big bag of bird seed has a hole chewed into the side and there is seed all over the floor. I scooped up most of it and used it to fill the feeders and sealed up the rest in old coffee cans. That should keep the bugger out. I then found the rat traps, loaded them with nice fresh peanut butter and put two in the workshop, one in Norma's garden shed and one in the new garden shed out back. I also found some rat poison we bought in the US last year, cut a couple of pieces off and put them on the floor of the workshop. Overkill? Sure, but I want to get them!

The neighbor in the rental next door has two big cats which normally control the rat population but also keep the birds away from the feeder. Brooks and LindaLee were up last week with Juneau, their Husky who left enough scent around that the cats are staying clear. This has brought the birds back to the feeders but also opened up the territory for the rats. You can't win!

Next on my to-do list was to replace the bulbs in the motion sensor driveway lights. That was a quick job and now I am almost done with my list. The only thing remaining is to take down the torn and tattered flag on the peak of the house. To do this I have to get the extension ladder out from behind Norma's shed but she had Beau, her lawn guy. clean up the yard and pile everything in front of the ladder. It will take an hour to organize that pile. That sounds like a tomorrow job.

I also have to start negotiating a departure date with Norma so I can make a dental appointment in Algodones, Mexico where I have to spend a few days getting implants. I also have to visit my financial guy here to free up some money to pay for the implants. They charge US dollars so it is going to cost more than I planned on, maybe as much as $11,000 CAN but I hope not much more than that.

Then I have to buy car insurance for Mexico (US dollars) and Travel Health Insurance (CAN dollars) for six months. The peso value against the Canadian dollar has risen a little so the cost of living in Mexico is not as good a deal as it was last time we were there but we will manage. The price of gas in Mexico is in flux right now. For the first time ever it is different in price in different parts of the country. Border regions and the Baja are cheaper than the interior with these areas selling cheaper to compete with US prices. Mexico Mike reports regular gas selling for 13.57 pesos or $1,09 CAN per liter. That is compatible to what we are paying in Canada right now. Converted to US gallons and US dollars that comes to $3.35 US per gallon. Mexico used to have the cheapest gas in North America but no more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Time Out

We have been taking it easy! Things are winding down around here as we start thinking about getting ready for the winter. Norma's garden is starting to put itself to sleep as the nights get cooler and the days shorter. She fought it for a while but has now resigned herself to focusing on a few flowers and her tomato plants which are producing tomatoes far faster than we can eat them.

We got a call last night from our old NDP organizer friend, Gerry Scott who said he was coming up here to deal with the local election campaign. He asked if we could put him up for a few days to save the Party some hotel money and of course we can. We have known Gerry since the late 70's and have a lot of catching up to do. Gerry was the organizer responsible for the NDP victory in Alberta. He thinks he will be here tomorrow but as always in politics, things can change at the last minute!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Busy Days

It has been a few busy days. First, Jim and Jan, old friends from Terrace arrived on Wednesday and we spent some time gabbing before Norma put some crab in the boiler and we enjoyed a small feast with some more conversation. A very fun night!

The next day (Friday) the bus dropped our friend Mike off in front of our house. We met Mike in the Rio Grande Valley a couple of years ago. He is a retired American lawyer who calls Alpine, Texas  home right now. He left his motorhome in Alpine and is on a tour of the west coast by train, bus, ferry and bicycle! Pretty adventurous!

Friday afternoon we went down to Dick's Fish & Chips on the dock and filled up on halibut and cod before heading back home for a couple of drinks and more conversation. Saturday we took Mike down to the local fishing pier where we got Norma to face the forty mile per hour wind for a photo with Mike.

Entertainment on the pier was provided by a young couple with a rented rod and reel who pulled in an 18 pound Spring Salmon while we watched. He was troubled with a rented reel that broke as soon as he tried to reel the fish in as well as the fact that he had caught the fish by the tail so the hook was not set as well as it could be. Between several of us we got the drop net into the water and he maneuvered the fish over the net just as the hook came loose! He managed to save the fish and was quite proud of his catch.

When we left the pier we decided to take the ferry over to Quadra Island where we explored a bit before ending up at the Heriot Bay Inn, a small waterfront pub and restaurant where we spent a few hours gabbing with the locals, eating chowder and watching the scenery. It was a very enjoyable day!

Saturday morning I drove Mike down to the bus depot where he was catching the bus to Port Hardy and the ferry to Prince Rupert. From there he is taking the Alaska State Ferry system up the coast of the Alaska Panhandle. How far he goes, how long he spends and how he gets back to Texas will depend on the weather. What a great way to travel.

So now Norma and I are spending the day eating leftovers and relaxing. Some might say 'recovering'.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We are getting visitors! Jim and Jan, old friends from Terrace who now live in Victoria will be up in the area in their 5th wheel for a couple of days tomorrow and will be staying just down the road. We have not seen them for a while so that will be fun.

As well, Mike, aka 'Wandering Mike', a Blogger we met in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas a couple of years ago is arriving for a visit as well. We spent a few days parked next to Mike in Alamo, Texas. Our Mexican friends Chris and Juan were there as well and even though it was freezing we managed to have a lot of fun. Mike is a mostly / semi-retired American lawyer who travels in his motorhome and then flies off to some exotic location to be a lawyer for a while. He will be traveling on the bus and is heading up to Port Hardy and the ferry to Prince Rupert. He will be staying with us for a few days. We are looking forward to it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Norma's Garden

Norma's garden enjoying the beautiful Vancouver Island sunshine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bought an eReader!

I used to read. In fact I used to read a lot. When we first started RVing, I had my bedroom closet about 1/10 full of books and I would get through as many as ten of them over the winter. But the last few years I have almost stopped reading and am down to a book or two per year.

I have no real excuses. OK, my eyes tend to hurt after reading for a while and new glasses do not help. Maybe it is the poor lighting from my bedside lamp.

Anyway, I want to start reading again. My niece Robin and George were up for a visit and George had a Kobo ('Book' anagram) that he was happy with so I looked it up. Man, the prices of eReaders have come down! I remember when they were all up in the $200 region but the KOBO Aura was for sale for $100. I checked around and found one at our local London Drugs so I went and bought it. It is very light and about 4.5 X 6 inches, a little smaller than a paperback page.

I loaded a couple of books on it and started experimenting. The screen is very easy to read and has a backlight for when you need it. The font size can be increased slightly which is perfect for me. It has a 4 GB internal storage which holds 'up to' 3,000 books and I can add a Micro SD card if that is not enough.

I also found a free program on the Internet that makes managing books a lot easier and also converts my pdf books into epub format which the Kobo much prefers.

Maybe I will get back to reading again, It is worth the shot.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Voter Fraud

I have stirred up quite a bit of discussion both here on the blog and on Facebook with my last post. People think I am over-reacting. That I should understand and be willing to come up with the proper ID or whatever is demanded before I am allowed to vote. These laws are there to prevent voter fraud so I should just go along with them.

In Canada, Harry Neufeld, Retired Chief Electoral Officer for British Columbia, was commissioned by Elections Canada to review the problem of non-compliance with the rules in one Toronto riding after a challenge was made by the Liberal Party in 2011. That case ended up at the Supreme Court who rejected the case. In his study, Neufeld determined that there have been "no more more that a handful" of cases of voter fraud in Canada both provincially and federally.

Neufeld determined that of this "handful" of alleged cases the vast majority were the result of mistakes by election officials and that there had been little or no actual fraud. He says the errors were the result of "complexity, recruitment of election officers, training and the updating of voter lists. At no time did he suggest ineligible voters were deliberately trying to cast illegal ballots.

Neufeld recommended that the Voter Information Cards should be allowed as valid pieces of identification (as they traditionally have been in many areas of Canada) and that the entire voting process should be simplified. He also recommended that election officials should be better trained to avoid irregularities in the future. He stated that there were many 'Urban Myths' about busloads of voters being taken from riding to riding to illegally vote  and of nefarious individuals scooping up voter information cards from apartment blocks and using them to orchestrate illegal voting. All examples of these schemes turned out to be false.

Neufeld feared that if Bill C-23 passed (it did) and made it more difficult to vote by special ballot, voting by mail or registering on voting day as well as by the imposition of more and more identification requirements people would get very angry and there would be more and more court challenges.

Neufeld said he fears the Conservatives efforts to prevent voter fraud will end up disenfranchising people who have trouble producing identification with with proof of their address - primarily students, the poor and aboriginals. People with the democratic right to vote.

Just think of it. You go to vote, carrying the same ID you always have, find a parking spot, stand in line, argue with an election official and are turned away. What do you do? Drive home, find a utilities bill or some other allowable ID, drive back to the poll, stand in line and eventually cast your ballot? Or do you just say the hell with it. In all likelihood you would not have time anyway as most people vote in the last hour or so that the polls are open. You will have lost your right to vote.

And it is not only you. There will be thousands just like you in Canada that are turned away from the ballot box for no reason. There is no voter fraud problem!

Read the article here.

Canada's New Voter ID Laws

Canadians will be voting on October 19, 2015. It is important to note that Stephen Harper and his conservatives do not want you to vote. They know that a high turnout, specially one consisting of young people, women and those with an ethnic background are bad for their chances to be re-elected.

Their best chance to win is to make it very hard for you to vote and they will try to turn you away on voting day. They have changed Canada's voter ID rules to more closely match those in the USA.

The biggest change and the one most likely to block you from casting your ballot is that the new law states that your Voter ID Card that you will receive in the mail can no longer be used as ID! Amazing! Your firearms license is acceptable but your Voter ID Card is not! Like I say, Harper wants Canada to be just like the USA.

If you have a Government issued ID with your photo and current address on it, you can use that. A Drivers Licence or Provincial or Territorial ID will work as long as it has your photo and address. If you do not have one of these, then you can choose from a list of acceptable forms of ID they offer on their website. Please note, a Passport will not be accepted by itself, it must be accompanied by other ID from the list.

PLEASE click on the link below and check out the new rules. Elections Canada will be of no help as they are now prevented by law from encouraging you to vote or to offer any guides to make voting easier. Another one of Harper's new laws. Read it, start collecting the required ID and PLEASE VOTE on October 19!

Here is the list

If you do not want to click on the link, here is the address. Copy and paste into your browser