Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Piece of Paradise For Sale

Our friend Kathe is selling her piece of Mexican paradise on Chetumal Bay. We have visited Kathe on her beautiful property several times and many of our RVing friends have taken advantage of Kathe's hospitality and standing offer to boondock on her property. It is simply a beautiful setting right on the waters of Chetumal Bay. Here is Kathe's ad from her website and a link to details and photos:

Tropical escape in peaceful, southern Quintana Roo, Mexico 

Turnkey home with rental potential; just 15 minutes to a major urban center. 

Secluded jungle oasis situated on extensive grounds where birds and tropical animals abound in a manatee reserve. The region is known for its Mayan heritage sites. Enjoy it as your retirement home or create a business.

Great waterfront location for water sports. Perfect for kite boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing or SUP and a short boat ride to Belize.

Leave it as a family vacation home or make it into a destination resort or RV park. Opportunities are only limited by your imagination. www.maricasa.com


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dinner Out

A few days ago Lyle and Liz, a couple from Vancouver Island who we met in Mexico a few years ago rode over on their bikes from their nearby park. They have been following the Blog and knew we were here. We had a nice short visit over a couple of beers and they invited us over to their park model for dinner last night.

It was a very fun, diverse group of their friends and neighbors which included a Republican ex-pat Canadian, a retired (Conservative) Canadian Navy and BC Ferry worker who seems to supplement his pensions with gambling, a retired couple from Calgary, their friend, a financial consultant from Alberta and Lyle, Liz, Norma and I who are all unabashed Socialists. Everyone behaved themselves and we had a very enjoyable time. Lyle cooked up some wonderful crab and spinach stuffed salmon on the BBQ.

One of the women was contemplating dental work in Mexico and I was able to give her a few tips. This morning I emailed her links to mine, Ricks and Don's blog pages where we detail our experiences. I hope this helps her come to the decision to take advantage of the savings in Mexico.

We got home at about 9:00 "Arizona Midnight", had a coffee and turned in. A great evening with great people!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Internet Woes

I called Virgin Broadband last night looking for some answers concerning the slow service that just started here. I didn't get much satisfaction but the guy started a fresh month for me as I had money in my account but still had 12 days to go on the old plan. I was way over the soft limit of 3 GB. It didn't help but he reset something and I was back to goog service!

I thanked him and asked him if he could add three days to get to the end of April when we leave the country. He said he would ask management so we left it at that.

Well, an hour later we were back at incredibly slow service but I see on my account that they added two more MONTHS to my account! No more GB, just more time.

I can see the list of mail in my gmail account but it will not load individual messages. My tablet seems to be working but we will see if this posts...

Friday, March 27, 2015

More Details

There are older park models here in the park for sale starting from $1,000. Past sales have shown that no one pays full asking price. We looked at one, a 1971 model, 12 X 64, central heat pump / air conditioning, natural gas oven and stove, newish fridge and it comes completely furnished. It has a new roof and a very recent paint job outside. Inside, it is very dark due to dark paneling and a lack of reasonably sized windows. The floor is recently installed carpet and linoleum but we would change it to wood. It is in really good condition and the only thing 1971 about it is the title and the inside of the walls.

The asking price is $4995 but a call to the owner, at least the owner's son, told us that it is his parent's and they can no longer come down here and are being worn down by the relentless $435 USA monthly pad rental. Their next step is to basically "give" the unit to the park. It is currently rented out for $800 per month, $100 - $120 of this goes for electricity and gas. These people rented it for three months but they have never had much luck renting it out

Immediate requirements are a couple of big screen TV's, five or six larger aluminum windows that will slide or lift open, some screens and inside light colored paint. Longer term it needs laminate floors and tile in the bathrooms. It could also use a raised deck along one side that allows for storage of outside furniture underneath as well as a seven foot wood privacy fence at the back where it looks directly into the trailer park next door. There is presently a chain link fence.

He broadly hinted that he would take almost any offer and we thought of offering $1,500 and coming up to $2000. The only thing holding us back was the $435 USA pad rental which right now amounts to about $6,600 Canadian per year. Our total costs for gas and RV park rentals last year when we drove to FL was just under $6,000 CAN.

When we got home from Rod and Sylvia's last night we asked ourselves if we were really finished with exploring and were ready to come back to the same place every year. The answer was "NO". Maybe one year we will and it is good to know there are reasonably priced options.

Quick Post

This will be very quick. I am in the park's computer room as my Internet is not working today for some reason.

We had a really nice visit with Rod and Sylvia in their park in Gold Canyon yesterday. Sylvia made a great lunch and then we walked around their park looking at the $100,000 plus park models that are selling there. We had been considering buying a place here as they are almost giving them away but the $435 per month pad rental turned us off as that is about the amount it costs us for gas and RV parks each winter and allows us to roam around. Maybe one day after a lot more considering... It was actually Sylvia (the accountant) talking about emotional purchases yesterday that got us second thinking. Thanks Sylvia.

Well, I am off. Norma sent me over here to print out a recipe.

Sylvia, Croft and Norma. A rose between two thorns!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Organ Stop Pizza

Organ Stop Pizza is on everyone's "must go" list when they visit Mesa. I have known about it for years but have never gone. Thankfully Shadowmoss and Retired Rod suggested it for dinner last night. Phyllis, the friendly pie making neighbor right behind us came along as well.

The place is huge, two floors packed with tables with the top floor overlooking the huge organ, blowers and pipes. The place was packed at six o'clock on Tuesday night. There is a professional player doing oldies but goodies as well as taking requests. I had decided to stay until he played from Phantom Of The Opera and I was not disappointed. We stayed through two long sets before giving up our table to people who were waiting to sit.

Norma was not too hapy with the last photo. She was talking instead of being ready to be photographed. Oh well, this is the only one I got of the group and it is going in the Blog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Our neighbor here in the park emailed yesterday to say her and Retired Rod were going out for pizza at the Organ Stop Pizza and would we like to join them? We answered "yes" as I am having a pizza craving and we started getting ready. After quite a wait Norma walked over to her place to see what the holdup was. Well, it seems the invitation was for TOMORROW night, not tonight. Shadowmoss neglected to add this detail to her invitation. In her defense, she had just gotten out of bed when she wrote it.

Well, we were all ready to go out anyway so we decided to find the closest Cracker Barrel. We found it and went for Southern Trout for me and pork chops for Norma. Yes, that is two days in a row for trout. This one was better but the vegetables were cold. I did not complain.

This winter to date we have not been going out much to eat but we are making up for it in Mesa.

I am sending this from the park's computer room where I brought my old Windows 7 laptop to let Windows update. They have WIFI here and since Virgin "throttled back" my Internet stick I was afraid the update would not work. The Internet is slow here as well but is ticking along so maybe I will walk back and get my bathing suit. Norma is off with the car getting her nails done. Thankfully she let me stay behind.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Smart Kid, It Must Be His Mother!

Our son is working as an electrician in the Alberta Tar Sands. Things are in a bit of a turmoil up there because of the current financial crisis in the petroleum industry. He was looking at the work schedule and deduced that he was about to be laid off at the end of this schedule. He has been taking industrial safety courses on line recently because they are easily available and it gives him yet another option for a job as well as a tax deduction for a work related education expense.

When he saw his lay off date he went to the safety supervisor and asked if he could transfer into that department. He was short one classroom course for his qualification but the boss told him to drive to Fort McMurray (300 KM each way) and complete it on company time and that he would be working as a Safety Officer next week at a different site (if he passes which he is confident he will). The safety officers are always the last to leave the job so unless things shut down 100%, he will survive. It also means a raise in pay.

Like I say, smart kid!

Lunch With Brian and Sue

We met Brian and Sue in Mexico and have remained friends over the years. They live in Fountain Hills, not too far from our park in Mesa. Yesterday we agreed to meet at Phil's Filling Station, a restaurant in Fountain Hills that sponsors a car show behind their restaurant on Sundays. It was a beautiful, warm day so we grabbed an outside table. We were just a couple of minutes late for breakfast so we ordered from the lunch menu. I had trout with a butter sauce that was quite good while Norma had a hot turkey sandwich. After lunch we walked around the show cars. There were some nice ones!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Favorite City

Our friend Bill asked us a question when we were parked beside them. "Croft", he said, "Looking at the USA only, what is your favorite city of all you have visited?"

Well, we have two cities sharing top spot. In terms of subtle beauty, Savannah, GA is way out in front. It is one of the first planned cities in the US and it shows. A great River Walk, beautiful streets with oak trees dripping in Spanish Moss and parks every three blocks throughout the old city. Easy walking, friendly people and free "DOT" bus service that stops at all the interesting places. Add to this the $7 per night dry camping in the Tourist Center parking lot right in the midst of a great choice of restaurants and brew pubs and you have a really great place to spend a few days in the 'Old South'!

In terms of fun and food, I have to say Abbeville, LA! In the heart of Cajun Country, Abbeville is surrounded by the best places to eat that we have ever experienced! Real "down home" cooking in the unlikeliest of venues like old converted gas stations.  Abbeville is where we found the friendliest RV park in our travels as well. Betty's RV Park has no game rooms, pools or spa's but is 17 spaces crammed into Betty's yard with hardly the space to open your awning. What it gives up in perks it more than makes up for in atmosphere! There is a Happy Hour every night in a lean-to behind Betty's house where everyone brings a dish or snack. Betty, a real, live, registered Cajun is always there to talk about herself, her town and the best places to visit and most importantly - to eat!

So there you have it. Yes, there are hundreds of places we have yet to visit and these choices may one day be pushed out of first place but for now, there they are. Do a search on the blog and read all about our visits to these favorites or any other places.

What are your favorite cities?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Joe's Farm Grill

We went out for dinner last night with Shadowmoss and her friend, Retired Rod. Three Bloggers at one table! Joe's Farm Grill is a nice place and is on an actual farm where they grow most of the food they serve. You stand in line, order your food, pay for it and receive a pager that goes off when it is time to pick up your platter. They have both inside and outside seating. It was splattering rain so all the inside seating was taken but we found a table outside under cover. This was perfect as it was warm and there were many children in the inside area and it was quite loud. My imperfect hearing does not function at it's peak when there is ambient noise so this way I could follow the conversation.

Norma had ribs which she had been waiting for, both Rod and Shadowmoss had burgers and I had the grilled tuna sandwich. They did not offer beer or wine so Norma and I had water to drink. It was all very good although the grilled tuna, while good, did not come up to the high standard that my son has set in that department.

Rod was driving and took us on a roundabout route so we could see a bit of the area around Mesa. It was a very enjoyable evening out, something we have seldom done ourselves this year for some reason.

I remembered my camera and a friendly waitress snapped a photo.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lazy Days

Aside from shopping trips and a couple of swims, we have done very little in our first week in Mesa Village. This park has actual garbage cans at each site, a smaller one for garbage that is picked up every Friday and a larger recycle can that is picked up every two weeks. It is a great system, avoiding the seemingly endless treks to the garbage bin. I just have to learn what qualifies as "recyclable". It seems to be different everywhere.

It is Spring Break so the park (and pool) is filled with visiting grandchildren so that is also a nice change as most are well behaved.

I sent in the receipts for the parts to repair the fire damage at the last park in Hope, AZ but have not received an email reply yet. It was only $35 or so and is not a huge deal but they said they would pay. They got off easy as I am able to do all the labor myself. If I took it into a shop it probably would have been a couple of hundred dollars.

Our neighbor here, Shadowmoss, dropped over to ask us if we would like to go out for dinner with her and her friend Retired Rod! We jumped at the chance as he is yet another blogger I want to meet. They suggested Joe's Farm Grill which looks good to us as we have no preferences here, as long as they have fish for me and most do. This restaurant was once featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

You will remember Retired Rod's famous post on his crappy experience with his Roomba!

Here is a shot from the park, I promise to get more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Samsung Tablet

I use my Asus Netbook when I am laying in bed as it is small enough to handle. Recently the power cord started to fail and now it will not charge at all. I suspect a broken wire inside the cable.  I have a spare cable at home so I am going to try to get by with the tablet.

So far I hate the damn thing as my finger is way too big for the tiny "Virtual" keyboard. It took me five minutes to type this!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Test Post

From Samsung tablet.

Mesa, Arizona Weather

What, you're not here? Why not?

Pi Day - The Numbers Align!

One Hour From Now!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mesa Village, Mesa, Arizona

We left our new friends Bill and Dee and drove the two hours to Mesa, AZ. It was a non eventful drive but as we neared Phoenix I was reminded why I did not like driving on the Interstates around here. The lanes narrowed and increased to six in each direction. Everyone wanted to drive ten or twenty MPH faster than me and the Lane Control on the Garmin kept me busy changing lanes in preparation for the next merge or exit. The traffic was heavy.

We eventually found our way to the Mesa Village RV Park and checked in. It is a nice clean park with a heated pool and hot tub. The price was right at $450 per month and that includes electricity. A real deal. We have not had a chance to explore the park yet.

As I started to set up the dish for the TV the Blog reader who sent me details on the park showed up for a visit. We chatted for a while and then I left her and Norma while I finished tuning in the dish. By now it was HOT so we escaped into the air conditioned motorhome.

This morning I went down to Camping World to buy the two power connectors I needed to repair the damage from the last park. The total cost was just under $35 so I will send the receipts the the RV park and take them up on their offer to pay for the repairs. It was so nice of them to offer and I am glad the damage was not worse. Ramblin' Roads is a great park and we will be back.

I am working on my 'to-do' list for the month we will be here. I am going to check out the Spring Training schedule for the Seattle Mariners and maybe take in a game. Oh yes, and repair the two electrical cords. I think I can handle this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Missed A Day But A Little Excitement

Monday was a busy Day! Bill and Dee have ATV's so Bill asked me if I wanted to go for a run in the desert with him, using Dee's ATV. Well, I have never driven one but what is the worst that could happen? After a one minute driving lesson from Bill and a five minute lecture from Norma to be careful and not go fast, off we went. Bill headed for a series of trails with me following and we explored for an hour or two, driving for a bit and walking for a bit. It was a ton of fun! I have to get one of these!

We eventually found our way back to the RV's and opened a beer. Norma and Dee went off to our rig to cut up some Pacific Sockeye Salmon and Halibut for dinner while Bill and I solved most of the world's problems and decided who we were going to make the next US President, all over another beer (maybe two).

Suddenly we heard a commotion like fireworks and looked over to our rig only to see the park's electrical pedestal that I was plugged into explode in a cloud of black smoke, sparks and flames! I jumped up and went running towards it, yelling to Norma that there was a fire. My intention was to flip the breaker but about half way there I realized the foolhardiness of this move. Sticking my hand into an electrical fire and grabbing metal was not the sort of thing my mother taught me to do.

Bill came running up behind me with a wooden walking stick, flipped the door of the pedestal open and pried what was left of my 30 Amp connector out. I then started to think about moving the motorhome away from the hazard but the fire had burned out.

I had a 30 Amp extension cord which I cut the end off and spliced it to the end of the RV power cable for a temporary repair. Bill had another extension cable that we used to reach an unused pedestal behind us. I went in and watched everything while Bill flipped the breaker. The clock came back on in the microwave and everything worked! No damage! The computers, TV's and Starchoice are all plugged into the inverter and do not use the park power so they were never in any danger. Crisis averted, at at least minimized!

I don't know what went wrong. Dee remembers smelling a similar odor as the fire produced when the previous people were parked there but they never had a problem. I am thinking there was a loose connection from before that was arcing a bit and weakened the internal parts of the connector. When I plugged in the connection became worse, leading to sparking and burning.

The manager came over to inspect the damage and told me to buy whatever I needed to repair my damage and to send him the bill, he would reimburse me. Really all I need are a couple of 30 amp male connectors to replace the burned one and the one I had to cut off the extension to make a temporary repair. I may or may not send the bill to him, depending on the cost.

Us on the left, Bill and Dee on the right:

You lead Bill, I'll follow. This is the best photo you will see of Bill. See below:

Uneasy Rider:

 Dissident In The Desert (Check out the Free Leonard Peltier Shirt)

Smoke, Spark, Bang!

"Well, here's yer problem"!

I would have liked to include a shot of Bill but like my friend Kim from Boston, he does not like his photo posted. Darn! Bill is a great guy and almost like a 'Brother From A Different Mother' to me. After the first day we were finishing each other's sentences! It was almost uncanny. We share opinions on so many subjects, but primarily politics.

His wife Dee we knew very little about but what a lot of fun she is! We really enjoyed our time with this couple and it was over far too soon. We will be seeing them again.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Arizona Sunset

End of a great day with great new friends.

Meineke and Hope

We pulled out of our spot at the Desert Oasis in Desert Hot Springs Saturday morning and headed for Meineke Car Care in Cathedral City. I still had the "Check Engine" light on that reappears every time I climb a steep hill towing the car. The first time it happened a mechanic read the code and told me it was a fuel delivery problem, that the V-10 was demanding more fuel than the fuel pump and lines could deliver. He reset the light and I didn't worry too much about it again except when it came on whenever I climbed another mountain.

This mechanic was different. I told him what I had been told and he said that was unlikely, he suspected another problem. He said a reset would cost me $40 but for $80 he would do a complete analysis and maybe even correct the problem. His scanner told him there was a lean fuel condition but only on one bank of cylinders. This told him it was not a general fuel problem but that likely a vacuum line had come off on the one side. He had one of his guys remove the doghouse and expose the engine. Sure enough a vacuum hose had popped off. He put it back on and added a clamp. I should not have this problem again.

We drove about four hours to Hope, AZ and the Ramblin Roads RV Park. The office was closed at 4:30 but we had arranged to rent the spot beside our blogging friend Bill From Nebraska so we knew where to go. We found the spot and also found Bill and his charming wife, Dee visiting neighbors. We backed in, hooked up the essentials and joined the Happy Hour. Soon we walked back to Bill and Dee's spot where Bill started making fish tacos for dinner for all of us. What a treat, no dinner to make after the drive.

Bill is another of those bloggers who you get to know on line and discover that everything you surmised from his online personality is exactly what you find when you meet in the flesh. It was less like meeting people for the first time and more like old friends getting together! They are a great couple and if you get a chance to meet them, do!

We spent the evening gabbing and sipping and finally headed for bed at the ridiculous hour of 1:00 AM! I suddenly remembered that I had set up the dish but had not tuned it in to the bird. So, out I went in my semi- inebriated condition, swung the dish to where I thought the satellite was and BANG, I had it! An unbelievable (considering my condition) 20 second setup.

We are all going into town for lunch later on. There is not much around this isolated park but the setting is beautiful! I will get some photos later.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Damn Dow

Let me see if I got this straight. When US job numbers are up, signifying good times, the Dow reflects this optimism by going up. Times are good, prosperity reigns.

When job numbers are down this signifies hard times and the Dow drops. Times are not so good. Investments suffer, fewer Porches are bought. Following so far? Good.

Today job numbers are WAY up. Times are really good! Obama is doing a fantastic job! People are working. consumers are consuming, cash is flowing. All indicators are positive. The Dow should be headed for record territory, right? Yes, using the above logic, times are really good and us small investors should profit along with business and the 1%.

But no. The Dow is currently down 280 points in the face of this great news and it's little Canadian follower, the TSX is down 150 points. Times are really good. No, they are really bad!

What can we learn from this? Well it seems that times are so good that Wall Street fears "The Fed" is going to notice and will raise interest rates, thereby turning really good times into bad times.

I am not complaining. My small-medium portfolio is up several thousand for the year so far (About 3% in two months). Not bad but not enough to pay for my teeth. Some people have done much, much worse. Specially those who were into oil or diversified into oil. I diversified into precious metals which have been dragging me down as well lately but not as much as oil would have. Many of the people who have lost big actually know what they are doing, or thought they did. All I do is trust someone who I hope knows what he is doing. So far it seems he does.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Plans Completed

Everything is falling into place. We got an email back from Rambling Roads in Hope, AZ and they have a space for us on the 7th so we will meet our Blogging friend Bill. We then got a call back from Eagle View RV Park in Fountain Hills telling us they had no room because of the baseball Spring Training. I then called Vale Del Oro, another large park in Mesa and was told the same thing, everything is full up, no room in March.

I then remembered a commenter on the Blog who once told us that her park in Mesa usually had a spot or two available. I emailed her and she gave me a number to call which we did. Mesa Village is more of a residential community than an RV park but does have a nice pool and is central.

We booked for a month at their surprisingly reasonable rate of $450 a month including electricity starting on March 10. The weather in the Phoenix / Mesa area is going to be sunny and hot so we will be able to tune up our tans before making the run home.

Stay tuned, Life Is Good!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Now What?

We will be leaving Desert Hot Springs on Saturday. I want to stop for a day or two in Hope, AZ to visit my blogging buddy Bill at the Rambling Roads RV Park. After that we want to head to the Mesa area, specifically the Eagle View RV Park in Fountain Hills, AZ.

Problem is they will not answer their phone at Eagle View. We have tried every hour from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM and keep getting their recording saying "your call is important....". Frustrating to say the least. They do not even show an email address. Their website reservation system shows they are full but based on our stay there last year, I suspect this is not correct. We will find out soon enough.

This is not a medical blog and I do not want it to become one but one thing happened to me I simply must pass on. You remember when I passed out from low blood pressure and got the ambulance ride to the hospital last summer? Well the heart specialist who examined me and told me there was nothing wrong with me also told me that my blood pressure was on the low side and said, "You will seldom hear a heart specialist say this but the next time this happens, don't call an ambulance but rather sit or lie down and have someone bring you salt water. This will raise your blood pressure quickly and you will once again have blood back in your head".

Well, walking down the street in Algodones the other day I suddenly felt light headed and became ultra sensitive to light, the same symptoms I had before I passed out. Norma was in a nail salon so I sat down and asked the woman if she had a glass of water and a salt shaker. With a funny look she watched me take the lid off the shaker and pour a good tablespoon into the water and stir it with my finger. She objected, telling me it was bad for me while I tossed it back. Within seconds I could feel a great improvement and a minute later I was back to normal.

Remember, this only works if you have LOW blood pressure. Try it if your blood pressure is high and you will have different results!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Aftermath

Well, so far, so good! The swelling is almost gone and there has been no pain during or after - zero, zip, nada! Unbelievable but true. They gave me a prescription for 600mg ibuprofen pills and told me to take one in the morning before the treatment, which I did. I took another before I went to bed after the treatment, thinking there would be pain as the freezing came out. I could have skipped this one as the entire process has been painless!

They also prescribed an antibiotic to treat the infection that I had under one of the bridges. I am continuing those until the box is empty. The antibiotics (12 pills) were $7 and the ibuprofen (60 pills) $10 at the Mexican farmacia. Have I ever mentioned, I Love Mexico?

I find all the stitches annoying as I can feel them with my tongue and keep thinking there is some problem where there is not but that is a pretty minor concern. They probably could have cut the threads a little shorter. They will dissolve in a few days anyway.

I am finding I can chew to a certain extent on one side where the bridge that was still good is above the remains of the bridge they cut in half. This give me quite a bit of grinding ability and I have eaten some semi-solid foods already. This will improve as I get used to it and the gum swelling further subsides.

My friend Rick Doyle has just completed extensive dental work at Sani as well. It is funny as we were both researching dental clinics at the same time unknown to each other and both arrived at the Sani Dental Group. A happy coincidence, they must be good or both our research must be off which is unlikely.

I have to come back sometime in September so I have been researching airfares. If we fly from Comox to Yuma it is about $700 round trip each but if we fly Bellingham, WA to San Diego we can do it for $250 round trip each. We would take the bus from San Diego and get off at the "Q" Casino where the clinic will send a car to pick us up. Lots of time to consider this and I may win the lottery in the meantime and buy my own jet.