Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Blogger's Death

My Blogging friend John Wilson "Calypso" has just passed on. John worked in the American recording industry in the 60's and although he never bragged or name dropped, he had countless stories he was willing to share. He was actually with Janis Joplin the night she died and at one point or another was a guest in three of the four Beetles homes. He and Anita retired to Mexico where he bought houses on both coasts to escape the extreme temperatures of winter and summer and started his Viva Veracruz and Viva Puerto Escondido blog. John was of great help to us as we were planning our first RV trip into the heart of mainland Mexico and for some poor reason we passed up the opportunity to meet him and Anita in person. The world is a sadder place without John and the amazing stories that he was always willing to share. Steve from Melaque has a little more extensive coverage on his Blog.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

January Plans

We are out of this park on January 3 and will head to Hope, Arizona to spend some time with Bill and Dee, our friends from Nebraska. We booked for a month as that is the same price as two weeks and I have a dental appointment in Algodones on January 10. Bill and Dee are going down with us and we will spend a night or two there to test out the fish tacos and margaritas. We are staying in a hotel as that is much cheaper than the gas to drive the motorhome from Hope, AZ.
I bailed out on my major dental work there last year when Sani Dental increased the price on me after they had started the treatment. I am going to a new dentist this time to get three teeth pulled that have broken off at the gum line and to get a second opinion as to what else I need. I may well end up back at Sani as what they did, they did well. It was the price increase that turned me off. There is no question that I need more dental work!

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Baking! The convection oven is getting a workout today. So far we have made a banana loaf, cherry pound cake, shortbread cookies (using George and Suzi's recipe from his blog) and carrot cake with cream cheese icing. All passed the taste test!

So This Is Christmas

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas.
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas

And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over

- John Lennon

Monday, December 19, 2016

Honda Muffler

Our neighbors "mentioned" that the 1989 Honda needed a new muffler. They were right so it is now sporting a new Meineke $450 exhaust system! That makes $450 muffler + $450 tires + $200 tune up + $100 battery = $1,200 in the last year. That better be all because the car is not worth $1,200. It does run like a top though and I know I could not replace it for that.

I checked back and the last muffler and pipe was done at Che Mofles in Villa Corona in central Mexico back in 2008 for $66 US. It lasted until now. Here is Che's shop in Villa Corona. Life is so much simpler (and cheaper!) in Mexico.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Democracy At It's Finest

Final vote tally

Clinton:  65,844,594
Trump:  62,979,616
Others:  7,804,203

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Another Project Done

Our motorhome has an "Outside Entertainment Center", a compartment on the side containing a radio, speakers and a TV connection. This is handy if you want background music outside or want to watch the Super Bowl outside with friends. We have hardly ever used it and when I tested it this summer the radio was shot. The door seal is not perfect and it had been exposed to the elements and summer salt air for too long.
I replaced the radio with one designed for "marine" applications ie: in a boat, and then discovered the speakers were also shot for the same reasons,
I looked for replacement outdoor or "marine" type speakers and discovered the 5' replacement size were not readily available. I bought a pair 1/4 inch larger than the old ones, borrowed a drill mounted grinder from our neighbor and enlarged the holes before installing the new speakers. With Norma on the outside and me on the inside, they bolted on easily enough and sound great. Another job done!

"Easily" may be a bit of an exaggeration. Imagine a 71 year old 6'4" guy bent down in here under the bench seat working!

Passport Canada

Things that make you want to tear your hair out. ie: Passport Canada
Brooks and LindaLee's passports were close to expiry so they sent them in with the paperwork for renewal, both in the same envelope
Brooks got his new passport but LL got a letter saying hers had water damage and they needed to know when, how and where it was damaged
She answered that it was not damaged when she sent it in and she had no knowledge of any damage
Passport Canada answered that was not an acceptable response and unless she provides them with detailed information about the damage they cannot renew
She talked to a human on the phone and asked where and what the damage was so she might be able to guess how it occurred. The woman said she did not have the actual passport in front of her and did not know where on the passport the damage was but needed an explanation before the renewal could proceed
She drove to Victoria Passport Office to either expedite the renewal or apply for a new passport. She was told the renewal was still pending and they were waiting for an explanation of the damage. As long as the renewal was pending she could not apply for a new passport as the old one has not yet expired. She told the woman the same story.
She later received a letter telling her that her application for a Canadian passport had been denied.
She sent a letter saying the passport may have gotten wet when she spilled a glass of water on the table the passport was laying on. This was a lie, she had no idea where the water damage came from and still insists there was no damage when she sent it in. They forced her to lie.
Yesterday she received a letter saying her explanation had been accepted and her renewal was being processed and today got a message that it would be ready for pickup in a few days.
This process has taken over two months! It had a happy ending and the bureaucrat was finally able to tick all the applicable boxes. What a joke but the problem is they have the power to control your life, even if only for a couple of months, over something as insignificant as a water stain on a passport! 

Friday, December 9, 2016

IOTA IQ4 Install

I received the IQ4 Smart Charger Module for my new IOTA converter this morning and decided I had time to install it. I opened up the small access panel under the bathroom sink and discovered the converter was mounted in such a way that the port the module plugged into was at the back and out of sight.

I stuck my little camera in there, pointed it in the general direction of where I thought the port should be and snapped about 20 closeup photos. One of them showed the port and also showed how it was oriented to the plug ie: which way up.

After fiddling for quite a few minutes with my hand turned backwards in the tiny space, I felt the "click" as the plug seated! The light on the unit came on and it seems to be working!

The battery is fully charged right now as it has been plugged in so I will not be able to really test it until I am trying to recharge it but the light tells me that it is monitoring the charge rate and I am happy for now.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Rude Awakening!

Norma got up at about seven this morning and I continued to doze as she puttered around the kitchen. Suddenly she was yelling at me, "Croft! Get up, the shower stall is flooded"! Now, our shower is not used for showers but is used for storage of everything that will not store somewhere else. Among numerous other things, it contains: paper products, garbage bags, tea towels, bath towels, dish cloths and our shower bags, all on the floor of the shower. The water was right up to the brim of the shower stall and most of the above was soaked! The stall is also Norma's clothes closet but her clothes, thankfully, were hanging well above the water level.

Remember back when we moved in here, stayed one night and then were asked to move to a new space? Well when we moved I closed the grey and black waste valves, unhooked, moved and reconnected the hose. However I forgot to open the grey water valve so the waste water from the sinks filled the holding tank and started working it's way back up the drains. The shower base, being the lowest place the water could escape the pipe, began filling up and the water was just about ready to overflow the shower pan and to run onto the floor!

I rushed out, pulled the valve and came back in to face the music. As they say, it could have been worse. The water was mostly rinse and dishwashing water from the kitchen sink and whatever from the bathroom sink and was dirty but not disgusting but needless to say, our wash this week will require a few more quarters.

As usual, all my fault. :(

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New TV

Another job done (with photo :)). We bought a larger TV for the bedroom and I finally got a chance to hang it on the wall today. I used the same mount I built out of plywood and 2X4's a few years ago because it is bolted right through the wall into the bathroom cabinet and is stronger than anything I could buy. The job took longer than I expected but most of the time was spent hiding the yards of various cables and power cords from sight.

The new TV is a 24" compared to the old 20". It seems much bigger because it is the wider format so it matches the broadcast format and more of the screen is being used. The new one is a Samsung, the old one a Sharp. Anyway, Norma likes it.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Two Out Of Three Done!

Replacing the leaking Extend-a-Stay valve. It went in easy but I had to borrow a 7/8 open end wrench and had to try twice because it wouldn't pass the soapy water bubble test first time. It looks like I should invest in a can of rust converter and some Rustoleum paint. If it ain't one thing, it's another!

These new rivets in the door hinge were easy with the new rivet gun.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nothing Happening Here Folks

Just settling down in the desert. Warm days (not exactly hot but I did catch Norma with the A/C on today) and cool to cold nights. The electric mattress warmer is getting used on low and nights are pleasant.

I noticed a hinge on the door had pulled the rivets out of the door frame and since my rivet gun was broken, we made a trip to Harbor Freight for a new one and that job is now in the jar. I have to drill out the old rivets and put in three new ones.

I also have to mount the new 24" TV in the bedroom. This may require a slight mod to the wall mount to accommodate the wider TV. I picked up a scrap pallet board to use for this if I need it. Norma's curling is over for the weekend so I might be able to get at the TV for a couple of hours.

I still have to find the add-on that turns the new IOTA converter into a four stage smart charger for the batteries. Blair's Station, the local RV supply place. might have one or at least will be able to get one in for me. I also have to replace one of the gas filled props that hold the outside bin doors open. Blairs should have one of those.

Keeping busy and keeping warm. It is turning into a pleasant winter after the excitement of the expensive first few days.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Desert Hot Springs Sunshine!

After another uneventful drive (!) we arrived in Desert Hot Springs on Wednesday early afternoon and after a stop at Little Sisters Truck Wash we pulled into the Desert Oasis RV Park where we stayed two years ago and where we had reservations until January 2.

It was warm (24C) and sunny! Finally! We set up and I walked over to the hottest of the three pools to soak my aching back, payment for lifting those damn batteries! I had the tub to myself until I was later joined by a woman from BC, We are going to enjoy ourselves here.

Well, it wasn't that smooth. After one night management came to tell us there was some confusion over the site we were assigned. We paid until Jan 2 and someone else had the site booked for December 30. They offered us the site right next door so it was an easy move. We could have argued but what the heck, we are easy to get along with.