Monday, February 28, 2005

Maintaining MsTioga before we head out for more Adventure!
The Team would love to head out today, looking for more Adventure! First, MsTioga needs some maintenance things done by a mechanic.
  • MsTioga's belts have some cracks. George spotted these cracks while changing the engine oil.
  • We checked MsTioga's transmission fluid, and found the level too high! We suspect that when MsTioga's transmission was replaced in 2003, her dipstick did not match the new transmission, and does not correctly show fluid level.
  • Power steering fluid seems to be leaking.
  • Chassis needs greasing. George found that he cannot grease MsTioga himself.


  • 9AM - Could not get appointment with mechanic.
    The mechanics would not be able to work on MsTioga until tomorrow. Since the work that needs to be done is not critical, we are heading north this morning and will do this work when we get to our homebase in Concord, later this month. We want to spend some time at Doane's Meadow up on Palomar Mounain.

    Looking at a tiny electric generator.
    On the way to Doane's Meadow, we are stopping at a store to look at a tiny electric generator, that reader Corky told us about. This is the "Sinemaster" generator that we believe is made in China.

    Mr. Mavica's favorite pic!
    Good morning! This is Mr. Mavica typing at you! Here is my favorite pic of all time. Do you like it?


    A view of the bay from Old Mill RV Park near San Quintin, Mexico



    10AM - George got a haircut!
    He got his haircut at Fantastic Sam's in San Diego. It cost $16. The last haircut was in La Paz, and cost $3 !! Wow!

    We are heading out right now, to see the store with the tiny electric generators.

    Store with Electric Generators!
    Wow! We got to this store, and there was no merchandise. Everything had been taken to a show in Las Vegas! Man!

    Camped in Harrah's Casino!
    It really is amazing how Las Vegas style casinos are everywhere in California. We are going to stay overnite in this lot. Tomorrow we will head out for Palomar Mountain again.

    For you RVers who would like to be camping for free, but may not have tried it yet for whatever reasons, note that we are camped in an ordinary parking lot at Harrah's tonite. It does not matter where you are camped at nite, because it is dark anyway. What you want at nite, is quiet.

    Are you wanting to boondock or dry camp like the TiogaRV Team does?
    Take a peek at MsTioga Magazine's "Secrets of the Joys of Boondocking!"

    Boondocking in wild places is absolutely wonderful!





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    Sunday, February 27, 2005

    Friends came by to see us today!
    This morning we were out shopping at the "Best Buy" store, and we got a phone call. Eddie and his wife Debbie came by to say hi. Later, we got a phone call from John, and we had a really nice time talking. Wow!

    MsTioga needs some work done.
    Tomorrow we will try to get MsTioga to a mechanic, to get her serpantine belt changed. Some cracks in the belt were found during the oil change yesterday. There are some chores to do as well. Maintenance parts for Mr. Onan must be purchased. We want to add a small inverter to separately power our computer and Datastorm components.

    Next places to visit!
    As soon as the chores are completed, and the mechanical work is done, we will take off looking for more Adventure. The first place that we will head, is to Doane's Meadow up on Palomar Mountain. Quartzsite is next. Then Joshua Tree National Park. And then, Death Valley National Park! Wow!



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    Saturday, February 26, 2005

    Comparing Mexico to the USA!
    Yesterday when traveling by a shopping center in San Diego, I was struck by the perfection. The streets had beautiful landscaping, mowed grass, lovely flowers. The stores were gorgeous. Modern lighted signs, clean and well maintained parking areas. Everything was perfect.

    This was my first day back from three months in Mexico. The comparison was overwhelming. We have sooooo much in the USA. We are soooooo rich. It is beyond belief how rich we are, in comparison to Mexico.

    There are some things that we do not have, however. Things that do not cost money. We do not have "Good Mornings" given to us by complete strangers, when we walk down the street. In Mexico, I have received soooo much generousity. People who did not know me, took me in, gave me friendship, shared their meals.

    Rachel is a friend. She wrote me an email. Here are a few lines of that email:
    "Your blog reminds me how much I miss Mexico. I truly hope that when this
    is all over I can remain the same kind of person I was while I was there.
    The culture and the people there made me feel kinder, more generous and
    just all around like a better person."


    I know exactly how Rachel feels. To be a better person, to be open to strangers, to be friendly to complete strangers. That will be difficult when this friendship is not returned.

    A fabulous day - George talks with his son!
    You want to know what happened? Hmmmmm? A great phone consversation with my son! Wow! This is soooo great! A three hour phone call! Man-O-Man! Things are looking up for him! To those of you who wrote emails of comfort, thank you sooooo much!

    MsTioga has new WalMart SuperTech Synthetic Oil and a SuperTech Oil Filter!
    When asked how her engine felt with this new SuperTech stuff, MsTioga said she feels very smooth and more quiet now. MsTioga also said that she wants to be back on the road again, to see how her engine feels then!



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    Friday, February 25, 2005

    San Ysidro Border Crossing
    Did you know that San Ysidro is the busiest crossing in the world? We do not enjoy crossing this border. All border crossings are uncomfortable. San Ysidro, with their drug sniffing dogs roaming around, the almost accusing questions, make us on the team sweat. It is a scary place!

    5AM - Breakfast Camped in San Diego!
    We left Ensenada early in the morning, in order to avoid the huge traffic jam that backs up the San Ysidro border crossing. We are in a shopping center parking lot. A Home Depot is here. We have to buy some lumber to crate up Mr. Levelers damaged jacks, in order ship them to the factory for repairs.

    Two Year Anniversary - The meeting of Tioga and George!
    Two years ago today, George drove to Manteca, California to look for an RV. There on an RV lot, waiting patiently for George to arrive, was the fabulous MsTioga. The moment George saw MsTioga, he knew she was the one! Wow!

    4PM - Wow! What a busy day!
    The first thing we did, was to remove Mr. Levelers front damaged jack. Then we bought lumber from Home Depot, and built two crates, one for each damaged jack. Man! That was a lot of work, and George was really tired after that job. Then we drove the crated jacks over to the UPS depot in Chula Vista, and sent them on their way. Mr. Levelers is very happy to see some action finally on these repairs!


    Mr. Levelers damaged jacks being crated up in San Diego!




    MsTioga needs an oil change.
    We have been reading on RV.NET how many RVers rave about WalMart's SuperTech Full Synthetic Oil, and the SuperTech oil filter. So, we went to WalMart and bought this synthetic oil and filter.

    While we were at WalMart, we replenished our First Aid kit. We used a bunch of our supplies helping a young woman who got stung by a sting ray in the waters of Bahia Balandra, in La Paz.

    Picked up storage stuff, and are Nite Camped!
    There are some things stored instead of taking them into Mexico. These things were safe in a storage locker in San Diego. We picked this stuff up, and now are Nite Camped on a quiet street near the storage place.

    Visiting MsTioga and The Team!
    If we get close to where you live, or where you are RVing, and you want to say hello to MsTioga and The Team, we would be sooooo happy to meet you! The TiogaRV Team will be in the San Diego area until early next week. Send us an email if you would like to drop by, OK?




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    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Heading north to the City of Ensenada!
    We are anxious to return to the USA where we will have cell phone service again. Then George will be able to phone his son to find out how he is doing. We may be back in San Diego tomorrow! Today we will go to Ensenada, and camp overnite.

    Email from readers!
    The amount of wonderful email received about George's son has been huge! This morning we have answered a lot of those emails. Thank you all, for your thoughts and prayers!

    4PM - Nite Camped in Central Ensenada!
    It is amazing how MsTioga knows exactly where to drive when George has no idea where to go! MsTioga, like a hawk, drove straight to the center of Ensenada. We love this place, for one reason, because the lady who sells the delicious tamales is near here. Also, it is downtown Ensenada, and a lot goes on in the evening that George likes to watch.


    George looks at MsTioga as Mr. DataStorm finds the satellite in Ensenada.




    7PM - We are back from being "On-The-Town" in Ensenada!
    First we went straight to where the tamale lady has her stand, and sure enough, she was there. When you eat the tamale at the stand, you get a side of some kind of noodles and frijoles. Everything is sooooo good! You get to help yourself to the frijoles, which of course George did, TWICE! Price? Nueve peso, 90 cents US.


    Tamale lady at our favorite Ensenada tamale stand.




    Tacos Pescados stand on the way home!
    We were walking back to MsTioga, and saw a tacos pescados [fish] stand, with a zillion customers. The fish looked so big and crispy, so George had to order one taco. We love to eat tacos at these stand, because of all the things that are there for dressing the taco. Cabbage, salsa, guacamole, onions, mayonmaise! Guess what? George ordered another taco pescados and an orange soda. Price? treinta pesos, $3US.

    We just had to stop at this panaderia [bakery]!
    George is sooooo weak. The panaderias have so many things to choose from. George bought three, and ate all three before we got home. Price$ Ocho pesos, 80 cents.

    A guy was selling leather belts!
    George has been shopping for months for a leather belt. One of his belts is cracking. Right near the panaderia, there was this vendor on the corner with a bunch of belts. These were real leather belts, and there was one with the right color and the right size! Price ochenta pesos $8US! Great price!!

    Getting fat walking around Ensenada!
    A guy could gain weight just walking around downtown Ensenada! But at least this guy would have a belt to hold up his tummy!

    9PM - Last nite in Mexico!
    This is our last nite, for this trip to Mexico. Tomorrow morning we will return to the United States! What a great trip this has been! Wow!

    Last day of our second year!
    Today marks the last day of our second year. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day that George met MsTioga! We were working on an anniversay special edition, to commemorate our 2nd year. However, we could not select special places. There were sooooo many places that were special! Wow! Anza-Borrego! Yosemite! Glacier National Park! Mexico! Man-O-Man! What a year!

    This year is special also, because so many readers helped to keep us on the road with your suggestions, donations, wonderful support! This was the year that MsTioga Magazine was founded. With the magazine came our tiny publishing business, whose income has kept our financial head above the water!

    We on The Team, are living such a wonderful life. Thank you for allowing us to share our life with you!




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    Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    Heading north to Camalu.
    Right now The Team is Breakfast Camped a bit north of the Town of San Quintin. We may make Nite Camp in Camalu.


    The Team eats like royalty!



    3PM - Back at the La Cueva del Pirata Hotel, Camalu!
    We first found La Cueva del Pirata on December 17th, two months ago! Wow! Now we have returned.


    George and MsTioga look at the bahia below the Hotel.




    Maybe you would like to stay at La Cueva del Pirata Hotel?
    When you drive south in Baja California, perhaps when you reach Camalu you might stop at La Cueva del Pirata Hotel? Hmmmm?
    La Cueva del Pirata - Hotel, Restaurant & Bar




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    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Heading north from Bahia de Los Angeles!
    The weather in the Southern California area appears to be calming down. We are thinking of heading north this morning. At the rate that we travel each day, we likely will not reach San Diego until this time next week! If then?!

    Mr. Mavica and TriPod still are jabbering about going up the hill behind our camp for a pic. We might do that before heading out. Below is the pic that Mr. Mavica and his faithful pal TriPod took up on the hill.


    Last look at Bahia de Los Angeles from above our hillside Camp.


    5PM - The Team is in the Town of El Rosario!
    Mama Espinoza's Restaurante is here. Have you ever eaten at the famous Mama Espinoza Restaurante? George decided to treat himself to supper. We have been pretty conservative with our dinero recently, and can afford it. Supper was steak asada, with a salad, fried potatoes, coffee and flan for dessert. Yummm!

    6PM - Staying the nite behind the Z Gas station.
    Z Gas is a propane company. MsTioga filled her propane tank there, and we asked permission to stay the nite in the empty lot next to Z Gas. It is pretty dark, but Mr. Mavica and TriPod took the pic of our El Rosario Nite Camp.


    George looks at MsTioga in our El Rosario Nite Camp.





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    Monday, February 21, 2005

    Walking around Bahia de Los Angeles!
    This morning after breakfast, Mr. Mavica, TriPod and George will go walking all over Bahia de Los Angeles. We are preparing a new MsTioga Magazine story about this place. We want to take pics and talk to the people who live and work here. We love this part of publishing a story!

    Hiking the mountain in back of our Camp for a pic!
    There is a range of mountains to the west, up the hill from our Camp. This afternoon, Mr. Mavica wants to take a pic of the Bahia from up there. The light is behind us then, and good for pics. George thinks that this mountain looks steep. Mr. Mavica sees a dirt road that we can walk up that looks easy. Maybe these two will compromise, and walk halfway up this mountain?!

    Bahia de Los Angeles is a sleepy pueblo!
    Right now, Los Angeles is sort of empty of tourists. We walked down the highway looking at the places of business, and came to an RV Park along the bay [bahia]. There was one trailer there, from California. We saw electricity hookups, but no sewer connection at this park. We saw no water connections.


    The electric hookups at the RV Park.


    We walked out onto an earth jetty near the RV Park. We saw a few boats on in the bay fishing. We believe that the main activity for tourists who come to Bahia de Los Angeles, is fishing.


    George looks at the RV Park from the end of the jetty.




    Whale sharks are very big attractions here!
    Whale sharks are apparently very passive guys that are here in abundance. George talked to the man who was in the government office that protects the area and animals. There were posters on the wall showing people in the water with whale sharks. This looked like fun! This government man said that people could swim in the water and touch these whale sharks!

    We visited every grocery in Bahia de Los Angeles!
    The best grocery, is "Xitlali" in the yellow building past the place the highway makes a right hand turn. Xitlali's has pretty much everything. A meat department, nice selection of fruits and vegetables, and clean aisles which are well stocked. There is a large selection of candy bars! Milky Ways, Baby Ruths and Snickers! Wow! There are lots of Mexican towns where you cannot buy these candies. We bought a whole package of Snickers! Yummm.

    Are you able to see the many solar panels on the roof of the Xitlali store? Many businesses and homes have solar panels here in Bahia de Los Angeles. One business, the provider of TV service, has about 50 panels! The electrical service in Bahia de Los Angeles, is produced with a diesel powered generator. The generator is located on the main street in town. A short while ago, this generator went down for two weeks! There is no backup, and the people of the pueblo went without electricity.


    Xitali grocery where you can buy Snickers candy bars!




    Tourists come to Los Angeles in the summertime!
    Everybody that we talked to says that the touristicos come in the summer. We do not know why they do not come in the winter? The weather here is perfect right now! The sky is overcast, but George is typing at you only wearing a T-shirt and shorts. It's 85 degrees inside MsTioga!

    3PM - A rainstorm came over the mountains from the west!
    We had been on the internet for a few hours. Our computer workstation window faces the mountain to the southwest. Suddenly the clouds coming over the mountain got very dark. Big time rain started falling! This should really make the flowers and the green plants here in the desert bloom like crazy! The rabbits that live around MsTioga seem to love the rain. They are messing around outside, oblivious to our eyes watching everything that they do.

    10PM - The nite sky has some clouds, but no rain!
    George went out to take a peek outside. The constellation of Orion was visible, and so was the Big Dipper.




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    Sunday, February 20, 2005

    Dear Friends,

    I did not post today. One of the only days that I did not make a post.

    You see, one of my sons is going thru a crisis in his life. I waited all day for an email from him, which never arrived. There is nothing to be done. Each of us must make it thru on our own. I am just a bit down about it, is all.

    The Team will be back tomorrow.

    Bye for now,
    George



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    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    Military check points in Mexico.
    The Team has run into military check points many times in Mexico. These check points remind George about painting rocks white when he was in the army. Something for the troops to do, in order to keep busy.

    The Mexican soldiers at these check points are very young. Yesterday, for the third time when going thru a check point, a soldier put "the touch" on us for something that he wanted. Once during a search, a soldier asked if he could have a 12 volt light bulb. Twice, we were asked for AA batteries. We never give anything to these soldiers when they ask for a handout. We replied yesterday, "Why are you asking me for batteries? Are you not able to buy your own batteries?" This soldier replied to my question, "We are far away from Guerrero Negro, where I can buy them." However, we were only a mile from Bahia de Los Angeles and batteries are sold here. Hmmmmmm?

    No Pemex in Bahia de Los Angeles!
    One of my maps shows a Pemex gas station here at Bahia de Los Angeles. There is one here, but it is under construction. Gas is still available. At the Hwy #1 junction to drive here, five gallons of gas was being sold from two trucks for $140 pesos [$12.72US]. That comes to $2.54/gallon, about 50 cents per gallon over the Pemex price. Not a bad price, for this kind of service, it seems to us on The Team.

    Afternoon - Exploring the Tiny Pueblo of Bahia de Los Angeles!
    First we went down the road from our Camp, and stopped at the Pemex under construction. There were towels in the rack for cleaning windshields, but no gasoline at this Pemex for sale!



    George looks at the gas pump at Pemex in Bahia de Los Angeles.




    Down the street from the Pemex, is where the Ortega family sells gasoline. The Ortega's buy gas at the Pemex at Villa Jesus Maria, north of Guerrero Negro. Their cost at Pemex is $5.94 pesos/liter [$2.04US/gal] and they sell gas from their own pump at $7.50 pesos/liter [$2.58US/gal]. The Ortega's also sell propane in cylinders and run a trucking business hauling things that Norte Americanos need from the USA.



    Ortega family fancy gas pump.




    A bit down the street from the Ortegas, is a park with tables, swings for kids, etc. Behind the park, is the Municipal Government building, and the local medical center. The Museum of Bahia de Los Angeles is behind the police station.

    This museum is a must for a visit. There is a huge display of various kinds of shells from the ocean including an explanation about each kind of shell. An exhibit about ranching life. Examples of ropes, showing how ropes used on rancheros are made. A tiny kitchen and a bed typical of ranchero life is on display.


    The Museum.




    Moved our Camp up the hill from last nite.
    Yesterday's Camp was near a place where trash had been dumped, so we moved further up the hill. Our view is much better!



    View of the Bahia from our second nite's Camp.







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