Wednesday, November 30, 2005

6:30AM - Cleaning MsTioga at sunrise.
We were out washing the rear of MsTioga when the sun rose. MsTioga is clean all around now. Although it was only 40°F just before the sun came up, it still was warm enough for short pants while washing. Mr. DeLorme reports that we are Camped at an elevation of 2,200 feet, and it seems as though it would be colder here.

9AM - Shopping in Catavina.
We found Abarrotes Tonche (Tonche Grocery Store) in the Town of Catavina. We bought some bananas, Ruffles potato chips and three candy bars! We love candy bars and were sooooo happy to see them for sale.

Readers wonder about Highway No1.
Many readers have emailed about Hwy No1, wondering what the road looks like and if they will have problems with their RVs on this road.

We on The Team have found that the highway is a very well maintained two lane road, one lane in each direction. The shoulders are often non-existant, with a very quick drop off. Driving on this highway means not letting our attention stray. Special attention for times when vehicles are approaching is important to make sure the maximum clearance is maintained. The same when vehicles are passing us. Lanes on Hwy No1 are not overly wide. Hwy No1 is very lightly travelled making for us a very enjoyable driving experience.

We have seen the largest Class-As on Hwy No1. In the past we have spoken to drivers of large Class-As and have not ever heard of any problems driving along this highway.

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Highway No1 in the Town of Catavina.



Vados.
There are many vados along the highway. A vado is a low place in the road where water may be flowing. In the United States, a vado would have a bridge to take drivers over the low place. Here in Mexico, perhaps to save money building roads, vados are common. Signs along the road warn of the danger. Vado a 300 mts (Vado in 300 meters).

We have only seen one vado with water flowing, and that was today; just south of Catavina.

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Here is a vado with a small stream flowing across the highway.



10AM - Made our Camp on a dry lake bed.
MsTioga has driven 42 miles today, pretty close to our daily goal. We found a dirt road off of Hwy No1 that led to a large dry lake called Laguna Chapala, and made our Camp here. This is the first time that anybody on The Team can remember making a Camp on a dry lake. We are about 1/2 mile away from the highway.

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MsTioga on the Dry Lake!





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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

6:30AM - Fantastic nite and glorious morning.
Last nite was so very clear! Venus looked large, more like a small moon of the earth than a planet of the sun.

We are at 982 feet in elevation, and with the clear nite the temperature fell to 29°F. The bedroom door was closed at bedtime and Mr. Wave6 brought inside and directed to heat up the steel door to our electrical panel. Mr. Wave6 set on low kept our bedroom temperature above 60°F all during the nite without having to turn on the noisy forced air furnace.

This morning the sun has risen all around us, but yet to dawn on MsTioga who is camped in a valley. The sky is very blue, no clouds. Small animals are looking for breakfast near MsTioga. We saw two quail birdies with their little top knots and a tiny rabbit out our window.

XM Satellite Radio.
Our tiny XM radio is working fantastic. No sign of any receiving problems as we go south in Mexico. In fact, XM works better for us in Mexico than in the states of Washington and Oregon. Perhaps the reason for this is that the XM satellite is low on the horizon in these northern states. Playing the XM uses very little electric power, and that is a very good thing for us during the evening hours when Mr. Sunny is running on batteries.

11AM - Made our Desert Camp No2.
We on The Team are getting to really like making our Camp on the desert. When the winds are calm, and we are undisturbed, it is fantastic! Our Camp is only partly visible from Hwy No1, which is about 1/4 mile away.

We have not explored yet.  There is some kind of monument on a low hill beside our Camp and Mr. Mavica wants to go there and take a pic.

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Is this some kind of impressive property monument?



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Our Desert No2 Camp.



3PM - The fragrance of leaves.
Wherever we walk, we are forever touching leaves and then smelling our fingers to know the fragrance. It is amazing how many times the fragrance we smell is sooooo familiar!

Mr. Mavica, TriPod and George went for a walk around our Desert Camp. Exploring with our fingers, our eyes, our nose and ears. The only sense that we do not use out there is taste. In the pic below, George rubs the leaf of a desert shrub. We know that we smelled this fragrance before, but where?

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There is so much to do out in the desert.

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4PM - Visiting fellow RVers.
During the morning, we saw two campers pull off and park near the highway, and decided to go over to them to say hi. We met a husband and wife from Germany, now touring Mexico. These two from Germany also felt safe camping out here on the desert.

On the way back to MsTioga, the sun had already set and the evening was beautiful.

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Another spectacular day in the desert comes to an end.





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Monday, November 28, 2005

5:30AM - Hot shower.
Hot showers are wonderful. When taking a hot shower somewhere out where it is gorgeous, somehow it is more than wonderful. It is spectacular!

First MsTioga's forced air heater was turned on to help Mr. Wave6 get the room temp up. We cranked up the water heater and in no time at all, everything was perfect. Man-O-Man. That shower sure felt great!

6:30AM - Flowers.
Although we have not written about flowers for a long time, we still are out there looking at them. Here on this desert beach, the flowers are soooooo small. Really easy to miss. We have to get down close to see them.

Mr. Mavica found a really lovely flower. Less than 3/8 inch diameter. Would you like to see some? Hmmmmm?

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9AM - El Rosario.
El Rosario is the home of famous Mama Espinosa's restaurant. This restaurant has been there for years, and we have stopped there a few times for meals. We are not stopping today.

There is no Pemex after El Rosario until close to Guerrero Negro, about 180 miles across the desert. We filled up with gasoline and also filled our fresh water tank at this Pemex. We were surprised to see a Visa/Mastercard sign over the cashier's window.

The propane company was out of gas until the afternoon. We have nearly a full tank of propane, so we are in good shape.

10AM - We are Camped on the desert.
The Team is not positive about holding our goal of 30 miles per day while crossing the desert between El Rosario Guerrero Negro. But we are Camped in the desert for now to see how it goes.

Our Camp is not visible from Highway No1. There are tracks of burros or small horses with shoes around our Camp. Cirios trees are growing close. There are also tiny flies which are extremely friendly.  There is probably a rancho farther up the dirt road.  A pickup truck drove by with two men.  The truck did not stop.

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Our first desert Camp.



12 Noon - The baby flies are masters of our Camp.
Mr. Mavica, TriPod and George went for a hike up the hill to take a pic of the Boojum Trees (Cirios). All the while hiking, we were stalked by the baby flies that are sooooo numerous here. Even using Deep Woods Off! did not help. Wow!

If we stay at this Camp, we will be restricted to inside MsTioga. No exploring! Man-O-Man! Below is a pic of a few Boojum trees on the hill above our Camp.  Even for the 10 seconds for Mr. Mavica’s timer to go off would the flies let loose!  Do you see my hand brushing them away?

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3:30PM - A walk up the valley.
Mr. Mavica and George went for a walk up the dirt road and deeper into the valley. We were looking for the rancho which we did not find. After about 1/2 mile, we could barely see MsTioga, so we turned back. MsTioga does not like to be left alone, and we feel uncomfortable about that too.

It seems that the baby flies must have tired themselves out, because very few were flying about bothering us. Mr. Mavica liked a cactus that was growing near our Camp. We cannot remember the name of this cactus, but we had a breakfast last year which included it.

A few readers emailed us that this is Nopal or Prickly Pear Cactus and that the breakfast made from these cactus is called "nopalitos."

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George stands with the breakfast cactus.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

7AM - Heading into the desert.
When we are in El Rosario today, MsTioga will fill up on gasoline at the Pemex station. There are no Pemex stations between El Rosario and the Town of Jesus Maria Villa, a distance of about 200 miles. We have seen guys in trucks selling gasoline from barrels at the intersection of the road to Bahia de Los Angeles, but with a fillup in El Rosario, we should be fine.

At a Team Meeting this morning, MsTioga suggested making a second Camp right here where we are near El Soccoro on the beach. MsTioga pointed out that if she holds to our 30 mile per day goal, that it will take about six days to get across the desert. "This is a very nice camp", MsTioga said. We are thinking about staying, but will probably move on.

El Socorro Camp Report.
It should be no surprise that we were undisturbed here at our lovely beach Camp near El Socorro. During the nite, the stars were sooooo bright, with no Moon to be seen. The temperature got down to 43°F just before dawn, but zoomed up several degrees as the Sun rose.

We have been making Camp Reports in order to show readers who wonder about making free camps in Mexico. Now after several days of making these free camps, this may be our last report. It is too easy to make free camps in Mexico.

Our finances are making a come back!
We want you to know that our finances which reached a low when we paid for our new Datastorm mount to be installed, are making a come back. Our advertising income from Google Ads is strong, and the donations from readers were strong as well.

We expect no maintenance expenses here in Mexico, and with our ad income remaining high for the next few months, we will be doing great.  Everybody on The Team thanks you for your support.

11AM - We are still Camped at El Socorro.
While MsTioga's left side was being cleaned this morning, several Team Members were talking about staying here at this lovely Camp until a least the middle of the afternoon. The wind has died down to a cool breeze. The sound of the waves is wonderful.

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Our El Socorro Camp.



Harvesting rocks for a living.
Late yesterday afternoon, a truck drove by our Camp and headed for the beach. A little while later, it returned with a young man on the truck bed along with several bags. Today while on the beach, we found a bunch of bags filled with large rocks. The young man was employed as a rock harvester. Part of his job was to sort the rocks by color and size. Wow!

4PM - We are staying at this Camp.
The Team never knows for sure if they are staying or camping. It just happens. We found out that we are staying at this Camp another nite just a few minutes ago. Something about this place just grabbed us.

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Looking northwest about 200 yards from our Camp.





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Saturday, November 26, 2005

6AM - Camalu Camp report.
As you may imagine, since our free Nite Camp was on the property of La Cueva de Pirata hotel, we were undisturbed last nite. It was sooooo quiet for sleeping. Just before dawn, temperature outside was 55°F. Mr. Wave6, our catalytic heater, took a rest during the nite but he is up at our side now to warm things up.

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A new day dawns in Camalu.



8:30AM - Filling our water tank in Camalu.
Our water tank is getting low. We do not drink from our water tank. The water from MsTioga's fresh water tank is only used for washing and bathing.

As we drove away from our Nite Camp, we were looking for a house with a hose bibb. We came upon such a house with a cigar store on the property. A lady with her young daughter were tending the store. We asked permission to fill our tank, and the lady showed us to the hose bibb. Afterwards, we gave her $12 pesos ($1.20US) for the water.

Getting cash from the ATM.
We pay for almost everything with pesos in Mexico. We hardly ever use our credit cards here, and the Pemex gas station do not accept them for payment.

In the town of Vicente Guerrero, there are two banks. We like the HSBC bank better than Banemex, but they both give good service.  We stopped at HSBC.

The banks in Mexico have very good security, especially for the ATMs. An ATM card must be inserted into a cardlock in order to enter the small ATM room. Nobody may enter the ATM room until we exit. The ATMs have English or Spanish instructions, very easy to use.  We got our pesos and a receipt which gave us our balance also in pesos.

10AM – Taking a nap in San Quintin.
Naps are very good things, and we take them often. As we entered the Town of San Quintin, we pulled off the main road. This Nap Camp is next to a huge soccer field. It is very quiet here.

2PM - Camped near the beach.
As we travelled south, the wind picked up from the west blowing clouds of sand across the highway. We did not want to make a Camp in that sandblasting wind, and continued south where our map showed a place where Highway #1 came close to the Ocean. We found a short dirt road which led to the beach, and made our Camp here.

The wind is still strong. However there is no sand blowing, because we are so close to the Ocean. Mr. Mavica could not stand up on TriPod in the wind, so he chose to take a pic from inside MsTioga.

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View of our Camp near El Soccoro.



5PM - Zillion $dollar$ view.
With the end of the day, the winds calmed. It is a special gift to make a Camp at the Ocean. The sounds, the sights, the waves!

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Ms. Planty Palm views the sunset.



Are you a new reader of MsTioga and George?
You may not know about MsTioga Magazine. Take a peek, OK? There are many RVing stories in MsTioga Magazine that you might like.



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Friday, November 25, 2005

6AM - San Vicente Camp report.
The Team made a free Camp in two different locations in the Town of San Vicente, and we were undisturbed. Isn't that something? A police car drove by MsTioga when we drove over to the sports field yesterday afternoon to watch soccer teams workout. But the police did not bother us.

This morning it is foggy and a cold 40°F outside. Again Mr. Wave6 kept working while set at low all nite and did a fine job keeping MsTioga inside at 70°F.

Why we use two different maps for our locations.
Our Datastorm map keeps track of our location during the day, and is updated by a convenient program that we run everytime we go online. However, this location changes as we move. When we make a Nite Camp, we want that map to be permanent, showing our Nite Camp's location for that date. For this purpose we use a Mapquest map, and enter the GPS (Global Positioning System) data manually. We call these Mapquest maps, "anchor map links" because the map is anchored to our Nite Camp location.

10AM - The Team is in the Town of Camalu.
Camulu is special for us because of La Cueva del Pirata Hotel [Pirate's Cave Hotel]. We Camped free on the hotel grounds last year. This hotel is a typical ongoing construction project. When we were here in 2004, the alberca (swimming pool) had a predicted completion of summer, 2005. The alberca is not complete, but a grand concrete staircase is complete!

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Alberca construction and the gorgeous stairs at La Cueva del Pirata Hotel.



1PM - Camalu is a popular surfing place.
We met two groups of surfers here at La Cueva del Pirata. Both told us that this is a very good surf spot. "The rollers break really good off the point", one surfer told us.

From MsTioga's window we are able to see the surfers riding the waves.

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Gorgeous view and surfing too.



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Surfers walk out to the point below the Pirata hotel. [Thumbnail]





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Thursday, November 24, 2005

5AM - Ejido Ajusco Camp report.
We were undisturbed at this Camp thruout the nite. We arrived at Ejido Ajusco at noon yesterday.   We will leave this morning.  There have been no problems camping here absolutely free! We did ask permission to make our Camp. Our feeling is that asking permission is the proper thing to do here in Mexico.

The word "ejido" is interesting. There are many towns that we pass that are also preceded with this word "Ejido." There is no ejido in our Spanish-English dictionary. I met a fellow here in Ejido Ajusco who told me that this word means farm.

The outside temperature right now is 43° F. Inside MsTioga it is a comfortable 70° F.  Mr. Wave6, our catalytic heater, was left on low all nite and continues to comfort us right now!

7:30AM - Breakfast Camped north of the Town of San Vicente.
We came to the crest of an 850 foot hill overlooking the Town of San Vicente, perhaps 10 miles south. The view is incredible, with several rows of blue and grey mountains behind the town.  Mr. Mavica says that this gorgeous scene is too subtle for him to get a decent pic.

9:30AM - Cleaning MsTioga.
While still up on the hill north of the Town of San Vicente, we decided to clean MsTioga. MsTioga is too much work to entirely clean. We clean her in sections, and today we are doing her front including the cabover, hood, grill and both doors.

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George showing some of our outside cleaning tools.



12 Noon - We are in the Town of San Vicente.
This is a good day to arrive in San Vicente. There is a mercado [market] in the park every Thursday and Sunday. All sorts of stuff are sold from the stalls along the main street [Hwy #1] and the street around the corner. We need some produce, and there was a very nicely arranged produce stall.

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We bought bananas, apples, pears, cilantro and a red onion.



What to bring to Mexico?
Sometimes readers email wanting to know what to bring when RVing into Mexico. All you need is money! It would be a real adventure to RV into Mexico with nothing but the clothes that you are wearing. You would have to shop for everything from underwear to eggs. What a trip that would be!

I never stock up with supplies in preparation for Mexico. If there are things that I do not find, I substitute. For example, I like a certain kind of sausage for breakfast, and when I cannot find this sausage in a Mexican grocery, I substitute ham.

2PM - Playing in the park.
I went to the park with Mr. Mavica and Mr. Trek. Some boys were playing flys-up, the baseball game. They were missing a player so I volunteered to be the catcher. Afterwards, the boys showed me a game they called "tasos." When you buy corn chips, you get a round painted coin-like thing called a taso. The kids match for the tasos. When I was a boy, we used to do the same thing with milk bottle caps.

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Playing tasos in the park.



5PM - Moved to south San Vicente.
We may want to stay up late celebrating Thanksgiving Day, and that might mean running Mr. Onan. We moved to a part of town with a park on one side of the street and a vacant lot on the other. We do not want to disturb anybody with Mr. Onan who is not one of those quiet generators.

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day.
We on the TiogaRV Team have a lot to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. We are thankful that Mr. Datastorm is well and happy. And that MsTioga is running fine and dandy. Little Twee is growing more green leaves. We are thankful that old George feels great. We are thankful for all of the challenges that we have had during the past few months, because these challenges have made ever stronger our faith in our future. And our future seems as bright as we had ever dreamed it to be. We are thankful for you who share our story, because without you there would be no story.



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