Sunday, January 31, 2010

Months

Months!
On the last day of each month, we on the TiogaRV Team prepare a new month log. It's a simple form showing the date and ending mileage for that day. We like to know how many miles we traveled during a day. We now have a small pile of these month papers, going back to day one for The Team.

Our first day was February 25, 2003. MsTioga's odometer read 53,746 miles. We pulled out of Manteca Trailer & Camper heading toward our homebase in Concord, California. By day's end the odometer read 53,804. Our first trip was 58 miles long.

These monthly logs seem to be coming and going faster now. As the February, 2010 log was being prepared this morning, MsTioga and I were thinking about the pile of logs that represents our time together. All of the todays that have gone before! It is a tricky thing putting perspective on this stuff. Living in today, in the moment. Yet remembering the beginning. Knowing that there will be a last log someday.

Yes, someday. But not today!
MsTioga's Monthly logs


MsTioga's odometer today reads: 126,798 miles




Saturday, January 30, 2010

Herman Ruth and Weng

Herman, Ruth and Weng
This morning Herman, Ruth and Weng are driving in MsTioga to the Town of San Blas. Ruth and Weng are going shopping for tomorrow's birthday party. Herman and I will remain in MsTioga. Herman wants to study about HTML, the code behind web pages. I offered to help Herman learn about this stuff.

Herman and Ruth are very supportive friends and Portland, Oregon neighbors of Weng and Francisco. This is the second year that Herman and his wife Ruth have come to Aticama to stay at Hill Top Home.

Weng and Francisco could not have better friends than Herman and Ruth!

Herman responds to Aquagirly
As you may know, Herman and Ruth are married. Herman is a retired medical doctor. Ruth is an educator with 32 years experience.

When Herman read the ShoutBox post of Aquagirly, he wished to respond. Below is Aquagirly's post and Herman's response.

Aquagirly: "To be honest with y'all. I quit clicking on Weng's blog because I think what they are doing is wrong. Her kids need to be in school, not traveling around being vagabonds. Are they being properly home schooled? I refuse to participate in supporting uneducated kids."

Herman: Aquagirly, I appreciate your expressing your concern about the children's education, because I realize that other friends might have similar concerns. Indeed, apart from the fact that Weng's family is in Mexico for these weeks for reasons other than vacation, the children's formal schooling is uninterrupted.

Before the family left for Mexico in December, Ruth met with Weng and school personnel at the children's school. A curriculum was laid out for the children's education while in Mexico.

Ruth has worked with Weng and the children throughout the 2009 school year doing reading and math activities. This reading and math education continues here in Mexico with daily sessions and Weng as the instructor.

How wonderful it would be if all parents and friends demonstrated loving and competent attention to children's education as do the grownups in the lives of these children!
Herman composing Aquagirly response.




Friday, January 29, 2010

Living in paradise

Living in paradise
MsTioga and The Team live in a paradise here in Aticama and the Beach of Matanchen. It is tranquil, peaceful and beautiful. We want to be like the fool on the hill sitting perfectly still watching the world spinning round.

There are people here in paradise. And with people come ripples, disturbances in the tranquility and peace. We want to ride these ripples and remain unchanged. We are changed however, and there is nothing to be done about that.

Weng and her family are at Hill Top Home for only a short while. Money is the problem. The lack of it. Husband and father Francisco was sick four months this past year, unable to work and earn as he usually does. Francisco and Weng love their Hill Top Home and the Pueblo of Aticama. So, with a giant effort they made the journey from Portland, Oregon to Aticama knowing that in only a few weeks after arrival, they must return to Portland. Not enough was earned to stay here longer.

Francisco and Weng's struggles affect me in a powerful way. I am drawn up to Hill Top Home to share life with the family. It is a wonderful time for me. Yet we all know that too soon will come the time to begin packing up. And this knowing brings the ripples in the peace and tranquility of this paradise.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mexcaltitan - home of the Aztecs

Mexcaltitán - home of the Aztecs!
This morning John, Mimi, Jorge and Little Mavicita are heading north to the mysterious island of Mexcaltitán - home of the Aztecs! Like a magnet, Mexcaltitán keeps drawing us back for visits!

Do you recall in March, 2009 when we flew with Flyboy Chip to find Mexcaltitán? On our first flight attempt, we were turned back by strong winds. A few days later, we made it! [link]

Note: We have published a MsTioga Magazine story about Mexcaltitán [link]

9AM - Repairing MsTioga's windshield
Awhile back MsTioga's windshield got hit by small stone. This stone hit began getting spider like tiny cracks. Our friend John took up a sideline and trained to do professional windshield repairing!

John's did a marvelous job filling the crack with an epoxy resin. The stone hit is almost invisible, and now there are no cracks to be seen!
John repairing windshield.


10PM - Day tripping
Our trip north went thru small agricultural towns. We stopped and bought banana bread, very popular around these parts. It took over almost two hours to travel the 40 miles to Mexcaltitán.

12 Noon - Mexcaltitán
It is very quiet on the Island of Mexcaltitán. Hardly any tourists there. Without tourists, most shops are closed. So is the museum!

We walked the quiet streets, and picked a restaurant for lunch. John and I had shrimp. Mimi ordered fried fish.
My garlic shrimp


5PM - Good bye!
Back at the beach of Matanchen, John & Mimi said good bye to MsTioga and The Team. Tomorrow morning they head out thru Tepic, bound for the giant City of Guadalajara!

You may follow their journey [here].



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

John and Mimi

John and Mimi!
My good friends John and Mimi have arrived in Aticama . MsTioga and I did not know that as we drove by the Playa Amor RV Campground in Aticama yesterday morning, John and Mimi were camped there! It was not until past 10pm last nite, that John and Mimi's email told that they were waiting for us! Wow!

So, this morning at 6am, MsTioga and I are heading down the mountain from Tepic. We should be back in Aticama by 8am to see our friends at Playa Amor.

PS: It is 12:30am now, and I am too excited about John & Mimi's arrival to sleep!

8AM - Playa Amor
The trip from Tepic to the RV park at Playa Amor takes MsTioga almost two hours. As you may know, the road thru the jungle is very twisty. Our speed is less than 25 miles per hour.

When we arrived at Playa Amor only Armani the cat seemed to be stirring in John & Mimi's RV. But soon we were invited inside where we chatted for about an hour.

9:30AM - Paraiso Escondido
We drove in MsTioga to Paraiso Escondido for breakfast. Everybody around here acknowledges that Paraiso Escondido is the best restaurant in the area. We all ordered the same thing! Juevos Rancheros!
Mimi, John and Jorge
Paraiso Escondido Restaurant


Note: Paraiso Escondido means Hidden Paradise-and it is!

11AM - Visiting Hill Top Home
After breakfast, we drove along the little coast road and parked below Weng and Francisco's Hill Top Home. MsTioga waited next to the cemetery, and the three of us walked up the hill.

We watched the road builders for awhile. Three men were busy tamping down stones that make up the pavement. Then we continued up to Hill Top Home.

Francisco and Herman had just finished baking bread rolls, so the kitchen smelled soooooo good! We then chatted together. Herman read a poem that he had written for Ruth's [wife] upcoming birthday. Herman is a remarkable poet and artist!
John, Weng & Mimi




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shipping stuff to Mexico

Shipping stuff to Mexico!
This morning MsTioga and The Team are heading to the City of Tepic. We need to obtain the address of our "Ship to" point in order to place the order for our new battery charge controller.

We plan to buy this stuff from Northern Arizona Wind & Sun. Our shipment to Mexico will be by UPS Worldwide Saver.

12 Noon - Placed the order!
We have placed our order for the Morningstar Tristar battery charge controller. Our shipment is being sent to a Mail Boxes Etc store located in the City of Puerto Vallarta. We have used this MBE store before.

This is soooooo exciting!


6PM - Nite Camped in Tepic.
This afternoon we did all of our Tepic shopping. Filled the propane tank. Knocked off the Tepic grocery shopping list. And, bought birthday gifts for Tommy and Kavena whose party is this coming Sunday.

Now we are Nite Camped in our favorite Tepic neighborhood.
Birthday gifts!





Monday, January 25, 2010

Morningstar Tristar

Morningstar Tristar!
After receiving tons of advice from Readers, and reading Handy Bob's pages numerous times, I have made some decisions about my solar electric system.
  • Buy a Morningstar Tristar PWM battery charge controller
  • Rewire from controller to battery bank using #2 AWG wire
  • Rewire from solar panels to controller with #6 AWG wire


8AM - Visiting Hill Top Home
MsTioga parked along the coast road below Weng & Francisco's Hill Top Home. We want to go up to Hill Top to meet Herman and Ruth who are staying there. Also, to find about the road paving.

I walked slowly up the hill to avoid the heart related problems that I wrote to you about a few days ago. The fellow doing the road paving was busy tamping down stones. He told me that the road is slanted 2" across its width so that rain runs off the downhill slope.

We stopped at Jerry and Carolyn's trailer to say hello. While drinking coffee, Jerry told that he and Carolyn are paying for the paving, which will extend just beyond the S-curve, the steepest place. The road will also be paved to Jerry & Carolyn's property, only about 50 feet away.
Rock paving the road


Bagels and bialys!
Herman loves to cook, and one of his favorite things is baking bagels and bialys! When Little Mavicita and I arrived at Hill Top, Herman was busy baking. Herman and Ruth also love to teach, and used baking as an opportunity to teach Weng & Francisco's son Tommy about fractions. Tommy did pretty good!
Herman & Ruth


Baking!


Francisco brings papayas!


Weng's blog!
Click on Weng's pic/link to read her latest blog post!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another party

Another party!
Weng is throwing another party this afternoon. This party is for her two children. Tommy who is turning 10 and Kavena who will be six. Weng wants the kids to have piñatas and the place to buy piñatas around here is San Blas.

MsTioga has offered to drive Weng to San Blas, which is about 10 miles north from Aticama. Weng needs a ride, because her Dodge van is not running well. The van seems to have developed a transmission problem!

Note: If you do not know about piñatas, we will describe them to you later today!

10AM - No show!
Weng and her house guest Ruth promised to be here for the trip to San Blas at 8am. They have not showed up. We wonder what happened?

Blustery morning.
Matanchen Bay is usually calm. This morning there are little white caps out in the bay. The wind is whistling around MsTioga's windows.

12 Noon - MsTioga's GPS System
We just updated our MsTioga Magazine story about our GPS system. This update includes info about our Garmin Nuvi 750 GPS [link].
Garmin Nuvi 750 GPS


1PM - Birthday party postponed!
Weng's oldest son Francis came by MsTioga to let us know that the birthday party is postponed one week. It seems that the road to Hill Top Home is being paved with large river stones. This work blocks the road. So, the party has been delayed one week!

5PM - Casa Mañana!
The restaurant at the Casa Mañana Hotel serves a shrimp burger that I am wild about. There is a WiFi access point inside the restaurant, and I am making this blog post there.

The restaurant is located right next to the bay. There is a bit of a breeze whipping up the waves against the sea wall. It is very beautiful.

Aticama neighbors Jim & Ginnie Chapman are eating here too, and I am going to join them!
View from my table.




Saturday, January 23, 2010

Copper Canyon Adventure

Copper Canyon Adventure!
On New Years Day 2008, I began a remarkable adventure to Copper Canyon in Mainland Mexico [link].

If you are now wintering in Arizona, you might like to consider journeying south into the fabulous country of Mexico and have yourself a Copper Canyon Adventure too! [link]

Readers' thoughts about solar power
A ton of email has been received with advice about our recent challenge with our solar electric system. This morning a Skype call came in from Reader Bob Parker. Bob Parker is an admirer of solar expert Handy Bob [a different Bob].

Bob Parker has upped the wiring size for his solar electric system, and has seen a 30% improvement in his charging performance. Bob also uses the Morningstar battery charge controller, and raves about this controller.

We are now on the lookout for new and larger cabling in order to perfect our solar electric performance. However, our solar electric system was terrific even before our quest for perfection. We never even came close to running out of battery power during our seven years of fulltiming.

We run the microwave with no problems, as you may see in the pic below!
Jorge eats microwave popcorn!


My heart!
I've received a lot of email and some ShoutBox messages about the recent post about My Heart. My blog is not an appropriate place to answer Readers questions about this post, in my opinion.

However, the Tioga-George forum is such a place. Because Readers may express themselves without the limitations of the ShoutBox.

I have begun a thread on Tioga-George forum titled "My heart". You may go directly to that thread by clicking [here].

Also, there is a Tioga-George Forum link just above the ShoutBox.

Little Mavicita captures.....
...MsTioga at sunset