Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Antennas

Antennas for MsTioga roof
High priority while here in California is to buy two antennas for MsTioga's roof.
  • One antenna is for our XM/Sirius Satellite Radio
  • The other antenna is for boosting WiFi access range. It is called CaptiFi.
The antenna for XM/Sirius has been purchased and is right here beside me now. It is a Terk XM4 [link]. I'm still working at buying roof mounting hardware for the Terk.

An online order was placed for RadioLabs CaptiFi WiFi antenna a couple weeks ago. When that antenna did not arrive at Dave's home, I followed up on the order only to find it out-of-stock. The CaptiFi antenna has been promised for shipment today! [link]

2PM - Joy of shopping
After leaving Son David at the BART station this morning, it was time to go for my tax guy appointment. The tax guy took only about 20 minutes to let me know that my 2009 fed tax will be about $170.

Then, it was time to go shopping! West Marine has a store in the city of nearby Pleasant Hill. There I found the 1"-14 marine antenna mount that will be used to attach the CaptiFi WiFi antenna to MsTioga's roof. Also bought are two Cable Clams. The cables for our newly bought antennas will run thru these Cable Clams and be sealed, preventing rain from entering MsTioga.

We bought some presents! A really neat sleeve for Son Joe's iPhone. Also for Joe, a cool "side cutting" can opener.

I'm at David's home now. Time for a nice nap!

NOTE:  Below is a pic of my two sons, Joseph and David and myself on March 31, 2010.  This is the last pic that I would take of David.
Joe, George and David
March 31, 2010



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Losing readers

Jerusalem will cost you readers!
Yesterday at lunch, my friend Mr. Dick cautioned that going to Jerusalem will cost me. You'll lose readers, Dick warned, and possibly the income on which you depend.

Mr. Dick is correct, if my last experience in Jerusalem is an indicator. Take a peek at the graph below showing visitors from May 2008 to May 2009. I arrived in Jerusalem in early May 2008. By the following June, readers flew away like crazy! Lost 30,000 readers in two months! Wow!

Still, I am going to Jerusalem. I have faith that things will work out fine!
Visitors plummet during trip to Jerusalem


9AM - Big-C
Every weekday morning while here in Concord, California, I've been going to Big-C Athletic Club to exercise. However, I don't just exercise here! Doing computer stuff is on my agenda too. In Big-C's restaurant, there is WiFi access. Also, just before leaving Big-C, I shower in their sumptuous locker room.

My exercise routine consists of warming up for about 30 minutes using one of their bicycle machines. I like the heartbeat/minute program and select 100 beats per minute. Then to the weight room where I do a variety of exercises using dumb bell weights and machines.

Doing chores in California
Returning to California from Mexico every six months is an ideal routine for me. I get to read all my mail accumulated at son Dave's home since my last visit. During this visit I've got an appointment tomorrow, March 31, with my tax guy to prepare my 2009 tax return.

All of my income and expenses are recorded using Quicken 2001. The only thing that I have to do is print out a couple of reports, deliver my 1099s, and my tax guy does the rest. I don't feel comfortable doing my own tax stuff.



Monday, March 29, 2010

Friend

A good friend!
One of the main reasons that I shall travel to Jerusalem in a few months, is because of a good friend who lives there. His name is Shimon Zevi. To find a good friend and spend time with him is a gift from God. I will not waste this gift.

I met Shimon during my 2008 trip to Israel. It was clear that we had things in common from the start. We both enjoy each others company. Even electronic company! During the past two years, we get together thru email. And also by blogging. We read each others blog!

Shimon publishes a blog that he calls, "The Human Picture-thoughts about what matters to this old man" [link].

12 Noon - Lunch with Mr. Dick
Last week a date was made with my friend Mr. Dick to meet today for lunch at the Lok Tao restaurant. Lok Tao is my favorite Chinese restaurant in Contra Costa County. It is a buffet style place. And their food is soooo good!

I've not dined at Lok Tao since March, 2009. That time was also with my friend Mr. Dick.




Sunday, March 28, 2010

Europe

Europe still on radar screen!
Since the thought of MsTioga going to Europe first popped into the TiogaRV Team's collective brains, we have been hot and cold to this trip. Now our thinking is, that next year would be a good time for a trip to Europe. We would feel more comfortable with a bit more money in reserves. And going on this journey in 2011 would give time to save this money.

However, as you may have read a few weeks ago in our 2010 Trip Plan, we are going on another trip to Jerusalem in May, 2010. This trip will be for two months.

9AM - David and kids off to play tennis
David has a tennis match today at his Valley Vista Tennis Club in Walnut Creek, California. The kids, Pedro, Hector and Kyle went with him. After tennis, they plan to swim in the Club's swimming pool. David and the kids will not return home before 4pm.

I chose to stay home and enjoy the tranquility of David's home. Right now on the TV is movie titled, "Moses". It is the story of what happened around the time that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

What better time to watch this movie, than right before Passover?



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Party

We are having a party!
There is going to be a party! My family is getting together late this afternoon at son David's home. Evie [former wife] and I are doing the food preparation. I'm BBQing ribs. Evie is making Matzo balls! People coming to the party are: Sons David and Joe, Evie, foster kids Pedro, Hector, Kyle and myself!

Staying home
From 9am to 6pm, the kids compete in the boys baseball league. Son David signed-up to be the scorekeeper. I am staying home. Although I could have gone with them to the ballgame and then used David's car during the day, I chose to say home. Because I love it here!

One of the things that I am planning today is to take a long, hot bath. A rare and special treat for me is to soak in a hot bath.

Another thing that I am doing today is work on my annual journey maps. Early this morning I completed the 2007 map. Doing these maps is really fun for me. I get to relive the adventures that I've had! And surprising as it may be to share with you, I really do not recall [before these maps], where I had gone in past years.

5PM - BBQ ribs & chicken
In the pic below you see the ribs & chicken just about the time that they are done!
Ribs & chicken




Friday, March 26, 2010

Camping World

Camping World
This morning after working out at Big-C Athletic Club, we are going to take a run up to the Camping World store in Vacaville, California. On the shopping list for Camping World is a backup fresh water pump. Also, we need more outside baggage door latches for MsTioga. The plastic latches that match MsTioga's paint rust out often and need replacement.

After finding these two things, we love to browse around an RV parts store!

Archives of Maps by the year
Have you checked out our Archives lately? We have been working on our "Maps by the year" archive. Right now we're on the map for "Tioga-George 2007 Journey".

When you look at these maps, you'll be able to see where we went for that year! There are 12 markers on each map. One for the first day of each month. Clicking on a marker brings up a flag containing a link which takes you to our blog page for the first day of that month. Once on that first-day-of-the-month page, you may go thru that month by clicking on our "Tomorrow" link.

Pretty neat, huh?

PS: You may find the link to our Archives page at the top or bottom of every Tioga-George blog page.

9AM - At Big C!
Little Mavicita, Mr. HP and Jorge are at the Big C Athletic Club. The Club has a WiFi access point and nice tables for Mr. HP in their restaurant. After working out for awhile in the gym, we used the WiFi to go online.

If we lived fulltime here in Concord. we would come to Big C everyday!
Jorge and Mr. HP at Big-C


11:30AM - Camping World closed!
We arrived at Camping World in Cordelia to find the store closed! A passerby told that the store moved to Vacaville, about 15 miles east.

This closed Camping World was the site of MsTioga's very first dump. We went to this Camping World in early April, 2003 to buy supplies and to use the dump station. After buying hose to attach to our dump tanks, we proceeded to use the dump station.

Neither George or Tioga knew anything about dumping. We both were complete novices in the RV World! When we hooked up the newly bought hose and opened the black water tank, the hose let-go of its elbow. The effluent gushed out of the now free hose. The brown yuck spreading at a rapid speed across the parking lot. A customer in front of his RV scurried to get out of harm's way!

George worked for about a 1/2 hour using the dump station water hose, to clean up the mess.
Location of 2003 dump station disaster


Cookie Report
I ate four cookies today! I couldn't resist the first one. David, the two kids and I went to the Safeway store to shop. In the bakery the store always has chocolate chip cookies for samples. Lord! I ate one. Later in the day I ate three more chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

California Cold

California is cold!
California is a whole lot colder than where MsTioga and I live in Mexico. Yesterday on landing at Oakland Airport, the first thing done was to change from short pants and T-shirt to long pants [Levis] and flannel long sleeved shirt. Right now it is 6am. I'm in Son Dave's kitchen typing this post to you. I have a woolen cap on my head.

How long does it take to get used to this climate?

Living in Dave' Home
As you may know if you ever read my son Dave's blog, there are two foster kids living here. 11 year old Hector and his brother, 6-year old Kyle. Dave parents these kids himself. No wife to help. That's not easy.

This morning at around 5am, Kyle began to cough. Soon Dave was up giving some stuff that would slow the nasal drip bothering Kyle. I heard the sound of their voices and got up too.

Right now it is 6:30am, and it is quiet in Dave's Home. The meds helped Kyle sleep. But soon all will be up to begin their day. And I will be with them.

After breakfast, Dave drives the kids to their school. Then he commutes to work on BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit]. I get to use Dave's car during the day.

Joined a gym!
I've taken the opportunity while visiting here in California, to join a gym. I feel the need to exercise. Hmmmm? The gym is "Big C Athletic Club". My plan is to exercise with light weights, high reps. Also, tread mill.

Cost me $75 bucks for one month.
Jorge at Big-C




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Morning flight

Morning flight
At 6am this morning we taxi from Hotel Flamingo Vallarta to the airport which is only a few minutes away. At 7am we takeoff for Phoenix, Arizona only 2 hours 36 minutes, 974 miles away. There is no plane change, but there is a 1 hour 14 minute layover. At 9:50am the same plane takes off again and in 2 hours 3 minutes, 646 miles, we land at Oakland, California.

In only 6 hours 53 minutes we will have traveled 1,622 miles from Flamingo Vallarta Hotel to Oakland, California for only $430US plus cab fare [round trip cost]. MsTioga would take weeks to do the same trip and cost sooooo much more! Wow!

The speed, time and low cost of flying blow me away every time!
.

Following MsTioga with Google Earth
Reader Nick wrote that he follows MsTioga using Google Earth. We tried doing what Nick wrote about this morning and it is really neat!

Just click on the Google Earth link below. When Google Earth comes up and zooms in to our location, leave Google Earth up [don't close the window]. Using the Yesterday/Tomorrow buttons in our blog, go to another of MsTioga's Camps. Then click on the Google Earth Map link again. When you go look at Google Earth, you will find yourself flying from one location to the other.

Really cool, and fun!

Flying is so cheap!
MsTioga gets about 7.5 miles per gallon. At $3.00/gallon for gasoline, the cost to drive MsTioga is 40 cents per mile. However, the cost per mile to fly is only 13.3 cents per mile. Wow! What a huge difference.

8:36AM - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
We are booked on the same flight all the way to Oakland, California. However, this flight has one stop in Phoenix, Arizona. The layover time for this stop is 1 hour 14 minutes. It is required to de-plane and go thru US Border Protection & Immigration.

Even though we are continuing on the same flight, we must go re-enter US Border Protection the same as a new passenger. This took a long time today. 1 hour 5 minutes to go thru Border Protection exit and re-enter. We got back to the boarding gate after passengers had already began to board the plane!

1:30PM - At Son David's home!
After landing at Oakland Aiport at 11:55am, we took the AirBart shuttle bus to the naerby BART station. Because of the AirBart shuttle bus, this a very convenient way to commute.

On arriving at the BART station in the City of Concord where Son David lives, we took a taxi to David's home.

Everything went sooooo smooth on this airplane trip!



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flight plan

Flight plan
This morning we will finish packing our flight bags. All the food inside Mr. Dometic will be given away. Mr. Dometic will be turned off, his door left ajar. MsTioga will be given a wash. Around noon MsTioga will move to her parking place here in La Peñita RV Resort. There she will remain for one whole month, waiting patiently for us to return from California.

The RV campground office will then call us a cab. The three travelers, Mr. HP, Little Mavicita and Jorge will ride in the cab to the Flamingo Vallarta Hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

At 6am tomorrow, we will take a cab to the airport for our 7am flight. It seems like a miracle that at 11:53am, only a few hours later, the three of us will step off the airplane in Oakland, California! Wow!

Taking a jacket!
I've not worn a jacket here in Mexico for a long time. For me in Mexico, it is almost always T-shirt and short pants weather. However, I am taking a jacket for my stay in Concord, California where often it is cold at nite.

Click for Concord, California Forecast
Concord, California


2PM - Flamingo Vallarta Hotel
The taxi ride from the La Peñita RV Resort to Flamingo Vallarta Hotel took about an hour. But the time went fast because the taxi guy and I love to chat!

The hotel is an older place. The entrance is not easy to find. It looks as though the Flamingo Vallarta Hotel has seen better times. Perhaps this hotel did not keep up with the huge new hotels here in Puerto Vallarta ie; Hyatt, Holiday Inn.

There are a lot of big fancy boats docked in the Marina near the hotel. Where are all those rich people coming from who dock here?
View of swimming pool from our room


11PM - Cookie report
Still no cookies! 4th day no cookies. No snacks. Just thinking about cookie crunch has been enough so far! How long can this keep going on?



Monday, March 22, 2010

Booked hotel

Booked a hotel room
I really like Cheap Tickets! The Cheap Tickets website is the only one that really does an excellent job for me. They have their act together. Everything works. I've tried other booking websites and they did not measure up.

I just booked a hotel room in Puerto Vallarta using Cheap Tickets. I'll be staying at the Flamingo Vallarta Hotel on Tuesday, March 23rd, the day before my flight to California. That flight takes off at 7am on Wednesday. I want to arrive at the airport at 6am. The Flamingo Hotel is only a few blocks from the airport.


10AM - Watering Mr. Sunny's battery bank
Because of the California trip and being gone for a month, Mr. Sunny asked that his battery bank be watered. Normal maintenance is once each month. The batteries were maintained only a couple weeks ago. After taking off the desk panel covering the batteries, we were shocked to see that some batteries had moved and were now sitting on the edge of their battery trays! I must have driven MsTioga too fast over a speed bump.

Remember when these batteries were blocked in so that they would not move? Well, they do not move front to back anymore. But up and down they still move.

The maintenance schedule has been changed for the battery bank from once a month to once every 15 days!

11AM - Living out of a suitcase!
You may recall our decision to live out of a suitcase before the upcoming airplane trip. We are doing this to make sure that nothing needed is left behind. Actually, there are three pieces of baggage.
  1. Rolling flight bag
  2. Computer bag
  3. Belly pack
A list of stuff loaded into the bags proved inadequate. Which bag was it in? I certainly didn't remember. So, the list was changed to what was in each bag. Sort of an index. I love this index-list. Nothing gets lost!


4PM - MsTioga and George in an RV park!
The pic below is something that I bet you have not seen much. Tioga and George in an RV park! Man-O-Man! Will wonders ever cease?

La Peñita RV Resort is a lovely place (as RV campgrounds go). The campground is set in a forest of trees next to the coast. Very nice!
Tioga & Jorge at La Peñita


Pano view of La Peñita RV Resort
Do you see MsTioga on the far right?


7PM - Cookie report
I am happy to report to you that since posting a couple of days ago about my cookie crunch addiction, I've not eaten one cookie!

You may recall in that post I wrote that the doctor being interviewed explained about overeating. The doctor said, "If we could voluntarily remember that pleasure of eating, we could experience that pleasure without eating the cookie". Maybe this works!