Friday, December 31, 2010

2010

2010

P.S. 2010 really Sucked!
The final page of my son Dave's suicide note contained only these words:
"P.S. 2010 really Sucked!"

Is this an explanation?  Excuse? Rationalization? Who knows?  For me, 2010 was the year my son Dave took his own life.  I will never forget this year.  In time, maybe 2010 will grow dimmer in my mind.

I believe that it took a lot of courage to do what Dave did.  He truly believed that the end he chose for himself was for the best.  I would not have chosen that end for myself.  But I am not Dave.

I believe that each of us must find our own way. Did Dave find his way?  Or did Dave escape having to find his way?  There are some fine people who believe that we must repeat our lives here on Earth until we get it right.  I do not know if this is true.  But in my mind, this is a beautiful thought.  And I hope that it is true.  That we must repeat our life, over and over, until we get it right.  This would mean to me, that Dave will have another chance to get his life right.  This thought gives me comfort.

The highest priority in my life is:  "To know myself completely".  This priority I define as: "Knowing why I do, every thing that I do".  After completing my 73rd year of life, I am still working at knowing myself completely.  I have a feeling however, that I am getting pretty close to that knowing!

I wish you a Happy New Year.  I am hoping that you and your family find 2011 to be your best year yet!

New Year Party!
We will be celebrating the coming of the 2011 New Year at Weng & Francisco's Hill Top Home!  I am bringing two Pollo Asado [BBQ chickens] and a bunch of juice.

At the party, are two friends of mine; Weng and her best friend, Juanita.  It may be hard to believe that these two ladies who are young enough to be my daughters, are my friends.  However, it is true!
My friends - Juanita and Weng

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tilting solar panels

Tilting solar panels
Are you wanting to be a vagabonding RVer as is MsTioga and The Team?  Wandering and exploring.  Free as birds.  Especially, free of the RV campground?  Hmmmmm?

You might want to consider installing a big solar electric system!  We installed our solar electric system during the spring time of 2003.  We have six Shell Solar 75 watt solar panels.  And these panels tilt.  During the winter time when the Sun is low in the sky, our electric power generation is maximized with panels that tilt toward the Sun [link].

We did not always have tilting solar panels.  However, our good RVing friend John Porter from California had tilting solar panels and encouraged us to try tilting.  When we did tilt, the power increase was more than 10 amps!  In early 2007 during MsTioga's now famous "Fiberglass and Paint Job" [link], we installed our present tilting system.
Mr. Sunny's tilting solar panels!

12 Noon - Beach Road camp
We moved to a Day Camp along the Beach Road to La Playa Matanchen. As you may see in the pic below, Mr. Sunny's solar panels are facing in a southerly direction and are perpendicular to the Sun's path across the sky. We are only an easy 23 amp hours from a full charge!

Earlier, we washed MsTioga a little bit and then drove to the Pemex gas station and asked permission to fill our fresh water tank. This permission is nearly always given. When we passed Playa Amor RV Park on the way to Pemex, we noticed that 'Fish the RV' had left. This may mean that Francisco drove Fish up to Hill Top Home!
Panels perpendicular to Sun's path

1PM - Hilltop home
Little Mavicita and I walked up to Weng and Francisco's hilltop home. Have you come with me to hilltop home before? What a treat it is to be there. Sooooo much going on. Weng was preparing a big bowl of tuna salad for her family and guests when we arrived. We ate the tuna salad piled on to a new brand of delicious tostadas. Yummmmm!

Francisco was getting his water system to pump up to the tanks above his home.  The tanks would not fill.  Somewhere there was a leak!  It turned out, that the washing machine was on.  When turned off, the water flowed great!

Have you noticed that most kids hate to have their pics taken?  Weng's two sons, 14 year old Francis and 10 year old Tommy are no different.  But they listened to their Mom and I took the pics below.
Francis, Weng, Tommy

View looking south from Weng & Francisco's deck

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Las Varas

4AM - Nite Camped in the Town of Las Varas
We headed north last nite from the La Peñita RV Park, heading toward Las Varas.  MsTioga's propane tank was soooooo empty!  We wanted to get to the Global Gas propane station in Las Varas, before the station closed!  When we pulled into Global Gas, it was just past 6pm.  The sun had already set.  It was very dark while driving on the highway.

The guy at this propane station came out telling me that they were closed.  I pleaded with him to fill the tank, telling him that the tank was completely empty [which by that time it was!].  Finally after many "please, please, please help me", the guy filled the propane tank.  He got a very nice tip!

This morning Mr. Dometic's temperature is at 42°F, which makes all of us on the TiogaRV Team very happy!

Only 30 miles to Aticama!
We just checked Mr. DeLorme, our noble computer GPS map to see how far we are from our winter pueblo home of Aticama.  Only 30 miles!  As soon as the dawn breaks, we will head out of Las Varas bound for Aticama!

Everybody on The Team is soooooo anxious to be with Weng and Francisco and to visit in their wonderful home on the hill!

10AM - Day Camped in Aticama!
MsTioga has made a Day Camp along the beach road between Aticama and Playa Matanchen.  Up above, and directly ahead, is the hilltop home of Weng and Francisco.

It is a bright sunshiny day.  The sky is blue, and as you may see in the pic below, it is "T-shirt and short pants" weather!  If you look just above MsTioga's ladder, you may see Weng and Francisco's hilltop home!
Jorge & MsTioga in Aticama

2PM - Jorge, Weng in Fish
Little Mavicita thought that you would like to see a pic of Jorge and Weng in the back of Fish the RV. So, here is that pic!
Jorge & Weng in Fish

4PM - Camped by Little River
MsTioga has moved to her Nite Camp next to Aticama's Little River.  We on the TiogaRV Team love it here, because we are haunted by waters.
MsTioga's Nite Camp at Little River


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tioga and George together

7PM - Tioga and George together again!
MsTioga and George are finally together again!  Wow!  Except for that short time a few weelks back when we drove from León to Puerto Vallarta airport, MsTioga and George have been apart for three months!

As you may recall, MsTioga stayed in the La Peñita RV Park in the Pueblo of La Peñita while we were in California tending to son Dave's affairs.  But now we are together again!  MsTioga's engine starting battery cable was disconnected when we left in order to keep from discharging.  After cable re-connection, MsTioga's mighty engine started right up!  We paid La Peñita RV Park $100US for one month's storage, and then headed toward the Pueblo of Las Varas where there is a Global Gas propane station.  We got to Global Gas just in time because the station was closing.  Lucky us because the propane tank was almost empty!

Pics...
There are pics inside MsTioga. Pics of my sons.  I used to think of those pics differently than I find myself doing now.  I used to think of those pics as happy memories.  Now, my thoughts are a bit dark.  A bit sad.

I am not the same person that I was before I learned that Dave killed himself.  My innocence of my future is forever changed.  I now know that in the blink of an eye, things can change.  And if that change catches  me unprepared, a storm that cannot be weathered could do me in.   So, how should I prepare for events such as suicide?

Practice is the answer!  I must practice believing that I can overcome any challenge.  I must practice seeing the beauty in each day, no matter what that day brings.  I must practice knowing that every second of my life is precious, and not to let dark thoughts ruin that precious second.

And above all, I must practice taking every opportunity to be sensitive to those I love.  To reach out to them,. asking how they are, how they feel. To never let time slip by when I fail to let them know that I love them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Last day at Daves

6AM - Last full day at Dave's home!
This is my last full day at my son Dave's home.  Tomorrow morning at 9:28am, United Airlines 877 takes off from San Francisco Airport bound for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  And happy am I to see this day arrive in my life!

It was three months ago on September 28th, that I wrote to you that I was flying from Mexico to California because of a family emergency [link].  I believed as I flew back to California, that my son Dave needed me to be with him for support and that I would be returning to Mexico in less than one week.   It never occurred to me then, that Dave was no longer alive!

Three months!  Wow!  My life has been filled with challenges.  And my son Dave's suicide is one of my greatest challenges.  If my life experience has taught me anything, it has taught me that everything that happens works itself out.  Even the suicide of Dave, my son who I love so much.

Note: My immediate family is very much a part of my life. However, they have asked me not to write about them in my very public blog.

Stuff to do
I've been pretty organized dealing with things here, and on this last full day there is not too much left to do.  I have to capture PusselFish [Dave's name for the Plecostomus-a sucker fish] the last remaining occupant of the aquarium.  My friend Pete Olson advised me to empty the aquarium's water in order to capture the elusive PusselFish.  Then PusselFish will be taken to a local fish store and await a fish lover to come his way.

Several weeks ago I began renting a four foot square storage space to keep things from Dave's home.  My plan is to pick up this storage space stuff when I return to California with MsTioga next April.  Today, the few remaining things will be taken to this storage space.

Finally, I will be packing up my stuff and arranging for a taxi from Dave's home to the Concord BART station at 5:45am.  Tomorrow, I want to be at San Francisco airport two hours before take-off.  So, I will be boarding the 6:12am BART train which arrives at SF airport at 7:28am.

Pete and Fredericka
Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from my dear friend, Pete Olson.  Pete invited me to dinner at the "Little Shin Shin" Chinese restaurant in the City of Oakland.  Pete recently married Fredericka, the love of his life.  I was to meet the lovely Fredericka for the first time at this dinner.

What a great time the three of us had together.  We remained there enjoying each other for almost three hours until the restaurant was closing!  I am soooooo happy for Pete and Fredericka, both of whom are wonderful people

Wow!  Fredericka has a fantastic smile!
Fredericka, George & Pete
Little Shin Shin-Oakland, Calif

1PM - PusselFish
Dave had a system for maintaining his aquarium.  I knew about that system because Dave made a blog post about it [link].  In that blog post, Dave shows a pic of his siphon system.  I used that siphon to drain the aquarium.  When the aquarium's water was less than 1" deep, ferocious PusselFish could barely move and was easy for me to capture with a long-handled net.

PusselFish sprang to life when I placed him in a large plastic bag filled with his old aquarium water.  We drove him to a nearby tropical fish store and that's where PusselFish is now.
George emptying Dave's aquarium

Next blog post from Mexico!
Tomorrow afternoon when Little Mavicita, Jorge, Mr. HP and Mac the Computer are back with MsTioga in Mexico, we will make our next blog post telling you all about our trip!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wrong Daves Place

Wrong Dave's Place
Yesterday evening I put up on my computer screen the pic of Dave's Place, the one that Little Mavicita captured on October 15th [link]. Then I put the pic of Dave's Place captured a few days ago [link].  When I compared these two pics, I was very surprised to find that they were different.  The two pics were similar, but definitely NOT the same place!  Wow!

Little Mavicita took a bunch of pics at what we believed to be Dave's Place on December 23rd.  One of those pics was of the tree that Dave sat leaning against on that fateful day.  When comparing the December 23rd tree pic with the tree pic taken on October 15th, it was clear that the two trees were not the same!

I had gone to make a GPS monument of Dave's place and had gone to the wrong Dave's Place.  Wow!  I bet that Dave is laughing his butt off at me.  The re-creation of the GPS monument to Dave's place is going to have to wait until I return once again to Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  Perhaps next spring time when MsTioga and I are together again in California.

Phone call from Weng!
Late yesterday afternoon, a cell call came in from Weng. Apparently Weng and Francisco have cell phone service inside Mexico!

Weng was sooooooo excited to let me know that the family had crossed the International Border and is now close to the City of Navajoa in the State of Sinaloa, Mexico! Man-O-Man! Weng told me that the sun is out, the sky is blue, and the weather is warm! Wow! I am soooooo happy for Weng, her family and the RV named Fish!

Here is a Google Map showing the location of the City of Navajoa, Mexico.

12 Noon - Weng passing Mazatlan!
I've just received another cell call from Weng.  Fish the RV is doing fine, and is right now passing thru Mazatlan!  Weng believes that the family will reach the wonderful Pueblo of Aticama and their home this evening!

Isn't this the greatest news?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yosemite pics

Merry Christmas

Yosemite pics
Below are a few of the unpublished Yosemite pano pics that Litle Mavicita captured yesterday during our journey home!

Yosemite Park is a very special place. And in the wintertime, Yosemite Park is even more special. It is very quiet in Yosemite Park during the wintertime. The great beauty found here, free from the summer tourists.....

Half Dome from valley meadow

Upper & Lower Yosemite falls
View from bridge across Merced River

Half Dome from road to Curry Village

Half Dome from road to Yosemite Village


Friday, December 24, 2010

Introspection

Why all this introspection?
You may be wondering why I am doing all of this introspection?  I've returned to the place where Dave killed himself twice now.  I am presently in Yosemite mainly because Dave himself went to Yosemite last year on December 21 and 22.

For me this is a quest to get closer to the Dave of a year ago.  The Dave who was seemingly so happy in Yosemite.  When I read Dave's blog of his year ago trip to Yosemite, there is not one sign of the suicide that would come only nine months later [link].
Dave at Ahwahnee-21 December 2009

George at Ahwahnee-23 December 2010

6PM - Back at Dave's home
We have arrived back at Dave's home in the City of Concord, California. Before we departed Yosemite National Park, Little Mavicita captured almost 100 pics, most of them pano pics which we "Autostitch" together into images much, much larger than Little Mavicita could capture on her own!

Of the nine pano pics that we made, two of pics are below for you to see.
Half Dome above the Merced River
December, 2010

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
View from road to Yosemite Village

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yosemite

Yosemite National Park!
We are heading to the magnificent, Yosemite National Park, one of the great wonders of our World.  We've made a WiFi stop in the City of Stockton, California, to let you know what is going on.

On the way to Yosemite Park, we will make a stop up in the Sierra Nevada range, at Calaveras Big Trees State Park.  We are going to Big Trees to create a GPS monument of the place where my son Dave lived his last moment.  The idea of a GPS monument is something that I have thought about for quite awhile.  A place marked for all time, on the new world of the internet.  I believe that Dave would believe this to be a marvelous idea too.

1PM - A walk to Dave's place
Calaveras Big Trees State Park is well above the snow line from the recent storms.  The road that goes from the park's entrance to Dave's place was closed to traffic because of this snow.  However, we are allowed to walk that road.  So, off we went walking to Dave's place!

It took a bit over half an hour to do this walk.  Even though the entrance to the abandoned road to Dave's place is covered with snow [see pic below], we recognized the location immediately.  As we walked up this snow covered abandoned road, we found two trees had been uprooted by the storm and were lying across our path.  But we went around these two trees easily.
Beginning of our walk at park entrance

Side road to Dave's place
Abandoned road is down a bit, on the left

Pano view from Dave's place
This view is what Dave saw during his last moments September 20, 2010

GPS Monument for Dave's place
Click [here] to see the Google Earth location of Dave's place.  Google Earth will fly you to the exact place where Dave lived his last moments here on Earth.  A permanent GPS Monument for my son Dave.

Important Note: I learned on December 25th, that the location of the GPS Monument written about above, is NOT the actual place where my son Dave died.  I am planning next spring time on returning to Calaveras Big Trees State Park and properly locate Dave's Place.