Sunday, March 31, 2013

Queretaro

When we head out this morning, our destination will be the RV Park in the City of Queretaro. We need to see Felipe the Fixer who will renew my Mexican Immigration Card which expires April 17th. Felipe's office is very close to the immigration office in Queretaro. Felipe is very tight with the immigration people and can get things done with ease.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vagabonder Supreme

Back in 2003 when MsTioga and I first began RVing together, we called ourselves "Vagabonders Supreme." In those times, not too many RVers were doing the exciting things that we did. Like camping on the streets of towns. Or boondocking in the wilds of the forest.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Computer fixes itself!

Yesterday evening we had a dinner party at Mary-Pat's RV. Invited were Kevin and Ruth and myself. Mary-Pat is a great cook. It's kind of small in Mary-Pat's RV, but we all were comfortable.

During the evening Kevin and I were talking about computer problems. I proposed that computers should fix themselves. After all, it is a computer! Right? Kevin agreed.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blog changes

We have Dave and Weng's pictures back on our newly remodeled Blog. Also, our SiteMeter counter is better placed now.

Only registered readers may now make comments. Anonymous comments are no longer accepted. I feel that it's much better to have identified persons making comments. Don't you?

ShoutBox has been replaced by Blogger comments. ShoutBox had some limitations. One of those limitations was that posters could only use 300 characters, and if they had more to write, they had to make another ShoutBox post.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What happened yesterday?

I lost my Blogger template yesterday. I did not lose my blog or website. That template [an HTML file] was written by me about 10 years ago when Blogger was very different than now. Back then I wanted to have a three column blog, and Blogger did not offer such templates.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Old blogger template gone

Dear Readers:

This morning I attempted to change my Blogger template. The instructions from Blogger stated:
"Do not worry. We will save a copy of your old template."

However, Blogger did not save my old template. So, I was not able to restore my blog to the way it has looked for many years.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Toad



9AM - To toad or not to toad?
That is the question! There is no doubt in the collective mind of the TiogaRV Team, that most RVers who come to Mexico toad. RVers who come to Mexico mostly stay in RV campgrounds. These RVers use the campground for a base, and search for adventure with their toads. [Toad=tow vehicle, usually a car or pickup truck]


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Going on your first trip

RVer wannabees
Have you been an RVer wannabee for a long time? Afraid to give RVing a try? I was like that too. Starting from the mid-1990s I wanted to be an RVer. All that I did was subscribe to "MotorHome" magazine. When the magazine arrived, I read the stories and looked at the pictures. Never thought that I could really do it!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Gas station

9AM - The gas station
A gas station is under construction right next to Hacienda Contreras RV Park! Of course owners of the RV Park, Sal and Barbara Contreras, are very disturbed by this development. The construction messes with the peace of this tranquil place.

Friday, March 22, 2013

How did I get here

How did I come to be here at Hacienda Contreras RV Park? Friend Pete Olson suggested Hacienda Contreras RV Park after reading blog, "Travel with Kevin and Ruth". Pete learned about Kevin and Ruth from reading Bill and Carol's "The Golden Years" and "livingboondockmexico", maybe both!.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hacienda Contreras

11AM - Hacienda Contreras
In a short while MsTioga will head out from Chimulco RV Park and head towards Hacienda Contreras RV Park. We just want to take a look-see at Hacienda. Perhaps stay one day and then continue to Queretaro in order to meet with Felipe the Fixer to renew my Mexican Visitor Permit.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easy life

8AM - The easy life
I believe that I've made choices that make for the easiest life for myself. And for a US citizen living in Mexico, there are many choices to make too! First of all, I chose Mexico to live because this is a very friendly country and the weather here is fantastic. All year long you may find T-shirt and short pants weather somewhere in Mexico. But then there are the choices:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ameca

6AM - Ameca
As we climbed the mountain heading out of the Pueblo Mascota, New Mavicita captured this pic looking down at the town.
Looking back at Pueblo Mascota


We are heading for the Town of Ameca and have stopped for breakfast in the Pueblo of Atenguillo hoping to find decent Telcel service. Internet here in Antenguillo is amazingly slow, but I am going to attempt to put up some pics on our blog site.

We have been traveling in the Sierra Madre Del Sur range. This means that MsTioga is going up and down hills and valleys very often. From about 1200 meters to 1800 meters elevation. The two lane highway is not great, but not bad either.

12 Noon - Good Internet
We have reached the City of Ameca and finally found internet good enough to publish the pics that we captured over the past two days. We are planning to stay the nite here in Ameca.



92°F
Clear sky


Monday, March 18, 2013

Mexican resident permit

9AM - Mexican Resident Permit
Yesterday I blogged to you about needing to renew my FM-3 Temporary Resident Permit. This morning I received the following email from friend Art Barker who lives in Tequisquiapan.

Art wrote:

You will hear a lot of mis-information about the new immigration laws.  The bottom line is, there is no more FM-3 or FM-2.  You are either a Temporary Resident or a Permanent Resident.

You must be a Temporary Resident for four years before you go to Permanent.  The amount of money you must make has gone up to 25,000 pesos per month.  The paperwork takes about two weeks longer than it did under the old law because the cards are now made in Mexico D.F.  

Felipe is doing mine right now.  I have already been fingerprinted and signed.   It takes three trips to the office rather than two, as it used to be.  One to initiate the paperwork, one to go in and get finger printed and signature (at this point it is sent back to Mexico D. F.)  and two weeks after that you go pick up your card.  Hope this helps.  Oh.  Of course, the fee went up.

10AM - Change of plans
Our old plan was: Travel to Manzanillo and eat at Señor Sushi.

Our new plan is: Travel to the State of Queretaro and go see Felipe the Fixer and get my Temporary Resident Permit renewal started.

MsTioga will be taking the highway thru Mascota. We have never gone on this highway before. Looks like a twisting highway but should be very scenic.

11AM - Carl's Jr!
I have long been a sucker for Carl's Jr! There is a Carl's Jr location heading north out of Puerto Vallarta. I know it's there. There is room for MsTioga to park! Oh joy!

The pic below shows Carl's menu board and is made for you to read. If you click on the pic, it should open wide enough to be able to read the prices.

Click on the pic twice for maximum size.Use left and right arrow keys to move pic when at maximum size.

2PM - Estancia
We have pulled over to rest in the Pueblo of Estancia. A saddled burro is also resting next to MsTioga.

We are high in the Sierra Madre del Sur range. Our GPS shows an elevation of 980 meters. You may see our location by clicking [here].


4PM - Camping in Pueblo of Mascota
We are Nite Camping in the Pueblo of Mascota. Although our Telcel internet service is available here, it is very, very poor in quality. We may not be able to post any pics here. Or even format text.

Across the street there is a little taco stand run by two women who live in the house behind their restaurant. I ordered two beef tacos and a coke!



97°F
Clear sky




Location: Pueblo of Mascota, Jalisco
Elevation: 1,240 meters

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Income tax

9AM - Income tax
I use TurboTax in order to complete the income tax forms properly. This is the 2nd year using TurboTax. The burden of doing my taxes here in Mexico is pretty much gone with TurboTax.

All that I do is access my Vanguard account in order to get all of the tax info at Vanguard. TurboTax uploads all that tax info and sorts it out into the various tax forms. Then, one by one, I input the information from 1099s and other tax forms that were mailed to me into TurboTax. The instructions for inputting the info are very clear.

Because I receive income from Google for the ads on my website, I have to file a Schedule C, "Profit or Loss From Business". Even that Schedule C, which is somewhat difficult, is manageable with TurboTax.

Then TurboTax checks my completed tax forms for errors. There were a few errors, which I easily corrected. A couple of dividends were entered twice, and TurboTax caught that. After my tax forms were complete, TurboTax filed my taxes with the IRS. It's all done!

A PDF file of my 1040 and other forms was downloaded from TurboTax to my computer. I copied that file to a memory stick and will get my tax forms printed at Office Depot.

10AM - Staying at Tacho's
MsTioga and The Team had a meeting this morning, and decided to stay for another nite at Tacho's. We do not have to be anyplace special until a couple of weeks before April 17th. That's when my FM3 Temporary Resident Permit expires. I want to use Felipe the Fixer to do the FM3 renewal for me. Felipe's office is in the City of Queretaro.

I like Tacho's. The internet connection here is pretty fast. And the big shopping center is a short walk away. A little pricey at 320 pesos per nite [$25.60US]. But considering the location, not bad!

If you click on our location link below, you will be able to see how close we are to Sam's Club, WalMart and the Liverpool Mall.

73°F
Clear blue sky


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Puerto Vallarta

12 Noon - Puerto Vallarta
We have just arrived in Puerto Vallarta. MsTioga is parked at the shopping center with the south WalMart. We plan to camp at Tachos RV Park. But first we want to eat at the buffet restaurant in the mall. I really like the buffet!

The name of the restaurant is "Sirloin Stockade". We do not recommend the steak, because steak in Mexico is usually tough to eat! We chose the grilled chicken and brought the chicken home to eat. The buffet fills you up!

2PM - Tacho's RV Park
MsTioga is now at Tacho's.  The two Canadians that were our neighbors at Tacho's when we were last here are gone. So, we took one of their sites

After I took the pic of MsTioga and myself, I noticed that I have gained a lot of weight lately. Just call me fatso! Gotta cut out the chocolate candy!
Tioga and George at Tacho's



87°F
Clear sky


Friday, March 15, 2013

FedEX

7AM - FedEX shipment
You may recall that I am in the process of having my mail shipped to me from Americas Mailbox in South Dakota to Los Pinos RV Park in Tepic. I need to receive this mail in order to complete filing my 2012 Income Tax.

The shipment is being handled by FedEX and was picked up in South Dakota on March 13th. The next day, March 14th, according to FedEX tracking, the package was in Guadalajara, Mexico. I would think that FedEX could deliver this package from Guadalajara to Tepic in one day. It is only a three hour drive.

But I would be wrong! FedEX tracking reports delivery will be made on March 19th. So, I must wait here in Tepic until next Tuesday to receive that package. Hmmmmm?

Water pump-revisited
Some questions have been raised in Shoutbox about the water pump leak that I reported to you about yesterday. The mechanic used teflon tape to stop a very small leak that was passing up along a bolt that secures the water pump.
  • Reader Eddie suggested that a thread sealant should have been used, not teflon tape.
  • Two other readers posted that the water pump should have been removed and the gasket reapplied.
Now! Here is the thing about Shoutbox posts. They are not delivered the same as a phone call. I do not read those posts until I am back on the internet. I am reading those posts now, the day after I left the Ford shop!

Am I going to return to Ford now with these questions? Wow!

4PM - La Peñita RV Park
We have just arrived at the La Peñita de Jaltemba RV Park!

We picked up the shipped package in Tepic this morning. It seems that the FedEX shipment status update did not occur because the bar code of the label had been messed up.
Beach at La Peñita RV Park


94°F
Mostly cloudy


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sinatra

7AM - Frank Sinatra
I'm in the hotel room and my mind is not on water pump gaskets. I'm thinking about a record album that I bought back in the 1950s called, "Songs For Swingin' Lovers". Frank Sinatra! Man! He was the best! The album was a 33-1/3rpm. I still recall in my mind's eye what the album cover looked like.

So, I spent over an hour this morning on You Tube recording the songs from this album. Those songs mean a lot to me. In 1956 I was 18 years old and in love for the third time in my life. She was a Jewish girl who was born in Monterey, Mexico. Her family moved to East Los Angeles. She was fluent in Spanish. She taught me to dance the Cha Cha. We listened to Frank Sinatra together. Man-O-Man!

11AM - Water pump leaking!
Our mechanic has a challenge because one of the water pump's bolts is passing engine coolant. He has tried to use teflon tape to stop the leak. Although the leak is small, it still leaks.

It appears to be a tough challenge to stop this leak completely!

2PM - MsTioga all fixed up!
The engine was run for over 1/2 hour to check for leaks. No leaks! MsTioga's engine runs cooler now! The cost for the repairs is 5,160 pesos [$413US]. This includes [2] serpantine belts which we may not have mentioned before.

Kentucky Fried Chicken
We decided on a treat for lunch. KFC! First time we have been to KFC in about a year. The differences between restaurants here in Mexico compared to the United States are interesting.
  • Mexicans tend to eat lunch at about 2pm instead of noon
  • Mexican people do not like baked beans
  • Cole slaw is called salad in Mexico
  • You cannot get honey or butter for your biscuit in Mexico. But we walked away from the counter with several packets of salsa jalapeno
A three piece combo with two sides and a soft drink costs 69 pesos [$5.50US]
KFC in Tepic


83°F
Mostly cloudy


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Appointment

8AM - Appointment
We have returned to the Ford dealer in Tepic. But this time we have an appointment. The appointment does not insure that a mechanic will be working on MsTioga right away. But maybe it does?

Some readers may not agree with the preventive maintenance work that I am having done on MsTioga. But I most certainly must remain unconfused and sure of my decisions. This "being sure" seems to be more important for me as I get more into senior citizen life.

"Being sure" deserves some explanation. It seems that there is some connection between the aging process and conducting an active and happy life. At least for me there is a connection. I have written to you before about my balance and walking challenges. When I have problems with these things, it makes me feel unsure of being able to do other things. Like making correct decisions on MsTioga's maintenance.

Since this is my first time venturing so deep into senior citizen life, I am not an expert in this area. Food for thought, hmmmmm?

9AM - MsTioga in the shop!
A mechanic named Martin was assigned to do the work on MsTioga. Martin was a mechanic in Sacramento, California and he speaks pretty good English. Better English than my Spanish!

The estimate for work is 4,236 pesos [$338US]. I am supplying the major parts.

11AM - Coolant bypass hose
Suggestions and info received from readers are taken very seriously. In 2009, Reader John Wilmarth emailed advising that the coolant bypass hose be replaced at the time the water pump was replaced. And we followed John's advice.

Today I asked our Ford mechanic to replace the bypass hose again. When the hose was removed, the mechanic showed me that hose, which was just about to fail !!

Thank you, John Wilmarth!

Existing and replacement bypass hoses

As you may see in the pic above, the existing bypass hose is made from kinking a straight hose to form a 90° bend. This fabricated hose may have caused an overheating condition because of the kink restrictiion. The new hose should perform much better.



6PM - Hotel Fray Junipero
We are missing one gasket for the water pump. So, MsTioga will not be ready today! We are staying the nite at Hotel Fray Junipero which is located on the main plaza of Tepic. Right in the center of town!

You may see a Google Map of our hotel location by clicking below!

79°F
Partly cloudy


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ford

8AM - MsTioga at Ford
We have come to the Ford dealer in Tepic to get some work done:
  • Change water pump
  • Change fan clutch
  • Possibly change thermostat
  • Change fuel filter
  • Repair gasoline gauge
  • Lubricate
  • Change oil
We would like to explain about this work. The water pump, fan clutch and fuel filter are preventive maintenance items. I am changing these parts out to prevent having failure on-the-road. The gasoline gauge stopped working a few weeks back. If the gas gauge may be easily fixed, I will have Ford fix it.

In past years, MsTioga has had multiple water pump failures. It is my belief that these water pump failures were caused by electrolysis. For the past three years, I have been using a sacrificial anode attached to the radiator cap in order to prevent electrolysis. Also, the engine coolant is flushed about once a year too.

The thermostat change out is an iffy thing. The thermostat was changed out several months ago. It is a 180°F device. A lower temperature thermostat is available. But it may not be a good idea to change out to a lower temp.

Note: We have just made an appointment to return to Ford tomorrow morning. We will be returning to Los Pinos RV Park to camp.


10AM - Income tax
Warning: This is a rant!
I hate to file income tax! I use TurboTax online to do the preparation. But I really would love it if the USA did away with income tax completely! I do not mind paying taxes. I just do not want to do the preparation!

Why can't we just have sales tax to pay for government? Pay-as-you-go. Everybody pays. Rich. Poor. Everybody. Every purchase taxed. No exemptions. Business purchases too, even when the purchase is to be resold.

PS: I just arranged for my mail to be sent to me from Americas Mailbox in South Dakota to Los Pinos RV Park in Tepic. Reason: Income tax forms that I need in order to file are in my mailbox.



79°F
Partly cloudy


Monday, March 11, 2013

Color Marino RV Park

Color Marino RV Park
Later today we will be leaving Color Marino RV Park. The TiogaRV Team loves it here. But we have found that we are happier being on-the-road! When MsTioga and I are traveling along the highway, at that perfect speed, we are "one with the road". That is what vagabonds are, you know. One with the road!

Remember when we mentioned to you that rent here at Color Marino RV Park is $18US/day? This morning we paid our rent and it was only 390 pesos! [$15.60US]


5PM - Los Pinos RV Park
MsTioga drove all the way to Tepic today and we are camping in Los Pinos RV Park where we have stayed many times before.

In a few minutes I'll pickup 1/2 kilo of BBQ ribs from Buffalucas! Yummmm! We get our WiFi from Buffalucas too!

86°F
Clear sky


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ocean view

8AM - Ocean view
What if you were looking for a place to live, and saw the ad below? Would you believe it?

Ocean view home!
Located a few feet from the beach.
Rent about $18US/day. Gorgeous!
Quiet peaceful setting. Only the sound
of ocean waves.

View from Tioga's rear window

12 Noon - Lunch!
I got treated out to lunch today. And also given a tour of Teacapan by Jean and her husband Larry! Teacapan is much larger a town than I had thought it to be.

The blue tint that you see in the pic is from the sunlight shining thru the blue tarp.
[L-R] Ken, Jean, Larry, George, Ian, Linda Liz



72°F
Clear blue sky


Saturday, March 09, 2013

El Rosario

7AM - El Rosario
The Tioga RV Team was not bothered at our Nite Camp site in the Town of El Rosario. Our neighbors were mostly quiet during the early evening. However our next door neighbor serenaded us with music for awhile around 11pm. But it was mellow music, and we enjoyed it.

This morning began with church bells calling out to the flock. We did not get out of bed until the 2nd ringing of those bells. There are some roosters crowing. Not too much traffic noise. The sounds of life in a Mexican town are all around us.

MsTioga wants to drive around El Rosario a bit searching for adventure before heading south again along the free road.
MsTioga at El Rosario Camp

10AM - Gas gauge busted
We may have mentioned a while back, that MsTioga's gas gauge stopped working. Until the gauge gets repaired, we must keep track of when to get gasoline by keeping an eye on how many miles traveled. The plan is, to fill up with gas every hundred miles. That plan should keep us out of trouble.

We are now in the Town of Escuinapa and went to the Pemex station to fill the tank. Took $97US to fill. MsTioga must have been pretty low on gasoline.

1PM - Color Marino RV Park
While in the Town of Escuinapa, we noticed on our Guia-Roji  map book that there is a road that goes west. At the end of this road is the coastal Town of Teacapan. Since we had never been to Teacapan before, we decided to go there to explore.

About 20 minutes before arriving in Teacapan, we came upon a sign pointing west to an RV park! At the end an unpaved road, we found Color Marino RV Park and decided to stay here to see what's what!
Beach RV row at Color Marino

Note: Color Marino was formerly known as Villas Onac.


82°F
Partly cloudy


Friday, March 08, 2013

RV campgrounds

7AM - RV campgrounds
As you may know, we on the TiogaRV Team have been camping mostly in RV campgrounds. Ever since our December 12, 2011 robbery [link], we have been more cautious about camping along the road.

However, this cautious approach has its own problems. Because staying in RV campgrounds takes away from our life the tremendous flexibility of going anywhere we wanted. With this one "RV campground" decision, we have given up soooooo much!

That is why this morning when we head out of Mazatlan, we are tossing out planning where to go. Tossing out having a destination. Instead we are reverting back to the way we used to be before "fear" took hold.

We will simply wander around searching for adventure and let the chips fall where they may!

2PM - Town of El Rosario
MsTioga has traveled 47 miles today and is ready for her Nite Camp location. We have pulled off the Free Road and picked a neighborhood that is somewhat quiet. There is no reason for us to believe that this neighborhood is any safer than any other in El Rosario. Just a feeling that we get from watching the people walking around.

You may see our location by clicking the link below.

3PM - Afternoon meal
I prepared a taco with refried beans, onion and cheese. I do not need much food anymore. Of course there is always some chocolate candy inside MsTioga! I do love the sweets!
Taco for supper


90°F
Mostly cloudy


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Exploring

9AM - Exploring
This is my last full day in Mazatlan. We are going exploring with Bill and Carol, our friends from Indiana and our new friends, Craig and Charity from Alaska.

New Mavicita is going with, so we will have some pics to share with you when we return.

3PM - Pics
Here are the pics from today's exploration! Bill and Carol are wonderful tour guides! The two of them know everything about the things to see and do around Mazatlan!

First we went to the restaurant in the El Meson Restaurant in El Quelite.This is a fabulous place to eat not only for the food, but because of the lovely garden setting of the restaurant.

After breakfast we drove to a leather shop that manufactured saddles for horses. Craig got a leather belt with his name stamped in the belt.

Then we went to see a private label tequila operation. I learned that tequila is not made from the leaves of the blue agave plant, but from the root! In the pic below is a mill that grinds up the root. This is the first process in the manufacturing of tequila.
Restaurant in El Quilete

Carol, Bill, Chris, Charity and George

Leather shop that makes saddles

Mill for grinding agave root to make tequila




80°F
Clear sky