Saturday, May 31, 2003

Tioga & George in Concord's Newhall Park.

We spent the entire day, from 6am to 6pm, working on rewiring the solar electric system. I am sooo slow!! And so tired. You would not believe. I had to replace all of the duplex recepticles, and I learned something important. Do not ever buy 49 cent duplex recepticles.

Yesterday we received the new Dometic refrigerator, and it works wonderfully. Especially after my son David pointed out that it was set for the warmest setting and that I should set it lower.

Right now I am making supper, steak, chicken rice, garlic squash. Outside, across the lawn of Newhall Park, a Mexican brass band is playing old fashioned music. Life is wonderful, isn't it?

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Cleaned up wiring.

We worked very hard for two days to clean up our solar system wiring. Note how clean it looks? See the duplex electrical panel? We have a subpanel on the other side of the batteries. We also installed three switches which allow various parts of our electrical areas to be turned off. For example, we are now able to disconnect our battery bank from all other circuits. Sometimes these other circuits that we are not using draw over 2 amps.

We are staying in Jackson right now. Tomorrow the local Computer Doctor will fix something on my computer, than I am off for Contra Costa. On Friday, our new refrigerator gets installed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Parts for Solar System.

The pic above shows all that Tioga & George bought for the solar electric system while in Jackson, California today. We also bought a sheet of plywood, which is outside. We were going to drive to Ukiah, and pick up (2) more 75 watt solar panels, but they were out of stock! So we ordered them from another company, and they were shipped today. We really need these two solar panels, because our battery bank is running not fully charged each morning. Very bad.

Some of the parts that we bought, will go into fabricating up two electrical panels for distributing the power in a neat manner. I just hate a mess of wires. When it is all finished, Tioga & George will post a pic to show off what we did.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Tioga & George took off late this afternoon for Ukiah, California. That is the city where we are going to buy the two additional 75 watt solar panels that will complete our solar electric system. I know that I wrote that I already had these panels. Some may call this a lie, but it really is an advance truth.

Tioga was quite concerned about the solar system this afternoon, because it was getting down to 12.2 volts, in the middle of the day!! George was concerned too. We are both anxious to get these panels.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

The pic on the left is of Tioga & George contemplating sunset. On the right are family photos that sit on Tioga's table.

Living in Tioga is a Fortress of Solitude for me. Because of that solitude, I have a great opportunity to establish goals for this time of my life. I am very encouraged to delve into my subconscious. I want to understand how my manic-depressive disorder affected my life and especially my thinking. My subconscious thinking.

I have felt for many years, that unless I understood every aspect of my personality, including my subconscious personality, that I would not really know who I am. What a tragedy to have lived my entire life, not knowing my own self completely. I do not intend to die, without knowing who I am. I am thrilled to just think about this knowing.

Note: Several months after this post, I learned that I likely never had a manic-depressive disorder. That was a mis-diagnosis by a psychiatrist. I stopped taking lithium for manic control. The lithium was destroying my kidneys. [Note posted: 08Jan2007]

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Little rapid on Mokelumne below our Camp.

Tioga & George were planning to stay at this lovely site, just until Tuesday. But now we think that we will be here a lot longer. Why move? This place is so wonderful. There is a tiny market in the little town of West Point, the closest town to where we camp. They have enough variety of groceries to restock us. The grocery is run by a couple from Yemen. They are very nice. The man looked inside Tioga and was very impressed with her electronics. Of course he was!!

In about two weeks, we have to be in Antioch to have our new leveling system installed and our replacement refrigerator as well.

Tioga & George P.S.: Today is the 27th year anniversary of the opening of The Cutting Board, our restaurant in San Francisco. Wow! We sold The Cutting Board in 1983. By that time we had opened two more restaurants, Evie's Hamburgers in Walnut Creek and Evie's Drive-In in Pleasant Hill.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Sliding into Mokulmne River.

The afternoons have been very warm, so I've been cooling off in the icy waters of the Mokelumne. Do you see the slalom gate hanging in the background? Nice place for a kayak race.

This morning we went grocery shopping in Pine Grove. We needed more stuff if we are staying until next week. I don't want to have to move Tioga when the holiday hoards arrive, otherwise I will lose my place.

Tioga has been complaining that I did not clean her up after that terrible road to Arnold. So this morning I took out the hose and washed her up completely.

Did I tell you that I replaced the water fill fitting with a hose bib? Now, water comes out this fitting instead of going in and I am able to water Tioga when I am washing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

George attaches slides.

Work is not work, when I am building a slide-out-tray for Tioga. This nice box is going in a compartment that was very inaccessible. Now, with full extensions slides, I am able to store more things and get at them too.

Tioga and I had a big talk yesterday. We decided to stay here at the N. Fork Mokelumne for several days. We do not know who owns this property. It is not posted. An Amador County Sheriff came by early yesterday evening. He just wanted to say hello, and see who was here. I asked him if it was OK staying here, and he said, "Sure." That's the kind of reply that I want from the law.

Just as the sun was setting, I walked down to the river's edge for the first time. It has been very hot here during the day, and when I dipped my bare feet in the Mokelumne icy waters, I was shocked. Oooh, it felt so good.

We have not had too many "guests" visiting our spot. But, coming up is a holiday weekend and we expect a lot of visitors. Tioga & I plan to just stay put, where we are, because we are "on the satellite" here and we are relatively level.

Remember, Mr. Dometic the refrigerator does not like to be out of level. It is very hard, in a forest of trees, to find a place that is level AND where we have a shot at the satellite.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Mokelumne River

North Fork Mokelumne River Camp.

Yes, we returned to the N. Fork Mokelumne, where we camped a few days ago. It is just the best site around, and nobody was parked in "our" spot. Maybe soon, we will find out why?

We could sure use our new refrig and levelers, both of which are on order. I tried so hard, but I could not get Tioga level this afternoon. That means that the refrig will probably turn on me during the next few days. The name of the frig is Mr. Dometic. Does that mean stupid refrig in French? Right now it is almost 7pm, getting cool, but Mr. Dometic is cooking along at 52 °F in the frig section. I've moved everything highly perishable into the freezer.

Tioga and George have been talking it over. We want to stay in this spot, right here at the N. Fork Mokelumne, until Friday morning. Tioga doesn't think that I can do it. She says that I have too much shpilkas. I may have to drive up for supplies to West Point, the little town about two miles southeast of our camp. Staying here will give me a chance to catch up on some of my projects, and in such a beautiful place too.

Oh, oh!! The sheriff is looking at Tioga from the road.

I just got back from talking to Sheriff Nottingham. Really, that's his name! He said that it was legal to camp here. He had a big German Shepard name Polo who was very friendly. Imagine that? A free camping place on State of California property, and here it is legal. Go figure!

P51 Mustang

George after his P51 Mustang ride.

This photo of George and the P51 Mustang was taken last month on the very first fun "shake out" trip of Tioga & George .

We happened to come onto a convention of airmen at the Nut Tree Airport [Vacaville, California]. They were part of the General Jimmy Doolittle B25 bombing raid over Tokyo. Many other pilots came to pay tribute to these brave Doolittle Raider survivors.

One of these other pilots, flew his own P51 Mustang, my favorite aircraft of all time. I asked him for a ride, and I got one which included three victory rolls and a power dive to within a few feet of the ground. I will NEVER forget it !

Tioga and George fight the ticket!
Tioga & George had quite a time today. We had a meeting with Inspector Karl of the State of California Dept. Of Parks & Recreation. It concerned the run in that Tioga & George had with Officer Suzanne Westover. Oh, I didn't tell you about that? Another Senior Moment of mine.

Well, it all began while I was visiting Fort Ross last month. I encountered two Dept. Officers who cautioned me about camping in unapproved places. One of these was Officer Suzanne, an aggressive young woman of diminutive stature.

The 2nd time that Officer Suzanne met with Tioga & George, she gave us a ticket for illegal camping. But, and this is the BIG BUTT, we were not camping because according to state law, camping can only be done at night. Officer Suzanne signed that under penalty of perjury, the ticket that she issued to us was true. So, Officer Suzanne perjured herself in issuing this ticket to us. Tioga & George made a complaint against Officer Suzanne, and Inspector Karl came up to Contra Costa, to interview us. Guess where we met? At the lovely Mictchell Canyon entrance to Mount Diablo. (The little stream is still running!)

For Tioga & George, Vagabonders Supreme, we had no choice but fight evil doers everywhere we find them. Because, we two are champions of liberty. Fighters for freedom. Remember freedom lovers, our biggest threat to our way of life comes not from the Bin Ladens of the world. It comes from our own government. That is why we two are ever watchful, ever vigilant.

Front end alignment.
This evening we are back in Stockton, because tomorrow morning Tioga has an appointment with a suspension specialist. Tioga is going to have her front alignment fine tuned. Her tendency to sway or rock, when leaving a driveway at an angle will be corrected. This swaying sometimes caused articles to leap from Tioga's cabinets. Poor Tioga was very embarrassed about this swaying, and begged me to get her fixed. Right now, Tioga is so happy about tomorrow morning's appointment (and so is George!).

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Arnold, California

George cleaning Mud.

Here you see George cleaning the horrible mud from Tioga after the terrible trip to Arnold yesterday

Saturday was a terrific day. I puttered around Tioga, while the N. Fork of the Mokelumne made its haunting sounds below us. Then, I made an almost tragic mistake. I decided to go visit Arnold, where I had lived ten years before. My Delorme GPS system would guide me there, faithful device that it surely is. Wrong!!

Mr. Delorme told me that it would take a little over an hour to go 27 miles. I did not think anything of it. Tioga & I were on are way by 3pm. At 8:30pm, we pulled into Arnold !!! Five hours, not one hour.

Poor Tioga's tortured engine and body were horrible to hear and see. She was covered with mud, and her beautiful shell, filled with scratches from the twigs and brambles that reached out for us all the long, long way.

Oh, the road! Not a road really, but a trail. Dirt, mud, stones. Sometimes the path went up at more than a 30 degree angle. Brave Tioga, her heart so fierce. She never gave up, with her 7.5 liters muscling up inclines and rain washed gullys, strewn with rocks and boulders. If it were not for Tioga's mighty engine, well, I do not even want to think about it.

Oh how that Mr. Delorme sucked us into our debacle. Once we were past a certain point, still on paved roads mind you, the road very gradually narrowed. By the time we both became concerned, there was no way for our 27' length to turn around. Tioga knew before I did. She told me that the road looked not good to her, maybe we should turn back. But I did not listen. I was sure that Mr. Delorme, that fiendish cruel device, would lead me to the Town of Arnold fine and dandy.

The culprit here of course, was that rotten Mr. Delorme. His putrid software could not tell a 10-lane Interstate from a forest logging road. Tioga and I stopped in the middle of that terrible trip thru the forest, and checked to see if we had missed something with Mr. Delorme. Oh, there was a selection to "avoid forest roads" alright. But when we accepted that selection and asked for the route again, we still were provided with the same route as before!?!

We are writing a letter to Mr. Delorme's boss, asking him to pay for all of the scratches on poor Tioga's body. We do NOT expect a reply! What a day!

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Mokelumne River

No. Fork Mokelumne River Bridge.

Tioga & George tried to get to the Jackson Indian Casino, but there was a 9' low bridge in the way. Tioga stands more than a proud 11 feet tall. So, we went looking for a river. We are haunted by waters

We could not believe our good fortune when we arrived at the North Fork of the Mokelumne River. There was a camping spot, just big enough for Tioga to fit in, and it was somewhat level too. Level is necessary to not mess up Tioga's refrig.

This place is so beautiful, that we think that we will spend the better part of Saturday here. Would you believe, that deep in this canyon that Mr. MotoSat was able to acquire our satellite? That is how we are able to send this Blog from our river campsite.

Only one thing is fouled up, as Tioga pointed out to me numerous times. I forgot to fill up our propane tank, and we might have to eat a cold breakfast. Boooo!

Friday, May 16, 2003


Tioga receiving her DataStorm

We bought our Datastorm from a dealer in the City of Huntington Beach, California. We only have one pic of Mr. Datastorm being installed, the one below.

Now that Mr. Datastorm is connecting us to the internet anywhere that we go, we are free as birds, just like we dreamed about! Lately we have been going out on shake-down trips to see how everything is working. When everything is tested and working well, we will take off on our great adventure!

Traveling around California, shaking things down.
Today, Tioga & George are a mile from the tiny town of Jenny Lind, in the lower reaches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We spent the night here, in farm country. Of course you know that we have a satellite antenna that allows us to be on the internet while we are out in the wilds of America.

We had a hard time during the first few weeks of that antenna. The dealer sold us a YEAR OLD++ antenna that had been "who-knows-where.", and told us that it was new. This ancient antenna had a bad LNB (is that bad?) The DataStorm company replaced the entire antenna, and since then Tioga and George have been cruising the net with no problems.

After we take a peak at the town of Jenny Lind, do some history research about it too, we will head up to Jackson. There is supposed to be a casino in Jackson. Maybe we will strike it rich! Tioga thinks gambling is a dirty business. What does she know?

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Solar Panels

Tioga in all her glory.

Four powerful 75 watt Shell Solar panels are the heart of her electrical generation system.

We shopped all over the internet for items to make up our Solar Electric system. We wanted to be able to have enough onboard electric power, so that in the dead of winter, we would still be able to use our electrically powered items (computer, lights, etc.) without running out of electricity or ruining our battery bank. It turned out that nobody can tell you how many solar panels and batteries to buy.

But our goal was to never stay in an RV camp site. We needed a lot of power to stay out of those!! So we chose (4) Shell 75 watt solar panels and (4) 6 volt Golf Car batteries. We added two more batteries to our bank a few weeks later. We seem to be electrically rich, right now. But we are considering adding two more 75 watt panels for the winter months.

Along with our solar panels and battery bank, we bought a Charge Controller that takes the energy from the solar panels, and charges the batteries. We also needed an Inverter, that would take 12 volt electricity and convert it to 120 volts in order to operate our computer, electric razor, jig saw, etc. The Inverter also charges the 12 volt battery bank when 120 volt power is available from a land line or our onboard generator.

Now, we had to install all of this solar stuff, and have a place that would serve as our control/computer station. See you tomorrow with that story.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Fort Ross

Pic above is from Tioga & George's trip to Fort Ross.

Tioga met George in Manteca, California 'bout the end of February, 2003. It was love at first sight. The very day that George drove Tioga home to Concord, George became a Vagabond. George never spent one day in his apartment again. Tioga was home and for Tioga & George, the adventure began.

We knew that we had to be "free-as-birds." That is how we came up with our motto: "Never pay rent !" Paying rent to park Tioga is against our religion. Here is what paying rent buys you:

1. Neighbors

2. Noise

3. Somebody elses RV 'bout 3 feet from your bedroom.

Tioga & George don't do RV camping. We are Vagabonders Supreme. We camp where we want to camp. We never pay rent.

In order to be a true Vagabond, we had to cut the strings that tied others to being defined as the dreaded "RV camper." First, we installed (4) 75 watt Shell solar panels on Tioga's roof. Now THAT was an adventure on its own !