Saturday, December 31, 2005

8AM - The Shopping Cart.
I'd been asking about buying a shopping cart all over El Centro. In fact, before I knew Chito, I tried to buy a shopping cart at the auto parts/hardware store where he works. There were no shopping carts for sale. Yesterday when I returning the rake and shovel that Chito loaned to me for the garden, I spotted a shopping cart alongside the fence. It had a bent wheel and two missing handle screws, so that the handle just flopped around.

This morning I asked Chito permission to fix the cart, and also to use it from time to time. Now when I go to the lavanderia (laundromat), I do not have to drive MsTioga!


The Shopping Cart, repaired and ready to go shopping!

11AM - Planting Bougainvillea.
Do you remember that Mr. Mavica took a pic of the red flowers growing at La Casita yesterday? This morning we read an email from reader Ernie Murphy (See Readers Write) who ID'd these flowers as Bougainvillea. We found out that Bougainvillea may be propagated, so we took some cuttings and planted them in our garden. Wheat that was brought from a field in the State of Washington, is going to be planted here also. We are planting anything that will grow.

The soil in our garden is soooooo dry, you would not believe. It takes forever for the ground to soak some water. In the pic below, water was put in the little holes over an hour ago, and still stands.

Everybody on The Team has remarked how there are no spiders here. Well, today I found one on my short pants! A big brown one with a puffy pouch in the rear. The kind that we do not like to see. Especially close up!


Bougainvillea and Washington wheat section of our garden.

How much do I like it here at my Camp.
If you have not guessed it by the words in my writing, I will confess that I absolutely love it here at my Hilltop Camp. Take today, for example. There is a cacophony of music drifting up from the neighborhood below. It is Mexican ballad music. I also love the sounds that come up with the music. A man is driving nails, building something in his home. A dog barks. The roosters crow. I hear a woman laughing. Looking out MsTioga's window as I am typing, I see homes below, many with laundry drying on clotheslines. The Tres Virgenes mountains in the distance. The blue sea closer.

New Year's Eve.
Mr. Mavica does not get tired of taking pics looking at the view from our garden. May you enjoy your best year yet, in 2006.


New Year's Eve, 2006.


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Friday, December 30, 2005

Staying close to MsTioga.
Early this morning I got a little tummy problem. Staying close to MsTioga until this problem goes away is important in case I have an emergency. It would be a very bad thing to have an emergency while walking around El Centro. I never feel good when I am sick!

7AM - Working on the garden.
Our garden is starting to take shape. So far the only thing planted in the garden are rocks and old red bricks. We made a little wall next to our sitting place of the the old red bricks that were lying or buried in our garden.


Red brick garden wall.

Reader Dave writes.
On 30 Dec 2005 at 9:06, D. Jones wrote:
George, you're not being very stealthy down there in Mexico! I hope your neighbors (hosts) don't mind you trimming their trees, clearing their brush and planting on their property.
Dave Jones

Wow! Reader Dave is sooooo right. It had not occurred to me how different things are for The Team in Mexico, and especially here in the Pueblo of Santa Rosalia.

In the USA when I stayed in neighborhoods, it was only for a very limited time. I did not want to impact the people living in USA neighborhoods, and so I adopted my stealth way of RVing. However lately, things are so different. Reader Dave picked that up. I am not only accepted in this Santa Rosalia neighborhood, but welcomed!

I have not mentioned that La Policia do drive by MsTioga every nite, during the early morning, maybe around 3AM. They never stop and knock on my door. In fact the only policeman to knock happened during my first days at the lower camp. His name was Angel, remember? And Angel told me that he had no problema with me staying in MsTioga.

I cannot put my finger on how the people of Santa Rosalia feel about me yet. But maybe I am welcomed because of their "live and let live" way of life. Hmmmm?

2PM - La Casita's Plants.
La Casita, the little abandoned house near us, has some lovely red flowers growing. Maybe something else is growing there? Mr. Mavica and I walked over and took a pic of the unidentifed red flowers.


Can this plant be propagated?

La Casita also has some cactus growing. Mr. Mavica took a pic of these cactus, and we both wondered how well this cactus would grow in our garden?


Can these cactus be transplanted?

2:30PM - Our garden's first plants.
A place was picked for our transplanted cactus. Holes were dug right next to the entrance path to the garden, and then the holes filled with water. These cactus have got to do better in our garden, than at La Casita's garden. At our garden is water.


Three cactus planted. Our garden has life.

A little early history of the copper mine.
My friend Poncho who lives down the hill, loaned me a book about the Boleo copper district. In this book is an account of the copper discovery.

The Boleo copper deposits were discovered in 1868 by Jos� Rosa Villavicencio, owner of the Santa Agueda ranch, 12 kilometers southwest of Santa Rosalia. This rancher noticed a number of blue and green nodules in Arroyo del Purgatorio. These nodules are called boleos in Spanish, and provided the name of the copper district.

Se�or Villavicencio took some of the boleos, out of curiousity, to Guaymas, Sonora, where they were recognized to consist of high-grade copper ore. Se�ores G. Blumhardt and Julio Muller, residents Guaymas, are said to have purchased Se�ior Villavicencio's rights to his discovery for 16 pesos.

During 1874, only six years after the initial boleo discovery, 6,000 tons of ore with a value of 480,000 pesos in Europe had been extracted.

10PM - Baked chocolate chip cookies.
My appetite has returned. And I am no longer sick! So, I made a nice batch of chocolate chip cookies. Love those cookies!!


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Thursday, December 29, 2005

7AM - Walk to the port.
Yesterday we saw that the gate to walk to the sea side of the port was open for walkers. This morning we went down the hill to take a peek at the far side of the port. Some people come out here to jog, some to just walk, and some to fish.

Mr. Mavica wants to do panoramas, but we have no way to line them up. The pic below is our best try. We are standing on the middle portion of the seawall looking across the port to the Pueblo of Santa Rosalia.

Note: Mr. Mavica's panorama pic was reworked by our friend Mike, a photojournalist who lives in Portland, Oregon. Thank you, Mike!


Mr. Mavica tries a panorama of Santa Rosalia from the port.

A fisherman named Clemente walked up with a 5 gallon bucket and began to prepare to fish. Clemente had no fishing pole, he fished by just casting his weighted line out into the sea like a sling shot. Clemente said that there are very few fish to be caught at this time of year, but he still tries.


Clemente slings his line.

Is it warm or cold?
Very often as I am walking around the Pueblo early in the morning in a T-shirt and short pants, people will ask, "Are you cold?" Early in the morning everybody else is dressed warmly, many with jackets and always long pants. I wonder if I would be melting in the summer here, and everybody else would be doing fine?

11AM - Spanish progress is confusing?
Everyday I seem to be making good progress in speaking Spanish. However, I am making hardly any progress at all understanding Spanish spoken to me.

Have you learned a foreign language? What was your experience?

1PM - The Garden.
This morning we borrowed a rake from Chito, and cleared the dry leaves off of our garden. Nearly all of the branches with espinas (thorns) have been cleared from our garden.

Everything from our garden is wonderful. The sounds of people talking and laughing in the homes below. The roosters crowing all day long. I thought that roosters only crowed at sunrise, but these roosters in my neighborhood crow 24 hours a day. The Sea of Cortez is soooooo blue. A deep blue.


It is very easy to nap when sitting in our garden.


The beginnings of our garden walk.

4PM - Travel Information.
My cousin Jacky is coming to visit the Pueblo of Santa Rosalia in January. She is getting a ride here and would like to fly back home. I went to the Ferry Building to get travel information. The ferry building has the bus station and the airplane ticket office.

For about $85US you may fly across the Sea of Cortez to Guaymas. The flight includes an hour trip to the airport in Palo Verde, south of here. From Guaymas, there are flights to the US.

If Jacky would take the bus to Tijuana, it would cost $81US and be a 14 hour trip.

Evening from our garden.
Mr. Mavica does not believe that he is able to capture the feeling of being in our garden at evening time. But he wanted to try.


Wish you were here.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

8AM - Our Front Yard.
Just a couple feet in front of MsTioga’s front door is a big bunch of cutoff tree limbs and branches dumped here by our next door neighbor, Chito. We want to make this place our front yard. So we have been tossing this stuff down over the side of the hill to clear out a space. Many of these limbs and branches have sharp thorns, so we have to be really careful with them.

This morning enough of this stuff was cleared out to put out our chair and enjoy the view. We like our front yard better than where we were sitting before, about 30 yards away near the power pole. It is very steep there, and little Victor plays too close to the edge when he visits us. We are leaving a pile of these thorny branches at the edge of the hill, to make a fence for safety.

We have more plans for our front yard. We want to buy some flowers to plant here. And maybe make a little rock bordered path. So far we've not found a place that sells flowers!


First time enjoying our new front yard.

The bacon was great!
Yesterday we bought a one pound pack of bacon at Super Mercado Cachania. We wondered about buying bacon here in Mexico. Would it be safe? Have a good flavor? We were soooo happy to find bacon made in the USA at Mercado Cachania. Packed in Missoula, Montana! Hardwood smoked and cured with natural honey. Our kind of bacon.

This morning we cooked up some bacon for breakfast, and it was soooooo good. $2.75US for one pound.

10AM - Gas Propano.
Remember last Friday that MsTioga drove up to the huge propane gas tank north of Santa Rosalia? The tank was out of gas, no propane for MsTioga. We need to return today, but this time checked at the Gaspasa office in El Centro to make sure that propane was available. They assured me that there was plenty of gas today.

Visiting Poncho.
My friend Poncho who lives on the road midway up the hill to our Camp has been sick, so I stopped in to see him. He was sitting in the sun doing crossword puzzles.

Poncho had a surprise for me. A book titled, Geology and Mineral Deposits of the Boleo Copper District. In English no less. This book is filled with info about the mines, and especially interesting, about cumengite minerals found at the Amelia Mine. Poncho loaned me the book and I hope to make copies of the pics inside for you to see.

1PM - Heading for the Gaspasa place.
As we went down our hill toward Gaspasa, we heard the branches from Chito’s tree scraping MsTioga’s roof. Twice we have stopped to cut back some of these branches. Now we have removed almost all the limbs that reach out for MsTioga.

The Gaspasa place is out in the desert, and alongside Highway No1. Our tank took 33 liters, and cost us $167.31 pesos. $5.07/liter. We have stopped converting some things to $US, and propane is one of them. We want to think like the Mexicanos think. When we exercise in the morning, we even count reps in Spanish.


MsTioga at Gaspasa.

2PM - Water at the Pemex.
We went to the Pemex to fill up MsTioga's fresh water tank. The hose for the water is along the side wall, and sitting on the wall was the station's guard. I started a conversation with this young man, whose name is Rodmiro. He lives with his family. His father is dead and his mother is sick. He and his brother who is a policeman here in Santa Rosalia both work and support their household.

Rodmiro comes to work in the morning at 7AM and goes home in the evening at 7PM. For these 12 hours, Rodmiro earns $100 pesos, $8.33/pesos per hour. That's about 83 cents per hour US.

When MsTioga's tank was filled, I asked Rodmiro if he wanted a refresco (soft drink). He said yes, and I handed him $10 pesos and wished him good luck. I have soooooo much and Rodmiro has so very little.

3PM - Shopping for flowers to plant in my new garden.
I walked every single street in El Centro, and some in Rancheria. I must have asked 30 people where to buy live flowers. Many people gave me directions to a store to buy flowers, but when I got there no flowers were being sold.

The last person that I asked was an older man who was sitting on a bench on Calle Obregon, the main street in El Centro. He said to me, "If you want to grow something in Santa Rosalia, it better be cactus." Wow!

5PM - Paquita's Taco Stand.
My search for flowers had made me so tired and hungry, that I decided to buy something to eat. There is a taco stand that never seems to close on the corner of Calle Obregon and Calle Playa. I went there and ordered two fish tacos and a Fanta orange soda.

I introduced myself to the lady owner of the taco stand, and she told me that her name is Paquita Larrios. Paquita told me that only her family works at her taco stand, and that she never closes. Her home is attached to the taco stand. I will come to Paquita’s again!

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Paquita's taco stand which never closes.


6PM - Cleaning our garden when the sky went red.
The sun had set as I was cleaning the garden. Mr. Mavica saw the sky go red, and captured the view.



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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

7AM - Sunrise from the water tank.
Every morning Mr. Mavica, TriPod and George go up on the water tank to look at the sun come over the Bahia of Santa Rosalia. After awhile, Chito comes out and waters the plants in his garden. It is like this every morning.

After we had come down from the water tank, MsTioga wondered if some time could be spent this morning giving her a little outside cleaning. Even though we are not driving much lately, cleaning must be done. We have found that a clean MsTioga is a happy MsTioga. We also cleaned Mr. Sunny's solar panels up on the roof. We are up on the roof a couple times each day, just to check on Twee who lives there now. Twee is doing fine, by the way.

Some readers have wondered what Mr. Mavica looks like. Do you see Mr. Mavica's and TriPod's shadow?


Making MsTioga happy and clean.

The map of the Amelia mine.
This morning we cranked up Mr. Chips, our desktop computer. Mr. Chips has an HP scanner. We used the scanner to get a copy of a 1912 map of the famous Amelia mine. You remember that the Amelia was where most of the fabulous Cumengite crystals were found.

After we had a copy of the Amelia mine map, we uploaded to our website in order to be able to share with you. Many readers have wondered about the location of the Amelia mine. You may find the Amelia at the beginning of the Arroyo de Soledad on the map's right side.

If you look at the bottom of the map, you will find the Bahia y Puerto de Santa Rosalia (Bay and Port of Santa Rosalia). The port is the little enclosed place in the center of the bahia. On this map, our Hill Top Camp would be about 1/4 inch above and to the right of the port.


Amelia Mine in the upper right of the 1912 map.

Map notes:
Ferrocarril = Railroad
Los partes oscuras indican los arroyos = The dark areas indicate the arroyos.

Mineralogical Record, Jan-Feb 1998, Volume 29, Number 1.

Favorite places to shop.
Finding the best places to shop in Santa Rosalia is not easy. There are a zillion little stores, and once I find one that is great, sometimes finding it again is a challenge. That's how it was when I first found Super Mercado Cachania, which was not until I had been living in Santa Rosalia for a few weeks. Mercado Cachania (pronounced Cah-cha-NI-ah) is on a street that runs parallel to the main street thru town, and two streets over. It is hard to find. But once inside, you will see a very clean and well stocked meat department. Pretty nice produce. And, the most important thing of all, is that Cachania's sells Nestle's Chocolate Chips for making cookies!! The only store in town that sells chocolate chips!

You probably will not be surprised to learn that another one of my favorite places to shop is a candy store called Dulceria Mickey. I believe that I've mentioned Dulceria Mickey before. This store is located across from Santa Barbara Church, at the foot of the hill leading to our Camp. Dulceria Mickey sells two of my favorites. Hershey's Nuggets and Rocky Road candy bars. I bought both on the shopping trip today!

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Super Mercado Cachania and Dulceria Mickey.


4PM - Making friends with Lassie.
Chito's family has a big watch dog named Lassie. What a huge bark Lassie has!! I got a hint that Lassie was all bark and no bite when I was up on the water tank a couple of early morning's ago. Lassie was barking but the tail was going fulltime.

This afternoon I decided to make friends with Lassie. It was really easy, because Lassie is really a pussy cat. But while I was playing with Lassie, I found out that this big and friendly dog was clearly a boy dog, and not a Lassie dog!

When Mr. Mavica took the pic of Lassie and me, Victor and his sister Alejandra wanted their pics taken too.

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Lassie and George. Victor and Alejandra. In Chito's backyard.



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Monday, December 26, 2005

6:30AM - Chito needs help.
This morning I was on the roof of MsTioga, looking at the beginning of another beautiful day. Manuel (his nickname is Chito) came out of his yard and told me that he needed help with his electricity.

When I took a look at the problem, I saw a fuse block that had gone bad. It needed replacement. I offered to get a new fuse block when the stores in El Centro opened and install it. I told Chito that the fuse block would be a gift from me to him, to say thank you for all of his help. Chito accepted.

For me to be able to help Chito, is a wonderful thing. A miracle! Helping Chito brings me into his family, and strengthens our friendship. I am soooo grateful for this opportunity.

10AM - Electric repair job complete!
Around 8AM, I walked down to Ayala Electric, a store that I had browsed before that appeared to have a ton of electric supplies for sale. This store is on the main street in El Centro. Ayala told me that they did not sell the old type of fuse block that I wanted to replace. This kind uses the screw-in type of fuses that were used years ago. They sell the breaker type electric protection now, and had that in stock for me.

I expected that a 30 amp breaker and box would cost about $30US, but was surprised when the total came to only $10US. Would you take a look at the pics below, and let me know what this stuff costs in the USA?

The installation was pretty easy, since I carry onboard MsTioga all the electric tools, wire, connectors, etc., necessary. When I went to ground the switch box, I found that Chito's entire electric system is completely ungrounded!

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Old switch, inside new switch, new switch with cover.


11AM - Electric job needs more work!
Just after I completed that electric work at Chito's house, I received this email.

On 26 Dec 2005 at 13:12, topcat2005 wrote:
Hi George,
Nice of you to replace the broken fuse box at Chito's house and a nice looking job, BUT I'll bet you hear from some electricians about not replacing that plug in with it's exposed wires........... remember that's not 12 volt stuff you're working on.
Chris from Indiana

Thank you Chris for writing. I did not recognize the terrible danger, until you wrote. I am off now to fix up the exposed wiring with a new duplex and box enclosure.

2PM - I am so lucky!
When I went back to Chito's and removed the electric outlet with the exposed wiring and reconnected into the new circuit breaker, there was a dead short!! In checking out the circuits, I found that the original circuit was actually a wired into a dead short.

This dead short had apparently been wired in years ago, from the look of the things. Everything worked because there was corrosion on some wires preventing the short. When I removed the outlet with the exposed wiring and reconnected, the short circuit was made. Now everything is working fine, and somewhat safe.

This old house of Chito's should have a completely new electrical system installed. Probably won't happen because Chito likely does not have the money for such a project.

Mr. Levelers' broken jack.
Remember that Mr. Levelers' right rear jack broke a few days ago? We did not have the right size Allen hex key to find out what went wrong. This morning we bought the key, and found out that the large special bronze nut had stripped out.

We sent an email to the Power Plus factory, manufacturers of our leveling jacks, asking if they would ship this nut to us in Mexico. We hope that they will ship here. Otherwise, Mr. Levelers will be crippled until we return to the USA next spring!


Broken bronze nut from our leveling jack.

5PM - Cleaning and storing Mr. Levelers' Jack.
Since the jack broke, it has been resting on the floor near MsTioga's entrance. Ugly and dirty, we kept it on newspapers to keep from spreading dirt to the carpet. This afternoon we degreased it all over with paint thinner, and cleaned it off. We made a place for the jack in front of MsTioga's passenger seat, and protected the seat with newspapers. Now the jack is out of the way and the inside of MsTioga is looking good again.


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