Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mr. Datastorm gets FAPed!
Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Datastorm experienced his first HughesNet Fair Access Policy [FAP]. We did not even understand what FAP was when we began to download "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" from the YouTube website. This is the movie starring Humphrey Bogart about three guys who search for gold in the desert of Mexico.

Later on in the afternoon when Mr. Datastorm went online, browsing was very, very slow! That's when we saw the terrible orange dot indicator and the FAP notice on Mr. Datastorm's System Control Center. Wow! Making our last post yesterday was like swimming thru glue.

We won't make this mistake ever again!

Notes: HughesNet is Mr. Datastorm's satellite internet service provider. It is my understanding that "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is in the public domain.

11AM - Am I OK?
A few moments ago, a plain clothes security man came by with a uniformed policeman to find out if I was OK? Did I need any help? When I told them that I was fine, they excused themselves politely, shook my hand and went on their way.

Isn't this a wonderful thing for the police and security to do?

In six years of traveling in Mexico, I have never had a neighbor around my Nite Camps call the police on me. And, I have never been hasseled by a Mexican policeman about my camping.
Tioga and George at City of Huajuapan Camp.

1PM - Our FAP just ended!
Twenty four hours after Mr. Datastorm got FAPed, it ended. Our system indicator is now a gorgeous green!

2PM - Haircut and fish dinner.
I've been needing a haircut for a few weeks. Somehow, a haircut place eluded me. MsTioga drove thru the center [El Centro] of Huajuapan where we found several shops, with no place to park. The streets in El Centro are very narrow. We had just about given up, when we came across a salon with a perfect parking place across the street!

The haircut cost 30 pesos [$3US]. I gave the young lady who cut my hair a 10 peso [$1US] tip.

It seemed like a good time for going out to eat. I'd not eaten out for a long time. Little Mavicito and I spotted a fish restaurant, that he patrons inside told us was a good place.

Fish dinner for only $5.80US.

George shows his buzz cut!

5PM - MsTioga quits running.
We had just entered the Town of Temazulapan and found a possible Nite Camp. I decided to look around a bit more, and that was when MsTioga's engine would not start! Wow!

Not only MsTioga's engine. Nothing else electrical worked either. No head lights. No starter. Nothing. I figured that there must be a blown master fuse somewhere, and was reading in the manual to find out what the problem could be.

That was when Francisco and his wife Adela drove up in their truck. Francisco wanted to help figure out the problem. When I tried to use the auxiliary battery to start MsTioga's engine, Francisco immediately went over and tested the battery cable connections. Guess what?! The engine battery ground cable was loose!

6PM - Invited to Camp at Francisco's home.
After MsTioga was running again, Francisco invited me to stay in the field behind his home. Francisco and his wife were going to check up on their corn field and promised to return shortly. He told me to drive down the road and turn left at the house with the horse in front.

As MsTioga was driving into the field behind Francisco's home, his daughters came out to talk to me. Soon they were visiting inside MsTioga!

Rosalie, Jasmin and Mira.

Boid loves kids. Here he is eating seeds from
Jasmin's hand while sister Mira watches.

A while later, Francisco and his wife Adela came to visit in MsTioga too. We talked about stuff for hours.

Francisco and Adela.

Amazing coincidence or a gift from God?
You may be wondering how things like meeting Francisco and his family happen to me. Have you noticed how often stuff like this happens to The Team? Hmmmmm?


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

9AM - The big storm of yesterday.
Living in MsTioga is living close to nature. In the forests, wild animals walk past. We see nature up close.

Yesterday afternoon, the sky got dark. Thunder and lighting in the distance. Soon the storm was directly over us. We are California kids, and not used to storms like this. The thunder and lightning is very scary.

Just behind MsTioga is a dry creek. Here is what the creek looks like this morning.
Dry creek this morning.

And here is a video of the dry creek yesterday, just after the storm.

Confusion over USA and Mexico.
My two posts of a few days ago, where various Team Members argued about whether we should live in Mexico permanently or not, has turned out to be confusing to some readers.

MsTioga and The Team will be going back to the United States. However, where we travel in the USA is dependent on the price of gasoline and our income.

1PM - The land turns green.
You may remember the pic on our blog showing us in the desert. Suddenly this afternoon, we crossed over into a new area and everything is soooooo green! Below is a pic that Little Mavicito captured along the highway.
On the west side of continental divide.

5PM - City of Huajuapan.
MsTioga and The Team have arrived in the City of Huajuapan. [We love the names of towns in this part of Mexico.]

Our Camp is in a vacant lot, above the City. Little Mavicito went up on MsTioga's roof to show you what it looks like from here!
It is raining in Huajuapan!


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

8AM - Huajuapan.
MsTioga and The Team pulled out of the City of Tehuacan. It took us a few tries before we found the road that we wanted to travel today. It is Mexico #125 heading southwest toward the City of Huajuapan.

The road ascended up into the hills. We found ourselves in a gorgeous canyon, filled with tall cactus similar to the cactus that grows near Santa Rosalia in Baja California.

9AM - Breakfast Camped in the mountains.
Although our paper map shows us still to be on the eastern side of the continental divide, it is clear that we are now in a desert environment. It is sooooooo beautiful here!
Breakfast Camped on the road to Huajuapan.

Matzos, eggs and onions for breakfast.

2PM - Pueblo de Acatepec.
As we passed thru the Pueblo de Acatepec, everybody on The Team had their eyes open looking for our Nite Camp. We have gone 34 miles today, and it is a good time to make our Camp.

We came to an intersection with a sign pointing to Caltepec, 5km to the east. We took this dirt road and a short distance later met a crew of guys working on the culvert. They told us that there was a wide place in the road for us to park at the bottom of the hill.

A couple of these guys came over to talk after MsTioga had made her Camp. One of them knew a little English, but we spoke mostly Spanish. He told us that this place is called San Miguel, and it is a neighborhood of Acatepec. He also said that San Miguel is a dry area, and it is difficult to grow crops here.
Our San Miguel Camp.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

MsTioga wants to fulltime in Mexico - Part #2
As we wrote yesterday, MsTioga and The Team are thinking about fulltiming in Mexico. However, as was also pointed out by various Team Members, we may be crossing the border into the USA from time to time! There are people to see, and things to buy in the USA.

Wise old Mr. Chips [our desktop computer] was looking over the Shout Box posts this morning. Mr. Chips says that he feels complimented by those posts. "Even the critical posts seem like compliments to me!", said Mr. Chips. "That readers would take the time to post how they feel is a compliment, don't you think?"

Being open about our life on The Team.
If you have been following the TiogaRV Team's adventures for awhile, then you know that we are pretty open with what goes on here. Even when we do foolish things, we write about these things here on the blog for all our readers to know about.

We are not being masochistic. We want to present ourselves as we really are. [My two sons, David and Joseph read my blog. I want David and Joseph to know the real me and I find that somewhat difficult to do face-to-face.]

Yesterday I watched the movie, "A River Runs Through It." This is a wonderful story about a family living their life in Montana in the early 1900s. The father is a minister, and in one of his final sermons he says, "And so it is that those who live with us and should know us, elude us. However, we can love them completely, without understanding!"

When I hear these words, I am a bit sad. Because I want to know those that I love completely. And I want them to know me. But the minister is right! That knowing is soooooo elusive!

8PM - Roast beast.
We have stayed at the same Nite Camp as yesterday. We are here again because of preparing a roast beast. It was a very tough piece of meat, and required almost six hours of roasting to turn into a wonderfully tasty and tender roast!

MsTioga does not like to drive when we have something cooking in her oven.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

MsTioga wants to fulltime in Mexico - Part #1
For much of yesterday, we had a Team Meeting to discuss what is best for us. Everybody participated.

It was a very energetic meeting about whether we should live fulltime in Mexico!

Mainly because of the price of gasoline, we would find traveling in the USA quite challenging.
MsTioga pointed out that the price of her gasoline is sooooooo low in Mexico. Only $2.70/gallon for regular. Also, MsTioga loves the mechanics at the Ford dealer in Tepic, Mexico.

Mr. Dometic was concerned because there are no service centers for him in Mexico. Mr. Dometic wondered what would happen to him if something went wrong in his system?

XM-Radio is concerned about fulltiming in Mexico too. Just yesterday, we received an email from the service people at XM telling us that our reception problem [lots of static] is an equipment failure. XM-Radio wondered about getting equipment replacement in Mexico.

Little Boid, as you may imagine, is very much for living fulltime in Mexico. Little Boid pointed out how he is not wanted in the USA. "They won't let me cross the border without being in quarantine for a whole month!", said Little Boid.

Mr. Datastorm would like to return to the USA at least once a year in order to visit with his pal Steve O'Bosky [Datastorm dealer].

[To be continued.]

12 Noon - City of Tehuacan.
You may remember reading that we were planning heading west to the large City of Puebla in the direction of Mexico City. However, the more we thought about the large cities in that direction, the more we remembered how much we enjoy smaller cities, towns and ranchos.

So, we headed southwest toward the City of Tehuacan. On the way to Tehuacan, we came to our last Nite Camp in the outskirts of the Pueblo of Acultzingo. There was a festival going on called, "Arco de Flores" [Rainbow of Flowers]. Looked like fun time!

5PM - Painting maintenance.
MsTioga believes that her painting maintenance should go down a lot once we are out of the heavy rain areas of Mexico. I have been painting rusty stuff nearly everyday lately.

We on the TiogaRV Team feel that keeping up on rust maintenance is very, very important. Once rust gets the upper hand on a metal part, it is too late to do much!
Painting MsTioga's outer door latches.


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our goal.
Perhaps our over-riding goal, is to always be in T-shirt and short pants weather. Lately we have had to tweek this goal a bit to include being out of the high humidity & heat that we found in the Yucatan Peninsula!

As MsTioga has made her way into the Sierra Madre range, we found lots of rain here. We are on the eastern side of the continental divide. The wet weather of the Gulf of Mexico backs up against the Sierra Madre.

The challenge.
We have made a Camp here in the City of Mendoza to consider where to head now. If we were to head toward Puebla, MsTioga would ascend from 4,390 feet to 7,000 feet. Is there a better way for us to go?

And, would we find drier weather on the western side of the continental divide?


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Friday, July 25, 2008

8AM - National Park.
Northwest of the City of Orizaba is a National Park which we would like to see. Our Guia Roji map of Mexico shows a road going to La Perla, a suburb of Orizaba. La Perla appears to be very close to the National Park. MsTioga has been wending her way thru the center of Orizaba, trying to find her way to La Perla.

We made several temp camps this morning to look around and ask directions. At one of these stops, a man with a cart came by selling things. Curious, Little Mavicito went out to see what the people were buying.

A pastry cart!

9AM - La Perla.
Going thru the streets in the center of a town in Mexico is a bit of a gamble. We could find our way blocked by streets closed for an outdoor market. Sometimes trucks stopped to make deliveries, are very wide and MsTioga only has inches to pass.

We made our way thru the center of Orizaba, and came to a road where buses were traveling. One of these buses had a "La Perla" sign, so we followed that bus.

MsTioga has made her Morning Camp in what we believe is La Perla. After breakfast we shall ask neighbors about the National Park.

La Perla Morning Camp.

Weather in the Sierra Madres.
As you may know, we have been heading toward the Sierra Madre range in order to find relief from heat and humidity of the Yucatan Peninsula. We do not know too much about the Sierra Madre range in this part of Mexico. However, we have learned something about these mountains during the last few days of our journey.

We have found that as we approached the Sierra Madres, our elevation in only the past two days went from near sea level to 4,000 feet. The temperature this morning is a wonderful 72°F. And the humidity that was soooooooo oppressive, is gone!

National Park - Part 2.
During the afternoon, MsTioga and The Team searched again for the National Park. However, the roads that we found, do not go to the Park. Perhaps the National Park entrance is a bit further to the west?

We found a small river that we had seen on Google Earth. We would have made a Camp next to this stream if there was access.

Grocery markets.
The little groceries in this area do not have a place for customers to enter. The customer stands outside, and tells the clerk inside the store what is wanted. This is unusual for us. We have only seen a very few of this kind of grocery in Mexico.

Later on, we found a huge Sorianna Market. Sort of like a WalMart Super Center. Next door to the Sorianna, Little Mavicito was surprised to find an eight screen movie theater!
Eight screen movie theater.


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