Monday, September 29, 2008

7AM - Heading south.
This morning, my son David is driving me to the Amtrak station in Martinez, California. My feelings are mixed, because I love to stay here at David's home, and I also love to travel.

The Amtrak train will take me to Santa Barbara, California where I will stay at Uncle Seymour and Aunt Shirley's home for a few days.

A new way to travel.
There is another thing that I would like to share with you. It is the realization that I now understand a new way of traveling to visit with my family in California. In the past, I've driven MsTioga here to California. Such a trip takes a lot of time and is costly. However, by flying to California, I'm able to get here in only a few hours. And the trip is not expensive!
  • Mexican Airlines - $327.
  • Santa Barbara Airbus - $44.
  • Amtrak train - $42.
That's only $413 for transportation costs! MsTioga gets about 8 miles/gallon. So MsTioga would be able travel only about 1,100 miles for $413. This realization blows my mind!


No map links today.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Plans to return to Mexico.
This morning the replacement leveling jack was delivered by UPS. With that delivery, reservations may be made for returning to Mexico!

The leveling jack and all the other purchased stuff is being packaged into one piece of baggage this afternoon.

Amtrak train.
On Monday morning [09/29], son David will drive us to the Amtrak Station in Martinez, California. We catch the Coast Starlight train at 7:34am. We arrive in Santa Barbara, California at 6:17pm. We stay with Uncle Seymour and Aunt Shirley in Santa Barbara until Wednesday evening.

Santa Barbara Airbus.
We catch the Santa Barbara Airbus at 7:20pm on Wednesday evening [10/01] which takes us directly to Los Angeles International Airport. We arrive at the airport at 9:45pm. The bus leaves us off at the Mexicana Airlines terminal.

Mexicana Airlines non-stop to Zacatecas Airport.
Our Mexican Airlines flight takes off at 1:10am, Thursday, October 2nd. This is a non-stop flight. We plan to check all the stuff that we bought, including the replacement leveling jack for the return flight to Mexico.

Our flight lands at Zacatecas Airport at 6:20am CDT. We will then catch a taxi to the City of Jerez where MsTioga and the rest of The Team are waiting patiently for us to return.


No map links at our homebase.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Three Million Visits!
Sometime today our web counter will go over three million visits for our site. Below is a video about it.


No map links at our homebase.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

RV business.
There are a few more things that MsTioga needs for me to bring back to Mexico. So, this morning I went to an RV place named East Bay RV in Martinez, California. It turns out that East Bay RV is closing for good this week. The man in the parts department suggested that I go to Camping World located in Cordelia, California.

When we arrived at Camping World, the store seemed quiet. Not too many customers in the store. Hmmmmm? The RV business around my home base seems to be hurting.


No map links at our homebase.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My friend Paul Gouveia and the Veterans Monument.
I first met my friend Paul shortly after the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. That was when I got interested in restoring the Veterans Monument in Pleasant Hill, California. It seemed to me then, that citizens were forgetting why these wars were fought. And I wanted to do something to preserve the memories.

Separately at first, and then together, Paul and I worked to get things in motion to restore the monument. This morning we went to breakfast together to talk about those times, and share our friendship.
Veterans Monument
in Pleasant Hill.

Memorial restoration plaque.

Paul Gouveia.

Do you love to pay your bills?
I sure do! It gives me a real kick to pay my bills. A sense of accomplishment, and pride. Today I mailed away my 2007 tax returns and payment.

It was necessary to file for an extension for my 2007 tax returns because I was running around in Mexico and did not have an easy way to get tax stuff to my tax preparer. Then when my computer got stolen in Jerusalem, that put a crimp printing out the tax stuff until I got back to Mexico again.

Today, I signed my federal and state returns and mailed them together with my payment to the government. Love that!
Mailing my tax returns.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Leveling Jack for MsTioga.
We posted here in our blog a couple of days ago, that we planned to replace our destroyed PowerPlus leveling jack with a Big Foot leveler. However, adapting the Big Foot jack to replace the PowerPlus proved to be a challenge. Also, the cost was prohibitive.

So, we decided to stick with the PowerPlus leveler. We ordered one PowerPlus scissors jack and three backup bronze nuts for the scissors jack. These should be delivered this coming Friday.

The bronze nuts are the weakest part of the jack. That is why three of these nuts are being ordered to act as backup. The new scissors jack is ordered to replace the destroyed jack that was crushed when I drove MsTioga into a drainage culvert back several months ago.

Breakfast with Mr. Dick.
This morning we had breakfast with our friend Mr. Dick at the Giant Chef Burger in Pleasant Hill, California. You may recall that we have breakfast with Mr. Dick each time we return to our Concord, California homebase.

Little Mavicito would have loved to take a pic of myself and Mr. Dick to show you. However, this morning Little Mavicito was left behind and forgotten at son David's home!


No map links at our homebase.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A ton of things to do!
While at our home base in Concord, we have a ton of things to do:
  • File 2007 federal tax return.
  • Buy backup trunnion nuts for leveling jacks.
  • Buy Big Foot leveler to replace destroyed scissors jack.
  • Buy replacement XM Radio.
  • Figure out how to ship leveler jack and trunnion nuts to Mexico.
  • Buy backup inverter for MsTioga.
Shipping stuff to Mexico is very important to figure out. I cannot be lugging big stuff like a heavy leveling jack on to an airplane, taxi, etc. Much better to order things and arrange for their shipment. That way I may pick up the shipment at a prearranged city in Mexico.

Using son David's car for errands.
This morning we will be borrowing son David's car to do errands. David takes Bay Area Rapid Transit to work.

3PM - Got a lot done!
We are now back at son David's home and anxious to share with you all that has been done today. First we phoned the tax guy's office and asked to pick up the tax return. We were told to come by in an hour, and the return would be ready.

Wow! Things are starting off great!

Then we went over to nearby Fry's Electronics. Immediately we found an extension cable with a 3.5mm mini plug. This is something that we had been looking for all over Mexico without success. Second thing found was a 1000 watt continuous output inverter. This will be the backup inverter in the list above.

When we went to look for the replacement XM Radio, the department manager in Fry's asked if we could return to talk to the people coming in at noon. So, we went out for lunch at our favorite Chinese buffet place.
Chinese buffet is soooooo good!

Back at Fry's Electronics after lunch, we bought an XM Radio XpressEZ. The support department at XM Radio changed over this new XM receiver and removed the old one that went bad on us.
Showing off the stuff we got today.


No map links at our homebase.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

7PM - Birthday Party Day.
Today our little family got together to have a birthday breakfast. The four of us; myself, ex-wife Evie, sons David and Joseph celebrate our birthdays during this part of the year.

After breakfast at son David's home in Concord, California, we spent much of the day talking about stuff. Since I am living far away in Mexico, getting together like this is special for me.

Now it is the early evening, and I am sharing this short blog post to let you know what happened today.


No map links at our homebase.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

9AM - The City of Oakland.
We are in the City of Oakland this morning with son David who is working on a transit project. We got here from our home base in Concord, using BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit].

David is working on the CyberTran project, which this morning involves a model rail test. One of the reasons that I flew in from Mexico, is to share in some of the excitement of the CyberTran.
Son David and co-worker Kevin
talk about model train test.

1PM - Debugging model trains and operating programs.

All morning long preparations have been made for a model train demonstration for the management committee. However, various bugs have prevented success.

The problem could be bad wire connections.
Checking tests according to plotted graphs.


No map links at our homebase.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This afternoon we will catch a Mexicana Airlines flight out of Mexico. Our trip has two legs.

First we fly to Los Angeles. After a layover of a few hours, we catch a United Express flight to Oakland, California. We will meet with my son David in Oakland and ride to our home base in Concord on the Bay Area Rapid Transit.

What an exciting day this is!

The main reasons for this trip are twofold. It is birthday time in our family now, and I've always made it my business to be in Concord during September. Also, there are some major exciting changes going on in the family. I may be able to share these with you later on.

MsTioga and Little Boid.
Plans have been made to park MsTioga in a fenced yard close to Victor's Veterinary store. MsTioga should be safe there. This yard is the property of Felipe.

Little Boid will be cared for by Victor, the son of Felipe and a veterinarian. For now, the plan is that Boid will remain inside MsTioga while I am gone on this trip. Most likely, Boid will also stay in his cage. That way he will be less likely to find trouble. Boid gets disoriented and perhaps afraid when the Sun goes down if he is not inside his cage.

9PM - We are in Concord, California!

Guess where we are? Little Mavicito, Ms. Viola and George are at son David's home in Concord, California. It is really something to be deep in the center of Mexico, and then only a few hours later here at our home base in California.

We had a great trip. Blows us away!
El Centro of the City of Los Angeles.
Just before landing.


No map links at our homebase.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breakfast with a neighbor.
This morning I am going to breakfast with my neighbor. We met yesterday afternoon while I was doing a bit of maintenance on MsTioga. I have to confess that I do not even know his name! Somehow, we just started a conversation which lasted over an hour, and never exchanged names.

He owns a veterinary supplies store, and raises sheep. The kind of sheep that looks like goats. Little Mavicito took a pic of him and some of his goats.
My neighbor & his goats.

My friend Felipe.
My neighbor who is now also my friend is Felipe. He arrived at MsTioga's to pick me up for breakfast at a bit past 9AM. But on the way, Felipe, his son Victor and I went to their nearby corral to load ten sheep into a trailer. The sheep are going to be sold to a neighbor. The neighbor will fatten the sheep up on corn, then transport them to the USA to be sold.

After delivering the sheep, Felipe and I went to a very nice but reasonably priced restaurant off the plaza at the center of town. During breakfast I learned that Felipe's son Victor is a veterinarian, and together they run this multi-faceted business that includes everything from raising and selling sheep to renting generators and toilets for fiestas. Very enterprising guys!

Visiting with family in California.
For some weeks I've been wanting to visit again with my family in California. In past years I've always returned to California during September in order to be there during birthday time for my sons. However, there did not seem to be anyway to provide safety for MsTioga and somebody to take care of Little Boid.

Somehow I met Felipe and his son Victor. They live in a safe place, and have offered for MsTioga to stay in one of their corrals [yards]. Victor is a veterinarian, and has offered to look in on Little Boid to change his seeds and water.

I have written to you about coincidences before. Is meeting Felipe and his son Victor a coincidence? Merely something that happened by mere chance?

Or, is it something else? Hmmmmm?


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