Sunday, May 31, 2009

Buying your home in Mexico

Buying your home in Mexico.
All around the place where MsTioga has made her Nite Camp, there are block walls constructed. These walls enclose rectangular areas. What are these places? Hmmmm?

Late yesterday evening just before dark, I took a walk around the neighborhood of my Nite Camp. There are no sidewalks here. No paved streets. I walked on earth between these block walls.

Children were playing, and I walked toward the sound of the voices. A bunch of kids were playing jump rope. The rope was long, one end attached to the bumper of a truck. An adult woman twirled the rope, and as she twirled called out to those trying to jump. "Enter, enter! Faster! Leave, leave!" There were about 12 young kids trying their luck at the rope. And, there was one adult woman. When this woman exited the jump rope, I asked about the block walls.

"Those are homes", she told me. "Inside the walls are homes that people are building", she went on. "If you are here tomorrow, it is Sunday. That is when some families come to work on their homes. That home over there has a door in the wall where you may look inside." She pointed at a block wall a short distance away.

Looking in thru that door, actually just an opening in the block wall, the first thing I saw was a round planter made of concrete blocks. A tree growing in this planter is about ten feet tall. There is only one small partially constructed room. I walked back to ask the woman jumping rope how long the family of this construction project had been building. "Oh, a long time", she replied. "It takes time to save some money", she finished.

Sunday is Skype day!
Today I talked to two fellow Skypers. One is my friend Dick Siebert who lives in Martinez, California. The other Skype person is my son Joseph who lives in Santa Cruz, California.

It is really neat being able to hear voices from far-a-way! Son Joseph suggested that we Skype at each other while we were visiting in Yosemite Park.

3PM - Driving around Tequisquiapan.

We decided to take an afternoon drive around Tequisquiapan. Driving thru many towns in Mexico can be somewhat of a tense activity. Especially in an RV. Many streets are narrow. Traffic today in some streets came from the opposite direction when there is only room for one vehicle. However, MsTioga is becoming an accomplished veteran. And, she handled herself very well today.

Without our Garmin Nuvi GPS, The Team would have become utterly lost. But with the Nuvi, we found the street that took us exactly where we wanted to go. Our Garmin Nuvi is fantastic! Invaluable!

Did I mention fantastic and invaluable? Well, let me re-state my position! Without Garmin Nuvi GPS, we might never have been found again!

5PM - T-Bone Restaurant.
Nearby our Nite Camp is a shopping center with a restaurant called "T-Bone." For supper tonite we went over to T-Bone's and ordered a hamburger. Actually, a Double Hamburger. It was assumed that a double meant two-patties. However this double was much bigger. It was GIGANTIC!
T-Bone's Double Burger!


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Suspension shop.
Yesterday afternoon I asked some taxi driver guys for a recommendation for a good suspension shop in Tequisquiapan. They gave me directions to this shop and MsTioga will be going there this morning.

Several ShoutBox posts have offered advice to get a new leaf spring bracket to replace both of MsTioga's that are cracked. I'm going to try to do that. However, if new suspension parts cannot be found, repair is my alternative.

In order to replace or repair the cracked bracket, I believe that the gray water tank must be removed. In yesterday's close-up pic of the cracked bracket, you may see the gray water tank on the bottom of the pic. There is no room for a mechanic to work without dropping this tank.

Another alternative is to locate these brackets in the United States and have them shipped to me here in Tequisquiapan, Mexico. This would include bushings, bolts and whatever else goes along with the brackets.

Below is the only pic of this bracket that I've been able to find on the net so that you will be able to see what this bracket looks like.
Bracket is identified with red arrow.

8AM - Taller de Muelles.
We are looking for a Taller de Muelles. This is a suspension shop that specializes in working with suspension parts. Not a shock absorber and tire shop. Beside the taxi guys who yesterday told us of this shop, several other people told us of this same place.

Now, this is a great story! On arriving at this shop, the shop owner said that his shop is not what we want. He sent his son in their car along with me and we drove to this Taller de Muelles. We had to wait for 1/2 hour before the shop opened. Then the son negotiated with this shop for a price for me.

Now! Isn't that the greatest thing?

9:30AM - Back at the Taller de Muelles.

MsTioga has driven to the suspension shop. They have tons of suspension brackets in stock, and they go thru their stock to find those that fit MsTioga. However, the right size suspension brackets cannot be found in their stock.

We are told to return next Tuesday morning and the correct brackets will be here. Then, the suspension repairs will be done.
MsTioga in the Muelle Shop.

Heavy duty suspension bracket.

11AM - Camped in vacant lot.
After MsTioga filled her water tank at a Pemex gas station, we looked for a quiet Camp. We found our Camp a short distance north of last nite's Camp. We are in a vacant lot.

1:30PM - Rust maintenance.
For the past couple of hours, I've been working on neutralizing the underside oxidation with Must For Rust. This stuff works. It seems to stop the rusting. However, I am really too old for this kind of activity.

Much of my time underneath MsTioga, I spend just looking up at all that stuff! While I was under there this afternooon, it came to me that it will likely take most of the summer to finish deoxidizing MsTioga's underside.

6:30PM - Rain!
Little Mavicita went out in the steady rain to capture this pic for you to see! She is sooooooo brave!

As you may see, MsTioga and The Team are staying the nite in a vacant field. There are some homes close by behind MsTioga.
The Team's Nite Camp in Tequisquiapan.
Elevation: 6,221 feet - Temp outside: 70°F

The lady.
After sundown, while there was still daylight, a lady began doing something under the tree in front of MsTioga. At first it was not clear what she was doing there. The tree branches droop down, covering up. She was bending down. Some of the plants [actually weeds] near her were moving.

Then I was able to see her. The lady is collecting twigs. Twigs that had fallen to the ground. Most often the lady moved on the other side of the tree. She moved slowly, a shuffling walk. She is clothed in a long dress and covered up with a shawl. After over half an hour, she came out on this side of the tree and headed away, moving the shawl to cover her head. She wore leather sandals. Her hair is gray. In her arms is a small cluster of sticks that she collected.

I watched the lady slowly shuffle her way along. I thought about how much I have, compared to her. How comfortable is my life inside MsTioga.


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Friday, May 29, 2009

7AM - A nice shower in the morning.
Isn't it a wonderful thing to have a nice warm shower in the morning? Extra special wonderful if you are living fulltime in an RV!

MsTioga's hot water heater is only used for showers. So, the timer in the iPod is used for keeping the water heater on to obtain a perfect temperature! It takes about eight minutes for the heater to get the temp right.

You may know that our shower is used for a storage space. When it is time for a shower, the clothes go on the bed, hangers and all. Mr. Wave6 our catalytic heater goes on the floor along with the new ladder, clothes hamper and broom.

Up here at almost the 9,000 foot elevation, it is nice to come out of the shower to a warm MsTioga. So, on entering the shower, on goes the forced air furnace.

9AM - Heading for Tequisquiapan.

This morning MsTioga and The Team are heading northeasterly out of Amealco. Our destination is Tequisquiapan, which according to our Garmin Nuvi GPS, is only 46.4km away.

We do not know much about Tequisquiapan. Mauricio González, our friend in León, suggested going there. So, we are!

11AM - San Juan del Rio.
When we arrived at the outskirts of the City of San Juan del Rio, the highway to Tequisquiapan went around San Juan. We wanted to take a peek inside this town.

A Comercial Mexicana store was found [like WalMart]. MsTioga made a Morning Camp there. While shopping, we came across a pair of chrome license plate frames. MsTioga had been hinting that she needed new frames, because the present frames were corroded. I had painted the corrosion with silver paint.

MsTioga complained that she was too good a person to have her license frames repainted with silver paint! Ooooh!
Installing MsTioga's frames.

3:30PM - Camped in Tequisquiapan.
MsTioga and The Team have made our Camp in a residential neighborhood of Tequisquiapan. During the drive here, it was noticed that MsTioga's gasoline gauge is remaining on full. A wire may have pulled out of the electric circuit.

Cracked suspension bracket.
After leveling out, I went underneath MsTioga to see if a dangling wire could be found near the gasoline tank. I did not find a dangling wire. However, I did find a cracked suspension bracket. Do you recall the suspension bracket on the right side that was cracked and repaired a few weeks ago? This newly found cracked bracket is in the same location but on the opposite side [left side].

So, now we have two items in need of repair. The gasoline gauge by an auto electric mechanic. And the cracked suspension bracket by an excellent welder. If possible, I am considering replacing both right and left suspension brackets at this time.

In the pic below, I've cleaned off the bracket and taken a close-up with Little Mavicita.
Cracked suspension bracket.

6:30 PM - Our Camp in Tequisquiapan.
MsTioga in Tequisquiapan.
Elevation: 6,234 feet - Temperature 82°F outside


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

7:30AM - Morning walk.
Yesterday afternoon MsTioga made her Camp near where a car had an alarm that had gone off. By the time for sleeping had arrived, the horn for that alarm was still sounding. And, the car was only 100 feet away. So, we moved our Nite Camp a couple of blocks away.

This morning is a bright and sunshiny day! We took our Morning walk going several blocks around MsTioga's Camp. In the pic below, Little Mavicita captured MsTioga at her Camp. We are very close to the plaza and the church.
Our Camp below the Church.

8AM - Mr. Dometic service.

According to our maintenance software, it is time to service Mr. Dometic, our hard working refrigerator. Mr. Dometic receives service every six months. This service is only for the cooling unit compartment, not cleaning the inside of the fridge and freezer.

The entire compartment is cleaned. All electric connections checked. The burner which you see in the pic below is cleaned with a brush while the burner is off. Then, the burner is turned on and the flame checked.
Mr. Dometic's burner looking good.

1:30PM - Water falls and rivers?

Everybody on the TiogaRV Team believed that there are waterfalls and rivers around the City of Amealco. However, we could not find even one sign of a river here.

We asked many people living in Amealco where the waterfalls are located. There are no waterfalls here! Wow!

MsTioga changed her Amealco Camp. She is now higher on a the hill a bit south of El Centro and the church. The road we are on is wide, and there is not much traffic passing.
Camped in view of Amealco church.
Elevation: 8,669 feet - Temperature outside: 77°F

Good bye new ads!

Well, our experiment with new ads from the services of AdBrite, Kontera, Project Wonderful and even did not prove to be very profitable. Google's AdSense beats all of these other ad programs to bits!

We on The Team agree with Readers who did not like full page ads popping up in front of our blog. Also, those inline popup ads are annoying. So, all of those new ads are gone now.

5PM - Mr. Trek's repair.
We decided to take a ride on Mr. Trek down to Amealco's plaza. At the bottom of the hill, one of Mr. Trek's pedals got stuck. It wouldn't rotate!

After walking Mr. Trek back up the hill to MsTioga, the pedal was removed. Solvent was squirted into the bearing to clean it out, then lithium grease to lube it. The pedal turned, but the bearing was very rough.

After biking down to the plaza, the pedal started sticking again. We asked for a bicycle shop, and were given directions. After a couple of blocks, we asked again for the bicycle shop. It took two more "asks" before we came to the bicycle shop.

A pair of metal pedals was bought. $55 pesos [$4.23US] The bike mechanic insisted on installing the pedals himself for free. But Mr. Trek insisted on paying him $10 pesos for his service!
Mr. Trek has new pedals.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

8AM - Marcelino mi amigo.
This morning my friend Marcelino knocked on MsTioga's door. It is the custom here to chat with friends. We both sat outside for a couple of hours and talked. Me in my pajamas.

We talked about many things. About how to plant corn in the fields. How the water is piped to his home. Potable water too! Marcelino told me about when the rain comes, in May, June and July. How dry it has been this year. Marcelino did not tell me his age, but he has been married for 35 years.

He has traveled to Tijuana ten times in his life, in order to cross the border into California. Marcelino found work in ranchos growing wine grapes. Finding work tending grapes was easy. There are lots of Mexican friends in California to help find work.

In the pic below, Marcelino did not want to look up into the camera. He is a quiet and shy man.
Marcelino mi amigo.

2PM - Amealco!
We have made an Afternoon Camp in the City of Amealco. Upon reaching Amealco, we did several things.

First, MsTioga stopped to fill up on gasoline and propane gas. At the propane place, there was a water hose bibb. So, we filled the water tank.

A few blocks further, we happened upon a Mandarin restaurant. Here in Mexico! Imagine that? Going inside, I asked if there were people here who spoke Mandarin Chinese? The man who owned this little restaurant told me that he worked for a Chinese man who spoke Mandarin. That was in the State of Iowa. That's where he learned to cook Chinese food.

I watched as he prepared my order of sweet and sour pork. Also fried rice. Good food!

3PM - Camped in Amealco.
MsTioga and The Team drove all around Amealco looking for some spectacular places reputed to be here. We could not find them. So, we have made an Afternoon Camp to get our bearings. Mr. Datastorm will go up and take a look-see using Google Earth.

4 to 6PM - The plaza of Amealco.
It turned out that the plaza of Amealco with its famous church is only several blocks from our Camp. Little Mavicita and I walked up there. And, we took our little Garmin Nuvi GPS to prevent getting lost.

On arriving in the plaza, a boy came up selling chewing gum. His nickname is "Chorizo." I spent some time talking talking with Chorizo, who seemed to be quite a good businessboy! Next to us a man is shining shoes. I spent about an hour talking with this man.

It is a bit surprising how well my conversational Spanish is going. My understanding of what others are saying still needs improvement, but is coming along nicely. When I speak to people, they understand me very well. Apparently my accent has gotten much better!
The church in Amealco.

Chorizo the businessboy and his young friend.

Note: As I took the pic above, I said, "Smile!" Look at the little boy. Just like kids everywhere!


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

7:30AM - Heavy school traffic!
We awoke to noise outside. It was heavy school traffic. Tons of parents driving to drop their kids off at school.

I got dressed quickly, and MsTioga worked her way into the traffic and we got out of there.
School traffic viewed from MsTioga's rear window.

8AM - Gated community.
We drove straight ahead for about 1/2 mile and made a Morning Camp in a very nice neighborhood. MsTioga is parked in front of a newly built gated community. Some homes are still in process of construction.

We asked the guard at the gate, how much it costs to buy homes here. "About $3 million pesos", he replied [$231,000US]. That's a lot. Not by California standards, however!
Little Mavicita looks thru the gate at homes.

11AM - Camped in the country.
MsTioga and The Team just had to stop at this place. We are high here, 7,849 feet in elevation. It's cool, 78°F. During this morning's drive heading out of Villa del Pueblito, MsTioga traveled thru somewhat arid land. Here there are trees; pine, oak and other trees.

From this Camp, we look down at ranchos and a reservoir/lake.
Our Camp in the country.

12 Noon - Lunch.
For lunch a very nice chicken salad was served! The chicken chunks came from the roasted chicken that we bought yesterday. Our avocado had ripened to perfection. So, we also had guacamole and corn chips.
Chicken salad, corn chips and guacamole.

Lunch meeting.
During lunch, MsTioga called for a Team Meeting. It seems as though several Team Members like this place a lot, and want to stay Camped here over nite. The vote was unanimous. However, MsTioga did not want to Camp next to the highway. "The wind from passing traffic is very uncomfortable. Why don't we stay on that ranch over there", said MsTioga.

Talking to the ranch owner.
So, Jorge was selected to go talk to the ranch owner. Jorge walked down the ranch road where the ranchero was tending to two of his horses. Jorge and the the ranchero [Marcelino Pan de Vino] talked for awhile.

Jorge mentioned to Marcelino that he owned a beautiful ranch. The name of the ranch is "La Biata." Permission was given for MsTioga to stay the nite on La Biata!
Rancho La Biata Camp.


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