Monday, November 30, 2009

Crossing into Mexico

Crossing into Mexico!
Today is the TiogaRV Team's last day in the United States. When we head out of Gila Bend this morning, the International Border is only 82 miles to the south.

For many RVers, the journey that MsTioga will make today is unthinkable. Too dangerous. Filled with terror. But for us on the TiogaRV Team, it is just another day's journey. Filled only with the events which alter and illuminate our times.

And, you are there!

9AM - MsTioga broke down!
It appears that MsTioga's fuel filter has caused her engine to stop. We are located about 20 miles south of Gila Bend, just south of a Border Patrol check point.

The closest mechanic is in Gila Bend. My cell phone is out of a service area. I have a fuel filter and fuel pump on board.

I have the phone numbers of mechanic shops in Gila Bend:
Fred's Truck and Auto Repair: (928) 683-2398
Gila Bend Auto: (928) 683-2391

Would you please try and phone them?

9:30AM - Is a mechanic coming out?
I have received an email telling that several phone calls have been received by the mechanics
that I listed.. However, I don't know if a mechanic is actually coming out?

10AM - Highway patrol says that a mechanic is on the way.
The highway patrol just told me that a mechanic is coming out from the Napa Auto Parts Company in Gila Bend.

4:30PM - Is bad luck dogging my path?
I am telling you now about what happened after everything was repaired.
  • The mechanic replaced the fuel filter, and MsTioga still would not run.
  • A tow truck came out and hauled MsTioga back into Gila Bend.
  • The low pressure fuel pump was replaced, and MsTioga is now running again.
However, I have to be honest with myself about what is happening. There is not one iota of doubt in my mind, that bad luck is dogging my path. Why all of these bad things, these breakdowns, parking tickets, more breakdowns, and even more breakdowns are happening, I have no idea.

But there is no doubt that bad stuff is happening to me. And now I am beginning to look for those bad things to happen. What is next? The Datastorm going bad? The starter going out? The fuel pump just installed going bad? BTW, this fuel pump was replaced only last April !!!

What's next!?

I just noticed that my Blogger text is going crazy. All sorts of coding that should not be there is there. My Lord? What a bummer!!
MsTioga gets towed.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


4AM - Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Tons of things are going around in my head! First off, I have to decide if I am going to remain in Yuma, Arizona for a week. You may have read in yesterday's post, that I found a Big Foot Leveler dealer here in Yuma.

Whether to install those Big Foots is another decision to be made. As Reader Devin posted in ShoutBox, "George, why would you spend thousands to install Big Foot levelers when you only need to replace the bronze nut in the levelers you have every couple of years? Why not just replace all the bronze nuts in Mr. Levelers now for a few dollars and be set for another two years?"

But that is not all. I have long wondered why fulltime RVers stay here in Arizona for the winter, instead of going into Mexico. It is somewhat cold here in Arizona, compared to the lovely warm weather of Aticama. If I stayed in Yuma for a week, I could talk to a zillion RVers here and find out the answer to that question.

There are other mysterious things about the desert that I wonder about. On the way to Yuma yesterday, I passed Imperial Dunes. Now you may likely think my imagination ran away with me when I tell you that I saw perhaps 10,000 RVers [maybe more!] camped in small RV communities out there in the desert.

They had come to Imperial Dunes simply to run up and down the huge sand dunes in dune buggies, ATVs and motorcyles! Can you imagine that?

10AM - Heading out for Gila Bend.
Well, I've been thinking all morning about those levelers. On board MsTioga, are two backup bronze nuts for the time when the nuts in the jacks wear out. That should do me fine for several years. So, I've decided not to buy those Big Foot Leveling jacks.

We are now heading out of Yuma, Arizona and heading for Gila Bend!

Are you wondering about fulltiming in Arizona?
Perhaps you are an RVer who is thinking about possibly becoming a fulltimer? And wondering about Arizona as a place to stay during the winter?

Yuma, Arizona is a city with tons of places to stay. RV campgrounds are found practically one on top of the other. If you like socializing with other RVers, you will likely love Yuma, Arizona. Yuma has all of the shopping places that you might want.

MsTioga and The Team put our seal of approval on Yuma, Arizona. In fact, all of southwest Arizona would be a wonderful place for you to explore in your RV!

4PM - Nite Camped in Gila Bend.
We have made our Nite Camp behind a church in the Town of Gila Bend, Arizona. The Sun is already setting, even this early in the afternoon.

Tonite we will be eating another Thanksgiving meal. Love that turkey, dressing, gravy and all that stuff!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Huge wind

Huge wind!
Yesterday about Sundown, a huge wind came up! This wind moved MsTioga like she was a toy RV. Shaking, rocking, rolling! No way to sleep during all of that! So, we watched movies.

About midnite, the wind slowed down to nothing and just quit. Wow! We were so happy about that.

6AM - Early on the road.
We decided to get on the road east early. Wanted to avoid driving right into the Sun. When the Sun did come up, we were in the Town of El Centro, so, we pulled into town, and made a Morning Camp next to a park.

El Centro must have gotten its name because it is about in the center of the State of California.

8AM - Parking ticket.
A cop just came by and gave me a parking ticket for parking more than 18" from the curb. Wow!

PS: I put a check in the mail immediately for the $20. I figured to pay it right away and forget it.

1PM - New leveling jacks?
We are in the City of Yuma, Arizona. There is a Big Foot Leveling Jack dealer here, and we have visited him to find out about installing these jacks.

You may recall that we have had problems with our current leveling jacks. Just recently, the bronze drive nut of our current jack let go and had to be replaced. This is a problem that occurs every few years.

If we decide to have the Big Foot jacks installed, this will mean remaining in the City of Yuma for about a week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy birthday turkey breakfast

9AM - Happy birthday turkey breakfast!
When I left John & Mimi's home yesterday, Mimi fixed me up with a Thanksgiving Care Package! All nicely contained in plastic storage boxes. This morning I was thinking about all that good food in the fridge!

So, as you may see in the pic below, I am about to enjoy a Happy Birthday Turkey Breakfast. Today is my 72nd birthday!
Birthday boy!

Affluence on the road!
Yesterday in our blog post we commented about our shock seeing so many RVs in the San Diego area, whose owners are living on the edge. Almost destitute. However, this morning we see the other side. Affluence on the road!

From our breakfast table at the Buckman Springs rest stop off Interstate #8, we see a steady stream of RVs heading east into the desert. Affluent RV owners heading out to enjoy themselves during this holiday season.

Many RVs have those garage spaces inside, which are likely filled with ATVs, dune buggys and motorcycles. For every poor person living on the edge in San Diego, there are hundreds living the good life. The life of affluence. And these affluent folks show it by all of these RVs that go streaming by our Camp.

12 Noon - Nite Camped in Ocotillo.
MsTioga and The Team have made our Nite Camp on a bluff overlooking the tiny Town of Ocotillo. In the distance, Interstate #8 traffic flows, but we cannot hear it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful for what I have

Thankful for what I have!
It is all too easy, even today on Thanksgiving Day, for me to wish for things that I do not have. To be sad for where I wish to be, instead of happy where I am.

My Son Dave is having a big party today. His huge table set for his kid guests [link]. I was wishing that I was there, instead of here. It is soooooo easy to fall into that kind of thinking. But writing here to you, reminds me of all that I have!

I am invited to John & Mimi's home for Thanksgiving supper. John and Mimi have been my friends for several years. And I have celebrated Thanksgiving at their home before. As I will today!

MsTioga is shocked!
We on the TiogaRV Team live close to the street. We are sensitive to what goes on in the streets of America and Mexico.

The last time that we lived in San Diego was in 2007. MsTioga is shocked at the amount of people seen living in the streets now. Many times more than in 2007! At the South Shore boat ramp, there are dozens of RVs day camped. Ordinary looking people in these RVs, not the down-and-out folk.

As we drove along Interstate #8 toward John & Mimi's home, we saw hotels advertising rooms for $59/nite. Not Hotel 6 kind of hotels. We are talking Ramada Inn kind of hotels.

Thanksgiving at John and Mimi's.
As you may imagine, being invited to friends John and Mimi's home for Thanksgiving is just plain wonderful. As I was leaving after supper, they commented to me that I am getting to be a "family tradition" at Thanksgiving!
Mimi and her bird.

Mimi, John and George.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The boats at dawn

6AM - The boats at dawn
MsTioga and I returned to the Shelter Island area yesterday evening, and made our Nite Camp. In the early morning, we moved down to the bay.

Little Mavicita is blown away by the beauty of the boats at dawn. She says it is like a painting!
The boats at dawn from Shelter Island.

10AM - Apology to Reader Tom.
Reader Tom knocked on MsTioga's door to say hello. Tom had been reading our blog for years. And guess what happened? I turned Tom away!

Was I cranky? Tired? Why would I do that?

Reader Tom, please accept my apology for being rude to you.

11AM - Mission Bay Park.
We have moved our Day Camp to Mission Bay Park, home of the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster. The parking lot is only partially filled. The sky is blue, the day is gorgeous.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chicken soup

Chicken soup!
What is it about chicken soup that is sooooooo good! Hmmmm?

Reader Dick from Torrance brought chicken soup yesterday. I had some for breakfast this morning. Why is it so good? Is it because the chicken soup is warm? Tasty? I don't know what. But I ate every drop. Every noodle. Every chunk of chicken.

2PM - Lake Murray Camp.
MsTioga and The Team are now at Lake Murray, east of the City of San Diego. We spent the morning and part of the afternoon, visiting with our friend John who lives nearby.

John and his wife Mimi, have invited me over for Thanksgiving Supper! Pretty neat, huh?
George at Mission Trails Regional Park
Overlooking Lake Murray

Reader Diugo wonders?
Diugo wonders in ShoutBox about our visit to American Battery yesterday? Where did we Nite Camp yesterday? What about Thanksgiving? What about my upcoming birthday? Stuff like that! How could I have forgotten about these things? Hmmmmmm?

At American Battery I bought some battery acid which will be used to bring up the specific gravity in some of the cells that are low. I also bought one of their hydrometers, which are excellent quality and easy to read.

We told you about our Nite Camp yesterday, November 23rd. Look at our 5pm post yesterday.

I've just posted above about Thanksgiving. We are invited to John and Mimi's home for Thanksgiving.

And for my birthday? I will likely be spending my birthday somewhere in Arizona, close to the Mexican frontier.

I met a man on the edge!
Yesterday afternoon as I was approaching Shelter Island in San Diego, there was an old Tioga RV in front of me. I followed the Tioga, and it entered Shelter Island, me right behind.

After the Tioga parked, I went up and asked the man driving how his Tioga was doing. He told me that he just bought his Tioga a few days ago for $900 from the Goodwill. It was a donation. He told me that it runs pretty good.

This man had been well off. Then, his wife divorced him and he moved into an apartment. He hurt his back bad, and went on disability. Recently for some reason, his disability was denied. Being unemployed, his resources dwindled. His cash is down to hundreds of dollars. Paying rent is out of the question. He now lives fulltime in his aged Tioga.

The fridge does not work. Neither does the heater. His roof leaks in front and back. He has a car, that is about to be repossessed. But this man, who is down and out, believes that he will make it back. This man who is on the edge, still has hope.

Man-O-Man! I watched as this fellow cleaned the exterior of his 1976 Tioga. And I thought to myself, how well I am doing, by comparison.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deep cycle batteries

7:30AM - Deep cycle batteries.
Our visit to American Battery this morning initially was for them to check out our batteries. However, we really do not need the batteries checked out. We on the TiogaRV Team are fully capable to do the checking.

The main problem with the batteries, is that the specific gravity needs equalizing. We have been unable to do that equalization with a daily controlled overcharge. So, we are going to do the equalization by the careful addition of battery acid [link].

While at American Battery, we want to shop their store. Mr. Sunny would like to buy a new hydrometer and perhaps some new battery cables.

Flu report.
We have good news about the flu! Today is the third day with no fever. Lung congestion is greatly reduced, likely due to over-the-counter medication, "Mucinex" which was recommended by Son Dave.

No report on the diarrhea yet this morning!

12 Noon - Beautiful Shelter Island.
We have made an Afternoon Camp on Shelter Island, in the City of San Diego. This is a gorgeous place. Across the bay we see downtown San Diego.
MsTioga at Shelter Island along San Diego Bay.

5PM - Nite Camped near the water.
MsTioga has made a Nite Camp, close to the water. This Camp is not far from our Shelter Island Afternoon Camp.

While we were at Shelter Island, Reader Dick from Torrance, California came by for a visit. Can you imagine that? All the way from Torrance?!

In the pic below, Dick is watching a slide show prepared by Son Dave for Little A to remember his good times at Dave's Home.
Dick watching slide show.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Time before the dawn

4AM - Time before the dawn.
You may still be sleeping, warm in bed. Nice dreams, misty in your head. MsTioga is rolling down the road. It is the time before the dawn. And we felt the need to be moving on.

Interstate #5 is sort of quiet at this hour. The traffic that is there, passes MsTioga fast. We are in our far right lane, at a comfortable 45.

Why are we moving at this early hour? We do not really know. MsTioga got the feeling to be heading down the road. So we are rolling along in the time before the dawn.

Little A is gone!
As you may know, my Son Dave is a foster parent. Last Friday, one of his three foster kids left Dave's Home. We call him "A", using only the first letter of his name to maintain anonymity.

Though I am now far away, Little A's leaving is a sad thing for me. I got to know Little A who is only 7 years old. Son Dave prepared a slide show for Little A, showing many of the things done while he lived at Dave's Home. I've watched that slide show many times. The pics and music of that slide show pull on my heart strings.

Lord! Why do little kids have to suffer? May Little A be happy in his new home! [link]

12 Noon - American Battery
We have gone to the City of Escondido, which is the home of American Battery. We bought six deep cycle batteries here in 2007. We want those batteries checked out, because they appear to be discharging too fast.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A strange disease

7AM - A strange disease!
Yes! This flu that I have is a very strange disease. For the past 24 hours, it seems that I have no fever. I've needed no Advil. But I am still sick!

This strange disease seem to be heading south in my body. Into my lungs with congestion, and into my bowels with diarrhea. There seems to be no infection in my lungs. Not from the color of the stuff I cough up.

Diarrhea? Well, I am not going to write about the color of that here!

Overall, I feel better. Is this how the flu ends?

4PM - Camped at Roadside Rest.
We have made a Camp at a State of California roadside rest. There is a small hill between this Camp and huge Interstate #5, which somewhat buffers the traffic noise.

There is a dump station at this roadside rest, which MsTioga has already used!

We may stay the nite here. A sign at the entrance provides notice that limits staying here to no more than eight hours.

Still no Advil!
It has NOT been necessary to use any medication, all day long. No Advil! Wow!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why the TiogaRV Team went north

Why the TiogaRV Team went north!
On Friday morning, October 16, 2009, we were happily camped in Mexico at the lake of Santa Maria del Oro. When Mr. Datastorm tried to go online, he crashed! Mr. Datastorm no longer worked!

Mr. Steve O'Bosky our Datastorm dealer suspected that our Datastorm transmitter went bad. For a few moments I considered having the transmitter shipped to me in Mexico. But, I gave up that thought because I was unsure of how to install the transmitter.

So, just because I was unsure of the transmitter installation, the decision to travel all the way to the USA and back was decided! I made no consideration of the dollar cost of such a trip. Little consideration of the time required. No thoughts about the weather. I did not consider the risks of such a trip. I just headed north!

What broke and went bad?
As we traveled north to the USA, things began to break. What caused things to break? Who can say? Just traveling over bumpy roads?
  • Tuesday, October 20, 2009: Air conditioning went bad. Cost to recharge $107.16
  • Wednesday, October 21, 2009: Water pump broke $183.16
  • Thursday, October 29, 2009: Isolator switch broke $47.50
  • Saturday, October 31, 2009: Starter motor solenoid relay switch $10.91
  • Tuesday, November 03, 2009: First noticed my flu symptoms
  • Monday, November 09, 2009: Dometic fridge cooling unit replaced $630
  • Friday, November 13, 2009: Leveler failed. Self repaired $0
  • Thursday, November 19, 2009: Went to hospital for flu examination $?
Cost of this trip.
The TiogaRV Team has paid a great deal to go on this trip north to the USA. From the day we headed north until today. $3,938.23 has been spent. $999.90 for just the gasoline cost alone. And, we still have 1,700 miles to go before we reach Aticama!

Our $dollar$ costs are not our only costs! MsTioga will have traveled over 4,000 miles by the time we return to our winter home base of Aticama in Mexico. Who can say what this long trip has done to MsTioga?

Wondering why things went bad?
I wondered to you in my blog writing, why things were going bad during this trip? My experience has taught me that things happen for a reason. However, it never occurred to me before yesterday, that the reason may be bad judgment! My bad judgment to make a trip to the USA instead of shipping the Datastorm transmitter to Mexico.

This month I will celebrate my 72nd birthday. I want to live my life without worry. I want to live my life without fear. However, this trip has caused me to re-think my decision making process. Risks are greater for me as I get older. I've got to be more thoughtful and considerate how what I plan to do will impact me. Getting the flu, for example, is likely something that happened only because of this trip and this flu could still turn into pneumonia.

Reviewing the trip.
There is no doubt that although a lot of things went bad during this trip, that I have had a wonderful time traveling. I love to travel. Love to feel the motion of MsTioga moving along the road. To get into MsTioga's rhythm as we roll along is my destiny.