Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sea Change

Sea change!
It appears that a sea change in my life is in the making. The event of my son Dave's suicide brought into clear focus that my future is an unknown.  Plans although important, are not facts to be counted upon.  Yes, I was aware before Dave passed away of these things.  However, I took for granted that some things could be counted upon in my future.  This turned out to be BS.

I've noticed that my relationships with others is in the process of changing.  I used to travel along in MsTioga, visiting people along the way.  Rarely would I stay in contact with these people until I suddenly appeared where they live.  That kind of relationship seems not to be enough for me now.  It will be interesting to find how this change will affect me and the people that I know.

The quest for achieving my Values and Goals [link] has been renewed with amazing vigor and success!  I am amazed.  There were some goals that before Dave's passing I could not achieve.  For example, the goals in my Health value.  "#5 To never over eat"  I just could not get #5 down!  Most all of the other Health value goals too!  They just escaped me.  Now I seem to be achieving all of these goals.

From where did this insight that led me to my sea change come? Well, you may surprised that much of it came from my children. Much from my son Dave, who lived a high class life. After Dave died and I lived in his home, I saw how he lived and how he behaved. I wanted to be like him!

Note:  I cannot write about my other son here in my blog, because my other son does not want to be exposed here in my very public blog.

11:30AM - Breakfast Camped on toll road
MsTioga and I decided to take the toll roads.  We usually do not take toll roads, because we miss so much.  We prefer to take the much slower and single lane free roads because the free roads take us to all the places where the Mexican people live. However, on this trip we have a deadline.   We must return by Wednesday morning in order to make our United Air Lines flight at 4pm in Puerto Vallarta.  MsTioga is staying at La Peñita RV Park in Jaltemba, Nayarit while I fly back to Dave's home in California for two weeks.

On the way to this Breakfast Camp, MsTioga stopped at Z-Gas station to fill her propane tank.  While at the Z-Gas station, I got to talking to Jesus, the guy filling the tank.  He wanted to practice his English on me.  Jesus spoke English pretty good.  I gave Jesus a 1/2 bag of potato chips that I bought yesterday.  I don't need potato chips anymore!

3:15PM - Hi Baby Boid!
As we approached the Town of Magdelena, everybody on The Team got all excited.  Because this is the place where we last saw Baby Boid!  That was on the 25th of April, 2009.

Little Mavicita looked out thru MsTioga's window and said, "Maybe Baby Boid will see us, and fly over to say hi!"  Mr. Dometic peered out thru his grill cover, searching for Baby Boid.  MsTioga said, "I really loved that Baby Boid".   And George said, "I miss  you Baby Boid!".
Boid on the morning of his last day in MsTioga

Note: Click [here] to read about Boid's last day.

5PM - Pueblo of Chapalilla
MsTioga pulled into what appears to be a sports field in the Pueblo of Chapalilla. Here is where we will make our Nite Camp.

 The elevation in Chapalilla is about 2,900 feet. It is a lot warmer here than in the City of León.
Jorge and MsTioga in Chapalilla

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heading out

Heading out!
Sometime this morning, MsTioga and The Team are heading our from the City of León.  We are heading for La Peñita RV Park located in Jaltemba, Nayarít on the Pacific coast.  La Peñita is 295 miles away.  So, we likely will not get there until Wednesday morning, December 1st.

MsTioga will have to move at WARP speed in order to get there by December 1st because her preferred daily distance is only 30 miles!

Today will be the first time MsTioga has headed out since September 28th, the day I flew out from the City of León for San Francisco, California to help my son Dave with what I thought then was only a legal problem.

9AM - Pemex for gasoline
Just after leaving the González family's neighborhood, we stopped at a Pemex gas station to fill MsTioga's tank. The price per liter has gone up. It is now 8.68 pesos per liter. My calculation is that this equals $2.45US/gallon. That seems pretty low!

Note:  Pemex' Magna is similar to regular gasoline in the USA.
Is this $2.45US/gallon?
Readers in Shoutbox write it's in the $2.60s

12 Noon - BBQ chicken
A really famous BBQ chicken chain in Mexico, is Pollo Feliz, which means Happy Chicken! Their chicken is soooooo good! I bought half a chicken, and paid $3.20US. The chicken came with a small salad, several corn tortillas and a bag of salsa.

In the pic below, I'm enjoying my Pollo Feliz feast. For lunch I ate everything but the breast, which I plan to eat for supper.
Pollo Feliz for lunch!

5:30PM - Nite Camped in Tepatitlán
MsTioga and The Team have found a nice Nite Camp in a residential neighborhood in Tepatitlán. Awhile back we crossed the border and are now in the State of Jalisco.

I've already taken a nice warm shower, and feel really clean!  The water heater worked great after those two months of not being used while I was in California.

9PM - Police knock on MsTioga's door!
Two police officers came calling. It seems that one of our neighbors phoned them saying that a suspicious vehicle is parked nearby. This is unusual, for Mexico. I cannot recall a neighbor calling police on MsTioga before.

The men were very polite. One spoke a little English. He told me he worked for awhile in North Carolina but had to return home because his mom was sick.

It's OK for us to stay here tonite. As they left, they wished me a good journey!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good bye George

1AM - Good bye George!
And welcome back, Jorge!  I am back living inside MsTioga.  The CD player is playing a Mark Knopfler [Dire Straits] album, "Shangri-La".  I love this album and have listened to it hundreds of times recently while traveling around California.  When I was cleaning up Dave's office about a month ago, I came across a couple of cardboard boxes filled with 100s of CDs.  "Shangri-La" was one of those CDs.

That is how things are now inside MsTioga.  I am surrounded by things that were Dave's.  Clothing.  An "American Tourister" rolling luggage bag.  The leather carrying bag that Dave carried back and forth from his job at BART.  I am using all of these things now.

There's more of course.  One of my favorite pics is of Dave, myself and son Joe that was taken on the day Joe graduated from college in 1997. That pic sits on top of my HP printer on the right side of the desk.  Just above the graduation pic, there is a pic of Dave and Pussle Cat.  A pic that I took myself.

Something is very strange. Since I arrived back at MsTioga, to me, Dave is not dead anymore!  To me, Dave is alive as he ever was alive.  Even though one afternoon a couple of months ago, I sat down with my back against that same tree where Dave sat down on his fateful afternoon.  Even though I did the arranging with the Calaveras County coroner for Dave's cremation.  To me, deep inside where my heart resides, my Dave is still alive!

Isn't that a fantastic miracle?  Hmmmmm?
Below: Dave, George, Joe, my Mom
Above: Dave and Pussle Cat

12 Noon - Buying nochebuena
In Mexico, poinsettias are called nochebuena [Spanish=have a good nite] The family all piled into their big red truck, and we went to the plant place [I am considered a part of the family!]. It's a big nursery which, because of the Christmas season, has stocked up with tons of nochebuena!

The family bought about 25 of these plants for a big celebration which is coming next Sunday at the González home. Their youngest child, Sabastian, is having his communion. A hundred relatives and friends are expected!
Mauricio, Sebastian, Monse, Edith

Many different color of poinsettias

4PM - Washing Señorita Tioga
Señorita Tioga is covered with dust! Using water from the González home, I first washed Tioga's roof. Then all the rest. Took 2-1/2 hours! I am glad that I am good shape, otherwise I'd be wiped out!
Jorge washing la Señorita
González home has the gates open

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Leon Mexico

Flying back to Mexico!
This morning at 8:45am, Continental #1890 takes off from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California.  I'll be flying back to MsTioga in Mexico!

My friend Mauricio González is picking me up at the Del Bajio International Airport west of the City of León at 5:20pm.  It will feel good to be back home again!

September, 2010 Trip Plan
I just took a peek at my 2010 Trip Plan which has remained unchanged since its September, 2010 posting.  The last line of that Trip Plan post reads:

Where our September journey will end is a mystery! Might depend on the weather! 

Wow!  When I wrote that Trip Plan post back in early September, I had not a clue to the irony of my words.  Son Dave was still living his great life back then.  And I was blissfully ignorant of the terrible days to come.  Not in my wildest imaginings, could I have predicted that the last day of September would find me living in my son Dave's home in the City of Concord, California.

There was no Dave home on that last day in September.  Unknown to me then, was that my son Dave at that very moment lay in Calevaras Big Trees State Park in the Sierras of California, waiting to be found.

7:45AM - McDonald's at the airport
It's an hour before my 8:45am flight from John Wayne Airport in California to the transfer airport in Houston, Texas. McDonald's at the airport sold me a Sausage McMuffin and an OJ. Not bad tasting too!

John Wayne Airport has free WiFi. As I type this post, advertisements are flicking across Mr. HP's monitor at the top of the screen. Those ads are what makes this WiFi free. Pretty clever!

2:30PM - George Bush Airport/Houston, Texas!
Perfect flight from California to Texas.  Because the transfer train at George Bush Airport never leaves a secure area, I did not have to go thru TSA security.  What a treat!  I am soooooo slow in taking off my shoes.  People behind me go nuts because I am too slow.

At 3:15pm I board Continental #2232 which arrives in León, Guanajuato, Mexico at 5:20pm where MsTioga has been waiting patiently for me to return since late last September.

8PM - Mr. Datastorm coming at you!
Hi Everybody! This is Mr. Datastorm coming at you from the City of León, Guanajuato, Mexico. MsTioga and I are sooooooo happy to see Jorge, Little Mavicita and Mr. HP back in Mexico again.

So far, everything is working great. Mr. Dometic started right up and his freezer is getting really cold. It will take several hours for Mr. Dometic's fridge to cool down. But that is normal.

A couple of Mr. Sunny's batteries were a bit low in fluid. Also, the engine starter battery was very discharged. We used our battery charger to recharge the starter battery. After the engine starter battery was completely charged, MsTioga's engine fired right up!
Jorge & MsTioga-together again!

The González family
My friends the González family picked us up at the airport. What neat people! I am soooooo lucky to have friends like these!

Edith González prepared for me a toasted smoked salmon sandwich that was sooooooo good! \
Mauricio, Edith, Monse, Sabastian & Jorge

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pulling punches

4AM - Pulling punches!
If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may know that I pull no punches when I write my blog.  What is, is!  And I tell it as it happened.  The good, the bad, the terrible!  I also write about what is going on in my mind.  No punches pulled there either!

As a result of publishing yesterday's "Thanksgiving party" post, this morning I was reading my son Dave's blog which he called:

Recently I had decided that it was better for me to think about Dave by going into memories of what we shared together. What I was doing before that decision, was to be grieving, often angry.  So, I found myself looking at a date in Dave's blog, and then looking at the same date in my own blog.  Doing this, I felt that I was somehow connecting myself with what Dave did on that date.  Even though I was not actually present with him.

Dave was so very happy in November, 2009.  I could not help myself but make the comparison to the tragic two days of the police search of Dave's home on September 19th, 2010 and the next day on September 20th, when Dave committed suicide.  Why was Dave so different on those two days, than he was in November, 2009?

Why didn't Dave phone his friends for help during those two days? Why?

That was when it came to me.  Dave could not phone his friends for help during the nite when he camped at Mount Diablo's State Park on September 19th.  He could not phone his friends for help during the three hours he drove to Calaveras Big Trees State Park where he would kill himself.

Because Dave did not have his cell phone anymore!

I am carrying with me on this trip a folder where I keep important papers.  I hurriedly scrambled thru this folder looking for the receipt for items taken by police when the warrant was served on September 19th.  I found the receipt!  I read down the list of items taken.  There it was!  At the very bottom of the first page.

(1) Verizon LG cell phone

Dave, a person who lived his life for computers.  For electronic things.  During his last desperate hours, Dave had no cell phone.  No computer.  No way to send an email.  No way to communicate a message for help.  These things were all taken by police.

Another part of this strange puzzle has dropped in place....

9AM - Thanksgiving pics!
Just a few moments ago I received an email from Doug with a link to the pics that he took yesterday at our Thanksgiving party. And these are swell pics too [link]!

6PM - I want my GPS!
When I flew from the City of León to the City of San Francisco, California on September 28th, I figured to only be in the USA for a week or so.  I was going to California just to be of support for my son Dave during his crisis with the police.  I never even considered that Dave was no longer alive!

That is the reason that my Garmin Nuvi GPS was left behind.  Goes to show me that I should never figure that I know what is going to happen.  Ever!

When I fly back to San Francisco on December 1st, I'll be bringing along my GPS for sure!  Over the past month, I have gotten lost sooooooo many times.  I want no more of being lost!  Paper maps are good, but they do not tell me where I am like a GPS does.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for what I have2

Thankful for what I have!
In my wildest dreams of the future of my life, I never even came close to imagining Thanksgiving Day 2010.  Never could I conceive of a Thanksgiving where I would not be able to be with or phone my son Dave.  Tell him that I love him.  Share with Dave what I am doing for Thanksgiving and listen to him tell me his plans for his Thanksgiving.

Now, I have come to know and get my mind around, that my future with my son Dave will be the memories Dave shared with me of times gone by.  In my blog post for Thanksgiving, 2009 I wrote:

"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!"

The Lord God Almighty, has set before me this Thanksgiving, 2010, a great challenge.  I must today live up to my understanding of Thanksgiving, 2009.  I must remind myself of all that I have!

But Lord God, it is soooooooo hard.  Soooooooo very, very hard!

Thanksgiving 2009 note: 
 My son Dave posted about his Thanksgiving in 2009 over three separate blog posts. Be sure and look at all three pages in order to understand what a great party Dave put on for what was to be, his very last Thanksgiving! [link]

1:30PM - Thanksgiving party!
I picked up my cousin Jacky and her daughter Becky at Jacky's home.  Jacky drove my rental car to the place of our Thanksgiving party.  Jacky would not let me drive, because as everybody in the family says, I drive too slow [like an old man!].

The Thanksgiving party is at Stacy's home.  Stacy is the daughter of my cousin Lloyd [Jacky's brother].  Stacy's occupation is a chef.  And when we sat down to supper, I was to find out that Stacy is a fabulously wonderful chef.

The turkey was among the very best that I've ever had the pleasure of eating.  The turkey was soooooo moist and soooooo delicious.  Stacy told me that she soaked it in a brine bath for eight hours, and that is why the meat was so moist and delicious.  Also wonderful, was a ham from Farmer John of Vernon, California.  And the mashed potatoes were perfect.  The stuffing was perfect too!

There were fourteen of us at this Thanksgiving feast.  All family.  My son Dave gave me the perspective to not let one more year go by when I fail to be with my family.  Wow!   I am sooooooo lucky to have gotten that perspective.

I forgot to bring Little Mavicita to the Thanksgiving party.  So, I was unable to take pics.  Wow!  I am very disappointed with myself about that.

I am hoping to receive pics taken by others at the party to show you who was there. And I did! Friday morning the pic below arrived from Doug!
All of us at Stacy's Thanksgiving table!

Starting with me and going counter clockwise:
George, Claudia Degelman (Kerry's mom, Ava's grandma and Robin's younger sister), Robin and Lloyd Lehrer, Alysse Castro (older daughter of Robin and Lloyd), Jacky Garren (sister to Lloyd and mother of Becky) , Kristie (Joey's girlfriend), Joey Banuelos,  Becky Garren (Joey's mom), Stacey (our hostess and chef-younger daughter of Robin & Lloyd), Steven Moore, Ava (2 years old, daughter of Steven and Kerry), Kerry.  Missing is Doug Degelman, the photographer and husband of Claudia and baby Natalie Moore, 4 weeks, latest addition to Kerry and Steven.

Son Dave's 2009 Thanksgiving party
You may be amazed to learn, that before right now, I never really read about my son Dave's 2009 Thanksgiving party.  But I read it just a little while ago [It is 2:47am right now - November 26 - the day after Thanksgiving 2010].

I am so very thankful that Dave made these blog posts.  Dave did not know when he recorded his Thanksgiving 2009 posts, that he was recording his very last Thanksgiving.  For those of us who loved Dave, the memories which these four separate Thanksgiving 2009 blog posts recorded, are a great gift from God [link].

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


10AM - Breakfast with Dave Diamond
Our stay at the Holiday Inn Express was filled with drama and disappointment.  The first room I was in at this Holiday Inn had a heater which did not work.  The hotel provided a second room, and that heater did not work either!  The hotel provided a portable heater which contained a one-hour maximum timer.  This heater was too small to heat this room, and required me to get up during the nite to turn the heater on!  My request for a third room was refused.  Wow!  What a bummer!

In the morning I headed south on Interstate #405, the San Diego Freeway.  After picking up Dave Diamond at his home in Newport Beach, we went out for breakfast.  I always have a good time with Dave, who as you may know, is my oldest friend.

4PM - Laguna Hills and supper with Jacky
I'm staying in a Marriott Courtyard Hotel here in Laguna Hills. I've made a date with Cousin Jacky for supper. Jacky lives about a mile away in the Laguna Woods retirement community.

Tomorrow, Cousin Jacky and I are celebrating Thanksgiving at a family get-together.  I'll share all about that with you tomorrow!

Handling credit card disputes
Recently, as you may know, I have been traveling around staying in hotels.  I've been renting cars, flying in airplanes and charging many items to my credit and debit cards.  Often I've had to dispute a charge.

For example, recently I booked a one day stay at Country Inn of Ontario, California thru the Cheap Tickets online service.  The hotel could not provide internet service because that service was out of order.  I told the hotel that I would not stay there because I must be able to connect to the internet.

However, Cheap Tickets refused to reverse the hotel charge, even though I did not stay at the hotel.  This is standard procedure for merchants.  They all seem to take a hard-line approach to disputes.  This forces me to go to the credit card company for resolution.  Credit card companies also take a hard-line approach and have to be forced to reverse transactions that I've disputed.

Here is what I have done that has worked for me many, many times.  First I pay off the credit card balance, except for the disputed item(s).  After only the disputed items remain, I contact the credit card company asking for a supervisor to resolve the dispute.  The supervisor will always refuse to reverse the item in dispute.  I then inform that I will then cancel my credit card, and no longer use it for transactions.  The supervisor will then issue the credit that I've requested.

Interestingly, this method seems to work for all credit card companies.  I do not know why, but they have to be forced to resolve disputes in my favor.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


10AM - Lianne, Kevin and Jack!
Today we are going to visit niece Lianne, here wonderful husband Kevin and their adorable son Jack.  This a special event for all of us, because we have hardly spent any time together since Lianne and Kevin's wedding in 2003.

On the way over to their City of Santa Monica home, I dropped by where I used to live in West Los Angeles.  You may recall during my trip yesterday, I drove by all of my other homes to flash my son Dave's pics.  [Read yesterday's post to understand what and why I was doing this pic flashing].
9323 Duxbury Road
Our home - 1974 to 1976

Note: We bought our Duxbury Road home for $76K and sold it two years later for $130K. Duxbury Road now is valued on Zillow for $1.25 million!

12 Noon - Tavern Restaurant
We all went out for lunch at the Tavern Restaurant, relatively high end place located in the Brentwood area of West Los Angeles. I had a delicious burger that was sooooooo big!

2PM - Back at the house
We returned to Kevin and Lianne's home. On the way we picked up their adorable son, Jack [who I now love like crazy- because he is so very cute!]. Jack showed me his favorite video game, "Righteous Quest".
Kevin, Jack, Lianne, George