Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gila Bend

7AM - Gila Bend
This morning we are heading south out of the Town of Buckeye, bound for Gila Bend, Arizona. On November 29, 2009 we were also heading toward Gila Bend on our way to Mexico. The very next day MsTioga got stuck out in the desert and she had to be towed back to Gila Bend for repairs!  [link].

12 Noon - Oil Change
MsTioga is in the shop to get her engine oil changed. MsTioga is very hard on oil. After only about 2,000 miles, MsTioga's engine oil looks a dirty dark brown. We do not like driving with dirty engine oil. So, we change it.

The mechanic reported that MsTioga's oil pan thread appeared stripped out. We had to put in an oversize bolt.
MsTioga in Gila Bend shop

4PM - Replace oil pan?
The mechanic had to play around with the oversize oil plug to get it to stop leaking. It's very touchy! I was advised that replacing the oil pan on the Ford 7.5 liter engine is a difficult job. The entire engine has to be jacked up to get the oil pan out!

If this oversize oil plug holds until the next oil change, I'll have over 2,000 miles to get the new oil pan installed. The Ford dealer in Tepic should be able to install this new oil pan.

5PM - Positive attitude
The situation like this present one with the bad engine oil pan is an excellent example of the necessity of maintaining a positive attitude. Tomorrow morning MsTioga and I will be heading south again and possibly entering Mexico.

If I am tentative now and postpone Mexico because of a possible engine failure, how would that affect me? Not in a happy way, that's for sure!

No! I am going to Mexico tomorrow and will deal with whatever challenges come up as they happen.

Clear sky

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Sun

8AM - The Sun
MsTioga and I don't like driving straight toward the Sun. Too blinding. So, we are staying at our Nite Camp until the Sun rises enough. For much of today, MsTioga will be heading toward the east on Interstate 10. When we reach State Highway 85, we will head south toward Mexico.

When we cross the International Border at the Lukeville/Sonoyta crossing, our Verizon/Pantech internet device will stop working. We will be depending on WiFi access points along the way to stay in contact with you. The plan is to buy a Banda Ancha [wide band] device for our internet connection in Mexico. The Banda Ancha is similar to the Verizon/Pantech that we are using now.

4PM - Buckeye, Arizona
MsTioga is staying the nite in the Town of Buckeye, Arizona. We did our laundry here.

We took a drive around town and found an enormous WalMart distribution center. There were several hundred trailers in the parking lot! We were very impressed!

Partly cloudy

Monday, November 28, 2011

Heading south3

9AM - Heading south
As promised in yesterday's blog, MsTioga and I are adopting the attitude that we can do anything we want. And, we are going to do it without worrying what might happen. We are simply going to figure out what to do as we travel along.

Being afraid and tentative did not work for us. It never did. We are heading south toward "T-shirt and short pants" weather!

1PM - Vicksburg Road & Interstate 10
We have made an Afternoon Camp at the intersection of Vicksburg Road & Interstate 10 [see map link below]. MsTioga may make a Nite Camp here if it is peaceful for sleeping. Have to wait and see how quiet it is later on.
View from MsTioga's window!

Pretty clear sky

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Just do it

8AM - Just do it!
In February, 2003 when I drove down to Manteca, California to buy MsTioga, there were no thoughts in my mind that things would not work out for me. I wanted to live in an RV and equip it for a boondocking life style. I did not worry about all of the things that needed to be done. I just did it.

After buying MsTioga, she would have to be equipped with the Motosat internet system, levelers, a solar electric system. It was not easy to prepare MsTioga. Lots of challenges. For example the Dometic refrigerator that came with MsTioga did not work. I was tricked into believing that the fridge worked. But it didn't. So within a week after owning MsTioga, I had to buy a new fridge cooling unit! MsTioga had no warranty. She was bought As Is-Where Is.

It took from February to the end of May to get all this equipment installed so that MsTioga and I could get on the road. It took three months because there were lots of glitches. One big glitch happened after the Motosat was installed. The system would not go online correctly. For two weeks I camped next to the Motosat dealer in the City of Huntington Beach, California. Finally after two weeks a new Motosat was shipped to the dealer and the thing finally worked!

The reason that I am telling you about these 2003 stories is that back then I just did stuff. I did not worry about what could go wrong as I seem to be doing now. I want to be like that again. I want "Just Do It!" to be my motto.

9AM - Yesterday's sick post
I wanted you to know that right after I posted yesterday about having diarrhea, it cleared up! Like magic!

This morning I am treating myself out for breakfast. There is a local restaurant called "Crossroads" that is recommended by Readers!
Birthday boy after breakfast

4PM - Horsing around
We just left a park located along the main road thru the Town of Parker. There were a bunch of kids there who were climbing up several ladders leading to a slide in the shape of a big tube. Over and over and over again they climbed up the ladders in order to slide down. I love to watch kids having a great time.

There were four young guys in the park who seemed intent on putting down a large bottle of beer they were sharing. I walked into the park in order to dump my trash into a waste barrel and said, "Hello" to these guys. They were playing what goes for music now-a-days on a small boom box.

These four guys looked like they were from Latin stock and I mentioned that I lived in Mexico for several years. I asked one of them, "Do you speak Spanish?". "No", he answered. "I don't speak that. I'm an American".

As I left the park, I felt sorry for these four young men.

5:30PM - Headgate Camp
For the past three nites, MsTioga has made her Nite Camp above the Headgate Rock Dam across the Colorado River. At just about sundown, New Mavicita went to the overlook to capture a pic of Headrock Dam for you to see.
Headgate Rock Dam from our Nite Camp


Saturday, November 26, 2011


9AM - Sick
I hate being sick. Overall I feel really good. No aches. No pain. .

I'll give you a hint what is wrong. It has to do with the word, "diarrhea". So, if you don't like reading about being sick with diarrhea, stop reading now.

Here is the thing about me that you should know. I do not like going to see doctors. Especially for a thing like this. What am I going to tell the doctor? "I have diarrhea with no pain, almost no stool color and it's been going on for about ten days".

Usually when I have diarrhea, it goes away by itself. A few days ago this diarrhea almost stopped and it seemed as though it was over. Then it came back.

Clear sky

Friday, November 25, 2011


9AM - Parker, Arizona
This morning MsTioga is on the road again! We are leaving our Desert Camp with Bob and Donna, Bud and Nancy, and heading north for Parker, Arizona.

2PM - Blue Water Casino
MsTioga and The Team have stopped at the Blue Water Casino in the Town of Parker. There are a lot of other RV camping here. I am guessing that we have to register at the casino in order to stay over nite. So, I'm going to walk down there to take a peek.

4PM - Quiet Camp
Blue Lake Casino is fine if you enjoy gambling, don't mind a smoky atmosphere and like the sound of racing boats with huge engines. We decided to leave Blue Lake and look around.

We found a Nite Camp site a bit north of town.  At least we think it will be quiet here after dark when the boats stop racing.
Tioga and George in Parker


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for what I have3

7AM - Thankful for what I have
Today I will celebrate Thanksgiving with two couples. Bob and Donna. Bud and Nancy. The turkey bird is stored in Mr. Dometic, the refrigerator inside MsTioga. There is no room in the refrigerators of the other two RVs.

At 7:45am, I'll carry that turkey bird over to Nancy's RV where she will stuff it. Then I'll carry the turkey to Donna's RV where she will roast it. Donna has the largest oven. We plan to eat Thanksgiving supper around 2pm!

Since the tragedy of 2010, I have come to know that I really cannot plan on anything in my life. My life plans me and I must adjust to what happens. This kind of planning is tough for me. Because at my time of life I do not want that kind of responsibility. But there is no escaping in lazy thinking. I have to be ready for whatever comes my way. I believe that I am ready!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

2PM - Thanksgiving party
The five of us gathered together in Bud and Nancy's RV for the Thanksgiving party. Everything was wonderful. For me it was a very special occasion to be invited to share Thanksgiving with these caring people.

The meal included turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yellow mashed squash, homemade bread, cole slaw and red relish. Did I forget anything?

During a quiet time of the meal when nobody spoke, my thoughts turned to my family members celebrating Thanksgiving far away. And I thought of all my family now departed. And in some part of my mind where wishes dwell, I am even now with them all.
Nancy, Bud, Donna, Bob and George


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Loose cable

7AM - Loose cable
During all of yesterday, Mr. Sunny's solar panel array generated about 1/2 the usual output. I was unable to figure out what had changed. Just as I was going to sleep last nite, it occurred to me that during the upgrade a couple of days ago, the cabling between the two tilt assemblies may have come loose.

This morning I'm going up on MsTioga's roof to check this out. By raising up the panels to almost vertical position, the junction box underneath each solar panel becomes exposed. I'll then be able to open up the boxes and check out the cable connections.

11AM - It is a loose cable!
The very first solar panel junction box that was opened had a big wire dangling loose! Take a look at the pic below and you may see it for yourself. I have a hunch that this cable may have been loose for awhile before completely disengaging from the clamp. Do you see the corrosion on the loose cable?

In the other pic you may view how the panels were supported in a vertical position. The bottom end of the temporary wood support was screwed into the hinge on MsTioga's roof to prevent the wind from blowing the panel over.

Every junction box was opened to check for loose cable clamps. Every box had some screws that needed tightening!
View of temporary panel supports

Do you see the loose positive cable?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cold snap

7:30AM - Cold snap
Here at our high desert camp the elevation is 1,172 feet. Maybe that elevation is why the overnite temperature dipped to only 36°F. For a Los Angeles, California born and raised boy like me, that is cold! Mr. Wave-6, our noble and hardworking catalytic heater, cranked himself up to his middle heat setting in order to achieve a temperature inside MsTioga of 67°F.

Looking outside, we see the beginning of a beautiful weather day. Not one cloud in the perfect Arizona sky! MsTioga rotated herself around already so that our tilted solar panels are now receiving 3.5 amps from the gorgeous Sun. On a day like this one, we should top out at around 22 amps from our solar array.

Lifting solar panels
What do guys who are living the wonderful RV life do? Well, here at this desert camp there are three guys. Bob, Bud and George. And we mostly think about lifting solar panels!

Bob and Bud are now involved together on a project to automate the lifting of Bud and Nancy's panels. The particular challenge here is to lift a panel which sits flat on the RV roof. But Bob and Bud believe that they have worked it out. We may see later today how that project is going.

4PM - Solar panel report
It appears that we must wait another day to make a report on the lifting mechanism that Bob and Bud have been working to complete. This is a tough project, because it really is a prototype device. I am hoping that we will be able to make a video of the device in action.