Friday, August 31, 2012

Network connection

9AM - Network connection
We began at 8am to make our first blog post. However, we could not establish a network connection to Telcel. We tried using the little Hawking dish to connect to the hotel's WiFi. No-go for that WiFi.

Finally, we decided to exclude a 3g connection and go for 2g. That worked. We do not know why most often we get a great network connection and sometimes we don't connect at all.

Now it is close to 9am, and we finally are on the net. We are grateful this morning to get any connection! We have to constantly remind ourselves how wonderful is our life. We do not want to get into the habit of expecting anything. What we strive for is to have an attitude of gratitude for everything and anything that comes our way.

Brake repair decision
We have decided to put of Tioga's brake repair until returning from the South Dakota trip. We would like to have these repairs done at the Ford dealer in the City of Tepic where the shop is large enough to accomodate MsTioga. But that Ford dealer is 400 km away.

6PM - Hotel Restaurant
I've been messing around all day inside and around MsTioga. It's getting toward supper time, and I decided to try out the Hotel Restaurant.

This hotel is pretty new, and does not have too many people staying here. I was concerned that the restaurant would not be open for lack of customers. Maybe because it is Friday, I found that there were several tables with customers.

I ordered beef arachara. The food has not arrived yet. So I am using the hotel's WiFi to make this blog post. Frankly, I do not know exactly what is "arachara". But I have eaten it before. It is sort of like very soft beef steak. Very often in Mexico, steak has a lot of gristle that is impossible to swallow. But arachara never has gristle.

Rain storm
A few minutes after I sat down in the restaurant, a rain storm began. The rain beat down on the high roof like a drum. Very, very loud! The storm only lasted about ten minutes, and then went away. Most every afternoon lately, rain storms arrive.

Rain storm


Location: Fussion Hotel - City of León
Elevation: 1,796 meters

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fussion5 Hotel

7AM - Fussion-5 Hotel
MsTioga and The Team will be staying at the Fussion-5 Hotel from now until the day I return from my South Dakota trip next week.

The plan is to drive MsTioga around the City of León during the day to look around and do shopping. At nite we will Nite Camp at the rear of Fussion-5's parking lot where we are connected to the hotel's electric power.

8AM - Brake update
Yesterday when MsTioga left the City of Guanajuato, we noticed that for the first time in many weeks, her brakes appeared to be operating normally. The brake pedal stayed high as it usually does during braking. And I did not have to step on the brake pedal hard as I have had to do lately.

Before I posted to you about MsTioga's current brake problem, I did not understand about the "power-assist braking feature". Apparently, power-assist had not been working for several weeks. Yesterday, power-assist returned.

Do you have any ideas why power-assist would return and the brake pedal go back to a high position?

12 Noon - Grande tormenta
While we were shopping in the giant Mega store, we heard a big sound from the roof. A grande tormenta [big storm] had arrived. The sound was the rain falling on the roof. No use hurrying the shopping now. Have to wait until the rain stops in order to avoid getting soaked.

I badly need a haircut. Across the store I saw a sign that read "Estetica". That's where they cut hair. I went over and had my hair trimmed. 70 pesos. $5.40US.

The tormenta lasted for quite awhile. By around 2pm the rain appeared to be slowing, and I returned to MsTioga.

Rain storm


Location: Fussion Hotel - City of León
Elevation: 1,796 meters

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spreading fear

5AM - Spreading fear
It seems that I have posted several times about fear in recent weeks. Yesterday, a ShoutBox poster warned about "unwelcome guests" if we continue to camp in the same site here in Guanajuato. During the late evening, a Guanajuato police patrolman on foot knocked on MsTioga's door to warn about bad people around here.

I do not know why people spread fear stories? Do those stories affect me? Yes, they do affect me. When I hear such stories, I have to beat back the emotional response that such stories bring up in my mind.

But there is danger everywhere. There is even danger in the very next second. Because, who knows what the next second may bring to your life? Are we to just sit there, quivering with fear, because of what the next second may bring?

We all know that something is coming. Some sickness. Some evil. Some disaster may come our way. Someday. But likely not to-day.

9AM - MsTioga's brakes
We have left Guanajuato and headed west and are in the City of León. There is something going on with MsTioga's brakes. In the past, we never have had to add any brake fluid. But lately, every 3 or 4 weeks, we have been adding brake fluid. We cannot find where the brake fluid is going? None of the brake cylinders on the wheels show signs of a leak. And there is no leak that we can see from the master cylinder either.

So, we are here in the City of León hoping to find a Ford dealer that is able to check out MsTioga's brakes. We are here also to find a place where MsTioga may stay safely during next week's trip to South Dakota.

11AM - GPS danger!
If you are an experienced RV driver, you may know that blindly following your GPS's directions could get you into a lot of trouble. Sometimes your GPS may lead you into a street that turns out to be too narrow to drive!

We were very concerned when our GPS led us into El Centro district of the City of León. So, we had to be very careful where MsTioga drove. When we finally came to the place where the Ford dealer was supposed to be located, there was NO Ford dealer there!

We had to abandon our search for Ford. There is no place in El Centro for Tioga to park and ask for directions. Instead we went looking for someplace where we could park even if was away from the Ford dealer. We came to a Burger King with a large parking lot! Hmmmmm!?

I bought a Whopper. When a guy has difficulties, it is a good thing to eat a Whopper!

12 Noon - Grease Monkey
Besides having her brakes checked out, MsTioga needs to have her oil changed. A lube job too. We were driving along and guess what we saw ahead? A Grease Monkey service station. We learned about Grease Monkey from our friend Mauricio Gonzalez who lives in León. Grease Monkey is like a Jiffy Lube.
Tioga at Grease Monkey

3PM - Fussion-5 Hotel
After the Grease Monkey, we tried to rent space at a couple of hotels. But they were not interested. We came to the Fussion-5 Hotel, and made a deal for space at the rear of their parking lot. Electricity too.

300 pesos/nite. More expensive than other hotels that we stayed at during our trip to the Caribbean. It appears that the City of León is more expensive.



Location: Fusion Hotel - City of León
Elevation: 1,796 meters

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wonderful camp

8AM - Wonderful camp!
We love our wonderful camp on the periphery road in Guanajuato! When sitting at MsTioga's dining table, we have a lovely view looking out thru the window. The street where we are camping has some traffic, but not too much. At nite the traffic on this street is almost nothing. Very easy to sleep here.

I know that you will think this is crazy, but I am going to Casa Valadez for breakfast this morning. Yes! Again! Third breakfast at Casa Valadez in a row! May as well take advantage of this opportunity to eat there while in Guanajuato.

BTW, this is the first completely blue sky that we have seen for many weeks!
View from MsTioga's window

11AM - Casa Valadez Men' Room
Our good friend Pete Olson yearned to view again the Casa Valadez Men's Room with its elegant features. So, New Mavicita went in there and captured those pics to share with you and with Pete!
Too gorgeous to use?

Wash your hands here?

Clear blue sky

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rapid City

7AM - Rapid City, South Dakota
We have booked a flight from the City of León, Guanajuato, Mexico to Rapid City, South Dakota. As you may already know, the purpose of this trip is to obtain my South Dakota driver's license. My flight is a round trip leaving on Monday, September 3rd. Returning on Wednesday, September 5th. Before we were planning a mid-October trip. But readers warned of South Dakota snow storms in October.

Americas Mailbox [TiogaRV Team's mail forwarding service] has provided a webpage with info about obtaining the driver's license. Click [here] to read that webpage.

It took me quite awhile to do all the research necessary to make this South Dakota driver's license decision. Escapees in Texas was a close contender. But in the end, even though South Dakota is harder to get to than Texas, we chose South Dakota.

My driver's license will be good for five years. In November I will be celebrating my 75th birthday. This means when my new SD license expires in 2017, I will be very close to 80 years old. Who knows if we will even be driving by then?

8:30AM - Lucky dog!
My very close friend psyflyjon wrote an email expressing that I am a "Lucky dog" because I went to Casa Valadez yesterday morning for breakfast. Yes! That's true! I guess this means that now I am a "Double Lucky dog" because I am going again to Casa Valadez this morning for breakfast.

As we left MsTioga, New Mavicita saw that the morning weather was beautiful, and she captured the pic below to share with you.

The ambiance of Casa Valadez is so much better today than it was yesterday. The Sunday crowd changes the restaurant. Yesterday we could not sit at our favorite table as we did this morning.

We were a little surprised when breakfast arrived. The ham is sliced sandwich style, not a thick hunk of real ham. And the potatoes are shredded style, previously frozen, instead of fresh potatoes. Don't know why a fancy schmancy place like Casa Valadez would serve this stuff?
View of our Nite Camp on this lovely morning

Casa Valadez
(View from the church across the street)


Window view
(From our table)

Partly cloudy

Sunday, August 26, 2012

RV living

7AM - Acclimatized to RV living
MsTioga has been my home for coming on to ten years. Over that time, it seems that I have become more and more acclimatized to living here. I mean, I'm really comfortable inside MsTioga!

For example, take what is happening at our present camp in the City of Guanajuato. Yesterday it was rainy. So, I stayed inside MsTioga for most of the day. I made a few short walks just to stretch my legs. But that was about it. For most of the day I played around on the internet. Prepared a pot of Spanish rice. Did research about my driver's license. Took a couple of naps.

When I think about staying inside for most of the day, it seems a bit strange to me that I could like that so much. MsTioga is pretty small. Inside she is only 8 feet wide and 20 feet long. 160 square feet is all. But that amount of space seems luxurious to me.

When I consider giving up RV living, the thought of doing that is a bummer. It seems to me that RV living is keeping me young. And that if I would get an apartment or home and stay put in one place I would just wither.

8AM - Verizon again!
Verizon sent me an email this morning telling me that my bill is due. This Verizon company is just plain relentless. The people in customer service that I talk to on the phone are all the same. They are trained to do what they do, and they do not listen to me. They refuse to understand what has happened.

So, I am just plain ignoring Verizon. That will result in another stain on my already tarnished credit record.

Driver's license
After doing a lot of research about driver's licenses, I decided to get a South Dakota driver's license. This means that I will be going to South Dakota. Probably about mid-October.

Although I have in my possession a California driver's license that does not expire until this coming November, I did not realize until doing this research, that this California license is not valid. I do not live in California, and thus am not eligible for a driver's license there. So, this means that I am driving without a valid driver's license right now.

Man-O-Man! I did not intend to be in this position. But keeping stuff like the driver's license stuff straight in my head is not easy! So many laws! So many regulations!

10AM - Casa Valadez
This morning we want to go to our favorite restaurant in Guanjuato. The fancy-schmancy Casa Valadez! MsTioga moved up on to the Periphery Road in order to be close to the restaurant. We used the funicular railway to descend to the plaza where Casa Valadez is located.

Casa Valadez was packed with customers. We have never been here when it was so busy. But we got a nice table inside the restaurant with a limited view thru one of their large open windows. I ordered an omelette which arrived sliced into pieces, and laying over on its side with a skewer holding the omelette in place. This is a fancy-schmancy place and they want to be different!
Looking down at Juarez Theater and Main Plaza

Funicular railway
Juarez Theater at bottom

My omelette

3PM - To all Weng fans!
Some of Weng's readers wrote to me wondering why Weng has not posted to her blog for about a month. So, I wrote to Weng asking if she is OK?

This morning Weng made a very nice blog post telling all of her fans what is going on. Go tune into Weng's blog to find out for yourself!

Lots of clouds

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good helper award

3AM - Good helper award
MsTioga is giving a "Good helper award" to reader Diugo for his reaching out to the TiogaRV Team. As you may know, we had given up trying to install connectors on to our new heavy duty extension cord. However, reader Diugo made several ShoutBox posts encouraging us with specific suggestions. We followed Diugo's suggestions and now have a working heavy duty extension cable!

When the cable was tested, it passed with 2-green lights! This means that the cable is wired correctly.

Thank you, Diugo!
Installed connectors

Testing cable

9AM - Driver's license
I never gave any thought about renewing my driver's license when deciding to use Americas Mailbox in South Dakota as my residence address. But my California license expires this coming November.  I am now most definitely thinking about what it means to get my South Dakota driver's license!

Flying to South Dakota from Mexico is not an easy thing to do. It may take an entire day flying, with plane changeovers, to go from Mexico to Rapid City, South Dakota.

I have racked my brain trying to think of a way around getting a South Dakota driver's license. And cannot come up with anything else.

PS: After I posted above, Geromio posted in ShoutBox about replacing my US driver's license with a Mexican driver's license. I thought about that too. But I believe this solution brings other complications.

Right now I buy USA auto insurance and Mexican liability insurance. I need a USA driver's license in order to purchase USA auto insurance. And then there is registration. If MsTioga is registered in South Dakota, and my only driver's license is Mexican, what problems will this create?

This is a complicated problem, which I have not been able to resolve on my own. That is one reason why I posted here. I am looking for a solution from you.

10AM - Restaurante Doña Sofia
My favorite restaurant in Guanjuato is Casa Valadez next to the plaza across from the Juarez Theater [link]. There is something about Casa Valadez. Maybe it's the tall windows that look out at all the people walking by? Maybe it's the ambiance, the waiters, the food? Maybe it just Guanajuato?

I was going to look for a taxi to take me to Casa Valadez, and then I thought about Doña Sofia's. This is a little restaurant right next to our Guanajuato Nite Camp and I decided to give it a try. I ordered "chiliquiles rojo with scrambled eggs. Very good!
Chiliquiles rojo with scrambled eggs

5PM - Big rainstorm!
A very big rainstorm blew in from the east. The storm cloud moved over the hills and then dropped down to where we are camped. At the height of the rain, the drops were so large that some drops sounded like stones hitting MsTioga. But they were not hail stones. Just very large rain drops!

The cloud covered Lake Olla making the lake not visible. We could not even see the wall across the street thru the cloud. Then suddenly, the rain stopped, the cloud cleared, and we could see blue sky with the clouds moving toward the northwest.

Rain storm

Friday, August 24, 2012

Street camping

7AM - Street camping
Now that MsTioga and I have a bunch of recent RV Park camping experiences, we are better able to compare street camping with RV Park camping. There is no doubt that RV Park camping is more comfortable than street camping because of the electric power and sewer facilities available. Also, the security is very comforting.

However, the huge amount of street camping experience that we have gives us a great deal of flexibility. There are many, many places where RV parks do not exist. And since we understand street camping so well, we are able to stay in these places safely.

Our street camp here in San Miguel de Allende is one example. The City of Guanajuato, where we will be going later today, is another example. The RV Park in Guanajuato is well away from the center of town. But we will be street camping inside the city center either near the Presa de Olla or up above the town on the periphery road.

11AM - Stripped connector screw!
While on the road to the City of Guanajuato, we stopped alongside the highway to prepare breakfast. During breakfast we watched some videos. After breakfast, I decided to complete the wiring of the connector on our new 10AWG cable. And guess what happened? One of the screws in a connector stripped out! Darn! Don't you hate it when stuff like this happens?

These connectors are not the greatest quality. Now I'll have to shop for new ones.
Breakfast on the road to Guanajuato

4PM - Presa de la Olla
We have made a camp across the road from Presa de la Olla [Olla Reservoir] in the City of Guanajuato. If click on our "Location" below and zoom in, you may be able to get a satellite view of Olla Lake.

When we were here last, Mr. Datastorm was used to connect to the internet and that connection was sort of touchy. We are close to the hill and a line-of-sight to the satellite was sometimes hard to obtain. Now with our tiny Telcel USB Modem stick, connecting to the internet is soooooo easy! Telcel's connection is pretty fast too!
MsTioga at Presa de la Olla

Mostly cloudy