Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Batten Down The Hatches

It has been raining all day. We still have power and internet. The cable comes and goes as it is a dish satellite.

All schools and non-essential government offices are closed tomorrow. The storm is expected to hit La Pesca, Tamps at 11 p.m.

We won't be going to bed early waiting for the winds to hit and to see how high the water will get here at the house.

I have the generator ready so we will just wait and see.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Finally, A Set Of Wheels

I had the check from the insurance company for a few weeks and I was hanging on to it until the right car came along. Well, this weekend it came along.

There are lots of good things about Mexico too! I chose the car on Friday, took the required documents on Saturday and picked up the car today. It already had insurance done via email with our agent. I sent her the information Sunday morning. Today by 10 a.m. she had given me three options. I chose one and had instant coverage. When I picked up the car this afternoon, all the paperwork was ready, the title had been changed, the tags paid for, and the sticker on the license plate. I left the dealership with the car, in my name, all paperwork finished. No pain whatsoever.

The car is the same make and model as the old one. This one is white and is a GT model. A little bit more equipped than the other one. Now the challenge is to figure out the stereo. Oh the humanity! Technology is killing me!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What Ever Happened To "Friend"?

You may remember the story of Friend. I found her in April 2009 here on the road literally on the verge of death. It appeared as though she had been tied up and left and must have become so emaciated that she was able to slip out of her collar and rope.

I fed her for a few days and on the fifth day she just appeared at the gate. I took her to the vet and they bathed her and gave her vitamins and meds. She recovered quickly and turned out to be a beautiful dog. She stayed for quite a few months always escaping from the quinta and miraculously reappearing a few days later. Heck, I didn't even know she was pregnant until the day she gave birth to four little ones, all of whom have good homes.

But Friend is a free spirit. Soon after she had her litter we took her to the vet and had her fixed. She was a good mother but didn't want to hang around long. She was meant to be on her own and go when and where she wanted.

She's still around. Our neighbors take her in. She likes their food better as they give her their restaurant leftovers. Not a good diet but I decided she was happier there. She comes and goes when she wants and they take her in every night so I know she's safe.

This morning I went to buy the paper. On my way home I saw Friend. I should say she saw me. She came running and jumping even pushing me. I gave her a big hug and she looks so happy. When I found her, her self-esteem had been beaten into the ground, abused and attacked by dogs and people who don't give a shit about life in general. Now, her head is high and she has a happy look on her face. As she followed me down the road we played for a while. Another dog came along and I thought it was trouble. Not anymore. They started wrestling and playing. Why she even knocked him over in the process.

She's on the front porch right now. I gave her some water but I left the gate open. She won't be here long. It makes me sad that she doesn't want to stay with us. But when I see her on the road sitting under the shade of a tree and she raises her head as I drive by I know she's saying hello to me and I know in my heart I did the right thing.

It's that old cliche, “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh, You Want Wheels With That?

The frustration has left and the humor has taken over. Still in the search for an rv. First I want to say thanks for everyone's encouraging words and even my friend Bill has offered to check out rvs while they are there in Indiana. Wow, that is pretty nice!

I found another perfect rv in Corpus Christi, Tx. I thought the price was reasonable, the layout next to perfect and a bit longer than we wanted but heck, you can never have too much room. I spoke with the salesman, a very pleasant guy who explained that "that one got away" but there are more coming at the end of the month. So I wanted to confirm the price I saw listed and he said, "oh that is the factory price, then there is shipping from Indiana, upgrades we add for the Texas heat" and on and on and on. Hence the title above about adding wheels :).

After I hung up I had a good chuckle and wondered about the rv industry. Everyone says it's on the slides but I have yet to have a salesman want to keep me on the phone to try and make a sale. No one has offered to lower the price, remove some options or even better throw some in, a newbie package with full LP tanks, a starter kit, nothing.

When I ask them about providing a commercial paper so I can take it to the border for export then it all seems to go sour. Mostly because they don't know what I am talking about. I then ask them if I can apply for a "manifiesto" so that I can get my Texas sales tax returned and they get a queer look on their faces.

The big issue in all of this is the import taxes, border agent charges and more that we have to pay for importing the rv into Mexico. There's a limit to what we are willing to spend. But I am determined to be in an rv sitting in Dolores Hidalgo for our Independence celebration!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Had A Feeling . . .

Not a Diane Krall song although she sings it well (I've Got A Feeling). I mentioned the possibility that we would be picking up a new rv near Dallas. I talked to the guy in person, I checked the manufacturer's website and even called and asked them questions.

However, I have learned over time that our emotions sometimes overpower our instinct. I sent the private owner an email and asked some deep questions regarding leaks, repairs, and clear title.

Guess what! The ad was pulled the same day and now no one answers the phone. It must have been a dirty deal. Oh well, better the disappointment than sending a check. I even asked him if I could send a deposit and then he got a bit squirrely,

Anyways, I'm in my hotel in Guadalajara, the cable went out after a huge thunderstorm so I am surfing the net and listening to music. I leave at 7 a.m. in the morning for home so I can get there in time to cut the grass. I guess I should be happy I am alive and healthy and able to cut the grass.

Okay, so I'm acting a bit immature. I never could accept my age, but I really am bummed out about not having an rv. This is starting to get on my nerves. We may just take the plunge and get the rv we want driving to Arizona or Florida.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dayton International Airport to Home

I want to say first that we decided to spend Monday night in Vandalia, Oh. That is the official home of Dayton International Airport. That was a good decision. Our flight left on Tuesday morning at 6:55 a.m. We spent Monday afternoon with my sister Dorothy and her husband Bill. They invited us out to lunch. We have a lot in common apart from rving. Our ideas are pretty much the same although different at the same time. They are great people and we hope to be rving with them soon in New Mexico in Gila National Forest.

We stayed at a Super 8 which is pretty much against my religion, but it was so close to the airport, five minutes away, that we couldn't resist. The room was nice and not too cheesy. The beds were comfortable, they had all the extras but it wasn't the Holiday Inn.

The town of Vandalia is really something. They have a population of 27,000 and the streets are really beautiful and in an country setting. The main strip has just about every junk food restaurant that exists. At the Pizza Hut we met a really nice woman who shared pictures of her son and her sisters. We talked up quite a storm while we waited for our last junk food meal of the trip before heading home to oatmeal and black bananas :).

A word of caution, we got to the airport about 55 minutes before our flight. Even though it is a small airport there is a Trans Air flight that leaves at the same time as ours. So the security check line is forever long. We didn't have any trouble except for the fact that they questioned our Mexican IDs.

Next time we go to Cincinnati, we will use the same airport. Dayton is only 45 minutes from Cincinnati.

We got to Laredo, btw there is no charge for long term parking. Picked up our bags and headed for the border. The ICE stopped us before crossing into Mexico. They gave us the once over. They had us pull over, took everything out of the SUV and then ran the car through the X-Ray machine. It took over 30 minutes. Who wouldn't stop two good-looking fifty something guys traveling together with Mexican plates.

We hit three checkpoints along the highway from Laredo to Monterrey and the state police were doing their job. No problem with us, we encourage the checks on both sides of the border. We arrived home safe and sound to a clean house and the grass had been cut.

A secret I will share, I think we have found an rv in Dallas, Tx. It is a Sportsmen 202RB, 22.5 ft with a walkaround bed and all the bells and whistles including an outside gas grill, LCD tv, DVD, stereo, rain sensor awning, etc. It isn't the unit we had hoped for but it is more than what we had and the price is a steal taking into account the import taxes we have to pay. More on that later.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Trip To Hofbrauhaus

We all met in Newport, Ky. at the Hofbrauhaus. We celebrated German Day and there was lots of dancing, drinking and Umpfda! It was a great time. The food was to die for, reminded me of when I was a kid. Lots of sausages; brat, bach, and another that was the best of the wurst. :)

The night before we met at my brother's house and watched them open the gifts they had received from friends and family. That turned into a party too.

Brothers Ray and Steve

Bob with one of his grandsons

From left to right; Aden (great nephew), his parents Mark and Allison and their other son Ryan and my godson and nephew Erik from Germany.

These are dollies that were stitched by my grandmother in the 30s

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cincinnati Family Gathering

We've been having so much fun here in Cincinnati that I forgot to post on the blog. My brother's 70th birthday bash was a success. We have been getting together everyday and looking over old pictures and checking things like grayness, sagging eyes, flabby muscles and the like. What fun!

The birthday boy getting cheered by the Kolping Society of Cincinnati

Actually it has been nothing but one party after another. My nieces and nephews who live here in Cincinnati all have beautiful houses and I am very proud of them. They all have their kids (my great nieces and nephews) and they are all good-looking. It must be the new set of genes that entered the pool.

Today we are off for a German festival and will do some beer drinking and I hope some sausage eating with kraut.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Monterrey to Laredo

We stopped by the highway patrol this morning on our way out of town to pick up a signed copy to release the car from the pound since we will be out of town and dropped it off with the adjuster down the street. I paid my taxes at the bank, filled up the SUV and hit the road.

Great trip, the highway from Monterrey to Laredo is in excellent condition and traffic was heavy for the middle of the week. We passed one check point set up by the federales and were waved through. We saw many convoys patrolling the highway and finally decided we were in good hands. I drove 140 kph the whole way, obviously it was a short trip. Entering the bridge, our wait time was about 25 minutes. The heat was responsible for quite a few cars overheating in line and they were pushed through by generous by-standers.

We got up to the caseta and they did a visual and let us pass. We had permits valid until October so we were good to go. As we left they stopped us again an interior search, fast and easy. Off we headed to the Holiday Inn (I expect to wake up much smarter than today, if you are familiar with the commercials). Our flight leaves from Laredo and believe it or not, I do not know the airport as we always fly from Monterrey, McAllen or Harlingen which is a Southwest city.

We had a quick lunch, took a nap and now we are in happy hour. We may stop by Walmart for some odds and ends. Here is a picture from our hotel window of Laredo, Tx along the I-35 corridor.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Final Word on the Car Accident

Since I had been out of town last week, there was not much that could be done. The car was in my name so I had to appear at the Ministerio. I attempted to send a carta de poder (power of attorney) but they wouldn't accept it. So be it, and we waited until yesterday.

Not a big deal, we met with the lawyer that was provided by the insurance. He negotiated with the guilty party and settled on an amount. The car has been totaled and we will recover that wonderful stereo I received as a birthday present. The car is in the pound and the only trouble we ran into was over paying for the pound charges, deductible, and tow truck. I told them in no way would I pay for anything including the deductible. They said no way and I countered with, "take it out of the hide of the kid that destroyed my car". They said they had already settled and I countered, "too bad". That was my final word.

We got the papers from the Ministerio and took off today for the Federal police as it was under their jurisdiction. I had to bring the infamous copies, they received them and we got the paper to release the car from the pound. The adjuster met us there and said that there was no way the company would accept our terms. "Fine, let me speak to your supervisor". Off we went a block down the street to talk to the man in charge. We arrived about five minutes after the adjuster and he met us in the parking lot. He said he had talked to his boss and there was no problem. We weren't going to pay a cent.

We are off to Cincinnati tomorrow via Laredo International Airport (I feel like singing a song here) for a week with family. When we come back we can start looking for a new car.

The lesson here is be polite, stand your ground and know what the rules are. If not, find someone who does. If you ever need a translator, go to the local school and find a teacher who would be more than willing to be at your side. They love the opportunity to practice their English. S0meone posted recently about needing a translator. I sent them a private message on the Rv.Net but never heard back from them. Oh well . . . .