Saturday, April 17, 2021

Rv Repairs And Upcoming Trip

Wacky weather continues here.  Today it will be 104F and tomorrow it will drop down to 55F.  We have a saying in Spanish, "Febrero loco, Marzo otro poco" which means, "Crazy February, March a little bit more".   I don't know what we say now that we are in the middle of April and it's just as crazy as it was in February.  

I bought a 100-pound bag (bulto) of Triple 17 fertilizer.  The weather for the weekend is 70% chance of rain and 40% on Sunday.  Ideal for putting down the fertilizer.  I have a spreader so that will be my Saturday morning project.  I figure if it is already raining I can cover the spreader so it doesn't get gunked up.  If I were to put it down today with the 104-degree heat, it would burn the grass.  So what if I get wet.

The cheesecake I made last week was a success.  Today I'll try my hand at chewy brownies with chocolate cream cheese frosting.  I noticed that some recipe websites now offer an adjustment calculator that allows you to adjust the recipe size.  Works great and I usually don't follow recipes very closely.  The cheesecake crust turns out much better being doubled and doubling the sugar in the crust but using brown sugar.  I used strained non-fat yogurt as well and it was smooth and light but with a lot of flavor and a crunchy crust.

As I said in an earlier post, I cleaned the roof of the rv and did some caulking.  The area around the never used antenna was looking a bit cracked so instead of filling it in I removed most of the old caulk and put down new.  Looks much better and sealed beautifully.  

I ordered new outer seals for the slideouts.  After a fiasco with the delivery of the seals, they arrived in Monterrey last week.  They were exactly the ticket I had hoped for.  It was a pain to remove the old ones as they had been glued on there for 13 years.  They were pretty much toast.  The saving grace is the additional gooey tape on the slide is still well-adhered and very sticky.  The seals I bought include a taped backing so it was double stick.  They went on pretty easily and they look great.  

Now that I've had my first jab I feel more comfortable outdoors.  I take my long walk to Santiago, still 10k.  When I get to the town I turn around at the 7 Eleven.  This little girl has a tag, scared to death, and very hungry.  I have been feeding her every day this week attempting to get close enough to read the tag but without any luck.  She may have gotten lost while tourists were visiting from Monterrey or escaped, I'm not sure but the tag has her name on one side and what appears to be a phone number on the other side.  Let's see if she hangs around long enough to help her.

We may have a two-week house sit coming up at the end of May in San Miguel de Allende.  A lot depends on second jabs and matching schedules.  For me, it's a done deal.  Anything to get away for a while.  Hopefully, we can do a hike with Les since he knows the area extremely well.

An update on el Presidente.  He is dead set on fossil fuels and spending 8 billion additional dollars to the already 24 billion dollar PEMEX debt.  He swears that gasoline prices are inflated by the station owners.  Prices have gone up 34% in the last year.  We are now averaging $4.50 a gallon USD.  Most of it is in hidden taxes.  The president has destroyed the energy business by now changing the energy reform kicking out private investment.  Those that are still here have decided to leave because they see the writing on the wall.  It's spelled V-E-N-E-Z-U-E-L-A.  The president has no interest in renewables and he will pour whatever funds he finds into PEMEX.  

He is also unhappy about the gubernatorial candidate from the state of Guerrero.  Salgado Macedonia has been accused of sexually abusing women who have come forward.  The president says it shouldn't affect Salgado's candidacy.  However, the INE (Instituto Nacional Electoral, National Election Institute that regulates and controls elections to ensure fair elections) decided that because of the accusations, Salgado shouldn't be allowed to run for office.  Well, Presidente Dingus thinks otherwise and has decided to create a constitutional reform.   

This is factual and you can check the information. Truly a sad situation we are in and the state elections on June 6th will either make or break the country.   Also, Netfli, Dinni, Apol as the president says them (Netflix, Disney and Apple), will now be charged an additional 7% tax and those funds will go to indigenous groups.  Wow, we've been working with indigenous groups now for 120 years, they receive everything for free, bilingual schools, food, monthly incomes, grains, fertilizers, farm equipment and much, much more but don't contribute to the nation or the economy in any way.  I'm slowly changing my views on these issues. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

She's Not Happy With Us - Cheaters and Liars

Mother Nature is not happy with us and it shows.  It rained lightly for six days last week.  We knew it wouldn't last very long but sure didn't expect what was to come.  At this moment, 16h30 on Tuesday, April 7th, it is 42C, 107F.  It's not pretty outside.  I was smart enough to get an early start.  Not hard for me since I'm always awake by 5 a.m.  I don't do weights on Wednesday, only the other four days but I do my 10k every morning.  

I returned home and did my two jobs for the day.  The first was to clean the roof on the rv.  I want to inspect it and seal around some areas where the caulk is getting some small cracks.  When we took the rv out two weeks ago, I was in bed looking at the ceiling.  I noticed that the ceiling paper was pulled a little bit above my head.  It has a soft spot but there is no tear in the rubber roof and all the sides are well-sealed and hard as a rock.  A minor issue, you can't expect a lot from a cheaply made travel trailer versus a $300,000 motorhome.  That doesn't mean we can't keep it in shape but it is cheaply built and has served us well.  It's now 13 years old.  

I also had the usual weekly sweep, vacuum, mop planned for today and got that out of the way while we get through this next couple of days of high temps.  They say it should last until next Tuesday before a cool front comes through again.

On to the liars club.  I was so excited to have found the van that I showed you in the last post.  I spent two days talking about it, planning it out, but I really didn't have my hopes too high.  These types of things rarely pan out and I was right.  You know, my dad never used bad language, well hardly ever.  It took something or someone to really piss him off to get him to say something.  And when he did he would say, "that SOB".  

We drove 50 km and upon arrival, the guy wasn't there.  He called though and said he would be home in ten minutes and he was.  Sounded good so far.  He lives in a very nice three-story home in an upper-middle-class neighborhood, all on the up and up.  A huge wall surrounds his home with an incredible picture window that overlooks Cumbres Natl Park.  I even commented to his wife what a beautiful home they had.  

He said, "meet me around the side of the house and I'll open the gate".  You never know what you'll find in someone's home.  (Mine is spick and span).  I was in utter shock.  Behind the gate, in this nice neighborhood, he had a junkyard with about 12 cars in it.  My jaw dropped.  He pointed to the back and said, "there's the van, look it over".  I was pissed.  He had used a picture of the same van, same color, same rv type decals on the side, just like the picture I posted the other day.  We asked no questions, we didn't even say goodbye.  Juan and I looked at each other and marched right out of there.  When we got in the car, I said what my dad would have said.  I reported his ad to the newspaper which also appears online.  

On a lighter note, we met the couple who are sure they want to buy some land from us.  They live in Mission, Texas, and have the MIL's house here where they come to every couple of weeks.  Turns out we know some of the same people here and there and it turned out well.  We will meet again this Saturday when they return.  These things take time and we are more than willing to work with them.  

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Got The Vaccine and Other Good Things Going on

For starters, last Monday we got the vaccine.  It's called SinoVac and has a varying efficacy rate depending on reports from countries that have used it so far.  

They opened at 8 a.m. so we arrived at 7:15 a.m.  People were already lined up and going into the gymnasium.  You had to have your registration form printed out or on your phone, an official ID such as voter registration, driver's license, or the INAMPAM card (Official retiree discount card).  I used the latter and we were ushered in.  This has to be the most well-orchestrated event I have ever attended.

We were ushered to our seats and doctors and nurses passed through the rows taking info and filling out the official proof of vaccine shot one; illnesses, disabilities, age, etc.  It went fast.  We said hello to people we knew from town and our Monday group was only letters A through G.  Still, over 1000 people showed up.  They had an additional staging area set up outside under a permanent covered area.  

At 7:55  the military, in pairs, carried in the refrigerated vaccines and set them up at each of the eight stations.  Five minutes later they started sending one row (front to back) up to the stations.  As a row finished, they ushered in another row (same number of people) from the outside staging area to take the empty sits.  It was constant motion.  Once we got our shots we were sent over to another area for a 30-minute observation.  

After, we were asked to exit, and on the way out all of the event workers thanked us for coming and participating and handed us a bag with vaccine information, bottled water, and a snack.  Again, I have never seen such organization.  This went on for four days and then they moved on to Laguna de Sanchez which had been evacuated a week earlier because of the fires.  They finished that group on Friday.  

On the home front, we have an appointment with a couple who are interested in buying a piece of land we have for sale.  Construction is booming here in Mexico and people are buying.  In the north, the formal economy hasn't suffered as much and banks are loaning at great rates.

Before that though, we are going to see this van.  I'm tired of keeping the trailer up to snuff and as you know the SUV is now 16 years old and although it runs well we are looking for a change.  Not sure if we would sell the trailer or not at this point.  We want to be more mobile and not have to skirt cities and take sh---y bypasses or libramientos, and also be able to park just about anywhere we want.  I've been reading and watching videos on van life and how to DIY.  Of course, I have some limitations on the DIY and would have some of the work done.  It's not a big van but it has some good things such as a fold-down bed in the back cabinetry and 12V throughout.  I'm taking the tape measure with me and we'll check it out.  Priced right.

If we were to get a van and we didn't like it, fine we can always sell it and buy another rv.  Nothing is forever.  Besides, its fun just to dream a little and experiment.  

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Time Has Finally Come!

That's right.  We are scheduled for the vaccine on Monday at 8 a.m.  We went by the gymnasium in Santiago today to check it out.  They were setting up tents, chairs, signs, marking parking areas in the soccer field across the street for people to park.  I'll give an update on Monday.

The fires are still burning and there are days when it really eats up the acres.  As of today, the fire has consumed 16,000 acres.  More cabins have been lost as the fire advances down the mountains.  These cabins are weekend home and are pretty pricey.   Here is a news report more for the video of the actual fire.  Truly amazing how much has burned.

Semana Santa has started and the airports are packed.  I am sure we will see a surge in the next few weeks of COVID.  Many anti-vaccers out there and I find that amazing.   There is a rush on the border and people don't seem to understand why so many Hondurans are going to the U.S. 

If they would watch the news or pick up a newspaper, had a clue about geography and nature, they would discover that Honduras is just a strip of land with hurricanes on one side and cyclones on the other.  The country has been devastated by climate change over the last 15 years.  Crops are destroyed every year, farm animals have died and people are left homeless.  Rural people, in a country high in crime, don't have a lot of options.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Rv Overnighter and Forest Fires Around The Corner

As we wait for our turn for the vaccine, we have decided to cautiously take the rv out.  We called ahead to our resort in Montemorelos which is about an hour south of our house.  They said everything was closed but because we own our lots there we could come.  Also, the office said that no one was there and probably wouldn't come.  

We made the decision to have an overnighter.  The wheels on the trailer had not moved for over a year so I was concerned they might have some hard spots.  I had also turned the hitch upside down to raise it a bit.  The ride was fantastic.  I'm still not happy with the fan clutch.  It is very irregular and sounds like a jet engine roaring when it clicks on.  I found an original fan clutch and we may try that as our last resort and if it works, great.  If not, well we'll just keep going with the sound of a jet engine!

It was fun to sleep out.   It was very quiet and only the deer were out looking for food.  We cooked a great rib eye on the cast iron along with asparagus and a wonderful La Cetto cabernet.   A movie followed and then off to bed.  Came back home on Sunday morning.  I hadn't backed the trailer into the quinta for over a year.  It was comical, to say the least.  I should download the video from security cameras.  It was typical arguing about when to turn, stop, go, go forward, flailing arms but we got it done and had a good laugh afterward.

We are at the beginning of a severe drought.  With a three-day weekend, tourists came from the surrounding areas (one reason we took the rv out).  Well, they did their damage and started a forest fire.  On Tuesday, Juan went to the clinic to get his cholesterol medication.  I had taken a nap.  I woke up and thought I had overslept and it was late evening but from the blinds, there was an eery yellow light. I got up to find only 45 minutes had passed.   When Juan got to the house he called me in a panic.  The hills in front of our street were on fire.  

Before we had a chance to wrap our heads around what was going on, they were evacuating people from the top down.  As of yesterday, more than 700 people have been evacuated and many homes, farm equipment, and vehicles have been lost.  They have been rounding up farm stock and getting them loaded onto trailers.  

I doubted that it would ever jump the highway but now the trailer was ready so we could always take off.  The fire continues and there are helicopters dipping into the nearby lake and swimming pools.  We no longer have a national relief fund like FEMA as our president canceled it to save money.   The fires will take a couple of weeks to put out and we are hoping we don't have any winds.  No rain in the forecast either.  We have donation dropoffs so we will be taking a couple cases of canned tuna and water packs.  

I tried doing my 10k today but there is too much smoke so we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, March 12, 2021

NGOs, GoFundMe, and Federal Government Programs in Mexico

I always like rocking the boat.  I figure if I don't nobody else will.  There's been controversy for years about which way we should be helping people; NGOs, GoFundMe or Mexican federal programs.  I received an email asking me which one was best and this was my reply:

Do individuals really do more?  My only thing in this is that there is definitely good work going on by individuals.  Like most politics though, it is always one side or the other.  I'm not even a fan of the current Mexican administration.  That said, I have worked here and paid my taxes for 35 years and I want people to get what they deserve.

Why would someone who works so hard to help the poor refuse to allow the same poor people access to information they can use to make it easier on donors and improve their own condition?  I hear constant complaining that there is never enough giving and that people, especially ex-pats with fancy cars, could give much more.  That may certainly be true.  Take those donations and add another $40 USD per child per month to the formula and it is much better than just one side or the other.  That's what this federal program offers.

I was only trying to help.  As it turns out, most ex-pats, for lack of learning the language, have no idea what the Mexican government programs are and how they work. There are literally hundreds of them from delivering seed and fertilizers to farmers to sports scholarships for tennis, swimming, chess and so much more.  People have been emailing me asking me for details.  Ex-pats, for the most part, are completely disconnected from the Mexican reality.  

I now regret wanting to help and put in my "granito de arena".  We do it here in Nuevo Leon and we make sure all school children who are eligible have access to free breakfasts, books, uniforms, scholarships, and more.   It's a joint effort between state, local governments, schools, and teachers like myself.  

We could do so much more working as a team.  A real shame that people pit themselves against each other only to make a name for themselves and children suffer the brunt of such a petty thing as "It's MY project".  It's pathetic.  It should be everyone's project.  But there are selfish people who only think about their fame and noteriety and not the interest of those at hand.  

Interestingly enough, the program for people over 68 (68 Y Mas), is open to Mexicans and ex-pats who are residents in Mexico.  Now that I've said that watch people scramble to enroll, and they have.  Many ex-pats see it as something they are entitled to when they've never paid any taxes in Mexico.  I guess if they did enroll in the program and used the money to help others that would be a different story.  That may not be such a bad idea.  Many ex-pats say they don't have enough money to donate each month well here it is, a monthly donation of $65 USD and you don't have to use your own money.  Let's see how many bite! 

Okay, I mentioned the other day that I was going to check on my social security account.  I did and my consultant showed me where I am now.  I decided to wait two more years to get the maximum benefit based on what I paid in and my additional payments.  Did you know the maximum Mexican social security check is 50,000 pesos a month?  That's $2500 USD per month, not bad for Mexico.  I won't get that much but I do have my U.S. pension as well.  I'm happy.  

The weather is warming up and as they say, Spring has sprung.  Trees are in bloom, the grass is turning green and growing.  We had our first cut yesterday only in the back.  

As I close this part of my life (my rant about programs in Mexico) I'll need to find something else of similar or greater value to pull people's chains.  Someday, I'll have to explain why I get such a kick out of it.  Peace.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Back Home From SMA - Mission Accomplished (Plus a Video)

Not everything turns out the way you want it.  I had mentioned in my last blog post that the dashcam wasn't working.  We took it to Steren in San Miguel de Allende and they couldn't find the problem.  I didn't have the receipt so that was a no go.  When we got home on Saturday I took it back to our local outlet and they found the issue.  Although it says it can take a 64K memory card it can't.  They gave me two 32K cards and I paid an additional 3 pesos.  Back in business but it wasn't of any use on the trip.

I made a video though with Juan using his cell phone.  It jumpy and bumpy in lots of places but I learned about 25 new things related to making videos; how to add text, music, trim, change speeds, add photos and much, much more.  All by trial and error.  In the future the videos from the road should be of much better quality.  

Video: Road Trip To San Miguel de Allende

We didn't do much of anything and that was the plan.  I did my usual exercise routines, cooked, and actually ate in a restuarant, the first time in a year.   It was a bit uncomfortable but we wanted to meet friends that we had housesat for last year.   It was good getting together in an outdoor venue and there were only two waiters and one other couple on the patio.  The mask works really well, hardly any of the food would pass through the fabric.  That might make for a good diet in the future.

Barbara had us over on her rooftop one night and we had a good time doing nothing more than talking and of course a wonderful meal.  It was great being together with others who were also socially distance conscious.  

We were able to go out to the rural areas with Les.  I had asked him in advance and he assured me he'd like to have us along.  Les has been very active helping people living outside of SMA with food, clothing, his yearly soccer ball drive and now delivering wood cooking stoves to those who may need them.  They are pretty handy devices and work extremely well.

Also, a group came along the second day and as you can see in the picture above all with masks.  Juan and I presented the government program Bienestar and the scholarships (Becas Benito Juarez) for primary through university.  Everyone seems interested in getting the word out and since then I have received many emails asking for additional information.  Getting the word out is so important and also that we make this a community effort, not just an NGO where someone can toot their own horn.  It's about people helping people.  $40 USD a month for each child does a lot of good in addition to all the other donations and work people put into helping the poor.

So back home in confinement.  I've been busy getting my paperwork in order for the Mexican pension.  I have an appointment tomorrow.  Enjoy the video and leave your comments down below.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Car Trip To San Miguel de Allende

For us, it was like a new world out there.  We hadn't really been anywhere since March 2020.  I know we could do some things close to home and that travel isn't restricted in Mexico, but with the now 10,000 deaths in Monterrey alone, we hung around the quinta.

We had everything packed and ready to go on Friday night.  One thing that may have held us back a bit was a large Zoom meet up with friends from Mexico and the U.S.  There were 16 of us online and although we started at 8 p.m., said our goodbyes and signed off at 10 p.m. The group stayed up until 3 a.m.  It was fun and we had a couple of drinks.  Getting up at our usual 5:15 was a bit slow but we were on the road by 7:30.

We took our usual route through the mountains instead of driving through Monterrey to Saltillo.  Many people who have come this way know the mountain highway from Linares to San Roberto or Hwy 57.  If you don't, I should have a video uploaded some time tomorrow.  I had purchase a dashcam but the darn thing doesn't like the memory card even after formatting.  We will go to the Steren store here in SMA in the morning to see if they can get it going.  We took some short and sometimes shakey videos from a cell phone.

It was a fun day and we have so many great memories of this route that not only takes us to SMA, but many cities in San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Hidalgo, Coahuila, Veracruz and more.  We drove straight through only stopping for pee breaks.  First stop was Linares, which is    miles from home.  I fixed a sandwich and we had brought along some hard boiled eggs and a small salad.  Great way to start the day.

Crossing the mountains is, well, not slow going but it's a curvy mountain road and one that anybody heading south that crosses at Laredo or Reynosa should try not to mention stopping by to stay hello.  We are now on Boondockers Welcome and offer a place to stay with 30 amp service and water.  Small rigs but we have other places nearby as well.

As you can see we saw some new things, and our lunch stop at Los Potosino was the first time we've had fried chicken in more than a year.  At the rest stop they have Churches, Dominos, Doรฑa Totas, and other restaurants plus a convenience store and of course a gas station.  They have a large trucker's lot where you can park overnight as well as in San Pedro which comes first right after passing San Roberto.  We ate on the road to save time.  The second toll before getting to Matehuala had system problems.  It wasn't backed up to long but enough to make it irritating. 

On some of our bathroom stops we noticed that charging stations are located everywhere even Tesla.

We had a concern entering SMA.  I don't know if I mentioned it but they have COVID checkpoints set up coming from various cities.  You have to have a QR code from your hotel or restaurant.  Well, Airbnb doesn't have QR codes and we thought we might have an issue.  We had a copy of our reservation but we entered from Hwy 57 at Doctor Mora to Los Rodriguez.  When we entered SMA there was no checkpoint.

We found our apartment right away, no issues.  Very quiet building but only 375 sq feet.  A bedroom, bath, and a small living room divided by a counter/bar and a kitchen.  It is very well equipped and a good place to hunker down for the week.  We won't be doing much and Juan will be teaching in the mornings online.  We are happy here and the price is right at $23 USD per night. Yes, that doesn't sound like much but it has everything including high speed internet, Netflix, smart television, a great kitchen for cooking and everything works.  We didn't have to bring a thing (although we always come prepared).

So now we can relax and enjoy the week although we will be at the apartment.  We saw lots of people both Mexican and foreigners on the streets not wearing or carrying a mask.  It's not mandatory here.  Sad.  Guanajuato has had some very heavy COVID spikes in the last year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

After The Arctic Blast 2021 Northern Mexico (In A Video)

An attempt at a video.  It's a learning process and I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Northern Mexico - No Gas and No Electricity

I know for a fact that the southern part of the U.S. is experiencing the arctic blast.  My brother in Kansas City is reporting -13F at night for the last week.  Now there are rolling blackouts.  In Texas, friends have not had electricity for more than 48 hours and their stockpile of wood for the fireplace is running low and no resolution in sight.

What's happening here?  We lost power yesterday morning for about 45 minutes.  By that time I had the generator hooked up and running.  We had internet, television, lights and chargers going and then it came back on.  We could have used solar but very limited as the days have been pretty cloudy.  We end up with about 12.4 on the batteries.  Today I will hook up the trailer to keep it charged just in case other methods might fail.  We have fuel for the generator and two very long extension cords which power everything we need.  2.7 million customers were without power here for two major reasons; freezing gas ducts and U.S. had to cut us off to conserve energy in the states.  

Our radiant heat is burning the LP but the house is warm (considering it's cement block).  The heat pump is running in the bedroom so as long as there is power we're good.   We also have the backup of the Mr. Heater Buddy in the trailer and I can move that into the bedroom if the power goes out again for any length of time.  Our radiant heater in the living area is 24,000 btus.  I'm sure in the worst case we could, with the help of a fan, keep the house and one-bedroom warm.   I'm just trying to balance the power to keep the electricity down and also regulate the LP use.  

We have had snow at the 1000 meter level and there are lots of pictures.  Our in-town national park, Chipinque, was full of visitors playing in the snow.   Yesterday I had to get out and go to the bank to make my social security payment.  Ice was on the SUV so I warmed it up.  The defroster took some time to melt the ice.  No one on the streets and the bank was empty.  Being the 15th of the month I was for sure thinking there would be a line.  These days, most payments are made online, and paychecks and social security checks are paid via direct deposit.  

I haven't been out for my exercise since Friday but at -4C it's too cold for me.  I could bundle up but someone told me I couldn't go out to play ๐Ÿ˜€.  I made chili which we've had twice to go with the cold.  I'm actually enjoying the time.  I like cold weather.  It reminds me of the weekly hikes we took as kids.  That was my dad's way of entertaining us and getting out of the house.   It was a good introduction to nature.  Between those hikes, camping and Boy Scouts, I learned a lot along with my siblings.   So much so that we have a botanist, marine biologist, environmental science to mention a few.  Lots of bird watchers in the family and I enjoy that but never made it an official hobby.  I prefer digging in the dirt.

The cold here is definitely not like the U.S. or Canada now and we feel for everyone who is suffering from the effects of the arctic blast.   Let's hope don't have another one this season and a few years before the next.  

Friday the 12th, we celebrated 36 years.  We had a nice dinner here at home ordering from our favorite Italian restaurant in town.  Very good food, nice table setting, and music.  A lot of fun and it continued through the long cold weekend.  Be safe out there, keep your distance and please, please keep your mask on!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Preparing For The Arctic Blast, It's Still On It's Way

First an update on our friend Brenda the photographer who has COVID.  She's still in the hospital after two months.   She can now answer yes/no by blinking and also squeezes the nurses' hands.  Other than that, she is still having issues with her kidneys and other functions.  She will probably be one of the long haulers.  Juan's BIL lost two cousins last week to COVID they were anti-maskers.   The fight goes on here in Mexico and although the president now has a negative test result after his 16 days of COVID, he says he refuses to wear a mask.  It's almost as if he wants people to be sick.  

The vaccines have been negotiated various times and still, we have no results.  The registration system they created for people over 60 crashed continually for over a week until people gave up.  There were only two fields; your name and your CURP (federal registration number).   Finally, we were able to get in.  So now, we are happy to be registered to receive the vaccine in the next 15 years based on the 717,000 received so far.  We are getting a shipment this week of another 400,000.  Yippie!   We decided that it is time to make some travel decisions but those will be in an rv with no contacts.  We won't be flying anywhere for the next few years and until we are vaccinated and the borders opened, we won't be rving in the U.S.  I just need to get out.

To fight that urge to get out, I decided to do this the other day.  We had purchased a tent for family use about five years ago and it sat in the storage shed.  It would have been used for the family when they brought the kids but never cared much for our rules so they pretty much stopped coming.  I took it out Sunday morning and set it up.  My first thoughts were that it would be a huge fiasco.   I searched for a video and found several on Amazon that shows how to set up the tent.  It took all of 1.5 minutes to set it up and the same taking it down.  Truly amazing.  This came to mind because our trailer awning is wearing out and I never liked it anyway.  The support arms always rattled even with a slight wind or someone walking in the trailer.   I know there are pop up rooms out there that literally pop up like this tent we have but needs to be square or rectangular and best without a pitched roof but a low-profile roof.  When it sits up against the trailer I want to be able to walk from the door to the popup room.  Any suggestions are appreciated.

We are waiting for the arctic blast and here is what is happening now.  Last Saturday it was 36C/97F and since then a balmy low nineties.  Today although hot, the air is thick and the sky is low and cloudy.  The forecast says we may have snow on Monday but if I say we are, it will peter out and you won't see our yard in white.  It happened just a few years ago.  But as I post the weather forecast, it is changing already.  We had our LP tank filled for our radiant heater and the larder is full.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Tioga and George, Two Years After - Vaccine Registration
Funny how friends, friendships even virtual ones can affect a person.  Two years ago today, it was announced on George's blog that he had passed away.  228 comments were written on that post before comments were closed just two days later.  I bet George never would have thought that his blog would attract so many followers.  

I read something on his blog at least twice a week as if the blog was still active.  I choose different topics or check a specific date that corresponds to the day I am reading his blog but in different years.  there are 16 years to choose from, 2003 to 2019.

I still use his MsTioga Magazine.  When I am looking for a product that I remember he mentioned, I can usually find it in his glossary.  Just this week I wanted to recommend an electronic contact spray to someone who had refrigerator computer board issues.  It is great for reviving contacts as well as keeping battery posts clean.  We have a Mexican version that I use but since the person was in the states I thought it would be better to recommend what George used.  Sure enough, I found it in the glossary with a short write up page and a story he tells about using it.  Give credit where credit is due.  I remember buying our rv and storing it in McAllen.  An old story but it was George's boondocking stories that really struck my interest.  Good memories George, and thanks for sharing so much of your wonderful vagabond life with us.   

I mean, how many people had a Datastorm satellite and solar panels on their rv rooftops in 2003?  Maybe a lot and I was just a newbie who knew nothing about it.  But it sparked my interest and got us boondocking with solar.

Here is his first post from May of 2003:

Also, on February 3, 1910, and February 5, 1911, my parents were born.  Married in 1939, they were together 58 years.  They passed away in 1997.  Hard to imagine that they were born 110 years ago.  That's life.

Mexico's vaccine registration webpage is finally up and running.  It is still hobbling a bit, but we did get in after two hours of constant attempts and we are now registered.  There are no more vaccines in Mexico, but they will be calling us to set the date and location when they do receive them.  Should our state come through first, or the option to buy directly that will be fine with me.  Just covering all our bases.  This has been another black mark on the president.  Things are not well-planned, thrown together and this is the result.  Imagine, a webpage that requires your government ID number and telephone, and they couldn't get that right.  It was down for over a week after it was announced. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Where Did Mexico's President Go? VIDEO UPDATE

UPDATE - The president has reappeared in a 60-second video.  He is shown his national palace in the Zocolo in Mexico City.  Walking slowly and obviously feeble he says he wants to show that he is in good health to avoid any rumors. 

We haven't heard a thing from the Mexican president other than his announcement that he tested positive for COVID.  That was last weekend.  His interior secretary has been handling his morning diatribes but refuses to answer any questions about his health other than saying he is doing fine.

You would think we would see a short video clip of him waving to his fans, a short word either via tape, radio or in writing.  Not a peep.

Is this a hoax to play on Covid?  He's been known to do this type of thing on a couple of occasions.  Last month he said he was giving up his morning sermons but then the next day said he was just joking.

I much as I don't like the man, his administration, cabinet, and party, he is Mexico's president and it would be a tragedy if something happened to him.  Mexico would be thrown into chaos having his interior minister take over for two months while the senate attempted to make a decision for a new president.  

We're all waiting.  So, I guess it is fair that he would say that COVID is real.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Good, The Bad, and The Truly Ugly

Taken January 27, 2021, at 10 p.m. with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 250mm zoom lens.  Full moon 99%.

It appears we are making headway here in Mexico.  Mexico has ordered 20 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine although it still hasn't passed approval by COFEPRIS (Comision Federal Por La Protecciรณn Contra Riesgos Sanitarias) the Mexican FDA.   The other good news is that Nuevo Leon may be the site of a vaccine manufacturing plant along with the approval of our state-sponsored purchase of a vaccine still to be announced.

The truly bad news is that INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografรญa) statistics and geographic information, published a census and statistical data report outlining deaths in Mexico.  Between January and August of 2020, 683,000 deaths were recorded in Mexico.  More than any other year in the history of recorded statistics with the exception of one specific period.  What was that period?  The Pandemic of 1918.  That tells us that the majority of the deaths during this period are COVID-related.  INEGI stated that there were 45% more COVID deaths than officially recorded as those deaths were not in hospitals.  That's a show of how many people were not treated in hospitals and confirms what I have said over the past few months.  People were either afraid to be hospitalized or they were told to stay at home because there were and still aren't any beds available.

Several months ago when the news was reporting a lack of beds in hospitals it got me thinking and I have been doing some research to understand how that can happen.  There are different methodologies for hospital planning and construction.  The bottom line is that both public and private facilities are not based on other businesses, if you build them people will come.  It's about statistics on common illnesses, cancer treatments, disease and outbreaks along with population concentrations in specific areas.  There lies the theory.  COVID was unexpected although epidemiologists and virologists had said that something was happening years ago.  How bad is this coronavirus and how many people are dying?  Enough to tell us that based on hospital construction and the number of hospitals and beds, it's more than was ever planned based on statistics.  I guess my point is that the virus is a real killer and the 2 million recorded COVID deaths plus all those in treatment on ventilators, is much more than we can handle.  Hard to believe though that some people believe it's just like the common flu and the death rates are normal.  Time and history will tell us the truth.  People do not have to die.  Bottom line.

The rv is ready to roll.  I finished the reinstall of the original toilet.  It leaked a bit and I found that the cone washer was missing.  Bought one at Home Depot and worked great.  I also replaced an exterior tail light bulb that was not flashing only working in brake mode.  I also installed the LP tank tray.  You may remember I had a guy make a new one and I bought the rod that is used to hold it into place.  I put it off as I hate to drill holes in things.  I did it anyway using tapping screws and it worked just fine.  Then, the new hole in the side of the trailer made by the guys cutting the trees.  I put a solid wall socket cover over it for now until I find someone to do the fiberglass.  I may just leave it that way, it looks like it belongs there.  

A nephew's MIL in Cincinnati received her vaccine yesterday so I imagine that my oldest brother living down the street will be able to do it soon as well.   

With Mexico's president at home with COVID, his secretary of the interior has taken his place in his morning two hours history courses.  She refuses to answer any questions about his health or the current state in Mexico of COVID.  He may be sicker than we think or are being told.  Several members of his cabinet have now tested positive along with politicians he met with in northern Mexico last week.  

The weather has improved and is getting warmer but with chilly nights and early mornings.  Fine with me.  It appears that the trees are already budding and the grass is ready for its first cut.  We've been cooking up a storm and you many have seen my loaf of bread that I posted on Facebook.  The pic is a bit fuzzy but you get the idea.  It's called sponge bread and it not only tastes great but makes for good toast and grilled sandwiches.  

Saturday, January 23, 2021

There's Always Something Good (and Bad) That Comes Out Of Everything 

First off, positive thoughts for our friend Brenda.  Brenda is a well-known photographer who covers cultural events here in the state and beyond, mostly theater and dance.  She has been intubated and hospitalized with COVID for several weeks now.  Here three children are being cared for by family, all three have COVID.  

Yesterday I ventured out into the world not sure of what would be. I decided I should take all the precautions and the ones that I normally do. This is my attire for grocery shopping. I haven't been for some time in person and ordering online was not getting us all the detailed items we needed. Off I went, out into the cold and dreary world of COVID where the only communication is a raise of eyebrows or a gesture with the hands. It's mysteriously quiet these days, no hellos, go ahead, or not even a short "howdy-do". On Thursday our national secretary of health said no state would be allowed to buy vaccines on its own. Oh shit, the roller coaster ride again. On Friday during his 2-hour diatribe, the president reverses the decision. This government has become quite comical, to say the least and has kept me entertained for months. What better viewing than a Pinochet-styled dictator who has no control, stumbles on his words and has been proven to be a bit senile. So now, states are on road trips visiting different countries and pharmaceuticals around the globe. Our great state of Nuevo Leon is off to Russia and is confirming a deal for 2 million vaccines. Monday or Tuesday we'll know more results of the race similar to "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". Wait, I may have put too many "Mads" in the title but that makes it even more fitting.
With the end of winter and the warmer weather arriving now, we made the decision to have our trees and shrubs cut back. The good, the bad, and now the ugly. A crew came full guns swingin', the boss, seven men, two enormously long ladders, and three chainsaws. It was a massacre. They worked every day all day for three and a half days. Needless to say, it was a marathon and the place was looking like a hurricane had hit. Today was the last day and they came to clean the palm trees. I had been cleaning out some drawers in the kitchen and came across an item for the trailer. I walked out opened the trailer door. I could see straight into the bathroom and saw light through the wall above the sink. Oh My God! A limb had hit the trailer and busted a small hole right in the side of the trailer. It's the size of an electrical outlet in length and about 4 cm wide. The inside looks much worse than the outside. They weren't going to tell us. We called the boss and we are waiting for a resolution.

I've decided to try some of those wacky Facebook video recipes and see what kind of bread we come up with this week.  It looks like the U.S. is back on course and it will take a couple of decades for the country to regain its reputation.  Oh the damage an individual can do.  Now you know why I am so concerned about Mexico.

While cleaning out those drawers, I found some old CDs.  I put them in and found some great rving pictures from 2002 to 2004 before the blog.  This is our Trailmanor 3326 hard-sided folding trailer.  It was fab.  I don't know why we ever went to a standard travel trailer.  I think it was the "pop up" stigma.  We pulled it with my best SUV ever, a 98 Nissan Pathfinder.  We finished that Pathfinder in 2007 with 465,000 Km.  A V6 with lots of power.  It was a swell looking car to boot and very comfortable.

This was a Christmas trip we had taken that led us to Fort Davis, TX.  We took a lot of hiking shots and one that I found shows Juan sitting on a ledge.  While reviewing the pictures today, out in the distance I saw a speck.  I think I found another UFO.  I'll post it this week. It's not one of the weather reconnaissance balloons tethered along the border. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Poor Come First (And Some Pictures)

๐Ÿ”…๐Ÿ”…๐Ÿ”… There are some pictures at the end if you want to skip this first part ๐Ÿ”…๐Ÿ”…๐Ÿ”…

It's going to be one of those posts and you are free to leave now.  The campaign slogan for our current socialist dictator has been "primero los pobres" (the poor come first).  We need to take care of the poor through temporary financial support, education, and jobs.  Agreed.  

But think about this.  The plan for COVID vaccination distribution is first to the poor in remote rural areas.  Hmm, does that sound right?  Well, it is the plan.  Even though the incidence of virus and transmission is very low in rural areas and extremely high in concentrated areas such as Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara, we are going to work from the outside in.   The current unofficial death toll from COVID is 300,000 and 140,000 officially, and we know that the virus is spread in concentrated areas such as cities, those areas will come last.  

In addition, the vaccine is being distributed first to health care workers; doctors, nurses, and hospital staff the private sector is not going to receive the vaccine under that umbrella but will be vaccinated based on age and physical condition.  Keep in mind that private hospitals agreed to take all non-COVID surgeries and any COVID overflow from public hospitals.  It's not as if they provide exclusive service to the rich.

Another example of how the president sees not only the pandemic but how the country should be run.  He has also denied any stimulus for big business not taking into account that without big business there will be fewer taxes paid and increased unemployment.  He refuses to recognize the formal economy and continues to praise the "so-called" underdogs of Mexican society.  Such a vengeful person. 

A senator from Nuevo Leon has made a statement that rings very true with most Mexicans.  "In the north, we have hard workers.  In the central part of the country we have the bureaucrats and government administrators, and in the south, those that prefer to rest".  And that my friends, is the truth about Mexico.

Now for a picture of a delicious banana bread, I made this week.  I combined whole wheat and regular flours which made it meaty yet remained soft.  It wasn't super sweet using just a bit of honey but the cinnamon on top and setting overnight really did the trick.

Came across a picture of these two rats.  I sure wish they were around now, we could use a little catnip mischieve.  They were definitely a pair.  I still can't believe Little Bit lived to be almost 20 years old.  He was such a great pet, my shadow for all those years.   But, if we want to travel in the near future we can't have pets.  Maybe when I'm old and gray and can't drive anymore I'll have a lap pet.

The picture was taken at Barra del Tordo.  If you weren't reading the blog then, you can see what it was like by clicking here Barra del Tordo  Those were good times, so carefree and fun.  We had the place to ourselves almost everytime we went.  That was then, this is now.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Counting Down The Days or Is It The Weeks?
The year has started and it really was with a bang.  The capital being invaded.  Who would have ever thought that would happen.  

I am learning new things about our camera we bought a few years back.  I was finally able to figure out how to take a close up of the moon and get some crater views.  It worked!  I still want to get closer and it is just a matter of practice.

I had made enough pizza sauce to make another pizza and had it in the freezer.  I made another pizza and it was delicious.  So delicious I doubt we will buy a pizza again unless we are in a good Italian restaurant.

The virus has stopped a lot of activities.  One for us were the buyers of our land in Allende.   The family came down with COVID and the husband is still recovering.  No social medicine so they are paying out of their pockets.  Probably they will have to get a second on their home.  Good thing Lolita is allowing second loans during COVID.

We've been hit so hard by the virus that we are in weekend lockdown many of which people are being picked up and jailed while shutting down weddings, social events, and neighborhood parties.

I just posted on a YouTuber's video.  They are galavanting around in Arizona which as of two days ago is a major U.S. hot spot.  Big events and parties between nomads, rvers, and vanlifers.  Quartzsite is still drawing lots of people, maybe not the mega crowds but I guess if you are in a motorhome you are immune and so are the people you meet up with.  Funny how people think.  One famous nomad couldn't understand how they could shut down public restrooms and showers and put up a porta-potty.  Simple!  People are standing next to each other, showering, coughing, hawking, blowing their noses, talking, brushing their teeth, and that S--- is going everywhere. With the porta-`potty it's one person at a time and as the person exits you wait a few minutes in hopes the droplets hit the ground before you enter or at least the risk is highly reduced.

We're still on the same stay at home rules.  I may miss out on a lot, like maybe a year, but after I'll be alive to live a few more.  We are supposed to get our vaccines at the end of March.  That said, one of the mayors in Monterrey (we have nine municipalities in one city and each is independent) said he wants to buy the vaccine for everyone in the municipality.  As I have said, the 10 northern states have formed an alliance against the federal government.  Now the word is spreading and they are thinking about not waiting for the bureaucracy of the federal dictatorship and we'll just pay for it out of our state pockets.  

Total deaths today in Mexico is 133,000 with the highest numbers recorded in the last three days.  Same in the U.S. 336,000 and we were warned about the holidays.  But, I guess a couple of million dead people don't matter as long as you don't it.  Right?