Sunday, November 27, 2022

Happy Birthday! In Memory Of Tioga and George!

"Tioga & George travel the roads of the west searching for adventure"

Today, November 27th would have been George's 85th birthday.  He was the greatest boondocker ever.  If I hadn't stumbled across his blog we would have missed out on so much.  He hardly missed a day posting on his blog and told us all the good, the bad and the ugly.  He shared some of his best boondocking spots, this favorite meals, movies, and more.  He suffered the tragic loss of his son David.  Everyday I looked forward to reading his adventures.  Quirky and off on his on adventure he was the man. In my eyes, he was a good man.  As I have said before, we only communicated via email and some of you were lucky enough to meet him in person.  We miss you George!

Happy Birthday and keep boondocking wherever you are!

Saturday, November 26, 2022

A Stopover In Matehuala

The day before we headed out for Matehuala we took the group up to the Cola de Caballo waterfall.  It is a national park with pavered walkways, palapas, and grills.  It's a short hike and very easy to do although there are steps in certain parts.  Even though we are still recovering from a drought, the water is slowly returning and coming down from the mountains.  It has also been rainy and cloudy for the last week.  The week before the sun was shining and it was blue skies.  I guess I hadn't looked far enough into the forecast but we still would have gotten together.  After the waterfalls, we drove into Santiago to take a look around the pueblo magico.   
Off we went for downtown Monterrey.  The fog was so heavy we couldn't see the tops of the 40-floor buildings.  We did manage to show the group quite a bit but it was quick.  They were only staying for two nights.  We had lunch at Los Frijoles.  Quite an interesting place to say the least.  They have a huge property in the middle of downtown that includes the restaurant, secured parking, antique cars that have been refurbished and memorabilia.  Margaritas and chile relleƱos.
We took off around 8:30 in the morning.  You can see that the road was still quite muddy and it had rained the night before.  It was a real bummer to have to bring them up and down the road with their rigs but they seemed to have fun getting each rig backed into the driveway.  Actually, no one had any issues and the one that we thought would be a problem was Barb and Sal's class A.  Only 26ft long but it is tall and wide.  Sal backed it in on the first try.  

We made several stops on the way to Linares before crossing the mountains.  One needed propane, another diesel, and one wanted to pick up some carne seca (machacado) in the town of CongregaciĆ³n Calles which is known for its beef and jerky production. 

As we approached Linares, the skies opened up and the fog faded away.  Everyone had the opportunity to see these magnificent drive-through mountains.  Curving back and forth, a few small rock slides had taken place over the last week and clean-up crews were out doing their job.  We made a pit stop in  Iturbide which is not quite half the way across, got a cup of coffee and a potty break and off we went passing Galeana and down the other side to San Roberto and Hwy 57.  They said the drive was beautiful and took lots of pictures.
We arrived at Las Palmas Hotel and Rv Park famous to rvers in Mexico traveling south and north.  We usually stay across the street at the Oasis Hotel which has one rv slot and only charges 150 pesos per day with electricity and water. 


After a day's drive who doesn't like a nice happy hour!  We took a quick nap first and then got together in the RV section for a drink or two before heading to the restaurant.   We never seem to have any fun.  We reminisced about past rv trips, stops at Las Palmas but most of all the rvers who weren't here on the trip and those that have passed on.  Some rvers will probably never return since Covid.  It just doesn't seem as likely.   Baja though seems to keep a steady stream of rvers going.

I went to get a bag of ice from the restaurant and there is some remodeling going on in the lobby.  They keep this 1950s hotel in pretty good shape.  As I passed to the bar I noticed a small events room with plush seating and a huge table.  I asked if we could use it for our party of eight and they said sure.  It worked out well and we had two waiters and a private bathroom attached.  We had a delicious dinner and then told a few stories before turning in.

Everyone stayed an extra day but we headed on to SMA to do some things to the house.  Today is Saturday and we are celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner at our friend Barbara's house.  I have the turkey in the oven but this one is a Butterball not a live one like in a previous Thanksgiving at Hacienda Contreras.  I hope everyone is enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm thankful for one thing.  That I am here today.  Juan is healthy and back on board.  

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Heading South With The Caravan

We were off to an early start.  We were up and getting things together and before we knew it the rvers were lined up on the road.  Anxious to get going we headed out and to the south.  It was a fun day with many stops to do different things, purchase gas or LP, get a coffee or make lunch.

We arrived in Matehuala around 3 p.m. Everyone got situated before a nap followed by a quick happy hour and dinner at the hotel restaurant.  They gave us a private room and excellent service.  We had a blast and everyone had a story to tell.  

We will leave ahead of the group tomorrow to meet for an appointment at noon.  Thanksgiving dinner will be at our friend Barbara's on Saturday.  I will post more in the next day or two as there are lots of pictures to share. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Rvers Are Coming - This Is Going To Be Great
It's been a long time, but rvers are returning to Mexico after the pandemic. In droves?  That I don't know.  However, we have been getting ready for guests coming this week. 

We belong to Harvest Hosts and an ever had scheduled to come but the day before their arrival they had emailed me and said they had made a calendar mistake and wanted to come that day.  Unfortunately, I didn't see the email till early afternoon.  I had been out running errands.  So this is important.  I purposely gave him my cellphone number and said it was a Mexican number.  He said he tried calling but the call would never go through.  

It's essential to understand how to dial in Mexico.  It can be a lifesaver when you are in trouble, broken down alongside of the road, or worse.   Using a Mexican phone and dialing 800 numbers you need to have extra time on your phone apart from the package you have purchased.  For example, I don't use a monthly plan that is charged to a credit card.  I use Telcel Amigo and I pay 200 pesos per month.  It comes with plenty of extra data should I need it for wifi but I still need to have at least 20 pesos on the phone for 800 calls.  We missed each other and they headed on to Saltillo.  Too bad.  I even emailed him back with the house number and the way to dial depending on whether it was a U.S. or Mexican plan.

Three rvers traveling together will be arriving this week.  We can't wait and we have a great happy hour planned for their arrival and a day of touring the waterfalls and a quick trip to Monterrey.  After that, we will all head to Matehuala for the night.  We won't be taking our RV though.  After Matehuala we will all be heading to San Miguel de Allende. 

On our part, we will be receiving furniture we have ordered on the Buen Fin weekend plan.  Buen Fin as many of you recall is a four-day shopping spree with participating merchants who offer steep discounts on just about everything including cars and new homes.  This time of year, most northern travel to the U.S. border cities to take advantage of Thanksgiving shopping.  The idea was started back in 2011 to promote shopping from national merchants in the northern region and encourage people to buy locally and not from the U.S.  It took off and is such a big thing that it is now a national program.

We purchased bedroom furniture and other items for the second bedroom and also have found some bargains already this week here in Monterrey as many will offer you the Buen Fin price as an incentive to "buy now", and we did.

This will be fun and hopefully a return to normality.  It will be good to see everyone again and reminisce about all the great rving adventures we have had.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Fight For Democracy
Sunday the 13th of November was an important day here in Mexico.  Thousands in major cities all around the country, Spain, Costa Rica and the U.S. marched for democratic freedom in Mexico.  The current administration would like to eliminate the autonomous electoral organization known as INE or the national electoral institute.  

As you know, Mexico's past and present has been filled with corruption.  Electoral corruption came to an end in 1986.  How did that happen?  In that year, in Chihuahua, state elections were held.  During that election, ballot box stuffing took place.  It was so severe that Mexicans challenged the elections.  They were told they could take all the ballot boxes in the state and count vote by vote.  The government at the time, and an important person who now controls the CFE (national electric company) doubted anyone would want to take the time to do that as in the past.

On that day the challenge was met.  Mexicans took to the streets in mass.  They counted all the votes to find out that the socialist government had stuffed more votes (165 for every 100 legitimate votes) than the number of voters in the state.  That year the INE was formed and has protected all of the elections since.  

That institution is in danger of extinction today.  The current federal administration would like to dismember the institution claiming it is corrupt although he was legitimately elected by the people and the election was monitored by this institution.  Also, he claims that the institution costs too much money.  

As you can see in the graph it simply is not true.  This graph compares the cost of the institution with current federal projects many of which have been deemed overscale, over cost, and projects that will provide no significant change for the country.  

On Sunday Mexicans took to the streets.  In Monterrey alone it is estimated that 25,000 people marched.  

Obviously, Mexico City had the largest turnout.

The response this morning in the daily presidential broadcast was and I quote, "A strip tease by the conservatives".   Unbelievable.  

You might ask why and how this concerns me.  My freedom and my rights as a permanent resident could as well be at stake.  Whatever the presidential party votes on, they will surely win.  Immigration laws are now changing daily and so are national reforms that are affecting the way we live, work, and play.  The rules are changing and I refer back to my grandparents who were immigrants from what is today Croatia.  He said every day things were changing.  But it was small stuff that didn't seem to affect the general population.  All of a sudden, one day, we woke up in a fascist state and we were trapped.