Saturday, January 23, 2010


Our site at the Del Rio Elks LodgeTonight I’m writing from Hondo, TX, a tiny town about 30 miles east of San Antonio.  A glass of wine is near my right hand, soothing nerves frazzled by dealing with a computer on the fritz and the inability of the manufacturer to understand folks who don’t have a permanent address!

(Hover your cursor over any photo to read the caption.)

On Wednesday, the night before we left Davis Mountain State Park, I wrote a long blog about our stay there, and a review of the campground, planning to post both the next day when we left the park and had internet access via our Verizon aircard.  When I turned on the computer on Thursday morning… ACK!  The screen was completely black.  All the normal sounds “coming to life” sounds could be heard, and the various drive and battery lights flashed, but without any life on the screen I could do nothing. 

Crossing the Pecos River, the best scenery of the drive.Long story short [represented here as &$*#(*%, NO, NO! #((%)$&%**$]: I could leave it at Best Buy for 2-4 weeks (and return there to pick it up), or ship it to Toshiba’s “service depot” in Kentucky via UPS and have it repaired and back in about 10 days. 

A short exchange illustrating the tone of the entire, multi-phone call ordeal of figuring out all the hoops we need to jump through came when the service rep on the line told me to be sure to back up my computer, and to remove any “sensitive information” before shipping it.  I said “you realize that is impossible to do when I can’t see anything on the screen, don’t you?”.  He said “yes, but I still have to tell you that”.  Sigh, and sigh again. 

So for now, I am back on the little four-year-old Toshiba that we replaced 3 months ago with the new, malfunctioning one.  This is the one with the binder clip to hold the screen together.  :)  Still dependable!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Del Rio to Hondo on an overcast day.We set out from Davis Mountain State Park on Thursday morning, as planned.  During our 4 night stay there, we had a little excitement: our huge windshield shifted slightly out of its “normal” position when we leveled Scoopy in the state park site, which was rather sloped.  We’re lucky it hadn’t rained, as there was a gap of about 1/2 inch in the upper corner on the driver’s side – you could poke your finger through it.  The good news: the windshield didn’t fall out when we lifted the jacks and aired up the suspension.  :)  The gap wasn’t closed, but was improved.  Very good.

We had an uneventful ride through boring scenery to Del Rio, Texas, right on the Tx/Mx border, and settled in at the quiet, friendly Del Rio Elks Lodge for an overnight stay.  We were on the road by 9:30 am on Friday.  A quick stop at the truck stop for diesel, and on to the Escapee park (Lone Star Corral) near Hondo, TX.

The terrain now is flat, flat, flat, something I don’t care for at all.  After we arrived and set up Scoopy, we drove 30 (flat) miles to a Best Buy store in San Antonio to get the computer repaired.  Suffice to say – it didn’t happen.  We drove back home, 30 (flat) miles, tired and frustrated.  Phone calls followed.

Mission San Juan, on the This morning we went back to San Antonio, to the UPS store, and shipped off the computer, then did a spot of sightseeing.  The highlight of the day: lunch at a little Mexican restaurant (Rincon de Jalisco) pointed out to us by the ranger at the San Antonio Mission National Historic Site.  I had tacos that were as good as those I remember from Alamos, Sonora, Mexico – the standard by which I rate all tacos.  OUTSTANDING!

On the way home (after driving around 80 miles today), we promised ourselves to take a day off from driving tomorrow, other than a few miles to see what the town of Hondo has to offer.  Sleep late, chill out, catch up on ‘round the rig chores, watch football… and look forward to our departure on Monday for the Texas Hill Country, the part of Texas that originally made me change my mind about this big state.  Beautiful!


  1. Don't give up on computers, and just accept the fact that 99% of CSR are reading a script and know nothing about computers. Most of them are not even in the US. I would assume your laptop is locked on external monitor mode. You could have tested it in Best Buy by connecting it to a monitor in the store. I guess it is too late now :)
    I do need to praise Dell though - they sent a technician to my RV to fix my laptop (!!)
    Most of TX is flat, but so as the big plains in the Midwest. Just need to discover the beauty of the desert. The power of infinity. The endless wilderness. Each has its own uniqueness, and don't get me wrong - I love the mountains, and if I had my choice I would prefer a non-flat terrain. Hope the hole in the window will adjust itself. We have fixed part of out faults (we actually have water now) and heading back to TX next week to fix the slide.
    Enjoy the hill country and the Hill Billies.

  2. I well understand the computer frustration & ongoing frustrations of dealing with the techs. Working with computer's is a true love/hate relationship. I don't think any of us really fully appreciates the importance our computers have in our lives.......until we turn it on & it doesn't work!! AL

  3. Hi, Motty. We did hook the computer up to a monitor at Best Buy. The monitor worked fine. It was the BB tech's opinion that the LED backlight was out, but he didn't know for certain. Said he would have to send it to the service center for repair, which would take 2-4 weeks - then we would have to come back to the store to pick it up. I wanted something faster, so sending it back to Toshiba was the best of the crummy options. Toshiba also offers a service where they come to you but, since we are just "recreational" users, we didn't pay for that service. :)

    Computers are great when they work!

  4. See, I told you you should have gotten a Mac. 8^). In truth, any computer can develop a hardware problem, even Macs. But Apple is rated as the best in customer service. Just saying...

    BTW, if you're going to be in Hondo for a few days, we highly recommend the walking tour of the little town of Castroville. Very interesting. We had a very nice day with another SKP couple we met at Lone Star Coral, David and Joanne, walking the streets and visiting the homes and shops of this historic city. Bev did a nice write up of it in our blog: I hope you have time to visit it.

    -- jc&bev

  5. How frustrating!!! Thank heavens for the lowly, dependable binder clip, huh? Nice to have you blogging again, anyway.


  6. We went through almost the same ordeal when our laptop died; the tech said to back it up and remove sensitive files. Really? When it won't even turn on? Good call!

    We were without the computer for seven weeks while they dilly-dallied around, finally replacing it with a newer but refurbished model due to an inability to locate parts (on a two year old Gateway laptop). We ended up buying a Toshiba in the meantime.

    If you are ever back in Del Rio, stop at the Val Verde winery. Great Savignon Blanc. I haven't really tried their reds as I wasn't in to them at our last visit several years ago. Some day we'll get back there....

  7. Laurie

    Technology is wonderful--until it isn't, and old becomes new again. Good luck with the laptop. Our cat Camille had symptoms similar to Luna's. Several years ago her bodily functions went out of whack. We took her to UC Davis Vet Hospital where she was diagnosed with diabetes. It's different for cats, Camille needed more fluids to flush her kidneys and free up her poop. If Luna doesn't improve you may want to ask a Vet if it might be diabetes.

    Travel safe with lots of fun and adventure.