Sunday, February 29, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, February 14 to 18, 2004, Cacti

We did wash the trailer and truck, got the 2000 miles worth of dirt cleaned off, only to have Texas dust cover them both the next time the wind picked up.

I have done some input and a little fact finding/internet surfing, on the Darden lineage.

Yesterday we went to a lovely little nature park in Weslaco. It is 6 acres, non-profit, and very charming. Lots of different plants to look at, lots of cactus, of course. They have a little area set up for bird watching, about 6 or 8 lawn chairs set up in a row. In front of this row of chairs is a log, on the ground, so you can put your feet up while you watch the birds. They had a lot of different kinds of feeders, some with citrus fruit, and some hummingbird feeders. We saw a hummingbird, it was a bit larger than ours in Michigan, but just as fast! Also saw what I believe was a flicker, only this one had yellow over his eyes, then a patch of red on the top of his head, and then another patch of yellow on the back of his head (neck). We forgot the bird books (DUH), must remember to pack them next time!

Oh, Larry Brittain, we really would like you to come down here with us sometime, this park offers free golf after 2 PM each day! Do you think you could handle that?? HHMMMMM??

We have about 2 1/2 weeks left, unless we decide to stay a little longer. The park is starting to empty out, we hear that some have moved on to Arizona, and others have already headed home. We hear that in the next couple of days even more will be leaving! It is interesting being parked for more than a couple of weeks at a time, we thought we might be bored by now, but, so far, we are not.

Apple Cactus, I have one of these growing in my office at home, it is about 6.5 feet tall. This one growing at the Nature Center in Weslaco Texas is at least 3 times that tall.

Century Plants, it is hard to see, but they are taller than the cyclone fence
behind them, making them something close to 7.5 to 8 feet tall.

A variety of cacti, a century plant, several varieties of prickly pear,
barrell cactus and more, it was a bright day, the photos would
have been better on a cloudy day.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, February 14 to 28, 2004, Palms and Dolphins

We have been here 3 weeks now. Time is flying by.


We got a little rain, we got warm days, we got sun, WE GOT WIND! Wowie, it can sure blow down here. There is usually a breeze, then about every 4th day it really kicks up and blows and blows and blows! Today I could barely open the door on the 5er the wind was so strong. Most days the temps are running about 75 degrees. Some nights it gets downright cold, the other morning there was a wind chill of 37 degrees. The Texas sun is hot, so if you get a sunny day with little wind, you can get a great sunburn (you have to ask how I know?? HA HA)

What have we been doing?? NOT MUCH! We fill the days with meals, and caring for the dogs, visiting with the couples in the RV’s next to us, both very nice and helpful. We go to pot luck dinners, pancake suppers, entertainment here in the park, the pool and hot tub, run errands, read some, Al has watched a couple of DVD movies, sit in the sun, take a walk, work on the trailer, clean the trailer, do laundry, sit some more, and start all over again. There was a gathering for people from Michigan (this park only), we went to that yesterday afternoon. Next Tuesday, we, along with the couple (from Manitoba) in the Montana next to us, are hosting a little get together for the Montana owners in this park. Currently there are about 10 Montanas here.

We took a tour to South Padre Island that included a boat ride (dolphin watching). We went to Progresso Mexico one day, walking over the bridge, shopping till we dropped, and then walking back over the bridge. We will go back a couple more times. (Charlee, lots of “S” little stuff we love to shop for!!) We had a great lunch when we were there, and drank beer and Margueritas.

You can see why they have named the campground,
Victoria Palms.This is Victoria Palms Boulevard.

This is the Gulf of Mexico from the southern tip of South Padre Island.

Yes, there is a dolphin there, bout mid photo.
In the background is Mexico, we are just off the south tip of South Padre Island, almost in the Gulf of Mexico, but not quite. The dolphins did jump, but were not particularly frisky this day. Still, they are such a joy to watch, such mystical gentle animals.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, February 8 to 14, 2004, Our First Resort RV Park, Victoria Palms

Happy Valentine’s Day.

It has been gray and gloomy and raining and rather cold here for the Texas Tropics. This morning (the 14th) there was a wind chill of 34 degrees. Brrrrrr. Today was the first time we saw blue skies in 6 days. We really cannot complain, seeing that it is cold everywhere in the US, and a lot of nasty snow storms and ice storms and such, but this IS supposed to be the Texas TROPICS! ????

This will be a week report, not daily:

We have been doing the routine chores, getting a mail box here in the campground, getting the phone installed at campground, getting the high speed internet installed at campground. All are free, cept the phone if you talk over 30 minutes at a time or make long distance phone calls. The high speed internet is fun when it works, which is about 18 hours a day.

We did laundry, we did shopping, we went and looked at all the new Montana models. I still love my 3295 RK bestest !!! We went to Camping World, Al bought a really neat ladder that folds up to the smallest little 4 inch square by 6 foot long.

We went to a few meals here at the campground in their OWN restaurant. Food was OK. You can tell this is a resort, some people really get dressed up, suits, gold shoes for the gals, formal dresses, wow. We have nothing with us fancier than black dress pants and some cowboy clothes. Oh, well. Cannot take this gal out of blue jeans for long!>G>

They have activities all day long, every day. Al has been playing pool, we went to a few of the shows (live singing acts). They fill your propane tanks at the site, you can get deliveries via US Mail and even the UPS trucks come in here.

Everyone is very friendly and helpful. Everyone says HI as you walk by on the roads.

We will take a trip into Mexico from here, probably a guided tour. Take me, show me, bring me home!

I will do a little input, Al will play some pool, we will walk the dogs, and do the everyday type stuff, groom dogs, laundry, grocery shopping, cook meals, do dishes. Not a bad place to spend some quiet time.

A view of our back yard, we have a very large lot, the view out the back windows is quite pleasant. Lots of sand burrs here, so ya don't go barefoot, and oh, are they nasty in yorkie long hair! We are learning to cope!

Our campsite, palms and all. Not bad when the sun is shining!

Saturday, February 7, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, February 6 and 7, 2004, Bad campground, and then GREAT campground

February 6, 2004

Well, there is no rain, but it is windy, which will cut into the gas mileage on the truck. The sun is out, the roads are pretty good, well, very good!

We stop after about 90 miles, for potty break, etc. We discover that somehow we have a full black water tank (the potty holding tank). This is not a real good thing, Al is concerned that it might leak somewhere from the pressure. We continue down the road, but decide to find a campground where we can dump, even if we have to spend the night, instead of going to the campground we had intended to stop at. We find a small city park, find it untended by personnel, dump, rinse the tank, and head down the road to the our intended point of destination. Maybe we should have stayed in the city park, the price was right $12.00 a night, and there was a nice nature trail along the river. However, we had called the other campground and it was closer to our final destination, so we pushed on.......

We also discovered that the frig does NOT always shut and lock. Somehow this AM when I prepare the refrigerator for the road I did not get the door totally locked. We were very lucky, nothing came out of the frig, it did not come open and bang up anything. From now on I will give the frig door an extra push, just to be sure that the door lock is caught.

Well, the destination campground was a bit difficult to find. It is in a mobile home park, this one is a FAR FAR FAR cry from the one like this we stayed at in Jackson Mississippi. This place is ugly, unkempt and the electrical system is so bad that not even “pathetic” describes it. What is DOWN from pathetic?? UGH.

We changed sites THREE times before we thought we had one that had power, had power that had correct voltage and correct polarity. One site we were all set, UNTIL we turned the power on, then it blew the circuit at the pole and there was no way to reset it. The site we finally took had wiring that was not to code, not correct, and in the middle of the night there were power spikes. And for this the management wanted over $20.00 a night. Al saw they offered a senior citizen discount and demanded it! The management started to give him a bit of grief, saying we were not senior citizens. Al said, I am 55, that is a senior citizen, I am not paying more. The guy hushed and took our $$. We cannot recommend this campground to anyone.

I have been in a lot of campgrounds in all the years we have been camping, and some have definitely been better than others. We always look at each other and say, well, we can put up with anything for 1 night. Well, I have to tell you that this place was so bad that we looked at each other and agreed that this time, we would put up with it, but could not wait for morning and could not wait to GET OUT OF THERE! I refused to take out any thing I did not have to have, I did not use the computer, I did not want to have to put the chairs back in the morning.

February 7, 2004

We were out of there by 9:15 AM, on the road to the Rio Grande Valley, and very happy to be on the road again! By 11:30 AM we were close to the campground we have reservations in. We pull off the road, find a Jack In The Box and have lunch. We called the campground to see if we could arrive this early in the day, yep, and away we go!

This place is very nice. This is luxury resort living. Swimming pools, craft buildings, planned events, including entertainment, and more. The site they have given us is very nice, so, we have decided to STAY here for 5 weeks! GULP, another new adventure, we have never stayed anywhere that long. We have free cable TV, possibly high speed internet (still working on that one), free phone (working on that one) and mail service. Our neighbors here have a Montana 5th wheel and are from Manitoba Canada, they are very nice.

Tomorrow we will get out and explore.

John Kerry wins the Michigan and Washington State caucus votes.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, February 1 to 5, 2004, We are IN Texas

February 1, 2004

More quiet days, we visited with some of the other campers, even had dinner with them.

February 2, 2004

Rained last night, so we are very slow getting packed up and out of camp, plus we are facing pulling out of this very close fitting campsite. Even dumping here is a challenge of trees, curving roads and an oddly set up dump station.

We stopped at the Welcome Center for Texas, it had a very interesting board walk, we looked over part of it, and realizing the time decided we better get moving. Found a Flying J for lunch, had their buffet lunch, and continued down I 10 towards Houston.

We hit Houston between 3 and 3:30 (already the start of rush hour), took the north 610 around the downtown area, and the I 10 out of Houston towards the west. Past Katy and on to San Felipe (the old colonial capital of Texas according to the signs). We are staying at the Stephen F. Austin State Park. It is a small park, but has full hookups, and all sites are pull throughs. The first two sites we checked out had bad electric, always pays to check before you unhook. There are a lot of deer here, they are almost friendly, not afraid to come out of hiding even in the middle of the day. The deer are small (like the ones from Virginia).

Today we see our first convertible car with top down, first mosquito (and the booger bit me too), our first swimming pool being cleaned for use at a hotel, first daffodil in bloom.

February 3, 2004

Dave and Marilyn Saunders come to visit for the afternoon, we go out to dinner, and have a fabulous visit. What a NICE day!!

This state park has many deer. They are not one bit shy, walking and feeding where ever they want, at any time of the day. At dusk we have a herd of about 20 within 100 feet of the trailer. The deer are smaller than our Michigan deer.

Kerry wins in several of the primaries and caucus votes held today around the US. We do not have cable here, so it is a bit harder to follow the news.

February 4, 2004

Dave comes back and takes us into Sealy (where they used to make the Sealy Mattress) for breakfast. Good food, great service. Marilyn was playing tennis, we missed ya girl! But thanks for the GREAT cookies you made us and sent along. YUM YUM YUM!

Spent the afternoon at a large RV dealer, wanted to see some new Montana models we have heard about, but they did not have them. Also need some light bulbs, but, they did not have them in stock. A run over to Wall Mart for some supplies and then back to the campground.

They are predicting rain for the night, possibly as much as 8 inches! I am stunned with the amount they have talked about. We stopped at the campground office and asked about their emergency plans and about flood warnings. They state that the campground will not flood with 8 inches of rain, hard to believe isn’t it??

My grandmother Trumbo lived on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River for many years, and her warnings about flooding came to mind. OK, I’ll fess up, I spent a rather nervous evening, yep, worrying about the amounts of rain.

SIGH, we only got 1.5 inches. What a relief.

February 5, 2004

The morning is gray, we decide to stay one more day here, not one bit interested in driving in any more rain (possible, but did not develop) or encountering any flooding (also possible, but did not develop). After laying around, doing a few household chores, we go out in search of the library in Sealy.

We asked 3 people before we found anyone who knew where the library was. Not sure what that says about the reading habits of Sealy.

The internet connection was very slow, but I managed to get some of the email caught up. Al made some calls looking for our next campgrounds. We are heading towards the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, hoping to finally find some really warm weather. We have been on the road for nearly 3 weeks, and have had only one day of over 70 degree weather. It has been particularly cold every where in the US, I think they said it was about 10 degrees below the normal here.

This afternoon I finished crocheting a blanket to donate to Yorkie rescue. I will mail it off when we return to Michigan.