Thursday, March 31, 2005

Montana Tours of 2005, March 23 to March 31, 2005, Bees, Sand Art & Wind Grilling

Our stay is coming to a close, we have been to South Padre Island for a day, walked along the ocean, got a bit of sun, had pina coladas by the beach, a very enjoyable day.

Made another trip to Progreso Mexico, had breakfast (something we had not done before, YUM), found a great jewelry store, picked up a few other requests, and ran out of $$, must be doing something right??

One of the MOC members dropped by, John and Donna, they are staying out in Mission, where we hope to be next year. Had a nice visit with them, and hope to see them all down here next winter.

Did have one exciting afternoon in the Montana, we got an infestation of bees. They said they were not killer bees, but they were not happy bees either. Al took Abby and Cappy for a walk, came back in, I got Tilly and Gallagher ready for their walk, went out the door and wammo, there they were. UGHHH. We had a couple of interesting hours, it was Sunday, the park has a exterminator on call, but he could not be reached on Sunday. I proceeded to inform the park manager here that bees did not KNOW it was Sunday, and maybe he ought to have the names of more than one exterminator to call?? I had to stay out side for a long time, because I could not get in the door of Montana. Finally the bees decided to stay away from the door for a moment and I ran in. Eventually a bee got in Montana, which we expected, and I was back on the phone with the park manager. He said, well, we can come down there at dusk and spray, we have this foam. I asked him what I was supposed to do about 4 yorks that had to go potty real soon, and it was HOURS until dusk?? They came down and sprayed, the bees have not returned!

Sand art/sculpturing, is very popular in the Rio Grande Valley area, as is to be expected! Here is an example of a rather cute piece, which was being done at the Borderfest Festival. They work on it for a few days while the festival is going on. It is interesting to watch these artists at work! They spray their work with a mixture of glue and water, and they can stand for weeks or longer as long as they are not touched and as long as they are not at the beach!

Last installment we showed a photo of some really Texas styled bar-b-que grills. Now, lets tell you about trying to grill, say a hamburger, here in the Rio Grande Valley, on one of our little portable grills. Maybe we should call it the wind/grill dance. It tends to be a bit breezy here in the Valley. OK, sometimes it is downright WINDY! Cannot tell you how many times stuff blows away or over. Lawn chairs if not being used, are best laid down, or they are gonna move! At this park they have 30 gallon light weight galvonized trash cans at each campsite. We have NO idea why, but that is what they give you. Twice a week they pick up the garbage. In between we chase lids from those garbage cans. The wind picks the lids off the trash cans and tosses them around like a frisbee! We find them in adjoining campsites! Lucky, so far, they have not damaged any rigs or trucks!

Anyway, now, back to the wind/grill dance. First step is to determine if the breeze is light enough to even attempt cooking. IF, you are dealing with a full force wind, our advice, don’t try it, and if you insist, we wish you all the luck in the world! Next step, try to determine which way the wind is blowing. Now, study your campsite and see if you can find a place to tuck in that is a little bit less breezy! Move grill, attempt cooking. Be sure to allow more time for this type of cooking, cause the grill will be real hard to heat up! We have seen other campers pull their truck up to block the wind, and even attempt to put tarps out to block the wind. Al and I have bodily stood guard trying to block the wind. Maritial bliss, cuddling around the grill in the wind trying to get the hamburgers to cook! When all else fails, GO OUT TO EAT!

We leave the Valley tomorrow, heading north, SLOWLY, north. First scheduled stop, Fredericksburg, Texas and Wildflowers!

Even though we were pretty sick for about 2 weeks when we first arrived, we have still enjoyed our stay here, Al had a great time playing billiards, and I just enjoyed being in Montana, and being here!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Montana Tours of 2005, March 24, 2005, Musings and Mumblings

Other musings and mumblings from things seen over the last few weeks:

They have a drive in movie (anyone remember those) a mile or so away from here, we can see the screen at night, not the movie, just that it is there. $5.00 a car full of people to enter!

Saw corn 4 inches high a few weeks ago, now it is about 8 inches high.

They are harvesting fields of onions! They also harvest sugar cane here, part of the process is burning the fields or something, problem is that this burning produces large amounts of soot, large hunks of soot, that fly for miles. It is a bit of a problem here at this park, it gets in the pool, and all over your rig and truck and the grass. Sounds a bit romantic growing sugar cane, the harvesting of same, it is NOT romantic, it is black and dirty.

The orange and grape fruit trees are in bloom, the smells are too wonderful to even try to describe.

The spring flowering bushes are also in bloom. The colors are fab! People are planting their annuals, pansies, petunias, geraniums, all great looking, healthy, large and full of blooms.

Many of the Winter Texans leave as of March 1st, looked like at least 100 pulled out of this park on March 1st. Since then, many more have left. I think we have an acre of empty lots around us! (Not quite, but entire rows at this park have NO rigs.) Most of us that are left will be leaving April 1st, gonna be a traffic jam out there on the highways that day!

Someone was playing the bagpipes here in the campground one evening. OK, they were still learning, missed a few high notes, but I surely did not expect to hear anything like that!

We had another gathering of MOC members in the Valley, a much smaller group, but still had an enjoyable afternoon and evening visiting and comparing stories on Montanas.

We are scheduled to leave the Rio Grande Valley on April 1, 2005. We will head home, first stop along the way will be Fredericksburg, Texas for Wildflower time. We are told it is fabulous. After Fredericksburg we have no definative plans, YET!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Montana Tours of 2005, March 23, 2005, Rio Grande Livestock Show, Amazing BBQ Grills

We attended the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show here in Mercedes. This is a form of our 4-H county fairs, the youth show the livestock they have been raising, only here they show a LOT more cows and steers than I remember in Michigan. They have arts & crafts for sale, carnival rides, junk food, vendors, etc. They have rodeo several evenings a week (we did not attend, heard it was quite good tho). They have fireworks and a parade. We could see the fireworks from our trailer, just stood in the door way and watched! They take their bar-b-que quite seriously in Texas, as you can see by this photo!

All these smokers/cookers were made by individuals for this fair
competition. They were made of very heavy gauge metals. The lids were so
heavy I could barely lift one, and it was a small cooker.

I know, first thought, is that animal would be a lot of steaks and meat for
those cookers! This was a LARGE animal!

Above:  A 1903 John Deere Chuck Wagon. This type of wagon would be
loaded up with coffee, beans, flour, rice and cured meats for cattle drives.
There was a nice demonstration about cattle drives at the Rio Grande Livestock Show.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Montana Tours of 2005, March 10, 2005, Fruits & Vegies Supreme

The weather has been nice, over all, the average temps are up to around 80 degrees during the day. We have had a few days of 85 to 90, had one that was 99, ooeee, that was warm! Have to remember tho, that here it is mostly dry heat, and that does make it a bit more tolerable than 99 with the humidity we get in Michigan. Needless to say, there have been a number of visits to the pool and hot tub and therapy tub (water in a therapy tub is not as hot as a real hot tub, but still has all those wonderful jets of water to help get rid of the sore spots).

We have made several trips to Mexico, the shopping is always fun there, we have great lunches, and come back. We were even able to attend “Winter Texan Appreciation Day” in Progreso, Mexico. That was QUITE the experience. Some free food, people everywhere, entertainment stages up and down the streets. We discovered a new shopping area, very colorful and fun, off the main drag one block, worth the walk!

We also have been to the flea market a few times, did a little shopping, mostly the $2.50 t-shirts and cheap hats for Al! I found bathing suits for me for $5.00 a piece. Yep, I bought some, 4 of em, to be exact! Must be discontinued suits, but since I am no fashion expert and so out of the loop, like, who cares! HAHA.

The Rio Grande Valley is well known for its fruits and vegetables, below are photos from one of the larger fruit markets we have found. The prices are very reasonable, beats the grocery store prices by far!

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Montana Tours of 2005, March 2, 2005, Borderfest

We attended the Borderfest Festival at Hidalgo. It is a celebration of the heritage of the area and more! Great food, to say the least! Art and arts and crafts are displayed and sold. There was a tent that discussed farming and ranching here in the area, showing what products are made from some of the plants and animals of the area. They have ENTERTAINMENT! We cannot remember a festival that had so many entertainment tents. We saw just a portion of what was offered, and we saw, Polish dancers, Scottish bag pipe band, and Japanese drums. There was also a number of Mariachi bands and Folklorico dancers, they even had belly dancers, which we did not see, but I did see a dancer walking around the fair - - it was a guy! They had street entertainers, including a gal, dressed in Mexican folklore clothing, that was a street mime, one of those that freezes into positions! When we saw her, she was sitting on a picnic bench and a Winter Texan was trying to keep her from falling over, he would adjust her arm, she would move one way, adjust the arm in a different position, she would fall another direction. Fun to watch! It was quite a nice day!

Yes, that IS the Weinermobile!! Borderfest has it all!

There was a car show at Borderfest, every good festival needs and has a
car show. Here were a couple we found a bit interesting. I would have
loved to see them set this demonstration up!

Below, one of the entertainment groups,
(Just for Anne and Karen!)