Monday, March 27, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, March 27, 2006, Wild Animals of the Rio Grande Valley

These are Javelinas. Otherwise known as Collared Peccary. The link will tell you all kinds of interesting stuff about this animal. We see small bands of them at the State Park, usually 5 to 10 animals in a pack. We keep our distance!

We saw these Javelina babies as we rode out of the park the other morning. They don't look too old, and like all babies, they are kinda cute. You can see the adults are watching us rather closely. We were more than 100 feet away, but those adults were taking NO chances on those humans watching them.

Imagine our surprise when we got back to our rig the other day and found this fierce critter residing in our bedroom????

OHHHHHH, that is for the twins! HAHAHA He is four foot tall, it will take a lot of candy to fill him!

Back on January 25 of the Montana Travel Reports of 2006 we showed you a photo of the palapala out in front of our Montana. The leaves were bare, well, here it what it looks like at the end of March. Not so bare anymore.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, March 25, 2006, World Birding Center

Not far, less than 1/2 mile from our campsite is the Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, famous for it's birding. Here is their home web page,, it is easier to tell you where to look than to explain it all here. With the new camera in hand, off we went to one of the birding blinds. Here are a few photos:

Left: A Golden-fronted Woodpecker, he is about 10 inches long. His home is Texas and Mexico.

Right:  These lovely little blue birds are Indigo Bunting. Their habitat runs from Michigan to Texas, East Coast to about the Rocky Mountains (from what I can tell from the map in my bird book). I have only seen this bird one other time, and that was in Michigan at one of our State Parks. These little guys are 5 1/2 inches long. These birds were seen at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park on March 31, 2006 and were about 30 feet or more away from us. Al did a great job getting a photo with that new camera.

This is Altamira Oriole. He lives in southernmost Texas and in Mexico. He is such a vivid color he takes your breath away when he comes flying into a feeder area. When seen with the Green Jay (see below) their colors actually seem to enhance each other. This guy is about 10 inches tall.

This is a Green Jay, they are quite prevalent here, he is about 10 1/2 inches long, and I have to tell you, this photo, as good as Al did, does not do this bird justice. His back is a glorious color of green, and has shades and hues that are hard to describe. When seen in a group, they remind me of parakeets and the jungle. His attitude reminds me somewhat of the Blue Jay from home. The Green Jay is considered a Tropical bird, whose range JUST reaches the southern tip of Texas, specifically the Rio Grande Valley.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, March 24, 2006, Rio Grande Valley Flora

Lets see what that new camera can do.

Left flower from Mexican or Texan Olive, right is the tree, this particular one is right on our site here at Bentsen Palms Village.

This is called Purple Skyflower.

Below:  flower from a Prickley Pear Cactus, the paddles of the Prickley Pear are eaten, and are sold in the local grocery stores.

Right, these everblooming roses are indeed everblooming, they have had flowers on them every day since we arrived, December 31st, 2005. This photo was taken March 24, 2006.

Left, the flower of the Texas Lantana, a shrub that blooms in late winter.


Right:  black eyed susan. These grow wild, they are a 4 foot bushy type plant. This one has it's own little bug, on the right, that black spot.

Above, this riot of "hurt your eyes" bright orange is called Mexican Flame Vine, it is growing in the pool area, and attracts butterflies.

 Also near the pool, growing on the fence, is the Passion Vine. These wonderful flowers were a joy to discover.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, March 21, 2006, Winter Appreciation Day

March 21st every spring in Nuevo Progreso Mexico is Winter Texan Appreciation day. It is helpful to arrive early in the day, yes, even "can't get her out of bed early" Carol got up and got going.

Street vendors sell everything.

Left, reduction of this photo for the web site also reduces the beauty of the art work, wood, carved and painted.

So, here is a enlargement of just one piece.

Left, strawberries, huge, red, ripe, juicy. Believe they made drinks from these.

Right, wheels for the vendor of nuts and candies.

Left, having some fun.

Entertainment abounds, there are several stages with folk dancing and musicians, all free.

Winter Texan Appreciation Day is all of this and more, it is quite the experience. Something that we hope to do for a number of years.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, March 10, 2006, Bike Stand and a Little Pickin'

One of the things that we have really enjoyed about our trip to the Rio Grande Valley this year, is having our bikes with us and riding in and out of the park. However, with the winds here, they tend to blow over quite a bit. Several of the fellows took advantage of the wood shop here at the park to build bike stands. One fellow designed and built one, another fellow came along and copied the basic design, with a few tweaks and built his own. Well, we wanted one as well, but did not want to build it from wood as that gets a bit heavy and bulky to transport home. After some discussions, pow wows, and thought, Al, with some very good suggestions (thanks to John B. and John C.), came up with a bike stand built from PCV pipe. It is made in 4 parts and comes apart for travel. Al even figured out how to put water in it to add some weight.

Other improvements and changes we have made this year include a bedskirt, a awning support (helpful in all this wind), a water softener (we really LOVE the water softener), scare lites under the steps of Montana, and a really neat door latch (thanks Vicki and Steve R., and your designer). I have enjoyed my plant shelves in the kitchen so much and we continue to enjoy the lifestyle and our Montana.

At the park this year a number of the residents decided to have jam sessions on Saturday afternoons. All were welcome, they even came up with songbooks. Many times they were playing just yards from our Montana, they were very good, great stuff!