Friday, January 26, 2007

Montana Keeps on Rolling, Travels for 2007, January 26, 2007, Citrus Festival

On yet another one of the few good weather days we had in January, Al and I drove into town to see what the Citrus Festival had to offer. It had a tent full of local citrus products, goodness, we discovered there are quite a number of variety of oranges. More than we ever realized.

This is also a Texas style BBQ cookoff affair. There must have been 10 or 15 (maybe more?) HUGE Texas style cookers. These babies are large enough that they have wheels and are drug in behind a pickup truck. They cook with a lot of mesquite, the results are flavorful and tender.

Click here to take you to a short slide show, including Al and the roasted corn! Ya have to see it to believe it!

In 2016 Google took away the slide shows.  So, here are the photos:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Montana Keeps on Rolling, Travels for 2007, January 23, 2007, Monterrey Mexico

On January 23rd, Carol took a day trip to Monterrey, Mexico. Sadly, the weather was lousy to say the least, as it was very low visibility. They tell me Monterrey is a city surrounded by hills and mountains, I could verify that there were hills, but I could see little more than the first several rows of homes built up the side.

Monterrey also has some terrific monuments and parks. We had lunch at the Radison Hotel, and it was marvelous, great food. After lunch, because of the weather conditions, we could not do some of the activities normally planned for the trip, so instead they took us to the Mexican Museum of History. This is a top notch facility, sadly our time was very limited, they have college aged docents who will take a tour around, they speak very good English, very worth the stop.

After the museum, they took us to a Canyon nearby, I did not get the name, but I won't forget it, even with the low cloud cover.

Click here to see a short slide show.

In 2016 Google discontinued the slide show.  Here are the photos.

Canyon, near Monterrey, sorry, I did not get the name.

Abandoned home built in the canyon wall, first step must have been a killer, it is a LONG way down!

Low clouds engulf the canyon wall tops.

Canyon, photos do not show the size, barely show the beauty. This must be spectacular on a day with some visibility.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Montana Keeps on Rolling, Travels for 2007, January 21, 2007, Drizzle & Birds

We are in our Winter Home, Mission, Texas. But, weather-wise, we are confused, are we still in lower Michigan?? YIKES. The temps in Mission for the first 3 weeks we are here, are not much better than in lower Michigan, only about 10 degrees warmer, and it is wet here.

There is no way to describe the term "Drizzle" until you have experienced it. There is light drizzle, that is rather like living in a cloud, heavy fog, maybe? Then there is drizzle, which is not enough wet coming down to call it rain, but it is still wet, very wet. Add a wind and you have sideways drizzle. How's this for a description: YUCKY!

For the first 6 or more weeks of our stay here in Mission we have, well, CRUMMY weather! Some friends that have been coming here for over 12 years say they have never seen anything this bad. We are in a subtropical climate here, they grow ficus trees IN the ground, just like I might grow a maple at home in Michigan. I have heard that this is the worst cold/wet/nasty winter season here, like ever??

And, nasty it was. We even had several nights where it was almost to the freezing mark. We had one particularly memorable (?) day when the wind chill was 30 according to the local weather, only, when I put the numbers into a wind chill chart I came up with about 5 above. My fingers hurt, even with gloves on.

Anyway, it is not what is expected for weather here in extreme southern Texas. There were some really bad cases of cabin fever, after 6 days in a row of wet, windy, gray, cold days closeted in less than 400 square feet of rolling homes, there were a LOT of cases of cabin fever around the Rio Grande Valley.

Once in a while the sun would pop out for a day, January 21st, for example! And, it was warm enough to ride bikes. Al and I grabbed the camera and headed for the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park on our bikes.

Click here to see a small slide show of photos taken at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.  This is an Altamira Oriole.

We of course, have been attending activities here at the park, Saturday mornings, usually finds us in the clubhouse for coffee and donuts. There have been several different entertainers here at the park, one was a local high school group, singing tunes from the WWII era. We of course, visit with our MOC friends, and had one gathering in January and another in February. We have attended one high school performance, at the LaJoya district, they did a performance of Show Tunes. That was a great way to spend a wet gray afternoon, they are so talented and energetic we all left feeling better about the day.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Montana Keeps on Rolling, Travels for 2007, January 15, 2007, Trip to Texas and a New Cousin

Well, I am a bit behind in sharing our travels of 2007, ok, so I am two months plus behind. Some of the delay is due to being lazy, some is due to computer difficulties, some is due to being lazy (Ohhh, I said that, didn't I?) and some is due to not taking the time cause we have been busy doing other stuff. Shame on me. Anyone want some swamp land I have for sale??

Nuff silliness, lets get down to business here. After spending a wonderful Christmas holiday with our children and the twins, and Al's mother, we turned our thoughts and energies to packing and getting out of Dodge (err, home). We packed and organized, winterized the house and left there about 3 PM on the 27th of December. We only drove a little over 100 miles to Aurora, Indiana where we have discovered a campground that is open all year around. The weather was particularly mild, had been wet, the campground was kinda muddy, as was to be expected. We pulled in before dark (this is a VERY GOOD THING), and got all set up for the evening. We rested and decided this was a good plan, the not driving very far the first day.

Next day on to Illinois, it was so warm and mild and no forecasts for freezing weather, so, we put water in Montana and enjoyed!

However, the weather reports for the 2 days of our trip were looking a little snarly, serious rain and wind was forecast for day 4 of our trip, so, we did a bit of rearranging and on day 3 we only drove to Caruthersville, Missouri. There is a casino, we decided to stop there. The rates were very reasonable for 50 AMP service, full hookups, free cable and free wifi. About $16.00 a night plus taxes. Course, we gambled a bit, about $10.00, aren't we the last of the big spenders?? HA HA. Made a great place for a layover, they had a restaurant, and it was fairly quiet. We were basically parked on the banks of the Great Mississippi, a nice stop.

On day 5, we left Caruthersville and drove to Ore City, Texas. A LONG day. But, when we drove through Arkansas, we were more than pleased with our decision to stay put in Missouri while the torrential rains and wind blew through Arkansas. There was water everywhere, farmer's fields were flooded, the ditches along I-40 were 30 foot or more of water in width.

We stayed with friends and now, distant cousins, David and Shirley in Ore City Texas. We arrived just in time to get set up before dark. Shirley had prepared a wonderful meal for us, as she did for the next day and a half. This gal can cook and loves to do so. David and I discovered that we are distantly related, and had a great time discussing family history. We spend New Years Eve and Day with them. What a great visit we had.

Two Montana's. Left is our rig, right is David & Shirley's. Note bikes on front of Big Butt (our GMC towing machine, pass anything on the road, cept a gas station!) How's this for a great campground??

Right, Carol and her new cousin, David, and his lovely wife, Shirley. Nothing more fun than finding a good friend who just happens to be a cousin as well. Thanks Shirley for feeding us and thanks to both of you for a great visit.

After our wonderful visit with David and Shirley, we headed on down the hard road to Schulenburg, Texas and the next day on into Mission. We arrived on January 3rd, in a cool misty drizzle of rain. This was a taste of what we would have, weather-wise, for the next 6 weeks, give or take.