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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kinder, LA

We are now parked at the RV resort at Kinder, Louisiana. We have shuttle service to the casino but just relaxing right now. The drive around Houston took over an hour and included a very very high bridge. Penny was driving and had to hold back her screams!

We are getting much faster and more organized in setting up and tearing down the RV. No issues to report.

We stopped at a grocery store and some Girl Scouts were selling cookies. We bought a box of berry flavored. We found out they are only available in this area. We will let you know how they taste.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Shiloh RV Park

There were over 300 sites at the first park before Houston that we stopped at. Um. Full. A pipeline is being laid and no one is leaving. So now we are down the road at Shiloh RV Park. I think we are in Richmond, Texas.

We got the rvset up and everything is working fine. We are semipros.

Thanks to an unnamed truck we now have a cracked windshield. Not nice. It looks like a new windshield for us. Oh boy.

We did really well, we are parked for the night and very tired. It was hard to say good bye to all our friends. But we will be back.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Swan Drive Block Party

Yesterday was the block party for our street. It was held at the opposite end from us.....down where several Canadians live. It started off with happy hour, of course! There was great food and conversation. After eating we sat around visiting, listening to music, and watching people consume a huge container of margaritas. Mardi's and Bill's golden retrievers, Jake and Sam, got loose so we had some excitement when several people jumped on their golf carts and went racing after them. The dogs ran back to their own yard so it ended well. Then our very own DJ played "who let the dogs out". Great fun and laughs. We danced and sang along and had great fun. John knows a lot of songs! The Canadians told us we need to park closer to them next year but they party all the time. We just party sometimes.

We are leaving a day earlier than originally planned. We are pulling out around ten Friday morning. Our first night on the road will be south of Houston. We are sad to leave but excited to get back home to our families. Oh, the stories we have to tell!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Circus People

We learned today that several circus people live close by. We are at the end of a dead end road that goes past some interesting houses. There are no zoning laws so a nice new house might be next to a trailer. One house looks pretty good but we noticed an RV and several trucks parked there a few days ago. They set up a trampoline and high wire in the back yard to practice. We haven't seen them yet but hope we do.

There are two very nice and new homes on this road and neither one has any windows. They are boarded up. When we asked about them we found out they have been that way for several years. If your house is still under construction then you do not pay any taxes! We will let you know when they finally add windows.....if they ever do.

Another piece of propery had an old and dented trailer moved on to it recently. We were unsure it was livable but we have heard that the truly poor people around here live in some awful places. We watched for several days as a porch was added by a couple of noncarpenters. Then it was finally a functioning home when the satellite dish was added!

An interesting street!

Winding Down

We are even more busy now that it is close to the end of our adventure in the land of RV retirement. We played both dominoes and hand and foot yesterday. We found out about the Monday After Dominoes Steak Supper yesterday. It turns out that if you get to Golden Corral before 4:00, you get in for the lunch price. Then at 4:00 they bring out the steaks!! So, for less than $15 a couple you can have a steak dinner. LOL. So we joined in and had a great time. We sat by our friends Vicki and Don and we rode with our friends Millie and Lou. Wonderful time and great conversations. And we ate cheap!!! It is amazing how cheaply we are living down here. Of course we are mostly eating in our RV and cooking our own meals. It is like camping all the time.

Several RVs were washed yesterday so that was amusing to watch. A van full of Mexicans shows up with their hoses and cloths and they jump out and get busy. There were two on top and two on the sides and one washing the wheels and one working on windows. They scrub and clean and then spray a layer of wax. It was amazing and amusing to watch. And then we realized that our RV is very dirty. It sat in a farm driveway for five months before we took it out and then we drove in rain and splattered mud so it is pretty bad. So John got their business card, called and now we will be getting a good scrubbing on Thursday. The street will be lined with people in their folding chairs watching the amazing van full of Mexicans at work.

I was surprised at first how no one talked about their children or grandchildren. Well, I am happy to report that now we are all talking about our children and grandchildren and how much we miss them. I guess we try not to think about that when we know we are weeks away from going home.  Now the first thing anyone says is "when are you leaving" and "how long will it take it to get home" and "aren't you looking forward to seeing your grandkids?"

Sunday afternoon we went to a jam session with a variety of musicians. Leroy played the "gut bucket" which I had never heard of or seen before. Sorry I didn't take my camera. Each of the players took a turn picking a song and then the rest followed along. It was great entertainment. But the Canadian singing Elvis? Um. Like I said, it was great entertainment.

Tomorrow we turn in our rental car so today we need to buy whatever we need from the grocery store and anything else we might need. We can always park the RV in a big parking lot but it will be easier to get prepared today and not have to stop anywhere. And we have so many friends who would be glad to take us to the store or wherever we might need to go. This afternoon at 5:00 we have a street party and potluck. The tables will be set up at the other end of the street by the Canadians. Man, those people know how to party!! As always, Happy Hour starts at 4:00.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Don West Flea Market
At the Don West flea market yesterday, we stopped for a quick bite to eat. A lady asked if they could share our table which was not a problem for us. Turns out she, her mother and her sister (all three joined us) are from Canada. Of course. It seems half the winter texans are from Canada. John commented that if a war broke out, they would have us outnumbered. They are staying in an RV park in Brownsville that is close to the Rio Grande and the Gulf. It sounds pretty nice. She told us about a weekly dance at an RV park here in Harlingen that we did not know about. They were very nice people and we all enjoyed each other's company. We are always open to meeting new people and making friends.

Call Us

On our trip to Brownsville zoo we saw several billboards that said if you have a crash call us. When we finally saw their place of business we might have jumped to a conclusion but it appears to us that they are ambulance chasers. On the side of their building it says "Call 1-800-CAR-CRASH". Really?

Martha Stewart

As mentioned before, our next door neighbor is Martha Stewart. No, not that one. They come down in November and leave in April. They have a huge fifth wheel and they are from......Dallas. Um. Ok. Well this is the second time I have met her. She does not play any of the games and she does not visit with anyone and they stay to themselves. So, I suspect I will meet her again. I think she forgets me. Oh well.

New Chair

I bought a new chair at the flea market the first time we went there. It was chilly and I was wearing my Iowa jacket. Turns out the lady selling them is from Iowa, Grew up in Cedar Rapids, and graduated high school the same year as me. But from Jefferson. Even after all these years our loyalties were with our schools. But she and her husband seemed very nice. This flea market is put on by winter texans for the benefit of winter texans with some of the vendors living there in their RVs. It is like another world. My sister Pam could probably do well selling her beads.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Brownsville Zoo

John and I both love going to zoos. We found out that we are less than an hour from the zoo in Brownsville, Texas, so we took off to see it yesterday. Wow! I highly recommend it. We have planned to go again next year and make it a yearly visit. They have a gorilla habitat that is world famous and they are working to increase their population. Here is a photo of one of the more bold gorillas.

They have several different kinds of monkeys which we enjoyed watching. This is a spider monkey with her baby hanging on while she was eating. They were on an island which had walkways around it so we could see them interact. All the different monkeys were on islands and the gorillas had a huge enclosure.

This is a white tiger. They have viewing areas that are behind glass so it seems like you can get pretty close to the animals. We were in awe when this guy decided to walk close to us.

Palo Alto

Yesterday we visited the site of the beginning of the war between Mexico and the United States. As we learned the history, we were amazed that we knew little of this battle and how the US obtained so much land from Mexico. Fascinating information. To summarize, the US won because of better artillery and fighting skills. Here are examples of both cannon power. This is what the US cannons looked like. They were more accurate and went further so the troops could be farther away and still hit their targets.

This is an example of the Mexican cannons. It shot smaller cannon balls, was inaccurate, and it had to be close to the target for any hope of hitting anything.

Interesting visit and lots of information to learn. It was the first time I had been to a historic site that had all the information in both English and Spanish.

There were warning signs about snakes as we walked the path to an overlook to see where the battle took place. I have seen warning signs before but I have never seen a sign like this!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Friends

Monday night we learned how to play dominoes. It was fun and we met another couple. They are from Iowa! Susie, the wife, just finished carving a horse that took her twenty years to complete. It would easily be at home on a carousel. Incredible talent.

Late yesterday afternoon we went out for supper with Dale and Lynn. We originally met them in Madison, Wisconsin and they suggested we come here for the winter. They will be friends for a long time. Now we know why old people eat so early. It is because we have so many plans in the evening we have to eat early!

Last night we played Hand and Foot card game with Leroy, Judy, Rick, and Arnold. Leroy mentioned that Judy and Rick celebrated their fifty years together. Then we were totally shocked when Judy said Leroy and his wife were married over fifty years. I thought he was maybe fifty years old, but it turned out he is 73!!! I think it must be the water that makes everyone seem younger. Or maybe it is being retired. Or maybe it is the Texas air. Whatever it is, sign us up.

I guess we did okay last night as Leroy, his wife, Judy and Rick want to play with us again Friday night. We are unsure where Arnold is from but he was speaking with a thick accent. When he spoke with his wife we thought it might be German but just not sure. Her English was difficult to understand. She played at a different table.

So, we are enjoying new friendships. Today we are driving to Brownsville to visit the last Civil War site and a zoo. Should be a fun and busy day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It Is Happening

Some people are starting to leave and returning back to their "real" lives. We are sworn to secrecy regarding what happened here....except for our blog of course. Now one of the first things asked is "when are you leaving?" We are heading home Saturday, March 17th. We will miss the big St. Patrick's Dance and the Adios Amigos Dinner and Dance. We plan it take about six days to get home...a slow progress. The fist night will be just south of Houston at an RV park. The second night will be Kinder, Louisiana, which just happens to have a casino. Then most easterly/northernly....based on weather conditions. But for now, as we walk around the park, we are starting to see empty spots where friends used to be.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Horse Race

Okay. I am not sure how to describe this latest event without everyone drinking.....I mean, the wine and beer were free so there was probably more laughing than some of this deserved...but gosh, it was funny. So, imagine taking several older people dressed up as horses or jockeys or donkeys.....and having a grid pattern on the floor with squares marked off for each horse. One die is rolled to see which horse advances and the second die is the number of squares the horse advances. And betting. Did I mention we all bet on the horse we want to win? Or our lucky number. But the outfits had to be seen to is one guy.......he is 6 foot 12 inches....LOL....yup, 7 foot tall (his wife is 4'10") and this is how he was dressed. Um....

We are unsure what he is supposed to be. The object he is holding in his hands is a child's hobby horse. His.....breasts.....were supposed to be in his shirt but kept falling out. When the bee (in the background) was racing against him, the bee .... well....nursed....Again, did I mention drinking was involved. The bee always had a beer in his hand and usually one at the finish line for his reward.

This is another of the horses after she.....well, dumped a load on the floor. Cleanup in aisle one....

So, a good time was had by all....but it was much funnier when drinking....

Bobs House of Crap

As we were driving toward South Padre Island, we saw the most interesting and gawdy collection of stuff....crap....statues.....we were not sure what we saw. So on the way back home, we had to stop. Here is the entrance to this place.

And what house of crap would be complete without it's very own dinosaur???

This is a volcano that is close to the entrance. You can't see it in this photo but there is a huge gorilla statue behind the volcano.

Inside we saw the biggest collection of stuff we have ever seen. I think every inch of the ceiling was covered with every imaginable wind chime ever invented. A lot of things for sale had sea shells, of course, but there were objects with sharks teeth and a variety of other things. Incredible conglomeration of stuff....crap.....very very strange. But we had a ball looking around and seeing what they had for sale. We probably need more photos to do it justice...just not sure I can go in there again...LOL.

Light House

A very old light house in Port Isabella just before crossing the bridge to go to South Padre Island. I forget how old it is but we love old light houses.

Flea Market Supreme, Weather, and Dinner with New Friends

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to a huge flea market that is put on by Winter Texans, attended by Winter Texans, and enjoyed by Winter Texans!! It was huge, big, really gigantic..... We bought tie downs for our outside carpet and for our canopy/awning. The wind here is so bad that we have not been able to have our canopy open for very long as it flaps around so much. After looking at what others have and asking questions, we were finally able to find the parts we needed to tie ours down. Later this morning we will put it all together and see how it works out. We have a few hours a day when the sun beats down pretty hard and now we should be able to sit outside without being in direct sunlight. We'll see how it works out.

It was pretty chilly last night. The temperature this morning was 46 degrees. YIKES!! And Friday it reached a high of 91. So the weather is amusing to say the least. Luckily we brought a variety of clothes and also we have a good furnace and air conditioner so we just go along with whatever happens. I mean, gosh, it is TEXAS!!!

Friday night we went out for dinner with a couple we have talked to several times. They took us to what has to be the absolute best Mexican restaurant in the world. The food was very good, the portion sizes were great, and the atmosphere was exciting. We enjoyed ourselves and got to know them a little better. Um. Enough on that subject. LOL.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Thoughts

When we returned yesterday from the laundromat (gosh I miss my washer and dryer) we had a nice big Airstream trailer on the lot behind us. After asking about it, we found out it is the travel trailer for "C" and "J" from Wisconsin. They bought one of the permanent trailers down here and travel down in their trailer. We know of at least four others who do the same thing.

Staying down here is one step closer to being a summer camp experience. Yesterday Penny went to a craft demonstration. Then she made her own. She learned how to add rhinestones to a shirt. Yes, it was craft hour.

The pool is starting to get busier everyday. We haven't gotten in to it yet but partly because we are so busy all the time. Lol.

The Mosquitos or gnats in the evening are bothering Penny. It almost seems like an allergic reaction after they bite. Thank goodness for Benadryl. But we have heard they don't bother most people. Wow. How lucky can one girl be?

John bought a small gas grill and put it together yesterday. It is a tabletop version and now he can help cook. Anyone want to buy a big Weber charcoal grill used only one season? It is boxed up and some assembly is required. No batteries are needed.

We are going to try again tomorrow to get to a local flea market. We didn't go last Saturday because of rain. We want to buy anchors for our canopy so we can have it open all the time. The wind blows all the time.

We are going to try a different church this Sunday. Last week Father Pedro spoke for over thirty minutes. English is his second language and we only caught a few words here and there. The next church has a priest from Mexico and one from Canada whom winters here every year. I must say there are a lot of Canadians. We have heard of one park where the Canadians run things. They have special hours that only Canadians can be in the pool. Yikes.

This experience has been amazing. It is like a fantasy land. Being retired is wonderful but being here is like being at camp with a bunch of friends. We have an activity schedule for every day and can be as busy as we want. Or not at Martha Stewart. Lol

Will write more our flakey Internet connection allows.