Monday, January 30, 2012
I haven't said much about this area where we are staying. It is kind of confusing because this park is outside any city limits with the nearest town being Palmview. We are somewhat west of Mission, hence the name Mission West. Mission is a good-sized city of over 77,000 people. Over 81% of the population here is Hispanic, so Spanish is a very popular language used here. It still bothers me that so many stores are so slanted toward the Hispanics but we ARE very near the border.
I researched Wikipedia for notables that came from Mission and learned that Lloyd Bentsen former US Senator and Vice Presidential candidate and Tom Landry, coach of the Dallas Cowboys were the two most recognizable names from this area.
I suppose this is enough of a geography/demographics lesson for now.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Thursday we didn't do too much other than go our and distribute more fliers for the meet and greet and open house next week. We have traveled only a relatively few miles but burned a lot of fuel in trying to notify other Heartland owners of the events but today finished up our work. We stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some milk and a few other essentials before coming home. Stella and Judy sat outside for a good while this evening, enjoying the cool evening.
Friday was supposed to have been our last trip to Mexico to pick up Stella's glasses but when we got there we learned that there had been a problem with the delivery of her glasses from the lab where they had been built. Whatever the reason, we need to come back over next week to pick them up. Oh well, we still enjoy coming over here. Well truthfully, the beggars and street hawkers get kind of old but for the most part we have enjoyed our trips over.
We ate lunch at Renee's Bakery in Mexico today. Until the other morning when we were here so early we hadn't eaten in Mexico or even gotten a drink of water, but we changed our minds. The food here is delicious and downright cheap! We even drank our water that was served with our meals. We talked about it before taking a sip but figured that we've been drinking coffee that is made with water and it hasn't made us sick. It is now a full day after we ate and drank in Mexico and we had no problems, so we feel rather safe to eat and drink in Renee's Bakery. Elsa's restaurant was okay too, so there are two places that we checked out for you if you want to drop in for a bite to eat in Progresso.
Come on down, the weather's fine!!
Friday, January 27, 2012
Stella had an appointment with the dentist to have her teeth cleaned at noon, so we were off to Mexico again. There didn't seem to be as many visitors today, so we weren't delayed. I went in to talk to him again over some minor pains in my gums and he ground off some of the material and polished them up and now all is much better. After finishing up, we walked around and did a little shopping and went to the eyeglass store so we could leave a deposit. They first said that Stella's glasses were ready but then they discovered that the glasses were still at the lab and weren't ready yet.
We went to more RV parks this afternoon and found a few more people that wanted to come to the events of next week. We have been to at least 12 parks and have covered a lot of the area between Mission and Weslaco.
Do you remember awhile back I talked about that old man that was getting pretty hard of hearing that lived in my trailer? I just wanted to give you an update on him. His hearing hasn't gotten any better but then again, it hasn't gotten any worse. Judging from the other guys around his age that he hangs out with, its a pretty common ailment. The conversations around the coffee table are pretty funny sometimes: "What day is this? Its Wednesday. (Someone else at the table)-Its always windy down here in the valley".
I looked around in the Mexican market area while we were over there but did not find anyone that sells hearing aids, other than the "As seen on TV" types for $19.95. I think he could likely do as well as these toys by holding a cone up to his ear. I'll keep on looking. I'll never understand why Medicare doesn't cover hearing, but of course their policies are put in place by the same people that keep on borrowing money with a 15 trillion dollar deficit and screwed up so much. I'll bet ya if a retired congressman needed a hearing aid, he'd just march into the doctor's office and buy the best available and send the bill to the government taxpayers. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. You didn't come here to hear me whine. At least you can hear me when I whine.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
We were in the area of south Donna when we got to a stopping point and both Stella and I were hungry so we went to Gonzales Burgers again. Surprisingly, we didn't have to wait to order and there were plenty of open seats, so we've found the better time to come here. Two burgers with a fry/onion ring combination for less than $20 that filled us up so that we didn't want another meal today was a good deal.
We made a couple more stops along the way home and began getting ready to go to the Link Family and Red Head Express concert at the Tropic Star RV Resort. Man, this place is HUGE!! They have 700 RV sites and 200 park model sites. The park seems to be pretty full, and the big meeting room has plenty of room for large crowds. Its a good thing because there were probably 4-500 people here tonight. Neither of the groups disappointed us although we have heard everything that the Link Family did tonight. We will see them again on Feb. 3rd when they will perform at Bentsen Palms. Ted and Donna will be in that day so we'll celebrate their arrival with the Link family.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
We went to a place called Renee's Bakery for breakfast. It was a great place to eat and we were amid a lot of other Winter Texans. The waiter brought us some cheese and cream nachos for an appetizer. Not only were the nachos delicious, it was a good way to check out my new teeth. Everything passed with flying colors, so I was very relieved.
Stella decided to have an eyeglass exam done and to buy some new glasses while we were there. It didn't take long for her to pick out some new frames and we ordered the glasses. We didn't bring enough cash with us, so we agreed to come back on Wednesday to pay for the glasses. This will give me a chance to have any adjustments made to my teeth if needed.
We left Mexico and drove through several RV parks to distribute fliers for our upcoming events. I talked to a lot of people that couldn't commit to coming but did take a flier. We got a few more names to add to the list and came on back home. It had been a good day for us.
We made a couple of stops on the way home and spent the rest of the day watching the football championship games. Congratulations to the Patriots and the Giants. They both were victorious in some great football games.
At least the weather is good down here in the valley, but of course, that's the reason so many come down here. We bask in the warmth, sitting outside in shorts when many of our neighbors are shivering in their former neighborhoods and curse the snow. Never having to deal with snow of any depth, I often wonder if it wouldn't be nice to spend a winter in snow country. If I could be assured of having plenty of heat, electricity, Internet and of course, a way to get into town to buy supplies, I wouldn't mind to spend some time there. This is not likely to happen, given our present lifestyle that we don't plan to change. Fifth wheel trailers don't make a very good home in long-term cold and snow. It's a nice thought though.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
We had invited some of our neighbors to go to Ron Hoover RV today for a customer appreciation sale. We agreed to meet after lunch, so we went to the Don-Wes flea market for the first time this season. The place was packed and we both soon tired of having to put up with all the other shoppers. I walked across the street to the fruit market to check on some other items but it was packed too. I guess it was a good day to have a booth at the flea market today.
We grabbed a cup of coffee and a snack before going to Ron Hoover. Our neighbor Frank and his friend Donny, both from Canada, were already there, so we took them to look at some of the Heartland trailers there. Frank was interested in one of the Landmark trailers that they didn't have in stock, but perhaps they will get one in soon. I hope they get some more before our open house in a couple of weeks.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Later in the afternoon we met Tom & Judy and Reggie & Mary for barbecue at a place called the 492 Barbecue. It's in an old house and the food was very good. We have made so many new friends down here that we would hate it if we couldn't come back for some reason.
I've been hearing low-flying helicopters around here all night long. I don't know whats going on but maybe I'll start reading the local newspaper while we're down here. Just about every RV park that we've stayed in has different sounds at night and early in the morning. Sometimes when I go to bed early, I will hear the sounds of a new rig coming in and getting set up. It's always interesting to hear the yelling between the husbands and wives when trying to get backed in when its dark. At times, they have burned my sensitive ears with their profanity, but I can understand. Its very difficult to back into an unfamiliar site in the dark and can surely cause some ugly words. I think it must be a law that RV parks are built near a rail line because there are always train horns. Sirens are also another sound I nearly always hear. I know its never anything good for someone when we hear siren. On the other hand, if someone is having a medical emergency, the siren is a sound of help coming. I hate it when I wake and can't think where we are...
We went to the grocery store and while there I ran the filthy truck through the car wash at the HEB grocery. I had found a similar wash at the Wal Mart in Canton and had been so impressed we got a wash job here. Again it was a great wash and cheaper than having it hand washed.
We came back home and sat outside with Tom and Judy. The weather has been great while we have been here but that's one of the main reasons that we come down here anyway.
Friday, January 20, 2012
We went over to the dentist and I got fitted for my new dentures. The new "test" set was ready for final fitting, and it didn't take very long. Stella had made friends with several people in the waiting room while waiting for me. They are all having similar work done. Its reassuring to know that he is such a popular guy.
From there we went to the State Farm Insurance office but our check wasn't ready yet. Without sounding like an insurance commercial, I have been very pleased at the ease of getting this claim filed and taken care of.
Here are a few assorted pictures that I got while down here.
This is my long-lost sister Bobbye Sue with my youngest grandson Ian and Ian's mom and my oldest daughter Jennifer. I don't know where this picture was taken but told Jennifer to be careful with Ian around Bobbye Sue and she said she would.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Stella washed our clothes this morning after I took them around the corner to the wash house. The sad thing about the going's-on in this park is that they're letting things go when they need maintenance and it sure reflects badly on the park. There were only two washers and two dryers when there are four of each in this wash house. We didn't go to the other house to check on it, but I heard that there are problems there too.
Since there wasn't much to report today, I thought it was a good day to show you some photos of my truck and the motorhome that I hit. I feel really bad about the accident but my truck looks much worse than the motorhome. See below:
The crunched-in tailgate. I was very surprised at the cost to replace the tailgate, over $800 to get it replaced! Glad we have good insurance!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
We went to meet Tom and Judy along with Reggie and Mary at a new (for us) barbecue restaurant called the 492 BBQ. It is located on FM 492, hence the name... At any rate, the barbecue was very good and we all enjoyed our meal. Of course, I got kidded a lot about the damage to my truck but I probably deserved it. Remind me to post some pictures of the truck damage tomorrow.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Thursday however was a better day in some ways and much worse in others. We took Bill over to experience the famous Gonzales burgers and then ran a couple of errands before coming back home. I dropped Bill off at his motorhome and went around the corner to our site and while talking to Stella about something and as I was backing in, I somehow backed into the slideout of our neighbor, John. It bent up the tailgate of the truck but worst of all, it bent the metal overhang on his slide, making it impossible to close now. John came out immediately and after making sure that he wasn't hurt, I came inside and called my insurance company. It's not that big a deal, but it made me very mad for doing something like that. I was first going to blame Stella (she was talking to me and distracted me), but that's not gonna work. I guess I have to admit that I had my head up my.....well you can probably guess.
Friday morning we were up with the chickens to make our 8AM appointment with the doctor. The only good thing about being there that early was that we got an excellent parking space and didn't have to wait very long to get in. The took impressions for me and told me to come back in about three hours. Bill's appointment was at 8:30 and he was finished before me, so when I got through we went to find something to eat-a first for us. Until today we had not eaten or had anything to drink while in Mexico but we went to a small cafe and everything was fine. It was a popular place with lots of other winter Texans so we felt safe and no one had any problems. Bill bought our breakfast and after doing a little shopping, he went back home to get ready to leave in the morning. He said he would be leaving about 5AM, so we said our goodbyes now.
Saturday morning, I woke about 4 and heard Bill loading everything up and pulling out. No, I didn't go out to wave to him but wish him well on his way back to Houston. Stella told me that she didn't want to do anything or go anywhere today, so guess what? We didn't do anything but watch the football games and didn't leave home. Stella made some of her famous soup and cornbread and we invited Tom and Judy over to eat with us. We watched the football games and had a good time with our friends. Congratulations to the 49'ers and the Patriots.
Sunday morning I slept late again. Since it was Sunday, we didn't have much planned, so we just stayed inside and watched the rest of the football games. Tom and Judy invited us to go to Dairy Queen with them and their neighbors Reggie and Mary. We had a nice time with them and came home and watched the end of football. Congratulations to the Ravens and the Giants.
It has been a good week and the weather has been pretty good. We had a couple of cool nights and mornings but it warms up nicely during the day. That's the reason for coming down here isn't it?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
We went over into Mexico today, me to have the rest of my dental work done and Bill to have his done. The dentist's office was busier than we've ever seen it and we ended up being there for most of the day. I only had my teeth cleaned today and will come back on Friday for more work to be done.
We took Bill to Martha's for supper. This is one of our favorites down here and they didn't disappoint. After our good meal, we returned home for the evening. We are having another good time down here in the valley.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
From park tour, I took him over to check out the Ropas stores. He bought a pair of shorts in the first one that we went to and then when we went to a Ropas Usada (used clothes), he couldn't believe what he was seeing. the way the people swarmed over the new clothes that were brought out was a sight to see.
After leaving the stores, we ran a couple of errands and stopped off at one of the Luby's for lunch. It was a pretty good way to spend exploring some of this area. There is still a lot to show him, but we'll work on it.
Monday, January 9, 2012
We made very good time down the road and made only one stop so Bill could top off his fuel tank for the 60 mile run between Kingsville and Raymondville where there are no stops or service stations. After our break, we made a nice drive into Mission. arriving here around 2PM. Wow, this place is full, probably the fullest we've ever seen. It was probably good that we had called ahead for a reservation.
After getting set up, Stella had the football game all tuned in and coffee made, so I came in and took a break. Bill had a problem with his electricity at his site but he ended up plugging into the vacant site next door. Then he noticed that his refrigerator wasn't cooling like he thought it should and he couldn't find any good television stations. I invited him over to watch the football game here and while watching the Broncos beat up the Steelers, Tom and Judy came over. We had a nice visit with them and Stella made Bill and I some hot dogs for supper. It wasn't long before our company had all gone home and Stella and I watched the end of the game (congrats to Tim Tebow and the Broncos). Since this is being written on Monday, I've gotta tell you that I slept better last night with the windows open than I have in a long time. I slept until 6 this morning, which is very unusual for me!
It's shaping up to be another good visit to the valley.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
It started to rain around Lake Charles and it rained off and on all the way to Beaumont. We made very good time and even though we made three pit stops, including one long stop at the Buccee's store in Wharton where we took the doggies out and took a nice break, we made it here to Victoria about 3:30. We had expected to be here between 4 and 5, but this way we got to see the entire Houston football game (congratulations to the Texans) and are watching the New Orleans-Detroit game as I write.
Tomorrow we are meeting with Bill Heede, who wants to go to my dentist for some work. He is going to follow us down to Mission where he will stay until his work is completed.
We are hosting and participating in some more Heartland events in the valley next month as well as finishing up my dental work as soon as I can get an appointment with the doctor. It will be a big relief to get it done. I'll keep you posted, so stay tuned.
Here is a demonstration of a pepper-picker in action. It is impossible to see in this picture, but the picker is using a "little red stick -le petit baton rouge- to gauge the ripeness of the peppers. We were told that many grandmothers have been picking the peppers for most of their lives and that some times they bring their grand daughters with them to pick in the beginning of the season. She said the grandchildren only last one day but the grandmothers work the entire season. She told us that after the first day, the ladies soak their hands in milk to stop the burning, the second day they use aloe vera oil but by the third day, their hands are accustomed to the peppers and nothing else is needed.
Not much wind on the water today!
Friday, January 6, 2012
There were no parties or birthday cakes with a forest of candles on top, but I had a great day. Everyone here wished me a happy birthday but the most fun was on Facebook and email where over 130 of my friends and family sent me birthday wishes. wow, they blew me away! I knew I have a lot of friends on FB but never dreamed that this many would go to the trouble of wishing me a happy birthday. I got telephone calls from Grandma Willie Mae, all the girls and all the grandsons. I want you ALL to know that I love you and thank you for making me feel so special.
We made a short stop for lunch at a McDonald's and then David took us for a tour of the Indian Creek campground that he likes. This is another Louisiana park that is very nice with waterfront views and sites. We will consider this one for another trip.
We pulled into Poche's at about 3 o'clock. This park is owned and operated by Ornell's cousins and this is where Bill and Ornell took Stella during hurricane Ike. This is a very nice park, even though not all the sites have concrete. The sites are level and have full hookups. We will definitely be back here in the future.
Poche's is near the city of Breaux Bridge which bills itself as the crawfish capitol of the world. Ornell told us that the campground began as a crawfish farm, owned by her uncle but he passed it to his son, who dredged the ponds deeper and made fish ponds and added RV sites.
Breaux Bridge, while a small town, is also hometown to a few celebrities. Hunter Hayes is a singer who began his singing career at age 4 by singing the song Jambalaya on stage with Hank Williams Jr. He continues as a professional singer but he was cuter as a 4 year old accordion player. Breaux Bridge is also home to Houston Texan backup quarterback Jake Delhomme who led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl.
We are looking forward to some good times here and some good Cajun food. I'll keep you posted on how this works out.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
This was a very good weekend with good friends, good food and great times. We had plenty of food to eat but didn't over eat. We weren't the late party animals either and went in around 8 o'clock each night, even New Year eve. It was midnight somewhere but it was too cold to sit outside very late. None of us even started our trucks but there was no reason to go anywhere. All in all, it was one of the best new year celebrations that we have had. I guess its true that sometimes simpler is better. It sure was this weekend!
Much of my outside work had been done, so getting ready went pretty fast. As usual, there were a lot of our friends that came by to tell us goodbye but we finally pulled out about 10:30. We made really good time and got to the South Toledo Bend state park in Anacoco Louisiana about 2PM. All of our friends were already here and set up, so as soon as we got set, we went over to the fire between David and Bill's trailers. This became our hangout for the entire weekend.
We were at this park a couple of years ago, and this year's party is shaping up to be as much fun as the first one. The only bad thing was that the lake was down about 20 feet, as most of the lakes in Texas are. I guess that makes sense, since the lake separates Texas and Louisiana. The park covers 1,000 acres and is one of two Louisiana parks on the Toledo Bend reservoir. The park is also a nesting ground for bald eagles but we didn't see any this trip. We're still looking forward to a great time with our friends.
Wednesday morning, Pat and Lori pulled out to go back home to New Mexico. We were very sad to see our friends leave but they are still working and it was time for them to get back home. That afternoon we drove down to Texas City to have our celebration of Christmas with Jeremy, Kim and the boys. The gift exchange went very fast (I got a Kindle Fire!) and we were soon on our way to a new restaurant, Beyond Burgers. It is a cross between Fuddrucker's and a normal burger joint. It was good but there are several other burger restaurants that are better.
Thursday I went to the Donut Palace to get donuts and kolaches for the guys for coffee. The guys were thankful for the breakfast and we had a nice time together. I plan to have coffee with them again in the morning before we leave. The rest of the day was spent running last minute errands in preparation for pulling out in the morning. In the afternoon, I spent time getting things put away, leaving out only the essentials for the night. I got John to put the new night light over the front door of the trailer. He is tall enough to reach the light without a ladder. The light went up without too much trouble and it works very well. It has a movement switch that turns the light on automatically and uses a LED bulb that doesn't use much juice or get hot and really adds a lot to the trailer. Its nice to have friends that will help.