Padre Island Day Two

Check out time is 11am so we have time for a long walk down the beach before we need to check out and head home .... I mean the RV park. Six of us decided to stop at a little restaurant in Port Isabel for lunch and the first face we saw when we entered the restaurant was not one we expected --- it was Ken another fellow from our park. He was there with his wife and two other couples also from our park --- can't get away from Oleanderites (our park is called Oleander Acres).

The entertainment this evening is a magic act called Ace and Bunny, a husband and wife team. They use to stay at our park but have recently purchased a mobile home and have moved to another park. The show was pretty good but without much effort we figured out a couple of the tricks.

Sun rays over the Caribbean Sea.

There were lots of people walking on the beach but just one lone fisherman.

Harold throw the ball!!!! Sassy and I want to chase it.

We stopped at a shell store on the way home and saw Hermit Crabs in painted shells.

Ace, the magician was talking to the rabbit in a hat ---- later he made a real rabbit appear in a box.



Padre Island

The group we hang around with like to do an overnight trip to Padre Island each year. As most of the group had gone on the bus trip to Mexico I was given the task of finding a hotel --- preferably on the beach. The "on the beach" part didn't work so well but I did find a hotel that allowed dogs, had the nine rooms we need and had a "walkway to the beach".

Our convoy of six vehicles left the park at 9am arriving at the Wal-Mart in Port Isabel about an hour and a half later. Here we stocked up on lunch supplies --- fried chicken, salad, rolls, fruit and cake, then drove over to the community park on Padre Island. Lunch included a celebration of Jean's 70th birthday that will occur in April and Darlene's 70th birthday that was in August. The ladies were given "barbie" tiaras to wear and cake was served on "barbie" plates --- Jean collects Barbie dolls thus the theme. After lunch we headed to the beach where some of us got to relax, others flew a kite while others were expected to throw a ball so a certain four legged creature could run through the water chasing it.

The hotel has a pool and hot tub which was enjoyed by a few people in our group including Ed and myself.

Unpacking lunch --- this group really new what they were doing, as we were eating in about 5 minutes

A freighter leaving the harbor

Jean's dogs were decked out in tiaras as well. The white one is Coconut and the apricot poodle is Ginger. Neither of them were impressed, so they offered the tiaras to others in our group.

Zaph --- tiaras are for girls!!!!

Oh, it sure feels good to roll on a ball on the sand.

Kite boarders kept us entertained.

Will someone please throw my ball?



The Day Just Flew By

This was one of those days where the day just flew by. I attended my last exercise class at the park --- now I'll need to come up with my own exercise plan, ran some errands, put a raspberry pie in the oven, showed our China slide show to Jean (she's been to China three times with her daughter, the first two times to pick up babies her daughter was adopting and the 3rd time to take the kids on a reunion visit), cooked and ate supper, had pie and ice cream with Harold, Mary Ann, Glen and Linda and did laundry (Harold missed out on a piece of pie the last time I made it). Somehow I managed at cat nap on a very hard chair in the laundry room --- watching laundry tumble in the dryer is just so exciting.



Fun Night Number Two

Being Tuesday, Ed went down to help people who are having problems with their computers. He said it was pretty quiet --- people are getting smarter, all the problems are fixed or they're heading home and will get the problem fixed there.

Riverside is another restaurant near our park that is on the Rio Grande and it was our destination for lunch with John and Carolyn (Ed and John have spent hours talking about cameras, computers, etc.). Food at the restaurant is simple but it is a popular place as they offer live entertainment and dancing as well as a boat ride on the river.

Tonight was the second fun night of the season. I had thought people came up with their own ideas and offered to be part of fun night but tonight I found out the way it really worked. Most of the ideas are developed by two women though I'm sure people give them suggestions. The women approach people in the park and ask them to participate --- apparently it's really hard to say no. We talked to Dick (one of the lucky participants) after the show to find out he had been asked to help in a skit but wasn't told what he was doing till a few minutes before he had to go on stage and Ray (the fellow he went on stage with) was expecting his (Ray's) wife. The show was hilarious and everyone who participated was a good sport.

One of the skits compared wedding attire from a fancy wedding magazine and a hillbilly wedding magazine. That's the "hillbilly bride" in the green dress.

The "SWAT" team armed with fly swatters were searching for 3 Mexican impersonators.

Our friend Bob dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was having a discussion about his "red shoes" with Betty. Bob dresses as Dorothy when the men's chorus in Bella Vista performs songs from the Wizard of Oz at local elementary schools.



New Restaurant

I had a good morning playing bridge --- I really like that game. Today was one of those really hot humid days --- well over 90F outside and the thermometer inside the trailer read 94F. As we were going out for dinner and Zaph had to stay in the trailer we turned the air conditioner on. This dinner was in celebration of Glen's birthday and as the "gang" was tired of Mexican food we opted for a restaurant new to the area BJ's Brewhouse. The menu was huge, you could choose between burgers, sandwiches, knife and fork sandwiches, pasta, pizza, stuffed potatoes and of course chicken, steak, ribs, etc. The food must have past inspection as everyone agreed that they would go back to BJ's.

Returning to the park we found that the electricity had gone out ---- Zaph was OK as the trailer had cooled down before we left. While the power was out people wandered the park and chatted. Everyone scurried back home when the power came back on ..... interesting.



The Gang is Back

The group that went on the bus trip to Puerta Vallerta returned last evening with lots of stories and lots of photo. All had enjoyed the trip but were happy to get back.

This afternoon we drove down to the local high school to check out the Winter Texans Arts and Crafts Show. Our friends from the park who had submitted photographs were happy to receive blue ribbons. We didn't have a lot of time to look at all the items submitted but spent a few minutes looking at paintings and were absolutely amazed by one of the paintings submitted in the novice category --- it's was incredible.

Later this afternoon we celebrated a birthday and an anniversary with cake and homemade ice cream. On Saturday I had found out that the woman hosting the get together loves pies but had never eaten Raspberry Pie so I brought a pie as well as a cake.

Glen blowing out the candles on his side of the cake.



Mexican Fiesta

As we do every Saturday morning we went to the rec hall for morning coffee, conversation and events update. This morning the update included the announcement that Ed and I will be the "Street Rep" for the "South". The south is the area of the park we are in and consists of 4 streets (the area is large as the number of transient is greater here then other areas of the park). Being a street rep means that for one week during our stay we are responsible for seeing that chairs are set for events, cakes are baked for Jam and food is served if there is a meal ---- people in our area will help but we have to organize them. Hope we know what we're getting ourselves into.

On our last trip to Mexico we had priced Revolution (dog heartworm / flea/ tick medicine) and determined it to be a lot less expensive than at home. As we are leaving the valley in just over a week we decided that we should go to Mexico sooner than later and today was the day. At the Veterinary Pharmacy that we felt had the best price, Ed bargained the price down a bit more as we bought 3 packages (needed enough to make it to next January). Next stop was a store that had a good price on Kahlua and finally the Duty Free Store where two skimpily clad females were serving samples of Crown Royal. Lots of guys were hanging around that stand. Now that we have a house again it's time to start building up the bar and no better way than duty free stores, so we picked up a bottle of Canadian whiskey.

Tonight was the Mexican Fiesta. After a nice dinner of tacos and tamale cheese pie we were entertained by a group of young dancers from the department of recreation here in Mission. The spirited dances were complemented by colorful costumes. Ed and several other people had a great time shooting photos and video of this fun event.

When the rec hall was cleaned up the card players arrived ready for euchre at one end of the hall and pinochle at the other. Ed went back to the trailer while I stayed to play euchre. I didn't win any money this week but had a lot of fun trying --- made two lone hands and was only euchred a couple of times --- it is the name of the game afterall.

This dance told a story of mermaids and fishermen.

The dresses were a mass of bright colors as the skirts were flounced about.



Mad Cleaning Frenzy

Some days the mess and dirt get to me more than other days. Today was one of those days. First we found a home for all the little things that get left sitting out in the trailer because they don't have "homes". Ed's next task was to find the truck under the dust and the floor of the back seat under the clutter, while mine was to clean the trailer. I felt much better when I looked out the window and saw a blue truck instead of a funny blue-beige truck and the trailer smelled of cleaners. After those jobs were done it was Zaph's turn --- bath time. He loves water but standing by the trailer getting sprayed by the hose just isn't his idea of a good time.

One clean dog with a ball that was found hiding in the truck



Hand Drawn Ferry

There is only one hand drawn ferry left on the US / Mexico border and it is in Los Ebanos which is less than 30 minutes west of the RV park. The ferry can carry 3 vehicles as well as a number of bicycles or pedestrians. Hooked to a cable that is strung over the river, three men pull the ferry across the river --- looks easy but I'm sure it is hard work. When we were walking back towards the truck after looking at the ferry, a man came up to me and asked for a dollar. I asked him why, and he said they charge 50 cents whether you ride the ferry or just look at it. As we were on the wrong side of the border crossing and didn't have passports so I decided to pay without question.

The guys on the ferry are pulling it towards the USA (right of photo) --- I couldn't believe that they weren't wearing gloves.

This is one tough prickly pear cactus --- it's rooted in the tree and hanging down.




It's warm this morning but dull and drizzly. Around 10am the power went out so we decided to run a few errands. A CD I ordered was in at the piano store so that was one of the stops. Wandering the store we saw some pretty amazing piano's, keyboards, electric pianos, electric organs and a couple of truly amazing organs. We think these organs would be hooked up to pipes --- I don't know how anyone could play these instruments with all the pedals, keys, buttons and switches and three keyboards.

Ed had been looking forward to photographing the lunar eclipse but it wasn't meant to be ---- the sky remained cloudy all day and night.

I'm really enjoying spring in Texas this year. This flowering cactus was in the parking lot by Zaph's favourite store, Petco




This afternoon we drove east to Harligen to visit our friends Bill and Sadie who are staying in an RV park just north of town. It's a nice RV park, larger than ours and there are a lot of Canadians staying there (mostly from Ontario and Quebec).

We all loaded into Bill and Sadie's car to visit the nearby Iwo Jima memorial at the Marine Military Academy, but were unable to do more than just drive by as an event was being held for the Cadets. Next we tried going to the Harligen Art and Heritage Museum only to arrive as they were locking the doors --- we peeked inside and decided it would be worth a visit on another day. We decided to have an early dinner as we figured at least the restaurant would be open --- ningún problema (as they say here), though we did wonder for a minute when we walked in and saw about 20 people standing at the entrance. Turned out they were a large group celebrating a birthday and they were just waiting for their table to be set up. Dinner was yummy.

The Iwo Jima monument --- This is the original full sized creation of the famous local sculptor, a casting of which is at the Arlington Cemetery near Washington D.C. ,

This is pretty much all we got to see of the museum --- next time will have to get there earlier.

There's a big pond at Bill and Sadie's RV park and one side of it is lined with trees. Egrets and Cormorants come here to roost at night. We were happy to see a couple of one of our favourite birds --- the Roseate Spoonbill.



Night Birds

I spent a couple of hours playing bridge this morning, won the bidding on two hands making one contract and going down on the other one. I think I need more practise .... maybe a bridge program on the computer would help. In the afternoon a fellow who bought a new Nikon camera a couple of weeks ago came over to talk to Ed about some photos he took.

We had been told that the Common Pauraque (a nightjar aka "goatsucker" ) comes out around dusk at Bentsen State Park so we headed over there about 5:00. That would gives us time to take Zaph on a walk through the park and still be there at sunset which occurred around 6:30. The park was very quiet, we saw Green Jays, Cardinals and a couple of Chachalacas as well as a herd of Javelines (at least 8 of them). Just before dusk while were were waiting for the Pauraque we saw a Bob Cat cross the road. About 7 o'clock we gave up and decided to head home. Our route takes us on a road that has a fair bit of bush on it so Ed drove slow. There was at least one Pauraque on the road and a large owl just off to the side. So it turned out to be a successful outing. Zaph thought so too as he was told several times that he was a beautiful dog.



Another Beautiful Day

Another beautiful day in Texas, the sun is shining but it's not too hot. The frig was pretty bare so we headed up to the Super Wal-mart to buy things to fill it up. I think everyone had the same idea as the store was packed. Then we remembered that tomorrow is President's Day and wondered if a lot of the stores would be closed thus causing everyone to shop today.

When that errand was completed we hung around the trailer reading and enjoying the near perfect weather. Ed and Zaph wandered around the park taking pictures of some of the flowers we're currently enjoying.

The flower spear of an Agave --- we're still trying to figure out which Agave exactly.

A close up of the agave's flower(s).

One of the many blooms on the Orchid tree. The tree is very beautiful as it is covered in flowers.

The flowers on a Barrel Cactus

Don't know what this guy is but he's tiny and cute. The actual flower size is about one third of what is shown in the photo.

The flower of the Prickly Pear Cactus.

A test shot of the moon getting ready for the eclipse.



Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

The mercury hit 92F (34C) today. Luckily there was a breeze ..... well more like a steady strong wind. If you found the right spot in the shade with just enough breeze it was a beautiful day to enjoy the great outdoors by relaxing and reading a book. Which is what we did.

There's an interesting tree here and one of them is near our site. Currently, the tree has a lot of seed pods on it, the pods are a little larger than snow peas. On a sunny day if you're near the tree you'll hear pops --- the pods explode to release the seeds. A little disconcerting when you're in the middle of a murder mystery.

When I went into the bathroom Zaph was in the living room. When I came out of the bathroom he had joined his dad for a bit more snoozing.



Park Wide Garage Sale

People were up extra early this morning as a park wide garage sale was being held from 8 am to noon. Since we had emptied the trailer when we bought our house and only put necessities back we didn't have anything to sell. However, a number of people did have items to sell and some seemed to be in the business of selling as they had lots of CD's, jewelry, quilts, etc. We managed to avoid buying anything, though we did see people walking around carrying new found treasures.

While I was chatting to one couple, Ed and I were invited to join them and a group of people at a local restaurant/bar this afternoon. This being a restaurant I had wanted to check out, we decided to join them. The place is called Pepe's and is a very happening place. They always have a band (and today's was very good) and the large dance floor is usually full. When we arrived it turned out that all lot of people from our park were there and a birthday celebration was in full swing. One of the couples at our table was from Quebec and she could speak a bit of English but he didn't seem to speak any. Ed and I sat beside them and tried to dredge up our high school French. Unfortunately, the little bit of Spanish we have, is mixed in with the little bit of French so it was very interesting. We did however manage to communicate with them. The people who had brought them to Pepe's were very happy that we had a little French as they were from Pennsylvania and don't speak any French.

Upon returning to the park, Ed and I decided that Zaph needed some exercise. One of the couples that had left on the bus trip told us we could use their bikes and even gave us the combination to the bike lock. We had always wondered if Zaph would run beside a bike. After one false start where he crossed in front of the bike, he figured it out and ran beside the bike, or should I say, towed Ed along --- Ed found a lot of peddling was not required. We did have to stop when Zaph saw one of his dog buddies out walking.

Tonight there was entertainment at the rec hall. I heard it was good and decided to go even though Ed decided it wasn't his cup of tea. The show is called Joy Un-speak-a-bell and it is a soloist bell ringer. Kristine creates her own backup by recording piano and other instruments on an electronic keyboard which is played back while she is playing the bells. There are 37 bells arranged on a table like the keys of a piano. She artfully moves along the table selecting bells nd playing them. It was pretty amazing to watch and listen to. If you want to know more about the bells www.joybelltheater.com

Dick --- the birthday boy and his wife Sandy. Dick had fun serving the cake --- the backs of his hands were covered with icing by the time he was done.

Pepe's bar and restaurant.

Kristine the soloist bell ringer.



Happy Valentines Day

A lot of the people we hang around with are heading out on a 9 day bus trip tomorrow and as they have no food left in the fridge, they decided to go our for dinner and invited us to go along. Given that it is Valentines Day it was decided that we needed to leave early and headed out at 3:30. That seemed a little early for dinner but it meant we only needed two meals today, which is probably not a bad thing. The Outback restaurant was the destination. We arrived and were given a table for 14 right away. By 4 o'clock the restaurant was getting full, by 5 o'clock people were lined up out the door and were told that there was over an hour wait. I guess 3:30 was the correct time to leave. Oh, the meal was good and the company a lot of fun.




Today was carnival day. There was the poker run (you went to five different sites and drew a card at each until you had a complete poker hand --- Ed came in 5th with 2 pair), a cake walk (while the music played you walked around chairs that had numbers on them, when the music stopped a number was drawn and the person standing in front of the chair that matched the drawn number could pick something from the sweet table ... brownies, cookies, cupcakes, etc.), games, face painting and a chili-dog lunch. Oh I can't forget to mention the costume contest. Zaph dressed up in his finest and head down for the contest --- he wasn't eligible for a prize but he was allowed to strut his stuff with the other contestants.

The "cake walk" ---- I didn't win any treats.

Zack and his new "lady" friend --- this hussy was trying to pick up all the guys

Linda getting her face painted.

The contestants in the costume contest ---- I think Zaph should have won.

Gale and his wife Carole were brought before the "Judge" --- Gale was charged with gluing his hair on --- all the guys are jealous of his full head of hair.




One of the most popular activities in the valley are the weekly jam sessions held at various RV parks. Every Tuesday afternoon Ray (one of the fellows at our park) hosts a "jam" at our RV park and as Ed was waiting for a package to arrive I decided to check it out. Harold, one of our neighbours, was there so I sat beside him and he explained it to me. Anybody who can play an instrument or sing is welcome to preform at a jam session. The potential performers arrive at the site and the host makes a note of who is there. In turn each person gets to perform one song (if two people get up together they get to do two songs) and the others play along if they know the song. It's a very interesting mix of seasoned performers and newbies --- some are very good and some not so good. (I shouldn't say anything bad about any of them as they are all better than me!!!!)

This evening we went out for dinner with two other couples to the Texas Roadhouse and had a two/fer ---- Ed and I each had a 6 ounce sirloin steak, a baked potato and a salad for $14.99 --- the price was right and it was mighty tasty as well.



When did Canada become a State?

Get out of bed, walk Zaph, go to exercise class, play bridge --- there went the morning. Today I realized that a lot of the bridge conventions I was taught are not being followed by this group. I don't know if its a country thing, a regional thing or just a thing, but I'm going to have to learn to play by a different set of rules so that'll make bridge even more interesting.

This afternoon I spent some time getting my dish ready for the "states pot luck". The states were split into 3 groups, with each group meeting for a pot luck dinner (this was done to make the pot luck manageable). The politician's haven't managed it yet, but "Canada" was added as a state for one of the pot luck dinners. Dinner was good and we managed to meet a few more of the Canadians that are avoiding winter. There's a spattering of people from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.



Rome and Turkey?????

Ed has spent the last week or so tweaking our slide show from our trip to Rome and Turkey as we were scheduled to show it at the rec hall this afternoon. Our Missouri friends, Bill and Sadie who are staying on the other side of the valley in Harligen, made the trip over to see the show, visit with Zaph --- oh yeah, and visit with us.

We were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came to see the show and they seemed to enjoy it as he received a lot of complements. Ed did try to confuse the audience during his short history review of Turkey by using the terms "BCE" and "CE". Do you know these terms? We've noticed that in the past few years museums have switched from the "BC" and "AD" convention that we're probably all familiar with to the convention "Before Current Era (was BC)" and "Current Era (was AD)". I think it's a plot to keep us all confused.

After the show, Bill, Sadie, Ed and I headed over to Willie's Bar-B-Q in Alamo, for supper. Ed was planning on having a BBQ plate until he saw the "loaded baked potato" --- it was at least 6 inched long and smothered in butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits and chopped BBQ beef (I'm sure it was good for our arteries). Ed managed to eat his potato and I managed to eat half of mine --- yum I have lunch for tomorrow.



Chuck Wagon Supper

Tonight was the big chuck wagon supper --- smoked brisket, baked potato, beans and more. We did our best to dress up like cowboys before we mosied on down to the rec hall. I finally had a reason to wear the dollar store cowboy hat Margaret had picked up for me a couple of years ago --- thanks Margaret!!!! The highlight of the evening was the entertainment by cowboys from the "wrinkle ranch".

Cowboys Bob and Glen singing an old time western song.

Glen sang another song and the cowgirls (Mary, Lorna, Mary Ann and Linda) helped him out.

Here we are ....... cowgirl Frances and cowboy Ed. It was pointed out to Ed that he looked pretty good except they didn't think the sandals went with the image.



Ed's Turn

Ooops, Ed's not very happy with me at the moment ---- he thinks he has caught my cold. I hope he can fight it off.

Our friend and neighbor Bob is in a mixed chorus that is preforming tonight with the Winter Texan's Orchestra. So a bunch of us headed down to watch. The orchestra played several numbers on there own, then were joined by the chorus. Except for the one boo-boo where the conductor had the orchestra restart the number, the show was very good. In what's becoming a tradition, a bunch of us headed over to Dairy Queen to celebrate the end of another concert with Bob.



Back in the Land of the LIving

I was starting to feel better today but had developed a case of cabin fever so we headed over to Bentsen State Park for a walk. Either our timing is bad (which is quite possible) or there just aren't as many birds here as there were last year. The Hawk Tower was our first destination and we found a group of bird watchers there but not a lot of exciting birds .... some sand pipers and ducks. Zaph however finds birds less interesting than birders who were inturn quite happy to pet him. One fellow was lying on the deck so Zaph was able to give him a couple of good wet kisses .... lucky fellow ...not. We continued our tour around the park and found more people who were happy to pet Zaph but still not a lot of birds. Zaph considered it a very successful walk.

Proof that there aren't as many birds this year ...... I know fox squirrels usually hang around feeders but down here the green jays usually chase them away.



Out of Action

Things have been pretty quiet the past 5 days as I came down with a very sore throat and laryngitis (Ed probably enjoyed the fact that I couldn't talk, but not that I didn't feel like cooking and some days didn't). I still have a bit of a cough left but my voice is mostly back and I'm feel like I'm back in the land of the living again.



Another Birthday

Today was girl's shopping day. First we hit Famous Brands where everything is $12.95, after that we went to Steins, then on to the mall. I didn't buy too much.

Cliff, the fellow who lives across the street had his birthday today. We celebrated with yummy cake.

Cliff retired from John Deere ... his park model is John Deere yellow.

That's Cliff in the green John Deere hat.

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