Summer Camp 2018…We Attended..Again

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During our time back home in Illinois, we also decided to work the Summer Camp Music Festival….Also called….SCAMP.  We have Level 2 Texas Security License, That enables us to get a Security job for the Festival that is on Memorial Day weekend.  This event is now the host of more than 20,000 attendees and over 125 bands on nine stages over three days (four if you make it to the Thursday Pre-Party!). Summer Camp is the biggest event in the Midwest every Memorial Day Weekend!  It is organized and run by Jay Goldberg Productions.  It is an awesome, mindboggling festival that you will never forget.  We so enjoyed our selves last year that we decided to do it again.  I contacted Tina in the Security Dept and set us up again for this year.  This year was easy as they new us.  The easiest way to work is to stay on the grounds.  The shifts are for 12 hours.  Since we drove the car up from Texas this year, we borrowed Scotts MH.  We pulled in on Tue and were guided into the Security compound.  Wednesday our shifts began.  I like days, and Rich likes nites.

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This is my set up.  A comfy chair, clip on umbrella for the sun.  My back pack from the cruise, complements of Get Out Their Vacations.  It contained my cell phone, extra external battery.  A roll of toilet paper for emergency….lol…(ya never know)…..snacks and drinks…..Most of the time we were given a walkie talkie.  I was positioned back in VIP again.  20180523_153302.jpg

Behind Vip tent was the New Glamping Set up.  These tents came with full set up.  You could choice your bed, single, 2 twins, or queen with linens.  They had electric and contained a lamp, a throw rug, and a chair or 2.  Now the prices was exorbitant.  After you bought you reservation with upgrade for VIP, and then your Glamping reservation, you have spent well over $1,000.  You still don’t have a bathroom or shower.  All Glamping tents were sold out.  20180524_072044.jpg

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This time I was positioned to watch the line up for the gates to open.  Their were thousands of them lined up all over the park at different entrances.  They had wagons, wheelbarrows, back packs, canopy’s, sleeping bags and coolers.  They were all ready to begin partying.  20180524_110422.jpg

Finally the gates opened.  You can see them on the hillside.  They looked like ants scurrying up the hill into the forest.  Now they were also searched as they went in.  The Guards were looking for drugs, firearms, and weapons of any sort and alcohol.  So much was confiscated.  Rich was up by the Main Gate where he was last year.  He was near the main search area.  They found so much stuff.  Of course not only the Security was their, the cops were also.  They have a big force in the park comprised of Local, (Chillicothe), County, State, Drug Enforcement Officers and I believe the Homeland Security was even their.  Their is also a Task Force of Undercover Officers.  They showed me their badges to get through one of the gates I was on.  20180525_062600.jpg

The music would start in the morning around 10.  It would revolve around all the stages in the park.  Their were a number of these Taxis in the park.

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Here is some of the props they had.  Almost anything would go.  Many hula hoops, and different type of banners.  The would hold they high and dance to the music.

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Some of the out fits……. or lack of…..Lets just paint and decorate with sequins our body parts!!!20180526_184539.jpg

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Now I seen this guy last year.  I hear he attends every year looking like this.  He is not a young man, nor physically fit.  Why you want to walk around showing those body parts, I don’t know.

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This stage, Moonshine,  is the only permanent stage in the Park.  They all congregate, enjoy the concert, dance and sing,  and then disperse to the next venue they want to see.  The day is never ending with music through out the park.

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This is one of the large stages brought in.  At night the colors were beautiful.  Music continued till 4am somewhere every nite.  Our Security Compound was behind one of the stages.  When I went to bed at nite, the music shook the windows in the MH.  And I mean they rattles.  Kitty was with us, but he actually did pretty good.  He must have remembered from last year….lol…20180526_073532.jpg

Many of the kids were back up early in the morning, but many were slow.  Their tents and hammocks were strung all around in the forest areas.  In the mornings I seemed to be down by VIP everyday.  Across from VIP was some food stands.  They would come staggering in to buy breakfast and coffee.  They were such a mess from the nite before.  Hung over or what ever.  Portable showers and bathrooms were placed all over the park.  Always full of people.  The trucks were constantly  driving around pumping out the pottys.

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Here is another crazy costume.  Yep, he’s wearing a diaper.  Finally it was Monday.  Park closed at 12 noon.  Well they try, but it never works.  All the kids know that.  In the morning the security, and officers start going through the park waking everyone up and telling them to leave.  They come stumbling out the gate.  We seen many who could hardly walk.  They packed up the things the best they could.  So much stuff is left.  They not only leave their trash, but they leave tents, coolers, chairs, wagons, wallets, cell phones and what ever they don’t want anymore.20180529_151935.jpg

Security goes through again tearing down all tents.  Making sure all people are gone.  They also go through bag and consolidate all the trash.  I was at the main gate as they were leaving.  It was my job to not let them back in.  I had one lady come to me and ask “which way to Chicago, right or left at the entrance of the park.”  OMG….They were hitchhiking.  Another had their nephew leave them.  They lived in Ohio, 2 states away.  Imagine that.  They weren’t all that upset.  They hitched a ride with some lighting people.  They were going to Indiana.  Then someone was going to met them and pick them up from their.  Another mother lived a hour away.  She dropped her daughter off on Friday.  She told her to meet her at the main gate Monday morning.  She waited and waited.  3 hours later, she came by and said her daughter was home.  She hitched a ride.  I would have been just steaming mad…..OMG….How can a girl do that, hitchhike, and not tell her mom where she was until she got home.  She know her mom was their waiting.

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Some of the Graffiti on the fences

They don’t find all the drugs of course.  Their were many cases for the ambulances to take care of.  They had  a full staff of medical their for all issues.  The worst case was a 36 year old man took a hit of acid.  He walked down to the highway which must be a half mile, was naked and walked in front of a car.  He’s lucky he didn’t die, but he broke many bones in his body.  I heard he would be hospitalized and in rehab for months.  So another year over.  20,000 people herded back out by 3pm.  Another Summerfest over.  We were asked to stay a few days and work.  Now the vendors and all the equipment would be packed up and leave the park.

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Just a few of the Portable Showers

Their was many people, we found out, who came in and wanted to supposedly help to clean up.  Basically there a number of scavengers who want to loot.  So that was our purpose.  Check each vehicle and make sure they were their for a legitimate reason.  20180530_071040.jpg

Its seems every Memorial Day it rains.  Weather was beautiful…..Until Wed. Morning…..A huge rainstorm came through.  We woke up and found we were surrounded by a lake.  Our power cord was under water but still working.  So we sure weren’t stepping out.

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Couldn’t believe all the water that was dumped.  We stayed in till it went down.  It went fast.  Rich finished his day, I stayed home.  I had had enough.

So Summer Camp 2018 was now officially over.  Time for us to head back to McNabb.  3604_image_25311222_1559329190770617_9203391380924002243_o

 

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Granddaughter’s Graduation’s…..

Last May we headed back home to Illinois for the 2 Granddaughter’s Graduation’s. Cassidy was graduating 8th grade and little Carly, Kindergarten. We decided to just drive the car and leave the Motor Home in Texas. It would be cheaper. Now what about the cat. He has never been in the car. When we were in Adventureland in Iowa, we took him home in the truck. We almost gave him a heart attack, and that was only 4 hours. Now were talking 24 hours if you drive it straight through. We couldn’t ask anyone to take care of him for several weeks, so we decided Kitty was going on a road trip. Rich said he’s never to old to learn. I bought him a soft sided zip up carrier. I laid it open for several days and he crawled in and laid in it. So maybe it will work??? But he is an old man, set in his ways. He doesn’t like change. So finally the day came.

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We put the back seats down so he had the whole back. Put his kitty litter, food and water in the back on a blanket. His carrier was in the middle so he could see between the seats. He hated when I carried him to the car, he meowed for the first half hour. Finally we went through the Border Check point at Falfurrias. We kept him in until then because you just never know what may happen their. The Border Patrol agents have dogs that sniff every car. Not that we have a reason to worry…..lol…but you never know. Then we unzipped him. He actually did wonderful. He adapted so well to the car. He roamed at first, checking everything out. But he was so good. We pretty much drove straight through stopping only to sleep a few hours. About 2 hours from home in Lincoln Illinois is a Bonanza Restaurant.

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Its an old time favorite of ours. We try to stop if the timing is right. This one is a franchise but they have kept the menu the same. They have a wonderful salad bar.

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I always get my favorite…..Sirloin Tips with grilled mushrooms and onions.….Yum Yum…Theirs nothing like it.

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Finally we arrived and little Carly was so excited to see us. She had her fairy outfit on. She went and posed in the family tree. That nite Austin had a Softball game.

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We went to Granville to watch him play. Of course we also had to visit Scott and Brandy’s bar One Paw’z Pub.

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Scott singing Karaoke

Finally Graduation came for Carly. Her year in Kindergarten is over. On to 1st Grade.

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Carly, 1st row on far right. Jacob, Carly’s cousin in right next to her.

They were using the Auditorium at Putnam Co. High for the kids. Granville has 3 classes of Kindergarten for all of Putnam Co. They were so cute. They sang songs with cute motions. Finally they gave out the diplomas by class.

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After, I gave her a bouquet of flowers. She is now ready for First Grade. Carly is our youngest grandchild. She is sure growing fast. We had a picnic for both girls. Cassidy graduated 8th and will be a Freshman in High School.

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Tammy invited friends and family and had a cake for each. Now Carly was unhappy cause she thought Cassidy’s cake was prettier. She was crying and then she tried to stop but it was so hard for her…..lol…..Finally it was all better.

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They are so cute together…...That is when their not fighting….lol… We have also gotten 2 new grand dogs. Tammy and the Kids got Jazper.

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He is a Silver Lab. Tammy said she can’t even go to the bathroom by herself. Jazper has to come with. lol. Tina, Ed and the kids got Dee Dee last fall.

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She is a small Golden Doodle. She is more laid back that Dexter was. I had a hard time calling her by her name and not Dexter. She looks just like Dex. She loves playing with her kids Miley and Austin. We also have 2 other restaurants that I usually like to eat at when were home…

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Tenderloin…..Smittys Bar in Leonore

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Taco Salad and Homemade Fries…..Igloo, in Peru

I decided to take the kids to Hobby Lobby and buy some fun stuff to do on one of our last days their. Tina said Miley wanted her toes done, so I took her first to the Nail place at the Mall.

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She picked out her polish which was a silver flake. Miley is 9 years old now going on 10. Time to start doing girly stuff with her…..We also went to Bath and Body and picked out some soaps and body splash. We had a good time smelling everything. Then we met Tina with Austin and Carly at Hobby Lobby. We ended up picking up stuff to make Slime and some other things.

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On Monday I went over to spend the day while Tina and Ed worked. We brought all our stuff outside to make the Slime. I’m sure glad we did it outside as it turned out messy with all the glitter. We needed Elmers Glue, Baking Soda, and Contact Lens solution. We also bought glitter. It was fun but the glitter blew everywhere. Before we were done they kept making different batches until the large bottle of Elmers was all gone. And it was the largest bottle they make. Later when Tina came home, we visited for quite awhile. It was very quiet in Mileys room.

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I walked in and her and Carly were putting makeup all over their faces. Such silly girls. Now I’ve mentioned all the grandkids but Cameron. He is the one that is hard to get a picture of. This is a picture of him and his friend Torri in his boat. One of the toys he bought last year.

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You know how that goes…..Men and their toys??? or is it Boys and their toys??? Its all the same. Here is another purchase. He has finally bought the truck he has always wanted.

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Its a Ford!!!!!.…But Grandpa forgave him. It is pretty. But it wasn’t pretty enough.

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He had to go buy new tires and rims. They are nice…but….I guess live and learn…..He’s Happy, and its his money. Finally it was time to head back to Harlingen. We packed up the car, prepared Kitty’s back end. But now we always bring more back so now the car is really filling up.

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Kitty had to explore all the mountains of stuff in the back of the car. He fell asleep on the mountain…..lol…

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As we traveled he was so good. He liked to sleep on the floor with his head buried under the drivers seat between Rich’s legs. When we stopped to gas up or eat, he would just stay wear he was. He never attempted to get out. We drove almost straight through all the way home. We slept for a couple of hours in the car and made it in around 24 hours. Long Long ways………………While we were in Illinois we also worked at the Summer Camp Festival for 6 days as Security Guards. We did this also last year. My next blog will be about Summer Camp..

…..Another memorable experience….

Our Trip to Roatan, Costa Maya and Cozumel……Part 4

This is my last Blog of our cruise from last April….So so far behind, but I figured I better wrap it up. It was certainly a great time with great friends, old and new. Memories for a lifetime.

We managed to survive Costa Maya. After a very Adventerous day on Thursday on the beach, and a good nites sleep, we arrived at Cozumel on Friday morning very early. Everyone had different plans for Cozumel. Mel and Travis was renting a trike for a fun tour of the island. Theresa and Ron, Lorie and Mark were renting a Jeep for a tour. But the rest of us were just going to just be tourists and shop. Rich actually felt pretty good considering his condition the day before. Now I woke up feeling nauseous. But after several attempts at getting up it went away. But I was really tired. Too much sun the day before I think. We were already docked in Cozumel, so we went to breakfast. Everyone leaving the boat for tours was already gone. I never dreamed that Ron would be up and at it already. He wasn’t in the best of shape either the day before. We went to the Windjammer and looked at the beautiful view of Cozumel.

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You have to realize we were on the 11th floor looking over the city. The view was spectacular. The amazing shades of blues as the sun passed over the water. After breakfast we went ashore and did a little shopping. We were rather tired from the day before…..lol..go figure...so we didn’t go far. We looked at souvenir shops, sat down and did some people watching and Rich of course did a little alcohol sampling. He bought several bottles of booze, then we checked them in at customs. They took control of them, by labeling our room number. They would be brought on board and finally given to us the last day of the cruise.

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Finally back on board we went, time to rest up the rest of the day. We did a lot of people watching. That night a had a fabulous party on the Promenade Deck. On the crossovers high above the people, they had a 60s-70s party.

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It was non-stop music and dancing. They sang some great Songs.…like YMCA and many others. It lasted for hours.. I watched from the window in our room. Their was so much wonderful entertainment on board. Every night was a show in the Theater. We had Comedians, Magicians, and also a couple doing an Aerial Act.

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Also my favorite show was Stephanie Parker. She sang Whitney Houston songs. She was so so talented. Such a quality show. I talked with her later. She has a contract with Royal Caribbean for the season. She was going to have some time off. When we arrived at Cozumel, she was flying home to Las Vegas for some R & R.

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Also they even had a Skating Rink. It was open for free skating at times, and they also held several shows.

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It was really a quite elaborate show. They had beautiful costumes, fabulous lighting, and such creative choreography. On the last nite, we watched the last show in the Platinum Theater. It was a synopsis of all the shows of the week. A storm had come up. The seas picked up and you could feel the boat start to move side to side. You could feel it as you walked, so I was somewhat tense so I wouldn’t stumble. We went and sat in the theater, and waited for the show to begin. We watched the stage curtains. Some had strings of lights hanging down in them. As we watched, the curtains swayed one way……and then the other way……then back the other way….and then back again. lol. I asked Rich, “Do you see those curtains???” He said “yes, I’m trying not to look”...lol….As I sat their, I kept thinking…..above me is a huge swimming pool full of water. lol. Well it was fine. Show was over and we went to bed for the last time. Rich had collected his liquor and purchased more of course. Everyone else had also collected theirs also. We were packed for our departure in the morning. We woke up in the morning and had our schedules as when to get ready to debark. We had set all our luggage out the night before. They take it and unload it for us. All we have to do is claim it in the terminal. Everything is very orderly. Sadly we headed for the terminal. Now all that wonderful warm weather turned to dreary chilly weather. Vacation is over. We were picked up by the parking lot van and returned to our cars.

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Now came the time for goodbyes. Ron, Theresa, Rich and I would head south to Harlingen and the sun. The rest would head north west to the cold of Nebraska. Great Trip……Made some Great New Friends…..Everyone vowed to do it again….

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This was our magnetic door signs that Ron and Theresa made for us all. We autographed them all at the end of the trip. Even Barrington our Room Steward. Next, these are some of our fun shots.

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Now here is our Group Shots.

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It was a FABULOUS CRUISE. I would do it again in a minute. We had such a good time. I believe Royal Caribbean was an AWESOME Cruise Line. You can make this cruise as affordable as you wish. You can relatively spend very little after you board if you wish. All shows are free. So many restaurants and buffets to choose from. All the swimming and fun on the top of the ship. Or you can spend as much as you want in the bars and casino, or shopping. One can buy that special diamond or other precious gems. So its totally up to the person as to how to enjoy the cruise.

This was “A CRUISE OF A LIFETIME”

Its Been Awhile!!!!

Have I been Busy????  or Lazy???  Both.….I still haven’t finished writing about our cruise in April.  But right now I’m writing about the bad rains and floods we had here in the Rio Grande Valley several weeks ago.  Down here we seem to get the bad tropical storms or depressions that come in from the gulf.  Around the week of July 19th,  a sub tropical depression came in over the valley.  Rain was predicated,  but I don’t think they expected that much.  That Wed morning I woke up about 4 am to hear a loud noise.  At first I thought the A/C was making a terrible noise.  Oh Crap, another expense.….But after listening I realized it was raining very very hard.  I had to work at the theater that morning at 8:30 am.  I got ready and it was still just pouring outside.  I called the theater and the workers were coming in.  “The theater never closes ya know”, they said.  It was the morning of the Kids Summer Movie Club.  Every Wed at 10am.  So as much as I wanted to stay home, I got out my umbrella and out to the car I went.  We had running water on our street in front but it was not accumulating.  I backed out and just up the street a short ways was the first corner of the park.  20180620_082059.jpg

It is just a little lower that the RV section.  This is were the water began to flood.  Wow. 

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As I looked back, this is our street.  You can see the pickup on the left and the MH on the right.  All the water ran down hill.   As I left the park, I stopped at each street to take a picture of the side street.

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I was amazed to see all this water.  As you can see, it was still raining.  All the side streets in the mobile section were flooded.  Fortunately, it never got high enough to go into trailers.  Most trailers are not only built up higher on their pad and the trailer itself is several feet higher off the ground anyway.  So mainly it was the inconvenience for residents to not be able to get out.  I drove on to the theater.  We had 3 of our 10 theaters saved for the Movie Club.  The kids made up snack packs.  Usually Day Care Centers come with buses of kids.  Finally we had 2 groups come…..Group of 8 and a family of 3…..No Day Care Centers.   So the Movie still goes on…..lol…..Finally around noon, most of us were sent home.  A number of the streets were reported closed but I had no trouble driving the mile or so to get home.  By that time the water was already receding in the park.  It was only in the streets and most of them were drivable by then.  So Eastgate was very lucky.  But the rest of the Valley was not.  It rained off and on for the next several days, while the storm seemed to circle over head.  Finally when all done, Harlingen received 16.75 inches of rain which was the most in the Valley.  That was a whole years supply in a few days.

Harlingen did pretty good but Weslaco and on to Mission received a lot of property damage.  Weslaco downtown and shopping areas as well as residential areas were very damaged.  Many home throughout the valley had several feet of water in them.  Storm centers opened, the boats and rescue vehicles were out.  Our county which is Cameron County and Hidalgo County were declared Disaster Areas.  Red Cross was set up and Fema is now in place.  The reports said we receive just as much or more rain than the Hurricane Dolly brought in 2008.  In our History books of Eastgate, we have a few pictures of Hurricane Dolly.  One of the pictures has a person in a row boat.  Now I believe that would have been possible that morning on our streets.  Now our Next Battle……..

 MOSQUITOS‘……Those dreaded little pesky bugs that bite and thrive in water.  Down here we do have reports of the Zika and West Nile virus.  So that is a worry of people also.  The city’s started spraying right away.  They not only do they spray for the active bugs but also are dropping pods into standing water locations to combat the pre-emerging mosquitos.  Their was standing water for days and some areas a week or two.  Our neighbor across the fence had standing water a week later.  That promotes hatching mosquitos.  You could hardly go outside for several days.  But I think finally that is under control.  Now another problem.   Pot Holes….Our park also was very lucky.  I seems like our roads are intact.  But through out the valley the roads are now falling apart.  The city trucks are out putting up orange cones and filling potholes.   So now Rich and I have a list of weather we have witnessed in Harlingen……1.  Our first Hurricane, August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey.   2.  First snow in the Valley since Dec 2004.  We had a dusting of snow on Dec 6 2017, which they called the Blizzard of 2017.  Police and News Reports cautioned everyone to slow down and drive safely.   Kids were ecstatic.  Now how crazy is that.  3.  Now a major flood which brought a flood comparable to Hurricane Dolly.  

We went back home last month also for 3 weeks.  We had Grandkid graduations, and some other things to do, but I will be finishing the Cruise on the next blog.  Here at the park its been hot and quiet.  Because of all the rain, the grass is now green, and growing.  Here’s some pictures of the beautiful flowers on cactus plants.

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You would never think such a beautiful flower can bloom on a cactus.   These are at some of the homes surrounding our pool.  The close ups are just so pretty.

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So delicate, and the colors so pale and gorgeous.  We’ve also had several holidays now where our flags have been displayed.20180704_082623.jpg

Last season the North Harlingen Rotary Club promoted a new program of sponsoring a flag for $50, in memory of a veteran.  Your subscription would be for a year.  It would be installed and taken down on the certain holidays like Flag Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July etc.  The Rotary would take care of installing it in the morning and taking them down before sunset.  It was so overwhelmingly received, that 21 flags now fly in front of our park, lining our street on Holidays.  20180614_121015.jpg

Everyone is so proud of our Flag, the Veterans who have passed as well as our Veterans who are with us.  Thank You All for everything you have done so we can be …….”FREE”…..Many families have suffered and gave up so much for our Country.  We must never forget this.  Here at Eastgate we are a community of Americans and also Canadians.  We have many Canadian Winter Texans that bought mobiles for their winter home as well as many who may come in their RVs.  We are all family.  The beauty of this flag program is we also had 2 Canadians that subscribed to the flag program in honor of their family member.  Our 19 American Flags, fly in UNITY with 2 of their Canadian Flags….20180704_082420.jpg

 

Our Trip to Roatan, Costa Maya and Cozumel……Part 3

Finally on Thursday Morning, we were finally going ashore at Costa Maya.  We had been on board since Sunday.  Because of the ship MSC Armonia crashing into the dock at Roatan Honduras, we couldn’t go ashore their.  So finally we arrived at Costa Maya 2 hours late after delivering a sick person to Cozumel.  They have an International Airport to fly the person to the states. It was a beautiful morning.  Rich and I went out on deck to watch the approach and dock.  20180412_083842.jpg

In the distance as we approached, their was a beautiful rainbow.  You can barely see here.  It started at the speck of land which was Costa Maya.  As we got closer a small boat came out from shore.  20180412_090220.jpg

It said Pilot on the side in Spanish.  It got very close and left again.  I assume they dropped someone off.  We got closer and seen their were 2 ships in port.  And which ship do you suppose was their.20180412_090419.jpg

It was the MSC Armonia.  This was the ship that destroyed the dock at Roatan Honduras 2 days ago.  We had heard they had run onto rocks and needed repairs.  We also heard they might need extensive repairs to continue.  Well here it was.  Full of people, continuing its 14 day cruise.20180430_083717.jpg

Looking close you could see the scrape near the bottom and a large patch to the hull.  As people started to realize that this was the ship that caused us to not go the Roatan, they started yelling and making fun of the Captain….” Can’t you drive???”  Of course it was all in fun.  Finally we got ready to leave the ship for the day.  Ron had made plans for an excursion for us all.  10 of us were going, 1 couple decided to stay on board.  Several years ago, Ron and Travis had came to Costa Maya and found this all inclusive beach.  It was a pkg deal on line.  For $50 a person you arrived at this beach and stayed all day until your ship left.  You were supplied with shade umbrellas, lounges, all the drinks and food you wanted.  So this is where we were heading.  We left with our suits on and beach cover ups.  It was around 10 am and the boat was not leaving until 7:30pm.

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So off we went.  Terry took this picture as we left the ship.  It was a very long dock to walk.  But such a beautiful day.20180412_102202.jpg

So here we are.  We sure look like tourists don’t we…..lol…Now as we were walking some one said….Look, Their she is…..During the days at sea, their was a celebrity sighting.  It was Amy Roloff of TV Show, Little People, Big World.  Several of the group had seen her.  Then one day when Rich was sitting down up on the top deck watching the Surfing simulator, near the water slides, Amy just so happened to sit down by him.  She told Rich they wouldn’t let her ride the 2 man raft slide because of the weight requirement.  She did ride the other slide.  Now he had a moment like that and I wasn’t their???…..So so unfair…..It was just a casual conversation, I should have been their.  One evening I was looking out our window down on the Promenade…..And their she was walking by…..Amy and her boyfriend Chris…20180409_193041.jpg

So finally I seen her but their I am upstairs behind glass.  So now here we are at the port and somebody in our group yells “Theirs Amy”20180412_102023.jpg

I looked over and seen her and decided this was my chance.  Probably my only chance to get a picture.  Look, I’m taller than her….lol...I ran over their and introduced myself and mentioned her sitting by Rich.  She acknowledge that she remembered.  I asked for a picture and apologized for bothering her.  Of course she was gracious and agreed.  So finally I accomplished my picture I was after.  I only seen her one other time.  We were in the theater and she entered the other side.  Theresa was able to say hi to her.  So finally we headed into the village to find the Taxi’s to take us to the beach.  The village wound around with only walking traffic…..Many little local shops.  It seemed like we had to walk in circles to get to the Taxis.  We did a little shopping but decided to do more on our way back.  Finally with Ron at the lead, we headed to the taxi’s at the rear of the village.  Ron managed to get a van that we all could fit in.  It was a fun ride to the beach.  This area has not really been taken over yet by commercialism. Their was some destruction still by the hurricanes last year.  We passed some poor areas and seen construction and rebuilding.  We passed jungle and finally turned down a narrow road with buildings on each side.  Some were old homes and some small businesses.  All very colorful.  We finally arrived at our Beach…..Nohoch Kay Beach Club....It was an open beachy restaurant with a thatched roof.  12804764_1046952832010550_3286964961177130164_nReally neat.  Old tables and chairs inside and out.  Their was a bicycle trail between the Club and the beach.  A group of bicyclers rode by.  As you looked toward the beach front you seen a line of awesome thatched umbrellas and lounge chairs in the sand.

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The beautiful blue ocean was beyond the beach.

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Over to the side was a massage table area.  Their was a charge for this.  It looked so inviting.  They had reserved umbrellas and chairs for all of us.  We all settled in.  The bar boy took our first drink orders and the owner asked about food.  He suggested putting a tray of food together with a sampling of many things on the menu.  So it began.  We all went in the water.  It was fairly shallow for a long ways.  It was so warm and clear.

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The bar boy started bringing the drinks.  The guys would order 8 Bahama Mamas at a time.  They would be delivered and the bar boy would get another order of 8…..That is the way the day went.  The food finally arrived…..OMG….20180430_214918.jpg

So much on the platter.  From American Hamburgers and Onion Rings to Mexican Tacos Fajitas etc.  We ate on it all afternoon, but never finished it.

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It was such a relaxing afternoon laying in the lounge chairs.  They also offered kayaks to take out even though we didn’t use them.  And for the guys, the drinking continued….

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They were having a great time….The view from the water to the beach was so pretty.

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The line up of the thatched umbrellas and the Palm trees waving overhead was like being in Paradise.  In the distance you could see the dock with the ships in port.

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It looked close but yet very far. ……AND THE DRINKING CONTINUED…..

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Finally around 4 pm we decided it was time to leave.  It was hard getting them out of the water.  20180412_143112.jpg

The Club called for our van and it finally arrived.  One last look at the beautiful site, and up to the van we went.  It became apparent rather quickly the Rich and Ron were just a little drunk.  They both started slurring their words and talking STUPID.  At first it was funny to watch, but it got old fast.  We managed to get them all in the van…….“THATS THE LAST RICH REMEMBERS OF THAT DAY”.…..I’m not sure were we lost Ron.  The Taxi left us out behind the village.  Rich wanted the drivers grapefruit.  We had to finally take it away from him.  He was barely walking and we had a LOOOooong way to go…..His hand was on my shoulder.  We stumbled along.  Ron was at least walking.  But Theresa had to keep him under control.  At one point he seen a statue of an animal, maybe lion with its mouth wide open.  He ran across the street and put his face and hands in its mouth and went ….. “Rooooaaaaar”…..At that point I knew we were in trouble.  The shopping was canceled as it was a long way back to the ship.  We wandered along through the village sidewalks to the port entrance.  I was on one side of Rich and JT was on the other.  Finally the Port entrance was near.  We had to scan our Sea Pass cards to get through.  Thank goodness Rich’s was around his neck.  Now the Looong walk down the dock to the ship entrance.  We started and it was one step forward…..2 stumbled steps sideways.  Another step forward and so one.  All his weight was now on my shoulder as I not only supported him but pulled him.  Theresa was busy taking care of Ron and she was also worried about her sister….lol….Either side of the dock said….DO NOT CROSS THE RED LINE..…You would be in danger of falling off cause their was no railings…..We stopped a number of times to rest.  Finally we made the final turn to the dock the ship was anchored to.  We had to get our Sea Pass cards ready and I thought ID’s also.  So Travis took over my side for a time while I got out Richs Wallet.  In doing that all his cards fell out…….grrrrrrrrr….but got them all picked up and back.  We got through the first scan area and was then approaching the ship door.  Travis said he would go get a wheel chair.  Oh that would be great.  I was exhausted with all his stumbling.  He just kept muttering stupid non verbal words…..lol….Finally we crossed the ramp into the ship.  I scanned our Sea Pass cards for both of us and their was the wheel chair.  They put him in and had a porter assigned to help us to our room.  Immediately, an officer looked at me straight faced with no humor….“Do You Need Medical?”...”Oh No” I said.  “He just needs a bed”…..lol….He was not laughing.  He wanted to see his Sea Pass Card and took his number.  They put a 24 hour block on his account for alcohol.  I said ‘Sure, that fine’.  So they wheeled us to the elevators.  We got in one side and Ron and Theresa and the others were in the other side.  Ron remembers seeing us and saying something to Rich as the doors closed.  I don’t remember what he said but it would be something only one drunk talking to another drunk would understand.  I so wanted to take a picture of him but the halls were so narrow and we were on the move.  We got to our room and Barrington was their.  20180412_172500.jpg

He opened our door for us and got Rich out of the wheelchair.  Barrington wished us rest and recuperation.  He was down for the count very shortly after that.  After that I decided to go to the Windjammer for dinner.  Then I went out on deck to watch our departure.  Some of our group also came out.  They like to watch the “Dock Runners” the last ones that are running to make the boat.  20180412_184225.jpg

We were suppose to leave by 7:30 but they were still missing people.  Finally just after 8 the last ones boarded. A dad running with a stroller and 2 kids, and his wife lagging behind. I can’t imagine why they would be so late with 2 kids. How irresponsible. I was told many times the ship will leave people of their late.  20180412_184512.jpg

So here is our view of the dock at sunset.  This is the dock we drug the drunks down too reach the ship.  Shame they have no Memory.….We were the last ship to leave…..Finally it was dark, the last people were aboard and we cast off.  As we left, you could not see that many lites.  It definitely is still a small port.  Its to bad we didn’t have time to shop more and explore…...So Tomorrow…..What will it bring…..Cozumel….How will they feel???

 

 

 

Our Trip to Roatan, Costa Maya, & Cozumel….Part 2

Finally we were heading to sea.  We had went to the Heliport to watch our casting off and now we were moving.  As much as I would have liked to have stayed outside and watched us move out through the channel, it was to cold and windy.  So time to go inside and EXPLORE our ship.  Dinner was at 5:30.  Tonite would be dress casual in the formal dinning room.  We had our luggage, but many people did not.  They said it could take up to 7 pm for the late arrivals to get their delivered to their stateroom.  It pays to be one of the first to board.  So therefore that is why dinner was casual.  Everyone has the option to eat in the formal dinning room assigned or just eat at the Windjammer Café Buffet.  We were assigned to the Michelangelo Restaurant on Deck 3 at table #424.  Their are 3 Formal dining rooms, The Botticelli on Deck 5, The Michelangelo on Deck 4, and The Rembrandt on Deck 3.

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This is the interior of our dinning room on Deck 3.  It is so elegant.  The center of the room is open to display all three floors.  In the center is a Beautiful, Stunning Elegant Chandelier.  It is surrounded by beautiful gold columns extending from the bottom to the top.  Beautiful lights and decorations make you feel like your in an Italian Palace.

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At the far end is an elegant circular staircase joining all 3 dinning rooms together.  At the end of our cruise the cooks and waiters filled the stairways and sang several songs and paraded through all 3 dinning rooms…..It was pretty awesome.  So we found our table and were seated.  Linen table clothes and silverware placed for every course.  We were presented with the Menu.  It was clipped to a board and was changed every meal.  We had choices of Appetizer, Main course and Dessert.  You could choose as many as you wanted.  The waiter brought each course and then as we ate, they would take the finished dish and the proper silverware would be taken and the new silverware arranged appropriately.  We had a head waiter as well as his assistant.  They worked in unison together as they took care of their assigned 4 tables.  So that was 32 people.

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By the 2nd nite they not only new your name, but they also remembered what you drank.  Our favorite was Oral C.  The assistant on the right of the photo.  He was so nice, friendly and did his job meticulously.  He always was ready for a joke or small talk if he had time.  They loved their job obviously.  Finally it was time to explore the ship.

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This is one of the 14 elevators on the ship.  They went from Deck 1 to Deck 14.  It was so cool to ride and look out at the Promenade Deck as you rode up.  20180408_163836.jpg

This is the walkway to the Promenade Area, the main street of the ship on Deck 5 This area is full of shopping from clothes, purses, alcohol, to Fine Watches and Diamonds.  It also had many Pubs, Ben and Jerrys Ice Cream, Sorrentos Pizza, A Cupcake shop and tables and chairs set out to sit, converse and just people watch.  20180408_162729.jpg

On the other end is the Platinum Theater.  The stairways were cascading white marble steps with Brass Handrails…So Elegant…They held a program for us newbies in the Theater to Welcome us to the ship and tell as about upcoming events.20180408_142828.jpg

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This is a beautiful Theater.  It also had a balcony and held 1,300 people.  Every nite they held a fabulous show.  They also had bar service and you could order at your seat.  20180408_201030.jpg

This is another view of the Promenade area from the end areas.  Every floor had a crossover to the other side that was open to the Promenade.  Notice Shrek in the foreground.  This is also a “DreamWorks” Cruise.  Many of the characters were out and about everyday.  20180408_201108.jpg

Another view from the end looking down to the entrance of the Platinum Theater.  I am actually standing on Deck 6 and the bottom of the stairs is Deck 3…..20180408_162818.jpg

Another one of the Characters with Ron on the right.  So now down to Deck 3.  20180408_142531.jpg

We walked through the Casino.  Yes if you were a gambler, you could surely enjoy your time here.  Everything available to you in every type of game.  Their is almost 300 slot machines and 19 gaming tables.  We choose not to enjoy this area of the boat.  I would have a hard time stopping, so better not to play.  Their was a number of bars on this level, including a Piano Bar.  They were small and intimate.  A place to relax.  It had been a long day, so time to head back up to Deck 6 and our new home for a week.  We entered and found that the room steward had been their, Turned down our bed, closed the curtains and left us with the new addition of The Cruise Compass.

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It is the daily schedule of everything going on.  All the dinner schedules, entertainment schedules, time we dock if going into port, or anything we needed to know.  Every evening he brought a new one when he turned down the bed.  Every afternoon while at lunch, he would make our bed and change our linens.  We were so pampered.FB_IMG_1524226692181.jpg

This is our Room Steward, Barrington.  He had knocked at our door the first day and introduced himself.  He is from Jamaica and has worked for Royal Caribbean for 19 years.  They work for 10 months and then have 2 months off.  Difficult way to live I think.  Barrington was just Awesome He was so friendly.  His goal to make sure we had fun and enjoyed everyday.  I mentioned to him one afternoon that my shower was leaking at the bottom.  He said he would take care of it.  The next morning during my shower, I noticed it was fixed.  …..Amazing…..I couldn’t believe it was already fixed, and we didn’t even see anyone.  Barrington knew all our names immediately and made us all feel special.  He always seemed to know when we left so that he could do his duties.  20180411_211939.jpg

Many times during the week, we would come into our room to find an animal made out of towels.  This was my favorite.  He put my sunglasses on the BAT.  So as we got ready for bed, we sat their and realized we could feel the gently rocking of the boat.  It wasn’t much, but Rich could feel it.  He had taken a Dramamine that afternoon, just in case it might bother him.  We could hear the Hang tag in the bathroom gently rocking back and forth.  We slept pretty good, in fact I slept longer than normal.  Their was no daylight to tell you what time it was…..lol…In the morning, we explored the TV channels.  Their was very little outside channels.  Just a couple old movie channels.  They had their own RC TV.  You could watch and see what was happening today.  How to shop for Diamonds and Precious Gems on board as well as when you were in Port.  They showed you different Ships they had and the Trips they had available.  Down stairs you could book you Next Cruise with a discount at a considerable savings.  Also, the most important thing on the TV was you could watch your account daily.  Any credits you might have attained on purchasing your tickets were added on as a credit.  Anytime you purchased on board with your Seapass Card were their immediately, and the Daily Gratuity’s of $14.50 each person were also added.  These tips would be divided between the Room Steward and the Dinning room waiters.  Possibly others but not sure.  So it was your option to give extra if you thought they deserved it.  As I mentioned before, this account is either set up as a cash account before hand, or attached to a card of your choice.  In the morning  we slowly got up and headed for the Windjammer for Breakfast.  What an AWESOME selection.  Anything you could imagine.  20180411_105815.jpgWe found a table by the window and enjoyed watching the sea…..The endless water, the swell of the waves flowing up and down.  They said they were about 6 ft, but it sure didn’t look like it.  We were on Deck 11 looking down.  Their were just small white caps.  Nothing was in the distance except for the sea ending in a haze as it met the sky……So this was our next 2 days.  We would be at sea till Wed.  when we docked at Roatan Honduras, our farthest point…..(Or so we thought)….So now time to explore the top decks…..11-14….Ill start at the front of the ship.  Well not really the front but behind the heliport and the Captains Bridge.  We entered the Solarium.  It is the pool area for the over 18 year olds….Now that would be our area.  20180409_131453.jpgIt was a small but beautiful pool…plenty of lounge chairs all around in the sun or shade.  A bar of course.  Adults always have to have a bar near by…..Or you could order by the pool also.  It also had an easy step entrance.  Love it when you don’t have to climb the ladder to get out.   On either side of the ship were 2 huge beautiful half moon spas, lined with windows.  The sun shinned through from all the glass on top.  20180423_104351.jpg1d46326ca12af59e3a011354e359d4fc--royal-caribbean-cruise-royal-caribbean-ships.jpgThey stuck out 12 over the edge of the boat.  The view was just breath taking.  The strangest part was knowing that their was nothing under you for 11 decks down till the sea at the bottom.  One evening I was in the spa when the jets were off.  As you sat their and enjoyed, you would feel the rocking of the boat.  It would rock to one side and the water would fall into the gutters, and then it would rock the other way and fall away….Back and Forth….Back and Forth…. What a strange sensation.  Now behind this bar are several more pools for family’s.  aox7yq.jpgSeveral hot tubs are also in this area.  You can get poolside service here also for drinks of your choice.  Many of the activities took place in this pool.  Sexiest man competition,   Adult Belly Flop Competition, Concerts and Movies on the Big Screen.20180411_194015.jpgOne nite we went up and watched Star Wars.  This area was always busy….Behind this area is the Childrens Area….20180411_154853.jpgThis is the H2O Zone and Kids Pool.  This is a great place for the little kids to have fun.  If you look at the area above with all the windows, This is on Deck 14.20180411_150739.jpgThere is a very nice bar up their.  This is the view from the windows.  You can see the kids area, past the wall is the regular pools and the Solarium pools more up front.

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Now were on the back of the ship.  Their is a rock climbing wall and a basket ball court.

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On the very back is the water slides.   Their are 2 water slides on the left and 1 on the right.  The one on the right is a 2 man raft.  In the center is the Flow Rider, the surfing simulator.  We sat their for a while and watched.  The were giving lessons.  Some people did well, but many wiped out, fell and washed up to the top of the slide.  It looked like fun, but I wouldn’t want everyone watching me make a fool of myself…lol….Also a Mini Golf Course is back here somewhere.  That was something we never came across.  How can something like that be hidden.  There was so many things we really never did see.  It is amazing that all these things are on the top of the ship.  So by Tue. we were excited to be getting close to Roatan Honduras.  We were suppose to dock Wed morning and have all day in town.   Ron had planned trips for all of us.  It was going to be so exciting, some shopping, beach, and tour in the jungle.  Late  that afternoon the Captain made an announcement.  A ship had come into the dock to fast.  Something went wrong and it ran into the dock and destroyed it.  It was the MSC Armonia.  maxresdefault.jpg

It didn’t take long for a video to be on U Tube.  By that evening I think everyone on board had seen the video.  The captain had tried to find another port like maybe Belize.  It just wasn’t going to happen, seems they didn’t have tenders for us.  I believe that is transportation for us from the ship to the village.  So he decided we would just do another day at sea.  We were so disappointed.  So now we would be doing a huge circle until it was time to go to Costa Maya.  Wed evening finally came.  We were going to arrive in the dock at Costa Maya around 7 am Thur. morning and bebark around 8.  Then another announcement.  We suddenly had a medical emergency.  We had to head to Cozumel.  Someone was very ill and they would be taken off the ship.  We would head back north to Cozemel arrive around 2 am. Then head back south to Costa Maya.  So now we will arrive 2 hours late.FB_IMG_1523969851489.jpg

Here is a picture of our tv screen.  We could also always see where we were, how fast we were going and our position.  As you see we were heading to Cozumel after a big circle at sea.  We were traveling over 21 knots which was top speed for the ship.  Our first stop should have been, Roatan Honduras on Wed.  Costa Maya Thur. and Cozumel Fri.  But things change don’t they.  We had another day at sea to enjoy all the activities.  Their was always something to do.  No reason to be bored, just disappointed. We did stop at Cozumel around 2am on Thur. morning, but unless you were awake, you would not have noticed.  We arrived at Costa Maya later Thur morning around 9am.   Ohhhhhh now this will be the best  part of this story….lol….Just a Clue……..“Not everyone Remembers All That Happened This Day”.…..But many of us will NEVER FORGET…..

 

Our Cruise to Roatan, Costa Maya, & Cozumel….Part 1

We have just returned from our “Cruise of a Lifetime” We went on a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise, aboard “Liberty of The Seas”  to Roatan Honduras, (well, maybe not), Costa Maya Mexico, and Cozumel.  It was absolutely beautiful, and so much fun.  Definitely a experience to never be forgotten.   So how did this all happen……

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A little over a year ago our friends Ron and Theresa were telling us of this cruise.  Ron has a Travel Agency on the side, “Get Out Their Vacations”, Check out the FB site.  He is always looking for good deals.  This trip was a very good deal.  Better if we all booked early.  He was also signing up friends and family back in his home town in Nebraska.  Rich has always wanted to go on a cruise, so we decided this was the time.  We would be with Ron and Theresa and others, so they could guide us through all the steps.  Ron ended up with 6 couples counting them.  That is 12 people, 8 who were first timers.  So how did we meet Ron and Theresa……

2 years ago we workamped at Adventureland in Des Moines.  Ron was also workamping and worked Rides with Rich.  Theresa works from home for a Computer Company.  We became friends their and I gave them info on Eastgate, and all the fun things to do in the Rio Grande Valley in the winter.  They decided to come down last year and spend the winter.  We’ve become good friends.  Then they came back this year as a Workamper.

So finally after waiting for a year, the time had come.  We all waited patiently for the winter season here at Eastgate to be over.  On Sat. April 7th, Rich and I, Theresa and Ron, packed our car, very tightly I might add, and headed to Galveston.  The day before, 2 cars also packed to the hilt, left Nebraska with 4 couples.  We were all headed for a motel for Saturday nite. Fortunately our trip was only around 7 hours.  We arrived first, and several hours later the other 4 couples arrived.  Now they had left bitter cold and snow.  Ron had promised them sunshine and warm weather……It was cloudy, overcast, and chilly.  Jacket weather.  Darn…..Its gonna get better, I’m sure…..20180408_094809.jpg

We met the couples and alot of visiting was done.  It was like an old friends and family reunion.  We all ate out, did our last shopping for forgotten things and hit the sack.  In the morning, the last minute repacking was done, and then repacked the cars and headed into Galveston.  Ron had also arranged parking, which also supplied the Shuttle to the Ship.  After we unpacked the cars, we practically filled the bus with luggage and people.  We only had 2 medium bags and 1 carry on…..OMG….Some of them had huge bags and many more than us.  But we made it.  20180408_111424.jpg

This was one of our first views of the ship.  It was nice to be with people who had done this before.  We waited for the porter to load up our bags to be checked.  Ron had supplied us with our baggage tags.  20180408_112808.jpg

We then entered the building and were herded like cattle through the maze of paths to the check in area and then the Customs area where all bags are scanned.  Finally we walked up the enclosed walkways and entered the ship.  20180408_121255.jpg

By that time, our luggage had been checked.  Our carryon’s had been x-rayed.  Our Passports had been checked and our Sea Pass cards had been issued.  These look like credit cards.  You buy a lanyard and wear them around your neck.  This is your life line for the rest of the cruise.  This supply’s your name, room number, dinning room and table number, account number and allows you to purchase anything on board.  It is attached to an account that you have set up using a credit card or cash.  You will also have taken a photo that is attached to your account.  Every time you scan that card, your photo will show for identification.  It also has your area to assemble for a life boat drill on the outside deck.  Heaven forbid that is ever needed.  Late in the cruise, we were given some facts about the ship which I’ll share now.  The ship can actually hold almost 4,000 passengers.  The crew amounts to over 1,300 representing over 50 countries around the world.  At the beginning of a 7 day cruise, they load 496,000 lbs. of food on board.  Every day they cook 26,000 meals.  It is amazing.20180413_084329.jpg

Our rooms weren’t ready till 1pm so we went to lunch.  We found the Windjammer Café which has the buffet.  As we entered we met the Washy Washy man.  There were several Purell dispensers.  They are encouraging everyone to Washy Washy your hands so you don’t get Sicky Sicky. He would sing his little jingle over and over.  Everyone loved him, especially the kids.006_Windjammer

We walked past tables and areas of food.  Their were several other resturants on our way to the Windjammer.  Once we arrived, their were islands and islands and so many stations of food to choose.  All the tables in the dinning area were around the outside lining the wall to wall windows.  What a view.  Right now we were still in the Port overlooking Galveston, but I just couldn’t imagine what it is going to look like once at sea.20180408_131400.jpg

We choose our food and drink and sat down to eat.  We watched as a window washer attachment with a worker washed the windows one by one.   We found out they are constantly cleaning on this ship.  Never a dull moment.  Cleanliness and  trying to be germ free are so important to Royal Caribbean. They were constantly cleaning and disinfecting the miles of handrails on the stairways, cleaning all the glass, as well as even the dust that accumulates in the corners.  They are an amazing crew.  Purell dispensers are everywhere.  Finally while eating, the announcement came, our rooms were all ready.  Windjammer Café is on Deck 11 and our rooms were on Deck 6 on the inside.  We have a window overlooking the Promenade. 20180408_132651.jpg

So Ron and Theresa herded us all to the elevators.  They said to expect the elevators to be so busy the first day, and they were right.  Finally we got one, arrived at our floor and walked down the hallway.  Ron had positioned all our rooms together near the center of the ship.  He said it is the best for first timers to see how the movement of the ship might affect them.  I was anxious to see our room, as I had always heard rooms were so small.  I was impressed.  I really was laid out very nice.  King Size bed with rounded corners, a nice L shaped sitting area with coffee table, and a desk area.  20180408_132737.jpg

The window was overlooking the Promenade Deck which is Deck 5.  What an awesome view out the window.  We would be able to watch all the people walking and shopping down below.  So many shop, restaurants, bars and entertainment will be going on in this area.  You can see the other rooms across from us.  So now what about the bathroom.

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It was very close but also very efficient…Plenty of room for all your essentioals, and the shower was just a capsule,  lol,  but it was fine also.  We had brought 2 medium sized suitcases, so we unpacked quickly, hung up everything we could, and placed everything else on the shelves in the closet.  Just enough space for us.  I really don’t know how the others with their huge suitcases did it.  We had everything in our closet.  They also had a safe for valuables, and of course a TV.  Now we had the announcement that at 3:30, we all had to go to our designated spot on Deck 4 on the outside for Safety training.  Another words…...If an Emergency and the ship is sinking….How to save yourself in a Life Boat…..lol….TITANIC???  lol  That’s what came to my mind…..  We all gathered in our designated areas.  Everyone had to check in by our Sea Pass cards being scanned.  It would begin after all had arrived.  Training was quick and easy.  Finally it was approaching 4pm.  That was the time to leave.  Ron and Theresa lead us up to the Heliport in the front of the ship.  It was a great place to watch our departure.  It was freezing and so windy.  Also in the dock was a Carnival ship that was leaving at the same time.  FB_IMG_1524147818568.jpg

He had told us about the Port Webcams.  I sent the link to the kids.  Tammy was watching as we left the dock area.  We were on the deck right below the little white windows.  After Carnival left, we cast off our lines and we started our adventure.

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Also in the Port was the TALL SHIPS.  They were so small compared to us, but so impressive.  They were so beautiful with their tall sails and many flags waving in the wind.  20180408_155025.jpg

So here we sat on the benches around the front of the ship.  The wind was blowing, we were freezing.  Remember we just came from the Rio Grande Valley, 80 and 90 degrees.  It was only in the 50s.  I guess we are wimps now.  We were now embarking on an Adventure.  We were a floating ship as big as a city.  Everything was aboard that we would need for the next 7 days.  So as we were leaving Ron knew where the different cameras were in the distance.  He was watching the camera feed on the website also.  He told us when to wave….20180419_082814.png

AND WE DID…….Tammy caught this shot of us on the Web Cam……I’m of course the short one, Rich is next to me.  Ron I believe is on the edge of the Photo…….Pretty amazing isn’t it…….So this is the beginning of our Adventure for the 7 days.  So much to learn now about the ship, so much to see, ……SO MUCH UNKNOWN YET……For many of you, I’m sure you’ve been on cruises, but for us its a “CRUISE OF A LIFETIME”  This is actually Ron’s Quote, and he’s so Right.  This is Just the Beginning…..

 

Tour of CBS Channel 4 and other Things

The local CBS TV Station is located in Harlingen.  I have tried to contact them for a tour but I could never seem to connect.  The Red Hats managed to get a date and I was invited.  I was so excited.  I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a TV Station.  When we arrived they first took us into the room where they make commercials.

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They showed us how they make commercials by layering different ribbons of information.  They started with the basic video and added telephone numbers and pictures and anything that keeps the attention of the audience.  They are working with seconds of time on a graph, adding where to stop and start.  It was very interesting.

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Next they took us in a room where the main feed comes in from the network.  All the local cameras either in the building or out in the community are fed into this room.  All the timing and switching the feed between cameras to the online network, are done in this room.

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Then we entered the last room.  This was the studio where all the newscasts take place.  As you looked around, you seen all the different sets that you see on tv, all in one room.  This was March Madness Week.  So no news at noon.  The room was empty so were able to wander around and try out all the sets.

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This is the monitor that they read from.  It is sitting right by the camera in front of the staging area.  We all gathered around the Lifestyles set.

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The lighting was bright but so perfect.  We were all so colorful in our red and purple.

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Next we went to the weather screen.  lol  I was pretending to do the weather.  As you see the back wall is green, but looking in the monitor, the blue background and Channel 4 logo has been applied.  When they do the weather, they have to watch these monitors to be able to point at the map.  Their is the one by the screen as well as in front of them near the camera.  Quit interesting.  FB_IMG_1522972708827.jpg

We moved over to the News Center.  You can see the monitor in the table.  We took turns taking our group pictures 20180316_121518.jpg

Our guide was right next door at the Storm tracker Center.  You see all the monitors in the back ground.  This was really a fun trip.  I talked to the guide to set up a tour for next fall.  Today the station was empty, but generally they would have been busier at this time.  We would have been able to see the news cast.  So next fall I will set up a tour and well see what happens that day.  I was so grateful for the Red Hats for inviting me and lending me a Red Hat to wear.  FB_IMG_1521899879641.jpg

Last Friday, we had our Farewell Potato Bake that is supplied by the owner.  We had over 150 people sign up.  We ordered huge Texas size potatoes from the Veggie Man.  We supplied sour cream and butter, and everyone brought a condiment to share at their table.  20180323_172707.jpg

From the Super Bowl, we had left over Pulled Pork for a potato topper, and Nachos and Cheese.  I prepared Veggies and dip for Happy Hour.  Rich and his crew started cooking and preparing the potatoes in the morning and by 4pm Happy Hour began.  5 pm we Ate.  After the potato, we served Ice Cream from the Activity Board.  Finally I showed my Seasonal Video.  I take all the pictures of the season and put them together and make a slide show to music.  This year I had 157 pictures, a number of short videos that we took at some occasions, and added 4 songs, making it 20 minutes long.  The evening was finished off with drawings.  The prizes were restaurant cards that can be used for their trip home. Applebees, I-Hop, Burger King, etc.  6 cards totaling $100. Finally it has come time to say good bye.  So many are pulling out and heading back north.  The park is empting out.  But……..The weather is bad up their.  They are all giving up 80 degree weather for snow and 30s.  They are also having an unusual winter.  More snow is forecast.  But away they go…………..

Since April was on the 1st, I pulled rank and said I would not be handling Easter this year.  My contract is technically done the end of March.  We needed a break.   They had to figure out who was going to cook hams for Easter.  They did succeed and around 60 people signed up.  We went to Padre with several friends.  It ended up being 9 of us. 20180401_132055.jpg

After dinner Theresa and Ron and us, went to the beach.  It was beautiful down by the beach.  The water was chilly, as it was only around 74, but it is warming up every day.20180401_202842.jpg

I went wading in the waves on the beach.  It was a little cold, but you grew accustomed to it.  Their were so many families enjoying the weather and the water.

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Kids making sand castles, and kids playing ball in the water.  It was a perfect relaxing way to spend Easter.  Finally time to do a little shopping, and then DQ, and head home.  So nice that this whole atmosphere is only 45 minutes away.   Anytime we desire, we can just hop in the car and drive to the beach.  Everyday can be a Vacation…..Retirement is Grand….20180401_210229.jpg

Next week is going to be an Exciting Week.  We are doing something that we have never done before.   Its another 1st……….Another bucket list check off…..Stay Tuned for the next Blog……

Catching Up on This Seasons Events

The Winter Season is now over as of April 1st.  What a fast year.  This blog will contain some of the activities we did in Feb and March.  Time for catch up.  We took a wonderful trip from South Padre Island by boat down to the Port of Brownsville.

1553_1518750428081.jpeg I was surprised at the amount of people.  We had over 40 people sign up and we all carpooled to the Island.  It was a Beautiful day.  We were in for a 4 hour ride with all the free beer you could drink.  I sure don’t know why they never ran out.  A few of our guys, (not mentioning any names)….lol…drank their share and many many more.  In fact coolers went home fuller than they were before.  The weather was perfect.  When we went down into the port, we entered the Shrimp Basin where many shrimp boats were docked.  20180215_141650.jpgThese shrimp boats were dry docked for repairs.  Down farther we entered the actual Port of Brownsville that is protected by Home Land Security.  These are the ship yards were ships are dismantled and sold for scrap.  It takes up to 2 years to scrap a ship.

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This is what remains of the USS Constitution.  So sad to see these great ships that served and protected our country, being torn apart.  Also the USS Forrester is still their.  This is a very large Port containing 4 different Scrap Companys.  20180215_132120.jpg

We finally turned around and headed back.  It was a gorgeous day to be out on the water.  This was the upper deck of the boat.  It held around 100 people.  Most of the people were our Eastgate folks, but they also had some others on board.

Our friend Glen also had his Birthday.  Now he is just a spoiled little boy at heart.  He kept waiting for a birthday cake every day, starting the 1st of they month.  He would post on FB….”NO CAKE TODAY”.….Kathy was going to have a small surprise party for him, but surprises never seem to work out.  Last year our good friends Cathy and Bud were here from Canada.  20170219_175548.jpg

We had bought this pretty confetti cake.  We were at my camper just around the corner from Glen and Kathy, trying to light the candles and surprise him.  Cathy turned around and the cake flew off the board....OMG....We laughed till our sides hurt.  Finally we scrapped it up, put it back on the board and delivered it to Glen singing Happy Birthday.

20170219_181233.jpg Oh what a riot it was.  Everyone just cracked up laughing.  He had plenty other cakes but everyone even ate that one.  No one cared.  Well this year, Cathy and Bud couldn’t make it, so Cathy wanted me to get a cupcake, smash it upside down and give it to him…..20180217_172427.jpg

So here it is.  I put a sparkler in it and some ribbons.  We all had a good laugh, but sure missed Cathy and Bud.  Its something how people come for a season and you all become fast friends.  Cathy and Bud was one of those.  Somebody who was such fun and such good friends.

The Rotary Club of Harlingen has adopted us this year.  They bought the Veterans in our park breakfast last year and this year for Veterans Day.  They want to give back and show appreciation for all the Winter Texans do in the Community.  The have also started a flag program.  On the appropriate holidays of the year, flags will be placed in front of the park for the day.  Each flag is a donation of $50 for the year.  It will be assigned to a certain Veteran to Commemorate their service.  When Landon, the president of the Rotary explained the program, we had the service men start to challenge each other to purchase a flag.  By the time we were done, we had 20 flags purchase (even 1 Canadian Flag) to fly the first time on Flag Day.  20180219_103804.jpg

The local paper came and wrote an article for their paper and took pictures.  This is Landon and his 2 girls, who each sang a solo for our Veterans.  Also a few of our VeteransIt was a proud day.  Seeing those flags fly and hear the breeze blow was so inspiring.  20180219_082818.jpg

Next we had our first Luau.  One of the lady’s went to a Luau at another park and wanted to have one.  We set the date and away she went with planning.

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By the time she was done.  Her and her committee put on a fabulous Luau.  We had a regular sit down dinner serving pork or chicken cooked with authentic Hawaiian recipes.  At the beginning a Pigs Head was placed on a cart and pushed around the room.  Steve was dressed in a Hula skirt, while the Emcee and him exchanged a dialog about the pigs head.20180304_172816.jpg

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They called him …”HENRY”……He was surrounded in flowers with an apple in his mouth.  It was a riot.  People were roaring in laughter.  We also found some authentic Hula Girls over in McAllen.  20180304_181628.jpg

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They were just awesome.   They had several changes of costume.  The performance lasted around 45 minutes.  Then they had some men come up.  …….So so Funny……

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The men good naturedly, took their place on stage and was dressed in coconut shells and hula skirts.  They were a riot.  They were taught a dance and had to perform it.  It was a fabulous evening.  It was well planned, the Committee did a Wonderful Job…..

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We also went to Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.  It is a wonderful zoo that has their animals all in natural settings.  We got the VIP Behind the Scenes Tour.  We were taken in some of the back areas to see how the animals are feed and taken care of.  We walked the first half of the zoo and passed by many animals.  We seen so many different monkeys, birds, rhinoceros, etc.

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We were taken into the Galapagos Turtle area.  They love celery like we like candy.  Everyone got to feed them.  20180308_111931.jpg

This guy is around 50 years old.  He is huge and weighs a lot.  We were told to watch our toes, cause if they stepped on our toes it would hurt….lol….We then went inside a building to where the Kangaroos were.  20180308_104843.jpg

We were take down in small groups to where there inside house was.  They like to eat certain tree branches and bushes.  She told us how far they can jump.  If they had a larger area, they could run and jump up easily to where I was taking this picture.  She also said to move slowly, no sudden moves, as they can really punch and kick.  You could be injured.  20180308_110448.jpg

As we left they all lined up.  Now it almost looked scary as if they were plotting a massacre.  Finally after more walking we boarded the train.

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We were able to ride to the Giraffes.  This was a cool little train that went through the park passing so many animals.  Tigers, Lions, Camels, Gazelles, Zebras, Elephants, etc.

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Finally we made it to the giraffes.  They also ate the leaves on branches.  They would bend their head down to us to take the branch.  They finished the tour by giving us a nice lunch.  They brought in a Parrot and a little turtle to touch and hold after we ate.  It was really a great tour.  So this is just a few more things we did with more to come.  Ill finish with a cute picture…….Remember our “Beautiful Pot Hole Tree”?   On Valentines Day a Beautiful Heart showed up in the Pot Hole…..

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Such a Beautiful Remembrance……lol..   It too, did not last…..Someone took it away…..

 

Busy January at Eastgate….

January has been a very busy month.  It has been also a very cold month.  Usually we only have a few cold days that reach maybe in the 40s but mostly 50s, 60s, and 70,s.  This year it has been very cold.  Several times it reached into the low 30,s for several days.  We’ve lost many of our flowers.  We had a good frost that killed many.  They say its been the worst in many years.20180211_054906.jpg

We did a tour to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen.  We have done this before, but I feel it is such an important part of Harlingen to share every year.  This is a private academy that can house up to 200 students. The cost is $20,000 a semester.  An average student will spend only 2 years here because of the cost for the parents.  Those who attend all the grades will almost be guaranteed entrance to a top college in the nation.  The curriculum is military style with a focus on academics.  Sports are also offered but no vocational courses.

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Marching to the Cafeteria

They have a very strict daily plan for the students.  They have a daily dress code and march in units.   They live in barracks and have a counselor family also living in each housing unit to watch over them and take care of their needs.  It is a very impressive place.  We boarded their bus, toured the grounds including the gymnasium, weight room,  library, rec center,  auditorium and and finally the cafeteria.  We ate, watched the kids march in formation and then they bussed us back to the Iwo Jima Museum parking lot.  It is the home of the Original Iwo Jima Memorial.  20180122_125212.jpg

It is the cast that made the Iwo Jima Memorial that sits in Washington DC. at Arlington Cemetery.  It is such an honor that it was installed in Harlingen.  It is across the street from the Academy and the back drop for the Academy’s Dress Parades.  They also have a wonderful Museum on the grounds.  It is also the burial site of Corporal Harlon Block, who was one of the flag raisers who’s picture was captured that fateful day.  He was killed in action several days later.  He was from Weslaco which is only about 10 miles from Harlingen.

Our next event was going to the Border Patrol for a Informational Presentation.   The Canadians had to have papers filled out 2 weeks prior to the date.  They said they use to take people back to the housing areas, but not any more.   We were taken to a large room where they hold their meetings etc.  20180125_111638.jpg

At the front of the room were 4 empty chairs.  They were in Memorial to 4 of the Officers from Harlingen that have been killed.  Their name is engraved and also notice the tree on the side holding a pair of empty boots, a gun holster and a hat.  Very moving.

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They held a slide show and gave us so much factional information.  The hot spot of the Rio Grande Valley is in McAllen.  The amount of family’s, men, women and children that have crossed over is astounding.   They are coming to the Park on March 4 to give their talk again.  Their was so much info and facts.  So many people had wanted to come, and the limit was 30, so I decided to have them come and give the same presentation.   Hopefully I can retain some of the facts to pass on.  It was interesting though, the highest quarter for illegal’s was the quarter just before Trumps election.  They thought they wouldn’t get over after he was in office.

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Entrance to Hotel….Concrete tree stumps.  Schlitterbahn has a very rustic appereance.

Next we had the Winterfest Concert in South Padre Island at Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park.  I sold tickets for this event which qualified Rich and I free entrance.  They also had a 3 day special for a Dinner Show the nite before, Winterfest, and then a Matinee Dinner performance the following day.  All in all, 3 nites at the hotel.  Many went, but Rich and I chose to spend the just 1 nite.  The Dinner Show that nite was “Mirage, Visions of Fleetwood Mac”.  They were based out of L.A.  They were very good.  The next day was the Winterfest.  Live music on stage started at 10 am and continued till 5 pm.  We were also given a Shrimp or Fish Basket from the Shrimp Haus.

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We seen some great performances.  Many people from all over the Valley came to enjoy the entertainment.20180131_103735.jpg

Here is some of our Eastgate group.   I can see about 12 here….It was hard to get everyone.  We were so scattered around.  Total I believe , just from our park was about 24 people.  As we were watching the musical groups, we seen a zip line out of the corner of our eyes.  We walked over and the line was getting longer.  Only $5….Wow….Sure I’ll go.  Many of the people from our park were in line.  I found a partner, Laura from our park.  Rich came over also and went with Gaylon.  It is a zip line that 2 of you sit in 2 seats and are strapped in.  It is called the Soaring Eagle…Soaring-Eagle-Zip-Line-Mooresville-Indiana-6-of-7-1024x683

No place for your feet, just hanging freely.  So the only thing keeping you in is the seat belt.  As I was in line, our friend Ron asked me if I wanted to use his Go Pro camera…..Wow…Sure…He had a short tripod that wraps around your hand.  So finally my turn.  I was excited but also a little scared.  After you are strapped in, it is pulled backwards quite a ways up to the top of a pole.  You stop for about maybe 5 seconds and then start your descent going 30 miles an hour till you get to the end.  Then the brakes are applied and you stop abruptly.  I describe it as a jet landing on an air craft carrier and it is stopped by the hook.  So finally my turn.  Now I didn’t realize that with the camera on my right hand, I also got into the right side.  I now had no place to hang on to.  I also didn’t realize, my seatbelt was not tight.  Their was a lot of play.  Finally we started going backwards up the line…..zip line 2

We were almost to the top and I was feeling like I was going to fall out…All most at the top, it jerked you about 3 or 4 times.  Each time I thought I was falling. ….. OMG…..But the View from the Top was…..ASTONISHING BEAUTIFUL…The island looked so small.   What a View.  I still had the Go Pro wrapped around my right hand with nothing to hold on to.  I tried panning it around to get it on video.  Then all of a sudden we were falling….faster and faster towards the ground.  We came closer and closer and then I could see the end of the line….The platform where we loaded and at the end of the line????  The I-Beam holding up the zip line.  If it did not stop….It would be a DIRECT HIT to the I-Beam….In those last seconds, all my thoughts were, when the brakes went on, I would fly forward and slip out of the seat belt….So at the last minute…The hand with the camera came down and grabbed the seat…..And we stopped really very easy…..lol..lol…OMG….It was a crazy ride.   Many of you have probably seen the Video, It is on FB on my Time Line….So I got out and Rich was next….Him and Gaylon climbed on board and took the ride.  Now he really enjoyed it and wasn’t scared.  He also made them strap him in tight….So Would I do it Again???    Yes I sure would…..It was AWESOME...Now I will show you my Awful picture…..

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….In the corner, you can see the overlay of us at the end near the top of the pole…

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The next day I had to get up early.  We had a SegWay Tour back down at Port Isabel.   We ended up with 2 groups because we had 10 people.  We held one at 10 am and then another at 1 pm.  It was an absolutely Beautiful day.20180201_120705.jpg

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The temperature was in the low 80’s and hardly any wind, and the water and sky was beautiful shades of blue.  2 more weeks and we will be doing SegWay on the Beach at Padre……20180204_175349.jpg

Next affair was the Super Bowl PartyRich and I are in charge of that.  I have a budget to go by.  Rich cooked around 50 lbs. of pork and pulled it.

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We had smokies, shrimp, nachos and cheese, veggies and dip, sausage cheese and crackers and a Keg of beer.  I decorated with balloons from the ceiling in team colors, and made megaphones from construction paper for center pieces.  Everyone also brought a snack to share ….

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I had collected 27 door prizes to give away including 2 Director Chairs from the park owner.   They all had a great time…..Most of the beer was gone, and food too…..Everyone was happy.20180209_120500.jpg

Our last event we just had was our Ladies Luncheon with our 2nd Annual Style Show.  Everyone brought a dish for the food table.  Their was so many wonderful homemade dishes.20180209_124311.jpg

The desserts were out of this world.  Everyone filled their plates, and when we were done we still had so much food.  Finally the Style Show portion.  Last year we chose 3 stores that were in different towns.  They were rather elite stores that are a little pricy.  This year, they choose local stores that were more practical in style and price.

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The first one was Cato’s.  They had some really nice items for everyday.  The ladies had so much fun doing this….20180209_133346.jpg

The next store is Quelles Boutique down town Harlingen.  The modeled many items that were so inexpensive and yet so unique.  Its really a great store that I need to go and check out.  She carries new as well as gently used.  It sounds very interesting to see.  So that has been my month….So so busy…..soon it will be almost over……April 1 is officially the end of the season when everyone is going or has gone back north….

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A Beautiful Day in Port Isabel looking over the Bay to South Padre Island