Winters Almost Over…….Couple More Weeks and Time to Pack Up….

Can’t believe that winter is almost over. Its almost April 1. That means we’ve been away from the family for over 4 months.  Its gone by so fast.  We have done so much down here.  Never hardly a dull moment.  We have so many stories to tell.  lol.  Many stories that we can NOT tell on this blog.  hahaha….yes….all the gossip of the campground.   We’ve been like one big family.  Many many good times.   And of course the little family bickering.  lol.  But everyone is departing Friends.  The beauty is that the ones, who are don’t fit in as well, will move on to a different park, next year.   The happy family members will come back next fall and all the newbies will come, and it will start over again.  lol.  We will be back next year as Workampers.

This experience has been tremendously a wonderful one.  I was talking with Rich the other day, and we both realized that it is almost impossible to explain what retirement has been like down here.  It is another totally different way of life.  So different than the everyday hustle and bustle of the working slob.   lol.  Sorry about that description.  But that was how I use to feel, and I’m sure many people still feel that way.  You are a working slob devoted to putting all your money into supporting your house and car and everyday life.  Let me tell you, There is Wonderful Better Life in Retirement.  We have had an Awesome Wonderful Winter down here in Southern Texas.  It is the vacation that is never ending.  If you think you can’t ever afford it, you can.  Living is cheap down here, and anyone should be able to figure out how to make it work financially.  Don’t ever say never.wp-15856990289946851281321208655763.jpg

We have been living at A10 on Albatross Lane.  lol.  But soon we will pack all this up and leave.  We have added a sun screen while we were here.  If you notice we have a maroon colored one and the top is a dark brown.  lol.  Well, I ordered it to short.  The top piece is inserted into the roller bar and stays. Then the bottom is zipped on.   I assumed the top piece was going to be a 2 foot section….NOT….I ordered a 6 foot awning to zip into it.  Well the zipper piece was about 4 inches long.  THEN I reread the ordering directions.  Didn’t want to send back to California, so we went to the local flea market.  Don-Wes, and ordered the 2 foot section.  No Maroon so we went with the dark brown.  Now the zipper part stays on and you just zip off the bottom and roll the top part away with the awning …so easy…Now of course we have our colorful blue mat from before, and just look at those window shades….lol…What an eyesore….I call them ….Baby Shit…..Rich found out something really cool to do.  Look at the door and side window shades….They are gray matching the coach.   Well did you know you can spray paint them?….haha…Yes.   Lay them down on the ground and spray them…..So 3 or 4 cans more of Rustoleum Gray and we will have matching front window shades……. a savings of over $300.

Spring has sprung.  All the trees and flowers are starting to bloom.  I took a tour on my bicycle the other day taking pictures.  This is Bougainvillea.  Up north it is grown just as a house plant and very sensitive.  Down here it is everywhere.  It grows wildly and is so beautiful right now.  It seems like everyone has at least one bush in their yard.  Its just full of clusters and clusters of flowers.

Now this is called an Orchid Tree……It just full of beautiful lavender blooms….

This is the neighbors Banana Tree.  The Bloom on the bottom and the clump of bananas haven’t seem to change in 4 months….lol..

This bush, I have know idea what it is…It is really a cool bush.  The flowers are the daintiest little trumpet shape.  Their about an inch long.  The foliage also is narrow and long….Their is several in the park and one at Dairy Queen.

This is called a Bottle Brush Tree….The blooms are so beautiful.  I think we might have them back home.  It is a pretty tall tree but I hear it is bad for allergy’s.wp-15856993368256834721759474762254.jpg

The close of if this one is amazing..  It is so delicate.  If you brush against it the little petals cling to your clothes.

This was a bush that someone had in their yard.  So many beautiful flowers and plants.  It has been raining so much, the grass and plants are so green.  The roads in the park were refinished several years ago, but unfortunately, they weren’t constructed with drainage in mind.  When it rains the rain just sits in big pools on the surface.  Now they are developing pot holes all over and breaking up.  This mass exodus of the Winter Texans and the big motor homes are sure not helping.   The owner from Arizona will be coming later this month or next.  I’m sure he will be checking it out and making some decisions on repairs.   The weather is changing down here in the winter and not for the better.  Everyone says the last 3 years have been getting worse.  So weather times are changing.  Even up north.  More and more snow and cold weather……………….

Two more of our Illinois friends leaving this morning.  Many more are leaving this weekend and slowly heading north…..So many empty pads now…..

So what can we expect next winter…………….Stay Tuned…………..



End of Winter Texan Season….Time to Say Goodbyes….

If you have never been to Rio Grande Valley in the winter, you have no idea, what the Winter Texans mean to this area.  The Winter Texans are an industry to Texas.  Every winter over 100,000 northerners come down to the valley to escape the winters up north.  A large percentage come from Canada.  They bring in over $7,000,000. to the economy.  Everything revolves around the Winter Texans.   They hold many festivals, here and in the Mexican border towns, to welcome everyone.  Their is a Winter Texan newspaper that is published from late Oct to April 1, mainly for the soul purpose of advertising all RV Parks and activities, including entertainment schedules and bands.  Quite an industry.  Harlingen is one of the cheapest cities to live in the U.S.  That is so true.  If you want to get internet service, all you have to pay through Time Warner is $15 a month.  You can of course add cable TV also and still have a cheap pkg.  They don’t require contracts.  They cater to the Winter Texans.   Now that is unheard of up north.   Everything needs a contract, or deposit.  Its no wonder so many people retire to the RGV.

Now it is the end of the season and its time to say “Good Bye”.   Our good friends and neighbors, Cici and Larry left last Sunday morning early.  They packed up the 5th wheel and headed to Arkansas to visit their son and family…..Their daughter in law was expecting their 4th grand child and they made it in time to witness their New Little Miracle….A NEW LITTLE GRANDAUGHTER…..Congrats to all…..wp-15856946206271643504036387249921.jpg

They packed up and hooked up the night before as they wanted to get an early start in the morning.  So we went to eat at one of our favorites steak houses…..The Longhorn Cattle Company…..Its in San Benito, Texas.  The home of Freddy Fender.   It’s really only about  20 minutes from us. Its really neat inside.wp-15856946680545147750188794227210.jpg

As we were sitting their admiring the décor.  We were showing Larry how the windows were really garage doors that open to let the fresh air in, we noticed this guy who really looked like Colonel Sanders sitting their….lol…Cici and I started to chuckle.  Now its rather hard to tell, but his pure white mustache was so long, we wondered how he was eating his chicken without getting his hair caught in every bite of the chicken….lol….but he just kept eating away, and with every bite his mustache kept bobbing up and down….lol…It was a fun time, but sad cause this was our last evening together….wp-15856947050745773384558111861039.jpg

Larry is such a card.  Such an entertainer at times.   He always makes you laugh.  We have done so many things with them.  But Larry always had to drive ….lol…We only have a little Ford Ranger….We went to McAllen to the Festival of Lights Parade at Christmas…..We’ve, been to Padre Island many times.   Cici and I have done lots of things together, here in the Park as well as shopping.  We are so missing you guys already.wp-15856947307303985593257599548823.jpg

Roberta, our permanent resident neighbor, came over to say goodbye to Cici , Larry, and Jill, their dog.   She is an animal lover.  Our wonderful neighbor, who is eager to babysit pets….She loves all nature.  We now have 3 empty pads next to us.  In the next 2 weeks, many, many more will be leaving.  By mid April most of them will be gone home.  Their are about 100 people who do stay here year around.  We are considered one of the smaller parks.  At our peak, we could have close to 600 residents living here….It is amazing actually how many parks are here in the Valley….They are everywhere….I will have to do a blog on that subject.  Its a whole different world down here in the bottom corner of Texas…..

Weather is starting to get warmer….70s and low 80s are now normal, but still so much rain.   Our streets don’t have the drainage we have back home, so the water pools on the streets in the park.  This is the season that  all the plants and bushes are flowering .  The orange and grapefruit trees will be producing fruit again.  Everything smells so wonderful.

But when the fruit is ready to pick…..WE WILL BE GONE TOO…….

Happy Birthday Tina, Today is Your Special Day…….


Our middle child, Tina was born 35 years ago.  Time has sure flown by.  So hard to believe it has been that long.  Tina was born in the early morning hours of Saturday March 8th 1980.  She weighed in at only 7 lbs.  She was born in Spring Valley, Illinois at St. Margaret’s Hospital.  Our doctor was Dr. Wm. Farley of Peru.  He was a really good doctor who had  a Mid Wife, Mary Bradish on staff.  At the time this was entirely a very new concept.  He paved the way for the Illinois Valley to modernize their birthing techniques.  Mary was our Mid Wife for Tammy and for Tina also….and Scott, 2 years later.  She is an Awesome person.  It was a very easy birth, as all of mine were.  Tammy was so excited to have a new baby sister.  Tammy was almost 2 at the time, so she was a big help.  She could go get the diapers and anything I needed.  But as always, little ones think they can do everything, like change the diaper too.

I was working still at Toluca Garment Co in Toluca.  I had been their since I was 16 in high school.  I realized that I would never make it on time with 2 kids…lol…I was always late the way it was…., and also my paycheck would all go to babysitting.  Rich and I decided that I should not go back.  So it was nice to stay at home, but money was really tight.   and I mean REALLY TIGHT…..But we always manage don’t we.  We lived in a little 2 bedroom house that had been remodeled when we moved in 2 years before.  It was cute, but heated with a space oil burner….grrrrrrrrr….But we all survived.

Tina was a cutie….Our landlord and his wife lived next door.  They loved kids as they never had any.  They took the girls to their heart and took them everywhere.  Buck and Gertie were an Awesome couple.  They loved boating and would take them boating and shopping.  Many people use to ask if they were twins….lol…I use to dress them similar sometimes.  Several years later we moved across town to our new house.  That is where Tina started preschool.  She went to Lads and Lassies in Granville at a church and then entered Kindergarten the following year at the Swaney Junior High.


It was a country school just 2 miles outside of town.  It was the home of the Junior High for Putnam Co, and the Kindergarten.  It was nice for the fact, the older kids would come and be helpers for the Kindergarten Teachers.  The following year, she entered the First Grade in Granville.  She attended 1st – 4th in Granville, then 5th Grade was in Hennepin, then back to Swaney in McNabb for 6-8, graduating in 1995.

She entered Putnam Co. High in fall of 1995, graduating in 1999.  All through school, Tina has always been very athletic.  She played T ball and then on to softball.  She played in the summer on the town leagues, as well as school leagues.

She loved PE in school and also played Volley Ball.  One summer, she even went on a bike ride for a week in southern Illinois…..It was a Church sponsored activity, where they traveled several hundred miles by the end of the week on their bicycles.  Every nite they had a destined place to be.  Usually a church that had meals and showers and places for the kids to sleep.  She had a Great time.  Tina also detasseled corn.  We had our own seed company in town.  They would hire kids at age 10.  Tammy was already working and Tina, when she was 9, went and begged them to let her go.   And they did….She was a very determined and stubborn girl.  She learned the LOVE of MONEY at a young age.  She detasseled every year after, till she got a real job.  All the kids also had paper routes, delivering a 6 day a week paper after school.   For awhile we had all the papers in town…lol…only like 100…but the girls both had the 2 routes.  Now when Tammy was in the hospital, with an emergency surgery, Tina did both routes herself for several days.  She was a determined girl, that always came through…

After Graduation, Tina enjoyed the freedom of a single person…….She attended Beauty School and enjoyed life….I will say no more on that subject…lol…..Finally she came back home for awhile and started seeing Ed Dolder.  Now funny thing is, Ed use to live down the street from us.  He was our paper boy.  He graduated a year before Tina.   One day she told me ………..She was Pregnant…… Wow……I was in shock…..Tina, Settle Down!!!!……But We were Happy!!!!……Little Miley was born and then 2 years later Austin came along….

Tina and Ed are raising a Beautiful Family.  Their life has so changed.  They are wonderful parents.  Tina has attended ISU in Bloomington and has done a semester at St. Francis Nursing School in Peoria.

She also achieved her CNA as well as an Associates Degree from IVCC. in Oglesby.  She is now employed at the Putnam County Court House as the Assistant Probation Officer.  She ran for Granville Town board position last year and won.   Tina, your leading such a busy life, but so fulfilling.   We are so proud of you and all your accomplishments.



Also, as of Jan, they have a new family member…..Dexter Dolder….lol…He was born last Dec. around Austin’s birthday.  He is a Golden Doodle….


And Now their are  3…….

We love you Tina, This has always been a Favorite of mine…….


Progresso Mexico,….A Day After A Shooting…Double Murder on the Side Street

Rich and I planned to go to go over to Progresso Mexico on Sunday to refill his Meds.   Some really great deals on them if you don’t mind buying their brand.  They have the Mexican name and then also the American name on the bottles.  You can save a whole lot of money and get most of your regulars meds with out prescriptions.  We were going to go on Saturday but plans were changed and we went Sunday.  Sunday morning we heard their had been a shooting and murder the day before.  Rich had coffee with our friend from McNabb, Bob  (Staying at Paradise Park) and he pulled the news article up.  Apparently the shooting happened just a block or 2 over from the International Bridge.  It went on for about a half hour and 2 people ended up dead.  The shooting occurred early, around 6 am.  No reports on if it was domestic or cartel related.  There is a lot of drug and cartel activity going on, but Progresso is viewed as a safe town to cross.  Matamoros Mexico is just across from Brownsville, and the US Consulate recommends that US citizens do not cross their.  It is to dangerous. We decided to go anyway.  It wasn’t the greatest weather, rather cloudy almost damp but not quite drizzly.  We needed jackets as it was a little chilly.  We made the half hour drive to the border and parked in the parking lot by the bridge.  They charge $2 to park your car in the lot.  From their you walk over the bridge.  It is 50 cents to walk over and 30 cents to come back.  On the berm of the Rio Grande River was a Border Patrol SUV.  Other than that we did not see any extra guards or policemen patrolling.  We really felt safe.  If we had not heard the reports of the shooting, we would have never known.  So we crossed over under the covered walk way to do our shopping.

As you see, according to the sign, Mexicans really do appreciate and depend on the Winter Texans.  Most of their sales are at this time of the year.  They even host Winter Texan Festivals.   When we got on the bridge, we looked out over the river.  No one was on the US side, but on the Mexican side, you could see a few people walking the river edge.  Their was also several campfires going.  The closer we got, you can look through the cracks on the side rails and see people sitting, standing, or just camped out asking for a nickel or dime.  The would have their little kids or babies with them in strollers.  The closer you got the hats would be held through the cracks for us to through in change.

The shopping begins as soon as you cross the bridge.  It seems people only go about 3 blocks in and stay on the main street.  I don’t think it is wise to venture down the side streets.

The sidewalks are lined with vendors and many Pharmacias and dentists on every block.  We walked down to the Pharmacia that Cheryl, our friend from Illinois, had taken us to in Dec.  We made our purchases, and then shopped all the way back.  I bought 2 little plastic mesh shopping bags for 50 cents each….lol…cheap enough…..I needed one more to put my wood carving stuff in.   Then we went in another store to shop.  I noticed on the entry way stone floor, it was called a supper center.   I chuckled to my self,…..really……I of course was visualizing “Walmart”….lol…..We went in and started wandering, and ….wow… really was sort of a SUPER CENTER…..It was really several store fronts and went really deep into the back. It also had an upstairs that we never went to.  Their was the Pharmacy dept., the candy, soap, household items dept.

Then if you looked up, the ceiling was lined with HUGE PINATAS…..

I think that we will be buying a large one to take home……This summer we will have a big Birthday Party for all the Grandkids…..They all love Pinatas….

In the back, you could purchase a saddle for your horse and deck yourself out with a huge colorful Sombrero.  They had so many Mexican blankets of different quality.  Ponchos, dresses and blouses.

Now if you were in the market for a beautiful Mexican fiesta dress, they had so many to chose from.

Another interesting section was all the hammered silver section.   You could buy so many different plates and accessories, but the Harley emblems were very impressive….

Walking by the children’s games, I seen the Mexican version of Bingo ….and Chutes and Ladders….It read “Serpientes and Escaleras …..Now upon Goggling it, I found out it is called Snakes and Ladders.  Really don’t know if it is a child’s or adult board game.  But interesting.wp-15856930275648193588259538144167.jpg

Walking back up front was a restaurant bar.  They had an entertainer singing and playing keyboard and guitar…..wp-15856930950982632301022738132661.jpg

Then we started looking at the ceramic pots and figurines.   Most were all the traditional ones you would see and then we seen a really awesome one…..This huge vase was fabulous, it was 3 dimensional on the outside.

Then we seen the really cool skeleton on a tricycle and the lady skeleton in her evening dress….lol…

Beside the Skeleton on the trike was this beautiful big black Dog.   Looking up in the air was many eagles flying over head……lol….They were really fascinating to see, and very expensive.   I don’t remember the prices but were out of my range.   Finally we were done….Crossed over the other side and walked back to the Bridge.   Payed our 30 cents to cross over, and then had to go into the building to line up.   Their is guards their that check your passports and ask what you have bought.  After that you proceed to another small building on the way to declare the alcohol you have bought.  That is another thing for sale, many different kinds of Tequila and alcohol.  Many people go over just to purchase it.  But you have to pay tax on it on the US side, and their is also a limit.  So I really don’t know if it is any cheaper buying it in Mexico.

We returned back to the truck and headed back home.  Stopped at a newly remodeled restaurant in Harlingen that Rich had heard being advertised on the radio.   They served Mex and Amer.  food.  It was as usual very colorful.  The outside was painted in reds, pinks greens and blues….lol…as well as the inside.  That’s what I like about down in the south west, the colors are beautiful…..Up north, everything is beige and neutral….No life….just dull….lol……Well guess what I ordered,….After I looked at the menu, and all the things that I don’t understand and all look alike anyway when they are served, ……….I ordered a cheeseburger and fries……….and It was so SO GOOD….I would go back again….So back home we went.   Rich sat down and started getting all his little pills organized for next week.  He has to split some of them, and then we sat down for TV Time…..

TV Time is getting better Again………WED …...SURVIVER…. is back……….FRI…..AMAZING RACE…..