Trip to New Braunfels to See Scott and Brandy

Several weeks ago, we took a trip up to New Braunfels Tx. Its about 4 hours north. Scott has a time share and had to use his points up or loose them. He decided to book a 3 bedroom unit in New Braunfels in hopes some of the family could get together. We have a niece and her family living their. He had hopes that us and maybe some of Mistys family could all get together. But unfortunately nobody could come but us. School was back in session and everyone was back to work. Scott and Brandy close the bar after the first of the year for 2 weeks so that was the only time to book it. So we went on up and met them and had a very nice time.

e2b7dc15-b9a3-4526-bdc6-37ee3c9d1c73.1

The condo was actually in Gruene right along the Guadalupe River. It is a beautiful river that is actually 230 miles long emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The lower part of the river empties out of the Canyon Dam north of New Braunfels.

08

It is full of rapids and some fast moving water at points. It wraps around a very forested area with winding roads and some cabins, fishing areas and restaurants. It is a prime area for fly fishing, kayaking, and tubing. It is just gorgeous. Along the river is Gruene, which is a very cool little touristy area. It is full of antique shops, restaurants, and cafes, and little gift shops.

exterior

This is a beautiful Mansion made into a Bed and Breakfast. Also standing high above the river was the Gruene Town Hall.

gruene-hall_01a

Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage.

297938758_cb53e19844_b

The interior if very rustic and old and so unique. It is still used for name band entertainment. If you look up on Wikipedia, or their website you will find many many famous singers and entertainers who have played their through the years.

20190107_115545

So we met Scott and Brandy at the Condo and checked. It was a beautiful rustic cedar décor.

20190106_170110

The condo had a master bedroom down stairs with full bath and 2 bedrooms up. It also had a full size washer and dryer which is really convenient. A very nice large kitchen and dinning, living room combo.

20190107_112140

Very nicely decorated with tile and carpeted floors. So we all settled in and immediately made plans to head to San Antonio for the River Walk. Brandy found out it was the last nite of the lights. Misty, Mark, and the kids came by for a short time, and we decided to get together the next day. We have been to the River Walk before several times, but Scott and Brandy has not. We found a place to park and walked down to the River. It is so beautiful. The strings of lights were cascading down all the trees in beautiful colors. They are on just for the Christmas season.

20190106_170003

The walkways were still full of people. We walked a bit and ended up at Rainforest Café for Dinner. After that we went to look for the piano bar, “Howl With the Moon”. We finally found it and got in line to pay cover charge. Wow, who did I see!!!!!! A girl that had worked at Cinemark in Harlingen. Kay was checking IDs, and collecting cover charges. It was so good to see her. She moved up to the BIG CITY life. She took us and stamped our hands, …..NO COVER CHARGE…..”Thank You Kay”. The bar was so full, we went out to the patio.

20190105_213619

It was a little chilly so they had their big overhead heaters on. We could watch the Boat Tours floating by from the balcony.

20190106_165839

They had lights around the perimeter of the boats that just glowed in the water. So pretty. Finally we left the River Walk area. Up on the streets were the beautiful carriages that were for rent. One could take a romantic carriage ride and see the magical streets of San Antonio at nite.

20190105_211859

The horses were so pretty . Their manes were combed, and decorated along with headdresses. We headed home and off to bed. The next morning we had an uninvited guest. Rich and I had been in the kitchen walking around and didn’t notice this….lol..

20190107_094556

OMG. Brandy came down and seen the Scorpion in the middle of the kitchen floor. He wasn’t dead but almost. Rich must have stepped on his tail in his stocking feet. Yuck...Misty, Mark, and the kids came over, and we grilled outside. The next morning, it was time to leave. We had to be back at the park the next day. They were staying till Wed. then on to Pensacola to see Brandy’s mom and brother. They wanted to be home by Sunday....Really.…I seemed to me that was pushing it…..But when they drive, they don’t stop…..Their young, they can do that…..So in their 10 day vacation, they partied in Austin Tx, New Braunfels, New Orleans, Pensacola, and then a friends in Tennessee on the way home. To much traveling for me at a fast pace. Before we left New Braunfels, Rich had found an In-N-Out Burger. Now we have never been to one but Ron and Theresa love them. It has been an ongoing joke about them. So we decided to stop and get them each a sandwich and high tail it 4 hours back home. The menu was rather simple.

20190107_125921

20190107_123425

The decorating was rather cute and different, with red Palm Trees. On the way out their was a sign in the windows. They were hiring ….

20190107_125944

Wow, look at the pay……$12 an hour…..Now that’s pretty good….I posted on FB, “Look at the pay, …Think well head north and get new jobs…..I can take orders and Rich can flip burgers”.....It was a joke folks….lol...Do you know how many people believed me!!!…The next week, I had people coming in asking me….Its not true is it? Are you leaving....NO, IT WAS A JOKE….We pulled in and delivered our In-N-Out Burgers…..Ron and Theresa were so happy and Very Surprised. They loved them even cold.

20190107_175407

So Another Great Week and a Wonderful visit with Scott and Brandy. Thanks for the Condo, food and the good company…..It was really fun……See you in the summer.

20190107_115604

The Year 2018 is Over….On To 2019

The years are going by faster and faster.  We have just finished up our 4th year of retirement, and also our 4th year of Workamping at Eastgate in Harlingen.  It is a great place to work.  The park is full of wonderful friendly people.  I remember when we first started this, I felt like we were on vacation and it would soon be time to go home and back to work.  At some point I lost that feeling.  Now it is just a good feeling to know that type of working will never happen again.  What a great feeling knowing you NEVER, NEVER, have to put in 40 hours of work again.  Especially if your not happy with your job.  Now the job as Activity Director is lots of fun.  I am pretty much my own boss.  Its so nice to do something that people enjoy and appreciate what you are doing.  Rich also sets his own hours.   Some times he plays men’s pool in the mornings.  Now we are half way through our 5th season.  So the year of 2018 was another good year of firsts and fun times.31689298_1821420474546169_2787616117940551680_o

FB_IMG_1524102321415.jpg

After the season was finished last April, we did a Cruise.  That was an item on our bucket list.  We boarded in Galveston and did a 7 day cruise on Royal Caribbean.   Ron, our new manager is also a Tour Director on the side.  He found a great cruise for us all to go on.  We went, Ron and Theresa and 4 couples from their hometown in Nebraska.  We sailed to Roatan, Costa Maya and Cozumel.  The day before we were to arrive in Roatan, another Cruise ship rammed into the docks and destroyed it…..Bummer…..So we didn’t get to port their.  But all in all it was a great trip….We surely will do another one in the future.   We went back home in May and worked Summer Camp again.PRC6490-Edit_Photo-Credit-Keith-Griner_

20180526_194929.jpg

It is always fun to people watch and listen to the music.  We were Security Guards again for the 2nd year.  We still carry our Texas Security License Level 2.  That is always a wild and crazy week, but its also a fun way to see the Music fest and get paid for it also.

20180525_130359.jpg

20180805_142524.jpg

While we were home, we also celebrated 2 Graduations.  Cassidy graduated 8th grade and Carly graduated Kindergarten Carly had a really cute Graduation ceremony in Granville.  We celebrated with Tammy having a picnic.20180604_164512.jpg

20190124_203722.jpg

Dee Dee’s 1st Birthday

We also got to meet our new Grand Dog, Dee Dee.  She is a Goldendoodle.  She is smaller than Dexter was and a very different personality.  But that is a good thing.  She will develop as her own self.  She was a year this past fall and they had a First Birthday for her.  She even had her own cake……She is loved just as much as Dexter had been.

20180918_202923.jpg

Tina and Ed bought a new camper this year.  They all go to Wisconsin for family fishing trips with Ed’s Dad and family.  Now they are going camping more often.  Their having a lot of fun with it.FB_IMG_1548382150177.jpg

FB_IMG_1548382160142.jpg

Tammy has her own type  of camping.  She loves tent camping and ruffing it.  She found a small pull trailer and painted it red to match her Jeep.  She packs it all up with her tent and all her supplies, including blow up kayaks.

20190124_203707.jpg

Carly 7

20190124_203753.jpg

Austin 8

20190124_203806.jpg

Miley 10

FB_IMG_1548392141353.jpg

Cassidy 14

Carly turned 6 last January and just now turned 7, Cassidy was 14 in March, and Cameron was 20 in June.  In November, Miley turned 10 and Austin was 8.  They are all growing up fast.20190124_204922.jpg

  20190124_203737.jpg

20190124_203823.jpg

Carly, Austin and Miley all go to the same school system now.  Tina has Carly a lot because of Tammy, her mom’s work schedule at the hospital.  They all took some cute school pictures. Cameron is now working full time and learning about life and what it cost to live, and to buy the things you want…or need. Soon he will be 21…..Wow how the years have gone by. He was born the year I started at Advantage Logistics. IMG_4368

20180910_070310.jpg

FB_IMG_1536524212864.jpg

Class of 1968, Toluca High School, Toluca Illinois

Labor Day we had my 50 Class Reunion Can you imagine that?  We drove back and met in Toluca Illinois at Mona’s Italian Restaurant.   It is definitely a landmark to attend a 50th.  The majority of our classmates are still alive.  We have only lost 4.  It was good to see them all.  Some of them I hadn’t seen since we graduated in 1968,  The next day we took Carly and Cassidy to the Carnival in Toluca.  That is the traditional time that they Celebrate since I was a child.  So many memories of the carnivals and the parades through the years growing up.  The girls had fun on the rides, and of course theirs always the carny food. 20180903_152702.jpg

Rich stayed in McNabb at Scotts and Brandy’s and worked the Harvest season.  This year he work out of the elevator, hauling to the river and the Ethanol plant.   Scott started his own project last fall.  He had no outside buildings so he finally built a pole barn.

received_321865541732320.jpeg

It is a nice large shed to house his semi when necessary and all his toys.  Rich was able to help some while he was their.  He enjoyed watching it go up.  Scott put in hot water heat under the concrete floor. FB_IMG_1548386177512.jpg

It required tubes looped on the base of the floor so far apart.  They had to be tied off under and over to the grids.  The ends all ran to a center manifold where the water will be heated.  Rich helped Scott do this just before he left for Texas. FB_IMG_1548386181072.jpg

Scott was finally able to pour the concrete.  Our nephew from Chillicothe, Jonathan has a crew that does this.  So they all came up and did the pour.  Finally at Christmas it was dry enough to park on.  Well its a good thing, because the weather has turned bad.  He has parked almost everything in it that he could just so he wouldn’t have to clean the ice and snow off the windows…….not the tandem, no room for it….but all the rest of the toys.  Here is a before picture and an after picture…

726_1548385916006.jpeg

Before

FB_IMG_1548387125336.jpg

After

Something tells me he wish’s it was bigger.  Now Brandy can park in the house garage for the first time in 8 years.  

So Rich finally returned back down to Tx and our season started at the park.  Lots of planning began.  We had taken on the Entertainment this year.  We have a Show every Friday nite.  We went to 2 Showcases last January to pick out our performers.  Now it is checking with each one to make sure we are all on the same page.  Making sure we get all our posters for advertising in the park.  Also getting all our schedules for Entertainment, Dances, and Church Services sent in to all the papers.  It is more work than I thought, but we are having fun.  We asked Ron and Theresa to help, so Rich and Ron sell popcorn, soda, water, and Ice Cream bars.  We also added Dreamcycles.  Theresa and I sell tickets at the door.  So it has been a learning curve to accomplish all this in a timely manner and also count all the money and figure up their percent and pay them before they leave.  It is a good time seeing all the talent that comes down from Nashville, and Branson areas.  They do the Winter Texan, Rio Grande Circuit for 1 to 3 months putting on a show up to 5 and 6 times a week.

FB_IMG_1548390550378.jpg

This is one of the Performers we booked….“Lawless and Mae”….They were such an amazing couple.  So friendly and down to earth…Just regular folk.  Ohhhh how talented.  They are from Nashville and are also recording artists.  They stayed 2 nites, had breakfast at the hall Saturday morning and sang at the church services Sunday morning.  They were so nice and are really enjoying the Rio Grande Valley.  Many of these performers leave the north because of the winter.  Branson pretty much shuts down.  They all go to Florida, Arizona or Texas. 

2018 is now over and we are pushing forward in 2019.

…….Another good Year……

I’ve Been Slackin………lol

I’ve been away from this blog WAY, Way way …to long…..So What’s Happening here at Eastgate Rv & Mh  Park.    Our Winter Texan season began officially November 1.  It is also the beginning of our 5th season here at the park.  Wow, how time has flown.  Just imagine…..5 years since we left the regular work life of 9 to 5 and retired.  We left Illinois and arrived here our first season on Dec 1 2014.  I worked in the office and Rich in maintenance.  I now have been Event Coordinator….fancy name for Activity Director, …..lol…. since the winter season of November 2015….This is a busy but fun job.  I plan all the outside activities as well as keep the activities with in the park on a schedule.  Our first Holiday was Veterans Day.  We offer all the Vets free breakfasts.  Then we have a short program, and our 2 little girls that have been coming for 3 years, sing for us.  Launa 6, and Pearl 4, sing solos, and handed out a copy of a Veterans Poem.  This year they brought cupcakes for the Veterans.  They are so precious.  They usually sing God Bless America and Our National Anthem.received_2217440528532628-1.jpeg

received_1934840826553454-1.jpeg

We also have had Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, serving around 120 people.  The Wednesday before Christmas we hold a Golf Cart Christmas Parade.  Golf Carts are decorated up with lights and decorations.  Santa was on a float this year.  They parade around the park and even threw out candy.  They end up back at the hall and we have free ice cream and sit with Santa if the so desire….lol….A great evening of fun.20181219_183818.jpg

20181219_183619.jpg

Also during the Christmas season, we enjoyed the Sam Houston Elementary School Choir.  Around 50 kids came and sang Christmas Carols.  Now it wouldn’t be Christmas with out Santa showing up.   The kids were really surprised.  Santa gave each one a bag with 2 cookies, 2 pencils, 2 erasers, and a chocolate as they filed back out to the bus.  Its so nice to see kids in the park….(sometimes….lol…).20181213_102428.jpg

But what Rich and I will have fun with this year is Entertainment.  We volunteered last year to take on Friday Night Entertainment.  We went to the 2 Showcases and picked out our Entertainers for this year.  We have to sign them to a contract for the date, time, ticket price, and Percent.  Our shows began the first Friday of December.20190102_184900.jpg

Our first performer was The Castaway.  Do you remember way back in the 60s?   The group was “The Castaways”,  they sang beach type music.  Their claim to fame was “Liar Liar”.   Well now it is just Dennis,  so he is just The Castaway.  lol.  But he is awesome.  He brings a Beach Hut Umbrella,  and has numerous drums including a steel kettle drum.  He also brought a fellow drummer along.  They did a FANTASTIC version of “WIPE OUT”.…I think we all know that one.  Ohhhhh could he play the drums along with his drummer.  Our next entertainer was Janelle.  She is from Rockport Tx, trying to break into the Valley.  She has a beautiful voice and could really sing.  We will now continue our Entertainers this Friday with the Nashville Recording Artist, “Lawless and Mae”  They have been voted favorite “Country Duo of the Year”.  It will be a really fun evening.received_228318288060948.jpeg

We also have our friends Ron and Theresa (Park Managers) help us.  Theresa and I take care of tickets sales, and Rich and Ron run the Concessions.  Theresa’s daughter has a T Shirt business, so Theresa designed these really cool shirts for us to wear.20190103_112243.jpg

Our good friends from Canada, Kathy and Glen have decided to sell everything and head back to Canada.  For the Canadians, it is very expensive for them to come down.  Their Health Insurance is free when they are in the country.  We they leave, they have to purchase it.  It can cost several thousands of dollars for each, for a winter season.  Glen and Kathy both some health issues so they decided it was best to sell their fifth wheel and maybe come back in several years in hopes that things were better.  They have been here for 4 years every winter season.  We were all neighbors.  They always had Happy Hours, not just at 4 pm but anytime of the day.  Needed a drink or company???  Go to Kathy and Glen.…They’ll fix you up.  Always good times on Kathy and Glens pad……We all went to Mexico for one last time.20181124_120459.jpg

Rich and them decided to get 1 last tattoo together.  So we all went down the narrow alley like hall to the Tattoo shop.  Glen picked a neat one.

20181124_135912.jpg

20181124_143407.jpg

It is really a good choice as Glen is full blooded Indian.

20181124_135859.jpg

20181124_143412.jpg

Now Kathy fell in love with the 2 Palm Trees making a heart.   My favorite though is the one on her upper arm….

20181124_141450.jpg 20181124_143315.jpg

Rich chose another Skeleton.  His has a lot of color in it.  They were fast.  We were probably only in their a little over an hour.  I don’t do tattoos…..I’m not a lover of pain.….lol….By then we were all hungry so we ate a Angels.  It is restaurant on the top floor of a building, right in the middle of Progresso Mexico.  They have a musician playing the keyboard for background music.20181124_145336.jpg

Looking out the window, we are around 4 stories up.  You can see the main street of town.  This is actually one of the main intersections.  It is always so congested.  Its a free for all on the streets.  You drive slowly as cars just pull out in front of you.  This is the line backed up to the bridge waiting to cross back over.  See all the little street vendors,….They are lined up on both sides of the main street.20181124_144655.jpg

20181124_144647.jpg

This is looking towards the bridge over the Rio Grande River.  It is the official border of US and Mexico.  You can see the Mexican customs booths.  It was waiting in line traffic that day.  When we finally got in line, it was a 2 hour wait to get across the bridge to American Customs booth.  Obviously their is no worries here in Progresso about the Caravan.   Their is also no Mexican Military presence either.  Their are armed guards at the gates sometimes and a vehicle or 2 near the bridge, but no more than normal.   We seen more last year.  Occasionally several armed military Jeeps would drive down Main Street.  So far this year, none.20181118_154814.jpg

The only evidence we seen of tightening security is the gates they put up on the middle of the bridge.  Their are swing gates to close off the drive part of the bridge, and also swing gates under the canopy to close off the walkway of the bridge.  Nothing else……Business as usual…..We feel very safe here.  Even with all the hipe about safety, Cartel and the CaravanProgresso is still a safe town to cross over to shop.  We stay on the main street, and only drive around a block to turn around to come back.  The Americans are what makes the Economy of Progresso thrive.  The Winter Texans go over for Dentistry, and Pharmaceuticals.  Where else can you get a denture for $300-$500. The prices of their drugs are far less than in the Unites States.  You also need no prescription.  They also shop at all the many street vendors and stores for many interesting items that you can’t buy in the US.  But one of the Favorite things of the Winter Texans do is eat at their restaurants, listen to live entertainment and have a drink at a bar whether it is inside or street side.  It is such a different, fun atmosphere.  A whole different way of life.

We had one last fun nite with Kathy and Glen at Stefanos Italian Restaurant.  The were already attending Happy Hour all day that day when they decided to go out.

20181210_173353.jpg

20181210_173424.jpg

This is what happens when  you take them to a public place.  They found Santa’s Sleigh and Kathy beheaded Rudolph. …… lol…...You just can’t take them anywhere!!!!!   So finally Kathy and Glen were off, back to Canada after selling everything.  It was sad to see them go, but hopefully with time they will be back.  We will ALL MISS THE GOOD TIMES…..SO So so Many Memories have been made…..

FB_IMG_1546566786785.jpg