One Month at Eastgate

We’ve been at Eastgate about a month now.  It already seems like we never left.  We arrived on Sunday and quickly settled into our jobs on Monday.  So much to be done.  The weather has been beautiful, in the 80’s and beautiful blue sky.  Every day more and more people pull in.   Motor Homes, Fifth Wheels, pull Trailers, and the ones that own mobiles.  Every time someone comes in, you look to see if you know them.  And everyone is always asking and waiting for their friends from last year to show.  You hope they all were healthy and can come back.  And then comes all the New Ones.  They’re all so anxious to finally be here after days and days on the road.

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We did have a storm front come through one night.  The winds suddenly picked up around 9:30 pm.  Rich was watching out the window and our stakes to the sunscreen came out and then a support pole broke.  We ran out into the blinding rain and wind and unzipped the sunscreen from the canopy.  It was over in about 20 minutes.  The winds were gusts of 54 mph.  Fortunately it was warm rain, but the wind took your breath away and the rain just beat through your clothes instantly.  Immediate feeling of a drowned rat….lol….All was good in the morning.  Rich fixed the bent poles and all was fine.  Now Cathy another workamper didn’t fare so well.  She lost her whole awning.  Now that’s expensive.

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Time now to start enjoying the luxury of southern living.  One of our 2 hot tubs….This one is maybe 100 feet from our campsite.  Rich started working in the rentals.  Many of these trailers seem to develop soft spots in the floors after time.  That is his first project, pulling up a carpet in the living room and fixing the floor that is disintegrating.  Then he will also be replacing a bathroom sink and the kitchen sink.  I busily started to plan our season of activity.  The board usually does the everyday schedule and I arrange the outside trips and special events within the park.  Our first event was Veterans Day Breakfast.  All Vets ate free.

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2 little girls and their parents were invited to come.  Launa 4, and Pearl 2.  Their parents have been teaching them what a veteran is.  So they wanted to come and meet them and give them a bag of candy.  They were so sweet.  After presenting all our Veterans, we gave them a copy of a poem we read and the girls gave them candy.  Then the girls took the mic and sang our National Anthem.  Then Launa put her hand over her heart and said the Pledge to the Allegiance.  They were just so amazing.  Their was a few misty eyes let me tell ya.  It was so touching….These are wonderful parents to teach their children at such a young age about our heritage of our country.  Their an Amazing example of Great parenting. 

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We just finished Thanksgiving.  We had cooks this year, we didn’t cook….Hurray…We have a wonderful NEW RESIDENT that has only been here 2 weeks.  She had agreed to cook last Sept.  She didn’t even know us yet….lol…Paulette and her Husband moved from Houston.  Paulette and Roberta, another good friend here, cooked 7 turkeys, dressing and gravy from scratch.  We served 112 people this year, up from last year.  Our park is full this year.  No more prime sights available.  Many people go out or go the South Padre Island for the Holiday.  They did an awesome job.  Thank You so much girls.  Your so Appreciated.

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Everyone brought their own table decorations.  Some elegant, some fun.  Then we have the fun ones, the ones we love to laugh with, cause we know every time their around, they will do something crazy…..

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This table was so pretty.  They used regular brown paper for the cloth and handed out crayons to color and write what they were thankful for…..Great Idea….Actually, if you didn’t see our faces, you’d think many of us were children.  lol.  We have reverted to childhood.

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We also had a more somber moment.  We lost several more residents this summer and the families and friends wanted to plant 2 different trees in their memory.  So our new area that the Garden Club was going to develop, took a new and much more meaningful path. A MEMORY GARDEN.  A Miniature Bottle Brush Tree and a Pine Tree were planted and 2 plaques were installed in their memory.  It will be a beautiful area with room for more if needed.

I attended the Convention in Mission with Sandy.  It was for the Park Managers and Activity Directors.  You could obtain info on services and fun stuff that you can offer your residents.  We received lots of free stuff as well as making many contacts.  I was surprised at how many places I already knew of and new many of the people because of last years contacts.

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Seg Valley was also their.  They offer tours all over the Valley including South Padre Island.  I worked for Racheal and Brian last year on Sundays at DonWes Flea Mkt.  Brian has now attached LED lighting to the Segways…..Amazing….Can’t wait to see it at nite.  It was so good to touch base with them.  They will be coming to the park in a few weeks for our Friday morning Coffee and Donuts.  They will do a talk and demonstrate the Segway.  Then outside people can try it out.  I can’t wait to a ride again.  They’are so much fun.  I will be scheduling a ride on the Island soon.  This time the beach.

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Now we had a new trailer come in couple of weeks ago.  This is what we all do…..Gather around and sit at a trailer and watch…lol…Entertainment….So now Thanksgiving is over.  Time to take down decorations and Decorate for Christmas.  This is always a fun time.  Well all be doing that next Thursday.  Our park is very full this year due to the reduced rates our Park Owner has offered.  He also gave the Canadians the cost at Par.  That means they pay the price at their money rate.  They save lots of money that way as their dollar is worth much less than ours, so we have many new Canadians, even French Canadians.

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Now I don’t want to make you feel bad, but this is South Padre Island…SPI….It is only about a half hour away……Beautiful beach’s…..lol……Beautiful Blue Ocean

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I’ll finish with a new family picture that Tina, Ed and the kids had taken.  This is just 1 of many.  They were so so good……And of course Dexter is so cute….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eastgate Friends & More Adventureland

We’ve had a break in the heat.  This past week it has cooled down to the 80’s.  So much nicer.  Makes your day at the park so much more enjoyable.  In fact last Tue. it rained all day, so they closed the park.  That does not happen very often.  One evening I worked in Alpine which is in front of the park.  I forgot my hat, so I went back in the morning to get it.  I went in through the employees entrance about a half hour before opening.  I retrieved my hat and decided to have a wonderful waffle cone made with Blue Bunny Ice creamThe Creamery faces the opening of the gates into the square.  The girl said it was something to witness the opening of the park from the inside, so I sat their and waited…..and watched….

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Our park characters came out to welcome everyone at the gates…..One of them is Bernie the St. Bernard……They each go to the 2 different gate openings.

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Finally it was 10 am….The gates on both sides of the carousel opened.  They were like a herd of cattle….Stampeding…..It was crazy they way they came in running as fast as they could to be the first…..lol….Not only the kids, the adults too….

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Here is the inside of the Creamery.  Very cheerful and bright….As I turned around to look through the doors, all the people came running from the 2 gates, converging on Main St..….For my own safety, I stayed inside until the “HERD” had passed…..Then I walked out with my wonderful Waffle cone filled with Chocolate Mint and Praline Pecans…..Mmmmmmm….so good…..

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On my way out another Park Greeter…..Glad he has a Cane……Long fall if he tripped….

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This week Rich has been the A-Train Engineer….The first picture is the station.  Now this was an extremely hot day.  That’s why the kids look so miserable…..lol… A friend of ours, Ron, asked his wife to come and take some pictures of Rich.  I was trying to figure out how to take these pictures as I can’t bring in my phone.   Theresa came in probably one of the hottest days.   She did an awesome job.  These pictures are so nice.  Thanks again Theresa.  Ron and Theresa will also be joining us at Eastgate this winter…..Can’t Wait….

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THE A-TRAIN     With Engineer Rich…..

This is my favorite picture.  The train makes a round trip about every 15 minutes…..It Choo-choos as it leaves and comes into the station, and also has the old time bells that clang as it comes in also….Really neat….Now for our day off on a Friday……….

A friend from Eastgate text me, Gail.   Gail and Dewey live near Kansas City.  They wanted to come up and have lunch….We were so excited to see them.   We met at Olive Garden on the west side of Des Moines.  It was easier for them as it was a direct shot from their house.

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We had such a wonderful visit with them.  We probably sat their for over 2 hours.  The waitress was very gracious.  Gail and Dewey were winter residents of Eastgate for over 17 years.  They both had other mates.  Gail’s husband passed a number of years back, and her and Dewey got together.     Such a wonderful Happy couple.   Rich played pool with Dewey.  He is a Pool Shark….lol…He is good and he believes in …..RULES……Don’t mess with him….Gail also plays pool.  The women have their own pool time at the hall.  Last February, they decided it was time to leave.  It was sad but times change.   Gail was missing out on her family as it grew.  They both wanted to leave in a car….not a Body Bag.   Sounds morbid doesn’t it.  But many do.

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This is their new adventure in life.  They are looking for that first house together.  In the mean time they are living with Gail’s daughter.  They  are such a Super Couple.  We miss them, but they are really enjoying life.  Thank You guys for taking the time to come and visit us…….  Happy Trails…….

Another thing I want to mention is our daughter Tina,  has a new Job.  She works at the Putnam County Court house in Illinois as the Deputy Probation Officer. 

2016-07-31-11.44.27.jpg.jpg  She has now moved over to the Circuit Clerks office.  She is now a Deputy Circuit Clerk. 

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This is her new office.  We think this is pretty exciting news.  Putnam County is the smallest county’s in Illinois.  It consists of 6 small towns.  In fact some are just villages.  It has 1 school district consisting of 1 high school in Granville, 1 junior high outside of McNabb, and 2 other elementary schools in Hennepin and Granville.  Lots of busing for the students, but it is a great county and school district to bring up your children.  All 3 kids ended up moving back to Putnam Co.  All the grandkids are attending school their.   Remember when you were a kid?  You couldn’t wait to graduate to leave and never come back…..lol….and then you grow up…..Common sense moves in….

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I’ll close this blog with a few more pictures of the “Monster”.   I never get tired of watching it.  As I work games in the County Fair area, I look up and see the Monster all day.   This was another picture taken by Theresa……..Yep….Not for me…

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Nite time….It is such a beautiful site at night……You hear the car flying over the rails…The people screaming at every turn….the lights are dazzling….Music in the distance….If you look close, in the center you will see the cars on the Sky Ride…..It goes from one end of the park to the other at tree top level.  That will help you understand the size of the “Monster”….It travels through the loops of the Monster.  It was purchased from the 1974 Worlds Fair in Spokane Washington.   Amazing isn’t it.   Many of these rides have such a wonderful history.

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This is another cool picture……The Storm Search looking through the loop of the Monster.  The Storm Search was added in 2014.   So only 3 weeks left of the park being open 7 days a week.  After the 3rd week in August, it will open only weekends……

Whewwww……Were going to make it after all…..I had my doubts for awhile……

 

Reiman Gardens…Lego Sculptures

Last Friday was our day off.  We met our friends from Eastgate at Reiman Gardens in Ames Iowa.  Rita and Ed Frette live in Story City, but have been wintering in Eastgate for a number of years.  Ed plays pool with Rich.  Really great people, as is all the people of Eastgate.  We have seen the advertisements of Reiman Gardens on Tv, so I was excited to visit.

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Reiman Gardens consists of 17 acres of absolutely beautiful gardens.  It is an educational resource for the Iowa State University.  It is also a major attraction for Central Iowa.  It consists of 26 gardening areas, a butterfly wing, an emergence area, where cocoons can be studied and viewed, conservatory, gift shop,  and private rental areas for weddings, graduations and meetings.  Their are many agricultural gardens within the grounds.  All produce is donated to local agencies and food pantries.  We met Rita and Ed in the parking lot and proceeded to the Butterfly Wing first.

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The butterfly’s were very active when we entered.  It was beautiful inside, full of tropical plants flowers and butterfly’s flying everywhere.

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Their were many feeding areas, filled with fresh fruits.  As we walked the path, we seen so many different colored and varietys of butterfly’s.

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This is a beautiful Blue Morpho.

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This is a green butterfly that blends into to foliage.  Finally we entered a small area after inspection for hitchhikers….lol…We inspected each other again and then exited the area.  Now we went out to the garden areas.

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What an absolutely beautiful site.  The beautiful settings, the grasses, the flowers….Gorgeous…..

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A beautiful arbor area, complete with a brick walkway and many benches.

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Such a beautiful place to just sit and enjoy the day.

The Gardens has an Annual Theme that they display.  This year is the Lego Art Exhibit, sculptured by Sean Kenney.  Scattered through out the gardens are 13 eye popping displays consisting of 500,000 legos.  Astounding to see…..

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Herd of Deer…..84,442 legos….Momma and Baby….so sweet…

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This is a close up….amazing

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Gardner and Grandchild……46,940 Legos…….This one is so life like…..

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Dragonfly…..27,788  sitting in the lake surrounded by lily pads and beautiful grasses…

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Pansy with a Bee…..29,314 Legos

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Bird Bath with Birds, Bees, and Squirrel…..14,802 Legos….This was beautiful.  It was by this white picket fence as we walked on a small garden path.  So pretty.

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Galapagos Tortoise with Darwin Finch…..23,317 Legos….This little guy was also sitting along the garden path in the shade.  He looked so real.

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Hummingbird on Trumpet Flower….61,107 Legos…..Now this one is amazing.  One wonders, how is the weight of the hummingbird supported? It is only connected from its beak to the center of the bud.

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Wheelbarrow….29,900 Legos…..I came upon this one and didn’t realize at first, it was made from Legos….so life like….It is sitting in a garden with a hose in it.

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Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed….39,708 Legos…..sitting in the middle of a sea of flowers.

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Corn Spider…..16,492 Legos….We followed the map and went into this building.  We asked someone if they had found the Corn Spider……They said “Look Up”…..OMG….Their it was, Hanging above our heads….lol….

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We entered the Conservatory to find the Peacock……68,827 Legos…It was prominently displayed in the center.

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This was the back side of the Peacock.

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On the way to the Gift Shop we found the Bonsai Tree in a Showcase…..9,143 Legos

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Mosaics with Two Face Cut Outs as Ants…..12,990 Legos…..lol….Rita and Ed….

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Along the way we also seen “Elwood”  The Worlds Largest Gnome….These were the most Beautiful Gardens.  In 17 areas, they have compacted so many different settings….Some  flower gardens, vegetable and herb gardens.  Beautiful paths of gravel, boardwalks, with wooden benches surrounding a tree.  Many small natural areas fenced with trees, small hills, small ponds with benches or chaise lounges.  So private and relaxing looking.  A different setting as you follow the path around the next tree.  Their was so much to see and so much I cannot even describe…something compacted in every corner and looks so natural and beautiful.  Can you only imagine, in the spring and Tulip season?….A different view every season, ever-changing….After we visited the Gift Shop, we exited and left Ames with Rita and Ed to go visit their home in Story City which was only 10 miles away.

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The next blog will be about the rest of our day with them.  Story City is home to a Restored Antique Carousel....an authentic 1913 Hershell-Spillman Merry Go Round……I will tell you the story of how this Carousel was attained and what a wonderful asset it is to the town today.  Thank You so Much Rita and Ed, such a wonderful day…..

Don’t miss out on the next blog…..Another AWESOME STORY…..

 

 

Heading Home…Houston Flood….

The time has finally come.  Would you believe we have been in Texas 8 months….Wow….We left last Aug. for Gate Guarding in the oil fields, did that for 2 months.  What adventures we had their.  Now we have just completed our time at Eastgate as Workampers again.   It’s really not work, it is visiting, talking, and making many new friends.

20160417_162420Pulling off our pad, getting ready to hook up the truck….

So yesterday we packed up and left.  We had been doing a little all week. We still had a lot to do.  We work best at the last minute.  Then we visited and said our goodbyes….Had to stop at Alice and Toms,  their from Maryland.  What good friends they have become.  Rich returned tools to Gary and Marge and said our good byes.  Then up to the office to get the rest of my things.  On to Debbie and Rick to turn in all our keys.  Next, really good friends Roberta and Ken…..Then on to the Hall, their was John and Sandy , Glen and Kathy, our new Canadian friends…..and of course Jean and Eugene…..Finally Off we went….

20160417_163908Alice and Tom from Baltimore Maryland, made signs….Be….Safe….

 

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Spider-Man is Watching Over  Us……..We Will Be Safe…..lol

It was before 5pm.  Everyone said, Stay another nite……But then the Good byes would start all over again….lol….A huge storm was coming, so we decided to head east.  Over to Houston and east to Louisiana, and then turn north on 55.  All the way home….

So we finally left….fueled up at the edge of town and went on our way.  We stopped the other side of Victoria, in a rest area for the nite.  We were 2 hours from Houston.  The big storm came finally.  It was forecast to extend from the Rio Grande Valley up to Dallas and past to Oklahoma, and heading east.  It would dump up to 12″ of rain.  It sure did. The news from Houston in the morning, was more like 12 – 20 “…..Streets were underwater, they closed the schools and told everyone to stay home if they could.

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Calls came in, people needed rescued.  Eventually  1200 people had been rescued and 6 people died.  Most of them was from driving into the flooded waters.  This was the worst flash flooding since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

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We watched the weather on the Weather Channel App.  Finally we found a break and we took Interstate 10  all the way through Houston.  It was a good ride for us.  But when we went through, we could see many of the city streets below the interstate flooded.  Cars were sitting in the middle.  Flashers were on and in a few cases, the police or ambulances were their to help them.  We only had 2 places  where 1 lane was closed because they were full of water.  A friend, (Thank You Tammy Bellamy Bybee) gave us the website for Texas Road Closures, so we felt safe enough to drive through.

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As we watched tv newscast the next morning, a news reporter was down by an under pass reporting on the flood.  Right behind him this man drove right into the water.  He got out of the car and the reporter still with the camera on him and his mike in hand, swam into the water and helped him to safety.  Crazy to be caught on video.  He was so lucky.

We made it through Texas finally, and stayed just north of New Orleans at the I 55 Junction.  Headed north the next day , all the way through St. Louis.  We timed it so we could stop at our favorite restaurant in Lincoln Illinois.  One of the old original Bonanza Steak House restaurants.  Love their buffet.  I always order their sirloin tips…loaded with mushrooms and onions….mmmmmmmmmmmm…

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We try to stop every time we go through.   It is a 3rd generation home owned restaurant.  It was built in the 70’s and is one of the few left in Illinois.  We left Harlingen on Sunday and pulled into the drive Thursday Afternoon.  Stopped up at the One Paw’z Pub, (Scott & Brandy’s Tavern)….Spent time their, unhooked the truck, and homeward bound.

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Sunday Afternoon around 4:30 PM……..

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Thursday Afternoon around 4:30 PM…..A Beer on the bar…..One Paw’z Pub…..

 

Tale of a New Frig & Winterfest

Last year, while we were here in Southern Texas, our 4 door frig that runs on propane or electric started having problems.  It was toward the end of our stay here.  We called an RV repair person, recommended by our friend.  The electronic board was going out or the “mother board”.  It would take a week or 2 to order and have it come in, so he offered to let us use a used one that he had and we would replace it this year.  This summer, the door broke on the hinge.  It was on the frig side, not the door.  So we decided to just replace the whole fridge with a regular residential frig.  Now keep in mind this frig has to go in and out the door or through a window.  To come in the door it had to be under 29″ wide, with out the door, and the height could be no taller than 64″.  The frig sits on top of the furnace. Sounds easy right?….lol…4-dr-refrigeratorSo several Saturdays ago, we spent the day looking for a nice black frig that would fit.  We went to Conns, here in town and checked. Found one fairly reasonable.  We decided to ride down to Brownsville also to check out Best Buy.  They had one also but not deliverable for several weeks.  We went back to Conns.  Now we were set to order it, but they were going to charge us $75 delivery charge as it was coming from McAllen.  Even if they dropped it at the store, still the charge.   That just set the price over the one in Brownsville.  So we were discouraged, and home we went.  Then the light went on….HOME DEPOT…..Now we knew that.   lol….We went out and found one and ordered it.  Now how hard was that.  One week and it would be delivered FREE…..and less money than the others.  So the following week Rich prepared the frig for take out.  Several days before delivery, Rich took out all the food and pulled our frig out.  We have another frig outside.   Now their it sat in the Living room…. lol…It was almost to big to go out the door. So now for several days it sat their.  He put his recliner in the middle of the floor, so he could see TV.  lol..20160130_075136Finally the nite before, Rich took off the screen and part of the main door assembly and we Pushed…..Pushed….Pulled….Pulled….Turn it a fraction….Pick it up, Let it down….and finally SHOVE IT OUT….It made it out the door.  We did tear a piece of the dash, but it was out.  We started measuring and got out the paper work….GUESS WHAT…It was ordered in white….grrrrrrrrr….we wanted black.  We went back out to Home Depot.  And YES we were right….It was coming in white.   They told us that we had to refuse the delivery, and wait a day so it was returned to the warehouse.  Then come in and reorder.  So that is what we did.  We reordered and had to wait another week for delivery.  All this time now, we had no frig inside.  Do you know how it feels to get up in the morning and not have anything cold to drink?…Everything was outside.  Gees, you have to be dressed decent, just to go out the door.  We have neighbors about 10 feet away.   But we survived .20160127_165508In the meantime we went to “Winterfest” at Schlitterbahn Water Park, on South Padre Island.  It is an all day music festival with different entertainers every 45 min.

20160127_151912They were all the entertainers that come to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter entertainment at all the parks. They usually have a circuit and perform a different park almost every nite.  Our entertainment in Eastgate , is on Friday nite.  Many come from Branson Mo.  Some are closer.  Many are from RFD TV.20160127_135544Mario performed, early afternoon.  We have seen him several times.  He is from Branson.20160127_124701Another GREAT singer is John Sager, Also from Branson.  He was a wonderful singer and full of energy.  He is scheduled to come to our park next season.  Also a guy named Greg ?…..Already forgot.20160127_154816He used to sing at the Play Boy Club years ago.  He was an Elvis impersonator and some others.  Once his voice was warmed up, he could really belt out a song.  Very Powerful.  The very last performance was the local High School.20160127_163920They had a Mariachi Band.  These kids were so talented.  They sang and played their traditional music.  It was Awesome.  It was a fun day, but it was cold.  They moved it inside by the indoor water park at Schlitterbahn, but it was still a very chilly day.20160127_121538The best part was, all the gift shop items was 50%  off…….Wow….That’s my price.   I bought a Tie-dyed zipper sweatshirt for $12.50.20160212_085153Several visors for $2.50 each.  Another pull over sweatshirt and Rich bought sweatpants and t-shirt, all for $10 each…..Great Day for bargains.  The best part was, our tickets were complimentary, as I was given some to sell for the park, therefore mine were free.   Some of the perks of this job.

Now all this week Rich has been working on the box that the frig would sit in.  It was now to wide for the new frig, but would just barely fit the height.  He took the side and made a narrow little pantry.

20160212_085246He made shelves top to bottom and we have clear plastic containers that are wide enough for cans.  Each one will slide out so we can see what is in the container.  Now he just has to make a door for it.  It will solve our can storage problem of them all jumbled together under the sink.  Finally the big day came.  We got the call.  The frig was on the way.  I had to go to the office, but that’s ok.  I really didn’t want to be their.   I knew it would be a very tight fit, and I wouldn’t be any help.  I just knew their would be a few choice words said….lol….So our friend Ken came over.  They took off the screen door again, and after some other adjustments they began.  Rich said it was an extremely tight fit through to door.  They pushed…pulled….brought it back out twice.  They problem is, as the frig goes through the door, the dash comes out and you have to turn it to clear the dash.  Finally after time, and some more small rips in the dash and a dent in the wood, it was in…..Now it had to fit in the new opening….Bingo….Fit like a Glove….Rich had to do some minor adjustments to the ceiling light, as the freezer door hit it, but it all worked out….I came home that day, Hoping it was in.   I was worried that we might still have to take out a window to take it through…..I looked outside…..Nothing….No sign of the frig, or the box.    Good Deal….It was In…and …It looks Marvelous, and20160211_172435

IT SURE IS NICE HAVING DRINKS AND FOOD INSIDE AGAIN…..THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF LIFE….LOL…NOW TO CLEAN UP THE MESS…..

 

No Blog In a Month?…..What Have I Been Doing…

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“MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Where has the time gone.  My last blog was Nov. 22, the anniversary of President Kennedys assassination.  We have been so busy at Eastgate.  So much to catch up on.   Soooo……….Lets get started.  I do think it will take several blogs…lol…

We have been so busy, and the weather has been great, up until last week.  The temps have been from the 70s to the 90s.  Plenty of sunshine.  Rich is busy everyday.  He plays pool in the mornings and then begins his day.  Always plenty of repairs.  Eastgate has more workampers this year, so the work is getting done at a faster rate, but theirs always things breaking and many things to replace.  Always water breaks….When the park has a leak that requires the water to be shut off,  Victor, the maintenance man rides the golf cart around, blowing the siren.  That means the water will be shut off in 15 minutes……lol…Guess what,  that even broke….lol…someone had to ride around in the golf cart shouting……”Water Shut Off”…..Water Shut Off”….Funny…I guess you had to be their to hear it…..Now we have a New Siren too….

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The Craft classes have been very busy.   We have made Sparkleballs from Christmas lights and Solo cups.  They have been so popular, that we keep making them over and over.  We will be making some more after the rest of the people come for the winter.

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If your interested in making them the web site is,  sparkleball.com.

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SOME OF OUR CUTE SNOWMEN, ALL BUNDLED FOR WINTER

We also have made log snowmen.  We bought 7′ posts and cut them into 1′ sections.  painted them and dressed them with hats and scarfs.   They turned out so awesome.  Everyone had different ideas on how to paint faces and dress them with the hats and scarfs.

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OUR SPINDLE SNOWMEN IN PROGRESS. WE PAINTED HIS HAT BLACK, GAVE HIM A FACE AND BUTTONS AND A LITTLE SCARF FOR HIS NECK

The 3rd item we made, was snowmen from railing spindles.  I had over 20 the garage for years that came used from an auction.  I seen a picture on Pinterest that would be easy to do.  We cut them to length, and added the hat to the top and painted them.  A hole was drilled in the bottom and rebar was inserted.

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OUR MAGNIFICENT COOKS, RICH, CAROL AND LARRY, SUZI AND BOB ……I CUT UP THE ONIONS….LOL….

Thanksgiving and Christmas have come and gone.  For Thanksgiving, we cooked 7 Turkeys, dressing and gravy.  The rest was supplied by the residents.  Each table has a card table at the end.  Each table holds 8 people.  They bring a dish to pass for their table only.  It is put on the card table.  One person from each table goes up to the kitchen counter and receives a plate of turkey, dressing and gravy.  That is also put on their card table.  Each table therefore acts as the family unit, as they pass their food from the card table.  It saves time, and everyone can almost eat at the same time.  If it was served as potluck fashion, many of the best dishes would be empty before everyone was served.  It has worked out so well.

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OUR CHRISTMAS COOKS…LARRY, RICH, CAROL…AND THE YUMMY SPIRAL HAM……X 7

For Christmas, we served Ham and glaze.  7 hams were purchased and almost nothing left.  We had 15 tables for Christmas.  The table decorating contest was a Great success.

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THE WINNING TABLE DECORATING CONTEST…..NOTICE THE CRAYONS AND THE COLORING TABLE CLOTH….VERY ORIGINAL…AND THEY CALL THEMSELVES SENIORS?

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……..THE CRAZY, JUVENILE WINNERS…..

Our neighbors, decorated their table in a very pretty, entertaining, and JUVENILE manner…..lol…They had a kids coloring table cloth with crayons and all.  They colored through dinner and guys wore silly hats.  They won a bottle of wine…as if they needed it.   They are a riot whether you see them around the park, or at the dinner table…..

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BARB….WINNER OF THE UGLY SWEATER CONTEST…..A HOMEMADE BADGE FROM EASTGATE WITH “UGLY SWEATER WINNER 2015” AND RIBBON

The hall was decorated so festive.  Many of the residents got together one Friday morning and got out all the decorations and the tree.  We turned on Christmas music and turned it up and away we all went.  It was so much fun to be a part of it and watch them enjoy the Christmas Spirit in the Air.

Another craft project we did for both halls, was to make paper snowflakes.  I seen it on Pinterest, and made one.  It was so easy.  That after noon we made many more.   I takes 30 sheets of computer paper.  5 sheets for each point.  The reasoning is to make it thick enough to hang and not rip.  They ended up well over 12″ in diameter.

I have also scheduled some activity’s that we have done.  We have had several Segway tours of downtown Harlingen.

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Their is so much history in this town and the art work of hand painted murals are all over town, depicting to history.  One of the most magnificent pieces is in a park.

A special area has been constructed for it.  It is a collection of 905 mosaic tiles that tell the history of Mexico.  It is stunning and beautiful.

 

One of my favorites…This mural covers almost a half block area on a wooden fence.   If was painted black and then painted with dots….Its magnificent.. The artists are Benjamin P. Varelo, and Celeste De Luna. During the Segway tours, we visited these murals, and many others and are given the history of the town.  It also takes us to Grimsells which I have written about before.  It a fabulous garden Center that is over 100 years old, situated almost in the middle of down town.

They have the tallest flag pole in town, so if your looking for its location, just look up over the buildings and look for the waving flag of the United States of America, and you can make your way to Grimsells.  This last time we were their, they had their larger birds out.

So so cool.

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About a week ago, 16 people from the park, carpooled downtown for the 1 1/2 walking tour.  It was a fun time.  We had 2 guides that walked us through the downtown area using a megaphone to tell us the story.  After we had lunch at a local Café.  We learned a lot more history as well as we found many more cool stores and boutiques to shop at.  One never gets tired of shopping do they?  lol…..These are just a few of the things we have been doing……

Next blog….Guess who came down for Christmas….The 2 older Grandkids….Cameron and Cassidy…..

A Quick Trip to Harlingen & “Boot Hill Cemetery”….

Last Friday was Richs’ day to go to the gate.   They closed the gate at 3 pm. for the weekend for the hunters.  We think they were trying to pacify the landowner because they were running past the Oct. 1st deadline.  We don’t have to go back till Mon.  Sat. morning, we got up and did a load of laundry and decided around 1 or 2 to go to Walmart for cat treats and litter.  We decided to go to a town called George West. {weird name}  We headed east out of Tilden and first came upon the Choke Canyon Reservoir which is run by the state.  Well they wanted  $5 a person just to enter.  So much for that.  On down the road to the next town.  Its name is Three Rivers.  From a distance we could see that it had a HUGE Oil Refinery in town.  Looks like Star Wars Town Doesn’t it….lol…

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As we pulled into town, you could see that the town was attached to the Refinery.  The town was wrapped around the refinery on several sides.  Obviously the town survived on the refinery jobs.  Again several NEW motels in town and lots of campgrounds.  As we drove from Tilden, we could see we were in the heart of oil country, but the boom was over.   So many campgrounds, now deserted or just with a handful of campers.  Several places were trailers all in a wagon circle or lines like little streets.  They were similar to Fema trailers.  They also were deserted or just a hand full of vehicles out in front.   As you look in the distance across the land scape, you could see many oil tanks in the fields from wells that had been drilled.  The highway is just busy with tankers carrying oil to the refinery.

On we went, with the next town being George West.  It wasn’t what we expected.  It didn’t look big enough to have a Walmart.  We seen a sign that said McAllen 150 miles.  I jokingly said.  ” We should go have pizza at Mr. Gatti‘s.”   Its a great pizza/salad bar in Harlingen.  Why not? We had the weekend off.  Three hours later we pulled into Eastgate Park in Harlingen.  It felt like going home…..lol….We pulled in front of Debbie and Ricks house {managers}.  They came out totally shocked, thinking we had come early.   lol.   “No, we were just on the way to Walmart”……lol…Had a nice visit with them and went down to visit more friends.  Bev, Roberta, and Ken were just wrapping up a garage sale.  We had a wonderful visit with Bev.  Her husband Ernest had just passed away several weeks before.  They were Workampers. Bev cleaned and Ernest was the I.T. man.   He was so smart with computers.  Last year, he had spent all season trying to get the new internet system to work with the outside company.  He was not health, but a “Super Guy”.  He will be so missed.  Not only for the work he did, but as a friend.  Then we ended up at Roberta and Kens.  If you remember from last winter, Roberta has the Parrot and the little cockatiel.  “Maui and Love Love”.  Had a great visit with them and finally found a motel.  Of course no clothes or makeup, so a stop at the Dollar Store to buy make up and Cat treats and litter.   lol.   The whole purpose of the trip.   In the morning we were next door to the Golden Corral, so after breakfast we headed back up the road towards Tilden.

But it won’t be long………We’ll be Back………

Back in Three Rivers, we stopped at DQ.  In pulled some really cool cars.

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It was a Car Club from San Antonio, out for a cruise.

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This one was really neat….

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The engine area was painted bright purple and right inside on the nose, above the grill was this signature.

12076653_10204863062444030_1565727732_o Beautiful cars……

We were back home before 3.   Poor Kitty, he was deserted……Gave him lots of treats and he was “Happy” again…..Monday was my day at the gate and Today was Rich’s.  Its getting slower and slower.  I decided to walk to the store today.  It is always closed when we get home.   How silly.  It was in the 90,s again.   Lucky I didn’t die of heat exhaustion.   The store was nothing to brag about.  All I bought was a sack of Ginger Snaps, and a Drumstick ice cream.  Had to eat it FAST…..

On the way I went to “BOOTHILL CEMETERY”……….

Located in Tilden is Boot Hill Cemetery, one of the only two authentic cemeteries of its kind in the southwest. It was so named because many of those who were interred there died violently, “with their boots on.” Many of the early graves were those of people who were killed in accidents, murdered, or who died of cholera during an epidemic in 1869, although some were known to have died of natural causes. The cemetery was established sometime after Frio Rio came into existence in 1858. It is currently located behind the bank half a block north of the courthouse plaza on Highway 72 and half a block east of State Highway 16, across from the new sheriff’s office. In 1877, Boot Hill Cemetery was abandoned in favor of the present Hill Top Cemetery and then neglected for more than half a century. During this time a number of the markers deteriorated, fell down, and became lost, along with the local history they contained. In 1955, when the Cenizo Garden Club was organized, its members began to clean up and restore the cemetery. They cleaned the plots, cleared out the brush, and located as many graves as possible.

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The grounds were enclosed by a low border of native stone and the Boot Hill Cemetery sign, a large boot made of masonry mounted on a large slab of petrified palm stump, was added to the cemetery grounds.

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The club was also instrumental in obtaining a historical marker, which now stands at the entrance to the cemetery.

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This is the only grave that has a name on it…..Glenn Greer….died 1878….. He was thrown and killed while trying to ride a half tamed horse.  His grave is still evident today (July 2002), as his family was notified of his death and they sent a iron railing and marble slab for his grave.  

12119408_10204872068069165_37283567_o                                Epamindondas M. Crain had made a trip to San Antonio in 1869 when the cholera epidemic was raging, contracted the disease and died a few days after reaching home.  His headstone reveals that he was born in 1816 and died in 1869.  He served during the Civil War and was a private in the 29th Brigade Texas Troops Confederates States Army.  Three other cholera victims were also buried here during this time, but their identities are unknown.  All the graves of the cholera victims were completely sealed with rock tombs.   The story that has been handed down is that the citizens of Tilden were so terrified of cholera that they were afraid it  might work up through the soil and infect others, so they sealed these graves in rock tombs.  How true the story is, no one knows.  (Note: When Renee Smelley visited the cemetery in July 2002 these graves were evident by the rock tombs that were on top of the ground, but were falling in and apart.)  


       Dick Gossett was wounded in a gun battle at Fort Ewell and buried here in 1869.  Known as one of the most noted outlaws of this area, a confederate deserter and a ruthless cold blooded killer.  Dick’s brother, Malachi, and their partner, Tom Green, tried to get him to Tilden for help, but he died before they reached town.  Note: No headstone located.

John Smithwick was murdered in 1870 while he was being held prisoner of the law.  The murderer thought Smithwick knew too much and this might be brought out during the trial.  Evidently the murderer was later shot by another person seeking revenge for the murder of Smithwick.  Note: No headstone located.

A stranger arriving in town on the stage coach had the bad judgment of walking around town in a top hat.  Some men from a local Dogtown saloon took notice of the tall hat and jokingly decided to put a bullet through the crown.  Clabe Young, one of the pranksters, had bad aim, shot to low and the unfortunate stranger was killed instantly.  Note: No headstone located

Wheeler, Phelix, infant son of Leonidas and Sarah Walker Wheeler, died of natural causes.  He was born on September 13, 1870 and died on October 16, 1870.  Note: No headstone located..

How many others are buried in Boothill Cemetery we will probably never know, but it is thought  that others were also buried here before 1877.

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Tilden was on the caravan route between San Antonio, Dogtown, Fort Ewell, Laredo and Mexico.  Some time during the Civil War a stage route was also added and saloons began to spring up in Dogtown.  These all brought many undesirable characters to the town as well as men who were on the run from the law that used the surrounding area and brush to hide.  Some of these undesirables provided quite a few occupants for Boothill.

In 1877 Boot Hill Cemetery was abandoned in favor of the present Hill Top Cemetery Hill Top Cemetery was originally called Graveyard Hill and many early setters as well as several generations of their descendants have been buried in Hill Top.  Hill Top Cemetery still serves the community today.  I will be checking out that cemetery soon….

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This sign was at the corner of the court house…….Rather interesting….I decided to include it for all the history buffs…..lol….Tilden is the county seat of McMullen County