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

 

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Tammy & The Kids Visit….Part 2

FB_IMG_1516214053865.jpgWe had a fun day in Progresso Mexico and then headed back over to the US side.  We headed for South Padre Island which is about a 45 minute drive.  Rich and Cameron were in our car leading the way, and us girls in Tammy’s Jeep.  We arrived after dark at our motel and settled in.  Now we had a number of things planed,  but the weather was going to cause us a problem.  Cameron wanted to do a Deep Sea fishing Trip in the Gulf.  We also wanted to take the Port of Brownsville  Tour and see the ship yards where they dismantle the decommissioned Navy ships.  The USS Ranger is their and the USS Independence just arrived last May.  The weather has not been stable at all this season.  The forecast changed from the 70s to the 60s with some rain.  We had tickets lined up for both but they were both cancelled because of the weather.  FB_IMG_1515893032735.jpg

Tammy did manage to take several drives up the beach.  The first one she was very excited to finally drive up to the end of the road.  South Padre Island has only one main road down the middle.  It continues north until it turns into sand.  It passes all the beach access points, the hotels, condos, restaurants and bars.  It also passes a Zip Line area.  They also offer horse rides on the beach.  It is the farthest north facility on the island.  Then it turns into sand a ways up the road.  It gets so windy the road is always blowing over.  The plows regularly have to plow and maintain the road.  As you see it was sputtering rain on her windshield, but that didn’t stop her.  She drove back to Access 6 and entered the beach.  She said she drove a number of miles north.  On the way they passes the horses out for a ride.

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It was chilly to be on the beach.  The wind blows in from the ocean constantly.

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But I guess if you love horses and the beach, it doesn’t stop you.   It probably was a dream come true for some of those people.  The weather just didn’t cooperate.

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Along the way Tammy stopped and they looked for shells.  She actually found some large Conch shells.  They probably had washed up from the storm that had just come in a day before.  Carly brought her fish net and loaded it up with all her special shells she found.  They loved ridding on the beach.  Its such an exhilarating feeling as the wind blows and the sea gulls fly and chirp.  The feeling of peace, tranquility and Freedom.  Mother Nature at her best.

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Carly on the upper deck…..It was so Cold and Windy

The next trip we did was the Dolphin Eco Watch.  The boat is a double decker.  It holds quite a few people.  It is around a 2 hour trip in the bay, looking for dolphins.  They also drop a net to the bottom and drag it to catch different types of fish.  It was so cold.  We bundled up in our sweat shirts and jackets and boarded.  The girls had so much fun….Even Tammy.  We seen the dolphins many times just swimming around near us.  They would surface and then go under and come up a ways ahead.  The deck hand had dropped the net and reeled it in.  He had quite a few different variety’s of fish.  He cleaned them out of the net and put them all in a bucket with water.  He took them out 1 by 1 and showed them to the kids and adults.

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He actually caught a Sting Ray.  He explained the danger and how to react when near a Sting Ray.  He also showed a Puffer Fish and several others.  Finally he dropped them all back into the bay.  Then they took the boat clear out past the Jetty’s of Padre.  The wind was blowing, the waves were blowing high and splashing against the Jetty Rocks.

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It was so beautiful to see all the hotels at a distance and the beaches.  We also seen Dolphins clear out here.   Finally after almost 2 hours we went back to the docks.

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Now we were all hungry.  We decided to go to Pier 19.  It is a restaurant out on a dock.  Very cool atmosphere.  Every table is by a window.  It is a long and narrow restaurant as it is built actually on the pier.  We had seen Dolphins near the restaurant when we were on the boat, so decided it would be a great place to eat.

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They had some great food.  I had a Hawaiian Burger.  It was awesome.  I can’t wait to go back.   The next day we decided to go to Brownsville to the Gladys Porter Zoo.  It is situated on 31 acres.  The zoo houses about 400 animal species and over 250 tropical and neo-tropical species and subspecies.

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We didn’t see to many animals as it was still so cold.  But we sure seen Flamingos.  It is such a beautiful unique zoo.  The animals are all housed in areas that are natural to their habitats.  You don’t see many in cages, as they are all in natural out door settings.  But since is was so cold, I think they were mostly brought into their indoor areas to escape the unusual cold weather.  Just Carly, Tammy and I went here and we had a great time.  We also took another side trip out to Boca Chica Beach.  It is on the south side of Port of Brownsville.  It is a desolate beautiful area just a stones throw from the border.  After a 20 mile drive it dead ends into the beach at the Gulf of Mexico.  Several years ago they anounced that Space X had bought some ground for a new Missile launch area.  It is being built now, but we were told it would take another 2 years before the first launch.  That night ate out at Louies Backyard on the Bay sideTammy and Carly stayed at the hotel as they were tired.

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Glen and Kathy from the park came down to spend a nite.  They had spent the afternoon at another Club listening to the singer “Leslie”.  After she was done their, she came to sing at Louies.  We had some good food and fun times.

The next morning, Tammy wanted to go for another drive on the beach.  Rich and I and Cameron stayed in the room.   Awhile later, Tammy called…….”Dad do you have a tow rope in your car?“……lol….Oh no…..They had driven into Access 6 again and drove for miles up the beach as it was low tide.  They had a great time until they came back and tried to get back through the Access area.  In these areas the sand accumulates into drifts.  If not cleaned out regularly with a plow, it is like snow drifts up north.  You simply get stuck and end up bottoming out if you keep trying.  Well that’s what happened.   The other thing was, all this time she thought she was in 4 wheel drive.  Cameron had showed her to put the switch in 4 wheel but neglected to show her the other part of the process.  She was lucky she never got stuck earlier.  Well “Dad” didn’t have a tow rope…….Rich and Cameron drove out their and their was a whole crowd helping her.  She had of course bottomed out trying to get out.  Several vehicles tried pulling her but to no avail.   Finally another Jeep hooked up and pulled her right out.  She was so excited that she never took any pictures.  She was disappointed when she realized others were taking pictures but she didn’t get any.  So another Adventure for her to talk about…..lol….But no pictures.   Later she had to wash the Jeep as she was so full of sand.

Our stay at the island was coming to an end.  We had nice rooms.  Cameron stayed with us in ours so the girls could have their room to them selves.  Our room was obviously quieter.  When you went into Tammy’s room it was a disaster.  Clothes all over, and Carly always had her little toys out on the table playing with them.  She always has to have play time with her little toys.  We had a great Breakfast every morning down in the Lobby.  All the cold cereal, donuts, bagels, and toast as well as eggs, potatoes, waffles and juices.  Anything you could want for breakfast.

We left the Island to go home, but Tammy was still staying another day or two.  We both drove and headed for Brownsville,   77 Flea Mkt.  This turned out to be a beautiful day.  The Flea Mkt is huge.  Rich and Cameron took off and us girls started to slowly make our way through.  The girls had fun, even Cassidy.  We found a cheap stroller to put Carly in.  She would have never walked the whole thing.  20171230_133504.jpg

Cassidy found quite a few things.  Several pairs of slacks, make up brushes, and her best item was a blue tooth speaker with disco lites on wheels.  It was made like a rolling suitcase.  Great for taking to her friends or wherever she wants to go.  Tammy found a rolling suitcase for herself, and many other things and food items.  We were half we through and I was tired.  I mentioned, are you getting tired yet, but…… NO…..she wasn’t…..So we finally did the WHOLE FLEA MARKET.   I don’t think I ever walked the whole thing before…..Now we were very hungry.  We ate at a Chinese Buffet.  Good Food.  So we finally went back to Harlingen and Tammy went back to Padre.  That nite they decided to go fishing by the Causeway.  FB_IMG_1515891798874.jpg

Would you believe Cameron caught a Sting Ray.  It was being chased by a Puffer Fish.

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He finally pulled it on the dock.  A Mexican who didn’t speak much English helped Cameron get it off the hook and finally sent it back in.  FB_IMG_1515891839792.jpg

Now that is something you sure can’t catch in Illinois.  More memories were made.  The next morning they decided it was time to leave.  The kids wanted to go home.  They arrived back at our camper around 11:30.  Tammy come flying in and said….”Dad, Dad, take me to Mexico one last time….Please?”  Cameron said ” No, you don’t need to go”…..Tammy looked at Cameron and said….“I’m the mom your the kid…..You can’t tell me what to do”…..Then she looked at Dad and said ” Please Please, I want to go back one more time”.….So of course, Tammy, Cameron and Dad went back to Mexico…..I took Cassidy and Carly and went to Mr Gatti’s.  Its a Pizza Buffet.   It also has Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Baked Potatoes and the fixings and a great Salad Bar.  We went back to the park and I had 2 more things to do with the kids.  My friend Gail Rollo has written a Children’s book.  She is selling it in certain book stores and on Amazon.  She has been doing some book signings also.20171210_124501.jpg

Its a wonderful book of a dream that she had when she was a child.  After all these years, she has written the book and Published it.  Were all so proud of her Accomplishment.

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I wanted Gail to sign one for Carly so we stopped at her house.  Gail read the book to her and then signed her very own book.  Carly loved it.  She held the book with 2 hands against her chest when we left.  It was very special to her.

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Our next stop was Roberta’s.  Roberta and Ken have 2 Parrots.  Maui is a Beautiful Red and Blue Parrot.  20171231_133908.jpg

Cassidy met her 2 years ago.  At that time Maui was the only one she had.  Since then, Roberta has been given Benny.  His owners had passed away and he desperately need a family.   20171231_134030.jpg

Benny is a beautiful blue and yellow Parrot.  Roberta is so good with birds, animals of any kind and has a wonderful green thumb.  She can grow anything.  So Carly poised for this picture with her doll and they had their matching dresses on, that they bought in Mexico.  Finally Rich, Tammy and Cameron came back around 5.  They drove across this time.  Tammy had to walk almost the whole length of the shopping area that we stick to in Progresso.  She shopped and shopped and made sure she had her Margarita.  She loved it.  20171231_173423.jpg

But now it was time to head out.  I thought they would be to tired to drive, but they wanted to go.  The kids sleep at nite and travel better.  So around 5:30 the left.  I figured they would stop and sleep.  It is a very long drive.  But with Cameron and her driving, they made it straight through in 22 hours.  They pulled into home in Illinois before 4 pm the next afternoon. …. OMG….No way.
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It was a great time having Tammy and the kids here.  We didn’t get to do everything we wanted but we did a lot.   We never had a dull moment.  It was so nice after going on 4 years that one of the kids have finally came down and seen where we live in the winter.  Their is so much to offer in the Rio Grande Valley.  It is such a different life style than back home.  Harlingen area has so much to offer.  So much to see and do.  It never gets old.  Much history and many things I’m sure I haven’t discovered yet.  It is a life style that is so unique, and so hard to describe to anyone up north.  It is an area the Winter Texans come back to every year to enjoy the warmth of the weather, the beach, and the culture of the Southern Texans……It is so nice to think, the beach and the ocean are just a short drive away.   

…….We Made So Many Wonderful Memories…..

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Ok, So Where is Rich….lol…

Last year after we were done at Adventureland, we came back home and Rich worked the harvest season for a local farmer.  He has helped him before.  But because we arrived on Oct 1 he missed a couple of weeks.  We also had to leave early cause we needed to be in Harlingen by Nov. 1.  So we tossed the whole idea around on how he could work the whole season this year.  The best answer was for him to go up alone and I stay here.  We couldn’t both go as I am working at the theater, and I need to be here by Nov. 1 when the park officially begins the Winter Texan season, and I begin my duties.  If I had went with him for several weeks, and left the motorhome in Texas, we would have had to tie it down to the concrete patio, because of Hurricane season.  We didn’t want to do that.  I realize now after Hurricane Harvey how important that is.  Also what about the cat?  Kitty would probably have a heart attack in the car heading north.  He doesn’t like change….He’s an old man.  lol  Then how would I get Kitty back down, if I took the train back down?  So this was strictly a financial decision.  I stay in Harlingen and keep my job, and Rich drove home and works for the farmer for approximately 8 weeks till harvest is done.  So that is where he is.  He is staying at Scott and Brandys and driving the semi from the fields to the Elevator.wp-1491479408704.jpg

So Rich decided to take my Lumina as I was having problems with it.  About once a week it would not start.  I would call him to come to the Dollar Store or to the Cinemark 10 after work.  He would turn the key and ……BINGO…..It would start.  He said, “How can I fix something that we don’t know what’s broken”.  Well unfortunately he’s right.  So I learned that if it didn’t start, wait 10 minutes and it would.  Now that means I can’t buy any ice cream or popsicles, as I might end up waiting in the parking lot for 10 or more minutes for the car to start……lol…..So we decided he would drive it back and trade it.  He drove it all the way to Illinois, ……No Problem…..Went up to Canada to visit to our Canadian friends Kathy and Glen at their campground…..No Problem…Back home to Illinois…..No Problem….So one morning he decided to use my key instead of his….Guess what????  That was the answer.  He Had a Problem….It is was the coded key.  My key had problems and his did not.  Funny isn’t it.  All over a lousy key.  But before he left, we looked at the web site of a local car dealer we usually go to.  We picked out a car we liked.  I left it up to him to get a good durable car, and trusted his decision.  Well turns out my sister-in-law, Connie, liked the Lumina, so she bought it and Rich bought the Chevy Equinox that we had seen on line.

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I know I’m going to love it.  Rich has really been enjoying it.  He also decided to move up from the ANTIQUE flip phone, to a real …..SMART PHONE….I told Tammy to take him and help him out with a purchase.  He insisted he would not get one if he couldn’t pay cash.  He would NOT do the payment plan on AT&T like the rest of us do.  So Tammy took him to a place that sold refurbished phones and he bought a Motorola for $100.  He now has a new toy…..He has been busy learning.  Tammy and Cameron has taught him so many things.  He’s learning so much on his own.  I was afraid he would get frustrated and go back to the old flip phone.  I know now he won’t.  He is enjoying it.  He has it programed into the Bluetooth in the car, downloaded Pandora, and is now learning about pictures.  His Email is set up, also Google account so he can store pictures in the cloud.  So Far No Facebook.selfie

Here’s his first selfie in the car.  Cameron and him were playing one night when he first got the phone and the car.  Cameron said the were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes.

The fields were late this year, so he is getting some other things done.  The rental house needed a few things.  We have a new tenant.  Hopefully this one works out.  We haven’t had a whole lot of good luck.  Poor Tina has to take care of them for us.  This last time I posted the house on Craigslist to rent.  Tina had immediate response and was able to rent it fast and choose who she wanted.  So much better than FB sites.  They always had young irresponsible kids wanting to rent.  He also has been doing a little work around our house.  The garage roof has some issues.  Of course he also spends time in Scott and Brandys bar.  “ONE PAWZ PUB”  Taco Mondays and Karaoke on certain Fridays.

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But they finally started a little over a week ago in the fields.  They have more corn this year than soybeans.  They have most of the soybeans done, and were started on the corn.  Now of course it had to rain off and on several days, so that puts everything on hold till the equipment can get back into the fields.  This are a couple of Richs photos with his new phone.  Its quite good.  I’m impressed.  IMG_20170928_143950732.jpg

This is the truck he is driving.  The farmer picks the corn or soybeans and loads the corn from the combine into the farm wagon.  The tractor brings the wagon to the truck on the edge of the road and fills it.  Rich drives the truck into McNabb to the elevator where they unload it.  There the elevator sends it to the dryer and also stores it for the farmer, until it is sold later and trucked to the river and loaded on a barge.  So as it stands now it might be close to Thanksgiving before he’s done.  The farmers goal is to be done by then.  That is rather late, as he was done earlier last year.

So here at the Park, the Winter Texans are beginning to arrive.  Their trickling in, but it wont be long and they will come flying in.  You’ll see many campers and Motorhomes on the highways.  They will be going all over in the Rio Grande Valley.  I gave my notice at Cinemark 10 they other day.  I only have 2 weekends to work.  Its been a good run, but the time has come to be done.  Its time to start thinking about fun things to do this winter.  I’m got many ideas already, so time to begin.  First thing we are having is a Halloween Party.  One of the girls here Paulette, loves Halloween.  Its her favorite Holiday.  So she is decorating and coming up with great ideas for a fun party.  She even found a cool Piñata..FB_IMG_1507928278949.jpg

Look whats going to be in it……….lol…………Its an Adult Piñata…..She even wants us to do Apple Bobbing????   Now just think…..Old People have false teeth…..We might have a tub full of teeth.  The apples will still be floating……hahahaha….Yea,  I’ll let ya know how that turns out….20170101_001600.jpg

I’ll close this time with a photo fromOne Pawz Pub”.  Scott and Brandy’s bar.  Remember last Christmas, Rich was down at 77 flea market by Brownsville and bought a clown skeleton???  We called it Sally.  She road on the back of the golf cart for a couple of weeks.  Well, Sally has taken up drinking at “One Pawz Bar”.  She has perched herself by a table and is looking pretty comfortable.   She brought friends also.  lol

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Hurricane Harvey, 2017

We were very lucky.  “Harvey” missed us.  It came in on shore a little over 200 miles north of us.  It directly hit Rockport, Port Aransas, Victoria, Refugio, and Port Lavaca.  Corpus Christi was just a little south of the eye.

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One thing we realized down here in Texas living near the Gulf is, Hurricane season is taken very seriously.  The weathermen are always reporting on storms coming off the coast of Africa.  We knew this season started in August and ended the first of Nov.  Here is Eastgate we knew that all annuals or anyone who left their camper here for storage, had to anchor their units to the concrete pads.  Now after this past week, I understand why.  438842BA00000578-4818354-Hurricane_Harvey_is_expected_to_become_a_major_storm_once_it_mak-a-80_1503611478314

This storm started a week or two earlier as a depression #91.  As they watched it cross the Atlantic it escalated as it reached the Yucatan Peninsula.  It slowed down over land and then as it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico it started to escalate from a tropical storm to Hurricane.  They initially knew it could come ashore as a Category 3, but the warm waters escaladed it to Category 4, which meant it contained winds of over 125 mph.  It was predicted to land a little more south.  The Rio Grande Valley started to prepare.  Everyone was stocking up.  South Padre Island closed all beaches and they started boarding up windows.  If the winds reached over 45 mph, they would close the bridge to all traffic.  They have an Emergency text system in place for their residents, that you can get this information as it develops.  We took down our screen room, and put in all our awnings.  When Rich put up the shed, one of the requirements was also to anchor it.  So he constructed a wire anchor system that runs through both sides of the shed and is anchored to the concrete.  The park went around putting all the pool chairs and anything loose away.  They also inspected some of the homes of people who were not here and made sure everything was safe as possible.  We were suppose to receive up to 70mph winds at one point.  Also 4″ – 6” of rain.  Well, not a whole lot happened.  I woke up at midnight to hear the pitter patter of the rain.  The wind wasn’t bad.  It was suppose to escalate in the morning.  Nope, we were very lucky.  It came ashore around Port Lavaca, which is a little over 2 hours north on the coast.

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We caught some of the outer wind bands but not fierce.   Up around Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria and Port Lavaca, it destroyed the towns, hotels, homes, Rv Parks, and Boat Harbor’s.  Some of the smaller towns evacuated.  One of the Winter Texans from last year, said she had workamper friends in one of the parks.  They could not leave until all the guest campers were gone.  Then they could leave.   I don’t know if I like that or not.

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The towns were really tore up.  The rain was horrible.  They said that some areas around Houston could receive 50″ before it was over.  Just imagine that much rain and it comes ashore at 125mph.  “Harvey” came ashore and hovered for awhile.  It actually moved like it was a drunken soldier on shore.  It was downgraded finally to a tropical storm, but the tail end was still feeding the bands over the Gulf with water.  It continued to rain.  Houston started to flood.  Houston is a very low city.  It is only 50 feet above sea level.  It was built on flat marshy ground. It is prone to flood but nobody expected it to flood this much.  Reports started to come on tv of all the rescues.

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The interstates started filling up.  Some of the drivers just didn’t understand.  They continue to think they are almighty and can drive right through, including semis.  We seen reports of so many people just walking through the water to safety.  Abandoning their vehicles or homes.  The 911 calls were coming in.  People were beginning to be trapped in their homes.  The water kept rising.  Some were in their attics with nowhere else to go.  They were advised to bring an axe with them so they could chop a whole in the roof if needed.  …….”Get out of your house”…..”Stand on your roof”….  “Bring a piece of material with you that you can wave to draw attention”.  The calls kept coming in.  The people were told they were on the list.  But the Emergency people couldn’t help until daybreak, and even then, it was still impossible in many places.  Finally you seen boats coming down the streets.

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Individuals were going out with their own boats, canoes, airboats, even jet skis.  They were going out into the neighborhoods and picking up people and bringing them to high ground.  The local Convention Center opened up for the victims.  They kept running short of cots for them to sleep on.  Some people slept the night on the floor.  But at least they were safe and dry.  This flood had overwhelmed everyone.

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The news showed so many people being rescued with dump trucks.   Many times they used ladders to help the people get in and out.  So many people, young and old were carried through the water.  In one case, Nursing home residents were trapped and needed someone to come get them.  No one came.  Finally the nursing home owners were so devastated and helpless, they took a picture of all these poor people sitting in chairs and the couches waist deep in water looking so forlorn.

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I can’t even imagine their thoughts.  I’m sure they thought they were at deaths door.  She sent the picture to her daughter for help.  Her daughter put it out on Social Media and the news.  In less than 2 hours, Help Arrived.  Here’s all those people today smiling, happy, warm and dry.  So Happy to be Alive.  How awful for them.

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The National Guard was called out.  National Guard brought in around 30 helicopters for air rescue.   The US Coast Guard also brought in their helicopters Every available resource, was called in.  Fema, Red Cross, so many agency’s arrived, their was help arriving from all over the US.  Even the Border Patrol from the Rio Grande Valley came with over 30 different types of boats.  Of course all the news people arrived.   The reports and pictures on tv were constant the first 2 days.  It was ongoing for so long.  The storm stagnated in the Houston area, then went back out over the Gulf.  It reentered east of Houston around the Beaumont area and headed north west, slowly dissipating, but did much more damage and dropped a lot of rain in the Beaumont area.  They faced so many dangerous issues.

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Now they also had floating islands of Red Fire Ants.  They had come out of the ground and attach themselves to each other and become a floating colony.  You certainly don’t want to get into a nest of them.  Also, now the bayous had filled up and the city had to release some of the water in the reservoirs so they wouldn’t break.  Now Alligators were also swimming in the water along with Snakes Sewage and Chemicals had been leaked into the waters by now.  It was so dangerous to be in the water, but many had no choice.  Now here it is a week after “Harvey” landed, and the city still has water.  They said it may take weeks in some areas to totally empty.  Another occurrence they may find is floating caskets.

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With the ground being so saturated, some caskets may just surface and float.  How awful it would be to come across a casket.  The latest count of deaths was 39, which I thought was pretty good.

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Through all of this their is always “HERO’S” that give selflessly of themselves and their money.  In Houston Jim “Mattress Mack” Mcingvale has 2 very large furniture stores called “Gallery Furniture”.

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He opened his doors to anyone who needed shelter.  They made his new furniture their home.  A place to rest and sleep.  He fed them, and donations of all sort came in.  He even gave out his cell number for anyone who needed help and couldn’t get it.

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He not only let the flood victims sleep in his beds, he also let the National Guard rest.  “What a hero”.  He also did this for Hurricane Katrina.  He wants to help and share all he has to the people who need his help.  It was said he was losing $30,000 a day.

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Hotels and Motels all over are filled.  Some people left before the storm and some left after and found a place to go.  I believe Fema or the Red Cross is paying for the rooms for most of this month to give the families time and everyone to make plans for the future.  They are located all over Texas and probably Louisiana.  I do know that here in the Rio Grande Valley, we have many families that are in our motels.  All across the valley, the school systems are going motel to motel, enrolling the children in school.  All they want is the child’s name and info.  Their not requiring Birth Cert.  or papers.  They just want them in school so their life can continue as normal.  Country Suites here in Harlingen posted on FB the other day, the items they needed.  It contained from a Wheelchair and cane, on to clothes and personal care items and food.  They alone have 22 families.  We have at least 6 motels full.  Before you knew it, the word got out.  They have so many contributions that they are sharing across the Valley.  One person thought it was important to give the families a Cook out on Monday for Labor Day.  So many people have volunteered to help to put on a Celebration.  H-E-B is a huge chain grocery store in Texas.  In fact in the valley, their is no other.  …..No Krogers, Hyvee, Albertsons, just H-E-B…..  They deployed a convoy of 15 vehicles including 2 Mobile Kitchens, water and fuel tankers and H‑E‑B trailers, that will deliver much‑needed relief supplies and services to the communities in the affected hurricane area

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The H‑E‑B Mobile Kitchens, are two 45‑foot‑long food preparation facilities that are each designed to serve up to 2,500 meals per hour, will set up and serve hot meals to first responders and storm victims.  Also H‑E‑B’s DRUs that are fully equipped with an H‑E‑B Pharmacy and Mobile Business Services unit, which allows displaced residents to fill prescriptions, cash checks and pay bills, as well as provide access to an ATM.  One of the kitchens stopped in the Victoria area.  The other went on north to Houston.  Another fact to mention is the pets.  Anyone who had a pet, it was rescued with them.

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Pets have become a family member and they were treated as so.  The shelters have included them.  Their were pictures and stories of all the pet rescues.  So many people came out of their homes with their cats and dogs in carriers.  The ones that are found without owners have been taken to shelters.  Some are being shipped out of state to no kill shelters to find new homes.  Our shelter in Harlingen has made several trips up to take homeless animals.  They are all asking for donations of food, blankets and money.  The animals are being taken care of which is wonderful.  They all need a home.

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A week later, everything is still in turmoil but they are getting a handle on it.  Their were 3 large shelters open in Houston, but they are back down to one.  Their were actually around 142 shelters open around the area.  Over 100,000 homes are affected with flooding in Texas alone.  Over 300,000 homes were without power.  A state of disaster was declared in 50 county’s.  The discussion has been ongoing…..Should the mayor have evacuated Houston???.   It had happened in the past for another Hurricane that never happened after all.  Their was traffic jams and people died in the heat.  The mayor didn’t evacuate do to that reason.   I do agree with him.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.  How do you evacuate a whole city.   Where do they go.  If you’ve ever been through Houston in rush hour, you would know how bad it is.  That is only a small portion of the people.  To my understanding he made the right decision.  When you realize only 39 lives were lost, that is a small percent considering the population.  Some of those lives were lost in vehicles trying to escape the flood.  Some of those did not use common sense when traveling in flooded waters.  So many near fatal accidents happened that we seen on video.  It is sad that anyone died but you have to pick the best scenario for all.  I believe they were so fortunate that only 39 lives were lost so far.  It could have been much worse.  But I’m sure it may go up as they continue the search.

 

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White Caps on the Houston Interstates

 

Now we start watching the weather forecast…..Another storm coming off the coast of Africa.  Already a massive Hurricane.……IRMA…..Of course their are many storm tracks.  This one they think,  will follow up the East Coast of the US…..So we Wait and Watch

 

 

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…..