Seven Days Visiting Family & Friends

I’m back in Harlingen after being away for 10 days. Rich and I left for Illinois and spent 7 days full of visiting and attending my Class Reunion. We decided not to drive because Rich was staying to work harvest again this fall. We love the train, so that is what we decided to do. I bought our tickets on line for $107 each one way, from San Antonio to Bloomington Il. Quite a steal. But it only goes south as far as San Antonio which is 4 hours away. Our friends Marge and Gary took us up the day before. We arrived and checked into our motel. Then we went down to River Walk. It is such a beautiful place.


It should be on everyone’s bucket list. It is a river that meanders through the city, 1 story below the street level. Every block is a bridge overhead where the city streets are bustling with traffic . Walk down the steps and enter another world where the river is lined with little outside cafe’s with colorful umbrellas, restaurants, and shops. The sidewalks are made of many a variety of materials, bricks, cobblestone, or concrete. They follow the river on both sides and have beautiful mature trees, plantings of flowers and tropical foliage lining the river and sidewalks.


Every few minutes a Tour boat floats by with the Captain telling his Passengers the history of the River Walk. A new company took over the River Walk boats suppling all new designed boats. Their are Tour Boats, Taxis and also Dinner Cruise Boats, that comprise the fleet of 26 in September of 2017, expecting to peak at 44 boats in the fleet. Every block their is a beautiful arched crossover to get to the other side. We walked and found a little piano bar. It had a/c, how wonderful and refreshing as it was soooooo hot outside. I was a great place to just relax and listen to the piano man play his tunes and sing.


My Favorite Building on the River Walk…Its an Optical Illusion….The building is triangle shape and looks like it would fall over. NIX Health Hospital


We had dinner before we went back. Rich ordered this Shrimp Fest. It had 4 different types of Shrimp. Finally it was dark and was time to return to the hotel.


Beautiful old Oak Tree near the Alamo

We actually walked, so by the time we got back, I don’t know who was more tired Marge or Me. lol. In the morning we got up early and Gary and Marge took us to the Historic Sunset Train Depot at 6:30. We boarded the train by 7am and pulled away soon after. Now to settle down for our 28 hour ride to Illinois. Cameron would be picking us up at Bloomington Il Amtrak Station the next day, Wed. around 11 am. The train is a great way to ride. The seats are fairly comfortable and spacious.


The bathrooms are down stairs on the lower level. They are very tiny but serve the purpose. You can walk to the Observation Car.


Their, people visit, play cards, read, or just watch the view out the many windows, as you fly by the country side. Down below is the Café’ that has everything you may need or want including alcohol. The next car is the Diner. It is usually fairly expensive but we usually eat one meal their.

We sat across from a family who couldn’t speak English. A lady several rows ahead helped to interpret to the conductor. It turns out they were from El Salvador. They had a new born and a small boy, maybe 4. They were going to Boston. Now this made me think. Their is no security in the train system. I bought the tickets online. You don’t have to check in at the train station. Board the train, and the conductor comes by and scans your phone. …..Hmmmmmm……So as long as you have your tickets on your phone, anyone can get on…….Something to Think About……After an uneventful restful trip, we arrived on time and Cameron picked us up. First stop as usual, of course....”One Paw’z Pub”…..Brandy had Chicken Fried Steak and mashed potatoes and gravy…..yum…..Tina, Ed and the kids were heading to Wisconsin early Saturday morning for the annual family fishing trip that Eds dad always has. They are sportsmans, loving fishing and hunting. Tina and Ed bought a new beautiful Camper. So we went over to see them before they left.


It is really beautiful. Love the colors and the interior floor plan. It has a private bedroom and the bunks in the rear for the kids.




Miley gets the top bunk


Austin wouldn’t cooperate for a picture, so Aunt Beth got him down…….time to tickle


Austin and Grandpa Dolder doing what he does best…..Sleep….

It has a beautiful kitchen with a table and couch across in the slide. They left on Saturday for a week of camping, boating, fishing and visiting family. While they were their, “DeeDee” had her “First Birthday”.


Happy Birthday Dee Dee “1”

So of course She had a Party complete with a Doggy Birthday Cake.


Austin of course did his share of fishing and caught a 21″ Walleye. Tina said he was so proud. Fishing is his favorite thing to do. He is going to be like his Dad and Grandpa. Saturday nite was the Class Reunion, so Sunday Tammy and I took Carly and Cassidy to Peoria. We visited the Riverfront Museum. They had a showing of Unicorns and Mythical Creatures.


Carly wore her Unicorn outfit….


She was fascinated by the beautiful Pegasus. Then we went over to the Museum side. They had many activities for the kids. Actually adults too. This one was our favorite. You know those things you put your hand in that have all those pins. It makes the shape of your hand when you press the pins to the other side? Well this was “Body size” lol


We had such fun with this. We all took turn. Cassidy has her eyes close and Carlys Unicorn on her head shows up. Tammy and I did it also, ours is a little “Wider”……lol...After that we went to Steak and Shake on the River Front in East Peoria.


Love Steak and Shake food. We sat in a booth looking out at the Illinois River with Peoria across from us. After that Tammy took us by OSF Hospital and took us on a tour through her department. She is now a “Floor Charge Nurse”. It was a long day, time for home and some R & R. The next day is Labor Day and off the Toluca’s Labor Day Parade and Carnival with the girls.


Carly got plenty of candy with her big bag.


It was so hot, at the end the tank came through spraying water….Felt sooooo Good

This is one Parade that gives away so much candy. Their is so much that they seem to pick and choose after awhile and some candy is never picked up. Then off to the Carnival after the Parade.



Of course when your young you ride all the rides. That was Carly, she had a blast. Of course you must have Carnival Food right? So Corn Dogs, Lemonade Shake Ups and more. Another day of fun. We were so hot and tired. The next day was Tuesday and my last day. I had talked with the girls from work and we got together at Cabin Fever in Peru after they got off work.


It was so good to see them all. We spent over and hour, maybe 2 just visiting and catching up. Listening to their story’s made me realize how lucky I am to be retired living the life we are now. So glad I’m not their anymore. Back at Scotts, Tammy was over one day. He has one of those contraptions that you hang upside down and stretch your back ?


Tammy strapped in her feet. We were dying with laughter. At first she couldn’t get upside down. Then Dad pushed her over and wouldn’t let her come back…It was so funny. The next day it was time to get back on the train. I was their 7 days. Rich is staying to work harvest again this year. This year he is hauling corn from the Elevator to the terminals on the Illinois River. This then makes space for the new crop of corn being harvested. He’s also hauling some corn from the field to the elevator. We drove back to Bloomington Normal and he put me on the train for my return trip. It was again a nice relaxing ride. I had both seats as we never were full.”


I ate 1 meal in the Diner. Steak burger Meal…$18…..It was late the next nite when the train arrived in San Antonio. It was 11:15pm. But that didn’t matter. I took a Taxi to Greyhound. My bus left at 2am. I was really tired by then. Finally I boarded the bus. Lets just say, “I was not impressed with the bus”. I curled up and went to sleep. Thank goodness for GPS. I woke up and the driver spoke only Spanish to everyone. We were going through a town. I realized we were already in Harlingen. It was 6:30 am. I had been watching the GPS on the phone for the whole trip. It is a great way to find out on the train where you are. Ron from the park came and picked me up. So glad to get home....First thing on the Agenda “Shower”…..2 nites without…..Not Good….Then Sleep, So tired…..

So here I am back at the Park…..Working Cinemark on the weekends and starting a new project. Painting bathrooms at the halls...….Fun…Fun…Fun…Soon the New Season shall begin…..I’m already planning activities for all those Winter Texans that soon shall be heading south. One by one they will be hitting the road….Heading South for the Sunshine and warmth of the winter. Escaping the Cold Harsh Winters……Yes ….

This is the Life….going on 5 years with no Snow for Us…….lol…Heaven….


Our Trip to San Antonio to see the Riverwalk Decorated for Christmas…Amazing….

Last year when we came down in late September, we seen the city workers climbing the trees in the Riverwalk area and hanging lights….I was hoping I would be able to see them lite before we went home that week end.  lol….Well It turns out, they start over 2 months early.  Its all for Chrismas.  It is quite a process.   At that time I wished I could see them some day all lite up.    Well my chance came, and its only a year later.


A little history on Riverwalk. The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río) is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city’s urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right. The Riverwalk is a pedestrian walkway, one level down from the automobile street.   The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, to the Arneson River Theatre, to Marriage Island, to La Villita, to HemisFair Park, to the Tower Life Building, to the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery.  In 1939 the WPA  was in charge of the initial construction of a network of some 17,000 feet (5,200 m) of walkways, about twenty bridges, and extensive plantings including some of the bald cypress (others are several hundred years old) whose branches stretch up to ten stories and are visible from street level. In 1968 San Antonio hosted the Worlds Fair.  It was called Hemisfair 68 and the construction of the Convention Center and Tower of Americas was completed as well as many other buildings and sites.   The expansion extended the Riverwalk beyond its natural banks at the horseshoe bend to the new convention center and theater by excavating much of the block bordered by Commerce, Bowie, Market and Alamo Streets.  Today the Riverwalk consists of over 15 miles….It is really a place of Magic….below the streets of bustling traffic and city busses.

So we decided to leave Saturday morning.  We went up for breakfast with the other neighbors, Duanne and Cheryl.  After we came home we packed for an overniter and took off.  Now of course we decided someone should come in and check on Kitty.  Here we are abandoning him again, now in the Camper.   Who else better than my neighbor Roberta.  She has such a gift with animals.  She is the momma of the birds Maui and Lovelove, from one of my other blogs.  She was very gracious and said of course she would come over.  Roberta came over the nite before and fell in love with Kitty.  We felt safe that Kitty would be looked after with love and care.  So we took off for our 5 hour drive to San Antonio.  We got their around 3 and got a room at Econolodge.  Then we Looked up the nearest Longhorn Steakhouse….So away we went to feast on a Steak….



Thank You Advantage Log.  Darden Resturants #1 gift card……lol….We feasted on a $41  Porterhouse for 2….It was a 24 oz. steak…..mmmmm mmm good….Bill came to $51 plus tip.  Not bad at all.  Left with a doggie bag.   One for me…..baked potato and steak for breakfast and another one with the left over bone for our neighbor dog, Jill.  Jills mom and dad are Cici and Larry.  lol.  After that we headed for down town…..OMG….the crowd.

Now we were their last year and had it all figured out, but this year we lost our bearings.   Traffic was backed up every corner….wait….wait wait….stop…stop…go …stop…lol…Finally we found a $5 parking lot.  We waited for people to leave and then raced to see who could get it first.   Took us about an hour to park.  Finally made it down to Riverwalk.   OMG.  The people, but it was so beautiful.  The trees were all lite up and so were all the bars resturants , etc.  Now the trees lites all start in the top of a tree in a clump and then fall down in single strands….So much time and care to lite all the trees.  Their were over 6,000 luminaries lining the sidewalk by the river.  It was just DAZZLING.  We decided to buy tickets for the boat ride.  We took it last year and enjoyed it.  So we went to by tickets and then searched for the end of the line…..Wow….finally almost over a half a block later, we found the end.  While we were waiting, some of the boats were loaded with carolers singing Christmas carols as they floated by.  All laughing and having fun.


It moved much faster than we thought, and finally got our seat.  It is the best way to see all of the touristy area of the river.  It is magnificent.  The tour guide gives the tour and tells you all the facts, down to the building of the new parts of the river for the Worlds Fair.  Meanwhile you are just sitting their meandering down the river with the gorgeous lights overhead in the trees and the sounds of the people and the restaurants on the sidewalks.  Many of the restaurants have entertainment, like Mexican music or something jazzy.  It is a little bit of heaven.  A fairy tale.   Finally we got back to the boarding area, and the line was still long….Our guide told us their is over 42 boats for the river, and at least 40 were out.  So we finally made our way back to the truck and made our way out of the mad rush and back to our motel.  In the morning, I looked at fb and Roberta, who was watching Kitty posted a Wonderful post.  I have to repost it….So Beautiful…

They all worry about us when we don’t come home…there was a warm spot on the couch but Kitty must have heard me coming for he jumped off the dash when I opened the motor home door (he’s allowed) looked behind me for Mom and Dad but I was alone. The catnip mouse was nowhere in sight – I’m sure he knows where it is. He’s eaten, drank each time I’ve been there but the only solid matter left behind was from the first time. I tried to reassure him as best I could, verbally, he allowed me to pick him up and snuggle with him on the couch – even accepted a kiss on his head – for a few minutes he was a sweet little kitten again – then caught himself and jumped down to do figure 8’s around my legs and have ear scratches. But a couple of times he thought he heard something and ran to sit by the door and a couple of times he checked the bedroom as though to tell me they were supposed to be there… bless his heart! Now he’s fine, temperature inside comfortable, has a nightlight and filtered light from outside, and he’s somewhat of an independent fella. He would not have enjoyed himself had they taken him along. I asked that they leave the bed unmade so he could snuggle in the covers and be comforted by their smells – done. But it’s not the same of course. They did the best thing by letting him stay in his own environment. Wish there was more I could do – he’s such a sweet Spirit! He’ll sure be happy to see them walk through the door tomorrow. Wonder if they’ll be in trouble after he figures out they’re OK? Stay tuned….

Isn’t that just Beautiful……She is so Special.   She can read any animal and she loves them all.  So homeward bound…..Stopped at our favorite Restaurant on the way home….Choke Canyon Barbeque.  We got 4 sandwich’s of barbeque brisket….2 for us for supper and 2 for Roberta and Ken.  Finally returned home before dark.   Seen Roberta and gave her her sandwiches.  She so enjoyed Kitty.  He had the best of care, probably better than we give.  lol.   And then I went and gave Jill her bone….Of course she loved it.   Visited with Cici a bit and Now……….relaxing….


Christmas is almost here and we have downloaded Skype with the kids.  Here is a Pic of Austin, and Carly talking to Grandma and Grandpa….They were so cute.  They were so excited to see us and talk to us.  Carly kept looking under it and saying…..”Grandma, come out of their.”…so so cute…..So we will be Skyping with the kids for Christmas, and we have a Dinner planned here.   Rich is cooking for Christmas dinner for the Campground….I guess you can say we are the organizers……lol….That’s a whole nother Blog…….lol….