Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 29: Last day in the Valley.......

When I woke up this morning.....well, I wasn't sure it was time to raise the aging hulk from the bed.......it was sooooooo...well, unlighted. Dark is not the word......it was just dismal, gray, and in the low 50's. But......the day slowly lightened up.....and even though the sun never paid the Valley a visit.......it wasn't a total loss!

The 1st Lady was off to an hour and a half of line dancing......while I enjoyed a second/third cup of my Fr. Roast coffee while listening to my XM radio.....and a bit of Latino music to assist in making the day brighter.

I began stowing items away in the basement.....and getting it in movable shape......knowing full well that the roads are not in the best of shape between here and San Antonio. After the 1st Lady returned, we had a quick bite of lunch and then we were off to the Club center for our square dance lessons.......a full two hours and once again.....it was just great!! Soooo much fun and soooo many laughs when we screwed up and made a wrong turn/move. Sure will miss these dances!!!

Afterwards we were off to the flea and fruit/veggie markets. We were there about an hour...purchased a couple of items plus some food: a papaya, some of those wonderfully sweet little bananas, and a couple of other items. Then.....it was time to fill up the truck with diesel.....and then it was back to the RV Park ....to pick grapefruits.

It was soooooooo damn muddy that I could hardly lift my feet by the time we had a large load of grapefruit with us as we travel down/up the road. Upon returning to TheHowserHouse, I continued to prepare TheHowserHouse for the road....checking all eight tires(including the truck) for the proper pressure, tightening lugs, plus cleaning my tennis shoes from all of the pounds of mud on them.

Then the 1st Lady was off to one of the two laundrymats here in the park. Darkness descended....didn't take much because of the clouds before it WAS dark. She returned and fixed a light supper and began to stow some of the items inside.

This evening was a tellie night.......no dark red medicine......just a cup of tea and some of those incredible Mexicano cookies which we purchased Monday while we were in Progreso. And now......it is time to make some lists for tomorrow to make certain everything is done and ready to go by 10AM.

And soooooo, after almost four weeks here in the RGV......it is time to depart. We have really enjoyed it here.....and look forward to returning for a longer stay. HOWEVER......going on out to Arizona is exciting......and I am anxious to get there.....and to see our friends, Mac and Gail. If you two are reading this......we will be there before the 10th. Probably by next Tuesday.....I'll call you when I know more.

As always............

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1st Lady ready to go in and EAT!!!

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Constant crowds waiting for the huge hamburgers!!


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Head Chef at Gonzales' Hamburgers

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WOW......What a hamburger lunch place!!!!!

WELL......you should have realized by now that I another report on a restaurant.....hmmm, not certain that is the correct name.....might be a bit toooo much for it. We have heard for the past couple of weeks about this place.......no one could give us a REAL address....just general directions. Everyone said there was not one sign.....and there isn't.

It is only open from 11 to 3pm.....at the very most. You can locate it by ALL of the cars in the street from the customers......and the wonderful aroma around the area from the hamburgers being cooked. AND....those hamburgers.....OMG!!!! They are the largest damn burgers I have seen in .....well, a long, long time. The owner grinds the meat fresh each morning and when he runs out of the hamburger, they close down for the day.

When we got there.....there was a really......REAAALLLLYYYYY long line. No service as you order from the counter and then just hang out there looking for a seat at these long, family style tables and wait for your name to be called out. THE PLACE WAS PACKED......JUST PACKED!!!!!!!!

It took us about 25 minutes from the time we entered the door before we got our burgers......but we had some great conversation with a couple of other WinterTexans who were sitting at our table. And....when my name was called.......we began to EAT!!!! YUMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! They were really, really GREAT!!!!! These HUGE burgers with the works on them for $2.85!!!!! Again..........hurry there to get some. The place is actually called Gonzales' Hamburgers.......and it is in Donna: go south on the Main Street a couple of blocks, turn left on Silver St/Ave/etc., continue East on Silver until you get to 14th St.....and it is on the right side of the street. Don't leave the Valley without having this experience!!!!

We returned to TheHowserHouse by way of a fruit company where they pick and pack grapefruit and oranges from their trees. We have LOTS of grapefruit here, but not many oranges......and so we bought a 50 pound bag of oranges to take with us when we leave on Thursday for Arizona. The 50 lb bag was only $8.00!!!!!!!!! Fresh picked JUST this morning!!!!

The weather was very cloudy and as the day wore on, it began to drizzle off and on.....and after eating these monster burgers, we just kind of hung out(literally) during the afternoon at TheHowserHouse. Late afternoon the 1st Lady pulled herself together and headed over to the Fitness Center for over an hour of exercising........

We decided to just sandwich this evening.....and then they were really small. Not very hungry people this evening. Will probably just snack way tooooo much as this evening goes by......haha!!

And soooooo, this day is about to end......and you know what???? I think I have miscounted somewhere in the past week........yesterday's day count was not correct. TODAY is DAY 28!!!! Hmmmm.....old age???? Losing my ability to count???? Does it really matter????? Well......I WAS a perfectionist as a H.S. Band Director..........hmmmmm, should I be worrying about my mental status??? Oh well......there is one hell of a lot LESS stress when you don't have to worry about EVERYTHING being "just right".......and what the difference does my counting days on this journey make???? HUH???? None.....of course.

But......since it doesn't really matter.......I can still continue to say, and I hope you agree with me that.....

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!! (Remember some of you readers: If you don't think BIG.......Nothing BIG will happen!)

1st Lady gathering some more fresh grapefruit......soooo good!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 28: Mexico shopping and dining.....again!

AHHHHH…..a warm, albeit cloudy, morning when I hauled this old body out of the bed and went downstairs to get the French Roast coffee going. Did some email checking….and before long the 1st Lady was up and going strong. She had a fresh grapefruit from “our” tree outside TheHowserHouse……and again, as she does each morning, commented about how GREAT it tasted!

Then she got on her bike and headed to the Fitness Center to go through her exercise routine for an hour. When she returned we decided that we would go over to Progreso, Mexico for awhile. And soooo, off we went and in about 15 minutes from leaving here, we were parked and on the other side of the border.

WOW……I had thought there wouldn’t be tooooo many people there on the sidewalks, ambling along looking at all of the “goodies” along the way. WELL……was I ever wrong!!! There were many, many more people (gringos/Americans/senior WinterTexans) that we had seen in the previous two trips……..we could barely move forward on the sidewalks…….it was just awful.
BUT….nevertheless, we did inch forward and popped into most of the shops and stores as we “crawled” onward. We did some serious price comparisons…..and after a couple of hours we decided to go for lunch/dinner/whatever you might call this meal at 2pm. We had been told that we just “had” to eat at the Red Snapper. WELL……….another super meal!!!!!

The 1st Lady and I both had a couple of margaritas and some of those wonderful, crisp tortilla chips and another bowl of outstanding, warm salsa!!! UMMMM….those chips are sooooo good!!! I could eat them daily…..if I could only find them for sale…..ha! This salsa was good…..but it didn’t come up to the depth of the flavors that we had at Angel’s here in Progreso last week. Don’t get me wrong……there was nothing wrong with it….just didn’t have that “bite/snap” of the salsa at Angel’s .

We ordered fried shrimp……..and WOW…….was it ever good. Lightly breaded with a few herbs in the breading….butterflied to fried them more evenly……and the size was really nice and large, as Gulf shrimp are supposed to be. They were served with rice, baked potato(a small amount of mashed potatoes with some cheese melted on top and served in a foil “envelope”), some grilled Fr. Bread, and accompanied by a lettuce salad.

I really think the shrimp almost came up to the high standards that had been set for us when we ate at Dirty Al’s on South Padre Island on Saturday. Today’s order of shrimp was really quite good!!! Once again………head across that border and spend an hour or so dining at the Red Snapper……you won’t be disappointed!!!

We picked up some more of those delicious cookies that go soooo well with coffee/tea, some more vanilla, some incredibly delicious chocolate candies filled with Kahlua, a couple of gifts for the granddaughters, some silver earrings, and some Triple Sec that went for a really inexpensive price.

After that we headed through immigration control…..using our passports this time rather than our driver’s license….and we were herded into a different line and it went mucho quickly that in the lines for those using the driver’s licenses for their ID. I noticed that my passport expires in March…..sooo, will have to get it renewed soon!!!!! I do not like to be without a passport……there are tooooo many good last minute bargains for a trip to Europe or Asia appearing in my email each week!!

Returning to TheHowserHouse about 5pm…..we just kicked back for a half hour. Then we jumped onto our bikes and went riding around the Park for a half hour. Always enjoy riding around the park looking at the different kinds of rv’s that are here.

The evening has been spent just hanging out…..relaxing….and doing some reading. I have had difficulties all evening getting online……sooooo damn slow, even with this modem. It HAS been a really great day……..and so as usual,

Life IS Great….and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Check the Archives for other pics and posts

The above says it all. I have posted soooo many pics the last couple of days that you need to check the January archives for earlier postings.

Life is GREAT, isn't it?

Day 27: Winter Texans on RV.Net have a "Gathering"!!

OMG.....the sun came up this morning....and the brightness was such a relief!!!! Will this continue???? WOW......sure hope so. It just makes the day.....uhh....a bit BRIGHTER!

We moved around rather slowly this morning.....not any required schedule to meet this morning. Left TheHowserHouse around 10:30 this morning to go to the Don-Wes Flea Market.....and spent most of the time just walking and looking at all of the "stuff". You know......I am damn sure I recognized some of this "stuff"........I sure as hell think that some of the "stuff" that I threw away during the past year of our house remodeling HAS WOUND UP IN THE VALLEY!!!!!!!! But.....we did find a few smaller items that we just couldn't live without.....items that will soon find their way into the pile of "things we don't want"!! HAHA.....isn't that just the way Life is?

Before long, it was time to go around the corner and down the block to the Victoria Palms RV Park where we attended the "Gathering" of Winter Texans who lurk, read, and post on the Forums of RV.Net. This was the first time there had been such a meeting of RV.Netters here in the Valley.......and WOW.....such a grand time it was. We met soooo many others who we only knew by the incognito name that they use on the Forum.....and it was just really cool to put faces with these names many of us had been reading and also, talking to, on the Forum for months...and years.

The Moderator of the Snowbird category had sent a box of RV.Net goodies to pass out to all of those who attended.....and there were enough so that no one went back to the home-on-wheels empty handed. It was such a great addition to the afternoon.

I, for one, had a really fun afternoon!!!! The 1st Lady also really had a great time. We met soooo many wonderful other rv'ers who are in the Valley to spend the winter.......and as every person who rv's knows: people who are rv'ers are the friendliest people in the world!!!!

And soooooo, another day of fun in the Valley has disappeared into the sunset......and as usual.....
Life IS Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Getting to know the RV.Net Winter Texans

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The "Gathering" of RV.Netters....

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RV.Net "Gathering"

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A couple of "Creekers" on the right....

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RV.Netters......a great group of "gatherers"

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

End of the highway.

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The 1st Lady LOVES a beach. (That's foam, not snow on the beach)

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EVERYWHERE there are sea shells!!!!

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Perhaps we should camp out here???

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Not much traffic out here!

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I'm just waiting for the "eye candy" to arrive at the beach!!!

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1st Lady enjoying the sun and surf!

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Gulf Shrimp, a Corona, and sun-burned OLD MAN!!!

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A marina on South Padre

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A TEXAS size seashell!!!!

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Day 26: An afternoon on the Island....

Ahhhh....the day was warm.....the early morning was cloudy and humid.....and the sun popped out about mid-morning and spent the rest of the day with us!!!

The 1st Lady woke up this morning with that little man inside her head just beginning to pound out the letters for migraine.......but she took her magic meds and managed to knock out that "little man inside" before he really warmed up and pounded all day long!!! Soooo, while she rested and snoozed this morning, I washed the truck. OMG was it ever, ever dirty from our trip to Pepe's on the River!!! The parking pad assigned to us was filthy when I finished and so I had to wash it, also!!! The water is soooooooooo damn hard that before I could get it dried, there were water spots and streaks all over it. Does it look better now??? Well.....at least we can open the door and climb inside without getting dirt/mud all over us in the process.

As she was feeling ok by noon.....and as the sun was still honoring us with it's presence......we hopped in the truck and headed for South Padre Island. NOW.......since there is a F'town resident wintering in Port Isabel......which is on the mainland as you cross the bridge to Padre......well, there wasn't time to call F'town and get her number and then get a call out to her to see if she might want to join us. I HATE that,......but it just didn't work out time-wise.

Anyway.....we arrived there around 2:30....about an hour's trip from here......and we drove around the southern tip of the island looking at the rv parks that are there. There are soooo many new hotels, houses, condos, etc., etc since the 1st Lady and I were here over the Christmas Holidays several years ago. We did recognize some of the restaurants that we had dined and wined at when we were here......imagine that???!!!!! FOOD is always very important and always a priority for us.....hahaha!!

Then we headed north on the island highway....until it ran out!!! Yep.....all of a sudden it just stops and there is a barricade there and on the other side is SAND....SAND....SAND!!!! It just ends in a sand dune. All along the way up those 10 miles there were RV's parked alongside the highway.....not parked, but I should say.....camped. Yep.....you can just "boondock" along the side of the highway in your rv........no hookups, no umbilical cords.......just your battery power to use the necessary items in your rv.

We parked along the side of the road and walked across the sand to the Gulf of Mexico. THOUSANDS of sea shells were on and in...the sand!!!! Don't think I have ever seen sooooooo many in one place. Walking along the foamy surf.......we just ambled in the sun, the warm breeze, and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. Sure was nice.........

Back to the truck, we headed back south down the island highway.....and then followed a line of cars/trucks into a beach road. We quickly pulled out our cash and paid at the gate to drive on the beach....$3. Yep.......we took off down the beach along with many other vehicles that were running back and forth along the edge of the surf. At one point it narrowed down between some dunes....very soft sand....and the Gulf. Thought it might get a little dicey there, but made it without any problems.

Returning to the beach entrance, we headed on back down the highway to the commercial area. The mother of a good friend of mine, and former student, had recommended a place to get the "best fried shrimp in Texas" to us......Dirty Al's. And sooooo, we found it quite easily because the cars were parked on both sides of the road there.......soooooooo many customers.

We ordered the large order of shrimp.......and OMG!!!!!!! THEY WERE THE BEST SHRIMP THAT I'VE EVER EATEN!!!!!!! They were HUGE......and we were each brought 10 shrimp.......those 10 must have weighed at least 2 pounds if they weighed an ounce!!!!!! WOW.......such a meal......and accompanied by a couple of Corona's with lime......at least for me. The 1st Lady didn't have anything other than a coke due to her meds for her migraine......which was totally gone by early afternoon.

Sooooo, FIRST........go to South Padre Island....turn right after crossing the bridge, go about a block and watch for Dirty Al's.....where all the cars are parked. When we left the restaurant, there were 89 people in line....waiting for a table!!!!! Does that tell you something???? Yep.....it tells you to rush over there and get in line for some of the best fried shrimp you will ever eat....and at a great price: $8.99!!!!!!!

IF....IF only we had time for another run over to the island for some more shrimp......but time is running out for us here in the Valley......damn it!!! Next year.........!!!!

We returned to TheHowserHouse about 7:00pm as we made a detour through east Harlingen to check out another RV park......but it doesn't "hold a candle" to where we are. Guess we are now very spoiled by the amenties here, as well as the wonderful rv sites that are here in the new section!!!!!!

And so......with a sunburned face.....which will make my skin even worse than it seems to be now in my advancing age.....it has been a great afternoon. Tomorrow is another busy day......we have to go to the weekend Flea Market up the road a few miles from here to get some more little knives like the one we bought when we first arrived here. Then we have a gathering/party of online friends that are on the same forum and are also here in the RGV for the winter. Monday....we have to return to Mexico to pick up some items before we leave......and so it goes........ BUSY....but

Life IS GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!! (RUN to Dirty Al's on South Padre!!)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day 25: A great day to be in the Valley!!!

Cloudy...sunny....warm....cloudy...etc., etc. As I said....it was a great day here four miles from the Mexico border........almost perfect. It certainly made it easier to haul my fat ass out of the horizontal position and get my Fr. Roast coffee dripping........didn't even have to worry about turning on the fireplace!!!

The 1st Lady was up not tooo long after I came downstairs.....and before long, AFTER we each had an entire LARGE grapefruit.....she was off to the Fitness Center here in the Park. It usually takes her about an hour or so to work her way through her program......and the she returned. To show you how nice it was......she went and returned by bicycle.....something she has not been able to do all week because of the ugly, nasty weather.

We had lunch.....and then hurried off to Rec-Veh Park in Alamo, TX......a few miles to the west of here. We joined others that we knew in their Rec Hall for two hours of square dancing.......and each time we seem to get a bit better. And........we know that we will certainly miss this when we return to Misery(MO). Not certain if they have square dancing at the RV Park in Arizona where we will be spending a month very soon. (We leave here on Thursday of next week).

After reading a blog that had been recommended to me by my good friend, Goldie......it set me to thinking, just as it did him. It is written by a 93 year old man......who is very, very "with it" and very literate.......how lucky he is at that age!!! Anyway......

He mentioned a statement his parents/grandparents had said......and strangely enough.....I have oftentimes said the very same thing: When you reach this age(and are still lucid), you still think like a 30 year old person, but your body has gone on and aged and started it's downhill slide to the finish line.

Yep......I still think like a 30 year old guy......perhaps YOU don't think I do.....but to me, I do! I "feel" like a 30+ year old guy.......but, my body is now not that pleasant to look at!!! And......as I look at the senior citizens that are here in the Valley.......somewhere near a quarter of a million of them who flock to this area of Texas each winter......I keep thinking: God.....they look sooooo old....what the hell am I doing here with all of them? HAHA!!!! And it shocks me when I realize that I am older than some of them.......!!! When do I realize that I am just like them???? When I step out of the shower each morning and find myself staring at this sagging hulk, stark naked,(NOT a good visual, is it?)....and thinking to myself.....HOW could this have happened sooooo damn quickly???

And, my younger friends......it DOES happen sooooo damn quickly!!!!! Many of my former students are way into their 40's....and I guess the first ones I had in class are now in their 50's!!! UGH!!! But.......you know.....my mind continues (THANK GOD) to think thoughts that many of you younger people think......... It is strange.......it is complex......it is disturbing.......my mind has become entrapped in this sagging, aging hulk of bones and wrinkling dried-out skin with ugly brown spots all over my hands......YUK!!!

I mistakenly think and believe that I will continue thinking "young".....that I will continue to be able to come and go where ever I desire and whenever I desire.......that I will ALWAYS be able to travel and enjoy all kinds of exotic places and exotic foods. And then.....I look around at others who are only a bit older than I am and they are having all sorts of troubles with their physical body......and their minds are beginning to falter and forget things(and I know I do that, also). Sooooooo........

You know, time is tooooo damn short for all of us as we amble about this earth. And I fully believe that each one of us must take each day and live it to the fullest.......taking all of our "dark red medicine" often and enjoying each dose.......as well as doing the things that we really WANT to do. My God......am I ever ramblin'......just like some other old Farts!!!

And in thinking about all of this..........I realize that I will not be able to do all of the things I want to do before my eyes close for the final time........but I sure as Hell am going to give it my best shot to do them all!!!! And sooooooo, with this semi-morbid discussion......

LIFE IS GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!! Don't wait.....go do the things you want to do NOW!!!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cabbage fields.....full of contrasting colors

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A fantastic place to spend some time!!

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Rio Grande......and the sun disappeared!!!

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Our Border Patrol stopping for lunch.

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The 1st Lady enjoying the Rio Grande and the SUN!!!!

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THAT way.....to the bar!

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