Monday, March 30, 2009

Day 90: Winter in the RGV is now completed.......

I was up around 6:45.....took care of the morning rituals....and soon the 1st Lady was up and we began getting TheHowserHouse ready for a 400 mile trip from Texarkana to F'town. We pulled out of the terrible KOA around 8:45.....and I never looked back!!!

We had parked next to another new Cedar Creek 5th wheel overnight....and this morning I met the fellow as he was unhooking and getting ready to go over to Tunica, MS. We talked "Cedar Creek"....and I strongly urged him to join our Cedar Creek RV Owners Club since he said he is not a member of either Cedar Creek club. He has a couple of tech issues with his unit and so we discussed them....and I then gave him the name of the fellow at the company that could possibly give him some assistance, as he has done for sooooooo many of us. Hopefully, we will meet again........

After stopping just east of Texarkana for refueling at the Flying J Truck Stop.......we were soon on the road, making one other stop for fuel and food during the early afternoon. Right around 5pm, we pulled into Fredericktown, weaved our way through town, up the hill to our neighborhood, and soon were parked in the driveway of our stick and brick. WHAT A DIFFERENCE a few miles can make!!!!! It is sooooo unlike spring here in Misery!!!!!! Yes....perhaps this day is not a good one to make a judgement on, but the farther we drove northward over the past two days......the more depressing it became!!! Guess I will just have to sit inside with my Fr. Roast coffee rather than outside in the warmth and under the palm trees......YUK!!!!

After getting TheHowserHouse parked rather quickly and easily, we began the task of unloading it and carrying the essentials into the stick and brick for this evening. Tomorrow we will tackle it 100%.....and finish getting everything put away, and then I will spend the 1st day of my YEAR 66 cleaning it out and getting it ready for the next journey down the road......in only two months!!!!

A short post.....but, I am a bit tired this evening........who? ME???? Yep.....this sagging hulk of me finds myself ready to hit the bed....hmmmm,....a different bed after three months.....and see what it feels like. Lots to carry inside tomorrow.........I DID carry in the liquor which we purchased in Mexico at such CHEAP prices.....and OMG....OMG...I didn't realize we had purchased sooooooooooo many bottles.....haha!!! I almost feel guilty about it.......well,.....not really!!! I think we have close to 20 bottles of booze.....WOW....PARTY TIME!!!!!

And sooooo, as always.....even when back in the state of Misery.........

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day 89: A quick post....A very crappy wifi.....don't overnight here!!!

I was up and going through the morning rituals by 6:45 this morning......and the 1st Lady was up soon after I finished. As soon as I came downstairs and turned on the coffee maker, I began to store, stash, and push back the various loose pieces of furniture, tables, lamps, etc., etc. to prepare the den and dining/kitchen for those three slides to be rolled in when we had everthing else ready to roll......

Outside I went....and began dumping the holding tanks, checking the tire pressures on all 8 tires, and then using my air compressor to add a few pounds of air in all 8 tires. Then it was time to unhook the cable tv....and then I returned inside to get some coffee, some breakfast, and finish up the bedroom for bringing in that slide, also.

By 8:45, we were on the I-37 and heading around the east side of San Antonio. A refueling stop about an hour south of Dallas, and a few miles later, we made a stop at a rest area for a quick bite of lunch and a break from the driving with 14,000 pounds of weight right behind the truck, rolling along at 65-68 mph. While this may seem a bit fast for towing this monster, this IS the speed at which I get the best gas mileage and so, when I can...this is what I drive.

The traffic became heavier as we pushed around the beltway to the south and east of Dallas....and soon we were heading east, northeast towards Texarkana,TX/AR....the state line divides this town......and by 4:45 we had covered 458 miles in 8 hours total.

About 100 miles west of Texarkana, I drove by a 5th wheel on the shoulder with a man and woman working at the rear of the RV....and I thought they must have a flat tire. I was going to fast to pull in and assist as I didn't see them until the last moment. Sooooo, feeling badly I kept driving eastward.

WELL......upon going into the office at the KOA, discussed below, I began talking with this fellow who was purchasing a sewer hose and attached end which fits on the sewer dump pipe under the rv. He was really upset.....and then he told me that he had NEW 5er and driving towards Texarkana, someone passed him and motioned for him...frantically....to pull over to the side. It seems his bumper at the rear, which had a bicycle rack with two bikes on it, HAD BROKEN OFF....THE ENTIRE REAR BUMPER!!!!!!.....and, he was dragging the bikes and bumper down the interstate bouncing and dragging, ruining everything!!!!!!!!!!!! Boy, was he upset, as I would have been, also!!!!! Both bikes were in the $500 range for each of them, as well as the damn bumper which had just completly broken off!!!!!!!! I am familiar with the company that makes the rv that he had just purchased........and it is NOT a reputable company!!!!! Really felt sorry for him!!!!!

I had made reservations at the KOA in Texarkana as we had stayed here on the way down to the RGV and also, last year when we went down to the valley. And......this time did it for me!!!! This place continues to slide downhill in quality and services......the sites are NOT level...not front-to-back, nor side to side.......as they have large humps of asphalt in various places in the sites...looks like frost heaves in each site. But, just as bad.......the place is being taken over by temporary permanents........transient workers with construction jobs who do not keep their sites tidy, but laden down with all sorts of things that are necessary for their jobs and for living inside and outside........making the park very, very junky!!!!!!! AND.....the wifie is just plain SHITTY!!!!!! Took me over an hour just to get on to the local wifi....and then it will not remain steady....and will kick me off frequently!!!!! I may, or I may not, get this posted....it may become lost in cybespace!!!!

Sooooo, I URGE any rver's to boycott this Texarkana KOA if at all possible. I have decided that the next time we have to stay here.....I will try out another rv park which means driving 5 miles away from the I-30, but it appears it might be better than this KOA.......notice I said "appears". Have to try it out first.....eh???? Just stay away from this place.....ok??????????

And soooooo, I will now attempt to post these negative rambling thoughts. We should be home by late afternoon....after the school buses have made their runs, I HOPE!!!! It is only 400 miles from here on to F'town....through Little Rock and then up to Poplar Bluff on 67.

You know......even with this SHITTY KOA......I still feel that.......

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day 88: Beautiful day; Kicked back and just did nothing......

WOW.....it was cold this morning when I drug my sagging hulk downstairs.....turned on the furnace, turned on the fireplace, and then turned on the coffee maker which was ready with the freshly ground French Roast beans. Soon, it was warming up inside, the fireplace was cheery, and the mug of hot coffee was just what I needed to get the day started.

The 1st Lady came downstairs about 8:30.....and after our individual breakfasts, we discussed going into San Antonio, but elected to just relax, enjoy the day, and await the Mizzou game this afternoon. Quite frankly, I am not sure just where the morning disappeared to.....hmmmmm.....still can't be certain....haha!!!! I did spend a short bit of time checking out the basement to make certain everything was arranged so it wouldn't shift during our travels tomorrow......but outside of that.......it was soon afternoon....somehow!

This afternoon I did make a run a few miles up the interstate to the H.E.B. supermarket.......about the only brand of supermarkets that I have seen in Texas. Needed a few items for dinner tonight.......but, this didn't take very long and I was soon back in this RV park. The remainder of the afternoon was involved in watching the Mizzou BB game.....and I thought they were ok.....but they sure missed a hell of a lot of free throws....enough to have won the game had they been successful with them!

Dinner was Italian.....and it was really great!!!!! Afterwards, I got the truck checked out, except for the tire pressure which I will do in the morning as it will be cold again tonight. Will also check the tire pressure in all four RV tires in the morning.......

Tomorrow we are off to Texarkana, TX.....about 450 miles from here. This is usually more miles than I like to drive and tow in one day, but it is about halfway to F'town and so that is our usual stop going down to the RGV and returning to Misery. I went ahead and made reservations with the not-so-good KOA there, as there just are not many suitable rv parks there, especially with this big rig that I have. The good thing about travling on Sunday through this area is the fact that the interstate goes right through the heart of Austin and the traffic will not be quite as bad on a Sunday as on any other day of the week.

And sooooooo, another day has slipped quickly away..........but, as always for me........

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day 87: BEAUTIFUL.....and a stunning day San Antonio!!

Cloudy...again, when I hauled my sagging ass out of the bed and quietly went downstairs to start the Fr. Roast coffee making process. It really wasn't chilly inside.....and so, before long I heard the 1st Lady was up and stirring around the bedroom. Before long she was downstairs and making her tea.....while I went up stairs and took care of my morning rituals.

It wasn't long before the sun broke through the clouds.....and be mid-morning the sky was perfectly clear, bright, and the sun began to make it quite a bit warmer outside. OK......we soon decided to carry through with our plans.......to return to the city center and visit a few more of the places that were our "to do" list while we are here.

First off, though......I went to the office and extended our stay for one more day due to the predicted weather for the highways/roads we would be driving on this weekend. Sooooo, now we will be leaving on Sunday morning for Missouri/Misery. The people in the office here are soooo kind and very friendly......and even though this place has been almost completely full each night we have been here...since Monday afternoon......they always have no problems with us extending our reservations. And, we have done that twice now!

By 11am.....the 1st Lady and I were downtown.......and soon we were parked easily in a private parking lot for $5.00 for the ENTIRE DAY! Yep......some easy parking here in the city center....and very reasonable!!!

With soooooo many great places to see and enjoy in the city center of San Antonio, we were soon at La Villita.....an area above the Riverwalk where there is a collection of small houses/building there that house exhibits and sales of all kinds of gorgeous art works, pottery, clothing, .....sooooo much to see, to purchase, to just enjoy looking at with the glorious colors and textures and designs. This is a MUST see when here in San Antonio!!!!

Then we walked up to the Alamo Plaza and visited the Menger Hotel to see the beautiful stained glass ceiling inside the hotel lobby area. Well worth the little walk to the Hotel just to stand and enjoy the amazing colors in this glass ceiling. From there, we over to the Alamo and made a short visit inside.......we have both been there before and so since it doesn't really change, it is just nice to refresh our memories of this almost-sacred place here in the heart of the city.

Afterwards, we descended to the Riverwalk and ambled along the sidewalks on both sides, going across the beautiful arched, narrow bridges to get to the other side of the river. After a while, we decided to stop and get a late lunch instead of waiting for later to have dinner there. OMG....there is soooooo much to see, so smell, to experience when just taking your time along this gorgeous Riverwalk!!!!! It is just really enjoyable to sit along the side of the river and simply observe the people walking alongside as they hurry along to get to where they need to go.

We stopped at a small Italian restaurant.....Paesano's, I believe is the spelling.....and decided to sit at a little table right beside the river where we watch the boats slowing going along the canal as they take the people around to see the sights along the river. Soooooo relaxing just sitting there in the beautiful weather with the water flowing by, the breezes blowing the incredible landscaping plants, trees, and flowers, and the aromas of some delightful Italian pasta dishes being sat on the nearby tables.

Time to order......and I requested the fried chicken breast on a bed of linguine and fresh spinach leaves and covered with capers in a lemon-butter sauce. OH YEAH!!!!!! This was GREAT!!!!!!!! One of the best meals I have had in the past three months..........the pasta was prepared so carefully, being served al dente.......just the way I really like it! The 1st Lady had three very thick, large shrimp beside a large portion of linguine which was covered by a lemon-garlic sauce......and she said it was just wondereful. The only drawback to this late lunch was the bread which was served with an olive oil based dipping sauce there at the table........it was wayyyy tooooo dry and practically tasteless.......a big disappointment for both of us. However.....the main entrees couldn't have been any better than they were........soooooo delicious!!!! Give it a try when you are in San Antonio!!!!

From there we walked west to see the Spanish Governor's House......one of the oldest buildings in San Antonio. Each of the rooms were decorated with period furniture of the Spanish era of Texas.......and it was all really a delight to see this place!!!! Cheap enough....$3 for the two of us seniors......and again, something to not miss when here.

Not far away from there is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the United States......and once again, an enjoyable visual experience as we walked around the inside of this still working cathedral. A little museum with some good charts and pictures of the really interesting history of this building. And......again, it is cheap enough to visit: Free!

We returned to the Riverwalk a couple of blocks from there and decided to return to the RV Park, so we ambled along the sidewalks beside the river.......and enjoyed each little turn and the many wonderul shops and cafes alongside.

Returning to the RV Park......only 15 minutes from driving out of the parking lot to driving into the RV Park.......we were soon inside TheHowserHouse. A knock on the door from one of our new friends in the motorhome next door....and we were quickly enjoying Happy Hour with our new friends from each side of us. A fun filled hour......and then it was back to our RV for the rest of the evening.

It has turned colder here.....with the north winds blowing quite strongly. Supposed to be down in the low 40's/upper 30's here tonight......QUITE a change once again. Tomrrow we have no certain plans....just see what develops.....and that is part of the beauty of this retired lifestyle of living in your home-on-wheels which can stay or travel to any desired location, enjoy the sights and sounds and cuisine, and also meet such incredible people along the way who are always willing to sit and chat, where you can always learn soooo much from them. THIS IS THE LIFE!!!!

And having said that........as always with this sagging hulk of me.......

LIFE IS JUST INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 86: Stormy morning......and....GO MIZZOU!!!!!

After coming downstairs quietly this morning......another look outside and I saw that it was very dark, very cloudy, and not a cheerful looking day arriving. Soon the 1st Lady was up....and not too long later, she was downstairs and I then completed my morning rituals.....and after a quick cup of Fr Roast coffee, I went to the office and extended our stay until Sat morning.

And then......we began to see on the tellie local city news that major.....MAJOR...storms were approaching the San Antonio area. And so began the new few hours of watching the weather here on the tv....and by noon, it appeared that HUGE storms would be rolling across the south part of S.A......which is where TheHowserHouse is currently sitting. We began to talk about things we could do......I called the office to see if they had storm shelters anywhere on the grounds....HA!!!! Of course they didn't!!!

As the dark purple areas of the storms began to head directly for us, but about 30 miles away still we moved things around inside so that we could pull in the slides if it really became bad.....and the weather report was that the shear winds were at that time.....100mph!!!! Soooo, i turned on the walkie-talkie emergency weather and listened to that.....and they said that the hail in the approaching storm was between softball and grapefruit size......GOOD GOD!!!!!! No structure can go through something like that without massive damages......and so, I began to sweat it out......turned on the computer and watched the progression of the storms on the radar....and then as it was just a few miles from us, the storm turned more to a direct eastward movement.....and then...it missed us!!!!!! WHEW!!!!!! We were both soooo relieved.....and all we got was some rain, a bit of wind, and no hail at all!!!!!!

An hour or so later.....after some more rain.....the sun began to peek through the clouds.....and then the bright blue and very clear sky emerged. Before long I was outside and the motorhome that had pulled in beside us just before the storm began to approach had to change to get to the water hookup....and then the guy and I introduced ourselves. They, too, were from Missouri.....Nixa, to be specific.

A bit later.......and we all gathered outside for a very good Happy Hour, including the couple on the other side of us from the Houston, TX area. We sat outside with appetizers and drinks for a couple of hours.....and then we took our leave to have dinner before the American Idol and the Mizzou game.

During the intervening time, I checked on the weather for Missouri only to see that our arrival plans might not work.......depending on the projected snow storm for the weekend. Soooooo, we began to rethink our departure plans from here.............time will tell.

THE game!!!!! A great game by Mizzou, but sure wish they wouldn't let the score get sooooooo damn close in the final minutes of the game(s)!!!!!! And, with their next game on Sat., another reason to remain here in south Texas for another day or two......eh????

OK......a rather nerve wracking morning and early afternoon.........followed by a rather nerve wracking evening during the last minutes of the Mizzou game.......however, with the results of each tension filled minutes.........as always,........

LIFE IS CERTAINLY REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

(Still not able to get my pictures off of my camera and onto Picasa on the 1st Lady's computer!!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 85: Just kicked back and enjoyed a relaxing day......

Another morning of darkness.....i.e. thick gray clouds. Same as yesterday, I crept quietly downstairs to find the repeat of yesterday.......a dreary day, only this time it had rained briefly and things outside were quite wet. Morning rituals completed.....I enjoyed a couple of cups of Fr. Roast coffee.....and then the 1st Lady made some muffins this morning for our mid-morning breakfast.



By this time.....it was STILL cloudy with light moisture falling silently all around us....enough to make it dreary and gray!!! Sooooo, we decided to go into town after lunch.......to visit the SAS Shoe Factory. The 1st Lady spent the remainder of the morning preparing some billing statements that needed to be mailed for our son-in-law's business accounts......a task she does several times each week.

Driving into town was a breeze as Garmin did an super job of getting us to the correct address without a hitch!!! Pulling into the parking lot we were a bit taken back as it looked sort of like a movie set......old paint-peeling buildings with antique cars sitting around, a tourist trap looking place. Well, upon entering we were taken back by the various areas of this shoe store.....from candy sales to various canned foods, to more antique cars......and then we saw that there was to be a tour of the shoe factory at 2pm. Checking at the check-out counter, we signed up for the free tour and then began to wander around the large store.

Tons and tons of their shoes were for sale......and with shoe sales clerks that actually measured your feet.....something that reverts back several decades when shopping for shoes. Many people were inside..........and all of a sudden I realized that SAS Shoes stands for San Antonio Shoes.......hahhaa!!!! All of the many years that I have seen these shoe shops I thought they were some European brand!!!!!! Wow......how I could not have know that?????!!!!!

Soooo, along with several othe people, we boarded a small van and before long were at the 1st Factory. We visited that factory and the 2nd Factory......all of which have many, many people working for them, making the shoes from the very beginning by cutting out the leather for the style of shoe that is being made.......and then we progressed through each of the various stages of putting/sewing/molding the shoes into an article to be sold. They also were making ladies purses from leathers of different colors and textures. I found this hour long tour quite fascinating.........and amazed that here in this high-tech age, there are still shoe factories here in the states that is not robotized, but that humans actually are making these shoes by hand!!!!

Now...having said that, these shoes being made are 90% for women........they are EXPENSIVE!!!!!!! And, the shoes for men are about 5 or 6 styles....and mainly would be worn by OLD men......those guys who are 60 years old or more.......whoever those kind of men are??!!! And, they are also expensive!!! Oh well..........times are changing and so are prices, aren't they???

It was as I said......a GREAT tour.....and I learned soooo much!!!!! We spent about an hour in the store after the tour....and, of course, the 1st Lady bought a really cute pair of leather sandals.......for only $68 ......a REAL bargain!!!! As I call her the 1st Lady......I am beginning to believe that I can also refer to her as 1st Lady Marcos.......in honor of the wife of the former President of the Philippines who had 3000 pairs of shoes!!!!! MY 1st Lady must be about to catch up with her........may have to get a larger truck with more guts inside it in order to get TheHowserHouse with all of the shoes in it back to Missouri!!!!

We did a bit more shopping afterwards,....again thanks to Garmin!!!! Went to Sam's for a few things and then to Best Buy to check on an external memory for the computer.....and we did buy one of them today.

We grabbed a couple of Whattaburgers.......our first time to stop at one of those fast food places here in Texas. Took them home.....and quite frankly, they were really quite good and tasty!!!! Might have to have another one someday!!!

American Idol???? Well, the blond with the tattoo and the heavy set guy should be voted off without a doubt!!!! Not sure of their names as this is the first time I have caught this show since they were just arriving in Hollywood.....so I am not familiar with them, but they were really not good at all!!!!! All the time the tattoo blond was singing I just kept seeing a visual of her when she reaches her 60's and all of that tattoo flapping around as her loose skin sags from her bony arm.......NOT a pretty visual!!!!! HAHAHA........after all I am the one who has the sagging skin/chin(s).......right M Goldsmith?????????? (Facebook???) HAHA!!!!

Speaking of Facebook.......I am finding myself not checking it nearly as frequently as I did previously due to their change of format/structure and I really do dislike it!!!!! Oh well.......guess all things change, but why try to "fix" something when it was not broken???? Hey.....guess I am just getting old(er)....right.....oops!!! The calendar says I am getting older in a few days.....SHIT!!!

Ok....think I have talked the 1st Lady Marcos into staying here until Sat morning. Nothing in concrete yet....as she will always change her mind.......a woman's perogative, isn't it? But.....we are discussing it a bit now......

And so...even though the sun came out for a few short hours late today.....it was not a good weather day here in San Antonio. Hopefully tomorrow will be bright and sunny as I do want to visit La Villita....a small artsy shopping area along the Riverwalk....and a place I really enjoyed a couple of years ago when I was here last.

As always, even with gray weather.........it is still a certainty that........

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 84: Digital Tech Hell......but, a wonderful day in San Antonio!

WHAT a cloudy morning I awakend to this morning!!!! I thought it was very early in the morning.....but, I pulled my horizontal sagging hulk of Me into a somewhat walking position...and slipped downstairs, closing the sliding door to the bedroom as I did so. Well, after opening the blinds in the kitchen, I realized that it WAS morning and was just really dark and cloudy. After the morning rituals were completed later.....the 1st Lady wanted to "sleep in" for a bit.......I was having my second cup of Fr. Roast when I realized that it was beginning to mist....and then mist began to sound on the roof, so it was becoming raindrops......ugh!!!! Sooooo.........we delayed making any plans for the day, but not only because of the rain......

The 1st Lady was not feeling herself this morning......she got up, acted a bit tired, but then complained that she felt as if the symptoms of a migraine were there.....and so, I urged her to take one of her precious little pills which usually prevents one of those terrible headaches from going full blast. She laid down for an hour or so......the rains were just dribbling around......and then she said that some numbness was setting in......not a good sign for her. However.......by noon, she was feeling better and insisted that we just take it easy today....just the two of us without others, since she might want to come back to TheHowserHouse at any moment. Soooo, she suggested that.........

We should try to do a couple of the missions here in San Antonio. That way....we could go at a quiet, leisurely pace on our own...... Sooooo, even though I had wanted to contact a couple of our friends from the Cedar Creek Club who now live here, having previously lived in STL, she thought it best to hold off for awhile...as she might get to feeling better. Before long, dashed to the truck.....and with wiper blades going madly, we drove up I-37 for a few miles before we exited, thanks to Garmin, and arrived at the Visitor Center for the San Antonio Missions National Park.

We were there for about 45 minutes......browsing and then viewing a movie which was absolutely wonderful....about the history of the missions here in Texas, as well as some early history of Texas. It was sooooo well done.....so, please do not miss it if you are going to visit the Missions here in S.A.!!!! Mission San Jose is located here at the Visitor Center.....and we spent a long time visiting this mission. Amazing how this became a community, a learning center, and also a way of converting the Indians to the Catholic religion. I really didn't know too much about the Missions until today........and I certainly want to read more about the Spaniards and the establishment of these missions.

From there, she was still feeling ok....so we followed the Mission Road up to Mission Concepcion. Here we took a guided tour which lasted about an hour.....and even though the National Park Ranger gave the tour, it was a bit on the slow and boring side.......not well done, even though he knew his material.....he just had no personality with which to make the entire tour interesting and thought-provoking. Here in this Mission, they have discovered many small pieces of painted frescoes under the current plaster that covers the walls and ceilings.....and so work is under way to remove the plaster and expose what frescoes remain there. I always find this type of art work really interesting by the technique of the fresco work.......just as Michelangelo did in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome. I have viewed this Sistine Chapel many times...and each time I have been there I just walk away in awe of this man's incredible talent!!! But......after digressing.......what has been exposed today is quite elementary in comparison....quite obvious even to the untrained eyes of even me!!!!!

From there, with her still feeling ok......it was appearing the little pill was working and doing it's job......we decided to visit the El Mercado a bit west of the Riverwalk area. We spent a couple of slow hours just ambling through these shops, purchasing nothing except some water, as these prices were waaaaayyyyy higher than prices for the same items which we saw/purchased in Mexico, just across the border. By 5pm.....we decided to stop for some appetizers......and something to drink....and just rest a bit.

We found ourselves at La Margarita......and enjoyed a great plate of many appetizers, including grilled shrimp, oysters on the half-shell covered in melted cheese, sausage which had been grilled, tortillas with chicken breast and cilantro in a wrap, quesadillos(sp?) with melted cheeses inside, and many other different Mexican appetizers.......a GREAT, GREAT buy for $15.00!!!!! I had a Margarita....and it was great....AND strong!!!! We ate outside on the covered patio, enjoying watching the people slowly walk by......looking back at us.....haha!! I LOVE to sit and watch people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We then slowly ambled to the Riverwalk where we stood on a bridge and watched the boats float under us on the river/canal.....some with everyone sitting at a long table running down the middle of the boat where the passengers were eating and drinking as they floated down the river. This is such an incredible place.........I just LOVE the Riverwalk!!!!!!!! While it cannot compare to the canals of Venice as you float through them in a Gondola with an Venician singing as you go through the canals during the evenings........the Riverwalk has an ambience all it's own.....and it is a place that everyone should take their time and experience....often!!!!!!!!!

Returning to TheHowserHouse, the 1st Lady laid down for awhile.........as I attempted to download my pictures which I took today, onto her computer(mine is still dead for all practical purposes). Well, it showed about three pictures had downloaded and then it just stopped!! I stopped the transfer.......and then attempted to look at the pictures just on my camera.....and it is the camera that is the problem!!!!!! It is taking the pics and storing them, but to retrieve them is the problem. Soooooooo, I will continue to take them, but cannot get them loaded onto a pc....and so cannot put them on the blog......DAMN IT!!!!! Time to get a new camera....AND...computer??????? Hmmmmm..............(should I get a job??).

The migraine never materialized......that is something to be thankful for...eh??? But......she is a bit worn out, which is never the case normally, so I am glad we took it easy and at our own slow pace today, for her sake!! Tomorrow????? Well, the weather is to become severe by afternoon, so not sure what our plans are as of now.......we'll wait until the morning to decide. And.....suppose I should check at the office for any recommended shelter around here.....just in case.......an RV is NOT the place to try to ride out a severe storm with high winds, etc., etc.

And so.......a wonderful, but slow-paced day....minus the camera problems! However, there could be soooo many worse things that could have occurred, so.....as always......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 83: "On the road again".........

Ahhh......it was that time again.......the time to get my sagging hulk out of bed early, take care of the morning rituals, and then began to make the final preparations for the departure of TheHowserHouse for the north........DAMN!!!! But, I did do it........and after difficult "good-byes" with Ron and Linda.....and, Doug and Diane......we pulled out of Llano Grande RV Resort about 3 minutes after 9am this morning.

We made one quick stop just north of McAllen when we both heard this very loud noise....and not having the slightest idea as to what it was, I pulled over, walked around the rig twice as I checked everything I could see and under the rig, also.....and then seeing nothing different, I pulled back onto the highway, and off we went. We arrived at Lake Braunig RV Park about 8 miles south of the city center of San Antonio about 1:15pm......just a wee bit more than 4 hours for the 240+ miles.

Our site is adequate......a bit tight with our neighbors, but I am used to Llano Grande and that is a real spoiler after being there for three months. After a brief rest, we went into S A and met a high school classmate of mine and her husband....Carolyn Jackson Steel and David Steel at a different type of place for drinks and dinner: "Dick's"!!!! Yep.....if you have never been to one of these chain places.........drop all of your modesty and go for just one time....you might enjoy it.....(maybe). It was fun, LOUD, and very good food........not cheap like the RGV, but not over priced, either, for a city center restaurant.

After dinner the four of us parted and the 1st Lady and I spent the next hour walking the Riverwalk, enjoying the beautiful lighting, landscaping, wonderful people, the boats carrying people up and down the river, and just the incredible atmosphere that resembles a more modern and updated Spanish-type Venice!!! We both loved the evening and it is just a super place to spend some time doing whatever you might enjoy: shopping, dining, having a few drinks, people watching, soaking in the ambience!!!! I really believe I could live in this little city........sooooo easy to get around in, to get in and out of the city center, and everyone seems sooooo friendly.

I'm certain we will be back there often over the next few days........as this was just a quick appetizer. My biggest disappointment is that my camera decided to do it's own thing, as all tech items seem to be able to do at the most wonderful times......when you least expect them to do it!!!! Anyway......it appears all of my pictures since the 1st of the month were erased off of the card...and I was not certain until arriving back at TheHowserHouse that they were actually gone, so I did not format the card, as the camera asked me to do tonight. But....they are not on the camera.....however, I did have them all downloaded onto the 1st Lady's computer (except for yesterday's pictures) which I am using since my wifi refused to work after being a repository for my little mouth gagging episode last month (TMI???).

Tonight it is quite warm, humid, and VERY, VERY WINDY here just outside of San Antonio!!!!! The rv park is quiet.....and that is good. And sooooo, not knowing exactly what plans will develop for tomorrow (weather forecast is calling for rain)........I will just say that my cold is somewhat better, just a hacking cough.....but, that is not a problem(yet).....and so, as always after such a day and evening as this...........

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY SUPER!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 82: Beautiful day, but I've being attacked with the onset of a bad cold!!

This morning.....after my morning rituals......we had a great brunch over at Doug and Diane's site, along with Ron and Linda. Doug baked some incredible Cinnamon Rolls , the 1st Lady baked a loaf of Banana Nut Bread, and their were various fruit dishes, as well as my French Roast coffee and hot tea. This was a great way to begin the last day here at Llano Grande RV Resort, as we depart tomorrow morning for San Antonio!!!!!!! Everything was sooooooo delicious....and we had such a great time!!!

We ended the morning by all of us playing Bocce Ball....a new game to me, but one that I have seen played all over Europe during my trips over there. The 1st Lady and I LOVED it....and plan to purchase the necessary balls, etc. for the game!! Oh yeah.....we guys won the championship game!!!!!

Afterwards.....I began feeling a bit heavy in the head and chest....and as the day has gone by, it is becoming more unpleasant......I'm coughing more and more.....and with my regular meds that take daily, I cannot take any antihistimines(sp?), so I will just have to tough it out, I suppose.

I made a quick trip to the market and returned with only three bell peppers and four grapefruit.
Everything really looked ugly......not fresh, and there just wasn't that much there to select from. Sooooo, that ends our fresh fruit/veggie marketing for this winter.....

Another quick stop on the return to the resort was the needed diesel refueling of the truck. The winds are supposed to be really, really strong.....upwards of 35-40 mph from the sse....so perhaps....PERHAPS it will push us along northward!!??????

The rest of the afternoon was spent in making all of the outside preps for a travel day. Much still was left to break down and store, put the bicycles into the truck bed, all chairs and tables away, holding tanks dumped, etc., etc. I also checked out at the office, paid the electric bill, and then returned the modem, mailbox key, key cards, etc., etc.

We watched the Mizzou-Marquette BB game and enjoyed it......but I do not like such cliff hangers as the last half of this provided the viewers!!!!! However....we won!

Doug and Janet came over to say their farewells........and we spent an hour visiting before they left.......sure will miss them!!!!! We feel it will be a year before our paths cross again, as our plans go at this point in time. We will all be in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada area for the International Rally of the CCRVOC in June of 2010....and will spend some time with them there!!

Doug and Diane wanted us to play cards....but I am really feeling poorly and have been for about four hours, so we declined for tonight. I am going to cut this short to hit the bed.....NOW! No pictures will be posted tonight........takes too long and my body is crying out with this vicious attack of this head and chest cold. I head cold always slips to my chest/lungs, as over my Life I have had pneumonia three times.....and I guess my lungs are a bit weak from those illnesses.....one which was double pneumonia. Soooo, if is off to bed right now..........

Even with feeling not soooo good, I do know that without any doubt..........

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!
(Hopefully the wifi will work at the rv park in San Antonio!!!)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

At the bottom of this page.....go to the March Archives to locate the rest of the day!!!!!!

Just a GREAT place to enjoy an afternoon beside the Rio Grande River!!!!

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A few snacks to go with the pitchers of Margaritas!!!!


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Doug/Diane dancing the afternoon away........as Diane celebrates her 65th birthday!!!!!


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Ron and Linda always enjoy dancing....

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Pepe's On the River!!!

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Enjoying the dancing on the border!!

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Rio Grande River......a beautiful border with Mexico!!!!


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Only Doug was not in the picture as we stood beside the Rio Grande River border!

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A water fowl who was turned away from the USA because he didn't have his Passport!!!!!

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Three sexy seniors who are great friends enjoying the fun on the border!

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Having fun on the Rio Grande River border with Mexico!


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John and Laverne next to our table at Mingo's!!


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Friday!!!

Linda arrives with a wonderful surprise!!


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Always wonderful appetizers to taste and enjoy....

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Wonderful warm and juicy Lamb Chops

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Great conversations during Happy Hour!


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Diane listening to a great story as she enjoys her vino....

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Day 80 & 81: Two more beautiful and exciting days in the RGV!!!!!

Hmmmmm.......could I possibly be getting old(er) and therefore it becomes difficult to stay up at night to write my little words of information to all of you????? It would certainly seem like it lately......as I believe this is the second time in less than a week that I have waited and rolled two days into one blog post. THIS I do NOT like!!!! And why, you might ask?? Well.....because with my damn short term memory problems, I can barely remember what occurred the day before so it makes it twice as difficult to write on the second evening, like RIGHT NOW!!!!

Sooooo, yesterday: The morning rituals completed fairly early, the 1st Lady and I dashed up the RGV to Pharr....and went square dancing for two hours. The entire morning was great fun.....and we said many, many "good-byes" to our special friends that we have known for up to two years for many of them. With the close relationships we have developed with our friends here, it is really difficult to part at the end of this winter season down here..........and in some cases, tears were shed as we said "hasta la vista" to them!!!

Returning to the resort, we then did a few things around the rv......in preparation for our departure on Monday morning. The 1st Lady did some laundry.......and then before we realized it, it was time for Happy Hour over at Doug and Diane's motorhome. Ron and Linda, our full-time rver friends from......from wherever they are at the time and that is HERE right now....
also joined us......and with some great wine, some incredible appetizers, and our close friends, we enjoyed our togetherness and laughs and discussions until the sun was setting in the west.

The evening then passed very quickly.......and soon I had fallen asleep on the sofa as I was watching the tellie. Later, I awoke.....and stumbled upstairs to bed, as the 1st Lady had already turned in for the night and was fast asleep with her book laying on her chin.....haha!!!

TODAY:.......French Roast coffee I served myself about 7:30.......carefully trying to be quiet so as to not wake her....and then at 8am, I told here the time....and soon I heard the shower running upstairs. Later after my morning rituals were completed.......she left for the Don-Wes Market and was gone about an hour. I cleaned inside TheHowserHouse, straightening up some things and doing the carpets with the sweeper......and within an hour she had returned.

As today is Diane's birthday, she had purchased one of those neat little "popcorn" tops for her ......this being her 65th birthday, a special day...even for a Canadian!!! Soon, it was time to leave with them and Ron/Linda for Pepe's on the River. We had not been out there this year......where in the hell DOES the time go?? It took about 40 minutes to get out there.......and.......

Pepe's is a great out-door watering hole, very popular with the Winter Texans as well as the locals. Under this huge thatched room are tons of chairs and tables, as well as a great dance floor with a stage for the live music which seems to always be happening there! Country Western music is the only type of music that I have heard performed there......and some of is good, and some of it is not so good.......about the same any where, right????? Today's music was just average!

The neat thing about this watering hole is that it is RIGHT on the bank of the Rio Grande River....literally!!!!!!!! You can sit anywhere in the place and watch the river flowing by, as well as the boats moving up and down the river.......which is about 75 yards wide at this point. Also, today there were a couple of personal watercraft....Skidoo's as they used to be called.....playing out on the river with great bursts of speed. Several boats waved and shouted out requests for the musician to play......and, sometimes there are even the Border Patrol boats that stop at Pepe's for lunch or snacks, but there weren't any there today. It is just a marvelous spot to spend an afternoon/early evening as the snack foods are a wee bit better than average.....a wee bit......but it is the sight of Mexico across the river that jolts you often as you realize that this is the country that is in the news sooooooooo much these days......either because of the illegal immigrants attempting to cross this very pretty river, or because of the drug cartel that is beginning to disrupt the Mexican government with their continuous murders of Mexican nationals.

Looking across the river, it is sooooo peaceful.......a small rv park on the other side of the river from Pepe's, as well as agricultural land. I often think of this area along the border....along the Rio Grande River......as the merging point for the American culture and the Mexican/Hispanic culture. It is sooooooo "in your face" as you drive through the RGV with not only the "Olive Gardens", the WalMart's, and other American businesses, but also the mom and pop cafes, the mechanical repair shops, and just the rather "run-down" places that reflect the Mexican culture. And then you see these beautiful Hispanic people, whether they be Mexican or American, trying to raise their really cute little children...their families extended with the grandparents often living with them in their homes......and you realize that this IS America......!!!!! At any point close to a border of our country you will find various cultures melding and merging with our own various American culture.........and this.....THIS is what makes America such an incredible country, an amazing place to live!!!!!! As you travel in the upper northeast part of the states, you see signs in French close to where the USA joins with Quebec, Canada. In California, you see the Asian influences everywhere.....sooooo merged with the Hispanics and other cultures/races that you realize this IS the way it should be......everywhere.

And then you have..................THE WALL. Today we drove on top of the levee as always, but NOW it is much higher, and I feel certain that it is for the infamous WALL to be erected upon......THE WALL to try to stop the illegal flow of Hispanics from pouring into our country. And, YES.....something MUST be done about this, however.......a WALL is not the answer!!! It was not the answer in Berlin, it was not the answer in France with the Maginot Line, it was not the answer in China.......a WALL is not the answer for any country to use to keep others from entering! But.....I am digressing from what I was writing...........

After a great afternoon, we rode around a bit farther to the west to see a couple of great little RV parks, but which are quite as far west from the center of the RGV as we are on the east side of the RGV.

Returning to the east, we drove to Mercedes and decided to eat once more at Mingo's Restuarant. Welllllllll..........walking inside the six of us were being seated when all of a sudden we saw our Cedar Creek RV Owners Club friends, John and Laverne (Kansas) were eating there!!!!!!
WHAT A GREAT SURPRISE!!!!!!!! They had eaten there when we had our RVG CCRVOC Breakfast last month....and I believe that may have been the last time we saw them. We had many laughs as Laverne said they were just following my suggestions from this blog about where to eat and where to go.....hahaa!!! Ahhhhh, the power of the press/blogs!!!!!!! HAHHA!! They have recently been to Elsa's in Nuevo Progreso, MX, after reading about our good times there, as well as they wanted to know just where they could purchase that great bottle of Creme de Tequila...."1921". Soooo, we told them as best as we could where we had purchased it.....as none of us have ever seen it in the states.........need a small glass of that RIGHT NOW!!!!!! We will see John and Laverne in mid-June in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at the International Cedar Creek RV Owners Club Rally!!!!!!

Our dinner was good, but we were all a bit tired after three pitchers of Margaritas at out Pepe's on the River. OHHHHH, be sure you give that watering hole on the Rio Grande River a try some afternoon!!!!!!!!!!

Returning to the resort, we parted for the evening.....and the six of us have plans for a mid-morning breakfast tomorrow as Doug will be making some cinnamon rolls for everyone...and I will bring the French Roast Coffee. Sounds great already......and I even feel like a stuffed Armadillo right now!

Sooooooo, to no one's great surprise...these two days have been sooooo fun and it is just really difficult to think about leaving here on Monday morning. Hmmmmm..........however, as always........

LIFE IS JUST ABOUT AS GREAT AS POSSIBLE!!!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Check out the size of this LOADED BAKED POTATO in comparison with the hand!!!

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Some GREAT food here at Willie's!!!!!!


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After a HUGE lunch....hmmmm: where are Linda and the 1st Lady????

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Ron and Linda.....and their new bikes!!!! BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

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