Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Winter? In the Rio Grande Valley

At Victoria Palms RV Resort, Donna, Texas...

On our way to the Valley, we stopped over for a couple of days at a nice park near Aransas Pass and Rockport. We made the short drive into Corpus Christi for Sandy to do a little shopping, after which we dined at Doc's, a seafood joint overlooking the causeway. The food was pretty good, but watching the sunset while dining al fresco was a real treat. I do love sunsets and the opportunities for good photos during the short time it takes the sun to sink below the horizon. Such was the case when we exited the restaurant and went walking on the pier. The crane in this photo seemed to be begging to have its picture taken, looking forlornly as it was toward the spot where the sun had just disappeared:

One of these days, I'm going to do a post with only photos I've taken of sunsets; I do love this time of day.

The relatively short leg to Donna and Victoria Palms RV Resort was uneventful, except it is always good to see the palm trees lining Highway 77 on its straightaway into Harlingen. It's almost as if the palms are welcoming us to a place of sunny refuge from the throes of winter weather experienced at higher latitudes.

This always presents a wardrobe problem for Sandy, who must now rearrange her closet to make summer things easier to grab while moving winter clothes to some place less handy. I, of course, have no such problem, as my tiny fraction of the closet holds perhaps a dozen and a half garments, among which summer and winter clothing are adequately represented. I've found that having this small selection of clothing is all that I need, and I could probably get by with even less. Oh yes, and I am not shy about sharing with Sandy--for whom  the all-too-small space for clothes in Phannie is the bane of her existence--about my delight in keeping such a simple wardrobe. I should also mention that such remarks of mine are usually met with an icy stare and a sudden coolness in the air that makes me think we may not be far enough south after all.  But I digress.

Victoria Palms is a massive RV/manufactured home park whose labyrinthine layout could easily serve as a valid cognizance test for senior citizens. All that would be needed is to place the subject in the middle of the park and let him try to find his way out. It is a 55-plus park with amenities galore to keep its elderly residents housed, fed, laundered and entertained. 

The park is clean, all streets are paved and curbed, and the sites are all concrete. It seems to be well-managed with friendly staff and aesthetics that would be expected of a higher-end park:

There are many, many Canadians here in the park, and who could blame them for wanting to escape the harsh winters up north? Golf carts are the transportation of choice for hundreds of guests in getting around the park, and you have to keep an eye out for them if you're out for a walk. These are parked outside the activities center:

Inside the activities center I found, to my delight, a beautiful grand piano that, thankfully, was in excellent tune. I couldn't help myself and played a few old standards, much to the delight of other ancient old fogies there like me, who think that, with a few exceptions, there hasn't been any decent music written since about 1970:

Okay, Okay. I've gone back and edited this post to include a link to a video of my playing Love is a Many Splendored Thing on my own piano. Here it is: It's really not all that good, but I am providing it because several asked.

It's easy to see why the RGV is popular in the winter. Unless an uncommon cool front has pushed through, the weather is springlike almost all the time, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Of course, summertime is a different matter. The heat here is oppressive then, and the reason, of course, that the winter Texans flee northward in the spring.

Of course, there are the ubiquitous fruit trees that have been planted all around the park. Alongside Phannie's parking space we can pick oranges and grapefruit that are quite tasty: 

Upon our arrival, we were met by friends Joylea and Glenn, fellow east Texans, who are also here, having made this park their winter home for many years:

We met this great couple last summer in Colorado. They have a motorhome much like Phannie, a tribute to their good taste! 

After getting settled, they invited us to go with them to the ballroom, where a country and western band played classic country tunes and did a great job of it. None of that new-fangled country music here:

Joy and Glenn couldn't resist a dance, so I snapped their photo for their 15 minutes of fame in the blog world! 

A bit later, we were joined by friends John and Bobbie Jo (left foreground) and Carolyn and Larry (right foreground) at Willie B's BBQ in Alamo for some laughs and some righteous 'cue:

And so it goes--the life of a winter Texan. Not bad.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it each day as I should.

You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Holidays with Family and Friends

At Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, Texas...

As usual, we have had a wonderful three-week stay in this park near Conroe, where we have ready access to Mindy, Tyler and the grands. When we weren't with them, we enjoyed the fellowship of a gaggle of friends who, like us, wander in an out of Thousand Trails here. We especially enjoy getting together at a favorite restaurant, as pictured below at El Palenque, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Spring, Texas:

For our grandsons, Mason and Pryce, Christmas is HUGE, of course, and we had loads of fun joining in their excitement:

Of course, we are excitedly awaiting the momentous arrival of grandson number three in April! 

Here are Mindy and the boys, having a blast making a mess in the kitchen. Mindy and Tyler are great parents, making sure the boys are included in all their family experiences, and we feel genuinely blessed that we are always made to feel welcome to join in the fun.

The time has flown by, and we have such good memories of this time together.

In only a few days, we will be leaving for our winter stay at Victoria Palms in the Rio Grande Valley where we will encounter more of our snowbirding friends, so stay tuned for more fulltiming adventures!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.

You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.