Phannie

Phannie
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:  https://youtu.be/Asw92riYfNM 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.

18 comments:

  1. Please have Sandy video the next time you play. . .please!

    You guys have a wonderful, delightful time in the Valley. . .I know you will!

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    1. Well, I suppose I could post a video, even though it would seem a little showy. The only thing that would make our time here better is if you guys and our other friends could join us!

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  2. We no longer are fulltime RVers but look fondly of our time in the RGV where we volunteered with NOMADS, a mission of the United Methodist Church. On a couple of occasions we attended events at that ballroom and did a bit of 2-stepping too.

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    1. Well, good for you. There are plenty of older folks down here who are still pretty spry! It's very nice here, as you know. Thanks for visiting and for your comment!

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  3. Enjoy your winter there, we have been in that area a few times, but the southwest desert keeps calling us back again.

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    1. I know what you mean, George. We are hoping to go to Arizona next winter. We had to stay close here in Texas to await a new grandson who will be arriving on the scene pretty soon.

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  4. Glad you are settled in a such a nice park for the Winter.
    Just getting caught up on your Family Christmas and a big Congratulations on your Service Award.
    Looking forward to hearing your concert. LOL!
    Be Safe and Enjoy the activities.

    It's about time.

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    1. HaHa! Well, I guess I'll be forced to include a video. I'll see what I can do about that. And thanks for your sentiment about my little award. Happy trails, y'all!

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks! Your compliment is really nice to hear, because I usually hear only the flaws and mistakes. You're very kind.

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  6. Your blog entry tonight nearly brought tears to my eyes. I spent twelve years working in the RGV and had to move up here to the panhandle 10 years ago since I retired and haven't been back since. I sure do miss it and will be back God willing. Thank you for the wonderful memories.
    Don in Okla.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Don. It is a great place to spend the winter. Come on down; it's not too late. It's gonna get cold up there!

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  7. Mike, I'm so glad you added your YouTube link to this post - what a treat! I can just see you holding court in a piano bar. I'd be a regular, for sure!

    Love the idea of stepping out of the rig to pick a few oranges. It just doesn't get any fresher than that. Enjoy!

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    1. Hi, Mary! Well, thank you for the compliment, however undeserved. And yes, we are enjoying the balmy weather down here. Sometimes, it feels like we're getting away with something we shouldn't.

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  8. Mike,
    I encourage you to visit Star Valley Ranch RV Park. We've communicated before Re: this location. 1 hr South of Jackson In a beautiful valley. We'll be up there around June 1, and would love to show you around the area. Lots to do, and great summer weather. We winter in Round Rock, TX. Website for the RV park is: http://starvalleyranchresort.com/

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    1. I'm glad you reminded me, Bill; I will definitely look into this.

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  9. Your piano expertise just makes my heart smile! People would pay good money to be entertained by you! Which I will be EXPECTING in a couple of weeks my friend! We just can hardly wait to bask in warmer weather and good friends! Take care and see you soon!

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    1. Awww, thanks, Jackie! Ha! I need to put up a sign..."Will play for food." We are really looking forward to your getting down here where you belong. And I will definitely play a tune or two just for you! Marking the days on our calendar!

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