Our three months here have gone by so quickly. Since going fulltime three years ago, this is the longest period of time that we have stayed in one place without Phannie's turning a wheel. I had wondered what it would be like to settle in for a lengthy stay somewhere and, as it turns out, it was just great. Of course, our good experience was in no small measure due to our interaction with so many of the good friends we have made over the years who, luckily, were also here.
Because of the semi-tropical climate we've enjoyed here in the Valley, we admit to having felt a bit guilty sometimes, as we watched the television reports of the record cold weather and flooding that has plagued the northern climes. We are very fortunate to be able to move around the country as we wish to escape such weather extremes.
Over the last couple of weeks, we said goodbyes to the last of our visitors, one of whom was a real VIP--Sandy's sister, Brenda. Here are the two at Arturo's restaurant in Progreso, just across the border in Mexico:
The girls did some shopping (what else?), and one certainly can't go across to Mexico without getting a good supply of inexpensive pharmaceuticals:
I've heard from many others of their reluctance to spend the winter near the border, but in all the time we've spent here in the Valley and during our many trips into Progreso, we've never felt even slightly unsafe. The border is very heavily patrolled in this area, and the citizens of Progreso are smart enough to know that their very livelihood depends on the frequent return of winter Texans--something that would dry up quickly and devastate their economy if there were reports of criminal activity victimizing them in that location. I'm not sure how the Mexicans control it so well there, but it is indeed fortunate that they do.
Another couple of our friends who are also heading northbound were nice enough to stop by and accompany us to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Harlingen, the Las Vegas Cafe. Denny and Jackie live in Illinois and winter here in the Valley. They are delightful people who are a hoot to be around, and we feel so lucky to have met them. Safe travels, y'all:
On a recent particularly sunny day, I called Jesse, our favorite RV cleaner, to come out and give Phannie a good washing and waxing. This is always a must-do while we're in the Valley each winter, as Jesse does a great job for less than half the price anywhere else.
As I make the final preparations for Phannie's departure, I look down our street at the now-empty spaces--a radical difference from in January when we had only four spaces to choose from among more than a thousand in the park.
When we arrived, we found that we had been assigned a space in an area where our neighbors were almost all Canadians. They were polite and waved but tended to fraternize with each other rather than outsiders. This was quite a surprise, as RVers of all origins are usually much more friendly and sociable than these folks. But it was fine; we had lots of friends around the area and actually weren't at the coach all that much.
It has been a great winter for us, except for the peculiar feeling that we didn't really have a winter this year. Yes, there were a few cool spells while we were here, but the temps never got even close to freezing. There was never a time when we needed more than a light jacket.
We are headed from here to Fredericksburg, Texas, where we will join up with a rally held by our club for Tiffin owners, the Texas Bluebonnet Allegros. Because of our change in status to fulltimers, we aren't often in the area, and we're looking forward to meeting up with these friends again. It's been too long.
After that, we'll be headed to Thousand Trails at Lake Conroe, where we will see more of our friends and await with great anticipation and excitement the arrival of our newest grandson in a few weeks. Stay tuned!
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life;
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.
We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.
--George Bernard Shaw