Saturday, February 27, 2010

Down in the Valley

I've been in the Rio Grande Valley now for 2 weeks, and I've really enjoyed the relaxing lifestyle. Unfortunately, that means I don't have too much to write about in the blog. But here goes....

We're staying at Alamo Rec, one of the many RV parks in the Valley. A lot of singles that I know stay here. The unique thing about this park is the huge lake right in the middle of it.

We're parked in the northwest corner of the park, over there behind that tall palm tree.

Every day, the singles get together for happy hour. Today we had a spur-of-the-moment wine and cheese party.

The lake makes for some interesting wildlife viewing. I can't figure out how the turtle on the left got up on that stump.

The cormorants dive down for fish, then must come out of the water to dry off.

There are several of these apartment-style birdhouses around the lake, and they are all filled to capacity.

South Texas is a bird-watcher's paradise. This little guy is often seen around the lake. I couldn't figure out what it was.

Fellow blogger, Robin, invited me to lunch one day. (Her blog's here.) Turns out she volunteers at a local state park and helps us wanna-be birders identify the little buggers. Anyway, my mysterious bird is an immature vermillion flycatcher. He's just in the process of turning red.

But the big reason many people come to "The Valley" is for the dancing. Every night, several RV parks, all with gigantic dance floors, have dances with live entertainment. At this one the singles are on the whole right side of the room.

And then there are the lessons. We are taking Night Club Two Step lessons with Bob Battaglia. It's a nice dance to do to slower music. (for some reason the video looks black, but if you click on the arrow, it will play.)

Now that the weather is improving, I hope to get out and do some interesting things. There's a lot to see in the area.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Made It to Texas

The next night was spent in Langtry, TX, home of Judge Roy Bean, the West's most colorful Justice of the peace, in the late 19th century.

He pronounced his decisions in this combination saloon/billiard hall/courtroom, the "Jersey Lilly," and was known as the "Law west of the Pecos."

It was here that the Southern Pacific's Sunset Route was completed in early 1883.

Nearby are some "fixer-uppers" from the era, and behind them is a place where you can stay overnight for a $2 donation.

The last night on the road was spent at a rest area south of Laredo, TX, right across the Rio Grande River from Mexico. This border patrol guy was checking the area when we got here.

Evidence of illegal alien traffic was all over the ground. Can't they at least put their empty water bottles in the 2 big trash cans right here?

One of the first things on the agenda when we made it to the Rio Grande Valley was Gayle's birthday party. The singles are a big presence here, and everyone seems to know everyone else. In addition to snacks, margheritas, and birthday cake, there were 20 pizzas!

Gayle has quite a sense of humor - I just loved the napkins! It was nice to see a lot of the people I met when I was here last year.

Friday, February 12, 2010

On the Way to Texas

I'm on my way to the Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas, but first I did something really scary. I put my car and trailer in storage and moved into Phil's rig! We're going all around the US this summer, and it's just too expensive to take 2 RVs.

The poor things just didn't understand - what did they do wrong?

We left the Phoenix area and headed to Tucson, but had to exit almost immediately because the road was closed. Some guy in a U-Haul had called the police and said he was being forced to drive 70 illegal aliens to Mexico by 3 heavily armed guys, all in the back of the truck.

Police stopped the truck by using spike strips.

Traffic was stopped for miles in both directions.

Police rammed the back of the truck and discovered the whole thing was a hoax. The truck was empty.

Since I didn't have to drive, I was able to watch the whole thing live on the computer.

We stayed ovenight at Casino del Sol in Tucson, and the next day went through Las Cruces, NM. There was snow on the mountains.

There's a beautiful rest area coming into town overlooked by a gigantic roadrunner.

He's made out of scrap metal, but travelers have added their own items to it.

We spent the second night in El Paso at a Sams Club. The interstate there goes right by the Rio Grande and you can look across the river and see Mexico.

The next day we traveled through West Texas, meeting barely a soul.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yuma to AJ

On the way from Yuma to Apache Junction, a good place to stop is at the Gila Bend Elks. You don't have to be an Elk to stay here for a $5 donation.

But the main reason I'm here is that Phil is getting initiated into the Elks. There were 17 inductees, of which 16 were RVers. In addition to Phil, there were 3 other WINs, Claudia, Bill, and Trisha. Since I'm already an Elk, I got to watch the initiation. This was the celebration afterwards.

Just after we got to Apache Junction, Phil's cat Yellow died. Her sister Grey had died here last year, so we wanted to bury them together under the Superstition Mts. It was hard to find where Grey was, but we finally did.

Near AJ is a great flea market, the Mesa Marketplace. I love to shop but don't buy much. I liked this sweatshirt, but it's more of a guy thing.

And there were some cute signs.

This one raised some interesting questions. If you don't remember these things, are you too young or too old??? I know my memory is fading.

I got to visit my sister Barbara in Mesa and see the house she and Ron bought last year.

Phil took the opportunity to gather some oranges and grapefruit.

We all went out to Friday's for dinner, but the only picture I got was of the cheesecake dessert. Yummy!

Leaving town you could see the results of the big storms. This road was totally under water.