Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back to the Flea Market

The flea market has a vendor that makes sun screens to go on your RV awning. You can see thru the fabric, as it is only about 70 percent opaque. It will not stop the rain and it will flop in the wind. Thus it will breath and not make the area under your awning overly hot.

This is a fabric that is a woven vinyl, much like the fabric on expensive outdoor furniture. There are nine grommets along the bottom and I purchased stakes and elastic ball tie downs in order to stake it out.

I ordered a tweed one last Saturday. The flea market is closed on Monday and Tuesday. So they had it made for pickup on Wednesday. I also bought the matching bag to pack it away. I guess I was easy pickins, but if it does what we want, so what.

The thing that I see these used for here in our park, is to create a little private space between units, that are so darned close anyway. They give a little patio space without looking in the window of the unit beside you. So shade in the summer and privacy when you need it.

They also make end panels that hook into the sides and one lady told me to have a door sewn into the main piece, but that will have to be another time, as we will leave before we could have that stuff completed. Lets just see if we even use it. Have to be careful with the campfires!

We just hung out again all day, as it was another gray almost rain type of day. It did begin to rain along about 9PM. Just drizzle with the humidity of 9 million. We turned on the air even though the temp was only 65 outside. Just for the dehumidifier.

Spent a bunch of the night on the Skype program with the guys form Des Moines. A bunch of ham radio guys talking on their computers. Why did we ever bother to become hams?

We have run out of ideas to go see something new. Must be time to move on to the next camp!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Day After

We seem to always just hang out for a day after our big outing days. So after going to Mexico we just hung around. I went up to the new office here in the park to see what we had to do to check out on Sunday.

We arrived here on January 3rd. So we are paid thru the second of February. That would be Saturday night as the last night. Move on Sunday. Did anyone mention that Sunday is the Super Bowl? I made reservations up in Corpus Christi just by the numerical date, not checking on the day of the week. You snooze, you loose. So we will be on the road the day of the Super Bowl. If I go back to my post from last week when the game became all Eastern teams, I wasn't too enthused anyway.

But the office only opens up in the afternoon for a short period on Sundays. So I will have to check out and pay on Saturday afternoon. That means I will have to turn in the cable modem then as well. Saturday evening without a working internet connection? I will not live thru that.

As many of you know, we have a repeater router that we use for internet in the parks. We took a standard Linksys WRT 54GL router and reprogrammed the processor with the DD-WRT software. By using the very latest beta version of that software, one of the options is to place the router into repeater mode.

This allows the router to check into a wifi net as a client, and then repeat the net as an access point. So if you sign onto the parks wifi you then become a hot spot of your own. This effectively extends the parks system to another circle around our router. You can sign in with security if you need it, and then repeat it with or without security on your side. I rarely set security on my SSid side. I prefer to go fishing to see how many folks will see our hotspot, and sign on to us rather than the park. The router's antennas are much better at staying connected than a laptop, so it makes for a much more reliable connection.

These folks do not know that they are really signing onto the park system and our router will only be just a little slower than the base system. We do count the signons, and often enjoy the power that we have to allow these folks to continue, or end their fun at will. We don't do that, but we could.

Here at Llano Grande we are in the older section of the park. It does not have wifi. I said "but I must have internet no mater what". They gave me a cable modem to connect to the TV cable system. They also gave me an ethernet cable to connect my laptop. I did that for about a week, but tired of the tether.

So out came the router with DD-WRT. The ethernet cable was plugged into the router. I set it up as an access point with two SSids. One of which I called "Linksys". Before I could even get my own computer signed onto the router, I had three other folks that instantly connected. I assume their computers were set to automatically connect to "Linksys".

So even though the park doesn't officially have wifi in the old part, well by golly, they do! I have 11 folks connected. Only two of which are Loyce and Myself.

All of that explanation just to say that nine folks here at the park, are not going to be pleased when I turn in the cable modem next Saturday.

As I write this I am totally aware that the weather in the Midwest has declined to a new low. Single digit temperatures, and wind in excess of 30 MPH. Burrr! So I feel almost guilty to report that we were 88 degrees today. It was not so windy either.

So I went to wash the truck, at the quarter car wash. Mexico is very dirty and it all blows here in South Texas. When it rains, which it doesn't very much, everything turns into mud. The roads are blacktop but they turn muddy as they just do not get wet very often. $5 worth of quarters later, even using the foaming brush it didn't come out very well. But the mud is gone.

Over night it got much cooler as we are getting the tail of the weather from up North. The cool is not supposed to last very long as the warm from Mexico is beginning to take over. We are wagering that we have passed the dead of winter as we move North to Corpus Christi. We really do not want to chase the cold as we move back North, but that may be how it turns out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another Day in Mexico

This is the gate as cars are headed into the US. Its five wide and each boarder guy has a booth. They check passports and ask what you are bringing into the US. If they pick you for a search, then you get out of this line and get pulled over into a search area. That is where the drug dogs crawl all over your car and they go thru your bags and trunk. I doesn't look too fun.

So walking will do for us. This is where the folks are backed up to pay their quarter and go thru the turn style.

Same old drill, the walkway is red over cream so we are still in the US.

As you come off of the bridge and go thru declarations. I was trying to capture the signs. Can you translate them? And there is that monument, that every first timer has to have his picture taken with. Note Loyce's silly sun hat as you will need to recognize it to pick her out two photos down.

Estacionamiento is parking, Declare Merchandise, Point of revision ? What does that mean?
Bathrooms, No Arms, Information, I'm not good when they start abbreviating, but they want to sell you a permit for your vehicle. And you have to declare more than $10,000 US Dollars.

You do not even get past the fence and a kid is there to shine your shoes. And the first sign is for Dental services. I ran into another sign farther up the street advertising dentistry for cowards. Oh My! I wonder what his technique is? Not today!

Remember the sun hat? That is all you can see of Loyce, as she is negotiating for a purse. This is interesting as it shows all the folks on the sidewalk are gringos. Bringing US dollars into Mexico.

I didn't take any more photos of the streets and stores, as they are just more of the same from the last time we were there.

So when your legs can't take it anymore, its time for the Red Snapper restaurant. From our table in the back of the dining room, this time we have a different perspective. The garlic shrimp was just as good as the last time we were here. I'll miss that!

The bar and the lady that collects the money. She sits right out in the middle and sees to it that the waiters bring the cash back to her. Thats exactly how the Fat Daddy Bar B Que worked the other night, on the US side of the bridge. But then they are only about 6 miles apart.

The decorations are interesting. This lamp adds to the otherwise bland florescent lighting.

So we went and bought a bunch of Vanilla again, and Loyce got her turtle that is made from plaster of paris. My back and feet were protesting today, more than they did the last time we were over here. Two days of flea market, and a trip to Mexico have taken their toll.

As we were leaving to cross the bridge, there were 30 or more Mexican soldiers standing in the street as you approached the bridge. They were on the sidewalk as we filed by. Their commanding officer was in an armored vehicle with a machine gun on its top. He was barking out orders and the men were following his instructions. It occurred to me that I should take their picture, but a night in jail didn't sound too good. So I let it pass. Besides they had real bullets in those weapons.

Customs? This time we know, with passports we could use the outside sidewalk desk, and we went right thru, without more than a question or two.

As we got back to the car the dash temperature was 87. No wonder I have been sweating, carrying all this loot. The wind is just howling out of the South about 25 to 30 MPH and as we now know, this is just common and to be expected on a warm winter day in the RGV. All that warm has to come here from somewhere.

I am struck by how routine this all is. The folks that sell all these items, are there every day. Seven days a week. They seem to have no sense of time. We are fairly stuck in our routines also, but wouldn't it get really bad, asking gringos for another dollar? We are so lucky to have been born North of this border.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Draining the Valley

An arroyo, according to the Spanish English dictionary that we bought here in the valley, is a stream or a brook. But in the desert areas of the US and Mexico, I most often find it to refer to a cut or wash thru the otherwise flat desert or farm fields.

When it rains here, there are fewer storm sewers that drain the water off of the streets and land, like we are used to in the Northern part of the US. Even in our rural farm areas we have ditches that drain things back to a stream. Large washes or swaths to a river up North, seem more full of vegetation and not as gulch like.

So with all that said, we here are on the Llano Grande Lake. This lake stretches back into the State park by the same name. This is a park that can be hiked and birded, and is a favorite past time of the winter Texans. The lake drains into the Arroyo Colorado.

But where does that go? It starts over West of Mission and comes thru here and goes over to Harlingen. It is the drainage ditch. It drains all of the fields as they are irrigated. It receives the run off water of all the storm sewers and rain collection systems. And the municipal waste treatment plants empty into it as well.

It crosses South of the main area of Harlingen and is quite wide. But it seems to have only a small creek at the bottom of a wide swath of deep uninhabited gulch. But we went over it the other day when it was raining quite hard, and it had about three or four times as much water in it then. It is the Valley's drain.

Over East of Harlingen, there is a Port. Port Harlingen is where barges of many commodities are unloaded. Where do these barges come from? The inter coastal water way of course. And they come from the Ocean up the Arroyo Colorado.

I am also told that the barges are loaded with raw brown sugar from the sugar cane plants, and are shipped back out to the Gulf of Mexico. All on the Arroyo Colorado.

Town of Rio Hondo

Fifteen miles East of Harlingen is the town of Rio Hondo. It is a sleepy burg of 2000 but it is on the Arroyo Colorado. Curiosity got the better of me so I went there. Not much to see, but at the end of the street you can see a bridge. A draw bridge. The whole deck raises. Straight up.

Draw Bridge

This is of course, so the barges and tugs can go thru. It was Sunday and there was no traffic on the river or arroyo. So if we irrigate the fields and flush the toilets, there will enough water for the barges to bring you some sugar for your iced tea.

Navigation ChannelThe channel goes to the sea thru an area called the Laguna Madre. This is a long shallow bay area along the intercoastal water way between South Padre Island and the Texas Coast. Mother Lagoon in Spanish.

This is a big political football. The university is testing water quality, and bacteria constantly, so there is no end to the information about the bad part of this system. If you just try to find out how the Arroyo Colorado works, that info is much harder to come by.

So we are on the edge of the Valley's drainage ditch. That is why we have a large levee all the way around the South part of the park. The neighbors to our left, have been coming here for fourteen years, and yes they have seen the arroyo flood and were very glad that the Levee was there to do its job.

As we have gone farther down the Rio Grande towards the ocean, we have observed that the river seems to become smaller and smaller. And when we were out in the estuary where the river meets the sea last week, there wasn't much to see. Except the boarder patrol.

The river drains back into the sea after we use it. By way of the Arroyo Colorado.

It reached 71 degrees yesterday and was still 60 after midnight. Today is to be warmer yet so here is hoping your weather will be nicer too.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Saturday Fun

I decided to go to the Rec Center for the Saturday breakfast. Loyce didn't want any, so I went by myself. But you are never alone in Llano Grande, as I immediately sat with two other couples. They turned out to be from NW Iowa and Fargo, ND. I had much in common with them, as I did Audits up that way in a previous life. So we hit it off at once.

The line to pay and get your food.

Boy theres a bunch a folks here today.

Flea Market

The next town West of here is Weslaco and West of that is Donna. The road between the two towns is Victoria Rd. On Victoria road is the Don Wes flea market. A permanent bunch of buildings (shacks?) and trailer houses with many wares for sale. This was more like a county fair mixed in to a junk show.

From the road.

We were worried we would have to park a zillion blocks away, and then lucked into a car that was leaving right in the front row. It had Missouri plates, so we thought, 'there's your sign'.

Once in the door of the big building.

Camera focused on the doors overhead and not off into the distance but you get the feel of the place.
Wow! This place is really big in here and there are so many stores and booths you can't absorb it all. Everything is for sale all at once and folks are everywhere. The outside vendors go on and on. Redwood sign anyone? Sun screen for the front of your RV awning? RV parts and pieces. Chinese tools?

Booth with wall away rocker recliners. $199. Man in a clown suit with a pet alligator! Takes your picture with the alligator on your lap, with a polaroid, and then sells it to you. Alligator was obviously sedated.

Too much Flea Market, I'm hungry!

Fat Daddy's Bar B Que

This is six miles North of the Progresso Mexico Bridge.

Ya we're in Texas, aren't we?

Walls are loaded with the authentic stuff! Loyce is sitting, with the black coat, over by the door onto the porch.

Pulled Bar B Que pork dinner, ranch beans and slaw! $7.99 The beer is flowing in here!

After the meal we went looking for an orchard that our neighbors told Loyce about. After some driving around, we found the place. It was after 5PM and it was closed. But now we know where it is so we can come right back during the time it is open.

The sun never did come out but it was up to 58 by late afternoon. We really, only needed a light jacket or sweat shirt as it wasn't cold. Just kinda dreary.

Sunday is a new day with the hope of much nicer temperatures both here in the valley and in the Northern Central US. We hope it is a nice day for you where ever you may be.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gloomy Cold

It started out at 44 and got up to 48. Overcast and rainy. But the rain quit by about noon. We just slept in. Oh I was up at 6:30 writing the blog for the day, but then crawled back into the hay! What a life! But it was cold in here. Or was it? Both heaters were running.

So we didn't do to much except all the normal live life in the RV stuff. The dog, brandy had to do her thing several times so we just couldn't sit inside all the time. As you know I have been suffering from bronchitis and the coughing attacks seem to never quit. So the out with the dog bit causes a new set of spasms each time.

I am optimistic that the Levaquin antibiotic and the steroidal inhaler will do the trick. If not, you will have to find another blog to fill in for this one as I was told that pneumonia generally comes after the bronchitis. Ok Ok I'll be a good boy. Honest Doc.

But not to be folks that can 'just hang ar0und a 29 ft RV' all day, we headed out to a new area of McAllen. They have built a convention center on hwy 83 to the West end of town. And as luck would have it, there is a new shopping strip mall center attached. Many of the stores are just getting started, and many more are planned, but remain bare dirt for this winter. One of the stores that is just finished is Barnes and Noble, and we like those. We spent the larger part of the afternoon just looking and reading the vast number texts in that store. We could buy many items there, but the old F150 truck is weight challenged as it is.

Loyce bought a small bag of goodies and I just left with a smile. An my money in tact of course. It is still in the low 40s as I write this at about 11:30. I usually start the blog late at night and then get up in the morning and review my thoughts. The review and corrections in the morning are more successful after some sleep. Even then I see errors after I publish the blog.

Oh and during the day we decided that we would bid Llano Grande a fond farewell at the end of the month. We just are not 'stay in one place too long' type of folks. So we made reservations at the Lagoons campground in Rockport, Tx. We reserved two weeks as Loyce will never want to stay out more than 6 weeks, no matter what the temperature is back home.

One of the blogs we follow is Ellie and Jim who have justravelin here on blogspot. They stayed in the Lagoons for a month last fall. Based on their pictures, there will be lots of activities in the area. This is the Port Aransas, and Mustang island area, of North Padre Island. If it should just happen to warm up a bit, the early spring on the ocean should be dynamite.

We are now in the mode of deciding what we need to do here before we leave. Loyce thinks another trip to Mexico will be in order as we are getting several requests to have a pickup load of Mexican Vanilla when we get home. No problem, but we have to buy it just before we cross the bridge, carry it thru customs and straight back to the truck. It does get heavy if you carry it around while you shop.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Doctor and Wal Mart Pharmacy

Yes I have insurance. I know you have never heard of Select First PPO because thats in Iowa. But they are also part of PHCS which you are apart of. Here call this number. And so it went at the Doctor's office. It took over and hour, just to convince them that I could pay them. If you just walk in and want to pay cash, they still will not see you. You must have insurance. And in this day of PPO's, your not just automatically covered, in a different State or community. All of this on a day you feel like cr-pp!

I then had to wait in the exam room for about an hour before the Doctor could get free enough to come see me. But she was great! Quite nice and knowledgeable. Gave me a prescription for a strong antibiotic and an inhaler. Just not good to be sick when you are supposed to be having a carefree time in a warm climate.

If you have read the blogs since we arrived here, you will remember that I really liked the service at the local Wal-Mart. Remember, they shut the window just as I arrived, after standing in line for about an hour. So I had to go deal with all of that again. Armed with my prescriptions and all day for time, I returned to Wal Mart. I was able to turn in the script almost at once and was told to wait an hour. So I hung out. Ate a McDonalds Burger.

Read a new book that the cash register would not let me purchase. Wasn't supposed to be for sale until tomorrow. So I just read it standing in the aisle. New John Grissom tale "The Appeal" The first chapter sets up the case. I will be purchasing this book when they let me. They made me give it back.

After an hour, I went back and they still didn't have it ready. I sat right in front of the window and after only 30 minutes more it was ready. Remember, you have no where to be, and no schedule to keep so everything is an adventure. Grrrrr! Now don't be like that, it doesn't matter one bit. What are you going to do? Go home and sit in your easy chair and surf the internet.

We are so programed to our expectations. I have to constantly remind myself to let it go. The world will not change, and neither will your tomorrow. Still Wal Mart is a victim of its own success. Their management is slow to make any changes that would improve themselves.

On the skype party line that occurs most evenings, we learned that it is a very cool ZERO degrees back in the Iowa area. KC had about 12 overnight. We had 44 in rain. The rain makes it much colder in a travel trailer. It seems to leach out the heat that is running inside. You just would not be able to live in the trailer, at the zero degrees of the Iowa winter. Our walls are only an inch and a quarter thick. While made from styrofoam, they also have aluminum box channel to create the rigid frame.

Aluminum anything is just not a heat retaining material. We have a portable electric heater and the propane fired forced air furnace. Which should we run? We are paying for the electric on a meter and have to flag down a propane truck as it goes thru the park, and 30 pounds, about 7 gallons, was $18. No matter which heater you run, it will cost money. We ran the electric yesterday thru the day. And set both the electric and the propane to run as we went to bed,

Both heaters are running this morning. Together! Cold rain is soaking the warm right out of the trailer. I turned off the electric heater just to see what would happen next. The propane heat is running longer and comes back on quicker. The electric is more convenient. Doesn't have to be refilled. The gas is warmer and since it is forced air, tends to warm all the rig more uniformly. So we run some of each. The cost will average out. And after you get over paying the bill, it will not matter tomorrow.

Get yourself under control, see the post above about not having problems. Let it go, things will not change. Even if you do not use the very cheapest method.

Oh the ramblings of a man at 6:30 AM, when his family is still sleeping. Thats how this gets so long, when I really had nothing to talk about. So lets hope it warms up quickly, no matter where you are as you read this. Spring will come, it always does.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stay at Home Day

As the title implies, we just hung tight here all day. We did the TV and internet thing. It wasn't hot but it wasn't cold either. We just ran the electric heater for the cooler hours of the morning. The fog that was at the ocean yesterday, seemed to be everywhere by morning.

I think we were just recovering from the big two days we had just finished. First going to Mexico and then the big day at the ocean yesterday. We didn't really see or learn anything new hanging out. By 4:00 PM we finally decided that we had to go to Wal Mart just to get away from a 300 square foot box.

We had supper at the Taco Cabana, which is Mexican fast food. It is not overly fast, if you wait in the drive thru and they didn't bother to give us any napkins or silverware. Or should I say plasticware. So I parked and went inside to get some pico de gallo and the other stuff. When we got inside there was a singer with a guitar and a accompaniment machine. Wow live entertainment. Never seen that in a McDonalds or any other form of fast food store before!

I had beef enchalada's which came with rice and beans and a couple of fresh tortellas. Loyce had chicken quesedilla, that came in a pizza style box. We were both stuffed. And I think it is quite good also. Loyce said her meal was way too big and a I look at the menu again, they did have a personal size and a regular. When ordering that again the personal will do quite nicely thank you.

I have been battling the cold and the resulting bronchitus. Last night it became more than I can bear. So this morning I am researching the health insurance PPO thing to see what coverages and which providers are good to go here in the Valley. Thats about the last thing I wanted to do while down here in the so called paradise. Not if you remain sick the entire time you are here.

Its in the high 40's and raining so this day will be mostly a stay at home kind of a day anyway so why not go to the Doctor?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Big Drive Day

I wanted to go back over to the Ocean yesterday, just because it was going to be a nice and warm day and then lousy for the rest of the week. But we ended up in Brownsville , which is as far South as you can go in Texas. On the Mexico side it is Matamoros. We were right at the bridge but just didn't have the courage to kill ourselves two days in a row.

Brownsville is the oldest town here in the Rio Grande Valley. So they refer to the downtown as historic. Hell why can't they just admit it? Its older than dirt. This is a street scene away from the bridge to Mexic0. Close to the bridge is very much in need of urban renewal. All shops are for the folks from the other side as they come to the US to shop. Ropa usada, Used Clothes. Thats the popular store, and the money exchange to change Peso into dollars. There were dozens of those shops. 11.25 to buy and 10.80 to sell a dollar. How can ten of these places all make it on the same block?We had a quick McDonalds hamburger and headed off into the wildlife preserve where the Rio Grande river goes into the Sea. We drove and drove and saw nothing. Estuary is mostly just the desert intermingled with areas of salt water mixed with fresh water. Should have been some birds out there but we only saw sea gulls. The road turned away from the coast and the river and headed North. We turned around.

The estuary is mostly inland bay that is subject to the tide. The tide was out so we saw large areas of mud. Oh and the boarder patrol stopped us on the way out. Big imposing fellow in full green uniform. Gun and all. Stuck his head in the car window and looked all around. "You folks US citizens?" "Why yes we are!" "Then move along!" Didn't make any small talk , just did as I was told. We drove North up the bay to Port Isabel.
Do you remember my comment about it being a nice day? Well as soon as we crossed the bay out onto Padre Island it was instantly overcast and foggy. We stopped at a beach access right in the middle of the nice hotels and went out on the beach.

The sea was angry. Rolling in in big breakers, washing ashore making a 30 foot wet area as it came and receded. Folks were walking up and down on the dry area mostly staying out of the water. Loyce went out to feel the water with her feet and came right back saying that it was really cool. While it had been 80 degrees while we were in the estuary, the temperature on the truck dash now read 62.

This hotel wasn't all that far away but the fog nearly eclipses it. The buildings in the distance are merely shadows. Not to many folks out on the beach today. But it was sunny and 80 back on the main land.We went back to Port Isabel and drove around to look at facilities there. We did find one fairly nice RV resort and conned our way past the gate guard after having him give us a pass and a map of the park. Big place! Has a golf course too. Loyce would move closer to the ocean in a heart beat but cold and damp just doesn't sound like the thing to do for me.

We were back down to 55 overnight. That temperature only came just before dawn. This is supposed to be a rainy day an it is overcast as the dawn arrives. Des Moines has 8 and KC has 13 so 55 and rain will be fine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Loyce goes to Mexico

Your right this is the sidewalk on the way to Mexico. Get your quarter out. The Government can't afford their half of the bridge without it. Ya right!On our side of the bridge it is wide open to see the river and enjoy.
When you get to the Mexican side the beggars are under the bridge crying for money so they put in steel blinders so you can't see them.
Mexican declarations. There are about 6 different languages that tell you that you can't have a gun in Mexico.
Declarations in the left lane and nothing to declare in the right.

Down the side streets this is a quite normal town.
Loyce likes the purses. She didn't buy one yet. But I'm sure we will go back.
A sidewalk is not just a sidewalk, but rather a total bombardment of of folks wanting to sell you something. Or just begging like the gal on the ground with the cup. Every other shop is a dentist or a pharmacy. They really cater to the winter Texan folks.
Loyce negotiates a price for a fabric bag.
The picture of the Red Snapper from the other day.
The bar from our table. The singer is behind the post.
Loyce likes the singer and told him so. She would have bought a CD if he had one, but he didn't. Said it just cost too much to get them made. Of course he earned a good tip.

I had garlic and butter sauce fried shrimp and Loyce had battered and fried shrimp. Her shrimp
was smashed flat again, like the ones we had at Pepe's by the river. I had a Tecate Light beir and the boss had her proverbial coke dieta. The restaurante was very busy for quite a while, but began to thin out as we finished up our meal. Our bill was $16.25 US. A bargain so the waiter did quite well. And of course you get to use the bano. The only way you will get to use one while in Mexico. Toilets are not public in Progresso Nuevo anyway.

So we made it back to the RV after going thru customs, with all our junk that we bought in Mexico. There were many folks coming back thru the check point, so they set up an impromptu line right on the sidewalk. Again they passed our passports thru the electronic reader. Asked a couple of quick questions about what we had purchased, and bang we were around the big pile up of folks inside the customs station. They sent me right thru, as I had only a bag with four bottles of vanilla, but Loyce had a shopping bag, with numerous little purchases. I tried to stay with her as she answered the mans questions, but I was told to move right along. She was on her own to get thru.

The weather was windy and warm as we came back with a high temperature of 77 degrees. Overnight we had 55 by about 3 AM. It hasn't begun to warm up yet this morning. It is daylight and the sun is out, so it will begin to warm up soon. We are supposed to have rain as it gets warmer. This will come from the ocean so they are just guessing about that.

Monday, January 21, 2008


We went to Wal Mart and bought chips and queso. Got a big whataburger and came home in time for the first game.

As you all know, the New England Patriots remain undefeated. We camped just 10 miles South of the stadium last fall. Everyone was nuts out there back then, so I can only imagine how it was last night.

Nothing going on here outside of just living in the RV. Big breakfast, hot shower in the clean mens room. Bike ride around the camp. High temp of 65, but the sun disappeared about kickoff time. But then who cares you can't see it from in front of the TV anyway, right.

With such a big ending to a game that went into overtime it is a shame that anyone has to loose. But the Midwest is now out of the Super Bowl. New York against Boston. Does anyone in the rest of the country really care? So all the Easterners will be going on vacation to Arizona. Sounds like a good reason to stay here in Texas. With that over for another year we can get back to living life here in Texas.

We went down to 59 degrees at 9PM last night in fog and overcast. We have been slowly warming from that and have 61 this morning. We had a window in the bedroom open all night and didn't even know it as the shade was drawn. The heater never ran to my knowledge.

Its supposed to be warm and rainy for the next several days so no sun. But on the bright side we can hang up the winter coats for a while......

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Mixed Day

Hamfest , Texas Southernmost Amateur Radio Club. They met in the Elks club which has a restaurant that runs 5 days a week. But for this Saturday they were open the 6th day. After the breakfast, the folks moved into the larger meeting room and began to set stuff up.This is a smaller club but has several repeaters valley wide. There is more than one system of repeaters here in the Valley but the other system is a closed system. If you come up on it and you are not a a member, I am told they will shut down the controller on you. Maybe not on guests, but on locals that are not part of their closed club. They told me that all of California is this way. and the same attitude has transferred here for the closed club.

There were only 8 tables of equipment for sale but they were having a raffle for a dual band radio, and testing was also planned. I am told that Amateur Radio is not overly popular here in South Texas. It was my observation that those Hams that are active in this club were the best of friends.

We spent a typical winter Saturday as the wind blew and the sun went out and under during the afternoon. The temperature struggled to get to 50 as the wind chilled all of us. By late in the day the wind subsided and we went out for a drive to see more of the neighborhood. It made it to 55 by sundown.

For dinner we went to the Blue Onion. A kind of Tex-Mex restaurant that was more eclectic than hispanic.
The bar was mostly void of customers for a Saturday night. We wondered about that.
The dining room was full of private booths and a smaller row of tables. It was cozy and most of all it was warm.

This place is known for its flat bread appetizers and meals, so thats what we ordered. I had a Flat bread Shrimp Al Pastor. Loyce had a Flat bread Tomato and Feta cheese, Shrimp Meal. The flat bread is a plate sized flour Tortella that is thick like a Gordita. The filling is placed on half of the bread and it is folded over like a Taco. These are really different than anything you can get in the Midwest.

The Al Pastor had Cilantro and Guacamole and caramelized blue onions. This was served with a chipotle sauce that wasn't overly hot. A different kind of meal but good none the less.

When we got back home we settled in for a cool night. Well lets call it cold. 37 degrees by about 4AM. We used a bunch of propane, just to keep the inside in the 60's.

But the sun is out this morning and temperatures are supposed to rise. By the middle of the week we are to have 83 and rain. I am well aware that the midwest is frozen, and that last night was the coldest night so far for this winter Des Moines had -11 in the last 24 hours and KC was down to 7. So 37 while cool, is just a walk in the park.......