Bentsen Palms Resort, Mission, Texas

The end of June is upon us and we have failed to get this blog going again. I will try to catch up on the highlights of what we have been doing but the time frame will be messed up for a bit.

I’m writing about our slow start traveling this spring because all people living this lifestyle have their stories of woe that delayed trips.

Jim finished his work camper duties in January. We considered starting out but the winter snows and weather was crazy so we decided to stay in our lovely place of palm trees, friends, and activities. After our decision, a weed eater threw a rock into the driver’s side of our window and it was shattered. No problem, everyone did what was necessary to order a replacement, only the outside of the double pane shredded, so we continued enjoying the warm weather, pickle ball, bike rides, visiting with friends, trips to Mexico, etc.

Several weeks later a window arrived. The window guy pulled it out of the giant wood box and said, “This isn’t the right window.” So it was back to the drawing board. Another window was ordered. March came and number two window showed up. That one wasn’t right either. A third try. Everyone was working so hard to get the thing fixed but when that one came our hearts sank. Still wrong. Jim started talking to everyone involved and they knew the right window had been shipped to the correct people. After more research they found they had two windows come in and had sent the wrong one. Window number four was finally correct. By then we were into April. A slow start for our spring travel.

Finally, we were ready to leave. We were one of the few still left in the park. We headed toward Fort Worth to regroup and catch up with family and friends. On our way to San Antonio we hear a bang like a gunshot. We wondered where it came from but we were fine so kept going.

Jim went out the next morning preparing to leave and found a tire had blown. People don’t normally change RV tires themselves. They are huge and heavy, and need to be pulled out of the most difficult places underneath. This travel year was not getting off to a good start. However, the second person he called said he could come right out. He was there in just a few minutes, personally handled that big tire, got it changed, and we were very grateful to be ready to go so easily.

Driving to Fort Worth, and knowing how many miles we were planning to travel this summer, Jim decided new tires should be part of our stop too.

So, hopefully this is the only “fix stuff on the RV” stories we have this year.

Traveling Blessed USA

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Still in Mission, Texas

Mission, Texas

Marian writes:

Well, here we are still tucked away along the U.S. border while storms rage with record cold temperatures, and snow flies over a huge part of our nation. The end of February seems to be the start of spring here. The trees that aren’t palms are budding and flowering. Thought I’d share that so you can believe spring is coming your way before long. We are starting to see new types of birds as they begin to migrate again.

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As work campers Jim was asked to host the open house at Retama Village three days a week. That is a housing development next door that is an over fifty-five community with RV ports attached to the homes. He enjoyed meeting and visiting with all the people who stopped by.

His job covered our twenty-four hour work week so I was free to enjoy the craft rooms where the people go to sew, quilt, make jewelry, and carve wood. There are even lockers to store our sewing machines and craft items. Next to that is a woodshop. Guys (and gals) are busy building, sawing and turning on lathes all sorts of beautiful projects.

We have found you can stay busy as long as your energy holds out. There are local tours planned, weekly concerts with talent from Branson and Nashville, different kinds of exercise classes, and games going on continually.

Last Saturday was the dog parade. The pets were dressed up and the local shelter brought dogs looking for homes. The event made enough money to send $700 to the animal shelter. Cute!

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We went to Fort Worth for Christmas so some of the guys who are part of Alamo RecVeh church stepped up to help with sound. They have done such a good job Jim felt he was finished with that job too. We enjoy visiting different churches and have found some great ones in this area. The one we chose to call home is Palm Valley Church in Mission. We find it very special.

People were talking about a RV Park called Bibleville that has Christian concerts every Saturday. Retired pastors stay there and minister in some of the other RV Parks. They also have all sorts of other ministry outreaches to the area and Mexico. No one is idle there.

Anyway, we had to check it out and were excited to see the place packed for the concerts. You have to get there more than an hour early to have good seats. Our second time going we joined two other couples early and were able to sit together on the second row. Then we had a wonderful surprise. Dino, the Christian pianist out of Branson came to do the pre-concert before the Allen Family sang. There I was right in front of his piano which he still plays breathtakingly beautifully.

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I’m going to try to dump a quick list of some of the things we have done this last four months. We’ve taken two trips to Progresso, Mexico just for fun with other couples. We went to Reynosa, Mexico to Children’s Heaven International with a small group to see the children’s school, homes, have lunch with them, and share a bunch of hugs. There are so many beautiful children everywhere we go.

We’ve taken several day trips to Padre Island. I love to walk on the beach. We received free tickets to take a boat out on the bay to see dolphins. They were everywhere. We saw at least fifty, maybe more. So fun.

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Learning pickle ball was a priority for our time here and we’ve been able to use the court here in the park. Sometimes the Texas wind makes it a whole different game. We also found indoor courts and people play every morning so we are challenged to learn even more.

Riding our bikes on the trails all around us has also been fun. We rode through the Bird Sanctuary, which is right across the road, one day and saw over twenty green jays. They are so beautiful.

Jim was with a group down by the Rio Grande and a Mexican fisherman proudly held up a Gar he had caught that was as big as him. Later, we noticed Gar on the menu of some Mexican restaurants. The grocery stores fish department even sells it for about $5.00 a pound. I found this so curious as I remembered the ugly Gar that almost jumped in our boat at Lake of the Ozarks one time. Yuck!

Of course, we’ve tried a lot of good restaurants. Our favorite is the Republic of the Rio Grande in McAllen. Each time we go we try something different and it has all been exceptional. If you go leave room for the house dessert, an almond taco, (that isn’t on the menu) or the banana bread pudding. The pictures should convince you.

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The question that always comes up about staying in this area is about the border. The Rio Grande runs along this property. We took a pontoon boat ride on the river one afternoon. They say this is the sixteenth safest place to live in the nation. I assume that is because of the number of Border patrols, police, County sheriffs and probably others that are present all the time.

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From where we are parked we watch security people drive by in cars, ATVs, and hummers, and on horses. Airplanes and helicopters are overhead daily. There are also military grade cameras that can see everything going on along the river and miles away. So the people cross and quickly get picked up (anyway in this area).

I was surprised to learn a large percent of the people crossing are not from Mexico. They say the Mexican people can get day passes to come over and shop and they just don’t go back. So those sneaking across are from the Spanish speaking countries further south. We were also told by the border patrol they have 15,000 Chinese people cross annually. Jim isn’t concerned about the whole situation but I find it unsettling. If they ever take all the security away there may be a stampede.

Anyway, we’ve met lots of great people. We always enjoy the Canadians that come south too. And now it’s time to think of moving on. However, the weed eater guy came by and a rock hit the window on the driver’s side so we are on hold until we get the replacement. Oh well, more time for fun in Mission while we wait.

Traveling… oops. Staying blessed USA

Mission, Texas

Marian writes:

Just want to document our best price for diesel fuel was in Dennison, TX at $3.19 a gallon.

We have arrived in Mission, Texas where we plan to stop for the winter. After being on the go for so long I wonder how our gypsy feet will adjust.

Our new home is Bentsen Palm Valley RV Park. We decided to stay in this area for several reasons. We wanted to see if we would like to settle here. We’re also excited to have the chance to help our friends Bill and Ali who are Chaplin’s at a RV church in Alamo, with their church.

We were able to sign on as work campers. We haven’t taken the time to get involved anywhere else we’ve been, and we’ll only be working twenty-four hours each a week so we think it will be fun.

I didn’t know this park has been winning awards as the best mid-sized RV Resort in Texas and the nation. It is lovely with palm trees waving against the blue sky, and butterflies’ floating in the air like falling leafs. We were greeted by seeing a bush that was so full of butterflies they looked like fluttering blooms. There is 2600 acres here that borders the Rio Grande River with boating and kayaking as well as hike and bike trails that go for miles.

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Most of the people here now are work campers so we’ve had some time to meet them, regroup and get organized, catch up on this blog, and get acquainted with the area.

I hear the butterfly watchers are coming in this week, and the bird watchers will be here soon.

Wonder what amazing things we’ll be experiencing here.

We would love to see you if you’re in the Rio Grande Valley this winter.

Traveling Blessed USA

San Antonio, Texas

We passed through San Antonio as we traveled south.  Home of the Alamo, Sea World, the River Walk, and all the things big cities have to offer. This time we stayed near The Trail of Missions so decided we should check them out. We learned they are part of the National Park system for those of you filling your books with National Park stamps.

There are still five missions that were built along the San Antonio River only a few miles apart. The Alamo is the furthest north and is now in a busy part of town. To stand on that hallowed ground where 170 people gave their lives was humbling.

Spain and the Catholic Church established each community in the mid-seventeen hundreds. The info said they trained the natives to be good citizens of the crown and to protect them as they took over their country.

The buildings are still beautiful. Here are pictures. I paused to imagine the land I stood on was Mexico belonging to Spain at the time the places and people prospered with fertile soil, many skills, and God in the center of their society.

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For a young state Texas has been under the flag of six different countries.

For those who are tracking our movement we are leaving San Antonio to head south to the Rio Grande Valley and spend some time with friends at Alamo, TX. From there we are off to Big Bend National Park and points west.