Sunday, February 26, 2012

Catching Up


It was a busy week between dentist appointments in Mexico, washing, polishing and Jim changing the oil on the Lazy Daze, getting the tires rotated on the car, playing with the cats (and dogs) at Cinderella, happy hours with friends, riding bikes, taking walks, working out, etc.

Sophie, one of the many sweet kitties at the shelter.


Lots of birds in a lake at a beautiful golf course subdivision where we like to bike.



View from the hawk tower in Bentsen State Park today. When we got here in December there was no water and everything was brown. After all the rain this past month (thanks to Don and Dorothy showing up) it has really greened up.


Due to spring break, winter Texans heading north, and failing to make reservations in the Hill Country where we are heading next, we have decided to stay here another couple weeks. We still have some things to take care of on the car, Jim wants to be sure he doesn’t have any problems with his dental implant before we leave the area, and I want a little more time with the cats at Cinderella.

Won’t someone please adopt us???



After many hours of researching and reserving over the past couple days, we now have a semi-plan for the spring and summer. After a couple weeks in the Hill Country, we’re heading back to New Mexico, then working our way north into Colorado during the heat of summer. Of course, like most full time RVers, our plans are always subject to change.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday


There are a bunch of people with recumbent trikes spending the winter at Bentsen Palm Village. They got together late this afternoon to do their own version of Mardi Gras, complete with decorated bikes and throwing of beads and candy. They appeared to be having a great time.





We made another trip to Mexico this morning for my root canal. Dr. Pablo said the root was full of decay (which he showed me, not pretty) and had probably taken a couple years to get that way. Guess that’s what caused the toothache I had in South Dakota in the summer of 2010. I saw a dentist then but he didn’t see anything going on, thought I was grinding my teeth and night, and the pain mysteriously disappeared a couple days after I saw him.

I’ve had quite a few root canals over the years, and have always had lots of pain for at least a couple days after so I really wasn’t looking forward to this. Luckily, I had absolutely no discomfort from the procedure, and so far other than a little irritation where he injected the anesthetic, no pain the rest of day. I do have to go back on Thursday, as he filled it with something to help get rid of the infection, and is also having me take antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. I’m really glad I went ahead and had this taken care of while we’re here, as I was almost certainly looking at an abscessed tooth in the near future.

Jim brought Don and Dorothy to Cinderella yesterday to walk dogs while I was tending to the cats. They don’t have any pets of their own right now but have had cats and dogs in the past and need a fix every now and then. After some dog whispering, they came in to visit with the cats for awhile. Don was still holding onto a leash (no dog attached), and he had quite a curious audience.


I took lots of pictures yesterday, this being my favorite. I just love those cats!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snakes, Lunch, and Dentists, Oh My!


I forgot to post these photos of diamond-back water snakes we saw in Bentsen State Park the other day. They were just enjoying lying around on a fallen tree trying to get a little sun. They are supposedly non-venomous.



Yesterday we had a delightful lunch with fellow bloggers John and Carol. We have been following their blog, 5th Wheel Wanderings, for awhile now, and were planning to meet up with them last May in Elephant Butte, NM. As it turned out, hey had a mechanical problem with their 5th wheel, and had to go on to Albuquerque for repairs. We passed each other in Elephant Butte while they were stopped for gas but didn’t realize it was them. So when they arrived in the Rio Grande Valley last month for a volunteer job at Santa Ana NWR, we planned a meeting.


It is always fun to meet other full time RVers, especially when you’ve been following their blogs. We marvel at how easy the conversation flows and how comfortable we feel with people we are meeting for the first time. After a couple hours of talking about travels, cats, work camping, and everything else under the sun, we had to head out for another trip to Nuevo Progreso.

Jim had a dentist appointment to get his sutures removed, but they had all fallen out on their own beforehand. Dr. De la Rosa gave him a good exam and cleaned around the implant. Said all looked great, no sign of infection, but Jim needed to do a better job of cleaning around the area. Needless to say he’s been very cautious about getting a toothbrush near the implant, especially since the stitches came out early.

I went to a different dentist, Dr. Pablo Verastaqui, to get a second opinion about my tooth. I didn’t tell him I had been to another dentist, just explained the problem. He took one x-ray, poked and prodded for a good while, and agreed with Dr. De la Rosa that the same tooth needed a root canal. But he said I would not need a crown, and Dr. D was planning to prep the tooth for a crown after the root canal. Since I felt comfortable in Dr. Pablo’s office, and he is supposedly a root canal “expert”, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday morning. $150 for a root canal! And a $10 charge for the consultation and x-ray. His website is Guess I’ll find out if that’s true on Tuesday!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hidalgo Pump House


The other day we took a short drive to the town of Hidalgo, along the Mexican border, to visit the Hidalgo Pump House Museum and World Birding Center.


I had read that some Monk parakeets had been hanging out there the past couple weeks, and thought it would be fun to see our first parakeets in the wild. The grounds are small but nicely landscaped with flowering plants to attract birds and butterflies. There is no fee to enter the gardens but it was $2 to take a tour of the old pumphouse museum.


This steam-powered pumphouse was built along the Rio Grande in 1909 to pump water into the Rio Grande Valley for crop irrigation. The engineering was quite impressive for it’s time. The city of Hidalgo has done a nice job of restoring it and gives daily tours.

An old gas pump.


One of the steam engines. They were originally powered by mesquite wood, then crude oil, then natural gas.


One interesting tidbit we learned was that a major flood in 1933 changed the course of the Rio Grande and moved the river a half mile from the pumphouse. That meant having to dig a channel to bring in water to the intake pipes. Guess that’s why It was replaced by an electric powered pumphouse on the river not long after the flood and shut down.

We didn’t see many birds on the grounds but did run into our neighbors, Tom and Carol, who are serious birders. They told us where the Monk parakeets were building a nest, just a couple blocks away on top of a transformer.

Here is one of them working hard at getting the nest just right.



It seemed like a strange place to build a nest, but the house it was in front of had a pile of twigs and branches sitting out by the street, so they had easy access to some nice building material.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mexican Dental Update



We paid our quarters to cross the bridge into Nuevo Progreso again on Monday. Jim also put a couple nickels into the hats under the bridge, which is the only panhandling you see in Progreso.


Dr. De la Rosa’s office is in a little shopping center in the middle of the first block of town. He’s not the only dentist in this plaza.




The oral surgeon from Reynosa, Dr. Velazquez, arrived a few minutes after we got there. He looked to be about 18, and spoke little English. Dr. De la Rosa laughed and said they call him the “Baby Doc”, but he is actually 34 (still a baby!) and does lots and lots of dental implants so not to worry. After a couple of equipment malfunctions before the procedure started, Jim almost got out of the chair and backed out, but he did go through with it, and has done well so far. Very little discomfort the first two days, just took some OTC naproxen. He got a bit of a scare when one of the sutures fell out the day after the surgery, but Dr. De la Rosa said not to worry, just come back on Saturday to have the other suture removed. He is taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, and so far so good.

I am still having some tooth pain off and on and Dr. De la Rosa wanted to do a nerve conduction test to help determine which tooth is causing the problem. The new machine he ordered hadn’t arrived yet so if the equipment is there I will get the test on Saturday when we go back. If not, I will probably go to another dentist for a second opinion before I have a root canal done. Nothing is ever easy.

Hasta la vista!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It’s Valentine’s Day


Love Smokey

Just had to share some cat pictures taken by Cory Raymond, one of the volunteers at Cinderella Pet Rescue. She had a little party for the furry critters and it looks like they all had a great time.

Charlie with Heart

Half Pint's eyes

Lion with card

Valentine Ginger

Sophie & card

Jim almost took Muffy (not pictured) home yesterday. Can’t take him to Cinderella anymore!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pets on Parade



After 6 days of clouds and off and on rain, it turned out to be a beautiful morning for the Bentsen Palm Village annual Valentine’s Pet Parade. All proceeds go to Cinderella Pet Rescue in Mission, so of course we volunteered to help.


It was a dollar to enter your pet, and a dollar to place a vote. Jim and I were in charge of selling homemade baked goods, and we took in over $100. There were also hot dogs, chips and drinks, plus homemade doggie treats. This was the first year they sold hot dogs and decided 80 would be plenty, but judging by how quickly they sold out, we could have used quite a few more.

After registration, all the pets paraded around the clubhouse circle twice, so people could get a good look and place their votes. Dogs came in all shapes and sizes and all kinds of costumes.







These two birds were the only non-canines in the parade.


I thought this guy was pretty spiffy.


But the winner was….


Do you think she was embarrassed to have to dress up like this?


It was fun and for a good cause. We haven’t heard yet how much money was raised, but Cinderella can sure use the help.

On a less pleasant note, I took Quincy to the vet Wednesday for blood work to see how his kidney disease is progressing. Luckily at a much slower rate than Oreo did, but his numbers are gradually getting worse. Also his potassium is low so he now has to take a supplement for that. At least it’s something that can be put in his food so we don’t have to pill him. We sure hate it for the little guy but at least he’s eating well and seems to be feeling good, still jumping up to places he shouldn’t be!


And on a totally unrelated note, we’ve been back to the state park several times looking for the bobcat, but yesterday spotted two coyotes near the same place. They were much more skittish of us being close by and quickly ran off.

We also saw a woman who looked like a serious birder looking at something in this tree through her binoculars.


Since we couldn’t see anything we asked her what she was looking at. She laughed and said it wasn’t a bird, but a rather interesting clump of prickly pear cactus that was growing on a branch in the top of the tree. Don’t you just love nature?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mexican Train and Mexico Revisited


One of the burros at Cinderella Pet Rescue. Anyone need a new pet?


We ended up not going to South Padre Island for the Kite Festival Saturday. There was a front moving in and severe thunderstorms predicted, but as usually happens when you try to second guess the weather, it turned out to be a nice morning with the rain arriving much later in the day. Sorry we missed you, Bill and Cindy! It was a great morning for a bike ride, though.

Sunday’s high was only 51 degrees! What a change from the low 80s we’d been enjoying. Don and Dorothy went to the flea market and bought Mexican Train dominos so they taught us how to play on Sunday. It was a lot of fun and now we can join in with the regulars if we want.

Monday was Cinderella day. The cats were no worse off from their ear mite treatment ordeal last week.

Yesterday we went back to Progreso, Mexico for dental appointments. Now that we’ve been a few times it’s no big deal walking across the border. Our friends Paul and Marsha from Where’s Weaver blog recommended Dr Fernando de la Rosa. They did a great post about their recent appointment, with pictures of Dr. de la Rosa and his office. You can read about it here, since we didn’t take any pictures. Jim was evaluated for his implant, and Dr. de la Rosa called and spoke with the oral surgeon from Reynosa. He will be here Monday so Jim has an appointment at 3 for the implant. He feels much better about it after spending over 3 hours at the dentista’s office yesterday.

I also was examined by Dr de la Rosa and he adjusted my bite since I was hitting hard on a couple back teeth and have been having some aching in my jaw. He took a couple xrays and is concerned that one of my teeth has a small crack and the root may be going bad, which could be causing the discomfort. Of course that means a root canal, which I really don’t want to do, but he is going to do another test when we go back Monday. If I need it done I definitely want to get it taken care of while we’re here, rather than risk an abscess and an emergency trip to a US dentist for a thousand dollar root canal somewhere down the road.

We both really liked Dr. de la Rosa. He took lots of time with both of us, is very personable, speaks fluent English, and even spoke Spanish to me for a good while (slowly) so I could practice. We would definitely recommend him if you’re looking for a Nuevo Progreso dentist. And it’s an adventure trying to find his office. Next trip over we’ll take some pics.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kayaking and Other Things



It’s been a busy week so far, with two mornings spent at Cinderella Pet Rescue. Monday is my normal day to go, then yesterday Jim and I both went and helped treat the cats for ear mites. There were 7 volunteers and we managed to clean out ears and treat 26 cats. Unfortunately we were unable to get 4 of them due to bad behavior on the cat’s part. It wasn’t for lack of trying on our part, though, and some of the volunteers including Jim came home with lots of scratches, even though they wore gloves. We also cleaned and disinfected both cat rooms and all their scratching posts and toys, and replaced the old bedding, rugs, towels and blankets with clean ones.

This is the newest rescue, a feisty little kitten found alongside a busy road by one of the volunteers. He’s getting along well with the older cats.

 Geoffrey licking chops

We take a long bike ride or walk just about every day, and managed to see the bobcat for a second time around the same place, same time of day. He must have a route he travels so we’re hoping to spot him again.


Being a mile or so from the Mexican border, the Border Patrol has a big presence here. They are always parked just outside the gate of the RV park or in the state park. In fact one day on one of the trails in the state park we had a border patrol officer jogging towards us carrying his huge automatic weapon. As he ran by he said “nice day for a jog, isn’t it?” After the fact, Jim wished he’d taken a picture but at the time we were a bit startled and didn’t think of it. A couple days ago driving back from the grocery store we saw our first illegal apprehension just down the road. They apparently caught someone in the sugar cane fields near the Rio Grande. Looks like a good place to hide but they are always on the lookout. At night we frequently hear the helicopters searching around the area. It’s a different world here.


There is a state veteran’s cemetery we ride through along one of our bike routes. I just liked the look of all the headstones.


Yesterday Don and Dorothy surprised us by arriving almost a week early and joined us for Margarita hour at the clubhouse. Sounds like they’ve had a great trip so far since leaving Montgomery last month. Tonight we had happy hour at Ray and Sue’s in honor of his and their neighbor’s birthdays. Always lots of laughter.

We started off the day with kayaking on the resaca in the state park. Bentsen Palm Village has 6 kayaks that can be used by park guests. On Monday mornings, Steve, the kayak guide, takes groups to the Rio Grande River. On Thursdays he takes a group to the resaca in Bentsen State Park. The resaca is a horseshoe shaped body of water that used to be part of the Rio Grande, but no longer connects to the river. It was a warm but cloudy morning and we enjoyed paddling along looking at birds. We saw lots of cormorants, egrets, kingfishers and a hawk. We learned it’s very difficult to stop and look at birds through binoculars or try to take any pictures from the kayak since you don’t stay still when you’re stopped in the water.


This is the peninsula in the middle of the horseshoe. It’s privately owned land but it can be rented out for picnics and events.


We went back to the state park this afternoon looking for the bobcat but we were a bit too early. We did see lots of colorful altamira orioles, though.



If the weather holds out we’re planning a trip to South Padre Island for the Kite Festival on Saturday. We’ll also be making another trip to Mexico next week since Jim has finally decided to start the tooth implant process. After two months here we still aren’t bored, which is pretty unusual for us. Guess it’s because we’ve been fulltiming now for over three years and although there are still lots of places we want to visit, we don’t feel quite the urgency to move on like we used to.