Saturday, March 30, 2013

One More Cinderella Story


Tangerine, back at the shelter after his unsuccessful adoption.


For me, the best part of our extended stay in south Texas has been the opportunity to volunteer at Cinderella Pet Rescue. Yes, it can be heartbreaking working with rescued animals, but it is also extremely satisfying to play a small role in getting them socialized and ready to be adopted. The sad part is how difficult it is to find good homes for these sweet animals.

I, along with either Jim last year or Debbie this year, have been the cat volunteer every Monday for the past 2 winters, making Mondays the highlight of my week. We wanted to see them once more and say our final goodbyes so we stopped by for a quick visit yesterday. I guess they knew we weren’t coming back and wanted to leave a good impression, because all the cats were extremely affectionate and friendly, even some of those that never want to make contact with us. It was hard to say goodbye, and our short visit turned into a couple of pleasant hours spent petting and playing with cats. And taking lots of pictures.











Half Pint




My buddy Laz


Ozzie, the only cat that won’t allow us to touch him.


Georgina playing in the rafters.


We’ve changed our summer plans, and have decided to wait until September and October to travel the 395 corridor in California. We just don’t want to fight the crowds trying to visit Yosemite in the spring and summer. So we will most likely hang around New Mexico, northern Arizona, and Utah. That means another visit to Kanab, where I can get my cat fix and volunteer for at least a few days at Best Friends.

The Guest Services work campers had one last happy hour last night for everyone left in the park. When we were leaving, someone noticed these ducks on the roof of the palapa. They are black-bellied whistling ducks that actually perch in trees. How strange to see ducks on a roof.



Adios, Texas.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Last Week In Mission, TX



Finally, after 5 months, we will be back on the road Sunday. We are slowly chipping away at our to-do list, to which has been added inspecting our solar panel mounts, after seeing what happened to our friend Pam when she left here a couple weeks ago.

It has been nice to have more free time, so one day Debbie and I visited Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen for a history tour. Jim and I went to a nature photography presentation there last year, and it is an impressive place. There is a beautiful 1930s adobe estate surrounded by gardens and trails, which is now the McAllen wing of the World Birding Center.

They were setting up for a wedding later that day.


The original owner supposedly had a sign like this at the entrance of the driveway to deter trespassers. He assumed no one knew that an agapanthus was just a lily of the valley plant.


I don’t remember what this is but it was certainly colorful.


The majority of birds we saw were chachalacas, enjoying a breakfast of oranges.


There are several large bird feeding areas like this. It’s a place that’s definitely worth seeing if you’re in the area.


Sunday night was the workamper appreciation dinner in the clubhouse, put on by the park managers. We had 4 gallons of margaritas left over from Wednesday’s margarita hour, so Jim volunteered to fire up the machine and clean it after. Juanita, the manager, mentioned that they needed some music while Jim was filling the machine, so he went back and got his phone, hooked it up to the PA system, and played DJ after dinner. He’s decided this will not be a new career after all, as it is too hard to please everyone’s tastes in music. We did have fun dancing, and the margarita machine was emptied by the end of the evening.

Yesterday Jim and I made one last trip to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico to pick up some cheap Retin-A, which Jim’s dermatologist prescribed for his sun damaged skin. At $3.95/tube he bought 6, which ought to last until the next time we get near Mexico. While we were in Jessica’s Pharmacy, Jim asked if there was a dermatologist in town who could freeze off a few spots. He had scheduled one last appointment with the dermatologist in McAllen before we leave, but didn’t want to have another $300 bill to pay, since we have a high deductible insurance plan. The nice man who spoke excellent English told us to wait in the bar and have a free margarita while he waited on another customer. Yes, the pharmacy also has a bar with live entertainment and dancing, and a dentist’s office. Only in Mexico! Just as we were finishing our drink, he came out and escorted us to another office, where the doctor did not have the CO2 to freeze the lesions. He did call another doctor, who said we could come right over. For $60 he would freeze up to 8 spots, a great deal. Now that we’ve been to Mexico for dental care, we kind of like their relaxed way of doing business. No forms to fill out, just walk in, get treated, and pay. Having a margarita made Jim a little more relaxed, also.

He was so relaxed that after his appointment he wanted to buy a cowboy hat, which he did, for $7.95. Nothing like waiting until we are almost ready to get out of Texas. He wore it on our hike in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, which is on our way back from Mexico.


He had to show his new hat off at happy hour last night, and took a lot of ribbing about it. He was a good sport, though. Now everybody thinks he needs some boots to go with it.

This sign sort of sums up the Rio Grande Valley. Understand that this was in the wildlife refuge ladies room in the USA. In a strange way we will miss it here, but look forward to be moving on.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

We’re Retired……Again



We worked our final Margarita Hour last night, so we are officially done. The Activities Team decided not to put out the donation jar so the margaritas were free. And the 60 some guests that were there enjoyed plenty of them. Near the end of the hour someone asked Jim for some music, so he plugged in his smart phone to the PA system. He’s accumulated a number of line dance and country songs, which most everyone likes, especially after several drinks. Lots of people danced, as did we while cleaning up, and the hour turned into two. A nice way to end!

Jim is a pretty good DJ, and he also had fun doing announcements during Margarita Hour on our week. He now grabs the mike every time we have it on in the clubhouse. I’m thinking it might be a good second career for him if we ever need a “real” job again.

We even went with some friends to Crazy Joe’s on Sunday to listen to the Country Roland band.


It’s a cool outdoor bar almost under the Anzalduas bridge to Reynosa, Mexico, that reminded us of Luckenbach. Wonder if we’ll listen to country music after we leave Texas…. We never could bring ourselves to buy cowboy hats. Too late now.

Other than a couple of really hot days, the month of March has been better than we expected here. We moved to a shady site a few weeks ago, and we really like it. Funny how a small move makes us feel like we’re in a new place.


This morning we took a 5 mile walk in Bentsen State Park. We have to get our hiking legs back, as we’ve mostly been biking. Met some folks who showed us great photos of a bobcat and coyote they’ve seen several times. They even watched the bobcat grooming her kitten. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see them before we leave.

We took the Rio Grande trail to the river. Lots of empty water bottles thrown around, and saw a pair of jeans and a skull cap. Have to get rid of those wet clothes after a swim across the Rio Grande.


We only saw lots of red winged black birds and chachalacas.


Jim went to his last eye doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so I rode my bike back to the park looking for bobcats. Again no luck, but our favorite owl was home.


Here he is peeking around the tree as I walked away. And I thought he was asleep! You may have seen a similar photo on Pam’s blog recently. I’m jealous because she saw the red-naped sapsucker and we still haven’t.


We’re planning to hang out here until Easter Sunday. Still not sure where we’re going then but we’ll figure it out over the next week, while enjoying our retirement.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Thing I Miss…


about riding a recumbent bicycle.


Yesterday on the Mission bike trail, a polite young man said “That’s a cool bike, sir.”  And the day before a teenager shouted “Awesome!”


On my upright bike I barely get a nod.

Now if you really want to call attention to yourself, ride a recumbent trike.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All Fixed And Ready To Go



It was Sophie’s turn to get spayed last week. Try to keep a 4 month old kitten quiet after surgery. She howled and tried to claw her way out of the shower, so we just gave up! Other than acting a little goofy the night of her surgery, she was just as crazy and active as she is every other day of her life.

Since we had to take her 47 miles to Harlingen, like we did Elvis, we killed some time by stopping for breakfast, picking up a few things at Lowe’s, and walking around Resaca de la Palma State Park, just north of Brownsville, for a couple hours.


It is part of the World Birding Center, one of nine locations in the Rio Grande Valley. We walked a few miles of trails, saw a coyote and some birds and ducks. It is very similar to Bentsen State Park, adjacent to our RV park, since no vehicles are allowed in the park except the tram. Nice and peaceful, and only a handful of people there on a Wednesday morning.


Sometimes we have more fun looking at cactus than birds.



We just have a week left to work, and the only events scheduled are 2 more Margarita hours, one more coffee and donuts, an ice cream social and card Bingo. Nice to have some more free time, and we are chipping away at our to-do list.

Over the past couple weeks Jim has changed the oil on the Subaru and Lazy Daze, fixed our malfunctioning water heater, and we washed and waxed the car and rig. Glad to have those chores out of the way so we can enjoy our last couple weeks here.

Saturday Cinderella Pet Rescue had another cat adoption event at Petsmart. Debbie and I transported cats and helped out at the event. Only two were adopted, but Tangerine is being brought back today because he keeps hissing at their kids and other cat. None of us had a good feeling about the family, but they wanted an orange cat, and they paid the money.

Sweet Tangerine, who would rather come back to the shelter than live with little kids. Can’t say as I blame him.


Geoffrey on the right, who did find a good home.


I threatened to take Elvis and Sophie with me to Petsmart, and they probably would have been adopted, since several people inquired about kittens. It is a constant battle to keep these two off the kitchen counter. When I’m gone, it appears that Jim doesn’t do a very good job, since he finds it entertaining to take pictures of them doing things they aren’t allowed to do when I’m there.


Who, me?


The weather has been wonderful here the past couple weeks, with low humidity, warm temperatures and lots of sunshine, but it looks like the 90s and high humidity will be back next week. We look forward to moving on soon.