Llano Grande

Well, we finally arrived here on the 15th and the welcome has been fantastic. We have a nice site that has some trees and are well situated for easy access to the activity center, pool, laundry, and most other conveniences.  We also are close to the resaca and have a great vantage point for beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

We have ventured out to Mercedes, Weslaco, McAllen and Pharr (not too far; sorry, couldn’t resist) and in the next few days we’re heading east to Harlingen, Brownsville and South Padre Island.  On the 25th we are going out on a catamaran dinner cruise along South Padre.

The weather has been beautiful, as expected, though a bit hot, 90 in the day, getting down to about 70 at night.  Always a nice breeze so evening rides (on our golf cart) along the levee next to the resaca are a real treat.  We are expecting a cool-down to the high 70s and low 80s after November 1st.

Last evening we witnessed the nightly ritual that I have dubbed the “Pelican Parade”.  Hundreds of pelicans fly in to land on the resaca each evening about an hour before dark, just as the sun starts to set.  They swim northward in a line for awhile, then begin to form a semi-circle, gradually closing the loop.  Then they feed on the fish they have corralled.  Then they spread out in a line and it starts all over again.

As expected, there are a bazillion Mexican restaurants throughout the area, each one claiming to be authentic and “the best”.  Guess we might have to try each one to find out.  Stay tuned.

USS Lexington

Set out this morning to be tourists and chose the USS Lexington, one of only 2 remaining WWII aircraft carriers in existence.   Started with a tour guide names Chuck who was a regular encyclopedia of information about the ‘Lex” and naval flight.  We then went up to the bridge and down to the crew quarters, flight deck, hangar deck and below decks (crew quarters, engine room, etc.).  Absolutely incredible piece of engineering!

The Lex20151014_13025420151014_13091320151014_122017
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Finished the day watching “The Martian” (good movie!), then dinner at a nice little Mexican restaurant here in Portland.  Tomorrow we are definitely going to be in Mercedes.  We are both ready to be ‘home’ for awhile.

Corpus

Oct 14th

Stopped last night near Corpus Christi at the Sea Breeze campground.  We can see the Gulf out our dining room window, but the ‘breeze’ is a little off.  Red Tide has killed a lot of fish and the odor is pretty strong.  Went in to Corpus for dinner but the smell made us eat and leave.  Going back today to be tourists – USS Lexington, Science Museum, etc.

Brookshire (Houston), Texas

Oct 6th

We traveled to Brookshire, Texas, and settled in to the Houston West RV Park.  We are here for a week and going to take it easy for the rest of the day.

Oct 7th – 13th

Spent a quick week seeing everyone: Aaron brought Riley, Tommie, Tyler and Charlotte to the campground for swimming and lunch.  This was the first time Tom got to meet Aaron’s 3 daughters.  Fun time, like trying to catch 3 tornados.

Back Row - Grandpa, Tommie, Riley, Aaron. Front Charlotte, Tyler

Took the truck to John’s house in Waller for service.  He has a complete auto repair shop and did a great job.  Talked awhile with Dana, Hailey and Brandon.  They will be at the RV park Saturday for the cookout.

Brandon & John
Brandon & John
Haley in uniform
Haley in uniform
John and Dana
John & Dana

Drove in to Katy to Allison’s house and got to have pizza dinner with Alyssa while Mary and Allison were out.  John (Allison’s hubby) was working.

Allison & Alyssa
Allison & Alyssa

Saturday afternoon had hamburger/hotdog cookout with everyone but Aaron, since he had to work.  Really nice time and great to be able to sit and talk to everybody.

Sunday brunch at Allison’s and we met with Ashley (John’s daughter), her husband Adam and their new daughter Leylah.

Ashley
Ashley
Grandpa Tom and Leylah
Grandpa Tom and Leylah

Monday we had a going away lunch with Allison, and then Tuesday we packed up and headed south.  Enjoyable week, great to see everybody, and now we are anxious to get to our winter home!

College Station

Oct 4 & 5th

Today we toured the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A&M.  The library was well done and the campus is not only huge but lovely.  The stadium alone, Home of The Aggies puts the “Big House” to shame.  It is hot and sunny here with temps in the low 90’s tomorrow.

George H.W. Bush Library
George H.W. Bush Library

We are off to Houston tomorrow to spend a week with the kids and grandkids.

Today we also have entered the 10th state on our trip to our winter destination.  Enjoying it all.

OKC

Oct. 2nd

We drove the 250 miles to Oklahoma City – a bright sunny day.  We traded the many wind turbine fields of Kansas for the gas & oil fields of Oklahoma.

Our campground was not what we expected.  Reason being they were hit by a tornado May 7th and are in the process of trying to get it all put back together.  The campground was full that day when the tornado first hit Moore Ok. once again and headed for the 28 years old Road Runner RV Park.  RV’s were tossed around like matchsticks, all destroyed.  Whereas there were no fatalities, 12 people were hospitalized with injuries.  The photos of the storms aftermath were pretty scary stuff.

Oct. 3rd

Today we toured the Oklahoma Memorial Museum, Reflecting Pool, and Field of Chairs. This is the site of the Murrah Federal Building bombing by Timothy McVeigh April 19th, 1995.  Needless to say this was a very sad, emotion packed tour that was well documented and extremely well done.

Memorial grounds where Murrah building used to stand Remembrance Wall

Downtown Oklahoma City is well appointed with many eateries, a minor league stadium for the LA Dodgers farm team, botanical gardens, art museums and much more. All in all it was an enjoyable day.

Tomorrow we are off to West, Texas, and South of Dallas / Fort Worth.  Our ultimate destination is College Station and the George Bush Presidential Library.

Abilene, KS

Oct. 1st

Today we had a great experience touring the Eisenhower Museum and Library along with the home he and his six brothers and parents grew up in.  Talk about tight quarters. We also visited the chapel where the Eisenhower’ are interred.

The museum mostly tells the stories of World War I & II and Eisenhower’ involvement, loads of artifacts and photos along with biographies of all world leaders involved.  It was a scary huge – huge war very well documented by the museum.

What did we come away with? This world never seems to learn from our past experiences.

Tomorrow we are off to Oklahoma City, OK.

Nebraska & Kansas

Sept.26th

We are in “Cornhuskers” territory, big game today and all you see is “red” shirts everywhere. How big is it? Most of the stores in the little town of York were closed – so much for our taking in the local scene. So we went to a movie instead. Nice relaxing day.

Sept 27th

We did not do much today – we watched the Fed-X Cup and were delighted to see Jordan win.  Tomorrow we are off to Salina/Abilene Kansas to see the Eisenhower Library.  We are really looking forward to this stop.

Sept. 28th

Well, so much for our trip to Abilene.  We experienced issues with our truck in Concordia, KS around 10:00 this morning and had to be towed to a Ford dealership that works on diesel engines.  We have been here all day and looks like we will spend the night as they are having trouble finding the problem.

The positive side is there are things to do here.  The welcome center has the “longest sculpted brick mural in USA”.  The bricks came from the Cloud Ceramic plant right here in Concordia.

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The town is also famous for taking part in the Orphans Train Movement that relocated abandoned children from across the US from 1854 to 1929. We are going to tour these sites tomorrow. If you wish to learn more, go to museum@cloudcountyks.org. Hopefully, we are on our way in a timely manner tomorrow.

Sept. 29th

We again spent the day in Concordia while our truck was being worked on.  The problem was the oil pump blew a fitting.  They say we will be ready to go tomorrow at which time we will head for Abilene to finally take in the Eisenhower Library.  The folks in Concordia have been very warm and accommodating as we spent the day learning about this part of Kansas’ history.  If we had to breakdown, we did it in a good place.

Sept.30th

We finally got our repaired truck back at 2:00, said goodbye to the new friends we met and took off for Abilene taking a less major road to enjoy more of the farmland scenery. Milo, is a major sorghum crop along with corn & soy grown here in Kansas. I have traveled Kansas many times on my way to Denver east to west but find this trip north to south more scenic. It also helps to get off the major highways. The little villages are quaint and picturesque.

We arrived in Abilene around 4:00 set up camp and met our neighbors who have been full time campers for 28 years.  They have been everywhere and were a great source of information for us.