Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Braunfels, Texas and Jacksonville, North Carolina

19th November (Monday)
Learned this morning of the passing of a good friend and neighbor, Lawrence Harriman. A sad day for us. Lawrence and his wife, Marlene, live under the same roof as us in our villa. Although we have only known them only for the 5 years we have lived here, we valued Lawrence as a very good friend. Our thoughts today are for you and your family, Marlene.

Second concerning message of the day, Denice's Uncle Gene passed away today in Mesa, AZ. He has been suffering from cancer for a while, and as it always seems to happen, the disease won out.

Third message of the day: Denices Aunt in Crawford, NE has been admitted to the Veterans Hospital in Hot Springs, ND. She is diabetic and has bad sores on her legs, and now they have migrated to her buttocks. One is very deep and is septic and may turn to Gangerine. Outlook is not good.

So as they say things happen in threes, and we have had our three for the day ----

Pack our suitcases and all the rest of the pariphanalia for the next 10 days, while we are in North Carolina, and then home
20th November (Tuesday) Up at 4:30AM to be able to get to San Antonio to check in to Delta by 6:30AM

Loren takes us to catch a flight to Atlanta. 757 Plane leaves at 8:00AM - Arrive 11:15AM (Eastern Time Zone) Quickly catch underground tram from Concourse "A" to "D". Catch smaller plane to Jacksonville, NC. Arrive at 2:00PM. Laurie pickes up and delivers us to her home. Chat the afternoon away, then Laurie has roast Beef for dinner, Delicious
21st November (Wednesday) Laurie went to work this morning so we, and Hettie are on our own for the day. Laurie is a realtor here in Jacksonville. We did talk about the house values here and after I told her an average house in Alberta near us is selling for about $350,000 to $400,000, she was astounded and said that here the same house would likely be about $160,000. We went down town Jacksonville to do a little pre-black Friday shopping. Hettie since she lived here for 5 years was our guide, but she said "turn left", when she should have said, "turn right", so we were lost for a while. We had her car and no GPS, but we were able to find a map of the city and after turning around, were finally able to find our way down town. Did a little shopping at Walmart, Sam's Club, and Best Buy. Found people already camped in tents out front of the store, so we decided then and there that we would not be going down to fight the crowds, just to save $100 bucks.
22nd November (Thursday) Thanksgiving in North Carolina. We decided to go to Golden Corral for turkey dinner instead of cooking the turkey. But when we got there at 2:00PM, the lineup was away outside and around the corner, and it appeared it was going to be well over an hour before we got in, so we elected to go elsewhere. Very few restaurants were open, but we found one called _________ and had a delicious meal there, although not turkey. On way home stopped at Walmart for a few things, and I went to look at the electronics and ended up buying an Asus Tablet. Now a big learning curve as they are a lot different than a computer.

Needed to call both Mastercard and Visa to advise we were in North Carolina. Both had restricted since I had used them here without advising them were were here
23rd November ( Friday) Black Friday, but we stayed home as we were not interested in fighting the crowds.

Lari and Hettie drove to Wilmington Airport to pick up Lari's kids, Blake and Kyra, who had been in Houston at their Dad's wedding.

Were at home most of the day until Lari got home from picking up the kids, and then she took us to the ocean to ________ see the Christmas decorated flotilla after dark. It was very cold (45 degrees maybe) so we did not stay too long. We left as soon as the boats had passed. On way home stopped at a friend of Lari's for a cocktail. Then home for a turkey sandwich.
 24th November (Saturday) Lari took us uptown to Enterprise to rent a car for the next 5 days while we are here. Were given a Dodge mini Van, Very nice unit. We, Denice and I drove down South to Topsail Beach and then on tp Surf City. Very nice beaches, with minimal people. Returned home to Lari's by 4:00PM.

And Yet Another Week at Bentson Palms - and the Move on

12th November (Monday)
Had planned on going to Laguna Atasocsa National Wildlife Refuge near South Padre Island but north- east along the Laguna Madre coast line, but on waking up this morning found we were in strong winds. A quick perusal of the weather web indicated that winds in the area would be in the 30MPH range for most of the day. Cancel those plans!!  I guess another rest day here. Maybe tomorrow.
13th November (Tuesday)
Nothing worth writing about today
14th November (Wednesday)
Went to Laguana Atasocsa today. It is 20 miles past Harlingen and on Laguana Madre. Saw lots of birds again. Thousands of Ducks. A duck is a duck is a duck is a duck!!  Not sure what kind they were. Some Spoonbills, Hawkes, and little birds
15 November (Thursday)
Mostly rested today. Went to Butterfly Center but no butterflies. They don't flutter when the sun doesn't shine and today was overcast. Drizzle in evening turning to sprinkles
16th November (Friday)
Packing up today. Getting ready for the exodus tomorrow to New Braunfels

Out to the Riverside Club for Dinner tonight.nice rebels about cooking today
After at home went to visit Vincent and Nita Dykeman from Bend Oregon at their motorhome
17th November (Saturday)
Left Mission by 8:00AM this morning - about 300 miles to New Braunfels - arrived just before 3:00PM

Driveway into Loren and Theresa's house has grown in the last year and was more difficult to negotiate than before. In fact backing into the RV pad I did hit a branch on a tree and bent a couple of supports for the railing on top of ELTORO . Will get new ones at Campers World tomorrow - also need a new hot water tank cover. Seems, somehow we lost it on the way up. Not sure how it could have come loose, but it was not here when we arrived

Just got all set up and then Loren, Hettie, and Theresa wanted to take us to Golden Corral for dinner - very good, but ate away too much. Then about 7:00PM headed to San Antonio to Theresa's University to witness the "Lighting the Way" show where they have a one hour program and then conclude with fireworks and turn on all the Xmas lights on thousands of decorated trees - We use coniferous trees at home, but here they decorate live oaks. It was a good show and the Christmas lights were very impressive. 18th November (Sunday) Over to Campers world for my parts today, but only the store was open and the parts I neededwere in the parts and service department so will have to return tomorrow

And Another Week at Bentson Palms Resort

5th November (Monday)
Rest day today. Met a few of our neighbors. Ron and Darleen, over behind us. Ron has a larnyx $#@%^*(*&%$ or what ever that is called, from throat cancer, but has a voice digitizer that works very well. His voice is a little scratchy but quite clear, He  and Darleen are retired Border patrol Guards. They have worked both the North and South US Borders. A new 5th wheel pulled in right behind us this afternoon and their names are( Have to find that out)  Then another one has Wayne and Jane. John and Marsha are in a motorhome 2 sites from us. Then near the office is a couple, Greg and Gayle, from Ontario. They are volunteer Camp Hosts. Vince and Nita are a ways away from us but are birders, so there is lots to talk about there, Dave and Mary, from Ottawa are also birders.
6th November (Tuesday)
Wandered over early this morning to the Park for a guided bird watching tour. Not a lot of birds though. Just mostly ones we have seen before, so no great surprises. Took a couple of hours, but by then the temperature had risen enough that our air conditioning was a welcome relief when we arrived back home.

US election over - Yeh OBAMA!!! 7th November (Wednesday) Up this morning, had slice of toast for breakfast and then off birding to Estero Llano in Weslaco again. We were there just a week ago, but is always an interesting bird place to go. Lots of wetlands with waterfowl. Went on a bird watching tour with a guide who pointed out the many species that we saw. And we saw lots. About 72 according to him. Wouldn't even attempt to rename them as a lot of them, most of them, had little interest for me, but Denice enjoyed them all. A lot were water fowl and just looked like a "Bunch of Ducks" to me. Probably the one bird that interested me most was the Anhinga, or snake bird. When they swim, just their head and neck is above the water, looking very much like a snake swimming with its head out of the water.

Surprisingly, nobody talking about the US election. I think thet are just happy it over and now can get down to moving forward 8th November (Thursday) Rest day - Over to HEB for some groceries and to Home Depot for Bird food 9th November (Friday) Yep, thats it. We read, we stitched, we ate, we computed - Download Family Tree on computers and got the new version working after calling their help line
Thats all!!
10th November (Saturday) Windy and hot today so just spent the day at home again. I  did make a couple of trips up town. Needed a couple of things so went looking for Campers World, but when arrived there found it had been discontinued 11th November (Sunday) Another windy day, so just rested again. Thats what retirement is all about isn't it?? Did make a small trip down along the Rio Grande levee to see if there were any birds to see, but due to the wind, there were few. Watched for a while the border petrol helicopter circling a spaecific area of sugar cane that was being harvested. Obviously there was an illegal alien hiding within the jungle of sugar cane. One of there vehicles sped past us, likely to apprehend the fugitive, give him a slap on the wrist and deliver him back to the Mexican border. I guess some are dealt with more throughly wih finger prints and a short stay in detention, before being sent home. Most of these guys just want to get into the US for work, I believe. Likely very few are actually drug carriers. I'm not sure why they just do not cross the border with a passport, and then just fail to return home. Don't know how they keep track of them. We see hundreds, if not thousands, of Mexicans crossing over here to shop each day. and once here they look exactly like at least 75% of the other Texans in the area.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Week at Bentson Palms Resort

29th October (Monday)
McAllen Glass called to let me know my glass saw was in. Went over and picked it up, back by noon for lunch. Another nice day so just rested, read, and watched the birds at our feeders.

30th October (Tuesday)
Up this morning, had breakfast and the off birding to Estero Llano in Weslaco. We have been there several times before but is always an intersting bird place to go. Lots of wetlands with waterfowl, Shrubbery for hummers and butterflies, and a Alligator pond with a 14 footer. Also, a bird I have never seen before. I walked right by it, but bright eyes Denice spotted it in the bush debris scattered on the ground. It is a pauraque. It is a night jar, a bird that feed at night.

Wikipedia Description:
This medium-sized nightjar is 8.7-11 in (22–28 cm) long and has two colour morphs, the plumage being variegated greyish-brown or rufous-brown. It is long-tailed and has broad rounded wings. The buff 'eyering' and 'facial stripe' contrast with the reddish sides of the face.
The adult male Pauraque has a white band near the wing tips, and the outer tail feathers are mainly white. The female's wing band is narrower and the white in the outer tail is more restricted. There are seven subspecies of the Pauraque, differing in size and greyness.
The male Pauraque's song is very variable, but includes a whistled weeeow wheeooo, ("who-r-you"), soft puk puk and a whip given in the courtship flight as he flutters around the female. Her call is a rapid succession of whip sounds.
They blend into their surroundings and if you are not real observant, will never see them. I have to tell on Denice. She had been here before with a real "Birder" and had it pointed out to her, but that was 6 months ago. Way to go Denice!!

31st October (Bewitching Day)
Rest day -- Its hot!!

What did we do today - in a word "Nothing"
Fed birds, watched birds, and ate - didn't lose any weight today!!
No Witches or Gobblins tonight

1st November (Thursday)
Early Morning (9:00AM) walk this morning over to Bentsen State  park to see the birds. Caught a shuttle up to our preferred blind. The operator of the shuttle was a very knowledgeable park guide, Roy, who stopped along the way to point out interesting things and sites in the park. When we arrived at the blind there were no birds, but soon they started to appear. Roy had explained that the feeding of the birds had not started but would very soon. He says the bird feeding program has been cut back, but the feeding is actually only for the birders, not the birds themselves as they can look after themselves without a problem.

We spent an hour there before trudging back home to ELTORO. Along the way we stopped to take a few pictures of the little Screech Owl as he sits in his favourite perch in a big Mesquite tree. It is amazing how a bird can camoflage himself so well into his surroundings. At 10 ft away I was completely unable to make him out even though I knew ezactly where he was. I took a photo of the area in question, then zoomed in on it and lo and behold there he was staring back at me. I'll include the original picture and you see if you can see him.

2nd November (Friday)
Took Denice over to McAllen this morning to Alure Nails to get her a manicure/pedicure at 10:AM. In two hours she came out stating, "I am beautiful again." I dutifully replied, " You always are beautiful!? Got to make a few Browny points once in a while.

Well, made a committment today as to what the next year is going to look like vacation wise. Reserved oursite here in Bentson Palms Resort for one year. They have a program called 6+6 that is you rent the site for 6 months at the regular rate and then the next 6 months is free. The site is prtetty well yours to do as you please. Trim trees, plant flowers or what ever. You can come and go as you please and they will not rent it out to anyone else. So you can leave for a week or a month, and it will be open for you when you return. All sites were prettywell taken so the site of our preference (Site 518) was not available until March 15th, so we reserved it for 1 year from that date. We will camp around the gulf area when we return in January until March 15th, then get ourselves set up here again for a month or so, then store ELTORO here in our spot for the summer and just drive the jeep home. Then we will return in October again.  
3rd November (Saturday) Sixty mile drive back to Salineno to one of last springs favourite bird watching places, only to find it had not opened for the season yet, even though the brochures stated it would be opening on the first of November. Must remember that everything runs on Mexican time down here, so it will likely open some time in the next couple of weeks. On the way back stopped at another site in Roma Bluffs. Seemed nobody around. I tried the door and it seemed locked, but then I saw a sign stating "Heavy Door, Pull Hard'" so I tried again and it did open. Inside was a lady who I guess was just lonley, and she talked, and talked, and talked. She showed us their butterfly and bird gardens, and even gave us some feed for the birds. Took us an hour to get away from there. Stopped in Roma for some Chesters Chicken as it was now dinner time. On down the road toward Mission, a car passed and threw a rock at us, a nice little star dimple. On the way up we had noticed a windshield repair guy along the road so we kept looking for him on the way home. Didn't find him, but did find his brother. Repaired the crack for $15 - Good job too.
4th November (Sunday)
Forgot about time change this morning so were up and around by 5:00AM - went for a walk around the park, had breakfast, and were ready for the day by 7:30AM, So what are we going to day - Let's go to South Padre - settled, and we are on the way by 8:00AM. Its a 90 mile jaunt, so arrived about 10. Immediately went to the World Birding Center and did the board walk there. It was hot (85 °F) but some clouds, so not too bad. Finished up there and went to Schlitterbahn for all you can eat shrimp, As always, GREAT!! After lunch drove up the Island to beach access #5 and drove out on to the sandy beach. Being Sunday, there seemed like a million people and kids romping in the waves, but after negotiating through them for a mile or so they started to thin out. After a couple of miles we found what we were looking for, a lonely stretch of beach all to ourselves!  Now it was our turn to enjoy the surf for an hour or so, but all good things must come to an end, and it was time to head back to our Texas winter home in Mission. Arrived there near dark.  A GOOD DAY!!!