Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Golf, My Birthday, and Dinner out

January 19 - 24, 2014

For the past 10 or so days the weather has been great.  We still have pretty cool evenings after the sun goes down though. Mostly the temperatures have been in the low 80s with the nights being mid-50s.  So there is a lot of activity in the day time and not much after dark, outside anyway.

Tuesday the 21st the temperature was to be a little cooler, in the mid-60s, so we decided to play some golf.  There are lots of golf courses around here; we just needed to find one where we could get a deal.  We never want to pay full price! Patty did the research and found one for $54 for both of us with a cart.  There are better deals but this was a nice course about 10 miles from the RV Park.  

Before we went to play golf we needed to go to a jeweler in Weslaco TX where Patty had taken a ring of hers on Monday. The ring is one that I bought her in Sao Paulo Brazil 13 years ago.  The ring has 2 teardrop-shaped garnet stones from Brazil and one of the stones fell out.  She was hoping to have a new stone put in to match the other one still in the ring.  The jeweler showed her several new pieces of garnet which all looked better than the one still in the ring.  So we decided to have the ring reset with 2 new pieces of garnet and they would try to save the original if they can.  The ring will be ready in 8 – 10 days.

The golf course, Los Lagos golf club, is located in Edinburg on the east side.  The course is part of a housing development in the middle of farm land.  Probably the farm owner sold the land a few years ago to a developer.  The houses are very nice and what you would expect around a golf course.  The big difference is that the houses are selling in the low $100k range according to the advertisement sign out front of the club.  WOW, it's cheap here!

The course itself is pretty challenging and was well maintained with a very nice concrete cart path.  The thing we didn’t like was that the concrete path most times was nowhere close to the fairways or to the greens.  They have a 90 degree rule for the carts but it was very difficult to adhere to this due to the limited access to the fairways.  So we did a lot of driving the cart on the edge of the fairways and also doing a fair amount of walking; walking was fine though and we had fun.

One of the houses on the golf courses.

Patty hitting a ball.

Black ducks on the course.
We haven’t golfed since the fall with Patty’s Uncle Kenny and Aunt Phyllis so we were not real good.  Really though, I shot a 105 which is just 5 over what I do if I play a lot which is not good to begin with.   We do have fun playing though.

After the golf outing we headed into Elsa for some dinner. We went to a Mexican place called Obee’s that was recommend to us by someone from our RV Park.   The salsa was fresh and was pretty hot, just the way we like it.  I didn’t order Mexican; I ordered the chicken fried steak.  It was very good and reminded me of home cooking in Indiana where I came from.  It came with mashed potatoes that were real actual mashed, not whipped, potatoes.  The whole thing is covered in gravy that was made with animal fat, probably lard, the way gravy should be made!  

Patty ordered a shrimp dish that was outstanding!  We can’t remember the name of the entree but it was something like contra azur and I can remember how it was made.  The entree is made up of 6 jumbo shrimp filled with cheese, like mozzarella, then wrapped in bacon and rolled in a very fine corn flour and then deep fried.  These things were to die for! Yum!

The yummy bacon wraped shrimp.
The following day, Wednesday the 22nd, was my 57th birthday!  It was a nice 85 degree day with just enough clouds to offer some relief once in a while.  I got up and went to the kitchen to find a nice card from Patty and a gift of new lounge pants and T shirts that I like.  My birthday was spent mostly in the volleyball pool in the afternoon and then at the outside bar for Wednesday happy hour.  Happy hour usually draws around 60 people starting at 4 pm.  During the happy hour it was announced that today was my birthday and everyone sang happy birthday.  It was a good day!

Thursday the 23rd was the last of our good weather streaks.  We started our day of walking the park as usual but we (Patty) got side tracked.  There are 3 people in the park that make and sell cut T-shirts for women.  Each person has different style of shirt and one even has shirts for guys too. 

On our walk we stopped in to see 2 of the 3 cut shirt people.  Patty ordered a couple of shirts from the first and one as a gift for our friend Cindy in NJ.  The second cut shirt place we went to she tried on several different styles and bought one and placed an order for another one.  All in all we spent a good 3 hours on our 40 minute walk!

That night we sponsored a game night of Left Center Right (LRC) in the clubhouse.  LCR is a fast paced gambling dice game that is real simple to play.  The game can be played with any number of players but the more players the better the experience.  

We only had 4 other people show up so it was a real fast night.  The cold front that hit the Midwest and Northeast finally made it down to us here in South Texas just a few minutes before the start of the LCR game at 7 pm.  Nobody wanted to come out in the weather after the front passed through.

It’s weird here when a front comes through.  It is like night and day with the weather here.  You can actually see the front in the form of clouds coming towards you.  Anyway, it was 80 degrees at 1 pm and then went slowly down to 75 by 6 pm. Then all hell broke loose at 6:45 pm!  The wind went from a calm south breeze to a 30 MPH cold north wind with rain.  The temperature dropped to 50 by 7:30 pm and then slowly to 35 by midnight.  We lost 45 degrees in less than 10 hours time.

Today, Friday the 24th, the temperature didn’t get above 41 as it is as I write this at 4 pm.  We have bean soup cooking in the crockpot for dinner.  Since it is so cold today the park hosted a games day at the club house with several soups for lunch.  We went over for a while and had lunch and played a couple games of corn hole.  Before going over to the clubhouse we went to Weslaco TX to get Patty’s repaired ring.  We were surprised that it was done so quickly.  The ring looks better than when I bought it in Brazil.  The replacement garnets are so much better looking than the originals.

The original Brazilian garnet is at the top of the ring with the new sparkling garnets.

Tomorrow is supposed to be cold again, just not as cold as today.  We should get up to the mid-60s.  Not sure what we will do tomorrow, maybe wash clothes, borrrr…ing! Tomorrow night is darts night which is always fun.  

We may work some more on our travel plans for next year too.  We are starting to rethink our winter destination for next year and may come back to south Texas again.  We would stay at the other clothing optional park, Sandpipers Resort instead though.  

We are starting to think that we MAY make South Texas our constant winter destination in the future at one of the 2 clothing optional parks here.  We really like our current park, Natures Resort.  However, we want to try out the other park before we make up our minds about which park to winter in. 

The natural progression for people is to winter seasonally meaning 3-4 months for a few years and then “buy in”.  “Buying in” really means making a commitment for an annual site and then either making improvements to it or just purchasing an existing improved site.  The cost for either seems to be in the $40 – 80k depending on the site and improvements.  Right now we are not ready to “buy in” but we may decide to settle on a constant winter site, at least for a while.

Our old (1-1/2 year!) extra step needed to be replaced!

The welds broke on all 4 legs of the old step.  The step is supposed to be designed for 1000 lbs.

New extra step was delivered this week.  This step is a little heavier and is riveted instead of welded.

Stay tuned!

People Week and a Bike ride

January 11 - 18 , 2014 

We met a couple of interesting couples this week.  The first is Sam and Barbara who are in their early 80s. We met them at the welcome home dance Monday night the 12th.  I really had some great and interesting conversations with Sam.  Sam is just 2 years younger than our fathers.  He was in the service for 4 years during the Korean era of the 50’s.  Like a lot of guys of that generation he was not a graduate engineer but was promoted as one where he worked.  Sam learned communications electronics during his stay in the military and then went to work for Collins Radio which was later purchased by Rockwell International.  He worked on all of the communications systems on the Mercury and Apollo spacecraft as well as the lunar lander.  What a great career. I just love talking to people like him. 

Sam and his wife retired when he was 55 just like we did. They bought a house boat and traveled all around the gulf and California coast areas.  Now they have a motor home that they use to winter hear in South Texas.  They also have a newer house boat on the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi that they live on in the summer.  They also, a few times a year, take the house boat a few miles out to some sand bars and islands for fun.   I want to be just like them when I grow up!

We met another couple, Barry and Peggy who are new here last year.  They are from a small town in southern Ohio. Last year, they decided to get out of the cold during the winter so they came here last March for just a few days and loved it. 

They came back this past summer and purchased an annual lot membership and then had it concreted over.  They also just ordered a new park model to put on the lot.  Nature's Resort doesn’t allow you own the land, but you do own all of the improvements like concrete work or buildings you place on the land.  You just need to keep paying the annual rent on the lot or sell the improvements to someone who wants to pay the annual rent.  The rent here is very low at $2200 – 3,000 per year depending on the size of the lot.  You also only have electric for a utility expense.

Barry and Peggy are a very nice and interesting couple. This past Saturday their new park model came into the park.  It's a 60 X 16 foot unit.  That is on the large size for a park model.  However, there are units up to 70 X 18 foot.  I went over and watched their new house get installed on there lot with them.  They are a pretty happy couple right now.  We even had the local resort photographer take pictures for the resort news letter.

The transport truck putting the park model in place.

Barry on the left and Peggy to the right, the new owners

On Thursday the 16th we went with a biking group to tour the old (Viejo) Hidalgo irrigation pump house in Hidalgo TX. After the tour we took a 5 mile bike tour along the USA/Mexican border.  The old pump house was closed in the early 80s and replaced with electric motors and new pumps further upstream.  The pump house was originally steam powered with wood and then converted to natural gas.  Then the pump house was converted to diesel and natural gas engines to turn the water pumps.  The pump house took water from the Rio Grande River and sent it to the valley within a 30 mile radius from the pump house.

The bike ride was nothing spectacular but was interesting riding along the border fence.  We even had 2 border patrolmen ride past us on their bikes as they patrolled the fence.

One of the 3 old steam boilers.  These date to the turn of the century.  Originally these were wood fired.  When they were decommissioned they were using natural gas.

Cool old gas pump in the museum.

A very large model train system in the museum.

One of the pumps.

The bike path and an entrance gate in the USA/Mexican border fence.

Riding along the border fence.  Note the border patrol truck up ahead.

Mexican ladders to climb the fence the border patrol had gathered.

A canal from the Rio Grande River to feed the irrigation pumps.  In the distance where the flags are is the border crossing into Mexico.

Friday the 17th I went back for my follow-up with the doctor who took the cyst out of my ear lobe.  It was uneventful, a good thing.  He took out the stitches and discussed the pathology report with me.  Well, not much to discuss, the cyst wasn’t cancerous just as he had thought.

Now we have settled into sort of a routine here.  Internet surfing in the early mornings before it gets warm.  Then we usually walk the grounds for 2.5 miles. After the walk, it’s time for chores and a shower.  Chores can be fixing the RV/truck, washing clothes, or even going into town for stuff.  

By noon we are at the pool with me waiting for water volley ball at 2 pm.  After water volleyball it’s wine o’clock and time to prepare dinner and watch the news.  Then, depending on the night, we play darts, sing karaoke, go to a dance, go to a happy hour night, sit around the group camp fire, or WII bowling.  Also, Thursdays are when the resort sponsors bike rides in the area which we participate in.

This was very interesting cloud formation just ahead of a cold front coming into the area.  It looked just like a mountain in the background

This resort resident has a homemade chopper trike.  Very cool!  He carries this on a trailer behind his 5th wheel.

That’s it from here in sunny warm south Texas!

Stay tuned!

Great weather and Surgery for Mark!

January 7 - 10, 2014 

We are now in a great stretch of great weather!  Tuesday the 7th wasn't good but that was the last of the bad weather for at least the next 10 days to 2 weeks.  Even Tuesday was just cloudy and in the mid-50s.  I think we will all just forget the bad cold wet weather now that we have had 4 days of good and no bad in site now. I can now even park in the grass on our site again!

As for me having surgery, it was for a simple cyst removal from my right ear lobe.  This is the second one I have had in this ear now.  I had the first one removed something like 8-10 years ago.  Soon after another one started to form in the same place.  It stayed small, about the size of a BB, not noticeable at all.  About a year ago it started to grow again and grew to completely fill up my ear lobe.  It was very noticeable.  Now even Patty said I should have it removed.  So that’s what I did, I had it removed.

There it is, the cyst.

If you know me I need to make a story out of this cyst removal and how our health care system is out of whack! 

The first time I had this cyst removed 8-10 years ago the Dr. did it in his office on my first visit.   He asked if I had an hour’s time and then took out the cyst right there with just local anesthesia.  No big deal.  Ah, those were the days!

It was absolutely not going to be like that this time though! This time it was completely different.  On my first appointment with the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Doctor I saw him for all of 20 seconds.  He said, yea that cyst is big; I’ll cut it out from the back if that’s what you want, no problem and left.  I then spent the next half hour with a friendly woman in a cushy office discussing the details of where, when, and how much.  It was agreed that we would shoot for this Thursday so as to give everyone enough time to make sure the insurance would pay for all of this procedure.  By the way, it’s just a cyst in an ear lobe!  The nice woman will give me a call when she knows my insurance will pay.
This is the ENT Doctor's office.  Somebody needs to pay for the marble floors.

It didn’t take long for the nice woman to call me back the following afternoon on the 7th and let me know I would need to just pay the Doctor $100, insurance would pay the rest.  So I need to return to the Dr. office, get the Dr. orders and pay my $100.  Then, with my Dr. orders, go to the hospital and register there.   

So, that’s what I did, I went to the hospital to register on Wednesday the 8th.  This was more than just registering though.  First was a financial advisor, then in for blood work, next was an EKG, and then last a nurse to explain the operation procedure at the hospital.  I also needed to sign a lot of paper work allowing them to do everything to me including giving me blood transfusions, “just in case” she said.  Again, this is all for a small cyst in an ear lobe!

That evening, before the surgery day, we went to our first happy hour at Sandy’s Bar.  It's named after the wife of Big Bill, on whose site Sandy's Bar is located. Sandy lost her battle with cancer only a few years ago.  Each Wednesday, with good weather, lots of people gather here to have drinks and socialize.  It was a little cool after the sun went down so there was a fire to keep us warm.  It was a nice happy hour and we enjoyed it.

Thursday the 9th, the day of surgery.  I needed to be there by 7 am, we got there by 6:45 am.  There must have been 60 – 70 people getting out-patient surgery this morning and 99% were Spanish speaking. Finally it was my turn!  I had to get undressed and put on the typical hospital gown and get into bed with warm blankets, how nice!  Next were more papers to sign and to re-sign.  I was told that I needed to re-sign as the old paper work I signed yesterday needed to be signed again today to be real sure.  Somewhere there is an attorney in this! Then I am introduced to the anesthesiologist.   Really, I really need to be put out for this?!  Well yes I do because the Dr. doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable.  I really think the Dr. doesn’t want to be uncomfortable; he’s not concerned with my comfort at all.

So, now I have an IV, have taken pills to keep me from puking, and to relax me.  I’m really feeling pretty good now!  I am rolled into the operating room and they give me anesthesia to put me out so I can have a cyst removed.  I guess it was about an hour later I wake up with the cyst gone and am ready to leave the hospital.  Yup, I needed to be taken out via a wheel chair.

In summary, the first cyst removal 10 years ago took 1.5 hours and one Dr.  Now, in 2014, it took 8 hours’ time, an EKG, lab work, an anesthesiologist, a surgeon, several nurses, financial people, and space in a hospital.  Now I know why our health care costs so much!  

I sort of hesitated before putting this picture in the blog.  It's not real pretty!  Hopefully it looks better after it has healed!

The rest of the day on Thursday I just took it easy. 

I remember when Patty had two cysts removed from her arm pit on two different occasions and they didn't put her out for that, rather they gave her a local. Why couldn't he do that for me?!

Friday the 10th I was determined to play water volley ball. Alas, it wasn't going to happen.  Around noon we lost water to the park.  Without water for a soapy shower we are not allowed in the pools. 

We are told that the loss of water has happened several times this season.  On 2 sides of the park there is construction work being done on an irrigation system for the farm land.  The contractors have managed to cut the water to the park several times in just the past 3 months.  This was the first time for us though.  

Anyway, without water to take showers, we are not allowed to go into the pools or hot tub.  The park tries very hard to not use many chemicals in the pool so they require showers with soap before entering the pools.  The showers are even to be done if you have been out of the pool a little while.  It’s sort of a pain but the water is crystal clear and very little smell of chlorine.  So we can live with this.  Anyway that killed my aspirations for water volley ball for today.  It’s probably a good thing so soon after the ear surgery.

Later on that evening I filled our fresh water tank so that if the water goes out again, we can use our pump and be OK for a while.  I should have done this when I first heard of the possibility of the water going out.  I think filling the fresh water tank is a good idea anyway when you are staying somewhere for a while, just in case.

Our new brat sandwich, without the bun! This works for hot dogs as well.  Cooked the brat on the grille, put the brat on a small tortilla with cheddar cheese and onions, roll it up and place back on the grille. Great way to reduce bread and it tastes better to boot!

That night the park was very noisy.  I had a very hard time getting any sleep.  The land next to the park on our left side has weekend parties sometimes.  The parties are pretty loud with Mexican/Latina music.  These parties seem to be organized as opposed to just a bunch of people showing up next door.  There are announcers with a PA system too. Well, this party went on until a little after 2 am!  I’m usually not affected by this sort of thing, but this time I was.

Saturday the 11th we signed up for breakfast at the clubhouse.  Breakfast is served from 7:45 to 9 am.  They had French toast, eggs to order, 2 types of potatoes, sausage, and wheat toast all for $4 each.  This is all done by volunteers with the proceeds going to the entertainment fund for all of us.  After breakfast I took a 3 mile walk and then took a 2 hour nap.  Then it was time for some water volley ball!

Saturday evening we joined the weekly darts game.  This is a real fun event with a great turnout.  We have about 20 people playing darts, drinking, and socializing.  It’s a lot of fun and I have been getting pretty good at it.  There is talk of making me a full time team captain!  

The weather seems like it is now going to stay warm and dry for the next week anyway or as far out as they can predict. So it’s now fun in the sun!

Stay tuned!

It’s all About the Weather: Cold, Warm, then Cold again

December 30 – January 6, 2014 

So far we have not escaped the cold from the north.  Yeah we know it isn’t as cold here as up north.  But the effect is the same for us, we have to wear way too many clothes and we can’t go in the pool.  So far, in the 9 days we have been here, we have had 3 days at 70 degrees or higher.  Then, out of the 6 cold days (40-50 degrees) we have had rain on 5 of them.  This is the coldest and should be the driest time of the year here with average high temperatures at 71.   We are really hoping this weather changes as we are just a little tired of hanging in the RV all day.

Monday the 30th it rained continuously all day with temperatures around 50.  I haven’t seen rain like this for a long time.  We mostly just stayed in the RV and surfed the internet.  I also wrote the last blog.

Tuesday the 31st it is still raining!  By Tuesday night it had been raining continuously for 48 hours!  We arrived at this camp site with only a bottle and a half of propane.  The park has a propane company that services the place with refills on Saturdays.  This being only Tuesday I was afraid that we wouldn’t make it with just the one 30 lb. propane bottle until Saturday so I decided to drive into town and get a refill.  The area where the RV sits is gravel with no more room for the truck.  So the truck is parked in the grass next to the RV.  I hopped into the truck and moved it about 4 feet until the front tires sunk a little into the ground a few inches from the road. Now my dual rear tires were just spinning and I was going nowhere.  This would be a great time to use 4 wheel drive or so I thought.  I can change to 4X4 either electronically in the cab or manually at the front wheels.  First I tried from inside the cab, it’s raining you know.  The truck needs to move a little to engage and I wasn’t moving at all.  Now I got out into the rain and locked the front wheels into 4X4 and jump back into the cab and try to move.  I went 8 inches straight down in one spin of the tires.  I am now buried up to the truck axle. I tried to rock the truck and only made the front tire holes a little longer.  

Truck is parked across the road now just beyond the white car.

The maintenance man here saw what happened and got a neighbor with a 2500 dodge to pull me out.  Of course the Dodge guy was eating this up pulling out a 450 Ford!  The Dodge was too light and with only single rears he couldn’t move me by himself.  I had to start spinning slowly in 4X4 to help get me out of the rut.  I am now parking in a small parking lot across the road until further notice.  I did finally get to town and got the propane tank refilled.

We had made plans to go to the New Year’s Eve Dance/Party at the park clubhouse.  However, Patty wasn’t feeling up to it so we watched TV instead.  It really sort of sucked on TV as we are an hour later than New York here so the ball dropped an hour early for us.  There wasn’t anything local on TV for New Year’s Eve so we just listened to the fireworks in the park at midnight.

New Year’s Day January 1st it was still raining off and on but mostly on.  It has now been raining for almost 62 hours! There was a potluck brunch at the clubhouse that we attended at 10 am.  Then at 4 pm we attended a New Year’s Day Levee featuring Moose milk.  Seems this is a Canadian tradition and a reason to drink.  Moose milk is 1/3 milk, 1/3 ice cream and 2/3 booze.  The moose milk was tasty and we were reminded that no moose was injured or milked as part of this event!

Thursday the 2nd we spent inside again as it was just cold at 45 degrees!

Friday the 3rd the sun came out and the temperature went up to 70 degrees!  We made a Wally World run to get various stuff in the morning and then rushed back to be outside in our natural summer attire.  Then at night we hung out at the community campfire for awhile.

Got our new flag.  The old one you could see through and was torn. This one is embroidered.

Saturday the 5th the temperature got up to 78 degrees and full on sun!  Everybody came out like bears that had been hibernating all winter.  We walked the park in the morning.  Each lap is just about ¾ mile long.  Then in the afternoon it is water volleyball!  I played about 2 hours with enough people to make 3 teams.  We only play to 9 points to make it faster for everyone to be playing.  Now if the weather can cooperate we could get multiple days of play in.

This resident builds all of the art around the park.

This is near the park office.

It says this is the complaint department.

The gossip bench.
This is Sandy's Bar where the Wednesday happy hour is.

No idea what this is.  

A nice garden for quiet time.

Got a new tool box. The old one is close to 40 years old.  I got that
just before I started work on the Railroad.

The blue tag is from the mover Conrail used to move me in
1980 from Indiana to NJ.

Saturday evening we had a dance at the park with a live band.  The band is called Renaissance Players.  The band is made up of doctors from the local Renaissance hospital. They played mostly classic rock which we like for dancing. They played until 10:30 with the crowd still wanting more. It was a great time.

Sunday the 6th was an OK day.  The sun was out and the temperature was 75 in the mid-morning.  Around noon the wind shifted from the south to the north and the temps started dropping.  We played volley ball at 2 pm with the temp at 65.  We ended up quitting after a little more than an hour as no one wanted to jump up out of the water.  The temp was now 59!  The temp kept dropping until we were at 41 by midnight.

Monday the 7th we got up to 41 degrees.  I had an appointment with an ENT doctor in McAllen that I had made before we left to go north for the holidays.  I have a cyst in my right ear lobe that has gotten bigger to the point that you can now see it.  No one really sees it until I point it out and then they too can see it.   Anyway, at this point I just want it removed.  I had a cyst removed from the same place about 8 years ago but it came back after a year.  It was real small for a few years and then it would grow a little and stop.  

I put off getting it removed as it will take more time and effort on my part this time.  The first time it was removed the doctor did it in his office.  He was an old school doctor and didn’t do it the right way in an operating room so it came back.  To remove this the right way the doctor needs to get all of the cyst out or it will definitely come back.  Even with that it still may come back though.  I’m hoping this time they get it all out.

The appointment was at 9:15 am about 13 miles away.  The doctor spent about 20 seconds looking at it and saying what I had heard before.  That it is 99% not cancerous and I could just leave it alone if I wanted.  He also said he could cut it out if I wanted to.  I said that I wanted it cut out and that was it with the doctor.  

I then spent ½ hour with a women who schedules the surgeries.  This Dr. does surgery on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It looks like I will be having this done sometime on this coming Thursday the 9th.  The hospital is a little closer to the RV park which is good. However, I need to go to the hospital and register the day before.  So that means I will need to go to this hospital 2 time to get this done.  Guess when the weather is to get nice.  That’s right, this Wednesday the weather gets nice and is to stay that way for multiple days!  Now it looks like the first 2 of these days I will be messing around at the hospital!

We picked up the ingredients to make chili this afternoon.  I also have some local dried hot peppers I can use.  I was going to just make enough chili for the 2 of us and maybe leftovers of one more meal.  Oh no, I can’t just make a little chili.  I ended up making a 6-quart crock pot overflowing!  I guess I should have known when I started out with 4 lbs. of beef!  The chili is some of my best I have ever made.  I also say that every time I make it though.  I also never make it the same way each time.  

This is the recipe this time:
2lbs Ground round
2lbs diced chuck steak
2 20oz cans of crushed tomatoes
2 20oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 15oz can of black beans
1 15oz can of red beans
2 large sweet onions
2 green sweet peppers
2 red sweet peppers
2 yellow sweet peppers
1 large hot jalapeno pepper
4 dried minced chili ancho peppers
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP Chipotle Chile pepper
2 TBSP white flour
2 tsp. Hot Hungarian paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1.5 cups dark red chili pepper
1-2 cups of dark brown sugar to taste

Finely cut the chuck steak into small cubes and brown.  Then brown the ground round. Add the salt, garlic, chipotle pepper, and black pepper to each of the meats as they brown.
After browning the meat add the flour to thicken the meat juice (fat). 
Add meat to a large crock pot on high heat.
Finely mince the sweet peppers, ancho peppers, jalapeno pepper, and the onions (use food processor).  Add to the meat.
Add all of the canned items.
Add the dark red chili pepper and cumin.
Let cook for a couple of hours on high heat.  Season to taste for desired spiciness. Cook another hour and add dark brown sugar to desired sweetness contrasted to the spicy hot.  
Cook 1 more hour or until the vegetables are done.

Chili making stuff.
OK, that is the recipe for today anyway.

Tomorrow is to be cold and rainy.  Tonight is to be the coldest yet at maybe freezing.  Note:  As I write this on Tuesday last night the temperature didn’t make it to freezing, it was 37 degrees.  So we have another day of inside stuff. We think we are going to play WII bowling tomorrow afternoon.

Stay tuned!

2013 in Pictures

The following is a picture review of our travels for the past year in 2013.

Patty ended up as park manager!

Wintered here in South Florida for 3 months.

Danny, Bruce, and Patty

Patty playing the ugly stick

Joe and Kathy

Ricky, Patty, and Ryan
Night of LRC

Nicole, Not sure who, and Nicole
Peggy and Walt

Robert won at LRC

Ian and Debbie (Came for a visit/Cruise from NJ)

Andre and Janelle entertaining us

Haulover Beach, North Miami

Air boat ride in the Everglades

Patty on the air boat

Bike ride in the Everglades

Second stage wintering in mid-Florida -  in Tampa for 10 weeks

Our site in Tampa

Bike repair
Renaissance Fair
Great "Dead Head" spot

Dinner out.  

Rob and Cindy came to visit from NJ to Tampa

Caliente Resort

Ready to ride to Holiday Island

Holiday Island on the left.
We biked the causeway.

Our campsite in Disney.

Grandkids at Disne:. Livy, Bailey, and Savannah 

Disney Safari Trip

Livy and her dad Tony playing the drums

Last night in Disney

Our site in Crawfordsville Indiana

The girls playing in Sugar Creek

Our site in the Poconos with friends from NJ

Mike and Dan, NJ Friends
Sunny Rest Resort in the Poconos

Pig roast in NJ
Carving the pig

Our mooch docking site in NJ at our friends Rob and Cindy's

Patty and our friend Diana
Beach concert at Sandy Hook NJ

Afternoon at Gunnison Beach on Sandy Hook NJ

Golf outing with the OBC (Old Bastards Club);  friends from work. 

Melissa Etheridge Concert in Red Bank NJ
First of 3 flat tires in the next 30 days.  This is on I 380 in PA

Loved this Photo at Newtown Battlefield in Elmira NY
Elmira NY

Best Buffalo wings in the country, in our opinion.  Elmira NY

Our free site while warranty work is being done in North Tonawanda NY.

Patty's Parents, Tom and Shirley
Refinishing our dining table

Patty's Sister Cheryl  and her husband Joe

Best fish ever, Walleye at the Erie County Fair in NY
3 dog night concert at the Erie County Fair

We landscaped Patty's parents front side yard in Amherst NY

Niagara river between NY USA and Ontario Canada

St. Claire River at the Canada/USA crossing at Sarnia Canada
Our site near Clarkston, MI

Dinner spot with Patty's Uncle Kenny and his wife Phyllis
Woodward Ave car show

Uncle Kenny the chef

Mackinac Bridge
Patty was at the wheel pulling the rig over the bridge to the UP

Our park in St Ignace MI

My fix and modification to the TV
Me fixing the TV

Boat to Mackinac Island
Our bikes on the dock at Mackinac Island

We rode around the entire Island

On Mackinac Island after a bottle of wine.  The look on my face is
because we just got charged $45 for the wine

There was a Powwow while we were there.  We had to attend!

3rd flat and this was a blowout.  This kept us in MI
for 2 weeks and missing Yellowstone.
Our site in Iron River MI for 2 weeks
waiting on RV parts.

Best place to eat in Iron River.
Just "cool coffee shop" in Iron River MI
Tires arrive already to install

Patty got painted at a local fair in Iron River MI

Me putting on one tire at a time with a the 5 ton truck bottle jack
Finished wheel and tire.

The RV repair guy is here with the parts!
Yea Hoo! Finished so we can move on!

After 2 flat tires and a blowout, we got the rig and truck weighed.

Visit to the Mall of America

Our Park in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado

The Colorado river behind our site at River Dance
Our Trailer in the center of  the River Dance Park

The largest rail Yard in the USA, Bailey Yard in North Platte NE
A new modification.  Our spare tire started to leave
 the trailer so we added the red tie strap for insurance.

Our site in Moab UT

Arches National Park.  Interesting rock behind Patty!
Arches National Park

Arches National Park after long hike.
Canyonsland national park

Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon
Rest stop in Utah. Our rig is in the center.

South rim of the Canyon

It's a girl, my lord, in Winslow Arizona

The big meteor crater in NM

Albuquerque NM Balloon Festival 
Albuquerque NM Balloon Festival

Albuquerque NM Balloon Festival
Our Halloween decoration

Roswell NM
Roswell NM

The guy who made the cereal founded this town in Texas.

Big Tex, the State fair mascot

Dealey Plaza
Air Show in FT Worth TX

Texas capital in Austin
Keep Austin Batty.  The bat man.

The Alamo in San Antonio
Patty after our 20 mile bike ride on the mission
trail near San Antonio.  Temp was around 95!

Sandpipers Resort near  McAllen TX.  The Volley Ball Pools
Memorial service at Sandpipers on Memorial Day.  Tear jerking!

Our park for 2 weeks in Harlingen TX before
flying back North for the holidays.
Sandcastles at South Padre Island TX

A day trip to Mexico
Old friends of Patty's in Harlingen

Back to the North for 33 days
 for the Holidays 
Damn, it's snowing already in Ohio

Patty's brother in law Joe carving the turkey
Patty's dad Tom on
Thanksgiving day

Back In NJ at the shore with friends

OBC Member Joe
OBC member Tom
OBC Member Dan

My daughter Jennifer and her husband Christian

Leigh, Patty, Mandy, and Cindy
making Christmas cookies
My sister and her Christmas
 present, the new Lexus

Our 14th anniversary dinner at the Creekside Lodge in Crawfordsville IN
Son's dining room chairs being welded.
Sort of a project of mine.

The grandkids and parents
 at the Children's Museum
of Indianapolis.  Our last day in
Indiana and our last day of holiday travel

Christmas tree at the Indianapolis Airport on
our way back to Brownsville TX

Our new front door for the next 3 months at the
Natures resort in Edcouch TX
Our site at Natures in Texas.

Now on to 2014!

Stay tuned!