2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in Crawfordsville Indiana

First couple of weeks in the Rio Grande Valley

November 29 – December 12, 2014   

We have now been here in the RGV for a month, well minus the week we spent up north in Indiana.  So far this year the weather has been great as compared to last year.  We haven’t seen the wind and so far the temperatures have stayed in the high 70s and low 80s.  Some days we have had even higher temps than Miami!  We like this!

We hadn’t been here very long and Patty got sick again with dehydration causing low blood pressure!  This is the 3rd time in the past year this has happened.  First time was here last winter, then in NJ, and again now.  

We now have a scenario that sets this up.  Patty gets an intestinal issue where she loses a lot of her liquid volume from diarrhea and vomiting. That then leads to her becoming dehydrated and then comes the low blood pressure.  The main problem I have it that she goes from just having an intestinal problem that is off and on for weeks to what seems to be instant low blood pressure.

This time I went to play water volleyball at 1:30 while Patty was on the computer.  I came back at 3:30 and she was near comatose.  Patty later said she took a shower at 3:00 and started to pass out when she got out of the shower.  
I came back to the RV thinking Patty was sleeping.  I got on the computer and then I heard Patty say “help me” very faintly.  I went from relaxed to high gear in an instant.  Since Patty doesn’t know why she is like this and doesn’t know if she is having low blood sugar I give her glucose tabs to chew.  This does two things; one, if she has a low sugar this will fix that, and 2, it helps to keep her awake.  While she is chewing the tabs I get her blood sugar meter and we start to get her reading.  By the time I get the reading of around 300, I already knew she was probably suffering from low blood pressure.   There really isn’t any reason to take her blood pressure because I can’t fix that and just wastes time.  At least with the sugar reading I will know for sure that I can’t fix it and it is good to tell the emergency people when they arrive as they go that direction first too, wasting more time.

I called 911 and had an ambulance here in less than 10 minutes.  After I knew they were coming and I was sure Patty was conscious, I ran to the office to let them know so the front gate could be opened for them.  They found her blood pressure at 80/40 so they started a saline drip and then took her to the hospital 10 miles away.  I got clothes for her as I thought she would probably be released within a couple of hours and I was right.  As soon as they had her BP back up they let her go.  We left the resort at about 4:15 and were back by about 7pm.

The underlying cause, her intestinal issues are still unresolved.  Right now she is eating smaller meals and has changed her acid reflux drug.  These things seem to be helping but she is still not completely right yet.  We saw a Gastro Dr. this past Tuesday and she has an endoscopy procedure scheduled for the 20th.    We need to either fix this or at least  find a way to preempt her BP going low.

Now, on to better stuff.  The resort has been getting ready for Christmas so we are seeing a lot of lights around and also in the club house.  We decorated our RV so we could be in the holiday spirit too.  


A holiday decorated cactus here in the resort!

Cool golf ball tree in the club house.

Our RV decorated for the holidays.


We also went to see the Hidalgo Festival of Lights last week. They do a real good job with this light show.  For just $12 you get a simple dinner and a tram ride around the city to look at all of the lights.  The tram ride takes around 40 minutes to see all of the lights.  We went to the festival, which is about 15 miles south with friends from the resort.  There were about 40 or so of us from the resort that went.  It was a nice time and really felt like the holidays especially since the temperatures were in in the low 60s.






The "locomotive" pulling our trolley around.


Spaceship landing for the holidays.

Yellow rose of Texas.










Some of the houses were just great.  This one had the lights moving to music.

Muy buena Mexicano ninos coro.  The little guy on the left was awesome!

I have now golfed 3 times since I have been here.  That is more golf than I played the whole of last year.  I have decided to play with the resort group on Wednesdays for now.  They play both Monday and Wednesdays.  I am hoping to have another day of golf during the week with Patty too.  However, she may join me on Wednesdays.  I would really like to get my game to be consistently under 100.  I play at the 105 level most of the time now.  I really have not played consistently for the past 6 years and I want to get back into it, at least during the winter here.

About a week ago we went to South Padre Island with friends from the resort (Pete and Beckey, Doug and Alanna).  This was the first time we went to the beach via 4x4 in the sand.  

The beach sand is hard enough to drive on and to get where we wanted to go where you can be naked, you need drive way far north, about 12 miles on the beach.  You also need to watch the tides because the area to drive in closes with high tide and there is only the one way in and out for miles. That was an adventure, we really enjoyed it.


The causeway bridge to the island.  Great weather for going to the beach.

When high tide comes in this is water.

A blue heron lets me get close.

I finally got too close.

This was at least the 3rd flock of sea gulls that flew over us  on the beach.




Most days we have a regular routine.  Up at 7am and have our coffee and surf the web for news.  I and sometimes we then go for a walk.  I alternate between walking, biking, and resistance bands most days.  The afternoons I usually play water volleyball for about 1.5 hours.  Then it’s time for dinner.  Evening activities are playing darts, karaoke, happy hour, dances, and or social visits around the park.  Sometimes we just veg out too.
One of our bike rides places.

This picture was taken from Patty's window in the RV.  We think this bird is a green jay. It was much greener than in this picture.

Last Friday the 12th we went to Mexico for the first time this season.  We basically went over just to have lunch and pick up a couple of gifts.  We also got a couple of new blankets for ourselves for those cold winter nights here (we expect to have some temps at night in the 40s during the next couple of months).  While we were there, the Mexican town of Nuevo Progreso had a Christmas parade.  That was interesting to see, but not as lavish as what you would see in the US.



Picture was taken from the International bridge over the Rio Grande River.  These people are begging for money as you cross into Mexico.

Our lunch resturant.  The food was very, very good! Dos cervezas and comida was $21.
The man in the background is a live entertainer.


Mexican Christmas parade.




Last night we went to the welcome home dance here at the resort.  This dance is mostly put on by one of our couples here that do this professionally outside of the resort.  They really do a great job too!  We mostly just socialize at these events as most of the dancing is country line dancing.  We are not really into country music and we don’t line dance. They do have lessons here but I am just not really into it.

We also got our new darts yesterday in the mail.  We have been playing with the resort's house darts and we felt like we should have our own now that we are playing as much as we do here.  Tonight will be our first time to use them in games with other people.  Not sure we will be any better, but we will certainly feel better with our own darts.


Our new darts. 

That’s it for this post.

Stay Tuned!

Step Father Hanging in there - Back to Elsa Texas for the winter

November 18 - 28, 2014   

We are now officially back to our normal routine, knock on wood! After staying in Indiana with my stepfather Leon for 4 days it seemed he had stabilized so we didn’t need to be there any longer.  Well, it seemed that we were right about Leon stabilizing, a week after we left he is now going to dinner in a wheel chair.  We will be here in the Rio Grande Valley at Natures Resort for the next 5 months.


Our site at natures resort for the next 5 months.

On the 19th Wednesday we met with Leon’s wife’s daughter Kathy for lunch at Cracker Barrel in Crawfordsville.   We had not really ever had any time with her to discuss how things are going with Leon and Barbara.  We had a good conversation over lunch so much so that I didn’t even taste or know when I had finished eating.  Kathy lives close by so she does most of the coordination of care for both Leon and her mother Barbara.  We discussed their current and future care and as well as their final wishes.  I felt better after our meeting and I think that Kathy did too.

The only other thing we did really for the time we were in Crawfordsville IN other than to visit with Leon and Barbara each day was to visit with the Grandkids.  It was also pretty cold while we were there with temperatures ranging from 35 to 9 degrees.  

On one of my exercise walks around Crawfordsville IN. I took some history pictures.  This is the entrance to the General Lew Wallace Study.  He wrote the book Ben Hur.



This was the hospital I was born in.  It has been closed since the early 1980s.  
It is real creepy now. 

I remember walking through those doors to visit someone in the 1970s.



The old Monon Hotel.  It is not a hotel anymore but it was when I was a kid.  
The Monon was the RR that came through here then.

The Amtrak station that is here now.  There are only two trains a day now, one goes west and the other East.  You can't make a round trip to anywhere in one day.

Our typical day was to do our morning routine of exercise and internet then visit with Leon and Barbara for a couple of hours and then visit with the grandkids in the evening after school.


Bailey playing with one of the 3 cats.

Livy using a string/can phone to talk to Savannah. 

Savannah getting the call fro Livy 10 feet away.

My son Tony cooked his special bacon wrapped stuffed pork roast.

By Thursday the 20th we decided to cut our time short in Crawfordsville by a couple of days and leave on Friday morning.  We had planned to stay until Sunday the 23rd but it looked like Leon was stable and maybe improving. Thanksgiving was just around the corner and we wanted to get back before that so we just decided to leave after saying my goodbyes to Leon on Thursday afternoon.  Leon was awake when we left and said to have a safe trip back.  It really was interesting that he said that because we didn’t say we were going back, he just seemed to sense it I guess.  It was a little emotional for me as I feel that is the last time I will see him alive.  I’m really not good with goodbyes with anybody, just don’t like saying it.

We had decided to leave soon after the grandkids were off to school on Friday morning the 21st.  However, my brother had called the night before and was going to come to see us while we were there.  I called him on Friday morning and we made a plan to meet for lunch on our way out of Indiana at the junction of US231 and I70 near Greencastle IN.  We met up with Roger and our sister Diana at a small truck stop there and had a nice lunch and conversation.  After about an hour and a half we said our goodbyes and we were off on our way south west to Texas.

We made it to Marion Ohio 240 miles from Crawfordsville our first day. Then on Saturday we got all the way to just south of Houston TX for another 800 miles travel.  Now we only had 300 miles to go to reach our destination at Natures Resort on Sunday the 23rd.  

On our way back in Texarkana we stopped for lunch at this cool BBQ place.  The food comes from the truck and the seating area is in a converted gas station.


We arrived at Natures around 3pm, unpacked, made a little something to eat and went to bed. Almost 1,400 miles driving and all of the emotion of the last week had taken its toll.

On Monday the 24th we went to the new Walmart here in Elsa Texas.  It was being built when we left in April and is now complete.  It really is nice to have a super Walmart only 3 miles away now.  We needed to basically fill our pantry and fridge for our long stay here for the winter.  Also while we were getting the food we defrosted the freezer before we filled it up.  We weren’t trying to be inconspicuous but we weren’t going out of our way to say hello to anyone yet.  We just wanted to settle in some and distance ourselves from the events of the past week a little.

Tuesday the 25th we spent most of our time setting up around the RV and some inside for a longer stay.  So, now on Wednesday the 26th we officially started into our winter life here by attending the Wednesday Happy Hour at Sandy’s Bar.  It really is sort of a block party at a makeshift stand up bar outside.  Everyone meets up there at 4pm and we all stay until it gets cold or we all have had enough for the evening.

Thursday the 27th Thanksgiving we went on a bike ride with a couple (Bruce and Mary Sue) here at resort.  We went to a close town park in Edinburg and rode just 6 miles.  After we got back, we made a carrot casserole to take to the Thanksgiving feast at the clubhouse.  The resort furnished the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.  Then anyone who wanted to brought sides and desserts.  There was an enormous amount of food!  We started eating at around 4pm and by 8pm Patty and I were in bed.  We were zonked out!



Friday the 28th I played golf making up the 4th in a foursome from the resort.  We played the number 2 rated course here in the valley, Tierra Santa in Weslaco TX about 10 miles south of here.  It was my first time playing this course but I managed to play my now usual 106 score.  Before we went full time RVing I was hitting around the 100 mark.  I am hoping to get my score back down to just under 100.  While I was golfing, Patty went into Edinburg shopping with one of the wives of a resident who I golfed with.  We both got back about dark.


One of the prettier holes here.  The grass is sort of a brown green color. The Greens are real brown and look like a cork board and they are also real fast.

Sunday the 30th the last day of November we went to the unofficial nude beach on South Padre Island.  We went with 2 other couples from the resort.  We ended up going just over 12 miles up the coast on the beach to get to our spot on the beach.  Those 12 miles are on wet sand and is not accessible during high tide.  There are just 2 entrances to this area about a mile apart at the southern end of the beach. So you do need to watch the tides to know when to leave. There isn’t much or any cell service out there either.  It turned out to be a pretty nice day weather wise and with the great friends we were with we had a great time!


Crossing the causeway from Port Isabel to South Padre Island.

Driving north on the sand to a secluded spot.

A blue Heron waiting for some food.

I got too close and it flew off.

A group of Pelicans flew over us a few times.  This time I had my camera ready.



Like last year while we were sitting for the winter, the posts will be a little slower coming.  I try to do one a week to let all know how we are doing and any new news about our exploits. 

Next week we are planning to visit Progresso Mexico for the first time this season.  The weather is to get cool (high 60s) on Tuesday so we may try to get over there then.  Other than Tuesday though, the weather is to stay in the low 80s in the daytime and lows in the upper 50s at night.  Yea, it’s  nice!

Stay Tuned!