2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in Crawfordsville Indiana

Cruising and winter update

January 7 – March 2, 2016 

Wow!  We are still here, really!  We are still in south Texas waiting out the winter at Natures Resort.  So what have we been doing the past 2 months, I really don’t know; just kidding, having fun is what!  Also, we still are doing a fair amount of doctoring for Patty.  


Some random pictures from the last couple of months:
Renaissance Dinner.

Where Texas black snow comes from. Burning Sugar Cane.

Patty looking over the menu at one of our favorite lunch places in Mexico.

Long line getting back across the Mexican border.

Patty at one of the large flee markets here in the Valley.

Texas does a great job decorating their overpasses.

The big thing we did last month was go on a 7 night cruise leaving from Galveston Texas.  The cruise made 3 ports of call, Roatan Honduras, Belize City Belize, and Cozumel Mexico.  We took a cruise mainly because we haven’t taken one for 7 years and we wanted to do something different while waiting out the winter. We took this particular cruise because it took us to 2 new places we had not been to before, Honduras and Belize.  Now we can add those countries to our list of countries we have visited.


The Carnival Triumph leaving ahead of us from Galveston.  We were on Triumph's first cruise!

Interesting is that cruises have not changed much in the last 7 years either.  I think the only thing different was that the casino now takes your sign and sail card for some of the gambling machines.  Other than that, the food is still as great as is the service. 




Before leaving Galveston, we had a party around the pool.

What cruise doesn't have towel animals at turn down service!

View out the back of the ship during dinner.

Patty watching the tender remove a sick passenger on an unscheduled stop at Cozumel.

Our ship waiting for us in Roatan

Iguana farm on Roatan


Patty feeding the iguanas.  If they liked you, you can pet them.  I had one push up against my hand as rubbed his side, sort of like a dog does.



Loads of Iguanas in the trees there.

A rum and rum cake factory in Roatan.

Making cameos from shells on Roatan

Dance performance on Roatan.

Patty did karaoke I think 4 nights on the ship.  This is one night she did it with a live band.  It really sounds so much better with a live band.

Love this picture of us in Roatan!

Cool picture of our ship.

Charter boat excursion in Belize.

The charter boat was moving pretty fast so I took this picture of the wake.  Pretty cool the stop action on the leaves in the wake.

One of the many alligators along the river in Belize.

The river boat took us to this Mayan ruin site.


View from our cabin on to the balcony.

We docked at Cozumel and Patty and I had been here a couple of times before so we decided to visit Tulum on the main land.  The mainland is 18 miles away and we need to take this hydro boat to get there.  The sea was very rough so many people got sick, including Patty.  I was close by the end.  It didn't help all of the smell of American cookies (what the caption called puke).

We have been to the Riviera Maya many many times but had never gone to Tulum so this was our time.




Patty was a little thirsty and hungry after a long day and after loosing her cookies, so this frozen pineapple was just the thing!

Part of the excursion to Tulum was to visit a real Mayan village and have lunch with them.  These are real Mayans who want to preserve their culture so they live pretty much as their ancestors did.  This is where they cooked our freshly made corn tortillas.  

One of the many huts where these people are living in the rain forest.

Ok, so we are back in Galveston and just off the ship and I see Smokey of Smokey and the Bandit directing traffic in front of the cruise terminal.



We were on the Carnival Freedom that was built in 2007 and overhauled in 2014.  This was the oldest large cruise ship we had been on; we have been now been on 6 different cruises. They do a great job of keeping the ships in top shape, at least from a passenger perspective.  However, this ship does show some signs of age now.  Not complaining though, we had a great time and the price was right for us. Now for a little health update. 

First me, Mark, I’m great!  I am probably in the best shape of my life.  Just had a physical and passed everything!  I no longer have a blood pressure issue and my cholesterol is great too! Listen, I really am not one to boast and especially not about my health, and this will be the last time I talk about my health unless something changes. The bottom line for me is that my old lifestyle when I was working was killing me.  I am so grateful that I was able to retire and change my life for the better!

Ok, enough about me and onto Patty.  I really want to make this short about her too.  To start off, Patty is a 28 year Diabetic and she is has some issues from having this disease that long.  The biggest issue at the present is that she has bouts of very low blood pressure caused by Autonomic Neuropathy.  Autonomic Neuropathy is not curable either.  I think I explained what this is before but to refresh, it is the result of diabetic damaged nerves that control a lot of the automatic body functions like blood pressure and bowels.  Seems to be no rhyme or reason for when the low blood pressure and bowel incontinence happens either.  Most of the time her pressure drops slowly enough that she knows it is happening and can sit or lay down until it passes. The bowels are also random movements that can be an embarrassment for Patty.

Right now we are reevaluating the medications she is on to ensure they are not negatively affecting the situation.  Other than that, we have just been going with the flow, living with it. Patty plans to see a Cardiologist before we leave our site here.  She has been seeing a Proctologist here on a regular basis.

Now that spring is just around the corner, we have pretty much filled in our 2016 travel plan.  Basically, we are heading up the east coast starting in April.  We plan to leave south Texas on the 25th of April and travel around the Gulf stopping in New Orleans and then ending in the Tampa area before heading north along the coast.  The plan is go north along the east coast until we hit Quebec City in Canada before we turn and head back west. 

We have a few stops planned in Canada to visit friends before heading back south west to Patty’s old stomping grounds in the Buffalo area.  After Buffalo, we will head south west to Indiana to visit with grandkids.  My daughter Jennifer is planning to be in Indiana the first week in September so we are planning to be there when she is.  This will be the first time in many years that both my kids and I will be together all at the same time, looking forward to that for sure!

From Indiana we may head back east to eastern Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding.  That is still a work in progress though.  Right now, we are planning to return back to our site in South Texas just before Thanksgiving. However, depending on the wedding plans and how Patty is feeling we have a few places in Oklahoma and Texas we want to visit before returning for the winter.  We could end up getting to our site as late as just before Christmas too!

We are now just getting into our slow motion departure mode for our 2016 travel season.  I have some maintenance stuff to do on the RV and Truck before we leave.  We also need to sort through our stuff to determine what we will leave here for the summer.  We still have 7 weeks but that goes pretty fast when you are having fun!

That's it for now. Stay tuned!