Well, the "down time" continued for the remainder of our stay in Mercedes. This is what RV'n is all about. You find a spot, settle in, find a source for good fresh food, locate a good wine supply, and explore the area. The only changeable factor is the weather. This is Life at its BEST!!

We were warned about the winds in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), and boy were they correct. The weather continues to be warm, mostly cloudy, and very humid for us tender Wet Coasters. Then, the wind blows which is both good and bad. The good part is that the humidity does drop noticeably, but the bad part is that it becomes increasingly difficult to sit outside.

This, of course, cuts down the interaction between RV'ers. For the entire month there, we only met people in the swimming pool/hot tub area. Our immediate neighbours, two women who also happened to have a Boston Terrier named

We continued to wander around. Brownsville is the city right on the Gulf with Mexico its close neighbour. The port area is huge! In fact the impression we got of the City is that it is mostly concerned with the port and resulting activities. We have been used to having Tourists being the most important part of the economy in the RGV, so we found little to do or see in the area. On the way there though, there are lots of historic sites to visit. It seems that the Texas War of Independence from Spain and the Civil War both roared through this area. For a history buff this area is a must visit!!


To show just how desperate we became in the latter part of our month here, we even spent an afternoon in an Outlet Mall that was just down the road from our park. It got worse ... we even went to an RV Show and to an RV Dealer ... just to look around, of course. One thing we have learned about ourselves is that after two weeks, we begin to get itchy feet. This staying put for a month is not yet our thing ... maybe as we get older????

Would we return here to the RGV? I don't know! It is a 4 day drive from Casa Grande to Mercedes. Any given year, the weather could be great in one area and bad in the other, and then for the next year, reverse itself. It is always a bit of a crap shoot. So, as a destination for a long period of time, I doubt we will return, but as a drive through to some other part of the southern US, probably.

The weather began to change for us. It got cooler and on the 14th the day before we left Mercedes, it rained. But, on the driving day, it was back to nice conditions and a resulting nice drive.

The run up to San Antonio was good: dry roads, little traffic, and Harvey purring like a kitten. We had heard great things about San Antonio and we were certainly looking forward to our 5 days there.

The Park we chose, "Traveler's World RV Resort" turned out to be quite good. They had just finished paving the interior roads and placing new gravel in each site for the RV to park on. Along with the cement patio and the grass around it, this was a nice spot. It even was very close to down town.

Unfortunately, the rain came, and the temperatures dropped drastically! We were damn cold: gone were the T Shirts and Short Pants; hello to long pants, socks, sweaters and coats... YECH this is why we left the north!

The day after we arrived, we stayed around the RV waiting for better weather. The next day, no improvement in the weather, so we headed into town and took in the IMAX theatre presentation of the Alamo Battle. This was a little sensationalized and romantized but as always the IMAX experience made it worth while. On leaving the show, we headed out for a wander around the Alamo itself. This is a must see for anyone who can remember Fess Parker. Because of the weather, we tended not to dwell too long in any one spot, but is sure is a neat place to visit.

Friday was still raining so we took a drive along the "Devil's Backbone" highway just north and east of town. I guess it was a picturesque trip, but with the rain we could only suppose. But, we did find the German settlement area and visited the local HEB and found real German sausages and sauerkraut. Elsie was in heaven!!!!

Finally, the next day, Saturday, the sun finally came out!!! We were off to the River Walk. (for complete information about the Walk, its history etc., click http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/ )

This River Walk is fantastic! If you can imagine it, take a modern city, dig the front streets deep enough to have a 2 mile canal running along them, hook it up to the local river for a yearly refill, and you have San Antonio's River Walk. Hotels and restaurants all populate the river level. Lots of trees, bridges can be found at every turn and even an open air theatre. The best way to appreciate the Walk is to have a look at the pictures (use the link below). To say the least, we were very, very impressed!

Two things that do bear mentioning here are the absolute lack of idiot graffiti, and the almost total absence of the down and out drug culture. Although there was one young man trying to inhale his way into glue heaven, that was the only low point of the afternoon. We walked almost a mile and saw only people using the place for what it was intended. Everything was spotlessly clean and well maintained. Our minds slipped into what Gastown in Vancouver was like when it was first begun and what it has become today ... We could sure learn a lot from San Antonio!!!! I wonder how the "good guys" kept control?

San Antonio is a definite return visit.

After a relaxing week, the drive from San Antonio to Fort Stockton was HELL!! The wind came in gusts up to 50 mph from the south and south west. That meant that Harvey was being buffeted either directly on the driver's side or on the front driver's side. A steady wind is one thing, but the gusts are what get you. One moment everything is great, and the next you are fighting to keep 30,000 lbs in one lane of the two lane I 10. The truckers being so much longer and heavier, just keep steaming at 80 mph or more while I'm hanging on for dear life. When the wind moves to hitting a bit of the front window, it blows down the side of Harvey and gets under the awning that covers the slide. The awning blooms out and the spring causes it to return with a crash on the side. With the "rockin and rollin" and the crash of the awning, Stanley was not a happy boy. Elsie just sat there with a permanent smile pasted on her face and said nothing. We finally arrived in Fort Stockton and I crashed!!! It was not enough to cause me to pull over, but it was close! Fortunately, the KOA there has a little restaurant attached and for $7.99 you could have a good BBQ'ed rib dinner. The next morning we left for Las Cruces.

Unlike yesterday, this was an uneventful run along the I 10. Set the cruise control at 1,600 rpm (61 mph) and count the times you have to turn the steering wheel. Boring, but we did manage to get almost 10 mpg.

Las Cruces is one of our favourite spots. We had 3 nights booked at Hacienda RV Resort and used the time well. I climbed up the side of Harvey equipped with a large screw driver and lots of hope. The damn wind blowing the slide topper out caused it to not retract properly so it required a major realignment. With Elsie inside at the slide retract switch, and me on the top of the ladder, somehow we managed to stay friends, keep my fingers from being crushed with the strong springs and massage the topper back into its correct position. Several years ago , that would have necessitated a visit to an RV Shop but now ... HEY we can do it!!! We sure have learned a lot over the past 6 years.

In keeping with the maintenance theme, Elsie vacuumed Harvey, and did, I don't know how many, loads of laundry. In view of all this domesticity, I fled to the neighbours across from us who were from Victoria . They were just beginning to RV and had lots of questions ... some of which I could even answer. The two days flew by and we were off to Casa Grande.

The drive was magnificent. Here the I 10 threads its way through the desert and over a small series of passes. Again, it was one of those days of setting the cruise control and just aiming Harvey between the painted lines on the road. Boring but a very efficient method of covering territory quickly.

I don't know if local media in your area picked up on the story of the young Border Security Officer who was run over in Yuma and killed by an illegal who was fleeing the cops. The Officer was putting down a spike belt to stop the vehicle when the vehicle simply ran over him. He was in his early 30's with a young family from El Paso. They have caught the driver, and I sure don't like his chances in Court. Texas is a death penalty state. The reason I mention this is that the funeral the day before was in Yuma and attended by over a thousand officers from all over the country. We had stopped for lunch in a west bound rest stop and looked over to the east bound rest stop. We were amazed to see it was absolutely jammed with border patrol vehicles. We thought that something must be "goin down" until we noticed that the rest stop was closed by the Highway Patrol. These were the returning Officers from the funeral. They had police support for the cavalcade and each of the rest stops along the highway were blocked off as they returned. A couple of miles down the road, we encountered another string of 30 or 40 Border Cars heading east. No one objected to the rest stop closures which speaks volumes on the support these guys are given by the local citizens. It doesn't seem to matter if people support the concept of the border being closed, it is more respect for the guys, in uniform who are doing their duty. What a nice change from home.

We arrived in Casa Grande on Friday the 25th and immediately touched bases with our friends "The OldTymers", Geri and Bruce, and Carole and Lou Hicks, friends from Osoyoos. Saturday was a local doggie show that unlike the professional doggie show that Thurston had to endure, was just local people showing off their dogs.

Prizes were awarded for longest ears, shortest tail, best dressed etc. Lou and Carole had entered their two pugs, Mr. Bains and Belle. People and dogs enjoying themselves on a nice day. It was fun.

We will be here for two weeks leaving February 8th for Yuma for two weeks and then the Palm Springs area for three weeks. Slowly, we are heading home.

According to weather.com, in Casa Grande, we are in for mostly sunny days with the day time temperatures in the mid 60's dropping to the mid 40's at night. This is our idea of great weather especially as we have heard of the snow that hit Vancouver last night.

Both Stanley and Thurston are doing well, and we remain healthy.

Does life get any better?


Joe, Elsie and the wandering Lords


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