Scooter racing

Scooter racing
After parking for the night, we'll still have time for a little racing

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Don't Panic - It's Getting Better

This place is kind of growing on me.  The people are super friendly and there are going to be lots of activities once the winter season starts.

The lot we have is close to the pool, showers and laundry and all of them are spotlessly clean.  The owners are extremely friendly and have apologized profusely for the mess on our original lots.  Everyone has been very helpful and friendly and it sure looks like there is a lot to do.

Today, we went out to South Padre Island - fabulously beautiful.  Tomorrow we may go visit the USS Lexington - a WWII aircraft carrier.  Plus there's shopping, mini-putt and all sorts of other things to do around here.

I think this is going to work out just fine.

We Made It....but not where we expected

We arrived in Mission, TX which is part of McAllen, which is part of Pharr, which is part of Edinburg.  For all we know it's also part of Donna, Harlingen and Brownsville.

We pulled into the Mission Bell RV Resort and got to our assigned lot.  OMG!!!!  This was a dump - it didn't even look like a lot.  There were old hoses, broken concrete and tree branches all over the place, the lot looked more like a gravel pit than a gravel pad and the trailer next door had 3 foot weeds growing around it.  My sister's lot looked even worse - there was a huge tree stump right in the middle of where she'd have to park!  I took one look and said "no way"!  This is rated as the best in Mission, so I hate to see what's worse.

Anyhow, the managers took us to the Trade Winds (a sister RV park) across the road and, after saying no to lots where we'd have to back up AROUND palm trees that are right in the middle of the parking space, we found two lots that are close to the pool, the laundry, the showers and are also in pretty good shape.  We're now installed at the Trade Winds and will stay here for a little while.  It is extremely hot and humid and a bit windy.  The humidity and wind don't bother me so much but my brother is about ready to collapse.  He says the wind is the only saving grace.  So far, the people have been very friendly and helpful so there's hope.  I'll keep an open mind.I'm a bit worried about the winter since they say it only goes to about 60 and, with the wind, it'll be even cooler.  I predict I'll be on the move for warmer climes come January. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I Can Walk!!!

And walk and walk and walk.....

We arrived in San Antonio and immediately hit the pool....for 3 hours.  Even I find it hot so Prybar is just about dead from the heat and humidity. 

Please tell me these big snakes are extinct
Today, we took an 8 hour tour of the city.  This featured a walking tour of The Alamo, the huge Mission San Jose, a smaller and very impressive Mission Concepcion, a short visit to the Mercado to buy really good pastries, an uphill climb to go see sunken gardens and a stroll through a museum full of dead animals and memorabilia from equally dead cowboys and Texas Rangers, which was followed by a boat trip around the River Walk.

Snake Rattle Art
Mission Concepcion
San Antonio is a gorgeous city which really respects its history.   The sunken gardens were a bit of a disappointment because the ponds have been drained dry for maintenance.  In a couple of weeks, it'll be gorgeous - all limestone cliffs and walking paths.  For now, not so much.  We really enjoyed the Buckhorn museum with all sorts of exhibits, including very large rattlesnakes (dead) and pictures made out of snake rattles (also dead).

Inside Mission Concepcion
The River Walk tour is just as impressive as it was last Fall when RRR and I took it. 

After all that walking, we really appreciated the fact that the bus driver dropped us off right at the door to the RV!  We crawled in, jumped into our bathing suits and hit the pool.... but only for 2 and a half hours this time.  We're pretty tired.

All in all, a very enjoyable day!  Tomorrow is supposed to be 100 degrees out.  We may be in the pool a lot.
Along the River Walk

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ayeeeeeee! Spiders and Gators and Lightning…oh my!

What a great day!  We‘re in Cajun Country -  Lafayette, Louisiana.  This morning we signed up for a 2 hour swamp tour.  While we were waiting, we peeked over the railing and there were three alligators just staring at the local cats.  When we got into the boat, we learned that everyone on board spoke French, with the exception of 4 German tourists up front.  What are the chances!?

Anyhow, off we went and spent two hours touring the local bayous.  Along the way, we spotted many gorgeous birds, lots of water plants, some way-too-large spiders and several gators.  You’d be floating along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden a pile of weed would start moving or there’d be a splash near the boat and there was a gator.  I for one became very  determined not to fall overboard.  The highlight was when we were heading back to the dock and a huge gator surfaced – easily 11 to 12 feet long.  Wow!

After the tour, we headed for Billy’s Boudin Balls where dozens of people were lined up waiting for Billy’s balls.  This had to be the busiest place in Lafayette – and it was so worth the wait!!!  They are delicious!!!  Definitely worth a trip back to Louisiana.

While we were eating, a violent thunderstorm blew in – lightning and thunder were shaking the building.  This was serious rain!  So we grabbed our balls, headed for the RV and spent a nice quiet evening watching TV.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Billy's Balls Are Made For Eatin'

We've had a slight change in the itinerary.  Instead of going to Houma, which is in the far south of Louisiana, we decided to come to Lafayette instead.  There appears to be more to do here - it's the heart of Cajun country.  Tomorrow we're heading for a 2-hour swamp tour and later on we're going to try Boudin at Billy's Boudin Balls.  We're going to try out our French on them and see who asks "quesay?" first.  (for you French-Canadians out there, I know it's spelled wrong - I'm hooked on phonics).

Boudin, in our family, was blood sausage which our mom forced us to try but never insisted that we eat regularly.  Out here, Boudin is a pork sausage.  The Cajuns are wimps, IMHO.

Tonight, we finally got to eat at The Waffle House.  There are more Waffle Houses here than there are Tim Horton's in Ontario!  It was okay - nothing to write home about but at least we finally got there.  Oddly enough, there were very few waffle combos on the menu.  In fact, we all had versions of patty melt with hash browns.  Oh well, that'll just rev up our appetite for Billy's Balls. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

I Could Really Handle Being Rich

Off we went today, to see more of Natchez' sites.  It's a great little town with lots to see and do.  We started with the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.  It was informative, there were some really nice woven items and pottery but there wasn't a lot of stuff to see on the grounds.  They were a 'mound culture' so everything they did was built on mounds and, when someone died, they burned the structures and added a layer of dirt.  Basically, the grounds are just a bunch of big grassy hills with a couple of grassy huts that look very much like the ghillie suit in my previous post.

Then we went to the Castle restaurant for lunch - it's a beautiful, elegant restaurant on the grounds of a gorgeous mansion which has been turned into a bed and breakfast (at $300 a night they must have a really great breakfast).  The lunch was excellent and really inexpensive.  The tour of the mansion was amazing.  There's a lot to be said for wealth - and I could so adapt to it.

After the mansion, we started wandering aimlessly around the town, stopping at "under the hill" to look at the riverboat/casino and then to the "Fork in the Road", where slaves were bought and sold.  We ended by stopping at a little house that was covered in trinkets (some might say garbage).  Kinda made me want to go home and start purging all the junk in the basement of the RV.

 Tomorrow we head for Bayou country.....aieeeeeeeee!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Natchez Average Town

We arrived in Natchez, Mississippi yesterday and have been having a wonderful time.  We’re actually staying at an RV park in Vidalia, Louisiana, which is just across the bridge from Natchez.  Gorgeous setting – right on the Mississippi river.  We can see all sorts of things just barging up the river.  There’s an old paddle wheeler moored just under the bridge.  Nui and MammaLou think the weather is perfect – hot and sunny, Prybar thinks it’s too hot.

The first thing we did was hit the pool, which was at a perfect temperature.  Apparently only Canadians swim at this time of year, though.  Nobody else goes near it.  Must be because the weather is so much cooler in the Fall.  Those crazy Canucks!

Mammy's Cupboard
Yesterday, we toured Frogmore, which is a working cotton plantation.  We took a tour through the old cotton gin, the slave quarters and the outbuildings.  It was absolutely fascinating.  We also had lunch at Mammy’s Cupboard which is a local icon.  The food was pretty good – the bread was home made and so was the soup.  This had to be the fastest service I’ve ever seen in a restaurant.  McD’s should take notes.

One interesting thing – we’ve noticed that we’ve been getting rain in the late afternoons.  A local told us that this is very common – the heat builds up during the day and by afternoon thunderclouds roll in.  We sat in the pool yesterday, watching lightning hit above the hills in Natchez….until someone pointed out that it might be wiser not to be sitting in water that close to a lightning bolt.  So we came home and spent a quiet evening, still recuperating from the cold.  Like they say…a summer cold is to have and to hold.

Slave quarters

Washing machine

On Friday, we’re touring a couple of antebellum mansions, a historic Natchez Indian Village and, of course, a souvenir shop.  Will report later.
Love the bath tub

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Prybar is such a sharing kind of guy

He has very generously shared his nasty cold with both MamaLou and me.  Lucky for us, we've decided to spend 3 nights in Natchez because there's so much to do here.  Technically, we're in Vidalia, Louisiana at a beautiful campground right on the Mississippi River.... River View RV. 

That will give us a bit of time to get over this bug.  Cough....hack....wheeze!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Did We Miss Something? Where'd Everybody Go?!

My car was hit by a rocket this morning!  Okay - it was a smallish rocket and it didn't do any damage but cool is that!  We're sitting here at the US Space and Rocket centre, right next to a huge model of the space shuttle.  There's even a space camp for kids - who get to shoot off little plastic rockets that bounce off total strangers' cars.

We drove through more rain yesterday to arrive at Huntsville, Alabama.  This morning, we took ourselves off to Cullman, home of the Ave Maria Grotto on Saint Bernard Road (or, as the GPS informs us, the "Avenue Maria Grotto, on Street Bernard Road).  You gotta love the people who program these things.  This is a spectacular little park, with dozens of replicas of famous church-y type things including a small scale model of Jerusalem.  There are also lots of little fairy castles and troll houses. I guess I missed that part in catechism class.  I kinda nodded off after all the begats.  If I'd known there were trolls, I might have paid more attention!

The rest of the day was spent lazily driving through downtown Huntsville, which was absolutely deserted.  I don't think we saw more than 4 or 5 cars and never did see a pedestrian.  We went to the Constitution Village museum which was open but featured only a bunch of empty buildings.  Not exactly inspiring stuff, so we had an iced cappuccino and left.  We then drove around on nearly deserted 4-lane freeways and almost empty mall parking lots.  It gives you a funny feeling.... like you're in one of those sci-fi movies where the city is deserted but then you find out that everyone lives underground and they are all transparent Cyclops with bad attitudes and a taste for human flesh.

We leave for Mississippi tomorrow...unless the one-eyed albino cannibals get us.