Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ATTENTION People near BUSHNELL Florida

Thought that I would throw a heads up to anybody in the area of Bushnell Florida.

On January 1st and 2nd at the Dade Battlefield State Park they are having the Dade Massacre Re-enactment which will celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the massacre.
This is one of the best re-enactments we have been to and is well worth the time if you are in the area. The re-enactment normal takes place around 1pm, but if you get there early you can walk around the Seminole Camp and the Soldiers Camp to see just how they lived in the field back then. Everybody there is happy to pose for pictures or answer any questions you might have.

 They have demonstrations for shooting a black powder gun, firing the cannon, axe throwing, black smithing, cooking and many more things They also have a section set aside for the market and demonstrations of the old time crafts.
I would recommend 3 to 4 hours to take in both camps, the merchant section and the re-enactment. They do serve food there or you can bring a picnic lunch, after all it is a State Park.

Admission is $7 for those 6 and up

Here's is a link to an excellent account of the Massacre.

A few pictures I took of the event in 2002.

Marching Troops
Mounted Officers

War Paint for Battle
Posing with some kids

Cannon Crew


Indian Camp
Army Camp


Cooking Indian style


The Massacre begins
Attempting to build a stockade

Ransom Clark, The lone surviver to tell the tale

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Just thought that I would mention a few things about the park we're at in case anybody heads this way.
This is one of the nicer parks that we have stayed in during our travels, that's not saying that it's our favorite park or the type of park that we prefer, it's very big and soon to be wall to wall people after the 1st,  but as far as how it's run, the amenities, location and rates it would be hard to beat.

Smaller East section sites, a little tight

To start with the management and workers are some of the friendliest we've come across, the park is kept spotless, they have their own street cleaner that comes by after they cut the grass, the laundries each have a separate washer and dryer for PET Laundry, three pools and hot tubs, a monster size club house and rec center, fitness center plus they have separate buildings or areas for the following.
Rock shop, library, craft room, computer club, puzzle room, stained glass making, wood carving, sewing and quilting room and a huge wood shop. Each one of these areas has classes in case you want to give them a try. They have at least five different activities everyday and a couple different trips every week. I think some of the people here only leave to buy groceries.

Our lot in the West Section
There are about 8 miles of paved roads inside the park to walk or bicycle.
Each lot has it's own US Mail Box, with its own address.

There are three different sections with the East being the smaller sites, West the medium size, North the very large sites and the Golf Sub the JUMBOS, something for everybody's budget.

The bigger lots in the North Section

If there was a downside to this park it would be that it's in the Rio Grand Valley. Highway 83 runs east and west through the valley and that's about it, it seems that everything is located right off this hwy which means the traffic is terrible and everything is crowded. For things to see and do in the area we've found that you can cover them in just a few trips. A good thing is that we are only about a ten minute drive from Pregreso Mexico, which is one of the few safe places to cross over and shop.

Really big lots in the Golf Sub Section
Another downside to this area is the constant breeze, now you have to understand that everything is big in Texas so a breeze is anything between 15 and 30 MPH and sometimes a little bit more. The funny thing is that the only time the wind stops is when its 40 degrees, as soon as the temp hit 70 the wind get switched on again, so basically if it's nice enough to be outside you're going to be in the BREEZE.

As far as places to GO , things to SEE, stuff to DO, we would rather be in Florida or Gulf Shores.
After watching the news this morning and seeing that it was 21 in Tampa last night and we're going to be pushing record highs this week, (Sorry Margie) it's starting to look a little better over here.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Progreso Mexico

Mexico           Maybe 75 to 100 feet wide               USA
Another trip to Progreso Mexico today. A lot of people think that we're crazy to go to Mexico because of everything that they see in the nightly news, the last time we were in the valley I talked with a couple of different Border Patrol Officers about crossing the border, they all said the same thing. Cross at Progreso and have a great time, but don't cross anywhere else unless you're with someone that knows their way around. Today the weather was sunny and in the mid 80's, sorry Florida, so there were a ton of people there, we crossed over , I'm getting to old to use the term Cross Over comfortably, about 10:30am and the streets were already packed. As I've said before we felt perfectly comfortable walking around and dealing with the people as long as you stay in the main section of town, about 4 blocks wide and about 6 blocks deep and there is no reason to go anywhere else, if you can't find what you want here, they don't have it.

If you can picture Jerry Lewis when he would yell out “ Heeey Laaaady” that's what you will hear about every ten seconds as you walk down the street, all we did was say No thanks, already have it or don't need it and they'll smile tell you to have a nice day and move on.

I picked up another 2 pair of sunglasses, I go through them to fast to buy expensive one, Cathy got some more (3) liter bottles of Vanilla for friends up North, a couple of woven beach bags and lunch at the Red Snapper, all for about  $30.00.

We park in the US and walk across the bridge, I don't know where you would park a car if you drove, while were walking back to the US the car traffic was backed up from the American Customs across the bridge and about a block into the town. I would guess that it was going to take them at least 45 minutes to get across. Since we crossed back right at lunch time customs wasn't busy so I had a chance to talk with the Officers for a few minutes, Normally when they are lined up the rule is hand them your passport, answer their questions and nothing else.

Cathy was good and had fish, but since I had the big Mexican Plate I'm ready for a nap, FYI, what they call a Monster Margarita was $4.00, everybody that was drinking one had a big smile on their face, that's all I can say since Cathy doesn't drink and I can't.

Good site about Progreso

Going to try a little bird watching tomorrow at the birding center about a mile away, this morning while I was out having my coffee and stretching my back I spotted two Red-Crowned Parrots in the tree across the street.   

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Down in the Valley

After spending a couple of days in Del Rio we drove down to Zapata, we checked into a park here for two days just to break up the drive to the Rio Grand Valley. We figured that we would be able to find something 
to do here, WRONG, other then watching the birds and and doing the laundry, that's about it. The Rio Grand is damned up near here and forms Lake Falcon, it wasn't until I Googled Zapata that I realized that this is where the couple were attacked by Pirates (drug cartel) when they crossed the lake to photograph an old Mexican Mission, the husband was killed and I don't think that they have recovered his body yet. So that pretty much ruled out renting a jet ski to explore the lake area.

We finally got down to the RGV and got set up in our new home for the next month, this morning we took a two mile walk and probably only covered about 15% of the paved roads in the park.


We had a little bit of a cool front come through for a few days but that's gone now and it's back in the 70's and 80's.

We headed over to Progesso Mexico the other day, you park on the US side and walk across the bridge after paying your 25 cent toll and your in Mexico, no customs or anything on the way over. It was pretty much just as we remembered it wall to wall people trying to sell you stuff. There weren't a ton of tourist when we got there but by the time we left the place was packed.

I got my $4 haircut and some new sunglasses, Cathy hit the dentist for a $10 cleaning then the jewelery guy for some silver earrings for the grand daughter, right before we came back we stopped at the Rx and I got my over OTC meds (purple pill) and Cathy got a couple liter bottles of Vanilla. It's hard to believe how cheap the stuff is there and they still make a profit. We plan on going back once a week to try the different restaurants while we're down here.


We drove over to South Padre Island for the day, it's a little over an hour drive, we've heard so much about it that we figured we better get over there to see what all the fuss in about, after being there for a few hours we're still trying to figure it out.

The island reminded us of a lot of Myrtle beach,Tybee Island, Fort Myers Beach and any other place where they're trying to get all your money.

We did stop at Port Isabel right before crossing the causeway to the island and that we enjoyed. We got the combo seniors ticket which let us climb to the top of the lighthouse, visit the Historical Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, the senior tickets are $5 a head for all three places.

First the lighthouse, it's not to bad of a climb, only 47 circular steps but then there is a stepladder type steps for about 14 steps then a very narrow 8 steep climb which gets you to where the light used to be and a fantastic view of the area. You are not allowed out on the walkway.

Port Isabel Lighthouse.

Views from the top.
Click to enlarge.

Causeway to South Padre Island

Pelicans from the lighthouse

About a block walk got us to the Historical Museum, it gives a very interesting history of the city and area explaining how it was settled and the part it played in all the border wars.

I always thought that Mermaids were pretty.

An old style Mickey

A short walk around the corner and you're at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, a small museum but it had very unique items on display. It told about the three Spanish ships that sunk during a storm in the mid 1500's right off the coast with about 90,000 lbs of gold and silver aboard. About 30 % of the gold and silver has been recovered and the rest will probably remain buried forever since Texas has an antiquity law that sez if you find it in Texas it belongs to Texas, no finders fee, no 50 50 split, nothing but a big thank you so nobody goes looking for it.

Sometimes you can just get what our daughter calls TMI (To much Information) so here it is.

What is it?

Read to find out.

The last room of the museum displays works of art from the local artist and is changed through out the year.  
Now I don't know much about art, but I do know what I like and this guy is a Genius.

Back at Camp, the weather has been in the high 70's and hitting 80 but the wind has been blowing none stop for the last couple of days, I don't care how big your rig is the wind will rock you to sleep. We noticed as we walk around the park that nobody has an awning out.

That's about it Mexico and the WIND.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Law West of the Pecos

We pulled out of Marathon and started heading for the valley this morning, after about 2 hours we hit the town of Langtry, just a little bump on the side of the road now but back in the day it was known for being “Law West of the Pecos”. The state has a beautiful visitors center there and a museum dedicated to Judge Roy Bean. Right behind the center is the original Jersey Lilly on the original site, it's been restored to just as it was when the Judge was holding court and administering justice. The Judge like to combine work with business, so many times when found guilty the fine was to buy a round of drinks for the house and jury, since he owned the house the money went right into his own pockets. There are a thousand stories about the Judge, I'll include a few that you can click on and read.

The Original Jersey Lilley

History of Judge Roy Bean

A couple of Judge Bean Stories

More stories
Click and read Occupation

I got to belly up to the bar

Crossing the Pecos

White head Museum
We found out that the Judge was buried in Del Rio and since we're spending two nights there we figured we better pay our respects. His grave has been moved and is now at the Whitehead Museum, this was done to prevent further vandalism to the stone, by moving the grave here the museum had to become a certified cemetery with the state. We just planned on seeing the grave and being on our way but ended up spending close to two hours here, what looked like a small museum on the out side turned into 21 different buildings to explore. They had a very good history of the Del Rio area and a lot of original items to see. The building itself is historic, built in 1871 before Del Rio existed it was the largest general store between San Antonio and El Paso and has served has a courthouse, church, lodge, post office and now a museum.

What we came to see

Nativity scene in one of the bldgs,
over 2000 pieces

Click to see that this made from the tails of over
200 rattlesnakes

about the star

He was flexing his feathers to impress a female

They had a small Aviary and this was the king 

Del Rio of the home of Border Radio, Wolfman Jack got his start here.

Up to 100,000 watts pointed towards the USA.

And finally for the RVer who has everything and a rival for the Christmas Story Leg Lamp, how about a nice Armadillo Lamp Shade.