February 22

I think that's where we last stopped. Two months ago, almost, a new record time for failure to report travels.

New format this time. Intended to be read with a text and a picture window. The pictures are linked in the same order as they are referenced in the text. As you read the text click NEXT for the next picture.  To get started open the thumbnails in a new window.

Left Benson and spent a couple of days in Columbus, NM, with a visit to Palomas to see Pancho Villa and eat a meal at the Pink House.

Stan said, "It can't be raining; we're in the desert!" Then pitterpatter, thunder and lightning. It washed the dusty landscape clean and bright.

For the rest of February we stayed at beautiful Balmorhea and Seminole Canyon, glad to be back in Texas, and east of the Pecos.


Off we ventured into hotter temps. New battery in Fort Stockton, things seemed just fine. However, the van got cranky as the day got hotter. We broke down just past an inspection station near Carrizo Springs. No help from Emergency Tow Service. That was a long afternoon, and eventually we limped into the prettiest camp, Triple R in Crystal City. Our site was on the Nueces River.

The campground had a collection of interesting animals: goats, horses, zebras, potbellied pigs, the fattest prairie dog in town, and a baby zedonk.

A couple of nights at Falcon reservoir on the Mexican border, where we sweltered. We saw the green jays and tried to keep cool. Then at 5:30 AM we beat it on down to Brownsville.

We really go there to see Clell and Mary. Brownsville is very tropical, hot and humid, extremely windy. The pool helped a lot.

The four of us went to Nuevo Progreso, the best Mexican border town experience we've had. It is colorful and busy, bright buildings and lots of flowers. Clell and Mary knew a pastry shop to tide us over until lunch.

Liz saw her favorite plane at the annual air show. Spent a day at Boca Chica beach, where the Rio Grande enters the Gulf of Mexico. Liz walked and Clell fished, but the weeds and heavy surf did not help him. We socialized with more friends, Ron and Barb, and a week flew by. Sad to leave.

King Ranch, in Kingsville, TX is worth a visit. www.king-ranch.com can tell you more than all our pictures, taken from the bus tour.

Couple of stops coming up the coast to Houston, where we visited with our friend Flora and her dog, Mr Spot. One night we ate Guatemalan food, and another Cajun/Italian. Flora took us out to a big sporting goods store where Liz found the perfect binoculars.

In northeast Texas we visited the Rusk-Palestine RR and took the ride. So did a million screaming kids and adults and then a chilly rain started.

In Rockdale we took the Alcoa tour, which was really all about coal mining, specifically dragline mining of the lignite seam running diagonally across the state.

Blanco State Park is the kind of place we like best: small, laid back, on a river, nice little town. Its main claim to fame was this tree, but it also had a handsome courthouse. We ate lunch at a diner where arrowhead artwork hung on the walls.

We spent a night as guests of Pete and Ellen in a park where deer mingled with the big class A motorhomes.  In the morning we discovered that right next door was a gathering of big cowboy fans, members of the single-action shooting society (see www.sassnet.com).

In another day or so, no matter how pretty the wildflowers, we were ready to leave Texas.

In Vidalia, LA (not to be confused with the onion Vidalia in GA) we camped for a night on the mighty Mississippi and took off early for the Natchez Trace.

Mississippi and Alabama passed by mostly in a blur, but there was a fine historic museum in Jackson.

Stan continues:

After a couple of fun days at Wales West Train & Garden Lovers RV Resort, Silverhill, AL, we moved into Florida.

First night was at Juniper Lake RV Campground, De Funiak Springs, FL. OK but nothing special. Coastal campgrounds are full so stayed inland.

After a stop at the Eglin AFB Museum went to the Econfina River Resort. It's really a resort for bugs. Their screened in pool should have been a clue. Couldn't even get out of the van.

Then a few nights at Ocala Ranch RV Park. Nice since most people had gone home so we could park near the pool. Expensive at $24 PPA and $6 WiFi.

A night at Sarasota, FL (Windward Isle RV, $21, OK) visiting Liz's niece and kids the following day on Siesta Key.

Two nights at Lake San Marino RV Resort (nice place) with a visit to my sister in between.

Three nights at Ortona Locks ($10 COE). They were almost full so had to move every night. Nicest place we have stayed in Florida so well worth the moving. Liz enjoyed the birds with her new binox: shrikes, Eurasian collared-doves, green heron, common moorhen, woodpeckers. And the wildlife, including otters and armadillo.

While there the wind shifted and and got stronger. Before we could get to the awning it had wrapped over the top of the van. Thought it was done for but some beating and hose clamps got it back together. Having the awning rolled up made it easier to see the eagle that flew over the van.

Then to Arcadia to visit
friends Pete and Marilynn and pick up Liz's tax mail. Intended to stay at Little Willie's RV Resort but since the pool was cold, power was out, and WiFi not finished, we got our money back and moved to Toby's. Nice but not PPA.

In the past have had the pool to ourselves at Lakemont Ridge RV in Frostproof. But they have doubled the number of sites but not the pools. OUR pool was full of obnoxious kids and people. Also the solar heating panels had blown away.

Then a noisy night at Ponderosa RV Park, Kissimmee. On the phone asked how far she was from the turnpike. Reply was 3 or 4 blocks. What she left out was that the blocks were within the park. That the office was away from the turnpike but our site would be right next to it. Not only was there the noise from trucks and fire engines on the turnpike but park people would drive their Harleys past in first gear.

Now at Three Worlds RV Resort, Davenport. Much nicer. Many people have gone North so we are right next to the pool. Liz just met a guy who grew up in Hanover and some kids that know the school in Haverhill where Keith landed.

Thurs. it is off to Haines City to visit Liz's daughter from Portland, OR. There a couple of days then quickly North out of this state.