Friday, March 16, 2018

We're on the Road Again!

After staying in Mission, Texas, for two months, we have officially exceeded our longest stay in one place in the motor home. We come here to spend time with Denisa's Mother, who has wintered here for 32 years. But we have to say that we really enjoy the daily activities here as well. We will miss those indoor air-conditioned pickleball courts! Both of us have gotten a lot of good exercise and made lots of new friends in our hours on the courts. Denisa will also miss the good exercise and fun from the line dance class.  In fact, we extended our stay just so she could attend the evening line dance three-hour marathon of dancing fun.

If you notice, she's on the correct foot in both of the pictures. That's quite an accomplishment! We have great teachers at the park, and staying two months helped her catch up a little with the people that get to dance all year. As the evening progressed, so did the skill level needed to keep those feet moving in the right direction. This is Denisa's favorite form of aerobic exercise--dancing to the music!

Another thing we will really miss is the fresh produce of the Rio Grande Valley. We normally shop for produce from a local farmer that comes directly to the RV park every Friday. But we were leaving before his weekly visit, so we went to the "Pulga" about three miles away. We found out that pulga means "flea" in Spanish, so we were actually going to the flea market to buy our produce. It was a cloudy morning when we were shopping. Yes, those are pineapples that you can buy--two for one dollar.

While the Don-Wes flea market has only winter Texan customers, this pulga is for the locals. We seemed to be the only English-speakers shopping at the pulga.

Denisa was excited about all the fresh produce she bought. Each purchase was $1. That would be five avocados for $1; five peppers for $1, two pounds of grape tomatoes for $1, two pounds of green beans for $1; 4 squash for $1, etc. It's very fresh produce at rock bottom prices, and our refrigerator is now stocked up and ready to hit the road.

When people ask where we are heading, we point north--but not too quickly. We have four very exciting events that are shaping our travel plans this spring. We want to be in Oklahoma City on April 14 for our youngest son's wedding shower. We will be in Kansas City for the expected birth of our first grandchild on May 5. We will be in Oklahoma City on June 3 for our son's wedding. We want to be back in Kansas City for our oldest son's graduation from his pediatric residency later in June. What a busy and blessed itinerary!

But until then, we plan to work our way north through east Texas. Our first stop is just north of the town of Rockport at Wilderness Oaks RV Resort. The town of Rockport has its own harbor, filled with fishing boats and pleasure craft.

They are proud to host some of those rare whooping cranes, and there is a statue of them in the town center. This little town was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, and their art center is in the background--still boarded shut with major damage inside.

We visited here two years ago, and really enjoyed the town's aquarium. It was run by volunteers, and we appreciated that there was no charge for admission. We remember fondly the fun exhibits inside. The old building couldn't stand up to the wrath of Harvey, however. Mark is standing where those aquarium exhibits once stood, as all the walls are now gone from the building.

We drove in on Highway 35, a four-lane divided highway with a wide median. That median was a handy place to stack the debris that comes from the devastation of a hurricane. The piles include tin roofs, sheetrock, mattresses, furniture, lumber, plastic riding toys--everything that was destroyed by the double punch of wind and water.

The visitor's center told us that 80% of the buildings in this town were damaged. We include another picture of the dwindling debris piles that were once over two miles long. The tractor and truck give a little scale to how tall the piles are. There are signs around town that the final debris pick-up day is this week, so more trash is being piled up on the curbs all over the county.

We're staying at Wilderness Oaks RV Resort, and they are doing a monumental job of cleaning up from this tragedy. There were 50 RVs still parked here when the hurricane hit, and 42 of those were blown onto their sides and totaled. At another RV park, the twisted frames of many RVs have been stacked at the entrance.

We walked the streets of our new home town, shaking our heads when we considered all the things that are badly damaged or even completely gone since our visit two years ago. So we were surprised to see this field of bluebonnets near the port. We thought it was too early for these beautiful Texas wildflowers to be blooming. But just like the town of Rockport, they are resilient and beautiful and happy to be blooming where they are planted.

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