Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Slide-out goes out while driving, YIKES!!!


While we are still a bit behind in our blogging I thought I should share a recent incident while driving north from the Rio Grand Valley. We left Casa de Valle RV park in Alamo Texas arriving at Choke Canyon State Park near Three Rivers Texas.

Upon leaving our site at Choke Canyon SP our bedroom slide-out failed to come in. I manually pushed it in and secured it from the inside so it would stay in. Or so I thought…

We intentionally took some back roads on our way to Canyon Lake to ensure my temporary “fix” of our slide-out would hold. When I said I manually pushed the slide-out back in I mean this literally. You could simply push the slide in or out with no resistance whatsoever. My solution was to brace the inside of the slide-out with 2x4’s to secure it in place.

As we ambled along the back roads the slide-out remained in place and all was good, that is, until one of our bay doors sprung open. We pulled over and I relatched the bay door. This door has sprung open before so I guess I need to check how well the latch actually secures it.

We continued on but both of us were thinking what else can go wrong? I mean “things happen in threes” right? We finally merged onto Interstate 37 and nothing else was going wrong, that is, until we got to San Antonio Texas. Our route was taking us north on Interstate 37 through the center of San Antonio and where did the slideout decide to pop out?! Yep, right in the center of downtown San Antonio on a very busy and congested highway. The power of threes continued…

Fortunately we were in the right lane and I immediately pulled off on the bit of road between an exit ramp and the highway with cars buzzing past us us. I checked my “fix” which had shifted allowing the slideout to go out. I went back outside trying to avoid being hit by a car on the highway or exit ramp and pushed the slide back in.

Inside I discovered the slideout trim which was securing the previous fix had detached so I had to come up with another plan. I used those adjustable spring rods we purchased for our shelves to keep things from falling out while traveling to secure the slide from the top. I adjusted four of them to hold the slide inside its frame and hoped for the best.

Merging back on the highway was a major feat in itself. With cars zooming by at 65 mph, maneuvering the RV back on the highway wasn’t easy but after a sizable wait I saw a large enough gap  where I was able to ease us back on the interstate and  back up to speed. Hoping the worst was behind us and feeling confident the rule of threes had been completed we continued northward.

About then the GPS warned us of a wreck on US 281 which is under heavy construction. GPS suggested an alternate route but not knowing if those small roads were suitable for a large RV we resigned ourselves to suffering through the traffic jam. After more than an hour of inching we finally made it to Canyon Lake. Fortunately our second”fix” held up until we arrived. I hope to be able to really fix the slide before moving from here but that will be blogged about at a later date…

Boy we really needed our happy hour after this ordeal!! But such is life driving an RV On the Road of Retirement…

NOTE: We are currently at Canyon Lake in Central Texas…

Sunday, March 27, 2022

One last hike in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge


Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a 2,088-acre National Wildlife Refuge situated along the banks of the Rio Grande in far south Texas.Established for the protection of migratory birds in 1943 this refuge is noted for its unusual flora and fauna. The habitat known as subtropical Rio Grande Delta riparian forest was protected as most of it had been lost to agricultural clearing in the Rio Grande Valley.

IMG_3708IMG_3714Many species of plants and animals found  in far southern Texas cannot be seen anywhere else in the United States. Ocelots, Green Jays, Chachalacas and several others are unique to this area. Thus, ecotourism is a popular pastime especially with the birders who hope to see some of the over 400 different species recorded.

IMG_3763IMG_3740Sharon and I love hiking in this park as there are over 12 miles of trails taking us through this unique subtropical Rio Grande Delta riparian forest. Scattered throughout the park are several bird blinds set up for those of us who like to see and photograph up close many of the birds that either live at or visit during migration.


While there isn’t a lot of shade on the trails, as most of it is low level shrubbery, there are some interesting and unique segments along the trails. One area we particularly love is on the southwestern edge of the Willow Lakes trail. This part of the trail takes us through a mystical looking area of tall oak trees draped in moss.



With this park being less than 15 minutes from Casa Del Valle Park where we were staying it was convenient to visit for a nice hike while enjoying some of the best nature this area has to offer.

NOTE: We left Alamo TX and are now in Choke Canyon Lake State Park until April  29th…

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Birding and Hiking in Alamo Texas…


We have been in Alamo Texas at Casa Del Valle RV Resort for awhile and decided to share a little about this place and why we came here. The resort is one of the many over 55 resorts in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV).  Aside from the price of $199.00 per month for first time visitors we were attracted to the location of this park.


Alamo Texas is about an hour and a half from the beach at South Padre Island, However, it is pretty centrally located to several state parks and wildlife refuges in the  Valley. While we have eliminated South Padre Island as a future home once we stop RV’ing we felt as if we should also check out the interior of the RGV.


The attraction of the RGV as a future home is the cost of living down here is quite low. The weather is attractive as well although the summers can be quite hot. What we didn’t know was whether or not there were enough other amenities to attract us to this locale.Thus we made a list of places to visit during our stay.


High on the list was Bentson-Rio Grande State Park near Mission Texas which we have already ventured over to twice. We have visited before and remembered this park has a lot of hiking and/or biking opportunities and is great for birding. On our first trip we hiked a few miles and birded along the way.


What makes this park good for birding is that the staffers and volunteers have set up several bird seeding stations with a few photo blinds as well. A lot of birds seen in this part of Texas can only be seen here in the entire United States so it isn’t surprising to run into people who travel from all over the USA just to come here to birdwatch. Sharon always looks forward to sightings of the plentiful and colorful Green Jays. This park never disappoints in that regard!


The state park is right on the border of Mexico as many of the parks are in this area so we often see the dreaded border wall. We also see lots of border patrol and an occasional Texas National Guardsman because they were deployed by the governor to assist Texas with their so called border crisis. Interestingly in the almost three months we have been here we have heard zero stories on the local news relating to the “crisis”.


Today’s photos are from the state park and we hope to revisit this park again  before we leave.


NOTE: We are currently in Alamo TX until April  27th…

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Kite Festival and Moving On to a New Spot!


Our time came to leave South Padre Island but before I talk about what we are doing now I forgot to mention the neat kite festival held annually there. The first day of the festival was cancelled due to unseasonably cold temperatures and excessive winds.



The next day the festival began at the convention center on the bay flats adjacent to it. It was still a chilly day but at least the sun was out. We didn’t actually go to the festival, per se, but I did park in the convention center parking lot and took photos of the various interesting kites. Photos in today’s blog are from that event.


We left Isla Blanca Park March 1st on a nice sunny day and made our way over the causeway through the many small towns which are continuously connected together. It seemed as though every 5 miles or so we would see a name change for each new town. Eventually we arrived at our next stop in Alamo, Texas.


Casa Del Valle RV Resort in Alamo Texas will be home to us until April 26th. We found this park after we decided to cancel our 3rd month at Isla Blanca because the site we would have had to move to was totally unacceptable to us. It cost $50.00 to cancel which never makes us happy so we looked for a value location to replace the month we cancelled.


Lucky for us Casa Del Valle RV Resort, which is part of a larger group or RV parks, had a monthly special for first time visitors. As a new visitor the price for one month is only $199.00 making our cost $249 for the stay when adding in our cancelation fee. This will end up in a savings of about $350 over the costs we would have spent to stay on the island in an undesirable site.


With the price of diesel skyrocketing we will need these savings to offset some of our fuel costs as we head east. It sure is sad to see what is going on in Ukraine and hard to watch the daily destruction going on there. Paying more for fuel is a small price to pay if it causes Russia discomfort as well. Hopefully, this will all end sooner than later.

NOTE: We are currently in Alamo TX until April  27th…

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Favorite Spots in South Padre Island… It’s a Wrap!

Our two month stay has come to an end at Isla Blanca Park in South Padre Island, Texas. Before blogging about our next location I thought I would use this one to reminisce and share some photos taken there that we haven’t yet posted.


A white-tailed kite in Estero Llano Grande where there is great birding and hiking.


A glossy ibis taken at Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge where there is great birding, biking  and hiking.


We always have fun taking a stroll around the University of Texas –Rio Grande campus in Brownsville, Tx/


Above is a crested cara cara having a bad hair day at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge where there is also great birding, biking and hiking.


This is a great blue heron snagging dinner taken at Laguna Madre Nature Center where we enjoyed great birding and scenery.


Dolphin watching, biking and beach combing was great at Isla Blanca Park near Port Isabel, Texas.

These photos depict memories from some of our favorite spots to visit while wintering in South Padre Island, Texas. We hope you will enjoy the pictures as much as we did taking them. But now it’s time to hit the road once again…

NOTE: We are currently in Alamo TX until April  27th…