The RV Road Trip Blog - December 2010

Hello December! Christmas is just around the corner and we hope everyone has been really good this year. We are blessed to have so many RV friends and we really enjoy hearing from all of you. Your comments on the site as well as all the emails bring smiles to our faces. We are so glad that you enjoy our site and that you benefit from the information we provide. If you want to see just how big the site is, visit the site map page.

OK, I guess you might be wondering why I (Jerry) didn't update the blog between November 24th through the 29th. On the 24th, I went into Mexico on a Mission trip with 4 other people. We held Bible studies in Spanish, passed out bags of beans, gave fresh water and also handed out blankets. On the way back, of course you have to go through the border checkpoint. We get back to the American check point and they ask us to pull over. They check everyone's passport and everything is in order but then they ask me to come with them. I said sure and walked with them to the office.

They opened a door and put me in a cell! They took my shoes and all my belongings and told me to wait. About 20 minutes later a policeman from the city of Pharr, Texas arrives and he takes me to Hidalgo County jail!! By now I am really freaking out asking everyone I see what in the world is going on but no one gives me an answer other than "you are being detained". I knew I should have smiled on that passport photo...

They process me into the Hidalgo County Jail and by now it is late Wednesday evening. Someone finally informs me that I have an active felony fugitive warrant! So I start thinking back... Nope, never robbed a bank. Nope, never carjacked anyone. Nope, never shot anyone although I have been shot twice. Nope, never robbed a liquor store. Nope, never sold drugs. And as you probably already guessed, none of the guards had any clues either. So being the holidays I had no one to call to straighten this out. So your old pal Jerry spent Thanksgiving in jail. 6 days total. This past Monday when everyone got back to work, it gets all straightened out. Somehow, someway... one overworked government worker erroneously flagged yours truly as a fugitive felon. I'm going out today to buy a lottery ticket.

But God made good of the situation. While I was in the slammer, I led a drug dealer and a gang banger to Christ! I also held a Bible study and had a murderer, some illegal immigrants, several drug users/dealers, a guy who didn't pay his child support and an innocent man all singing "This Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine".

So now I am a free man again, and the site updates are back on schedule. The November expense summary is up in the RVer's Library, new pictures are in the gallery and all is well with your favorite RV couple. ;)

So how was your Thanksgiving? LOL
We're not sure if it was a coordinated attack or not, but a flock of birds decided to fly towards the camper, veer off at the last second and let their poop fly. We have quite a few bird poop splatters on the side of the camper. I guess we'll wash the whole camper tomorrow, and maybe the truck while we are at it. They both needed a good washing anyway...

Tomorrow night in downtown McAllen is some sort of Christmas event and Cynthia wants to go to it, so I charged up my chair in preparation. It starts at 7pm but we'll have to get there fairly early if we want to be able to park anywhere close by. It'll probably be crowded but the temperature is supposed to be about 70° at 7pm so it will be OK. The highs have been in the mid 80s this week. I love south Texas.

We're a little behind on pictures this week, the regular camera has been acting up. Seems it now has a mind of its own and will take a picture when it feels like it. It's a Sony DSC-H2 and it is an older model. It has been a good camera but I guess it has been banged around for as many years as it could stand. We are so spoiled to the 12x zoom on it, most cameras these days only have 3x or 5x zoom. The Droid X takes really good pictures but it has virtually no zoom at all so for many shots, it just isn't suitable. Maybe there will be a camera we like on sale this Christmas season.

Not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but Cynthia wants a dog. I said OK but it has to be small and a non-shedding dog. We're leaning towards a Miniature Schnauzer if we can find one. For some reason, the only dogs for sale around here are Chihuahuas.
Well, we did it. We got a dog. We have been looking for a while at the local animal shelters, the pet stores and on Craigslist. We found this little guy at the Harlingen Humane Society and decided to get him on the spot. They said he is about 1 1/2 years old but he acts like an old dog. He is very laid back and never barks... my kind of dog! We struggled with finding a name so Cynthia decided on "CJ". "C" for Cynthia and "J" for Jerry. And with all that being said, here is CJ!

CJ the wonder dog!

Tonight we had an informal dinner party here at the park. They served us BBQ brisket, corn, potatoes and salad. It was alright but the main point was the socialization. It was fun to talk with our new friends over a good meal. Here's a shot of Cynthia enjoying herself. I had fun, too. :)

Cynthia Winegard

Cynthia has made plans for us to go see the Christmas lights in Hidalgo, Texas. Apparently, they put on a big display throughout the town and you can drive through on a designated route and see them all. She wants to go with friends and ride the trolley. We'll go on the 17th and according to weatherman, it will be a bone chilling 50°. I can handle that.
We had fun today! We did a "poker run" in the park where everyone went around the park and gathered 7 envelopes, each with a random playing card in it. About 60 people participated and they gave prizes for the top 5 best hands. We ended up with 2 pair but that wasn't good enough to win anything. The best hand was a full house, kings over queens.

After the poker run we went to the ice cream social. It is .50¢ for a really big scoop and we each got 2 scoops. Blue Bell ice cream with your choice of 4 different toppings. It was good!

The new dog is really working out. He is so sweet, doesn't bark and is already camper trained (house trained for the rest of you - LOL). He loves to go on walks with his leash but of course he has to stop and hike every 5 feet. He has claimed the entire park as his territory but I think he understands that there are many other dogs here that come behind him and stake their claim.

We think we have narrowed down our choice for a new camera. Our old one is not doing so well. We are looking at the Panasonic Lumix ZS7. It is on sale for $249 at several places online and that is about what we paid for the Sony we currently have. It has some very nice features but that is a lot to pay for one item. Our biggest need is at least 10X zoom and not many affordable cameras have that. Oh well... we're not in that big of a rush since we can take pictures with the Droid X.

13 more days until Christmas! I hope all of you have been good this year. :)
Cynthia and I went bowling tonight with a group of folks from the RV Park. We bowled 2 games each and it was lots of fun. Our scores aren't worth mentioning as we don't want to embarrass ourselves. I think next time we go I am going to ask if they will put the gutter rails up for us. Anyway, we took a picture of each other and here they are.

Jerry at the bowling alley.

Cynthia at the bowling alley.

Cynthia is off for the next 6 days. She says that on one of those days she is going to a place called "Thrift City". She says she will take pictures for all the ladies. I think I will sit this trip out.

We're going to the local Chamber of Commerce tomorrow to get a list of the neat and/or historical things in South Texas. We want to see everything we can while we are down here for the winter. After the Thanksgiving ordeal at the border, I think we'll stay in the United States. My luck the Federales would get me and I'd never be heard from again. Whatever we do and wherever we go, we'll take some pictures. Santa said he was sending the camera we were looking at a little early. :)
Cynthia and I drove over to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park today. It is about 5 miles from the RV Park we are in. Sadly, a large portion of the state park was closed due to the recent flooding of the Rio Grande river, but we got to see a little bit of it. They have a very large butterfly garden next to the cafe and gift shop. You can walk through it and see the many different types of butterflies. None would sit still long enough for a picture.

We took a stroll down the one road that was still open to see what we could see. There are some strikingly beautiful birds here! We saw one that was a blazing orange color and we took 2 pictures of it. But our dang camera focused on the trees behind it so the bird came out really fuzzy. Grrrr. We did get some good shots of some other birds, here are a couple of them.

It was a beautiful stroll through the park but we just wished the whole thing would have been open. Oh well, not bad for a free entry. Texas gave me a "cripple card" a while back and with it I get in free at all Texas State Parks. It's really a handicap access pass but it is easier to say "cripple card".

We stopped by the grocery store on the way home, the one we frequent is called HEB. That stands for "have everything better". It's a fantastic grocery store and on par with Walmart as far as prices go. They had some little steaks on sale so we grabbed a pack. They are steak pinwheels, stuffed with spinach, bacon and Parmesan cheese. It sure looked good in the store and we'll be cooking them tonight. We'll let you know if they were any good.

Cynthia took the dog "CJ" over to the dog park today. It's inside the RV Park we are in just on the far side of it. On the way over CJ tries to pee in every yard but Cynthia wouldn't let him. At one point, he stops and poops at the edge of the road. Cynthia picked it up and on they went. As they continued towards the dog park, CJ kept trying to get into the grass along side the road. Cynthia wouldn't let him thinking he just wanted to hike everywhere. When they passed in front of the Recreation Hall, CJ just stops and squats... he pooped in the middle of the road. I'm not sure what he ate but ol' CJ had a little upset stomach so Cynthia was unable to pick it up. I would have loved to have been there to see what she did. CJ just had that "who me?" look on his face.

And lastly, we added lots of new pictures to the gallery under Mission.
Cynthia dragged me... err, I mean Cynthia and I went to see the Hidalgo Festival of Lights. It was a tour around the town to see the Christmas lights. Quite a few of them were simply advertisements and only a few of the others were actually done well. We rode a little train on the tour and it took about 20 minutes or so to complete the route. Traffic was intense with all the people there to see the lights. Here's a couple of pictures, there are more in the picture gallery.

Jerry n' Cynthia at the Festival of Lights

The nativity scene.

In case you didn't notice, the pictures posted today were taken with our new Panasonic ZS7 digital camera! It seems that "Santa" knew what we needed and sent it to us a little early. Thank you "Santa"! The camera is great but the documentation that came with it was a little lacking. I need to look online to learn how to really utilize the camera to its full potential. We're looking forward to learning the camera and taking thousands of pictures to share with you!

Oh yeah, one thing you may notice in some upcoming pictures is a little facial hair. Cynthia asked me to let it grow because she thinks it looks good. It sure does itch but I'll do it for her... unless it gets to a point where it aggravates me too much.
We visited the famous Don-Wes flea market in Donna, Texas yesterday. It was basically your typical flea market but it did have a lot of vendors that cater to the RV market. A lot of campers here in the park have awning shades and we have been talking about it so we looked into it. Our awning is 18' wide and of course they didn't have one our size. The good thing is they made one for us to our specifications in under an hour! Total price was $80 and that included the shade and 10 stakes to hold it down. We use special bungy cords to attach it to the stakes and the top part just slides into the awning channel. It gives us shade, privacy and we can keep the awning out even in high winds. Here's a shot of it from outside and in.

The new awning shade.

The new awning shade.

Saturday I (Cynthia) went on a "girls day out". We started off with lunch at a "girlie" kind of restaurant. You know, the kind your hubby will never take you too. They had a boutique next door that was fabulous. We then hit the local thrift stores. We went to a place called "Thrift City". I got the find of the day when I purchased an Alabama football jersey for $2. Roll Tide! We will be having a slumber party later in the week that looks to be another fun girl event!

Girl's Day Out

This is Jerry now... Today is my dad's birthday... Happy Birthday Dad! I love you!!
So today Cynthia was going to wash dishes and she grabbed the handle to turn on the hot water, and it broke! So here we are with the hot water running and no quick way to turn it off. Dang, I hate those plastic faucets they put in campers! So I ran out to the truck and grabbed my trusty Sears adjustable pliers and turned off the water. We pondered looking for new handles but decided it would be best to just replace the faucet (even though the camper is still under warranty).

We hopped in the truck and headed down to the Home Depot. Holy cow, kitchen faucets are expensive! No wonder they put plastic ones in at the factory. After an hour gazing at the massive wall of faucets, we decided on a Moen unit with a sprayer attachment. We didn't have a sprayer before. So we bring it home and Jerry installs it, drilling a new hole for the sprayer. It was very easy to connect and it is a "ginormous" improvement over the old one. Here's a shot of it installed. We put the water filter on there, we use that when we want a glass of water.

New Moen kitchen faucet.

So, were you all good and get what you wanted for Christmas? We sure hope so! Our gift to ourselves this year was "CJ", the dog (as well as a cage, toys, food, etc). We're not too much on giving gifts to ourselves or the kids anymore but we still send the grand kids a little something. We try to ask anyone who wants to give us gifts to instead donate that amount to the ministry or perhaps a needy family, that way everyone ends up happy.

Cynthia took down out little tree and stowed it away for next Christmas. I didn't decorate anything so I didn't have anything to take down. CJ still has treats laying around but he says they'll be gone very, very soon. Next, we have New Year's Day as the next holiday. We always turn the phone off before going to bed because our crazy kids will call us at midnight! We've been asleep a good 3 hours by that time - LOL.

We're still sorting through all the pictures we took over the Christmas holiday and we'll get them online as quick as we can. We'll post here when we have it done... shouldn't be but another day or so.
We had a water leak! While quietly sitting in the bathroom (use your imagination there), I heard a little "drip, drip, drip" coming from behind the toilet inside the cabinet. I opened the little 5" round access panel and peered inside... and it was wet all across the floor in there. It looks like it had been leaking for about 3 days based on the amount of water I saw. I shut off the water outside and headed to Home Depot to get what we needed to fix it. There were 2 lines in there that had 90° elbows in them and they both were leaking. I bought new stainless steel lines to replace the cheap plastic lines.

While at Home Depot, we noticed whole house water filters, or in our case, whole camper water filters. We currently use the blue tube filter from Walmart and wanted something that does a better job. Since this leak was right where the water line comes into the camper, we figured this would be a good time and place to add one. After spending about $80 dollars on the filter, new stainless steel water lines and the various fittings, we now have a whole camper water filter that filters out everything, including the chlorine taste. Here's a shot of the new filter mounted inside the cabinet.

Whole Camper Water Filter

Whole Camper Water Filter

We finally got the pictures online. We added a ton from our mission trips into Mexico, for a total of 304 pictures as of today. You'll find them in the picture gallery in the "Texas" section. We also added some Christmas pictures to the "Mission" section for a total of 76 pictures as of today. We'll be attending the New Year's Eve party here at the park so we'll take some pictures of that, too. I'm not sure I can stay awake until midnight, I'm getting too old for that - LOL. We'll see...
This morning Cynthia wakes me up at a little after 6:00 AM to inform me of a squeak in the kitchen floor in front of the sink. She thinks we may have a leak! She shows me where the squeak is by placing her foot and adding her weight to that leg. Sure enough, I hear the squeak. I tell her I will check on it today when suddenly she says "It's squeaking over here, too!". As I sleepily walk towards the bedroom she tells me "nevermind" about the squeaks. It was just her shoe.
Today is our wedding anniversary! We've been together for 4 years now but it seems like two. I told Cynthia before she married me that I was set in my ways, I was ornery and cantankerous and I led a boring life. Since she's been with me she has ridden scooters to all 67 counties in Alabama, sold everything we own and moved into a travel trailer and have been through 11 states and traveled over 6,000 miles. Pretty boring, huh? :)

We went out to eat tonight at Diaz Diner in Mission. We heard it was good and it was packed with other winter Texans. It was OK, nothing to brag about and the service was slow as molasses. Cynthia had hamburger steak smothered with onions and gravy. I had a plate with tacos, enchiladas with beans and rice. We probably won't go back since it wasn't spectacular and we're not too big on eating out anyway.
The finalized 2010 expense summary is now available in the RVer's Library, a link to the Library is in the menu bar. In the coming year we'll have even more product reviews, many more pictures and videos, more mod pictures and more of everything else we can think of. We hope that you'll share our site URL with your friends and on your favorite blogs and forums.

This is it... the end of 2010 and the first fantastic year of our full-timing! We're eagerly looking forward to 2011 and more adventures on the road. We'd like to thank each and every one of you who reads our blog and supports us by supporting the advertisers we have. We really enjoy sharing all the info on the site with you and are so glad that it benefits so many of you. We appreciate every comment and every email we receive and we especially enjoy the visits in the campgrounds. May God bless you and may you all have a very prosperous 2011!

RV Blog Archives

2017   JAN, FEB, MAR         Please visit
2014   We did our massive 22 state and 15 national park road trip.
2013   We dealt with Jerry's wreck and thyroid cancer treatment.
2012   JAN, FEB, MAR, APR         We stopped full-timing in April 2012.
2008   The Beginning

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