Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Heading Back Home With Extra Baggage :)

Before the Cinderella Dog Parade, on the day we picked up Brett' sister, Debra, we had some time to go and enjoy the McAllen area and decided to dine in a 'real' Mexican restaurant.

Deb and Brett had a regular margarita.

I ordered the mango margarita which had some kind of a cinnamon stick in it that I didn't know what to do with.

The food was very good and lived up to their Mexican theme.

We decided to take Debra on a boat ride down the Rio Grande so she could see the Mexican border via water. Our good friends, Roger and Diane Norris, joined us on the trip.  The Captain decided to drive us all down to the dock area for the trip.  It was supposed to start at 1:00.  Close to that time he called the office at Bentsen Palm Village to see if the trip had been cancelled since no one else was at the boat site.  Turns out we were supposed to meet at the office and go there together as a group. When the others showed up the Captain walked up and met them and explained it was his fault and that he didn't know that was where we were supposed to meet.

The driver of the boat was okay but his wife was in a snit and jumped all over the Captain which our friend Roger heard.  Then they came down to where the pontoon boat was and the wife made us all get out of the boat and line up.  She proceeded to tell us what we had done wrong and then jumped on Roger and Diane because they hadn't signed their release form either.  Since they had both taken this boat trip many times before Roger tried to explain that the rules had been different in the past. The lady just wouldn't let it go so finally Roger got ticked, and being a retired high school principal, asked her what her name was. After a few moments of bad to worse everyone calmed down and we went on the ride.  I have to tell you afterwards the five of us went out for margaritas and that was the main topic of conversation and an awful lot of laughs.  What can I say, the Captain strikes again!

Brett's sister Debra and our good friends, Roger and Diane Norris.

There were lots of birds to see including this osprey.

While the American side of the river is mainly made up of farmland and wildlife preserves, the Mexican side is much more diverse.

There are many Mexican homes/resorts built on the river. 

I thought the roof on this home was very strange.  Looks like thatch that moss has grown over.

There are also businesses including this Mexican restaurant.

And both countries offer river boat cruises on the Rio Grande.  There are also party boats on the river especially on the weekends in the warm weather.  

You can also see cattle grazing near the water on both sides.

Along with fancy homes there were also family parks on the Mexican side of the river.
While on the boat ride we noticed this man up in a tree on the Mexican side.  Not sure if he was a bandito watching the river patrols or part of the Mexican Border Patrol.  
On the American side of the river there is this one RV park called Chimney Rock that has been in this area for a very long time.  They have a boat ramp into the water and sometimes our Border Patrol will be chasing Mexicans in the U.S. and this boat ramp is the means of escape for the illegals to get back into Mexico by driving their vehicle into the water and swimming to the other shore.  
Above the boat ramp to the right is a mechanical tower that is usually manned by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Of course, we had to take Debra to Progreso, Mexico, so she could get the real flavor of the area.

Crossing the bridge to Progreso with the Rio Grande in the background.

The Captain getting into the mood.  This was before ordering our first margarita.

Getting our first margarita at the Red Pantie Bar.  Debra was still uncertain about the whole area.

We checked out more of the shops and saw this advertisement on a counter of one of the street bars.  They were asking for  $1 to take a photo of it.  I missed that part and just snapped my picture.  Deb told me I was supposed to put a dollar in the box to shoot the picture.  Oh well, this was after my first margarita so no harm no foul :)

After cruising the stores on both sides of the street and making a few purchases we decided to have lunch.  Debra and I had both bought some new jewelry.

Debra and me showing off our new skank ankle and arm bracelets.  She wasn't as worried about the area by this point.

A view of Progreso from the top floor of the restaurant.

And we even had music with our lunch.  Everyone had a very good time.

Debra had to fly back to Charlotte the next day but had a great time in the area and enjoyed the pet parade and all the people.  She is planning on coming back again next year to do it all over again.

Earlier in the month we had a new neighbor in the RV park that was only there for a few days.  Her name was Deloris and she is a retired school teacher from Wisconsin who is traveling with her daughter around the country.  As we talked to her she told us she was going to be celebrating her 99th birthday in a few days and we couldn't let that pass.

Deloris with her birthday cake.  This sweet lady still lives in her own home and is an avid gardener.  She still grows her plants from seed and takes great pride in how well her flowers do.  She told us wonderful memories about her younger years and travels and what she did in her life.  

The three of us before we cut the cake while Deloris' daughter took the pictures.  We should all look that good at 99.  

Next to the dog park at Bentsen Palm Village is a ranch where they raise Brahman cattle.  They had a crop of babies and the little ones were fascinated with the dogs so they kept coming over to the fence to check things out. 

Is that a face?

They also liked it when we fed them grass through the fence.

Finally, after six weeks it was time to head out.  We left Mission for San Antonio and some maintenance work on the rig.  Several days before we left we noticed that our front awning on the rig was drooping and realized it was no longer attached at the top of the rig.  After years of use and sun damage the material became brittle and gave way.  So that went to the top of our list as a needed repair when we got to Iron Horse in San Antonio.

But before we left the Captain and I decided we could manage bringing a few Cinderella pups along with us to get them back to South Carolina and into the Dog4U program that drives them up to Massachusetts and no-kill shelters.  Massachusetts has a shortage of adoptable dogs because the state has very strict spay/neuter laws.  Something that is desperately needed in the South.

Meet Snickerdoodle and Macaroon who are two puppies from a group of five named the 'cookie clan' that was rescued several months ago.  The people who owned the mother moved and abandoned her in the yard.  We don't know if the puppies had been born at that time.  There were seven pups in the litter but two were able to get out and were killed by cars.  The mother also disappeared and they assume she died. A neighbor occasionally threw food over the fence to the pups but they were malnourished, flea ridden and had worms.  Another person rescued them and took them to Cinderella Pet Rescue.

Snickerdoodle is more lab/shepard mix and has a quiet laid back attitude.  He will bark and growl if he hears or sees something new but is usually otherwise quiet and content.  The first few days in the rig he had a wonderful time barking and growling ferociously at another dog which happened to be his reflection in a floor-length mirror.

Macaroon is a more curious pup.  He plays hard all the time and is extremely observant.  His left ear stands up and a small part of it is missing.  That was the way he was found so no one knows what happened.  He seems to have a little terrier personality in him.  Mac will chase a ball and often return it to you.  He is a little more needy than Snicker and wants more attention so he will climb in your lap if you sit down.  He does not like to be crated so will cry when first put in but settles down quickly.  Since they have been home they are only crated at night. 

Bringing them home was something else.  They had never been in a rig and they were scared.  We had to crate them most of the time but at each stop we took them to dog parks to run and play.  Both pups are very social animals and extremely smart.  They want to please and are oh so sorry when they get into things that all puppies do.

Waiting for us to pick them up at the pet rescue.

A ride in the SUV back to the RV park.

Looking for direction on what we want them to do.

Trying to climb up into the rig with Lucy guarding the doorway.

Macaroon afraid of steps.

Checking out the new place.

About an hour north of Mission there is a Border Patrol checkpoint and all traffic must stop.

The men and dogs spend all day checking vehicles. As you drive through there are other sensors used to inspect the vehicles as they move forward.

While we were driving and at night the pups stayed in the crate.  

When we stopped they came out of the crate and were able to exercise at a local dog park we found at each stop.  And when they got tired they slept very well.

Snicker took to the furniture right away.

Feeding the dogs was a challenge since we had to keep the little pups away from the big ones. This is Macaroon's lazy way to eat.

The crate was tight for the two of them but when we tried to separate them Macaroon cried pitifully.

We spent three days in San Antonio for the rig and the pups got more confident each day checking out everything.  We won't even talk about the spilled water bowls, stuffing pulled out of a chair, rug corners threaded, and so on.

They could never get enough loving.

A happy boy.

We left San Antonio heading home and went through the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana.  I consider the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge over the swamp to be a man-made marvel.  Actually it is two parallel bridges stretching for 18.2 miles and is the third longest bridge in the United States and the fourteenth longest in the world by total length.

Due to accidents and the remote area, trucks are only allowed in the right lane and the speed limit is 55 mph. 

The swamp below the bridge.

About halfway across there is an island with a rest area.  Seems strange to have it there but it is a good place to stop.

Leaving Louisiana heading across the Mississippi River.  

The mighty Mississippi.  I remember a few years back when there was a major drought and barges couldn't go up the Mississippi because the water was so low.  Not today.

A fire in the distance that made driving on I-10 more difficult as you drove towards it.  Saw the flames in the distance but never found out what was on fire.

After a brief stop in North Carolina to see a foot doctor for Brett we drove home to South Carolina. The trip back lasted nine days and the pups were exceptionally good but also glad to get it over with.  So were we.

We have part of our backyard fenced which is a good place for the pups to play.  If you look at the fencing you'll notice some added rock along the bottom.  We had to use old rock edging to block any areas where they could try and climb under.  And believe me, it only took a few hours before they realized they could.

They love to play and chew things and dig holes if they can.  Typical pups.

Even Desi will play with them.

These sweet pups are almost five months old now.  Their trip to Massachusetts will be on March 17th, the final leg of their journey.  They are good puppies that will make any family happy as they find their new forever home.

Texas is a great place to visit in the winter months.  The temperatures in Mission were warm, some days almost too warm in the upper 90's.  But most days were very nice and there are so many fun things to do in the area.  One thing about Texas and the Rio Grande Valley is that many services are much cheaper than other parts of the U.S.  Dental work is huge near the border and in Progreso and many northerners and Canadians come down to get their teeth fixed.  Drugs are very cheap in Progreso and you can buy most anything.  But my favorite was a sign we saw not too far from the Mexican border.  

Something for everyone including the ladies!!!

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