From Outdoor Resorts at Port Isabel, Texas
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, Bandera, Texas, page 412 (CCC). Unlike the Yogi Bear in New Hampshire, this one is friendly and will try to accommodate you, even though they are busy. It is well known in the Coast to Coast system, because they sell memberships CHEAP. Because of this, the park is quite controversial among other CCC parks. Coast to Coast guests are parked in a separate area below the main part of the park. The only difference being no pullthroughs there. All of the sites are narrow and the hook-ups can be distant. We had to add a spare sewer hose in order to reach the outlet. You will enjoy the cowboy town and the lovely hill country. In addition, the park has excellent recreational facilities and activities for seniors. They probably only do the Yogi bit in the summer when the kids are there. Because of the great location and good restaurants nearby, you may want to try this one. We liked it.
Outdoor Resorts, Port Isabel, Texas. I will report on some
of the basics of this beautiful resort---for more see page 5. The park
is on the intercostal in view of the bridge that goes out to the south
end of South Padre Island. That is where most of the stores, restaurants
and accommodations are. The sites are wide with outstanding hook-ups and
pads. We only used our jacks to stabilize the motor home as our site is
perfectly level. Our monthly cost including electricity is $290 (we treat
ourselves once in awhile). A lot of the sites are rented directly by lot
owners and they are listed on the bulletin board in the club house. The
gate guard will give you a pass to go in and
In the Coffee Break column last month, Barb mentioned that we were going
to get a transmission cooler. I'm surprised that no one wrote to say that
we already had one. That's right, the new Ford chassis is factory equipped
with a transmission cooler in front of the radiator. I told you that I
Some of our readers are a little late in their correspondence. Full-timer Bob Nillis wrote to say that my comment last January about the lack of good restaurants in Livingston, Texas was in error. He pointed out that there are 3 or 4 good seafood and Cajun restaurants and a couple of good Mom and Pop places for breakfast and lunch. I'm glad that he set the record straight.
South Padre Island is a fisherman's delight. We are hearing about daily catches of 40 to 50 whitings (a silvery white fish). Many are surf fishing from shore. They just drive their vehicles out on the beach, wade out a few feet, and they are in business. I may try it.
There are shrimp boats in the harbor and shrimp is relatively inexpensive here. We like to buy them fresh at B & A Seafood Market and clean them ourselves. After marinating them in terriaki sauce for an hour or so, I grill them outside for several minutes. What a treat.
One of my weekly jobs is to wash the car. It doesn't get dirty, but the salt air leaves a salty mist on the car.
Even though the Mexican town of Metamores is only 30 miles away, we
(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)
La Jaiba, South Padre Island, Texas. Except for one item (chicken fried steak), listed in very small print at the bottom of the menu, the menu is totally seafood. Shrimp seemed to be their speciality so we both ordered it. The large serving was very tasty and the prices were quite reasonable. But they lose points for not having a non smoking section, for serving the salad on the same plate as the dinner (you must ask ahead of time to get it served separately and before dinner), and poor service.
Great Wall Chinese Restaurant, South Padre Island, Texas. An article in the local paper caught our attention. The new owner has had other successful restaurants and learned the art of soup making from the Emperor of China's chef. Specializing in Mandarin, Hunan & Szechuan Cuisine there are 148 items on the menu plus combination plates, and 25 diet food offerings ("specially cooked with no fat"). They have a wonderful variety of soups: Egg Flower, Hot & Sour, Wonton, Pickled Vegetable, Sea Weed, Chicken Corn, Three Flavor, Sea Food, Sizzling Rice, and War Wonton. We had Hot & Sour and it was the best we've ever had. Our dinner was excellent too ---very tasty and spicy when it was supposed to be. The service was superb also.
Atrium Room, Outdoor Resorts, Port Isabel, Texas. This place
puts out great food at super low prices. Their Mexican Buffet on Tuesday
is one you won't want to miss---only $4.99 for all you can eat and it includes
by Carol Stewart
Most of the summer from June 12 to August 30 was spent making a great circle from Ohio to New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and into Nova Scotia.We were there for about three weeks, went to Newfoundland and Labrador for 13 days and then back to Nova Scotia to go to Prince Edward Island. Now all this time we had only three days of sunshine. Mostly it was rain, fog and wind. But the warmth of the people made up for "Newfie sunshine" as we called the weather. On to New Brunswick, more rain and then the long trek around Gaspi Peninsula. It was great, with great flowers, omni-French gourmet food, pastries, and seascapes that would make one think that winter never visits there. On to Quebec City, north to Lac St Jean for summer festivals, wine, cheese making and a true ghost town of 1930. Montreal was busy in it's high tourist and vacation time. Next [on to] to Niagara Falls. It was too early to return to the Vermont area, so we just kept on trucking to Sault St Marie, Traverse city---don't forget Mackinaw Island, then Holland. Near Detroit we contacted my brother who met us in Port Clinton for holidays on Kelly's Island and Put-In- Bay.
I'm in the laundry room---the only time I have to write---sometimes I even put more money in the machine of almost dry items so I can write just one more note.
It's fall now here in Boston; we're headed for the "leaves" to be leaf peepers or foliage freaks whichever the New Englanders wish to call us. Actually it's the dropping of the "green" as I see it---our money for their leaves.
I look at schools and wonder how the staff at my school is doing---I surely don't miss the stress.
I enjoy seeing all the places I've only read about, meeting all the folks who are living this crazy way of life.
I can't do both, teach and do this, so I choose this. We stay only two or three days at the most any one place; I would like to stay more, but Dick's on a roll---and Lord love him, he deserves it. So here we go!
From here to New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, on to DC then Myrtle Beach for a rally. It's a real roller coaster!
I've learned to:
that a clean motor home inside and out is important to our mental health, and we must take mornings or afternoons to create that health.
the motor home, car, whatever, does have a problem. We had a bad smell---propane? head? gray water outlets? Finally Dick smelled the smell; it was a foul battery releasing sulphur by bits and whiffs--- then we smelled like the whole sewer of Detroit. But Dick found the battery, and the smell has gone away---Whew
This vehicle suits us fine. The Jeep's personality is great and it usually brings kids and fathers for Dick to talk to. But towing any car really beats on it, and we're seeing wear and tear on an exotic rarity being greater than we would like. It is a tough little vehicle (not a car), so will see if it can last a while---If not, perhaps a Ford Explorer or Cherokee will follow us. Since the Jeep is green and white, we are a sight on the highway and, let's face it---anything for entertainment.
This whole venture could have been done more easily in a 22 foot mini---less
money, more maneuverability, just less stuff. Do we need the stuff?
Right now I still feel a need for books, tapes of music, cold weather clothes
(I have only 1 dress, so that's bare bones), cooking tools, books, games,
hats, and purses. We haven't square danced, so we're sending that stuff
(except for one or two outfits) back home (son's house that is) to store.
Dick doesn't want to camp out so we could ship that out, too, but maybe
there's hope---we just might this spring. BUT we could have left it in
Wish I had brought a small portable tape player to use outside, a lap top computer and printer so I could say more without getting writer's cramp.
Wish we exercised more. Here I am sitting again and I've gained a lot of weight. Too many ice cream stops, too many quick sandwiches instead of salads. But the soul needs its food to---HO!
Would I trade, go back? Not on a bet. I love the road, my little kitchen,
the road ahead, the folks we meet, the beauty of nature, the technology
of this machine, a new grocery every week, the excitement of good prices
in a discount mall, and the words, "I've always wanted to come here, and
We had been moving every week or so since June. Don't get me wrong.
It's nice to see all there is to see, but as we neared Texas, I didn't
even want to do any more sightseeing for a while. Once or twice a year,
we have to set still and catch our breath. And that is exactly what we
are doing here at
Ron reading the morning paper
sailboats drifting peacefully, palm trees, tall white hotels creating a sparkling skyline, flowering bushes, quiet beaches dotted with fishermen, and most importantly wonderful friends who are in the mood to play. It is a recipe for fun and relaxation.
Outdoor Resorts of Port Isabel is not directly on the ocean. It is on Long Island which is only a few short blocks from the causeway linking the mainland to South Padre Island. Since South Padre Island is only one half mile wide at its widest point, the ocean is very near. And there is no congestion. It is only a few minutes drive (with only one stop light) between us and the ocean.
Ron biking on the beach
As soon as we got here, we were presented with the schedule of events and an apology that things weren't in full swing yet. Bridge was offered three times a week, Euchre twice a week, square dancing, potluck, dances, an outing to the dog races, crafts, golf skins and scrambles and so on. And as soon as you participate in any event, you meet people who invite you to do other things. For example, we met Judy and Stan at the Welcome Back Winter Texan Dinner Dance and they invited us to go with them to the Wednesday night crab races at the Radisson Hotel on the island. What fun!
Besides all the activities here, we are only 30 minutes from Metamoros (in Mexico) and Brownsville in Texas. More good shopping and the dog races are only 30 minutes northwest of here in Harlingen.
Fishing is the main sport here and fishing gear can be seen at most sites. Of course most even have their own boats docked right out their back door. But those that don't, have tubes mounted on the front of their trucks to hold the big fishing poles used to surf fish.
So what do we do all day? We get up at 6:45. I make coffee and when it is done, we drink a cup in bed while watching the first half hour of Good Morning America. Then we don our walking clothes (shorts and tee shirt) and walk a majority of the complex (4 miles = 1 hour). At 8:30 we are back home and we sit out side cooling off by drinking a big glass of ice water. Then it's time for a second cup of coffee. Ron walks the 50 feet to the bank of paper boxes to get the morning paper. Around 9:30 we eat breakfast, and finish reading the paper. Between showers, more of the paper, correspondence or whatever, the morning disapears and before we know it, it is noon and time for lunch.
After lunch we may go for a ride, go to the beach, get groceries, play golf, tennis or any number of things and before you know it it's dinner time. Don't forget the normal chores that must be done like laundry, car and motorhome washing, house cleaning, and so on. We didn't even get to all the things on our "to do" list like washing the screens, cleaning and oiling the bikes, and so on. At 7 p.m. the games begin (bridge, euchre or whatever). We're home by 10 p.m. and after the local news, it's bed time.
These people really know how to throw a party. The Welcome Back party included dinner and a live band for dancing. The price was only $7 per person and included hors d'oeuvres. As we entered the ballroom, we were showered with confetti and an interviewer, made sure he announced who we were and where we were from. The band was excellent and every one danced the night away.
All the meals are served here in the most effeicent manner. Long tables are set to serve 18, and each long table has it's own buffet serving table. Thanksgiving dinner was exceptional. Not only was the meal supuburb, It was like one BIG family. Pot lucks are handled very orderly too. The Artium provides the entre' while couples sign up for salad, vegetables or dessert. Again they are served on separate buffet tables.
Don Slattery is a golf nut from Chicago and a new full-timer who came here two weeks ago. When he retired, all of his friends wondered what he was going to do with his time. He did too, but doesn't any more. After two weeks here, he hasn't even had time to get out on the golf course. He said you wake up on Monday and suddenly it is Friday.
And the longer you are here, the more there is to keep you busy. We
would really like to stay longer. Most who come here stay for at least
three months. It is a Winter Haven for Winter Texans. We had no idea that
this was such a neat place. But we know we will have fun at The Meadows
This 'N That
I had promised that I would report on Waco in the next newsletter, but we didn't do any touring while there. Unlike vacationers, we never feel that we have to do/see everything in every area. There's always the next time.
We have to thank Ancira RV in Boerne, Texas, for again taking such good care of us. It was like old home week when we pulled in. We had more warranty work to be done and they did a super job. They are also handling our book so any of you in the San Antonio area can run out there and get one without having to pay shipping. And while you are out there do look at the Safari's. Nice motorhome. I want one someday.
On our way down to the Valley, we stopped in Kingville for a tour of the King Ranch. Mighty impressive! See how you do on the quiz. I intended to do a whole story on the ranch, but I ran out of room. Sometimes I wish I could write a few more pages, but then I'd have to put more postage on each newsletter and raise the price which I won't do. So I just have to keep frustrated.
Our friend Judy Richards had a hysterectomy few weeks ago and is recovering nicely. In fact we just heard from them that they are coming down to visit us at The Meadows in Mission, Texas, for Christmas. It will be great to have them to share the area and the holidays with.
Just got a nice letter from our friends, the Rydings, with news that she has made reservations for the four of us at a campground in Calgary, Canada next summer (July 7-14). She also made arrangements for us to hike to Skoki Lodge at Lake Louise (good hike) and reservations to stay at the lodge July 21 & 22. We will really have some wonderful adventures to report on next summer. We can hardly wait.
I sure would like to meet Robin and Victoria Jenkinsen [ a regular letter writer] someday soon. Just heard from Robin again and discovered that Victoria is a fantastic artist (he sent a post card sample of her work). She was just commissioned to do a painting of a cat by it's owner in Boston. Also discovered that their daughter lives in the US and that is how they got their green cards so speedily. But the house has not sold yet. Do any of you want a lovely manor house in France?
We have met the neatest people here. For example, Carl and Lois Sprague and their friends Bernie and Betty Pohlmann are from New Mexico and have been coming here for years. They say that when "the group" is all here, they number about 30 and they have the "best fun" together.
Carl Sprague has been coaching me on why the weather has been acting up and I think I understand. It's not El Nino, but the volcano that erupted in the Philippines a couple of years ago. He said, "We're gonna get a freeze like you've never seen before." He also said that the change in the weather will continue for another year or so. I hope he is wrong. By the way, Carl worked on the Manhattan project (atomic bomb). And in high school (in the east) was the cockswane on the rowing teams the year his school won 4 national championships.
We've become close friends with are Jim and Linda Butner, new full-timers from Missouri. They spend the summers in up state New York traveling from fair/festival/event selling their famous BBQ. They have a Jayco 5th wheel and in the summer pull their BBQ wagon, making a 65 foot long unit. WOW!
Another couple we struck up a friendship with are Wally and Lucy Marroy from Louisiana. They are also new full-timers and we met playing euchre. Funny how you just seem to click with certain people.
There's a great ad in the local papers. The heading is "Daddy, will you help me build a BIG sand castle?" It continues, "Go ahead, tell him that you haven't a clue on where to start. Then pick up the phone and call Sandy Feet at 761-6222 to set up an appointment for a private sand castle lesson." Very enterprising don't you think? For $25, you'll get an hour of "professional and personalized" instruction for your group of 10 or less, on the beach of your choice. Neat!
It has been so nice to go to bed at night with the windows wide open. I sure like this kind of weather. I dislike the kind of weather that makes us use either the air conditioning or furnace and close windows.
It is getting to look a lot like Christmas here. Everyone decorates. This Saturday we will watch the boat parade and get a treat for our eyes.
We have been in our Bounder one year exactly and it still seems new. It is so nice to have so much room and all the comforts that we have. I still wonder at how we ever lived 3 ½ years in the Mallard.
I am still waiting for your help to some of the other questions in last month's Coffee Break. Can any of you offer help on flea markets, what single women should RV in or about precautions to take in towing---to keep from slipping into gear?
We still haven't heard from Good Morning America, but did hear from the Oklahoman. They did a story on us that swamped Publication Services. And then the Kalamazoo Gazette and Grand Rapids Press picked up on the story that ran in the Flint Journal last summer (they are Gannett Papers). All that has nearly depleted our book supply so it's off to the printers again. There will be no revision, but a second printing of the revised edition.
This is a good time to remind you that we think our book will make a very nice Christmas gift to anyone---yes, even those who never intend to travel as we do. And if you call the 800 number (using your credit card), you'll have the book in just a few days.
Laura, at Publication Services, handles books for many authors, but she says that our customers are the nicest and a joy to work with.
She has been getting several orders from libraries so if you mentioned
our book to your local library, thanks and if you didn't maybe you could
put that on your list of things to do. The libraries really appreciate
having a book like ours and don't know about it unless we tell them. Since
we can't be everywhere, we need you. Thanks again.
Bumper Sticker seen in Outdoor Resorts
A sign out in front of the Henly, Texas, Fire Department
1. How large is the King Ranch at present time?
a)85,000 acres b)825,000 acres c)467,000 acres
2. There are approximately _________ miles of fencing on the ranch.
a) 750 b) 1,500 c) 2,000The running W is the King Ranch brand
3. The ranch is home to_________ head of Santa Gertrudis cattle.
4. There are _______ oil and gas wells on the ranch.
5. The King ranch is also famous for its registered quarter horses.
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