Our stay here at Bentsen Palms Village has been a nice one. We were able to meet up with old friends and make many new ones. With the warmer weather the flowers of spring are in full bloom. There are a few Aloe farms here in the valley and if you have never seen it bloom, it has a beautiful tall yellow bloom. (Last Picture)
Even though many of the folks have left the Park for the season there are still a lot of activities we can take part in here in the park. We had a great St Pats Day pot luck dinner. We even had a leprechaun treat us to a sip of fine Irish Whisky. We have been playing bingo and going out to dinner with our new Canadian friends Tim and Sandy. With less people playing we have won a lot more. Josie and I both won dime games for a whopping total of three dollars. We will miss the "Produce Man" who comes by every Tuesday afternoon. He always has fresh produce and his fresh pineapples that he cores right on site taste great.
We drove up the valley one afternoon and took the last hand pulled ferry on the Rio Grande River over to Diaz Ordaz, Mexico. It took only five men to pull the ferry with three cars and a few pedestrians like us across the river.
With the change of the season the birding will be picking up soon. I go over to the Bentsen State Park Hawk Watch a few days a week and help with the count. Most of the local resident birds are in breading plumage. There is an Elf Owl nest in one of the power poles in the park and it has been fun going over a few nights a week to watch the female peek out of her nest and then take off for a night of hunting.
Tomorrow we drive north to Bastrop State Park, Texas.
A lot of you have asked it we are safe living here on the border? We live only a mile from the Rio Grande River and the border with Mexico. Reynosa in the State of Tamaulipas is just across the river from us and is now considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, due to two major drug cartels battling it out for control of the smuggling business. Not only do they smuggle drugs but also deal in human cargo, leading many people of other nationalities (over 64 different ones according to the BP) over the border in return for money.
Yet we feel very safe living here. We would not cross the border anywhere but into the town of Nuevo Progreso about 40 miles downriver from us. It is very safe with a large military presence. The locals make it safe by keeping out the bad guys as much as they can. They want to protect their lucrative tourist trade with Winter Texans, who come over to fill prescriptions and get inexpensive dental, optical and plastic surgery work done. Could some of these businesses be a part of the drug cartel? Quite possibly.
We see the Border Patrol many times every day driving the levee just across the road from the RV Park. We also see or hear their helicopters at all hours, almost every day, patrolling the area. A few times they have been hovering just over the levee from us. Since the area between us and the border is all part of the State Park and National Wild Life Refuge it is highly wooded and a favorite place to cross the river. One day while birding I saw them walking a young man out of the brush and they were taking packages out of this backpack and putting them into evidence bags. It is not uncommon to see dark colored clothes that have been discarded once someone has crossed the border. The levee was built many years ago to protect the valley when the Rio Grande floods. The levee is not exactly on the border and in many places is over a mile away like it is across from our RV Park. The levee is where the border wall is slated to be built and in many places the wall has been there for years. I bird areas along the wall and levee where the Border Patrol allows it. I was asked once to leave the area as there was suspicious activity up ahead.
The Border patrol also has boats on the river, radar blimps in the sky and many other portable detection sites along the border. We hear on the local news all the time about another big drug or human cargo bust. Just two weeks ago they found over 130 Central and South Americans, some of them children by themselves, in a semi-truck in the line to cross through American customs.
The Border Patrol asks us to keep their number in our phones and call them if we see anything suspicious. We have never had to call them. We are glad to have the Border patrol as our neighbors.
Our friends, Wick and Shannon Townsend, ask us if we would like to come to Virginia to house and dog sit their fourteen year old dog Mocha. We could not pass up this opportunity so we buttoned up the RV and flew back to the Beach for a 10 day visit. Mocha is a sweetheart of a dog and she is a pleasure to take care of.
We tried to see everyone we could during this brief stay. I was able to attend an ODU basketball game with Aaron, Bob and Leon and Laura Hoots. I even took the train to DC one day to see Missy.I was able to get in a round of golf with Leon, Mike and Hutch. Josie's sister Mary Ellen and her husband Rich drove down from Delaware and we spent two days eating out and playing board games. We visited with the Bob and Kathy Loomis and caught up with their grandchildren and we had dinner with them a few times also. We had an outstanding dinner with the Haddad family and got by to see the Nopper family one evening before having another fantastic dinner at the Hoots.
The ten days flew by we were so busy. It was great seeing our Virginia friends.
We will be flying to Virginia Beach tomorrow morning for a 10 day stay. When we return to Texas many of our friends will have left and be on their way home. We will miss our dinners out with Jim and Darleen, we will miss the "Pad Parties" over at Terry and Barb's, we will miss Jim's gourmet desserts and his firearm instructions. All of my golfing buddies, Tim, Ken and Eddie will also have left.
A few weeks ago we won $120 dollars in the 50/50 raffle at the Wednesday Social Hour. We have enjoyed the final two shows in the Club House. The local Mariachi band was very good. I have been able to attend a couple of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley baseball games and of course play a few rounds of golf. The Los Lagos Golf Course is right next to the Soccer Stadium and it looks like you are playing stadium golf on the 10th hole.
Upon our return from Virginia we will be staying in the Valley till the end of March.