Winter is Over - The DeWalds Head North
Being a “Winter Texan” in the Rio Grand Valley has become an annual migration for tens of thousands of retirees. They head to the more moderate climate of South Texas to escape the harsher winter weather of the northern United States. During the Winter of 2017-2018, Annette and Mike (my sis and her hubby of 40 years now!) tried out this phenomena for the first time. They resided and worked at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park in Mission, TX for approximately four months, from early December until early April. From what we could gather they enjoyed their time there even though the weather was probably a little cooler and a little wetter than a typical Rio Grand Valley winter. Although by the time they left in early April they had already experienced several days in the 90’s, with the promise of many more to come.
As we had learned in early December when they were heading south towards Mission, Port Lavaca is a good one day’s drive from Mission. Thus making a visit with us the perfect stopping point as they began their northern migration, with their ultimate destination being a familiar location, Bar Harbor, ME. After being stationary for four months in Mission, they anticipated needing to get back in the swing of being more mobile so they made reservations for two nights at our current home park, Texas Lakeside RV Resort.
Right on schedule, the DeWald caravan rolled into Port Lavaca in the early afternoon of Wednesday, April 4th. I can call them a caravan because, similar to us, they travel, and live, in a 40+ foot fifth wheel. Their Big Tow’er is a Chevy one-ton dually, while Annette follows in their Toyota Prius, acting as their chase car / support vehicle, much like Betsy does in our Honda Pilot. The lengthy pull-thru sites at Texas Lakeside RV Resort can accommodate set ups this size fairly easily. (Just don’t cut the corner and drive on the grass, Mike!) They got things set up without much effort, even though they were a little out of practice. Since we know that travel days can be a little taxing, Betsy and I had told them we would prepare dinner for them. On the menu, a Low Country Shrimp Boil, complete with Argentinian Red Shrimp, red potatoes, corn, and sausage, all boiled in a seasoned mix. It turned out to be quite the feast, so we moved dinner to the spacious tables in our Clubhouse at Texas Lakeside. Our site is conveniently located about thirty steps from the clubhouse so it worked out well. After stuffing ourselves at dinner and cleaning up, we ended up back in Casa de Dewald for a spirited card game of Rummy. Betsy was the winner, but we all had a good time.
We didn’t really have any big plans for Thursday, and that ended up being a good thing since the weather was not the best. It was a little cool, overcast, and some occasional rain showers. In the morning, Mike and I took a look at his RV, as they have been having a problem with some odor coming from their ice maker in their freezer After some poking around, and sharing of theories, we decided he would benefit from putting a shut-off valve in the water line going to his washer/dryer hookups. Since they don’t have a washer/dryer in their unit, the water line sits stagnant and may be causing some bad water to back flow into his ice maker line. See, living in an RV isn’t all fun and games! Sometimes we even have to think! After that engineering exercise, we ended up driving them around to show them a little more of the area. Since their stop in December was only an overnight, they hadn’t really had a chance to look around. We left the campground and headed for Magnolia Beach. They enjoyed seeing a different type of camping, “boondocking” (a.k.a. free camping sans hookups) on the beach, which isn’t for everyone, but you definitely can’t beat the views. There is something intriguing about being able to park your rig a couple of feet from the water and falling asleep to the sound of the bay lapping at the sand.
From Magnolia Beach we decided to head towards Palacios, TX, where our park owners, Doug and Dana, own another campground, Serendipity Bay RV Resort. Ironically, this is actually where Betsy and I originally applied to work, but the owners had a need at Texas Lakeside, so ended up here. Serendipity Bay is an older campground that Doug and Dana purchased, as opposed to Texas Lakeside, which they built from scratch. Serendipity Bay is quite scenic as it is located directly on Tres Palacios Bay, which is a part of the larger Matagorda Bay. In addition to being waterfront, there is a marina co-located with the campground, and right next door is a large fleet of shrimp boats. So for water lovers, the location is hard to beat. The owners are in the process of upgrading the facilities at Serendipity Bay, already installing a new pool and hot tub, refreshing the buildings and some infrastructure updates. More updates are planned, but it already looks a nice place to stay. Mike really liked the location and they enjoyed looking around another campground, much like Betsy and I do. At this point it was mid-afternoon and we couldn’t think of anything else to do, so we headed for the Dairy Queen in Palacios. This was something all four of us had no problem agreeing to!
Dinner that evening was a shared effort of tacos and chips at the Dewald house (RV!). The evening was a little like school since I shared with Annette and Mike the budgeting spreadsheet Betsy and I use to track our income and expenses. All of that time spent living in the world of Verizon spreadsheets may have done me some good! Our monthly numbers certainly don’t have the same number of zeroes as Verizon, but the logic is still the same. After a quick lesson, I promised Annette and Mike I would customize the sheets to their needs and send it off to them. With school over, everyone was ready for sleep, since tomorrow was a travel day for them and Betsy and I would be heading back to work.
Friday morning, Betsy and I headed off to work at 9:00 AM, and shortly thereafter Annette and Mike were packed up, hitched up and ready to hit the road. Their travel plans heading north were going to include stops in New Orleans, Tampa, Raleigh, Richmond and Pennsylvania, all before heading onto Bar Harbor, ME for the summer. This lifestyle certainly affords them the opportunity to visit with family and sightsee some new places. We definitely share in these same benefits, as many of our long-time readers have learned. We don’t know when next our paths will cross with Annette and Mike again, but we wish them safe and happy travels!