Tuesday, November 17, 2009

OCTOBER- Dec 2001

NEXT LEG

Fall what a wonderful time of the year! The glorious color of the trees is a wonderment as are the people at whose home we're parked at. Chuck lived in Hesperia area and moved away in the 50's. One of the places they lived was up on Grosbeck, north of 8mi, near where Heaven's & Scripps live now. His folks moved to Chicago and took Chuck & his 3 bros. with them. We laugh and cry at some of his & Marsha's escapades when they were both heavy drinkers.up until 20 years ago. Now they live in a beautiful home on what is called Eddy Creek. It is all part of an impoundment of which Kentucky & Barkley Lakes are part of. Some of the best fishing available in the US. is right at their front door. Once or twice a year Chuck puts on a fish fry at the Baptist Church of which they're members. People show up from all over for his tasty fish. This is the same man who when he was a child was raised on deer and wild game. Now there is a tear in his eye and heart whenever he sees or hears of a injured animal. With their bird houses, 2 dogs,2 cats there is never a dull moment. This year each evening they've been feeding some young foxes. Their eyes light up when they talk of the kits and their playful antics. They are down to one young fox kit now, as the males have left and started looking for their own territory.
All to soon it is time to leave Eddyville and head for Waynesville, NC. It's been several months since we've seen Shannon and the kids. Her last 2-1/2 years in high school with us in Hesperia as a foster daughter was learning experience for all involved. All through life she has had her ups & downs. Several years after she moved out she did contact us again. She now lives in Waynesville,NC. with her 2 children Adrienne & Jeremy. about 7 & 10 years old and smart as whips. When I was driving for Herin Bros. I was able to see them quite often when I went to Asheville for Gerber's.
After 4 days there we get word by e-mail that there is a job opening at S. Padre Island. We wanted to end up in S. Texas anyway and this is a good excuse to get there faster. I sent E-mail and we were contacted right away and then hired if we could be ready to go to work by Nov 1st.
It's a long way from Waynesville, NC. to S. Padre Island, Texas, the way we went was about 1400 miles. We even went through Shreveport, La. to see a man (Richard Leeth) with whom I'd done business while selling firearms. We met him and he gave us the tour. It was nice to finally meet face to face the man whose opinion I really admired. Shortly he will retire and he wants to spend his time on the Red River there in La. doing some fishing and duck hunting. We wish him the best and thank him for taking some time out of his busy schedule for us.
After leaving Shreveport it is just a short jaunt into Texas, BUT, a long ways to Raymondville. We left NC. on Oct 23 and don't have to be to Padre until Nov 1 so that gives us plenty of time.
As we pull into Raymondville we stop and see Frank Torres who, we met several years ago. From there we go to Gateway RV Park and set up for a couple of days be fore we have to leave for S. Padre. The time flies by as I wash the Texas bugs off the trailer do some touchup and change the oil in the truck. We even spent 1 evening with Frank & Virginia out at their new ranch west of town. A beautiful set up with a game fence on three sides and a 50,000 acre refugee on the back side (they like to hunt). There's even a pond so Virginia can fish. Entrance is controlled by an electric gate and the water well is purified with a reverse osmosis system. All in all not to shabby of a place.
The weather leaves little to be desired in the mid 80's during the day, it cools down to the 60's at night. Lots of sunshine and of course the Texas wind. Without the breeze it would be unbearable.
10/30/01
At 4 AM we're leaving Raymondville, like thieves in the middle of the night I tell Sally, At 5 AM we pull up to the dock at Port Isabel to await the ferry. You see the only bridge was hit by a tugboat and barges and knocked a 160 ft section into the water, killing 8 people in autos as they were crossing. Economically it has devastated the little island and everybody is fighting for survival. The government has provided 3 ferry boats for cars & trucks and the boats that were used for "Dolphin Watches" are being used for passenger service and a complete shuttle service on the island. The one ferry that hauls truck and RV's can only load RV's at high tide. The RV's are to close to the ground for the angle of the loading and unloading. WE FOUND OUT THAT HIGH TIDE WAS ABOUT 12 NOON. Well we were early enough. What I like about pulling our trailer is that the bed and the kitchen are never far away. After a nice breakfast of French toast I take a nap. Don't want to get too tired you know! It was interesting to watch the deckhands as they put down and took up boards as we entered and exited the boat. It was a nice 20 minute ride and Sal said she saw 1 dolphin so she was happy.
THE RESORT
Destination South Padre RV Resort is not your typical RV Camp. It has 200 sites each one with cable TV, 2 Tel lines (1 for computer), 50 amp service water etc. & sewer. Olympic size pool and hot tub, which, are maintained by computer and satellite. Don't ask me how it just does., health spa, fishing pier and other amenities. The whole resort is to be kept spotless and fresh paint on everything that is painted. There is underground soakers for the flowering shrubs and etc. The man wants it run like Disney, SPOTLESS. Sally & I work 6 hours a day for 3 days a week for a lot that rents for up to $700.00 per month. free cable, Tel, laundry, propane and full use of the facilities & etc.
My ears are giving me fits and I `ve been taking my acupuncture treatments, each week. I realize and the Dr. confirms that being at sea level and all of the storms (low pressure area) around is not helping my ears. My attitude is owly, to say it best. I've got to get out of here!
The pressure inside my ears is almost unbearable. The ringing is so loud that everybody should be able to hear it. The headaches and nausea that go along with the dizziness. I can endure a little TV but I have it quite loud and the commercials come on and hurt my ears, they're even louder. Sally can't seem to fathom that when she says a one word command that is one word, I have no Idea what's she's talking about. I must concentrate 100% on her to get the gist of what she's saying. Then she starts talking louder and it hurts my ears. When the dog barks she doesn't know how close she's getting to the happy hunting grounds.
Judy & Lloyd call, they're working over near Cape Canaveral and say things are really dead. Disney, Universal Studios, Sea World are all laying off. The place where they're working is not to their liking. They're going to DelRio, TX. We met them while working at Empire this last summer and we were able to help them as they were able to help us when all hell broke loose up there. Needless to say we've been through quite a bit together. We wish them luck and asked them to keep their eyes & ears open as we've got to move to a higher elevation.
According to the map DelRio is at about a 1000 ft elevation and is still on the Texas, Mexican border, north of Laredo.
A few days later we get a call from Judy, she says there is an opening where their at. Sally talks to the woman and wants to know when we'll be able to be there. We explain that we're working and want to give our present employer notice of our intent.
I approach Shane and give him the scoop and he says we can leave at any time. NO WORKAMPER HAS EVER PUT HIM IN A BIND! A real pleasant man to say the least. We leave at high tide. Which is about midnight Nov 8. It was a pleasant ride across and then we drive on into the town of Rio Grand and sleep in a Wal-Mart lot for a few hours.
The next AM we follow US 83 west and then north through all of the little towns and up towards Laredo. We go past Los Ebanos where the men pull the ferry across the Rio Grand by pulling on a rope and then up towards Falcon Dam where the man in a skimpy bikini made his presence known last year. North through a valley where there are pecan groves, citrus groves and lots of melons and other cash crops. After that fertile little valley we're back into semi arid ROCK. The ground is so poor you couldn't raise hell with a bottle of whiskey and a wild woman. Prickly pear, Mesquite, creosote bushes are about all you see. Most of the cattle that we do see are quite healthy looking. Laredo as I've mentioned before is really growing and there is road building and construction all over the area. We take US 277 north and then 90 into DelRio and head west towards Holiday Travel Park about 7 miles west of town. It's late afternoon, about 5:30 PM and the office is closed. No problem we know we're supposed to be on lot #6 so we can go there.
We don't get to far when two women come running around the corner waving. At first I hoped I was going to be attacked but it is Judy and the owner Bonnie welcoming us. A lot different than S. Padre Island. It's not too long before were swamped with well wishers and helpers, good and bad. With in an hour we're all set up and ready to explore the park.
Sally is immediately taken with the social events. Me, I'm looking around to see what needs to be done. A LOT!. Next morning I meet the owner and he tells me just go out and find something to do, should be easy I think. I grab a weed eater and start trimming around the shrubs and continue on till about 3 PM. Next day I'm told by one of the workers I did his job and don't do it again. So I work with Jerry, manager, fixing water and sewer pipes. He laughs and says nobody'll get after your job for helping me. He was right.
Nice park but so much bickering amongst the workampers I think because of the owners getting drunk everyday. I tell Sally I'm ready to move. She says but we've made friends and etc. I say that's why I have a key and wheels, to move with. She comes back from town and tells me she stopped at Lonesome Dove RV Ranch and they need somebody to fix golf carts. She told them I could and set up an appointment to meet the owner, Rodney.
What a difference in parks, this one is about half the size and everybody is friendly and seems to be ok. I meet with Rodney and he shows me a golf cart and says it don't run. I give it a cursory inspection and see a loose wire, tighten it and it runs. Beginners luck! He calls me Mr. Magic a nickname that sticks with me even today as I write this, the last day of Feb. 2002.
Such a laid back place to work. We don't work if it's to cold, under 50 degrees is to cold here. He does try to get me to do some wood working but I tell him that's one of the stipulations. I don't work with wood. I can't even split wood right for the fire.. so he leaves me alone and I continue to work on golf carts. They're all electric except one and that has an Onan 2 cylinder with a 3 speed transmission. Hydraulic brakes and clutch that don't work. And a motor that has seen its best days about 20 years ago. He thinks it should run like new and I think he's lucky it runs at all. It's built like a little cushman truckster. Everything is special order.
People here are really nice and friendly, no back stabbing or bickering just a lot of good natured fun. Last night they had a tagalong dinner. That's where they set a time and everybody meets at a certain restaurant at such and such a time. Different but nice.
The area here is a semi arid type of land that is mostly rock. Vegetation is mesquite, prickly pear, creosote bush, prickly pear, rock and prickly pear. The ranches raise mostly goats and sheep. But they've cut way back on that since the government stopped the subsidy on the wool & mohair. There is an abundance of wildlife, though you can't see it until sundown. Whitetail deer by the hundreds but quite small by Michigan standards as they've nothing to eat to speak of, jackrabbits, cougar or mountain lion, mouflon sheep, bobcat, cottontail rabbits, quail (bob white and Gambil) some of which have like to long eyelashes above their eyes with a white ball on the end of it. A few roadrunners, doves and a lot of ducks on the Amistad Reservoir which also has a large population of bass, largemouth and striped and great tasting catfish. The mouflon sheep are a type of Corsican Ram that has escaped and proliferated the countryside. Their horns are like a bighorn with a lot of 3/4 & 7/8's curl. They are large powerful animals the biggest probably in the 175 pound class. A powerful, sleek looking animal that would be a trophy for a hunter and they're good eating. One evening while we were exploring the countryside up by Sonora we hit a little 4 point buck about 110 pounds also 117 miles from home and over $4,000.00 damage. After the deer accident I get a deer guard $400.00 plus 2 front tire and upper & lower ball joints for the truck $600.00
For Christmas we went to Joe and Lisa's down at Raymondville. Nice trip and we saw Frank and Virginia and was there when Frank's brother shot 2 Nigel. One dressed out at about 550 pounds and the other at over 700 pounds. You're going to have to look that animal up. It's big! Raymondville being at sea level plays havoc with my ears. It creates pressures and sound that you wouldn't believe. I know I was miserable to be with and we left after only a couple of wonderful days there.
The reason we were in Raymondvile for Christmas instead of Ft Myers, Fl. was because all of a sudden Sally couldn't breathe. Of course her 50 plus years of cigarettes didn't have anything to do with it. She did have a bronchial infection and was put on medication and a breathing machine which cleared it up considerably. She told me she quit smoking but down deep I knew better. I could and still can tell by her coughing when she's had a cigarette.
The first of Feb I tell Sal We've got to go to Fl. to see mom. What a miserable trip. Unbeknown to us Sally had a pinched nerve in her shoulder or arm. She was in pain and of course she passed it on unknowningly. She was in a miserable pain but there was nothing I could do. When we got to Ft Myers she and mother went to the chiropractor where the pinched nerve was discovered. It was going to take at least another week before she'd be able to travel so I left for Texas. Later she was to make a flight to Texas and Lisa met her at the airport and had made an appointment for mom at a doctor in Harlingen. Soon she'll be able to come back to Del Rio by auto.
One thing did happen in Florida we got a phone call from Terry Thomas of the dept of Fish & Game in Ririe, Idaho. It seems we,ve been accepted for jobs as host/caretakers at Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area. 23,000 acres of land set aside for the raising of moose, buffalo & elk. He wants us to start the 1st of May but I tell him of a granddaughter's wedding so we'll get there soon after. They will give us a food allowance a 14 x 65 ft dbl. bath, dbl. bedroom trailer.


Our Tex Creek Home


Our jobs will be mowing & trimming around headquarters, checking on the campers, maintaining generators, cattle trespass & etc.

Lawn Mower

There are NO phone lines and the only electricity is the generators. We'll leave our trailer in Michigan and take that little slidein pickup camper that we bought last fall. We will be only required to work Friday, Sat. & Sunday. The rest of the time is ours to do with whatever. That way we'll have it when we go to Yellowstone and Jackson hole & etc. I'm quite excited but Sally has her reservations about not having anybody to talk to. Oh well time will tell.
So much late American History here in Texas. TV that I watched in the 50's and 60's (westerns) and find out that much of what they said was true. Ft. Lewis at Brackettville was the early home of the Black Seminole Scouts (Buffalo Soldiers). They were honored soldiers and were responsible for the taming of the west part of Texas. The Whitehead Museum in Del Rio has quite a display even including some of the medal of honors that were earned and also the graves of a couple of the scouts.
Also buried there is Judge Roy Bean (Hanging Judge) and his son John. Also on display is some of the memoirs of the great radio station owned by Dr Binkley, that broadcast all over the US in the 40's and 50's with over 200,000 watts of power broadcasting true western music and interviewing the singing stars of that era.
Out at Brackettville is the movie set where John Wayne filmed the movie ALAMO. Many other movies and video have been made there. It is still in use today
Of course the Border Patrol is very active here with about 1600 employees. and quite a few of undocumented aliens (the correct way to say "wetbacks"). In fact a housewife shot one in her house one afternoon when she was taking a nap with her 2 yr old. When she woke up he had kicked in the back door and was standing in her kitchen. She shot and killed him, his 2 buddies ran for their lives. The Mexican Consulate said "Well he was just hungry".
Finally I get a appointment with a acupuncturist. About 10 minutes into the procedure I start feeling sick. She tells me not to worry. She's not having the attack and I almost tell her I don't like old bitches but I hold back. I decide then and there that I won't be back. When I get home I have the attacks almost continously for 2 days. A few days later I have another Minere's attack, I stagger into the trailer and lay down on the floor. The terrible dizziness leaves me almost incapacited.


Aimee the denture chewer

About 4 hours later I wake up and find out that in my sleep I'd taken my partial plate out and THE DOG CHEWED IT UP INTO SMALL UNUSABLE CHUNKS.
We really didn't need this, the accident with the deer, upper & lower ball joints with 2 new tires on the truck and the transmission The unplanned airplane flight from Florida have all eaten into our skimpy budget.
Sally is doing well after 6 weeks of almost daily chiropractic care. I am thankful for that.
Rolf and I with the dog check out the deer and the Mouflon sheep almost daily. We've learned where they're feeding and we find them almost every day. We laugh at our foolish ideas about shooting a couple for bar b cueing. One day while out I hear shot and look over a hill and see a hunter that has shot one o the sheep. The next day we meet him face to face and he has another sheep that a fellow Texan has shot. We're disappointed!!, BIG TIME. What we thought were massive animals are actually quite small maybe in the 100 to 150 pound class. They have a large amount of black hair on their chests which we thought was all muscle. The man does give us some meat from previous hunts, elk & mule deer, but no sheep.

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