Volunteers build an RC (Remote Control) car track in the RV park

A group of remote control (RC) car enthusiasts at the Park Place Estates RV park decided to pursue the construction of a track at the park. The RC car hobby is fairly big in the Rio Grande Valley, as I’ve been told there are at least eight other parks that have an RC track for competitions and the fun of running.

Over the past few weeks a bunch of guys got together and built the track. About 90 yards of dirt was trucked in, walls set and a rather extensive covered platform for participants was built. The talent of these guys is very apparent in the final product.

Proud Sign

Make an adjustment

It’s been fun watching this project progress during the construction. It’s more fun to watch the guys race their cars. These cars really fly.

Very nice covered platform

Port Isabel Texas and a birthday

Yesterday Sher and I had a fun day. It was my birthday (I’ll admit I’m over 30) so we decided to celebrate a bit and enjoy some sightseeing. We started with birthday lunch at the Harlingen Olive Garden. They give you a free desert on your birthday, and we enjoyed the lasagna chocolate cake after a great meal.

The lighthouse with the keeper’s cottage to the right

Then we drove down to Port Isabel to see the light house. It has not been in service since 1905, but remains an important attraction. The keeper’s cottage next door is a recreation of the original and houses some interesting displays and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Sher with a rather unsavory pirate

As we had just had lunch, we did not go to any of the restaurants. The Pirate themed one looked interesting, but was not open. There was a long fishing pier and several charter boats at the docks. It was interesting that when we got to Port Isabel, the sky was clear. However the fog rolled in while we were there. You couldn’t even see the long causeway bridge to South Padre Island.

I had to get into the act as well

There are several shops  around the lighthouse square. The shops included many local artist’s creations. There were original paintings and prints of the same available. The jewelry selections included nearly all types and styles. There was even one shop where the artist was making chainmail. Yes, like the medieval armor chainmail made with small rings of metal.

After the fog rolled in

All in all we had a great day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday with Sher.

 

 

The Rio Grande Valley is very windy

The climate in South Texas is tagged as “sub-tropical”. We have enjoyed our stay in Harlingen at the Park Place RV resort. If we have a complaint, it is how many days are very very windy. Sustained winds at 30 MPH+ with gusts to 45 have been far too common.

Don’t get me wrong, the breezy 70’s still beat the calm single digits back in Indiana!

Bascilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is a National Shrine in Texas

The Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle is a remarkable place in the Rio Grande Valley. The Basilica has a fascinating history that traces back to the 1600’s in Mexico with a reported miracle. The current location has been the sight for pilgrimages for decades.

The bell tower

The Sanctuary

 

 

 

 

 

Sher and I decided to go to the Basilica on a Sunday for mass. The Sunday schedule has masses all day, with Spanish, English and bi-lingual. There is a mariachi band providing the music on Saturday and Sunday masses. We opted for the 3 o’clock English mass. The mass was very inspiring.

Free Holy Water fountain

First Station of the Cross

The sculpture on the back sanctuary wall

When we arrived, the 1 o’clock mass had not yet let out, and the parking lots were very full. I was able to find a handicapped spot. The complex has lots of support facilities. There is a hotel for pilgrims and a very large gift shop. We went to the gift shop as we had time before the 3 o’clock mass. The gift shop was filled with about any kind of religious item you can imagine. The stations of the cross are set up along a beautiful path that winds through the grounds.

When in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas you should consider a visit to the Basilica. Read up on the history and other information before you go. This is the website link.

Jason Coleman keeps Floyd Cramer’s piano genius alive

Jason Coleman is the grandson of famed pianist Floyd Cramer. If you don’t know Floyd, you do know his music. Sher and I were lucky enough to hear a concert by Jason at the Park Place Estates RV Park where we are official Winter Texans in the Rio Grande Valley this year.

Jason on stage

Coleman puts his music heritage out there with a dedication and sincerity that he gets honestly. His show not only is performing classic songs, but also a fascinating  look into the history of Floyd Cramer’s signature style of piano. Cramer’s piano is heard on just about all of the greats of country and rock from the fifties and sixties and beyond.

I had a nice chat with Jason

Applause from the large crowd rippled through at the start of most of the pieces Jason shared with his audience. He personality and the nostalgia of the music is magic. Not only did Jason play the tunes, but he also shared some poignant video of his time as a young man with his Grandpa Floyd. These clips included his performances with Floyd on TV.

Of the entertainment shows offered at the park, we both agreed that Jason Coleman’s performance has been the best.   I recommend that you check his website here for his concert schedule and available CD’s.

Brownsville’s Camille Playhouse celebrates 55 years

Brownsville,Texas is home to a delightful community theater, the Camille Playhouse. Born of humble beginnings in 1963, this vibrant theater has become a beloved source for live theater in the Rio Grande Valley.

Sher and I attended a Saturday night performance of a musical classic: A Chorus Line. The theater is located in Dean Porter Park, a Brownsville city park. The lobby is warm and welcoming when you arrive to purchase your tickets. The theater itself is comfortable with all seats having a clear view of the stage.

We really enjoyed the performance of A Chorus Line. Chris Ikner directs. During the performance, which ran two hours without intermission, Sher and I were continuously surprised with the very talented cast. The choreography was, well, high stepping to say the least. Numbers such as “One” are performed with precision. Several of the cast have excellent voices and share that talent on stage.

A Chorus Line offers song, dance, humor and heart wrenching drama as a group of strangers compete for one of a limited number of spots in the chorus line of a Broadway play. The Camille Playhouse version of the musical is moving, well acted, fun and worth seeing. The show will be onstage February 8th, 9th and 10th. If the quality of A Chorus Line is any indication, we would suggest enjoying any production at Camille Playhouse.

Check future productions at the Camille Playhouse website.