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

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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.

 

 

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.

 

Windy days, lots to do and a flea market

Sher and I have been at our +55 RV Resort in south Texas for a week now. We are just loving the weather, even though most days have seen consistent winds in the 20 – 25 MPH range. Temps are in the 70’s during the day. We are kind of waiting to swim until we get a sunny day with light breezes.

Beautiful skies and waving palms make for a pretty view from our RV.

We are not that far from where Pres. Trump made his ‘trip to the border’. Local TV news really enjoyed all the hoopla involving the movements of Trump and his entourage.

The guard shack at the gated entrance of our park. Gates are closed at night, IDs required for entrance.

We really like the park here in Harlingen, Texas. We feel safe, as there is a guard gate manned 24/7. The park is really large. There are actually several miles of roads to walk and bike if you wind your way through. Sher and I are both riding our bikes and walking daily. Most exercise we have had in a long time. We both have commented that we do feel better.

Inside vendors at the local Don Wes Flea Market

We took a trip to a local Flea Market this past Wednesday. There were some vendors with used flea market type goods. However most of established vendors inside the buildings were selling a wide variety of new products. We bought some bananas, oranges and a pineapple. The vendor had a pineapple coring machine, so it was ready to eat when we got back.

Well, gotta go. There is another dance tonight we have to get ready for. Park Place Estates always has something going on.

Our first day as Snowbirds in Texas

Our first activity at our new “home” for the winter of 2019 was a dance in the  large dance hall at our RV park. The Park Place Estates and RV Resort has great facilities, including their Friendship Hall. The music at the dance was provided by Leslie Blasing, a professional singer who provided a wonderful evening of song.  Sher and I met several wonderful residents of the park. All were most gracious and friendly.

Looking over our table at more of the craft sale

During a conversation someone mentioned that there was going to be a craft fair the next morning. Well, that peaked my interest as we had brought some of our jewelry with the plan of setting up somewhere and sometime down here. One of our new friends got me set up with the lady running the craft show, and yes, we could get a table for $5, a very reasonable fee for a four hour show.

This was how our jewelry display looked

Six o’clock came early for set up, but we’re used to early starts at markets and festivals. I was pleased with the number of vendors. All had good wares to sell, and our jewelry was a good fit.  The crowd wasn’t huge, but there were enough folks that liked our stuff. When it was all said and done, we had a respectable number of sales during the show.

After lunch Sher and I took a nap. Then we took a nice bike ride around the park. Then some reading, some blogging, and just relaxing. We are really starting to like this Snowbird lifestyle.

Oh, and the next seven days here in Harlingen, Texas will be partly cloudy with highs in the 70’s, rain chance 0%. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Circle of Lights 2018 is Indy’s premier holiday display

Saturday morning, November 10th, saw union members of IBEW local 481 braving brutally cold temperatures and wind to install the long strands of LED lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of downtown Indianapolis. This is the traditional start of the Circle of Lights celebration.

Working hard to get the lights up

Putting on the finishing touches

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year the lights will be turned on on November 23rd. One lucky kid will be picked to flip the switch and turn on the lights! (The contest is going on right now: a coloring contest.) 2018 will be the 56th year of this beloved Indy tradition. The lights come on at 7:30 that evening after a delightful variety show with local talent. Oh, and a huge fireworks show will follow the festivities.

All the strands are up

Close up of the top

Night scenes in Indy

Indianapolis on a Saturday night in early November can be quite pretty and full of activity. Landmark structures are well lit, and the street horse drawn carriages are already offering cozy rides to couples and families alike.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

State Capital

Downtown Indy’s Hilton hosts a great restaurant

McCormick and Schmick’s Steak and Seafood restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis on west Market street between Monument Circle and the Capital Building. Housed in the Hilton Hotel, this restaurant  offers fine dining in a comfortable and elegant facility.

Entrance to the restaurant

Sher and I decided to have our dinner there as we waited for a show in the hotel later that Saturday night. The restaurant can be entered either from the lobby or from West Street. We were seated immediately and our waiter, Andrew, came to our table right away. He provided excellent service during our entire dining experience.

Our cocktails and menu

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cocktails were delivered quickly, along with warm bread and butter. We ordered the Lump Crab cake for our appetizer. It was delicious. Sher had ordered the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine without the chicken. I had the Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon. We were both delighted with our choices from the menu. Pricing was definitely in the $$$$ range, but we both felt that the price was worth it.