Saturday, July 20, 2013

Texas Snowbirds

       During our travels after returning to the mainland from Hawaii in the latter  80's we spent much of one winter in south Texas.  Much of our stay there was very pleasurable but not all of it.  It was late Fall when we arrived there and our first stay was an RV park in north Houston.  While there I discovered that one of the straps holding our blackwater (sewer) tank had broken and that tank could have dropped, making a real mess for us.  Fortunately I had spotted the strap hanging down and took the RV to a repair shop.

     Thanksgiving evening we found a pay  phone on the outside of a park building, unprotected from rain or wind, and called our family.  We were homesick and lonely as we didn't know a soul in the park.  The next day was Sunday but since the weather was better I took the truck into town to find out why it had lost so much power.  All I found was a shade tree mechanic who determined it was the carburetor and sold me a new one.  That wasn't the problem so I was out $400.  I couldn't get my money or the old carb back.  Big lesson!
      The next day I took the truck to a major garage where it was put on an analyzer and the trouble was found to be an ignition wire.  That old Jimmy had all of her 450 horses back and the big bridge was a pussycat to get overkill
     Next stop was Goose Island state park of which I had mentioned in another blog.
      Final stop in south Texas was an RV park in Donna, Texas, a few miles south of McAllen.
The place was great, including an indoor-outdoor heated swimming pool, massive recreation hall, many activities and fabulous potluck dinners every Friday night.  At least once a week many of us drove into McAllen for a luncheon at Luby's Buffet restaurant.  Excellent food, especially their Million Dollar pie!
      The roads around Donna had many roadside stands where fresh fruit could be purchased. 
The Grapefruit were as sweet as oranges which we snacked on while sightseeing the area. While we were there, Grace's sister, Pearl came to live with us and we three had a great time there.
     One side trip we made was to the border west of McAllen where for 25 cents we boarded a tiny ferry which we had to pull across by hand to Mexico.  On their side we had to walk several miles inland to a small town of which I can't remember the name.  We bought some souvenirs in that town.  The people were very friendly although their English and our Spanish talking didn't mesh well.  We managed to get a Mexican to take us back to the little ferry for a paltry sum in his sick, old jalopy.  We got back safely to the US side without incident but we found out later that what we did was foolish and dangerous.  Oh well, we made it.
      The trip home to Salem was mostly uneventful except on the road between Burns, Oregon and Bend when I heard a loud bang and looked back in my side mirror to see a cloud of vapor and pieces of black plastic.  The straps under the blackwater tank gave way and dropped that tank to the pavement. Tank and poop all over the roadside!  We limped home using public bathrooms.
     The RV trailer was still under warranty and when the tank was replaced and installed I was only out part of the cost of labor.  The straps they put back in place were much stronger than the factory originals and hopefully the next owner had no more poop tank problems.

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