Jan 032009

Well, no good deed goes unpunished. Americans are urged to reduce our fuel consumption to save the planet, and to lessen our need for foreign oil. So we car pool, drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars, walk and ride bicycles, and guess what? Now a Congressional commission is suggesting that the Federal tax on gas be increased by 10 cents a gallon, and 12 to 15 cents a gallon on diesel, and several states are thinking along the same lines, because we are not buying enough fuel and the government is getting less of our tax money! I keep telling you folks that the Mideast oil sheiks are not nearly as greedy as Wall Street speculators, and now our own government. Check out the story at Proposed Gas Tax.

Our friends Ron and Brenda Speidel have been workamping here in Mission, Texas for several weeks now, and yesterday we loaded a dozen or so bundles of the Gypsy Journal into their car and they took us on a tour of the area as we dropped off sample bundles of the paper at the local RV parks.

I know a lot of RVers who love it here in the Rio Grande Valley, which is home to thousands of Winter Texans, but my first impression is that it just isn’t for me. Traffic in and around Mission is horrendous, both on the surface streets and on U.S. Highway 83, and too many drivers seem overly aggressive. The goat heads I wrote about in yesterday’s blog are everywhere, and if you don’t take your shoes off as you come inside your RV, they find their way into carpets and rugs, just waiting to stick you as you walk by.

According to an online statement by the Mission Police Department, the city has the lowest crime rate of all nearby cities of similar sizes. We noticed watchtowers in several shopping center parking lots with police department emblems on them and cameras mounted to observe anything happening within their view. This was a bit disconcerting for us, but maybe they help in keeping crime in hand, despite the population explosion the city has experienced in recent years.

Sitting on the Mexican border, there is a strong Hispanic impression, and the local Mexican restaurants and bakeries are popular with the snowbirds. And the snowbirds are popular with the local business owners. They realize the amount of money RVers pour into the local economy, and appreciate it. Besides lots of mom and pop type businesses, you will find all of the big chain stores here like Best Buy, Lowes, Sam’s Club, WalMart, etc. Chain restaurants are also well represented – we saw a Texas Roadhouse, Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s, Denny’s, and all of the typical fast food joints.

It’s not that the Rio Grande Valley is a bad place, but if I’m going to deal with this much traffic, plants that impale me, and no decent water to fish and kayak in, I’d prefer to be in Arizona, where we can visit our family.

While we were out delivering papers, we stopped at Retama Village, a very upscale RV resort, and paid a brief call on our friends Mike and Pat McFall. Mike and Pat are dealers for PressurePro tire monitoring systems, and two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They will be at our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally in Casa Grande next month, so if you need a tire monitoring system, be sure to stop by their booth and say hello.

Today we’ll spend some time exploring the area some more, and dropping off sample bundles of papers at RV parks. There is supposed to be a kite flying event on South Padre Island, about an hour south of us, and we may go down and check that out too if we have time.

Thought For The Day – How do you spot a winter Texan? The women are all too old to be pregnant, and the men all look like they are!

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Rio Grande Valley First Impressions”

  1. Nick are those stickers you are talking about goat heads which grow on a vine and look very much like a goat head when they mature or are the sand burs( sand spurs) that grow on a taller grass looking weed and are somewhat round and are covered with sharps stickers that stick to anything they touch?

    Both are a pain in the foot or which ever part they may stick to.


  2. Happy New Year Nick and Terry!

    Your new format is awesome. Your blog is always informative and quite so clever. George and I are counting down the months now before we start our full time adventure.

    Safe travels.

  3. The kite festival on South Padre was one of the neatest things we have seen, go!

  4. When I read your comments on the Valley to my husband, he said that you said it right! We spent a few winters down there and much prefer it here in Port Aransas, even though the wind blows a lot and it gets humid. But I guess everybody likes their own thing. Enjoy your blog.

  5. I bet you’d like it better over here in Uvalde on the outskirts of the Texas Hill Country. Your description of Mission makes me not want to go there. It’s quite nice here and the town of about 15,000 seems nice. I’m 35 miles north, near the Frio River and Garner State Park. Very nice indeed.

    By the way, the new blog is very elegant.

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