We have been immensely blessed in 2013—enjoying a full retirement life and spending time with grandkids, kids, close friends, and family; thankfully, there have been no major illnesses or deaths among family or close friends. Winter spent at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in Mission, Texas, (January and February, and again in late November and December) resulted in making many new friends as we enjoyed bicycling, birding, and butterfly watching, taking bunches of photos, playing a lot of bridge, and just plain relaxing in the mostly warm, sunny weather, though December 2013 had several days of wet and cold weather.
After spending January and February in the RGV, we arrived home in early March to find remnants of snow, and departed immediately to the Western Caribbean with son Ron and grandson Kaden. This early “senior trip” was Kaden’s first international travel, and we enjoyed our time with his dad and him. While on the cruise, another snow occurred at home, and we traveled back to find leftovers of this frozen precipitation.
The last snow of the season fell on May 3 (can you believe it) while we were in Branson, Missouri. We took advantage of the remainder of spring and summer to continue landscaping the property and redecorating the house—very little fishing and no travel—and we really enjoyed the time at home.
The week encompassing July 4 was filled with family activities as we nursed Ridge back to health, and then entertained his Uncle Ron, Cousin Kaden, and Mom and Dad—a busy, but fun week to say the least. We drove to Memphis in late July to help granddaughter Harper celebrate her first birthday, after which we departed for a 24-day RV trip to Door County, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan. We fell in love with Door County, and hope to return for bicycling, kayaking, concerts, and cool weather in the summer of 2014. Our time in and around Traverse City and Empire, Michigan, was also great, and perhaps we’ll return there in the future.
In late September, October, and early November, we exchanged visits with kids and grandkids; watching them grow (up) is a lot of fun—Harper is now almost 17 months old, Ridge is just over 2 years old, and Kaden turned 18 years old in October! And, it is also rewarding to watch our kids mature as parents, and they are doing a great job.Back home only 6 days, we flew to Colorado for a whirlwind 12-day sightseeing tour of the state, with friends John and Sandy joining us for a few days at Grandby, just west of Rocky Mountain National Park. We did a lot of driving and hiking while there.
As fifth year Winter Texans, The Rio Grande Valley bade us back “home” in mid-November, where we enjoyed mostly mild temperatures, great friends, and lots of outdoor activities. Because of our early arrival this year, I saw and photographed many more “exotic” butterflies, and was able to bicycle extensively.
We returned to central Arkansas and Memphis for Christmas with the kids and grandkids, though the 13+ hour trip each way is beginning to take a toll on our “mature” bodies. We no longer think of the RGV as a vacation, but are making the transition whereby we think of it as our winter home. We cannot imagine another winter in cold weather!