Authentic Texas Barbecue — What it is and where to find it in the RGV

typical authentic Texas barbecue plate with text overlay: Authentic Texas Barbecue Where to find it in the RGV

I have to admit, when I was growing up, barbecue was not one of my favorite foods. Barbecue, to me, always brought to mind neighborhood parties with chicken on the grill with burnt on barbecue sauce. Or maybe it was dry baby back ribs, which don’t have enough meat on the bones to be worth the effort, with that same burnt on sauce. The only kind of barbecue I was even remotely fond of was a pulled pork sandwich with sweet barbecue sauce. Even in my adult life, it is not a food group I seek out. This lack of desire for barbecue was cemented in my mind even further when, a few years ago, I went to a barbecue joint in southern California with…

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No More Views of Spring at Daffodil Hill in Volcano

Yellow daffodils with text overlay: Daffodil Hill Farewell to a Landmark in Volcano, CA

I’ve been reading a lot lately about overtourism but who would think a sleepy little place like Volcano, CA, could experience such a phenomenon? But, indeed it has happened, and to a much-loved local attraction. Daffodil Hill in Volcano has closed to the public indefinitely, which I fear means permanently. The infrastructure of the area just couldn’t handle its popularity and that is not likely to change. The family released a statement earlier in July making the announcement. In the statement, the family said, “Over the past 80 years, many thousands have visited Daffodil Hill in beautiful Amador County. While we, the Ryan family, have enjoyed sharing our serene and peaceful Daffodil Hill with the general public, it is with deep sadness that we announce…

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Indoor Activities in Harlingen – When it’s just too hot outside!

large aquarium and bowling lanes with text overlay: Best indoor activities to beat the heat in Harlingen, TX

The Rio Grande Valley has wonderful sub-tropical weather which makes for enjoyable outdoor activities — most of the time. Some days during the summer, though, it’s just too darn hot to go outside, except in the early morning. If you are still itching to get out and explore, that’s when it’s time to find some entertaining indoor activities. Here are my recommendations for the best indoor activities in Harlingen, Texas. Best Indoor Activities in Harlingen Texas Travel Information Center – Find all the Best Indoor Activities in Texas I told you about this awesome location in a previous post. It’s the perfect place to visit to learn more about the whole state of Texas and what there is to do anywhere in the state. They…

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Tips for Young at Heart, Active, Senior Travelers

brick path with text overlay: Tips for young at heart, active senior travelers

With my birthday rapidly approaching, I thought it might be a good time to write a post with tips for active senior travelers. While doing research, I discovered that most of the posts out there are aimed at very elderly or infirm travelers. I’m so grateful that I don’t fall into those categories yet, but what about those of us who are strong, healthy and young at heart? Although we might be senior citizens based on our age, are there really special travel tips for us? The more I thought about it, I decided there are a few minor things of special concern even to spry senior travelers like me. Before you Travel – Good Advice for any Traveler Stay Active Staying active is one…

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Full-time RVing or Home Base? — What I Chose and Why

travel trailer parked on grass with text overlay: Full-time RVing or a Home Base? What I Chose & Why

When I left California for Texas in my RV, I had no idea what the future would be like. I absolutely loved my trip and had dreams of full-time RVing but I didn’t know if that could be a reality. Would I choose full-time RVing or part-time travel from a home base? Related: Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary I knew that once I had spent some time with my dad in Texas, I wanted to get back on the road and explore the Gulf Coast, Midwest and East Coast. In the back of my mind, I figured that I would probably just take extended trips from my home base rather than full-time RVing as long as my dad is still living. My mom…

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Survive the Storm — Be Prepared for a Natural Disaster

glowing orance sun shining through dark clouds from a wildfire with text overlay Have you been through a natural disaster? How to be Prepared

When I lived in southern California, I lived with the possibility of an earthquake. When I moved to northern California, wildfires were a real threat. In fact, before I had lived there for a year, we had to evacuate ahead of the Butte fire, one of the largest wildfires ever in California up to that time. Now that I am living in southern Texas, the danger comes from hurricanes. Other natural disasters that effect the US are flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes and even volcanoes. No matter where you live, you are not totally safe from a cranky mother nature so it is important to be prepared for a natural disaster. A couple of weeks ago, we had a severe thunderstorm during the night. We woke up…

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Port Isabel — What to See and Do in this Charming Bayside Town

View of Port Isabel from Pirate's Landing Fishing Pier

12 Best Things to See and Do in Port Isabel, Texas Port Isabel is a charming town on Laguna Madre on the very southern tip of Texas where you’ll find history, adventure, nature and lots of fun things to see and do. Like many towns, it has had several names over the years, including Point Isabel. The town was incorporated in 1928 and its name was changed to Port Isabel. These 12 things to see and do in Port Isabel are truly in Port Isabel. This list does not include attractions on South Padre Island like some lists of best things to do in Port Isabel. Yes, South Padre Island is just across the causeway but there are plenty of interesting things to see and…

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Alligators Find a New Home at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Boardwalk and bird blind

South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center The lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas is a mecca for birders. Two major flyways converge there and bring an abundance of migrating species. South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is the easternmost of the nine properties that make up the World Birding Center in the Valley. It is located near the tip of South Padre Island, the longest barrier island in the world. In May, the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center became the new home of some rescued alligators. This was my third World Birding Center to visit and each is very special in its own way. Nothing makes me feel more at peace than being around or on the water and South…

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Freddy Fender Museum is Just One of the Museums of San Benito

Sign at entrance of Museums of San Benito

Moving to Texas has been an eye opener in many ways. For example, I wrote about how surprised I was when I learned the difference between Mexican and Tex-Mex food. And I can’t forget learning that alligators are native wildlife here! A few days ago, I went to the Freddy Fender Museum in San Benito, and besides learning all about Freddy’s life, I learned about a music culture that I didn’t know much about. Although I had heard the music, I knew nothing of its origins or history. I’m talking about the unique style of American folk music called conjunto that was founded in south Texas. I’ll tell you more, but first, some background on the  Museums of San Benito. Related: I Had to Know:…

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Black Chasm Cavern: Amador County Hidden Gem

Entrance to cave at Black Chasm Cavern

UPDATE: This post was originally published on April 18, 2017 and has been updated on May 24, 2019 to reflect the change in ownership and other details for Black Chasm Cavern. The operation was sold in December of 2017 and is currently owned and operated by Gold Country Adventures. Although not a whole lot has changed, the new company’s website is not nearly as informative as that of the previous company and there are very few photos. I hope you find this blog post and the updates in it helpful. If you drive through Pine Grove on Highway 88/104 in Northern California, you will most likely notice the signs for Black Chasm Cavern at Pine Grove-Volcano Road. It’s hard to miss them. I have seen these…

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