How to Plan the Perfect Staycation

La Feria Nature Center observation deck across lake

Some people plan a staycation as a special event, but, for me, it’s a perpetual state of being. I am always planning the next adventure in my own backyard and hope to inspire you to do the same. We are often so busy with our daily lives and looking forward to that long vacation away that we forget about the awesome things around us. For the last few years, I have made it my mission to explore every nook and cranny of where I live and I want to help you plan the perfect staycation. What is a Staycation? Simply put, a staycation is a vacation where you stay home and participate in local leisure activities. Wikipedia says a staycation does not involve overnight accommodations…

Continue reading

I Had to Know: What’s the Difference Between Mexican and Tex Mex Food?

Beans, enchiladas and rice with text overlay: Mexican Food vs. Tex-Mex, What's the Difference?

When I was on my RV trip from California to Texas, one of the things I thought about often was getting some real Tex Mex food. I’m not sure what I thought it was going to be but I was positive it would be something wonderful. Color me confused when I arrived in Texas and had “Mexican food” a couple of times. I was expecting this elusive Tex Mex cuisine and what I got was food I was used to getting in Mexico or some Mexican restaurants in California. Color me shocked when I researched the difference between Mexican and Tex Mex food. I grew up in southern California and ate probably more than my fair share of Mexican food. It is a cuisine I…

Continue reading

Visit Nuevo Progreso Mexico via the Progreso Texas Border Crossing

Texas Mexico Crossing

I’ve been wanting to visit Mexico since I arrived in Texas in November. A friend here in the park where I live is an American born Hispanic and we have been talking about doing this for weeks. Between the weather and conflicting schedules, we just couldn’t make it happen — until Sunday. There are at least five International border crossings from Texas into Mexico within easy driving distance. We chose the Progreso Texas border crossing which is the closest, about a 20 minute drive. This crossing goes from Progreso, Texas, into Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, where Linda has spent a lot of time. We planned a fun day of manicures, pedicures, a hair cut for me and lots of eating and drinking. Much of what I…

Continue reading

Estero Llano Grande State Park — My First RGV Birding Experience

Ibis Pond at Estero Llano Grande State Park with text overlay: World-renowned birding

I have always been fascinated with birds. Years ago, while living in Nevada, I took a falconry class and became a licensed falconer. I put brush piles and water all over my property to lure birds to watch from my living room window. When I moved back to California, I volunteered with the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center helping rehab birds and other wildlife. Now that I’m in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in Texas, one of the foremost birding locations in the world, I wanted to continue learning about birds. Lucky for me, an experienced birding couple lives in my park and agreed to take me under their wing. The first time they took me out birding was to Estero Llano Grande State Park,…

Continue reading

Dolphin and Bird Watching on Laguna Madre with Fins to Feathers

dolphins in bay with text overlay

One of the drawbacks of traveling solo is that it can be difficult to get into a small tour group. I’ve been trying for several weeks to get into a dolphin watching cruise on a small boat that only takes a maximum of six passengers. That doesn’t sound like a big deal except they also have a minimum of four so they have to fit me in with a group of four or five. It wasn’t working out so, since there is more than one small boat that goes out from Port Isabel, I decided to contact Fins to Feathers about their dolphin watching cruise. Captain Paul followed up with me and got me into a group in just a few days. Getting to Fins…

Continue reading

25 Extraordinary Things to do in Amador County from a Local

river with white water and text overlay: best things to do in Amador County

Beautiful Amador County, with an elevation range of 250 feet to over 9,000 feet, is in the heart of the Sierra Foothills of California and is one of the 10 counties in the region known as Gold Country. All of Gold Country is often overlooked in favor of northern California coastal city and beach tourist destinations. As a result, you can enjoy activities in Gold Country without the crowds of the coast. I lived in Amador County for four years and did my best to see everything that there is to do, so you can trust me when I say Amador County has a lot to offer. Here are my recommendations of 25 extraordinary things to do in Amador County, in no particular order. Best…

Continue reading

Will You Save Money with a Texas State Parks Pass?

bench overlooking lake with text overlay Texas State Parks Annual Pass

Getting a Texas State Parks Pass has been on my list of things to do for a while but I have put it off because the weather has not been very conducive to outdoor activities. We finally have had a few clear days with sunshine so, recently, I went to Estero Llano Grande State Park. I loved this park and knew it was time to make my purchase. I know in the long run, I will save money at Texas State Parks with the annual pass. Day use fees at the more than 90 Texas State Parks usually run $2-$8 per person. Since I know I will visit lots of state parks and visit some of them often, I feel that, even for a single…

Continue reading

Quinta Mazatlan Celebrates the Monarch Butterfly

orange umbrellas and bougainvillea decorate entryway

I have been anxious to get outside and visit more of the amazing nature areas nearby but the weather has been less than cooperative in that arena. Even on the day that Quinta Mazatlan celebrated the monarch butterfly with their Monarch Festival, there was a 30-40% chance of rain. I decided to risk it and go anyway. It rained on the way there so I was mentally prepared to just find a place to go have breakfast. But the rain finally stopped about 10 miles from McAllen and held off until I was driving home. The colorful entry really brightened up an otherwise pretty gray day. I loved the vibrant orange umbrellas overhead and the striking red bougainvilleas down the walkway. There was lively music…

Continue reading

Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary

Photo of covered bridge with title text overlay: Epic 40-day California to Texas RV Itinerary

When I finally pulled away from the home I had lived in for the past four years in Pine Grove, I was both relieved and excited. I knew there were things I would miss but there were also some uncomfortable things going on that I was glad to be leaving behind. The thought of what might lie ahead – whatever that might be – was exciting! I was headed to Texas in my RV, making a lifelong dream come true. I had a general idea of what my California to Texas RV itinerary would be but I also wanted it to be fluid and flexible. To set the stage for this trip for those of you who don’t know, this was my first time ever…

Continue reading

Award-winning Rum at Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman

Photo of barrels with title text overlay: Award-winning Rum Desert Diamond Distillery Kingman, AZ

When I finally made it out of California and reached Arizona on my RV trip from California to Texas, I was really looking forward to tasting my first Arizona wine. My original plan was to boondock at Stetson Winery but a delay earlier in the trip meant I arrived on a Monday when the winery was closed. Kingman has a couple of interesting Harvest Hosts boondocking spots and this presented me with the pleasant option of staying at one of the other locations, Desert Diamond Distillery, and learning about rum instead. Desert Diamond Distillery – Rum & Vodka Owners John and Debbie Patt are wonderful hosts and obviously love what they do. John was busy with a tour when I arrived so Debbie gave me…

Continue reading