The congested highway between Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio gave way to an unpopulated scrubby desert with virtually empty road. Well, it would have been empty if it weren't for the RV parade headed to the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley is about 75 miles long and populated with enormous RV resorts. By enormous I mean well over 1,000 campsites per campground. Most of the campers are retirees from the rural midwest and the campgrounds offer activities that these folks love - square dancing, softball, shuffle board, horse shoes, bingo, bridge, bike rides, stained glass and other arts and crafts, tennis, golf, and cheap eats and entertainment. While only some of these activities appeal to us, we are pretty good at entertaining ourselves and value the chance to get some exercise outside in the warmth.
When we arrived yesterday it felt almost hot, about 77º. As we stood outside well after dark to admire the huge blue moon, it still felt good to be wearing shorts. But past experience tells us that the January weather here is iffy and a cold front came though overnight and has us back in jackets.
New neighbors rushed over to say hello and made us feel very welcome. They invited us to the evening's celebrations which featured eating and dancing, but after all that driving it felt good to just be still and welcome the new year quietly with a bottle of champagne. On the drive here we passed numerous fireworks stands. It is clear that in this part of the US, explosions are part of the New Year celebration. Two hours before midnight and long after, the smokey sky was aglow with explosions. Good thing that champagne is an effective sleeping pill.
The campground is emptier than we remembered from being here three years ago, but we arrived a week later last time and rumor has it that 80 people are due to arrive today. Most people at the campgrounds in the valley return to the same spot year after year and make good friends. Many stay for as long as six months, bringing their rigs south well before the holidays, avoiding the exciting drive that we have just completed. As of now we are scheduled to be here for a month, but there's space for us to stay longer. Usually we start getting restless after a few weeks. We'll see...