This being our first winter of full-timing, we knew we wanted to get as far south as possible. We didn’t want to do too much moving around since the spots fill up fast, apparently. At state parks like Padre Island National Seashore, you can stay for 14 days but then you have to pack it up and move for at least 48 hours. And you can only stay a total of 56 days in a year. Those sites are first come, first served and especially in the winter, you can’t be assured of getting a site. We didn’t feel like spending the winter at Walmarts and we wanted to be plugged in because we knew we would need heat besides the Aqua Hot.
Jim started checking into places like Key West, Florida, Texas and Arizona many moons ago. Places in Florida are booked way early and they are kinda pricey. We just wanted a nice quiet spot with a good place to take the kitties out, and hookups. Nothing fancy. A pool is always nice but we weren’t too picky on that aspect. Laundry was essential, of course, and close proximity to groceries and ice as we would be traveling by bike to those locations. We figured we could rent a car or buy one if we needed to.
As usual, Dr. Google (aka Jim…) zoned in on the research and narrowed it down to a couple of places that fit our criteria, one in Florida and one in Texas. We know Florida, down south anyway, is warm at least through Christmas since we were at our friend Jonathan’s a couple of years ago. It was 85 out and you could wear as few clothes as possible. We wanted a place like that.
When we decided to park it for the winter, we weren’t sure how we would like being in one spot for so long. We are used to being on the move, on to the next bike trail! On the other hand, it might be nice to just settle down and not think about where we would land next and what would it be like when we get there.
Jim’s research paid off and we are tucked into a very nice spot just north of the Mexican border at Reynosa. We have actually been here two weeks already and the time has gone fast. When we first arrived, we still weren’t sure how we would like being parked for so long and we asked about that. “What if we want to leave?” But it is pay in advance, so we did.
We are liking it. The first week or so, it was warm enough for swimming. In the very nice pool. All the things we were looking for are here: nice people especially. Some folks live here year round and some are like us; they just keep coming back every year. Everybody says, “Once you come here, you will never leave.” Kind of like the Hotel California, except in a good way. There is a bath house, exercise facilities, laundry, the aforementioned pool, yoga studio for classes and self-practice, bike rides, book club and they even serve meals a few times a week. We can get mail here. We are already signed up for Thanksgiving dinner.
These first two weeks have flown by. We have attended several happy hours; there is one every day somewhere. The well-stocked Mexican grocery is just five miles away on the bike and there is a small abarrottes just a mile away where we can get ice. Essential for those happy hours. A group rides bikes weekly. We have been making use of the yoga studio. We have been eating lots of pico de gallo and avocados and grilled fish.
The kitties have been getting almost daily outings. Astrid even ventured ALL THE WAY OUTSIDE the bus one time! They know to run back to the bus if a dog approaches. The dogs are well behaved. And did I mention that it is warm here and the people are so nice?
The last few days have been kind of chilly, high temps in the 50s, but apparently everybody north of us is freezing their asses off. These cooler days are a good time to catch up on work, bus projects, kitty walks, yoga, sleeping, reading, eating and just hanging out. I even went to the book club, which involves two of my favorite things, no three, books, wine and food. We have a front row view of the large central square, which is a big square dog park with palm trees and grass.
It is quiet here. We like it.