Riverside Dreamer Cruise on the Rio Grande in Mission, Texas

Rio Grane through trees with text overlay: Cruise the Rio Grande Riverside Dreamer

I first heard about the Riverside Dreamer a couple of weeks ago when I attended the Winter Texan Expo in McAllen. Another, yet quite different, opportunity to be on the water! I was very excited by the idea of a cruise on the Rio Grande on the Riverside Dreamer. And it is relatively close to me – less than an hour away. I haven’t done a river cruise since I was in Germany, too many years ago to admit to, so I was really looking forward to it. The Riverside Dreamer The Riverside Dreamer is a custom built 55-foot pontoon boat. It has cushioned seats and a maximum capacity of 49 passengers. There’s a snack bar and restroom. No alcoholic beverages from the Riverside Club…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park – World Birding Headquarters

view of park buildings with text overlay: Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in a region that is considered one of the most biologically diverse in North America. The diversity contributes to this State Park being just one of the areas in the Rio Grande Valley that make the Valley a birder’s paradise. The 587-acre state park is a stopover for migratory birds as well as home to some subtropical birds seen nowhere else in the US.     About Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park The area along the Rio Grande southwest of Mission, Texas, was settled by the Spaniards in the 1740s. The park was once part of a land grant awarded in 1767. The land grants were split up and changed hands over…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

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

Thank you for sharing!

Museums and Nature Top the List of Things to do in Harlingen

A sub-tropical climate, with average winter lows in the 50s, means year-round outdoor activities. Museums top the list of indoor things to do in Harlingen. #travel #texas #harlingen #museums #birding

The city of Harlingen is located in the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and is just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to all the dining and shopping opportunities you’d find in any city of its size, Harlingen has an international airport, a nearby port for transportation of goods, and an international bridge to Mexico. Thanks to the sub-tropical climate, with average winter low temperatures in the 50s, there are year-round outdoor activities. Museums and nature top the list of things to do in Harlingen. Even the museums are partly outdoors. Related: Indoor Activities in Harlingen – When it’s just too hot outside! Texas Travel Information Center I can’t write a post about the best things to do…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

Downtown San Antonio Walking Tour

For my recent stay in San Antonio, I purchased a 3-day hop-on hop-off ticket that included the GoRio Cruise. On the third day of my ticket, I decided to walk to the Riverwalk from Tower of the Americas, which inadvertently ended up being a walking tour of downtown San Antonio. The route I took was quite a bit more rambling than the one I’ve laid out below. I kept forgetting to check the map and just walked, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. I had to back track several times! Highlights of a Downtown San Antonio Walking Tour This walking tour of downtown San Antonio is about 2 miles plus however much you walk on the Riverwalk. Of course, if you walk back to your car…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

Mushroom Farm Tour — Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms

Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, CA, practices sustainable farming to raise many exotic varieties on their mushroom farm. Farm-to-Fork.

UPDATE 2/15/22: Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms is permanently closed! Ryker retired in August and sold his equipment. Mushrooms are one of those things that I think you either love or hate. Even if you hate them, though, learning about them is pretty fascinating. When I contacted Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms in Sloughhouse, CA, and asked if they could do a tour of the mushroom farm for my cooking group, the Saucy Sisters, I was pretty excited when owner, Ryker, said yes. We were in the middle of a heat wave the day we went, with the temperature somewhere over 100 degrees, but eight of us were dedicated enough to brave it. Ryker and Mushroom Ninja Valarie seemed genuinely happy to have us there to share all about mushrooms…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

Dripping Springs Distilling Tour and Tasting

copper pot stills with text overlay: Educational and informative tour Dripping Springs Distilling

When you visit Texas Hill Country, you can go wine tasting to your heart’s content. But did you know you can also visit distilleries, often for a tour and tasting? There are several spread out all across Texas Hill Country so no matter what your plans are while you are in Hill Country, you can add one (or more) to your itinerary. On my recent RV trip, I spent a few days in Dripping Springs and visited Dripping Springs Distilling for a tour and tasting.   I spent most of my life in California and a few years in Nevada. Both places have fairly liberal alcohol laws. You could buy alcohol pretty much anywhere – the corner gas station, the neighborhood grocery store, Walmart, Costco…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

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

Thank you for sharing!

The Alamo – More than a Famous Battle

photo of musket demonstration and map of the early mission with text overlay: The Alamo More than a Famous Battle

When I visited San Antonio in 2018, I knew there were two things I had to experience: the Riverwalk and The Alamo. On that trip, I really had no idea what to expect in San Antonio or from these two attractions. I enjoyed both of them so much that I wanted to see them again in more detail. When I visited The Alamo in 2018, I missed out on a guided tour so I made sure to work that in this time. I’m a big fan of guided tours! Misión San Antonio de Valero Guided Tour of the Alamo The guided tour of the Alamo is $40 but the group is small and the education well worth it in my opinion. History is always a…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!

Bloodless Bullfights will Continue in La Gloria, Texas

bull in arena with text overlay: Bloodless Bullfights, Santa Maria Bullring, La Gloria, Texas

UPDATE: The bloodless bullfights have not resumed since the beginning of the pandemic and I have been unable to verify if they will start up again in the future. Bullfighting is one of the best-known, and also most controversial, traditions of the Spanish culture. Supporters claim the bulls live a better, longer life than other cattle. They see it as art, much like ballet. As bullfighting aficionado Ernest Hemingway famously said in Death in the Afternoon (1932), “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death.” Critics claim it is nothing more than torture. I have to admit, I attended a bullfight in Mazatlan in the 70s and would never go again. From the stands, it didn’t seem as “real”…

Continue reading

Thank you for sharing!