Friday, December 30, 2011

No Name Restaurant

The ambiance - heads everywhere!
Burgers on the grill!
Look at at the size of that burger!
The onion rings are whoopers too!

Bill, Sharon and Isa
Mary and Lee
Richard & Donna
Al & Miriam
The hat that gave us the name of this cafe!
A group of our friends from Winter Ranch drove over to the No Name Restaurant in Weslaco this morning.  We left at 10:30 in order to be the first ones in line for lunch.  The restaurant opens at 11:00 AM but if you wait until then the line is out the door.  The real name for this restaurant is Gonzalez Burgers, however, several years ago the sign went down in a wind storm and they never replaced it.  We really didn't know the name of it until today when a couple of the cooks were wearing hats that said "Gonzalez Burgers".

This place is not popular with Winter Texans because of the ambiance.  It is because they serve a burger that is absolutely enormous.  Plus, they have one size of fries and onion rings and they easily serve two people.  Lee thinks they put a pound of meat in the hamburger but it is probably more like 3/4 of a pound.  Still, we ordered one hamburger and one order of onion rings and I couldn't eat all of my half.  Everyone goes at least once a year and takes some newbie Winter Texans with them to share the experience.

The Gonzalez family has run the restaurant for years.  The story is that the place was a butcher shop in the old days and Mr. Gonzalez felt sorry for some of the school kids who didn't have any lunch so he cooked burgers every day and took them over to the kids that would have gone hungry.  Since he was cooking burgers anyway, the restaurant just sort of happened and now it still thrives while the butcher shop is long gone.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Lights in Hidalgo, Texas

We absolutely love visiting the city of Hidalgo during December.  It is their Festival of Lights and it is a really BIG deal.  The city has over three million lights and 900 displays along with a small carnival and live entertainment.  City personnel from Hidalgo actually design and erect the displays and more displays are added each year.  This year the theme for the Festival is "A Tropical Christmas" 

A Tropical Christmas
Winter Ranch Friends on the Tram
Today we journeyed to Hidalgo via our park bus along with 40 other Winter Ranch and Trophy Gardens residents.  Once there, we bought tickets for the train which is a tram ride through the city.  There wasn't any entertainment tonight because we are after Christmas but we all enjoyed the lights.
Christmas Tree in the Square
One of many many displays
Closeup of the Ayala Home

Ramon Ayala's home is across the street from the City Hall Plaza and it is really decked out.  If you've seen Chevy Chase movie "Christmas Vacation" then you would have an idea of what his home looks like.  Of course, his is a bit more elegant.  Ramon Ayala is a  four-time grammy award-winning singer.  We've decided that we have to buy one of his CD's because we are always hearing how good he is.  He also seems to be a very generous individual.  Last week they celebrated the Christmas Posada in Hildalgo.  Familieis with children under 12 lined up outside of Mr. Ayala's home where they received a ticket for a gift.  They told us that 10,000 gifts were handed out.  Next year we may try to visit on the day of the Posada although we have heard from friends that it is a real zoo on that day!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our Freightliner Baby-semi and our Mobile Suites 
5th Wheel - Our car and house!
Greetings from the Rio Grande Valley in Alamo, Texas!

We have decided to try something new and we created this blog so you can keep up with us as we travel this coming year. We previously used Good Sam's My Trip Journal and we've linked our travels from 2006 to 2010 to this blog.  Actually, we are using both for now until we decide which one to keep.

Last year we stayed in 18 states.  We now only have one state to go before we can say that we have stayed in all of the lower 48 states with our fifth wheel.  We hope to visit that state (Michigan) in 2012.  While visiting those 16 states, we drove 11,000 miles pulling the trailer and another 16,000 without the trailer   That is the most driving we’ve done in a single year since we started full-timing in 2006.   

We started 2011 in the Rio Grand Valley and then spent  the month of March in Port Aransas, Texas.   In April, we were able to visit relatives in Pennsylvania and attend Karen’s (our niece) wedding.  In May we spent some time Iowa visiting friends and relatives and meeting our new great grand-daughter, Kira.  In June we attended the Suite Owners International Travel Club (SOTIC) Rally in Sieverville, Tennessee.  We enjoyed the Smoky Mountains for awhile and then headed to the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, North Carolina.  If you haven’t ever been there, we would highly recommend seeing it at least once!  After that we headed back to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for Monica’s (a friend) wedding in July.  After the wedding, we took our grandson Jordon, with us to South Dakota for 10 days.  We took him sightseeing and managed to get our driver's licenses renewed while we were there.  After we returned Jordon to his Mom, we drove back to Des Moines to spend some time with Danica and Greg and families.  In August, we headed to the lakes of Minnesota for some relaxation.  We stayed at Leech Lake and then at Lake Winnibigoshish, both about halfway between Bimidji and Grand Rapids and in September we stayed at Sandy Lake near McGregor, MN.  Then we moved on to Spring Valley, Wisconsin for a week.  Then it was back to Iowa to help Danica and her kiddos move into a new apartment and attend Greg and Angel’s wedding on October 8th.   On the 10th, we went back to Cedar Rapids so Mary could have some minor surgery.  Then we headed for Missouri and stayed in Mark Twain country for a couple weeks before returning to the Rio Grande Valley and Winter Ranch where we are staying this season.    

We will be in "the valley" until the end of March.  We came here in early November to relax after a lot of traveling but now we are involved in so many activities at the park that we don't have much time for doing nothing.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and may God bless each and every one of you in the New Year!