I would like to think that Spring is just around the corner - but I know we could still have another freeze. I hope not - but our climate is changing. Or is it? I remember maybe eight or so years ago that we had ice on the highways as late as February 6. So even if you do want to start replanting, hold on - it is a little too early.
Even so we are having some beautiful weather right now. Low to mid-seventies is just the perfect time for long walks, trips to the zoo or maybe even a visit to South Padre Island. It's time to fly a kite, build a sandcastle or even join in the beach cleanup.
How blessed we are to be in the Rio Grande Valley. I check the temperature daily to have an idea of what to expect for the rest of the week. And of course, I want to see what the temperature is in San Antonio and Austin as that is where my children live. I was shocked a few days ago to see printed in bold letters COLD on the map for Amarillo. I am very glad I don't have to live in 21-degree weather.
Read more: Cool days lead to warm days
I hope that I did not miss seeing you at the Winter Texan Expo. Those of you who stopped by the Go...With Jo! and needed a French speaker were pleasantly surprised to be able to speak French to my volunteer helper. Thank goodness he has even volunteered to be a coordinator on some of the tours. If you know a fellow Canadian or a French speaker who wants to learn more about the Rio Grande Valley, just call the office to learn which trips might be given in French. Just remember no office employee speaks French. I wish we did.
English? Spanish? We can help you in those languages. And what a blessing it is to be able to communicate in just two languages. It would be wonderful to speak more languages. You don't have to speak and understand the language of the country you are visiting but it helps. In the Rio Grande Valley, you will hear both languages being spoken and sometimes the speaker will jump from one to the other even in the midst of the same sentence. That means your mind has to shift gears in the middle of the conversation. That is quite a challenge.
Read more: There are benefits in learning a second language
Texas trails and farming
Texas! It's a whole other country! Maybe it would be more descriptive of our state if we said, "Texas is a lot of country!” And how true that is. Texas covers so much territory that the Texas Historical Commission decided to divide the state into Heritage Trails. There were several reasons that the State decided to create and promote these trails. First of all, the Historical Commission wanted to preserve the history and culture of the different regions. Of course, another reason was to promote tourism into the different regions.
If you have traveled across Texas, you know immediately how different each area or trail is. The different regions seem to have a personality of their own. There is The Plains Trail, The Pecos Trail, The Mountain Trail, and The Lakes Trail plus six more. Those of us living in the Rio Grande Valley live in The Texas Tropical Trail. Yes, the trails are unique - definitely different - which makes traveling on those trails so interesting.
Read more: January 18, 2023 - On the Road with Jo
Take a look at what’s in the RGV
And how are you doing on those New Year's Resolutions? Not so good? Maybe we need to take another look at why we make those resolutions in the first place. Could it be that it is just a long-time tradition? Is it just expected? But why? What is the tradition and when did that tradition start?
Most of us have no idea as to how, why, or when the tradition began. Actually, the tradition started over 4,000 years ago when the belief was that if you did not make promises to the gods to do better that you would be punished and would have bad luck.
It is said that about 45% of our population still make New Year's resolutions. The flip side is that only about 8% of those who make resolutions will actually keep those same resolutions. So how are you doing so far?
I hope that somewhere among all those resolutions were some who resolved to travel again and to travel more in 2023. You don't even have to travel very far to really enjoy yourself and learn more about our surroundings.
From the telephone calls that we are receiving, it appears that more and more people are ready to travel. And that is great as travel broadens your mind and helps you to understand the history and cultures of other people and countries as well as to understand and appreciate what’s around you.
Read more: January 11, 2022 - On the Road with Jo
Christmas memories and a Happy New Year
Brrr! It’s been cold. Too cold for me to go exploring. My South Texas blood is just not ready for winter weather. And was it ever cold and windy at the beach. A few hearty souls walked the beach probably looking for that prize shell that all of us hope to find. Those angry, wind tossed waves surely must have brought a real find to some adventurous soul.
Read more: January 4, 2023 - On the Road with Jo
It’s time to travel
I hope you stayed warm, cozy and safe for your Christmas celebrations and that you were able to visit with your family and special friends either by phone or in person. And now what do you do with the leftovers? Even before Christmas, I had made a huge pot of turkey and corn soup from the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Easy as pie and so, so good on those cold days. Just add the chopped up leftover turkey to a can of celery soup, a can of whole kernel corn, a can of cream corn and a can of water. And if you had any turkey drippings, add them in and bring all to a boil and then simmer.
Read more: December 28, 2022 - On the Road with Jo
Looking forward to a new year and new tours
Another year is quickly coming to an end in just a few more days and our calendars will turn to 2023. It’s time to think of travel again. Sometimes I schedule myself on a tour just to see what changes have been made in a hotel along the highways. I really like to get out with my travelers and see the trip through their eyes.
Right now there is only one more tour scheduled for the rest of this year and it is a good one, especially if you have never been on the tour or if you have visitors who want to visit the famous King Ranch – one of the largest ranches in the United States.
Founded in 1853 by Captain Richard King, the King Ranch boasts almost 1,000 acres. You will learn all about the Ranch, the flora and fauna of the area as your guide introduces you to a very special part of the history of the Rio Grande Valley. The last trip of the year is scheduled for December 29, 2022. Don’t miss it.
Read more: December 21, 2022 - On the Road with Jo
Find someone to give to this holiday season
DECEMBER – What a beautiful month. December is a time for giving, a time for sharing, a time for remembering. December is a good time for cooking all those wonderful dishes from family recipes that have been handed down for generations. Memories are made – never to be forgotten.
Giving and sharing brings pleasure to those who give and happiness – especially to the youngsters when they receive the toys and clothes you may have donated.
Read more: December 14, 2022 - On the Road with Jo
What a magical time of year. This is a time when traditions are born, and memories are made. It is a time of giving, a time of sharing, a time of remembering. Maybe your memories go back a long, long time before we had rural electricity and all the lights and glitter that make Christmas come alive. Houses and yards are decorated with lights and inflated figures to delight us all. Why not take a nighttime ride through some of the neighborhoods to enjoy the decorations. And while we are enjoying the lights a little history might be added to the entertainment.
Read more: Enjoy the lights and history of the RGV
How was your turkey? Believe it or not, I cooked two turkeys on two different occasions. It had been a long time since I cooked a turkey so for me, it was almost like I was a new cook in the kitchen. That first turkey – a huge twenty-four-pound monster received rave reviews. Some of the diners called it an ostrich because it was so large. I was holding my breath and just sure it would be a disaster.
First of all, my refrigerator keeps things too cold, so the monster turkey was not completely thawed. Did you know, you can cook a turkey even when not completely thawed? That was a new experience for this cook. See, we are never too old to learn.
Since this cook was a little flustered and anxious about the results, I made just a few mistakes – at least they seemed like mistakes at the time. Actually, the mistakes seemed to turn out to be the right way to cook a turkey.
Read more: November 30, 2022 - On the Road with Jo - Enjoy the Holidays