Bentsen Palms Village is a very popular resort. People tend to come back year after year, so that it's hard to get a space here unless you reserve very far in advance, which we did early last March. It's obvious that many of the guests here are long-time friends, having spent winters together for four or five years. They are friendly and welcoming, though. Our first week here there was a spontaneous campfire in the center of the circle where we are parked, and we were invited to join in the fun, so we quickly trotted over there with our wine glasses in hand!
The facilities are great, amenities (many of them free, such as bicycles and kayaks), are very nice. The
photo of the yellow building is the activity center, where most of the activities take place. It's in the center of the circle next to ours, so it is very close and convenient to our site.
There is a very active guest services center where friendly people who know us by name coordinate a variety of mostly free activities (borrowing bicycles, kayak trips, tours in an open vehicle of the entire area, etc.) We have signed up for the area tour. We were supposed to go on a kayaking excursion on the Rio Grande yesterday, but it was raining. Thankfully, the trip was cancelled. We signed up for another date.
The people are very friendly and fun-loving. Seems to be a slightly younger average age; many of them around our age (59-60 ish).
There is free wi-fi and cable. Unfortunately for us, they don't want guests to use their own routers, (they say it goofs up their system), so we are only using our satellite for our Direct TV so we can DVR shows. The park wi-fi is fine, but when lots of folks are using it at the same time it sometimes freezes up and we have to re-start our computer. It's frustrating, because we have a perfect exposure to the southern sky. We did notice though that we only had three blue lights (you Datastorm folks know what that means) and our internet did not come up when we set it up.
park, as we've already described, is reason enough to stay here if you have a fur-child traveling with you. We mentioned before that there is even another whippet staying here. We finally made it to the dog park when the whippet was there, and the dogs had a wonderful time! The couple who own the whippet (Tyler) are from Canada but originally from Scotland.
(I love their accent). Tyler is the same age as our dogs; right between our two. They hit it off right away. I tried to get a photo of the three of them running and playing,
but that is nearly impossible as fast as they run!
I would get one and a half dogs, two and a half dogs,
or half a dog in a shot. Tyler is the one who has brindle spots. He is just as spoiled as our two!
There are many weekly activities available, for those who like to participate. We have mainly taken advantage of the weekly margarita hour, where you bring a snack to share (deviled eggs are a sure bet; they disappear fast) and for a buck get a margarita to go with the l-o-n-g table of goodies to sample.
They also have jam sessions for musicians who are staying here, and they are getting a talent "show" together. (You WON'T see me participating in that!) There is a very complete wood shop for the guests to use and a craft room as well. I've not been over there, but they are very popular.
I have been going to the aerobics class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Boy, they don't mess around; a guaranteed 45 minutes to an hour of SWEAT. The tapes they use are a woman I had never heard of before, but she must be popular because it's the same one they used at Buckhorn Lake in Kerrville. I actually ordered one for myself, because it could be done in a limited space like the RV, when we leave here. Leslie Sansone is the gal's name, if anyone wants to check her out. (She has an annoying too-perky laugh, but does do a good workout). I ordered mine from Amazon, of course!
She has many tapes available.
The RV sites are very nicely landscaped and many are in circles, like ours, with a nice view out the front windshield of a
We are in the 500 circle, facing the palapa that has pool tables in it. There are also premium sites available along the sides with storage sheds on them and large back yards. We took the shots of our site on a sunny day (not many of those lately!) when the site next to us was empty, so it looks a little larger than it actually is.
The main draw for me here at Bentsen Palms is the location next door to the state park. We hardly ever get in the car (the roads here are confusing, to say it kindly), but I'm sure we'll venture out in future weeks. There's not a whole lot to do here, for us anyway, other than things we can do right here at the park.
The area is built up with lots of shopping available, for those who need to shop. There is a VERY nice grocery store that we've fallen in love with - an H-E-B Plus superstore. Wow! Nothing in Indiana even comes close! (Think Meijers on steroids).
There is a separate section at Bentsen Palms Village called Retama Village where people purchase sites and can rent them out. These are also very popular and VERY nice; each has a small "coach house" on the site for storage, small kitchen, or however you would want to finish it. Some of the sites have RV homes with ports, or smaller homes. You can Google Retama Village to find out more.
We would not be interested in a permanent site, at least not yet. There are too many places we want to go! We're already thinking about next winter, and our tentative plans are to head west next September to visit our oldest daughter (who just moved to L.A.), possibly be there over the holidays, perhaps visit Yosemite on the way there. Then we might find a place to stay in the California desert, and from there "Do the Q" as people refer to the Quartzite thing next January. From there we might head to our favorite spot on earth, Southern Utah.
Our plans are written in sand, though, so they are definitely subject to change! We are excited to finally be heading west, because that is really where we've wanted to be since December 2008, when we started this adventure.
I can see why some people don't like the Rio Grande Valley. The surrounding area is a little run down, lots of graffiti even on nice buildings and areas.
If we weren't staying in such a nice place, so convenient to what we want to do here, we might not like it so much. The weather has not been great since we've been here; high in the 50s and the last few days cloudy and overcast. They are predicting storms tonight, even might have small hail. People here say it's the worst weather they've experienced in the winter here in the past five years! After tomorrow's storms, though, the extended forecast is supposed to be sunny and in the mid to upper 70s for the foreseeable future. I can sure deal with that!!