Saturday, February 04, 2012

The New Normal

Today is our second of four days off--finally. We arrived in the Lower Rio Grande Valley on January 13 and spent 16 of the last 18 days of January in training or practicing for the work we began February 1. We attended classes, went on tram tours at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, worked on our tram talks, and spent three days driving the tram route, practicing. Then, last Tuesday, we gave our talks to our trainers and the other volunteers.

Pointing out a guayacan tree.

Talking about mistletoe before going down the Jaguarundi Trail.

Talking about the Rio Grande.

A horse across the river in Mexico.

Driving the old tram.

Practicing my tour in the front seat of an SUV.

This is the old tram. We will only use this if the new tram breaks down again or if we need to add extra tram tours.

We haven't had much time for our regular exercise, but one day last weekend we did get to run along the irrigation ditch near where we are parked. The sun really comes up late here.

Through the end of April, we will be working three days each week. We will be off the other four. This month we will be giving tram tours Tuesday and Wednesday and working in the Visitor Center on Thursday. Next month, we will change to another three-day shift.

Since we have been so busy, our time off this week is being spent just getting life back in order: cleaning, paying bills, exercising, resting, putting stuff away. It feels so good.

We have been parked in this spot for 12 days and we didn't get our sign up until today. Did I mention, we have been busy?

This mockingbird was sitting in a tree outside our RV today. The mockingbird is the Texas state bird.


  1. Boy, you have really been "working" since you arrived! Know you are busy but hoping we can still get to meet you guys before we leave the area at the end of the month. Any news on when they will allow biking in the refuge again?

  2. Thanks for the interesting pictures. It must be nice to have something interesting to do. I was surprised to see that Mexico was just across the river without any extensive security guards, fences etc. This looks more like some casual Canadian borders which are less casual than they used to be, sadly!

  3. I'm no longer jealous. You have been working way too much. Now this 3 days on and four off sounds more like it. I'm sure you are both wonderful guides.