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Winter Texans of the Week: Larry and Jan Mainz

Couple Spreads Love of RGV during RV Travels across the U.S.

by Rocio Villalobos

Larry and Jan Mainz love the RGV so much they spread the word wherever they go. The retired couple from Wisconsin made their first visit nearly 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the warm weather, food, and friendly people.

“I say it’s Disneyland for elderly people,” Larry said. “You can do as little or as much as you want. The culture is just unbelievable.”

They are now Converted Texans living in Mission’s Lamp Lighter Mobile Park, where they feel right at home, having fostered a second family. Instead of escaping the harsh winters of Wisconsin, they now spend their summers traveling in order to avoid the scorching temperatures of South Texas.

And whether their trip is spent visiting their home state or attending RV rallies across the country, they enjoy serving as unofficial ambassadors of the RGV, promoting its growth and prosperity by encouraging any and everyone they encounter to visit.

Before heading out of town, they make a stop at the Welcome Home RGV office to pick up stacks of papers and materials to distribute to their new friends, whom they say typically have no idea how many activities and 55-and-up parks the South Texas region has to offer.

“I always heard that if you want beaches, you go to Florida, and if you want friendly people, you go to Texas,” Larry said. “I’ve found that to be 100-percent true. Others are starting to realize the wonders of the Valley, and we’re seeing more and more Winter Texans become Converted Texans, like us.”

Over the years, the Mainzes said, at least a dozen of the friends they’ve made along their cross-country travels have made it down, with one couple even buying a unit in Lamp Lighter and becoming their neighbors.

While they had to skip out on traveling the past two summers, they were still able to enjoy some local adventures.

“We did travel to Corpus Christi twice this year in our motor home, and we also went to South Padre Island for a week,” Jan said. “Plus, we’re close to Nuevo Progreso. It’s nice to go to Mexico because we get to enjoy the best of both worlds, and we always like to bring back a lot of their delicious candy.”

And though many of the park-sponsored activities have not returned, they’re just as content sitting out on their porch, basking in the sunshine, and welcoming their neighbors to join them and visit.

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