Minnesota Snowbirds: Places to go and Things to See

Minnesota: the Land of 10,000 Lakes. As snowbirds settling back for the Minnesota summer, you’re ready for some outdoor adventures that only Minnesota has to offer!  In summer, it’s not as hard as you’d think to take a fun trip when you’re on a budget either. Many of the great travel experiences in Minnesota can’t be bought anyway — hiking amid old-growth white pines, paddling through bluff country, listening to loons in the Boundary Waters. Here’s a list with a few of Minnesota’s summer hotspots that might pique your interest as you settle back in for the summer. Whether you’re interested in the busy city life or a slower pace, Minnesota has it all. We’ll start in the metro area and head north with this list. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

 

U.S Bank Stadium:

Home of the Minnesota Vikings, this stadium was just completed in 2016. This stadium isn’t simply a location; it’s an epicenter of excitement and experiences. But the stadium is not just the home of the Minnesota Vikings, it’s a facility that will host major national and international events that create economical, fiscal, and social benefits to the region. There’s always something to do at the U.S Bank Stadium!

 

 

 

Museum Central:

If sports aren’t your cup of tea, the Twin Cities Metro area is packed with museums. Check out the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Walker Art Center, Children’s Museum, or either of the zoos: Minnesota Zoo or The Como Zoo.

 

Continuing north to St. Cloud, Minnesota, you have to check out Munsinger Gardens:

These gardens are St. Cloud’s pride and joy and a must-see along your northern adventure. The site was originally a sawmill. In 1915 the city purchased the area to use as a neighborhood park. Located along the Mississippi River, visitors to Munsinger Gardens can enjoy the peace and tranquility of this garden. The garden takes advantage of its shady location by featuring mainly shade loving plants; including a wide variety of Hostas and ferns. Visitors can also enjoy the many geese and ducks that have made the garden their spring and summer home.

Named after a former superintendent of parks, Munsinger Gardens continues to be a jewel of the city.

 

Brainerd, Minnesota:

The Brainerd Lakes Area – Explore It. Live It. Whether you are looking for a Minnesota adventure or for relaxation, you will discover endless options year-round in the Brainerd lakes country. World-class golfing, fishing and boating, biking, snowmobiling, shopping – even bird watching or kayaking – are just some of the reasons people choose to visit the Brainerd Lakes Area.

 

Duluth, Minnesota:

Duluth has it all: museums, water sports, nature walks, culture, the North Shore, and history. As a major port city, Duluth is a place like no other. It has an endless horizon where the largest freshwater lake in the world meets the sky. Enjoy the rocky cliffs and pristine forests where you’ll find miles of trails to explore. Duluth is a thriving community where you can take in a show, explore nature, enjoy a meal and stay in comfort no matter where your plans take you.

 

Regardless of what your Minnesota summer looks like, you’ll have no shortage of excitement! Whether you’re looking for some city action or to get in touch with nature, Minnesota has what you’re looking for! If you call Minnesota home or if you’re just visiting, you’ll fall in love with what we have to offer! Welcome to Minnesota Nice!

From Fairway to Fair Game: A Solution to Minnesota Golf Course Closings

Golf enthusiasts around Minnesota are finding it harder and harder to fuel their love of the game as golf courses around the state shut down. As we transition into, and become acclimated in, the age of technology, are the youth of America enjoying golf games on their preferred mobile devices instead of getting out on the green? Whatever the trend, popularity of the game is dwindling and causing many golf courses around the country to shut down; Minnesota is no exception.

 

Having hosted 3 PGA tours and 17 U.S Golf Association Championships over the years, Minnesota has a history rich in golf. In fact, more people play golf in Minnesota per capita than any other state in the union. Approximately one resident of every five in the Gopher state hits the green each year. Given golf’s popularity in Minnesota, the fact that so many courses are forced to shut down should speak volumes.

Fairways are turning into front yards in the Twin Cities Metro area. In 2017, the region traded in 900 acres of golf course for housing developments. In less than 20 years, Minnesota has closed the doors on nearly 70 golf courses, some of which originated in the early part of the 1900s. With fewer golfers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify keeping golf course land allotted for golfing. Many city officials wonder if golf courses should get turned over to the private sector.

For busy Americans, it might also be getting more difficult to carve out three or four hours to play 18 holes. There’s probably some natural ebb and flow in the sport’s popularity, similar to what tennis, skiing, and racquetball experienced. In this day and age, we’re seeing a different set of priorities and interests. And, Millennials don’t seem as interested in playing golf as their baby-boomer parents either.

In Minnesota, there’s another major factor: weather. A good weather year with warm spring temperatures can be a boon for a golf course. On the flip side, a rainout weekend can be devastating.

 

Solution:

Whatever the reasoning, if you’re a golf lover in Minnesota, you don’t have to mourn the loss of your golf course quite yet. In fact, you can play for FREE as a member of Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi, conveniently located at the bend of the river in Clear Lake, Minnesota. There are still many golf courses available for your scheduled tee-time.

Setting Up Your Summer Home

 

 

The melting snow and the familiar yet welcome sounds of chirping birds can only mean one thing: summer is on its way! The birds are back and it’s time for the snowbirds to return as well. Yes, we do have summer in Minnesota and it’s time to start thinking about setting up your summer home. There’s a lot of prepping that goes into setting up your summer home, but the good news is that it’s (mostly) FUN prepping!

 

 

Home Prepping

Preparing your summer home when you arrive is a fairly simple process once you compile a list of things you need to accomplish. Sometimes it’s things you wouldn’t have even thought of.

  • Make sure you’ve updated any home security measures you have in place.
    • Check the locks on your doors and windows to ensure they haven’t rusted or damaged over the winter months.
    • If you have a home security system, make sure it’s up-to-date and that you have the codes you need.
  • Double check all of your first aid kits and emergency supplies.
    • Summer storms can be intense so flashlights and batteries are important.
    • Restock first aid kits if anything is expired or running low.
  • Prepare for pest control.
    • The summer heat creates the perfect conditions for cockroaches, ants, bees, and other household pests. Protect your windows, doors, and foundation from invasive bug entry.
  • Consider how you’ll clean when you arrive.
    • You may need to buy new cleaning products or replenish what you already have.
    • Open your windows! The warm weather lends itself beautifully to air out that musty winter smell from your home.
    • Do you need to buy new bedding or did you store your summer bedding in the house? If it was stored over the winter you’ll probably need to wash it.
  • Plan for some outdoor cleanup.
    • Your gutters and downspouts may need to be cleaned. Leaf and debris clogged gutters can lead to leaks and damage from summer storms.
    • Yard maintenance may be something you need to consider depending on where you’re living.

Now that you’ve done the home prepping and you’re settling in, it’s time to consider the scheduling factors to setting up your summer home.

 

Schedule Prepping

Since you’re home for the summer your friends and family will be excited to spend as much time with you as possible. Preparing your schedule in advance will help with the chaos associated with houseguests.

  • Prepare for houseguests.
    • Set up spare bedrooms and bathrooms.
    • Restock your fridge and cupboards.
  • Do some entertaining!
    • Plan your guest arrivals with events around town.
  • Summer home community events
    • If you live at a summer home community you and your guests will never be bored. The abundance of things to do might actually need to be planned ahead of time.
    • Clearing your schedule or planning around events and guests is a good idea. This will allow you to plan which events and activities you want to attend.

 

After all of that planning and prepping you’re ready for summer! Setting up your summer home is basically another element of settling in. You’re home again. Enjoy the weather with your family and friends from the comfort of your summer home.

The Benefits of Living on a Golf Course

It’s tee-time! Living on a golf course sounds like a dream come true and, for a lot of people, it is. There are a lot of benefits to living in a golf course community and, for the right people, it really is a perfect place to call home.

So, what are the benefits to living on a golf course? We’re glad you asked! Here are the top four (because who doesn’t like a golf pun?) reasons why living on a golf course is a great decision:

  1. Get a Look at that View!—you’ll never tire of the beautiful landscapes if you live on a golf course. Golf course views aren’t the only sights you’ll enjoy either. In addition to the manicured beauty of the golf course itself, often, there are gardens and other natural landscapes to observe. A river or lake view is just an added bonus you’ll likely find.

2. Amenities—as you settle into the golf course lifestyle, you’ll notice there’s rarely a lull in the action. The amenities and activities available go beyond golf. Pools, tennis courts, community halls, and parks are just some of the added amenities you’ll find living on a golf course. As an additional perk, you’ll find a sense of fellowship. Many of the people living in a golf course community are retired or, at the very least, like-minded. They all chose to live on a golf course for many of the same reasons and you’ll find lasting relationships.

3. Maintenance free—as previously stated, the landscaping and views are flawless. That will cross-over into your own properties. Association fees will take care of lawn maintenance. The consistency of maintenance to your home and your neighbors’ homes ensures that everyone’s yards look great. Also, you’ll rest easier knowing your safety and comfort are taken care of.

 

4. FOUR!—The best reason to live on a golf course is the unlimited amount of golfing you’ll do! You can turn you favorite hobby into a lifestyle and that’s not something many people can boast about. The golf course is never far away so all you have to do is grab your clubs and hit the green.

 

Whether you’re an avid golfer or just someone who enjoys a relaxing and comfortable lifestyle, golf course living has it all. The benefits of living on a golf course are as satisfying as a hole in one. Welcome home.

Benefits of a Minnesota summer here at TCCOM

In the great state of Minnesota, we are home to 10,000 lakes (actually 11,000 for those of you keeping track), the biggest mall in America, an amazing state fair, we are considered one of the best states to work in as we are home to 19 fortune 500 companies, and of course we have the great Mississippi River. That was just a short summary of all the great things this state has to offer, but what about all the great things you can find at TCCOM? The winter has worn off, so get ready to embrace all of the benefits of a great Minnesota summer at TCCOM.

Water is a huge part of our lives as Minnesotans and there is no shortage of water activities here. The Mississippi River runs right through our backyard. Fishing anyone? You can catch walleye, bass, northern pike, and pan fish out of your boat. You can also walk the banks of the sand bar, take a little dip into the water to cool off, or take a little adventure in a canoe or kayak. The water fun doesn’t stop with just the river, you can run on over and cannonball into our outdoor swimming pool. The pool is the perfect place to plunk yourself on one of those 90 degrees’ summer days. Whether you’re 9 months or 90 years old you will enjoy the pool.

Take advantage of all the green summer brings and hit the 9-hole golf course. Multiple tournaments are put on each summer here. A great benefit is that golf is free for members at TCCOM. In addition to a golf course, TCCOM has pickle ball, basketball, and tennis courts. If that wasn’t enough to keep you busy, you could also play some bocce ball. Minnesota weather can be so unpredictable all year round, which is great for a good conversation starter, but for those rainy days we have quilting and crafts to do as well.

End the day sitting around the campfire. Throw a hotdog or s’more on for supper and desert and call it a perfect day. We are lucky to live in such a great state and be surrounded by such great people. With the summer season approaching, there is no shortage of benefits that TCCOM has to offer.

How to Become a Snowbird before the Age of Retirement

“Winter Weather Advisory,” “Snow Expected,” “Winter Storm Watch,” “Snow Emergency”—if you’re from Minnesota, you’ve seen these types of notifications on your mobile device as you prepare for the work day. We live in an area on the globe that isn’t great for people who’ve gotten tired of the snow and below freezing temperatures. A great option is to become a snowbird. However, many don’t think they can do that before retirement. In reality, it is possible. There are a number of things to consider when deciding to become a snowbird; relocating is just the tip of the iceberg. The main concerns with becoming a snowbird are usually associated with finances and housing.

Finances

If you’re looking to become a snowbird before the age of retirement, finances and the workforce are going to be concerns of yours. The financial apprehensions surrounding heading south for the winter can be concerning for people considering this lifestyle. Obviously, changing locations halfway through the year is going to affect your income but, there are ways to prepare for that challenge. If your career choice allows you the ability to work from home, this is an ideal option for snowbirds looking to fly south. The freedom of working from home allows you to take your work with you when you go. This means there’s no interruption to your cash flow. Telecommuting or working remotely at your current job might be an option as well. It can’t hurt to check with your boss!

 

If working from home isn’t an option, having two seasonal jobs could work for you. Often, working in a retail setting allows you the freedom to work seasonally. Those types of jobs are always hiring and the winter months mean peak holiday shopping, even in warmer climates!

 

Another option is checking into working at a resort in one of the Sunbelt states you’re considering migrating to! Many times, people working at the resort will get discounted rates. This could solve the housing issues of becoming a snowbird too!

In addition, you don’t have to start out as a “full-time” snowbird. Just dip your toe in and get away for a month during the winter as a starting point. This will allow you to try the lifestyle out before you decide whether or not to make the change permanent.

Housing

Another issue associated with living in two locations is the actual living situation. There are a few options that could work if you’re not at that retirement age. One option is renting in both locations. Many apartment complexes have leasing options that include shorter-term living.

 

If you already own a home, renting it out while you’re gone could be a good option. Airbnb is another great choice if your home can be marketed as a vacation destination. Believe it or not, some people want to travel to the cold and your empty home could be a nice spot. This is especially good if you have family in the area that can look after and clean up the house between guests. This will provide additional income while you’re away and will supplement income if you end up renting a spot in the warmer location—not to mention the business tax deductions you could take.

However you decide to do it, if you take care of financing and housing, becoming a snowbird before the age of retirement doesn’t seem like such a daunting feat. It can be a great option for people suffering from seasonal depression or those who just hate the cold. If you plan correctly, it is absolutely possible to become a snowbird before the age of 65 in preparation for your final retirement.

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Great jobs for Snowbirds

Some snowbirds go back and forth between the same seasonal jobs every year. Others try new adventures and move around every season. The great thing is that there is an abundance of seasonal work opportunities that snowbirds can tap into. Here are just a few of the many opportunities available to snowbirds.

 

Campground Host

Campground hosts, or workampers, manage campgrounds across the country. In exchange for a free site to pitch a tent or park an RV they perform small tasks – greet guests, answer questions, do routine maintenance, light cleaning, and possibly collect campground fees. It’s an easy job that anyone who enjoys traveling, living outdoors, and not paying a mortgage can do. You can commit for a season or only for a few weeks, but you always get to move on to someplace that’s just as cool as the last.

Campground hosts can find jobs by contacting parks or RV campsites. Check with state and government groups like the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, or the US Forest Service. Also look into jobs with private companies like KOA, Recreation Resource Management or Aramark. These companies employ a large number of campground hosts across the country. Private companies are more likely to pay you for your services, while a government site will want volunteers.

 

Pet Sitter

Do you consider yourself to be a dog lover? Are you willing to welcome a stranger’s dog into your home? Would you prefer to leave your 9 to 5 job, have a flexible schedule, and get paid to play with dogs? If you answered yes to any of these, then it’s time to find a job in the peer-to-peer pet sitting niche.

By using specific smartphone apps such as Rover or DogVacay, Pet owners can search for pet sitters by zip code or location. They can browse pet sitter profiles that highlight experience, property type, dog details, certifications, rates, services, and other information. Then they select the best person for the job, coordinate further arrangements via the app or website, and drop off their dog. Anyone can do it – students, retirees, stay-at-home moms, freelancers, families, and dog lovers. It’s easy to work part-time, full-time, or whenever you want. There is never any pressure to work, but the more you work, the more you can make.

 

Resort Employee

Resorts of all shapes and sizes across the Sunbelt increase their staff during winter months. You might find work in any number of capacities, from bartender or gardener to parking valet or room cleaner. If you love golf, there might be openings in the pro shop or as a groundskeeper. Boaters should check out marinas for odd jobs. Gambling fans can investigate Gulf Coast casinos. Fitness professionals such as massage therapists and Pilates instructors may find seasonal jobs with a resort’s spa operations.

 

Seasonal Retail

Most malls and retail outlets need extra hands during the holiday season and if you’re a pro at customer service, pop into stores you think you’ll enjoy working and ask about opportunities. Lots of local businesses and stand-alone chains need additional help through the holidays and sometimes beyond, and you may be able to land a gig super close to home by broadening your search.

 

Restaurant Staff

The food and beverage industry covers a wide variety of restaurants. They cover different menus, preparation styles, prices, atmospheres, and goals. From fine dining to fast food, nearly everyone goes out to enjoy a restaurant once in a while. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry that has been successful for centuries. Yes, restaurants come and go, but people are always looking for a good meal, some snacks, or a cup of coffee.

 

If there are restaurants near you, you can find jobs like these. You can also find these jobs at most restaurants around the world. Lodges, resorts, casinos, hotels, national parks, cruise ships, franchise restaurants, grocery stores, airports, and fine dining establishments are always in need of people like you.

A Great Packing List for First-Time Snowbirds

What to pack, store or leave behind is a huge issue when deciding to head South for the winter. We advise creating a list of essentials beforehand.  However, many people often forget. So, we’ve provided one for you!

  1. Bring all of your important documents.

Packing all of your important documents is essential in the case of an emergency or simply to help clear up any of those little life problems that can happen anywhere. Documents to bring include insurance policies (health, car, home, rental, and any other insurance you have), tax documents for preparing your tax return, and any medical history and list of pharmaceuticals you may use (see #2 below). It also means anything relating to your home and your home away from home, including leases and utility information.

Also, make sure you have your bank cards, checkbook and contact information for important people (e.g. your landlord, handyman, neighbors, doctor and dentist, emergency contact, etc.) in your winter location as well as back home. By scanning or taking photos of key documents, you can save some space and avoid ruining some of the most valuable papers in your life. Save them on a secure software program so you can access them with your digital devices wherever you are.

2. Be proactive about your prescriptions

Prescriptions can get complicated when you travel. For example, if you have a prescription for Schedule II drugs — which generally include opioid painkillers, steroids or drugs that may cause dependence — it may be tough to get your prescription refilled out-of-state. Schedule III, IV and V drugs, on the other hand, can often be filled at any pharmacy if your doctor faxes a prescription. If possible, consider coordinating the transfer of your pharmacy provider from up north to down south before you leave.

Paying is where things vary. If you have insurance through a national provider network, the answer to whether or not your coverage carries over to a different state is usually “yes.” If you have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, the answer is “probably.” If you use Medicare, things get fuzzier and you may need supplemental insurance to be safe. AARP has a good checklist on out-of-state Medicare issues you should look over.

It’s easiest if you just discuss this with your pharmacist when packing and planning. If you can legally purchase a long-term supply of your prescription drugs before leaving, you can cross medicine off of your packing list and avoid living in fear that you may be without your meds.

3. Consider your hobbies

Whether you’ll be passing your time in the same ways you do at home or using your new location as an opportunity to try out different hobbies and entertainment options, figure out what supplies you’ll need to bring with you. It may be that equipment can be easily rented or bought where you’re heading. If not, you’ll have to pack your own. Think about whether you’ll want specific books, arts, craft supplies or kitchen gadgets as well.

This will also include items for the road like MP3 players, laptops, books, games, and puzzles. If you plan on reading a lot on the way or after arrival, you should consider adding a tablet or e-reader to your packing list. Amazon’s 8GB Kindle Fire, for example, can hold over 6,000 books, saving you a little room. Also, don’t forget any recreational items like fishing poles, hiking gear, golf clubs, sporting goods, exercise gear and tennis or Pickleball racquets.

 

4. Don’t forget your chargers

Phones, laptops, cameras, and the like are obviously important, but in the bustle of packing, don’t neglect the chargers, cords, and extra batteries that keep your electronics going. Yes, you can almost certainly buy replacements for these things, but it’s easier to avoid the inconvenience and costs by packing them in the first place.

How to be a snowbird: Tips and Tricks to retire in style

Seasonal migration offers the best of both worlds. It gives you the opportunity to keep ties to your family and friends while also enjoying a change in scenery during seasons you’d rather avoid. While being a snowbird is great, it can come with certain challenges that must be overcome. Here are some tips on what to consider helping ensure that you retire successfully as a snowbird.

Where should you go?

This is a very personal decision because you must consider what type of person you are. Think about what you like to do and where you like going. Do you prefer going to shows and eating out, or would you rather enjoy the outdoors and grill your food? It’s important to think about these things to ensure you’re comfortable where you’re staying and to find a place where the people living there enjoy the same things as well. With an abundance of locations to choose from across the nation, it becomes easier to find a place that you’ll thoroughly enjoy for part of the year.

How long should you stay?

This really goes hand in hand with the first question. Where you choose to go for your second home, and where you’re coming from, will determine how long you should, or could stay. If you’re coming from the North to avoid the winters, which is usually the case, around 6 months is about the average time snowbirds stay south. This provides ample time to enjoy the beautiful summer season in the north while avoiding the colder weather during winters. If the season of concern is a month early or late, it’s common to change to a 5/7 month schedule as well. Be flexible so you can enjoy the season how you want to spend it.

Should you fly or drive?

Sometimes driving is really just not worth the hassle. If it’s looking like you’d have to drive multiple days to reach your second home, you may want to consider flying. Many times, snowbirds find a good place to store their vehicles, disconnect the battery, and leave it behind for the season. It really depends on the costs of each. Calculate how much it’d cost to drive versus fly and choose the cheaper alternative. This is your first step in saving money throughout the year.

Take care of your mail

The post office will forward mail with a beginning and end date, making it easier to continuously receive your mail.

Turn off everything

This means water and everything electrical. Make absolutely sure that nothing is leaking, even the smallest leak will add up over several months. Also turn off the water heater if you have one as the tank will burn when the water has run out. Water damage can be expensive; this’ll create some piece of mind when you’re gone. When unplugging electrical appliances, unplug everything. Even if you don’t think it’d take much juice, just like water, it can definitely add up in cost over several months and no one wants to come back home to ridiculous expenses when they weren’t even there.

Think of your services

Most services such as TV, internet, phone, and garbage can be turned to a “vacation/hibernation” setting. When done, the services will be stalled and unable to use but you won’t be disconnected entirely. All you have to do when returning is make a call to turn everything back on and you’re good to go. There may be small fees with using this setting but it’s often much more costly to leave the services on or to restart the service when returning. The vacation setting is definitely something to look into and can save you a good sum of money.

Make it look like you’re home

Alarm systems are good to have but are intended to go off when a thief arrives to your home. It’s a good idea to make it look like someone is living there so no one thinks it’d be easy to rob. Leave the blinds open a crack, decorate the front door before leaving, or tell your delivery person not to leave a pile at your door so it’s not obvious. Also try to get some neighbors or relatives to check on your house every now and again to ensure all is well there.

With all of these tips and things to consider, you should have a good idea on what you’ll need to know when deciding to become a snowbird and retire in style living the life that you want.

If you’d like to see how Travelers Country Club on the Mississippi could fit into your retirement plans, just give us a call at: 320-743-3133, email us at: tccomoffice@gmail.com, or check out our website at: www.travelerscconmiss.com.

Most affordable snowbird destinations for 2018

While many snowbirds plan their yearly trip around an exact location of preference, many others are less concerned with where and more concerned on how. At TCCOM, our summer residents  care about more than the lowest cost and cheapest rentals. For us and our residents, value is where it’s at. Here are some of the most affordable places to go to avoid the Minnesota winter weather.

Clearwater, FL

Clearwater offers a great value in vacation rentals in addition to thriving downtown nightlife and popular shopping district. Clearwater is perfect for snowbirds looking for a place to return to on a yearly basis, as the city’s rapid growth means that there will be something new to explore every time you visit.

 

 

 

 

San Antonio, TX

With a super low cost of living and an unusually high inventory of apartments and short-term leasing options available downtown, this major south-central Texan town is a natural pick for snowbirds looking to spend a little less. The area has even got plenty of attractions to entertain the kids and grandkid with, including its rich colonial heritage at the infamous Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk.

 

 

 

 

Green Valley, AZ

Green Valley is a huge community of developments in the southern part of Arizona with nearby hiking and even birding spots in the Santa Rita mountains. Of course, this is a hotspot for retirees looking for top conveniences and amenities such as golf courses, fitness centers, and swimming pools all at a great value.

 

 

 

 

Overland Park KS

This Midwestern suburb of Kansas City is very affordable with a very low average rent for a two-bedroom apartment. There are some cities with moderate climates worth considering for quality snowbird retirement living. It’s not all about golf and beaches; it can also be about shopping and cultural attractions, which Overland Park has in abundance.

 

 

 

 

Las Cruces, NM

Las Cruces lies 50 minutes north of El Paso, Texas, which is enough to get you out of the Lone Star State and into the quintessential New Mexico high desert landscape. It’s also a snowbird fave, as many have decided to settle down in this southern New Mexico area that happens to sit on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, at the foot of the Organ Mountains, and along the banks of the Rio Grande.