Connie, Tammy and the Kids Last Days of Vacation…….Part 4

Now that Tina and the kids had left, things quieted down a bit.  I took a day to take Connie site seeing and shopping.  Our first stop was the Museum of Arts and Heritage.  It contains the actual house belonging to the founder of Harlingen, Lon C Hill.  Also their was the first Hospital of Harlingen and the Stage Coach Stop that was moved in from several miles out in the country.  Then on to the Iwo Jima Memorial.20190418_1158548738467382576573432.jpg

This is such an impressive site to see.  It is the original first sculpture.  It is the clay cast that was made to mold the bronze Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC.  It was a picture that was taken by an AP news photographer, of 4 soldiers raising the flag of the United States at the battle of Iwo Jima against the Japanese in WW II.  It was later in years made into a sculpture to honor our soldiers in battle. 20190418_1159311359531357824814867.jpg

One of the flag raisers was Corporal Harlon H Block, just a young man from  a little town west of here, Weslaco Texas.  He is buried at this site.  20190418_1208047820625982269052270.jpg

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Little did he know he would be killed in battle 3 days later.  This sculpture was given to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen for several reasons.  1.  The Marine Military Academy was across the street.  2.  The street in between was already called Iwo Jima Blvd.  3.  Harlon Block was a home town boy.  It arrived on 10 semi flat beds in 1981 and was reconstructed.  In between the sculpture and the Military Academy lies a beautiful parade grounds used by the Academy for Military Parades.  Many visitors from Harlingen as well as far away including the students families come to view the Parades.  Nearby is a small but wonderful Museum filled with a wealth of historical memorabilia from World War II.  Also we seen a 32 minute black and white slide show, many actual shots of the Battle of Iwo Jima.  I never get tired of watching it.  It is so impressive and informative as to the reality of the war.

We drove across the street and slowly drove thru the Marine Military Academy.  I showed Connie the dorms, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Class rooms and many others.  The school is a private college preparatory academy for classes 7th – 12th.  It is extremely expensive to attend therefore I have been told the average stay for a student is 2 years.  If the student attends all 6 years, they will likely graduate with an entrance into West Point or any other High ranking college, graduating with a very high rank.  Next we went shopping.  Amongst others Connie wanted to do Burlington Coat Factory.  First time for me.  We seen lots of bargain stuff.  I bought Carly an outfit.20190418_1711324737293413788877434.jpg

Of course we found something else.  This cool unicorn trunk to put stuff in.  We also went back to the Island to the new Sea Turtle Inc.  They rescue and treat the injured and keep the ones that cannot be rereleased in the waters.  It is a new building with a number of huge tanks for the ones that have found their forever home.20190419_1307384700962464836390273.jpg

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This one is Gerry.….Hes been here since 1980 and was on Johnny Carson.

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This one is Allison, she arrived in 2005 and has rudder attached to her back.  She is missing 3 of her 4 flippers. 20190419_1340591719390303973342248.jpg

Their was a very interesting display on the garbage that is found in the ocean waters and how dangerous it is to animals.  So much plastic is thrown overboard or washed out to sea.  The turtles think it is food and take bites.  It is so dangerous for them to ingest.

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The girls found a tank with a bubble in the bottom.  They crawled in from underneath.  It looked like they were in the tanks.  From their we went to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.20190419_1437415067563501753533916.jpg

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It is a beautiful place full of birds, butterflies, and some alligators.  Its trails are all boardwalks that are built above the ground.  The birds, gators and wildlife have so much area to roam and be free and we are above them and…..SAFE…..20190419_1458192968984700477143471.jpg

This was a sleeping Alligator.  Or at least he looked like it.  He never moved.

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This was a beautiful walk out to the pier.  This was all shallow water full of crab, fish snails and ducks. 20190419_1515471042480478050570140.jpg

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Such a beautiful view of the bridge coming from Port of Isabel to the island in the distance.  On the walk we seen several turtles.  They loved to dig in the mud. 20190419_1552485231534597102920834.jpg

Many bird watchers were their with their binoculars.  The area was full of lush foliage that was a home and haven for birds and wildlife.  We came across 1 more pier and found another sleeping alligator.  He was right next to the post and never moved.  He was much smaller than the other one.20190419_1603116609505219380753557.jpg

Finally after a full day, time to head home.  The next day we took off to Boca Chica Beach again.  Tammy loves that place because she can drive down the beach in her jeep.  We went through Brownsville and past the Border Patrol check point, past Space X again and right down to the beach entrance.  I wouldn’t let her go south as that was Mexico.  So we went north on the beach.  It was such a beautiful day.  I had also checked the Tide report.  I certainly didn’t want to be marooned on the beach.  We drove 4 or 5 miles on the beach, watched the ocean waves beside us, passing  vehicles fishing and grilling out.  Just enjoying a fun day of sun and water.  We approached the end and found ourselves in front of the Port Of Brownsville inlet.  Just across from us was South padre Island.

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It was so pretty.  We parked the Jeep and climbed up the big concrete/stone retaining wall.  Right in front of us was South Padre Island and one of the Dolphin Watch Cruises.

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It was windy but so pretty.  Behind us was a number of houses on a hill.

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These houses do not have any utilities to them.  They are all owned by private owners.  All water has to be trucked in from Brownsville.  They all require generators for power.  We are told when you take the Dolphin tours that if these houses are ever demolished in a hurricane, the government will not let them be rebuilt.  They don’t want them their.  So far they seem to be fine.  What a great Vacation home away from civilization.  But I bet the weather is brutal at times.  It gets the direct wind and rain from the Gulf.  We turned around and started driving back slowly.  Tammy, Connie and Carly started walking the beach while I drove the Jeep.

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It was so beautiful watching them walk, listening to the waves roll in from the ocean.  The wind blew and the sea gulls swooped and fly from the shore line to up in the air, chasing anything that looked like food. 20190419_1911514184852462720873849.jpg

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I came upon a log that had been washed to shore.  It had apparently been submerged for a long time.  It was full of barnacles that had attached to it.  I had never seen them before.  Pretty interesting. 20190419_191923165950046638024157.jpg

It was nearing time to go.  We still had to go over and visit my friend Gail Rollo.  She has written a series of Childrens books.  I bought Carly one last year and now her and Tammy wanted to purchase one for her First grade Class.

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Gail was so Happy to see us and Carly Gail dedicated a book to the first grade class.  Carly was so excited.  She read the whole book to Gail and all of us.

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She really reads well for only first grade.  Gail has just released her 2nd book in the series.  Its called …..”Gorilla of My Dreams”……Its a dream she had as a little girl and has never forgotten it.  She has self published her books and they are available on Amazon as well as many book stores.  She is an ….”Awesome”….. lady.  You can also check her out on Facebook as well as Amazon.  Finally it was Easter Sunday and time for them to go.  We went to Golden Corral for Breakfast.  When we came home guess who had been their…The Easter Bunny…

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Carly was so happy.  She thought the Easter Bunny might miss her.  She got her bag and started collecting all her eggs and surprises.  The Easter Bunny left Cassidy her new hair iron that she has been wanting.  Now they had to pack.  You  would never believe all the stuff they had to pack.  The little trailer was so loaded down.  They had bought so much, including bags of fruit.  They also brought back the things Tina had bought that she couldn’t put on the plane. 20190421_1251364733610969203983122.jpg

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Finally it was time for them to leave.  Their was just enough room the kids to sit.  After Hugs and Good Byes they took off loaded to the hilt.  24 hours later they pulled into home again.  I can’t imagine driving with her,  packed in tight like the kids were, but it is what they do.….lol….. and Connie survived….

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“GET IN THE CAR CONNIE !!!!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Beautiful Day at South Padre Island…..

 

Today is Saturday….Day of Play…lol…Guess that’s every day though isn’t it.   We decided to go to South Padre Island with Cici and Larry, our neighbors.  We’ve heard so many people talk about the island so we have been anxious to go.  We of course had to go up to the South Hall and have our Sat. morning breakfast of biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon or sausage and pancakes.  After we ate, we all walked back and left for the island about an hour later.  Its only about 45 minutes to Paradise…….lol….On the way we passed through a town that turned out to be the home of Freddy Fender…..Would you believe it was San Benito, right up the road,  where I bought my Western dressing at Walmart…lol….Anyway, they had the info on the water tower.  Freddy Fender was a Country singer, who died in 2006.  Two of his hits were  Wasted Days and Wasted Nights…..and Before the Next Teardrop Falls…..

Not to much farther we arrived at Port Isabel…

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The Queen Isabella Causeway is the second longest bridge in Texas at 2.37 miles long.  It is the only bridge connecting Port Isabel mainland with the Island.  It also carries all the fiber optics for electrical service.  South Padre Island is at its widest point is a mile and a half wide and has 34 miles of beach’s.  Our first stop was the visitor center.

Fabulous Sand Castle….Then on to Sea Turtle Inc.   At Sea Turtle Inc., our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.  We seen many turtles who had been rescued and are now permanent residents and some that are being rehabilitated to be released.

The first turtles we seen were in a huge pool.  Merry Christmas and Allison.  Merry Christmas was rescued in the late 1980s on Christmas Eve.  She will not be released due to some genetic defects.  She is the largest female sea turtle resident and is very friendly.  Allison is an Atlantic Green Sea Turtle.  She survived a predator attack on 2005.  She only had one remaining flipper.  She would swim in circles until in 2009, they designed a prosthesis for a rudder.  That enabled her to swim with her one flipper, but she will never be released.  She is a permanent resident also.  She is now on her 5th version of her prosthesis.  She has been featured in People Magazine, Discovery Channel and Today Show.   They were so awesome to watch.  They were together and needed a babysitter to watch them.  Merry Christmas likes to crowd Allison sometimes and hang on to her rudder.  She has had it pulled off.  Then an intern is called and has to go into the water and pull her to the surface and put it back on.  The sea turtles also need air to survive and if Allison looses her rudder she may not be able to surface.   She is allowed swim time for a certain amount of hours in a day, and then she has her own little tank to go in that is shallow and safe.

The next resident we met was Gerry.  He is in the largest tank their (20,000gallons) and Has a glass in the side for interaction from people and also be fed lettuce.    We all took our turns holding the lettuce in front so he could see it and then toss it up and over into the tank.   Gerry loves lettuce.  He eats over 500 heads of lettuce a year.  He is used as an educational turtle.   Gerry is world famous and has met Johnny Carson and David Letterman.  This is a fabulous place to see.  They are on fb and are in the process of  raising funds to build a much large educational center and hospital.

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Next we went to the beach and just walked a bit.   It was a beautiful day.  Not a lot of people out, but it is really off season right now.  There best time of the year is Spring Break and of course summer.10846952_10203076641904633_1738863518_n

 

Our last stop was Birding and Nature Center.  It is situated on 50 acres of land.  It is their natural habitats, consisting of trees, streams, waterfalls, and marsh and sand dunes.  It has an elevated walkway through the areas all the way to the shore line and back.  We didn’t stay long, but we will be going back.  While their Cici and I went in and went to the top and took a few pics.10841522_10203076678025536_445482398_n

 

 

10841651_10203076671945384_2114704748_n      Of course by that time my phone died.   lol  We did see a huge gator sunning himself.  (Pic #2)  I thought he was fake but Cici said she seen it move.   Thought she was seeing things but finally…..She was right….He yawned….Later after we walked out, Rich and Larry had talked to someone, and we found out, that was the big daddy gator.   If we had taked the walkway around to the other side, we would have found the mom and 5 babys.   She had hatched 35, but daddy was hungry I guess.  They have him separated now.  This is a great place to go back to and just walk the boardwalk.  We also forgot our binoculars.  We did see many birds and butterflies.

 

I,m going to add just a few more pics.   Some homes and the water tower.  After that we were all so hungry, we stopped at an Italian Restaurant for sandwich’s and then headed home.   Now we have lots and LOTS of pamphlets for the next trip.   and Their will sure be one…….