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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Busy January at Eastgate….

January has been a very busy month.  It has been also a very cold month.  Usually we only have a few cold days that reach maybe in the 40s but mostly 50s, 60s, and 70,s.  This year it has been very cold.  Several times it reached into the low 30,s for several days.  We’ve lost many of our flowers.  We had a good frost that killed many.  They say its been the worst in many years.20180211_054906.jpg

We did a tour to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen.  We have done this before, but I feel it is such an important part of Harlingen to share every year.  This is a private academy that can house up to 200 students. The cost is $20,000 a semester.  An average student will spend only 2 years here because of the cost for the parents.  Those who attend all the grades will almost be guaranteed entrance to a top college in the nation.  The curriculum is military style with a focus on academics.  Sports are also offered but no vocational courses.

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Marching to the Cafeteria

They have a very strict daily plan for the students.  They have a daily dress code and march in units.   They live in barracks and have a counselor family also living in each housing unit to watch over them and take care of their needs.  It is a very impressive place.  We boarded their bus, toured the grounds including the gymnasium, weight room,  library, rec center,  auditorium and and finally the cafeteria.  We ate, watched the kids march in formation and then they bussed us back to the Iwo Jima Museum parking lot.  It is the home of the Original Iwo Jima Memorial.  20180122_125212.jpg

It is the cast that made the Iwo Jima Memorial that sits in Washington DC. at Arlington Cemetery.  It is such an honor that it was installed in Harlingen.  It is across the street from the Academy and the back drop for the Academy’s Dress Parades.  They also have a wonderful Museum on the grounds.  It is also the burial site of Corporal Harlon Block, who was one of the flag raisers who’s picture was captured that fateful day.  He was killed in action several days later.  He was from Weslaco which is only about 10 miles from Harlingen.

Our next event was going to the Border Patrol for a Informational Presentation.   The Canadians had to have papers filled out 2 weeks prior to the date.  They said they use to take people back to the housing areas, but not any more.   We were taken to a large room where they hold their meetings etc.  20180125_111638.jpg

At the front of the room were 4 empty chairs.  They were in Memorial to 4 of the Officers from Harlingen that have been killed.  Their name is engraved and also notice the tree on the side holding a pair of empty boots, a gun holster and a hat.  Very moving.

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They held a slide show and gave us so much factional information.  The hot spot of the Rio Grande Valley is in McAllen.  The amount of family’s, men, women and children that have crossed over is astounding.   They are coming to the Park on March 4 to give their talk again.  Their was so much info and facts.  So many people had wanted to come, and the limit was 30, so I decided to have them come and give the same presentation.   Hopefully I can retain some of the facts to pass on.  It was interesting though, the highest quarter for illegal’s was the quarter just before Trumps election.  They thought they wouldn’t get over after he was in office.

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Entrance to Hotel….Concrete tree stumps.  Schlitterbahn has a very rustic appereance.

Next we had the Winterfest Concert in South Padre Island at Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park.  I sold tickets for this event which qualified Rich and I free entrance.  They also had a 3 day special for a Dinner Show the nite before, Winterfest, and then a Matinee Dinner performance the following day.  All in all, 3 nites at the hotel.  Many went, but Rich and I chose to spend the just 1 nite.  The Dinner Show that nite was “Mirage, Visions of Fleetwood Mac”.  They were based out of L.A.  They were very good.  The next day was the Winterfest.  Live music on stage started at 10 am and continued till 5 pm.  We were also given a Shrimp or Fish Basket from the Shrimp Haus.

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We seen some great performances.  Many people from all over the Valley came to enjoy the entertainment.20180131_103735.jpg

Here is some of our Eastgate group.   I can see about 12 here….It was hard to get everyone.  We were so scattered around.  Total I believe , just from our park was about 24 people.  As we were watching the musical groups, we seen a zip line out of the corner of our eyes.  We walked over and the line was getting longer.  Only $5….Wow….Sure I’ll go.  Many of the people from our park were in line.  I found a partner, Laura from our park.  Rich came over also and went with Gaylon.  It is a zip line that 2 of you sit in 2 seats and are strapped in.  It is called the Soaring Eagle…Soaring-Eagle-Zip-Line-Mooresville-Indiana-6-of-7-1024x683

No place for your feet, just hanging freely.  So the only thing keeping you in is the seat belt.  As I was in line, our friend Ron asked me if I wanted to use his Go Pro camera…..Wow…Sure…He had a short tripod that wraps around your hand.  So finally my turn.  I was excited but also a little scared.  After you are strapped in, it is pulled backwards quite a ways up to the top of a pole.  You stop for about maybe 5 seconds and then start your descent going 30 miles an hour till you get to the end.  Then the brakes are applied and you stop abruptly.  I describe it as a jet landing on an air craft carrier and it is stopped by the hook.  So finally my turn.  Now I didn’t realize that with the camera on my right hand, I also got into the right side.  I now had no place to hang on to.  I also didn’t realize, my seatbelt was not tight.  Their was a lot of play.  Finally we started going backwards up the line…..zip line 2

We were almost to the top and I was feeling like I was going to fall out…All most at the top, it jerked you about 3 or 4 times.  Each time I thought I was falling. ….. OMG…..But the View from the Top was…..ASTONISHING BEAUTIFUL…The island looked so small.   What a View.  I still had the Go Pro wrapped around my right hand with nothing to hold on to.  I tried panning it around to get it on video.  Then all of a sudden we were falling….faster and faster towards the ground.  We came closer and closer and then I could see the end of the line….The platform where we loaded and at the end of the line????  The I-Beam holding up the zip line.  If it did not stop….It would be a DIRECT HIT to the I-Beam….In those last seconds, all my thoughts were, when the brakes went on, I would fly forward and slip out of the seat belt….So at the last minute…The hand with the camera came down and grabbed the seat…..And we stopped really very easy…..lol..lol…OMG….It was a crazy ride.   Many of you have probably seen the Video, It is on FB on my Time Line….So I got out and Rich was next….Him and Gaylon climbed on board and took the ride.  Now he really enjoyed it and wasn’t scared.  He also made them strap him in tight….So Would I do it Again???    Yes I sure would…..It was AWESOME...Now I will show you my Awful picture…..

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….In the corner, you can see the overlay of us at the end near the top of the pole…

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The next day I had to get up early.  We had a SegWay Tour back down at Port Isabel.   We ended up with 2 groups because we had 10 people.  We held one at 10 am and then another at 1 pm.  It was an absolutely Beautiful day.20180201_120705.jpg

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The temperature was in the low 80’s and hardly any wind, and the water and sky was beautiful shades of blue.  2 more weeks and we will be doing SegWay on the Beach at Padre……20180204_175349.jpg

Next affair was the Super Bowl PartyRich and I are in charge of that.  I have a budget to go by.  Rich cooked around 50 lbs. of pork and pulled it.

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We had smokies, shrimp, nachos and cheese, veggies and dip, sausage cheese and crackers and a Keg of beer.  I decorated with balloons from the ceiling in team colors, and made megaphones from construction paper for center pieces.  Everyone also brought a snack to share ….

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I had collected 27 door prizes to give away including 2 Director Chairs from the park owner.   They all had a great time…..Most of the beer was gone, and food too…..Everyone was happy.20180209_120500.jpg

Our last event we just had was our Ladies Luncheon with our 2nd Annual Style Show.  Everyone brought a dish for the food table.  Their was so many wonderful homemade dishes.20180209_124311.jpg

The desserts were out of this world.  Everyone filled their plates, and when we were done we still had so much food.  Finally the Style Show portion.  Last year we chose 3 stores that were in different towns.  They were rather elite stores that are a little pricy.  This year, they choose local stores that were more practical in style and price.

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The first one was Cato’s.  They had some really nice items for everyday.  The ladies had so much fun doing this….20180209_133346.jpg

The next store is Quelles Boutique down town Harlingen.  The modeled many items that were so inexpensive and yet so unique.  Its really a great store that I need to go and check out.  She carries new as well as gently used.  It sounds very interesting to see.  So that has been my month….So so busy…..soon it will be almost over……April 1 is officially the end of the season when everyone is going or has gone back north….

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A Beautiful Day in Port Isabel looking over the Bay to South Padre Island