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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This one is Gerry.….Hes been here since 1980 and was on Johnny Carson.
This one is Allison, she arrived in 2005 and has rudder attached to her back. She is missing 3 of her 4 flippers.
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.
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.
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…..
This was a sleeping Alligator. Or at least he looked like it. He never moved.
This was a beautiful walk out to the pier. This was all shallow water full of crab, fish snails and ducks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was windy but so pretty. Behind us was a number of houses on a hill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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….