Kids are Coming….Tina & The Kids Flew in First…….Part 1

Several weeks ago, a number of the family came down.  It was a Fabulous 10 days We crammed so much into such a short time.  Last fall Tammy and Tina decided to come down during Spring Break.  Tammy brought Cassidy and CarlyCameron had to work and he also Graduated from EMT Basic.  He is an adult now, so adult rules apply….lol… Tina brought Miley and Austin.  Ed had to work.  Aunt Connie (Rich’s Sister), decided to come with Tammy.  We waited a long time for this.  Tina and the kids and Connie had never been here before.facebook_15568880698765066574729503143414.jpg

Tina arrived on Wed.  Her and the Kids flew into the Valley International Airport which is only a mile from us.  Frontier Airlines started flying nonstop from Chicago O’hare  last fall.  Tina was able to by 3 round trip tickets, for around $400.  That includes an extra charge for the seats, so they could all sit together.  The drawback was no carry on, only a small back pack.  Everything else would be an extra charge.  So they all layered up their clothes….That is a Phenomenal price….Especially for non stop…

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The kids hadn’t flown before so they were so excited.   Aunt Beth (Ed’s Sister), drove them to Chicago.  Its probably at least a 2 hour + ride.  Beth and Ed will be babysitting poor little DeeDee.  It will be the first time her mom and kids leave her for a week.  The flight down was only a little over 3 hours.  We watched the plane on the Flight App on the phone.  Pretty cool.  You can tell exactly where they are, when they land.  We went to the Airport just before they landed.  They have just remodeled  the airport and it is really beautiful.  Small but very nice and easy to get around.  They arrived right on time.   From cold weather to 85 degrees in 3 hours.

They were so excited to be here.  We left and came straight home so they could take off some of their layers of clothes….We put them in a rental for the week where they would have space.  The trailer is a 2 bed, 2 bath.  Tina and the kids would have one bedroom and Connie would have the other one when they came.20190504_0735472891828742097800470.jpg

We gave them a tour of the park.  Of course the kids had to take turns driving the golf cart.  We went past the pool and spa’s, and then went and ate supper at a Mexican Restaurant, Vegas Café, and stopped at the Dollar Store to pick up some essentials on the way back home. facebook_15568885783095479797923792054485.jpg

Of course we had to enjoy the spa that is about 20 feet from us across the fence.  After a nice relaxing evening, sitting out, we all went to bed.  Thursday we went to Progresso Mexico.  This would also be a first for Tina.  In recent weeks, their has been news articles that President Trump would close all borders.  All the illegals are crossing in the thousands and looking for asylum.  This particular border at Progresso really doesn’t have that much of a problem.  That is more west and in California.  Many of them are crossing the river here to sneak across, not at the bridges.  Here at the Progresso crossing they have installed large gates in the middle of the bridge for the cars as well as the Pedestrian traffic.  I was told they were for closing if the Caravans decided to rush the bridge all at one time.  But this illegal activity to the west is calling for more Border Patrol in other areas.  We were told they have taken around 300 agents and transferred them to other areas to help patrol and processing of illegals.  Now this is starting to cause a back up time coming back into the US.  So far we have only ever had a 2 hour wait to cross back.  Walking is usually fairly fast.  Maybe only a half hour.  facebook_15568884663625614373645679982511.jpg

After only a half hour drive from Harlingen, we crossed over in the car.  We always drive over anymore as we are getting to lazy to walk like many do.  lol…….We started shopping at all the little shops on the street.  The kids were very observant as to what they seen.  Many little kids were trying to sell items on the street.  Old men and women were sitting on the sidewalks shaking their cups for money.  We kept the kids close and held hands.  What we didn’t realize was that Austin was watching the little boys approaching people with their shoe shine kits.  They wanted to shine peoples shoes for a dollar or two.  This is causing an impression on him that i’ll write about later.  We came upon the man who paints pictures with spray cans.

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Austin was fascinated with him.  He painted a picture for him.  It was really amazing to watch how he painted.  The best part was watching Austin’s face.facebook_15568881788396038366823087900328.jpg

Of course Tina had to buy it.  It was only $20 which wasn’t to bad of a price.  Miley picked one out also.  The painter gave Tina a good deal on the 2nd one.facebook_15568881914266153448500970549651.jpg

We walked down to our favorite Pharmacy and introduced Jasmine the owner, to Tina.  It is amazing to a first timer to see all the different meds that are sold over the counter.  They are so cheap.  Many people including us buy all their meds in Mexico because of the price.   Its just like shopping at Walmart. facebook_15568882056764633303189266670436.jpg

We went to one of our favorite restaurants to eat lunch “Arturo’s”…..Its a very nice clean place to eat.  The waiters are all dressed up and prices are very reasonable.  So after much shopping and Tina looking at MK purses, we decided to leave and head for South Padre Island.  The wait line in the car to get out of Mexico wasn’t to bad at that time.  Maybe a hour to hour and a half.  After about a 45 minute drive, we finally arrived at Port Isabel…..queen-isabella-causeway-2874046372562694780.jpg

Now for the beautiful 2 mile long Queen Isabella Bridge crossing to South Padre Island.…It is the only crossing to get to the Island.  The Island isn’t very wide.  It has 1 main street lined with touristy shops and restaurants and a street on either side.  The side streets have either Bay or Gulf property and are lined with Condos, Hotels and Restaurants.  First we stopped at the Visitor Center to see the huge Sand Castle.   facebook_15568882516748162135186682069756.jpg

We headed to the beach for some fun.  Miley and Austin were having a blast.  We hadn’t intended on them getting wet, but they of course did anyway.  They were running up and down the beach.

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All of a sudden, Austin came running towards us.  Miley was behind but not running as fast.  More like a fast walk.  Austin said Miley got stung.  As Miley came up to us, she was crying.  She said she got stung by a Jellyfish.  It wrapped around her leg.  She felt something on her leg and thought it was seaweed.  She grabbed it and it felt like jelly.  As she squeezed it to pull it off, it started to sting her leg all the way around to the back.  She of course panicked as I would have also, and pulled it off and ran.

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As I looked down the beach a Beach Patrol truck was coming.  I stopped them and they checked out Mileys leg.  The said it was either a Moon Jellyfish or a Portuguese Man Of War.   …..Oh Yuck…..The life guard had some spray to help diminish the sting, but it would probably take up to 4 hours to go away.  Do NOT wash it with fresh water, only sea water.  If you use fresh water it could open up any of the poison cells that may still be attached to the leg.

That was the end of the beach for the day.  We went to Louies Backkyard to eat.  It is located on the Bay side of the Island.  We sat on the Patio area and enjoyed the evening as the sun started to set. facebook_15568883633436535587075356408699.jpg

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The view from their is so pretty.  The Catamaran “Southern Wave” had taken off for a sunset trip.  We had a great relaxing dinner and finally decided to head home…..
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It was really a long day.  Miley was feeling better but she could still feel the sting.  We did so much in one day.  Normally we would never do Mexico and the Island in one day.  The next day was Friday.  Now we would be waiting for Tammy, Connie and the kids to get here.  They left on Thursday after school was out.  Tammy believes in driving straight through which is almost 24 hours.  I think she is crazy, cause she probably wouldn’t let Connie drive and I was right.  Friday, we spent the day staying in touch with them during their drive.  We did some shopping and then it was pool time.  Tina wanted to start on her tan…..We went to the pool around 2pm.  Probably wasn’t the best time as that is the time set for the residents to congregate together and solve all the problems of the park.  As we approached with the kids, I could tell what they were thinking as they stared at us.  So I kept them in the shallow end while Tina laid in the sun.  I was talking with one of the lady’s and the others were looking toward the kids and getting excited.  They said, “look what they are doing”..….lol….I turned around and all they were doing was clearing out the box of noodles that we all use to float.  I told them to put them back…..Only 1 apiece….Some people seem to forget they were kids once, but it is a 55+ park….lol… Finally evening came, and sure enough less than 24 hours after leaving Illinois, Tammy, Connie and the kids pulled in…...So that’s a continuing story for the next blog….20190504_1110198368004227238005493.jpg

Look who’s here…...Carly and Cassidy..Tammy is pulling her new little teardrop camper with her red Jeep.….Here’s just a few more beautiful pictures from the island….

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Southern Wave” returning with their mast lights all lite up…..

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View from the patio deck of  “Louies Backyard”

 

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The Last Days With Friends…..Randy is Traveling….

 

The Park is almost empty of all the Winter Texans.  We’ve had a few more head north.  On Sunday we went to the Island with Cathy and Bud and Ann, Cathy’s sister.  Ann flew down from Canada to spend the last week with them.  They are all leaving Wednesday.  We ate at Dirty Al’s, at the Pelican Station in Port Isabel.

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It sits right on the Lagoon near the bridge that goes to South Padre Island.  It has a beautiful view through the windows of the bridge.

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You can also see the Dolphin Watching tour boats that are right down the street.  Sometimes you can even see the Dolphins from here swimming and jumping in the water.

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After we eat a wonderful dinner we decided to ask for Dessert…..Oh How SINFULLY Delicious it was. 

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The waiter and waitress were so nice, the took our pictures and had fun with us.  Just look at those yummy desserts.  Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, Pecan Pie with Ice Cream and chocolate syrup……Yes, We Left Full…..

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Last Friday we took a trip to Progresso which was also Cathy and Buds last for the season.  We walked around the streets and through some of the shops.  Bought some meds….(cheap)….eat dinner and stopped at Ponchos for a drink.  This girl is always on the streets trying to sell her jewelry.  She doesn’t speak English and is slow.  But she knows how to sell.  She know all the regulars and always hangs around.  Her name is Judy, although its spelled different in Spanish.  She calls Cathy and Bud her Mommy and Poppy.  But she also calls Glen her Poppy….I think she must call everyone that.  Last year, she hung around and wanted to carry my Piñata all the way to the border bridge.  Several of us gave her money and she was happy, but she still hangs around till you leave.  The last 2 times we have driven across now.  No more walking across the bridge.  But they get you for parking.   They find you a place and want money for watching your car.  You can also get a hand wash and wax for around $12.   It is a Good Deal.

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We had some fun trying on hats…..They always say…..”What you want Lady? It almost Free”  ……So another 2 days and they will leave for Canada.

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I also want to report on Randy the Reindeer….Remember him from Christmas?….Randy decided to head to Maryland with his Eastgate Parents Alice and Tom.  He has never met his family so he is heading east….He will proudly ride on the dash in his chair and see the sites of this great America.  You realize he has only seen it at nite with Santa, helping to pull the sleigh on Christmas Eve.  So this will be a GREAT EXPERIENCE for him.  We’ve had our first report from him.

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He went out shopping to buy appropriate Beach wear.  He has new sunglasses, swim trunks, even flip flops on his feet.  He has a visor on his head also to protect him.  But he still has that Margarita glass in his hand…..I think his parents will help him control his drinking problem though.  Alice and Tom are good people and they know what’s best for him……lol…

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Here is a really cool picture of him on the Beach.  They are at Galveston Island for April before they start heading north.  So I will be reporting on Randy every time he reports in….. So I will close with several pictures of friends gone north…..Everyone goes North ya know…..We are the most southern point of the USA…….If you look at the map, you will see we are almost in line with KEY WEST FLORIDA

…..You just can’t go any further south…

……..”See You All Next Year”……

Our Valentine Day Cruise at Padre….

On Fridays, we have Coffee and Donuts in the South Hall with a short program from an invited outside guest.  In early February, Breakaway Cruises from South Padre Island was invited.  They told us of all the cruises they offer, Dolphin Watch, The Thriller, Pirate Ship, Deep Sea and Bay Fishing, Port of Brownsville, and Dinner Cruises.  They were offering tickets at special prices.  Rich and I,  and Debby and Rick (park managers) decided to buy tickets for the special Valentines Day Dinner Cruise.  It would be a 2 hour cruise in the bay, not the Gulf side, with dinner on the top deck.  NICE…….

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On Saturday afternoon, we arrived around a half hour early for our 4 o’clock cruise.  It was such a beautiful day.  It seems like every time we had been to South Padre Island, it was overcast.  Today would be the most beautiful day we had ever been their……Sunshine and Warm…..We boarded the boat finally after we watched them load all the food and dinner supplies.  Usually this boats capacity is much more, but for this Dinner Cruise, they limited it to 25.  The tables were all set up on the top deck, with table cloths and Valentine decorations.

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This was a beautiful private boat, that was docked near ours.  Notice the bench’s on the upper part of the boat?….Just imagine cruising through the water sitting up their watching the sunset, feel the boat swaying to and fro,  and the wind blowing through your hair with the sun beating on your face…………DREAM ON……..

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We finally pulled away from the dock and began our cruise.

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Across the aisle was 2 other couples from the Park.  Gloria and her husband, and Marilyn and her husband.  We followed the Island to the mouth of the Port of Brownsville. 

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We watched as the Island became just a levee of concrete and rocks, with the Gulf on the other side.  The sea gulls were flying everywhere.  Finally we turned and headed towards the Port of Brownsville.

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As we headed in we passed a Shrimp boat heading out to the Gulf.  Ahead of him was also a tug boat.

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As we road along, their was also a Party Boat following us, doing the same trip.  Behind the party boat, you can see the dredges working on keeping the mouth of the Port cleaned out.

As we cruised the waiter began the dinner.  First we were served our drinks, water, soda, tea, or beer.  Our dinner was served.  First came our dinner salad.  Then we had a choice of Encrusted fish or chicken, with shrimp and peppers on a bed of rice.  Next we were given a small plate of fruit, consisting of grapes, strawberries, and watermelon.  Last, we had a marvelous piece of Cheesecake.  All this time we are just gently cruising in this beautiful sunshine with the gentle breezes blowing.

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Finally, we turned and headed up by Port Isabel.  We passed by an old oil rig that had been towed in from the sea.  It was waiting to be towed down river to the scrap yards.  You can see on the left the heliport.

On we went nearer to Port Isabel.  The sun was now getting lower in the sky……Beautiful….

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We passed some of the shrimp boats docked by the side.

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We went by a portion of Port Isabel that is an island.  It is only accessible by a bridge.  It was full of homes that all had water access at their back doors.  What a beautiful place to live.

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Finally we were back in the bay area near the causeway that crosses from Port Isabel to the Island.  Such a Beautiful Sunset…..

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We passed the Pirate Ship, that had been out on their cruise and was coming back…..We haven’t been on that one yet, but we did in Cancun.  This one is similar, as the staff is all dressed as pirates, and their is some “battles”  ….lol…AYE…..or so I hear….

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Finally we cruised up towards our dock area, passing the downtown area of the island, passing the tall Hotel in the distance.

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Such a beautiful  Sunset cruise……On a Beautiful Saturday Evening…..The end of a Beautiful Day at South Padre Island…….

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…….