Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hangin' in Harlingen...continued

Thought I'd update our blog with some of the activities we've done since January...

One of our trips was to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is located on the gulf of Texas, East of Rio Hondo, and is home to 413 species of animals, including 11 federally listed endangered or threatened species. These species include birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Our plan was to take the tram on the Bayside Drive, but when we got there we discovered that the tram doesn't run on the day we were there. We quickly rebounded and decided to drive Bayside Drive ourselves...a good decision! The drive is a 15 mile loop with numerous pull-outs where you can observe the wildlife and soak in the peace and quiet of the refuge. It took us about 3 hours to finish the loop and it was a thoroughly enjoyable drive!

One day we decided to head to Mission, TX to their Citrus Fiesta...just a way to get out and explore! Well, we discovered that the Citrus Fiesta was mainly for kids...there was a carnival and a parade. We got there at around 12:00 and the parade wasn't going to take place until 4:00. We weren't interested in staying, so we headed back the way we came and stopped at an interesting farmer's market. We're used to seeing lots of booths with odds and ends, but this market was mainly booths with chickens and goats and dogs and cows for sale, as well as bales of hay and veggies. We didn't stay long...I didn't like seeing the animals packed into cages...but we had to remember that this is a different culture than ours and this is how things are done.

As February approached, we decided to take Emma to the beach...she loves running in the sand and she's been very well behaved and deserved a treat! So we headed to South Padre Island, not only to hit the beach but to check out two RV parks on the island. It was a cloudy and foggy day, but that was not a bad thing. The main portion of the island is very touristy, and it was here that we found the KOA RV Park and the Isla Blanca Park...both parks are on the southern tip of the island. After touring both, we decided that we would definitely be interested in staying at the Isla Blanca Park when we return to Texas in a couple of years! From there, we drove north on Rte 100 until we were away from the crowds and found a beach where we could run Emma. Technically, dogs are supposed to be on a leash, but there are so few people in the area that we allowed her to run along the ocean. After she exhausted herself, we drove down to the end of Rte 100...due to the constant high winds, the road gets hammered by the sand dunes, so there are plows constantly moving the sands off of the road.

This past week was abnormally cold for southern Texas. We've had to keep the water dripping in the faucets to prevent freezing the pipes and the temps have dropped below freezing, into the teens. Two nights ago we even had a major ice storm! If you could get past the freezing cold (the wind is brutal here!), the scenery was beautiful! Since southern Texans aren't used to driving in this weather, we decided to hibernate for two days and not venture out on the roads. In all fairness to Texans, nobody is good at driving on black ice! And thankfully, today is warming up into the 50s and tomorrow will be back into the 70s!

We're here for another 2 months, so I'll be updating again!