For “Travel Tuesday”: Let’s go to The Rio Grande Valley, or “RVG”.
FYI: All the rest areas in Texas have free WiFi..
“There is a spring outside Silverton, Colorado. For thousands of years its water has snaked southeast, stubbornly cutting its way through mountains, zigzagging across rocky desert for 1,500 miles.
When the water came within sight of the sea, it would flood annually, as if sighing in relief that its journey was almost over, making the banks of the delta more fertile with each inundation.
The Rio Grande Valley, commonly thought of as Texas’ four southernmost counties, is a very different place from the quiet, grassy plain the Coahuiltecan Indians once roamed. For 161 years, the Rio Grande, or "Great River," has acted as an international border and seen its share of conflict. The last battle of the Civil War was fought a stone’s throw from the river’s mouth at Brownsville’s Palmito Hill. And as late as 1920, Pancho Villa was antagonizing U.S. troops with border raids.
The Valley offers the better of two worlds: the bustling newness of a rapidly growing economy, and the old-world charm that stems from its proximity to Mexico and its own rich history. Superimpose a subtropical climate with mild winters that draws "Winter Texans" from all over North America, and you have a region ripe with travel opportunities, success in business, and perfect for raising a family or retirement.
The wildlife and beauty of the land are creating an "ecotourism" industry here. Because it is a flyway between North and South America, migratory birds practically get bottlenecked in the Valley, making for some of the best birding in the country.
Shopping and dining in Mexico are less than an hour away and the mountains of Mexico’s interior are just a half-day’s drive. The emerald surf of South Padre Island, one of the premier resorts on the Gulf of Mexico, is just two hours from the Valley’s western end. While many downtowns across America have become sleepy, boarded-up reminders of yesteryear, Valley downtowns bustle with shoppers from the north and the south. Day-trippers can find dozens of points of interest from Laredo to South Padre Island. A fresh breeze is blowing through South Texas.
South Texas is heavily dotted with treasures large and small. So whatever your speed, you’ll be sure to find something while you’re here. Don’t miss other attractions listed in the Outdoors and Mexico articles.
The last battle of the Civil War was fought at Palmito Ranch near Brownsville several weeks after the Confederacy’s surrender. Brownsville also got caught in the crossfire of the Mexican-American War, that time at Palo Alto. Both battlefields have been preserved as National Historical Sites.
Historic Brownsville Museum
Housed in the historic Southern Pacific railroad passenger depot, this museum chronicles Brownsville’s history with photo exhibits and other permanent and rotating exhibits. The Brownsville Heritage Education Center within the museum also presents slide shows, lectures and other special events. Group tours are available with advance notice. Open Mon.-Fri. 10-4:30 and Sat. 10-1. Located at 641 E. Madison St. Brownsville. (956) 548-1313.
Coastal Studies Lab
This satellite of The University of Texas-Pan American studies and exhibits marine life like mollusks, crustaceans and marine vertebrates along with plant life. Open Sun.-Fri. 1:30-4:30, group tours by appointment Sun.-Fri. 1:30-4:30. Located at 100 Marine Land Dr., Isla Blanca County Park, South Padre Island. $4 per car to enter park. (956) 761-2644.
Confederate Air Force-Rio Grande Valley Wing
This local wing of the CAF currently houses 15 airplanes in flying condition. Other exhibits are antique military vehicles, weapons and uniforms. An air show is hosted in March. Open Mon.-Sat. 9-4. Admission. Located adjacent to the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport at Highway 511 and Keller’s Corner east of Brownsville. (956) 541-8585.
Gladys Porter Zoo
Opened in 1971, Gladys Porter Zoo continues to be one of the premier zoos of the world. With more than 1,700 animal specimen, the zoo specializes in collecting and breeding endangered species. This 31-acre park has all zoo favorites like gorillas, giraffes, lions and rhinos, as well as other exotic animals. Virtually all animals live in open exhibits where visitors are able to view them in their natural surroundings. Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended weekend and summer hours. Located at 500 Ringgold, Brownsville. (956) 546-7187.” From: http://www.rgvtexas.com/
Wintering in the Texas Rio Grande Valley
These are articles by Coleen and Bob Ezine of http://www.rv-life-and-travel.com/
“RVing in the Rio Grande Valley. If you are there now, some of these resources may be helpful for you. If you can't make it south this winter, these articles can give you a taste of what you are missing, from inexpensive Mexican foods to beautiful sunsets. You'll find these and more articles about southern Texas. Just click the links below.
Sierra Mobile RV, Port Isabel, TX, for RV Parts, RV Repairs, and RV Services Sierra Mobile RV is the place to go in Port Isabel, Texas, if you need RV repair, RV service, or RV parts. They wash and wax RVs, too. They also sell used trailers, fifth-wheels, and motorhomes.
The Toot Family Band with Ooty, Pooty, and Sister Cutie Had the Crowd in Tears The Toot Family band members Ooty Toot, Pooty Toot, a nd Sister Cutie Toot took turns telling jokes and singing. The crowd was in tears, laughing at this week's entertainment at the RV park.
Park Center RV Park, Port Isabel, Texas' Home to Winter Texans Park Center RV park is a busy Winter Texan campground in Port Isabel, TX, with daily, weekly, and monthly rates. It sits across the causeway from the coveted South Padre Island beaches.
A Texas RV Show: The "All Valley" Rio Grande Valley RV Show in Mercedes A Texas RV show announcement caught our attention. The newest recreational vehicles, information on campgrounds and resorts, vendor booths of RVing supplies. We headed to Mercedes for the RGV show.
Next RV show is January 10-12, 2013. At: Rio Grande Valley Livestock Arena, Mercedes, TX. Contact: Warren Kininmonth 956-428-6434
The Port Isabel Sunset Paints the Canal with a Golden Blush The Port Isabel sunset casts a glow on the shrimp boats in the canal, as well as on the water, fishing piers, and buildings behind them. This was our evening view from the campsite at Park Center.
Farm Equipment, Antique Engines, and Old Tools at the RGV Club Show Farm equipment wasn't what we expected to see at the RGV Livestock Show Grounds. But the hit and miss engines, old tractors and other antique machinery, and tool displays were a fun find.
The Port Isabel Flea Market, a Sunday Market Offering Antiques to Baked Goods The Port Isabel Flea Market is a fun place to stop after Sunday morning church or breakfast. The first booth we saw was a colorful display of metal lawn art. Then rocks. We ambled in to see more.
Pancho's Mexican Restaurant for Authentic Mexica n Food Lunch Pancho's Mexican Restaurant is the most authentic Mexican cafe we've been to since we've been in Port Isabel, TX. Excellent steak rancheros, homemade chips, good service, and reasonable prices.
Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant: A Port Isabel Favorite for Mexican Breakfast Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant just took the number one spot on our list of Port Isabel places to eat. Tasty food, friendly and efficient service, can't-be-beat prices, generous servings, and clean.”
Don't mess with Texas
“As many know, we here in Texas have a border problem. Lake Falcon is
a lake that Borders Texas and Mexico. Last year several boaters were killed by drug cartel folks from the other side. http://abcnews.go.com/International/Media/armed-mexican-pirates-terrorize-texas-lake/story?id=10737629 . We are now aware that the automatic weapons used in the killings were probably from "Fast and Furious".
When Texas joined the Union as a sovereign nation in 1836 we retained the right to have a Navy to ward off the Mexicans since the United States refused to protect us.
This is our first Naval vessel of this century, small but potent. It will soon be safe to fish and boat on the Lake Falcon this summer. Just about every Texan is be prepared to be in a gun fight, and you can't have enough guns.
The TEXAS DPS - New 36 ft. Patrol/Gunboat was designed and built to patrol Falcon Lake . . . The armaments onboard include 5 - static mounted [2 dual & 1 single] FN M240B 7.62×51 mm NATO light machine guns, 2 - Barrett .50 BMG Sniper Rifles, and other assorted 5.56 rifles, 9mm sub machineguns, and grenade launchers.
MEXICAN PIRATES ? . . . . . . . . . . . ."Bring 'em on !"”
On This Day:
Hawaii becomes 50th state, Aug 21, 1959:
“The modern United States receives its crowning star when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star rows. The new flag became official July 4, 1960.
The first known settlers of the Hawaiian Islands were Polynesian voyagers who arrived sometime in the eighth century. In the early 18th century, American traders came to Hawaii to exploit the islands' sandalwood, which was much valued in China at the time. In the 1830s, the sugar industry was introduced to Hawaii and by the mid 19th century had become well established. American missionaries and planters brought about great changes in Hawaiian political, cultural, economic, and religious life. In 1840, a constitutional monarchy was established, stripping the Hawaiian monarch of much of his authority.
In 1893, a group of American expatriates and sugar planters supported by a division of U.S. Marines deposed Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was established as a U.S. protectorate with Hawaiian-born Sanford B. Dole as president. Many in Congress opposed the formal annexation of Hawaii, and it was not until 1898, following the use of the naval base at Pearl Harbor during the Spanish-American War, that Hawaii's strategic importance became evident and formal annexation was approved. Two years later, Hawaii was organized into a formal U.S. territory. During World War II, Hawaii became firmly ensconced in the American national identity following the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
In March 1959, the U.S. government approved statehood for Hawaii, and in June the Hawaiian people voted by a wide majority to accept admittance into the United States. Two months later, Hawaii officially became the 50th state.”
Yesterday. Messing with insurance company and doctors:
As soon as I had done my usual jobs in the morning, like drinking coffee while I was working, getting dressed, feeding the animals, and tending to the puppy’s pen, I had that same lethargic, weak feeling come over me just like the day before. I really just wanted to go back to bed, but I didn’t.
I called my doctor’s office, and was immediately asked to “Hold, please”, and put on hold for half-an-hour before I hung up. I said to myself, “I have had enough of this.” Since she started her own practice, when Sadler Clinic closed down, it has been a long wait to get in to see her, even with an appointment. And now to be put on hold for that long, was ridiculous. Someone isn’t running that office properly.
I called my insurance company and asked if I could go back to the doctor that I had before her, and they set that up, paperwork-wise. So I called his office to make an appointment, and was told he wasn’t taking on any new patients, but they would write a letter to get me insured with him. Then I got thinking about Claudia and my past experiences with him, and he is just another prescription pad poet, and wants you to have expensive tests that aren’t even relevant. (Gets a cut from somewhere, probably!)
So I called the insurance company back and asked which doctors took my insurance in this area. I had asked this back in February, but this rep was more helpful. She gave me four doctor’s names, so I looked them up on http://www.ratemds.com/ and http://www.vitals.com/ as I wanted to know a bit more about them. One of them was with a big clinic, which not only has MD’s, but DO’s, a holistic doctor, and a chiropractor. And I can see any of them with my insurance, now I am getting somewhere!
I have taken different people to that clinic over the years and they never had the long waits that I had been experiencing at my last doctor. So I called my insurance company again, and signed up with that clinic. They also allow walk-ins, that’s a new one. If I didn’t feel better the clinic had told me to show up without an appointment, and they would have a doctor see me. Also, I made an appointment with their chiropractor for the 31st, as my back has been out since the 26th. February. Maybe I can get myself sorted out now.
By then it was lunch time, so I fed myself and the pups, and lay down to see if that would help me gain enough strength to drive to the clinic in the next town. When I awoke, I didn’t go, as I felt better than I had for the last two days.