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Monday, February 24, 2014

Mission, TX!

Presidents Day weekend had me on the road to Misson, Texas, to visit the Folks.  For me, it's a fair jaunt, basically going from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.  Pretty neat, in my opinion.

Mission/McAllen/Brownsville metropolis is very different from my corner of the world, straddling the border between two distinctly different cultures yet very integrated.  More and more I'm regretting my six years of high school and college German - Spanish would have been so much more practical.  Oh well. 

The RV park was very nice and is gated at night for several reasons: illegals, coyotes, and havelinas being the primary reasons.  Living near the Canadian border, I see Border Patrol cars quite frequently; however, in Mission they are a police presence unto themselves.  Not infrequently the helicopter(s) would be flying over head at any time of the day or night.  Patrols could be found in trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, boats and on horseback absolutely everywhere.  Very different from what I'm used to. 

So, my travels:
Wednesday I left work early to catch a shuttle to Minneapolis for an overnight stay.  The 3am alarm Thursday morning to catch a 5am flight was a bit brutal.  I sojourned from Minneapolis, to Houston, to Brownsville and was on the ground by 1030am.  From there we had an hour and a half drive back to Mission, where they are staying at the Bentsen Palm Village RV Park, stopping for lunch on the way.  The afternoon was relaxing and talking.

Friday we went down to South Padre Island: visited the Sea Turtle Sanctuary and Rehabilitation center (amazing things happening in this small facility!), walked on the beach, and stopped in at the Birding Center.  85* and sunny was a far cry from the -20* and snow I left in Minnesota.  

South Padre Island looking East

Birding Center


Saturday we went out for breakfast, ran a few errands, then we biked around the Benston Rio Grande Valley State Park which is now a World Birding Center. No traffic allowed - you can walk, bike or hop a tram. We biked 8 miles!  Yes!  I was biking!  Yaaaayyy!!!  I learned this is a HUGE area for birders, lots of migratory birds come through here in addition to the year round feathered residents. 

Benston Rio Grande Valley State Park (post 2010 flood)
Sunday - we did a nature trail hike in the State Park in the morning, then relaxed in the afternoon on the "patio". Went out for a really good Mexican dinner, then another small walk around the park before retiring for the evening.

Benston Rio Grande Valley State Park, nature/birding trail

Monday - We toured the butterfly sanctuary (a few present, we were a bit early for the migration), the original mission for Mission, and then lunch on the Rio Grande.  Laundry in the afternoon so I had some clean clothes to come home in and just relaxed outside.  Absolutely beautiful breeze with temps still in the high 80's.

Butterfly's are hard to photograph

Dad checking out Mexico, there was a really nice park across the way, but it was ruined in the 2010 floods.

And Tuesday had me traveling back home, going from 85* and spring to 30* and nearly a foot of new snow.  Weather report says we're going to get hit again with 10 more inches of the wet heavy variety.  Joy. 


Karl A. said...

Oh, it looks nice their without all the snow!

Dee said...

Glad you got a little break from the winter weather.

I think that area of Texas had many of the same migratory birds that we get here.

My son is flying to Iowa tomorrow. He's going to get a real taste of what winter is like --- he's a Florida boy who has only seen snow twice in his life. LOL

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