Monday, January 30, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, January 30, 2006, Birding at the Convention Center

Behind the South Padre Island Convention Center is a Birding Observation area. There is a resident alligator, which we did not see this year. We did spend an hour or so enjoying the birds and waterfowl. I believe this is called a Common Moorhen.

Where there is water, there have to be a few turtles. In this area, there were a LOT of them! Not sure what kind he is, he was about 12 to 15 inches in diameter. Have a feeling he would make a bad boo boo on your finger if you got too close! OUCH!

Above and right, same bird, he was about 2 to 3 foot tall, I have spent considerable time browsing the bird book I have with me and have yet to figure out WHO this guy is! He is not nearly as large as the Great Blue Heron. He was in just inches of water in the Madre Lagoon, west of South Padre Island.

Above, to the right bottom, standing in the grass is a Great Blue Heron. Thus ends our wonderful day on South Padre Island.

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, January 30, 2006, Dolphin Watching

South Padre Island is one of our favorite day trips while we are in the Rio Grande Valley, we try to go once or twice during our stay. Below, pelicans on a dock.

We decided to go on a dolphin watching boat ride. We went on one 2 years ago, which we found to be less than wonderful, too many people on the boat and, well, the boat did not smell so good and had a lousy sound system. We decided this time to take a tour boat that only held 6 people. The boat was a pontoon boat, about 30 foot long, enclosed, and comes with its own dolphin findin dog! This cutie could hear the dolphins before we could see them, and she barked away. She is standing on the roof of the boat, she would run from the front to the back, depending on where the dolphin were.

Little Joseph, above, is a shrimp boat, a dying breed they tell us. Look in the water just in front of the bow and you will see a couple of dolphin leading the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The dolphins come quite close to this 30 foot pontoon boat, much closer than they will to the larger tour boats. Not sure how close these two are, but at times they were within 15 feet of the boat.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, January 28, 2006, Museum of South Texas History

Another of our day trips was to the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg, Texas. What we found was a fabulous colletion of artifacts, well arranged, well displayed.

Above, this interesting piece of wraught iron is above a door way, there are a number of animals and critters worked into this piece, you will find a hummingbird, a snake, a lizard or two, and more. Photo courtesy of Ormee and Ginette Chamberlain.

Saddle on display, silver, and lots of it!

The Museum of South Texas History started its life as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum. The first building they occupied was originally the jail, a very old jail. A jail that still has the trap door for a hangin! YIKES. We are looking UP at the trap door that would fall away during a hanging. They only hung one man in this jail before the State of Texas changed the law and all executions were taken over by the state. The door is now welded shut!

Well, my my, what have we here?? That would be from the left, Steve, Bob, John and Carol. The Museum of South Texas History specializes in tours for school children. This is part of the tour talking about the Spanish in the area, and is one of the few places the children (?) can touch the artifacts. So, the tour guide lined up 4 volunteers (?) and here ya go! We were on the tour with 5 other MOC (Montana Owners Club) families.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, January 26, 2006, Rio Grande River Cruise

On January 26, we took a river cruise on the Rio Grande River. Around the Mission area, the river runs about 25 feet deep, due to dams. We had great weather, not too sunny, not hot, not cold, almost no wind.

Our river craft awaits.

This is one of the dams on the Rio Grande, we are up river of the dam, the water is flowing OVER this dam.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Montana Travel Reports for 2006, January 25, 2006, Bentsen Palms Village

Well, here is is January 24th, and I am just getting around to starting a tour report for 2006. What's wrong?? Well nothing. We have been having way too much fun, that's all.

We left Tipton on December 27, drove 5 hard days, arriving in Mission Texas on December 31st, just in time to jump in the pool and hot tub to celebrate the end of 2005 and the arrival of 2006. As I said to Al, now that I have that silliness out of my system, next year we will take 7 to 10 days to drive down here.

We are staying at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort, on lot 322. If you go to their web site here, there is even a map you can enlarge and see just where our site is! How fun is that??

So, WHAT have we been doing?? Hmmmmm, trips to the pool and hot tub, walking the dogs the 1 mile around the park (take 2 at a time, that is 2 miles for the humans), biking, visiting with others in the park we know, had a pot luck lunch for MOC (Montana Owners Club) people in the Valley, had a lunch and RV show day for MOC people in the valley. We have been in the state park on bikes and hikes several times, it sure is nice over there, no cars allowed. We have been eating a lot of Mexican food, YUM!! I am sponsoring a Genealogy share hour here at the park on Monday afternoons. We have been to the ice cream socials, barbeque dinners, and entertainment here at the park. Mix in a little housecleaning, laundry, cooking, cleaning, dog grooming, shopping, one trip to the flea market, (SO FAR), and we have managed to stay VERY busy!

The weather has been delightful! All but a couple of days have been sunny, blue skies, and over all above average temperatures. We have already seen a 90 degree day or two! Texas, as well as Oklahoma are experiencing severe draught, and we are actually praying for some rain, but, have to say, that these temps sure are a balm to the soul of a Michiagander turned Winter Texan.

You can find the Stevens campsite by the flags, specially our new Yorkie flag.

Our home for 3 months. Bensten Palm Village RV Park, Mission, Texas. We have our bikes this year, and have enjoyed riding them around the park and into the State Park nearby.

This is the view from our front yard. They call this a palapala (not sure that is spelled right), it is a community area, you can have a group meal, or just sit on a rocking chair or lie in the hammock and enjoy the sunny weather. We had a campfire here last night, wood provided by the park.

Left, is what is beyond by back yard. The building contains the laundry room and behind that is the swimming pool and hot tub. I only have to walk about 200 feet to do my laundry.

Right, the pool and hot tub here at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park. They are both a bit small, but, still very nice and clean.