Presidents’ Day

We are seeing a lot more activity here in the RV park.  It could be due to the great weather we have experienced the last few days or it could be because it is the week-end.  I think these two things have something to do with it but I think it probably has more to do with Monday being Presidents’ Day.

We are seeing a lot more traffic on the island and in Port Isabel.  Thursday and Friday saw a lot of RVs moving in the park. We are also seeing a lot of new people walking down our street, some with dogs in tow, that we haven’t seen before.  We have never seen the beaches with so many people, couples and families enjoying themselves.  It is quite nice to see.

If you are in the United States, either living here permanently or as a Winter Team, have a great Presidents’ Day.



Dog Gone Wedding

Today we experienced something completely different.  Here is a little bit of back information to set the stage:

Our neighbours, Sylvia and Charlie, have a golden-doodle dog, Amber.  We all enjoy Amber and earlier in the week Sylvia invited us to a fund-raiser event for the local dog rescue, SPI Friends of Animal Rescue. The event was being held at a local watering hole, and was promoted as A Dog Gone Wedding.

Now we have seen some pretty unusual, or should I say crazy, behaviours from dog owners.  Of course we have seen small dogs with coats when the weather is cold, we have seen dogs with booties while walking in the snow, but.  Have you seen dogs being walked, or should I say pushed in a stroller or in a wagon behind a bicycle? Have you seen dogs rolling up the isles in a grocery store in the front of a shopping cart?  How about costumes for dogs, have you seen those?  If you want to see costumes, you needed to be at the wedding.  From flowing skirts, bow ties, tuxedos and sun glasses, they were there.

The MC did an excellent job of keeping the program running smoothly even though some of the participants were more excited than others.  First off, there was a parade of dogs that were currently at the shelter and were available for adoption.  Next we got to see the tricks dogs do. If you knew Max (see picture below) you would say his trick was laying down (scratch my belly). Some of these tricks pretty good.  Then we had a parade for the best dressed man followed by the best dressed lady.

I think the judges had a difficult time picking the winners but they had a little bit of time to sort things out while the wedding was taking place.  It had already been decided that the bride and groom would be rescue dogs.  They were presented, front and centre, while the wedding vows were read.  The crowd went wild when the dogs were pronounced married.  The crowd also showed their support when the awards were given out for the competitions.  Just so you know, Amber won Best Dressed Girl.  She is quite a pet.

After the program, the winners of the raffle were announced. During the program, raffle tickets were on sale for a weekend for 2 plus water park passes at the schlitterbahn, a basket of wine and first place was a booze bucket. This bucket, as the name implies, was full of booze and included everything you needed to make a boatload of margaritas.

The raffle winners were being drawn while we were leaving.  When the booze bucket was awarded, the winner donated it back to the event so it could be auctioned off. As we reached the street the bid was up to $120.  I am not sure where it settled out but I do know all proceeds went back to the Friends of Animal Rescue.

The Bride





The Bride

The Groom

The Lucky Couple

The Dogs from our neighbourhood. Amber, Ruby and Max.



I Got A New Tail

We woke up today and didn’t know what the bright disk was in the sky. Upon a second look, we discovered it was the sun.  OMG, We haven’t seen the sun for so long. And it was very warm in the RV this morning. Normally in the morning, I have to put on a sweater at breakfast, but not today.

The sun was out, so there were things to do.  First up was a bike ride over to the office to pay next months rent and get the latest on spending the rest of March in the park and reserving a spot for next winter. Next was bike over to the construction site where they are building a new multi-purpose building and amphitheatre, (nothing much changed here).  Then back to the RV.  It was so nice out we needed to get to the beach.

After a quick collection of all we needed, off to the beach we go. Once we got settled in out came the kites.  I have two, and can usually anchor the lines to our beach wagon.  That way I can fly them both at the same time and don’t have to worry about hanging on to the lines. Well I had previously purchased a new long tail for one of the kites and was anxious to try it out.  Well it turns out the two kites wouldn’t get along with the new tail, so one had to come down.  This was all right because the wind was getting stronger and the tension on the kite lines was moving our wagon. With only one kite in the air, all was good.

My new tail

As we expected, the wind was picking up and the fog was starting to roll in, so we headed back to the RV around 3:30.

We have new neighbours beside us who pulled in the other day. They are farmers from northern Manitoba. When we got back, they were out, so I went over to have a little chat and let them know about the grand opening of the sea turtle rescue building.  They were interested and might take it in.

Before you know it, it was Happy Hour.  There was quite a gang there today.  We hadn’t been together for a week because of the weather.  These times together are getting more and more important as the days wear on.  Members are starting to head home after spending the winter here.  We had one leave today.  Another couple are heading out on Saturday. As the days pass, more and more will be leaving.  It is sad to see our new friends leave.  We wish them safe travels and hope we meet up again next year.

Walking on Sunshine

Katrina & The Waves released a catchy little tune in 1983, Walking on Sunshine.

Now that you have clicked on the link and watched the video, you will probably have the tune running around in your head for some time.  But not if you were here with us on South Padre Island.

The local weatherman has been continuously forecasting a “Cold Front” is moving in, it’s going to be “Drippy” tomorrow, “Fog” is in the forecast.  Do you get the picture?  The temperature has been below the seasonal average for over a week.  We can count on fog either in the evening, in the morning, or all day long. The fog is so thick at times, we can’t see the dunes from the RV, which is only a distance of 100m or so. We are desperately wanting to see the sun and get back outside to enjoy the island.

Today, to get out of the RV, I went for a walk in the later afternoon.  The wind was roaring out of the north and the fog was getting ready to settle in for the night. The temperature was hovering around 13℃, much warmer than yesterday. Walking toward the jetty, the wind was at my back.  There were very few people out. The shorebirds were in abundance, running in and out, as the waves ran up the sand. There were a few dedicated fisherman on the jetty and a lone Great Blue Heron was hanging around.  I think he was waiting for a free lunch.

From the jetty, I strolled over to the area where the construction for the new multipurpose building and amphitheatre is taking place.  We hadn’t been around this area in a few days and I wanted to see what had changed.  By the time I got there, I couldn’t see a thing as my glasses where dripping wet from the wind and fog.

I had to turn into the wind to get back home. Because I was now heading away from the water, I was somewhat protected from the weather. It was a pleasant stroll back to the RV, just in time hear the weather on TV.  The fog is already limiting visibility in some areas of the valley and it’s going to be Drippy tomorrow morning (raining).  The afternoon will see the clouds break up with periods of sun.

So, maybe tomorrow, I will be walking on sunshine.

Warm and Cold or is it Sunny and Cloudy?

Yesterday was a magnificent day. The sun was out and if you could get out of the breeze, it was quite warm.  So, you can imagine we spent the majority of the day sitting in front of the RV, sheltered from the wind, basking in the sun.  It was wonderful.

Our neighbours at the end of the block (Greg and Vanessa) who are also from Ontario, were celebrating that evening.  It turns out it was Vanessa’s birthday and Greg had arranged to have   a surprise dinner at Pirate’s Landing Restaurant. We were all to arrive around 5 P.M. and would sit at the “Big” table.  They have a huge round table with a stuffed pirate hanging above the centre.  Of course there is another, somewhat smaller table that spins, suspended above the main table.  It is used to pass things back and forth to your table mates. It is required because this Big table seats 20. The meal was excellent and the birthday girls was surprised.

Now today, what a change in weather.  Last night we drove home under a clear and starry night and a heavy thick fog rolled in soon after and it stayed all night.  This morning was overcast and cool.  We didn’t feel like getting out and doing anything special, but today is South Padre Islands Kitefest.  We had to go.

We didn’t get out to the “flats” until later in the afternoon. The crowds that I expected weren’t there.  I think, partly because it was so late in the afternoon and the weather wasn’t that great.  I think if the sun had been out there would have been many more spectators.

We were able to park out on the flats and get a good place to park and see the action.  The area for flying was divided into two.  One side had all the kite flyers, in the kite circle they are called pilots.  This side held the static kites anchored to a stake in the ground or to a car bumper. There were also the kites that danced around.  On the other side of the field were the demonstration flyers.  These were quite interesting to watch with the accompanying music.  It looked like the kites were dancing to the music.  I was able to capture some photographs, enjoy.


Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge was on our To-Do list last year, but we never made it out to this wildlife refuge.  We didn’t make it for two main reasons.  One, we ran out of days and two, we couldn’t find it.

This year, we talked to a couple we met last year, Fred and Jill, who showed us a brochure they had with all the birding places in southern Texas. Laguna Atascosa was included with detailed driving instructions. Jill had warned us to make sure we had lots of time to get there.  It wasn’t that far away from the RV Park, but the road conditions were very bad and slow speed was required.  Or you might damage your vehicle.  With this knowledge and the fact I know the street signs are sometimes non-existence, I obtained the GPS coordinates before we left.

Well the roads weren’t all that bad, until we came to the section that was closed and under construction.  As we sat in the truck in front of the barricade that was preventing us from proceeding, we are both thinking that we weren’t going to get to our destination today.  However one of the workers that were standing by some equipment at the barricade, sauntered over and asked if we were going to the Wildlife refuge.  We answered yes and he told us to proceed around the barricade, go slow and go around the barricade at the other end of the construction zone. After missing our next turn, turned around and corrected our error, we were at our destination.

The soul purpose of the trip was to get detailed information on the tram ride they offer through the refuge that is otherwise closed for public traffic.  We got our information and will return in the near future to take the tram.  But while we were there, we hung out at a couple of bird blinds and I took to a few of the hiking trails.  Here are some of the pictures we captured.

There were a number of these flowering Yuccas on the way into the Refuge.

This little guy was on the side of the road when we entered the refuge and was in the same place when we left. I was able to get quite close. The volunteer at the Refuge Welcome Centre mentioned that the armadillo has poor hearing and eyesight and that was probably the reason we could get so close.

There wasn’t all that much to see on the hiking trails, except if there was a bird feeding station.

I hike in the friendliest areas

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

Green Jay

I think the Green Jay is the most colourful bird I have ever photographed.  We are looking forward to the guided tour of the other part of the Refuge. Stay tuned for more pictures.

Sun and Wind

No fog today, yea!  The sun was actually out and it felt quite warm.  But, if you happen to be out in the wind, that feeling of warmth quickly faded away.

Because the sun was out and the sky was clear, I could see the gulf was angry. From the RV you could hear and see the surf crashing onto the beach.  I had to get out and try to capture the angry ocean.

From this video you can hear and see the ocean crashing against the jetty.  Well everyone here calls it a jetty, I would describe it as the breakwater that protects the opening on the Brownsville shipping channel.  Its windy and cold, but there are still people out fishing.

It also wasn’t cold or windy enough to dissuade a snowy egret or a tri-colour egret to abandon their post, as they wait for a quick meal.

Tri Colour Egret

Snowy Egret

The weather also didn’t stop the Segway Tours or people out walking the beach.

Segway on the Beach

Two Lovers on a Stroll

There was also one, lone kite boarder out on the water.  There was no way he was going to be deterred by the weather. He really liked getting air underneath his board.  I think he spent half the time in the air. Boy, it looked like he was having so much fun.

You can see in the last photo, little white spots in the sand.  Those are shells that have been washed up by the rough sea action we have had over the last few days.  In places on the beach, the shells are so plentiful, you couldn’t help but step on them.  You had better have shoes on or you might cut your foot.

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Windy and warm.