South Padre Island – March 6th to 12th, 2017

When I decided that I wanted to get a travel trailer one of the places I definitely wanted to visit was South Texas. Both sets of grandparents spent their winters down there in an Airstream. I knew of Brownsville and McAllen as they had talked about their visits there. My Grandma Scott always brought back Mexican Vanilla and I probably wouldn’t know what Jicama tastes like if they hadn’t spent so much time there.

The drive from Fulton to South Padre Island is an inland drive. Not much to see until you get to the bridge that is coming onto the island.

Once there I unhooked at the KOA. They put out the welcome cone for me. Kinda tight spots but overall a pretty good place to be. Close to things on the island. Although, overall the Island isn’t that big. Directly behind the KOA is Pier 19 restaurant. Ate there later in the week and it was pretty good.

I drove around to see what was going on. This just happened to be Spring Break and I wanted to see what that was like. Never went anywhere for Spring Break when I was in College.

Most of the activities were happening at two places. Either it was at Clayton’s Beach Bar.

Or at Rockstar Beach behind the Isla Grand Hotel. But then it looks like I was a week early. There were still a ton of students there but overall I’m sure not nearly as many as would be there the next week. Most of the big schools weren’t on spring break yet.

I ended up going to the Rockstar Beach to see 2 Chainz. Not someone I’ve listened to in the past. Nor will I probably find myself there again. But always enjoy watching the crowd.

Looked like everyone was having a good time. Both the Isla Grand and Clayton’s had streaming video of the grounds. I guess you could stay in your room and look to see where was more active at any point in time. Or if you were missing anything.

One of the other things I did was go over to the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park. This is a battle site of the Mexican American war.

I hiked all around this Battlefield. This was a pivotal battle out of not very many in the Mexican American war. The US won the battle because they had brought bigger guns and also had developed the canister shot that is shown in the picture above. These just tore through the Mexican army and left little doubt as to whom the winner was.

Winning this war allowed James Polk to add the land that currently makes up Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, and half of Colorado to the United States. The history of the United States would be very different without winning this battle and war. Making him in my opinion one of the more important presidents in the United States.

I then went over to the Rabb Plantation house in Brownsville, TX. This plantation backs up to the Mexico border and is one of the only places to find the Sabel Palm.

This is the first time I’ve seen a Green Jay. Beautiful bird. 

This is the Rio Grande between the US and Mexico.

This is a beautiful place to take a hike and bird watch. I’m curious if this is one of the places my grandparents had gone.

I then went on the hunt for the Costumes of the Americas museum. It took me a while to figure out that it is inside the same building as the Children’s Museum of Brownsville.

It was interesting but not worth the effort I put into finding it. I finished off the day paying tribute to my grandparents by eating at Luby’s cafeteria. Much more expensive than I thought it would be. But then I probably picked up too much off the buffet line.

Now I had briefly been down to this area before when I went and opened a call center in McAllen, Texas in 1998, maybe 1999. It was still wide open country at that point. Which reminded me of the land my Grandparents had described. I remember crossing over into Reynosa with several members of the implementation team. Not something I would do now as I don’t think it’s as safe as it was then. But I wanted to see what the call center looked like so I drove the hour to McAllen.

So different now. There was a Best Buy on one corner, Costco on another, and a Walmart Supercenter on the third. There was nothing here previously. I was so dumbfounded I looked up what the population of McAllen is and now over a million people. You add in almost twice that much in Reynosa and you can see the effect NAFTA has had on this region of the country. The area between Brownsville and McAllen is a megalopolis now.

One of the interesting stops going over was at the Iwo Jima statue in Harlingen, TX.

It has been a fun week in South Padre Island. Not sure I trust all the young kids driving golf carts around.

I’m not sure who would rent them the golf carts in the first place but there seems to be a lot of places along the main drive doing so. I also did some shopping here and bought some Hawaiian style shorts and swim trunks. Plenty of stores for that. But otherwise not a whole lot that might bring me back to the Island.



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