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Entries about turtles

Oct 24, 25 - South Padre Island, Texas

Party Beach, Isla Blanca RV Park, South Padre Island, Sea Turtle, birds.

sunny 28 °C

The four of us decided to head over to South Padre, a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, for a couple of nights, to complete our south Texas experience. South Padre is the Texas version of Florida's Fort Lauderdale, and South Carolina's Myrtle Beach. A great beach and a great play area for young people in the right season. Every water sport imaginable can be done here and then you can boogie down at one of the many night spots on the 3 mile long strip.

It is also a great place for what are referred to here as Winter Texans. Isla Blanca RV Park has over 600 spaces and they are full from mid November though to April with seniors seeking warmth from the northern winters. All over this part of South Texas there are huge RV parks, right now sitting mostly empty but soon to swell with new arrivals.

Isla Blanca is a well worn RV park and the amenities are sorely in need of some improvements. The washrooms leave much to be desired. The park will close for much of 2018 for major renovations, and not a moment too soon. Our stay was fine, the place is mostly empty right now, so there is no pressure on the facilities, and even with that, the women's toilets were a mess by our departure.

Here is a shot of G&K's Airstream crossing the bridge to the Island.

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For posterity, here is George fueling us his new RAM pick-up for the first time...19.25 gallons, at $2,18 a gallon.

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After parking the trailers we drove up past the inhabited part of the island to the end of the road, about 10 miles. Here the wind is moving the dunes over the road and we came upon some horse back riders coming back from the beach.

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We stopped at the Visitor Center for Wi-Fi access. The town has many semi-permanent sand castles set up and hosts a huge sand castle building cost each year. These sand castles have been sprayed with a mixture of glue and water to preserve them for quite a few months before they have to be rebuilt.

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We also had lunch at Dirty Al's, a seafood joint right beside our campground. Jenny and I had a shrimp Po-boy and G&K shared a blackened fish Po-Boy...we all had a beer. Karmen also bought some fresh Gulf shrimp to add to a Gumbo for our supper that evening.

Oct 25 - I was up early to get in a power walk to work off all this excess food we have been eating and when I finished the sun was just beginning to come up our over the Gulf.

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You can see lots of oil rigs off on the horizon, and there is a new pipeline being built to carry local oil to Brownsville and Corpus Christi refineries. The oil economy is everywhere in Texas.

We spent the morning at the Birding Centre, where well over 200 species of birds pass through on their migrations north and south. The boardwalk provides opportunities galore to spot birds.

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This is just a sample of the birds we saw on our two plus hour walk along the boardwalk.

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We also spotted one turtle:

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After the birding centre we went to Sea Turtle Inc. the sea turtle rescue centre. They have been saving and rehabilitating sea turtles for 30+ years and have several turtles that have been so damaged they cannot be released back into the wild. They use these rescue turtles to educate the public about the dangers of humans to the turtles. A well spent 2 hours here.

Finally, a reward. We headed over to Padre Island Brewery for Happy Hour. $8 growler fills (George filled 2 of them) and oysters for $0.75 each. We downed 24 of the little guys and all had a pint of beer. A great way to end our exertions for the day.

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We finished the day with Pizza at Gabriella's Italian Grill and Pizzeria, one of the island's best light dining experiences. We shared a Soprano Pizza. Here they serve pizza with a salad and garlic bread...interesting. Most of us drank wine, but George stuck to beer. A great ending to our stay on the island.

We boogied back to Mission on the morning of October 26. Jenny and I will hang out here until Monday morning, enjoying the company of our good friends before beginning the 2,990 mile journey home on Monday.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 13:57 Archived in USA Tagged birds turtles south_texas south_padre_island Comments (1)

June 24, 25, 26 - Turtle Mountain, Peace Garden

turtles, dragonflies, rain and wind, hiking in Turtle Mountain Prov. Park, International Peace Garden

sunny 25 °C

A photo, with the giant car, in Steinbach, to start this blog:

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June 24:

We awoke to a cold, wet morning, after a decent night's stay in the Walmart parking lot in Steinbach, Manitoba. The store is OK with people staying there, but the manager did say that Steinbach has a city ordinance against this practice. There were no signs posted anywhere we could see so we just went for it. In the morning there was a second trailer in the lot as well. Very quiet.

At some point the previous day, Jenny had misplaced her keys to the trailer and we were going to have to backtrack our stops from the previous day to see if she had left them. We went to Coffee Culture, in down town Steinbach for coffee and internet time while we waited for businesses to open so we could check to see if she had left her keys there...Staples, Walmart, the Library, the Liquor Store. They all opened between 8 and 10 am, and as they did, we checked, and nope, no keys. We searched the car, and the trailer to no avail.

While at the coffee shop, we plugged our old GPS into the computer and hooked it up with Tom-Tom. Sure enough, it came back to life. So, now we have another quandry. Do we return the Garmin we just purchased, or do we keep two GPS. As for me, I am pretty fed up with our Tom-Tom. It can be clunky and awkward for route planning, and has tended to drop routes from time to time when we stop for a break and turn it off. When we turn it back on it might not have the route we originally planned, or it may just be so dim that we cannot see the display and have to unplug and re-plug to get it to come back on.

Our call is to keep the Garmin and give it a try and turn the Tom-Tom into a backup.

The Garmin we purchased at Staples in Steinbach; we have to pick up down the road in Winkler. It is after 10 am when we depart Steinbach, into a 50 kph west wind and persistent drizzle. The strong wind buffets us the whole way to Winkler. It is good to have anti-sway on the trailer today. We get the Garmin in Winkler, fire it up and on we head to our destination for the day, Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, down in the far south west corner of Manitoba. We plan to camp there for 3 days before heading on to Saskatchewan. Hiking, as well as the International Peace Garden, on the border between Canada and the US as on the agenda here.

We stop for food supplies in Morden, and gas in Killarney. Near Killarney we saw our first batch of white pelicans on the final leg of today's journey. The come up to the lakes in this area to nest each year. We will have pelican photos eventually, but not from this encounter. They are pretty close in size to swans and love to ride the wind above the lakes, wings spread to catch the breeze as they coast along in large groups.

It rains and the wind blows right up to our arrival at the Adam Lake Campground. The weather begins to improve as we set up camp and the skies clear in the evening.

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The strong wind played havoc with our gas mileage. We averaged 21 L/100 k on this leg, a dismal 11 miles per gallon. We used a full tank of gas in just 325 kilometers.

We bought 8 different beers at the Liquor Store in Steinbach, and they provide folding cardboard cases in which to load them when you pick them off the shelves. As we load them into the fridge, we find Jenny's keys in one of the compartments of the case. Yay!!

June 25:

Another cold morning. It is hard to believe it is summer in Canada. This morning it was just 7 degrees Celcius (about 46 F), but at least sunny. We spent the morning getting things organized for a three day stay. We need to get laundry done again. It seems 5 or 6 days is about how long we can go without having to wash some clothes. The camp ground does not have laundry, so we plan on finding a laundromat in the closest town, Boissevain, later in the day.

But first, we plan to visit the International Peace Garden on the 49th parallel. Founded in 1932 this botantical garden is a symbol of Canada and the US commitment to peace. The park straddles the border and the park is split between the two countries, and we stroll back and forth across the border. We imagine this must cause some difficulties with security in these modern times. We spent a lovely 3 hours walking through the park. On the way out we had to go through Canadian Customs, even though we had not passed through US Customs on the way into the park. Strange.

The garden has a 9/11 display, with pieces of the twin towers.

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This saying from the chapel, which was built in 1970, when taken in context with the times we live in, indicates we have not come very far in fulfilling any sort of commitment to peace in the world.

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There is a huge display of cactus in the visitor centre:

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The gardens are just coming into full bloom.

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This is a lovely peaceful place to visit, with Americans and Canadians strolling about the 2400 acres of shared garden. A must-see if you are in this region.

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Boissevain is a cute little prairie town, with three grain elevators, and Tommy the Turtle. The laundromat was just fine, and we got back to our camp site around 6 pm, after a long day of walking and doing laundry.

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June 26:

Another cold morning, down to just 4 C (40 F). The weather report promises sunny and warm today, so hiking around Adam Lake is on our agenda. Today will also be a car free day, only our second day we have not driven anywhere since we started on this journey.

Well, we hiked, and hiked. We did the full loop around Adam Lake, about 12 kilometers (7 miles) in 3 1/2 hours. Lovely trail, a bit wet in places, but plenty to see. Turtles, frogs, toads, garter snakes, and lots of evidence of moose, deer and elk, but no actual sightings. A full sunny day, with afternoon temperatures in the mid 20's and we feel like summer has arrived for us.

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This was our most ambitious hike since leaving home 26 days ago and it sure felt good to get in a long one.

We saw absolutely no mosquitoes on this hike, but did get three ticks on our clothes during the hike. When we got back to our camp site, we did a thorough tick check, cause these little guys can hang on like crazy. None found, so we are pleased to have dodged that bullet. The tick chances lessen as we head into Saskatchewan.

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The reason there are no mosquitoes is because of the dragon flies. There must be millions of them here, devouring any mosquito that dares to reveal itself. Three complete nights where we have not needed to use Deet bug spray at all.

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We were sitting around relaxing, after our long hike, having a beer, when Jenny noticed she had tick on her. We scrambled to get it off and it fell somewhere. We could not find the damn thing, swept the entire trailer, took all our loose clothing back outside and checked them again. Argh, where is the damn thing. Finally Jenny found it back on her arm. We ceremoniously took it out to the Coleman stove where it fried on the burner. Ticks are hard to kill, they must be crushed or burned.

A lovely camp fire ended our day and our stay at Turtle Mountain. This is a great place to visit. Lastly, a photo of TaJ, with Tommy the Turtle, from the town of Boissevain:

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We'll post this blog entry on our departure, at the library in Boissevain. On to Saskatchewan tomorrow, in the Big Muddy valley.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 07:35 Archived in Canada Tagged gardens turtles Comments (1)

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