Browsing "Museums"
Feb 8, 2013 -

Corpus Christi Detour and Harlingen

From Port Aransas, I drove about 45 minutes to the small city of Corpus Christi. I just wanted to have a look at it, so I didn’t plan to do much, especially since I still had a two-hour drive to make to get to my hotel in Harlingen.

I stopped in at the vistors’ centre and was told that the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History across the street could fill a few hours and give me a sense for the city. Perfect!

Admission to the museum is $12.50, unless you happen to be a lucky blogger and get there on FREE admission day! What a gift!

This museum MUST be experienced. It’s a treasure trove of varied exhibits, each beautiful planned and executed. From gem stones to the discovery of the new world passing by terrariums filled with turtles, alligators, and giant spiders, this museum is definitely worth a visit! I had a wonderful afternoon there.

Coming into the visitor’s centre, I noticed a class B rig in the parking lot that I had also seen parked next to me a few days before. It had Ontario plates. When I saw it at home, I thought that it had to be Marianne and Randy Edwards, but told myself that would be too much of a coincidence. When they saw my truck at the visitors’ centre, they put two and two together and waited for me to return to see if I was me that truck belonged to. We had a lovely chat and Randy gave me instructions for getting to the waterfront.

I took his advice and wound up at the Corpus Christi Marina. It was 4PM by this point, I was beat, and I had a long drive ahead of me, so I was done. I headed out towards Harlingen and stopped at the Kingsville Walmart where I ran into the Edwards again! There I FINALLY found a good pair of sandals (I love the Earth Spirit brand; very good quality, leather, inexpensive, only available at Walmart) so I have comfortable shoes this morning.

The drive to Harlingen was exciting. I had the radio on and wasn’t really paying attention to much besides the road so I failed to notice not only that my gas gauge needle was racing towards empty but also the ‘no fuel for 60 miles’ sign!!! When my gas gauge light came on, I was shocked to discover that the next gas station was 80KM ahead of me, so the only option was to turn back the way I came to go back to the last gas station I had passed. It was a very long 20KM, but I wasn’t completely empty when I got there. I really need an audio signal at the quarter tank mark!!!

That 40KM detour meant that I didn’t get into Harlingen until 7:30. I don’t like driving in the dark, but it’s easier in the truck, probably because I am higher up than car headlights and I don’t get blinded as much (even in pickup truck land). The hotel was right off of I-77 and very easy to find. It’s adequate for a one-star; shabby but clean with a lumpy bed.

There is a Chili’s restaurant literally next door. Chili’s is a huge treat for me. I’ve only been there four times before (I’m averaging once a year) and I only go if I stumble onto one (so I never ate at the one in Chesapeake). So I decided that fate was telling me I needed a good dinner! I always get their margarita grilled chicken, which comes on a bed of rice, black beans, and tortilla strips. Incredibly delicious. I ordered a beer, the server said okay, then he came back and said, “Sweetie, you are old enough to drink, aren’t you?”

I still can’t get over the fact that people think I am in my late teens to mid-20s. I look at myself in the mirror and I just see the deepening lines and fading scars that remind me that time is marching on…

It was almost 9:00 when I got in from dinner. I had hoped to update the blog, but my internet connection kept cutting out and was slooooooooooow. It was so frustrating that I shut down and went to bed around 11.

Breakfast is included, but I didn’t even bother to check it out. Instead, I went across the street to Starbucks for a bagel and coffee. Except for a coffee on the NY Thruway coming south, I have not had Starbucks since early May of 2012!

I’m getting mixed signals about how easy it will be to fill a few hours in Nuevo Progreso, so I’m in no hurry this morning. I’ll be heading out in a few minutes and should be there for 1o:00, 10:30, giving me a couple of hours to find the dentist and have lunch.

Nuevo Progreso will be the furthest south I have ever wandered!

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Countries, Mexico, Museums, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Social, Texas, Travel, USA    3 Comments
Feb 3, 2013 -

Would You Try This Slide?

Check out the picture of a 10-story slide in this article about the St Louis City Museum.

I still can’t believe I went down that thing.

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Countries, MIssouri, Museums, Travel, USA    No Comments
Jan 28, 2013 -

Goliad and Presidio La Bahia

The only thing of note in Port Lavaca is a museum that is closed on Mondays. My own reason for going into town was to mail two packages that could have waited another day or two, so I almost stayed in.

Instead, I decided to take Pam’s advice and go on a drive to Goliad, one of the oldest towns in Texas. Its name is an anagram, minus the H, of Hidalgo, a Mexican priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence.

Most of the town was shut down,  so I just followed my nose to the Empresario Restaurant, a sliver of a building with a warm decor. It had a simple menu with burgers and the like as well as a few Mexican dishes. I chose the cheese enchiladas and was a little surprised that they came smothered in BEEF. I didn’t send it back since the rice, beans, and corn tortilla enchiladas were fantastic. The little beef I took in was nicely seasoned. It’s not their fault that beef does nothing for me. Lunch was gigantic and I wound up leaving a bit of everything (well, a lot of the beef) and I still came out at $9 with the tip! Service was great, too. No regrets on my lunch choice! Amusingly enough, I checked my email on my phone while waiting for my food and there was an email from Pam recommending the fried chicken and iced tea at Empresario!

Then, I found an ATM of the drive-through variety (I got an odd look from a few people because I walked to it). That’s one thing about the US that boggles me; people just about never need to get out of their cars. You have drive through banks (not just ATMs, you can deal with a teller from your car!), drive through pharmacies, drive through restaurants (and not just fast food), and even drive through liquor stores.

THANK GOODNESS I took out cash because a few hours later my credit card was denied at a gas station. Not declined, denied. I haven’t been able to get through to them as the lines are busy, but I did my work around (called the main CIBC number instead of the Visa number) and got an automated message that they were having a problem with authorizations on their credit cards. I thought I might have a security hold, but it looks like the problem has nothing to do with me specifically. Ah, I just got a message from a friend while writing this post and the ENTIRE VISA SYSTEM ACROSS CANADA WAS DOWN THIS AFTERNOON. OMG. Anyway, it’s all restored now and I’m not stranded anywhere!

Next, I walked around the courthouse that features a hanging tree where justice was expediently served. From there, I strolled a block to the post office. I got a really nice lady who told me not to miss Presidio La Bahia, which I was planning to head to. She told me that that and the state park were pretty much the only things open at this time, so that was good info.

It was misting when I got out of the post office and walked the few blocks to my truck, but the weather cleared somewhat by the time I got to Presidio La Bahia. Presidio is my Spanish word of the week; it means fort.

Presidio La Bahia was founded in 1721 on the ruins of a French fort, moved several times, and was restored to its original state in the 1960s. It is now the best preserved presidio in the U.S. Until today, if you had asked me how much I know about Texas history, I would have replied, “Not much.” Now, I know I actually had a very good colouring book out line of it! I knew the general gist of events and the names of the main players involved. Very surprising! Who says you can’t learn anything from a TV mini-series like True Women?

This fort was at the centre of many sieges and battles in the Mexican War of Independence and ensuing Texas Revolution as well as the site of the Goliad Massacre.


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Countries, Finances, Law and Government, Mail, Museums, Texas, Travel, USA    4 Comments