Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Texans...

Well, I think we are officially "Winter Texans" although even we have not escaped these wonderful winter storms that have been plaguing us all.  Its been a while since I've posted so lets see if I can get us caught up.

At the end of January, we drove to visit our friends Jim & Sandie who are in McAllen, Texas and will be joining us here on SPI in March.  The area is much larger than we anticipated and it is estimated that the normal 100,000 population swells to over 300,000 due to Winter Texans.  So what exactly are Winter Texans, not quite sure, but we all seem to be hiding from winter in Texas so you can draw your own conclusions.

Matt has had several really good days of kiting and even some extremely windy days before the first winter storm in the first few days of February.  We had winds 30+ and temperatures in the 30's and spent about 18 hours without power.  Now normally, that is not an issue for us, but of course, when we needed it, the generator would not start!!  We did manage to have a wonderful ice storm that left us with several inches of ice all over everything. 
The truck was encased in ice.

The trailer with its ice sheets.  All morning and afternoon we cringed inside as huge ice sheets fell off.  We were a bit scared to walk anywhere near it.  Notice the open generator compartment where Matt was trying to fix it.
We did manage to warm up back into the 70's before this week's storm hit.  We visited the Kite Festival here on the island and the size of the kites were amazing.
That is a huge flying octopus!!!

Quite the variety of kites.
We decided to bypass the RV during this storm and drove about 3 hours north of here to Corpus Christi, Texas.  We hit the cold front about an hour north of here and were hit by 40+ mph winds and a drop in temperature from 67 to 33 in a few very short minutes.  We took advantage of several scrapbook and guitar stores while in Corpus on our first day.  While in Corpus, we visited the Texas State Aquarium.  It is a great facility and we enjoyed the great exhibits although we scurried through the outside exhibits due to the cold.

Here I am enjoying my favorite exhibit, the Sea Horses.
Matt enjoys his favorite exhibit with some very large fish and sharks swimming around.

Since it was so chilly outside, we watched the dolphin show from a showroom that gave us a view inside the tank.
After visiting the aquarium, we drove around Corpus Christi bay and visited the Padre Island National Seashore.  It is amazing to me that the Padre Islands (North and South) make up about a 150 mile long barrier island to the Texas coast.  After a great shrimp dinner at Snoopys, we drove back to our hotel for the night.

Yesterday was our last day in Corpus and we visited the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier now located in the bay. It was an amazing tour with over 100,000 square of touring area with lots of steep stairs to climb up and down.

The USS Lexington where she now rests in the Corpus Christi bay.

The tower of the ship which includes the bridge and captains quarters.

Can you imagine landing fighter planes on this small little strip with a boat pitching and rolling beneath you.

Matt enjoying one of the exhibits.

Can you imagine sleeping in these quarters?  The sailors didn't just imagine it, they lived it.

The Emergency room on board the ship.

This is actually the sick bay in the hospital area.  Can you imagine being sick and having to climb into one of the top bunks?
Well, I think that just about catches us up.  We returned to SPI yesterday and the weather is gradually improving.  We should be in the 70's this week again, thank goodness....

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