From San Antonio we continued south searching for that illusive hot weather. We went to Corpus Christi, and the beginning of the Rio Grand Valley. We and camped in the Nueces County Park, a parking lot with hook ups and tables at the beach. Unfortunately the weather wasn't beach weather. From the campground we took a short ride to visit the Padre Island National Sea Shore. The seashore is known for its birding and we saw several waders. Some people camp on the beach, it's free. I don't think I could do that as I would look out the window every five minutes to see where the tide is.


We also drove north on Mustang Island for an early morning birding program at the Port Arranses Birding Center where we saw a very pink spoonbill flying overhead. Looking in a county historical brochure I found that there was an old Jewish Cemetery which was a Texas historical landmark in Corpus Christ. After walking on the sea wall

designed by Borgland the same artist that designed and built the Mount Rushmore Memorial we visited the cemetery.

I expected a run down overgrown cemetery with falling headstones but was surprised to find it very well kept and still in use. Normally the gate is locked but we were fortunate enough to be there at the same time as a group of local Jewish senior citizens who were visiting as part of a historical lecture series. We had a pleasant talk with these folks and were invited to Friday night services in one of the local synagogues which was hosting a bat mitzvah that weekend. The property that the cemetery was on was donated by Captain Richard King of the famous King Ranch (at one time the largest ranch in the world) so that his banking partner didn't have to travel to Galveston to bury his dead wife. The earliest marked grave is dated 1878.

Continuing South and West we went to visit full timing friends who are wintering in the Rio Grand Valley at Rio Hondo. With that as a base we visited Brownsville the most southern part of Texas. Rio Grand Valley fans called "Winter Texans" claim that Brownsville is the same latitude as Miami. A week after we left it snowed for the first time in a hundred years. It doesn't do that in Miami as Debby has not lost an opportunity to tell me since this trip was my idea. We also visited the Gladys Porter Zoo and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The zoo was a nice small town zoo with many interesting attraction including Chilean and Caribbean Flamingos and Scarlet Ibis.

The Refuge provided a nice place to walk on the 1/8 mile Kiskadee Trail the 1 and a half mile mesquite trail and the 1 mile Paisano trail. We also drove the 15 mile semi paved Bayside Drive. We were introduced to a new for us species of bird called a kiskadee for whom the trail is named. The mammals such as the ocelot and javalina proved more elusive as we didn't see any except in the visitor center videos.