There are really only three places full time RVers typically spend the winter. These are Florida, Arizona and extreme south Texas. We have spent most every winter of our lives in Florida and a little time in Arizona but never Texas. So we left sunny warm Florida and headed west to Harlingen Texas and Tropic Winds RV Park there.
The park itself is very nice with paved wide sites, a large main hall, pickleball courts, wood shop, fitness center and pool. The park offers live music concerts coordinated with several other parks in the area. Musical acts included tribute bands to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, ABBA, Buddy Holly, Billy Joel/Elton John and Jimmy Buffett. Lots of other shows keep everybody entertained. Most of our neighbors have been spending winters in the area for years.
South Padre Island is a popular beach location on the Gulf of Mexico. The day we visited there was a red flag warning for high winds and a blue flag for Portuguese Man-O-War on the beach.
Famous So. Padre Island
The entire area is bounded on the southwest by the Rio Grande River and Matamoros Mexico. Brownsville has a lot of history. We visited the Museum of History housed in the old Southern Pacific Depot. The beautiful locomotive No. 1 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works and is the last of its kind in the world. The huge MAN motorcar was reputedly built for Mexican President Porfirio Diaz although there is no record of its construction.
1928 Southern Pacific Depot
Locomotive No. 1 built in 1872
German MAN built car for Porfirio Diaz
Historic Market Square (1850)
The same day we visited historic Ft. Brown now part of Texas Southmost College. Many buildings of the fort are preserved including the Quartermasters Residence, Post Hospital and Morgue where Dr. Gorgas did important work to end the scourge of Yellow Fever. The fort was active during the Mexican War, the Civil War, the era of Buffalo Soldiers, Pancho Vila and World War I. It was interesting to learn that Brownsville was a major port of export for the Confederacy which provided revenue to sustain the Civil War. A successful Union blockade here could have ended the war much sooner. The last land battle of the Civil War was fought near here weeks after the surrender at Appomattox.
Ft. Brown Quartermaster’s House
Ft. Brown’s Gorgas Hall
The National Butterfly Center is located right on the river near Mission TX. The proposed wall would have a huge negative effect on this valuable private preserve as many migrating butterflies and birds do not possess the native abilities to traverse a tall barrier. The director of the preserve has been a vigorous opponent to The Wall. We found the 100 acre preserve to be a fascinating place to visit with beautiful butterflies and birds on this vital stop on the migratory flyway. Hundreds of species of birds and butterflies pass thru annually.
The National Butterfly Center
Special thanks to David and Kathryn for their hospitality at their Texas ranchero before they move to Durango.