Thursday, December 15, 2016
We are a "2 geezer" household. Well, one geezer and a pretty Blonde of a certain age status.
I mentioned the upcoming 800% increase for a Senior Pass for National Parks and Federal Recreation Areas. Checking around, the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is the closest place where we can get a Senior Pass for Joan (I already have mine). The pass is good for everyone in your vehicle, but I can see the situation where my card is in the motorhome and we are exploring in the car... or on the scoots. For the amazingly low price of $10, it is so worth it to each have a Senior Pass (used to be called Golden Age Pass).
The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is only 18 miles from our house. Besides the great birding opportunities there (they have blinds you can use for photography), the real attraction is that this is the only place in the US where there are ocelots in the wild. The ocelots do migrate between here and Mexico, so it is great that they have this protected area.
We have been to the Refuge in the past, both by ourselves and with Steph and Dan. On the way out there, I remembered why we don't go there much these days: the road is horrible! Worse than the worst road we've driven in Mexico. Worse than 4-wheeling off-road. The worst of it is the county road to get to the Refuge, although some of the road in the Refuge isn't great, either.
It was an ordeal to get there, but we made it...
The ladies we spoke with in the Visitors Center were very nice. I asked the younger one if she had to drive that awful road every day... "I am an intern - they have housing for me here on the Refuge." Lucky for her. Well, unless she needs to go into town for anything.
The Visitors Center is small, but informative. There is a well-done display with an ocelot and a jaguar (no longer found in this area)...
The ladies there were not aware that Congress passed legislation that will be raising the fees for a Senior Pass. My advice to anyone 62 or older: get it while you can!
Heading back to the car, the official "I got mine!" photo...
And then, that crappy road to get back to civilization. Cameron County should be ashamed of themselves for not keeping up that road. I wonder how many people turn back after encountering the 7 miles of vehicular torture? The speed limit starts at 30 mph, then drops to 25 mph... no way you could do 25 mph without doing damage to your car. Fortunately, I'm a geezer, so no one expects me to drive the speed limit. ;-)
The trip to the Refuge cost us more than $10 for the pass and the wear and tear on the CR-V suspension... they have specialty license plates available with the message of "Save the Ocelots"... a major portion of the cost of those plates goes to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to support the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. I told Joan, "I hope those ocelots don't just buy candy and gum with that money." (It's a family joke - anytime the discussion of "what are you going to do with that money?" comes up, the response is: buy candy and gum.) Joan ordered plates for the car and motorhome as soon as we got home.