Texas is a BIG state and exploring it takes a LOT of driving. When planning our route from Arizona to here, I wanted to take a detour and head down to the southern tip of the state then go on to Galveston along the coast. That didn’t happen, but Tom promised we’d get there.
So, since our rig is here (in Galveston) for a month, we left it here and took a LONG road trip (in the Jeep) down to the tip of Texas. Seven hours long! But SO worth it. Sort of.
We stopped in Rockport for a great BBQ lunch at a charming restaurant. Lucky choice.
Tom planned a romantic getaway and booked us two nights on South Padre Island. The whole island is only three blocks wide, so we were just 1000 feet away from the sand and surf. Which is where we headed as soon as we got checked in. Our path was through a long boardwalk between other hotels. We couldn’t believe how balmy the weather was and how warm the water. We didn’t even pack shorts or swim suits!
The beachfront bars were packed and there were even people in the water – without wetsuits! What I heard about the southernmost point of Texas having sub-tropical weather was true. We were enjoying the palm trees and sandy beaches so much that we were already making plans to come back next winter.
They had dozens of beach supply shops and many of them were decorated to bring in the tourists.
We talked to fellow hotel guests that spend a month or three as “winter Texans” – without RVs – and that sounded good to us. It was so warm that we walked back to one of those beach bars and we were even walking around after dark without sweatshirts! I really can’t remember the last time that’s happened.
After a rough night’s sleep because of unruly hotel guests, we were up early to walk on the beach again.
We walked for miles before we turned back and walked along the other side of the island. They are very proud of their 3-umberella logo and we saw it everywhere.
We also saw many real-sand sandcastles in front of businesses. Some weren’t castles at all, but supported the business theme.
We made it back just in time before the rain started – as predicted. When we got back to the room and turned on the weather channel, we were horrified to see the massive freeway pileup in Fort Worth due to icy roads.
After some discussion, we took the half-hour drive into Brownsville – pretty much for no reason other than for me to say I’d been there. Besides, what else are you going to do on a rainy day? The zoo was closed (we wouldn’t have gone there anyway) and the town was much larger than I expected. It looked like it might have been nice back in the day, but now just looked like a run-down border-town.
We tried some sight-seeing in Port Isabel, but it was just too wet, cold, and windy.
Getting back to the island we drove from one end to the other. The south end is inhabited by an RV resort, and the north end is home to Island Adventure Park. Then the road ends. Which is a good thing because they spend a lot of time and effort (and no doubt expense) keeping the road clear of the constantly blowing sand dunes. The term “you can’t fight mother nature” comes to mind, but we watched as a skip loader operator braved the weather to move around the sand.
Heading back, we stopped to check out Sea Turtle Inc. South Padre is an important sanctuary and rehabilitation center for all species of sea turtles.
I know people are doing what they think is right, but it still made me sad to see these giant sea creatures living their entire lives in a tub of water. As humans we are so resistant to the nature of death…but I digress. We enjoyed learning about their hatchling releases and preservation efforts.
That evening we had a nice dinner out, but turned in early because we were so exhausted from the night before. Our trip here was brief, and we wished we had timed it a bit better, but we were glad we didn’t plan a longer trip because it looked like we needed to get back before the arctic air moved south.
We had another restless night because we were awoken to window-shaking booming thunder. A look out the window revealed sheets of rain blowing down. We got up and headed home in the rain and temps in the high 30’s, but we seemed to be ahead of the gulf storm and it was dry when we got home.
A long drive for a little enjoyment – but we can officially check off “southern tip of Texas” from our list. And we have added South Padre Island as a definite place to return to. Maybe we could fly in next time!
Peace & Love, Joy