The Calm After The Storm

Last Friday was the turning point.  Up until then, we were experiencing hot and humid weather.  It couldn’t be better.  But the weatherman was forecasting a cool down and rain for the weekend. How much could the weather change in a few days?  We were about to find out.

Friday morning I headed out for my walk on the beach. With shorts and a T-shirt and my camera in hand, I headed for the beach.  Sure it looked black in the north and to the east, but I still thought I could get a good walk in.  Boy was I wrong.

I had gotten down the beach quite a ways when it started to rain a little. It didn’t look like it was going to let up so I turned around and headed back to the RV. Let me tell you, it didn’t let up at all.  It got worse. When I finally got inside the RV I was soaked to the skin.  I could have wrung water out of my clothes.  Boy that second shower of the day felt good.

The day didn’t start off all that great and slowly progressed down hill from there. What do you do with wet clothes, throw them in the washer, of course.  The next thing I knew, the dryer was running but the drum wasn’t turning.  The belt had broken.  We were able to order a new belt from the local RV repair place, but it wouldn’t arrive until Monday.  I hope my shoes would be dry by then.

Well with the rain and wind on Friday, came the cold temperatures.  Just as the weatherman had predicted. We went from near 30℃ to 10℃ in a day. We didn’t see any sunshine until late Tuesday afternoon.  The wind had died down and the sun peaked out just before sunset. We are both hoping that this will be the last cold spell for the winter.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday wasn’t all that warmer, temperature wise.  But it sure felt warmer because the sun was out all day.  Now Thursday was great.  Sun all day with hardly any wind.  I was able to resume my beach walks.  Here are a few of the sites around South Padre Island I was able to capture today.

We have a new beach pavilion being built just behind us.  We thought we should take a “before” picture to see how much progress is made during the winter. Now I just need to remember to take an “after” picture before we leave in the spring.

Piles for the new pavilion with scaffolding so the forms for a concrete roof can be constructed.

There was a lot of activity in the shipping channel today.

The shrimp boat Sandy Sea coming in to port

The shrimp boat Blind Faith II going out to sea

US Coast Guard vessel Brant going out to sea

While walking to the beach you could see these beauties out catching some sun

Remember those Monarch butterflies at the Texas rest stop a few days ago? They are here too.

Waiting for a snack

At the jetty there were many fishermen/fisherwoman. Some dressed in shorts and T-shirts, others in down coats and toques.  But there was one person fishing with a net.  Look at this series of photos to see the action.

Getting all the lines ready

The wind up

And the release

I bet he is hoping there are a few fish under that net. Spoiler alert: He didn’t catch anything on that throw

As I said, the ocean was much calmer today.

Even the Pelicans were out diving for a meal

Access to La Copa Condo

Looking for treasure

If this little guy didn’t move, you would never see him

Out fishing

Even the dolphins like to get out and play in front of  the Cuevas Pride

And the sunsets are wonderful.


A Walk On The Beach

This morning there was a heck of a noise outside, so I decided to go for a walk and see what was going on.  Well I ended up walking down the beach and was able to capture a few locals.

Roads are getting completed with a fresh layer of asphalt and a lot of noise.

Another ship on her way to Brownsville. The Overseas Martinez.

Brown Pelicans on the move, looking for their next meal.

What do you find on the shore? Shore birds, what else.

More shore birds.

Last one. They are so darn cute.

Beach chairs, waiting for my niece Bonnie.

More photos and updates to follow as I walk the beach.

Getting Settled In

Well we have been parked here on South Padre Island for about a week. We are slowly getting into a routine and slowing down to Island Time.

The site we have this year, S31, is quite nice. We have a direct view of the Brazos Santiago Pass which leads to the Laguna Madre and the port of Brownsville and have already seen two huge container ships heading towards Brownsville and one heading out to sea. These are visible from our patio. Also visible from the patio are the gorgeous sunsets.  No more looking through or over other RV.  So with these things considered, I think this site is better that the one we had last year.  Of course, the site we had last year isn’t available.  It is currently occupied by a huge construction trailer.

There is a lot that has changed since we left in April.  The amphitheater has been completed and the Event Centre is well on its way to completion.  As of yet, it is unclear if we will be using the Event Centre for a park wide Christmas meal.  Time will tell I guess.

The roads as well as the parking lots have been all torn up.  The Park’s plan was to move the road to the campground side of the parking lots instead of between the parking lot and the beach.  This way people won’t have to cross the road to get to the beach, just cross the parking lot.

Progress is also being made on a new, elevated boardwalk that stretches along the beach and the two new beach pavilions are well on their way to completion. Work progresses slowly here but I am sure we will see more progress before we return home.

We have gotten together a few times with the friends we made last year. Unfortunately they are spread around the park.  Our old neighbourhood is a construction zone.  We are still waiting with anticipation for a few more friends to arrive.  We know some will be here in December and others, in January.

Here are some familiar things around the park.

Something new that is close to the park is an Aerostat. It seems to be tethered between the park and Pier 19 at the US Coastguard Station.  You can see the docking mechanism from the park boat ramp.  I am waiting to see everything hooked together so I can get a picture. You can check out the local TV stations take on this by clicking here. Another report can be found here.

Stay tuned for more updates. We have some activities planned that we were unable to get done last year. So it should be a fun winter for us.


The Big Drive – Wrap-up, Nov 2

Back on day 2, I mentioned we left before the sun rose, and some of you might be thinking that wouldn’t be possible.  Well here is proof, a prairie sunrise.

Prairie Sunrise

We also had some fantastic sunsets during our trip.

Prairie Sunset

Now to let you know some of the fact regarding this trip:

Total time in the truck: 6 ½ days
Distance traveled: 3875 Kms (2400 miles)
Fuel used: 857 l (226 gallons)
Fuel economy: 22.14 l/100 Km (10.6 miles/gal)
Fuel price ranged from $1.31 to $1.05 C$/l ($4.96 to $4.00 C$/gallon)

We are now just going to sit back and relax, get together with our friends as they return to the sunny beach of South Padre Island.

Stay tuned for more updates.  We will be here all winter.


The Big Drive – Day 7, Nov 1

Yesterday was a short day.  We stopped where we did because there were no other suitable stops before our destination. This was a rather small lot, with only about 12 spots for RVs and semi-trailers.  Because we stopped so early, most spots were empty.  We pulled into the first spot and by the time we were ready for supper, we had two other RVs beside us.  There was no chance of a transport truck parking next to us, keeps us awake with it engine running all night long.

It was nice to have a short day but we were both anxious to get the RV set up and relax from this very long drive.

We left the rest stop in the morning about 8:45 AM with a slight tail wind. It was also partly overcast and should be a nice day for a drive.

We pulled into the park around 1 PM and completed all the paperwork to get our spot. There seems to be a lot of changes going on in the park, which we expected from our experience last year. Even with all the construction, we were able to quickly find out RV site and get everything set up..

It is nice to be finally at our destination. Temperature range today, +15 to +22.



The Big Drive – Day 6, Oct 31

We started again around 9 AM with mostly cloudy skies. Looks like it could develop into rain.

We are stopped for the night at a travel centre just south of Campbelton TX. We were lucky to have no rain today, just a cross wind, again. This is the last rest stop before South Padre Island so we decided to make it a short day. Tomorrow we should pull into the park in the early afternoon. Temperature range today +22 to +29. But Humid.  Can’t wait to get the RV plugged in and cool it off.

See you on the beach.

The Big Drive – Day 5, Oct 30

We started again around 9 AM with partly cloudy skies and an 18% chance of rain.

At our first stretch break I had to unzip the legs from my pants. It is getting pretty warm outside.

The scenery is a little different today, a little hilly and no more corn fields.  We are into cotton and oil. For a few miles that all we could see.  The rest seems to be ranch land.

Over the last 2 days we have seen 3 sets of wind turbine blades being transported down the highway. So that’s nine blades in total.  On day two we pass a field where there seem to be stored, but we are quite the distance from South Dakota.  These blades are on a special trailer with a pilot car ahead and behind.  We figure they must be at least 100′ long and the wheels at the back of the trailer must articulate, otherwise they would never be able to turn a corner. We also passed a few oversize transports with huge white, looked like boxes, which we figure could have been the generator that sits on top of the windmill support.  Simply amazing.

We travelled through Oklahoma City as well as Fort Worth today.  We didn’t miss the left lane exit in Oklahoma City because of the good notes Bev had recorded from our adventure last year.  You guessed it, last year we missed the exit and after about an hour were back on track.  Fort Worth traffic was bumper to bumper, 65 miles/hr.  There were a few section when we slowed to a crawl and are unsure why.

We are stopped for the night at a travel centre just south of Hillsboro TX. We were lucky to have no rain today, just a cross wind.  When we pulled into the rest stop for the night there was a sign saying “Monarch Highway”.  I remember this stop from last year and when I walked up to the main building (to use their Wi-Fi), there were many, many monarch butterflies flitting around the flowers that were blooming in the grass and planters. Temperature range today +18 to +28.

A short day tomorrow and then onto South Padre Island.