Spring Break Update

There is no doubt about it, Spring Break is here, in all it’s glory.  This past weekend we had some very hot weather and the beach and parking lots were packed. Beach chairs and umbrellas were available for rent from the shacks on the beach that had previously been unoccupied. There is also a food truck parked near one of the beach access points and today, just down from us, a huge trailer with a smoker has moved in. We are still seeing the planes flying overhead dragging signs advertising the events going on at the local watering holes. The message changes daily.

Earlier in the week we had an RV move in, two stalls down from us, but there were no occupants, Hmm.  Then Saturday, another RV pulled in next to us with about 10 young adults. It turns out these 10 ended up staying in the two RVs next to us.  Of course we were thinking the worst, but things weren’t too bad with our new neighbours.  But they did need to be reminded at 12:30 AM that quiet time starts at 10:00  The Sheriff was very quick to respond and things quieted down right smartly after his visit.

With all the extra people on the island having a good time, it is inevitable that things will go sideways.  Sure enough, there was a report on the news of damage to a sand castle that sits outside the Tourist Welcome Centre. We had previously biked into town to see the new castle and were fortunate enough to speak with the artists.  This is a huge and very intricate sand sculpture.  After hearing the report we took our bikes out to see the damage. It is a tragedy that this type of vandalism has occurred after hours and hours of work.  Here is a second report from the local TV station.

The Visitor Centre was about as far into town as we could take our bikes. The sidewalks were overcrowded with groups of young adults.  As we approached a group they either didn’t hear our bike bell or didn’t care and we had to weave around them. Taking our bikes to the road was not a safe option either.

Today the weather didn’t get past 70℉ so the beach activity was very quiet. We decided to venture into town this afternoon for a coffee at McDonald’s. What a surprise. This is a very small restaurant with only 2 tills, only one normally open.  In the past, there is rarely another car in the parking lot and there are normally only 3 or 4 workers behind the counter. Today the parking lot was near full and, upon entering, we were greeted by a Cameron County Sheriff. The place had many patrons, most of which looked like they had too much sun and/or had just woken up from a very late night. There still was only one till open but there was a serpentine lane to keep everyone in-line as they approached the counter. As we waited for our coffee to be delivered, yes, they brought our order to our table, I counted 14 staff working behind the counter.

There were many young adults as well as families eating inside. It was nice to see the young patrons, no matter how scantily they were dressed, or hung over they looked, as they acted very politely toward the staff.  We chatted with the Sheriff before we left. He told us things get a lot crazier around 5:00 or 6:00 as the line goes out the door.  I guess that is when people start to rise and get ready for the evenings activities.

While in town, we continued to see many people walking on the sidewalks.  There were also many vans and busses on the street advertising free rides. These free rides were being used as we could see people flagging them down to get around town.  We also learned at happy hour the other day that a religious group that is staying in the park is offering free breakfast to those on bring break.

It is nice to see the community getting together during this time when the population explodes to provide a safe and accommodating atmosphere for all.



Spring Break, OMG

It is getting exciting around here.  Some of our friends have left, either to warmer places or back to their homes in the north.  We will see more of our friends leaving to go back home as the month wears on. We are also seeing more activity in the park and in South Padre Island, on the beach and on the streets.

Last weekend we had some pretty nice weather and there were lots of people out and about. The parking lots were fuller than I have ever seen and I don’t think I have seen so many people on the beach, kids, families and young adults. Many of the young adult beach goers were in various stages of undress that were supposed to be swim suits. A couple of our neighbours were out walking their dogs on the beach and reported back at happy hour how crazy it was. I suppose people think that if they “have it”, they should show it off.  Unfortunately there are many that think they “have it”, but really don’t.

During the week, the people on the beach and the cars in the parking lots decreased.  Partly because we have had a day of rain and, well, the weekend was over.  We have seen more RVs entering the park though, but not a corresponding increase in people.  It appears that people are bringing in their RVs and then leaving.  We all suspect they will return this coming weekend, when Texas spring break starts.

Last Saturday we went out for supper at Blackbeards’ Restaurant. Wow, what a great experience.  We originally wanted to go on Friday when their dinner special is Blackened Fish Tacos. We asked our server if they were available on Saturday as well, they were.  But we could also have Blackened Shrimp Tacos. Perfect, we ordered the Shrimp Tacos, to share. They were delicious. Bev also had a soft drink and I had a desert, to share, and the bill was under $20. We couldn’t have asked for better service or food. We both walked away, filled to the gills.

Excitement was the name of the game when we were on our way home. You have to know that there are many companies in South Padre Island that will rent you a golf cart that you can drive on the street. These are not like the carts you would see on the greens.  Oh No, these are pimped out with loud music, roofs with crazy lights and some have the ability to carry 8 or more people. They don’t look that safe and thank goodness they don’t drive very fast. At times they were a little hard to see and with the increase in pedestrians, driving back into the park after sunset was interesting.

We went out to do some errands during the day on Saturday and were amazed at the number of young adults walking the streets. They were mostly in groups of 4 or more.  Some were flagging downs taxis, other were carrying cases of beverages (could be beer or water, you pick). Many of them appeared to have had too much sun, think red lobster. At one intersection Bev noticed a young lady that had on very short, denim shorts. It wasn’t the shortness of the shorts that caught Bev’s eye, it was the fact the top button was undone as was the zipper. I missed the spectacle and Bev assured me she didn’t “have it”.

With the increase of people to the island for spring break, there is going to be an increase in Police patrols, which we have already seen here in the park, as well as the addition of temporary street cameras at the popular watering holes and entertainment venues.  We have also seen airplanes buzzing around the island, dragging huge banners behind them.  One of the signs advertises a company that will write your term paper for you.  Another advertises the bands that are playing at Louie’s Backyard.

Now more locally, at Happy Hour, we have lost a furry four-legged friend.  Max has moved back home with his owners.  His playmate Ruby is missing him dearly.  But we have a new furry friend, Oscar.  Oscar is a little Old English Sheepdog that love to play.

Oscar and Charlie


We haven’t been to the beach for some time now, so today I had a wander over to the water.  We have seen on the local news of reports of Portuguese Man O’ War being present in the water and what to do if you have been stung. Sure enough when I got to the beach I could see the addition of the blue surf conditions flag.

Yes, there were many Portuguese Man O’ War washed up on the beach.  I had seen them before, but at that time I didn’t know what they were, and they certainly weren’t in this number.  There were some big ones, a little bit smaller than your hand but there were an abundance of little ones (smaller than your little fingernail). It was interesting watching the gulls eating the small ones that were still floating in the water. I guess they aren’t affected by the venom.

Portuguese Man O’ War

Portuguese Man O’ War

Portuguese Man O’ War

Not Sure What These Are.

So it will be interesting next weekend, the start of spring break here in Texas. I hope the crazy activity remains in town, away from the park.  But with temperatures forecast to be in the 90s, I suspect some of the frivolity will spill over to the beach here in the park.

Bayside Wildlife Drive

Yesterday we headed out to Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge, again. We had been at the Refuge near the end of January, you can read all about it here. We had been out to the Refuge the previous Sunday hoping to get on the three-hour tram tourunfortunately the lady in-line ahead of me got the last ticket, dang.  We were a little disappointed, but figured we could catch it again on another weekend.  Well, it turned out this weekend was the last weekend the tram was running.  Starting in March, the Bayside Wildlife Drive is going to be under construction. If we wanted to go, we needed to get there a little earlier to ensure we got a ticket for the tram.

We arrived at the Refuge just after 11 AM and quickly got our tickets for the 12:30 tour. The tram held 66 people plus one driver (Bob) and one guide (Alex). Alex provided a good dose of humour with all the information about the Refuge and it’s inhabitants. Bob jumped in with additional information about the birds we observed. We didn’t get to see any elusive Ocelots, which live at the Refuge but did get to see flowering Yucca, Osprey, Caracara, Great Blue Herron and some other critters.

Here are some things we captured with the camera.

Our Chariot For the Day

Flowering Yucca

Flowering Yucca

Flowering Yucca

Great Blue Heron


Osprey Pair




Caracara Feeding on Dried Fish

Caracara Feeding on Dried Fish

Caracara Feeding on Dried Fish

Crested Caracara

Presidents’ Day

We are seeing a lot more activity here in the RV park.  It could be due to the great weather we have experienced the last few days or it could be because it is the week-end.  I think these two things have something to do with it but I think it probably has more to do with Monday being Presidents’ Day.

We are seeing a lot more traffic on the island and in Port Isabel.  Thursday and Friday saw a lot of RVs moving in the park. We are also seeing a lot of new people walking down our street, some with dogs in tow, that we haven’t seen before.  We have never seen the beaches with so many people, couples and families enjoying themselves.  It is quite nice to see.

If you are in the United States, either living here permanently or as a Winter Team, have a great Presidents’ Day.


Dog Gone Wedding

Today we experienced something completely different.  Here is a little bit of back information to set the stage:

Our neighbours, Sylvia and Charlie, have a golden-doodle dog, Amber.  We all enjoy Amber and earlier in the week Sylvia invited us to a fund-raiser event for the local dog rescue, SPI Friends of Animal Rescue. The event was being held at a local watering hole, and was promoted as A Dog Gone Wedding.

Now we have seen some pretty unusual, or should I say crazy, behaviours from dog owners.  Of course we have seen small dogs with coats when the weather is cold, we have seen dogs with booties while walking in the snow, but.  Have you seen dogs being walked, or should I say pushed in a stroller or in a wagon behind a bicycle? Have you seen dogs rolling up the isles in a grocery store in the front of a shopping cart?  How about costumes for dogs, have you seen those?  If you want to see costumes, you needed to be at the wedding.  From flowing skirts, bow ties, tuxedos and sun glasses, they were there.

The MC did an excellent job of keeping the program running smoothly even though some of the participants were more excited than others.  First off, there was a parade of dogs that were currently at the shelter and were available for adoption.  Next we got to see the tricks dogs do. If you knew Max (see picture below) you would say his trick was laying down (scratch my belly). Some of these tricks pretty good.  Then we had a parade for the best dressed man followed by the best dressed lady.

I think the judges had a difficult time picking the winners but they had a little bit of time to sort things out while the wedding was taking place.  It had already been decided that the bride and groom would be rescue dogs.  They were presented, front and centre, while the wedding vows were read.  The crowd went wild when the dogs were pronounced married.  The crowd also showed their support when the awards were given out for the competitions.  Just so you know, Amber won Best Dressed Girl.  She is quite a pet.

After the program, the winners of the raffle were announced. During the program, raffle tickets were on sale for a weekend for 2 plus water park passes at the schlitterbahn, a basket of wine and first place was a booze bucket. This bucket, as the name implies, was full of booze and included everything you needed to make a boatload of margaritas.

The raffle winners were being drawn while we were leaving.  When the booze bucket was awarded, the winner donated it back to the event so it could be auctioned off. As we reached the street the bid was up to $120.  I am not sure where it settled out but I do know all proceeds went back to the Friends of Animal Rescue.

The Bride





The Bride

The Groom

The Lucky Couple

The Dogs from our neighbourhood. Amber, Ruby and Max.



I Got A New Tail

We woke up today and didn’t know what the bright disk was in the sky. Upon a second look, we discovered it was the sun.  OMG, We haven’t seen the sun for so long. And it was very warm in the RV this morning. Normally in the morning, I have to put on a sweater at breakfast, but not today.

The sun was out, so there were things to do.  First up was a bike ride over to the office to pay next months rent and get the latest on spending the rest of March in the park and reserving a spot for next winter. Next was bike over to the construction site where they are building a new multi-purpose building and amphitheatre, (nothing much changed here).  Then back to the RV.  It was so nice out we needed to get to the beach.

After a quick collection of all we needed, off to the beach we go. Once we got settled in out came the kites.  I have two, and can usually anchor the lines to our beach wagon.  That way I can fly them both at the same time and don’t have to worry about hanging on to the lines. Well I had previously purchased a new long tail for one of the kites and was anxious to try it out.  Well it turns out the two kites wouldn’t get along with the new tail, so one had to come down.  This was all right because the wind was getting stronger and the tension on the kite lines was moving our wagon. With only one kite in the air, all was good.

My new tail

As we expected, the wind was picking up and the fog was starting to roll in, so we headed back to the RV around 3:30.

We have new neighbours beside us who pulled in the other day. They are farmers from northern Manitoba. When we got back, they were out, so I went over to have a little chat and let them know about the grand opening of the sea turtle rescue building.  They were interested and might take it in.

Before you know it, it was Happy Hour.  There was quite a gang there today.  We hadn’t been together for a week because of the weather.  These times together are getting more and more important as the days wear on.  Members are starting to head home after spending the winter here.  We had one leave today.  Another couple are heading out on Saturday. As the days pass, more and more will be leaving.  It is sad to see our new friends leave.  We wish them safe travels and hope we meet up again next year.

Walking on Sunshine

Katrina & The Waves released a catchy little tune in 1983, Walking on Sunshine.

Now that you have clicked on the link and watched the video, you will probably have the tune running around in your head for some time.  But not if you were here with us on South Padre Island.

The local weatherman has been continuously forecasting a “Cold Front” is moving in, it’s going to be “Drippy” tomorrow, “Fog” is in the forecast.  Do you get the picture?  The temperature has been below the seasonal average for over a week.  We can count on fog either in the evening, in the morning, or all day long. The fog is so thick at times, we can’t see the dunes from the RV, which is only a distance of 100m or so. We are desperately wanting to see the sun and get back outside to enjoy the island.

Today, to get out of the RV, I went for a walk in the later afternoon.  The wind was roaring out of the north and the fog was getting ready to settle in for the night. The temperature was hovering around 13℃, much warmer than yesterday. Walking toward the jetty, the wind was at my back.  There were very few people out. The shorebirds were in abundance, running in and out, as the waves ran up the sand. There were a few dedicated fisherman on the jetty and a lone Great Blue Heron was hanging around.  I think he was waiting for a free lunch.

From the jetty, I strolled over to the area where the construction for the new multipurpose building and amphitheatre is taking place.  We hadn’t been around this area in a few days and I wanted to see what had changed.  By the time I got there, I couldn’t see a thing as my glasses where dripping wet from the wind and fog.

I had to turn into the wind to get back home. Because I was now heading away from the water, I was somewhat protected from the weather. It was a pleasant stroll back to the RV, just in time hear the weather on TV.  The fog is already limiting visibility in some areas of the valley and it’s going to be Drippy tomorrow morning (raining).  The afternoon will see the clouds break up with periods of sun.

So, maybe tomorrow, I will be walking on sunshine.