The sun, sand and surf at Corpus Christi and Padre Island

We spent five wonderful days relaxing in the sun right on the Gulf of Mexico.  It was made affordable and enjoyable compliments of the U.S. Navy and the Recreation Programs of the Armed Services.  There were a few rules to follow – after all we were staying on an busy Naval base – but we enjoyed just about every minute.  I didn’t think I’d be as impressed with the base and its workings but I was and I am.

Why  ‘just about’?   Because of our search for a package sent to us from Amazon.com.  The one with the new battery charger for Isabella’s lovely new Nikon camera.  Before we arrived at Corpus Christi NAS we searched for the appropriate place to have a package sent.  The Rec Center website said to have the package sent general delivery in our name to the city’s main post office.  So we ordered the new battery from Amazon.  But it turns out that some big thinker in Amazon’s shipping department decided to sent the package via UPS.  UPS to a post office.  How does that make sense?  So a day after the package was supposed delivered Gary and Bella set out to find it.  It was nowhere to be found at the post office.  No surprise when we discovered after tracking the package that some genius at UPS had left the package at the ‘front door’ of the main post office at 8:22 in the evening.  Hmmmmm, do you suppose someone made off with that package while it sat outside the post office overnight?    <sigh>   Eventually we tracked down a universal charger at a Radio Shack that will do until we get home.  Amazon and UPS are both aware of the irritation and wasted time they caused us, trust me.

Other than the charger fiasco we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  Our time at Padre Island National Seashore was the highlight of our time.  If you’ve never been there or only experienced the insanity of South Padre then I recommend you consider spending time at the National Seashore.  The variety of birds, the beauty of an empty stretch of beach and the glory of the Gulf seemed determined to make us happy.  We’d like to return and camp directly on the beach.

Isabella’s discovery of a large jellyfish that had been swept in on the tide made her visit especially exciting.

Dead jellyfish on Padre Island National Seashore beach

A wonderful volunteer in the park had taught us a lot about the giant turtles who come to Padre Island to lay their eggs each spring.

We spent our last full day visiting the Texas Aquarium.  I won’t recommend it very highly, frankly.  But we did enjoy seeing some of those big turtles (some weighing over 100 lbs).

She seemed to be watching us as much as we were watching her

The ten turtles who live at the Aquarium had been rescued after injury or illness.

We love the water and we especially loved the quiet of the beaches in winter.  Yes, the water was too chilly to swim but the sun was glorious each day and the air temperatures were great.

 

 

 

Life is what happens when you’re making other plans

(originally written on 21 January)

We could be most of the way to Southern California by now but we’re spending a lot more time in Texas than we’d planned – and loving it.  I never think I’m going to like Texas but I always do – not the majority politics and certainly not the governor – not the urban sprawl of Texas-sized proportions – but the people and the weather – the food and beauty of the landscapes that change and you head south or west.

We spent a few lovely days at a state park just outside Austin.  I recommend it highly and would love to come again and stay longer.  The falls (both upper and lower) are magical and nothing like I’ve ever seen.  When the camera battery charger replacement arrives from Amazon (hopefully when my fellow travelers return from their current expedition) we’ll be back in the photo business though my iPhone has done a pretty good job in the meantime.  Bella did such a good job of packing her new camera and most of its needed accoutrements except the battery charger.  At least it hasn’t turned up yet.

What’s Happened So Far

We ran from the storm and cold that was to arrive at home.  We rushed through Arkansas and Oklahoma.  We found puppies in Arkansas.  We fought headwinds in Oklahoma (boy, did that use gasoline!) and now we’re in Texas.  We arrived on Thursday late afternoon and will probably leave on Monday or we might stay an extra day or two.   We seem to have thrown our schedule out the window and so far it’s all good.   We believe our next stay will be somewhere around Corpus Christi.

Grapevine, Texas is an interesting place; the ‘historic district’ is charming.  The campground is publicly owned and a nice place to stay for a few days – especially since January rates are half-off.  It’s a quiet spot in the middle of urban sprawl.  Well, quiet when planes aren’t taking off and landing at Dallas/Ft. Worth International.  There are activities most days – today Maggie J had her photo taken as part of  a national celebration (Dress Up Your Pet Day).  The scarf she wore made her look very attractive.  It’s hard for a dachshund to find a scarf that doesn’t drag on the ground though.

We’ve hiked around the park and strolled around the lake.  Isabella was confronted by unhappy geese while talking photos.  Maggie may have fallen in love with a small fuzzy dog.  And, today Isabella and I visited Grapevine Mills mall.  It’s huge and confusing and the loudest place I’ve had to walk around in in years.  It reminded me of a bad circus but don’t take my word for it – I don’t like shopping.  Yes, Grapevine, Texas is an interesting place.

Isabella will post photos when we have a better internet connection.

We’re learning to share this small space.  So far no one has been harmed.  The biggest issues so far  1)the tiny frig/freezer doesn’t hold enough, 2)storage space – there isn’t enough, 3)We’re all messy!

Stacks of Books

Books to read and to share.  Books on grammar, vocabulary and writing.  Christmas gifts of books on physics and chemistry.  History books.   Books of maps.  A book on the national parks.  A fun paperback on what’s at the ‘next exit’.  We also have a huge book of (supposedly) every place one can camp in the contiguous 48.   I hope the campster wheels aren’t flattened from the weight.

 

The waiting is the hardest part

We can’t go quite  yet…  We’ve been saying that for a while, a long while.

We’ve been planning our adventure on the road – living in our 31ft. camper pulled by our gas-hogging Tahoe – for what seems like years now.  First it was a dream, then it was a plan, then we bought the Tahoe and the ‘campster’.  But now we wait.  We wait for the right time – when the final details of life at home are settled for a while.  Who will pick up our mail?  Who will watch our house and keep the plants fed and watered?  Okay, we’ve got that covered.  Thanks, Cara!  We’ve visited all the grandchildren and admonished them not to grow too much in the next few months and to watch for postcards, Skype and/or Facetime.  But there’s one last appointment that must be arranged and kept.   A replacement dental filling can’t wait.   So we do.  We wait again.

 

Watch this space.  Surely we’ll have updates and anecdotes from our first stops along the way.  We plan to head for Texas and then go west.  Bella has settled on the camera she’ll use to document our experiences.

 

Soon.   It will be soon.