Tuesday, November 17, 2009

South Padre Beach TX to Mustang Island TX

November 15, 2009 Sunday

We woke up to rain on the roof of the Sprinter. That sound always puts me back to sleep – when we got up about 8:00 the rain had stopped and it was just cloudy. After the usual morning routine we were on the road by 9:00. Jane took a photo of the Statue to the Saint of the Fishermen which was standing watch over the entrance to the harbor at Port Isabel.

Heading north on US 83 was interesting. There were palm trees and oleander planted in the median and along the sides of the road. The oleander was blooming which surprised us. The crops in this part of TX are varies –still some citrus trees but primarily sugar cane and cotton. The cotton crops have been harvested but some of the sugar cane still is awaiting harvest. There are also large ranches which seem to be raising cattle of several types.

Before we reached Kingsville we were stopped at another Border Patrol Checkpoint – this time because of the amount of traffic we had to wait in line for about 5 minutes for our chance to be “inspected”. They have yet to ask for proof of citizenship when we have been stopped but they certainly do give you a good visual going over. There was a dog at this stop sniffing each vehicle. I assume they are looking for drugs as well as illegals.

Another Border Patrol Stop

When we reached Kingsville we found the King Ranch Visitor Center and watched the introduction video. The ranch began in the 1850’s and is still family owned. It began as a cattle ranch and had an interesting history through the US Mexican War and the Civil War. The horses were a significant part of quarter horse history and this ranch had the only Triple Crown winner from Texas. The King Ranch now has 850+ thousand acres of holding in TX and an additional 100 thousand in Florida. They have diversified their ranching to include cotton, sugar cane, citrus, and significant wildlife causes. It remains a privately held business today managed from corporate offices in Houston. There were tours but we were too early for the one this afternoon.

King Ranch

We had been seeing numerous “taqueria’s” as we drove throughout south TX over the past week – so today we stopped at one and had lunch. It is really a simple Mexican restaurant. We had tacos and they were pretty good. Then we were on the road north to Mustang Island where we were planning to stay two nights at the State Park.
We passed just to the south of Corpus Christi on a Farm Road. It was interesting to drive through the back country. There were continuous fields in various stages of cultivation. In several areas the farmland was dotted with oil wells and holding tanks. The plowed fields did not seem to miss a row! These people were certainly getting good value for their land!

When we arrived at Padre Island we headed south towards the National Seashore. The dunes were very similar to those on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Lots of sea oats were holding the dunes in place as well as two very prolific yellow flowers. The surf was as rough as we have seen on the Atlantic coast numerous times. The volunteers staffing the visitor center said it was lower than it had been since the hurricane stirred up the gulf – we did not even know there had been one- guess we have missed more news than we thought! We stayed a while viewing the beach. Most of this park is only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicle. There is a 50+ mile beach road south to the end of the island. This area is known for saving many sea turtle each summer.

Padre Island National Seashore

View of Gulf from Padre Island National Park

Continuing about 20 miles north on Padre Island we crossed to Mustang Island and quickly found the State Park we had been looking for. We have a campsite that is just behind the dunes from the gulf. We can hear the surf but due to the dune can’t see the water. Tomorrow we will go explore. This afternoon we just got out our chairs; and sat in the shade to read and rest. Jane cooked pork chops and heated the leftover red potatoes from our dinner last night. We also had nice salads. Tomorrow we will search for seafood to prepare.

We have 10 excellent digital stations on TV with Ben’s homemade antenna. It is time to download today’s photos and get this blog ready to load next time we have internet.

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