Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Tonight we are on South Padre Island. We left Corpus Christi around noon, and headed east to retrieve our mail in Ingleside. A bit out of the way at this point, but the mail was ready and waiting for us and the Ingleside post office was easy-in, easy-out. From there, we headed west back through Corpus and joined up with US 77 in Robtown, where we stopped at a classic Texas barbeque joint for lunch -- Joe Cotten's (highly recommended). From there we blasted down 77 to Harlingen and headed east on TX 100 through Port Isabel and over the causeway.

On our way through the southern part of 77 and all along 100, we saw many RV parks that were absolutely full. In fact, several billboards along the route greeted "winter Texans", so we knew we were in serious snowbird country. As we approached South Padre we faced the fact that, quite possibly, there would be absolutely nowhere to park on the island or even nearby. We headed straight for the most likely location: Isla Blanca County Park, in Cameron County on the very southern tip of the island (map). We were thrilled to find that, while the developed campsites (with hookups) were fully booked, boondocking space was available in the "overflow area" for $15 per night. We quickly paid for two nights and proceeded into the park.

The unspoken truth is that, even though hookups are only a few dollars more, the overflow area is actually much closer to the beach, being essentially a day-use parking lot that has been re-purposed. So we are parked right at the beach on the gulf side, and we had a beautiful view of the gulf and the moonrise out our penthouse window.

The overflow area turns out to be, well, overflowing with really nice people, many of whom are full-timers. A crowd immediately formed around Odyssey when we parked, and we spent a good deal of time discussing the conversion and showing folks the exterior features. We met several nice couples, among them Bill and Mary and their friends Jerry and Ann (sp?) traveling in a pair of Fleetwood Discovery coaches, who invited us to sit and have a glass of wine with them.

In the small world department, two women (who turned out to be sisters) approached us and allowed how as they had been parked next to us in Beaumont at the Wal-Mart (they had noticed us being whisked away by our friends there as well), and we learned that we had been on much the same itinerary since New Orleans and will be into Brownsville. They are from Chico, which is not all that far from our former digs in San Jose. We remembered their rigs from Beaumont -- a group of three fifth-wheels. After a few minutes' conversation, they left to re-join their husbands and the rest of their travel group of seven people.

About ten minutes later, there came a loud knock on our door -- it was the sisters from Chico, whose names we still have not learned. They came bearing a skewer of roast dove, bacon-wrapped and jalpeno-stuffed, which their group had been grilling up. Apparently, the dove (and possibly quail?) was the result of a hunting expedition earlier in the year. In any case, it was absolutely wonderful, and essentially that became our supper for the evening.

Sometimes, you meet the nicest people on the road.

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