Saturday, December 2, 2023

We finally got out on the bikes!

Pat says we spend more time taking the bikes on and off the car than we do riding them. Unfortunately, that is true! Maybe we can change that in 2024? The winds were a low 6 mph this morning so we started out with 4 miles around the RV park. It was a perfect morning for a ride.  

I love it here in South Padre, but if I've learned one thing, it's that no place is perfect. Like other ocean parks Isla Blanca has sand burs. The bike repair shop told us yesterday that their biggest tire repair is from the burs. The grass in places is full of them. This year, anyway, it appears they have a large number of mosquitos and sand fleas or no-see-ums (not sure which they are). I am already covered in bites!

South Padre does NOT have pretty white sand beaches or waters as blue as Florida. A bonus though, the sand here is not loose like Florida but packed and much easier to walk or ride a bike on

Located just outside of the park is the Chapel by the Sea, a non-denominational chapel.

Jesus Christ of the Fisherman statue 

What was unique on the beach today? Sunshine!

A big difference in beach areas around the country is seashells. Seashells seem a little sparse here I think. Sometimes on different beaches you find different stretches that have more shells, more unique shells, more colorful shells, more jellyfish, etc. Lots of factors determine what washes up where.  Today there were a lot of small shells and small pieces of shells because of the rough water yesterday. Galveston, on the other hand, is wonderful for shell collecting. There you find many complete, unique, colorful and even rare shells.

One lonely jellyfish.

Saturday began with another bike ride. The wind was a little stronger than yesterday but at least we started out going against it and rode back with it. Two beach walks! I was upset that my fitbit had a meltdown Friday and did not record my bike ride or steps!

I wonder if the blimp found any illegal activity 

The ocean was calmer today. Instead of small shells and pieces it was dotted with jellyfish. 

Saw a couple Great Blue Herons.

Celebrated getting older at Mahi Nic's. I had blackened Mahi-Mahi tacos and Pat had shrimp tacos.

Where are the Piepers now? South Padre Island

Thursday, November 30, 2023

"If there's a heaven for me, I'm sure it has a beach attached to it." --Jimmy Buffet

We noticed this blimp next to our campground. It is a surveillence balloon used to track illegal smuggling, fishing  and immigration activities.

I am in my element! Going to sleep and waking up to the sound of waves, walks on the beach and, well, the weather itself. I love it!!

We took two days to go from Canyon Lake to South Padre Island, spending a night at a Walmart in Kingsville, TX. We didn't have time to do anything there but I'd like to go back sometime and tour Kings Ranch. The ranch encompasses 825,000 acres in 4 sections in southern Texas. It is the largest ranch in the United States and altogether it is larger than the state of Rhode Island. 

At the Walmart there was one other trailer spending the night. Turns out that they pulled into the same campground on Tues., Isla Blanca, as us in South Padre.

Getting a reservation here is complicated. I think winter reservations opened up the first part of April at 8 p.m. Isla Blanca is a large county RV park with over 600 sites. Everyone is on their computer at the same time fighting for the best sites. Two years ago we scored one of, if not the best site on the front row facing the bay, right across from the Space-X launch pad. This year we landed in the second row, still pretty good. We missed the November launch but are hoping, against odds, that they will launch at least once in the two months we will be here. 

Space-X and their launch pad across the bay. 

We have a granddaughter who's into sharks.

Headed about 40 miles away on Weds. to Brownsville to do some Christmas shopping. South Padre Island has restaurants and lots of touristy shops. Port Isabel, just across the causeway, has a Walmart, larger grocery store and more restaurants. Brownsville is the closest large city, with a population over 180,000, which has most any store you'd want (except Costco). Weds. night I took my first walk on the beach. I encountered a light rain, but at 70° I didn't care. 

My knees had prevented bike rides for months but we set out Thurs. morning to get the bikes ready for some adventures. Oiled the chains to try and keep them from rusting so quickly from the salt water (they will still rust pretty quick) and pumped up the tires. Ended up making a trip to the only bike repair shop, located in a surf shop, within 50 miles. My rear derailer was not working at all and Pat's tires had deteriorated to the point of needing to be replaced. Great place, reasonably priced, and ready for pick up this afternoon. The gentleman there let me know we'd been pouncing our park name incorrectly. Isla is pronounced "─ôsla."

We also took a beach walk. A beautiful sunny day at nearly 80°. It is always windy, but today the wind was extra strong at 24 mph.

Love that we can look out our front window and watch windsurfers and kitesurfers (above) on the bay.  

A wind surfer headed out on the beach side. It was so windy today that once they got the kites in the air they were being pulled across the sand before they could get their surfboards in the water.

The windsurfers would travel down the beach in the ocean and then have to fight the wind and sand to walk back. 

It seemed futile to me, but they were working hard to try and keep the beach accesses clear. 

We stopped for a drink at a bar and grill and agreed we'd walk back through town to avoid the blowing sand in our faces. 

There were kitesurfers and windsurfers on the bay till dark. 
Where are the Piepers now? South Padre Island

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

"What if, today, we were grateful for everything?" -- Charlie Brown


Pat was the official smoke detector fanner. The smoke detector did not like the steam from the stove. 

Saturday we packed up, stopped in New Braunfels and bid our farewells.

Where are the Piepers now? South Padre Island, TX