Mustang Island State Park, August 2019

I am feeling so lazy right now that I am going to try and dictate this blog post in the notes program on my iPhone. Hopefully, I won’t have too much editing to do when I’m done.

So far, this has been a wonderful trip to Mustang Island State Park. This is a great way to spend the first week of school! Let me start at the very beginning…

Monday, August 25, 2019
I got up at 6 AM and ate breakfast. The goal was to roll out of San Antonio no later than 8 AM. Things went off without a hitch, (Wow, that’s kind of a crazy saying when you’re getting ready to pull a trailer isn’t it?) and I pulled out of the storage lot right at eight.

The drive down to Mustang Island was really uneventful. There was hardly any traffic going my way. There were times where I considered stopping to buy some red bull or something. I just can’t handle bored driving.

I arrived at the park just a little before noon. Fortunately, nobody was in my site the night before, so I was able to go right to it. Because of the way this park is set up, backing into a site is extremely simple. I was all set up and ready to have fun within an hour.

The first place I went was Snoopy‘s Pier to eat fried shrimp. It came highly recommended by Joyce Linder. When I got there, I ended up ordering a plate that had four fried shrimp, four fried oysters, and four pieces of fried fish. Wow, was it good! I knew I was going to have a hard time keeping myself away from that place during the rest of my stay!

I did pretty good with gas coming down. I was worried about that as usual. When I have gone to Rockport, which is almost the same difference, I have nearly used a full tank of gas. On this trip to Mustang Island, I still had a quarter tank when I got here. Just the same, I wanted to fill up right away so I would have plenty of gas to run around while here. I have a heavy agenda over the next few days.

When I got back to the trailer, it was cool enough to make up the bed. I just installed a brand new mattress. It is a 6 inch thick trifold mattress that will accomplish three things for me. First, it will be a whole lot more comfortable than the old mattress that came with the Colby 2.0. Second, it will fit the seats a whole lot better. Finally, it will make access to the under bed storage a hell of a lot easier. Anyway, I went ahead and made up the bed.

I had not planned on going to the beach, but since I had enough time before my next activity, I went ahead and put my beach outfit on and took a little hike. It was really pretty on the beach, but the heat and humidity were brutal. Fortunately, when I got back to the Colby 2.0 it had cooled down to about 77°. After a few minutes, I was cooled down and dry again.

My next activity was to be a cruise on the Scarlet Lady to see dolphins and a lighthouse. I decided to leave a little early because I was thirsty and didn’t have anything cold to drink in the Colby 2.0. I headed over to a place called Stingrays and had a few beers. Then, I headed over to the cruise. It was still too early, so I went to Dairy Queen and had a heath bar blizzard.

I drove the truck to a parking lot behind the Stripes. As I was walking away from it, I realized I was missing one of those wheel covers. I don’t know if they didn’t put it back on when I had the truck serviced, or if it fell off. That’s the Baker curse for you.

I was still kind of early for the cruise. I thought I would die from humidity while waiting on the deck for them to let us get on board. There were about four families of people there that must have been some kind of Amish people or something. All of the females had those long home made dresses. All of the males were dressed normally for the beach. They were speaking something that sounded German or Dutch to me. Each of the families had about four kids. I noticed that the men were drinking cans of beer on the cruise. Not sure what kind of group they were.

When we finally got on board and started the cruise, we had trouble getting out of the port. There was a huge shrimp boat that couldn’t get through the pass because of the wind and this giant dredging barge that was making the pass to narrow. He actually hit the jetty and knocked over a marker. He finally moved out of the way and let traffic pass him.

The cruise was wonderful. We saw lots of dolphins and the sunset view of the lighthouse was amazing. A big ship went out to see at one point. It’s wake gave us some rough seas. That was kind of fun.

When we got back to the dock, I headed to the Stripes, and bought a huge cup of ice before heading back to camp. I had forgotten to fill the ice cube trays earlier in the day, and didn’t feel like digging out and messing with the icemaker. I haven’t used it much since getting the Colby 2.0. It is just too much easier to fill the ice cube trays and put them in the freezer.

The rest of the evening was spent eating popcorn, drinking Merlot, and watching Netflix.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Well, today is the anniversary of my mother’s passing. That is one of the reasons I wanted to be here. When my father was given a short time to live because of his cancer and heart problem, my sister and I brought our parents down here for a weekend at the beach so we could make plans for what would happen when he passed. Things didn’t work out that way, and my mom surprised us by passing away on the second day of school in 2008. I thought this trip would be a good diversion. I tried to keep really busy today.

The day started with a 6 AM alarm. I was actually awake before it went off. The new bed is so comfortable that I slept the entire night through. I normally have to wake up and readjust my position several times during the night. I need one of these beds at home, too! I drank some coffee and put my beach clothes on. Then, I hit the beach for a 5 mile sunrise hike. It was beautiful. I only saw two other humans on the beach. The beach was cleaner than I have ever seen it. I really enjoyed myself.

I got back to the trailer and decided to empty out one of my storage bins and use it to rinse my feet off after going to the beach. That worked really well. I still have to vacuum later today when I get back from the sunset hike to the beach. I don’t like that gritty feeling on the floor. When I went out later to head to the Selena Museum, a bunch a Birds had been bathing in my foot bath! They made a mess of feathers and poop all around. Oh well!

I drove over to the Selena Museum. It was very nice. It was a celebration of her life with very little mention of her death. The museum is housed in the studio building where she used to record. It only cost three dollars, which is nothing these days for something like that. I was not a real big fan of Selena before her death, but the little girls at Loma Park where I taught back then were crazy about her. When she died, all the publicity brought her farther into the mainstream. That’s when I became a fan. If you get to Corpus, you should stop in. I learned a lot about her career.

The next stop was the South Texas Botanical Gardens. They had a lot of birds in cages to look at and some reptiles. They had a huge iguana in a cage that actually came over to look at me. I never realized how human their eyes look. He did not seem happy to be in that cage. It kind of put a damper on that visit. I did like the house that was full of orchids, and walking around the grounds was very nice. I just couldn’t get over feeling bad for those caged reptiles and birds. Normally, things like that don’t bother me so much. But some of these cages were just tiny little cages with nothing in them to make the animals comfortable.

After hiking the few trails at the gardens, I really needed to cool down and rehydrate. Fortunately, the next stop on my itinerary was the Lorelei Brewing Company. I had a great time trying all their beers and talking with the owners. It was such a cool and relaxed place. I wish I wasn’t driving, I would have liked to have a full sized glass of some of the beers. Instead, I just did samplers.

I decided to stop at Snoopy’s Pier on the way back to camp. This time, I wanted some peel and eat shrimp. They were delicious. The shrimp were huge, perfectly cooked, and very cold. I wish it had been an all you can eat type of thing. It reminded me of the time I went to Port Aransas in 1977 with my buddy Jim Gips for a Campus Crusade for Christ retreat. One day they had one of those humongous red Coleman coolers filled to the top with ice-cold shrimp. I had about fifty shrimp eaten by the time everyone else figured out how to peel them. I just did it like my Grandpop taught me. You put your thumb under the first two sections of shell, pry it them off, then pinch the tail and pull the rest of the shell off. Yummy.

I got in my truck to leave Snoopy’s Pier and saw a sign on the building next store. It was called Scoopy’s and had ice cream and sandwiches. I went in and had two scoops of ice cream. I am such a bad boy.

Back at the trailer, I rested up for a few minutes before getting my beach clothes on and taking a three-mile sunset hike on the beach. It was exhilarating and beautiful. Unfortunately, I got a huge painful blister on my left heel. I should have known better than hiking in those new beach shoes. There aren’t really meant for taking long hikes. Oh well… You live and learn. My new hat with the flap hanging down didn’t work well at the beach either. It kept me shaded, but the flap blew in the wind like a flag and caused so much noise that I could barely hear the waves.

I took an awesome lukewarm shower in the Colby 2.0. Then I spent the rest of the evening drinking Merlot and watching a Woodstock documentary. I couldn’t stay awake to read and woke up at 1:15 in the morning with the lights on, my glasses on, and my iPhone in my hand. I got up and used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and officially went to bed. I was out like a light!

Wednesday, August 28

I woke up at 6:00 without an alarm. I forgot to set it last night when I finally went to bed for real. I would have set it for 6:00 so no harm was done. I got up and had coffee. My foot reminded me that it had a huge blister. I decided to skip my sunrise hike on the beach. I had too many things scheduled for the rest of the day to risk making that worse. Instead, I spent some time reading since I was too tired last night.

I should take a moment to comment on air conditioner. There is no shade here at all. When I first set up camp on Monday, it was 91 degrees inside. Within an hour, it had dropped to 84. When I got back from Snoopy’s, it was down to 76. When I woke up yesterday it was 66 degrees and never went above 74 degrees the rest of the day. I expect it to do the same today. I am so happy with the AC on this trailer.

I left the camper at about 8:15 and headed to Port Aransas. I went to the Leonabelle Turnball Birding Center for a guided bird walk. It was a small park in a wetlands area near the sewer plant. They had a beautiful stretch of Texas native landscape that was covered in all sorts of bees and butterflies. You walked above the marsh on a boardwalk. There was a huge alligator under it, so I’m glad we were up there. Birds were everywhere you looked out on the lake. It was wonderful. There was absolutely no breeze, the humidity was atrocious, and it was hot as Hades, but I had a great time. Check out the picture link for this trip.

Next up was a trip to Winton’s Candies. It was always a favorite of mine. Recently, I read some reviews that talked about racists posters inside. I looked for them, and they seemed more "historic" than racist to me. Just the same, I wouldn’t put them up in my candy store. The tributes to Donal Trump don’t bother me. Love him or hate him, he is our president. I don’t consider supporting the president a racist act. Sorry. Just the same, I wouldn’t put him in my White…. Oh never mind. I am not going to be political here.

I bought the same things I always buy at Winton’s. This time, however, I only bought one of each. I got a peanut butter cup, and dark chocolate haystack, and a milk chocolate covered peanut patty. I had them for lunch when I got safely back to the Colby 2.0, where I also took a nap and freshened up before moving on to my next stop, the Bob Hall Pier.

I really love walking out on the Bob Hall Pier. It only costs $3.00, and you can go really far out. There were pelicans resting on the light posts. One was on the railing. He was so close I could have touched him. The last time I came here it was crowded with fisherman. Today, there were only about 10 people on the pier. There is a restaurant called Mikel May’s on the pier. I went in and had a pound of boiled shrimp and a beer. The shrimp were really good, but not as big or cold as the ones at Snoopy’s.

From the pier, I drove to the Padre Island National Seashore. I could have driven to it on the beach, but I felt more comfortable using the highway. It is definitely faster. I paid my $10 and drove to the visitors center. I bought a medal to nail on my walking stick in the gift shop and talked with the rangers for a bit. Then I walked about a mile up the beach and back. I was wearing my tennis shoes and had no problems with the blister. I had put a thick coat of that Gold Bond Friction Defense on it. Man. that stuff works well! I took some photos but only saw a fraction of the seashore. It is about 65 miles long. I had other venues to get to and another sunset hike on the beach back at Mustang Island.

I drove back to Snoopy’s. I intended on getting peel and eat shrimp again, but after I ate that, I was still hungry. I ordered 5 fried shrimp and some hushpuppies. They were great. I love fried shrimp. They aren’t really that high in calories, but I’m struggling with a weight gain that I can’t let take hold. That jacked up big toe led to a frustrating three-week recovery with little or no exercise.

The final stop on my awesome runaway trip to the beach was the Lazy Beach Brewing company. Getting there was a fun drive. Snoopy’s is right under that huge bridge that’s part of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway. You pull onto the onramp and floor it to build speed as you climb straight up onto the bridge. It was actually thrilling and a tiny bit scary. The brewing company calmed my nerves. I tried all of their beers. I liked all of them a lot. They had an IPA called Teacher Juice that they make to celebrate the start of the school year. My favorite name was Beach in Wheat. They didn’t have it for me to try, but the name is cool. The guy who was serving was super friendly. I wish I had been there with a group of friends.

After the beer, I drove back to Padre Island and filled my tank up before going back to camp. I went inside the Stripes to see if they had any microwave popcorn. They did not. Bummer!

I took a beautiful sunset hike on the beach. I went to the jetty and walked on the huge granite boulders for a while. The wind coming off the water seemed kind of cool to me. The sunset was gorgeous. You can see it in the photos.

I spent the rest of the evening watching Sextuplets. It was more stupid than funny. When it was over, I got ready and went to bed. I didn’t want to fall asleep reading again.

Thursday, August 29

I woke up before the alarm at 7:00. I got up and made coffee before starting the slow and gentle breakdown of camp. I was not in any hurry. I gave everything, especially the floor a good cleaning. I didn’t get too much sand in the trailer, but the vacuum took care of what did come in. The outside work- airing the tires, disconnecting electricity and water, raising the stabilizers, and hitching up was HOT. I got more sun doing that than I did during the whole trip.

The ride home was peaceful and easy. I locked the cruise control at about 57 MPH and took my time getting home. I left Mustang Island SP at 9:40 and got to the storage lot at 1:00.

Next trip will be to Lockhart SP in a few weeks. Until then… Happy Trails

All of the pictures I took with my phone and Canon camera are at this link: