So far the weather here has been all over the place, cloudy/clear, cold/hot, and rain. This all in the same day! Just in the past few days we have been up to 93 and down to 45. The cold weather here is called a “Norther”. The local weatherman said that this happens off and on throughout the winter here. Anyway, we really like it here in the Rio Grande Valley so far, even with the weird weather.
|Sunrise over South Texas and our RV on Friday Morning.|
Friday through Sunday the 15th to the 17th we spend a lot of the day at the pool keeping cool as the temperature reached the 90s with around 80% humidity each day. We are currently in a slowdown time getting ready, slowly, to close up the rig and head up north for the holidays. This means using up all or most of the food that is perishable. We actually started this a couple of weeks ago. We will, in the next few days, go through our cold weather clothes again and get rid of more of those. I know I have clothes I have not worn in 2 years now so it is time to donate. So I will pick out my favorite cold weather clothes for a 5 day cycle. Any other stuff I plan to donate. Anyway, that is the plan!
|Temperature at the pool was around 95!|
On Sunday I decided to flush out the hot water heater. I haven’t done this at all since we have owned the RV. So I used the internet as I do a lot for this sort of stuff to see how you do it and how often I should do it. I found that I should do it at least every year, but since we are full time maybe every 6 months. I think I will decide between 6 months and 1 year interval after I see how hard it is to do.
Well, it isn’t hard at all. It is actually easier than doing it in a house and there isn’t much like that in an RV. Basically you use common sense. Remove the power and water supply to the hot water heater and then drain it using a very easy to get to nylon plug. After draining, replace the plug, turn on the water and supply power, you are done. It took me about half an hour to flush the tank. I guess I will be doing this every 6 months since it is so easy.
Monday the 18th we decided to visit South Padre Island. We had no real plans to see anything specific, just wanted to become familiar with the island. We left around 10:30 am for the 50 minute, 40 mile trip. We arrived and headed to the visitor center that is just across the Queen Isabella Causeway. We picked up some brochures and made a plan to have lunch at one of the local eateries on the water.
|At the entrance to Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge at Port Isabel Texas.|
|Entering the causeway to South Padre island.|
|Entering South Padre Island. Note the heavy fog. It looked like some of the building were floating in the fog along the shore.|
|There is a sandcastle competition every year. This one is in front of the visitor center on the island.|
We picked the Pier 19 restaurant located on the bay side at the south end of the island. The restaurant also has a fishing boat for hire. When we arrived a small crowd was watching the latest fishermen with their catch at the pier. We were amazed at the amount and the size of the fish that they caught. It seems that the local game warden was also amazed at the catch and that was the real draw for the crowd. We are not sure what exactly the problem with the catch was but it had to do with the fact that one of the stringers didn’t have a tag and nobody including the crew knew who owned the catch. It was funny listening to the antics of the crew telling the warden that the stringer just appeared on the boat and nobody knows from where. We never found out if anybody got a citation or not.
|Just a little finger pointing with the game warden looking on.|
We had a nice lunch of fresh seafood and a couple of drink specials with a view of the bay. The food was better than most tourist seaside restaurants, but not by much. The real deal though was the low prices. We had 2 fish lunches and 2 mixed drinks each for $29 and were on the water. Actually this has been the best surprise so far with south Texas, it’s low cost for everything. As an example, the cost of diesel fuel is normally around $3.47 and gas is $2.89.
After lunch we headed north on the island going to a nature trail near the convention center. The trail wasn’t much excitement but we did see a lot of birds and fish. We then went across back south and found a free place we could access the Gulf beach. The beach is white sand that is hard packed like that of Daytona Beach Florida, very easy to walk on. The water is however, cold at around 70 now. From what I have read, the water here is warmer than the NJ coast we are used to but not enough to make it swimmable in the winter months. The temperature gets to around 60 in the winter and low 80s in the summer so they have a longer season than in NJ. We got our feet wet and took off back to our RV.
|Fog and sand blowing across the road.|
|The South Padre Island Convention Center.|
|The end of the nature trail.|
|A look back at the island from the nature trail.|
I guess to sum up our first thoughts of South Padre island I would say that it is a very small slice of the A1A South Florida coast. When I say small I mean about 2 miles of the commercialized part. The rest seems to be free of anything commercial. Very laid back.
On our way back to the RV we stopped at a well know tourist place called Bobz World. I wish we could say more about it but it was closed this week for some sort of work being done inside. Anyway, you can see from the pictures it is indeed a different sort of place.
Also, we stopped at the main South Texas grocery store here called H.E.B. to pick up some food staples. So far, we have not been impressed with these stores and have not yet found a better one. We really haven’t looked for a better one either as we have been trying to using up our on-board food supplies. We have found that the H.E.B. stores seem old and with the narrow isles not helping much with the crowded feeling. My impression is that the stores are an American version of a Mexican grocery store. It is weird as the outside looks new and the inside looks like American stores did 30 years ago. We miss NJ Shop Rite and FL Publix.
We grilled a steak for dinner and then did our usual with a soak in the hot tub before bed. It was a good day.
Tomorrow we have signed up for a golf outing for people in the park. The weather is calling for rain but it seems that the weather can’t be predicted here with any real accuracy. So we shall see what happens with that. Wednesday we are planning on going to Mexico for the day. Just go over the border at Progreso Texas and have lunch with a few drinks and just check out the place. We are planning to visit a few times when we return to Texas at the end of December. We are thinking of getting new glasses there, maybe!