Wednesday through Sunday January 25 through 29
Nothing today, just driving south toward Brownsville. Did not quite make it there. We stopped at a Walmart in a town called Mission. The desert changed it’s tone and texture and hue. It went from brown with splashes of green, mostly scrub dotted with yucca, to grey with splashes of green and lots of small leafless trees, probably mesquite and ironwood, to tan with palm trees here and there. So I suppose you could say that from the standpoint of landscape we had a very interesting day. We did learn a little about yucca. There are yucca and there are giant yucca and those are two different species. I sent photos of both in a previous blog and it should be obvious which is which.
Got up this morning in Mission with one goal in mind. Get to the Gulf of Mexico. Luckily for us it was only about a 30 mile drive. We drove along US 83 east to a town called Port Isabel. On the map it appeared that a bridge would take us to another place called South Padre Island. And what a bridge that turned out to be. Part bridge, part causeway, it is a very impressive structure. See photos. So we crossed it to the island. South Padre Island is a town at the south end, oddly enough, of Padre Island. Padre Island is a strip of land about a mile or so off the coast of south Texas, creating an intercostal waterway. The island is mostly not accessible by other than an ATV. Of the part that is accessible, the south end is hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and RV parks. We chose a very large State run RV park right at the south end of the island. It was unique because it was surrounded on 3 sides by the Gulf of Mexico. It had full hook ups, all the necessities, and it was quite inexpensive. We signed up to stay for three nights because I had a job to do that I thought I could finish in two or three days. It is easier to work if we can stay in one place for a few days.
As we pulled into our new home for the next three nights, a lady greeted us with a friendly wave and a big smile. She was our new neighbor. Therese and Bob from Plymouth Michigan. They have a very nice dog who looks like a mid sized Labrador and goes by the name Tater. Tater and LaKisha got along famously as did Therese and Lucy. You know that Lucy is a person who likes everyone and can strike up a conversation at the drop of a hat, and if you don’t have a hat to drop she will provide one. Well it seems Therese is the same. The combination of Lucy and Therese was irresistible. Within thirty minutes you would have thought they were life long friends. So while I worked, Lucy and Therese walked the dogs and various other things. On our first day there, I needed to carry two very large rolls of plans about 1/2 mile to a pavilion where I could spread them out and sort them into an order I could work with. Therese saw what was about to happen and graciously offered to to drive us over and we gratefully accepted. Lucy helped me sort the plans and Therese came back to take us back to the van.
I got up and worked 10 hours while Lucy and Therese did Lucy and Therese things. You will have to talk to Lucy about that. They went to play Bingo one night and discovered a curious thing. Therese has an Internet friend with whom she corresponds because of a common interest in antiques. This friend is from Corvallis Oregon and retired from the City of Corvallis Building Development. Her name is Laurie. Well Lucy and I both know Laurie because we had many dealings with her at the building department for many years. Some of you who read this blog will also know Laurie. What a small world we live in.
I got up and worked 10 hours while Lucy and Therese did Lucy and Therese things. Saturday night we went to a Bluegrass music show at the pavilion. Now Bluegrass music is not Country music. They have their similarities for sure, but there is no guarantee that you will like Bluegrass just because you like Country. Like Jazz, Bluegrass is an acquired taste. You have to attune your ear to it’s peculiarities in order to enjoy it. I’m afraid Lucy was having trouble attuning her ear. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The band was a family group from Missouri called Lindley Creek Bluegrass. They we not the best musicians and singers, but they gave it all they had and in Bluegrass, that is often enough. They did a little Gospel and a little Country and a lot of Bluegrass and it was all in the Bluegrass style. They did one song which taught me something about Bluegrass musicians. They should not attempt to do Rock and Roll. I bought a CD.
After the show Lucy and I were invited to join Therese and Bob in their Motor Home for a night cap. We had a very nice conversation. Bob told us all about New Brunswick and Nova Scotia when he learned our plans to take a side trip there from Maine. He gave us some very helpful tips about the drive in that part of the world.
We got up and did our morning chores and headed out of the RV park. I was feeling good about finishing my job. We needed to do laundry and Therese told us about the best Laundromat in town. On the way we drove north on the island as far as the road would take us. We stopped there for a little while so LaKisha could romp in the sand. Then back across the bridge and to the laundromat. On our way, we got a phone call from Therese. It seems that LaKisha had left her toy raccoon at the park. We said it was okay, she has other toys, but Therese insisted that she bring it to us at the laundromat. She said she was going shopping anyway and it was no bother. She brought the raccoon. We were all very thankful for having met these people. Whenever we get discouraged with people in general, we will only need to think of Therese and Bob to regain our optimism about the human race.
After doing the laundry and some shopping and a bit of local sight seeing, we decided it was too late to go to Corpus Cristi so we stayed in the Walmart parking lot in Port Isabel, just across the bridge from South Padre Island. While we were having some dinner a fellow came strolling by and asked about the van. We get that a lot. People are often fascinated by this van and want to know all about it. This guy was also in a Sprinter van parked near us and he was spending the night too. His Sprinter was an older model and he used it as a cargo van. He called himself an expediter. He said he can get three skids of cargo in his van and still has room to sleep. He rigged up a bed on a plywood platform on straps that he can adjust for height so he can sleep above the cargo when necessary. He travels all over the country hauling small loads of cargo hither and yon. He sleeps at Walmarts and truck stops and now and then gets home to his wife in Indiana. He was quite an interesting character and seems to know just about all there is to know about Sprinter vans, old and new. He said he has stayed at hundreds of Walmarts all over the country and has never been asked to leave. After a thirty minute visit he moseyed on over to his van and we settled in for the night reflecting on yet another new and interesting day on the road.