Friday, January 21, 2011

South Padre Island

Southbound was our direction of travel upon leaving Falcon county park at the Falcon dam.  One of the trailer tires had been losing a bit of air on occasion, requiring frequent pressure checks and adjustments made easy with my two air compressors.  While parked at Falcon, I could hear a small leak, so when I spotted a tire repair place near Rio Grande City it was time for a quick pit stop to take care of the problem.  I was pleased to pay only $10 to have it fixed.

We maintained radio silence and entered stealth mode approaching Mission, Tx, and were able to successfully sneak up on Wandering Willy, even though he was aware of our impending arrival.  After exchanging intelligence information on all topics RV, I continued on south, eventually reaching the very end of the road on South Padre Island.

Approaching the causeway to the island was a sign warning of pelicans crossing when the light was flashing.  It was flashing, and we did see pelicans!




The sign warning of sand drifts was not kidding.

Drifts totally blocked one lane in several spots on the road leading up island.


It was dusk, and hitting the beach at high tide was out of the question, so a road shoulder close to the end of the road was selected as a stopping spot for the night.

Unlike most of coastal California and many other areas, there was not a ‘no camping’ sign to be seen anywhere!CIMG3494CIMG3496

The heater did not come on at all at night, and it was a balmy 17C in the morning.  I explored the beach for camping and found a few rigs out there enjoying the view. Driving was fine on the hard sand exposed by the low tide.


Hailey checked out the bird life from the driver’s seat, and was glad to get paws in the sand.  She declined to continue her training with swimming lessons, however!CIMG3510CIMG3511CIMG3515CIMG3518CIMG3520CIMG3513CIMG3514

But the sand was soft once above the surf zone, and the Rv’ers there said you needed to maintain some speed crossing the loose sand, then park on planks and plywood to be sure sinking was not an option.  With this knowledge, I managed to locate a good supply of cast-off lumber in the area, but by the time I had enough, the tide was well on it’s way back in, and I was not about to attempt this maneuver when failure was not an option.  It was just as well, because later that afternoon, the gale warning was realized and the sand started to drift like a good old prairie blizzard.  I was glad to be parked on pavement.  The cold front had arrived and the temps plunged 20C, which is a lot more than 20F.  But still, the sand got in my ears and eyes, shoes, pockets, and everywhere else.  By morning, a new sand drift had formed all across the roadway in lee of the rig.


The island is but a narrow spit of land between the ocean and the inland waterway, only a few hundred yards wide in most places.  On the sheltered side I saw this old bus, long abandoned on the tidal flats.  Strangely, the next morning, it had no roof.  Did it somehow blow off in the gale force wind?CIMG3505CIMG3526

Since the weather was not really conducive to relaxing in the warm sun, we set our new sights on the north Padre Island and the National Seashore.


  1. Aw yes, the shifting whispering sands. Looks kinda like a good old Canadian snow storm with that drifting across the road. Sand is a very tricky bit of business & I have a tendancy to avoid the stuff when it comes to vehicles. Been stuck enough times on the sandy shores of Lake Huron a number of times & sand, especially wets sand, is just about the worse stuff to be stuck in of anything. Remember, if you do get stuck you can always hitch up a heard of Pelicans & use Pelican Power to pull you out....

  2. That must have been some kind of wind to blow the roof off that bus. Should have scrubbed any road tar you had on the windward side of your rig off anyway. Safe Travels!