The weather forecast for Thursday was mid-eighties and sunny. We had not been to the beach for a while, and knew that South Padre Island was only an hour and a half away on good roads. So we dug the beach umbrella, grass mats, beach chairs, and soft cooler out of the deep and difficult recesses of the storage bays and packed up for our first trip to the Texas beaches.
I did a little research on the computer before we left and discovered that most of the South Padre Beaches allow dogs on a leash. I even found a few restaurants that allow calm dogs (definitely ours) to sit with you on the outside decks while you eat. So, the boys got to go with us.
After we crossed the bridge to South Padre, we stopped at the visitor center, asked for the best place to go with the dogs, and found hassle-free beach parking (I love hassle-free parking) right next to Boomerang Billy's Beach Bar
(turquoise awning) and right on the beach. Our day pretty much became a one-stop deal - much simpler than most of our other beach trips in other locations.
(Dianne here: One of the great things about Texas is that it is MUCH less expensive than Florida for "snowbirds" like us. Imagine this: We crossed the bridge to South Padre Island WITHOUT having to pay a toll; we then parked FOR FREE at the beach. Those of you who have been to Florida, think of Sanibel Island and you'll understand how pleasantly surprised we were.)
Since it was almost noon and we were starving, we opted to have tacos on the Boomerang Billy Deck before setting up on the beach. We watched the sun burn away the fog as we enjoyed our lunch right on the wide, wide beach. (Both dogs were good boys and sat calmly at our feet.)
Setting up for the beach was simple,
since we only had to drag our stuff a short distance from the car to the sand. We set up on the edge of a small sand dune that provided protection from a persistent wind. We spent the afternoon reading, people-watching, and moving back and forth between the warmth of the sometimes-too-intense sun to the shade of the umbrella. Jasper and Chaplin did their normal thing,
quietly checking out the other beach dogs between long naps.
Check out skinny-minnie Dianne. Looks pretty good, doesn't she?
(The best part of my weight loss is that I can now wear some clothes that I thought I'd NEVER fit into again.)
We decided to make a couple of stops to break up the drive back to the motor home. Our first stop was at one of the ever-present WhataBurgers. In Texas these fast-food places with the tall orange-striped roofs are more prevalent than McDonalds. They are everywhere. We passed about ten of them between our motor home in Mission and South Padre. (Roger has been wanting to stop at a WhataBurger ever since he saw it on his favorite TV show Friday Night Lights.
As I was taking the photo of the sign, a couple of young Texas cowboys in a pickup truck chuckled and pointed at me; I'm sure they thought I must be a middle-aged tourist from Mars) We needed to have the experience of Texas fast food, so we each had a WhataBurger (on a 5" bun)
while the boys shared the meat from a WhataBurger Jr. (We know we're not supposed to give the boys people-food; it was Dianne's idea :-)
The second stop was at Bob's World about
twenty miles inland. We chuckled as we passed it on the way to the beach, and decided to stop there to get a birthday card for our daughter, Robyn, on the way back. We have seen lots of tourist traps during our travels, but keeping with the theme that everything is bigger in Texas, this is the most amazing. The gigantic outdoor statuary was so much fun. You can see the immensity of it by comparing its size to the cars in the parking lot.
I was not the only person wandering around taking pictures. Once I passed through the giant shark's mouth
to enter the actual store, I found it had pretty much everything a person would want, including birthday cards.
This was such an easy trip, other than the long drive, that we may come back again before we leave south Texas.