We were all packed up and ready to go when Helen came home from work at 12:30PM on Friday. The RV was sitting in front of their house when she pulled up. Dave joined us on his motorcycle a few minutes later and then we were off. Oops! The guys had to make a last minute stop back at our house because Dave needed a safety vest since the guys were riding their motorcycles and we were going to stay at Shields RV Park on Corpus Christi Naval Air Station (CCNAS or NAS-CCAD depending on which military acronym you choose). On the drive down to Corpus Christi, Helen and I were not sure whether they were ahead or behind us but I had written the directions down for Steve so it really didn't matter.
Just in case you are military and ever stay at the CCNAS, be aware that the entrance is a bear. The barricades extend quite a ways out in front of the gate and are very narrow. When the gate guard remarks "that was some impressive driving", you know that not everyone makes it through without scraping the sides. I'm all for security but since they have such a large well used RV park and only one gate open most of the time, you would think they would have a secure but easier to manage lane for RVs. Even going through the entrance portal itself is a stomach clincher as the opening slants in near the top and has two little cornices sticking further in.....which have obviously been scraped many times.
Anyway, we headed through the station and got checked in before heading to our site. We were just setting up when the guys pulled in so it was good to know they didn't have a problem getting their bikes on station. I should have mentioned that the guys rode their bikes because they came to Corpus Christi for BikeFest. Okay, there were other equally good reasons but that is why Dave came along. We grilled burgers for dinner and took the dogs for several walks.
We woke up to some really heavy rain laden clouds so the guys opted for a "dropoff" at the rally which was downtown. Helen and I left them at the door and headed to the People's T. This was Steve and Helen's first trip to the Texas coast.
See those clouds.....
We parked and walked around. A shrimp boat had just come in and there was a line up to buy fresh shrimp.
These were some pretty good size shrimp. The guy in back in red was sorting the shrimp out from some little crabs and fish.
These guys were waiting for the little fish he threw overboard.
Helen and I decided to take a chance and go on a boat tour of the bay but we decided we better grab a quick lunch before we caught the boat. Good thing we chose the restaurant just up the dock because we were no sooner seated on the floating deck when the skies let loose. Fortunately we were under cover. I had a great bowl of lobster, shrimp bisque and Helen had a bowl of gumbo and a crab salad. The food was decent but the waiter was a lost cause. It cleared up just before we boarded the boat with 6 other people.
We motored out of the dock area past all kinds of watercraft.
We went past the newly renovated "Nina" at the Lawrence Street T Head. Replicas of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria arrived in Corpus Christi in the early 90s after being built in Spain and touring numerous places. They were all at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History but Pinta and Santa Maria were dry docked while the Nina was in the water. The Pinta and Santa Maria basically dry rotted and became unsafe while the Nina was restorable.
As we headed out past the T Heads, the sky once more settled down closer to the water.
The Corpus Christi bridge was swathed in mist and it poured once again. Fortunately we were under cover for the most part.
It brightened a bit as we went past the U.S.S. Lexington which is docked and open for tours.
This is the north beach area close to the bridge.
We went past the center where the BikeFest Rally was being held. Can you see all the bikes parked in front? It was packed.
Another view of the Lexington.
Since 9-11, no pleasure boats are allowed to go past the bridge into the inner harbor but I did manage to get a few pictures. Remember when I was trying to get pictures of the ocean liners while I was up in Michigan?
A couple of harbor tugs just waiting to move some of those big ships around.
We enjoyed the day in spite of the rain. Helen and I headed back to the RV to let the dogs out for a walk and relax and then we drove back into town just before dinner to pick the guys up. They said the BikeFest Rally was okay but not nearly as good as the Rally in Ruidosa that they try to make each year.
Dave decided to head back to San Antonio Sunday morning for two reasons. First, the weather looked more promising for the ride back on Sunday than Monday and second, because the rest of us planned to head out to Padre Island National Seashore and Mustang Island on Sunday. He is a lousy tourist.
The skies were dark but were supposed to clear up. Steve and Helen were looking out at the ocean at the visitor's center. I needed to get another National Park Senior Pass (yes I know...lifetime....but I could not find mine anywhere and I needed one for the COE parks).
See the dark stuff on the left side.....well, it wasn't long before it hit. I gave them the windshield tour of all the places of biggest interest in the park and then we headed up the island to Mustang Island. I pointed out Mustang Island State Park but it was raining so hard they really couldn't see much at all from the road.
It cleared up and then poured again several times on our way up island to Port Aransas. We stopped to eat at Shell's Pasta and Seafood restaurant which Helen and Steve found on Urban Spoon. It is a very tiny unprepossessing place from the outside. We had a fairly long wait outside but fortunately the rain held off. The inside was even smaller than the outside looked. The food is very eclectic but most of it was delicious.
Then we headed off to see the rest of Port Aransas. The skies were finally clear! Ships coming through the channel on their way to Corpus Christi harbor. There were a number of RVs parked on the hard packed sand right near the channel as well as lots of cars driving around. You can camp here on the beach for a small fee or go to an actual RV park just behind the dunes which has electric and water. Of course, you will find many RV parks and RVers in Port Aransas. It's a popular destination.
We headed down to the park by the ferry dock and saw lots of other boats. Some were fairly unique like this little short guy.
Or even more unique like this pirate ship. Okay, this is a tour boat. The passengers looked like they were having fun.
You can see that there was a lot of boat traffic out there coming and going. The blue boat is a shrimper with it's nets extended and the others in the background were all ocean going vessels.
There was a long line up and we had been gone all day so we passed on a ferry ride. It's a short ride, free, and you often see dolphins gliding alongside the boat.
As we headed back along the island road, it was blocked near the edge of town with a number of police cars directing traffic away from the road. Hmmm....there is only one road down the island. We pulled into a little shopping center and had coffee at Coffee Waves while we waited to see what would happen. Steve had to try out their gelato which was also very good. We were able to take a detour through a neighborhood and get back on the highway further down. That night we heard that they found a body off to the side of the road but not much more than that.
Monday found us pondering the weather again. We were trying to time the drive home to hit the least rain. We finally headed out about noon. Steve got a little wet as we made our way back through Corpus Christi but it cleared up as we left town and all we had to deal with was the wind. You can nearly always expect wind between Corpus and San Antonio because it is pretty wide open. It was hitting us at an angle so it got the front and drivers side. I wasn't worried about Helen and I in the RV because my RV is very stable in wind....just affects the diesel mileage. But Steve had his light bike. Fortunately, he said it wasn't bad at all. We stopped a couple of times on the way home.
Gretchen decided she would share the back seat with the big dog. Harley was on the floor and Willy was up front. Willy was a little miffed at Helen since she was occupying the navigator's seat which he considers his but he fell asleep anyway.
In spite of rain and windy weather, it was a great trip!