We left San Antonio on February 4, 2017, headed to Corpus Christi and Padre Island. A short detour off the main highway took us through Pleasanton TX, home of the Longhorn Museum. We were too early to stop and look at the museum or the old railroad depot and train caboose nearby. Along our route, a water tower displaying the town’s name caught our attention as did the numerous Mexican restaurants crowded with cars in the parking lots. Breakfast in Pleasanton TX must be good eats to bring in those crowds. Too bad we already ate. If we pass through here again, we’ll have to stop at the museum and railroad depot and maybe eat some breakfast.
Fuel costs continued to decrease the deeper we drove into Texas until the cost per gallon reached less than $2.00. That’s unheard of in California and I thought it was due to the amount of excise tax charged by the state.
As it turns out, the excise tax paid in Texas is only about 8 cents less than in California. The state’s environmental rules requiring cleaner gas and fewer emissions is the cause for California’s higher gasoline costs. The refineries that produce a special blend of gasoline are primarily in California and their production is near capacity. Supply and demand market forces take over whenever there is an increase in demand or a reduction in supply resulting in higher prices. Essentially, California drivers pay more for the gasoline they use in exchange for cleaner air. With the number of cars and trucks on the California highways, I’ll gladly pay more for my gas to have clean air to breath.
Rain pelted us on the drive south until just before we arrived at our Colonia del Rey RV Park site. The campground advertised “all weather” sites, but our muddy shoes proved that the scantily graveled site could not handle the downpour from the storm. Known for being clean freaks, we devised a system with a bucket of water and beach towels for rinsing off our shoes and keeping the mud outdoors.
After we set up, we took a drive in the drizzling rain to the island to see Bill Hall Pier and Padre Balli Park. I’m sure on a nice sunny day the beach and cabanas would not have been empty of people on a Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday, we woke up to sprinkles tinkling on the roof making it a great day to sleep in. Later we went to the USS Lexington, a WWII aircraft carrier, for the self-guided tour.
We had visited other aircraft carriers but this one was by far the best we had seen. Large yellow signs with black lettering showed the way through the ship while signs, photographs, and displays detailed the history and purpose of the different sections. An IMAX 3-D movie told the story of the navy and their training operations to prepare our service men and women for conflict. It gave me a sense of security to know what preparations are made by our country to protect our nation.
Views from the USS Lexington deck.
A late lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack gave us the stamina needed for a shopping excursion at H.B.E., a mega grocery store with a large selection of products.
It wasn’t the prettiest time of year to visit the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, but we still saw a lot. With tortoises and parrots,
orchids and cactus,
and a trail through the wetlands, where we stopped to watch for birds, we managed to spend a couple of hours.
We noticed the number of Bill Miller restaurants surrounded by parking lots filled with cars in San Antonio and in Corpus Christi. They seemed more prolific than McDonald’s in this part of Texas. We stopped in at one location to find out the cause for all the fuss. Floors covered in carpet tiles and country furnishings gave the interior a comfortable homey feel. With tasty food and a reasonable price, we learned why this barbecue place was so popular.
There’s more to see and do here than what we managed in between the rain showers. Driving to and from the locations, several anglers, both men and women, could be seen next to their pick-up trucks, jeeps, and cars lining the waterways. I don’t fish, and Jon’s gear is more for lake fishing so we did not partake. The revitalization project along Shoreline Boulevard in downtown looked like a nice place to stroll or have a picnic once it is completed. Corpus Christi also offers the Art Museum of South Texas, Museum of Science and History, Schlitterbahn Riverpark and Resort, and the Texas State Aquarium to keep both residents and visitors busy.
The forecast called for another storm coming through so it was time to hit the road. On to Galveston TX.