Sunday, May 18, 2008

08-08 Corpus Christi Texas

Colonia Del Rey Rv Park. A Passport America park ($14 a night 4 nights, weekends full price). This park is very close to Padre Island. Small swimming pool and hot tub. Concrete pads, full hook-ups, includes cable Tv.

Corpus Christi Tx. I’ve made it to one of my destination points this year. My goal is to check out the town and see whether I would enjoy staying here this coming winter. I’ve already checked out a number of other Rv parks as well. The park I’m in is one of 4 parks owned by the owner in residence.

Lake Texana State Park. $15 phone reservation. $16 for Elec. And water site. $3 daily entrance fee. Beautiful park on the lake. Lots of deer, a few gators and icky snakes. What one has to put up with to be in nature.

My first impressions are that Corpus Christi is a good sized town. Like Goldilocks, it’s not too big and not too small, it’s just right. I’m within 6 miles of a good shopping area and restaurants, within minutes of getting to the beaches and Padre Island National Sea Shore.

The weather, this is pretty much summer down here right now, is currently in the mid to high 80’s and lots of wind. Seems the locals are a bit perplexed at the constant winds over the past year or so, but it does appear to be pretty consistent and windy most days.

There’s a fair amount to see and do in the area and I’ve gone and done some of the tours already. My first stop was over the main bridge leading into town on Corpus Christi Bay and Nueces Bay.
The Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington. The Lexington being a decommissioned aircraft carrier. A huge ship that could easily take many hours to explore. I spent most of my time at the Aquarium, right next door. Now I’ve got to be honest, I was expecting more from THE State Aquarium of Texas. I guess I've been spoiled by seeing some really huge spectacular Aquariums elsewhere. This one does not have any huge tanks, but what they have does give you time to reflect on each individual aquarium and what it has to offer. I particularly liked the ones featuring the various jelly fish from around the world. Some having almost an electrical quality to them. Really cool! They also had a dolphin show. Nothing unusual there, having lived in Orlando and Sea World right in our neighborhood. I’ve seen these shows before. It still brings a smile to my face and a laugh when the dolphins splash the audience.

A couple days later, after touring a couple more Rv parks, I went downtown to visit the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History and the Ships of Christopher Columbus. I was most interested in seeing these replicas of the Nina the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Two are currently on display. These were the ships that were built by Spain and given to the U.S. for the Anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America back in 1986 (?).

Corpus acquired the ships just a few years ago and they are in pretty bad condition. They were built with much of the same techniques as when Columbus sailed on them a couple hundred years ago. The guides told us that the ships usually only had a life of about 10 years. I could see the rotting wood and could easily believe that 10 year lifespan.

They were built in Spain and sent here on the US “Imagine America” Tour in 1991 for the Quinto Centenario, the 500 anniversary of Columbus’ voyage.

They were of course fairly small ships, only holding about 25 to 35 men. The Santa Maria was the largest and only ship that had private quarters for Columbus. The men were on the ships for about 32 days before discovering the New World. Not a long time when you think about the unknown route they were searching for. The tour guide talked a lot about the ships and life on board, but she told me after most of the rest of the tour had left, that they were not to talk much about Columbus, as it is now “unfashionable” to glorify his discovery.

What I got out of it was the keen feeling of being on a ship that traveled from Spain to the America’s in search of new lands. What an awesome feeling to walk the bowed planks of the deck. No surface completely level. Touching the raw wood and hearing the creaking of the mast as the wind whipped the riggings back and forth. Imagining what it must have been like on these small ships, with the sea tossing the ships back and forth, side to side. Waves constantly splashing over the sides the of the ships. Or sitting in the middle of a vast ocean without a breeze for 4 or 5 days. Not knowing how far land was out there. Needless to say, I would recommend touching a piece of history, even if it is only a replica. If this doesn’t bring history to life for you, nothing will. This one is tops in my book.

You’ll have to visit the museum to learn more about their other science and history displays, as it would take me hours to describe it all to you. The place was pretty big. One exhibit was really neat though…. They had riding saddles you could sit on to watch various movies about the cowboy way of life in Texas, past and present. What a great way to experience being on a horse while learning about the cowboy way of life.

I took the circle route around Corpus Christi Bay. Crossing over to the barrier island, onto Mustang Island and Port Aransas where I checked out some sea-side Rv parks. Thought if I liked the area, I might even winter on the island, but it just didn’t have that feel that I like. Still it was a neat drive, circling back into Corpus Christi and on back to my campsite.

I was going to go to the King Ranch today, but it turned out to be such a nice day, I headed to the beach…. Only about 2 miles from where I’m staying. I’m at the last exit before crossing the bridge to get to Padre Island. There’s not much of a community on the North end of Padre Island, but I was heading across over to Mustang Island and taking the first road leading to the beach.

After a very short ride across the paved portion over the sand dunes which are being replenished in this area, I drove right onto the flat sandy beach. Wow, just like Daytona Beach. Almost felt like I was back in Fla. Except the water isn’t that really pretty blues and greens you see along the Florida coastline, it’s more turbid and rough today. There are so many beach options in this area. You can pay to go to the State park or Padre Island National Seashore, or just go to one of the local access roads and it’s free.

A wonderful constant breeze, which wasn’t too much today, so I was able to put up my umbrella. The sun was perfect, warm, mid 80’s and the water was actually pretty warm for Mid May. Gosh it felt great to get out on the beach, read a book, go for a walk along the waters edge and just breath in the salty air.

Saturday, I’ve driven to a small town called Edna to stay at a State park, Lake Texana State Park to be exact. Crap. I had a flat tire 6 miles from the State park. Fortunately a car passing me alerted me to the situation, as I did not even realize it till they signaled me to stop. In my tips and tricks report from a couple months ago, I warned everyone about the age of tires. Mine were only 4.5 years old, but the wear and tear, especially since there was an alignment issue on the camper as well, must have worn them out before their time. Since I’ve already replaced two ahead of time, I’m going to go ahead and replace the destroyed tire as well as the remaining older tire. Believe me, it’s better to replace them early, rather than wait for them to blow.

I’ll be at this park for 3 or 4 days. It should be a great stay, as I’m on an island surrounded by the lake which has alligators in it. I saw one as I was crossing over the bridge to the island. There was also a warning about dangerous poisonous snakes in the park. Ekkk! I’ll have to watch carefully. The park itself is beautiful. Spreading oak trees, lush lawns going down to the lake. Canoes paddling back and forth across the lake. Lots of people fishing. Families walking and riding bikes around the park.

I’ll be heading to San Antonio to visit a bit with my friends Linda and Trine, should be there by Wednesday.

Oh, has anyone else read Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth? I just finished reading it. I’ve read many spiritual books in my time, but this one was a bit heavy even for me. Seems to me he used the conscious and unconscious to describe the spirit and eternal essence of a person and a lot of other gibberish to say what could have been said much more simply. There are some good concepts there, but it sure made my head spin a couple times, trying to figure out what he was saying. I did get his concept of space though…. Perhaps because I’m a bit spacey at times myself …..Let me know what you got out of it if you read it.

Almost forgot to tell the really big NEWS. I’ve decided to winter this coming year in Corpus. The campgrounds in this area are very reasonable for a monthly stay ($230 - 350) + elec. All the campgrounds I’ve visited also come with cable Tv included.

Some of the features I like: Being close to the water, close to good shopping and restaurants, concert series looks good throughout the year, and the weather is pretty good throughout the winter.

Anyone wishing more information, please contact me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

goody goody, I get to leave the first comment, yes, this is my friend Doug, traveling the highways and byways, I am a fan of Dougs trip storys and I do read them from time to time as Doug brings to me true storys of places I have not been too, thank you Doug,a job well done, see you along some old dusty Florida trail as you head back this away.