We've been having some sunny and warm weather here on North Padre Island since the "polar vortex" has moved on -- and good riddance! Beach walks, bike rides, watching birds, and a bountiful German bakery are four the "B"s we've been enjoying lately. It's a tough life, but someone's gotta live it!
We're just a block from Whitecap Beach, a great place to walk and watch birds, despite the ubiquitous pickup trucks driving up and down. They really mess up the sand, so you are limited to walking right at the shoreline.
There were thousands of dead starfish littering the shoreline. Barry suggested the die-off may have occurred due to the unusually cold conditions towards the beginning of our time here. I think he's probably right. It was very sad to see.
Although it's pretty breezy here, Barry has been a cycling machine, riding nearly every day.
I haven't gotten out quite as often but have enjoyed several good rides, including a 40-miler yesterday, when we rode into the Padre Island National Seashore for the first time. Prior to this we've ridden up to the entrance and turned back. Park Road 22, the only way to get to the park, has a wide shoulder and traffic is relatively light this time of year, but it's rather bone-jarring on a bike without suspension, closer to chip-seal than silky smooth asphalt. So it wears us out a bit to ride but is worth it in the end.
This time we paid the $5 each to get a week's entry pass into the park. It was definitely worth seeing. There's a nice visitor's center, rest rooms (always welcome on a long bike ride!), a small campground, and a beautiful stretch of beach. Padre Island is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world -- who knew? It's definitely beautiful.
4WD vehicles are allowed to drive 20 miles south on the beach after the pavement ends, but there's no bridge or ferry over to the very popular South Padre Island. To get there, you have to go back inland and south on the highway, and it's over three hours driving time from Corpus Christi!
The sand is packed down at the beginning of the beach where the paved road ends, so we were able to ride a little bit even on our road bikes, but a beach bike would be fun here.
There were a couple of small RVs parked here...what a place to camp this would be, with the sound of the waves breaking all night long!
South Texas is a well-known birding destination, and even though we haven't even hit many of the "official" hot spots yet, we've been able to do plenty of casual birding along the beach and ponds near the condo we're staying in and have already added several new birds to our life lists.
We walked over to the nearby German bakery yesterday for the first time.
The selection was amazing! Here is what we came home with to reward ourselves for our long bike rides. Several different strudels, a slice of plum cake, a pumpkin seed "coin", and more. Of course a lot of this bounty went into the freezer for later, but we sampled a few. Excellent!
All in all, life's pretty good here on the Texas coast in January!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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