Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Going to the Beach - on Padre Island, Tx

 We left southern Arizona to avoid the continuing below average temperatures.  Most of southern New Mexico is at higher elevation, so we knew that staying there would not be a warm option.  

Texas, did not disappoint.  We headed south east and found ourselves with that great spot overlooking the Pecos River for one night, and we ended up spending another night in the area of Del Rio.  A Desert Bighorn showed up in the morning, but it was quite lame and was not putting any weight on it's left front leg.  He seemed to be getting around OK though.

Video of the Desert Bighorn ram
Not sure if this a radar dome or a water tower along the road?  Or, maybe a recently shot down balloon? ;-)

It was a long drive, but we headed directly to Padre Island National Seashore, where camping is free, right on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico!  We had visited there about 10 years previous with Wandering Willy, and  spent about 2 weeks there.

Leaving Corpus Christi, you head out to Padre Island over several sections of ocean, vaguely similar to the Florida Keys.

It is a National Seashore, so it is run by the US Parks Service.

Heading out onto Malaquite Beach.

Managed to get stuck right away at my first attempted camp spot, but with a bit of digging, we managed to get free and get properly parked.
Squadrons of brown pelicans were heading northward up the coast each evening, but I never saw even one on the water.

Unloaded the bike for the first cruise along the beach, and found this Arizona thorn stuck into the tire.  The tire was still fully inflated, but went flat right away as soon as the huge spike was pulled out.
Photo with a 'lightning' phone cord for size comparison.

Constant surf sound here ...

We arrived late on Friday, but first thing Saturday morning there were groups and lines of vehicles all headed south down the beach - possibly hundreds of them!  They seemed to be in groups, and did not look like fishermen and women.  Quite a few were towing empty utility trailers (!), and some had passengers in the boxes of pickups!  It was almost like a parade! Finally, I had to ask someone - where they were all going, on this 50 mile long, dead-end beach!

Well, it turns out that Saturday was the

28th Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup 2023!

organized by the Friends of Padre Island.  It is an annual event, where hundreds of volunteers are organized to clean designated areas along the Seashore's over 50 miles of beach.  They have apparently removed over 3 million pounds of trash from the beach since the event started in 1995, and last year alone they removed 30 tons of garbage. 

Before long, the volunteers and vehicles began returning with their loads of garbage in cars, trucks, and trailers.

I rode my bike down to the visitor center, and found likely a couple hundred 2wd cars parked there, whose occupants had joined up with others in 4wd trucks for the trip down the beach.  There was at least a half dozen huge dumpsters lined up to accept the haul, and even a front-end loader on standby to assist with larger items.

Later, I found this old buoy washed up on shore awaiting some heavy equipment to help facilitate it's removal.

These folks were a bit close to the rising tide, better be ready to leave before they got flooded out!
Lots of sand crabs in holes all over the beach - keeping Hailey busy trying to keep them all in line!  That, and digging her own holes in the flour-like white sand.

Absolutely gorgeous weather here (long sleeves were only for sun protection after a bit too much the previous day!), with enough sun to keep the solar happy, enough breeze to stay cool in the daytime, and never any need for a heater at night.  And after the weekend beach traffic from the big volunteer day, it was very quiet on the beach with only a few fishers and other RV's looking for a spot.
Like me, my new neighbour mis-judged the sand quality a bit.  But unlike me, he couldn't get out on his own.  So I got to use my deluxe new tow strap and managed to extricate his truck and trailer.


My truck has been needing a sensor replacement for the last year or so, and I thought this might be a good opportunity to get it done, being camped fairly close to the dealership in town.  I called up Autonation Buick GMC in Corpus Christi on Saturday, and made an appointment for the following Monday, telling them that I would be waiting at the dealership while the work was done - should take about an hour?  Well, when I arrived on Monday, I was told that I would have to leave the truck for three to five DAYS for the hour long job, and that the appointment I had made - was only to talk to a service advisor!!  I offered to re-schedule as far in the future as necessary in order to get the work done at that time.  I was informed that that would not be possible.  So I told them that I would get the work done at a garage back home - where they know how to schedule their work.  Can't believe they're in business like that.  I went to their website, and read a bunch of glowing reviews, that sounded a bit 'fake', but quickly found there was no possible way to add my own less than complimentary review.

(end of Rant)

Meanwhile, back to enjoying the warmth and sun and sand and water of the beach.




  1. Anonymous5:28 am

    The dealers on the east coast of Canada have the same scheduling BS alternator died on my Ford said it would 10 days before they could do the work. Walked across the street to a local repair shop done on the same day.

  2. Enjoy the beach. I too, was going to mention googling some small shops in the area, pick up the part elsewhere. Often times those shops have a more personalized service, better schedules and less expensive rates.


  3. I had the thought of moving on to Texas too. Getting stuck is not my idea of boondocking though. Glad you found the perfect spot to live for awhile. Enjoy.

  4. Anonymous9:21 pm

    Hi Ivan, I’m going to try to make this post. Sounds like your having a marvellous time on the beach.