I had a pickup truck strapped to my backside all day yesterday; today I just don’t feel like driving or moving my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck). I drove all day yesterday not today. There’s a free bus to the beach and a Spring Break Party going on in South Padre Island, just across the long bridge from where I am in Port Isabel, Tx. I walked to Manuel’s, a small mom & pop texmex restaurant, and had a football sized tortilla stuffed with avocado and shrimp. Then I caught the bus to the beach. What Manuels’s put in front of me was incredibly delicious! I saw the salsa had barbicola (pork cheek meat), gee can I fit that in?
I rode the bus across the bridge to South Padre island where the party was. At the hosting hotel’s entrance a security guard said I could not take a camera inside, so I said OK. It’s easier to go along with the rules than contest them. Of course on a public beach taking photographs is legal, but this is not the time for an argument. I walked north looking for the first public path to the beach, found it and walked to the Spring Break Party area. Immediately the music I heard was not something I wanted to hear. I watched the line of people entering the fenced party area. Each was turning whatever bag they had inside out so the contents could be examined, then they were frisked before they could enter the fenced compound! Not my idea of a party. No, I won’t submit to that to get inside! Necessary to prevent problems - probably! I hung out on the beach and drank a couple cold ones I’d put in my camera bag. I watched the parade of college students going up and down the beach. I’d noticed several big signs as I passed them, that said no glass containers on the beach - $500 Fine! Of course I saw some Spring-Breakers getting busted for that very thing. I guess they couldn’t read! Watching the parade and happenings was better than a movie. The sun was shining and it was warm. What else do I need? I loved life.
After a couple hours I walked to the main road and caught a bus that ended up being the wrong one; it didn’t go across the bridge to where my nest was, so I got off and walked to a spot for the right bus. On my nest’s side of the bridge I went to a sports bar and watched North Carolina U. trounce the U. of Notre Dame in the ACC basketball tournament (I’m a Uof Md grad), then headed for my rack in my nest. Tomorrow I hope to awake early and go to Laguna Atascosa to see the unusual birds and other stuff Mother Nature has to show me there. There’re several other mom & pop texmex restaurants in Port Isabel. I know there’s more than I’ll get to. Joe’s Oyster Bar is on tomorrow’s agenda. Their grilled oysters, shrimp and grilled fish is a must.
It’s easy to feel good about myself and life today. Yesterday, me and the storms went different directions. As I listened to the news I realized how fortunate I was. Within miles to the east of where I was marooned in MegaMart’s parking lot and to the west there was flooding, massive power outages, and lots of storm damage. The power was out for an hour or so at MegaMart and there was little rain, but the winds gusted 20-30mph, which was enough to keep me from driving. The weather radar showed me the storms were all around me. As I left the parking lot yesterday the sky got dark and for the first 25 miles, I drove through heavy rain; but then it cleared, I sailed around the north side of the Houston beltway rather than go straight thru the city on interstate US 10, where I’ve got into traffic before, and by 1:30pm I was under blue sunny skies. I drove almost 500 miles and arrived here in Port Isabel about 6pm.
Here I can park in MegaMart’s lot hassle free, it’s within walking distance to lots of Mom & Pop TexMex restaurants, a good sports bar, and there’s great birding with lots of unusual migrating species to see downtown in preserved areas amongst the neighborhoods and a short drive away is LaGuna Atascosa National WildLife Refuge with green jays and where I saw a 12-foot rattle snake.
Yesterday as I drove I was passed several times on the road by caravans of vehicles towing one or more used vehicles or packed with used equipment. There must be a big market for used US stuff in Mexico; that’s where they’re headed. I’ve seen cars being towed south here in Texas for years, but never three hooked together, like I did this time! There should be a warning car like when a large trailer or something is being transported; but this is Texas!!!
Today I was going to go birding early, but I decided to just kool it and relax. The birds will wait!!! Then I saw the free wifi sign on the MegaMart’s door! Maybe free wifi at their stores is nationwide! Then I changed my mind again and headed to LaGuna Atascosa. I’m off to enjoy the sunshine and see what Mother Nature has to show me!!!
I’d been there several times before and saw mostly the same cast of characters. There were green jays and Chachalaca, both of which I’ve seen many times, but they’re only in south Texas. Plus, there’s alligators here, which are somewhat rare, and I saw a unique cactus that grows at ground level. Back in the sun and all is well!
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