Posted in Holiday

South Padre Island, TX Day 2

Monday-The road to the beach continues..

We left Austin around 9 Monday morning, stopped and ate at the Cracker Barrel then headed back down the highway to South Padre. We watched Austin turn into San Marcos then New Braunfels. We had to stop for gas in New Braunfels and it wouldn’t be a trip if we didn’t stop at Buc-ee’s convenience store. This was Laura’s first trip to Texas so we made sure she saw all the right spots. Buc-ee’s is the place to stop and get gas, any Texas souvenir you can ever want and plenty of food and drink to last you a long trip. Once we got what we wanted from Buc-ee’s we were on the road again and finally we were going through San Antonio. It felt odd to drive through and not stop to see my family but I sent my uncle a wave by text, he was happy with that. 🙂

The traffic lightened a bit past San Antonio and we started seeing large cactus along the side of the road. My niece Laura was just amazed by the size of them. We eventually started seeing enormous oil wells working to pull oil from the earth. We have oil wells all over Oklahoma, but none to the size that we saw in South Texas. We eventually started seeing more and more palm trees, they have them in Austin and San Antonio but further South you start seeing more and more and there is something about seeing palm trees along the side of the road. It’s as if they are saying “follow me to the ocean”. We grabbed lunch along the way at Whataburger, the only place to get fast food and a drink that will keep you fueled on a trip. Before long we were seeing signs for Mexico and passed a Border Patrol truck driving up the sand by railroad tracks.

We started getting so excited we could see the wind turbines out in the fields, hundreds of them. Then we started seeing fields and fields of cotton. I wanted to pull over and pick me a piece of cotton! I was getting as excited as a 9 yr old girl :). I pulled up the map to see how far away we were from water and near jumped out of my seat when the map showed we had driven along the water for quite some time. We started keeping a lookout to the left of the car for any signs of water. It wasn’t until we drove through Port Isabel that we knew we were close. Before we knew it there was the monstrous bridge before us. Josh asked if I was ready to cross the bridge, he knows how terrified I am of bridges. I told him no, yes JUST DRIVE FAST! I didn’t have a total meltdown on the bridge I was able to shoot a small video which turned out terrible but I didn’t let the fear overtake me and before we knew it we were in South Padre.

I fell in love at once. It was almost as if crossing that bridge you leave your daily life behind and you accept the beach life for however long you are visiting. My eyes couldn’t take in everything I was seeing. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times we should have camera eyes so we can take pics of what we see. You can’t always get your camera, phone or video camera out quick enough. Our first goal was to find our Airbnb. Josh was the one to find this gem when we decided to make this trip. He searched and found Niki’s Place. I can’t say enough about Niki’s Place, we were about a block from the beach, the neighborhood was quiet and relaxing. We were only there for two nights and didn’t get to take advantage of all the truly wonderful things Niki’s had to offer. I know I will be back and Niki’s will be the first place I want to stay at.

After unloading our luggage and taking a small rest we knew two things 1)We were hungry and 2)we wanted to see the beach. We did the last first. We walked to the beach from our condo and spent about 30-45 mins there. After we had said a proper hello got out feet wet and sandy we decided to go and look for food, knowing we would be back the next day.

I should note that Laura had this idea she was going to swim in the ocean like she swims in a pool. We tried to explain to her about the currents and riptides that can happen when in the ocean. I’m almost sure she thought we were making this up. So when you hear me call her in the video it’s me reminding her to pay attention and stay close to Josh. There was a lot of worry about bringing her to the beach. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her on my watch. Super Babysitter on Guard! LOL!

We discovered we had passed a seaside restaurant and went in to enjoy local seafood. We sat outside so we could watch the sun go down and take it the fact we were here at last. The restaurant was a lovely seaside restaurant Palm’s Resort Cafe which was across the street from our condo but was close enough to the beach that you felt you were there. We were seated at a patio table. The three of us decided to sit on the same side of the picnic table so we could watch the ocean as the sun went down. It was so calming just sitting and watching the ocean while the world passed by.

We all had fresh seafood that was wonderful there was not an empty plate. After we had dinner we went back to our condo, washed the dirt of the day off and got ready for bed. As Laura and I were settling in our comfy bed Josh brings the question to me about getting up early Tuesday to see the sunrise. I love my sleep but I also wasn’t going to miss an ocean sunrise. I told him I was in and to wake me when he woke up. Bring me that horizon!


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Posted in Holiday

South Padre Island, TX Day 1

Sunday-The Journey begins..

I wanted my first blog trip to be a place to remember. I thought of several places locally and some quite far away. I came up with one of my favorite places to visit-San Antonio. The plan was to go with my nephew, sister-in-law, and niece. What ended up happening we sister-in-law had to have an immediate knee replacement and couldn’t make the trip. I started thinking of just scraping the entire trip and began thinking of other places I could go. What I came up with was South Padre Island, TX I could still stop in San Antonio on the way back and visit my family.

We brought my 9 yr old niece with us on the trip so my sister-in-law could recover after surgery. I felt it was the right thing to do for my sister-in-law and for my niece who had never seen the ocean before was really excited to go. There should be a manual for riding in a car with a 9 yr old girl. Whatever you bring on the trip to keep them occupied, triple it. Whatever you do DO NOT I repeat DO NOT feed them sugar! Josh and I learned that the hard way. When asked when will we get there every 20 minutes I sent a prayer of thanksgiving to my mother for putting up with me when I was 9. There was not enough to keep that child busy the entire 8 hr drive to Austin. Because we knew the trip was going to be a long drive we decided to go as far as Austin, get a room and visit with my cousin who lives there and recharge for the next part of our trip.

My cousin lives in North Austin so I wanted to find a hotel close to her apartment. She graciously offered to let us stay there but her apartment is small and this was a Sunday night so work was on the agenda for her the next day. I knew having a 9 yr old that doesn’t like to sleep would not be a pleasant night for her. I found a great room at DoubleTree by Hilton Austin Northwest Arboretum, the location was just where I wanted and the price was right for one night. We were greeted at the front desk with a warm smile and yummy cookies for each of us. The beds were unbelievably comfortable, after the long drive I hated that we had to get out again. LOL

We enjoyed a nice dinner with my cousin at an Italian restaurant at Mandela’s. The restaurant was located in a shopping center but when you walked inside it was like walking into an Italian market. There were meats, cheeses, loaves of bread, gelato and wines for purchase. There were outdoor tables where you could sit and enjoy a gelato if you did not want to have dinner. We enjoyed a lovely Italian dinner then went back to the hotel and visited a bit longer and watched my niece enjoy the hotel pool. We got up the next morning, stopped at Cracker Barrel for a great breakfast and headed south to Padre Island. Sand and ocean here we come!