Here are a couple great examples of what the wind was like the entire time we were on Galveston Island: Really cool windsocks and kites, but look at them blow and it was like this the entire time we were there.
So the last couple days we were in Galveston, since it got chilly and nasty again, we spent mostly indoors, me working on Polymer Clay Canes and Mr. C doing computer stuff.
To start out, we left Galveston in this: solid grey skies, wind and mist/light rain, at 5 a.m., with fairly high surf, at least the highest we had seen it while we were in Galveston.
So, the night before our trip to South Padre Island from Galveston Island, Mr. C brings Gypsy in to program our route into her and low and behold she says, "No you're messing up, you should take Rt. 6 so you can bypass Houston" (which sounds good to me, I hate us having to drive through big cities). Of course, Gypsy didn't actually SAY to do this, but it was the route she showed we SHOULD take. Mr. C asks my opinion and I say I'm all for it, but did you look at it on Streets and Trips to be sure it's appropriate for big rig driving. He checks it out, at least as far as "Alvin, TX", and says, yep, it looks good, so we decide to let Gypsy have her way for once and will follow her instructions. So we get up, finish packing up and closing up the Big Sky, put the cat and dog (and me--yes, I'm actually on his list to not forget to put me in the truck, LOL). It's still mostly dark (I used a special setting on my camera to manage to get these last two "leaving" photos). We manage to get where Gypsy tells us to go and we're driving merrily along Rt 6 congratulating ourselves on skipping out around Houston when we get almost to Alvin, TX. Gypsy says take the Alvin Bypass, "Okay, we discuss, that makes sense." So we take the Alvin Bypass, but the road signs say Rt 35 and Rt 6 (which we were supposed to stay on until we reached our main highway again Rt 59) has headed off straight into Alvin. Our careful planning and paperwork is useless at this point, as the maps only cover the roads we expect to be ON, not the wrong road we're on. It's still mostly dark, we're both tired and a tiny bit grumpy and I keep turning on the light to try to figure out where this new Alvin Bypass which is really Rt 35 goes. It appears to go straight South and we want to go South West (actually a bit North West to catch the main highway we're watching for--remember US Rt 59? We're supposed to meet up with US Rt 59.) Also, Rt 35 is a tiny little 2 lane highway and Rt 6 had been a nice divided 4 lane. We keep saying, let's take the next road to the right, but they're all just "county roads" who knows where they go or how "big" they are or if they go under any low overpasses etc. and they aren't on our map at all. It finally gets light enough we can see and I finally have Mr. C pull over and tell him I have figured out we can either take Rt 36 (which we're about to cross) up to 59, but that will take us about a half hour out of our way, OR we can stay on 35 until we hit 71 and take that up to 59. We're already about an hour behind our planned schedule, with 35s southward direction. That keeps us more on track, but keeps us on 35 which is a nasty road. We decide to go to 71 as we're now about an hour behind schedule on an already long scheduled day. Shortly there after, we hit 36 and Mr. C suddenly says, I'm taking it and gets in the right turn lane. I say ok, whatever and we head off up 36, which about 15 miles further on rejoins 35!!!!!!!
We are really flummoxed and frustrated, but finally 35 takes off again and we do finally manage to reach US 59, which is what we wanted, in the first place. We're not happy campers, but. . . what can you do, except to stop at that little donut shop at the corner of 35 and 36 with home made donuts and breakfast sandwiches? Yes, we did, and yes, I enjoyed my forbidden donuts (until about an hour later when they just sat like a stone in my stomach and made me sick for the rest of the trip).
After that, basically things went well, route wise, until we started into cloudy skies again, although it did get progressively warmer. We passed interesting scenery lots of scrub and desert. There were also prickly pear cactus that were blooming (according to the field guide, it's a "Fragile Prickly Pear"). I've never seen blooming cactus before, so I talked Mr. C into stopping and taking a couple pictures for me. We also saw some hawk type birds with white tummies and dark wing bottoms and tips. There were also 2 of what we think were Ospreys in a tree.
We finally got to Victoria, where we turned off on Rt 77, which would take us right to South Padre Island. The weather was looking a bit threating, but held off. Some lovely truck passed us (I'm not sure Texans believe the speed limits are posted for their use. . .) and threw a rock up that hit our windshield hard enough to chip it. Fortunately, it is very low and on the driver's side and isn't really part of the visual field. We'll wait to get home and have it "filled" so it doesn't crack worse. If it starts to spread while we're in TX, we'll have it done here, but Mr. C doesn't think it will be needed.
Oh well, it really wasn't too bad and the water was so pretty and blues and greens, so unlike Galveston's waters.
We reconnected everything and reopened the slides and just as Mr. C comes to the door I hear a huge thwap and ask, what was that. Mr. C comes on up to the door and says, that poor bird just flew into the trailer. Awww, poor birdie, he was so pretty and he lay there, on his back, gasping with his head to one side. Another strike against our trip here. I wanted his
picture, anyway, because he was so pretty and was planning to move him into the shade of the picnic table if I could, but when I came back with my camera he had moved himself onto his tummy. He was still gasping, but at least it was obvious his neck was not broken.
I took his picture, then I tried to take him some water, but he finally flew away under the trailer. I'm so glad he wasn't killed. I'm not sure what he was, he was much larger than the little "gold finch" under our bush I missed a picture of. There are a lot of different kinds of warblers etc. passing through this area right now, we're told it's a birder's paradise right now.
or maybe in the summer when families are out of school and able to be here, but right now, I wish we were staying there. I suspect we'd be seeing lots more birds etc. We checked out the picnic area and finally pulled into the first beach parking lot and the first thing I saw was these wonderful parachute type kites flying over the water. As we got closer, I realized those kites were attached to people and the people were holding a handle and their feet were on short surf boards and these people are doing flips and turns and jumps and slides on and over and around the small waves.
They may not have big enough waves for surfing, but if I were lots younger and lots more althletic and more fit, I'd be trying this, it looked like so much fun. But when I happened to mention this to Mr. C, he kindly asked me if even when I was young, more fit, thin and a teeny tiny bit athletic, could I balance a bicycle very well? NO, skate? NO, do gymnastics? NO. . . but it sure looked like fun. So, while watching the "Kite Boarders" I believe they call them we also started walking down the beach; like Galveston, very hard packed sand (although it was soft silky sand near the parking lot).
The first thing I noticed was. . . yep, hooray, lots and lots of shells.
Then we started walking down the beach and I saw THIS: