Snowbirds - Winter 2006 travel blog

Ken enjoying the beach

Padre Island beach

We are camped about twenty miles from the seashore as the crow flies. Generally, we like to be as close to the water as possible, but numerous people we have talked to about staying in this area, warned us that it is always very windy and the breeze coming off the 60 degree water is not as welcome now as it would be in July. We also have heard horror stories about people who camped at the shore for the month and the salt air corroded their lug nuts and they had to be replaced before they could drive away. One lady told me that her dog pen totally disintegrated and her dog got away.

But that doesn't mean that visiting the beach wasn't one of the first things we wanted to do. One of the myriad actvities offered by our campground today was seafood dinner at Padre Island. We left early in the afternoon to explore the place before the dinner rendezvous. We've heard so much about Padre as a spring break mecca, we were always afraid to come here at the vacation times our school calendars allowed. But no one has spring break in January and the beach was empty but for a stray geezer or two and many of the shops were shuttered. Padre Island actually is in two pieces - north and south. The tip of each end is developed, but a twenty minute drive brings you to the end of the road. The rest belongs to the flora and fauna. Padre is a narrow barrier island and from many spots on the road, we could see water on both sides. Lovely beach houses are for sale, but after this Katrina filled summer, the thought of being here in this vulnerable spot during the hurricane season is frightening. Compared to other spring break spots we've visited in Florida and Mexico, this area seemed rather small. It was hard to imagine where thousand of drunk college kids would crash after strenuous partying. Also, South Padre is not really very close to major airline towns. Charters could bring lots of tourists to Harlingen and Brownsville, but they would still face a fifty mile drive before they were in Padre.

We shared a dinner table with three other couples from our campground. They are all from the midwest as many people here are and they had gone through the same "exploring the warm looking for the best spot to stay" quest that we have begun. They confirmed what we began to learn last winter - there are only a few spots in the continental US that are reliably warm in January. We midwesterners forget to consider altitude which is why we endured six inches of snow in Mexico last winter. According to them the choices are desert CA, southern AZ, the bottom half of FL and here. They all had stayed here numerous winters and were enthused by the climate, low prices, and numerous activities our resort offers. They recommended that we turn on local cable channel 8 every morning to check the activities that have been added to the thick printed schedule we already received. We're going to be so busy we'll need a vacation from our vacation.

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