Larry & Maureen's Travel Adventures travel blog

Bridge to Padre Island, Corpus Christi

Who has seen the wind?

 

Blue Heron

Beach camping

Getting ready

Taking off

Anchor from one of the wrecked Spanish ships - 1554

Visitors' Centre

Wind blowing the sand

 

Oil platform

This looks like electrical wire but is actually a type of coral...

At the water's edge

Camping on the beach

South Texas Botanical Gardens - Bromeliad House

Orchid House

 

Giant Pipe Vine

Monarch

There's a caterpillar just left of centre hanging

Tiger butterfly

 

Wetlands

 

This dried up cactus looked like a lizard

Now at King Ranch. This bridge was part of the original stagecoach...

Cormorants on the left, turtles to the right

32,000 square foot mansion built for the family in the early 1900's

Quarter horses

 

Donkeys used to be used to lead stubborn ponies around until they...

 

Shorthorns

For some reason, this cow thought this horse was particularly tasty!

Santa Gertrudis cattle

8 point buck - we were lucky to see this!

One of 150 Texas Longhorns

Having a drink

 

One of the larger of 2,000 alligators on the property

Baby alligator

What's left of the dairy

The last wooden barn on the property - notice the running W...

Part of the house

 

Peacock at the front door. There were also several deer roaming the...

 

Carriage House

Henrietta was very fond of the Alamo and fashioned this building after...

School in Kingsville

Miles of cotton. Also part of the ranch.

USS Lexington

 

Bridge from Corpus Christi to the Lexington

Uniform

Bunks

A great variety of knots

Hammocks

Anchor chain

Under restoration

 

Corpus Christi Beach

Texas Surf Museum

Long-billed Curlew

 

Bob Hall Pier, Padre Island National Seashore

White and Brown Pelicans

White Pelican

Gull

Colonia Del Rey RV Park

 


Ah the ocean is back! How beautiful. We arrived around noon on the 10th. After lunch we drove to Padre Island. The whole area is protected as the Padre Island National Seashore. We learned a lot at the Visitors' Centre. Padre Island is the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. From the Visitors' Centre it is 70 miles of dunes, grasslands and tidal flats. The landscape of the island is changing all the time, with tides and wind. There are several campsites right at the tide line. We didn't stay there because there would be too much salt. There are four varieties of endangered sea turtles that are being encouraged to make a comeback here. The lady at the Visitors' Centre had spent several months volunteering on the Olympic Peninsula this summer and before that several years in Alaska.

On the way back we stopped and picked up some shrimp. Big, fresh Gulf shrimp just caught that morning. They were $10 per pound. They were so good.

On Saturday at Maureen's urging, we went to the South Texas Botanical Gardens. It was somewhat of a disappointment because it seemed to be between seasons. There were a lot of butterflies in the Butterfly Garden. We were able to salvage some pretty good pictures!

Since our timing was good, we drove about 30 miles to King Ranch in Kingsville which is the largest ranch in the world. The sections in South Texas add up to 825,000 acres. There are also citrus producing properties in Florida. We bought package tickets (museum and ranch tour). We went back into town and visited the museum, came back to ranch, ate our picnic lunch (amongst the bird-poop encrusted table and the little bugs), and then went on the ranch tour. It was about 1 1/2 hours and was very interesting. They developed the only new recognized breed of cattle - Santa Gertrudis (a cross with Brahman and short horn). It turns out the cattle would grow to be too big so a new strain was developed - Santa Cruz (smaller but a better meat producer). There are about 50,000 head on the ranch. They also have about 150 Texas longhorns, hundreds of quarter horses (produced the first registered American Quarter Horse and raised to work on the ranch), thoroughbred horses (raised the only Texan horse to win the Triple Crown named "Assault") as well as wildlife which is hunted (including about 2000 aligators which are culled every year for meat and leather).

The ranch was begun by Richard King, a steamboat captain, in 1853. He was once told by Robert E. Lee to buy land and never sell it. After his death in 1885, the ranch was carried on by his widow, Henrietta, and son-in-law, Robert Kleberg. Almost everything in the area is named either King or Kleberg! The ranch was there before the town so it was totally self-sufficient at the start - it even had its own dairy. The ranch is now a National Historic Site but is still a working ranch.

After the ranch tour, we drove back through town and stopped at the King Ranch Saddle Shop. Amongst the leather goods and pottery, they still make finely tooled new saddles right on site.

On the way back to the campground we stopped at the Barton Street Pub (2 beers $2.50) for happy hour. It's always fun to talk to the locals.

Sunday the 12th (Kelly's birthday) we just hung around and relaxed. The wind was constant but the sun was out!

Monday we went to the USS Lexington. We started the tour with an Imax film about a present-day fighter pilot. We continued on the rest of the tour but we couldn't do quite a bit of it. There were too many really steep sets of stairs. Fortunately, the cashier only charged us for one admission because she anticipated that Larry might not be able to do it all. It was very interesting anyway. The Lex was an early aircraft carrier of the US Navy in the Second World War, the fourth of five to carry the same name. When we finished with the Lex, we drove through Corpus Christi. It was very quiet. Somewhat like White Rock Beach when it gets cooler. We drove all around the waterfront, covering the whole of Ocean Drive. It is much like the Uplands in Victoria, large waterfront homes. They didn't seem to be too worried about the danger of hurricanes.

Wednesday we went back to the beach at Padre Island and brought out the lawn (sand) chairs and sat in the sun for awhile. The waves from the ocean when they came in ended up about 5 feet from our chairs. It was so windy the car was covered with salt by the time we were done. We drove all the way down the beach as far as we could go before the bridge back - about 10 miles. We stopped and got another 2 lbs prawns. We beheaded them, froze the tails and then froze the heads so Maureen can make more chowder. These ones were even bigger than the last ones.

Thursday Maureen walked to the small shopping area near the park and Larry went for a bike ride.

Friday we're off to Houston. See y'all there!

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