Friday, November 20, 2015

Isla Blanca

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted and it's been a much needed rest for me.  We got settled in the campground and then had to pull up stakes and drive the motorhome to Brownsville, Texas to get a VIN Verification so we could get our license plates and finish up the paperwork on the purchase.  Then I've spent some time reorganizing and moving things around - it always takes a few tries until you get things in the best places!  I want to get one more piece of art replaced and then will be done, at least for now.  The long term plan is to replace the carpet with wood or vinyl flooring, remove the cornice boards and pleated shades and install woven blinds and paint the interior.  But that will all wait for a while.

I wanted to write up a post about the RV park we're staying in, in case anyone might be interested in staying here at some point.

Although winter is not their "high" season, they welcome "Winter Texans."

Entrance gate
You must have a ticket to enter, but the public can also come in by paying for a day pass.

Park office
This is actually outside of the park, but where you check in, get your mail and just generally do any other business you have.

This is definitely the most unusual park in which I've ever stayed.  Owned and run by Cameron County, I had read mixed reviews before I booked a reservations, so was a bit nervous about staying here.  Having almost 600 sites, the park is located at the very southern tip of South Padre Island, with unlimited access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre lagoon that separates the island from the mainland.  Besides being in a perfect location, the RV sites are generous and people, literally, come back yearly to the same site.  $100 will reserve your site from year to year, but each site is available for others when you are not occupying it.  The winter people, the summer people and travelers are welcome to improve the site in any way with approval from the office.  Most people have poured concrete patios, but some have wooden decks or just grass.  Others really go to town, building fences for windbreaks, planting flowers and trees and putting in gardens.  Park model home are even moved in for the season, then returned to storage for the rest of the year.  Now, remember, these sites are owned by the county, not the individual.  But the sharing seems to work, because in talking with people who have been coming here for years, nothing is usually removed, taken or damaged from season to season.  It's a very cheap way to have a vacation "home" in an area where the median home price is $275,000!  We were very lucky to get a site with a concrete pad and two beautiful palms trees and found out by talking to neighbors that the usual winter occupant didn't come this year due to a death in the family.

Views of the RV Park
I had to get on top of the coach to get these views!

There is a walking/biking track all around, multiple rest room/shower facilities (no laundromat, but the new rig has a washer/dryer, so no worries for me), activity center, bingo hall, boat dock, beach access just over the dunes and the people who run the show are very friendly and helpful. Welcoming and very quick to help with any problem, the county employees go above and beyond to make you feel at home.

As I said earlier, we've spent time fishing (Sid),  going to the beach and eating in great restaurants on the island and just across the bridge in Port Isabel.

One of the two pavilions on the beach
These have picnic tables, bathrooms and are a great place for viewing the gulf waters.

Beach activity
Sunny days bring out more people - most of the time, the beach is empty except for the kite boarders.

Real or fake?
You tell me!

Granite seawall
Every time I walk the seawall, I can't help but think of how many counter tops these huge granite boulders would make.

View from the beach looking north
This was taken on a yucky day, but you can see one of the pavilions on the left and a few hotels up island.

Nipper's man cave
This is Nipper's home in the new motorhome.

Sittin' on a sign in the bay 
The pelicans spend their days sitting near the fish cleaning stations and I'm getting a good view of them doing their thang every day!

Ship entering the channel to the Port of Brownsville
Although not as busy as other channels we've camped near, we still get to see some large ships entering the shipping channel.

English or Spanish?
All the signage in the park is in both English and Spanish.

We have our very own statue of Jesus...

...which may or may not be a columbarium.
Each block has the name of deceased relative on a plaque.

Interesting signage
A couple new signs I've never seen before for my caution sign collection.

A new addition to our motorized family
I call him Zipper, because I zip here and zip there every day.

My day usually starts with a mile and a half walk with Nipper around the park, then a ride down to the boat dock area, which is the best place for shelling.  Then it's off to the beach or piddling around home or some shopping or reading until dinnertime.  Evenings we either go out to dinner or to some activity in the area (we saw a great play the other night put on by the local theater group).  Bedtime and then it starts all over again. I'm not sure where the days go, but I'm never bored.  It's hard to believe we've been here almost three weeks - that's the longest time we've spent in one location since February!

I'll still be blogging about our grand adventure for the next few months, but the posts will be farther apart. I'm sure those of you in the more northern parts of the country would tire quickly of hearing about cold fronts of 75 degrees and days spent on the beach.  Don't forget about me, though, because there are more experiences still on the horizon!

Until next time...

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