Cutting It Close

This morning, I was sad to see R and S leave for good, and a whole day ahead of schedule to boot since S wasn’t feeling well. 🙁 Caroline and her husband are threatening to go tomorrow, too. 🙁 Tonight, though, they, L, and I are heading down to Indianola for dinner and a little music. Can’t let them go without a shindig!

I went back into town this morning to reattempt to get propane as they were down for maintenance yesterday. I also needed to pickup a package at the post office and a few groceries. The plan was to do those things in reverse order as Walmart is on the opposite edge of town from propane, which is closer to the beach than is Walmart, and the post office is in the middle.

Anyway, I went to see L and we got gabbing as we do and by the time I got on the road, it was past 11. Just before the first turn for the post office, I remembered that today is Saturday and that they closed at noon! So I veered there first.

The lady at the counter recognized me from the little fit I threw yesterday so I didn’t even have to wait in line. She saw me come in and waved the package at me.

You see, I had two delivery confirmations yesterday and they only had one package for me, claiming that the other one had not been delivered even though it had been signed for not less than an hour before by the guy who was serving me at the counter!

He argued that UPS had not passed, that my package was not in the building, and that I’d have to come back today, regardless of how much mileage that was. The post office had done this before to me and I had been able to get the clerk to go into the back and pluck the package off the unsorted pile. But no dice this time and I was not shy to give them a piece of my mind since I had the friggin’ delivery confirmation in my hand!

Anyway, post office done, I went to Walmart and then moseyed on back to the propane place. I told the attendant that I was glad to see that they were up and running and he brusquely replied that he was going to serve me, but, really, they had closed five minutes before. He filled my 30lber ($23) and didn’t  put it back in the truck for me. It’s extremely rare that I don’t get that additional level of service. Anyway, no big deal; I got my propane! The on board tank is way too close to empty for comfort. The 30lbs should last me till I’m ready to pull out.

Fun At the Saloon

This evening, R, S, L, Caroline, her husband J, and myself headed out to play some shuffleboard at the Saltwater Saloon. It was so cool to be hanging out with Caroline tonight; she’s one of my most longtime blog readers! Caroline, a little more twist and a little less shove next time. 😉

I was surprised to have a pretty good chicken burger from the grill attached to the saloon. It’s really nice to have the full service convenience store, gas pumps, grill, and saloon just a mile or so from the beach. It’s close enough to get out without too much effort, but not so within walking distance as to encourage frequent consumption of three beers on a weeknight. 🙂

This weekend, there is talk of heading down to the marina at Indianola. No shuffleboard there, but lots of fishing to watch.

I’m fairly certain that my social calendar hasn’t been full since my first Klondike summer!

Dancing On the Pier

Last night, social director S rounded up just about everybody on the beach plus some friends from Port Lavaca and got us all down to the Indianola Fishing Marina for an evening of live music on the pier to sort of celebrate Mardi Gras (I spent two weeks in New Orleans and I got Mardi Gras beads in Indianola, go figure!).

The marina is a tiny building that serves a small menu where you can grab beer ($1.50 a can!) from the cooler. It costs $5 to fish all day (and night) from the pier. I really want to go back there one afternoon. S and I can’t decide which place is cooler, the bar in Chicken or the marina in Indianola. It’s awesome to meet fellow travelers who have been to the same places you have!

Even though it had been kind of wet and gross all day, the temperature on the pier was very comfortable. Our food came quickly and then the music started.

We were being entertained by a local band, Highway 316, and they were good! They had people dancing almost immediately. S got me to join her, then a new neighbour, L, asked me to share a few dances with him. We must have looked like quite the pair, him who hadn’t danced in 20 years and me who has the rhythm of a stick! It was a lot of fun!

Another member of our group were a couple from Germany who had their RV shipped to North America and have been traveling for the past 10 months. They are heading home in March. They said their night in Indianola will make the top of the list of most memorable moments of their trip.

We didn’t stay too late, leaving around 9:30. I somehow got lost on the way home (how you can do that when the marina is literally at the end of the street from which one accesses the beach is beyond me), so by the time my GPS got me turned around and home, it was 10:00.

Corpus Christi Detour and Harlingen

From Port Aransas, I drove about 45 minutes to the small city of Corpus Christi. I just wanted to have a look at it, so I didn’t plan to do much, especially since I still had a two-hour drive to make to get to my hotel in Harlingen.

I stopped in at the vistors’ centre and was told that the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History across the street could fill a few hours and give me a sense for the city. Perfect!

Admission to the museum is $12.50, unless you happen to be a lucky blogger and get there on FREE admission day! What a gift!

This museum MUST be experienced. It’s a treasure trove of varied exhibits, each beautiful planned and executed. From gem stones to the discovery of the new world passing by terrariums filled with turtles, alligators, and giant spiders, this museum is definitely worth a visit! I had a wonderful afternoon there.

Coming into the visitor’s centre, I noticed a class B rig in the parking lot that I had also seen parked next to me a few days before. It had Ontario plates. When I saw it at home, I thought that it had to be Marianne and Randy Edwards, but told myself that would be too much of a coincidence. When they saw my truck at the visitors’ centre, they put two and two together and waited for me to return to see if I was me that truck belonged to. We had a lovely chat and Randy gave me instructions for getting to the waterfront.

I took his advice and wound up at the Corpus Christi Marina. It was 4PM by this point, I was beat, and I had a long drive ahead of me, so I was done. I headed out towards Harlingen and stopped at the Kingsville Walmart where I ran into the Edwards again! There I FINALLY found a good pair of sandals (I love the Earth Spirit brand; very good quality, leather, inexpensive, only available at Walmart) so I have comfortable shoes this morning.

The drive to Harlingen was exciting. I had the radio on and wasn’t really paying attention to much besides the road so I failed to notice not only that my gas gauge needle was racing towards empty but also the ‘no fuel for 60 miles’ sign!!! When my gas gauge light came on, I was shocked to discover that the next gas station was 80KM ahead of me, so the only option was to turn back the way I came to go back to the last gas station I had passed. It was a very long 20KM, but I wasn’t completely empty when I got there. I really need an audio signal at the quarter tank mark!!!

That 40KM detour meant that I didn’t get into Harlingen until 7:30. I don’t like driving in the dark, but it’s easier in the truck, probably because I am higher up than car headlights and I don’t get blinded as much (even in pickup truck land). The hotel was right off of I-77 and very easy to find. It’s adequate for a one-star; shabby but clean with a lumpy bed.

There is a Chili’s restaurant literally next door. Chili’s is a huge treat for me. I’ve only been there four times before (I’m averaging once a year) and I only go if I stumble onto one (so I never ate at the one in Chesapeake). So I decided that fate was telling me I needed a good dinner! I always get their margarita grilled chicken, which comes on a bed of rice, black beans, and tortilla strips. Incredibly delicious. I ordered a beer, the server said okay, then he came back and said, “Sweetie, you are old enough to drink, aren’t you?”

I still can’t get over the fact that people think I am in my late teens to mid-20s. I look at myself in the mirror and I just see the deepening lines and fading scars that remind me that time is marching on…

It was almost 9:00 when I got in from dinner. I had hoped to update the blog, but my internet connection kept cutting out and was slooooooooooow. It was so frustrating that I shut down and went to bed around 11.

Breakfast is included, but I didn’t even bother to check it out. Instead, I went across the street to Starbucks for a bagel and coffee. Except for a coffee on the NY Thruway coming south, I have not had Starbucks since early May of 2012!

I’m getting mixed signals about how easy it will be to fill a few hours in Nuevo Progreso, so I’m in no hurry this morning. I’ll be heading out in a few minutes and should be there for 10:00, 10:30, giving me a couple of hours to find the dentist and have lunch.

Nuevo Progreso will be the furthest south I have ever wandered!

Entering Corpus Christi.

Entering Corpus Christi.

Entering Corpus Christi.

Entering Corpus Christi.

Entering Corpus Christi.

Entering Corpus Christi.

'Whataburger Field' made me laugh. Whataburger is a chain of Texas hamburger restaurants.

‘Whataburger Field’ made me laugh. Whataburger is a chain of Texas hamburger restaurants.

The visitors' centre on Chaparral street.

The visitors’ centre on Chaparral street.

Behind the museum of science and history there is this wonderful fountain garden.

Behind the museum of science and history there is this wonderful fountain garden.

Can any of my readers identify this tree?

Can any of my readers identify this tree?

It's like a cactus tree!

It’s like a cactus tree!

With pink flowers.

With pink flowers.

More cacti in the xeriscape garden out front.

More cacti in the xeriscape garden out front.

Xeriscaping is landscaping for arid conditions.

Xeriscaping is landscaping for arid conditions.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Corpus Christ Museum of Science and History. It heavily features Chrisopher Columbus and Spanish explorers, hence the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria on the sign.

Corpus Christ Museum of Science and History. It heavily features Chrisopher Columbus and Spanish explorers, hence the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria on the sign.

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entrance to the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and history

entrance to the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and history

Wonderful exhibit about gems and stones.

Wonderful exhibit about gems and stones.

Another sampling of this exhibit.

Another sampling of this exhibit.

There were TONS more gems and stones to look at!

There were TONS more gems and stones to look at!

I enjoyed the exhibit about snakes.

I enjoyed the exhibit about snakes.

This is a hog nosed snake. You can actually find these in Ontario.

This is a hog nosed snake. You can actually find these in Ontario.

Loved this bench!

Loved this bench!

Harmless milk snake on the left, dangerous coral snake on the right.

Harmless milk snake on the left, dangerous coral snake on the right.

Red on black, friend of Jack.

Red on black, friend of Jack.

Red on yellow, kill a fellow.

Red on yellow, kill a fellow.

Carvings of many of earth's mammals.

Carvings of many of earth’s mammals.

Tips for being a collector.

Tips for being a collector.

Harsh words on the difference between being a collector and being a hoarder.

Harsh words on the difference between being a collector and being a hoarder.

Where is a turtle's spine?

Where is a turtle’s spine?

Inside the shell.

Inside the shell.

Beautiful detail on the shipwreck exhibit.

Beautiful detail on the shipwreck exhibit.

Beautiful detail on the shipwreck exhibit.

Beautiful detail on the shipwreck exhibit.

Beautiful detail on the shipwreck exhibit.

Beautiful detail on the shipwreck exhibit.

Plaque glorifying Columbus's 'discovery' of the Americas.

Plaque glorifying Columbus’s ‘discovery’ of the Americas.

The Aztecs had a civilization that compared to that in Europe.

The Aztecs had a civilization that compared to that in Europe.

market day

market day

typical Texas ranch house made of limestone

typical Texas ranch house made of limestone

You would have seen these houses in 1776, when Texas was still part of Mexico.

You would have seen these houses in 1776, when Texas was still part of Mexico.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not related, but they are new world crops.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not related, but they are new world crops.

The Spanish say maiz, the English say corn, the French say maïs, the French-Canadian say blé d'inde (Indian wheat)

The Spanish say maiz, the English say corn, the French say maïs, the French-Canadian say blé d’inde (Indian wheat)

New world crops fed Europe and led to a population explosion.

New world crops fed Europe and led to a population explosion.

There is evidence that syphilis is a new world disease that was brought back by Columbus and his men.

There is evidence that syphilis is a new world disease that was brought back by Columbus and his men.

What would our world be without corn and potatoes?

What would our world be without corn and potatoes?

The Texas cowboy's lament.

The Texas cowboy’s lament.

Exquisite dress.

Exquisite dress.

Exquisite dress.

Exquisite dress.

A gal would wear this if she was 'queen' of bucaneer days.

A gal would wear this if she was ‘queen’ of bucaneer days.

"We are all explorers seeking the meaning of the present in the past."

“We are all explorers seeking the meaning of the present in the past.”

Entrance to a Montserrat-style general store.

Entrance to a Montserrat-style general store.

The general store would also be a social centre.

The general store would also be a social centre.

You can get all the necessities, from beer to toilet paper and KD.

You can get all the necessities, from beer to toilet paper and KD.

There were no words to describe how exquisite this exhibit was. It was like entering a palace, with beautiful tiles on the ground and one more gorgeous detail after another.

There were no words to describe how exquisite this exhibit was. It was like entering a palace, with beautiful tiles on the ground and one more gorgeous detail after another.

The domed ceiling must have taken a lot of work!

The domed ceiling must have taken a lot of work!

I liked this exhibit that showed how a typical daily menu would have been prepared.

I liked this exhibit that showed how a typical daily menu would have been prepared.

Pterodactyl

Pterodactyl

Buffalo hunt.

Buffalo hunt.

There's a whole section devoted to the history of Corpus Christi.

There’s a whole section devoted to the history of Corpus Christi.

The Corpus Christi bayfront was conceived and developed after the devastating 1919 hurricane.

The Corpus Christi bayfront was conceived and developed after the devastating 1919 hurricane.

Marina

Marina

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Corpus Christi from the Marina

Corpus Christi from the Marina

Corpus Christi from the Marina

Corpus Christi from the Marina

Columbus-style ship.

Columbus-style ship.

It's gas-powered.

It’s gas-powered.

Corpus Christi from the Marina

Corpus Christi from the Marina

impressive structure

impressive structure

it's named the Nina

it’s named the Nina

Columbus-style ship.

Columbus-style ship.

Delicious dinner at Chili's.

Delicious dinner at Chili’s.

Battery Monitor, Laundry Day, and Friends

The battery monitor at present is claiming that I have about 5A coming in, which matches what the solar array monitor is claiming. It’s taken me a while to understand how the monitor displays incoming amps, even though it is very obvious. If I am using amps, there is a minus before the number. If amps are coming in, I get a positive number. I’m going to hook up the truck again tonight and see what the number is like so I will know if there really is any point to running the truck for an hour a day or not.

I now know that in the high part of the day, with more than 5A coming in, I can charge my computer without taking anything out of the battery bank (it draws 4A), but I only get 1A coming in. So what this tells me is to get that battery bank charged out to the max and then only charge my computer in the middle part of sunny days. This is a best case scenario, of course.

I’m heading out shortly to do laundry, having found a laundromat on the road into Port Lavaca. A wash is $1.50 and drying starts at 25 cents. I do believe this is only the second time since I hit the road that I am going to be putting laundry in my toad and driving to a laundromat. The first was in Eugene, and only because my hosts requested a lift to one, so it made sense to do mine at the same time.

I suppose I could set my Wonder Wash up on a picnic table near the public bathrooms and haul water, which I have done before, but since I’m not paying for anything here, I’m loathe to look so settled and use up so much water. I am just about out of water on the on board tank and will be filling a four gallon jug for the week, but it would take more than that to get through my current mountain of laundry. So the laundromat makes sense. I’ll bring the iPad and get some work done on my ebook.

As for friends, I got an email from my Colorado neighbours, R&S, asking me to call them so we can square away my little road trip to Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, and Nuevo Progreso. I made sure that they were not coming back just for me and then we agreed that they would watch the rig Thursday and possibly Friday night. The plan is to leave early Thursday, spend the morning in Port Aransas, the afternoon in Corpus Christi, and then drive to near the border to spend the night. Friday, I will cross early-ish, do some exploring and possibly shopping, have lunch, then go to my appointment at the dentist. If the border crossing is less painful than the one I had in Tijuana, I will drive straight home Friday evening. Otherwise, I will sleep en route and return Saturday morning. The plan at this point is to sleep in the truck, but if I find a motel under $50 I am going to splurge so that I can get a nice long shower!

Saturday evening, there is a concert at the Indianola Marina, which I have promised to attend with R&S. So the week’s schedule is filling up nicely!