~ South Padre Island, Texas ~
~ Scenes from Some of the Trips to the 'Miami Beach' of Texas ~

The sun rises over South Padre Island

But before we go over the bridge, we climb up to the top of the Port Isabel Lighthouse

And get a view of South Padre Island across the Laguna Madre
Hmmmm... they have 'Father Island' and 'Mother Lake' there...
Laguna Madre being the 'Intercoastal Waterway' between the mainland and the long barrier island

A long climb up narrow stairs to the top but a really nice view.. and it costs a couple bucks to do so...
'Voluntary' the man said, but everyone chips in anyway

A detour through the dock area of Port Isabel

A few of the shrimp boats, a lot of Texas shrimp are harvested in this area

"Jorge"? How many boats have you seen named "George"?

And we pass by the shipyard where they construct and repair the boats

It looks like this one is in for at least a paint job

Now across the bridge to South Padre Island, the longest bridge in Texas

Four loaded barges crashed into the Queen Isabella Causeway on September 15, 2001
Taking out a 240 foot section of the bridge ~ A tugboat and its barges crashed into one of the columns
Toppling two 80 foot sections of the bridge ~ The third 80 foot section collapsed later

But the bridge held up every time we went across...
And they had it back in service in November of 2001

This is the first trip to what was then called the 'Sea Island Motel'
I had read an article about this place in the local paper
Owned at first by a Funeral Home director in St. Joseph, Missouri...
And I wanted to check it out

And I liked the layout at first much better than how it developed later
I always asked for a beachfront room

In the cooler periods of the year they would put up this fence
To buffer the cool wind and the pool was heated nicely

Later after Hilton bought the place, they extended the area toward the gulf
And built more rooms and tennis courts where we used to have a larger beach area

Frank was headed back in... The girls were heading out

But he reversed course to see what the plan was for later
You would be surpised how this skinny dude could score with the ladies

And the seagulls... Not a one in sight but walk out with a bag of chips and here they come

First one, then a dozen... come in to dive down and take food from your hand

My favorite activity... Too hot in the sun, too wet in the pool
And maybe sharks out there in the gulf... Waiter! Another Tequila and lime please

And then Hilton bought the Sea Island Motel...
Here grading for another new entrance and more parking lots

They added some nice landscaping and an outdoor cantina
The tennis courts and rooms farther out into the beach area

And in front of the restaurant shown here, began construction on a 12 story tower

You may notice from the flags that they catered to Canadian and Mexican tourists

Above the restaurant you can see the beginning construction of the high rise

And beyond the hotel area, you could drive down the beach...
But you had to watch to stay in the packed area between the wet sand or deep dry sand
Or you would have to call for assistance from the tow service always on duty and ready

Just beyond the hotel area was an access ramp to the gulf and a camping area
The road continued on for several miles until cut off by a ship channel
This 'barrier island' continues all the way up the coast to Corpus Christi

You could rent ATVs to play in the dunes in certain areas
And they had boat rides, helicopter rides and plane rides
One time I rented a plane to make a circuit of the island and made a video

Way North of the Hotel area, the water is calm and shallow

And this area was loaded with sea shells

And we brought back a bucket full of them...
Starfish shells and sand dollars were rare to find though

You can drive down the beach... but watch where you park
Maybe this guy just needed a car wash?

This is as far South as you can go in Texas ~ Where the Rio Grande flows into the gulf of Mexico
Just beyond that spit of sand you can see the breakers in the gulf

Some shrimp boats heading out in the ship channel from Port Isabel

A beer in the surf, is this livin or what?

I got in the ocean a few times but was always wary...
There ARE sharks out there they say... and things like this

Just don't step on one, a 'Portugese Man-O-War' can sting ya whether dead or alive

And then the invasion of the Canadians... They even brought their flag

It was always party time at the Canadian enclave... A friendly and jovial group

But we sent them back with our flag... The guy in the middle had a couple extra beers
Climbed the flag pole and 'borrowed' the American flag... Somehow the hotel didn't get the joke
The cops took him to jail but he was let out, and thn I went over to Port Isabel
Bought him a flag and took it to his room next morning

But then the Hilton got a bit pricey and we moved down the road to the Mir-A-Mar
A nice little place and all we really wanted was Padre Island, didn't need the 'class' of the Hilton

OH! and that trip! Last day, packed up and were heading out ~ Started the new van and KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
What the HELL is that? Shut it down and called the tow people.. and it was Sunday of course

Got towed to Harlingen, Texas and dropped in front of the Chevy place ~ Got a nice room at the Holiday Inn
Back next morning to the Chevy place, got the van in and then went around the corner for breakfast
Breakfast over, the van was ready! Just loose bolts in the flywheel

And so... the sun sets at the end of another wonderful trip to South Padre Island...
Cómo es dulce es!

~ Now I Wanna Go Back Again! ~

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