Texas – No Simple Place

Turned out it didn’t take long to find an interesting, warm, and inexpensive place; as it turns out interesting, warm, and inexpensive are three worthy but insufficient indicators.

I’ve had an interest in Padre Island just off Corpus Christi for a while. I had contacted the park when I was in El Salvador. I was told that aside from Easter, it was pretty quiet but on that weekend the place is full. Given its name, sort of like church. Arriving there before Easter, I thought I’d check out the place, after all, I’ve been carrying unused camping gear for over 8500 kilometers.

Good thing I had my head set on camping, the hotels on the island are expensive. What you’d get for $80 is what you’d pay $15 for in Mexico, a $120 room is still very basic and $240 doesn’t get you anywhere close to luxury. Then again, the hundreds of huge pickups pulling expensive fishing boats should have been a sign this is not a spot for paupers. Or, the likes of me.

It didn’t take long to find plenty of spots for camping. However, every spot is on a beach. And I mean every spot, there’s not one place that offers sheltered camping, which is what I’m accustomed to doing. It’s been a long while since I’ve camped on a beach, and that was when I was young . . . and inebriated. But what the heck, eh?

The first thing I noticed was that vehicles are allowed directly on the beach, something people are shot on sight for on Prince Edward. I know the ecology on PEI is very fragile, to do what they do on Padre Island would be impossible – the beaches would simply disappear. They’ve been doing this here for years, and the beaches are still here so I suspect the ecology is quite different? I’m no ecologist; wish I knew more.

I paid my fee and rode my bike along the beach for a few kilometers looking for a spot. There was a strong breeze but the sport of tent flying aside, I was pretty much set up in 30 minutes; it’s tricky setting up a tent on a windy beach. Lots of campers, some with small RV’s, were spaced well apart but stretched as far as the eye could see. There were a few small tents, but most were family sized. Lots of people walking around and plenty of vehicles were slowly going up and down the beach.

It wasn’t until after sunset that the winds hit, and they hit hard. At one point I thought my tent was destined to crumble. For fear of the poles snapping, at one point I had to lean full body weight against the side of the tent. I pushed my back up and held it in place; this wasn’t the listening to the waves gently rolling on the shore I had in mind. I was, to put it mildly, a tad nervous. Two or three hours later, the wind shifted. This was a slight improvement as I no longer feared the tent blowing over, but the shift did result in some serious flapping. It sounded like the nightmare of a good sailor.

By morning things had settled down, but my plan to say on the beach for a few days had been sand blasted away. I packed up and rode down the beach then down the road looking for a bathtub and a bed. I didn’t get far before I the indicator on the bike showed I had an electrical problem. Opps.

With help from George, a fellow V-Strom rider, we analyzed the code on the monitor and diagnosed the possibility the bike had a regulator/rectifier problem. All the Suzuki dealerships in Texas seem to be closed on Monday (gone ridin’) so I took off anyway with the hope that the battery wouldn’t overheat or fry the stator.

A few hours later, I stopped at an isolated quiet windswept Texas crossroads to try and fix the GPS, it was only working intermittently. While I was fiddling around, three people happened by and asked if I needed help – how many ways are there to interpret that?

Anyway, I rigged up a new connection for the GPS and took off. All of a sudden, I noticed that the monitor wasn’t sending out an electrical problem message; the GPS worked pretty well too. Go figure. Don’t know how many know the story of Robert Johnson and what happened at his crossroads, suffice it to say I didn’t meet the devil and still can’t play the guitar, but my bike runs! And, three people I didn’t know stopped to see if I needed help.


Next, New Orleans . . . who knows what the next corner brings,,eh?,



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