San Antonio was just a stop over on his way to his ultimate destination, South Padre Island. (See previous post.) Llama and companions figured chillin on a beach would be an easy way to vacation and stay socially distant enough.
The drive from San Antonio to SPI is pretty unadventurous until you hit Port Isabel. A trip can include stops in Corpus Christi, Kingsville, or Harlingen, but Llama was heading for the beach.
Port Isabel, http://www.portisabelchamber.com/ , is a charming coastal town that is the home of a historic Lighthouse. A part of the Texas Historical Commission, the park office was closed as was the ability to climb the Lighthouse, but you can walk around the Lighthouse grounds and shops on the main square. The Lighthouse was originally built in 1852 and the light from the beacon could be seen 15 miles out from the coast. Llama and companions had a picnic in the shade of the Lighthouse, then walked a few shops.
The next several days were spent on SPI. Llama and companions choose to go during the week as opposed to the crowds of the weekend. The island was probably about at half capacity and under a mask order, even walking around. The Rio Grande Valley has been hit hard by the coronavirus and it seemed residents were taking it seriously. Llama and companions, of course, agree and had no problem wearing their masks.
We were able to hit the beach, still enjoy a drink at our favorite beach bar, WannaWanna (granted it was take away), walk the Laguna Madre Preserve, and even enjoy a night time fireworks bay cruise.
We took our own food except for enjoying two dinners outside from food trucks. Yes, food trucks can be a little overpriced, but the food was really good and worth it.
County beaches were all closed by the central strip of beach fronting hotels, rental homes, and businesses was open. The families were staying in their own groups but still enjoying the beach. Llama and his family did the same. Walking to and from the beach Llama and all wore our masks, but on the beach Llama was able to take off the mask and enjoy the day. He went out early in the day to get a good spot and avoid most of the crowds. By 1-ish, they packed up and went on their way, others families could now use their spots to enjoy the waves.
On Thursday and Friday nights, South Padre has fireworks in the bay. The cruise boats offer a sunset cruise that parks in the bay at the end of the cruise so that you can watch the fireworks. Llama and friends won’t be going on a cruise for anytime in the foreseeable future, so this is the closest they could get. It was really enjoyable. The boats were only able to be at 50% capacity, which we actually liked as the boats weren’t as crowded as they normally are. We know if is more difficult on the operators but the experience was so much more pleasant.
Guests had to wear masks and get a “free shot” of hand sanitizer when getting on and off the boat. While on the boat, you could remove your mask except while moving around and everyone on our boat seemed to follow these safety protocols.
The short getaway was refreshing for all. After 6 months of staring pretty much at the same walls, Llama was glad to see a different view.
Llama’s group left early Saturday morning for the 10 hour drive home. They were glad they did as crowds were picking back up and some of the visitors weren’t quite as diligent with wearing masks. Overall, a wonderful get away.
See ya soon South Padre!