Day 1. Sunday April 15 – San Antonio to Karnes City, Texas

Monday 16 April 2018

It was 47 Frigid degrees as we mounted our ponies and headed out of the sleeping town; strange to not see any traffic in the seventh largest city in the U.S.  It took nearly an hour for the sun to creep above the buildings and treetops to offer us some hope of thawing our frozen appendages. We are sure, as the days go along, we will wish for these cool temps, but not this morning.

The highway outside of the city remained almost void of traffic and not much of anything else to see; we were just happy just to be back on tour.  Of course, there was the occasional What in the World  or Huh.

The two lane divided highway took us through the small town of Floresville,then over gently rolling hills and endless countryside with gorgeous live oakswith the occasional tractor trailer to interrupt the quiet.  By 11:30 we really needed a seat break, so grabbed a lite lunch, a huge iced tea and then returned to the highway.  Our previously spacious highway was under construction, so wide lanes were reduced to singles and the shoulder was gone.  Thankfully, the Texas drivers were considerate of our slow speed and offered us space.  After several miles we regained a nicely paved shoulder and could ease off the throttle (and tension).  By early afternoon, we were really feeling our lack of long mileage training. The next town was only six miles away, but we thought it prudent to call it quits here.  Our entrance into the small town of Karnes City was not encouraging, though the Karnes County courthouse was impressive.    The town offered zero dinner choices on a Sunday (everything closed), but we quickly resolved a potentially miserable evening with a bottle of Bogle (from the gas station) and pizza delivery.  Not fancy, but exactly what the doctor order after a 59 mile first day.



Day 2. Monday April 16 – Karnes City to Beeville, Texas

Monday 16 April 2018

A shorter ride today, gave the opportunity to sleep in and get a later start.  So when we pushed off at 9:00, a gorgeous, cloudless sky and comfortable 68° morning awaited us.  Traffic was heavy, but the road was freshly paved with a nice shoulder and the countryside spectacular.  Less than a half and hour into the ride the (mid-day) forecasted head wind came in packing a punch.  We had not been traveling that fast on the gently rolling hills, but now we were using every climbing gear we had to make forward progress.  For once, we relished the passing trucks for the half second break in the wind and the little push their draft offered.  But within an hour the traffic faded and we were left to face the wind on our own.  Thankfully, the scenery helped to distract us from the wind assault.  Fields were still green from the cooler winter and recent rains.  By lunch, we had been pedaling hard for two and a half hours and only traveled 20 miles, but we needed a rest.  Hydrated and satiated, we continued on our slow trek, stopping at every historical marker and shade tree along the way.

As we approached our destination, we decided to take the business route, hopefully to loose some traffic and maybe find shelter from the wind; the traffic disappeared, but there was no hiding from the wind.  We limped into our hotel at 3:00 (wind still howling) and soon discovered the price of a nice hotel for the evening, was no close restaurants.  Once again we ordered delivery, but this dinner was Amazing!  Baked pasta filled with loads of huge shrimp, bacon, chicken and spinach, topped with cheese.  Wind long forgotten from our 38 mile ride. today; except for the same winds are forecasted for tomorrow…..but that’s tomorrow.



Day 3. Tuesday, April 17 – Beeville to Mathis, Texas

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Another gorgeous morning if you are not bicycling south.  Now if the wind suddenly decided to make a 180° turn and push us all the way to Corpus Christi, we would not complain. Our day began late again, for the same reasons as yesterday, short distance, headwind and can’t get to a hotel before check-in, as if the wind was going to let us get anywhere early.  For thirty minutes we quietly ambled along the frontage road away from the traffic enjoying a bit of the countryside, then joined the highway.  The shoulder was wide and very roughly paved; we’ve had smoother dirt trails.  The 25 mph winds were relentless and the random gusts challenging progress and staying upright.  Every couple of miles we’d stop to rest from both the wind and the rough road; it took us an hour and a half to pedal ten miles.  A couple miles later we enjoyed an all too short reprieve on a smooth road.

Dogs and horses were very social today, but we were happy to stop to take their pictures.  Around noon, our duckies found some shade at the only operating building in town.  We were invited in to enjoy the air conditioning and a tasty snack.  Though the seat and air-conditioning felt great and chatting with Whittney was fun, we needed to push on.

Our last six miles took us over an hour with a little extra time for a chocolate milkshake.

Tonight we were able to walk across the street for a delicious pork chop and pulled pork/brisket dinner.  

Today was a tough and discouraging three and a half hour, 26 mile ride, the wind really beating us up.  But thanks to all the kind comments we received on the blog and on email, our spirits were really lifted…..Thanks to you all and keep them coming.

Day 4. Wednesday April 18 – Mathis to Corpus Christi, Texas

Thursday 19 April 2018

It was so quiet when we left this morning along the smoothly paved frontage road; a comfortable 68° and no wind.  Once turning on the main highway, we gained our roughly paved wide shoulder, but without a headwind it was much more tolerable. We actually managed just under ten miles our first hour; dreadfully slow, but better than the last few days.

The wind joined us after about an hour, but only at about 15 mph and just off our right shoulder; bothersome, but certainly more doable than the last couple of days (everything is relative).  The morning ride was scattered with small towns, beautiful ranches, interesting homes and wildflowers along the shoulder.  Several times dogs gave chase, pushing our legs a little harder than they wanted, but enough to get out of the way of our persuers.

A brief stop at the crossroads that would take us east, was just enough time to allow clouds to form.  The sky looked like it was going to release buckets of rain, but we enjoyed temperatures not climbing above the comfortable mid 70’s.  A long stretch of road filled with farms and pretty ranchettes was lost when we entered the city limits of Corpus Christi.  Surrounded by food shops, we opted for an early lunch along with every cowboy in town; understandable considering the size of one lunch.

The next twenty plus miles were filled with nondescript businesses with large lots enclosed by fences; a few colorful signs definitely stood out.  

Corpus Christi is the fifth largest US port handling mostly oil;this refinery stretched for miles.

Six miles out, the wind decided to escort us all the way into town with a full frontal assault.  It was a bit insulting, but the shoulder was wide, the traffic light and the view once we arrived, worth it.

Five hours in the saddle only got us 43 miles; tired and hungry we were rewarded with our first sit down and served dinner since starting the ride.

We wanted to bike one more day for a day off in the next town, but the wind is projected to switch in the same direction we were headed.   And since “our” mantra this trip is to take it easy, we opted to give our legs a break.  Tomorrow we will  show you the sights.

Day 5. Thursday, April 19 – Day Off in Corpus Christi, Texas

Thursday 19 April 2018

Corpus Christi has one of the highest average wind speeds in North America….Great….not sure how we did not see this statistic before planning our trip.  And we were worried about the heat and humidity.  True to it’s reputation, the wind was howling this morning.

Not sure what we imagined Corpus Christi to be like, but this was not it.  The clean and quiet streets were almost void of tourists or people in general.  Our sightseeing included the Texas Surf Museumand the Corpus Christi Cathedral (locked up tight, no inside glimpse).  WhataBurger began here in 1950 (now in 10 states and Mexico), so naturally, we had to try it for lunch; decor is festive, but it’s fast food.  What we found most interesting on these downtown streets was how they had custom painted the utility boxes on the street corners, truly unique and colorful.

By early afternoon, the cloudy morning was now warm and sunny, yet still windy.  We covered the art museum filled with Texas talent, the Selena memorial, a very impressive seawall with an equally impressive history and in the distance, the USS Lexington (WWII).

 Shrimp trollers lined the walkway to the three waterfront dinning options, we choose the one uniquely connected to Virginia; interesting lineage Berkeley Plantation and better food.  Unique Iced Teas, crabmeat, mango, guacamole appetizer, incredible live music and fresh fish and shrimp!  We enjoyed the evening, but the setting sun was cooling the evening beyond our tolerance.  Tomorrow we fight the wind…..but that is tomorrow!

Day 6. Friday April 20 – Corpus Christi to Aransas Pass, Texas

Saturday 21 April 2018

Though we saw the sun rise from our balcony, it was not shinning when we pushed away at 7:30 this morning; but the wind did show up.  Our first seven mile stretch was past beautiful homes overlooking the Corpus Christi Bay; some looking like second homes with hurricane shutters still on.  We got a break from the wind when the homes lined both sides of the street and the constant scenery helped to distract from the wind.

Our direction today went from southeast to northeast, so the 20 mph east wind always found us.  The causeway that connects Corpus Christi to the barrier island was particularly challenging, thankfully we had a frontage road for half of it and on one bridge a bike path.  But the one mile long high-rise bridge going over the intracoastal was hairy, directly into the wind with a one foot shoulder and very heavy traffic.

We were happy to have arrived safely on Padre Islandyet feeling as beaten up as this flag.  This island is the longest (70 miles) undeveloped barrier island in the world, except for one block of tourist stuff.  As we turned north the homes and business dropped from view.  Our road was away from the water, the dunes just high enough to block our view of the Gulf, but the rest of the land very low.  We reached the outskirts of Port Aransas at 27 miles, it would take us almost ten more before we actually got to town.  Small clusters of condos and homes both large and smallwere scattered among the sand dunes; some showing damage from last fall’s Hurricane Harvey.  Once in the cute little town, hurricane damage was even more evident.  We took the three minute ferry ride over the narrow pass heavily trafficked by tankers and massive oil rigs.  Once across, we turned with the wind and sailed our last six miles over yet another causeway and bridge.  As we checked into the hotel, we met Annita (check out her web site on the area) who invited us to join her and her husband for dinner.  They took us to a wonderful waterfront restaurant serving delicious fresh seafood, cajun shrimp and scallops with pasta.  Chuck gave us a tour of the protected harbor and the spot where his office as harbormaster stood before Harvey.  Soon this peninsula will blossom with homes, condos, boat slips and a park with beautiful views of the intercostal.  They were delightful company, full of great insights on the area and how devastating Harvey’s 150 mph had affected this small town.  We enjoyed the evening, but needed to rest.  It was a tough 47 miles in the wind, today and if the weatherman is correct, tomorrow will be a long ride.  As a note, the distance we covered today was 22 miles, as the crow.

Day 7. Saturday April 21 – Aransas Pass to Port Lavaca, Texas

Saturday 21 April 2018

Overcast skies and a warm 71°, as we were hit by our first day of Texas humidity.   Not a free standing retail sign remained intact, but the town was mostly cleaned up from the hurricane.Some business were closed forever, while others welcomed customers with warmly glowing Open signs.  Outside of town, a rough road awaited us, but a 15 mph tailwind made it much more tolerable.  This area took a lot of damage, the towns of Rockport and Fulton getting hit with 180 mph winds.  Last night, Chuck told us of this boatel that had just completed the removal of the mangled boats from the buildings (after 8 months).  But there were some beautiful areas and all the towns seemed to be making the best of what Mother Nature had dealt.

Twenty miles in and after climbing a two mile bridge, we managed a flat tire about the same time the heavy sky started spitting on us.  Less than thirty minutes later we were back on a long (25 mile) flat road of a hole lotta nutting’; beautiful wild flowers about all there was….…except for this guy….thankfully very dead.

By the time we reached Tivoli (locally pronounced Tie vole E) our bodies were scrambled from four hours of bumpy riding.  We had two choices for lunch, DQ and a Mexican restaurant, both mainstays in every Texas town; we went local.

Shortly after leaving our lunch stop, we crossed a county line and gained a wonderfully smooth road.  Unfortunately, the slight turn in the road put the now 20 mph wind directly at our side, punishing our tired legs.  With 19 miles to our destination, we knew we could push on.  But both Google and the mile markers lied, we had 25 miles more.  Had we known this when we planned today’s ride, we would have reconsidered.  However, once we arrived at our hotel after 69 miles, we were happy to have gotten this far; justly rewarded after six hours in the saddle.