Thursday, December 12, 2013

Beachdocking At Padre Island National Seashore

The Padre Island National Seashore, a 70 mile stretch of beach, sand dunes, prairie and wind tidal flats is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. An trust me, it is undeveloped. There is one "developed" camping area tucked into the dunes which consists of a paved parking area and a sewer dump station. And then, at the end of the road, there is the beach:

One of the "must-dos" for this trip was to stay on this beach. And last week we did so. It was an amazing experience to be so close to the power of the ocean and yet so protected by our little home.

At the visitor centre we were told to simply drive on the beach and select a spot on the hard sand. But don't go too far down as the beach really narrows during high tide:
So we drove on past the folks you see in the photo above and chose a spot about 200 meters further on:
By the time we got settled in the sun was disappearing behind the dunes. I walked back to the entrance to the beach to drop our registration in the box (there is no charge to camp here - other than the cost to enter the park - but you must register so they know who is there) and enjoyed watching a storm passing to our south east:
The next morning I was up with the sun (not too early at this time of year) and headed out for a walk along the beach. Pretty foggy at the start:
You see the trucks heading down the beach in the photo above. Later in the morning we found them fishing about 15 miles down the beach. Fishing is a serious activity on Padre Island:
I bumped into this guy looking for breakfast:
By the time I returned to the Adventure Bus Arch was up and enjoying a coffee in the morning sun:
You can see a tent behind Arch. This belongs to Cathy.
The wind came up at sunset the night before and blew a gale all night. As I returned from my walk to deposit the registration form I noticed a woman attempting to erect a small tent in the space between us and the RVs down the beach. The tent was blowing all over the place and there was no way she could set it up alone. So I went to help her. But the wind was too strong and I was no help at all. She was about to give up and go home. Cathy was from Austin, 4 hours away, so I suggested that we take the tent over to the protection of the Adventure Bus and see if we could set it up there. So off we went with the tent flapping between us. Arch saw us coming and was laughing so hard he forgot to take a picture.

After much struggling and by lining the inside of the tent with some heavy pieces of firewood we had with us, the three of us set the tent up and got Cathy settled in for the night. She took her two little dogs for a walk and we when on about our evening. The next morning she was out for a walk when we got up, said she was up at 4:30 am - it was a little hard to sleep in the tent with the wind blowing so strongly. Fortunately the wind died just before sunrise and the rest of our time at the beach was uneventful.

Sunrise, day two at the beach:
We loved beachdocking but, several days later, we are still digging sand out of the nooks and crannies of the car and Adventure Bus. The price you pay I guess.

We are now parked at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in Mission, Texas and will stay here, enjoying the luxury of a full service RV resort, friendly people and an urban environment until January 1st when we head out to San Antonio and then points west.

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