December 22-27: Christmas in North Carolina
September 7: Sailing on Lake Ray Hubbard
Return to the Index for 1987

October 9-12, 1987
A Long Weekend in Corpus Christi, TX


In the summer, there was someone at Grant's worjk who had won a couple of tickets on Southwest. That person couldn't use them, so Grant bought them for a very reasonable amount. We decided to use them this month to take a trip down to Corpus Christi. About that time I was involved in all the fallout from my breakup with George Pelletier and the real estate deals we were involved in, so it seemed to be a good time to get away for a rest from all that.

We took a weekend, leaving on Friday night and returning on Monday (which was Columbus Day, and even though Gabbert's was open, Grant had the day off). The flight down was uneventful- only about eighty minutes.

Corpus Christi was another place that Grant has not been. Since we've been down here, we've been to Houston, Galveston and Austin; this was further south than we'd yet been. (I am hoping that sometime soon we will be able to spend some time in San Antonio, as there is apparently a lot to do there. Grant was looking forward to Corpus Christi, having heard about all the boats that are here.

I had made some reservations a couple of weeks ago- one for a rental car at the airport and another for a hotel on the water in downtown Corpus Christi.

We picked up the rental car with no problem, and a short while after landing were heading over towards Corpus Christi Bay. There, we found the Marriott Hotel where I'd gotten reservations.

I have the ability as I write this to include aerial views from the Internet, and there is an interesting one at the far right. Our hotel was just north of two artificial t-shaped headlands that have been built out into the bay, providing commercial space and a great deal of marina space.

At the near right is a photo I took in the afternoon when Grant and I walked out to the area of all the marinas so that he could look around at all the boats. You can see the Marriott in my picture, and nearby (in the next block to the north) twin buildings that are today known as One Shoreline Plaza.

Don't go trying to make a reservation at this Marriott, though. It was a really nice place to stay, but it isn't a Marriott anymore; as it turns out, it is now a Holiday Inn.

It was a lot of fun walking around the marinas; as usual, Grant was able to talk his way out onto a couple of the secured docks (for some reason, some had security gates and some didn't. We found a little restaurant on the Lawrence street island, and I took the picture looking back at our hotel from the causeway leading to that island.

We had a nice bayview room at the Marriott and it even had a balcony. We went out there to take pictures of each other with the two t-shaped islands in the background:

Grant on Our Balcony at the Marriott

Me on Our Marriott Balcony

I didn't do a good job of setting the camera properly for the pictures, which is why I had to try to lighten both Grant and myself. My picture of the two artificial headlands turned out a good deal better. This was a great area, with some restaurants and such, and quite a few private boats. Grant, of course, was in hog heaven with that, and we spent the better part of the day wandering about and looking at everything. The waterfront has a divided street right in front, with the hotels and businesses one block back, so there is plenty of room to walk about. In the afternoon, a number of fishing boats come in and tie up right at the dock with fish to sell. The day was warm but not hot, and it was enjoyable walking around.

We also walked north from the hotel to the working area of the Corpus Christi harbor, and there took a couple of pictures of the activity in and around the harbor:

We had a nice dinner at one of the restaurants on the southern island, and we spent a fair amount of time just walking around the area and taking a couple of short drives up north of downtown and around on the other side of the harbor.

We spent most of Saturday on an extended drove down the coast where we visited the Padre Island National Seashore. We drove south from the hotel and then across a causeway to the barrier island, and then drove slowly south down the island to come eventually to the entrance to the National Seashore.

Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS) occupies most of Padre Island off the coast here in South Texas. In contrast to South Padre Island, known for its beaches and vacationing college students, PAIS is located on North Padre Island and consists of a long beach where nature is preserved.

Most of the park is primitive, but camping is available, and most of the beach is only accessible to four-wheel-drive vehicles. All but four miles is open to vehicle traffic. Of course, there are a number of spots along the park road where you can leave your vehicle and just walk over to the beach. PAIS is the fourth designated national seashore in the United States.

North Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. The national seashore is 70 miles long with 65.5 miles of Gulf beach. PAIS hosts a variety of pristine beach, dune, and tidal flat environments, including the Laguna Madre on its west coast, a famous spot for windsurfing.

The northern couple of miles of Padre Island is developed, and we drove through that area to get down to the seashore. Along here there were fairly typical seaside houses and some small businesses. These thinned as we drove south and eventually came to the entrance for the National Seashore.

I thought this would be a good place for a picture, so I had Grant take mine by the entrance sign. I have a tripod, but I had neglected to bring it with me. It is a bit bulky and since we were living out of just carry-on luggage, I left it at home.

We ended up driving a good way down Padre Island, but we didn't go as far as South Padre Island. That area, almost a hundred miled won the coast, is a resort area that has a reputation for having quite a gay population in the Winter.

Grant and I had heard a lot about South Padre Island, but thought that driving the hundred miles down there would be a bit much. I don't think Grant minded because I think that he supposed that there would be fewer boats there and just more beachside resorts. Maybe one of these days we will get down there.

We just drove leisurely along the park road, stopping a couple of times to walk over to the beach. The park road ends ten or fifteen miles down the island; the only way to access the rest of the National Seashore is to drive your vehicle on the hard-packed sand of the beach.

The actual beach is nice and clean, and the day we were there there were not many people, probably because the Summer season was over and the Winter season had not begun. We waded around in the water for a while and walked up and down the beach. We went to the end of the paved road, where there was a campground and visitor center and another place where we could access the beach.

We then returned the way we had come. Just near the northern entrance to the Seashore, we went over to the beach again, and that is where I took the picture of Grant above, left. Behind him is the Bob Hall Pier.

Coming back North into the city we were on the street that runs right along the bay. They have done a good job of protecting the actual shoreline from over-development, and there are a number of parks like this one with benches and walks where folks can admire the views. This is a good picture of how the city lies right alongside the Gulf of Mexico. The city is actually quite nice, and it seems to be very clean. It is a relatively small place (only two Baskin Robbins that we could find), ideal for vacationers.

We stopped at one of those Baskin-Robbins stores on the way back to the Marriott, and after relaxing for a bit we headed out to walk around some more. We had another nice dinner at a restaurant near the Corpus Christi Yacht Club. On Sunday, Grant wanted to have a look at Aransas Pass and the town of Port Aransas.

At first I thought that to get to Port Aransas, we would have to go through town and across the bay and up the coast, but when we talked to the desk clerk at the hotel, he said that to get to the populated area at Aransas Pass we should go back south and across the causeway to Mustang Island.

Once out on Mustang Island, we drove north through Mustang Island State Park. As you can see on the map at the far left, Mustang Island lays directly across the entrance to Corpus Christi Bay. It is through Aransas Pass at the northeast end of the island that the Gulf-going vessels have to pass to get in and out of the harbor.

Port Aransas is an industrial harbor, and there are a number of berths on the north side of the pass to accommodate the big ships that come into the port. We had a chance to see some of these large ships come in and go out, and Grant was fascinated by it all. Grant loves boats more than anything, and he loves anything having to do with them.

When we got to Port Aransas, we found a charming beachfront community; there were lots of condominiums around, and Grant got the idea to stop in at one of them to see what it might be like to live here.

When Grant saw the sign for some new condominiums that were opening right on the point of land where the ship channel is, we just had to go see them. The condominium complex (you can see its pool in the picture at right) was very nice and right on the water. (I found it interesting that I could find an aerial view of the complex today in Google Maps, but of course in 1987 no one would have imagined that this would be possible):

When Grant goes to look at a house or condominium, the real estate agent can't tell whether he is actually ready to buy or not. He talks a good story, and as a result can get shown anything. He does the same thing with boats. He is always talking as if he is imminently ready to trade up. Sometimes I think he takes up too much of a real estate agent's or boat broker's time (although this doesn't apply to boat owners, who are always anxious to talk about their boats).

We've gone in to look at homes before, even if we had no intention of moving, but this is almost always at open houses, when we aren't taking up anyone's time to show us around. I think Grant would loved to have bought the one we looked at for a vacation place, but it was too expensive and too far away from Dallas. Anyway, just as we were in the unit, a large ship happened into the harbor.

Not far away from the actual pass, there were other waterfront residences; most of these being single-family. There were a few canals and such, and all in all the area was pretty nice, but I couldn't see plunking down as much money as it would have taken just to have a place here that we'd only use infrequently.

Port Aransas was a nice area, but then most places that are on the water usually are nice. However, I think that Chandler's Landing is a great place, and I enjoy the sailing there quite a lot, and it is a heck of a lot closer.

We stayed one more night at the Marriott, and at noontime on Monday we were heading back out to the airport to catch our mid-afternoon flight back to Dallas. This was the first trip to Corpus Christi for both of us, and both of us thought it was a really nice place. Perhaps we'll return to check out South Padre Island one of these days.


You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

December 22-27: Christmas in North Carolina
September 7: Sailing on Lake Ray Hubbard
Return to the Index for 1987