Woke up today to sunrise on the beach. We got to watch the sun come up over the Gulf of Mexico, and it was beautiful. We were camped maybe 100 feet from the water, in what seemed like it would be a glorious, picturesque paradise. Instead, we woke to find a fine spray of sea water all over everything.
The air felt moist, and yet, within minutes there was a film of salty sea spray on both bikes, the panniers, the spare tires, the dry sacks – anything we left outside. By the morning the tent fly was soaked in salt spray, and there was no chance of drying it because salt would continue to spray as we sat around trying to dry it. Somehow the water even seeped up from the sand, through the footprint, the tent floor and our foam sleeping pads to cover the bottom of our sleeping bags in a wet, slurry mess. We’re at a loss to explain it.
Sunrise on the beach was glorious, but not quite glorious enough to make up for sea water over everything. Our original plan had been to camp at Mustang Island State Park tonight, which is another beach, but after last night’s sea water fiasco, we decided to source other camping. So today’s destination became Lake Corpus Christi State Park, near Corpus Christi, TX.
The mornings riding revealed a wonderful thing. Somehow, overnight, it had become warm! Yesterday, I was still using the electrics on low on the interstate. Today, after riding for an hour to find breakfast, we packed our electrics away in the panniers. And our rain liners. We switched to summer gloves. And Kay even opened the jacket vents, which prompted me to do the same. It was glorious.
On the downside, today also dawned windy, and got more so as the day wore on. We were bent over at an angle until the very end of the day, and there was nothing we could do about it. Today was the first day I experienced the phenomena of leaning left to compensate for the wind while turning right. It really is a mind-fuck to be leaning the wrong way while turning.
To negate the winds, we took a mid-afternoon stop at Buc-ee’s. We’d been seeing signs for Buc-ee’s for what felt like a hundred miles. They promised free jerky samples, beaver nuggets, awesome food and other extraordinary delights. Surprisingly, Buc-ee’s delivered.
We were awed by the selection of jerky options. There were nearly a dozen flavors (and of course we bought some). They also had fudge, Dippin’ Dots – everything a hungry traveler could want for a long car ride. The bathrooms were extraordinarily lush. In all, it really was a traveler’s paradise.
The only downside of Buc-ee’s was the dirty looks we kept garnering from conservatively-dressed, middle-aged, cowboy-hat-wearing Texas men. I don’t know what they have against motorcyclists dressed in full gear, but Kay and I both got a plethora of dirty looks from these gents. It was quite odd. The greeter asked us if we were sky divers, and later we ran into a guy at a gas station who said we looked like “those guys who fly up in the sky… you know”. Apparently they don’t see a lot of people in full gear around here.
We ended the day at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. We got into the park just around dusk, and we were racing the sunlight to find a spot and set up camp. First we dodged deer and tried the wooded area. The ground was too lumpy to find a good spot for a tent. Then we tried next to the lake. The lake was too windy, and we didn’t want a repeat of last night. Finally, we settled on a spot further from the lake, sheltered from the wind by some trees. It was just right.
Except for the burrs. Apparently here in Texas, they don’t have normal burrs like we have up North. Here in Texas, the burrs are painful motherfucking burrs that will CUT YOU if you’re not careful. And they stick to everything. (Although our motorcycle gear seems to be somewhat impervious – yay, cordura!) Availed ourselves of the lovely shower facilities, and now we and our underwear are clean. Huzzah!
We’re only about 150 miles from the border, but we’re thinking that tomorrow we’re going to move to a state park closer to the border, and mount my new tires so we’ve got less to carry. We’re also going to examine our luggage and hopefully prune something because Kay’s bike is very top heavy – you could probably push it over its kickstand with a couple of fingers. Not exaggerating. You really could. As of now, we’re planning to spend the night near the border and get up early in the AM on Friday and cross it. Mexico, here we come!
For Day 9, we went from Sabine Pass, TX to Mathis, TX – 339 miles.