Day Forty – Thursday, September 29, 2016



Day forty of our journey finds us waking up on the Texas Gulf Coast in Corpus Christi.  It also finds us waking up on the morning of our 37th Wedding Anniversary!  We’re pretty sure we’ve never celebrated a wedding anniversary in Texas before, so something new for us!!  As I said in the blog post I wrote about our anniversary, we may call this trip Our Big Adventure, but that really started on the afternoon of September 29, 1979 at the Interfaith Chapel on the C.W. Post Campus where we’d both gone to school!  It certainly has been an adventure, and it still continues!!

So, forty days on the road, huh?  We are well into our 5th week, and have stayed in God knows how many hotels, had so many room numbers I wonder how we keep remembering where to go when we return at night, and let’s not even talk about my adventures getting ice every night!  The good news is we are still having fun, still enjoying seeing new things, places, and people, and still talking!  So many great memories we’ve made so far, and so much more to go.  At the very minimum we’ve got the 14 days of the cruise that starts this Sunday (10/2), and Susie and I have been talking, and I have a feeling that when we get back to Texas on October 16th, the trip will continue a little longer!  As long as we are back in New York for Henry’s First Birthday on October 28th, we are going to be good!!

So, breakfast today at the Best Western Marina is on the 11th floor on the opposite side of the building we ended last night at the Grandview Lounge.  You can see by the sign on the door, these folks are not Kenny Chesney fans, as they have somewhat changed the lyrics of his famous beach song!


After breakfast, we headed out on a mini adventure…finding a car wash!  If you remember yesterday’s blog, and the tale of the Monarch Butterfly’s migration, you will remember that the grill, hood, and especially the windshield of the Sonata were the final resting place of many of the poor creatures!  With the hot Texas Gulf sun (it’s 4:45 PM now, sunny, and the temperature is 90 degrees, feeling like 92), I didn’t want them baking into the paint, and really like a cleaner windshield, so we were off to find a car wash.  I looked up a couple on Google, but couldn’t tell if they were self service or not, but we headed off to what I thought was the closest one.  Well, close is obviously a relative term, and this one was related to just about nothing!  We drove for blocks and blocks, only to ultimately find it, and have it turn out to be a full service car wash!  Damn!  So we continued our hunt, trying to stay in populated commercial areas, and even getting ourselves trapped in Del Mar Community College, as students were looking for parking places so they could make it to class.  Fun!

Ultimately, we were about to give up, as we saw an Interstate in the distance, and low and behold, there was a self service car wash just on the corner!  We ducked in, and with Susie pointing at the more resistive bug smears from the inside of the car, I power washed off the windshield, the grill, and the hood.  Finally we had a cleaner car!  Now, we had no idea where we were in relation to our hotel, so we punched up the GPS and headed back to the hotel.  As we got back to Ocean Drive (but it’s a bay, not an ocean?) Susie said, “Oh, I need a Post Office to mail a couple of things.”  She needed a Post Office because we hadn’t seen a mail box in days.  Perhaps they only exist in the NY/NJ Area?  So we plugged in Post Office in the GPS, and you know what it said?  “Make a U-Turn in 400 feet”  Yep, we went back to almost where the car wash was to mail 2 cards!  The good thing was we did pass a Walgreens, and Susie was able to bop in and pick up a couple of things she needed!

Our main stop for the day was the USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier, which is docked in Corpus Christi Bay.  It’s one of those funny things, that you can see from everywhere, but just can’t get to.  We had to avail ourselves on the GPS’s assistance again, and considering the convoluted set of turns we had to make, thank God we had one!  The Lexington was commissioned in 1943, set more records than any other Essex Class carrier in the history of Naval Aviation, and she was the oldest working carrier in the USN when she was decommissioned in 1991.  During WWII, the Japanese reported the Lexington sunk 4 times, but each time she came back to fight again.  This caused Tokyo Rose to nickname her, “The Blue Ghost”.

The Lexington came to Corpus Christi in June of 1992, and within months, was opened as the USS Lexington Naval Aviation Museum.  We started our tour on the Hanger Deck, and just based on it’s size, it is an impressive space.  There are several planes on display, as well as many other Naval Aviation items, and several places for photo ops.  At the bow of the ship, there is a theater where they show a 30 minute 3D movie about the job of the aircraft carrier.  The displays and the movie were very interesting, and just being there, and imagining what the hanger deck was like during operations was amazing.

Then it was time to head up to the flight deck.  Lots of planes there, lots to read. and in the Texas Gulf sun, the walk from the bow to the stern of the carrier seemed about a mile.  Disappointedly, we only walked about a mile during our visit, so I guess it only seemed that long!  Luckily for us, some person (I’m betting an older employee) put a bench at the stern of the flight deck, in the shade of one plane’s wing, making for a delightful place to rest for a few minutes, out of the sun, and enjoying the bay breezes!  We really enjoyed looking at the displays, and having watched so many World War II Navy movies, just imagined being there as things we’d seen in movies (Midway, Tora,Tora,Tora, In Harms Way, etc) happened.

After touring, we decided to hit the head before leaving…okay the sign did say rest rooms, but it’s a ship, right?  The Men’s and Ladies Room were both down a deck, but you went down different stairs to get there.  We agreed to meet at a bench by the gift shop, and when Susie came back she said, “Boy, that was interesting?”  “Interesting”, I replied?  “Yes, lots to look at.”  Well apparently they gave the ladies a treat, because the men’s room didn’t look like they’d done a lot since the ship was decommissioned, but here are some pictures that Susie took as she went down to the Lady’s Room!

We were hot, thirsty, and just a little hungry, and since we were in this lovely setting on Corpus Christi Bay, I said, “Let’s find a bar on the water, and have a drink and a snack.”  Susie agreed, and once we found our way though the convoluted directions back to the bay (yes, we had to depend on our GPS girl again), we ended up at the floating Tiki Bar at Harrison’s Landing, just down the road from our hotel!  We had a couple of Texas Ice Teas (they could get you in trouble) and a delicious warm cheese and shrimp dip, served with tortilla chips!  Exactly what we needed!


Then we decided to come back to the room, and crash for a couple of hours, until it was time for dinner.  For I think the third time in our travels, we came back to the room a little before 4PM and it hadn’t been made up.  When the maid tried getting in after 5PM, we said never mind.  I really don’t blame the maids, but I think some hotels seem to be trying to save money, by not having enough staff to take care of the rooms they rent.  Not a big deal at all as we don’t use a towel once at home and throw it in the laundry, but it kind of makes you wonder what you’re paying for.

After being so pleased by our dinner last night at Landry’s Seafood House, right on the water, we decided that rather than go to another seafood restaurant, and have no view, and perhaps be disappointed with the dinner, we’d return.  So we made a 6:45 reservation, and left the room at 6:30, to head across Shoreline Blvd, and up the pier to the marina where the “boat” was docked.  I didn’t mention it last night, but Landry’s Seafood House is a very big, two story restaurant, built on a barge!  Yes, you actually have to walk over a gangplank to get to the front door, so for the second time today, we ate (and drank) on a “vessel” that was tied to a dock!

We asked for the waiter we had last night (Richard), but he was not working today.  So we got a lovely table on the second deck, and had Ashley for our server.  Although we started with the same two specialty martinis we’d had last night, the rest of our dinner was totally different!  Two beautiful Shrimp Cocktails were the way we started tonight.  6 Jumbo shrimp, served over ice with cocktail sauce in a radicchio lettuce cup!  Wonderful!  Oh, I lied, we did have their house salad again.  Then Susie had their Fish and Chips and I had Southern Fried Fish…basically a variation on the theme of each other, and both good and very bountiful!  We accompanied that with a bottle of one of our favorites, Prosecco.  Then the Manager came over, asked us if everything was good, and said in honor of our anniversary, he’d like to buy us dessert!  So Susie had Key Lime Pie and I had one of my favorites, Creme Brûlée.  A very nice gesture, and a very nice ending to a great meal.  Take a look at the pictures below to see our wonderful meal.


Oh wait.  Sorry, but the food came, and we ate it, and after we were finished, with every course, we both said, “Pictures!”  To be honest, the above picture was of our last glass, that we enjoyed while relaxing after dinner.  Ashley was great and just told us to stay as long as we wanted to and enjoy the wine.  We asked, and she is another really nice native Texan we’ve met.  Another day in Texas interacting with just nice people!

Tomorrow we will be sorry to say good-bye to Corpus Christi, because we’ve had a great time, but it’s on to Galveston and preparation for the cruise!  On Sunday morning we will be back with Kenny and Chris, spending two weeks on the high seas, and getting to know the rest of their Liberty of the Seas Family!  Having not seen Kenny since March, it will be good to get to hug him in person.  FaceTime is great, and we’ve been in contact 2 or 3 times a week since he’s been gone, but actual person-to-person hugging is different!

So that’s the end of our 37th Anniversary, the end of our two nights in Corpus Christi, and the end of our 40th day on the road.  If you have been with us even through part of this journey, thank you!  If you’ve spent every day of the past 40 in the backseat of the Sonata, I hope our driving has’t scared you, and you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as we have!  I appreciate your continued involvement in this blog, and your comments that let me know somebody besides Susie and I are reading this! If we’re related, know I love you a little bit more!  If we’re just friends, know that we are more like family now.  After all, how can you spend 40 days in a car with someone, and not think of them as family!

See you tomorrow in Galveston…cue Glen Campbell!

Day Thirty Nine – Wednesday, September 28, 2016


It was time to leave San Antonio, and we were sad. Sad because we loved the Homewood Suites Hotel, loved the city of San Antonio, and loved all the people we’d had the opportunity to interact with.  Of course, the day we were leaving, we woke about 8 AM, threw open the room darkening curtains, and were greeted by a beautiful sunny day, as we looked down on the Riverwalk!  Oh well, we figured that yesterday had been such a perfect day, we probably wouldn’t be able to duplicate it, sunny skies or not!  Time to move on!

We went down to breakfast this morning, saw some of the usual characters we’d seen for the past couple of days, but not our two friends.  Really, what’s the likelihood we’ll see Hotel Friends from Trinidad and Kentucky ever again?  After another nice breakfast, we returned upstairs to get our act together, and about 10:40, I called down to the Valet to get the Sonata out of the garage.  She was waiting there for us after we checked out of the hotel, and we loaded up, and were on our way in a few minutes.

If we’d just gotten on the Interstate, Corpus Christi was just a little over 2 hours away, but as we’ve said before, it’s not always about the destination, but how you get there.  We decided to take a little detour, and visit one of the five Spanish Missions that were erected in the early 1700s, with the last one of the group being the Alamo.  They are all part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and we visited the middle mission, San Jose, because it is where the Visitor’s Center is located.  After watching a 25 minute movie about the Spanish Missions, we ventured out to the actual mission.  Frankly, I think this was more what I was expecting at the Alamo, as here, the entire wall surrounding the church is still intact, and there is Indian and Administration housing still on sight.  It was a more complete view of what a mission was like, and in that way, more interesting.  The fact that this mission is still an operating Catholic Parish Church was also interesting.

After leaving the mission, we could have hopped on the Interstate, but again decided to follow advice we’d been given (Thanks Walt) and take one of the smaller roads to our destination. US 181 headed south and honestly was a much more interesting drive, with a lot of small towns along the way, and some interesting things to see.  It took about an hour longer than the Interstate probably would have, but was much more enjoyable!

Something that was with us at the mission, and we had “along for the ride” almost all the way to Corpus Christi was little bugs, that we realized were butterflies.  Once we got on US 181, they  were everywhere, and were hitting the car and splattering across the windshield!  It was almost like a scene in a Hitchcock movie, and we wondered what was up, so Susie Googled “Butterflies in South Texas”.  Turns out that we were in the middle of the annual migration from Canada to Mexico by the Monarch Butterflies!  Sorry to say, that hundreds of them will not make it this year, because they died on the grill, hood, and windshield of the car!

As we got closer to Corpus Christi, we saw something we hadn’t seen in a couple of weeks…farms!  It was back somewhere in the Midwest, before we got to the mountainous regions and places with ranches, that we’d last seen real farms.  Plowed fields, and silos, and something else…windmills by the hundreds!  Just so we know we are in Texas, there were also oil wells, and a huge ranch or two!

Last weekend, we missed the Air Show in Ocean City that takes place every year along the Boardwalk.  Well, to make up for it, as we traveled along US 181 today, we were treated to a private airshow!  We don’t know if he was learning how to fly, practicing aerobatics, or just having fun, but we enjoyed the brief show!

As we got to Corpus Christi, we also returned to something else we hadn’t been at for close to 2 months…the shore!  We left Ocean City and the Jersey Shore 2 weeks before we embarked on our Big Adventure, and until about 3 this afternoon, we hadn’t seen anything that looked like a coast!  Big power boats, sail boats, heck, even an aircraft carrier!  Not only that, but after spending weeks at elevations of 8,000 feet and above, we were back at sea level!  It was hot, and humid, and looked like we could have just as easily been in Florida, as the Gulf Coast of Texas.  It was nice to feel like we were home!!  We’re at the Best Western Marina tonight, right on the Seawall in Corpus Christi, and it’s nice to see water out our window!!


Our View

Tonight, we did our usual trick of opening up the Apple Map on the iPads, and seeing what was in the immediate area for dinner.  After some reflection, we zeroed in on Landry’s Seafood, which we saw from our balcony, and we think we made an excellent choice!  For the second night in a row, our waiter’s name was Richard…Kismet?  We had a couple of great drinks, one of the best calamari appetizers we’ve ever had, two great seafood entrees, and split an obscene Bananas Foster dessert!!!  Can you say full???


Landry’s from our balcony

Returning to our hotel, we ventured up to the Grandview Lounge on the 11th floor, and had a couple of Grey Goose on the rocks with a twist. Say that in NY or NJ, and they know exactly what you mean.  Everywhere else they ask, “lemon or lime?”  We enjoyed the drinks while looking over most of Corpus Christi!  A nice way to end our first night in town!

Tomorrow we get to explore Corpus Christi, see about visiting an aircraft carrier, and get ready for a cruise which sets sail in just 4 days!  This is day 7 for us in Texas and we’ve enjoyed it a lot.  From spending time with our good friends Nancy and Mike on day 1 and 2, to three lovely nights in San Antonio, we are very taken with Texas!  I guess it’s only fair, that based on it’s size, we’re spend more days in the state of Texas than any other state during our travels!  We’ve talked about it, and think that someday in the future, a Texas Exclusive Road Trip may be in our future!

See you tomorrow!!