For our Memorial Day Weekend trip we chose Goose Island State Park on the Texas Gulf Coast. There was the threat of rain all weekend, but we decided to go anyway. The other option being to sit around the house and find maintenance tasks to occupy our time. As is often the case, we pack up in the morning and head out around 10:30, so we don’t get very far before it’s time for a lunch stop. Today we stopped at Black’s Barbecue, a Texas legend in Lockhart.
While the food was excellent, there are so many great BBQ places in central Texas it’s hard to tell the best from the really good. As we left Lockhart we drove by the Caldwell County Courthouse, built in 1894 in the Second Empire architectural style.
It’s just under 200 miles from our house to the gulf and we made good time until the low tire warning came up on the dash. We were about 5 miles from Victoria TX and had 26 lbs left, losing about a lb per mile. We figured we could find a tire shop, get it fixed and be on our way again quickly.
Wrong again. We found a tire shop but after two hours of unsuccessful patch attempts they pronounced the tire unpatchable. So they mounted the spare and we resumed our journey.
We arrived at Goose Island State Park about 4:00 in a light rain. We were surprised when the park attendant came out to our rig under an umbrella to check us in. We were further surprised when the first thing he said was “the mosquitoes are really thick”. We could see them landing all over him and had to roll the window up and down as we checked in to keep the little buggers out of the Jeep. We found our spot and backed in. Note spare on left rear.
The next morning, after thoroughly spraying with insect repellent, we ventured out. The weather was great. It was a beautiful campsite with shade from large oaks and large grassy spaces between the campsites.
Near, but not actually in, the park is the simply named Big Tree. It is over 1000 years old. We drove over to see it and were the only ones there. Well, except for 1,000,000 mosquitoes. The wildflowers were pretty amazing.
It was a brief visit due to mosquitoes getting in your nose and ears and buzzing around. They managed to find places to land and bite that were either missed during the spraying or they just didn’t care. We drove over the bridge on Highway 35 into Rockport and then on towards Port Aransas. We’ve been there before in our pre-RV days and weren’t surprised by the ferry crossing.
It’s a short ride and it’s free. It just crosses the deep-water ship channel. You can easily see the shore of Mustang Island across the channel.
Mustang Island is a resort-y kind of place with restaurants, shops, beach condos and a beach you can drive along and/or camp on. Due to the recent heavy rains, a sign posted declared Beach Driving Conditions: Poor. You can see why below.
But the Jeep has 4 wheel drive so off we went. We slipped and slid in the wet sand but just enough to make it fun.
Although the wind was blowing a good 15-20 mph right off of the water, there were brave souls out on the beach.
There are posts that separate the driving area from the camping/day use area and folks have taken to decorating them.
We also came upon this row of brightly painted houses
We returned to Goose Island by the same route and had no issue getting on the return ferry quickly, but due to the 3 day weekend, the line to take the ferry onto the island, as we had done in the morning, stretched out 5 miles. We guessed those people had at least a two hour wait to get to across.
We’d done our auto hike, so the next day we decided we needed to hang by the beach. We went over to the picnic area in the park and set up a day camp. We were right on the water in a grassy site. The wind was coming off the water, but it was pleasant and we had a great view into St. Charles Bay.
We watched the birds as they fished and had the place to ourselves. Here are some wildlife shots.
There were also a few fan boats taking customers out to fish. We hadn’t seen any of those since we were in Florida in 2013.
Farther out tankers and other large ships would pass from time to time. Check out the people, standing in the shallows, fishing.
It was a pleasant day and after we’d had enough wind we headed back to the campsite. On either side of us, kids were playing outside, but we found the mosquitoes so annoying we hid in the RV and enjoyed dinner and a movie. We were watching the weather as there were warnings of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes overnight. More on that in Part 2……