Trapped in Texas y’all

Extended winter travel often demands adjustable scheduling and flexible lodging arrangements due to unpredictable weather difficulties.

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Seems that once again winter has arrived as a blast of arctic air from the north… and is snuggling in all the way to our southern borders. Luckily we headed south from Colorado just in time to avoid being snowed in, but here we sit shivering in south Texas a month later.  Today there is a freeze and hazardous beach conditions warning … and while 42 degrees sounds warm… add a 30 mph wind and this storm system has us digging out our long johns to go birdwatching.

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Our 24′ RV is plenty big when our living quarters can stretch out into the landscape around us…. patio chairs and hours of hiking/biking in the sunshine are a comfortable arrangement.  But days of cold grey drizzle, blasts of wind that keep us off the road, and long stretches of time spent indoors can get old rather quickly… so we like to mix it up. While we normally prefer state and national park settings, during stretches of bad weather we are not adverse to paying a bit more for comforts like electricity, cable TV, wifi and a hot tub.  We are finding that an RV park with these amenities typically runs $25-30 per night… still lower than most lodging in desirable places.
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We also own a couple of timeshares that work for occasional changes of scenery.. so this week we grabbed a 2 bedroom getaway condo on South Padre Island… Splitting the cost with my sister and brother in law made it nearly the same price as last week’s stay in an RV park and we greatly expanded our living quarters with a 8th story view of the ocean and direct access to the beach. It was a great excuse to spend time with family and explore a new place. We’ve fixed fresh fish for dinner, watched movies and enjoyed short trips to local attractions.  Walking the beach in the winter became much more enjoyable… but as the end of the week is approaching the weather is getting worse instead of better 😦
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And so a new search of options began…. the RV parks on the island are meager and relatively expensive $30-35 for basic hookups in a parking lot style arrangement.  KOA offers a bit more… hot tub, wifi, TV.. but at over $50 a night it is beyond our budget.  No getaways available for another week in the area… so I checked local hotel rates and was surprised to find nights at the Ramada Inn just down the road for less than the cost of an RV spot.  $29 a night will get us a king sized bed, microwave, refrigerator, TV, wifi, hot tub, free breakfast and a place to park the motorhome. Cheaper than camping. What a deal!  We will spend the rest of the stormy weekend here on the beach and plan to head out on Monday in the RV.
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Flexible lodging options.  Mixing it up works for us….

Hoping that the weather will smooth out and let us enjoy some time in the desert next week… but for now, we are trapped on the Texas coast for a few more days.
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Bird watching? Beach combing?  Sure… Let’s go!

BTW… I tried to include clickable links in this post because I haven’t done much of that. Try them out and let me know if it adds to or detracts from the post? Thanks!

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Weather or not…

Weather can sometimes make or break a vacation. Typically the limiting factor is the timing and number of days at our disposal, so the only control we have is where we arrange to be and the flexibility of our activities. Assuming that it is still possible and safe to travel to our destination, we need to be prepared for whatever mother nature chooses to serve up.  The hard part is being prepared to not just endure the conditions…. but also enjoy our stay.

Rain suits, long johns, hats and gloves are standard items in our packing list.  The longer the trip and the farther we are going, the more possibilities we have to anticipate and prepare for. Layers are usually the key and we have seen some cold nights where we have had to wear nearly every layer we brought!  Of course if the problem is that it is 105 degrees in the shade, the solution is more in timing than layers. An early alarm and sunrise outing is easier to take when you know the afternoon is free for a siesta.

One thing I have discovered over the years is that being stretched beyond my comfort zone…. even being uncomfortable at times…  can make for the most memorable of adventures.

Racing a snow storm across 30 miles of dirt road, descending into the Grand Canyon through a dense fog and slopping through ankle-deep mud wasn’t what we imagined when we planned our Spring Break backpacking trip a few years ago, but that week is indelible in my memory.  We went back the next year and managed to complete the route as originally planned … in perfect weather.

Getting snowed in 50 miles from our destination made us a day late checking into our accommodations another year, but the experience was certainly unique.  As we broke tracks through the snow along the road we kept reminding ourselves that the worse case scenario would be that we stopped and climbed into sleeping bags in the back of our truck to weather the night.  We managed to get to a town where we found a room and a hot meal.

Rain in Sedona can change hiking plans… but open up amazing scenes as the water spills from pour-offs on red rock walls all around and fills usually dry creek beds.  If I let disappointment over disrupted plans leave me reluctant to look for other options… I can miss unanticipated opportunities.

The benefits of retirement have opened up so many new options for us as we face the unpredictable weather in our travels.  Usually we can leave our destination flexible as well as the amount of time we choose to stay wherever we are…. a little chilly? … head south for a day or two.  Storm making travel hazardous? Stay put, no need to take unnecessary risks.  Rainy day… good time to lounge in bed awhile longer, visit some galleries, go to a movie, take another class, or catch up on the blog I’ve been avoiding … 🙂

Weather, our not…… Let’s go!