Our plans to wake and get on the road early to head for Corpus Cristi where somewhat scuttled by the joy of sleep. The weather that morning was perfect for a trip to the beach. It was clear and sunny in the low 70's...in Chicago. In South Texas it was cool, rainy, windy, cloudy and in the 60's to low 70's. That wasn't going to stop us from heading to the beach, though. Jenn and Jamie hadn't been since they'd moved to Texas and everybody else wanted to go as well. Eventually we made it out. Jenn, Jamie and I were in one car and James, Rachel, and Destiny were in the other. We were going to the beach on Mustang Island which is just north of Padre Island and across the Intercoastal Waterway from Corpus Cristi. Jenn and Rachel had also planned a surprise for the kids, we were going to take a ferry to Mustang Island. It was a peaceful and pleasant drive down. We even saw some sunshine a little northwest of Corpus. Our car was following since Rachel was driving way faster than we were and James claimed to know the way to where we were going.
All went well until we started getting close to the ferry. The exit we needed to take was closed, according to several signs we saw about a detour. Unfortunately the lead car didn't see the signs. So we had to turn around and go back to the detour, except we needed to be aware that though the exit was closed from one direction, the corresponding exit might not be closed from the other. This thought was not communicated forcefully enough to the lead car and so the exit was missed again. We were able to turn around and make the detour exit from the other side but the lead car had to go a long way back before they could turn. Now we were the lead car. Some Texas road signage is neither as clear nor as helpful as I'm sure the department of transportation must have hoped it would be. Still, we were able to get on the right road finally after just a little more backtracking and angst. At last we were headed toward the ferry. We notified Rachel and James where we were and gave them directions to get there and planned to meet at the ferry. We proceeded confidently for several miles until Jenn began to worry that we had not yet come to the ferry and didn't seem to be getting any closer to the coast. As it happens, a compass might have told us we were heading north-northwest, and therefore inland, but compass had we none. Eventually we stopped for directions and a map. Maps are wonderful. The map, doing what the compass might have had it been there, demonstrated that we were going away from our destination. Further examination showed that the turn we had originally missed was the wrong turn anyway. Had we continued straight, as we had initially, we would eventually have come to the ferry. Had we gone right instead of left, as we did, we would have eventually come to the ferry. Had we turned back, as we did, we would have eventually come to the ferry if we turned around again, as we did, and taken the correct road, as we did not. Had we turned left, as we did, we might have eventually made it to Canada, as we did not. Anyway, once we got that all straightened out and communicated to Rachel and James sans pluperfects or conditionals, we proceeded to the Port Aransas ferry. Jamie was suitable impressed and I enjoyed it as well. It was probably the second largest ferry I'd been on after the one I took from Athens to Aegina on the Saronic Gulf. It was definitely bigger than the ones I'd taken across the Ohio, Kentucky and Green rivers.
While all the turning around was going on we caught a pretty heavy but short downpour. The sky was cloudy and grey and the winds they were a'blowin'. Once on the beach we set up a blanket and had a nice picnic lunch. Jenn had gotten Jamie and Destiny sand buckets and shovels so they set to work digging and building while the adults talked or waded in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the air temperature the water wasn't very cold at all. It was pleasant. On a hot day it would have been almost ideal, like Lake Michigan in late summer. After a while we got the kids in and everybody except James got wet, some of us more than others. I'm incapable of traveling a long way to large body of water without going under, so I did. Jenn and Jamie did as well when she stumbled and dropped him in. He and I also went out a ways and played in the waves. We had a good time. If we had left when we planned that morning and not gotten lost, it would have been raining when we were on the beach. As it was it was just windy, grey, and cold.
After a couple of hours of playing around we left the beach. James and Rachel headed back to Port Aransas to get her a tattoo while we took Jamie and Destiny into Corpus Cristi for a while. We drove up the Corpus Cristi Bay into the city and saw lots of very expensive houses. We stopped at a public park on the shore to go to the bathroom and to play on the most impressive playground set I've been on (probably a sign of my limited use of playgrounds in the last 20 years). It was a big wooden structure with lots of things to climb, hang from, slide down, crawl through, etc. I couldn't help but think of the amazing game of monkey tag you could play on it if you had a hundred people or so. Jamie and Destiny really seemed to enjoy it. While were there it was very nice and sunny, which figures. We walked out on the pier and watched people fish. We even saw a couple of fish caught. Then we went back to the car and attempted to go the Texas Aquarium or the U.S.S. Lexington. As it was almost 7 p.m. on a Monday both were already closed. We went to a surf shop that you entered by walking into a mock shark's mouth to try to get Jenn a sweatshirt but there was nothing really affordable. We got back into the car and drove around the city some more looking for someplace to eat. Oddly enough, it seemed that someone had come through Corpus Cristi while we were on the beach or in the park and hidden all the restaurants. I was sure I'd seen some earlier. James and Rachel let us know that they were done getting tattooed and were about half an hour behind us. We decided to head up the Interstate, stop at a restaurant, and let them meet us. We headed. The kids were tired and hungry. Jenn and I were tired and hungry. South Texas was conspiring to keep us that way. There was nothing but McDonald'ses and Jenn had ruled those out in hopes of finding a Cracker Barrel. No luck. In desperation we stopped at a Burger King at about ten to nine. It closed at nine but the staff were very gracious. We ate and after a while Rachel and James caught up to us. They took Destiny and we all headed back to San Antonio. I drove Jenn's car. I was surprised how good it felt to drive after riding all weekend. There's really just about nothing between San Antonio and Corpus Cristi. We talked about maybe going to see a movie or something when we got back but decided we were too tired when the time. We watched Star Trek: Voyager (my first time) and then went to bed.