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Our trip to the Texas Gulf coast was nothing short of amazing. What a place! It's an area we always imagined visiting, however our imaginations couldn't come close to preparing us for what were about to experience.
The drive wasn't actually too bad. We stopped over at our home away from home...the Clubhouse Inn and Suites in Topeka. They know us by name there now, and always are happy to see us. The location is ideal as it's very centrally located and everywhere we go, it seems we travel near Topeka! It's nice to have a familiar place to stopover when you travel a lot.
We went through the Ozarks on the way, before arriving in Texas. The longest part of the drive was from Fayetteville to Tivoli. It seemed to take forever. Perhaps it was because we were so anxious? We found Texas an amazing state....even the drivers were courteous, moving to the shoulder for vehicles that wanted to pass. That is treatment we aren't used to!
As soon as we got the backroads, within minutes, our adventure had began. I thought Todd was truly losing his mind when he quickly pulled over and told me he saw a tarantul crossing the road! But, he wasn't...there it was, our first creature! Down the road, we spotted wild hogs, and the feeling of excitement that overcame us was incredible. We got to the coast close to dark, but couldn't wait to see the Gulf of Mexico waters. So we drove toward the water. We ended up in a town, I think it was Port Lavaca, but honestly I don't even remember! It could have been Austwell. It didn't matter where we were, we had GPS to get back!
Here we are when we arrived on the coast. Todd's first view of the Gulf of Mexico!
Luckily, We found a park just in time to watch the beautiful sunset over the Gulf. It was the most tranquil feeling we had ever felt. Over the course of the next few days, we can't tell you how many times that same feeling overcame us.
The next morning we were up at 3:30am and were waiting at the gate of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge by 5:30. We explored there a bit and then headed down the coast to jump on the Jetty Boat. We got the island, and fell in love with it immediately. Sadly, a storm cut us short and we were forced to come back the next day. (don't you hate it when that happens?)
Here we are before we boarded the Jetty Boat. Notice how dry we still are!
We had no idea the storm was moving in!
An hour later, on the island....
I am not sure why I didn't take 'after' pictures of us soaking wet!
Since we weren't able to go back to the island, we decided to drive down the coast. I always wanted to visit Padre Island and since it was so close, this seemed like my chance. So we headed south. The rain had stopped and that gave Todd a chance to swim in the ocean for the first time. It made me smile inside to watch a grown man become so excited over something that seems so minute to some.
Does the look on his face shout out 'happy' or 'crazy'!?!
That next day changed our lives forever. We knew there would be a good chance we might spot a sea turtle head, but little did we know that we would have MANY of them swimming under our feet for hours! We spent hours on the island exploring. We found so much to film. My only regret is that we didn't have more time in that magical place. We planned to be on the island for only a couple of hours. There was no shade and Todd was getting sunburned to a crisp. But it didn't matter. We had to force ourselves to leave. If we didn't have another boat to catch for the dolphin tour, I think we would still be there!
The rest of the trip seemed to match our first experiences. The folks were friendly, wildlife was abundant, the area was beautiful, and we spotted so many new species, which we had never seen before in the wild!
It was hard to leave. Really hard. Harder than anywhere we had ever gone. We wish we had another week there...even another day. We thought of so many more places we wanted to visit on our journey that we didn't have the time to stop to check out.
Perhaps next year we will check out the Sea Turtle nesting season...or perhaps the Whooping Crane Migration? Regardless of when we decide to return for more, we know that we can't go wrong. What an amazing experience it was!
We will leave you with these big smiles. There is no better way to sum up our time in Texas. Besides, a picture is worth a million words!