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To start with, as far as geology is concerned, this park is very cool. It is basically in a flat desert area with a few acres of old volcanic rocks sticking out in the middle of nowhere. It is beautiful, unique, interesting and fun. There are a few petroglyphs you can hunt for in the rocks and there are several owls nesting. It’s just fun to climb around in the rocks and kids can be delighted for hours. There are also several miles of hiking / biking trails and a desert botanical garden. There is an observatory and really good star and planet gazing. It’s also just a great place to sit back, read a book and relax or just stare at the awesome rock formations!
We have friends in San Antonio that we were not able to connect with last year. This year, the timing was better. In addition, a cousin from Ohio who I hadn’t seen in many years was in Texas at the same time we were. We almost connected with them on the way down. (We were 20 miles and one day apart, but missed each other.) However, we were able to plan dinner on their last night in San Antonio.
After two weeks of no laundry, it was time for some full hookups. We found an RV park along the southern river walk (not far from a couple of the missions). We made it to the campground in the early afternoon and arranged to meet my cousins at Dough Pizzeria Napoletana. This was definitely not Dominoes or Pizza Hut. Freshly made mozzarella and burrata and very fresh ingredients made for a very tasty (though not inexpensive) meal. It was wonderful to have dinner with them, even if we both had to travel over one thousand miles from home to connect.
The following day we were treated to a meal of homemade lasagna as we caught up with our San Antonio friends. We talked a little about work (three of us were coworkers in the past) and generally caught up on family, travels, photography and other things going on in our lives. They are really wonderful people, and it was a fantastic evening for us.
I was still under the weather, and between two dinners, grocery shopping, laundry and some other chores, there was not a lot of time for sightseeing. We did a short stretch of the riverwalk near the campground with Coda and enjoyed a few hours of down time before our upcoming long days traveling across Texas and part of New Mexico.
We got to the Padre Islands on February 16, late afternoon. It was beautiful weather and unfortunately the Malaquite campground was full. So we were directed to check out the Bird Island Basin campground for available sites or camp on the beach. With our heavy 5th wheel, we weren’t interested in getting stuck in the sand or sinking when the tide came up.
Fortunately, there were some available sites at Bird Island Basin. And even more fortunate, the site at the very end, next to a patch of grass was available. It seemed that someone was in the site next to it because there was a camp carpet left on the ground. These sites were tight and quite literally, like a parking lot. RV units with slide outs on both sides were clearly going to have a problem fitting next to another large rig. But with grass next to us, we were able to back in with the wheels on the edge of the gravel and the slides on one side were able to hang over the grass. That actually made it a nice site. Most of our days there nobody even parked next to us on our door side, which made most of our time there relatively roomy and pleasant. While sitting inside of Annie, we were backed up to and looking at the beautiful Laguna Madre, a rare hyper-saline body of water.