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Corpus Christi Splashdown

If you have ever been in Texas in August, you know it is crazy hot down here then and living here is crazy. Unfortunately, I have to be here because this is where my work is. I try to make it through this time every year by taking a week vacation I call my Annual Splashdown. For that week I spend most of my time at Schlitterbahn waterpark and the beach or rivers. In other words, I stay wet and cool for an entire week (and sunburned), completely oblivious to the heat. I usually go to my favorite Texas city, New Braunfels. This year I decided to change it up by going to a Schlitterbahn in a different city I have never been to before, Corpus Christi. It is a large city with way too much traffic which I generally would avoid but it serves the purpose and I can handle it for a few days. I wouldn’t care to live there.

I chose a very inexpensive Howard Johnson motel on the eastern side of Corpus 20 miles away from Schlitterbahn due to the high cost of closer motels and an expensive cruise I am going on later this year. I was a little concerned about a $35/night booking but the reviews were pretty good so I took a chance. Sooo glad I did! The room was very clean and nice. Bed was fine, TV was huge and got HBO, there was a small fridge as well as a stove and kitchen sink, parking was easy, breakfast was average but fine, and the pool was clean and warm. There is also a Mexican restaurant next door.

I got a chance to try out my new full-face snorkeling mask for cruising in the motel pool and purposely kept it on for half an hour. It works! Breathing is easy and does not require anything in my mouth. The view is very wide with no issues at all with fogging. Very little water got in the mask and it stayed away from my face then was expelled by the mask. Diving was a little weird because it puts a lot of pressure on the face and the breathing tube immediately plugs up blocking all air and water from getting in. Of course, snorkeling does not actually involve diving so that is okay. You just need to be sure to take a breath before going under water.

Full face snorkel mask

Off to Schlitterbahn my first full day off. As usual, I got a yearly pass and thankfully they had just changed them to cover the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 so I am good for next summer too. The lockers are interesting as they are completely computer controlled with no keys needed. They are also very expensive at $10/day for small and $14 for large!!! Ouch! After having my things taken last time by some git who didn’t check to see they had the right bag (they later turned it in to Lost and Found), I paid the piper anyway. Rackas frackas frickas frackas!

The way this park is designed is terrible. To get from one side to the other you can walk a very long distance through a maze or ride the longest and slowest chute over. At one point, everyone hops out of their tubes and walks through the chute. The two best attractions were broken that day so that was a bummer. The wave river which is always lots of fun is rather hidden back there. You have to get out of that long chute and walk around till you find the not very obvious entrance to a wide beach to get into the wave river. They were smart enough to put bathrooms down there but the refreshment stand there has no refreshments or food despite its signs. You have to go back to the front entrance to eat. On the good side, parking was very easy nearby and the park is not at all crowded. That I liked a lot! I also liked the one roller coaster-like ride they have and rode that several times. The twin buttilators (they call them aquaveyers) were cool too as they kept the line moving to haul us back up to the upper lazy river. This park is nowhere near as good as the New Braunfels park but I did enjoy not having to wait in lines at all. Unfortunately, I accidentally left my wet bathing suit in one of their bathroom stalls when I changed to leave and some disgusting criminal stole it rather than turning it in. Seriously? A wet, worn bathing suit?! Aargh! I had to find a cheap pair of swimming shorts at Walmart and since they had no decent tops left at season end I wore my black sports bra and a Tshirt for my next visit.

Schlitterbahn surfingSchlitterbahn AquaveyersSchlitterbahn slide

Schlitterbahn lifeguardSchlitterBar?Schlitterbahn burger

Aside from all the usual shopping I do on vacation since I rarely get into a big town, I took time to drive over to the Padre Island National Seashore. They have a nice interpretive center next to the dunes. For fun, I opted to do the Junior Ranger program which also included volunteering for beach cleanup. I picked up plenty of plastic bottles, bottle wrappers, bottle caps, cigarette butts, and even the water bobber from a toilet! I also answered questions on a sheet of tasks they gave me. I saw black clouds headed my way but I just had to get those two last eyesores off the beach. Stupid me. The skies opened up with buckets of rain and soaked me thoroughly before I could get back. At least I got to help out and earned both a ranger badge and a cleanup patch while enjoying a walk on the beach. I also got my National Parks Passport stamped and bought the Padre Island sticker for it.

I'm a ranger!Padre Island National Seashore

One good thing about the motel location is it is near North Beach and the USS Lexington museum. I just can’t stay off ships, especially aircraft carriers. They were kind enough to give me a veteran discount too. This museum uses smartphones and QR code technology to conduct a virtual tour. Nice! They have lots of hands on photo opportunities for some cool pictures for you. They have a flight simulator that is only $5 and sure takes you for a ride alright. As usual, I made one silly comment and got thrown in the brig. Dang! I had to walk the plank too. LOL. I would have preferred eating a home cooked meal in the officer’s mess like I did on another carrier but the food at the snack bar on the Lexington is still pretty good for lunch. BTW, the Lexington was majorly involved in the search for Amelia Earhart and several other big times in history. I checked out every inch of it I could until the last minute before closing. They were having some kind of fancy dinner onboard that night and there was a group of people, possibly scouts, staying onboard for the night. Others can pay to stay too.

USS Lexington aircraft carrierCarier deckMine!

USS Lexington brigWalking the plank

After the Lexington, a walked next door to play on the beach and wade for a bit. As usual, I had no bathing suit with me and got my clothes wet. Nothing stops me from having fun when an opportunity presents itself. I got a picture of a couple burying a guy in the sand and creating sand boobies on his chest like my family and I used to do at the beach. Some things never change. The water is so warm there it is like taking a bath. You can’t really cool off in it unless there is a breeze. It is so different from the Pacific Ocean where I was raised. Not freezing your butt off in the water is kind of nice though. With lots of oil refineries in the area, I wouldn’t suggest spending a lot of time in that water or swallowing it.

North Beach, Corpus ChristiBeach burying

For my last day in Corpus Christi, I went back to Schlitterbahn again and spent all day until around 4pm before I went grocery shopping then headed back to my gate. Driving high speed 2 lane roads for 3 hours in the dark with stop signs thrown in for fun a couple places is no fun at all. I’ll have to leave earlier next summer but I sure had a good time.

For more pics click here.

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