After breakfast this morning, Elaine and I took a 2 mile walk on the beach at our RV site. We walked a mile North and then returned to the RV. The beach is unobstructed and there are no barriers to stop you from walking about 30 miles North and returning. For the first 6 to 8 miles there are bars and grills fronting the beach. So, you could be fed, hydrated, and have restrooms available. You could then call a taxi to return to the starting point if needed.
We went sightseeing after our walk. The 33rd Annual 10K Causeway Fitness Run (5K fitness walk) was finishing as we started to cross over to Port Isabel. The run terminated on South Padre Island, where the organizers had multiple Greyhound busses to shuttle the thousands of participants back to Port Isabel. One lane of the 4-lane causeway and bridge was closed for the event.
We stopped at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) during our trip. A few major points about the NWR:
- It is remote and accessible via poorly maintained roads.
- It is the ONLY place in the United States that contains a population of wild American Ocelots, a dwarf version of the leopard. There are about 100 American Ocelots in the NWR and they are very elusive and difficult to see. If you are interested, you could buy a Save Texas Ocelots license plate ($22 of the $30 special fee goes to conservation efforts for the Ocelots). There are trail camera photos in the visitor center of a young Ocelot born this past year in the wild at the NWR.
- If you are a birder, this NWR has recorded more species of birds (over 400) than any other NWR. While we were there we saw several beautiful Green Jays and White Tipped Dove.
This evening we dined on broiled Texas jumbo shrimp, scallops, and fish at the Sea Ranch Restaurant, which was a short half-mile walk from the park. We needed the walk after dinner since we had a piece of Key Lime pie for dessert. This restaurant has been ranked in the top 500 U.S. restaurants for the past 5 years. Great food and service.
Also in the park is the El CRISTO del Los PESCADORES, which honors the lives on the fishing boats that left this harbor and never returned. There are brass plaques on the base of the memorial listing the name of the boat, the Captain, and the date of the loss. The memorial is very moving. Today we saw that someone had placed a potted lily next to one of the plaques and a little girl was having her picture taken next to another.