For the first time in several years, winter actually paid a visit to the Midwest. First we got hit with about 4 inches of snow, and then the cold set in with temps as low as 16 below 0 and windchill readings as low as -26. But I had a plan in place and so on January 2nd, Val and I hopped in my Tacoma and headed towards the southwest to visit my Dad as well as stop off and visit a friend, both of whom live in New Mexico.
Just as I was about to back out of the driveway, I thought it would be good to take a shot of what we were leaving. So I grabbed the iPhone a took a quick shot. It was a whopping -11 degrees. Burr. But warmer weather would soon be ours. Or at least that’s what we thought. It seems a huge cold air mass had swooped down and was covering nearly the entire country. It would not be warm in the south as we had hoped. Darn it!
Our first stop was Texarkana, Texas. To us, the temps seemed pretty good. They were in the upper 30’s. More importantly, there was no snow on the ground. But the locals were froze. This cold spell had them all complaining. This cold, that extended all the way down into lower Florida, had the southerners freezing. How cold was it? Well pictures have been in the news of frozen iguana falling out of trees.
Our first night’s stay at a Holiday Inn in Texarkana went fine. Except for the water pressure at the bathroom sink. I told Val my pee stream was bigger. That picture really makes the stream look bigger than it really was. But the shower was fine as far a water pressure goes.
The next day we headed south to Padre Island. Remember, I wanted to have a nice room on the beach, with a balcony facing the Gulf. An open door letting the warm air in the room and the sound of the crashing waves hitting the beach. This I was really looking forward to. Especially with that cold weather back home.
Above is the view from our balcony at sunrise the next morning. Nice, but we need to take a moment to to remember the events that led to my trip being postponed until now.
I originally planned to take this trip back during Labor Day, lat August and early September. But unfortunately, a hurricane decided to pay a visit during that time as well. So I decided to postpone my trip. I’m glad I did. The hurricane created catastrophic damage to the area. It will take many years for the area to recover.
The Holiday Inn Express in which we stayed, was the only hotel open when I made my reservation back in October. Every other nearby hotel was damaged and closed. Many have still not reopened. In fact, the Holiday Inn on the left side of the picture is still closed. Everywhere we looked we saw terrible damage, still in place. There was no getting a hotel room on the beach. This was as close as I could get.
The weather was not cooperating either. Sure it was much warmer than back home. But the highs were in the 40’s to near 50 during the day. And they had hard freeze warnings for the night. I think we better forego the opening of the hotel balcony door all night. We found a great little pizza joint called the Brooklyn Pie Company and shared a pretty darn good New York-style pizza. Give ’em a try if you’re down that way.
In the next installment, we head west towards San Antonio.