Travel

Southcentral USA Roadtrip-Part 1

 

The day had arrived for me to depart Corpus Christi, Texas and embark on my road trip/move back to Florida. But before I could leave the middle of the country, I needed to spend some time exploring. Texas is a mammoth of a state. It’s larger than a number of countries. To break up the drive I decided to travel halfway through the state to Waco, Texas.IMG_5041

Waco has become a bit famous because of the home makeover show Fixer Upper. TV personalities/house flippers (I guess now they’re really business moguls) Chip and Joanna Gaines have established quite the establishment in Waco that I really wanted to see. Between this and a Mammoth National Monument I found, I wasn’t sure what else Waco had to offer, but there was only one way to find out. Go there and see!

5 Things to Love About Waco

 

  1. The Silos

I arrived in Waco right around lunchtime. As I drove towards the Silos the sidewalks were packed with people all heading to the same destination. It was Mother’s Day weekend here in the states, so I think that played a role on the busyness.

The Silos were quite a sight to be seen. I’ve seen silos before, but they’re still quite impressive close up. Of course upon arrival you must take photos of these galant giants and appreciate everything laid out before you. There’s a bakery, food trucks, shop, large area for yard games, tables for eating, areas for taking photos. A lot of thought and planning has been put in to develop a place for community.

The line for the bakery literally wrapped around the building and down the street, so I took that as a sign to stick to my diet.

The shop has tons of home decor items and also merchandise such as shirts, hats, books, and more for the Fixer/Upper fan.

The food trucks offered a variety of choices from pizza, tacos, sweet tea, crepes, juices, Mac and cheese, the list goes on and on and is making my stomach grumble just writing about it. All that uppity talk in my mind about sticking to my diet didn’t last long and I splurged for some very delicious mac and cheese.

So after a long morning of driving, I explored the Silos for about an hour, ate lunch, bought a souvenir for my sister, and headed out to meet some mammoths.

2. Mammoth National Monument

I loved this! It may be the teacher in me, but I loved learning about the mammoths that roamed Texas once upon a time. And also being able to see actual fossils and the archaeological dig site still in place where they were found. It cost me $4 and it was worth every cent and more. The tour guide was very humorous and informed. 4/5 dentists would recommend.

3. Downtown Waco

I love some street art. Waco unexpectedly has some!

It makes me want to go back to find more!

4. Shopping, Restaurants, and Views

I went to Waco with the expectation of only finding the Silos and the Mammoth Monument. It has so much more to offer. I could’ve easily spent another day there exploring. There were many more shops and restaurants within walking distance downtown and there’s even a trolley you can take around. I wish I had been more prepared! I suppose I’ll have to venture back one day to see and do more!

5. Lake Whitney

Alas, it was time to set up camp and rest my head. A short drive from Waco is Lake Whitney. This Lake has multiple camping options that range from paid to free! Sign me up for the free! It’s first come, first serve so I didn’t want to arrive too late and have to pay for a campsite. The first nook I looked down was all taken, but I lucked out at the next section and scored a spot right across from a boat dock, portapotty, and on the lake.

This was a great start to my road trip and I couldn’t wait to see what Oklahoma would hold for me next.

Travel

Preliminary Life in Corpus Christi, Texas

We’ve been in Texas now for a month. There are a couple things I noticed immediately upon crossing the state line from Louisiana into Texas (besides the dead armadillo on the side of the road).

  1. I’ll be damned if everything didn’t suddenly feel bigger. The trucks got bigger, the land seemed to open up, my hair rose about 3 inches. It’s true that everything is bigger in Texas.everything is bigger in Texas
  2. The radio stations. I’d say about 33% became church music. 33% became country. 33% became latin music. 1% everything else.
  3. Bad drivers. When I lived in Delaware, I thought Pennsylvania drivers were the worst. When I lived in Florida, I thought, well I was wrong… Florida drivers are the worst. Now that I’m in Texas, I was wrong… Texas drivers are the worst. Danger. Danger around every corner my friend.
  4. Drive-thrus. There is literally every restaurant I’ve ever heard of and not heard of in Corpus Christi. And almost every single one has a drive thru. I guess it makes sense why it has been named the fattest city in the country.
  5. HEAT. Goodness gracious is it hot. It was only mid April when we arrived and it took us 6+ hours to unload our moving truck. Not because of how much stuff we have, but because we had to keep taking breaks to recuperate from the heat. It is hot. It is humid. And it is not even summer.

In our first month here, we’ve only done a little bit of exploring. Mostly our time has been spent settling in and adjusting to our new basecamp, but we have been able to get out a bit.

  1. Padre Island. One of the first excursions we took was a drive down to Padre Island.
    • We had lunch at Mikel May’s, which is a wonderful place literally hanging over the water. I recommend the seafood nachos. Thick, crispy freshly fried tortillas drenched in parmesan cheese, gulf shrimp, crab meat, and scallops.Lunch Date on the WaterSeafood Nachos
    • We drove down the beach, literally right on the beach. The sand is pretty packed so you don’t need 4 wheel drive to explore, especially if you stick close to the surf. During our drive we came a campsite of a group of people who were mostly nude. This was not a nude beach, but to each his own! We were definitely overdressed, so we turned around and headed back.Off the Gulf Coast in Texas
  2. Farmer’s Markets
    • I have really grown to love farmer’s markets. Being a conscious consumer and supporting local artisans and small business owners is something we should all strive to do more. I’ve been able to find two farmer’s markets in Corpus Christi. The Southside farmer’s market is on Saturdays. My first visit included maybe a dozen vendors and I picked up some homemade soap from one vendor and green beans from another. The second week was their semi-annual craft fair and they had about 40 vendors with everything from musicians, live chickens, jewelry, crafts, baked goods, and fruits and vegetables. There is another farmer’s market in downtown Corpus Christi on Wednesday evenings from 5pm-7pm. I have not been able to venture down there yet, but it is on my to-do list.
  3. Movies and Shopping
    • Corpus Christi has so much shopping! Just like they have every restaurant you could imagine, there is also every store you could ever want to spend all your money in. I haven’t done a significant amount of shopping, besides groceries-in which case, I recommend the HEB- but it’s nice to know the option is there. And believe me, ALL the options are there.
    • I love going to the movies. I’ve grown a deep affinity for popcorn, and have been known to drive 1.5 hours to attend a dine-in theater. I am not ashamed. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a dine-in theater in Corpus Christi yet, but the one theater closest to us has an IMAX and even their standard viewing rooms have these AMAZING reclining seats. It really takes the experience above and beyond.Movie Theater lounging
  4. Downtown Waterfront Strip
    • Finally three weekends into moving here I was able to convince my husband to go explore downtown with me. It was very beautiful! Spanning the entire waterfront there are white gazebos for overlooking the green water. You can spend the afternoon on a rented pedal bike, jet ski, or boat tour. Or you can even buy seafood right off the fisherman’s boat on the pier! Talk about farm to table!! I was most excited to come across the Selena memorial. This was easily the most popular point of the waterfront. Everyone was taking photos with the statue commemorating the life and loss of Selena. The memorial is beautifully crafted with a life-size statue of her entire body and a white rose bloom. There are also murials painted on the water-facing side of the pavilion. Corpus Christi also has a museum for Selena, which I will be sure to visit in the future.IMG_8389IMG_8390
    • Also located at the far end of the waterfront strip is the Art Museum of South Texas. Every first Friday of the month they offer free admission into the museum. If you love art museums this is a great way to spend a couple hours of your time. There is also a spectacular view of the bay, a wonderful cafe if you get hungry or thirsty, and a marvelous fountain with large sculptures outside. The Art Museum is not the only museum located here. There is also the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. I have yet to visit this museum, but will certainly give a review when we do.IMG_8450Art Museum of South Texas.pngIMG_8449
  5.  Corpus Christi Bay
    • Since my husband is in the military, we are able to rent boats from the Morale,  Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) on base. There are public companies for civilians to do this as well. We rented and 18 ft boat to explore the waters surrounding Corpus Christi. What an amazing way to see the coast and wildlife! We traveled down the shore to get a different view of downtown, the base, the oil rigs out in the water, wind turbines, and Padre Island. Outstanding views!corpus christi bay
    • Part of our boat adventures included docking at Doc’s Seafood Restaurant for lunch. We pulled the boat right up to the back of the restaurant, tied ourselves to the dock, and had a scrumptious lunch before heading back out on the water. I highly recommend the Ahi Tuna Sandwich! My mother in law also said her shrimp and avocado salad was the BEST salad she’s ever had!Doc's Seafood Restaurant
    • There is so much wildlife to see as well. There are 3 dolphins that seem to hang out near the base a lot. I’ve named them Boris, Helga, and Juniper. So many different birds! Big ones, small ones, the ones with the big beaks, I clearly don’t know birds, but there are many and fun to watch the big ones dive bomb into the water with a big splash as they hunt for fish. Speaking of fish, the fish literally jump out of the water down here! It’s quite comical to see! Oh and the jellyfish– not comical to see, and I will NOT be getting into the water.

I guess we have seen and done a lot more than it feels like. And there is so much more on my list! I have my mother in law visiting, and my best friend coming at the end of May. These are perfect opportunities to do more exploring. The definites on my list include going to the USS Lexington, the Selena Museum, Texas Surf Museum, and a Hooks baseball game. My possibly/maybe list would include horseback riding on the beach, the Texas State Aquarium, and glow in the dark mini golf. These are budget dependent.

Stay tuned for more travel updates! Sometimes we get so wrapped up wanting to travel to new and faraway places, we forget to explore where we live! Take a day and be a tourist in your own town! What have you never seen where you currently reside?

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