Monday, April 26, 2010

Around Padre - Part I

Today, I took a ride around South Padre Island (SPI) on Meera. Today was a great day to ride. It was not humid and not too hot. The major thoroughfare that runs through the city is Texas Park Road 100. This highway is known also as Padre Boulevard in SPI.

After lunch, I rode all of Padre Boulevard from our condo to the point where it ends. That's about 10 miles from my condo.

Pictured below is the bike we rented for my wife from Ride N Padre. We rented it for four days and the owner, Mr. Joe, gave us a good deal on the rental. It is a comfort bike, made in China. It rides fairly smoothly.

View of my Element parked outside our condo.
Head West from the condo a few meters and then turn right to go North on Texas Park Road 100. All bicyclists use the bike lane/shoulder on this road. I did as well. I am sure I could have ridden on the road if I had wanted, but I did not want to. The shoulder was wide enough and I was comfortable riding it.
Few miles north of Padre and Huisache is the Sea Turtles, Inc, which is a Sea Turtle Rescue Center. It is a non-profit organization and I plan to visit it before I leave SPI.
Laguna Madre is on the west side of SPI and on the east is the Gulf of Mexico. This water tower had the name Laguna Madre on it.
Entrance to the Convention Center from Padre Boulevard. The Convention Center also has the Laguna Madre Nature Trail on which bicycles are not allowed.
I stopped by the Convention Center to quickly check it out. I will try to return to the SPI Convention Center to check out the Nature Trail.
There are some really pretty houses in SPI!
More beautiful houses! I didn't buy any today as I didn't have my panniers :)
And, some more beautiful homes!
And finally, a nice view of the Gulf/beach. The beach was packed over the weekend. Today it was not crowded, only a few visitors.
Cuatro amigos en cuatro espléndidos caballos!
Meera posing on the beach!
There are many entrances to the beach (Beach Access) from Padre Boulevard. They do permit automobiles to ride on the beach here. I rode in though one of these to check out the beach. Automobiles have to pay a fee! I asked the attendant if I needed to pay and I pointed out that I was on a bicycle and he said, "No, you just go right in". Perks of bicycle commuting :)
The road is surrounded by sand dunes on both sides from this point or so on till the end of this road at the north end of SPI. I have never seen sand dunes (perhaps seen'em when I was a kid but I can't remember) and so I was quite mesmerized by this seemingly endless road with sand dunes on both sides.
Another nice photo of Meera! At this point, we were still headed north on Texas Park Road 100.
More sand dunes!
Roadside sign indicating a Beach Access entrance!
A happy couple enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico!
Nature's way of keeping cyclists out of the shoulder? Here is something that I experienced for the first time in my life. Here I was riding along the shoulder and suddenly the shoulder was covered with sand! I tried riding through the sand I think I may have made it though roughly a few inches, if that! I finally just rode on the roadway until I could get back on the shoulder.
All good things must come to an end and here is the end of Texas Park Road 100 in SPI. The island ends shortly hereafter as well.
A Kite boarder checking out his equipment!
Abandoned school bus on the lagoon side! I thought it made a good picture.
More kite boarders! The noise in the picture is probably quite obvious. I did use the digital zoom in my Pentax Optio W90. I chose not to carry my DSLR on this trip.
On my way back to the condo, I ran into Frank (I think that's his name). Frank lives on the island and lives car-free. He was an interesting fellow, who told me a bit about himself and about SPI. Frank said he has bicycle toured from Ohio to Montana and back. Quite impressive! Frank knew where the bathrooms were on Padre Boulevard, important piece of information only a seasoned local rider might know!
View of Laguna Madre from Padre Boulevard! Ain't it pretty?
Close-up of a kite!
Just as I turned on to Huisache, I ran into a young lady who was training her kitty to walk on a leash! This adorable kitty was quite something!
After a short visit with the kitty, I went to my condo, cleaned up and headed out to dinner at Jesse's Cantina. Tres Empanadas para mĂ­! The food was delicious. I highly recommend it. If you are a vegetarian/vegan, please note that while I can not guarantee it, I was told by the waiter that the beans did not have any pork and the rice did not have any chicken broth in it.
After dinner, we swung by the Laguna to see if we can snap a couple of pictures of the Queen Isabella Causeway. I guess have a bit more to learn about my new camera's digital zoom, plus it was quite windy!
A nice Texas sunset!
Sunset in panoramic view!
That's all folks!

Have a great one! I hope to post more about SPI soon.

Peace :)

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