We woke up the first morning at South Padre Island and strolled around the RV park, then I began some of the plumbing work on the Edmund.  Ron, our good neighbor on the left, came over to help. We discovered that the Service Yahoos had cross-threaded a plumbing connection when they de-winterized the Edmund right before we picked it up. This caused water to pour into the basement when we tried to fill the fresh water tank the day we started the trip South. As we were wrestling with the connection, me half-in and half-out of the basement, my cousins Ann and Sally arrived. Ann and her husband Dick live in Pepin Wisconsin, where they used to run a B&B before they retired full time. Now they winter in Laguna Vista, about 15 minutes from South Padre Island. They’d been expecting us for a couple of weeks and Sally, Ann’s sister who just moved to Wisconsin, timed her visit to coincide with ours. I waved an upside down hello to them and they disappeared into the Edmund for a tour.

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Ron and I were finishing up the connection when Ann’s husband Dick arrived. Dick is a retired engineer and an EXTREMELY handy guy with RV type issues, having owned and operated both a diesel pusher and a good sized sailboat. We confirmed that the connection Ron and I had been working on was indeed fixed, but now there was water pouring onto the ground from another point. Dick identified that a blade valve in the basement was open; when we closed it, the water stopped. The Edmund’s documentation is silent on the purpose of this blade valve; I suppose it’s the drain for the fresh water tank. It would be nice to know for sure.

By the time we were done fiddling with this, Bob, his wife Norma, and two friends of theirs stopped by for lunch at, once again, Pier 19. We’ve had dinner, breakfast, and lunch at this place, all involved shrimp and all were great.

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Seated from left: Cousin Ann, Norma, Nan
Standing from left: Bob’s Mafia friend (John?), Cousin Bob, Cousin Sally, Dick, me
Holding camera: Joan

Bob is my cousin from another parent. Ann and Sally’s mother was my dad’s sister. Bob’s father was my mom’s brother. Bob and Norma spend some time in the area during winter as well. They had purchased their very first cruise and had been looking forward to it a great deal. An hour before they and their friends arrived at their port of embarkation, Norma got a message from the cruise line saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Sorry, we’ve caught fire. Now shit is running down the walls and the passengers are eating onion sandwiches and pooping in bags, so, please turn around and go home. Thank you for cruising with Carnival.“

So now they’re exploring Texas and thanking their lucky stars they didn’t book their cruise one week earlier. They came back to the Edmund for a quick tour and then Nan and I had to catch a ride with Dick in order to bail out our wayward tow vehicle before closing time at the service station. Turns out the Honda just needed its battery charged overnight. The wrecker pulling it across the street was the most expensive part of the ordeal.

But this was not to be the last time towing the Honda gave us grief.

The next day we moved to Long Island Village, a resort community on the mainland just on the other end of the bridge to the island. We’d had to cancel our original reservations at the South Padre Island KOA and by the time we remade them, only two nights were available. We enjoyed Long Island Village so much we stayed there the remainder of the time we were in south Texas, though we moved to a very attractive waterfront site the last week we were there.

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We socialized with Ann and Dick quite a bit while we were in the area. Sally had to go home after about a week, but first Ann hooked us up with yet another cousin who winters in South Texas. Pat Whipple is a second cousin I bumped into while doing some genealogical research a few years back. We had an enjoyable dinner at Ann and Dick’s, looking at old pictures and swapping family stories.

We enjoyed our time with cousins in the South Padre Island area. We met some friends of Ann and Dick from Pepin, also staying on the island.  Between everyone from up North who’s down South, if we weren’t still talking to friends and relatives there sometimes we’d think the Midwest was deserted. Dick and I made a Sears run and he mentored me in the use of air compressors and battery chargers. He also convinced me we could jump the Edmund from the Honda, saving us time and money when we were dead in the water at one point. Thanks Dick!

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We went to a bird sanctuary

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I had my first dozen, second dozen, and third dozen raw oysters

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We had “Rockies” several times at Pier 19 (fried oysters, bacon, spinach, seafood sauce on toast, drizzled with raspberry chipotle jam)

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We watched pelicans swoop down the canal

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We sat on our little canal boardwalk and watched the shadows of fish swimming around the underwater electric lures

We had good times with friends and family.  We got the Edmund’s refrigerator back on line.  We learned about battery and tire maintenance and got some kitchen plumbing problems fixed.  And then our 19 days in South Texas were over. Time to start heading for Las Vegas.

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