Day 11: Trip to the Tip and Back (Southern TX)

Yes, the weather was incredible.  Lots of pretty photos — and incredible distances covered.  My stomach is getting a bit better — still lots of troubles.  But I took a big chance on a half a burrito tonight.  Just dying for something real and warm to eat — regardless of the consequences.

Sparkle running great.  But.  Two little new items of concern.  The tiniest of brake grindy sound that I think I hear.  Just had all new brakes and rotors installed before this trip.  Have heard this before years ago — a caliper or something?  Something dragging.  Will stop in at next dealership I see and see what they think it is and if it needs immediate attention.  The other thing, more worrying, is two times in a row late this morning when I turned the key, nothing happened, turned again & started fine.  So after that, I resolved not to turn the engine off even for gas.  That’s about the only time I ever turn the engine off anyway except for extended dog romps.  So upon stopping for the night, I turned the key, started fine.  So I will be extremely careful where I turn the engine off.  Most likely a starter.  Can’t be a battery (turns over just fine).  I think this will be harder to diagnose until it stops working.  I dread losing another day or two somewhere on this trip with repair delays.

The dogs got three good beach runs in before noon.  I gave them extra time since I know we won’t be near any beach for a long time.  Certainly not on this trip unless we score some lakes & rivers.  Nothing beats ocean or Gulf beaches though.  Although the Great Lakes are pretty awesome.

On with the photos.  I got settled late and am fading fast.

Corpus Christi is mid-century heaven.  I’ve been there maybe three times now and am still always finding new goodies.  Here are just a few random things.  A parking garage:

combo office space & condos?

with what I call corduroy concrete:


a bank:

A few other things from Corpus Christi  — a closed furniture store:

I don’t recognize this building as part of a chain.  Looks like a super skinny Pizza Hut roof.   It just had to be SOMEthing:

This must have been a drive-in restaurant originally.  Had a classic drive-in style canopy.  But now seems more like Mexican take-out:

A local icon (or eyesore depending on your point of view).  This “For Sale” statue done by a local artist has been at this intersection since 1984:

A modern Whataburger has painted this storage building like an old walk-up stand:

This mind-boggling display is on North Padre Island.  The place is known as the “Ocean Treasures” gift shop:

This one from Kingsville.  I don’t know if this was originally a movie theatre marquee — or if the sign was just built to look like one.  I could look it up… but since it’s 2am right now…


A few signs from Harlingen.  Those appear to be neon loops around the canopy edge:

And finally, a couple shots of my companions at Seven Seas in Los Fresnos.  I used the same photo-op a few years ago — but it was freezing cold and grey skies:

Tomorrow, if the starter works, we’ll be hitting a bunch of small towns for quickie stops and hopefully by afternoon arrive in San Antonio.  I think I have about ten days left for the Texas part of the trip.

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7 thoughts on “Day 11: Trip to the Tip and Back (Southern TX)

  1. Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world! Glad to hear you’re getting back up to speed. Agree (from afar, fwtw) with the diagnostic that the problem is the starter. Should work on repeated cranks until it fails completely, which probably isn’t imminent.

    • My previous van had all kinds of starter problems so I’m all too familiar with the symptoms. I think I replaced 3 starters in a year once. They were guaranteed parts but I think I still had labor — and the ordeal of getting stuck & towed (AAA so at least didn’t cost me) and time lost.

  2. I’m glad to hear that you and Sparkle are running on all cylinders now. The intermittent failure to start is likely either the starter, the ignition switch, or the wiring in between. The starter is most likely. Typically, when a starter’s solenoid is getting weak, it will fail to engage more often when hot. So, if it ever totally fails to start when hot, try again after the engine cools.

    I really like the Feldman’s and Valley signs – surely they are from the same sign company. The Hotel scaffold sign is very nice too.

    • Interesting about the hot/cold engine thing. I won’t panic if I get stuck and give it a shot. So far, not a single problem today — even with hot engine. Weird. Makes me feel like I’m losing my mind.

      The Feldman’s & Valley signs do have a similar style. They are just a block or two apart downtown. The Hotel sign might be on the way out if that property gets sold & developed. It’s on the main 4-way highway loaded with fast food, strip malls, etc. which doesn’t bode well for its survival.

  3. Hey, DJ. Hope today meant you’re feeling better.

    Immediately after seeing the pictures of the kids riding the waves,the shape of Gremlin’s ears made me think: MOGWAI ! Was that the inspiration for that name?

    • Her ears to look a bit like that. But the name was really just because of her size and I knew she was devilish from the minute I saw her. Also the bit about them causing trouble with mechanical devices, airplanes, etc. Taking on a 4th dog is always crazy — esp. when you know you’re getting one that’s loaded with energy. But 4 is a good number for me. Right on the edge of disaster.

  4. The Rock A Bye Motel in Luling was actually built in 1940. There are no current restorations going on there and the last sale of the property happened in 2004. I believe the property is currently for sale again.

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