This past weekend my wife and I traveled to Rockport, Texas, to visit the Clampett's.
Required Background Information:
My Sister and Brother-In-Law built themselves a 36' sailboat by hand some 15 years ago and have sailed it all over the Caribbean as well as up and down the east coast while living in Jacksonville, Florida. They decided to move to Texas since their Grandchildren now live in El Paso, Texas, and they wanted to live closer to them. Last May they sailed their boat across the Gulf of Mexico from Ft. Myers, Florida, to Rockport, Texas, and took residence in the small town to be near both the water and far west Texas. They will tell you they are nomads and call themselves "The Clampett's".
Friday afternoon we left the house at 4PM for a 5:45PM flight aboard a UA Express E145 (lovingly dubbed Yard Dart or Barbie Jet by ATC kids) for the short 30 minute flight from Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP).
You may ask why fly? Well from the north side of Houston to the far southwest side on a Friday afternoon, no thanks....and then another four hours on top of the already 60 plus minutes to get across town, fly even on UA!
We stopped by the UA Club in Terminal B for a bit of "medicine" before boarding the jet and settling into 18 C/D.
Row 18 is the emergency exit, has more legroom than other rows, you avoid the wind noise from the main cabin and galley doors up front and the engines are not too loud. At 5'11" I had more room than needed, so pick 18 if you're on a UA Express E145.
An on-time push back and got in the line to exit the south ramp and taxi our for departure on Runway 15L. A Singapore Airlines B77W was just rolling down the runway headed for Moscow and then Singapore when the First Officer announced, "Marcia, please be seated for departure". A short roll down the runway, positive rate of climb, gear up and soon we were seeing downtown Houston our the window.
A few bumps in the climb up to 22,000' and shortly we were descending into CRP for a smooth landing at 6:35PM. Off to the Avis Preferred counter and out to Space 220 to pick up our Dodge Charger for the 28 mile drive north to Rockport and our home for Friday and Saturday night, Hampton Inn (no Marriott anywhere to be found).
We drove into the parking lot of the hotel at 7:30PM a quick 3:30 travel time to find a very modern clean lobby and a gorgeous tank with all sort of fish.
Off to our nicely furnished large room that had one of the largest min-refrigerators I've ever seen as well as a huge LED TV. The Clampett's arrived with wine and Sister home made Guacamole Dip with Crackers and Chips. We gobbled up the food and wine while chatting for a bit and dashing off to dinner less than a mile away at Dining on the water at Charlotte Plummers in Fulton, Texas. Nice small town Texas seafood joint where we sat on the upper deck and braved the 25 MPH winds that are resident along the Texas coast while enjoying the aroma of being at the coast.
We all shared some perfectly cooked Soft Shell Crab appetizers, oh they were so sweet and juicy I could have had a few more orders, but it was getting late and you know how I don't like to dine late so I opted for Grilled Scallops with the Creamy Avocado sauce on the side. The Scallops were huge and slightly under cooked which is much better than over cooked yet the flavor of the sauce had me wishing I had five or six more to clean all the sauce from the bowl. Mrs. IAH had some of my Scallops as well as a visit to the nice fresh salad bar of which I got to finish.
We said goodnight to the Clampett's and off to our room for a last taste of wine for the night.
Saturday morning we all met for breakfast at the hotel. A nice spread similar to what you'll find at a Fairfield Inn or SpringHill Suites. In honor of erc I couldn't resist taking a picture of "his iron" (no not a golf club) before we headed off to the sailboat for a day of sailing on Aransas Bay.
We arrived at the dock and readied the boat with food, drink, made sure all the lines were in place and all the switches were in the right spot.....with our pre-flight whoops....pre-boat checks done we were ready to motor out of the marina area. The day was somewhat overcast yet plenty of wind for a day of sailing.
Out in the bay up went the sails and off we went. WOW what a peaceful and relaxing time just hearing water rolling off the hull, the sea air, the sound of the sails as they'd flap when a gust of wind would come along. Wonder what the rest of the world was doing?
It was time to head over near Mud Island and anchor for some nibbles of the Chicken I smoked last Wednesday, some fruit, the remainder of the Guacamole Dip and a glass or two of a nice crisp Pinot Grigio. What, almost a white sand beach in Texas?
We had a chaperon for our stop that I think wanted some food.
After a bite we needed to pull up the anchor and set sail for the marina as we needed to get back to dry land in order to prepare for dinner on the grill. So off we went sailing back across the bay.
What a fantastic day of being with family out on the water talking, laughing, hearing stories of the Clampett's sails, just about perfect if not perfect for what we wanted on this weekend jaunt to south Texas.
Well as luck would have it, ole IAHFLYR pulled a fast one and left his camera back at the hotel when we went back to change and have dinner with them at their place. As a result dinner was not once interrupted with picture taking.....so sorry!!
Sister had planned a wonderful seafood extravaganza of a home made Shrimp Dip for appetizers with Celery, Carrots and Crackers before we got to the Grilled Lobster Tails, steamed King Crab Legs, Grilled Redfish and Grilled Corn on the Cob in the husks. Oh my, I had to cook with charcoal........yikes. It all worked out great and we all enjoyed the time together outside around the grill while the food was being cooked. The smell of the grill while the corn cooked brought out a few neighbors who even shared some of their Texas wine (forgot the name) which was actually quite good.
With dinner finished and all cleaned up the wife and I headed back to our hotel some six miles away to prepare for Sunday.
Sunday morning brought a cloudy day with the threat of rain. Our plan was to meet at the Clampett's joint and head off to Mustang Island and Port Aransas for lunch before we needed to get on the road back to CRP for our 5:22PM departure. The shortest route over to the island was to take the short ferry boat ride across the Inter-coastal Waterway.
Mustang Island is a narrow strip of land/beach that runs north and south. The beach is one where you can drive so we headed over to find hundreds of camp sites, campers, camping trailers, motor homes and a sand castle building contest that had traffic backed up for some distance. Looking at the clock I made a command decision......let us go eat and beat these folks to the ferry terminal so we didn't have an hour or more wait to get across the waterway and miss our flight.
We went to a spot recommended by a local who lived next to the Clampett's called Virginia's on the Bay that had waterfront seating outside which was perfect. We got a nice table along the waterfront and marina with the breeze blowing thought the place and were having a great time until the waitress asked what we'd like to drink. I asked for a wine list by the glass which she didn't think they had. Okay, how about what are your Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio offerings? They had only one kind of white wine and it was not a name we liked so we opted for water. So far not a great start, but the view and company were great so we pressed on and ordered.
- Sister orders Grilled Fish sandwich
- Brother-In-Law orders medium well Burger
- Wife orders Grilled Fish sandwich
- Your truly desires fresh Gulf Oysters on the half shell
Well the order arrives at the table and my requested Oysters are Fried!!!!!! Ah, fresh not fried I tell the waitress to which she tells me, "no you ordered fried". Now I'd expect a possible mistake from time to time so I asked her if they had Fried Oysters on the half shell to which she replies of course not in a smarty pants tone. Anyway, I got my fresh Oysters that were crazy huge, intensely sweet and fresh, even got 13 of them however; the Grilled Fish was no thicker than a piece of paper with a bun the size of Texas, the medium well Burger was almost rare so it was sent back to get cooked further. All in all the experience was less than good, so if you head over to Mustang Island you've been warned.
We got back to the ferry terminal and had a short wait of 30 minutes so we were good on time now. Got back to the Clampett's abode, thanked them for a splendid weekend, for the excellent day of sailing and food. We were sad to leave as we all have such a great time together, but they'll be visiting us next month so more wonderful times ahead.
We said bye for now and off we went to CRP to turn in the Avis car and dash through Pre-Check (yes they have it there) and enjoy some "medicine" as we waited for our plane to arrive from IAH. Just like that it landed and taxied to the gate so we downed the remaining beverages and walked to the gate for our 40 minute flight back to IAH.
Here is our "Yard Dart" for the trip home.
We took our seats in 18 C/D again and the door shut one minute early and away we went. Landed at 6:13PM and arrived at B16 a few minutes later......back in the house at 7PM.
A special weekend of flying, driving & boating with family......nothing better.
Oh, no I didn't miss the last round of the Master's, DVR is a wonderful thing. I loved Bubba winning however; had the kid from Texas won the entire weekend would have been even more complete.
Thanks for reading and I hope your weekends are always as excellent as ours was.