Been a tough couple of months fixing up our stick house to rent. Really tired . . .Haven't sailed in nearly 2 months
Glad to see this thread still going strong.
Hey Windsurfer, yes options for the winter are slim pickings. Besides the obvious--Fl, S. Texas, S. California I can only think of Old Mexico--Baja and Cabo etc. at least for warmer sailing. The trouble with Mexico as I understand it, is the crossing. I used to read the snowbird-Mexico section pretty extensively a while back. From what i recall, Mexico is pretty habitable once you get passed the border towns--or least so say the veterans of that forum. With my wife's elderly father traveling with us I didn't have the stomach for that kind of adventure--have to revisit the possibility--not sure if I would chance it now. . .
Ha! I have pretty strong opinions on South Texas, most of them unfavorable. I just think it's ugly. And stupid. And I tell that to my grandparents, who are buried in the cemetery in Robstown (just outside of, and even worse than, Corpus) every time I go visit.
However, it's hard to beat it for windsurfing.
I don't think I've mentioned another option in Corpus Christi besides Bird Island boondocking. There's an RV park in Flour Bluff (the town before you get to Padre Island) called Laguna Shore Village. We stayed there in 2004, back when we first started fulltiming.
At the time, you could sail on the laguna from a vacant lot across the street, but it is my understanding you can't do that any more. You could also launch from some bandit sort of places nearby and might still can, but I'm always uncomfortable doing that. But since the time we were there, Bluff's Landing Marina (maybe 1/2 mile away from the RV park) put in a windsurfing launch. You have to pay a fee or get an annual permit, but it was purported to have a grassy (!!!) rigging area and a fresh water shower.
You could probably get more information on launching there from the Corpus Christi Windsurfing Association. They have forums on their website where you could ask questions about current launching conditions from that side of the laguna.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if Laguna Shore Village fills up in the winter--we got there in April and had only a couple of sites to choose from. It's an okay place--not somewhere I'd ever seek out if it weren't close to sailing. Worse, it's a few miles from any sort of grocery stores or other retail and felt really isolated but not necessarily in a good way. But if I needed a place to stay for longer than the 2 weeks allowed at Bird, or if I needed hookups (which we did back then and which I'd probably want in the winter), I would consider it again if I were okay launching at Bluff's Landing. Jennie, the woman who runs it, is really nice and I generally don't cozy up to campground personnel.
Do not be fooled if you see Padre Balli RV Park on the island. Well, it's there and all, but it's rattier than any other places I've mentioned in any of my posts, and besides, it doesn't have sewer hookups at the sites so it's not great for extended stays. It's "only" 10 miles from Bird Island, but when we're banished after staying at Bird for the two-week limit, we drive right by it on the way to somewhere, anywhere, else. We wrote about it here.
(Padre Balli, like the two RV parks I mentioned in South Padre Island, is operated by the county, albeit a different one. It was certainly no coincidence that LBJ chose a South Texas ballot box to stuff. )
You could also stay in one of the other RV parks in Flour Bluff, if you're willing to commute to sail. Plenty of people go from Corpus to Bird Island to sail, and being in Flour Bluff makes the commute shorter. If you like waves, you can sail at the Packery Channel, and that would be a shorter commute from Flour Bluff--much closer than Bird Island.
If you want to "live" and not just sail, you could also look into Port Aransas, where there are more RV parks--it's a popular destination for winter Texans. I wouldn't want to drive to Bird every day from there, but we did do it once. (And for the record, Carey rode his bike from Bird to Port Aransas and back one day, and everybody (himself included) declared it to be crazy.) I think people may wave sail in Port Aransas when conditions are right--I don't keep up with that sort of thing.
Another place where a very few people sail in that area is Baffin Bay, near Riviera (pronounced "ri VAIR uh"--so you don't embarrass yourself). There's an RV park there that looks like you could sail from, but we didn't figure out a way. Recently, some people from Austin were talking about going to Baffin Bay instead of Bird Island for a weekend trip and camping at SeaWind RV Resort there, so Carey wrote up a little thing about it.
The main problem with this place is that it is totally and completely in the middle of nowhere. I think it appeals to winter Texans who just want to sit somewhere warm and don't need any indicia of civilization around.
The Austin people ended up sailing Baffin Bay, but I don't think any have gone back, if that tells you anything. The guy Richie, who Carey mentioned in the report, lives in Riviera right on the water and is always wanting people to come sail with him, so there is that. But not much else.
So that's the situation on Corpus. Depending on your tolerance of a commute and of South Texas in general, it could be an option. It's definitely a place that people choose to winter.
Outstanding and thanks again, I will read some of your threads and go from there. Corpus may not be a bad option. Or maybe we will just spend the winter months in Arizona and New Mexico riding (MTB).
In regards to Mexico, we lived in San Diego most of our adult life and traveled Baja extensively surfing and sailing. You are right Jeremy, the border towns for us were the scariest part of the whole journey. South of the border the mexican people are warm and friendly. Our favorite spots were San Carlos in the summer and LA Bay (Bahia de Los Angles) in the winter. Absolutely a beautiful place.
But we haven't been in 7 years and things are getting crazy in Mexico. All my old surfer buddies do not go down anymore, and that says something!
If you're not a flat/shallow water "specialist" like I am, Corpus could work very well for you because it offers all different kinds of water conditions. It's a hassle for me because living close to the flat water involves a lot of compromises, but if you're willing to open up a bit, there's a lot more opportunity.
If Corpus is still a possibility, take a look at these wind journals. People describe their various sailing days (wind, equipment, etc.), most of them in Corpus, and it could give you a good idea of what sailing there is like.
Murphy, for example, lives on Padre Island and sails at Bird Island pretty much exclusively, and pretty much every dang day (he's retired). Alissa sails a wide variety of places, almost never Bird Island. The two Millers live in Austin but go to Corpus frequently to sail and they mix it up between flat and non-flat water. Tamay hasn't put up a log in a long time, but she was definitely not a flat water type and sailed a wide variety of the launches there.
It's not a comprehensive representation of the people there, but it's better than nothing when dealing with an unknown place.
The journals could also give you an idea of how "sailable" it is in the winter. It does get cold there, and I suspect the big wind in the winter is generally a norther. We got a couple of them in November that Carey went out in, but not me! That said, I've sailed in Austin on New Years Day before, so winter in that region generally isn't all that tough.
Then again, there's a lot to be said for the biking in Arizona in the winter. There were a few places we stayed where you biked from there, which is always nice, and if you're there around spring break time, Carey really enjoyed the Arizona Spring Fling, where they have organized rides in Tucson, Phoenix, and Sedona, working their way north over the week.
We're in Stanley, Idaho, right now, headed for Ketchum today. We tried to beat the snow but didn't quite make it, but Carey had what he said was a spectacular ride a couple of days ago in Stanley--snow all around but a nice firm trail and warm sun.
Do you have a 68 Monaco? My dad had a 68 Monaco station wagon with a 440 when I was in High School. Needless to say, I raced anything I could and usually won.
My grandparents car, used to full-time with a Streamline in tow: all of USA, most of Canada and Mexico way back when. The same HD goodies as the DODGE Police Pursuit, but with a luxury interior. Nothing like a big block to make life easy. I remember riding in the back seat and passing the hippie VW vans on the Colorado mountain passes in 1970 . . . the trailer in tow and 5-6 people aboard. 10-mpg solo, or 10-mpg towing.
Yeah, South Texas ain't purty. People have to understand that the USA ends at Corpus Christi. Texas extends another 150-miles south or west, but it aint America anymore. It's a "humid desert" with the worst of both of those to contend with. Waste land, as they would have said in the 19th Century.
If one does try Baffin Bay, then be sure to eat at The Kings Inn. Takes 45-60' to get your food order because it's all prepped fresh for each customer. But worth the wait.
Have never done it, but watch them at the ocean, and really have the bug and want to learn.
I also really really like the surfing that some do where they have a parachute type thing (no clue what it is officially called - parasurfing maybe?) and that looks so amazing. I used to jet ski competitively, and since put my lanyard down and traded it for a Camper, but really like surfing. The para-surfing looks incredible to me. They do jumps on the water and just really take off.
JayWalker, what you identified as parasurfing is called kiteboarding (sometimes kitesurfing) and I can't stand to be anywhere near them. That's why I like Bird Island so much--they're banned from there.
Quite a few kiters have been injured or killed because their kites went out of control and slammed them into something, or drowned them by dragging them through the water. Skill level has nothing to do with it--it includes beginners and professionals alike. It's so common they have a term for it: kitemare.
And when not killing themselves, they're often endangering bystanders with the 100-foot razor-sharp lines on their kites and generally aggressive behavior.
Kiteboarding is easier to learn than windsurfing. If you're inclined to give it a shot, at least try not to be "one of those."
Most of my old sailing buddies have tried and/or gone to kiteboarding. For me it was not that appealing because, in my opinion, you can't really 'surf' a wave with a kite board, but you can with a sail board. I agree with Rice in that (I hear) kite boarding is easier to learn. I basically grew up in So Cal, so everyone surfed and hated the wind. But when windsurfing came around, it was another avenue to get on the waves when the wind blew.
Thought I'd check in with my windsurfing pals on the forum.
We spent the entire winter in the Pacific Northwest--about 2-1/2 months in Portland, and then to Seattle-Tacoma, where we've been since late January but are leaving shortly. What that means is that I'll manage to have spent over half a year in the area and STILL avoided windsurfing at the Gorge.
We obviously didn't go to Bird Island Basin for the spring, but did get news about one of the regulars--he's a guy who lives in northeast Oregon and he and his wife often travel to Bird Island in their motorhome to spend the Spring windsurfing. He's celebrating his 90th birthday this month, and has plans to go to Bird again next Spring. (His wife celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year.) Way upthread, I talked about taking a census at a windsurfing launch and said, "Lots and lots of old people, too--60s is common, 70s is well represented, and some 80s are out there." I guess I'll have to add 90s to that!