Tuesday, January 26, 2021 – Saturday, January 30
It’s been one year to the day since we completed our last real trip. We had cruised the Panama Canal in January, landing in California just as COVID-19 was starting to become an issue in the United States. In fact, when I got sick shortly after returning home, I thought I might have contracted the virus. Fortunately, not.
We had booked a Mississippi River cruise in August, but that was cancelled. Although we were disappointed, we did breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps we can reschedule in another year.
We’re not used to staying home! This travel fast must come to an end. We’ve made other attempts to get away, but nothing has worked until now.
This morning, we set out on a road trip to Brownsville, Texas, where our youngest son works at SpaceX. Of course, we were looking forward to seeing him and his lovely wife, but we were most excited about seeing our granddaughter again. She and her parents had moved to Brownsville in April, when her daddy got a job with SpaceX, and she was only a few months old.
The drive down was quite uneventful, which is always a good thing. We drove our Tesla Model X, meaning we had to plan our route around the Tesla Supercharger network. Charging the vehicle does add a couple of hours each day, but it also gives us the opportunity to get out, stretch our legs, have a snack, and perform our necessary ablutions, etc. In spite of COVID, we find that the trip is fairly uneventful, most of the facilities we stop at require masks, most of the people we see are being respectful of that.
Initially, we planned four days to make the 1,600 mile trek from our home in Minnesota, where, by the way, it was only 10 degrees on the day we left. However, once we got started, we determined that we could cover about 550 miles per day without falling asleep at the wheel, so we made the trip in three days instead. Each day, our beginning temperature was 10-20 degrees higher than the day before – YAY! By the time we reached south Texas, we were enjoying temps in the 70s and 80s.
We spent our first night on South Padre Island, where a Tesla supercharger as well as several destination chargers are located. It was such a delight to wake up the next day to a warm, breezy day on the beach. Everything feels so much better when you can ditch the coats and don the shorts!
While waiting for access to the Supercharger on South Padre, Mark noticed a man approaching the Tesla parked next to us. He said, “I think that’s Sandy Munro!” He was excited, but I didn’t have a clue. However, I looked at the car next to us, and it was emblazoned with Munro Live, (https://munrolive.com) so I thought Mark might be on to something. I suggested he go talk to him.
Munro is test driving a self-driving Tesla Model 3 cross country, and had covered 6,000 miles to date. He couldn’t stay to talk, but he did allow us to take his, and his camera man’s photo. (BTW, that’s our Model X next to him.) According to the website, “Sandy Munro will give his first impressions of everything from ‘fit and finish’ to paint quality and other pre-teardown observations.”
We are hoping to see a SpaceX launch while we are here. One was initially scheduled for Friday, January 29, the reason why we tried to get here in 3 days rather than 4, but that was aborted. Now, we’re hoping for next week. Fingers crossed!
While on South Padre, we visited Isla Blanca Beach, at the south end of the island, where we enjoyed a sunny, breezy walk. We could see the SpaceX facility where our son works, as well as the location where rockets are currently being launched. This would be a good site for viewing.
The next rocket is already in place for launch, and another was being moved into place for the next launch after that. The photo on the left shows SpaceX. The circled structure on the right is being moved to the launch pad. The photo on the right shows the next rocket to be launched. Hopefully, we’ll get to see that.
We spent a couple days in Brownsville itself before realizing that we really wanted to be on the beach. Luckily, there were some great last minute deals for South Padre, and we were able to find a spot with easy beach access, plus a good view of the launch area! There was easy access to fruity rum drinks as well – always a draw for us.