Ok, ok, we are all tired of hearing about the fact that its freezing across the country, 21 degrees here overnight, the news is making me crazy. We have taken all the precations we can with our little travel trailer and we will hope for the best… talk to you in a couple days.
We didn’t know it would get this bad, I was just trying to joke it off. I hadn’t thought that flippant comment “talk to you in a couple days” through…like it could really happen.
We drove down the beach and saw these flying. Not sure if it was a club or what but we never thought this would be the last time we were out and about for any length of time…
for 6 days.
Well, we don’t have any electricity, we lost it yesterday morning. The entire island and most of Corpus Christi is without power.
We’ve since learned, through spotty news coverage on radio, that most of Texas, 4 million people, were without power. About 30% of the power comes from unbelievably huge wind turbines. We saw the blades being transported down the road for just one turbine, each semi carried only one blade on long flat beds.
Such a strange thing to see this parade on the highway.
What does no electricity mean to us? Because we have 2 propane tanks on the front of our trailer and another one for our firepit we have fuel to run our refrigerator, stove, water heater and most importantly furnace, for a time. We try to keep those filled, guess it was a good thing because later we would learn that there was no propane to be found on the island at all. We don’t have a generator.
It’s now 19 degrees, I have no idea what the wind chill is and the wind has been literally buffering and pushing us around for at least 24 hours, it’s not a comforting sound. I wondered how much this little travel trailer could take but Paul brought to my attention that it goes down the road at 60 miles an hour all day long, gusts of 25 mph are really nothing for our little warrior. But this first mate isn’t liking it.
This storm is supposed to be over by Tuesday at noon, it’s now 7am Monday morning.
The wind rocked and rolled us all night long. Some gusts felt like surely we were going to go rolling down the road. We used our propane heater and stayed warm at around 58-62 degrees and at 16 degrees outside this felt warm and snuggy under our 3 blankets. We emptied one tank of propane.
Amazingly it got up to 41 degrees in the afternoon, so we hooked up the freshwater hose to have water for showers and to fill our water bottles. Still can’t use the pump because our fresh water tank is frozen. But how wonderful to turn on the water heater and have hot showers. We filled 7 gallons of water for washing and flushing. We had previously purchased drinking water after our water nightmare in Yuma. Then we unhooked the hose so it wouldn’t burst of course.
Later we learned from a fellow camper that the water system here is run off of electric, to pump the water from the well. Bad news no more water since our electric went out. Good news, because Padre Island is on its’ own water system, we didn’t have to boil the water. Corpus Christi is under a boil warning.
Yesterday we drove around the island for a few minutes just to see what was going on. The answer was… nothing. Nothing, not a store, a restaurant or a gas station was open. This shouldn’t have surprised us as our electricity has been spotty since Sunday, if we’ve had it at all.
The fire/police station was open as a warming station and that’s where everyone was. It seemed like everyone else on the island was in line for the Free Ferry. It only holds 18 vehicals and the line was blocks and blocks long. The Ferry goes to highway 361 and onto Stedman island and then on to Aransas Pass, it looked like quite a drive.
We would use up our half a tank of gas on just waiting in line and trying to stay warm, so we went back to the trailer. Besides if the electricity doesn’t come back on we need to run the car for 2 hrs a day to at least keep our battery in the trailer charged. We need the battery for the frig, water heater and furnace even though they run on propane. Did I mention we don’t have a generator?
Later that afternoon, the electricity came back on and stayed on for awhile!
Wow! How we take so many things for granted, not just the obvious like electricity for our little electric heater, if our water tank wasn’t frozen we would need electricity to run the water pump also and to keep our travel trailers house battery charged up.
But I didn’t realize being without power meant that the cell towers didn’t have power, so you guessed it, no cell signal. No cell signal, no internet, no Bible app or weather app. No texting or sending emails. No FB or blogging or looking up things on the internet (which we do constantly.) No TV channels like Hulu, YouTube or Netflix. If we tried to send a text it came back as undeliverable. I was talking to a friend, Sunday, when I lost the call, that must have been when we lost electricity.
We couldn’t even make a phone call.
We were literally cut off from everyone we knew. The bridge to the island had been closed. We couldn’t even leave if we wanted to.
How strange all of this feels and yet we are fine. Amazingly enough this tiny house on wheels is holding up well, we want for nothing. We are warm enough and have enough water to drink and food to eat… praise God…life is good.
We still have electricity! It’s spotty and doesn’t seem to have given us back cell service or internet BUT we have electricity! We have sustained winds of 20 plus and another dip in temps tonight.
We were able to watch some local TV yesterday, they were talking about how Texas has privatized their energy companies and so those companies are not regulated by the Federal goverment. Basically those companies don’t have to play by the same rules.
So much of the electric comes from those giant wind turbines and since Texas normally isn’t a state that freezes for long periods of time, the turbines freezing just wasn’t something to think about. Nor was planning for people to stay warm and have water if extreme temps happened. So many are without right now. If a inner city house or apartment doesn’t have electricity it may not have heat or water and most would not have propane or a generator. It’s the propane that has saved us! Wow! If this had happened in Indiana, our condo being all electric would have caused us to go to a warming center or freeze to death! The reality of this situation is mind boggling…
So far I haven’t been anywhere to take pictures to share. But yesterday afternoon we went out in search of gas for our car, we were below half a tank and it was starting to freak us out a bit.
Port Aransas is at one end of the island and still nothing was open. We drove the 25 miles to the other end of the island, well, actually the middle of the island and, you guessed it, EVERYTHING WAS OPEN! So, that being said we filled the car up with gas and decided to drive around just a little bit, we didn’t want to waste very much gas, it would take a gallon to get back to our campsite.
On the way back we saw the ONE restaurant that was open in Port Aransas, it was San Juan, a Mexican place. The food was good and it just felt so wonderful to be part of the human race again. Everyone did the masks and social distancing, it was good to give the economy here a little bump from us.
After dinner we drove down the beach, it was still pretty cold but with the sun shining, it didn’t feel too bad.
Here are some pictures to end the week with and point us towards a more active and warm week, our last week on Padre Island.