So, I realize that I do a lot of exploration. Sometimes– well, most of the time— it’s a by-product of my job. I have lived in four different states in the deep southwestern US in the 4 and 1/2 years I have been employed with my company. And, on occasion, I head out to other buildings to assist for lack of staffing or major projects.
That’s how we ended up in Corpus Christi on Monday.
Me, filling in for a manager who was on vacation. Ben and the cats, along for the ride.
First things first: It was cloudy and drizzling rain the entire time we were there. Granted, it is the time of year where Texas likes to flood (seriously Houston’s weather needs to take a chill pill). The first night we didn’t explore much, but we did go eat a little upscale pub called The Post. I guess calling it a pub would be wrong; the inside of the building is industrial chic, the tables had flowers and candles on them. Classy. Their sign says “cocktails & cuisine”, so I guess you’d call them a…
Bah, who needs titles. What you really need to know is that the parmesan truffle fries were awesome (but also a $3 upgrade to chips which come with a sandwich order), and I drank a little diddy called the Fluer-de-Lis which was refreshing and came with cucumbers and I had two and needed Ben to drive us back to the hotel. Tasty little thing.
The next day was more eventful. After work, Ben and I ate at Rudy’s BBBQ and gave it a score on our Texas BBQ grading scale. From Bland as Bread to Texas Blue Ribbon, Rudy’s came in at a solid “Sauce Salvager”. Both of the sauces at Rudy’s were good– the original was spicy and unique, the sissy sauce sweet but not overpowering. The turkey was fantastic, but my go-to meat for BBQ is sausage and that was really lackluster for me. The sides were just okay. It’s the sauce that keeps people going to Rudy’s.
Afterward, we took a leisurely drive to San Padre Island, then rounded back up Ocean Drive to Seashore Blvd and made our way around the Corpus Christi Bay.
The Selena Memorial was right on the harbor, and we spent some time there reading the messages written on the bricks, walked our way about the yachts and fishing trawlers before we realized that there– in the distance– was the USS Lexington. It was too late for the tour, but I was dedicated to getting a good picture.
Unfortunately, my husband decided it was a good idea to get a picture of me taking a picture. There are a few of these in existence, where I crouch into a strange pose to get a good angle on a photo (the most classic is the one of me lying on the road on my back with my legs spread for leverage to get a photo of my friends on a rock across the way back in 2015). I say if the risk of losing your own life, limb or camera is not on the line, the photo isn’t worth it.
In this case, it was so worth it crouching in the water and nearly getting my phone swept away in the water to get that snapshot. I regret nothing about my accordion pose.
We headed back for the night, but I knew I wanted to get on that ship. I wanted to take that tour. I’m a big history nerd, I grew up watching WWII documentaries with my dad and reading Civil War and Oregon Trail stories with my mom. I exhausted every history elective course my high school offered and took two semesters of independent study in history my senior year.
We were going.
The next day after work we quickly finished up the season finale of Westworld which we had binged in the hotel room (I only saw four episodes, Ben watched most of it while I slept), then headed off to Hester’s Cafe at the Art Museum. We did not go to the Art Museum, just to the cafe because it sits on the bay and we can see the USS Lexington from the dining area. It’s a really pretty view, honestly. The food is good too!
And then, finally, Ben and I were on our way up to the USS Lexington Museum on the Sea.
This place was fun. We were there for 2 1/2 hours and had to rush through the last leg of the tour because of closing time. Aside from my love of history, my brother-in-law is currently active duty with the Navy and this was a chance for Ben and I to get a bit of a feel of how he lived on the ship he serves on. The USS Lexington was also involved in some major naval battles in the Philippines, so it added as a history lesson not just for my home of the USA, but also Ben’s homeland in the Philippines.
So we soaked this place up. We nerded out.
It was a blast.I didn’t even get pictures of the exhibits I liked the most because, for me, they were too powerful for me to even think of touching the camera. I had the same problem when I went to the 9/11 museum in New York and was glad some of the spaces denied access to cameras. The Pearl Harbor Exhibit did that to me here; all I can say is it’s something you have to experience (and learning the USS Lexington was used in the movie Pearl Harbor was kind of cool too).
Seriously, I learned so much about this ship. It has an amazing history of success at war, participating in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the Battle of Leyte, sinking multiple ships and shooting down hundreds of enemy warplanes. The Japanese nicknamed her “The Blue Ghost”, for she kept reappearing after being announced sunk. Despite taking a kamikaze plane to the island which caused significant damage, she continued to fight and shoot down another kamikaze headed for another ship, sailing for 4 days to repairs in Manila.
If this ship was a person, they would be one of the most decorated war heroes of all time.
We were able to explore so many different levels of the ship- 11 floors total, including the full flight deck with replica and vintage airplanes, sitting the gunner deck and adjusting the antiaircraft weaponry, heading to the observatory and the navigation deck. You get to walk through the captain’s cabins and private quarters, the sick bay, the mess hall, the chapel, the engine room, the galley, the bunking for the crew… there are exhibits for other ships such as the USS Enterprise and the USS Houston.
This was absolutely awesome. I’m so glad we went. Definitely the highlight of our trip.
Despite originally planning to have dinner on the bay, we ended up going further inland to eat a Chuy’s, which is a chain Tex-Mex restaurant we had been meaning to try when we lived in Tulsa but hadn’t. The Deluxe Tomatillo Sauce was the best sauce I have ever had with Mexican food, so I quite enjoyed my chicken enchiladas.
Today I woke up, went to work, then we loaded up and made our way back to Austin with fuller stomachs, fuller minds and another location marked off our ever growing list of exploration. Not too shabby for a three-day trip, I must say.