Monday, October 26, 2015

Return to Brazoria County Free Beach Surfside, TX

I got a rare three days in a row off from Home Depot so I decided to revisit the Gulf beach at the Brazoria County Free Beach which I originally reviewed here:  Brazoria County Free Beach Review .
When I got to the Free Beach I noticed that, contrary to my last visit, there was a strong breeze whipping up the waves and driving them to the beach.  I didn't think much of this but this factor would play an ominous role in my stay later that evening.

The tide rolls in.
 The beach itself is generally wide enough that a rig the size of the Tank can safely (and dryly) camp overnight by setting up close to the dunes, that's what I'd always done in the past, but this visit was going to be different.   Around 5pm I noticed that the incoming waves were pushing more and more over the beach and with the wind undiminished I re-positioned the Tank as far up and close to the dunes (which are protected, you can't even walk on them let alone park on them) as I could.  I awoke at about 11:30pm and felt the Tank swaying in a worrisome way.  Looking out the door window I discovered that the tide had completely covered the entire beach and the Tank was standing in 3-4 inches of Gulf!  I was fairly worried but I consulted the tide tables for the area off a Google referral and saw the tide would be going out from that point in the evening so things wouldn't get too much worse.  I also considered that the Free Beach sand remains fairly solid when wet or damp, you really only get into trouble when it drys out completely and you suddenly sink up to your axle in fluffy white sand.  It was pitch black and I reasoned trying to drive off the beach would probably just get me into more trouble so I went back to bed--and to sleep!

The Tank's rear tire after a night of standing in the Gulf tide.

The next morning the wind was still blowing strongly and waves were washing over the entire width of the Free Beach but water was no longer standing on it.  I decided that I wanted off the beach but first walked the beach looking for bad areas that might be hazardous to drive through.  There were a number and I mentally chose a path avoiding them.  During my walk I encountered a Ford F-150 that had driven into an area off the beach that was dry sand and had gotten stuck up to his rear bumper.  There was no one near the truck so I guessed they must have walked out trying to find a tow truck.

The tire holes the Tank's rear tires left after it thankfully moved.
Having the path reconnoitered in advance really made the difference as the Tank made it off the beach without too much difficulty even though I had to drive through some standing water that was 3-4 inches deep in places.  One of the standard procedures I always use when deciding where to drive the Tank (or not drive) was taught to me by a much more experienced RV'er:  "When in doubt, get out."  Meaning get out of the truck and walk the path you're considering instead of driving ahead and hoping for the best.  It has saved me a ton of trouble and it really helped in getting off the Free Beach.

I still recommend camping at the Free Beach but add the caveat to heed the strong winds and the tide tables in deciding where to camp on the beach.

Thanks for reading!