Texas in the winter?

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by Jim K, Dec 12, 2020.

  1. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    With the covid mess, my parents have canceled their annual Florida plans. We usually join them for a week in February, but thought this year might be an opportunity to explore someplace new. We've never been to Texas, and are thinking of visiting that side of the gulf.

    Looking at Port Aransas or South Padre. We'd like to spend time at the beach, but also be able to make day trips. There's 7 of us, with kids from 2-12, so best bet will probably be a vrbo house.

    I assume Port A/Corpus Christi will have more stuff to do and be more accessible, but Padre has a better beach/warmer? I like the idea of being close enough to the airport that we could fly inland and see stuff and be back 'home' by bedtime. Corpus looks to be the best bet for that as well, as it puts San Antonio, Austin, and Houston within an hour flight.

    What's the 'don't miss' stuff in SE Texas? Any place worth stopping on our way down from IL?

    Should I worry about tying down next to the ocean for a week? Pay for a hangar?
     
  2. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Wait until the hurricane season is over, the Texas coast has a couple cold weeks too.
    we have kids that live in San Antonio.

    today it was mid 50s but warms up quickly.
     
  3. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Contact @Jay Honeck and he can give you the rundown on his hotel Amelia's landing and Port A.
    It's probably colder here than you might imagine.
     
  4. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I spent a week at North Padre. I was absolutely shocked at the amount of trash on the beaches. I was told it comes up mainly from Mexico. It was everywhere, and completely covered the beaches up to several feet thick for miles.
     
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I was thinking of Jay, but he hasn't been around for a while and I understand he sold the hotel?

    Port A is about the latitude as Tampa, which is about 40mi north of where we usually go. We've had really good luck with having good weather in late February. Regardless it will be a lot nicer than IL.

    Hate to hear that. I did read that the TX beaches end up with a lot of trash, which is one of the reasons I want to keep options open. Plus if we have bad luck and catch a cold or rainy week we could still find things to do.
     
  6. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When I lived in San Antonio, a friend pointed out that the Gulf is a "big toilet bowl" and that trash and pollution rotate around from New Orleans to Galveston to Port A to South Padre. Much of it ends up on beaches. That's why Pensacola tends to have nice, white, clean beaches and South Padre ends up trashy.

    As for weather, San Antonio would get a couple of good ice storms a year, and a few other days in the 30s and 20s. The Gulf Coast tends a bit warmer - 50s are not uncommon in winter.
     
  7. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    In Corpus/Port A there is the USS Lexington and Texas State Aquarium. King Ranch could be a day trip. San Antonio or Fredericksburg could be a day trip by car or plane. But day trips seem to miss the whole point of avoiding COVID to me.

    if Amelia’s Landing doesn’t keep a courtesy car at the Port A airport anymore, there is a tourist trolley car that makes a circuit once an hour with a stop at the airport for a nominal fare. There is no FBO there. Don’t know if Enterprise is on the island.

    consider Rockport also. Not on the beach, but on the bay. Littlest kids may enjoy that more. Then the beach can be one of your day trips.
     
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  8. FORANE

    FORANE En-Route

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    San Antonio Riverwalk
    https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...AhUhpFkKHfRzDLsQjJkEegQIHxAB&biw=1000&bih=435
    Go to the top of the tower of the Americas. Don't pay for the ride to the top; instead, take the free ride to the top and just order their desserts - fantastic.
    Go to the Alamo - it's right on the riverwalk.
    Stay at the Hyatt riverwalk:
    https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/t...o-riverwalk/satrs/maps-parking-transportation
     
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  9. rene86mx

    rene86mx Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I love South Padre. it's 30 min to KBRO, KPIL. You'll need a car
     
  10. TheFB

    TheFB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Been down there quite a bit. I don’t like S Padre or the Texas beaches especially in the winter. Why not further west in Florida (Destin, 30A, Panama City Beach) or Gulf Shores Alabama? All those are better water, beautiful beaches, great accommodations and more to do with kids.
     
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Mainly because we've never been to Texas. We've gone to Florida for the last dozen years.

    Started at Panama City, which was just too cold. It also seemed like it had two speeds: 'dead' & 'spring break'. When we tried going later to get better weather, the spring breakers showed up and while I'm glad they're having fun, it's not my crowd.

    Then did a year at Key Largo, which was great, but there's really no beaches in the Keys.

    We've also done short trips to Orlando, Tampa, St. Augustine, Daytona, Cape Canaveral, Gainesville, Miami, Key West, Pensacola, & Sarasota. Feeling like there's not a lot left to see, although I'd like to go back to a lot of those places. Flying into Marathon and Key West are definitely on the bucket list.

    The last several years have been on an island near Fort Myers, which is almost perfect, but the beach is the only thing to do. The kids and I are good with a week of beach, but my wife gets bored. Being a farmer we can only get away in winter and the hottest parts of summer, so beach vacations tend to be a winter thing, and i think the kids would be upset if we skipped the beach altogether.
     
  12. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The Padre beaches I was on had a beach maintainer that seemed to pull off all the trash and seaweed & groom it like a ski hill every morning, before most people arrived. Can't recall but maybe PortA had the same?
     
  13. c177tx

    c177tx Pre-Flight

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    Both Port A and South Padre clean their beeches. I have been to both with nice blue water all the way to the shore, but most of the time the water is churned up and not so clear. South Padre will give you a better chance of having warmer weather. Both locations are typical Island towns with the beech shops and restaurants. Bay fishing and offshore fishing are available at both.
     
  14. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    But South Padre has Starship launches.
     
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  15. rene86mx

    rene86mx Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don't expect it to be Florida-like
     
  16. DoubleD

    DoubleD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Texas winter weather runs in 3-4 day warm/cold cycles. You take your chances.
     
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  17. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    @Jay Honeck and his remarkable wife, Mary, have in deed sold the Amelia's Landing hotel, but may yet pipe-up with recommendations for Port A places.
     
  18. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    We used to do Thanksgiving in South Padre and the gulf was generally warm enough to swim in if it was sunny. The water gets clearer and deep water gets closer to shore the further south you go.

    Flying the coast from South Padre to KLBX, south of Houston, the water got visibly muddier as you passed each river going north up the coast. If you’re thinking of snorkeling I’d go to South Padre

    Gary
     
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  19. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    There are several museum ships: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Museum_ships_in_Texas

    Kemah Boardwalk isn't terrible, if the COVID stuff isn't too bad.

    Galveston has some other things to do.

    It was in the 30s when we took off this morning, but never terrible all the way from Dallas to Wichita Falls, to Midland down towards Fort Stockton, Abilene and back. If the weather's so bad you can't leave by lunch, give it a couple of days and you'll be VFR again.
     
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  20. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    It's official...reserved a place in North Padre. Planning to do a day or two in New Braunfels/San Antonio on the way down to see the Alamo and wife's family.

    Probably going to use Corpus Christi Intl. for the proximity and ease of getting a rental car, although I'm open to suggestions.

    @SixPapaCharlie if you have any interest in shooting The Family Truckster Lance for an airplane ad, send me a message. I'm sure there's a joke somewhere in there about having 5 kids using that Barry White voice.
     
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  21. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Ahhh the irony of this thread.

    The avionics shop got my airplane done Friday, so Monday during the worst snowstorm I can remember I picked up my rental car, which then got stuck in the road in front of my house. I got it dug out and made arrangements with my neighbor to plow my driveway and a path to the county highway, since I knew the road commissioner wouldn't do it. Also called the airport manager in ky and talked him into opening the airport Tuesday.

    Got lucky and followed a county plow truck to the interstate, which was is surprisingly decent shape. After a 6 hour drive (that took 3 in normal conditions) I helped the avionics shop shovel a path across their ramp. Uneventful flight home, then another shoveling session to get my hangar open, and a call to crash rescue to cut the frozen lock off, finally got my old girl back in my hangar. The "golf tug" worked better than expected on the compacted snow.

    We're supposed to leave Saturday, looks like the weather is rapidly improving, and should be pretty nice next week. Are things still going to be a mess or are they starting to get a handle on it?
     
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  22. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Everything is going to be fine.
    This was unusual but not unheard of.

    Not sure what happened with the power grid and hopefully they will get that sorted out.
    This snow will be gone by Sunday and we will talk about the Valentines Day Snowpocalypse for the next 10 years.
    Ask any Texan about Superbowl Snowmegeddon of 2011

    It's rare enough that we remember them forever.

    The biggest after effect will be individuals and businesses that had frozen pipes burst.
    My kids school is completely flooded and we are trying to sort out where to sent those that attend in person.

    In a week everything will be normal until the next "event". I predict mad cow makes a comeback because why not at this point?
     
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  23. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Austin, TX happened to the power grid. Someone decided 30% renewable energy sounded nifty, so currently 25% of power generation is wind. Hmmm..

    [Note: This is the aviation related part] So it turns out that heavy precipitation in subfreezing air will form ice on a spinning propeller. And when the ice accumulates enough it stops spinning from the weight, and then freezes to the attached cowling. Also, I think there's something about a loss of lift from the ice on the blade. (lift being horizontal here) So that can't help keep it spinning.

    So... at this point we have politics and aviation involved. Let's add math into the mix. 25% of the electric generation capacity went off line during an event that SPIKED electrical demand. You can picture the graph.
     
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  24. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    North Dakota has wind turbines. Do they all freeze in the winter? Seems odd to build something that only works ~6 months out of the year.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  25. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Officials for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of Texas’ grid, said the primary cause of the outages Tuesday appeared to be the state’s natural gas providers. Many are not designed to withstand such low temperatures on equipment or during production.

    By some estimates, nearly half of the state’s natural gas production has screeched to a halt due to the extremely low temperatures, while freezing components at natural gas-fired power plants have forced some operators to shut down.


    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/16/natural-gas-power-storm/

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  26. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    And yet, Minnesota gets 20% of it's juice from wind year 'round. Seems you can build these things for cold weather, and they work fine. Heat the blades, heat the lubrication...who knew?

    Western IA gets 40% of its power from wind, and they have rolling blackouts now. Only 15% of wind power is down, 50% of thermal is down, because TX can't keep the gas flowing.

    Fail to plan, plan to fail.

    Sure, would have cost more, but now I insurance claims get to make up the difference many times over.
     
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  27. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Here's some Economics:
     
  28. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    Interesting video, but as the man said, the economic costs of negative environmental impact are left completely out of that very complex equation. So though I teresti g, still incomplete.
     
  29. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    well, haven't had to defecate in the backyard yet, but going on day 2 of boiling grassy ---t snow for flush water here in C TX. Managed to secure some frozen source of water for potable use I'm not gonna advertise; should be able to have potable rations for the next 48 hours worth of use (2+1+3 cats). On the power side, rolling blackouts for the last 4 days, stabilizing for now (first time logging on here on house power so yai!). Supplies are non-existent right now at the local grocery suppliers, but some fast food establishments have started to open up. Friends we know back in my previous duty station town 120NM west are in more dire straits when it comes to running water and power reliability. The base is detached from the town utilities, so things are getting real apartheid real quick. The latter is utilizing the creek for water sourcing, using candles and ceramic pots to heat a room. Some of the scenes in urban DAL and HOU are pretty dystopian. The bifurcation of our society is in full display right now here in this state.

    Snow is falling at a steady clip right now (18 Feb 1200 CST). Hoping my week-long water faucet drips averted busted pipes, though we won't know for sure until the temps come up to above-freezing lows. Compared to my winters in KLAF, this is a joke both precipitation and temp wise; frankly it's rather balmy for Northern Indiana standards. I could give the debrief point as to why this is such a mess down here, but it would get political real quick, so I'll digress. Cheers "y'aaaall....." :D
     
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  30. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Living up north, we never had to drip faucets no matter how cold, but living in the south one learns that houses are not built for cold. One, not as much insulation, and two, new houses down here are still built with water runs on exterior walls. My upstairs water goes up an exterior wall and the washer water feed is on an exterior wall. Dumb. Anytime the temps drop into the teens or colder, I drip the furthest upstairs faucet.
     
  31. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    So I've been making phone calls all morning. FBO's, hotel, rental mgr., cousins in San Antonio...everything is closed today. Everyone I talked to is hopeful that the above freezing/sunny weather tomorrow will get things back to normal, and should be fine for Saturday. I'm not holding out much hope for the heated swimming pool, though :(
     
  32. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    From what I understand, the way they extract and transfer Nat G to the power plants want equipped to withstand these winter conditions. Given its Texas and the efficiency of the extract->transport system of Nat G in normal times, these plants had very little inventory on-site. They are generally only designed to handle peak loads on top of the base power supplied by nuke plants. So when it got cold, not only did they have supply issues, but peak demand increased. When the one nuke plant shut down (which provides base power) it made it tons worse.

    I also understand the wind turbines built in Texas did not come with heating systems like those in the north have. Makes sense to me, this was a 5 year or 10 year storm and who needs the extra ~4GW from wind as long as Nat G can handle peak.

    Glad y’all Texans are surviving. My in laws are N of San Antonio and surviving well.

    - Greetings from balmy Chicago
     
  33. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Now, now Ron. North Dakotans also bury their water lines at least 8 feet deep to keep them below the frost line. In Texas I think it's 8 inches. Maybe. :D

    Latter day building codes in cold weather climates, such as where I live, now often preclude running any plumbing in exterior walls, other than hose bibs with through wall shut-offs.

    One of the biggest issues in Texas is because such a large amount of the natural gas supply does not come from gas wells. It comes from the associated gas from the oil wells, and especially from the volatile, light sweet crude produced from the shale reservoirs, which is very gassy. Those wells also produce a LOT of water. And the water handling parts of the surface production facilities froze, along with pipelines which are often run on the surface in Texas instead of buried as they are in more northern climes. Once the facilities froze the oil had to be shut in, and of course that had a dramatic influence on the available natural gas supply.

    In States such as Kansas and Colorado more of the natural gas supply comes from native gas reservoirs instead of from associated gas from oil production. Although there are still water handling facilities with the gas wells, it's not the volume that has to be handled in places such as West Texas or South Texas.

    There isn't a practical way to keep really large quantities of natural gas in "inventory". Typically the first source of "inventory" is to draft off the transmission and distribution pipeline network - in other words start taking gas out at a higher rate than the gas being fed into them and gradually lower the pressure. Next is using gas storage reservoirs for emergency drawdown - these are often depleted fields that have natural gas reinjected into them during the fall and spring shoulder season and are drawn down during the winter heating cycle and the summer air conditioning season. Finally, natural gas can be liquified (cool to -260 deg F and it shrinks the volume by 600 times) and stored in tanks (glorified Thermos bottles) in liquid form. The gas is then re-vaporized by adding heat and can be injected into pipelines or used directly in local generators to produce power.

    Gas is a more difficult energy source to handle compared with more typical liquid fuels such as crude oil, diesel, gasoline or propane. That is one reason it is usually less expensive than liquid fuels on a unit of energy basis.
     
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  34. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    The figures I read were a peak demand of 69GW, and a wind capacity of 22GW. So if I were running the show, and I was relying on wind to supply a serious chunk of my generating capacity, I might think seriously about ponying up the extra 5 percent or so it would've taken to keep that capacity online in the event of a 5 or ten year storm.

    But in any event, placing the blame for this fiasco on failure of wind technology is disingenuous at best, and I hope the good people of Texas see through it.
     
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  35. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    This is my kid's school. My wife works there so we went up to try and save some peoples' belongings.

     
  36. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    You guys realize that a TON of people have been moving to Texas from OTHER "failed states" in the last 2-3 years and I, for one, and NOT shocked that the electric grid is a tad behind the "power curve" on this. A TON of new solar stuff is going in, but I suspect we'll need some new older-style stuff as well for events like this past week.

    https://houston.culturemap.com/news...elocation-report-new-residents-2019-rankings/
     
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Texas has an installed nameplate wind turbine capacity of just under 31,000 MW.

    Every type of power generation has issues; there's no perfect solution. Wind's primary downside is it isn't an on demand power source, unlike gas turbines. Heat waves and extended cold spells are generally periods of very stable air masses, with little wind, after the weather pattern that brought them in has passed.

    That's why there's a need for a mixture of energy types supplying the generators.
     
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  38. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Quit with the negative waves, man.
    I don't think anyone's arguing that's not the case, and should commercial storage capacity come to fruition, that will be also be a game changer. Having said that, the race to be the lowest cost provider needs to be tempered, in the public interest, by a willingness to concede that worst-case disaster scenarios happen, and the unlikely- though-not-impossible needs to planned and budgeted for accordingly.

    Otherwise we all ultimately pay for it.
     
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  39. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    What I’m hearing is the neither the power plants nor the turbines were FIKI rated. Ok, makes sense.
     
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  40. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    Back to the OP’s original concern...here in San Antonio no fresh produce as of last night, and still under voluntary boil water order. Son went to job at burger joint and they weren’t allowed to sell any items that relied on produce, or drinks with water or ice. So sold lots of French fries and milkshakes.

    I don’t know about Corpus.
     
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