Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is this white stuff?

On Wednesday,  February 25 we woke up early in Goliad, TX. We were moving before 8 AM. We got loaded up and set the trailer up to go into storage. We then drove the 150 miles to Kerrville, TX. We put my motorcycle in the back of the truck and shut down all of the systems in the trailer. We then drove on to Kim's parents house in Bedford. Thanks again Phyllis and Richie for putting us up for the night and feeding us Dinner and Breakfast. We love to spend time together, but I really enjoyed talking to Tomcat. Sorry for the private message, but I know my mother in law is a regular reader.

We got up on Thursday and headed north about 10AM. We had a very easy drive and arrived in Mansfield, MO at 6PM. We started to notice deposits of this white stuff on the side of the road as we headed north. No problem at all...we thought. Well when we arrived at the ranch we found this:


The temperature was about 21 degrees and it is expected to drop to about 6 degrees by tomorrow morning. The high tomorrow is expected to be about 25. This is not our kind of weather, but we will stay warm in the lodge.

It is kind of pretty and I did get one shot before the sun went down.


We will get to see the grandkids tomorrow afternoon. We are really looking forward to that. We will stay for about 10 days. We have a bunch to get done before we head back to our house and warmer weather. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yeah! We got the Truck back!

This will just be a short post. I just wanted to document that we got the truck back from the Ford Dealer here in Goliad. The problem turned out to be a Cam Position Sensor. The part was $45, but there was about $230 in labor and tax. All in all, not bad. The towing was the expensive part.

The good news is that we are now ready to move on. I did not know how much not having the truck was bothering me until I went to pick it up. I just feel whole again. Hard to explain.

Our plan now is to put the rig in storage in the Kerrville area tomorrow. Then we will head to the Dallas area and spend the night. We will then make the drive on up to Missouri.

Everything happens for a reason. We got to go to church at the Presidio and I was able to spend some time touring Goliad on bicycle. Kim was able to do a bunch of reading. All is good.

I just can't do a blog post without a picture. Here is one of my favorite shots of the dawn of a new day while at Goose Island:


I heard a quote today: " Each year of you life go to some place you have not been before" I don't like that. My plan is to go to some place I have not been to before every day of my life. Sounds like a good plan!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Goliad Weekend with No Truck

As I wrote about in my last entry, the truck is at the Ford Dealer in Goliad. Kim's sister and husband along with daughter Halle came over to take us to dinner Friday evening. The pizza was very good. That was the first pizza we have had since we were at Michaels back in December. We just don't eat out very often. We do live on a budget and eating out every day is not in the budget, but the main reason is that I like to cook and really prefer my own cooking.

I did a bunch of research on the potential problems with the truck. I wanted to try a few things, so I got on my bike and went over to the dealership. They gave me the keys after checking ID and I tried to see what I could do. No luck. We will just have to wait and see. I do have a pretty good idea of what the problem is, but I have no idea what it will cost to fix.

On Sunday, after breakfast, I decided to go for a bike ride. It was a warm day with highs expected to be in the low 80's. I think the low Sunday morning was around 65 and very humid. Not great sleeping weather. I found one of those places I like to call a hidden gem. There is a bike trail that runs along the San Antonio River right out of the SP. There is one area that has some wooden boardwalks right over the river. They built some wooden switchbacks. It is really cool and fun to  ride.





The trail then lead over to the historic square in Goliad. Here is a shot of the square and a better shot of the courthouse.






There are plaques around the square commemorating some key historic events in the history of the area. This is one detailing a tornado that hit the area in 1902 that killed 114 people. That was only 2 years after the Galveston Hurricane that killed over 6000. I had never heard of the Tornado. I love to tie historical events together. I just find that interesting.
















When I got back from my ride, I was hot and sweaty. It was over 80 and very humid. We planned to go to Church at the Presidio at 6PM. It was about a mile walk and mostly uphill. At least the walk home was easier. As we walked along the river, I thought about the many settlers before me that had walked along this river to the Presidio to go to church.

When we got back to the trailer, I fixed dinner, While I was slaving over the hot stove, a cold front came in. The temperature dropped about 20 degrees in 15 minutes. When I got up this morning it was 39 degrees. We had to turn on the heat.

All in all it was a very good weekend. When we woke up this morning (Monday) we saw that there was an ice storm going on in Kerrville. That was our planned next stop. I am really glad that we are not there. We will find out later what it will cost to fix the truck, but we did get a few positives out of getting stranded here for a few days.

The weather in Missouri looks ugly for next weekend, so the birthday party for Cameron has been cancelled. I am not sure what we will do at this point. All we can do is relax and enjoy the ride we call our life.

Here is a special effects version of the courthouse shot above:


If you click on it, you can see it better.

All the best.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mission Espiritu Santo and OH NO!

On Thursday, February 19 we decided to take a look at the mission Espiritu Santo. It is located right here at the State Park. We had about a mile walk from our site the mission. It was established in 1749, just like the Presidio that we toured on Wednesday. They are built on opposite sides of the San Antonio River. They were built to protect a trade route to Victoria.


There is no fee to tour the grounds, but there really is not much to see because the museum is closed for renovation. It was a nice day and we enjoyed checking out the few artifacts and interpretive signs that are on the grounds.


Inside the chapel:


It was interesting, but we had a set plan in the next few days to get ready to head to Missouri. That is the first time we had reservations made and dates set in a long time. Then.....it happened!

On Friday, we were going to go check out a museum in Goliad and then drive the 30 miles over to Beeville to have dinner with Kim's sister and brother in law. I went out to start the truck and it would not start. It will crank, but no fire. I did some research on line and tried all I could think of and then started to look for a place to get it looked at. The good news is there is a Ford dealer about 1 mile from where we are camped. I called the dealership. They can't look at it until Monday. I had to get it towed in. The tow truck driver saw us coming and charged us $200 to take it 1 mile. Oh, well you have to expect stuff like that. Here is the picture I never want to see:


I changed our reservations and we are set up to stay here for a couple more days. We are all set up and it could be a lot worse. My biggest fear is breaking down on the road in the middle of nowhere. This is a pretty good situation by comparison. 

I was pretty proud of myself. I kept my cool and dealt with the situation. This is an area that has been a problem for me in the past. I can be a real jerk when I have plans and everything gets messed up. As it is, we will have a relaxing weekend and see what next week brings. I know that I have to learn to be resilient in this lifestyle. We will see what next week holds for us. The good news is that we can go to church at the Presidio on Sunday. That should be kind of cool. 

Life is not perfect, but still pretty great.




Friday, February 20, 2015

Goliad State Park

We left Rockport on Wednesday February 18 and drove the 65 miles to Goliad State Park. it was a flat and easy drive with no wind. A perfect travel day.

We had a choice of the pull throughs in the front campground with full hook ups or we could go to the back campground with just water and electric. The back campground is like a big asphalt parking lot, but it was almost empty. The front campground looked a bit nicer, but was almost full. We were hoping for a little isolation, so we chose the back campground. We do have a bit more road noise than we like, but it is very nice and isolated. We like it here.



We decided to take a walk to the Presidio, which is about a mile away. It is outside the state park and run by a local preservation group. There is a trail right from our campsite that winds along the San Antonio river. There are some real big trees, that were probably here during all of the famous happenings here in the 1830's. Kim liked this tree. If we joined hands we could reach all of the way around it.


The Presidio La Bahia was established in 1749 on this site. In 1836, just about 3 weeks after the battle at the Alamo, there was a battle near here. The Mexican troops won and took Colonel Fannin and over 300 Texans prisoner. Under orders from Santa Ana, they massacred most of the men. Some escaped by running to the San Antonio River and hiding very near where we are camping. The presidio was rebuilt in the 1930's by the CCC.



This shot is from inside the walls, looking back at the chapel.


Here is the inside of the chapel. They still hold mass here on Sunday evening. Too bad we will be gone by then.


Adjacent to the Presidio is a memorial and grave site of Colonel Fannin. 


There is also the birthplace of General Ignacio Zaragoza at the presidio. It is a simple house that was closed while we were there. General Zaragoza led an outgunned force of Mexican militia against the French on May 5, 1862. That victory is what is celebrated with the Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico. I didn't know that. There is also a statue of Zaragoza.




After walking back to the rig, I started a campfire. It was the first one we have had since Granbury back in early January.



It was a very good day.








Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bay View RV Park

We ended up staying at Bay View RV park for 5 nights. When we first arrived, I thought it would be OK, but not great. It turned out to be great. The park itself was quiet. We enjoyed the pool and hot tub. I played basketball almost every day and we did enjoy having cable TV. We caught up on all of the latest Country music videos. Yes, we admit to liking country music. 

The best part of staying in Rockport was spending more time with our new friends, Bob and Rox and Bill and Lisa. Here is a cool shot of the girls and a nice sunset back at Goose Island:


We went back to the SP to see Bill and Lisa and hopefully see the dolphins. The dolphins decided to stay away that one evening. Oh well. We then went back to our trailer and had an unplanned party. We ended up staying up until after midnight telling stories and talking about the RV lifestyle. Let's just say all of us like to tell stories. We had a blast. 

Bill and Lisa were moving down to Mustang Island on Monday, so we said goodbye and we will see you down the road. 

On Monday, I went and bought some gumbo crab and some shrimp. I made a big pot of gumbo. It turned out pretty good. It was in the mid 70's in the morning and we decided to go swimming. We got about 100 yards from the pool and the wind came up and the temp instantly dropped about 15 degrees. Rain followed, but it was fine in the pool and hot tub. The walk back to the rig was a bit cold in shorts. It was 48 when we got back.

On Tuesday, we invited Bob and Rox over for gumbo. Rox brought over some yummy cornbread. We proved once again we could tell stories all night. Bob and Rox are also fulltimers and it is amazing how similar our stories are. We said goodbye and we will see you down the road. I am sure our paths will cross again.

I wanted to post these pictures, so that we remember them. I hope they don't mind. 

Bob and Rox:


Bill and Lisa:


We are moving on to Goliad SP to check out the local history and see Kim's sister.
Here is one last shot of the sunset at Goose Island. They never got old.


Enjoy your day!



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lamardi Gras Party!

Kim was disappointed when we had to leave Goose Island SP before the weekend. The local VFD was having a Mardi Gras Celebration. The name of the town is Lamar, hence "Lamardi Gras".  We decided to stay in the area for a bit longer. We chose to stay at Bay View RV Park. It is very unlike most places we stay. The sites are very close together and is a major step down from Goose Island SP. The only view we have out all of our windows are other RV's. Oh, well. We have a heated pool, hot tub, laundry and many social activities and cable TV and full hookups.

On Friday night February 13, we made plans to meet our new friends, Bill and Lisa at the Mardi Gras. It was a bit smaller than we expected, but they had two good bands playing. They were both quite good. We had a few adult beverages and even did a bit of dancing. Bill and Lisa happened to meet a couple in the food area that are full timers originally from Wisconsin. The 6 of us talked a bit between songs and it was really fun to compare stories. Bob and Rox are younger retirees like us. Bob likes to kayak and is quite active as I am and Rox sits back and laughs at him like Kim does with me.

Here is a shot of the party:






We got up on Saturday morning and went to the parade. They had fire engines, ROTC groups marching and golf carts decorated for a contest. And of course they all had "throws".




We got plenty of beads.


This was my favorite golf cart:


Kim liked the queens. She could tell you all about this movement.





We had planned to have Valentines dinner at a local restaurant on Saturday. We decided to make it a group dinner and all 6 of us met at Charlotte Plumbers on the bay. The meal was fine, but the conversation was better. I am always learning new tip and tricks and most importantly, great places to go and things to do.

We then made plans to go back to the Mardi Gras to listen to music and hang out a bit more. The bad was very good, but too loud to talk. We still had fun and did a bit more dancing. It is amazing what a little alcohol will to do a guys judgement.



This was another one of those hidden gems. I was not expecting much, but because of meeting some great folks the weekend turned out to be a blast. 

We will stay in this area for a few more days. The weather looks bad the next few days with lows in the 40's and highs in the 50's. That does not sound bad, but the wind in out of the north at around 20. We will see what additional trouble we can find over the next few days. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Dolphins!


We are still at Goose Island SP near Rockport, Texas. We have fallen into a daily routine of hanging out at the camp site all day, then having a good dinner and then I go fishing in the evening down at the pier. I have been getting in a good bike ride each day, so at least I am getting some exercise. We have met a number of folks here and that has really made it fun. The fishing is good, but the conversations are better.

The last two evenings some dolphins have been hanging around the lights that shine in the water by the pier. At first, they were staying about 50 yards out, but lately they have been coming right up to the pier. I am certainly not a wildlife behavior expert, but I think they have been trying to be social with us. They come to the surface and seem to be looking at us and coming to the surface way more than they need to. It has been an awesome experience. I love dolphins!

video

It was really hard to get a great image with the limited light, but the video shows them a little better. I would just fish a while and then go back to watching the dolphins. 

Here is a shot of the pier. It really turned into one of those hidden gems.



I went for a bike ride back over to the "Big Tree" and went to find the Whooping Cranes.


I just could not get a great shot, but these birds are over 5 feet tall. They were thought to be extinct, but in 1941 they found 15 of them in what is now the Aransas Wildlife Refuge. The population is up to about 300, but they are still in danger. We heard the other day that one of them was shot and killed. 

There are many other wading birds in this area. We have seen Night Herons, Green Herons, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Ospreys and many other Ducks and Pelicans. 

We got word that we can't stay at the State Park for the weekend. There is an event going on here and we will have to move on. We will figure out what we are going to do and let you all know where we go from here. Stuff like that is just part of the adventure.

I will have to close with a series of sunset shots from last night. It was the best sunset yet.




Those were all taken right out the back window of the trailer. It really is an awesome site.








Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Big tree, Cranes and more fishing

We are hanging out at Goose Island SP. It is a really cool place. I can see why so many people winter in the Rockport area. We have seen a bunch of RV parks in the area and most are pretty full. The weather has been very warm. Yesterday the high was about 80 degrees. We needed to make a trip to town, so we decided to do a little looking around while we were out.

We started by going to see the "Big Tree". It is a 1000 year old live oak. It is a really cool tree.


Here are a couple of shots of the rest of the grove. There were a number of large trees in this grove.



Kim took a picture of me in front of the tree. 


While we were at the tree, we noticed some large birds in the fields in that area. There were a number of vehicles stopped on the side of the road looking at the birds with binoculars. They were both Whooping Cranes and Sandhill Cranes. They were cool to watch, but we did not get any pictures on the ground. Then right when we were ready to leave a squadron of Whooping Cranes came flying over. I got this one shot:


We went into the town of Rockport and did the Walmart thing. I had been given the hot set up for catching Speckled Trout from a local fisherman. I made the needed purchase and was eager to return to the pier to try my luck. Here is the result:


This is about a 12 inch Speckled Trout. The keeper limit is 15 inches. I ended up catching about 8 fish, but no keepers. It was fun catching fish and hanging out on the Pier for the evening. There were a number of others from the campground fishing and telling stories. Good times!

I will have to finish with a sunset picture from last night. It is just so cool that we have this great view.


I have no idea what we will do the rest of the time we are here, but I am sure we will find something to do.

Enjoy the day!





Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Goose Island State Park

We left Mustang Island State Park on Sunday, February 8. I drove the easy 64 miles around Corpus Christi Bay to Goose Island State Park. It was a bit windy, but not too bad.

Goose Island SP has two loops. One is in the woods and one is right on the bay. We were thinking that we were ready for some more isolated camping in the woods, but the sites that were available were very tight and we really liked the views from the bay side sites. We opted for the bay side.


We parked next to another couple that have a Titanium trailer. They were full timers for 7 years and have now decided to only travel part time. They had some great advice. I noticed solar panels on top on their rig and I got great info on that upgrade I am planning. The one thing I noticed about Dean and Jo is that although they are in their late 70's, they still looked young and were full of energy. I hope people say that about us when we are their age.

The cool thing about this site is that we have sunsets right out the back window. So, expect a bunch of sunset pictures over the next few days.




There is a long pier at the end of the island that looks really good. I am sure I will be out there doing some fishing while we are here.


It was foggy our first morning, but there were some pelicans on some pilings out the back window.


Here is the view of our loop from the end of the pier. Did I mention the pier is about a half mile long?


I surprised myself this morning by getting up at 7AM. I have no idea what possessed me. I was rewarded by I nice sunrise.


I only had to walk about 50 feet to get this picture. We have a pretty cool site. 

We are hearing about Whooping Cranes at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge that is adjacent to the State Park. Who knows what we will do while we are here.

Yesterday we got serious about planning the next couple of weeks and the trip back to Missouri. I found a place to store the trailer and we are all set to leave on 2/24 and will be in Mansfield on 2/27.

Enjoy your day!