Friday, January 30, 2015

Padre Island National Seashore

On January 27, 2015 we left Mustang Island State Park and drove the  20 miles down the barrier islands to Padre Island National Seashore. This is the longest section of undeveloped barrier islands in the US. You can drive on the beach for over 60 miles. The camping in the campground is kind of tight with not much room between rigs, but we have a view of the gulf. We could not see the water from the campground at MISP. They do not have water or electric at the sites, but we are good boondocking for a few days. We have minimal cell signal here, but we do have 3 TV channels. We are not totally isolated from the world like we were in Colorado last year. The rate is $8 per night, which is very reasonable. You can camp on the beach for free. We were surprised to see some big class A motorhomes out on the sand.

Here are some pictures of the campground:

Here is the view out the back window. The cool thing is we had sunrises directly out the back window. That did mean that we had to get out of bed in the morning, but it was worth it.

The first day, I went for a 2 hour, 5 mile walk on the beach and only saw one person.

On the second day, I took a long ride on my motorcycle to see how far down the island I dare went. I made it 25 miles. It was a fun ride, but at about 10 miles down, the fog rolled in and the visibility became difficult. I had to wait for a while to continue. The sand started getting deep at about mile 25 and I decided to turn around. It was a very unique experience. I would love to do it with another rider some day. Listening Bob F.?

After I went for my ride, Kim told me about a turtle release they were doing in the park. The seashore is important habitat for the endangered Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle. There was a huge group that had come out to watch them release about 200 turtles. These were not babies. These were some turtles that had been rescued for different reasons and were now being released back into the wild.

They were really cute and we enjoyed the experience. There were many preschool aged kids that were there to watch. Of course they took the opportunity to get wet and play in the surf. It looked like a summer day in January.

We ended up staying three days. I would love to be better set-up for boondocking and go down on the beach and stay a couple of weeks. Maybe someday we will do that.

Here are a few more beach and bird pictures. The birds were all really fun to watch.

We are getting ready to move back a bit north. We will drop the trailer in storage for 10 days or so and drive the truck north to Missouri to take care of some business and get my motorcycle relicensed before we head west. Life is a beach.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Port Aransas, Texas

We have been hanging out at Mustang Island State Park for the past 7 days (1/20 –27/15). Just down the Island about 12 miles is the small fishing town of Port Aransas. I really like this little town. Kim’s sister and brother in law have a townhouse just off the beach in Port A, as the locals call it. We met up with them on Sunday after church and had lunch and took a little tour of the town. We took the tour via golf cart. That is right, you can legally drive a golf cart on the city streets. Halle was with us and she had a few specific stops we needed to make. She likes to go inside the shark at this store.

We saw that a shrimp boat was going out that night and would be back in the morning at 9AM with fresh shrimp. I decided it was worth the effort to get up at the crack of 8 to make the drive over and get some shrimp. When I arrived, there was a long line and I was concerned that I would not get any. The good news is that they had plenty. I bought  5 pounds and started planning how I would prepare them.

When I got back, I went out on the Jetty and fished for most of the day. I only caught this one catfish, that is not good to eat. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed just walking around on the rocks and watching the birds and dolphins and other wildlife.

Later in the afternoon, Kim came down and brought lunch. She is awesome! We went down to the beach and found a quiet spot and had lunch. We saw more dolphins from there and had a nice time enjoying the beautiful afternoon. Zoom in to see the dolphin:

I don’t normally take pictures of food, but I will make an exception here. I de-headed all of the shrimp and packed them in zip lock bags of a little over a pound each. I took some of the larger ones (even though most were quite large) and marinated them for a couple of hours. Then put them on skewers and grilled them. Here is the finished product. They were delicious.

I would normally say here that this was just another awesome day, but it was not all that awesome. I got word that a good friend that I used to work with, lost his 24 year old son. I can’t imagine what he and his wife are dealing with. I wish my kids and grandkids were here to hug and tell them how much I love them. Life is so precious, enjoy every minute and don’t take a single moment for granted.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mustang Island State Park

We have been hanging out at Mustang Island State Park since Tuesday, January 20. The first two days were pretty nice, but we knew a storm front was coming in. Thursday and Friday we down in the 40's and very windy. When it gets like that, we just hunker down in the trailer and relax. We really don't view those as bad days, we are very comfortable and we like to be lazy every now and then. Kim usually reads and I play on computers.

On Wednesday, we went to a local birding center and walked on the boardwalk.

We saw a number of birds including the Roseate Spoonbill and some Shoveler ducks. We also saw two large alligators. Not as big as the one at Choke Canyon, but still around 10 feet. I am really not set up to take pictures of birds, so I did not get any good ones. We did see some Nutrias in the grass. They look kind of like a muskrat. 

Kim saw this flower blooming. It sure feels strange to have a flower blooming in January.

Here is a picture of our campsite. I think it is one of the best in the park. You can see all of the water. We must have had more than an inch of rain.  Hopefully that will help the drought  that is going on down in south Texas. 

I also found my first geocache. It was an old ammo can. I downloaded the app the other day and I may do some of that when I am in different parks. We will see. I signed the book and put it back in place.

While the weather was bad, I went shopping. I bought a salt water fishing rod and the gear needed to do some surf fishing. I tried it out on Saturday. I didn't catch anything, but I think I may enjoy this. One of the cool rules with Texas State Parks is that you can fish without a license. I love that about Texas SP's.

I had this Blue Heron hanging around looking for scraps. 

Well that just about catches us up to this weekend. We are looking at moving over to the National Seashore on Tuesday. We will be boondocking, but the campground is closer to the beach and I would like to ride my motorcycle down the beach. We will see if that works out. 

I will leave you with a couple of sunset pictures. The beach area makes for some very nice sunrises and sunsets. 

Have a great day!

Friday, January 23, 2015

We love the Beach!

We arrived at Mustang Island State Park on Tuesday, January 20. We usually have a destination in mind when we are traveling and this was it for the first part of this trip. It was sunny and almost 80 when we were driving through Corpus Christi. When we got to the beach it was a bit cooler, maybe around 70. It was still very nice. The cool thing about this place is you can drive right out on the beach.

We parked the truck and took a long walk on the beach. We met a number of other couples that were also enjoying the nice day on the beach and as usual picked up some good advice on what to do while we are here. It looks like some birding boardwalks and some beach time are in the plan. 

Kim had to get her feet wet right away.

Here are a couple of shots of the "road" on the beach.

We love to look for shells as we walk along the beach. Kim usually picks up trash also. Here are the shells I found on day 1. Two small full sand dollars and a very cool looking crab shell. I have never seen one like that before.

We are expecting some rough weather on Thursday and Friday. We will see what that does to our activities on those days. We may just sit inside and read. I am not really sure what we will do, but I am sure we will find something. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

San Antonio

January 19 was our 35th anniversary. We decided we should take the opportunity to retrace some steps from our honeymoon all of those years ago. To be honest, we both barely remember the time we spent in San Antonio back in 1980, so it was almost all new to us. We drove from Choke Canyon State Park to downtown San Antonio and parked the truck. We started by doing the Alamo. Here are a few shots:

I kind of like the black and white version.

There were some awesome live oak trees.

Here are the six flags that have flown over Texas.

We listened to a talk on the history and then took in the 15 minute film. I now feel much more educated about the history of the Texas revolution. 

We then took a walk on the Riverwalk. We ended up walking for more than 4 miles. Love my pebble. Thanks again Mark. It is a very fun place to walk with restaurants and shops. There are some areas that are very busy and some that are quiet and romantic.

Here is the selfie at the restaurant were we had dinner.

And a few other shots:

I really liked this church steeple. It is a German built catholic church built in the 1850's.

Here is a cool theater that had the stage on one side of the river and the audience on the other. 

 We had a visitor that hung around the table looking for a tip.

We had a really good day. It was about 70 degrees and sunny. That is our perfect weather. I hope each of you take the time to enjoy your day. Next stop...The BEACH!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Choke Canyon State Park

We arrived at Choke Canyon State Park on January 15. We were not expecting too much, but wow this place was cool. We had some great experiences.

The State Park is right on Choke Canyon Reservoir. This is the site of the town of Calliham that was moved to form the Reservoir. The historic gym that was built in 1910 is still in use by the State Park as a meeting area. We went there for a Ranger Talk. It was a very different Ranger talk. The ranger is from the area and spent much more time telling stories about the local area than talking about the subject matter. Oh well, it was still interesting.

There are nature trails winding all around the park. We saw herds of deer walking around the campsites. They did not really pay any attention to us.

We also saw large groups of Turkey vultures.

One of my favorites birds was the red shoulderd hawk. We also saw Crested Caracara, but I did not get a good picture of one. 

We also saw groups of Javelina. They were neat to watch, but boy did they stink.

We saw countless other birds including Herons, and flycatchers, Cardinals and woodpeckers. The best sighting we had was of a very large Alligator. He hung out in a cove about 200 yards behind our trailer. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and a friend that is an expert on Alligators thought it was between 12 and 14 feet long. All I can say is that he was HUGE!!

We ended up staying 5 days at Choke Canyon. I will try to do another post soon detailing the rest of our time there. I just love to see animals in the wild, this place was a real unexpected treat. 

I will write again soon.