Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Already

Lazy Sunday snuck up on me since I'm not using to arriving for a week's stay on a Friday. We normally travel on Mondays when we move from campground to campground. No reason, other than it allows us to be in a campground by the busy weekend. But since we've been hop-skip-jumping across the country our routine has been thrown off.

So in honor of that fact, I'm feeling a bit puckish and have therefore chosen a random assortment of Lazy Sunday photographs from some of our western states.

A magpie in Gunnison, Colorado. When the sun strikes them the black feathers turns a beautiful blue-green. Posted by Picasa

I took this picture for a size comparison. Denny is standing by a doorway within the Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM. Posted by Picasa

These adorable casitas are available for rentals by members of our private campground organization.  Posted by Picasa

One of the more spectacular sunsets we have seen. This one was in Gunnison, Colorado. Posted by Picasa

This is a zoomed-in shot of Chimney Rock in New Mexico. Do any of you read Tony Hillerman? If you drive around Shiprock, NM you'll recognize a lot of the areas he writes about. Posted by Picasa

We discovered this sign while driving one of the back roads near Happy Jack, AZ Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Edge of the Storm

Denny opened the pantry door yesterday to put away newly purchased groceries. He unwittingly released an avalanche of cans and bottles; a shelf bracket had been knocked out in our bouncing, jarring trip along I-10 in Louisiana.

We had gritted our teeth and watched our side view mirrors in dismay as we hit sunken patches of concrete that caused the rear end of the fifth wheel to ride like a horse on a carousel and cursed the state that allowed its highways to fall into such disrepair. Such is the attitude of someone who doesn't live in the state and has only seen the horror of Hurricane Katrina on the news. Mentally, we're aware that all funds need to go to rebuilding the towns and lives of the people on the southern coast but for the moment we're watching all we own bounce around like a Mexican jumping bean.

Traveling along I-10 you only see random signs of the violence of the storm; areas where most of the roofs are wearing ponchos of blue tarps, huge metal pedestals devoid of their billboard platforms, 40 feet tall street light poles laying parallel to the roadway and bedsprings and other detritus clogging the marshes and water channels. A shrimp boat lay next to a channel, sitting abandoned on the far side of a stand of trees leaving us to wonder how it managed to get over the trees and yet remain so close to the water as if it had simply high-jumped its way there. All this was miles from the major destruction of New Orleans and Biloxi.

And so we stopped complaining about the roads-after all, we at least have a home to worry about.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A good meal with good friends

Whew! We're back online and settled in for a few days. Moving down the road every day is not an ideal way to travel but we're on a self-imposed schedule as we're trying to stick with our private member campgrounds as much as possible. That requires longer journeys and some overnighters instead of our standard 'stay two weeks, move 200 miles' routine.

We stopped last night in Livingston, Louisiana which is about 20 miles from Baton Rouge, LA. It had been a few years since we were through this area, so we had emailed friends John and Nancy asking them to name a good restaurant about halfway between their home and our campground so we could meet for dinner before we left town. They chose Don's Seafood Hut, 136 Rushing Rd., Denham, Springs and that was a very good choice.

As the name implies, their menu is heavy on seafood but they did serve steak and a couple of items for kids. Denny had the steak which he said was good, I had the shrimp and fried catfish which was great. Our server was Dustin, pictured above, who provided excellent service in spite of considering ribbing and occasionally being ignored while the five of us (John and Nancy's youngest son, Derek came too) played catch-up. We give Don's Seafood Hut and Dustin a big "thumbs up".

We gabbed for two hours before Derek reminded his parents he had things to do; he's on his way to Farmington, New Mexico to attend the state trooper school and then work as a Fish and Game Warden. Perhaps it won't take as many years to get back this way the next time, but life sometimes manages to throw roadblocks in our path. It's nice to know that your friends are willing to fit you into their plans when you drop into the neighborhood unexpectedly and still welcome you with open arms. Thanks, Nancy and John, and good luck to you, Derek.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Some Last Minute Geocaching

Yesterday I had some sort of stomach bug so we stayed close to the rig for the day. Having had enough of that I printed off a few geocache locations along the way to Port Aransas and hauled Denny out the door.

Fortunately for the sake of marital harmony there was little walking involved in locating the four caches we set out to find. There was a fifth one on my list, but double checking the instructions I noticed the mention of lots of mosquitoes and possibly snakes so that ended our excursion for the day. Denny abhors snakes. I abhor mosquitoes. No brainer.

We ended up taking the free ferry at the northern end of Port Aransas. Several years ago we came up from Harlingen to visit friends staying in the area, but their campground was at the southern end and we really didn't explore the area and we weren't aware of the ferry service. As we crossed the bay I was trying to figure out how the deck hands knew how many cars to put on one side of the ferry boat when they had a semi-trailer rig on the other side or if there was even a need to balance the weight. And if not, why not? Time to hit "Ask Jeeves" I guess. We did chat with one of the deck hands for a while after he made a face when asked by a giggling young couple if he'd take a picture of them standing on the ferry. After talking in general about the job and the fact that the job had nice pension and health care benefits he mentioned that the deck hands can also train to be pilots which would be about a $2000 a month raise in pay. Three of the current pilots are considering retirement so he was hoping to get a shot at one of the three positions available. We wished him luck and went on our merry way.

Tomorrow we head out to Alabama. We'll spend one more night in Texas near Winnie, one night about 20 miles east of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and then we'll be in Alabama for a few days. Looking for that kitten with the southern drawl...err, mewl. So no blogging again until Friday late. Safe travels, ya'll.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

This afternoon's Lazy Sunday post

Today's Lazy Sunday pictures were all taken from within the grounds of our current RV park. I'm still working on getting a picture of one of the larger alligators sunning on the banks, but they trapped and removed 4 young ones this week and I think the larger, more savvy alligators have gone to ground for a while. I guess that count should be five young ones as I forgot about the one removed from the swimming pool a couple of days ago. It sure would have been nice to be able to claim the name "swims with alligators" if I were ever to be adopted into a Native American tribe. Sigh.

A close up view of the banana tree blossom and a small stalk of bananas. Posted by Picasa

One of several banana trees within the rv park with a stalk of bananas. Posted by Picasa

A black-bellied whistling duck imitating a stork. Posted by Picasa

A flock of roseate spoonbills at the park. Posted by Picasa

This isn't a good shot of a pair of cormorants. Cormorants dive for fish and then have to perch on rocks, the shore or pilings to allow their wings to dry as they don't have oil-producing glands to waterproof their feathers.  Posted by Picasa

Great Blue Herons look quite regal as they wait for passing fish. Posted by Picasa

An immature white-faced ibis fishes at the pond at our rv park. Posted by Picasa

A roseate spoonbill fishes in one of the ponds at the rv park. Posted by Picasa

These are common snipes. For those of you who grew up in the 50s, you might remember Spin and Marty series from the Mickey Mouse Club who sent out new campers with burlap bags and instructions to call "here snipe, snipe" on a hunt for non-existant snipes. Posted by Picasa

Close up of a prickly pear cactus blossom at our rv park. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Missed Photo Op

As I was walking to the adult pool for my solitary morning water aerobics I overheard a couple talking to another gentleman, saying "they must have left the gate open". To my inquiring look, the lady responded by telling me the park's maintenance man had pulled an alligator out of the swimming pool just a few minutes earlier. Dang! What a photo op that would have been, not that I carry my camera with me to the pool.

But just consider how much faster you would exercise with a 'gator in the pool, huh? Almost as fast as I start moving when the lightning starts during a sudden storm. Close, at least.

It's raining now, so no adventures or exploring today. The air is thick enough to cut with a knife which makes me appreciate the dry climate of Arizona even more. Only nine more months and we'll be back there. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Visit to the Texas Maritime Museum

After a couple of days looking at sad little kittens and cats at shelters, we decided it was time to educate ourselves about the Rockport area and figured the Texas Maritime Museum was a good place to start.

Located at 1202 Navigation Circle, the museum is easy to spot as it was built to resemble a lighthouse. Entering the museum takes you right into the gift shop where there are some attractive cloisonne' pieces, sterling silver jewelry, prints of lighthouses in Texas done in watercolors and the ubiquitous tee shirts. A very knowledgeable and friendly volunteer was manning the cash register on the day we stopped and she provided additional information about the museum and the area as we chatted.

The emphasis of the museum's main display is the story of Robert Cavalier, known as La Salle, who sailed with four ships and a couple hundred settlers to colonize an area around the Mississippi River but through poor navigational tools and lack of geographical knowledge of the area ended up near Matagorda Bay along the Gulf Coast of what would eventually be Texas. But there are many exhibits in the museum detailing the history of fishing, boat building and the oil drilling industry in Texas with some interactive displays and video clips that are quite interesting.

We climbed to the third floor to go outside and take in the view of Aransas Bay from the deck of the "lighthouse" and watched the boats in the marina coming and going. After you explore the museum two floors you can step outside and view the La Tortuga, a replica Texas Scow Schooner hand made on the grounds of the museum by volunteers. The scow schooner was a sailing vessel that was built with flat ends fore and aft that was used extensively in the bay waters of Texas. There are also two types of life boats or safety boats used by employees of offshore oil drilling rigs in times of fires, explosions or storms and a variety of water signs, lights and buoys.

While not a large museum, the Texas Maritime Museum allowed us to spend a pleasant hour and a half learning about the Gulf Coast of Texas and the people who settled here. At $4 a person (senior price, adults are $5) it was an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Still Searching

The past two days we've been looking for a kitten/cat. You would think it would be easy to find a cat, right? Not so, or at least so far.

We checked Monday at the local Humane Society. Rockport has an estimated population of about 8700 people and there are 89 cats at the shelter. Compare that to Deming, NM which has a population of 14,000 people and about 12 cats in their shelter. It seems that the folks in Deming take better care of their pets from the ratio of people to cats abandoned. I will say that the employees at the Rockport facility have tried to make a nice place for their cats, creating a large cage with climbing posts and perches on various levels. But we were there for kittens or young cats and the kittens were too young to be weaned from their mothers and the young cats had yet to be spayed and couldn't be adopted.

Our next stop was at the animal control center for the city. Here too, the kittens were too young or the cats too old. We need to find a youthful cat to train it to ride comfortably in the truck because of our lifestyle of moving every week or so. There was one pair of kittens that was the right age and they were very friendly but of course someone else had arranged to adopt both. Sigh.

The animal control officer was nice enough to call the next county's a.c. officer and check with her on the availability of kittens. She had none, but knew of a private owner who was trying to find homes for a litter or two (strays seem to find her apparently). That gal called me in the afternoon, but it seems that the weaned kittens had all been adopted. She tried to convince me that the younger ones would be eating solid food by the time we left the area, but I think she was pushing it just to get rid of the kittens, plus at the last minute she nonchalantly mentioned they were infested with fleas. Hmm, I think my interest in her kittens just evaporated.

I think we're not meant to get a kitten while in Texas. Since we're just stopping one night in Louisiana on the road east I guess Alabama will be our next state to check. A kitten with a southern drawl would be cute, right?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lazy Sunday pictures of Texas

Today's pictures were taken during our three month stay in Texas in 2001. I had every intention of displaying a photograph of the roseate spoonbills feeding here at the campground last night, but forgot I had left the SD card in the computer while uploading pictures taken earlier. Sigh.

We haven't gone exploring yet this week since we arrived on Wednesday instead of Monday as is our usual travel schedule. Shopping, dealing with items sold on eBay, searching for that perfect kitten and quiet walks in the campground filled our days so far. Next week we'll check out the local maritime museum, look for that elusive stretch of walkable beach that is supposed to be here and see what the local golf course looks like.

Happy Easter.

And of course, a sunset. This was taken at the Prude Guest Ranch (aka Dude Ranch) in Ft. Davis, Texas. I always manage to find an area with a power line pole in the line of sight! Posted by Picasa

A tiny cushion cactus blossom, Big Bend National Park. Posted by Picasa

Prickly pear cactus in bloom in the Big Bend National Park. What a great park this is, especially in the spring when there have been winter rains which allows the desert to burst into bloom. Posted by Picasa

Judge Roy Bean's court room/saloon. Lots of old West history here.  Posted by Picasa

The tallest bridge in Texas. I should have gotten a picture while a car was crossing to give this shot a bit of perspective. The bridge sits on Rt. 90 west of Del Rio. Posted by Picasa

The beach at South Padre Island, Texas. Pre-spring break, of course. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 15, 2006


We're beginning to get back into a routine again; water aerobics in the morning for me and a daily walk for Denny and me. We tried a morning walk yesterday to avoid the heat of the day, but this morning I had to box up some stuff I had sold on eBay and get it to the post office so with great trepidation we attempted an afternoon walk today. I say with trepidation because of the blood-sucking mosquitoes here at the park. Fortunately it was quite breezy this afternoon and that kept the mosquitoes at bay because I am a walking, carbon-dioxide emitting mosquito magnet.

This afternoon I took my camera with me because we had seen roseate spoonbills in the small lake in the middle of the campground and I thought perhaps they might have returned to feed today. Since I had my camera, there was no way they were going to be there. However, one of the resident alligators surfaced briefly in the lake and I did get a picture of the black-bellied whistling ducks, which we had never seen before. But I will get a picture of the spoonbills before we leave. I will. This campground is like a small nature preserve, especially now that most of the "winter Texans" have started the trek home/north/east. I'll add more pictures as I get them. For now, here's the local flora and fauna.

Consider this post Saturday's entry. Tomorrow I'm going to be making jewelry.

Friday, April 14, 2006

One of three resident alligators at Bay View RV Resort. He was on the far side of the lake so this isn't a good shot. Posted by Picasa
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