Monday, March 22, 2010

Back To The Seashore

John and Erica left San Antonio early yesterday morning and drove three hours down here to Rockport for a visit with us.  John had never been to this area before so we took them for the short ferry ride over to Port Aransas.  We had lunch at the Port Aransas Brewery where we had heard they had great burgers.  They had about eight beers that they brew there but also had over 100 beers on their menu to choose from.  They also offer 4 beers for $10 that you can purchase to go.  We had our burgers then we each chose our 4 beers (except Erica) and continued on our way.



Great burger!


Our beer choices


Erica and John


From there we drove out to the Padre Island National Seashore.  We had just been there Friday but we chose not to drive on the beach this time since we were in John’s Camry.  The beach was still quite windy and we saw LOTS of dead jelly fish.  I’ve never seen so many dead jelly fish on the beach before.  And they were HUGE!!





John & Erica booked a hotel room here at the RV park where we’re staying so we came back to our home and they stayed till almost midnight with all of us playing Farmville on Facebook.

The next morning they came over for breakfast and we took off to see some of the sites here in Rockport.  First stop was the Aquarium.  We’ve been to a lot of aquariums but this one has to be the smallest one by far.  We’re still glad we got to see it though and it took us a whole half hour to see it and the admission was FREE!!


This is the WHOLE aquarium




From there we went to the area where we had seen some whooping cranes way off in the distance.  They were so far away there was no way we going to get any kind of pictures of them.  Well, today we found four of them right on the shore!  I’m not a birding person by any stretch but these birds are very important to this part of the country and are really quite hard to see close up.  We were amazed at how close they were this time.




Before John & Erica headed home we went in search of some seafood that John desperately wanted.  We drove in separate vehicles to Aransas Pass since that was on the way home for them but found everything is closed on Mondays.  Bummer.  We ended up at Chili’s instead and said our good-byes after a nice dinner.  We’ll see them again for a few weeks when we leave here on the 1st of April.  Thanks, you guys, for coming to visit!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Aransas Refuge & Padre Island Seashore


Thursday we set out early (for us) with Mark and Dortha at 9:30 for breakfast and on to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  We went here last year but that was before I had my National Parks Passport.  We’ve had to backtrack to some places just so I could get a stamp in my book.  It was so cold and dry last year that there wasn’t a lot to see in the way of wildlife.  The alligators in the lake were all bunched up in a mud pit because there was no water in the lake.  Well, that wasn’t the case this year.  There has been SO much rain here this winter that we were amazed how different everything looked.  Even the whooping cranes that come here every year weren’t hardly around last year.  We did manage to see a few of them this time.  We also saw A LOT of butterflies.  I’m not an expert in naming them, I just think they are pretty.

I DO know what a Monarch looks like


And a Swallowtail




The alligators seemed to be very happy with all the water in the lake this year


This huge raccoon seemed to think we had something for him to snack on but we were very well behaved and obeyed the signs that said, “Do Not Feed Wildlife”.


The whooping cranes were pretty far away but Mark let me use his telephoto lens.  I LOVE that lens and I’m going to have to buy one before we head to Alaska.

Mark & Rod had to use binoculars to find the whooping cranes



Did I mention how much I LOVE Mark’s lens??


Mark spotted this little armadillo foraging on the side of the road


We spotted this crop duster on the way home.  Did I mention how much I LOVE Mark’s lens??


Friday was going to be a beautiful day again so we headed out to the Padre Island National Seashore.  This is another place for Dortha and I to get a stamp in our books.  They do a lot there to protect and save the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles (click on anything in blue to learn more about  it) so Dortha and I decided to adopt a sea turtle.  I’m so excited to do something to help the turtles.

First we had to wait our turn to board the ferry


Then we drove along the causeway to the beach




After Mark put the jeep in four wheel drive we even got to DRIVE on the beach.  There were a lot of people camping but most were packing up and heading home because it got REALLY windy.


After leaving the beach we stopped at Whataburger By The Bay for a late lunch.  Corpus Christi is where Whataburger started so we had to stop there even though I had a chicken sandwich.



So that ended another GREAT day of site seeing with Mark & Dortha.  Thank you, Mark for letting me use your lens again today.  Did I mention how much I LOVE it??

Monday, March 08, 2010

We Really Are Still Around

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted.  Since my last blog we had left the Valley and spent three weeks in San Antonio visiting with my son, John and daughter-in-law, Erica.  We had a really nice visit but I think it would bore everybody to tell about what we ate every night or where we went to eat.  We all sat around in the evenings playing Farmville on Facebook and then playing Wii Bowling.  John kicked our butts every time but it was still fun.



We did manage to take in the San Antonio Rodeo while we were there too.  Now, we’ve never been to a rodeo before so we weren’t really sure what to expect.  I thought there would be like calf roping and bull riding but we didn’t see any of that.  It just looked like a county fair.  We looked at all the animals in their pens and visited all the craft booths.  I did purchase a new Cutco knife there to add to my collection.





We saw one thing though that was interesting.  The announcer would call out a number and the horse riders had to pick out three cows in the herd with that number on them and then herd them into a corral.  It was timed and whoever herded all three into the corral in the least amount of time was the winner.



We found out that our friends, Bob and Molly were staying in the area so we managed to fit in a visit with them.  Then they came to San Antonio for some shopping so we met them at the Riverwalk for some lunch.




We’re now in Rockport, Texas on the gulf coast.  They call this the “Coastal Bend”.   We spent the whole month of February here last year and it was cold most of the time.  The weather this time has been fantastic until today when it sort of drizzled all day.  We’ve been having potlucks and happy hours and just having a blast.  We have several friends here so that makes it fun.  A few of our friends have these little portable fire pits so we’ve had a weenie roast followed by the making of s’mores.




Saturday we decided to go to the Oyster Festival here.  The plan was to park at the old Walmart and take the shuttle.  When we got there the parking lot was packed and there was a huge line waiting for the shuttle.  There were actually two shuttles which held about ten people each.  We would have waited in line for a few hours to get on one of the shuttles so we got our parking money back and drove to the festival.  We found a parking spot and walked up to where the activities were.  What a joke again.  There were two big tents set up.  One had swap meet type crafts and the other had a band playing (very loud country music) and food.  Yep, you guessed it, LONG lines.  We seem to be seeing a pattern.  I think if we see something that says “Taste of Something” or “Something Festival” we’re either going to stay away or go on a weekday.



We left there and went to a restaurant to eat rather than wait in those lines.  Then we went in search of the whooping cranes that come here every winter.  We saw a few of them but they were way too far away to get a picture so we settled for this heron.


This afternoon a few of us went to the clubhouse where Molly taught us how to play a card game called Hand and Foot.  It was a fun game and I think we’re going to set up teams of the girls against the boys so we can kick their butts.

So, there you are.  All caught up!!  We plan on being here until the end of the month then we’ll head back up to San Antonio for a few weeks before heading to Salt Lake City for a month and then on into Canada.