Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 2013 in Texas

February in Rockport was a fairly quiet month. Weather was rather cool most of the time with day time temperature in 40's and days usually only about in the 60's with a few days up into the 70's. We call it cool here' but back home this would be absolutely balmy!! 
We have made a couple to trips down to Aransas Wldlife Refuge to see the birds and alligators. But even they were not that numerous. Just too early in the spring yet I guess. They photo below actually show Denice 100 feet up in the observation tower. She is supposed to be looking out toward the horizon in search of Whooping Cranes. but she chose to look back toward me, scowling at me for enticing here so high in the air. Good thing the photo is far enough away that you cannot see that frightened look on her face! 

Yes, that is Denice!!

Here is a group of nice friendly guys out sunning themselves.

This one is about 14 feet long!!
But, I did not measure!!
Nice Teeth

This is the same observation platform showing above the live oaks.
Another day we went down to Lamar along the coast. There is usually some Whoopers some where in the area, and this day was no exception. Here is a couple of shots out of the hundred we took.

Spreading my wings ready for flight
Then on another trip to Aransas National Refuge we were lucky enough to see some Wild Hogs. Now these are not the the havalinas that are native to here. These are ancestors of tame pigs that have escaped confinement, and over the ages have become wild. We saw 2 mothers, each with 2 young piglets.
Oink, Oink

A couple of Sandhill Cranes - Lots of them here too.

We have great group of neighbors in our area of Bayview RV Park. On another day after the oyster dinners,
Doris and Jack invited us over for pie and ice cream and coffee at 2:00PM. The whole group of our neighbors were there.
Doris and Jack are from Louisiana 

Theresa and Nick from Oklahoma
Rebecca and Al from Minnesota
Nancy and SJ from Northern Loiusiana
Linda and Jim from Tennessee
Tony and Richard from Texas
Sheila and Dick from Edomton --
Nancie and Walt from Washington
Don from Wisconson
Cindy, Jason and Jaxsen from Alaska
Cheryl and Larry.NowTexas He is crippled from a stroke
For a change of scenery, on Feb 14th, for Valentine's Day, we left ELTORO in Rockport and made a run over to Galveston to see the sights there. We took local paved roads as close to the Gulf as we could get, and arrive early in the afternoon. It is about 200 miles.

Along the road - Just before we ordered a Texas Steak

One of our favourites - Roseate Spoonbill

Stilt Village

Denice on the beach

A tanker coming to Port

One  of the Ferries to Bolivar Penninsula

Fun Time at the Beach

He,s got the whole World in his hands!
 First item was to go to the local info station and find what there was for a tourist to see in their town. We were told to check the old town area where the hurricane Ike in 2008 had destroyed a lot of the old trees, and a chainsaw artist had made many of the stumps into wood  carvings. Then we would have to do the harbor area, The Strand, and Moody Park. After getting all this info and a recommendation to stay at the Commador, a beach front hotel, we headed over there and checked in. We still had many hours of daylight, and as our time in Galveston was limited we decided to take a run across the Galveston Bay to Boliver Peninsula, on their free ferry and travel a little farther east toward Louisiana, but we did not get that far before turned around at headed back to our hotel. An interesting bit of trivia was that near the Ferry terminal on Bolivar Peninsula there is a lighthouse. Not a terribly impressive structure but obviously very sturdy, for in the 1900 hurricane that completely destroyed Galveston with the loss of over 8000 lives, All the people on the Boliver Peninsula for the length of over 20 miles were lost, except for 132 that huddled on the stairs inside the lighthouse until the hurricane had passed.  Again with Hurricane Ike in 2008, every house on the penninsula, except for one was destroyed. There is little evidence of that destruction today as hundreds of new homes have been built, but now all on stilts, hopefully high enough to weather the next event.
After returning to Galveston we stopped at Joe's Crab Shack for a great seafood dinner of shrimp, oysters, mussels and other delights.
Morning of the 15th, after breakfast at IHOP we headed down town to the old section. The info bureau had given us a map of a route to veiw all the wood carvings. It was an area of about 6 blocks square, as we just went up and down each street and the map indicated where each carving was. All were in private yards, but he local residences were more than happy to have you stop in front of their houses and take photos. During Ike, there was about 5 feet of water over the whole area, and the salt water was the culprit that killed the old live oak trees.

Just one of about 20 in the area
Next stop was the waterfront. Lots to see there, so we took a harbor tour on a tourboat with an excellent guide. He took us slowly around all the points of interest and pointed out each in detail. From Shrimp Boats to Yachts, to drilling ships, to dry docks, to oilwell service boats, drilling rig museum, Disney Cruise Ship, and even some dolphins.  An hour well spent!! 
A Disney Cruise Ship

A Jack Up Rig in for repairs - On the left a Submirsable Dry Dock

Off Shore Rig Supply Boat

Galveston Harbor


Oilfield Service Boat

The Submirsable Dry Dock

Need one like this on your fishing Boat!

On the Drilling Platform Museum

 Then lunch at a local pub, and a short drive to the Strand. This is the touristy part of town with all the quaint shops to part the tourist and their money.  And it works!!! To see the whole are we hired a buggy pulled by a tired old nag..  Clop, clop, around the town. Not maybe the best guide, but the horse responded well to spoken commands like "step left" for a left turn, or "stop" for a red light. "Go" on green and so forth. But you know, he has probably done that same route 500 times, and likely needs no commands.  But it was a good way to see that part of town.

Looking Down Broadway

Our Taxi
Now getting late in the day and time to go to Moody Park. A very well done upscale area, highlighted by 3 huge glass pyramids, housing an aquarium, a Rain Forest, and a nature center. We were too late to get to see all, as they close at 5:00PM, so we chose the Rain Forest. Lots to see here in their humid atmosphere, and took over an hour to wander through. Now getting dark, and time to head back to the hotel. AS IHOP was on the way, decided to try them for a nice ordinary seniors meal. Pot Roast and Pasta was the order of the day.

A lot of Birds to See

One of the Three Pyramids

Tankers at Anchor at Sunrise pumping Off the Cargo onto an Off Shore Terminal

16th, and time to head back to Rockport via a different route. We had been told that we should take in Brazos State Park, a little closer to Houston, so we headed on up there as it was not too far out of our way. It is a nice park with a lot of water. They call them lakes, We would call them sloughs. But prime habitat for alligators, They claim there are hundreds here and I would have to believe them, but since it was a rather cool day we were only able to see a few. I guess the rest were hibernating, or what ever gaters do during cold snaps. Lots of birds for Denice to photo. 

Spanish Moss

The Everglades -Texas that is!

Three Whoopers and same Sandhills near home in Rockport
 Then home to Rockport by 5:00PM.
February 22nd we packed up and moved on down to Mission, Texas. A little sad to leave all those great friends and neighbors in Jaxsen Heights, but time moves on and since we had a reservation in Bentsen Palms RV Resort we knew it was to be our new home for the next year or so at least. We are sure that we will have new friends and neighbors there as well. Last spring when we were here for a couple of months we did meet some very nice friendly people. It is a great park, with lots of activities if you want to join in, or if you wish to "do your own thing", it is your choice. We had no more than got settled in, when we found that the next day was a park Bar-B-Que for $5 each. Was a very large gathering and enjoyable time. We sat at a table with 6 other Canadians ( Quebecers ) but very friendly, although a little short on the English Language, but not a problen communication with them. But we did not talk politics!!

Then another day we walked over into Bentson State park, and wandered along for 2 or 3 miles taking in the sight and photographing birds. Alway a nice enjoyable walk, and being righ adjacent to our park is so easily accessable.

Another day went down to the Butterfly Gardens that are less than a mile away. They have big gardens of plants that attract the butterflies, and Denice loves to take pictures of them. I am not nearly as excited about butterflies, so they have a bird feedin station with comfortable seats and tables to sit at, so I get comfortable there while Denice scours for the elusive rare bug --- Oh sorry, betterfly.