Friday, January 29, 2010

Port Aransas, TX

We've been hanging here at the beach for almost two weeks. With temperatures hovering around 70 most days, we're finally thawing out. If this is what it means to be a Winter Texan, we're definitely ready to sign up!

Our park is located in Port Aransas, a tiny town on Mustang Island, which sits just off the Texas Coastal Bend. Being an island, the routes from the "mainland" are limited. Our GPS wanted us to take this route, which included a three-minute ride on a ferry between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. Because we were driving our still new 40-foot motorhome to this place, we opted to take the long way around. Driving down to Corpus Christi, across a nice wide bridge and up Padre Island to another rock solid bridge that delivered us on Mustang Island took us at least an extra 30 minutes. But, can you blame us?

On our first afternoon on the island, we wandered down to the ferry landing to see some souls braver than us make the crossing. That's a 40-foot Winnebago that's a lot like ours on that ferry!

We walked closer to watch the Winnie drive off the boat. Just like us, they were pulling a Jeep. They sure made it look easy! Since our arrival we've made the crossing several times in our Jeep. It's a piece of cake in that, of course. Now that we've seen it, we're thinking we could muster the courage to take the moose on this shortcut next time. Maybe.

Our home away from home here is just a short walk to the beach. One of the fun things to do on the island is to drive along the sandy shore. Rocky looks like he's ready to hit the beach, doesn't he? We were just making a quick stop to pick up a geocache here. We're saving our drive down the beach for another sunny day.

One of the highlights of our stay so far was meeting Gale and Anna. They have been traveling fulltime for more than a year, and they love it. They were staying across the bridge in Corpus Christi and came over to join us for lunch. It was great to share stories over some tasty grub at Moby Dick's in Port Aransas.

Another highlight was our afternoon on the water. Our neighbors Maxine and Jerry invited us to join them for a sailboat trip on Redfish Bay. Of course we said yes! Our captain called himself "The Handsome Sailor."

The handsome sailor put everybody to work. The guys worked together to pull up the anchor.

Vicki and I pulled up the sail and we were off! With sunny skies, pleasant temperatures and just enough breeze, it was a perfect day for sailing.

Our captain encouraged everyone to take a turn at the helm. Paul seemed quite comfortable. But, I don't think he's ready to trade in our moose, just yet.

Jerry and Maxine look like a couple of happy Winter Texans, don't they? There aren't too many January afternoons like this back home in Indiana!

Daughter Vicki and son-in-law Dale were the organizers of this wonderful afternoon. They gave Jerry and Maxine the sailing trip as a Christmas gift. What a great idea! (And, thanks again for letting us tag along!) We really enjoyed spending time with them.

Our handsome sailor told us to be on the lookout for birds and dolphins. We didn't see too many birds, but we spotted several dolphins nearby.

Dolphins aren't the easiest things to photograph. With the murky water, it was easy for them to sneak up to the surface and be gone before anybody could click a shutter. This is one of our better images, selected from dozens of really crummy ones.

At last! This is definitely the best shot of the day.

We'll be here in Port Aransas for two more weeks. There's much to see in and around the area. With plans to check out an interesting site or two while we're here, we'll keep ya'll posted. That is, if we can pry ourselves away from the beach. Life for these two newbie Winter Texans is good!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Livingston, TX

The last 10 days have been quiet and uneventful, which pretty much sums up Livingston. This is our first visit to an Escapees campground, and this one is located at the organization's headquarters. It's a no frills kind of place where everyone smiles and waves.

One of our tasks during our stay was to get the squirrel inspected and registered in Texas. Rocky's old California tags are history, and now he's sporting brand spankin' new plates from the Lone Star State.

Our most pleasant find here in this very sleepy town is Florida's Kitchen, recommended to us by Godfadda Gordon. Located on the outskirts of Livingston, Florida's is obviously the place to have lunch. When you pull up and see three County Sheriff cars you know you've come to the right place, or you're walking into some serious trouble. Thankfully, it was the former and not the latter. The friendly folks at Florida's serve up some mighty fine Southern cookin' with some friendly Texas hospitality. This place doesn't look like much, but it's definitely worth a stop.

We're pleased to report that we're warming up and feeling better. We've recovered from our post-holiday cold bugs, and while it's not what most around here would exactly call warm, we've enjoyed a few afternoons where we've been able to air out the moose a bit. The cats have a new favorite place on days like that. The steps are a perfect spot to soak up some afternoon sun and sniff some fresh air...and each other.

We delayed our departure for the Gulf Coast one day, as that area has been hit with some very heavy rains and strong winds today. By leaving tomorrow, we should miss the worst of the weather and sail through Houston on a, hopefully, quiet Saturday morning.

Stay tuned!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Weatherford, TX

Greetings from sunny and, relatively speaking, warm Weatherford! We've talked to a few folks around here who think our 50-degree days and 20-something degree nights are cold. Compared to where we've been the last five weeks, we tell them, this place is a tropical paradise! It's all relative, I guess.

We left Wellington around 9:30 yesterday morning and within minutes were in Oklahoma. With no precipitation in the forecast along our route, we weren't too concerned about the heavy overcast. But, as we approached the Arbuckle Mountains (and it's a real stretch to call them mountains) a steady drizzle turned to snow. The storm was of the "big flake" variety that reduced visability and piled up quickly. Thankfully, the road remained clear and everyone took their time making their way.

By the time we crossed the border into Texas, the snow had changed back to rain. We were so glad to have that mess behind us. We made our wet way into and around Fort Worth, then headed west to Weatherford.

We've made our temporary home here at the Oak Creek RV Park, just west of Weatherford. This three-year-old park has everything we need to relax and thaw out for a few days. (Notice the bright blue sky and the absence of white stuff on the ground.)

We look forward to exploring the area a bit and visiting with family. We'll head south from here on Monday.