Cave Dwellings: February 2008
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Friday, February 29, 2008

Full Circle...back at Canyon Lake

Well, we arrived here Wednesday after a short 3 1/2 hour drive from Goose Island. Den programed our GPS Tom Tom and let it take us all the way..The weather was beautiful when we arrived. We set up in our spot and relaxed. Our truck and camper were so full of salt, we decided to clean them both the next day. Den even got up on top and hosed off the top. We also sprayed all underneath of both truck and RV..that salt is really hard on your equipment.
We have stayed here several times before, but never on this side of the lake. It is very nice. It got windy on Thursday, but not nearly as windy as it was at Goose Island.
By the time we spent the entire day scrubbing our vehicles (washing the RV is like diapering a dinosaur!!), we were both exhausted. Den cooked turkey burgers on the grill and we fell into bed at 9PM.
Today was cloudy in the AM, but got sunny by afternoon, so I assumed my usual sunny position, that being propped up into my chair with my book.
Den worked on both of our bicycles..the salt was rusting his chain already.
Dinner tonight is crockpot chicken that I put in this morning...I totally relaxed today. I'll blog more on a more exciting day...however, this is about as exciting as our days get...and I LOVE IT!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our Last Day On the Bay

Well, today is our last day here at Goose Island State Park. We leave tomorrow morning for Canyon Lake, North of San Antonio, where we first met up with our Minnesota pals, Wayne and Ronae.
Let me just say that last night was really a character builder. The day started out cloudy and a little windy, then turned sunny by noon. Being a sun worshiper, I got out my new chair and propped myself in front of our camper right on the bay...Well, I did manage to get a picture of looking through my knees at the white caps.

I also took a great shot of the oyster boats out in front of us...and it just kept getting windier.

When I began getting wet from the waves splashing on the seawall and couldn't keep my sun visor on, I took my act to the rear of the camper and set up again...This was OK for about 15 minutes, when the gusts were so bad I couldn't stand it..and I was now getting a mist traveling all the way to the back end, about a total of 40 ft...time to give it up!!
As the evening wore on, the waves and wind became worse and were now breaking and spraying the back end. By 9PM waves were spraying us so hard even though it was dark, we could hear the wave spray hitting our window...HARD!! ..and rocking the camper... it became a little we went to bed. There is nothing like salt water all over your black truck to make you appreciate a fresh water lakefront parking spot...When the water dries and the salt "sets up" your vehicles are encased in sodium...lovely. Oh well, I see the first thing on the agenda Thursday morning is washing the truck and RV..
One last picture from the ocean...Dennis took it...It is a beautiful photo of an Egret standing in the backwater right here beside our camper...It is fast becoming one of my favorite pictures of this place..

We will blog more when we get settled at Potter's Creek in Canyon Lake...keep checkin' in!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Visit From "THE GIRLS"

Well, we just said "good bye" to Chris and Sandi this morning. They arrived Thursday in a coastal fog that would have made Steven King proud...You could not see the water....We have never had such fog. Chris said that when they came over the Copano Bay Bridge just West of us, they felt like they were on the bridge to nowhere...they couldn't see the water they were going over.
They got here about 2:30PM and we broke out the snacks..We sat outside with a few cocktails and watched the fog coming in again..Oh well..Maybe tomorrow they will actually get to see where we are!!
We went for a little ride and ended up in town at a great bar/restaurant called "Alice Faye's On The Bay for drinks. We must have hit "happy hour"..we were really happy with the price..2 Rum and Cokes and 2 bottles of Miller Lite for $8.00...obviously, in the words of the Terminator, "we will be back."
After enjoying our cocktails at Alice Faye's, we went back to our HitchHiker and continued the party in our "jammies". Our dinner that night was prepared by our RV cook, Chef Dennis, assisted by his sou chef, Donna. We had garlic marinated shrimp kabobs and Hot Sausage kabobs on the grill with white horseradish sauce and shrimp sauce, plus BBQ'd pinto beans with jalepeno peppers and cheese, cole slaw, and angel hair pasta with Parmesan Cheese..The meal was met with rave reviews and the Chef was largely tipped..About 11PM, Chris and Sandi opened up our sleeper sofa and jumped in, and Den and I retired to the executive suite. Hey, I ain't givin up my bed to ANYONE!!!
In the night, we heard the girls moving about to find something to drink (in the way of ice tea), and Chris opened up the window over their bed. We didn't find out until the next morning when Sandi informed us that Chris almost opened the "escape window" by mistake, which would have fallen out on the ground outside..for a fast escape...Thanks, Sandi, for saying "Don't open THAT ONE!!" Dennis would have been outside putting a window in at 2AM.
The next morning we woke up to clouds and more fog and a cool wind from the North....whoopie. The plans had been for Chef Dennis to create a gourmet breakfast outside on our gas grill..CHANGE OF PLANS...the sou chef takes over on the stove inside and manages to do herself proud, but received no tips..She is still reeling. We hung out at the RV until about noon, when, miraculously, the sun came out and all the clouds left.YEA!!

Finally Chris and Sandi could see our view, and we used this opportunity to take a few cheesecake photos! And yes, that would be their chosen rental car..Chris chose it, imagine that!!

Now that the sun was out, and we could actually SEE, it was time to go sightseeing. We walked out onto the pier and down onto the beach, which is made entirely of oyster shells. What a great day!
We drove into Fulton/Rockport and the girls checked their luggage into the Hampton Inn, where they were spending the night with "Mom and Dad" I'm sure was plenty, and they had much comfier accomodations and a toilet that you could flush without using your foot. Note to self...the Hampton Inn here is beautiful!! Anyone coming here would love it.

We went on the bayfront road and drove to Allegro Key. Allegro Key is a little peninsula jutting into the bay with fabulous homes we could never afford. Actually we couldn't even afford their garbage bill. We took a few photos of some homes. We had a story ready if anyone thought us suspicious for snapping pictures of their home...We were wealthy investors from Illinois, interested in buying up a few propertys on Allegro Key. The fact we were driving around in a dirty GMC truck wouldn't give us away, right??
The weather ,now perfect, we drove down where they have the oyster and shrimp boats docked. We parked the truck and got out to walk the marina and our timing couldn't have been better. The oyster boats were coming in and unloading their "bounty". I took a few photos...and even Dennis, the all knowing wealth of information, didn't realize that they bag the oysters right on the boat before unloading them...

We continued on to where they were working on private little "yachts" in a shipyard..more photos. We can dream, can't we??

The day being soooo beautiful, we opted for a cocktail at a little place on the water that had an outdoor patio. We sat down and toasted to our good fortune.
I will take this opportunity to say that Sandi use to work with Chris at Methodist Hospital in Indy until her husband's job,(he is a Doctor of Urology), took them to Dothan, Alabama. They are both from Alabama originally. Sandi is also my hero, being a 2 time breast cancer survivor, who has just come off more chemo. She is an angel on earth. Allen, Sandi's husband, is actually in Dallas this weekend taking his National oral Dr. exams. And by the way, their last name is McCool..and no, I am not kidding. In my humble opinion, they do the name proud..they are BOTH McCool!!!

After our relaxing cocktail by the water, which, by the way, were a bit more expensive than Alice Faye's, we decided to go back to the camper to have some snacks and more drinks at a "homey" little place called "Cave's HitchHiker Bar and Grill". We got a lovely little table by the ocean, enjoying the sun, while partaking of the free cocktail hour.

It was about 7PM and the sun would be setting soon, so we kept our table by the sea and got our cameras ready for some perfect sunset shots.

The people next to us seized the opportunity and grabbed Dennis to get a photo of them in front of their "home on wheels".

After a beautiful sunset, we piled back into the GMC and headed into the bay road to go to dinner. We all decided that we wanted to try the menu at Alice Faye's and we were all in the mood for seafood. We found a table and ordered our dinners. Den and I had the oyster plate,(go figure), Sandi had stuffed flounder and Chris had a seafood platter that could have fed a third world country...all accompanied by a salad bar to die for and choice of potato. We filled our pieholes with our great meals...Chris got a doggie bag, which could have easily been 3 more meals. About this time, we realized it was 9:15PM and Den and I had to make it back inside the park gates by 10PM or we would turn into a pumpkin and be locked out..not good. We dropped the girls off at their hotel and raced across the bridge in time to get inside and crawl into our bed. We were tired, happy, full of seafood and full of more great memories.

All in all, I have to say that this last photo says it all about the bonding and love of two great young women, who live life to the fullest, and are the personificaton of the phrase "best friends"!!! What a great finish!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

What a Difference A Day Makes!!

This first photo was taken Saturday night just before as the front went through...the same day the tornados hit in Alabama...this was the beginning of that front.By the way, if you click on any of the photos it enlarges them and makes them better!

Today is a totally different you can see!!I am reclining in my brand new chair from WalMart...I LOVE it!!!

We are parked right next to a rock seawall used to create a friendly environment for the coastal birds...I took this photo...not sure exactly what kind of crane, but I zoomed in and tried to get him...
Chris and her friend she use to work at Methodist Hospital with, Sandi, arrive Thursday afternoon and stay with us that night and will be here all day Friday..I will eventually get some info and possibly incriminating photos on the blog!! More in a couple days...Keep checking!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What A Day!!!!!

Well, we had one good day when we got here and since then it has been cloudy and really windy!! I took a couple pictures of the surf just beyond our camper. Today is Saturday and it is even windier today. We are under a severe thunderstorm watch here through 11PM..oh woopee...we love it here on the water, but there is no shelter from the wind here. It could be a wild ride tonight, but we DO have a weather radio with us.

There are actually a few people sitting out by the water and fishing! We are real wooses, sitting in our RV,which is rocking in the wind, with beef stew in the crockpot, watching Daytona racing..I LOVE camping!! I must say, the temp has been in the 70's daytime and doesn't go below 67 at night, so I won't crab about the wind.

WELLLLLLL!! It is now about 5PM and we are getting some huge waves crashing against the sea wall, just about 15 feet from our back window. Dennis has been outside about a dozen times to make sure our internet dish is still standing....and it is. We have been here 4 times now and NEVER seen the seas this rough..I took a couple shots from inside

and a I made Den go outside and shoot one. I am glad we have a crockpot meal tonight..I don't think a fire is a possibility. We may, perhaps, burn down the lovely homes just behind the backwater...not good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Arrived Goose Island State Park.GREAT VIEW!!

We arrived here at Goose Island State Park about 12:45PM..we left Falcon Lake at 7:45 AM after dumping our tanks...more info than you needed. The drive was good, weather sunny and 58 degrees. We drove through alot of low scrub, which turned into cattle ranches and soon palm trees.

Corpus Christi is mostly refinerys all around, but the drive over the big bridge is always neat to me...when you drive over the it, you look right down on the USS Lexington, which has been dry docked now and you can take a tour of it. The "Lady Lex", as they call her, is an aircraft carrier which saw alot of action in the South Pacific during WWII, and is the same one Den's Uncle Junior Bark served on in the Navy during that time..Last year we toured it, and it was fabulous!
We followed the directions given by the magic voice on our new TomTom GPS. We got this from our son, Kelly, and his wife, Cindy for Christmas this year...and believe it or not.. we managed to get LOST just before coming across the bridge..I think we missed the turn to stay on I-35 which gets you across the bridge..somehow. But here is the coolest thing. You know the little man in the box giving directions?? Well, somehow, he knows you screwed up and he redirects you on how you can get back on track. This is really handy when you are pulling a 30 foot 5th wheel through downtown Corpus. On the plus side of this mishap was the fact that we got to see Corpus Christi Oceanfront Boulevard.

We also lucked out when we got here. This park has two distinct camping sections..One amongst alot of Live Oak Trees, which makes it hard to set up your satellite dishes and one out on the bayfront. When we called to make our reservations a couple weeks ago, they said they had no camping spots on the bay, so we booked in the section in the trees. When we arrived we figured we may as well ask if there were any spots open on the bay for 2 weeks..and....sure enough, we got a spot. We are right on Copano Bay, which means beautiful sunsets and a great view out our back window. I already took a few pictures to put on our blog so you can see how neat it is...I will write more later...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Day "On The Town"

When we woke up this morning it was 59 degrees and the sun was just coming up...By the time we took our walk a very thick fog had come in and the sun disappeared. Yesterday we washed a load of rugs and rags and it was so sunny and windy we decided to hang them the Clampetts...Trust me, many campers do this on a regular basis. It got to 90 degrees by 3PM, so everything dried fast.

Harold came and paid a visit. He wanted Dennis to check an item on Ebay he had bid on. Harold is also a great "birder"..He gave us hints on how to feed the birds using a mixture or peanut butter, lard and cornmeal. He also takes great photos with a digital camera made by Lumix. This park is also known for the many butterflies that migrate through and Harold gave us yet another recipe. This one is to attract butterflies, consisting of beer and bananas...yes, I did say beer and bananas. This could be troublesome... trying to keep Dennis out of it, that is..he loves both.
About noon we headed for Roma, which is 10 miles South of us. Roma was originally called Roma-Los Saenz and was founded in the 1760's. In the 1850's the Oblates of Mary Immaculate founded a mission there and renamed the town Roma. In 1848 it became part of the United States. It sits right on the Rio Grande and was the Westernmost port for steamboats from 1850 to 1900. Part of it was declared a National Historic District in the 1970's.

Roma has one of the oldest suspension bridges in Texas, but it is no longer used. They built a new bridge in 1927 right next to the old one, as you can see in the photo...the bridge crosses into Mexico. If you walk across, it costs you 25 cents to go into Mexico and 50 cents to come back into the car it is $2.50 each way.
We found the World Birding Center, which is housed in an old, old building in the historic area on the plaza. Part of it was the old Guerra Store and part was the Ramirez Hospital. They have just started uncovering old stencils on the walls...I took a picture of these just inside the door...they are really beautiful!

We got a map of the self guided walking tour and strolled out into the plaza, where Den took my picture by the "mini fountain"..Roma is not a rich town.

Just across from the plaza is another old building that once housed "Rosita's Cantina"..note the word "BEER" painted on the side of the building, which your tour guide is pointing out.

As we walked along on the road just above the Rio Grande, we spotted a tall portable structure that said "US Border Patrol" on it...there were also a bunch of huge spotlights which they use at night, pointed at the Rio Grande....No one was actually IN the top of the structure.. But Den said it had cameras in it..I asked him to take my picture, but you know how Dennis is.. has to get EVERYTHING PERFECT...I thought I would be arrested before he finally snapped the shot! Keep in mind that during this whole time we were doing our "tour", there was a Border Patrol helicopter flying low over the whole area!!

We walked to an observation deck overlooking the Rio Grande..(Now I can see exactly WHY the big camera.) The river in town is very narrow here , and it would be easy to just swim over..kind of like escaping Alcatraz. We took a few photos of people on the other side swimming and rafting...I'll bet there were a few more cameras aimed on them besides ours!!

We continued on down some of the side streets. I think I have told you that they filmed the outdoor scenes of Viva Zapata here in 1952, with Marlon Brando in the leading roll. They filmed at the plaza and many other areas. This building was one of them, so I took Den's picture. "VIVA DENNISO!"

The church that is pictured here is called Our Lady of Refuge and was also filmed in the movie.. There is a grave of a French Priest on the property. He is the one who began "The Calvary of Christ on the Rio Grande".

A huge mural is painted on one side of the church and a photo of the same is on his pictured.

In another photo, that would be me amongst the front of the, in front of the convent,now there is a real faux paux if I ever saw one. We finished our tour on the nonhistorical side of Roma...the Dollar General, the Valero gas station and finalized our dinner plans by picking up a pizza from Pizza Hut..I'm not sure about the other choices here, with the exception of Church's Chicken. They have a restaurant called "The Seafood House" and it boasts an oyster bar on it's sign.. oysters??from the Rio Grande?? I think I'll wait for oysters till we get to Fulton on the bay. We brought our pizza back to our camper, where we will reheat it later after cocktail hour.
All in all, our day was good..

I took one last photo..It is of our truck and you may wonder why we have WalMart bags attached with clothespins onto our side mirrors. Everyone does it down here. It seems that the birds down here are very vain...they love to see themselves in reflections, and in doing so, scratch the crap out of your mirrors...We found out the hard way when we found our mirrors badly scratched after we left here 2 years ago. Just another perk of being in one of the best "birding" spots in South Texas..

Well, it is now 5PM and I need a shower, followed by a Rum and Coke...this to be enjoyed outside with a view of another beautiful is, as ever, amazing. More later!