Cave Dwellings: January 2014
Cave Dwellings

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Our last full day on Padre winter coats.

First of all, I have to comment on the Header photo.  I took that  photo with my cell phone Sunday on our beach walk.  I have never seen so many star fish in one area..It looked like Grauman’s Chinese Theater for Pete’s sake!  It IS amazing, no?

Soooo,  today is our very last day to be here at Mustang Island State Park.  In one way, I wish we had booked for longer.  We certainly have had some interesting weather here.  I had one day of sitting outside in the sunshine reading my book..but I am NOT complaining.  Most of the nation has been in the bottom of the freezer so I won’t crab about being near the top of the freezer.  We have had some great times walking on the beach…and I snagged some awesome sea creatures..

2014-01-28 08.58.17 2014-01-28 08.59.01 2014-01-28 08.58.35

I only know the Sand Dollars and Star Fish for sure…I do believe that shiny stuff in the middle pic is Abalone.  I also know the big knarly thing is some barnacles…I know this because Barnacle Bill/Dennis the Sailor told me.  I swear this guy has a mind for useless information…but he can’t remember what we had last night for dinner..sheesh.

2014-01-25 09.33.57 This photo was taken last Thursday.  Winter coats but the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t hawking…

I wish it were warmer here today.  This is the worst day so far..In fact there are freezing rain warnings again for Corpus Christi tonight.  Walking this morning was a challenge at best.  We both bundled up like Nanook of the North and headed toward the beach..Walking with the fierce wind was fine, but the thought of going back that same way facing “Old Man Winter” was NOT a thought I cherished..

2014-01-28 08.10.09 


Here we have MacGyver heading onto the beach through some soft sand.  I was following behind like a little deer.  Hey, if anyone else wants to be the leader in these conditions, have at it! I was hoping Dennis would act as a wind break, but he is built like a stick man and the wind whipped right through him and hit me square on…


It didn’t take only about one minute of trying to walk out there and he had enough.  Keep in mind that MacGyver wears RGP (hard) contact lenses and getting a grain of sand or twenty under those puppies is akin to childbirth (well, almost).  Not one to give up easily, my man, but I was relieved when he said, and I quote, “This is NOT going to work.  Let’s get back to the road!” So much for our last walk on Padre Island beach for this trip…


2014-01-28 08.10.31 What looks like drifting snow is drifting sand..Now I know how those sand dunes got so high…Holy Tearducts, Batman, let’s blow this litter box!!

Here are a few more photos of our time here on the island…

2014-01-25 18.11.10 2014-01-28 08.20.34

Left, sunset through the window (and my cute little candle chandelier).  On the right is one of two homes used by the Park Rangers here.  Notice the  hurricane shutters..and like most, it’s up on stilts.

2014-01-26 10.25.42 Here we have your run of the mill, nasty, slippery, almost invisible in the sand jelly fish. There were LOTS of those suckers out on the beach.  Actually, MacGyver almost did a header into the sand when he didn’t see one and slipped on it…PULLLLEASE wash your shoes off before you come into our Hiker, Den! YUCK!

Tomorrow is “ride the ferry” time.  I am secretly praying for the winds to die down and the sun to come out.  Being on a ferry in these winds is not my idea of a good way to lower my blood pressure. We will be at Goose Island State Park for 2 weeks.  This visit, we opted to be in among the Live Oak trees again…We were there last in 2012.  I will never forget it…The site we had wasn’t level so Dennis backed up onto some blocks on the door side..Enter El Clutso (me).  Forgetting we were “up in the air” after dinner one night, I stepped out with a dishpan full of water, stepped down and fell into the sandy dirt…thought I broke my feet…Take a look..

 101_1664 101_1660

Right foot…(I had no ankle on this foot…)…………………Left foot….For those of you about to comment on my blue toenail polish I need to remind you how fashion conscious I am..I HAD to have BLUE toenails to match the rest of my feet!! Ah, yes, fond memories of Goose Island…Let’s see what kind of situation trouble I can get myself into this time!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

We went “to town”…a beautiful day!

   Yesterday Dennis and I left the Hiker about 11:30AM and drove the 13 miles into the big little town of Port Aransas.  I keep forgetting that this is, after all, is a PORT!  You can see the ships waaay out on the Gulf that are coming into Corpus Christi via Port Aransas…We drove out onto the beach and walked out onto a jetty that runs along the spot where the ships enter…


101_5172 101_5173 101_5174

Yep, there’s a LOT of money in this port, and I pointed out the boat I want to Dennis…He is pointing it out too..pointing out why I CAN’T have it!!

On the way into Port Aransas, I made MacGyver cruise around some of the housing and condo developments on Rt. 361.  Mustang Island is a very narrow island strip, and the East coast is on the Gulf, the West coast is on the bay…Naturally, I have champagne taste and a beer pocket book, so I prefer the Gulf side to dream of building my house…

101_5144 101_5147 101_5145


I really liked this one, but I would need an elevator to haul my arse up and down…Now, there’s the problem with these homes..You have to live up on stilts to keep the bottom level for your garage.  I imagine the hurricane surge would fill that level with water instantly….and…only old people can afford these homes..”therein lies the rub” so to speak.


I’m not sure I could live in a “gated” community, either…The two words, “Donna” and “gated” don’t mesh..I want NO fences around me…EVER!!

OK….it was now about 2PM and we were on a mission to find a “watering hole”..something local and down to earth…nothing fancy, just good folks and cheap booze. (Priorities, right?)  We parked the GMC and wandered around an area called Fisherman’s of the older historic parts of Port Aransas, with some original buildings and businesses…We happened upon a little pub that looked  promising…

101_5178I give you “Shorty’s”, the oldest and friendliest bar in Port Aransas….This looks like the perfect spot for some thirsty Yankees like us, yep, let’s go in…But, you go first this time, Dennis.  The last time we were in a classic old bar was in Mathis at Vick’s.. I went in first with my camera hanging around my neck, establishing the face we were “out of towners”.. NOT the way to make an entry.

101_5181 101_5180  101_5182

I have never seen so many hats hanging from the ceiling..more than even MacGyver has!..and the painted picture of the “Mustangs” behind the billiard tables has been there since the beginning..1946.  Yes, this was exactly the kind of place we were looking for!  We had a bottle of beer and a “healthy” Rum and Coke for $4.50…I’M IN!  We also  had a great Irish bartender named Mike, who was as friendly as could be…himself being a transplant coming from the West side of Ireland…

101_5186 101_5184


MacGyver…in his element. Surrounded by caps, drinking a beer..He was in his own Man Cave.

Needless to say, we had a great time in Port Aransas.  I really wish we had booked more time than just one week at the park.  I have more shells, starfish and sand dollars to pick up..and more sunsets to snap..

101_5143 101_5189

The weather is suppose to get cold and crappy again Monday night and Tuesday..the words “sleet” and “freezing rain” are being bantered around yet again…And we are leaving Wednesday to ferry across the bay and up to Goose Island State Park for 2 weeks…But, I did learn one thing about this place…


Friday, January 24, 2014

My new favorite place…Port Aransas, Mustang Island…

   I have already taken so many pictures that there is no way to put them all on this blog…We  arrived here Wednesday about noon.  They  have a water and electric area and also some dry camping on the beach. MacGyver and I opted for the hook-ups.  We have parked on the beach before at Goose Island State Park. While the views are beautiful, we found that the salt water spray corroded everything in and outside of our rig..I was warned that this place was just a big parking lot.  I guess you could  say it is, but I really enjoy it. We have the sand dunes and Sea Oats right behind us, and when we have our window open we can hear the roar of the ocean at night.  The Gulf of Mexico lies about 1 block beyond us…

 101_5118 101_5120  101_5119

101_5129 101_5123

Left is the view of the sand dunes out our window..and the endangered Sea Oats…We are all set up and ready for cocktail hour..But first, a walk on the beach…

101_5125 101_5127 101_5133

Yes, our weather was lovely..about 68 degrees..but that was to change soon. Yesterday we needed to resupply the food and wine dept. of our cupboards, so we drove into Port Aransas and took the free ferry ride across the bay to Aransas Pass..(all these things “Aransas” are making me crazy crazier).

2014-01-23 13.02.50 2014-01-23 13.02.16

One of the ferry guys (did I really just type that?) was conversing with a passenger on the ride over…In the second photo you can see that they have more than one ferry.  Actually, I think I counted 6,and 4 of them were in service…It is typically a 15 minute wait and about a 5 minute ride across the bay…We found the Wally Mart got our groceries and went to catch the ferry back.  As luck would have it we were first in line to get on…”front row Joe”, with a great view of everything portside.

2014-01-23 14.44.04


Here we were….missing that ferry by “that much”, but first in line for the next one.  I was trying to hold my excitement in check, as the lady in the car next to us didn’t share my enthusiasm for missing that ferry.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this island experience, and the little town of Port  Aransas.  At the grocery store I was grabbing up Real Estate magazines like crazy.  I know, I know, the hurricane season can be a bit of a deterrent …and probably need to have a house up on stilts…Tomorrow Den and I are driving  back into Port Aransas to do some site seeing, shopping, finding a local watering hole and picking up some carry-outs…It IS  Date Night , after all!!


When you are in the front row of the ferry, you get a great view of the  water…and…I spotted  pod of dolphins ( not sure if that is what you call a bunch of dolphins, but I just had a flashback to the TV show “Flipper”.)

2014-01-23 14.55.09 2014-01-23 14.56.38

Now, in the left photo, if you get real close to the monitor and squint, you can see the dolphin right next to the pylon…keep looking…see him? Hey, I only had my phone camera on this trip, so this is all I got for ya!

OK, the weather took a huge “dump” here yesterday late afternoon. The sky got dark, the winds came up LOTS, and the temperature dropped drastically. I, for one, was very glad I was NOT riding on the ferry at that point in time. We had just been back about an hour…The winds gusts were about 40mph, and I just may have caused a scene if waves came lapping over the ferry deck. Just before all Hades broke loose, I did manage to get a photo of a rainbow over toward Port  Aransas…


Again, look closely and you can see both ends of the rainbow…As for the little Casita next to us..I’ll bet he didn’t sleep much last night…Rock and Roll, baby!! That wind hawked all night and the temp went down to 32 degrees here, some icing occurring on the mainland. I had visions of my picnic tablecloth and candles flying toward South Padres..Our Satellite Direct TV dish did get knocked over.. This is  hard to do..MacGyver  has a big wood platform low to the ground that he sets it up on…Also, he usually puts  tent stakes in each of the 4 corners…OOPS! didn’t do that when we landed here…No worries, he got it up and working today…Sooo here we sit in the Hiker, all our day/night shades are pulled, 2 heaters are going, and it’s going to be a soup and sandwich lunch kind of day…But, Hey!..At least we aren’t in Illinois!!! More adventures to come!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Easin’ On Down The Road..

  Our week here at Lake Corpus Christi State Park is up tomorrow, and we are movin’ on a little farther East to Mustang Island State Park…Here I go again with some history…”Mustang Island State Park is a state park located south of the city of Port Aransas, Texas, United States on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico that covers 3,954 acres (1,600 ha) and has a 5-mile (8.0 km) beachfront. The land was acquired from private owners in 1972 and opened to the public in 1979. The earliest known inhabitants of Mustang Island were Karankawa Indians. The Karankawas were a hunter-gatherer people, and lived off the shellfish and mussels they caught in the Gulf.

The first historical record of Mustang Island was by Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish Explorer, who charted the island in 1519. In 1747. Padre Island was part of a Spanish land grant to Padre Nicholas Balli about 1800, and the Balli family established a ranch that lasted for several decades. Records show that an Englishman named Robert A. Mercer and one H. L. Kinney both ran cattle on Mustang Island in the 1850s. A fort was built on Mustang Island during the Mexican-American War, 1846–48, to guard the entrance to Aransas Bay. During the Civil War, the coastal area was blockaded by the Union Navy, but the conflict ended with no major battles occurring in the area.”

Ok, that is the boring part of Mustang Island’s history…Now for the exciting stuff….( I love a good “legend”)…

The island was first called Wild Horse Island, and then Mustang Island because of the wild horses called "mesterios" brought to the island by the Spaniards in the 1800's. 
Jean Lafitte and his band of buccaneers spent a lot of time on neighboring islands as well as Mustang Island in the 1820's. Legend has it that somewhere on the island is a Spanish dagger with a silver spike driven through the hilt marking the spot where Lafitte buried a chest of gold and jewels.”

WOOT! WOOT!…Those 3 little words “legend has it” are an open invitation for me to do some day dreaming of just WHERE that treasure chest could be buried…MacGyver already hinted that he wouldn’t be surprised to find me digging my way to China, via Mustang beach with a plastic pail and shovel…ah, yes, the man knows me well after 44 years.

So, today we did some “clean up “ on the GMC…In most of the campgrounds here you can’t wash your vehicle, but I have ways around that.  Hey, I just filled a bucked with water and enlisted Den’s help. (My back is better but NOT 100%  yet).  Dennis washed the GMC off with the long handled brush and I came behind him with my 2 towels and wiped ‘er down…Black trucks-grrrrrrr. Never again black. Usually it’s MOI who washes the vehicles in this family. I have this obsession about driving a clean truck, and a clean rig. Washing the black truck is bad enough, but washing the Hiker is akin to diapering a dinosaur. ;-)

101_5099 101_5096

This last weekend we were invaded by families with tents. The long weekend with Monday being a holiday brought out lots of kids with fishing poles and bikes.  They were all well behaved and I loved watching the kids fishing in the backwater right by our campsite…They all left on Monday..AND…they left a good supply of campfire wood behind…SCORE!!! We aren’t allowed to “gather” wood in the park, but they didn’t say anything about taking it from a vacated campsite…Yes, Dennis and I are “firewood whores”…we will do anything for campfire wood..almost!




Look closely here and you will see MacGyver and the GMC coming to the aid of a camper whose car wouldn’t start when he and  his family of 4 went to leave.  We must look like we carry everything here at the Cave Dweller’s campsite..This man wondered if we carried jumper cables…OF COURSE WE DO! WE ARE MR. AND MRS. MACGYVER!!…

Then, yesterday, one of the campers came up to me while I was sunning myself and asked if we had any WD40…He couldn’t get into the compartments of his camper where his fishing poles were located..oh dread! I jumped up and hollered at Dennis who was inside the Hiker, “Hey Den, do we have any WD something?”…I knew the answer…OF COURSE WE DO!!  I married MacGyver who carries everything from paper clips to tow straps…Ladies, you don’t have to say it..I KNOW just how lucky I am.

The town of Mathis doesn’t have a lot in the way of “cocktail lounges, bars, taverns or joints”.  In fact the only one we could find was about 4 miles out of town…a place called “Vick’s”. To say it looked a  little sketchy is an understatement.  In fact, we did a drive by first..turned around and went back to town making sure there were no other options..Nope..Vick’s it was to be..So, we turned back around and road the 4 miles back out to Vick’s..

101_5101 101_5104

Needless to say, when we walked in, every one of the 7 heads at the bar turned around..Yep, we look, walk, talk and act like Yankees.. We ordered 2 bottles of beer (beer and set-ups only), and no one moved off their bar stool to make room, so we sat at a huge round table all by our lonesomes..No one spoke to us, and basically we were invisible. OK, we get the hint.  Most of our experiences are NOT like this in the Texas “lounge” scene. Another couple came in (a guy and gal on a Harley).  They obviously were strangers too, because they got the same treatment and were exiled to our table.  Actually, they WERE strangers in the area and we 4 “outcasts” had us some great conversation at the big round table for losers.

All in all, we have had a great time here at the park.  It is very pretty and the weather has been great.  FYI, they do have a full hook-up camping area, but in my humble opinion it isn’t near as nice as the W & E camp area we are in…Tomorrow we are on our way to Mustang Island.  It is only a 60 mile drive so we can take our time.  Oh, yes…an update on a couple of our “broken” things occuring on this trip. The good news is that Dennis ordered a new power source he needed to fix our TV antennae, and now we have the local channels!   JSoooo..we can watch the Broncos beat the Seahawks on Superbowl Sunday…The bad news is that the portable ice maker ended up being “terminal”, and we will be picking up a replacement at the Aransas Pass Wally Mart, where Dennis ordered one online and had it shipped for free “site to store”…Yes, life is good here in the Cave.


I rest my case….