31 January 2014

WAT for a Month+

It has been about a month we have been Wandering About Texas and we have become increasing entranced with the State, especially along the Gulf Coast where we are as I write this from the southern tip of South Padre Island in a nice county RV park.
After leaving New Orleans we traveled to the Galveston area and stayed at a small county park, San Luis Pass.

It was foggy when we rolled thru Galveston!

San Luis Pass and the weather while we were there!
Along the coast in TX a pass is an opening to the Gulf – we call them inlets in FL!  It was a fisherman’s paradise but not much fishing was going on because the weather was cold, windy, rain, and cold and windy!

The Roseate Spoonbills were always around San Luis Pass! 
We enjoyed some touring and BJ had a ball with all the new birds for her to see and identify.

Next we moved on to Corpus Christi and stayed at the FamCamp at the NAS!  We were still on the Gulf Coast, just a little further south and west.  Again a bunch of new birds and some beautiful new landscape!  Still a little too cold and windy, but we had some nice sunny days while there.  Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was about 70 miles from us and it is winter home to one of the two groups of  Whooping Cranes in the US.   We took a day and made the trip over so BJ could see the Whooping Cranes!  And, that was the day they decided to stay inside out of sight! But, we enjoyed the trip nonetheless!
A tower to observe Whooping Cranes

Aransas NWR looking for a Whooping Crane

We did have a problem with the RV while there – the washer door locked and would not open. It was holding our clothes hostage. Called an appliance repairman who managed with some great difficulty to get the door open so he could install a new lock! As soon as he got the old lock removed I removed the clothes and he put the new lock on and it promptly locked and remained such!   We decided to start shopping for a new one rather then put anymore repair money in the one we had – the hostage holder!
Next we moved north to San Antonio and stayed at the FamCamp at Ft Same Houston.  We started shopping for a new washer and made a quick trip to the beautiful river walk through downtown SA.
The River Walk in downtown San Antonio 

 The highlight of our stay there was the day we met a friend from the USAF days and his wife for lunch.  They live in College Station and we met them half way there!  What a great time we had catching up! We enjoyed our busy and short time in SA and weather was improving.  We had several bright and sunny days and as we left it was getting nicer!
Next we moved a little further north to Comfort TX, near Fredericksburg TX, the site of the National Museum of the Pacific  War!
The plaza of the Presidents at the National Museum of the Pacific War

Fredericksburg was the home town of Admiral of the Fleet Nimitz, the Pacific commander during the War.  The National Museum started out as a museum for Admiral Nimitz in his hometown not long after the war ended.  It starts out with his early years in Fredericksburg and his departure for the Naval Academy.  Most of the museum focuses on combat operations in the Pacific Theater and the leadership of Admiral Nimitz. A very well put together museum well worth a day to see it. 
And, an added bonus is that Fredericksburg has a strong German heritage and we had a great dinner in one of the German restaurants in town before heading back to Comfort and the RV!
We left there and headed SOUTH at last. First stop was the border town of Laredo. We stayed in a great TX state park.  We spent a few days there, BJ bird watching the whole time!  Laredo is a very busy port with a lot of international traffic. 
We moved on to Falcon Lake State Park about 90 miles further down the border back toward the coast! Falcon Lake is really a reservoir formed behind Falcon Dam built across the Rio Grande!  The lake is about 30 miles long.  The nearest town was Roma and we went there to see a local bird center.  It turned out to be operated by the Fish and Wildlife Service.  We met the volunteer coordinator that “hired” us for the volunteer job we start at Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge which is about half way between Falcon Lake and the coast!   We are nearly ready to settle down for a few months and do some volunteer work so it was a nice unexpected pleasure to meet Christine and get some info on our “job” for the next few months.
After several days at Falcon Lake we moved to the coast and stayed at a County park right on the beach at the very southern end of South Padre Island.
Our spot at Isla Blanca RV Park

 It is one of the largest, if not the largest, park we have ever stayed in.  It has 600 RV sites, is well managed and a place we will return to.  And, again another birders paradise.  We took a day and visited Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge not far from here and then over to Brownsville, another TX border town! 
We will be backtracking about 70 miles when we leave here and head back inland along highway I-2 to just south of McAllen TX to the Santa Anna NWR.

 BJ is really looking forward to the beginning of the bird migration season when the number and variety of birds multiples beyond the current population. 
The Green Jay - the pic does not do it justice! Beautiful bird

The Great Kiskadee - another pretty bird 

the Altimira Oriole 

Yellow Rumped Warbler

She is also getting into planning our AK trip for this summer and we have both started the Spanish language lessons we got for Christmas.  Not doing too bad, in fact it is going much smoother then I expected!   

Always at home, no matter where we are!!