Saturday, October 28, 2017

Galveston island State Park

We left Lake Texoma and headed south to Livingston. There we stayed at the Escapees Park where we have our mail forwarding service.  Unfortunately, our water heater burned up. Now we had already repaired it in Wyoming, and it has worked fine until now. Calling a mobile rv service, we agreed with the technician and had the water heater replaced.
From there we headed south for a week at Galveston Island State Park. It was a short but difficult drive as heavy rains followed us along most of the way. We luckily, didn’t have any flooding on the Bolivar Peninsula and the skies cleared as we drove onto the ferry.
Arriving at the Galveston Island State park we got a great site at the back bay. The view of the back bay was exceptional, we were only 100 feet from the water,, and we could bird right from our easy chairs. Marbled godwits fed in the campground and great blue herons fed out the back window. Later, a rosette spoonbill landed and rested. It was a bright pink, surprising as it’s not breeding season
The park also provided us with lots of places to walk and we were able exercise every day. Fishing in Texas state parks is free to all who pay an entry fee and, so we had to headed to the beach. Renita caught the first fish, a gaff top sail catfish, and she out fished me with two more catfish, a whiting, and a stingray.
I did catch a few fish myself, but we threw them all back. Taking advantage of the seafood restaurants we, ate fresh local shrimp, hushpuppies, and fried catfish. We both paid for it later as our blood sugar numbers went up. Mine really peaked as I had a sweetened ice tea, lesson learned.
Upon entry we were told that a grooved billed ani was sighted in the park. It’s a rare bird here and one we don’t have on our life list. Each morning I walked along the park roads looking for the bird. An osprey sat each day in a dead tree, and I did spot a Couch’s Kingbird. Too bad we never could see the ani.
A strong cold front rolled across the bay and we watched the approaching storm with foreboding. The front raced across the water and winds in excess of fifty knots threatened to upset our fifth wheel. We were in a spot where the wind hit us cross ways and, so we spent a very uncomfortable few hours rocking and rolling.
No damage was done! It was the strongest wind we have experienced since we got hit with a micro burst while camping on Flaming Gorge Reservoir. There the fifth wheel seemed to lift before bouncing back down, again without any damage.

Now we are readying ourselves to drive the last one hundred and eighty miles to Rockport, Texas. There we will park the rig for the next five months, and even take a vacation to Florida, staying in a beach bungalow, (I know some of you think we are always on vacation, but we are not, (we are simply retired)! Clear skies

Friday, October 20, 2017

Lake Texhoma State Park, Denison Texas

After Newton we headed south. Crossing most of Oklahoma, we spent a night in Ardmore, Oklahoma before crossing into Texas where we turned east intending to spend a few nights in Eisenhower State Park. Arriving at the State park we lucked out and got one of the last two campsites available.
The next morning, we decided to check out the two fishing docks and see if we could find the fossil described in the park brochure. At the lighted dock we waked out and didn’t see any baitfish. Not a good sign if you are trying to catch stripers.
As we head back to the truck we paused on the ramp and I immediately spotted a fossil ammonite. These fossils are usually hard to find, but not here! We walked along the shoreline and pointed out the large fossils.
It is illegal to collect rocks in Texas State parks and so we had to settle for images. Driving to the second fishing pier we walked down the eighty steps and found more fossils. These were bivalves, pelecypods, which oysters area modern example.
On the way back up the steps Renita was greeted by our first Texas snake. It quickly moved into thick brush and we decided to leave well enough alone. I had hoped to get a picture of a copperhead, as they are plentiful here, but we never did see one.
When I fished at Lake Havasau, the bite was at four am, and so the next morning I headed to the lighted dock. Renita opted to sleep in, smart girl. The dock was lit up but there wasn’t anyone fishing, usually a bad sign in a populated area. I walked down to the dock and didn’t see any schools of shad. They are the stripers main forage and so no shad means no stripers.
Later that morning I returned to the dock just as a fisherman was landing a small white bass. He had four on the stringer and he quickly added a fifth fish. He was using live minnows and after talking a bit I headed back to our campsite. Later we found a bait shop and purchased a bag of frozen gizzard shad.
Renita and I fished for three hours without a bite. There were several families catching small sunfish, but the only excitement was when two flocks of ducks landed. They quickly paddled over and looked at us, as if saying, where’s the bread? We don’t feed wildlife.
We never did catch anything, but it was an enjoyable day on the lake, just what we needed! The next day was too windy to fish but it was a good day to take a nice walk. There are several different trails and we covered many of them, before we drove back to our fifth wheel.

It had been a good stop at a pretty state park, and it reminded us that we spend way too much time at private campgrounds. Unfortunately, some of our favorite state parks are closed from flooding and hurricane damage, but we still hope to spend time at Galveston Island.  Clear skies

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Newton, Kansas, Friends and Rocks

From Dodge City, we headed east to the town of Newton. It’s just north of Wichita, and there we were going to spend five nights. Our friends Bob and Nancy moved there this summer, and we needed to do some catching up, (Bob and I taught together for thirty years and spent eighteen years as partners, fishing the Walleye Circuit). We also had to drive to Kansas City where we were going to buy a beautiful piece of jade.
Finding a nice campground, Spring lake, we were happy to discover it was a Passport America Park. That saved us half of the camping cost! The next day we all headed to Kansas City to meet with the son of the Master Lapidarist, Dick Cline. Dick was our mentor and taught us more about lapidary, rock saws, and rock then everyone else combined. He passed away in May, at the age of ninety-two, just after we left Corpus Christi.
Arriving at Dana’s house Theresa invited us in and we talked of all the knowledge that Dick had imparted. He not only knew more about lapidary, but he had also traveled to twenty-three foreign countries where he had worked building nuclear power plants.
After Dana had told me of his Dad’s passing, he also asked if I wanted any of Dicks rough. I told him I really would like to buy a piece of jade from his dads shop and Dana and Theresa agreed to sell it to us.
He also asked me if I would help him price the other jade and so we spent about two hours. Dick had as good of a collection of Wyoming Jade as just about anybody and so it was a joy to handle the material. Not only were there several pieces of Edwards Jade, including a piece with the red rind, but there were also quite a few slabs of the finest apple green jade.
Dana and Theresa still have more things to do at Corpus and so I offered to lend them a helping hand. Saying our goodbyes, we headed back to Newton, where we were warmly greeted by our guard dog Molly, (she turns sixteen this month and has slowed down a lot, but is doing good for such a tough old girl).
The next few days, we spent taking walks around the city and meeting with Nancy’s cousin Mark and his wife. They had asked to see our work and so we set up a private showing. Mark is a master goldsmith and complimented us on our wire wrapping. His wife paid us the highest compliment as she hired us to wire wrap some Caribbean beach glass, (they sail the Caribbean each summer and they often collect beach glass).
The time went to quickly as the stories and memories were all told and retold.  Bob is like a brother to me and he helped to mentor me when I first started teaching.  They have expressed an interest in buying a summer place at Star Valley and we really hope they do. It’s a lot cooler there then it is in Kansas.

It was time to move on, a cold front blasted through and so we hooked up the rig and headed further south. We took two days to drive through Oklahoma and arrived at Eisenhower State Park in Texas. It’s a beautiful place where we will spend five nights before moving to the Gulf Coast!  Clear skies

Friday, October 6, 2017

Running form the Snow

It seems like we cut it closer every year. With three more doctor’s appointments, getting the truck and fifth wheel ready, and of course a last fishing day all caused us delay. As we got ready to leave, a strong arctic cold front caught us and so we had to clean snow off the fifth wheel and truck. Luckily it warmed up enough to clear the roads as we hooked up and pulled out.
The first day we had to weatherize the Bighorn and so we didn’t leave until ten am. Driving further then we like to, we made it to Rawlins,Wyoming. The next day’s afternoon forecast was for forty mile an hour plus winds and a winter storm watch and so we left early, trying to make it over the Elk Mountain pass.
The crosswinds were strong but we made it through the pass and by the time we reached Laramie, the drive became easier. Still we drove to Cheyenne and then into Nebraska finally reaching Chappell. There we spent two nights waiting out more high wind warnings and taking  a break from the drive.
I had forgotten our computer power supply and so we drove fifty miles to Sidney, Nebraska. Pursing a power supply we returned home to discover that the power supply did not fit our Dell computer, even though it was labeled for Dells.
Still the next day we headed out. Its harvest time here and so we passed brown fields of sun flowers, corn, and lots of sorghum, all waiting for the combines and grain bins. At one point a truck pulled out of a field in front of another truck and I had to pull our rig onto the shoulder. The oncoming truck was able to stop, and so, thank God, all was well. My hat was off to the truck driver that was paying attention!
We spent the next night at the fairgrounds in Colby, Kansas and while we were there we exchanged the power supply for one that worked. It rained heavy that night and most of the next morning. We finally reached Dodge City and parked at a dry gravel pull though in a pricey rv park. The temperature today is nearly seventy and we are both glad we missed the snowstorm at Elk Mountain. Here we bought some more things we left in Wyoming and took another rest.
Tomorrow, should be an east day as we are only driving for three hours to Newton, Kansas. There we are going to purchase some rocks, go figure, and meet up with my fishing and teaching partner Bob. They sold their place in Rapid City and moved to eastern Kansas to be nearer his wife’s family.

Clear skies and Safe Travels