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Author Topic: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks  (Read 33860 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #120 on: November 06, 2011, 09:09:09 AM »
I think the wood duck is tied with the Mandarin duck for most beautiful.  The male (Picture 15) is awesome, and the female is pretty for a girl bird (Picture 16).  In the same pond area was this beautiful bird with interesting coloring (Picture 17).  White-faced whistling ducks were everywhere (Picture 18).

We’ve seen lots of raccoons over the years, but we’ve never seen them in a tree before (Picture 19).

As we walked to the next exhibit, I spotted a wild black-crowned night heron overhead. (Picture 20)  He’s supposedly common, but I’ve never seen one before.

Isn’t the Maguari stork from South America beautiful? (Picture 21)  He uses his long beak to hunt rodents, toads, insects, SNAKES, fish, and other small animals.
                                                                     CONTINUED
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #121 on: November 06, 2011, 09:13:03 AM »
We’ve seen anteaters, but never before have we seen the Giant Anteater. (Picture 22) His 2-foot-long tongue has tiny backwards-pointing spines.  He has a special gummy saliva which makes a sticky trap for ants and termites.  He can flick that tongue 150 times per minute, and he eats 30,000 ants a day.

The St. Vincent agouti (Picture 23) was new to me, also.  He is a rodent whose range if from Mexico to Argentina.  He has such strong jaws that he can open a brazil nut with his teeth.

I thought the next animal was a llama, but he wasn’t.  He is a guanaco, a wild South American cousin of the domestic llama.  He eats the outer skin of CACTUS, and his water is the dew that accumulates on the cactus.

I don’t usually think of vultures as beautiful, but the King Vulture is gorgeous (Picture 25).

I have been looking for ducks all trip long, and I ended my day with lots of ducks, especially the fulvous whistling duck (Picture 26).  The big beautiful blue bird was a perfect ending for a wonderful day at a zoo named after a famous “birder” and artist.

Can you believe that I eliminated 85% of the pictures we took?  That says it all.  We both had an amazing day!

Staying at Jude Travel Camp – 50 amps, FHU, WiFi, cable, no atmosphere, total $35.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 09:23:03 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Tom and Margi

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #122 on: November 06, 2011, 09:25:31 AM »
It takes a lot of time to share these well written synopses with us as well as posting all the beautiful pictures.  Thanks so much!  :-*
 
Margi

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #123 on: November 06, 2011, 09:39:32 AM »
Love the critter pictures. Many of the birds remind me of our time in Florida. I guess we need to make a Florida trip some winter so I can get my bird fix. Or maybe I'll just keep looking at your pictures :)  We haven't been to a zoo in years. Maybe I'll have to add the San Diego Zoo to our list of things to do when we're there in February.
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
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ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #124 on: November 06, 2011, 01:29:56 PM »
Wonderful photos!  And some are critters I've never even heard of before so that makes them all the more special.  Thanks!

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #125 on: November 06, 2011, 11:25:26 PM »
It takes a lot of time to share these well written synopses with us as well as posting all the beautiful pictures.  Thanks so much!  :-*
 
Margi

Thanks.  I feel so fortunate to be able to see these wonderful animals, and it's fun to share the things we learn.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #126 on: November 06, 2011, 11:29:39 PM »
Love the critter pictures. Many of the birds remind me of our time in Florida. I guess we need to make a Florida trip some winter so I can get my bird fix. Or maybe I'll just keep looking at your pictures :)  We haven't been to a zoo in years. Maybe I'll have to add the San Diego Zoo to our list of things to do when we're there in February.
 
Wendy

I'd love to schedule a Florida trip that coincides with yours so we could meet up from time to time.  You know so much more than I do, and I love it when I can ask someone and they verify that I have labelled the bird correctly. 

Yes, yes, go to the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, now renamed San Diego Safari Park.  We have annual passes and can get you in for free with the extra tickets they gave us.  Give us a call and we'll coordinate.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #127 on: November 06, 2011, 11:37:23 PM »
November 5, 2011   Day 46      Baton Rouge

The whole reason we stopped at Baton Rouge this time was to see the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center.  It is an absolutely beautiful, large wooded area with 3 boardwalk trails.  Lots of money was put into its development and building a gorgeous visitors center.  The exhibits inside are numerous and interesting—baby alligators, a copperhead, a cottonmouth, and more.  The admission was only  $2.50.  That’s the good.

Now, the bad.  When we entered, the lady who took our money was reading a book (and, to be fair, it looked like a textbook), but she gave us only a map and didn’t volunteer any information beyond “yes” and “no” to our questions.  The map she gave us had 3 named trails, but those names were nowhere on the trail signs, which had completely different names.  Dean politely told her about the name confusion, but she really wasn’t interested.  Many of the exhibits had no signs.  Could the admission lady have been working on making a new map or labeling the exhibits?  The swamp had no water, was totally bone dry, and the only animal we saw was one lizard.  This whole center reminded me or a diamond in the rough.

We went to the United Artist movie and saw “Tower Heist”, which we enjoyed.

Stayed at Baton Rouge’s Walmart.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #128 on: November 06, 2011, 11:40:53 PM »
November 6, 2011   Day 47      Lafayette, LA

After striking out yesterday, I held my breath on my choices for today—The Acadian Cultural Center and Vermillion Village.  Today I hit a triple.

Acadians are people of French heritage who were evicted from Nova Scotia when they refused to swear allegiance to England.

The Vermillion Village (admission of $8) is a recreated 1800-1890 Acadian village with about 17 real buildings that have been moved there.  One of two exceptions is this replica of a single family palmetto home (Picture 1) that was common during the 1840s.  Native Americans often got rid of mosquitoes, spiders, and other pests by lighting a small fire inside the house.  The smoke forced the insects away, and with no smokehole or chimney, I would think it would almost chase the inhabitants away, too.  Raised mats served as beds and benches.  They would be higher than a flea could jump.  They made the walls from river cane.  They were big on bousillage—a combination of Spanish moss and mud—which they used for clay ovens and later homes.

They had a great scientific explanation of the water cycle and how the waters flow and are exchanged in the swamp in the Watershed Exhibition.  They had interactive exhibits which showed the role water plays in our lives.

At the Performance Center, a Zydeco band was playing.  As many people from the audience danced, a band composed of a guitar, fiddle, accordian, and  a real washboard played.  (Picture 2) Vermillionville was created by the Bayou Vermillion District to preserve their natural and cultural resources.  We heard many people speaking French, and I think they probably were Acadians.

We learned that the restaurant, which was a plantation overseer’s house, was going to close at 2:00, so we had lunch.  Dean had a po’ boy, and I had etouffe and shrimp.  It was good.

In the 1890s schoolhouse, we saw the lines, “I will not speak French in school,” on the blackboard.  Louisiana law forbade the speaking of French, even on the playground. 

The chapel was recreated based on the Catholic Churches in the area around 1760.  Catholicism was the only religion legally allowed before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  Acadians loved their religion and priests visited infrequently, so the Acadians had prayer services led by laymen.  Slaves practiced the religion of their masters. 

Outside a home from 1790, we found this intriguing washing machine, which was operated by a foot pedal. (Picture 3) Hanging on the side is the agitator.  One of the fun aspects of this visit was trying to figure out how they did things by putting together the visual clues and talking about it together.   Dean would see something, then I would, and then Dean with his mechanical knowledge would come up with how it was probably used.

We met a 5th generation craftswoman (Picture 4) who was making a basket from pine needles.  She was a real hoot to talk with, and she shared some of her family’s history.  I couldn’t believe that she is 52 years old.  She is allergic to the sun, so she always was kept inside or totally shaded to huge hats.  She has no wrinkles at all.  She told us about her spoon dolls (which doubled as paddles when her children misbehaved), cornhusk dolls, ragdolls, and her baskets. (Picture 5)

Their plants and trees were true to history and well-described in the informational pamphlet we were given at the entrance.  At 2 or 3 spots, we used our cellphone to access more information that they had pre-recorded.

We then scurried next door to the Jean Lafitte National Park Acadian Cultural Center for their 30-minute historical film.  They had many pictures that showed the various aspects of their culture—food, music, occupations, homes, religion, community, and entertainment.  It was very well explained, and the rangers were helpful with answers.  These two sites really take about 6 hours, and we only had about 5 hours. 

Tomorrow we are off to Beaumont, Texas,  to try to find migratory birds.

Stayed at Lafayette’s Walmart
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #129 on: November 08, 2011, 08:28:35 PM »
November 7, 2011   Day 48      Tomboll, TX (outside Houston)

We drove 30 miles north of I-10 to get to the Big Thicket National Preserve, which has a lovely visitor center and great rangers.  I had talked with them ahead of time about everything except MOSQUITOES.  When we were here in Spring, 2010, we thought it was a wonderful site, and I verified that spring migrants had already arrived.  However, because I am so allergic to insect bites, I bought a fan thing that fits on your belt and repels flying critters.  I was going to wear it as a pre-caution, but we couldn’t find it anywhere.  I asked at the VC about buying another one or repellant, and they had none. 
At that point, the ranger mentioned the abundance of mosquitoes currently. I didn’t want to miss out on anything, and we decided to head out anyway.  We had to detach the Jeep, as the two HC-accessible trails were a few miles away.  As Dean unhooked, I tore apart the Jeep looking for the insect repellant.  The temp was a mild 79°, but humidity was over 80%, and I started sweating.  The mosquitoes found me before we had even left for the trails.  At that point, I changed my mind.  Dean is such a great guy.  He didn’t even say anything about all the work he had to re-do to re-attach. This was a 60-mile detour for nothing.

I immediately tried to get a RV park reservation in Houston, about 150  miles away.  I had notes from our 2010 trip to get reservations ahead of time.  The Space Center RV Park is so congested just to drive through it is a major challenge, and I had marked it as NEVER stay there.  We have stayed at the Fairgrounds twice before, and it is right-priced, has all the bells and whistles, and no vacancies until FEBRUARY.  So, we chose the park nearest our destination tomorrow, but it was 30 miles north of the freeway.  I hope the Sheldon Lake State Park, which I have marked as being outstanding, is nearby, as the ranger told me.

Staying at Corral RV Park,  $53.91/2 nights with Good Sam discount, FHU, 50 amp pull-thru, nice managers
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #130 on: November 09, 2011, 02:50:23 AM »
November 8, 2011   Day 49      Tomboll, TX (outside Houston)

We came to Tomboll specifically to go to Sheldon Lake State Park, but we got washed out with showers on and off all day.  Sometimes it really poured, and it seemed to cycle through every 30 minutes.

We went to the Apple Store and found out why my phone has been doing weird things.  We found our first Costco in 3 states and bought blueberries, which haven’t been available in the grocery stores, and lots of items we’ve been unable to find.  In New Orleans, most of the grocery stores are little corner groceries. 

We then went to Willowbrook’s AMC 24 theatre and saw “In Time,” which was good.

Mosquitoes, rain, I guess that on this trip I’m just not going to see a lot of wildlife.

Staying at Corral RV Park,  $53.91/2 nights with Good Sam discount, FHU, 50 amp pull-thru, nice managers
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

PatrioticStabilist

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #131 on: November 09, 2011, 11:12:48 AM »
We aren't home right now but you aren't far from us.  We live within a few miles of the Woodlands.  They have a new RV park on our road, its small but looks pretty nice.  I haven't priced it, its called the Sleepy Hollow RV park and its off I 45 north of Spring.  You drive through an area that doesn't look so nice but its safe and later it turns into nicer houses.  It's near White Oak Estates.

You want to see a nice mall and a pretty area, go to the Woodlands.  They have great restaurants, boats you can ride, they don't go to far but its still neat.  There is Market Street that is getting some high dollar shops.  At Christmas its decorated beautifully.  There is a grocery/lunch type market that has delicious food, expensive yes, but excellent food. There are theaters, a pavillion that has live concerts, just lots of places around there.  It's just a nice area to visit.

PatrioticStabilist

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #132 on: November 09, 2011, 11:15:19 AM »
I love your pictures, for some reason my chip for my camera doesn't fit this computer, it and the computer are pretty new so seems odd they are not compatible.  Sad to say I have been to some of the places you are going and haven't seen those sights, I need to be more diligent in researching what is where.

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #133 on: November 10, 2011, 11:03:46 PM »
November 10, 2011   Day 51      El Paso, TX

We traveled 500 easy miles through boring country on good roads.  Tonight we are planning adventures on New Mexico and Arizona.

Staying at Walmart
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #134 on: November 10, 2011, 11:21:16 PM »
I love your pictures, for some reason my chip for my camera doesn't fit this computer, it and the computer are pretty new so seems odd they are not compatible.  Sad to say I have been to some of the places you are going and haven't seen those sights, I need to be more diligent in researching what is where.

Thanks, Dean really works hard to get good pictures, long after I would have given up.  I've been accumulating folders on each state for about 25 years, based on articles in Audubon's member magazine, AAA Travel Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, the travel section of the newspaper and my most important source is RVForumers.  Before I go anywhere, I ask Forumers for their recommendations, and they are by far my most prolific source of good info.  I ask for what to see, where to stay, and also for negative experiences, and I am sure they have saved me from unpleasantries.  Then I look at the AAA Tour book and see what they have to say.  As we go down the highway, I look on tripadvisor on my I-phone.  They rank all of the attractions in the city, and you can read what people have written.  They also have restaurants, theatres, and more.

Dean and I have split up the pink and blue jobs.  I use those little rectangular post-its and I put them all over the state.  Each color--light pink--hot pink--green--orange--yellow--notes how much I want to see that site.  Hot pink is highest--a MUST SEE, yellow is usually just a cafe someone recommended or an RV park.  Then Dean and I together connect the dots (Post-Its)--I'm looking for getting to where I want to go, and he's looking to avoid dirt roads, tiny rural roads, etc.  I try to do it at home before we go, and we modify as we go because Forumers often tell me more as I go along. If we like something a lot or discover something, we stay longer.  If it doesn't meet our expectations or prolonged bad weather comes, we leave. On this trip, the flooding in Iowa completely changed our itinerary, and I had to do trip planning on the fly--NOT FUN!  We are doing New Mexico and Arizona tonight right after I finish this.

Hope this helps.  I have promised Dean an I-Pad when the new ones come out--it will be his birthday and Xmas gift (and, depending on which one he chooses, it may be next year's gifts also), and I know he will enjoy it.  However, I can see real potential for it helping me in mapping. 
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #135 on: November 10, 2011, 11:24:57 PM »
Somehow I goofed.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 07:29:32 PM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #136 on: November 11, 2011, 07:30:11 PM »
November 11, 2011   Day 52      Willcox, AZ

We traveled about 300 easy miles on I-10.  I wish we had filled our tank before we left Texas.  Diesel in New Mexico and Arizona is $3.97/gallon, about 30 cents more than we paid in Texas. 

There wasn’t anything in New Mexico close enough to I-10 to be of interest, but I did find an awesome-sounding museum/rock shop in Deming.  It has an outstanding reputation with my friends who are rockhounds.  When I talked with friends, they said that they hoped it was still in business, as a lot of rock shops have folded.  The phone was disconnected—a bad sign.  Unfortunately, today at lunch I discovered it’s out of business as is the Rocks State Park (at least their phone number has been disconnected, too).  We had a good lunch in Deming at La Fonda Mexican Restaurant, which had great curbside parking for our RV & Jeep.  We saw a funny sign outside KFC, “ORDER YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY EARLY.”  Do they fry turkeys now?  Do they use the same spices?
 
Last night I discovered this little town of Willcox.  I have high hopes for lots of fun here; we’ll see if it lives up to its promises of lots of different birds and nesting sandhill cranes  Sherlock loves it here.  Next to our rig are two bushes, and birds fly about frequently.

Staying at Fort Wilcox RV Park—50 amps, FHU, cable, WiFi in the office (I think), $37.40/2 nights with Passport America, no maximum number of nights, quail running around at the back of the property.  John, the manager, gave me a ton of literature about places to go here, as well as specific oral directions.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

PatrioticStabilist

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #137 on: November 11, 2011, 11:58:32 PM »
We aren't far behind you, in Ft Stockton tonight.  But we are headed to Vegas.  Yes, some of this is easy driving and you are right a lot of the same but still some neat sites.

I hope to make some good distance tomorrow so need to hit the sack.

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #138 on: November 12, 2011, 11:10:30 AM »
I saw diesel at Fry's in Mesa for 3.759 if that makes you feel any better.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #139 on: November 12, 2011, 01:26:28 PM »
Linda and Carolyn,

The last western-most exit on I-10 in New Mexico is at the Steins ghost town.  When the railroads switched from steam to diesel it literally closed overnight.  It was privately owned so everything was left pretty much "as is" - clothing, cooking utensils, everything - until bought by a person who has turned it into a museum.  When we stopped there, they had a big parking area where you could boondock overnight.

Oh, heck.  I just Googled Steins and found out it has been closed permanently.  Too bad.  :(

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #140 on: November 13, 2011, 12:08:27 AM »
November 12, 2011      Day 53      Willcox, AZ

We got a knock at our door shortly after we opened up our drapes.  The manager of the RV park, John, said his wife made a mistake when calculating our rate, and he had come to return $1 to us.  I was impressed that he would make the effort for such a small amount.  I really like him a lot.  We have seen all the RV parks here in Willcox, and they are not “resorts”, but they all look well-tended, and I would definitely stay here again.

We hit a homerun today!  I worked about 3 hours last night trying to wade through websites and pamphlets, only finding vague directions on to birding sites in the area.   I had only a very gross map of Cochise County as an aid.  If anyone is interested, I will send you my much more complete directions, which still need work.  Anyway, hard work does pay off!

We went to the Apache Station Wildlife Area, which I had successfully mapped.  This area, also called Sulphur Valley, is the #1 crane wintering area in the US.  We learned from the signboard that there are 3 subspecies who come here, and they range from 6 lbs. to 14 pounds and stand from 2.5’ to 3.5’ high, but they all have wingspans from 6’ to 7’.

As we approached the birding area, we heard loud continuous bird calls.  We saw little black blotches way way up in the sky, but when I got to the top of the observation deck I expected to see a sea of birds on the ground making all the noise.  Imagine my surprise when there was nary a one.  All that noise was from those little guys up so high.   There were two wonderful telescopes on the deck.  After about 30 minutes of winding their way down from the sky, zigzagging just like we do when we come down a mountain, the sandhill cranes started landing.  Wave after wave came in, until there were over a thousand on the valley floor. (Picture 1) Two Ross’s snow geese (the white birds) joined one flock and landed with them.  I couldn’t understand why they always landed in the interior of the flock, never on the perimeter. I guess those already there saw someone new coming in and just moved out of the way.  There were still more flocks in the approach pattern when a golden eagle appeared, and they all took off.  (Picture 2)  The sky was black with birds.  We were told by the local birders that the cranes have several predators, and they have seen them killed by eagles, bobcats, and coyotes.  We watched them fly, sometimes directly over our heads (Picture 3).  Eventually, we lost sight of the eagle, so we think all the cranes survived.

We apologize for our pictures.  They don’t do the cranes’ beauty justice.  We had two problems—we haven’t been able to justify buying a long enough lens (several thousand dollars), and we had majorly thick clouds as a background.  I had to brighten the pictures considerably so the birds weren’t just black blobs.  But, we have great pictures and memories in our minds! 

We came back along Kansas Settlement Road, which I had worked hard mapping, but I’m not sure we did it right. I think we may have gone the wrong direction on the road. We were supposed to see the cranes feeding on the fields where the farmers have picked their corn crop.  Apparently there is a lot of waste corn left, and that’s what the cranes eat.  We only passed two corn farms, and they didn’t have any cranes.  We got lucky and ended up in Historic Willcox at the “train” where we had barbecued ribs.

Next, we went to “the viewing area by the golf course”, which I also successfully mapped.  There were hundreds of ducks, but most were pretty inactive or huddled together (Picture 4).  We could see the rain coming, and we could feel the cold wind.  I wanted to see ducks, and we saw several varieties, but not my hoped-for wood ducks.

I had mapped another site 50 miles away, probably the one with the biggest variety of birds, and wanted to do it tomorrow.  However, rain and cold are projected, and we have to be home a few days before Thanksgiving, so it will  have to go on my “Next Time List,” as are several other places.

At the back of our RV park there is always a group of quail (Picture 5).  I think the manager here may be putting out some seed for them.

Staying at Fort Wilcox RV Park—50 amps, FHU, cable, WiFi in the office (I think), $36.40/2 nights with Passport America, no maximum number of nights, quail running around at the back of the property.  John, the manager, gave me a ton of literature about places to go here, as well as specific oral directions. 
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #141 on: November 13, 2011, 12:09:33 AM »
I saw diesel at Fry's in Mesa for 3.759 if that makes you feel any better.

It makes me feel a lot better!  Thanks.  I hope we go through Mesa.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 12:11:21 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Bob Maxwell

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #142 on: November 13, 2011, 10:53:12 AM »
There are 10 stations with diesel under $ 3.70 today in AZ.

The lowest is $ 3.51 at QuikTrip, 2836 N 27th Ave & W Thomas Rd, Phoenix

 Next, $ 3.56 1459 N Dysart Rd near E Van Buren St, Avondale

The next 8 are in Tucson or Marana.

Use this link to chart your diesel purchases:

 from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fgasbuddy.com%2F&ei=L_S_ToDTOIGLiAKF3KyjAw&usg=AFQjCNEEZRVkHR74BIRqS_w3YSt4JE0RRQ
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

. . . still ridin' for the brand.

1994 Suncruiser 34RQ, Cummins 5.9L/230 Allison 3060
'08 Kia Spectra5,
FMCA SKP

Holbrook AZ, west of the Petrified Forrest NP on I-40

Ken & Sheila

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #143 on: November 13, 2011, 11:05:14 AM »
Remember, in  AZ "truck" diesel has 8 cents more tax than "car" diesel. Some truckstops will give you the 8 cents as a credit, but not most. FJ/Pilot use give it at the truck islands with the RV card, I haven't check with their new system.

Truck = vehicle over 30,000lbs or 3 axles or more.

Plus Truckstops in AZ always seem high on diesel even account for the 8 cents.

Since I am "truck" (40k and 3 axles) I use truckstops. But two have given me the discount (via a signed exception form) even when I tell them I have three axles. One guy said nobody's taking pictures and they (AZ ) just look at the exception form to see that your a motorhome.

ken
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 11:07:22 AM by Ken & Sheila »
Ken & Sheila
2009 Monaco Camelot 42 PDQ
2008 Jeep Liberty, 2006 Saturn Vue
Fur-ball kids: Ariel and Mia

BernieD

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #144 on: November 13, 2011, 02:44:14 PM »
I've had to use the RV pumps at the Flying J and Pilot stations in the Phoenix area since they no longer rebate the truck tax at the truck pumps. The tax is imposed on vehicles over 26,000# GVWR. The problem with using the RV pumps or lower cost stations like Fry's or Circle K is the small nozzle pumps and lower purchase limits on credit card purchases. You have to go to the cashier to get the pump to not shut off at $75 or $100.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

mnmnutswer

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #145 on: November 13, 2011, 08:12:45 PM »
When you travel tell your bank you need a larger limit on the card for fuel they can raise it over the $75.00. The bank controlls it and it is there for your protection. All it takes is a phone call.
Terry & Kathy Weller
Direct Sales Jewelry
It goes where you are.

BernieD

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #146 on: November 13, 2011, 10:41:09 PM »
When you travel tell your bank you need a larger limit on the card for fuel they can raise it over the $75.00. The bank controlls it and it is there for your protection. All it takes is a phone call.

I'm not sure that is correct. I've been in a number of stations using my Amex card and have had between $75 and $150 as the cut-off limit. If the card set the limit, the cashier wouldn't be able to override it.

I just called Amex and they confirmed that it is the fuel company that sets the limits, not the credit card company.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 08:30:27 AM by BernieD »
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

mnmnutswer

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #147 on: November 14, 2011, 06:58:50 AM »
Sorry I guess I was miss guided by my bank.
Terry & Kathy Weller
Direct Sales Jewelry
It goes where you are.

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #148 on: November 15, 2011, 02:07:58 AM »
November 13, 2011      Day 54      Tucson, AZ

We drove through showers but had good road and courteous drivers.  I had spoken with the manager of El Molina RV Park and she had said to just come on in.  It is a Passport America Park, and we have been very pleased with them.  Our $44 annual membership has saved us over $300 on this trip, and all the parks have been well-maintained and have had FHU with 50-amps.  We couldn’t find the office, so we called and got no answer, drove around, found the tiny RV spaces that looked more like storage spots, saw many really run-down mobile homes, and decided to move on since we hadn’t made an actual reservation.  As we exited, I saw the office in the distance, and Dean went over to it, but no one was there.

Meanwhile, I had looked in the “Trailer Life,” and found Desert Trails RV Park.  All spaces are $26, with $3 extra for 50-amps.  We love it here.  The spaces are large, the other campers are the nicest we’ve met on the whole trip, and they have put out lots of bird feeders. Wildlife abounds.  I put it on my “Go Back To” list.  I like it much better than “RV resorts.”

It was too wet and too late to go anywhere tonight, so we went to see “J. Edgar” and got a quick cup of wonderful clam chowder & cornbread at the Claim Jumper.

Staying at Desert Trails RV Park—50 amps, FHU, $29 total, helpful managers.

Thanks for all the gas tips.  I will pass them on to Dean, and I will use the website.  I love the info I get from you guys and gals.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 02:11:54 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #149 on: November 16, 2011, 11:25:33 PM »
November 14 2011      Day 55      Tucson, AZ

This morning as we headed out to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, our RV park managers gave us a coupon for a free admission with a paid admission, saving us $14.50.  I LIKE these people!  They also gave us a very complete map of the Tucson area.  They have free ice, free mini-golf, pay phones with free local calls, and they recycle!

As we entered, a docent stood with a gorgeous female barn owl perched on her hand. (Picture 1).

We hadn’t eaten breakfast because I remembered that the ASDM had a good café’.   On our way to eat, we stopped their gift shop which has high-quality everything you could want to decorate your home, or to read, or, in my case, a sun-protecting hat.

 Unfortunately, the café’ was closed.  But their “fast food” place had wonderful Mexican food (I had fish & shredded beef tacos and the best Mexican rice), beautiful-looking salads, and Dean loved his hamburger.  They had a TV screen with “Planning Your Day”, which showed a Docent-led tour leaving in about 15 minutes. 

We were the only people on her tour, which is supposed to last about 1.5 hours.  Ours lasted 4 hours.  Barbara Burns talked almost non-stop, and I’m sure she knew 3 times as much as she was able to tell us.  We met two other docents at exhibit booths, and they were also very knowledgeable.  I will come here every time we are in Tucson; it was fascinating.

There are 4 major biomes in the Sonora Desert, each well-represented at the ASDM.  As we entered the Arizona uplands biome, the highest and coolest of the Sonoran Desert, an American kestrel, AKA as a sparrow hawk, was being taken somewhere, and the docent stopped to talk. (Picture 2)  He eats insects, reptiles, small birds, and rodents.

I have taught about the desert and read a lot, but I didn’t know 10% of what Barbara shared.   The ASDM has beautiful saguaros, and it is amazing that saguaros exist at all.  The pregnant Mexican lesser long-nose bat is the only one who pollinates the nectarines way down deep at the base of the saguaro flower.  When the fruit ripens, it has 2000 poppyseed-looking seeds.  Out of the 150 years of the saguaro’s life only 1 seed usually makes it to replace the adult.  They get squashed by feet, both human and animal, get eaten, or get too dried out from the sun.  The white-wing dove eats the seed and poops it out.   The saguaro has shallow roots 4”-6” below the ground, but the roots keep it very stable because they are as wide as they are tall.  One saguaro can take up 2 tons of water.  The ribs expand, and occasionally burst.  The saguaro can live on that stored water for 2 years.  The holes in the flesh are caused by flickers and woodpeckers.  Screech owls nest inside saguaros. That outer skin is so good that the temperature inside a saguaro only varies by 15° from the coldest winter day to the warmest summer day.  They live 150 years.  Lightning strikes them or they blow over because the older root system weakens.  The Tohono O’odham believe they are sacred.  When I’itoi was creating the desert, he wiped his brown, and each drop of swet from his brow that fell to the ground created a saguaro.

 The Papago Indians, also known as the Tohono O’odham (? Spelling), harvest the saguaro in June.  They get the fruit when it is pink and before it bursts.  The edge of the flower acts as a built-in knife, with its hardened edge.  They put the pulp in a bucket and cook it for 4-5 hours.  They use the syrup to make ceremonial wine.  The fruit sustains wildlife in June, and the coyotes and birds especially enjoy it.  The Tohono O’odhams also pick the prickly pear fruit (tunas), take the thorns off, and blend it in a blender until it is syrup.  But, the saguaro fruit has the sweetest, most wonderful flavor.

She showed us the jojoba, whose beans make oil and are used in cosmetics as a great emollient.  There are 4 males for every female.  Most desert plants have green-gray leaves, which sit up on edge, so they have a minimum part exposed to the sunlight.  We saw the cactus wren (Picture 3) bobbing between the desert plants. He is the largest wren and Arizona’s state bird.

 They had a terrible frost and 15° temperature on February 15, and it did major damage to the plants they weren’t able to cover.  Saguaros cannot tolerate any frost.   When you see one with a sagging, drooping arm, that is caused by frost damage.  The constrictions on the cacti (Picture 4) look like someone tied a strong around them is due to previous frosts.  This time we could see where the ends of cacti had turned black and were dead.  The groundskeepers, scouts, volunteers, and docents spread blankets over as many plants as possible, and they put syrofoam cups over the ends of the saguaros to protect them. I got so wrapped up in her talk, I didn’t write the name of this bird who flew among the cactus (Picture 5).

In the desert grasslands, ranchers are raising cattle and horses.  These animals have spread mesquite seeds, so there are too many mesquite trees.  The ranchers planted bufflegrass because the cows liked eating it.  However, they didn’t realize it would burn so much hotter than native grasses, which burn quickly and is then gone.  Buffelgrass kills saguaros.  They are working to eradicate it.

The native Americans used the soap tree yucca’s roots for soap because it has sapinen, which is a surfactant.  They also grew Pima cotton, native cotton, which is still prized today.

We learned that the palo verde tree (those trees with the green bark) drop their leaves in drought, and if it continues, they start dropping branches, all to maintain the main structure.  They photosynthesize through their bark.  We saw desert mistletoe (Picture 6) growing on them.

I was thrilled to see these beautiful bighorn sheep (Picture 7).  We missed seeing them when we were in Colorado.  The male (on the right) was obviously very taken with the female and chased her around their enclosure.  A bighorn’s head can weigh 60 pounds.  Both sexes retain their horns all of the time; they don’t shed them.

There was a lot of variety in the aviary.  We enjoyed the bright colors of the Western tanager (Picture 8).  They have a separate aviary for the hummingbirds (Pictures 9, 10,11, 12).

We are heading to San Diego and the S. D. Safari Park, and then home.  This will be my last post, but I will look back on for a couple of days.  Thanks to everyone for your replies, help, and information (think gas—that website will save us money).  We didn’t get enough time in Arizona and New Mexico and plan to return in January or February.

Staying at Desert Trails RV Park—50 amps, FHU, $29 total, helpful managers.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

 

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