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RVing message boards => Trip reports, journals, logs => Topic started by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 13, 2010, 05:47:06 PM

Title: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 13, 2010, 05:47:06 PM
DAY 1 – March 13 –Fredericksburg, Texas
Whew!  We’ve arrived on our first day of our Texas adventure.  We drove from near Disneyland in CA to Tucson (487 mi.)—Wal-Mart, then to El Paso (342 mi.)—Wal-Mart, then to Kerrville (486 mi.)—Wal-Mart.  We spent the day visiting the cute town of Kerrville.  We started at the small Riverside Nature Center, which is next to the Guadalupe River.  People have worked hard to plant a lot of trees to attract birds, and they are well-signed.  It is free, but they welcomed our donation.  Riverside will be alive with blooms in another month. But now the leaves are just beginning to set on, except for the Mexican plum tree (picture).  These were at their peak and just loaded with blossoms and BEES!  We left the bees alone, and they left us alone.  We saw lots of what I think were finches (picture) and beautiful red and orange cardinals, but they were too camera-shy and there were too many people walking around for them to stay for more than a second or two.  If anyone reads this log thinks I mislabeled, you are probably correct, so please let me know—I don’t want to give bad information, and no hurt feelings at all.
   We then went to the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center.  They had 4 “micro-mini” shows, one photography exhibit by just one photographer, a tiny Japanese exhibit with 3 ikebana (Japanese flower arrangements), and 2 groups of juried art works.  4 of their members had gone to Japan to study flower-arranging, and they had a loop of their slides playing, which I found fascinating—awesome gardens, superb close-ups, great “people” pictures, and wonderfully sharp photography with great composition.  They also had an intriguing room of fluorescent minerals.  I thought it was well worth the stop, and we donated to help keep them going.
   At the gardens and cultural center we met wonderful, chatty ladies who were full of  good information.  We were told to go to a nearby framing and art store, but it was small and so crammed we couldn’t see much.  We stopped at a sidewalk café at the corner of Water & Earl Garrett and had a nice, but pricy ($8.50) lunch.  We by-passed the Museum of Western Art, which I think may be nice, and we will go there another time.
   This is just like small-town Alaska, really nice people and modest everything.  Don’t expect big-city museums or set your expectations too high.  We are just enjoying the wonderful “warn feel” of the area.
   It’s a good thing we didn’t dally any longer in Kerrville.  I tried the two “best” RV parks in town, and they both had waiting lists of weeks.  When we got to the Fredericksburg Wal-Mart at 4:15, it also was pretty full.  It seems that there is an re-enactment of WWII going on this weekend!  It could be a gem if we get to see something special, or it could be a dud if there are crowds everywhere.

Miles traveled: 34
Temperature: 79°F
Stayed at Wal-Mart in Fredericksburg
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Tom and Margi on March 13, 2010, 10:20:41 PM
Bless you, Linda, for taking the time to take us along on your travels once again.  I'll be eagerly awaiting your posts as you travel through areas we have enjoyed and some others we probably missed.  You do such a good job of describing your adventures!

Margi
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Marsha/CA on March 14, 2010, 10:39:47 AM
Linda....this is gonna be such fun!  You know how much I love seeing moose, so if you see one.....let me know....better yet call me and I'll be right out there.    ;)

Marsha~
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: geodrake on March 14, 2010, 11:04:46 AM
Next month there will be a Texas Hill Country Rally just a few miles from where you are.   If there is any way for you to remain in the area it would be enjoyable and well worth your time.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on March 14, 2010, 05:49:32 PM
Linda,

I'm so happy to see you've started another trip journal.  Boy, you guys really made tracks from L.A.!  Hope you can get in the Nimitz museum and that it's not ridiculously crowded.  But, if not, it's a good excuse to return!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Betty Brewer on March 14, 2010, 07:12:55 PM
Linda,

It will be good to keep up with you.  I recall several favorite German food restaurants in Fredsrickburg as well as the museum.

Betty
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 14, 2010, 07:18:25 PM
Glad to see you got going on your Texas Adventure but, dang, that was a lot of miles in a short time ! I think you must have blown right by us while we were in Deming. Looking forward to hearing about all the great places you go.
 
Enjoy
Wendy
Elephant Butte Lake S.P., New Mexico
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 14, 2010, 11:30:18 PM
DAY 2—March 14—Spring Branch
   We wanted to get an early start because we had heard how wonderful the National Museum of the Pacific War (Nimitz Museum) was, and we only had one day to see it.  It is rated as a “GEM” by AAA, and it is truly excellent. Tickets were $12 (adult)+ $10 (senior) and are good for 48 hours from time of purchase.
    Our first discovery this morning was that our watches and clocks had the wrong time; they were off by one hour according to my cell phone, which is never wrong.  I had been so careful to change my watch as we went through each time zone, and I knew that Texas is not in the East Coast time zone!  I discreetly checked the time when we went into the museum, and it seemed that everyone was off by an hour.  It wasn’t until the afternoon that I discovered that Daylight Savings Time had started, so we had one hour less in the museum.  It is packed with information, which is very well displayed in a beautiful, modern building. Dean got a picture of a B-25, which was part of Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo. The museum has detailed information on each of the campaigns and battles in the Pacific.  My dad was in WWII, as was Dean’s.  My daughter’s father-in-law witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor from his roof (he is Hawaiian), so I get the necessity of the war.  I did learn a lot at the museum, but I enjoyed seeing the green finch that landed outside our RV and watching the red-tailed hawk that was soaring overhead a whole lot more.  The Japanese Garden of Peace at the museum was small, but well done.

Miles traveled: 60
Temperature:  Internet says it was 71°F, but both of us think it felt 7 or 8° warmer
Stayed at Ned and Lorna’s in Spring Branch
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 15, 2010, 12:13:40 AM
Glad to see you got going on your Texas Adventure but, dang, that was a lot of miles in a short time ! I think you must have blown right by us while we were in Deming. Looking forward to hearing about all the great places you go.
 
Enjoy
Wendy
Elephant Butte Lake S.P., New Mexico

We were supposed to leave on Feb. 21, and we ended up leaving on March 10.  We had a whole series of snafus, but none were health-related, so all is good.  It was like the monkeys at Chuck E. Cheese; you bonk one on the head with a rubber hammer and another pops up.  It started with delayed forms that are supposed to be sent to us so we could do our taxes (I had to have taxes complete before we left; after seeing how things can get screwed up with mail on our Alaska trip, I wasn't going to have important papers coming to RV parks and hope to have the timing right). It ended with Dean having a dead battery on his car.  We brought a couple of problems with us and will try to resolve them on the road.  So, we had to skip several stops and shorten our stays at the beginning of our trip because I splurged and reserved a great site right on the Gulf for the week starting March 13.  I was able to postpone it to March 20, but that was before the last 3 or 4 problems.  And I didn't want to ask them to postpone it a second time.  So, we are scurrying.  We'll be back through here in November, so we'll have an excuse to stop and pick up the places we missed--something to look forward to.

I am sorry we didn't know you were in Deming.  I remember seeing it!  We could have always made time to meet up with you.  For now, we'll talk through internet; hope you are coming to Hop-Skip-Jump!

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 15, 2010, 11:32:16 PM
DAY 3—March 15—Spring Branch
   The day started with rain, so we looked up the weather prediction and altered our plans and went to the LBJ Nat’l Historical Park. We limited our visit to the Visitor Center, which had 2 interesting films, one about Lady Bird, and one about Lyndon.  They had a timeline with events of LBJ’s life correlated with world events of the time.  I learned that he was actually rather poor when growing up, and that really influenced his desire to build a Great Society and to start Head Start.  He believed in the Job Corps to train people, giving them a hand up rather than a handout.  We spent 3 hours there, and we did not go to his childhood homes, which Lorna tells us is very interesting, also.
   I am enjoying the Texans so much.  They are really nice, and like the Alaskans, they tell it as it is.  I had questions about a couple of other attractions, and I was told they were rundown and not worth visiting.
   On the way back, Dean got a picrture of the darling miniature horses which are raised in this area.  They are less than 3 feet high, about the size of a large dog.  There was one palomino that was gorgeous and stole my heart. 

Miles traveled: 0
Temperature:  High of 73°, quick shower in the morning, and lots of rain after dark
Stayed at Ned and Lorna’s
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 15, 2010, 11:41:00 PM
Next month there will be a Texas Hill Country Rally just a few miles from where you are.   If there is any way for you to remain in the area it would be enjoyable and well worth your time.

We aren't able to come to the rally, too much to see and too little time, but this is pretty country with friendly people.  The trees will all have leaves, and the wildflowers should be awesome with all the rain they've had this year.  The birds already are singing their choruses, and the air has a nice scent with something blooming. 
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 15, 2010, 11:43:36 PM
Bless you, Linda, for taking the time to take us along on your travels once again. 

Margi, you have set the bar high.  I'll do my best.  I look forward to hearing suggestions of what to see and where to go--places you've been.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: sheltie on March 16, 2010, 09:24:44 AM
Linda....this is gonna be such fun!  You know how much I love seeing moose, so if you see one.....let me know....better yet call me and I'll be right out there.    ;)

Marsha~

Marsha - I'm pretty sure she won't be seeing one here in central Texas!  However, the rest of the wild life makes the trip worthwhile.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Marsha/CA on March 16, 2010, 09:48:41 AM
Sheltie,

It's an inside joke.  When we were in Canada on two separate occasions, everyone said we'd see lots of moose....well we didn't.  So Linda sends me private emails of moose info and pictures she has seen or taken...it's been fun.  I just couldn't resist.  I've been to Texas and have seen their wildlife, including a Javalina (Havalina?), up close and personal.   :D

Marsha~
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: sheltie on March 16, 2010, 11:07:32 AM
Marsha,

Same with us during our trip across Canada a couple years ago.  Nary a wild animal of any kind. The javelina's are not so much fun, up close and personal or not.   I'll be watching, and enjoying, the Stock's visit in Texas.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: BernieD on March 16, 2010, 06:50:48 PM
We've lived in AZ for over 11 years and have never seen a Javelina. We have also driven past innumerable signs on I-17 and I-40 with elk caution and never seen one there. :'( :'(
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Marsha/CA on March 16, 2010, 10:44:37 PM
Bernie,

Have you and Marlene ever been to the "living desert museum" in Tucson?   It's one of our favorites and it has lots of javelins.  When we lived in San Diego, we would take a spring trip to Tucson and then to Phoenix for a couple of weeks and loved it.  The last 2 springs we have been working on the yard in the new house.  Hopefully we'll get back to that routine.

Marsha~
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 16, 2010, 11:06:11 PM
Bernie and Marsha - We had a pair of javelinas run by our motorhome in the campground we stayed at in Benson, Arizona, so there are at least 2 living wild in Arizona :) As for those pesky elk on I-40 around Flagstaff, I actually saw ONE a few years ago after traveling that road dozens of times.
 
Maybe Linda will see a whole herd in Texas and send us pictures ! (getting back on topic :) )
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: BernieD on March 16, 2010, 11:36:51 PM
Bernie,

Have you and Marlene ever been to the "living desert museum" in Tucson?   It's one of our favorites and it has lots of javelins.

Been there, enjoyed that :D , but don't remember seeing a javalina. May have, but just don't remember. Anyways, seeing them in a zoo doesn't count.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on March 17, 2010, 06:30:56 PM
On our very first trip through Tucson we stopped for the night at the Voyager RV Park.  Went for a walk around the park after dinner and there was a javelina within a few feet of us.  I didn't even know what they were before that!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: RLSharp on March 17, 2010, 06:46:47 PM
On our very first trip through Tucson we stopped for the night at the Voyager RV Park.  Went for a walk around the park after dinner and there was a javelina within a few feet of us.  I didn't even know what they were before that!

Ardra,

Several years ago, javelina were quite a problem here at Voyager. Our next door neighbor often had the javelina clean up his dog's food at night. It got so bad that he had to make sure there was no food remaining in the dog bowl. For the last 4-5 years the park has figured out how to keep them out. BTW, way the javelina never seems to have an interest in his dog which stayed outside all night. He was a large lab and I never once heard him bark. The pack of four or five javelina made the rounds every night; we often heard them running out side of our motor home.

Richard
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 17, 2010, 08:18:18 PM
DAY 4—March 16—Spring Branch
   It rained all night and until about 9:30 this morning—great to sleep by.  We went to the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of  Cultures (AAA rated as a gem).  It had exhibits about the contributions made to Texas by many cultures—African-American, French, Jewish, Swiss, Belgian, German, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, American Indian, Lebanese, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Tejano, Wendish (a sect from two river areas and two valleys in East Germany who have their own language and religion), English, Irish, and Scottish.  I learned so much!
    Did you know that the Mexican government paid an Englishman to bring over 100 English, Scotch, and Irish families to settle Texas as a buffer between the Americans and Mexico?  They had to agree to change their religion to Catholic, not keep slaves, pay Mexican taxes, keep allegiance to Mexico, and learn to speak Spanish.  They kept their religion (the Irish were already Catholic, but the English were Anglican), rebelled at paying Mexican taxes, fought on the side of the U. S. at the Alamo and in other skirmishes, brought 40 slaves with them, and did not learn to speak Spanish.
   I taught about the Plains Indians for 13 years, and I read about them and visited them, learned their stories, and bought buffalo skins, other relics, and CD’s of their music.  I didn’t know 20% of the information the museum had displayed.
   I learned that the U.S. interred Germans, Italians, Japanese, and Peruvian Japanese at Crystal City during WWII.  The museum had TV’s with people telling their personal stories in many of the exhibit areas.  The people who had been interred and were telling their stories said they really enjoyed Crystal City.  They had many organized sports and crafts programs, as well as a good school.  Some said it was nicer than what they came from.  However, at the end of the war, you had to either have someone who would sponsor you or you had to have a job.  But, you weren’t allowed to leave to interview for a job.  Catch 22!  Some were interred for 2 years after the war ended.  They had confiscated the Peruvian Japanese’s passports, so they couldn’t go home to their homes in Peru.  The U. S. didn’t want them, so they deported them to Japan, even though many of them spoke no Japanese, only Spanish!
   We only left because they closed.  It was SO interesting!  I have put it on my “Re-visit List”.
   We encountered Rush Hour in San Antonio traffic.  Texans are so nice; the very first car always let us change lanes when we needed to.  They put a capital C on Consideration!
   We had a nice bar-b-q brisket dinner with Ned & Lorna at a local restaurant .  It’s really great to be with RV Forumer’s.  The thing I like least about traveling is always being a stranger, and ir was nice to have good conversation with friends.  I learned about places to go and things to see in the future.

Miles traveled: 0
Temperature:  High was 70°
Stayed at Ned and Lorna’s
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 17, 2010, 08:19:08 PM
DAY 5—March 17—Spring Branch
   We had saved the San Antonio Zoo (AAA gem-rated) for a rain-free day, and so had thousands of other parents whose children are out for Spring Break.  The freeway was jammed as we approached our exit, and it got nothing but worse.  We decided to take a pass, as we figured that the nearest parking lot with empty spaces was at least 1 mile away.  It goes on my “Next Time” List.
    We then went to the Witte Museum (AAA gem-rated). We had planned on visiting yesterday, but we were so enthralled with the Institute of  Texan Cultures that we never got there.  The line of people waiting to enter stretched around 2 sides of the building and wasn’t moving at all. 
   We then decided to go to Costco.  The GPS took us through a large pretty park.  Unfortunately, the park roads had gridlock—along with tall, pretty trees and birds chirping many different songs.  It was shady; we put our windows down and enjoyed nature’s music and aromas.  When we left, 40 minutes and ½ mile later, we were glad to be free.  As we drove toward Costco, we saw a Regal Cinema.  So we made lemonade from our lemons and saw “Alice in Wonderland” in 3-D.  The theatre and movie were both very good.
   Costco had more fish products than at home and fresh raspberries.
Miles traveled: 0
Temperature: High of 75°; Low of 40°,
Stayed at Ned & Lorna’s
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 21, 2010, 11:44:23 PM
DAY 6—March 18—Spring Branch
   Please pardon my tardiness in posting this.  We are trying to learn how to label pictures using iPhoto and finally decided to do it the “old-fashioned way”, but I haven’t given up.  We had a wonderful day!  Lorna led us over to the Wildlife Ranch.  We have visited this drive-in zoo at least 3 times before, and it draws me to it each time we’re within 100 miles, just like iron to a magnet.  It is just like being on a safari in your own car. 
   It was very crowded, due to Spring Break.  We had to wait about 20 minutes to enter, but they have everything well-organized, as if it were a military operation.  We were greeted by aoudads and their babies (pictures 1 & 2).  The babies were running around with boundless energy, nursing from their mothers.  It was mid-70’s and sunny..  The ranch had been open for a couple of hours with a steady stream of cars, so their tummies were full.  When you pay your admission (about $15 per person), you receive a bag of food, and the animals usually are really eager.  The spotted Formosan Sika are very demure (picture 3), as were the fallow (picture 4).  The huge Watusi had enormous horns, but gentle eyes (picture 5),  The wildebeest doesn’t match the picture in the book we bought ($3), and if we’re wrong on the label, let me know.  Next came the gemsboks, and I chose picture 6 because he was using his horns to scratch his backside.  The blesbok (picture 7) entertained us while we waited in a traffic jam.  It wasn’t long before ranch employees in ATVs roared by, and we thought the ostrich who had decided to rest in the road might be the problem.  But, the ATVs continued on and soon a herd of zebras (picture 8) came running by.  They followed their leader as he zigged and zagged.
   Next came the scimitar horned oryxes (picture 9) and the white rhinoceros (no picture because of the fence they had him surrounded by.  The bongo antelope were also fenced, but they were very pretty. 
   As we crawled along, here came an ostrich just strolling along, looking inside each car.  We got a good picture (9) of him and then we saw a flurry of feathers which turned out to be an ostrich doing a courting dance (picture 10).  He used his outstretched wings like fans that moved on super-speed, and his body was low to the ground.  Dean had just put the camera down when another ostrich came over the pecked on our window 5 or 6 times.  It was exciting to be looking inside an ostrich’s beak, but he left before we could get a picture.
   The addax (picture 11) were pretty. I’ve seen many Llamas (picture 12) before, but  I never knew there was such a variety of colors.
   There is also a walk-around zoo area, where they had the Patagonian cavy (picture 13) and this darling 2-month-old reticulated giraffe.  It was such fun to see all these animals up close and personal.
   We had lunch at My Place, “a local joint” it says on its sign.  I had a wonderful bar-b-q beef brisket sandwich, which had 6 oz. of meat.  It was so big it was my dinner, too.  Dean had a chili-burger which was cooked just right.  Dean likes his meat well-done, and so often it comes charred.  Here, they took the necessary time to keep it juicy.  Dave, the owner, makes his own bar-b-q sauce and chili.  I would definitely go back here.
   We went driving around, just enjoying the hill country, and then on to the Cibolo Nature Park, which is located in Boerne (pronounced Bernie).  We enjoyed going to the Visitors’ Center’s back porch and watching the birds at the feeders, especially the cute little chipping sparrows, which are about the size of hummingbirds and the cardinals ( last picture).  The female cardinal had an orange beak and is brown in color.  We saw some Halloween-orange colored cardinals, and we were told that they are juveniles and become redder as they mature.  We also saw hundreds of pipevine swallowtail butterflies.  They were so busy and their wings were  flapping wildly as they went from flower to flower.  There were exhibits in the visitor center, and the lady there was wonderful.  We wondered if butterflies come in two sexes (they do), and she didn’t know.  We never expected her to research it, but she appeared a few minutes later, and told us that they join mid-air and fly around for many hours enjoying each others’ company.
   What a fun day!

Temperature: 70’s, pretty day
Stayed at Lorna & Ned’s
Miles traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 21, 2010, 11:47:39 PM
Day 6 Part 2,

More Photos.

Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 21, 2010, 11:53:21 PM
Day 6 Part 3,

More photos.

Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 21, 2010, 11:56:31 PM
DAY 7—Spring Branch—March 19

   Nothing interesting—just enjoyed the fresh air coming in our windows, hearing the birds chirping, as we did mundane tasks that needed to be done.
Originally we had planned to go move on to Brownsville and go to the Gladys Porter Zoo, but with the crowds at the SA Zoo, we scratched the trip.

Temperature: 70°, breezy
Stayed at Ned & Lorna’s
Miles traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: mariekie4 on March 22, 2010, 12:11:14 AM
Linda,

I grew up with Blou Wildebeste, Gemsbokke, Blesbokke and all those beautiful South African wild animals. You have them labeled correctly!

Mariekie
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 22, 2010, 06:27:48 PM
DAY 8—Spring Branch—March 20
   What an adventure!  We started with pounding rain all yesterday night  and early this morning.  It awakened both Dean and me several times throughout the night, and I thought it was hail pounding our roof.  It was definitely not the gentle rain that we slumbered by on our first night here.  Ned says that some years they don’t get a storm like this all year.  Lorna says it was a little less than 2” of rain.  I have to wonder how much rain we got in California all last year and how it  compares.
   We knew it was going to be a long drive, but it was pleasant, with good traffic .  The wildflowers were blooming—yellow, gold, orange, pink, magenta, blue, white.  It was beautiful (picture).  At lunch, Dean grabbed the camera while I made a quick PB&J because we wanted to get to the RV park before dark.  There were many blooming yuccas (picture) which we enjoyed.  They have pink buds before they bloom with white flowers.  During the last hour of our drive, it got increasingly windy, and by the time we got to Port Isabel, the wind was howling.
   We arrived at the RV park with half-an-hour of daylight left, and a black, grey, and white pelican was lazily bobbing along as we crossed the small bridge into the park.  A good luck omen?  NOT!  We went through the guarded gate with no problem; they had our reservation.  But, when we pulled up beside space 776, it was occupied!  But, space 774 was open.  We hurriedly called security, hoping we could swap.  Lo-o-o-o-ng story made short, the spaces are all owned, and the management here rents them out for the owners.  The owner of 776 had rented it on his own and failed to notify them.  After more than two hours of talking and driving, we finally were put into space 651.  As I sat waiting, I thought about the RV Forumers who responded to my question about where to stay in Texas and recommended Fun “n Sun RV Park in nearby San Benito.  From now on, I will ALWAYS take the advice of RVForumers.  This is the only park I reserved ahead of time for the whole trip.  I found it in “Trailer Life,” and it is a huge park with predominantly park models.  The roads are rather narrow, and part of our time was spent BACKING DOWN the long row of coaches in pitch black dark so we could go to another site.  I had called ahead because I was afraid that it might be dark when we arrived, and they had assured me that it was well-lit.  NOT!  The only lights at all were those inside the coaches where people were home.  When I called originally, they said our site was “on the water”, and I assumed that meant “on the Gulf of Mexico”.  It turns out that we are on one of many man-made canals.  It’s too dark to see if there’s any wildlife out there, but I doubt it.  I had pictured a site overlooking the gulf with many shorebirds.
   Poor Dean!  He had all the grief and maintained a calm composure.  Tomorrow will be better.   

Temperature: 70, windy
Miles Driven:  322 miles
Stayed at Long Island Village ($260/week + $5 for the toad)
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 22, 2010, 09:13:45 PM
Oh, the joys of RVing. At least you didn't get snowed on like we did on Saturday !
 
Enjoy
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Betty Brewer on March 22, 2010, 10:08:56 PM
Linda,

Sorry that Dean had to back down narrow streets in dark.  Terry said to  remind you that you are retired.  Consider  driving fewer  miles in a day.  If you get in at 2pm  you will have several hours of  daylight to find your space.   Have a good time there anyway.

I did get a chuckle  out of your descriptive story.

Betty
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 23, 2010, 08:52:49 PM
DAY 9—March 21—Port Isabel
   It was a good day!  We drove about ½ hour to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Laguna Madre is one of five known hypersaline bays in the world, and its unique seagrass beds provide nutrients and nurseries, as well as stabilizing the coast from erosion.
    As we entered the photo area of the patio in front of the Visitors’ Center, we saw halves of grapefruit stuck on trees and lots of birds eating from them.  A nice Texan told us that the sleek, shiny, jet-black birds were grackles (picture 1) and the small pheasant-like bird was a chachalaca (picture 2).  The VC had a short 6-minute film and a few exhibits.  A lady came in and excitedly told us about the ocelot that had run in front of her car as she and her husband drove the LA NWR’S 15-mile long bayshore drive.  The refuge is home to the majority of the remaining ocelots in the U.S., and they only think there are less than 30.  It  is the national center for ocelot conservation and recovery.  They also have bobcats, jaguarundi and cougars, but we were told that the cats sleep during the day and are rarely seen since the drives are only open from dawn to dusk.
   We walked the trails around the VC and saw lots of birds.  I really wanted to get a picture of their GREEN jays, but they don’t stay still for more than 10 seconds, and most of the time when we saw them, they were in flight.
   We drove out to the alligator pond with high hopes. There are 3 native resident alligators.  We saw something that looked like a log at the far end of a long pond which we told was an alligator (picture 3).
   The 15-mile drive was very pleasant.  There seems to be a rule that if we know what the bird is, we can’t get a picture.  But, we got lots of pictures of unknowns, and I hope that I have figured them out using my birding book.  If anyone can identify them, please let us know.  We saw what I think is a Harris Hawk eating something on the beach (picture 4).  There were several others that looked just like him.
   Out in the water we spied the Great Egret, (picture 5) which I had seen before in San Diego, CA.  There were many of them fishing in the shallow water. 
   The cottontail entertained us for several minutes as he stood up as tall as he could on his hind legs and yanked the leaves off a tree and ate them (picture 6).  We were stopped in our car, just a couple of feet from him, but he was intent on eating.
   The long-billed curlew (picture 7) is aptly named.  Dean patiently followed him with the camera to get a picture of him without the tall sea grass obscuring the view.
   The semi-palmated plover (picture 8) saw us and posed.  We saw beautiful ducks, but they were far away.  They had striking colors, and I think they are shovelers (picture 9).  After we left, we saw a Harris’s Hawk (picture 10) just by the side of the road.
   As we were unloading the car back at the coach, Dean heard a splash right behind the motorhome.  He grabbed the camera and ran to get a picture of the brown pelican (picture 11).  I loved the expression on his face!  Days like this are why we travel!  Awesome!

Miles traveled: 0
Temperature:  High of 75°
Stayed at Long Island Village & RV Park
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 23, 2010, 09:06:17 PM
Day 9 page 2,

More photos
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 23, 2010, 09:15:29 PM
Day 9 page 3,

I got the photos in the wrong order.  The attached photo was supposed to be the fifth picture.  The duplicated picture is photo # 6.

Sorry about that.

       Dean
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 23, 2010, 09:21:49 PM
Day 10—March 22—Port Isabel
   We got off to a great start as Nellie (our GPS) took us directly to the Harlingen Convention and Visitors Bureau @ the Chamber of Commerce.  The lady was very informative and gave us a lot of brochures.  She told us that the Harlingen Thicket Bird Sanctuary was not worth seeing and saved us a trip.
   The history of the Harlingen Cemetery reminded us of how our racial views have changed.  The graveyard was segregated into Mexican, American, and Negro sections with a separate area for babies.  After 1947, grave sites were no longer allocated by race or ethnicity.  The grave of Joe Callandret showed him as “AN OLD FASHIONED LOUISIANA NEGRO” and said the headstone was “ERECTED BY HIS FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS OF THE CAUCASIAN RACE.”
    We went to the Harlingen Arroyo Colorado/Ramsey Nature Park address that I had, and the GPS repeatedly mal-functioned and we made a big many-block circle.  I used my new maps to navigate to the address, only to find that we were at the park offices in the Civic Center, not the park.  We found the park on our map and managed to find it.  The ratio of insects to birds is about 10,000:1.  Every now and then we would hear ONE bird call.  The feeders were empty, and we decided this was a dud. 
   I had seen an ad for the TX Travel Info Center and that they had free birding and butterfly guides.  This would be a good one-stop info center for the whole Rio Grande Valley, but they were out of the free guides.  They told us that all the other possible places were also out, too.  Bummer!
   We decided to go to a movie, and we looked up the theatre in Harlingen on our GPS.  We called the number to find out what was playing and when, only to find that the number is no longer in service!  So, we came home and posted.  Tomorrow will be a good day; I have lots planned.

Miles Traveled: 0
Temperature: High of 80°
Stayed at Long Island Village and RV Park
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 23, 2010, 09:45:33 PM


I grew up with Blou Wildebeste, Gemsbokke, Blesbokke and all those beautiful South African wild animals. You have them labeled correctly!

Mariekie

Mariekle, than you so much.  It's nice to know when I'm successful.  I was a teacher, and it offends my sense of responsibility to possibly pass on incorrect information.  Thanks so much!

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 25, 2010, 12:11:30 AM
Day 11—March 23—Port Isabel
   We had a busy, exciting day filled with lots of discoveries.  We started at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, and it is the richest wildlife area we’ve seen.  It was what I had pictured the Gulf area would be.  There were wonderful ponds and an alligator lake.  We lingered at each pond and discovered more and different birds. Many of the birds we saw today were at multiple sites, so I combined the pictures to give the best picture of each bird.  I need help identifying #9, 11, 13, 15, and 18.
   Estero Llano is on my MUST SEE list.  Admission to each of the parks today was $2 for me and $1 for Dean (he’s a senior).  At Estero, f you reserve two days in advance, they will take you out with an expert who has a scope in a multi-seat golf cart, and the price Is free!  I think we saw everything there was to see on our own.  There were lots of knowledgeable birders here, and almost everyone we met was from Canada.  We were both thrilled at all  we saw here.  Estero has scheduled 8:30 walks on Wed., Sat., and Sun., and they have lots of special events.  Call ahead, and ask what’s up.
   We passed Fat Daddy’s BBQ & Burgers, ¼ mile south Business 83 on FM 1015 (956) 969-3668.  It had a full parking lot (a good sign!), including a couple of Border Patrol cars.  We hung a U-turn and came back for lunch.  We both had the barbequed “chopped pork”, which was really shredded, and it was out-of-this-world.  People we passed in the parking lot were all very pleased with their meals, particularly the chicken-fried steak.  I will DEFINITELY COME BACK on this trip and buy a pound or two for later.  One meal would feed two people easily.  There were lots of other people there who are RVers and come to the area for extended periods.  They gave us lots of good information.
   We then went to Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen. There is a beautiful 1930’s large adobe home with Spanish architecture and nature trails and it reflects lots of love and attention.  It is extremely well maintained.  The feeders were full.  It is a small, serene urban oasis with tropical gardens, native plants, butterfly attractors. Trails were extra wide and paved or gravel.  We saw lots of chachalacas, red-winged blackbirds, and two very well-fed squirrels with gorgeous tails, who just sat inside the food trays and enjoyed the free lunch.  We also saw a gorgeous kiskadee with a bright yellow belly, but couldn’t get a picture.  They are anxiously awaiting the parrots, parakeets, and hummingbirds who are usually in by now.  I’d come back here on another trip.
   We went about 20 minutes down the road to the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, an amazing lake which was full of a variety of waterfowl.  We didn’t have to walk far on trails; everything was in the lake right outside the Visitor’s Center. But, it was loaded with marine birds.  This is a pretty quick stop—30 minutes to an hour, but well worth the drive. 
   The restroom at Edinburg was immaculate.  I only mention this because I have discovered the importance of carrying my own TP and some of the sites, especially Laguna Atacosa, were really bad.
   What an amazing day!
Picture 1--brilliantly colored red-wing/ tri-colored winged blackbirds & chachalaca    share    a feeding tray
Picture 2--BIG Texas turtles
Picture 3--cinnamon teal on a log
Picture 4--Shovelers dancing on top of the water in a courting ritual
Picture 5—A great egret & snowy egret share a roost
Picture 6—Tri-color heron
Picture 7—Blue heron
Picture 8—Striped alligator
Picture 9—Cute brown unknown
Picture 10—Well-fed squirrel with gorgeous trail
Picture 11--Large brown birds—we saw lots of these
Picture 12—Herons & snowy egret share a roost
Picture 13—Tall black bird with orange beak
Picture 14—Blue teals in flight
Picture 15—Unknown ducks in flilght
Picture 16—Cinnamon teal
Picture 17—Beautiful male shoveler being chased by two ladies.  Bigamy?
Picture 18—Unknown different ducks

Miles Traveled: 0
Temperature: 80°
Stayed at Long Island Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 25, 2010, 12:16:45 AM
Day 11 page 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 25, 2010, 12:23:22 AM
Day 11 page 3,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on March 25, 2010, 08:50:42 AM
Linda,

On your return trip, consider a stop at Pedernales Falls state park.  Its about 8 miles east of Johnson City (  http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/parkguide/rgn_hc_014.phtml ) .  The reason I suggest this is the birding is fantastic there.  They have just built a new bird blind and the viewing of the birds will be extremely close. 

Of course you are in a great area to view the spring migration.  We have a birding trip planned to Fennessey Ranch in Rockport in April.

Have fun and enjoy our great state.

Jim
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 25, 2010, 11:19:24 PM
DAY 12—March 24—Port Isabel
   On a scale of 1-10, today was an 11.  We started out at the Visitors’ Center, where they had this lovely sand castle in the foyer (Picture 1), as well as good information.  Then we went to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center in South Padre Island, an amazing wildlife refuge.  Located right on the Laguna Madre Bay and its mudflats, it is a favorite feeding spot for migrating birds.  We thought we had seen most of the shorebirds over the past few days, but we saw so many here we hadn’t seen before.
   As we exited the Visitors’ Center, we saw black-bellied plovers feeding (Picture 2).  They don’t have black bellies now because they have their winter plumage.  They were very busy hopping from place to place with a run-stop-run pattern than reminded me of the children’s game Red Light, Green Light.
   The high-stepping curlew (Picture 3) was also very active.    We looked further out in the water (the shore extends out in a flat plateau for a long way) and saw the king of the bay, a Great Blue Heron (Picture 4).  We’ve seen lots of these before, but this one had an “attitude”; no one came into his territory—he was the Mohammed Ali.  He actually walked with a swagger, something we’ve never seen them do before.
   The water was full of these mud catfish (Picture 5).  We could see them easily, so they must have been the main course for many of these birds.
   The snowy egret (Picture 6) was also very actively fishing.  I admire their graceful feathers that remind me of a delicate ballerina.
   The tri-color heron (Picture 7) played Hide ‘n Seek with us, in and out of the grass.  He will become more colorful as it gets closer to mating season.
   The Great Blue Heron (Picture 8) watched over the ibises.  They were out in the water, but he just stood guard.
   The Ibis (Picture 9) was practicing his courting dance.  However, the ladies weren’t interested.
   There was a pretty tricolor heron (Picture 10) feeding in the grass.  Is that a bunny in the background?
   The reddish egret  (Picture 11) is not common.  We were surprised to see him sitting on this signpost watching us.
   The colors on the mallard (Picture 12) were vivid, and he knew he was handsome!
   The blue on the wing feathers of the blue-winged teal irridesced in the sunlight (Picture 13).
   Three was too much company as the moor hen (Picture 14 with the orange beak) horned in on the blue-winged teal’s date.
   Dean doesn’t agree, but I think this guy with the blue beak (Picture 15) is a ruddy duck.  So many of these birds don’t have the right colors yet, but the expert birders tell us that this will change, and the ruddy duck is the only one in my book with a blue beak.
   Sitting in the midst of lots of teals, this black-necked stilt stood out (Picture 16)
   The laughing gull (Picture 17) didn’t make any sounds.  I wanted to hear him make his laughing sound.
   We have seen roseate spoonbills before, but these were much pinker, probably because of what they eat (Picture 18).  Dean out-waited them, and they did come out from the tall grass eventually.
   These two black-bellied whistling ducks (Picture 19) were devoted to each other.  We were told that when they fly, they make a whistling sound.  Earlier, we had been told that they were really silly-looking because even though they have webbed feet, they can be seen perching in trees.
   These cattle egrets (Picture 20) look like they are wearing fluffy tams on their heads.  Two of them looked like they were arguing with each other.
   The black-necked stilt (Picture 21) had great balance.  He stayed on just that one leg for the whole time we watched him.  I’d have fallen over in 10 seconds!
   Snowy egrets (Picture 22) are one of my favorite birds because they are so delicate looking.  It is rare to see one out of the water, and this one posed!
   We will definitely come back to Texas next year, just to visit this center again.  It was AWESOME!

Miles Traveled: 0
Temperature:  High of 81°, with rain in the early morning
Stayed at Long Island Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 25, 2010, 11:24:38 PM
Day 12, page 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 25, 2010, 11:30:36 PM
Day 12 page 3,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: mariekie4 on March 26, 2010, 11:18:44 AM
Linda,

I really enjoy your posts with all the pictures! Don't you just love Texas? Certainly one of my favorite States - specially the Hill Country and the Gulf Coast area. Big Bend is a must-see as well, as far as I am concerned.

Enjoy your trip, you seem to be a keen bird watcher.

Mariekie
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on March 26, 2010, 01:21:09 PM
What a neat variety of birds!  Dean must have the patience of Job....

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 26, 2010, 09:18:21 PM
Day 13—March 24—Port Isabel
   This trip has either been awesome or awful—we don’t seem to find any middle ground.  Yesterday was heavenly.   Today was…
   Today we went to Sabal Palm Audubon Center & Sanctuary in Brownsville.  Unfortunately, it has been closed because the border fence runs through the middle of it now.  We learned that at times the fence is 5 or 6 miles from the border.
   We thought this would give us extra time at Resaca de la Palma State Park, one of the World Birding Center’s parks about 4 miles outside of Brownsville.  We followed the advice of the GPS and took a rutted dirt road past the new high school, only to find that it dead-ended a mile and many bumps later at the rear boundary of the state park, and there was a padlock on the gate.  We turned around and asked an electrician who was leaving the high school (not open yet), and he told us to go one street down to Carmen and turn.  We did, and we bumped past weedy farms for a couple of miles and finally arrived at paved road, and an oasis.  If we had not relied on the GPS and had instead come in via FM 1732 from US 83, it would have been gorgeous black pavement all the way.
   You had to take a tram to get inside the park, and it was a 45-minute wait for the little tram.  While waiting in the Visitors’ Center, we decided to go on the 0.2 mile trail outside the VC. They have drained all the water and there were no bird feeders; they say they are trying to make it as nature has had it in past years.  No food in the birdfeeders, no water for birds to drink, therefore, no birds---but, LOTS of mosquitoes and other biting insects, who found me to be quite delicious.  We went back to the visitor center, and they said at this time of day (3:30), the birds would be in the bush.  We decided to forego the tram trip and came back home.
   Today was awful & I am really itching from the bites; therefore, tomorrow should be wonderful!
Miles Traveled: 0
Temperature:  High of 81°, with rain and wind in the early morning
Stayed at Long Island Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 26, 2010, 09:34:52 PM
Love the bird pictures. Maybe Texas isn't so bad after all :)
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:24:59 AM
  Terry said to  remind you that you are retired.  Consider  driving fewer  miles in a day.  If you get in at 2pm  you will have several hours of  daylight to find your space.   

I did get a chuckle  out of your descriptive story.


Betty, we drove hard to start with because we left about 3 weeks late, and we wanted to see everything.  We had to skip western Texas, and I wanted to get here before the birds migrated.  At the rate we were going, we were going to get here in time for the FALL migration.  We don't have any more long days planned.  I like to set down early and hate to drive after dark.

I told my story because I'm sure most RVForumers could relate, and I thought it might trigger their own memories of experiences they have had (and maybe just a little bit because I was mad and wanted to vent).  After 3 days here, I wrote a note to the "Contact Us" on the park's website.  I wanted to commend the security guard who stayed with us throughout the whole ordeal and helped us back into the space in the dark.  The manager of the 1024 space RV park stopped by and apologized and gave us $10 at the coffee shop.  The breakfasts were between $4-$5, so it paid for most of our breakfast yesterday, which was pretty good.  Despite the high price ($260/wk.) and snafu, I would come back here again.  Yesterday, crossing the little bridge that leads to the park, I saw one or two dolphins.   

Linda

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:41:59 AM
Linda,

On your return trip, consider a stop at Pedernales Falls state park.  Its about 8 miles east of Johnson City (  http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/parkguide/rgn_hc_014.phtml ) .  The reason I suggest this is the birding is fantastic there.  They have just built a new bird blind and the viewing of the birds will be extremely close. 
  We have a birding trip planned to Fennessey Ranch in Rockport in April.


Hi, Jim!

Glad to meet you!  When we come  to Austin later in the trip, we will see how our time is working out.  If not, it will go on my list of places to go to next time.  We will definitely come back to Texas for another trip.

We will also be in Rockport in April.  We haven't put dates on our itinerary, but it goes--(1) here (2) Corpus Christi (3) Port Aransas (4) Rockport.  I will look up Fennessey Ranch and learn more; thanks for the tip.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:53:49 AM
Don't you just love Texas? Big Bend is a must-see as well, as far as I am concerned.

Enjoy your trip, you seem to be a keen bird watcher.

Mariekie

I hate a love (most of the time)/hate relationship with Texas.  We will be back.  South Padre Island is in my top 5 places I've ever visited (including New Zealand and Europe).

I really am enjoying the bird watching, but I can't claim the title of bird watcher.  I am the rankest of amateurs with a couple of books.   That's why I am hoping someone will recognize my unnamed critters.  When the birds don't match their pictures in the book, I am lost.  But, we have met so many birders, and they have been especially helpful--the Canadians most of all.

Glad you are enjoying it!

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:57:48 AM
Dean must have the patience of Job....

ArdraF

Dean can be stubborn (sometimes good, sometimes not).  Sometimes it's a matter of "I AM going to get your picture!"  It almost becomes a game that he will win.

We saw another pretty blue coach the other day, but it wasn't as pretty as yours. We were reminded of you.  Hope to see you at Hop-Skip-Jump.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on March 27, 2010, 01:56:01 PM
We're signed up and looking forward to seeing everyone again.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: mariekie4 on March 27, 2010, 04:17:32 PM
Linda,

If you plan to stay in the  Port Aransas area, we can recommend Mustang Island State Park. It has 26 sites with water and electric (50 amp). Coming from the Brownsville area, you can access it via the JFK Causeway to TX 361. This park is located on the Gulf and we love it.

Mariekie
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 06:04:55 PM

If you plan to stay in the  Port Aransas area, we can recommend Mustang Island State Park. It has 26 sites with water and electric (50 amp). Coming from the Brownsville area, you can access it via the JFK Causeway to TX 361. This park is located on the Gulf and we love it.

Mariekie

I will call right away and try to book it.  Thanks for the tip!

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 27, 2010, 06:53:18 PM
Linda, you can make reservations for Texas state parks on reserveamerica.com - you don't need to call, just jump on the computer !!
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:11:02 PM
DAY 14—March 26—Port Isabel
   Today as we crossed the small bridge that leads from the RV park, I saw a dolphin jump out of the water twice!  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  What a great way to start a good day!  Later, the locals told me this happens all the time, but I still was thrilled.
   We went to the Gladys Porter Zoo in  Brownsville.  It is rated a gem by AAA, and it has made the top 10 zoos in the U.S.  It had about 60 exhibits of endangered and unusual animals.  We have been to lots of zoos, and this one had a lot of animals I’m sure I’ve never seen before.
    It was very sunny when we arrived a little before noon, and it was siesta time.  The walkways were shaded by great trees.  Often the labels were non-existent or general.  They would give you information about birds in general, but not name the specific bird you were looking at.  If anyone knows any of the unknowns, would you please let me know?
   One unusual animal family we saw was a mandrill mother, father, two teens, and a baby.  I wish we could have been able to take a picture through the glass. They had beautiful faces with bright red nose and mouth, and black stripes on his white cheeks.  Their rumps were baby blue, light pink, and hot pink.
   Many of the animals were sleeping.  The spectacled bear (picture 1) was especially relaxed.
   The wattled crane (picture 2) posed for his picture.
   We thought the bontebok (picture 3) was especially beautiful and is rarely seen in zoos.  Their numbers dropped to slightly more than a dozen when 2 South African Dutch families gave them sanctuary on their farms.  They’re making a slow comeback..
   The Dama Gazelle (picture 4) is a vanishing species.
   We’ve seen the Bongo Antelope (picture 5) before, but they were awake.
   In picture 6, is this guy with red pouches protruding from his cheeks some kind of a guinea?  He isn’t in my bird book for Texas.
   This unknown duck (picture 7) was beautiful when the sunlight hit his feathers and turned them from what I thought was black to a shiny forest green.  Does anyone know what kind he is ?
   This unknown black large bird (picture 8) had such a weird beak and scale-shaped feathers.
   The Kudu (picture 9) is one I think we’ve seen before, but he was so handsome.
   The Arabian Oryx (picture 10) is a vanishing species.
   This monkey (picture 11) posed for us and enjoyed listening to me talk at him.
   Can anyone identify this black-and-white duck (picture 12).
   This double-wattled cassowary (picture 13) had a hurt foot, but when I asked him to come pose for a picture, he came from the rear of the enclosure to see us.  He had shade back there, and he came out into the sun.  I really liked him.
   This tree kangaroo (picture 14) hopped from limb to limb.  He can jump 30 feet, and he can drop 60 feet for the ground without hurting himself.
   Who is this unknown duck (picture 15)?
   This wild bird (picture 16) flew in as we were leaving, and he had such bright colors!  At one point he perched on the side of a tree, and I think he might be a  Gila woodpecker.
   There were lots of wild birds at the zoo.  The great egrets were making a deep call and gathering twigs.  We saw lots of whistling ducks, long-tailed grackles,  and laughing gulls.
   One of the cool things about this zoo is the close proximity to the animals.  I could have reached out and touched a flamingo.  I was eyeball-to-eyeball with a one-armed orangutan mother.  I must have passed inspection because she let her baby come over to the window and climb up to also look me over.  They had a wonderful free-flight exhibit where military macaws and blue and yellow macaws flew from branch to branch or across the lengthy cage.  The colors you see when they fly are five times more spectacular than the colors you see when they are at rest, which are impressive.
   Both of us were concerned about the small enclosures and lack of stimulating toys and activities that we’ve seen in other zoos.  Overall, however, we would definitely recommend this zoo.  Admission was about $20.
Miles Traveled: 0
Temperature: 80°
Stayed at Long Island Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:14:53 PM
Day 14 page 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:20:26 PM
Day 14 page 3,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 27, 2010, 08:52:17 PM
Linda, you can make reservations for Texas state parks on reserveamerica.com - you don't need to call, just jump on the computer !!
 
Wendy

WENDY, YOU ARE AN ANGEL!  I never check back on the Forum after I post, but tonight I did.
 I feel like such a "newbie" still.  This website will go into my files for sure.  I am on my way to the site.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 27, 2010, 09:42:54 PM
Even if you don't make a reservation at reserveamerica.com, it comes in handy to see size of sites, maps of campgrounds, etc. And, yes, I am an angel  ;D
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on March 28, 2010, 09:54:42 AM
Linda,

Your trip sounds great.  We are getting excited about our trip to Fennessey.  Now about Reserve America.  Save yourself a lot of aggravation and call the Parks and Wildlife direct.  Most times with Reserve America they will show a park is full when it is not.  Last summer I checked four different parks and all were full on RA but called the Parks and Wildlife and found they were plenty of openings.  Just my experience with RA.

Safe travels and exciting birding.  Oh and as a side note, when making the reservations at Fennessey I was explaining that my wife was the real birder and they quickly noted that I was a S.O.B....spouse of a birder.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/park_reservations/
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: mariekie4 on March 28, 2010, 09:45:54 PM
Linda,

I agree with Jim. Unless your reservation is way in advance, call to make your reservation.

Now, another matter about the wildlife pictures. The picture labeled as a Kudu, is not of a Kudu , but a very rare Hartebeest from S.Somalia.. It is an older Hirola/Hunter's Hartebeest and the only one left in the world, as far as I know.

Mariekie
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 28, 2010, 09:50:57 PM
I wonder if reserveamerica varies by state. We've had really good luck with it in California parks. We've had good luck calling, too, but also had bad luck calling because they had to check what was already reserved on RA. Even if you don't use reserveamerica to make reservations, it's very handy for checking site sizes and campground maps.
 
Wendy
 
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: mariekie4 on March 29, 2010, 12:07:44 AM
Wendy,

reserveamerica is good, yet, you have to make your reservations at least a week in advance. Short notice does not work well with them.  And I agree it is very handy to check for site sizes, amenities and directions as well. Most of the time we have luck, since we prefer to plan well ahead of time!

Mariekie
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 29, 2010, 11:18:06 AM
reserveamerica is good, yet, you have to make your reservations at least a week in advance.

Again, perhaps this varies by state but for reservations at California state parks and other locations we've checked, it's 2 days out. Texas appears to also be 2 days out...you can't reserve today or tomorrow. But you can see if there are walk-in sites available for today which can be very handy.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on March 29, 2010, 07:24:11 PM
Please accept my apologizes Linda, I certainly didn't intend to hijack your journal.

This will be my last comment on RA.  I just went on line and looked at three different state parks in Texas.  I looked for any RV site opening three days from now, three weeks from now and three months from now. In all those tries I found one opening and that was for three days from now.  All the requests were for week days.  Arrive Tuesday and leave on Thursday.  No holidays.  Each time I call the 1-800 number for Texas Parks and Wildlife they agree that RA is costing Texas money and us the use of vacant campsites.

I just wanted to warn Linda about contacting RA and missing a good time because of their ineptness.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 29, 2010, 09:08:22 PM
Please accept my apologizes Linda, I certainly didn't intend to hijack your journal.

This will be my last comment on RA.  I just went on line and looked at three different state parks in Texas.  I looked for any RV site opening three days from now, three weeks from now and three months from now. In all those tries I found one opening and that was for three days from now.  All the requests were for week days.  Arrive Tuesday and leave on Thursday.  No holidays.  Each time I call the 1-800 number for Texas Parks and Wildlife they agree that RA is costing Texas money and us the use of vacant campsites.

I just wanted to warn Linda about contacting RA and missing a good time because of their ineptness.

Dear Jim, Mariekle, and Wendy,

Thanks so much for all the info.  I have been busy with other things, and not much had been happening until today, so I haven't been on line (lesson learned--check RV Forum daily).  My experience with ReserveAmerica is...Right after I read Wendy's post, I went onto the website and reserved March 30 and 31--or so I thought.  About one minute after I pressed SEND, I realized that I had looked at an outdated itinerary.  Oops!  We were leaving here on the 31st, not the 30th.  And, my map that I had done my planning from was not as detailed as it should have been.  We are only about an hour away.  I called back immediately, only to find out that I couldn't talk to anyone until Monday.  We were busy this a.m., so i called this afternoon, around 3:30.  They had a neat system, where your call is put into a queue and they call you back when it's your turn in line.  I thought that was very efficient, especially when they said it would be between 49 minutes and 1 hour 2 min.  Anyway, they said they had me booked in as of TODAY!  I do occasionally make computer errors, but I'd bet on this one that I didn't screw up because I looked at their calendar carefully.  It's not a lot of money, but I hate to waste it, as we worked hard to earn it.  The lady said that since they had us coming in today, I needed to call the campsite directly, which I did.  Apparently, they had just gone home.  So, I'll have to call them tomorrow and see what I can work out.  it has been an adventure.

And, Jim, this is a journal for everyone, especially future trekkers to Texas.  Brewers' log about AK helped us SO MUCH, I am hoping to pass on the good deed done for us.  It also forces me to select pictures and write things down that I will want when I do my scrapbook.  So, please, feel free to write any time anything that might be helpful.  I am grateful for everyone's input.   I appreciate your research.  And, we may learn what states it works well for and which ones it doesn't!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 29, 2010, 11:49:47 PM
DAY 14—MARCH 26—Port Isabel
   Today we drove 1.5 hours to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.  Some call this the “Jewel of the NWRs” because it is where 4 geographic areas meet.  We called ahead to make arrangements for the tram tour  ($3/person), but were told it wasn’t necessary at this time of the year. 
   We enjoyed the information learned from our excellent tram guide,  Anita.   We didn’t see much wildlife except lots of gnats and one mosquito that buzzed by my ear and made me paranoid.  The guide told us that there used to be lots of ocelots here, but there are none now. Jackie Kennedy was photographed wearing an ocelot coat, and they became very popular.  It takes 40 ocelots to make one coat.  Therefore, they were hunted until they were (and still are) on the brink of extinction.  There are about 20 remaining in the wild at Laguna Atacosa near Port Isabel.
   Anita also told us about a really great program sponsored by the Friends of the Santa Ana NWR.  They were buying land that was once habitat for the bobcat, javelinas, birds, and butterflies that still come to Santa Ana.  This neighboring land is now being farmed.  So, they are slowly buying the land from the farmers, but the farmers get to stay on it another 10 years.  If the farmer doesn’t want to stay, they let a tenant farmer come in for free.  They sign a 10-year contract.  On the first year, the farmer gets to grow profitable crops on 90% of the land, but he has to plant native plants provided by the Friends on the other 10%.  The next year, he gets to grow on 80%, but has to plant a new 10%, and by Year 10, it is all returned to native habitat.
   After the tram ride, we went on one of many trails.   Between the bugs, the 90°F heat, the humidity, and the out-of-control children who were running down the path ahead of us chasing away any possible wildlife we might sight, we gave up and went into the Visitor Center to view their exhibits..   We enjoyed the excellent short film about the wildlife that has been sighted at Santa Ana.
   While this wasn’t our favorite park, the able-bodied would find it much more enjoyable.  There are a myriad of trails, they have canoe trips ($15/person) with a naturalist, a daily hawk watch that birders rave about—call for times, and child-friendly talks with walks.  Everybody who worked here was very knowledgeable and helpful.
Miles Traveled: 0
High Temperature at Port Isabel: 82°
Stayed at Long Island Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 29, 2010, 11:51:29 PM
DAY 15—MARCH 27—Corpus Christi, “America’s Birdiest City”
   We (and especially Sherlock) were sorry to leave Port Isabel.  We will definitely come back here.  The birds’ songs cheer us each morning, and we are constantly seeing a variety of wildlife.  Dean is adding to this post the picture of the brown pelican that landed behind our motorhome earlier.  As we left the park, the prickly bears had erupted with red buds.  I hope we get to see them somewhere in full flower.
   We drove from Port Isabel to Corpus Christi on beautiful roads.  Texas does an excellent job of painting where each lane goes on the blacktop.  However, they have terribly short acceleration areas to enter the freeway—bothersome in a car, but more dicey in an RV.  I’m glad we have a strong engine.
   The wildflowers were ablaze.  People had stopped at the side of the freeway to take pictures of their children in the midst of the bluebells,  and red, white, magenta, lavender, pink, and yellow wildflowers.  They were everywhere, and occasionally they would be so dense it was like someone had splashed the roadside with brilliant paint.
   The manager of the RV park guided us to our spot and was very helpful.  It was too late to go to a venue, so we drove around to get the lay of the land and went to a movie.  Their Century Cinema has 16 screens, and is a lovely theatre.
Miles Traveled:
High Temperature: 77°
Stayed at Colonial Del Rey RV Park ($33.30—50 amps, FHU, wifi)
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 30, 2010, 12:06:27 AM
Linda,

I agree with Jim. Unless your reservation is way in advance, call to make your reservation.

Now, another matter about the wildlife pictures. The picture labeled as a Kudu, is not of a Kudu , but a very rare Hartebeest from S.Somalia.. It is an older Hirola/Hunter's Hartebeest and the only one left in the world, as far as I know.

Mariekie

This is incredible!  I am going to do some research when I get a free hour or so.  it would be amazing to see something that rare from halfway around the world.  Thanks.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 30, 2010, 09:09:53 PM
THE LATEST ON RESERVEAMERICA as of March 30
I don't know when we'll get out log posted tonight, but here's what happened with reserveamerica.  I called Mustang Island SP first thing this morning and spoke with the manager.  She had the reservation for the 30th and 31st, which are the dates I knew I had reserved.  Reserveamerica had the wrong dates in their files.  I had made an error in asking for the 30th and fully expected to have to pay for it, but I guess the manager will be able to fill it, so she said they aren't charging me.  How nice!  We could only get in for 1 night, but check-out isn't until 2 PM!  So, we really kind of have two days.  We will try phoning next time, as we don't usually book far in advance because we hate having to stick to a schedule.

Thanks to all.

Linda

Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 30, 2010, 09:13:21 PM
Sorry the RA didn't work out initially but glad you didn't get stuck for a big cancellation fee or nights you weren't there ! Do keep in mind that if you ever want to stay at any of the California state parks (even though you live there!), RA works just fine. Which reminds me, I need to go on 4/1 and make October reservations !!!
 
Wendy
 
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 31, 2010, 08:13:31 AM
Sorry the RA didn't work out initially but glad you didn't get stuck for a big cancellation fee or nights you weren't there ! Do keep in mind that if you ever want to stay at any of the California state parks (even though you live there!), RA works just fine. Which reminds me, I need to go on 4/1 and make October reservations !!!
 
Wendy

It actually did work out well, Wendy.  The park I wanted was just full on the days I wanted because I waited too late.  I don't disregard things that could be very useful based on one instance.

 Last night I made reservations for 3 nights at Rockport at the Goose Island site.  We'll see how it works out.  As a precaution, however,  I did print out every page as I filled out my Shopping Basket to prove my reservation.

California is a big state, and we will be enjoying some of their state parks, also.  I appreciate the tips I get from everyone, and I don't expect guarantees.  After all, everything is run by people, and people make mistakes--even me!

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Tom and Margi on March 31, 2010, 09:33:05 AM
We really enjoyed our stay at Goose Island State Park in Rockport about ten years ago.  You'll finally get your wish to be right on the Gulf at water's edge.  Tom fished right from our campsite.   

Margi
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on March 31, 2010, 11:10:31 AM
Quote
After all, everything is run by people, and people make mistakes--even me!

And to really screw things up you need a computer  ;D
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on March 31, 2010, 03:06:13 PM
I hope y'all enjoy Goose Island, we'll be there then end of April...leave a light on for us.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on March 31, 2010, 09:50:27 PM
DAY 16—MARCH 28—Corpus Christi
   The Texas State Aquarium, a AAA gem-rated attraction, is privately owned and operated and has a mission of saving and rehabilitating marine wildlife—birds and fish--and educating the public.   The total cost for us was $20.  They had a nice, little, entertaining dolphin show. 
   The next presentation was a diver in the water feeding the fish, which took place in the Flower Gardens Reef Exhibit.  The area was just a wide area in front of the tank that should accommodate about 30 people, and it had about 100.  The children were told to sit at the front, and when they didn’t, the diver came over to the side where they were and played with them.  My blood was boiling, especially since there were many well-behaved children on a field trip who got no recognition.  The talk wasn’t very well done, either.
   The best presentation was in the Wild Flight Theatre.  The speaker was a true teacher, and she brought out an incredible array of animals from many parts of the world.  The red-shouldered hawk repeatedly flew to perches over our head.  We were amazed by the serval.  The trumpeter hornbill was pretty.  A child from the audience got to feed the lesser anteater a bottle of honey.  We could see his 16”-long tongue protrude into the bottle.  The turkey vulture came out on a hand, as did the Swensen’s hawk, and the Harris’s hawk. It was fun to see them close up.  We’ve seen all of them flying in the sky, but here they were just a few feet away from us.  Then came the coati.  They finished with a beautiful Eurasian eagle owl and a plea for funding to help them continue to provide rehabilitation.  Most, if not all, of these animals had injuries or were imprinted.
   There were spoonbills, a touch tank, animals of the Amazon—including a piranha, coral, jellies, stingrays you can touch, river otters, huge sea turtles and smaller ones, the tiniest seahorses (called dwarf seahorses) I’ve ever seen, and a couple of raptors.  It was fun.  Just don’t expect it to be as elaborate as Monterey Bay in California.
   We then drove out to Indian Point Park, a park on the Central Coast Birding Trail. When we first turned into the park, we spotted a tri-color heron, and I don’t think he moved a muscle in the hour we were there.  He was as still as a statue while he waited for a fish to come swimming by. 
   The willets (picture 1) were very busy poking their long beaks into the mud flats and shallow water.  They would run and poke, run and poke, feeding voraciously.
   At a nearby pond, we saw a flurry of beating wings on a white bird (picture 2), who we think is a tern.  He dove into the water, then flew high, then dove into a different area, etc.  He was the busiest bird!  I wonder what his catching percentage is!  I never really got to see his face because he was flying so quickly.
   I loved the yellowlegs (picture 3) who were with the willets.  They are so easy to identify!
   The tiny dowitchers (picture 4) were the busiest of all.  The birds here were the most active we have seen, almost as if they were having an eating contest.
Miles Traveled: 0
Stayed at Colonial del Rey
Temperature: High of 75°
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 01, 2010, 08:02:41 PM
Linda, we are just up the Texas coast from you at Quintana Beach.  We didn't get here until after 3 but did get over to the bird sanctuary to  catch a few birds.  The boat tale grackles are in abundance but did see some fun birds.  Indigo buntings, red wing black birds, swamp sparrow, Lincoln sparrow, northern parula, ruby throated hummingbird several different ducks, sand pipers and of course the gulls.  I hope you had another great birding day.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 01, 2010, 08:17:59 PM
DAY 17—MARCH 29---Corpus Christi
   We went to the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, a private, well-tended group of gardens.  They have a very interesting collection of unique plants.  I was especially interested in seeing the 100 varieties of plumeria; however, they are just setting on their leaves, so they won’t be blooming soon.  I can only imagine how wonderful the scent would be when they do flower.
   The orchids in the greenhouse were exquisite.  Some were delicate (Picture 1).  Some had abundant blooms and cascaded (Picture 2).  Some were tiny and brilliant in color (Picture 3).
   The rose garden had many varieties in bloom.  Our favorite was Playboy (Picture 4).
   The butterfly house had only 2 varieties of butterflies, but they were pretty (Picture 5).
   The Wetland Awareness Boardwalk led to an area with shorebirds.  The bright black and shiny black on this black-necked stilt were really pretty in the bright sun (Picture 6).
   There were many unusual cacti, but the weirdest was this one ( Picture 7).
   All the walkways were lined with colorful plants (Picture 8) or were in a natural state.  We really had a good time and saw many plants we hadn’t seen before.
   We hadn’t eaten breakfast because we wanted to get an early start, so we decided to stop at Whataburger, a new place for us.  I liked my chicken sandwich very much, but Dean said it was just another McDonald’s.
   We went to the Century Cinema, which was very nice, and saw “Green Zone”, which we both enjoyed. 
   
Miles Traveled: 0
Stayed at Colonial del Rey RV Park
Temperature: 75°
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 01, 2010, 08:28:51 PM
Day 17 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 01, 2010, 09:33:51 PM
DAY 18--MARCH 30—Corpus Christi
   I had heard about two wildlife parks with birds.  Los Osos was a small pocket park with nothing to see.  But, Hans Suter Wildlife Park was awesome! 
   We saw lots of white pelicans (Picture 1).  In Picture 2, we didn’t know if this was “LOVE” or “WAR”. The only pelicans in my book are brown or white; these multi-colored pelicans baffled me (Picture 3).  I learned later that this is a male pelican in his courting plumage.  He was so handsome, I’m sure the ladies will be impressed.
   This bird that most resembles the Great Egret is supposed to have a yellow beak, and instead it looked pink with black at the end (Picture 4).  Don’t these birds know they have to meet specifications?  I’ll have to find a birder to give me an answer.
   The  Hans Suter Park was what I imagined the Gulf Coast would be.  There was a wonderful variety of birds, and it was exhilarating to be able to see so many of them up close. The “WOW! Factor” here is huge!   We will come here again and again and again.  I loved it!

Miles Traveled:  0
Stayed at Colonial del Rey RV Park
Temperature: Mid-70’s
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 01, 2010, 10:00:28 PM
I'm jealous of your birds and flowers. We got snowed on today, first in the morning then when that had all melted away, it snowed again. I do have 3 daffodils blooming in the front, though. And we had a half-dozen robins hopping around the front yard.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 02, 2010, 09:57:07 AM
I'm jealous of your birds and flowers. We got snowed on today, first in the morning then when that had all melted away, it snowed again. I do have 3 daffodils blooming in the front, though. And we had a half-dozen robins hopping around the front yard.
 
Wendy

It sounds like spring is procrastinating.  Where are you?  Flowers and fall leaves should be great there with all the moisture.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 02, 2010, 10:09:12 AM
It sounds like spring is procrastinating.  Where are you?  Flowers and fall leaves should be great there with all the moisture.

Linda

We're home in SW Colorado. Got home Monday. Tuesday was a record high temperature (73 degrees). Yesterday it snowed. But the grass is turning green under the snow. I think next winter we won't come home until after Tax Day.
 
Keep posting those lovely Texas spring pictures.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Ned on April 02, 2010, 10:24:52 AM
Here you go, Wendy.  We have lots of these right now.  This one is from McKinney Falls SP last Saturday.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on April 02, 2010, 02:21:03 PM
Quote
He was so handsome, I’m sure the ladies will be impressed.

Don’t these birds know they have to meet specifications?

LOL!  Linda, I love your writing.  I have the same problem identifying birds with book in hand.  ;)

Ned - Is that a Blue Bonnet up close?  Whatever it is, it's very pretty.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 02, 2010, 02:46:34 PM
In Texas it's a Bluebonnet....anywhere else, it's a Lupine :)
 
As for figuring out birds, that's what makes birding so fun....the little devils don't always look like the pictures in the books !
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Ned on April 02, 2010, 02:55:31 PM
As Wendy says, it's a Texas Lupine, known as a Bluebonnet.  I was trying out Lorna's camera's macro mode when I took it.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on April 02, 2010, 04:28:10 PM
I love going across Texas during the wildflower blooming!  That's one thing Lady Bird Johnson did that really enhanced Texas highways.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 02, 2010, 05:15:42 PM
I hate to bring up the Reserve America subject again but since I tried to make reservations unsuccessfully again, I called the State parks and wildlife, made reservations and then commented about RA.  His statement was, "we are phasing them out and the state will not be using them much longer".  Yea!!!!

Linda, if y'all are still in the area April 16-18, you might want to check out the Migration Celebration held at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.  We get to help with the banding...oh yeah!  http://migrationcelebration.org/

Of the many (21) species we observed today I think the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was the most beautiful...of course he was all decked out in his high breeding colors.  We got great pictures today and if I ever take the time to learn how to put them on this site I'll do so.

Happy birding...
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 02, 2010, 10:23:36 PM
DAY 19—MARCH 31—Mustang Island State Park, which used to be in Port    Aransas, but is now in Corpus Christi—confused the heck out of our GPS!
   
From yesterday:  I think one of the prettiest small birds we have seen was the American avocet (Picture 1).

Today:  We traveled over 3 hours to our new RV park.  The beach was on the other side of a large berm, and several people were swimming.  Laughing gulls were everywhere and very common, but they amused me.  The gulls here think they own the park!  They perch on the road in front of the RVs; they must like the warmth from the asphalt.  They expect you to swerve around them and don’t move until the last second.
   Continuing saga of Reserveamerica—we had been told by them that we could not stay on April 1 because they were full.  It turns out that they have plenty of spaces for any date we’d like to stay, but we had already made reservations for Goose Island on April 1.  So, we had to scurry off to the University of Texas Marine Science Institute Wetlands Education Center.  The Visitors Center has several interesting exhibits, but they were either not labeled or mis-labeled.  I think they could easily have students do this in its entirety in just a couple of hours (a little class project for an ichthyology class??). 
   We went out onto the marsh/seagrass pond.  They had boardwalks, but almost no wildlife.  It is right off a channel that has big ships, so I’m not surprised. But, we did spy a dolphin leaping up and diving down in the water.
   Throughout the day, we have seen large groups of sandhill cranes flying wherever we are (Picture 3).  At the Marine Institute, we say a BREWER’S blackbird, and it reminded us of good friends (Picture 4).
   I had read about the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, and we drove around this small burg looking for it and gave up, and the locals didn’t seem to know anything about it.  When I got back to the RV, I tried everything, and did get the name Cut-Off Road.   Dean was kind and drove back 30 minutes and found a tiny sign.  Clue:  Ask locals to direct you to the dump—it’s right next door.  This trip was so worthwhile, I felt like shouting “EUREKA!”  when I saw it, because it is truly a precious place.  It has a raised boardwalk that extends out into the cattails for a close-up look at abundant wildlife.  There are free viewing scopes mounted on the rails. 
   The large double-breasted cormorants roosted together.  (Picture 5).  There were hundreds of roseate spoonbills.  At one point, about a hundred of them flew over out heads, making the skies a beautiful shaking pink—a real thrill! (Pictures 6 & 7)  This blue teal almost posed. (Picture 8)  This mated pair of ducks were enjoying the day as much as we were. (Picture 9  This pelican (Picture 10) tried hard to catch his dinner, but failed. The grebe (Picture 11) got along with all the bigger guys.  I try not to repeat pictures, but this green-winged teal and his mate were too beautiful to pass up (Picture 12) 
   I do OK on identifying the birds if they match my book, but in flight it is more of a challenge.  I think this is a black-necked stilt (Picture 13).  This red-winged blackbird big us good-bye and commanded us to take his picture—note his open beak. (Picture 14)  I think this is my favorite place of all those we have visited.  We will come back tomorrow morning before we leave for one last view.

Stayed at Mustang Island State Park, FHU, 50 AMPS, total $25--$17 for RV and $4/person admission
Temperature: mid-70’s
Miles traveled:  188
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 02, 2010, 10:28:32 PM
Day 19 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 03, 2010, 02:55:16 PM
It is indeed a black-necked stilt. You can see lots of those at Salton Sea in the winter if you want to find some a little closer to home :)
 
Dumps are often good places for birding. Best place in San Antonio to see Caracaras.
 
Still enjoying the spring pictures since spring hasn't come back to Colorado yet.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 08:13:14 PM
DAY 20—APRIL 1—Rockport—Goose Island State Park
   We got up early and returned to the Turnbull Birding Center for their free Wednesday @ 9:00 Walk on the Boardwalk with real birders.  We met a pair of ladies who were also waiting, and as time went by we figured out that today was THURSDAY!  Oops!  While today was also wonderful, there were a lot more types of birds and they were more activie when we were here yesterday, around 6:00 PM.  We talked with people who have seen the two American Alligators, Boots and Bags, who live here. 
   I try not to repeat birds’ pictures unless there is something special about the new bird.  I could fill a book with all the birds that we’ve seen at this one site.     This little guy played Hide-and-Seek with Dean as he hopped in circles on the tree trunk with Dean’s camera chasing him.  (Picture 1)  You smart people out there—Could he be a black-and-white warbler???
   The beauty of the roseate spoonbills in flight made me gasp.  (Picture 2)  The spoonbills are very social and enjoy being with others. )Picture 3)  The Northern shoveler and his mate were just kicking back. (Picture 4)  The feathers of the cinnamon teal sparkled in the sunlight. (Picture 5) 
   We saw a large bird fly overhead, and another birder identified it as an osprey.  Dean doesn’t enjoy the birds as much as I do, but he wanted a picture of it.  He landed on top of a distant phone pole.  Dean has so much patience; he waited 30 minutes to get a picture, and the osprey didn’t move.  Maybe he will find another osprey.
   We had read about Paradise Pond, but once again the directions were vague.  A lady was tending the pretty flowers, and she told us it was located behind Don Juan’s Restaurant.  We hadn’t eaten breakfast, and by now it was 11:00, so we ate at Don Juan’s.  Most of their breakfasts cost $2.99, and I liked the eggs with cactus, potatoes, refried beans, and tortillas.  Cactus is really good!
   Paradise Pond is not a large area, but there were several birds here that were new to us.  This pair of black-bellied whistling ducks greeted us. (Picture 6) Everywhere we looked—on logs, on shore, in the water—there were turtles.  (Picture 7)
   We heard the calls of the night herons, and a birder pointed out this yellow-crowned night heron. (Picture 8)  Songbirds (Picture 9) made pretty music, but they were in the trees and bushes and were hard to find.  This one was the only one who wasn’t camera-shy. Does anyone know who he is?
   We had to take a free state ferry to get to Rockport.  Motorhomes can’t go on it at low tide, which is now at noon.  We got there about 2:00 and got on immediately.  Wait time: 5 minutes.  Total time crossing on the ferry: 5 minutes.
   The GPS mis-guided us and we wandered around the narrow streets of Fulton Harbor and Rockport—not fun!  I called the park, but it went to voicemail.  A “first” happened—Dean stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. 
   We parked 30’ away from the water, and the wind was and is still really blowing.  We headed for the Visitors Center, and they gave us lots of information.  We drove by the Bar-B-Q Shack at Hwy.35 & Broadway (stoplight) twice in our wanderings, and the Bar-B-Q smoke smelled wonderful.  So we stopped and picked up barbecued beef.  Only $12 for a pound of pork, potato salad, and beans.   It was great!

Temperature—mid-70s and WINDY in Rockport (20-30 mph)  It feels really    muggy in the RV, but it’s not too humid outside because of the wind
 Miles Traveled:  43
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 08:15:16 PM
Day 20 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 08:24:58 PM
DAY 21–APRIL 2—Goose Island State Park
   We made reservations to go out on a birdwatching trip on a boat. We’ve been told that it is the best way to see the whooping cranes.  We went to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, about an hour away.  All of the refuges are very well done.  They had good displays and a film about the animals that  live in the refuge now and in the past.  There are furs to feel, stuffed birds and animals, and knowledgeable staff.  We went on the 16-mile auto tour, but there was very little wildlife, either in the marshes or the shore.  Two or three Texas whitetail deer (Picture 1) were munching trees’ leaves and grass. The Texas deer are smaller than those we saw in the East.  We saw two VERY BLUE herons who took flight as soon as they saw us (which was before we saw them).  There is a tall observation tower, and from there we saw 4 Great Egrets.  I did spot 3 javelinas (collared peccaries). (Picture 2) 
   We returned to the Bar-B-Q Shack, but they were closed (even though the sign with their hours said they should be open).  Dean thinks they probably sold out.  We had smelled bar-b-q smoke at Stevie Lew’s, so we stopped there.  They are only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Their barbecued pork was also very good, and I really liked their potato salad.

Temperature—mid-70’s
Miles traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 10:37:23 PM
It is indeed a black-necked stilt. You can see lots of those at Salton Sea in the winter if you want to find some a little closer to home :)
 
Dumps are often good places for birding. Best place in San Antonio to see Caracaras.
 
Still enjoying the spring pictures since spring hasn't come back to Colorado yet.
 
Wendy

Thanks so much, Wendy.  I have learned so much on this trip, and being told I'm right feels good.  I like the birds with the white-white contrasted with black-black.  They remind me of a formal tuxedo.  Laughing gulls here are a dime a dozen, and most people don't like them, but I find them fun to watch.

The Turnbull was originally a water-treatment plant, located next to the currently active city dump.  The birds we saw were all shore birds.

Glad you like the pictures.  It takes a couple of hours each night and is the reason my posts are usually a day or two late.  i get the verbage written, but the pictures have to be sorted through (Dean took 180 pictures today), selected, sized, and LABELLED.  That last part takes a long time, but I need to know who they are.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 10:42:14 PM
We really enjoyed our stay at Goose Island State Park in Rockport about ten years ago.  You'll finally get your wish to be right on the Gulf at water's edge.  Tom fished right from our campsite.   

Margi

Margi, we are loving Goose Island.  We had some real wind gusts, but overall it's super.  We aren't fisherpeople, but we have enjoyed watching the fish jumping out of the water in front of the coach, and it seems that within 10 minutes of when our neighbors put their lines in, they have a fish.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 10:58:05 PM
Linda, we are just up the Texas coast from you at Quintana Beach.  We didn't get here until after 3 but did get over to the bird sanctuary to  catch a few birds.  The boat tale grackles are in abundance but did see some fun birds.  Indigo buntings, red wing black birds, swamp sparrow, Lincoln sparrow, northern parula, ruby throated hummingbird several different ducks, sand pipers and of course the gulls.  I hope you had another great birding day.

Jim,

I found Quintana Beach on my map and I see it is near Brazoria NWR.  It isn't currently on my itinerary, but that is only a plan--we change it at will.  I am checking with
Fennessey Ranch tomorrow.  It wasn't on my original itinerary, but we may add it.  We haven't seen, or didn't recognize indigo buntings, swamp sparrow, Lincoln sparrow, northern parula or sandpipers.  So it sounds like we may need to add this to our list.  What bird sanctuary?

As an SOB (Spouse of a Birder), can you ask your wife if brown pelicans migrate.  We have enjoyed them so much, and while I've been typing I have noticed several groups of about 10 flying in a straight line, one behind the other.  I thought they were year-round residents.

Thanks for all the information you've shared.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 11:00:00 PM
Here you go, Wendy.  We have lots of these right now.  This one is from McKinney Falls SP last Saturday.

Ned, we've seen some here on the coast, but yours are much more full and vibrant.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 03, 2010, 11:10:44 PM
I hate to bring up the Reserve America subject again but since I tried to make reservations unsuccessfully again, I called the State parks and wildlife, made reservations and then commented about RA.  His statement was, "we are phasing them out and the state will not be using them much longer".  Yea!!!!

Linda, if y'all are still in the area April 16-18, you might want to check out the Migration Celebration held at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.  We get to help with the banding...oh yeah!  http://migrationcelebration.org/

Of the many (21) species we observed today I think the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was the most beautiful...of course he was all decked out in his high breeding colors.  We got great pictures today and if I ever take the time to learn how to put them on this site I'll do so.

Happy birding...

We were told by the people here at Goose Island that this is RA's last month.  It has been kind of like the prize in a crackerjack box--you never know what you're going to get.

I need to find out more about San Bernard NWR and its location.  We also kind of need to boogie to see the other places on our itinerary before we have to be in Utah on May 1.  What a great problem to have--choosing between wonderful things to do!

We also were treated by the Yellow-crowned Night Heron making his appearance at Paradise Pond.  I'd love to meet up with you and have Dean show you how to post pictures.  Then I'd know who more of these critters are!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on April 04, 2010, 01:39:03 PM
Quote
the pictures have to be sorted through (Dean took 180 pictures today), selected, sized, and LABELLED.  That last part takes a long time, but I need to know who they are.

Yeah, 'cause you sure won't know a week from now!  ;)

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 05, 2010, 12:23:52 AM
DAY 22—APRIL 3—Goose Island State Park, Rockport
   Today we went on “Skimmer”, the boat that does coastal birding tours.  (877-TX-BIRDS) The boat is comfortable with easy accessibility.  Dolphins provided an escort out of the harbor, swimming alongside the boat.  Captain
Tommy told us that most, if not all, of the whooping cranes had left.  I mentally kicked myself because the spectacular whoopers are what I had heard so much about from birders I’ve met.  He starts rattling off names of birds at 10:00, 2:00, 9:00, etc., and before I spot one (and have already forgotten his name), he had said another 5 or 6 other names and their location.  He’s a great captain for the true birders, who represent about 50% of the passengers.
   If you take this trip, sit on the left side of the boat.  98% of the action took place on that side, and unfortunately, we had chosen to sit on the right.  On the way out, we figured that we’d get all the action on the way back, but it didn’t happen that way.
   The boat was bobbing, and it was difficult to get good pictures.  We have seen many turkey vultures in the air, but we got to see this one sitting still, as he was engrossed in pulling apart a plastic bag (Picture 2).  We have seen plastic bags everywhere—in the water, blowing through the air, hung up on trees and poles.  I have to wonder if this vulture will die from ingesting part or all of this plastic bag.
   We saw many terns and gulls (Picture 3).  We got to Black Jack Island, and saw a whooping crane family—mom, dad, and baby.  They set up two scopes, one on each deck, and I got to see them up close.  I’m short, and the crewman (Big Mike) and Captain Tommy went to a lot of trouble to lower a scope so I could see.  This one event made the whole trip (3.5 hours) worthwhile!
   Then we sped out to a rookery (Picture 5) where there were nesting snowy egrets (Picture 6), the most beautiful reddish herons that I’ve seen (Pictures 7 & 8), great blue herons (Picture 9), and oystercatchers (Picture 10).  Some of the passengers said they saw eggs and chicks, but that’s beyond what I could do.
   As we motored home, a peregrine falcon was resting on a pole (Picture 11).  We’ve seen them in raptor centers twice before, but never in the wild.
   As we entered and left the harbor, we saw many beautiful brown pelicans in full-on breeding plumage (Picture 12).  The picture doesn’t do them justice—they are magnificent.  In the last two days, I have seen many groups of 9-10 brown pelicans flying in the same direction—north--in a straight line, one behind the other.  I am told they don’t migrate, but I think they must all be going somewhere.

Temperature—75°
Miles traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 05, 2010, 12:27:01 AM
Day 22 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 06, 2010, 10:20:00 PM
DAY 23—APRIL 4—Goose Island State Park
   Today we did an auto tour to the 10 hottest birding spots in Rockport.  I think we are in a trough—the ducks have left and the migrating birds don’t seen to be stopping over.  We went to many little ponds and didn’t even hear birds chirping.
    So, we enjoyed the flora.  We saw Big Tree, a live oak tree that is over 1000 years old (Picture 1).  Its limbs have been shaped by the wind, which seems to blow here all the time.  The wildflowers bloom brilliantly (Pictures 2,3,4,5,and 6).  I don’t want to offend Texans, but I think the flower in picture 6 is much prettier than the bluebell.
   At our last stop, at the Demonstration Bird Garden & Wetland Pond across from Wal-Mart, we found a haven for black-bellied whistling ducks.  We were enjoying watching them from a comfortable blind when a Great Egret flew in, and they didn’t even give him a glance.
   We met two birders from Ohio who told us about a spot very near Goose Island off Fourth Street where a pair whoopers are raising a chick.  We’ll check it out tomorrow.
   We have met more nice people, especially Texans.  Last night, we stopped at Stevie Lew’s Bar-B-Q again.  The food there was so good, and I decided to pick up some to take with us.  We wanted 1 pound of pulled pork and 1 pound of chicken.  He was out of chicken (and it takes 18 hours of cooking to make more), so Dean ordered 2 pounds of pork instead.  He gave us ½ pound of brisket for free, as an apology for being out of chicken.  We also ordered two large containers of his delicious potato salad (he uses celery leaves in it, and it is so good), and 1 large container of beans.  The total bill was only $25, and it will make several meals for us.
   We went to the Cinema 4, a nice little hometown theatre.  When was the last time you paid only $4 to see a current movie?  We saw “Clash of the Titans.”

Temperature—75° and windy (but I’m told that the wind keeps the mosquitoes    away, so I’ll take wind over mosquitoes any day)
Miles traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 06, 2010, 10:35:06 PM
Dang, $4 ? We paid $7.25 each today for Clash of the Titans. Would have paid $10 if they had had it in 3D but they didn't (still showing Alice in Wonderland on the 3D screen).
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 06, 2010, 11:13:11 PM
DAY 24—APRIL 5—Goose Island State Park
   The thrill of possibly seeing the magnificent whooping cranes again today is even greater because they are so endangered.  In 1941 there were only 16 whoopers left, all members of a flock that wintered on the salt marshes and tidal flats of South Texas.  Aransas NWR was created just to protect their wintering grounds along the Gulf.  For years, no one knew where whoopers went to nest and raise their young.  In 1954, a pilot flying over remote Wood Buffalo NP in the Northwest Territories, CA, (Canada), spotted a pair and a possible chick.  Scientists from the US and Canada were able to study the birds and plan how to save them from extinction.
   Scientists were really worried that the whole flock might be lost to disease or a late fall hurricane.  So, in 1975, they decided to start a second wild whooper flock.  The took eggs from CA to Gray’s lake NWR in Idaho.  They were put in the nests of SANDHILL cranes!  Removing eggs doesn’t affect productivity in the wild because though they lay 2 eggs, they only raise one.  The sandhill cranes hatched and raised 4 whooper chicks and taught them to find food and avoid predators such as coyotes and eagles.
   In fall, the sandhills led the chicks on an 850-mile migration to Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico.  The young whoopers returned to Gray’s Lake in the spring.  This flock now has between 20-25 members.  SUCCESS!
   In 1987, there were about 150 whoopers in the 2 wild populations.  A record 280 whoopers arrived at Aransas NWR.
     But, they had a bad drought in 2008 and their favorite foods of blue crab and wolfberry were in short supply due the salty conditions in the march.  A record 23  whoopers, 8.5% didn’t make it through the winter, and a lot were emaciated.  For the first time, the Fish & Wildlife Service dispersed corn from game feeders to give the flock a small boost of energy.  Only 247 whoopers made it through the winter.  But, when they returned to Canada to rest, the habitat conditions were great,  However, only 22 chicks fledged from 62 nests, probably because of the weakened condition of their parents.
   With the drought continuing in 2009, wildlife managers reconditioned water holes on the Aransas NWR to ensure the cranes had fresh water to drink if the marshes remain above the threshold salinity of 23 parts per thousand.  They continue to be threatened by ongoing sea level rise, which would make the marshes too deep for the cranes to use, decreased inflows from the  Guadalupe River due to water withdrawals for human uses which will mean fewer blue crabs for the cranes to eat, and new housing developments that are springing up next to marshes where wintering cranes have foraged in the past.
   If that weren’t bad enough, they face increased threats during migration, due to the increasing numbers of windmill farms and associated power lines.  Collisions with power lines is the number one cause of death for fledged whoopers.  They migrate 2,500 miles! 
   The total number of whooping cranes in the wild is 384, and there are 152 in captivity.  Scientists are breeding whooping cranes in captivity and re-introducing them in the wild in two flocks in the eastern US.
   In the fall of 2001,  eight whoopers were flown behind an ultralight aircraft between Wisconsin and Florida.  Five of the cranes survived the winter and migrated back north in 2002.  Additional birds were reintroduced in the next 8 years, and there are now 108 whoopers migrating in the eastern US.  However, the birds are struggling to hatch young with the adults abandoning their nests just prior to hatching the eggs due to swarms of black flies bothering the adults.  Officials are experimenting with methods to control the black flies and may look for a suitable habitat free from them.     
   The second wild flock consists of 29 remaining non-migrating whoopers in central Florida.  However, the reintroduction effort has been abandoned as the cranes struggle with poor rates of reproduction and low survival, mostly tied to re-occurring drought.
   Whoopers stand nearly 5 feet tall.  Their snow-white feathers are accented by jet-black wing tips and red and black heads, with long, pointed beaks.  Their wingspan measures 7.5 feet across.  They mate for life.  They eat crabs, crayfish, and frogs, but rarely fish.
   We looked for the landmark given by Ohio birders we met yesterday, and we found it!  However, we didn’t find any whoopers.  He said they flew directly over his head yesterday.  Instead we found more pretty  wildflowers (Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) growing in this salty marsh.  The flower in Picture 3 is huge—about the size of an iris.  At the place where the whoopers were supposed to be we found turtles (picture 6) instead.
   I’ve seen hundreds of turkey vultures in the air, but never before sitting on the ground (Picture 6).  I enjoyed seeing him fly right by us (Picture 7)—I could see all the details of his face.  We also got to see black vultures (Picture 8).  It’s so hard to distinguish them in the air, but on the ground they look just like their pictures in my bird book.
   I have really enjoyed Goose Island.  We had pelicans flying right out our front window (as evidenced by the huge streak on the RV’s windshield), silvery fish jumping out of the water in Aransas Bay, and the sound of the waves as we slept at night.  I’ll even miss the laughing of the gulls.  Watching the brown pelicans fish is a hoot!  They seem to awkwardly dive/crash into the water when catching a fish.   
   We drove about an hour to Lighthouse Beach & the Formosa Wetlands Bird Sanctuary, located in Port Lavaca.  They have the world’s longest boardwalk made out of recycled plastic.  Greeting us were this pair of birds with black necklaces around their necks (picture 9).  You’d think that would make them easy to identify, but I can’t.  They are not in my bird book.  There weren’t any  other unusual birds here—just gulls and pelicans.  However, in the distance we saw these   (Picture 10).

Temperature: High 70’s
Miles Traveled: 45
Stayed at Wal-Mart Supercenter
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 06, 2010, 11:15:38 PM
Day 24 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Terry A. Brewer on April 07, 2010, 11:18:28 AM
Linda

Didn't realize you were such a bird enthusiast.  You might want to try this area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosque_del_Apache_National_Wildlife_Refuge , Closer to home & suppose to be spectacular.

 We haven't been there but were told about while visiting the "Trinity Site".
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 07, 2010, 03:09:38 PM
Linda

Didn't realize you were such a bird enthusiast.  You might want to try this area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosque_del_Apache_National_Wildlife_Refuge , Closer to home & suppose to be spectacular.

 We haven't been there but were told about while visiting the "Trinity Site".

Terry, I like that!  I have a title--Bird Enthusiast!  I definitely don't qualify to be a "birder".  I really like seeing any kind of animals, also geological formations that are colorful or unique.  Bosque del Apache was on my original itinerary, but I had to chop off the first 3 weeks of the itinerary to get to the Gulf in time.  As it was, most of the ducks had already left and most of the whoopers also.  They just won't wait to leave until after I've arrived. 

 I will  look up the Trinity Site.  It's new to me.

I welcome suggestions.  I made lots of changes in this itinerary because of others' suggestions, and I've added many places to where I want to go, too.  So people's hints will be used for years, probably.
THANKS!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 07, 2010, 08:49:14 PM
Linda - Do you like watching birds? Do you enjoy trying to identifying them even when you're unsuccessful? Yes? Then you ARE a birder. Not all birders get up at 4 am. Not all birders can identify every bird they see immediately. There will always be LBBs (little brown birds) to even the wisest birder. And there will always be birders who keep learning and trying and enjoying. You keep at it Birder-Lady.
 
Trinity site is open to the public twice a year, the first week in April and the first week in October. Join us at the Balloon Fiesta in October and we can make a run out there ! Or add a New Mexico tour to your schedule !!
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 08, 2010, 10:35:06 PM
DAY 25—APRIL 6—OUR 42ND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY—Damon
   We got a shot of a brown pelican diving/crashing into the waves getting a fish (picture 1).  They were making one attempt after another, seconds apart .  They have their breeding plumage, so they are especially beautiful now.  They do a splashing dive that looks very awkward and makes me laugh.  I can just sit and watch them; they are so entertaining!
    We made a 2½ hour drive through ranch/farm country.  We saw huge fields that were carpeted with the same kind of wildflower, intensifying their color and beauty.  Sometimes it would be all pink; another, all yellow.  We went through a lot of small towns. 
   We saw several signs that kept us entertained.  One said, “Lawn Batteries--$119”.  So far, my lawn has grown quite well without a battery.  Another said, “We have swine & seasonal flu.  Stop in.”  That’s a place I would definitely want to stay away from!  Another said, “Old Ocean—7 miles”.  Is the ocean I see new? 
   One sign on a high school reflected some frustration, I think.  It said, “PALACIOS (the name of the town) ONLY TEACHES THE TEACHABLE”.  Ouch!  Too many kids cutting class?  Not doing homework?  As a teacher, I believe it is our job to motivate kids to perform.  It can be very frustrating, however, at times when you’ve given it your all and some kids don’t respond.  This sign, however, tells me that they have given up on those kids.  Sad, and not true of most schools.
   I was glad to learn about the State Park Pass.  Dean already knew about it, but he figured out that it took staying at parks 8 nights to break even, so he didn’t get one.  We had no idea how wonderful the state parks here are.  In many states, they are just one step up from boondocking.  We don’t think we’ll be in state parks another 8 nights, but next time, we will definitely buy one. 
   I am adding San Bernard SP and Quintana Beach to my list of future destinations.  I think Dean is birded out, and I have several more bird-viewing areas on my itinerary. My first clue was when he asked if there was anything else to do besides birding.  My second was when he said he wanted to go to the Museum of Health & Medical Science in Houston, our next stop.  We’ve been to Houston several times before and have seen the Space Center (spectacular!), Museum of Natural Science (very good), and the zoo (excellent),   
   Brazos Bend SP is the loveliest of the state parks we’ve been to, and they have all been great.  BBSP has lots of tall trees, chirping birds (which entertain Sherlock), huge distances between RV sites, great roads, a nature center, and lots of trails.  I would love to come here again and spend a week just reading and enjoying the beauty of this park.
   We went on a drive and walk in the park.  I know cardinals are considered ordinary, but they are so bright in color.  This cardinal (Picture 2) was taking a mud bath.  There weren’t a lot of animals out, except for the squirrels.  We found another unnamed duck (Picture 3--I will buy a book on Texas birds when we get to our next destination!).  I’ve been told by real birders that the blue-winged teal is the only one with the white crescent on his face, but this one has a reddish-brown body, and he shouldn’t (Picture 4).  The Moorhen in the background has an especially red face and beak, compared with those we’ve seen previously (Picture 4).  As we strolled around the pond, there were turtles sunning on logs (Picture 5).  The peace was interrupted with coots and ducks fluttering and splashing as 2 alligators quickly surfaced with a splash not far from where we were walking.  It was a thrill to see them in the wild!  I think they came up empty.  At the end, I asked Dean to drive 4 miles back to the entrance to picture the weird wild white flowers we had seen growing in the swamp water (Picture 6).

Miles traveled: 103
Stayed at Brazos Bend SP—50 AMPS, FHU, dump site, $30 ($20 for RV, $10 admission for us)
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 08, 2010, 10:41:29 PM
DAY 26--APRIL 7—Houston
   We turned a trip of 1½ hours into almost 3 hours.  Traders Village is on NORTH Eldridge Parkway, and the address I had didn’t have the North in it.  So, we wandered by the address I had twice, admiring the pretty houses. I was warned ahead of time by Trader’s Village that GPS’s had it incorrectly programmed, so I backed it up with Mapquest.
   By the time we found the RV park and got settled, we didn’t have much time before places closed so we went to the Arboretum & Nature Park.  In our hurry, we forgot the camera, so we knew we’d see something spectacular.  I was so pleased when we didn’t.  It is a very pretty combination of forest, swamp, and meadow.  We saw turtles, morning doves, and lots of squirrels.  We talked to people on the trail who had seen frogs, rabbits, and armadillos.  We read on their Count for the Day in the VC that in their list of a couple dozen animals, they had seen hognose snakes, baby copperheads, and night herons today.

Miles traveled: way too many—from Mapquest, had we gone in a direct route, it    should have been 50 miles
Stayed at Trader’s Village RV Park, $27.85
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 10, 2010, 11:37:18 AM
DAY 27—APRIL 8—Houston—A ***** (5-STAR) day
   We drove one hour and paid $7.50 in tolls to get to the Armand Bayou Nature Center, 8500 Bay Area Blvd., Pasadena.  Admission was $1.  They had several living exhibits, including a cottonmouth snake, 2 baby alligators, a raptor exhibit which housed two injured red-tailed hawks, a hardwood forest, and a pond.  They say there are an abundance of birds that will migrate into the center in 2 weeks, armadillos, snakes, white-tailed deer, frogs, marsh rabbits, and turtles. Unfortunately, we didn’t see them.  It’s only been 1 year since Hurricane Ike roared through with 150-mph winds that tore down 50% of their hardwood forest canopy.  They are allowing the downed trees to rot and return to the soil.  Sun beams where there was once total shade, and new “pioneer” plants have sprouted.  They are studying the re-forestation. They have worked to restore a variety of native prairie grasses in a very large field. 
    I loved this site, although it isn’t the jazziest place you’ll ever visit.  There were new wildflowers for Wendy (Pictures 1 and 2).   We did get repeated unwanted visits from this squirrel (Picture 3) who kept stealing the birdseed a regular visitor had put out for the birds.  Doesn’t he have a bushy tail?   The ABNC provides the seed in their exhibit area.  Finally a Carolina chickadee came and stayed long enough for us to get a shot (Picture 4).  We also saw two bison.
   I like Texans!  They are so polite when they tell you the rules (Picture 5).  An 83-year-old man maintains a farm here so the kids can understand the olden days better.  There is a real house, a vegetable garden, a birthing shed, a cane crusher, a huge syrup cooker which is like a deep fireplace, a carpenter shop, a blacksmith ship, and a pig pen.  They have a fall festival where they dress in period wardrobe and perform chores as the pioneers did, including making sugar syrup.
   Dean chased a really beautiful red butterfly, but this orange & black guy with his distinctive blue/red patch actually came closer and landed when Dean said, “He’s too far away!” (Picture 6)  I would definitely put this on my list of wonderful places to re-visit.
   Just 30 minutes away, we found Lake Sheldon State Park, the biggest thrill of this trip.  They are set up as an education center, a day outdoor science school for kids.  There are about 20 ponds.  We only had 45 minutes before they closed, so we hurried past the first two fishing ponds to a more natural swampy pond.  I didn’t see any birds there, so I moved on to Pond 4.  There were little blue herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, cattle egrets, and ibis EVERYWHERE!  Many had nests.
    While I was staring with awe, Dean told me that while he was at Pond 3, there was a huge splash, less than 10 feet away from him.  He didn’t see what made it, but the only thing that made sense was—A BIG ALLIGATOR!  We had not read their warnings on the map, nor had we noticed the large gator with a warning at the beginning of the path because we were speeding along and looking for birds.
   There were white ibis (red beak and feet), but I couldn’t figure out who the guys on the left were (Picture 7)  It turns out it is a juvenile ibis.  They are black when they are born and it takes about 3 years for them to become white.  This ibis watched us as we watched him (Picture 8).  One flew right overhead (Picture 9).  We’ve seen lots of beautiful little blue herons, but none as pretty as these in their breeding plumage (Picture 10).  Their heads are almost purple, and the fluff at the top of their heads seems extra long and fluffy. The blue of their feathers is so deep and rich.
    There were so many birds that they shared limbs (Picture 11).  The white pillows in this picture are snowy egrets huddled over their nests.  They don’t move at all, and you don’t usually see their heads..  While those nesting are perfectly still, some bachelors are strutting their stuff (Picture 12).
   They closed at 5:00, so we tore ourselves away with a promise to return tomorrow.  I was so excited that I felt chills go down my spine!
   Our neighbor in the RV park has a sign on the back of his motorhome that says. “HONK IF YOU ARE POLISH”.  He told us he had the most fantastic Polish meal at Polonial Polish Restaurant, 1900 Blalock, so we decided to give it a try.  He told us to order the combination, which started with bread with garlic butter and what looked like a dip and was really pork fat with bacon (it sounds awful, but it was delicious, though I can just imagine what it did to my arteries).  There was a little salad bar with wonderful variety—cucumber slices in yogurt, delicious red cabbage slaw, diced homemade pickled beets, crunchy sauerkraut salad which was not tart, carrot & grape salad, and the usual items—all were delicious.  The combination had golabki (cabbage rolls), bigos (sauerkraut w/shredded cabbage, also called Hunter’s Stew), roasted pork loin that was stuffed with ground pork and other things, roasted duck legs, kielbasas,  6 pierogis (2 potato & cheese, 2 meat, and 2 mushroom w/sauerkraut), meatloaf, and 2 cabbage rolls.  It cost $30, and we will probably have 4 meals out of it.  I love to experiment with ethnic cuisine, and Dean prefers American, though he does like some Mexican and Italian dishes.  I loved this meal, though I haven’t sampled everything yet.  Dean said it was “OK”, which is high praise for a unique meal. 
   This was a great day in every way!
Miles traveled 0
Temperature: 73°
Stayed at Traders’ Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 10, 2010, 11:41:23 AM
Day 27 part 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 11, 2010, 11:40:46 PM
DAY 28--April 9—Houston
   We started out at the Museum of Medical Science.  It is geared to 5th grade students and has models of each of the body systems and explanations.  It was truly boring, and neither of us liked it.  Too bad, because Dean was really looking forward to it.
   Then we returned to Sheldon Lake State Park.  It was almost as big a thrill the second time.  We made a new discovery—the white ibis nesting area.  They were sitting on their nests everywhere (Picture 1).  One ibis looked llike he was in charge of security as he sternly looked at us (Picture 2).  A male ibis was making the nest while the female supervised (Picture 3).  We were told that the female is usually the larger bird.
    As we walked the paths, we were on the lookout for alligators.  Once again, we didn’t  see any, but we heard two of them splash into the ponds.  We did see some large pretty water lily flowers (Picture 4).
   The little blue herons’ spectacular breeding plumage once again awed me (Picture 5).  One heron stood up and let us see her light blue egg (Picture 6).  Another very proud mama-to-be remodeled her nest, carefully changing the placement of twigs (Picture 7). I could have watched them forever.
   As we walked the path, this dragonfly lit right in front of us (Picture 8).
   The snowy egrets were silent, motionless, snowdrifts.  (Picture 9)
   Cardinals are ordinary to so many people, but we don’t get them in our area, so they are special to us.  We have tried to get a good picture, and this orangy cardinal finally let us get a shot. (Picture 10) I am sure we will eventually get one of the fire-engine red cardinals that has so far evaded us.
Miles Traveled: 0
Temperature: 77
Stayed at Traders’ Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 11, 2010, 11:48:35 PM
Day 28, page 2,

More photos.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Bob Maxwell on April 12, 2010, 05:59:39 PM
If you get up to Athens TX, the TX Game & Fish Dept has a great site devoted to all the freshwater fishery types in TX and it's like being in their natural habitat. --Can't remember the name but I can drive to it!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 12, 2010, 10:37:16 PM
If you get up to Athens TX, the TX Game & Fish Dept has a great site devoted to all the freshwater fishery types in TX and it's like being in their natural habitat. --Can't remember the name but I can drive to it!

Here you go Bob and yep...this is a keeper kind of place.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 13, 2010, 07:16:30 PM
Hey guys...its been almost 48 hours with no check in.  With  the traipsing around with all those gators we just need to make sure y'all are okay.  I've got connections in this area I can have the authorities out searching on a moments notice.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 13, 2010, 07:56:14 PM
They're having so much fun they've forgotten all about those of us sitting in our stick house and who got snowed on this morning !!
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Terry A. Brewer on April 14, 2010, 11:52:35 AM
They're probably at the movies.<G>
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 14, 2010, 05:25:27 PM
Their ain't no movie houses where they were heading to last.  Unless you have one of them thar sateeelite thingys...you're not even gonna find out the world has been destroyed to you realize you don't have no air to breath.  Linda, Deanlet us hear from you.  I can get my sherriiif buddy to come a looking fer you if'in need be.

BTW...the orchard and the baltimore oriole showed up today in the yard.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 14, 2010, 10:31:28 PM
Their ain't no movie houses where they were heading to last.  Unless you have one of them thar sateeelite thingys...you're not even gonna find out the world has been destroyed to you realize you don't have no air to breath.  Linda, Deanlet us hear from you.  I can get my sherriiif buddy to come a looking fer you if'in need be.

BTW...the orchard and the baltimore oriole showed up today in the yard.

Jim, Terry, and Wendy,

We're glad to be back--even happier than you noticed we were gone.  We've been having some electronics problems--either iPhoto, the computer, the camera--one or more of those electronics things.  Dean has spent many hours working on it, found one error and corrected it, but we still had problems and things weren't working.  We kept on truckin'.  Then, magically, Santa sent an elf during the night, and when I opened up Safari this a.m., it had a message that said just to press YES, and I did, and I think (hope) all is well.

We had an exciting day today punctuated with a BLOWOUT on the RV!  Dean is out hooking up the toad (we went out to dinner), and we just got back.  It's currently 10:30 and Dean has been yawning for a couple of hours, so I don't know if we'll get much posted tonight.  They are all written, just need to be posted.

Thanks to all of you for caring!  Terry, I wish we had been at the movies.  In the movies all the problems get solved; hopefully, all of ours are, too.  Tomorrow we go to Freightliner to see if we have any damage from when the tire went BOOM!
Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 14, 2010, 11:44:03 PM
DAY 29—APRIL 10—Houston
   Last night we extended our stay here because we hadn’t been to Anahuac NP yet.  It rained off and on all morning, so we cancelled our trip.  We went to see “Date Night” at AMC 24 in nearby Willowbrook Mall and shopped. 
Miles Traveled:  0
Temperature:  75°
Stayed at Traders’ Village
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 12:34:07 AM
DAY 30—APRIL 11—WINNIE
   We went to High Island and visited the Audubon sites.  We heard the Carolina wrens singing all the time we were there, and finally we spotted one on top of a pole (Picture 1).  We caught a glimpse of a green heron as he flew into the brush.  Other than that, even the birders with the huge lenses on their cameras and spotting scopes said it was “quiet”.  They said that yesterday it was brimming with birds.
   We drove out to the rookery.  The great egrets and roseate spoonbills share the same nesting areas.
   We drove out to Anahuac NWR.  They were all excited because there was a ruff (?sp) out there.  People were standing on top of trucks to be able to see it over the reeds and understory.  We weren’t willing to risk life and limb to see a bird, so we quietly moved on by.  We were treated to a scarlet tanager.  Dean got several pictures, and we hope to eventually retrieve them.  He was bright red and gorgeous!  He just sat there posing for us to take his photo.
    We have heard the splashes of alligators, but today we spotted 3 of them in streams or on the banks.  We saw several fishermen.  No way you’d find me fishing in ‘gater country.
Stayed at Winnie RV, FHU, 50 AMPS
Miles Traveled:  61
Temperature: 80°
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 12:44:27 AM
DAY 31—APRIL 12—WILLIS
   We went to the Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor’s Center.  They had a nice display, including one fat crawdad (crayfish).  They had learned the same way that I did when I was teaching that they eat each other.  Try teaching a math lesson while one crawdad is consuming another!  They had good samples, dioramas, and explanations of the flora and fauna in the preserve.  I learned a lot.
     We drove out to the trails.  The trails meandered through a mixture of hardwoods and pines, then bald cypress swamps.  On the Sundew-Hickory Trail we saw lots of pitcher plants, which emit a sweet smell which attracts insects to them.  The insects land on them and slide down their slippery “throat” where they then land in a pool of digestive juices.  We took pictures, but they have not been retrieved.  Maybe Santa’s elves  will come tonight and bring them back. 
   We went out to the second site, Pitcher Plant Trail, and they were doing prescribed burning.  Unfortunately, they had told the Visitors’ Center that it would be done tomorrow.
Stayed at Omega Farms RV Park, FHU, 50 AMPS, on a large pond with ducks,    beautiful site, excellently maintained
Miles Traveled:  140
Temperature: 82°
Stayed at Omega Farms RV Park
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: 34footer on April 15, 2010, 07:24:38 AM
I'm glad that your'e OK after the B/O, did you have a spare, or did you have to wait hours for a tire to be located?
J
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 15, 2010, 07:26:59 AM
Omega Farms is about 3 miles from our house.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 08:20:48 AM
I'm glad that your'e OK after the B/O, did you have a spare, or did you have to wait hours for a tire to be located?
J

We don't carry a spare.  It's just too big.  I wish I'd timed it, but I think we waited about an hour.  Of course, it seemed longer because I was nervous as the big trucks swished by.  The Goodyear man came from Giddings.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 08:24:28 AM
Omega Farms is about 3 miles from our house.

I loved Omega Farms; it is extremely well run and in a beautiful site.   However, next time I'd stay at Cagle; you can't beat Mother Nature.  You live in Paradise!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 15, 2010, 09:43:40 AM
I loved Omega Farms; it is extremely well run and in a beautiful site.   However, next time I'd stay at Cagle; you can't beat Mother Nature.  You live in Paradise!

I tried to tell you about Cagle.  Did you get to see the red cockaded woodpecker?
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 15, 2010, 11:12:56 AM
Glad to have you back online. And I notice that you did go to the movies one night :)
 
Keep on posting.
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 07:23:58 PM
Glad to have you back online. And I notice that you did go to the movies one night :)
 
Keep on posting.
Wendy

There may be more movies as it has rained all day today, and it is projected to do it for the other 2 days we're here.  We actually did call a movie theatre, but there wasn't anything that we wanted to see.  Do you have any recommendations?  Maybe I can become a movie critic!:)
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 15, 2010, 07:39:07 PM
We actually did call a movie theatre, but there wasn't anything that we wanted to see.  Do you have any recommendations?  Maybe I can become a movie critic!:)

We saw Avatar in 3D (really liked it). Also Alice in Wonderland in 3D (also really liked it). And last time we saw How to Train Your Dragon in 3D (really, really liked it). Saw Clash of the Titans (not in 3D, it was ok). Had a hard time finding a movie we both wanted to see last time we went to the movies. There's always Blockbuster or the Red Box rental thingies....looks like they have some good stuff. I usually end up getting into my DVD stash and watching some of the classics.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 15, 2010, 08:18:44 PM
There may be more movies as it has rained all day today, and it is projected to do it for the other 2 days we're here.  We actually did call a movie theatre, but there wasn't anything that we wanted to see.  Do you have any recommendations?  Maybe I can become a movie critic!:)

Where is here?
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 11:07:15 PM
DAY 32—APRIL 13—WILLIS
   We enjoyed seeing the ducks fly into our pond, and one egret stopped by briefly.  We also have one wild, semi-resident goose.  When we went to the dumpster, I saw the first bluebird I’ve ever seen.
   We went to the Sam Houston National Forest, and we got lost.  Our GPS didn’t have it—either through phone number, address, or “camping”.  We had Mapquest directions, which were totally wrong and took us through many miles of beautiful country and forest.  We finally came to a small town, called SHNF, told them where we were, and they gave us great directions.
   SHNF is a gorgeous pine forest.  None of the trails were accessible for me, but it was beautiful.  The campgrounds are picturesque, and we will come back to spend some “down time”, just relaxing, sitting under the trees reading.  We stopped and talked to people who were camped at the NF campground known as Cagle .  It is only $10/night with FHU, 50 amps.  We also learned about Passport America from these people, and we have joined them.  We will save the cost of an annual membership, $44, at our next stop in Austin, which is a member of Passport America.   
Miles Traveled:  0
Temperature: 85°
Stayed at Omega Farms RV Park
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 15, 2010, 11:08:32 PM
DAY 33—APRIL 14—AUSTIN
   What a day!  I was hoping to be in Austin early enough to go see something.   The best laid plans…..  We saw gorgeous wildflowers along the whole drive.  We went by huge fields of blue, then yellow, then bright pink.  The bluebonnets are winning me over.  Their blue is becoming much deeper.  Either they are getting more dense or they become bluer with age.  The first ones we saw were a pale blue.  The bright yellows are still my favorites, though they are all spectacular.  Most of the route was through small towns followed by farms. 
   It seemed it was taking forever to get to Austin; we were still 35 miles away. I was beginning to think it was a little boring.  I started to doze off when there was a boom and an earthquake inside the coach.  I’d never had a blowout before, even in a car, but I knew right away what it was.  Dean set it down pretty quickly on the side of the highway.   
   I cancelled our 4-day RV camp reservation in anticipation of having to be towed. I thought it was too dangerous to change the tire since we were so close to the traffic. 
   We were fortunate to have a good road assistance program through Thor, and the Goodyear man showed up within an hour.  He performed his magic and Dean had him play Musical Tires (an adaptation of Musical Chairs)—something about having the same kind of tread on the same side.
   By the time we got underway again, it was 6:00, well past the time the RV camp closed.  I called ahead to Wal-Mart and talked with the manager, who gave us the OK.  We are the only ones here.  The security guard came over right away to tell us we couldn’t stay, and I told him that the manager had given us permission. We’ll go over to the RV camp tomorrow morning.
   It was quite late, but I wanted to do something on my Things to See List.  We went to Abuelo’s Restaurant, which had received rave reviews.  We both really liked our meals, and they were reasonably priced.  Their flan is tied for first place; I’m a flan fan. The restaurant is  pretty, too, and the service was great.  They are in a shopping center near downtown.
Miles Traveled:
Temperature: 80°, with sprinkles
Stayed at Wal-mart
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on April 16, 2010, 12:33:19 PM
Quote
Their flan is tied for first place; I’m a flan fan.

So am I!  Jerry's mother and I ate our way across Spain - Flan and Gazpacho.  YUM!!!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 16, 2010, 08:38:56 PM
I hope you made it to Pedernales Falls. 

It was so neat to stand in the closet window this morning and watch two Indigo Buntings sit on the the feeder.  Yesterday Judy watched one in the bird bath have a ball.

We left about 10 for Quintana for the Migration Celebration.  We went over about 3 and walked the bird sanctuary.  They are just now starting to arrive.  Oh my!  First thing was a Indigo Bunting but of course we saw him this morning at home.  Blue jays, grackles, brown headed cowbirds in abundance. Next was the Yellow warbler, the black and white warbler, the yellow billed cuckoo, the female and male orchard oriole, blue grosbeak, rose breasted grosbeak and finally the painted bunting came for water.

In the morning we are going for the bird banding.

Have I told you that I'm a S.O.B.?  Spouse of a birder.  But I'm learning. 

Pictures on their way.

Safe travels.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 16, 2010, 11:58:34 PM
DAY 34—APRIL 15—AUSTIN
   We have so many places we want to visit, and rain wasn’t going to keep us home.  We went to the Capitol first.  We went on a short, but interesting tour.  They have a huge rotunda that is 218’ high, 14’ higher than the U. S. Capitol.  Louisiana recently rebuilt their capitol with a tall tower, so Texas lost its reputation as the highest capitol, though it is still the largest.  They are very proud of being big; in fact they say they will be the biggest state again when the ice in Alaska melts!  We took pictures, but we’re still having problems, so we don’t know when, or if, we will ever get them into the Photo Gallery.
   They had two impressive statues, one of which was of Sam Houston, the first governor.  He had two nicknames, “The Raven” and “Big Drunk”.  He lived with the Indians twice, once when he was younger, and then again after the loss of his wife.  He was a busy guy—the only person to be governor of two states, Texas and Tennessee, and he was Texas’s first U. S. senator.  Texas has had 6 flags—Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, U. S., and Confederacy.  They were pictured in marble in the foyer, and were very pretty.  The Civil War ended in 1865, but Texas didn’t rejoin the U. S. until 1870.  The Democrats allowed the republican candidate, Hayes, to win if they would quit occupying the south—talk about the granddaddy of backroom deals!  They had all the governors’ portraits, but the one that intrigued me was Miriam Ferguson who was the governor from 1925-1927, after her husband was impeached.  He didn’t want the University of Texas teaching about evolution, and the academics were powerful enough to get him impeached, despite his great popularity.  Miriam ran on the slogan of “2 governors for the price of one.”  They were called “Ma” and “Pa” Ferguson.  She tried to pardon him, so she lost the next election, but she was re-elected in 1933 for two more years.  Texas had the first woman governor, less than a decade after women got the right to vote.
   We then went to the Visitors’ Center, which had discount coupons, a great map, and lots of good information.
   I was so looking forward to the George Washington Carver Museum, but Dean wasn’t.  One of my students did a report on him, and I learned that he was a fascinating, multi-talented man.  What a waste!  Of our time and the city of Austin’s money.  It was a beautiful building, but inside was just one small glass case with a bit of Carver’s history.  There were 2 galleries.  One was devoted to blacks who had made achievements, just their pictures and a paragraph about their accomplishments.  The second was about marriages that had lasted a long time—advice from the couples, and biographical information.  They had a small room, which was supposed to be a children’s gallery.  It just had more pictures and paragraphs.  We were the only visitors at the museum.  It didn’t have anything engaging for kids or adults. 
   I did learn more about the history of Juneteenth.  I knew it was celebrated in California.  But, it actually celebrates the day that Texans learned that blacks were emancipated, June 19.  They were officially freed in April, but it wasn’t until two months later that Texans found out.  We’ve been to other museums that celebrate Black history, and the Underground Railroad Museum is by far the best.  This museum would be the worst we’ve visited.
   We dodged rain all day.  At times it was hard rain.  More is predicted for tomorrow and Saturday.  Most of the places I planned to visit in Austin are outdoors, so we’re praying for the rain to go away—far away.  Rain is not part of my itinerary.
Stayed at Oak Forest RV—FHU, 50 amps, posted price is $44/night, discounts of 10%-50%--we combined our Passport America (50% one night) with our AARP (30% for two nights) and paid $82
Temperature: 72° and rainy
Miles Traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 17, 2010, 09:20:35 AM
I hope you made it to Pedernales Falls. 

It was so neat to stand in the closet window this morning and watch two Indigo Buntings sit on the the feeder.  Yesterday Judy watched one in the bird bath have a ball.
 
Pictures on their way.


Jim, I'm torn about our schedule.  I really want to go to Pedernales Falls. I tried calling them this a.m., but their phone is only answered M-F.  Do you have a number other than 800-792-1112.  It said on their website that they have a feeding area that they stock.  Is it handicapped-accessible?  I'd love to see the indigo buntings.  The problem is we are already 1 day behind, and Dean has added 2 extra days--one to check out interior shades in McKinney and another to have Freightliner check the undercarriage of the RV in Dallas.  Freightliner has an RV center there, whereas the one in Austin specializes in big trucks. 

I am so looking forward to your pics!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: gmsboss1 on April 17, 2010, 09:41:29 AM
Hi Linda and Dean --

Just a note to let you know how much we are enjoying reading about your Texas Birding adventure!

We're still planning to hit the road heading West the first week in May.  Perhaps our paths will cross again this year.

Stay well!

Don and Mary Ann
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 17, 2010, 10:39:35 AM
DAY 35—APRIL 16—AUSTIN
   We got a late start because we had planning and business to do in the a.m.  It was really overcast, but I had picked up the most beautiful wildflower pamphlet at the Capitol Visitors Center, and I wanted to go to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center ($7/each/senior price).  This is their peak month, and I had high expectations.  It was good, but not great.  We had seen such bright intense colors in the mass, densely packed wildflowers growing wild in fields by the side of the road.  LBJWC had many sample plantings, but they weren’t large, so they weren’t as spectacular as those we’ve seen before.  There were signs labeling the plants, but it was hard to figure out what sign went with what plant.  There were metal sculptures throughout.  We got there about 1:30, and we wanted to get on the paths before the rain started, so we skipped the VC, thinking we’d see it later.  We ate at their Wildflower Café, and my poblano and portabella wrap was delicious.  Dean enjoyed his tuna sandwich.  I asked a couple lunching near us if they knew about Austin venues because we are going to have to skip several places and I wanted to go to the best places.  They are future RVers, so we told them about RV Forum and how helpful the site had been for us.  We dallied too long!  The VC closed at 4:00.  We got there at 4:00!  We had only popped in there to go a trail map, but they had beautiful exhibits, probably the best part of the trip.  They had all these little vases with labels, beautifully displayed.  It drizzled the whole time we were there.
   I had made notes about places that stayed open late, so we headed to the Zilker Botanical Garden, which is open until 7.  It was very pretty and had an Oriental garden, a rose garden where a wedding was being held, a cactus garden, an herb garden, and a vegetable garden.  There were explanatory signs in front of some plants and trees.  By this time it was sprinkling.
   One-and-a-half million bats fly out from under the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge shortly after dusk each night.  We drove around looking for a place to park.  The TGI Fridays in the Radisson Hotel has a patio I spotted and that I think you could see the bats fly from, so since it was after 7:00, we decided to have dinner there.  The parking structure was open only to hotel guests, so we went over to the Austin-American parking lot we had learned of while at the Capitol VC. It is posted as TOW-AWAY AT ALL TIMES—24 HOURS—but the VC had said they agreed not to tow the bat-watchers. We checked with locals who were parked there, and they said it wasn’t any problem.  We parked in the middle so that they’d tow others before they got to us, and we were so close to our car that we could have escaped.  There was a bird bringing food to baby birds in a nest right in front of our car.  By this time, it was raining.  The lady at the VC said that the bats don’t fly when it rains, but the locals say they do.  Even with an umbrella, we would be drenched by if we had to wait outside for long, and there was no shelter, so we decided to try again tomorrow night.
   We needed to shop, so we went to Costco and HEB, a new store for us, but one we like.  We were too late to go to Best Buy, but we’re going to buy a new disc for our camera.  We can see the pictures we’ve taken, but we can’t seem to download them from the camera. 

Does anyone know a good RV camp in Dallas?  So far, the closest I’ve found is Plantation, 15 miles away from downtown Dallas.

Temperature: 75°, gloomy, drizzly, rainy
Stayed at Oak Forest RV/$82 for 3 nights
Miles Traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 17, 2010, 02:09:33 PM
Direct number is 830-868-7304

Tell Dean you can buy shades some other time.

We did the bird banding thing this morning.  Those birds are incredibly small and beautiful in your hand.  Have you ever held a hummingbird and felt its heart beating....wow.

Sorry...they have a marvelous birding station at Pedernales Falls.  An yes, it is handicap accessible.  You park and its maybe 150 feet to the viewing area.  If you don't stay the night, please go check this place out.  Birds to expect would be various warblers including the golden cheeked warbler, scrub jay, bewick's wren, indigo, ladderback woodpecker, scarlet tanager,summer tanager, cardinals, the finches may still be there (the lesser finch is awesome), orchard oriole, American kestrel, black chinned hummer, golden front woodpecker, several sparrows and various hawks.  Maybe's...northern and spotted towee. 

They have a host couple usually there that will help you if you need it with identification of any bird.

Safe travels and continue to enjoy the Lone Star State.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 17, 2010, 03:51:25 PM
I'm sorry Linda that I didn't finish your last post before getting gun-ho on Pedernales State Park.

How close to Dallas do you want to be?  We love this campground and the town of Grapevine is a great place to spend a few hours browsing the shops.  My gosh, did I say that?  Don't ever tell Judy or I'll end up doing more "browsing" than required. Its about half way between Dallas and Fort Worth and on you way to McKinney so Dean can check out the blasted shades.  I'm joking...

Next time y'all come to Texas, give me a couple days and I'll plan your trip.  This short notice stuff is harder.  I've enjoyed getting to know you through both this forum and our e mails.

Here's the link...   http://www.vineyardscampground.com/

We're headed to the bird sanctuary...just heard there are two pairs of painted buntings at the water.  If I get a picture I'll e mail.  Later...
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 18, 2010, 09:09:36 AM
I'm sorry Linda that I didn't finish your last post before getting gun-ho on Pedernales State Park.

How close to Dallas do you want to be?  We love this campground and the town of Grapevine is a great place to spend a few hours browsing the shops.

Here's the link...   http://www.vineyardscampground.com/
..

I made reservations to stay there for a week.  Thanks again!  They only could give us 4 nights--until Thurs., but they assure us that they'll work out something for the weekend.  Currently, they are 100% booked, so they must be good.  As for Pedernales SP, we are trying to get an extra night here so we can go there today as a day trip.  Your awesome pictures convinced me.  I hate traveling a long way/day for 2 or 3 days, and I may have to do that, but I can't pass up those birds.  You should post a couple of your amazing pictures.  I'm sure others would like to see them, too.  I'm not able to post pictures, now, and they're used to visuals to go with the words.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 18, 2010, 09:11:34 AM
I'm sorry Linda that I didn't finish your last post before getting gun-ho on Pedernales State Park.

How close to Dallas do you want to be?  We love this campground and the town of Grapevine is a great place to spend a few hours browsing the shops.  My gosh, did I say that?  Don't ever tell Judy or I'll end up doing more "browsing" than required. Its about half way between Dallas and Fort Worth and on you way to McKinney so Dean can check out the blasted shades.  I'm joking...

Next time y'all come to Texas, give me a couple days and I'll plan your trip.  This short notice stuff is harder.  I've enjoyed getting to know you through both this forum and our e mails.

Here's the link...   http://www.vineyardscampground.com/

We're headed to the bird sanctuary...just heard there are two pairs of painted buntings at the water.  If I get a picture I'll e mail.  Later...
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 18, 2010, 09:13:50 AM


I'll take you up on the offer to be our travel agent in Texas.  We love it here, and we'll be back!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 18, 2010, 09:47:11 AM
I've searched high and low for "how to post photos" and can't find anything in help.  I'm sure I'm missing something!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 18, 2010, 10:10:58 AM
When you're in the "post reply" window, you'll see under the box where you're typing your reply a link called "Additional Options" - click that and an "Attach" box will show up where you put your pictures.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Tom on April 18, 2010, 10:17:13 AM
There's always the Help button above, or the Forum Navigation board (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=123.msg605#msg605).
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 18, 2010, 11:36:08 AM
Thanks Wendy and Tom.  I spent about 20 minutes in help and came up helpless. 
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Tom on April 18, 2010, 11:48:12 AM
I see this explanation (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=help;area=posting_topics#attachments) in the Help file, but didn't realize it was so vague. When we moved to the new software earlier this year, I eliminated our own detailed help file, thinking the one published by the software developers would be better. Maybe I need to rethink that.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 19, 2010, 12:42:40 AM
DAY 36—APRIL 17—AUSTIN

   We woke up to rain, rain, and hard rain.  We had the volume on the TV turned up the highest we’ve ever had it because the rain was pounding on the roof of the RV so hard.  Texas even rains BIG!  So, we settled into a Housekeeping & Laundry Day.
    A little after noon, the rain stopped, and it looked like the sun was trying to break through, so we switched gears, hopped in the car, and went into downtown to the Bullock State History Museum.  It was excellent.  We paid $12 for Dean and $14 for me.  We got combination pickets—museum admission, IMAX Theatre, and the Spirit of Texas film. 
   The museum was organized chronologically from 12,000 years ago to present day.  There were recreations, realia, interactive exhibits, and it was all well-labeled.  The multi-sensory 20-minute Spirit of Texas film was a great overview of Texas’s history.
   The IMAX film on Hubble was filmed on a space voyage to repair the Hubble, in the Space Center in Houston, and in Florida.  I was amazed to learn that there are 100 BILLION solar systems, and our own Milky Way is not even a particularly large one.  We saw real Hubble pictures of a “nursery” of solar systems.  Absolutely incredible!
   It was raining when we left the museum.  We stopped at Best Buy to get a new disc for our camera and hopefully resolve our issues.  They didn’t have one.  While I waited in the car, the skies opened up, and I was treated to a lightning and thunder show.  When we entered the freeway, the rain was so hard that despite excellent drainage, we sloshed down the road.  We had our windshield wipers on maximum, and there was no much water on the windshield that it was hard to see.  Dean, who has a lead foot usually, was in the right lane doing only 40 mph.  When we arrived at the RV park, it was as if God said, “Turn it off”, and the rain stopped.  How nice! 
   Then the rain resumed.  Sherlock (cat) became so frightened he went behind the gas pedal into the dashboard area.  We couldn’t find him anywhere, and he wouldn’t even come out food—he loves eating!  Dean & I were in panic mode for about 15 minutes, at which time Sherlock appeared.  The rain was so hard that we couldn’t get reception from our Motosat.  Rain, rain, GO AWAY!
   We continue to be impressed by how nice Texans are.  It’s like consideration of others is part of the culture.

Temperature: 75°, rain and cloudbursts, lightning, thunder
Stayed at Oak Forest RV
Miles Traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 19, 2010, 12:43:37 AM
DAY 37—APRIL 18—AUSTIN
   Last night after the RV camp’s office closed, we decided to take Jim’s advice and go to Pedernales SP.  Oak Forest has a 1:00 check-out time, which sounded great when we checked in.  But, we wanted to extend a day and the office didn’t open until 1:00, so we had some butterflies about going over an hour away without knowing if it was OK.  When we called at 1:00, it turned out that it was fine.
   When we were at Lady Bird’s Wildflower Farm, we met a couple from Texas who raved about the Blue Bonnet Café in Marble Falls, which wasn’t too far out of the way.  I read on-line that it was rated the #1 breakfast place in all Texas and was also famous for great pies.  We skipped breakfast here and hit the road.  When we got to the Blue Bonnet, we could see that others knew about it, too.  The line extended forever, so we decided to try for take-out.  We didn’t want to waste any time in case we had to scurry an hour plus back to the RV.  Dean got us hamburgers, which were very good, and coconut pie, which was excellent.
   Jim was so right to laud the virtues of Pedernales (pronounced Perdenales because LBJ mispronounced it and everyone copied him) State Park. They have 2 wonderful blinds with windows that open so you can photograph through them. We saw the house sparrow (English sparrow), Carolina chickadee, lots of house finches, the Western Scrub Jay, the Northern mockingbird, the brown-headed cowbird, the ladderback woodpecker, the chipping sparrow, the white-throated sparrows, a beautiful pair of cardinals, and a cotton rat (he liked birdseed, too!).     
   We learned from the two park volunteers that are usually at the blinds to point out birds and identify them that the brown-headed cowbird lays 86 eggs each year in other birds nests.  They leave them unattended and move on to another bird’s nest, where they lay some more, etc.  When the eggs hatch, they eat the songbirds’ babies.  The cowbird has proliferated to such a degree as habitat has shrunk that killing them is encouraged.  They are really hurting the blue jay population, as well as songbirds in general.  It used to be that there were so many trees that they didn’t have to compete for space, but each year we lose more habitat. 
   We saw lots of hummingbirds—mostly black-chinned, but also some ruby-throated.  Dean got an excellent picture of the ruby “flashing”, showing his red sparkling throat.
   There were lots of lesser goldfinches, and the male’s body is such a brilliant yellow as contrasted with his black head and dark back.
     I got three quick glimpses of an Eastern towhee.  Even if we couldn’t get a picture, I’d love a better look so I could admire him.  I thought he was quite striking.
   We were told that today was a “very light” (not many birds) day because it has been rain and cold.  Last year the painted and indigo buntings came April 12, but they haven’t come in yet this year.  They are eagerly hoping that they will return. 
   We thought it was a wonderful day!  We saw a lot of different kinds of birds, and we learned a lot about them.  Those volunteers were amazing!  We also met a lady from Fort Worth who told us about places on our schedule so we could delete the duds.

Weather: 71° with light clouds, but NO RAIN
Stayed at Oak Forest RV
Miles Traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 19, 2010, 06:57:24 AM
Great news Linda on Pedernales.  We are about 200 miles south of you and boy did the indigos show up yesterday.  Linda, there were litterly 100's of them.  Y'all slow down and they will catch you. The warblers are arriving daily in large flocks.  I will send you a picture of me standing with my hand within 18 inches of a rose breasted grosbeak.  He was so busy eating an orange that he didn't care I was there.

Safe travels....
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 21, 2010, 02:05:06 PM
DAY 38—APRIL 19—GRAPEVINE
   We got out early because we knew that the miles would go slowly today.  We passed through many small towns and downtowns, so our average speed was lower than average.  I just wanted to get to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center so we would have lots of time there before it closed. 
   Before we left home in February, I had called Fossil Rim several times with no answer to questions, so I called the Glen Rose Visitors’ Center.  They told me that we would not be able to drive the RV through the wildlife center, and they suggested we unhook at the Brookshire grocery store or the city-owned RV park.  I should have verified that information when I called this morning to get their closing time, but I didn’t. 
   We drove the Jeep back a few miles to Fossil Rim and discovered that their parking lot does accommodate RVs.  We would have needed to unhook, but we could have saved those extra miles.  Dean went inside and bought two senior admissions @ $17 each.  I also asked him to buy a bag of animal food @ $7.50 because the animals come close to the car if you throw out food.
   We were greeted by blackbucks leaping in the air and running.  The males were definitely interested in the females—even the juveniles.  The boys chased, and the girls always outraced them.  But they persisted and were so determined!
As we came upon other animal groupings, we could see courting behavior often.
   There were many African animals in large green unfenced pastures.  The whole drive through was 9 miles long.  The highlight for me was sticking my hand out the window (this is the only animal they say it is OK to hand-feed) and feeling the soft giraffe’s muzzle as he ate from my hand on 4 different occasions.  We saw 25 different kinds of large animals.  Almost all of the animals had babies with them and seemed very contented. 
   We fed a mom and baby zebra duo.  I had to close the window quickly as another zebra came up and nibbled on Dean’s side mirror.  The ostriches were also very insistent as they pecked on the windows and door handles.  I was amazed to learn that their brains are smaller than their eyes!
   This was a wonderful experience, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.  The Center is a non-profit, and it has many programs to help those animals that are endangered breed.  They also donate to other zoos and habitat restoration organizations.  The volunteer working in the gift shop had broken a rib 9 days ago and was working through her pain because they needed her.
   We got into the campground well after 7:00, but it was light enough that we could see its beauty.  Situated on a large lake with a marina and ducks, the campground has many trees.  However, they are trimmed well so we have perfect TV and Internet reception.  We also have beautiful mallards who are enjoying “treats” from RVers.  What a wonderful day!

MILES TRAVELED: 160 + 85 = 245
Stayed at The Vineyards Campground on Lake Grapevine, $25.60 with the 20%    discount coupon that I got off their website—Water and electric only—   Sewer hook-up is $10/night extra  This is one of the nicest campgrounds    we’ve ever stayed at.
Weather: Mid-70’s, partially cloudy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on April 21, 2010, 05:24:54 PM
Linda,

Never heard of Fossil Rim before but it sounds neat.  I LOVE giraffes and am envious that you actually got to feed one.  I love the way they look down at you through those gorgeous long eyelashes.  Hmmm - so the ostrich brain is really small.  Now I know why they're so stupid!  We drove through a similar wildlife park once and the ostriches (or maybe emus) constantly pecked at the window either wanting to be fed or thinking it would feed them.  That reminds me, the same place had a baby elephant that was so cute.  He came up to the car and put his trunk against the window.  I didn't want to wash the window because his trunk print was there.  ;D

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 21, 2010, 06:34:46 PM
I'm glad The Vineyards was beyond your expectations. 

I don't know how long you will be there but they have a old movie theater they've converted for stage plays, etc.  Its on the main street in downtown Grapevine.  Check the schedule that will be posted and if I remember correctly the chamber of commerce or visitor center is across the street to purchase tickets.  There are several vineyards in the area with tours and tasting also.

If you're so inclined, there are some horse farms north of Dallas in the Denton area.  These farms raise show quality horses.  I have a friend whose son is a vet and all he does is inseminate mares from the standing stallions at over $20,000 a pop.  Some stud fee. They offer tours.

I hope the mh checked out okay at Freightliner.

Continue to enjoy our great state.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Bob Maxwell on April 21, 2010, 07:50:54 PM
Jim, which "Elkhart?" I'm nd EHS, Elkhart IN grad, class of '59.

Thread police --our mascot was a flying Blue Blazer bird but it didn't migrat to TX even if several classmates did!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 21, 2010, 08:05:15 PM
Is The Vineyards campground the one on the lake near Grapevine (Silver Lake?)? close to the Gaylord hotel? If it is, we stayed there a couple of times back when it was a Corps of Engineers campground and really enjoyed it. Grapevine is a fun little town with lots of antique stores. And the Gaylord is worth a visit, too....not as spectacular as the Nashville Gaylord (Opryland) but pretty neat. I visited it while it was under construction and that was very cool. Coke convention was there a couple of years ago.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 21, 2010, 09:33:32 PM
Linda,

Never heard of Fossil Rim before but it sounds neat.  I LOVE giraffes and am envious that you actually got to feed one.  I love the way they look down at you through those gorgeous long eyelashes.  Hmmm - so the ostrich brain is really small.  Now I know why they're so stupid!  We drove through a similar wildlife park once and the ostriches (or maybe emus) constantly pecked at the window either wanting to be fed or thinking it would feed them.  That reminds me, the same place had a baby elephant that was so cute.  He came up to the car and put his trunk against the window.  I didn't want to wash the window because his trunk print was there.  ;D

ArdraF

I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but Fossil Rim rates in our TOP 10 places on this trip.  It's hard to compete with Mother Nature, and her birds occupy most of the other places.  Seeing those eyelashes up so close was fantastic.  But, their gentle nature was what surprised me most--I actually got chills of excitement from feeding him.  Dean didn't want to do it, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  It was comforting to know that I had a handwipe packet in my purse, which I got out before I put mywindow.  But,  he didn't slobber or make my hand feel dirty in any way.  However, it did feel good to wash my hands with soap and warm water, which I did in their bathrooms, my first opportunity.  There is another similar park, Natural Bridge, which is also very good.  We've been through it at least 3 times, and it is a MUST STOP every time we come through Texas.  But, this one was even better.  And, I loved the fact that all the moneys go to care for the animals and contribute to conservation.  I feel passionately about habitat destruction.  Earth Day is my favorite holiday of the year because it reminds all of us how fragile our planet is.  I understand the special feeling of the elephant print, but I made the giraffe memory and I couldn't wait to wash my hand.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 21, 2010, 09:42:17 PM
I see this explanation (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=help;area=posting_topics#attachments) in the Help file, but didn't realize it was so vague. When we moved to the new software earlier this year, I eliminated our own detailed help file, thinking the one published by the software developers would be better. Maybe I need to rethink that.

Tom, do you have a copy of the old "help" files?  Could you send them to Jim?  Dean worked on our computer again today for about an hour, but we can't get our camera to transfer the photos that we can see in the camera over to the computer.  It is so frustrating!   I thought maybe I could ask Jim to illustrate my verbage.  He has a lot of wonderful pictures, and that way people could see what I'm talking about.  Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  Just a thought--if you can do it without too much trouble, it would solve one problem.

Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this website.  I can't begin to tell you how much it has helped us.  I tell everyone we meet about it and write the address out for them.  They love the idea--no fees, no advertisements, lots of good experienced RVers giving lots of good advice, and a wonderful treasure of information about others' trips.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 21, 2010, 09:51:01 PM
Great news Linda on Pedernales.  We are about 200 miles south of you and boy did the indigos show up yesterday.  Linda, there were litterly 100's of them.  Y'all slow down and they will catch you. The warblers are arriving daily in large flocks.  I will send you a picture of me standing with my hand within 18 inches of a rose breasted grosbeak.  He was so busy eating an orange that he didn't care I was there.

Safe travels....

I wish we could slow down.  If we didn't have to be in Utah on May 1, I'd turn around and join you at Goose Island.  We are skipping Muleshoe NWR; we were told it's a lot like Bakersfield, and we are going directly to Canyon and Palo Duro.  I don't think the birds will get that far in three days, but we'll see what's there.  Your pictures were awesome--I asked Tom if he could help you post them.  Keep trying.   I so want to be where the migrants are when they come in.  Next year...DEFINITELY!
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Tom on April 22, 2010, 03:57:24 AM
Quote from: Dean & Linda Stock
Tom, do you have a copy of the old "help" files?

Linda, here's the section relevant to attaching photos to forum messages:

Attach one or more photos to a message.
The procedure for attaching multiple photos to a message is essentially the same as attaching a single photo, but with a few additional steps:

Note: There is a maximum size limit for each photo and a maximum total size for all photos attached to the same message. These limits, which are shown on the attachment screen, are in place primarily to help folks who are on cell phones or other slow connections. If your individual photos are under the limit but the total is over, try attaching some to a second message. Just reply to your own original message and attach the additional photos.

Various tools are available to resize your images, including:

Image Resizer for Windows XP (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/learnmore/tips/eschelman2.mspx).

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows (http://www.codeplex.com/PhotoToysClone) (works with Windows Vista).

If you're still unsure how to resize your photos for attaching to messages, please ask in the forum and we'll be glad to help you.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 22, 2010, 09:28:24 AM
Tom, thank you so much!  I hope this works and Jim is able to post his wonderful pictures--a treat for everyone. 

Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 22, 2010, 11:18:06 AM
DAY 39—APRIL 20—GRAPEVINE

   We are going to have such a limited time to see attractions in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that I had prioritize.  Several people we’ve met spoke negatively of the Dallas Zoo and lauded the Fort Worth Zoo, so one choice was easy.  I had originally scheduled both zoos; Dean and I like zoos.  Originally, I had 8 days planned here; we ended up with only 2 sightseeing days.
   One of the Texans we met suggested that we go to the zoo at 1:30 because of all the school children who go there on field trips.  What a great idea!  There were tons of 60-90 passenger school buses.  The zoo would have been wall-to-wall people!  It closes at 5:00, so we only had 3½ hours. We took our time, and we only missed seeing a Museum of Living Art exhibit.
     We read almost all the signs, and they were just right—full of interesting information, but not too wordy.  We have been to dozens of zoos, and this one had MANY animals we had never seen or heard of before.  We saw for the first time the gerenuk, the sarus crane, the Nubian ibex, the Andean condor, and others  whose names I didn’t record.  This is one of the most animal-friendly zoos we have visited.  The enclosures were clean and appropriately-sized, with the exception of 3 cat enclosures. The animals were well-fed.  The zoo used natural barriers instead of fencing, so we got good pictures.  My only suggestion for improvement would be to provide toys to give the animals more things to do.  I would highly recommend it.
   My favorite memory of the zoo was the sandhill cranes, birds we’ve seen often, most recently in Alaska.  Spring has sprung, and the male was definitely trying to impress his lady.  He was jumping high in the air and dancing around with his wings outstretched.  The female pretended to ignore his antics, but when he came over and stood next to her, they both raised their beaks in song.  I think that was an “I do!”  I waited for what would happen next, and was disappointed when they each went to different parts of the enclosure.  She must have said, “Not on our first date!”
   When we left The Vineyards CG in the morning, we saw the Grapevine Botanical Garden sign, so we stopped to explore it.  It isn’t large, but it was very pretty, had great labels, as well as many beautiful, well-tended trees, bushes, herbs, and flowers.  We talked with a photographer’s wife who told us of a rookery in downtown Dallas.  We will go and check it out tomorrow.
   Sherlock loves the mallard ducks who visit the coach. This visit to Dallas/Fort Worth is rushed, but I’d love to just sit at the RV, read, and enjoy this beautiful park.  This one goes on my RETURN TO list for sure.

Miles Traveled:  0
Stayed at The Vineyards CG
Weather: 75°-55°
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 22, 2010, 11:19:27 AM
DAY 40—APRIL 21—GRAPEVINE
   6:00 is mighty early, but we needed to get the RV taken care of today, and Freightliner takes people on a first-come, first-served basis.  So, we bit the bullet, got up, and were underway at 7:30, something that RARELY happens.  The trip into Dallas took over an hour and involved about 20 directions.  I’m going to let Dean explain what’s wrong—but it isn’t good.  They had to order parts, and we hope they’ll come in tomorrow.  It will then take them 3 hours to install those parts.
   Dean: 

   We then brought the RV back to Grapevine and set off to try to find “the rookery”.  I found it on the Internet, but it doesn’t have an address the GPS can find. It is on the west side of Parkland Hospital.  The biggest clue we had was that there are only 3 parking spaces, 1 of which was a handicapped space.  It is off Harry Hines, and if you look skyward, the egrets will lead you in. 
   We couldn’t find the rookery and made a wrong turn.  We saw Sonny’s Barbecue, which has been in business for 100 years.  We hadn’t eaten all day, and it was almost 3:00.  We both had their lunch special, which included 1 meat, 1 side, and 1 drink.  I had brisket, and Dean had pulled pork.  Mine was good, but not the best I’ve had on this trip, but Dean thought his was excellent—so good that after we found the rookery, he wanted to come back and get some to take home.  Sonny’s has won the James Beard Award and has other impressive accolades on its walls.  Sonny sold the business decades ago, but he set it up so that the profits from this one went into the Employees Retirement Fund for the employees who had worked for him.  There are 8 or 9 other locations.  While we were eating, I started asking if anyone knew where the rookery was.  The first time I asked, at the counter, no one did.  But, as we were eating, I asked a lady who had come in later, and she didn’t, but another couple did.  They gave us perfect directions, and we found it!  I think sometimes I embarrass Dean, but people give me great information that improves the quality of our trips.
   When we pulled into one of the three parking spaces, we could heard lots of vocalizations from the birds.  There were tall trees with a path under them.  There were tons of snowy egrets, cattle egrets, and great egrets nesting—and so close that you had to watch where you were lest you receive an unpleasant surprise from the birds above.  We got to see the parents feeding baby snowies and great egrets.  One proud snowy papa stood tall and fluffed out his head feathers and his neck feathers.  I didn’t know they did that, and he also spread out his wing/tail feathers, just like a peacock.  In the couple of hours we were there, we saw this behavior several times. 
   We heard the call of the herons, and we found two pairs of black-crowned night herons by following the calls.  I feel like I’ve discovered gold when I actually am able to track them down.
   I also saw a little bright red bird quickly fly through the bushes; I wish I knew what it was—a small cardinal or a scarlet tanager—they’re the only two red red birds I know.  We didn’t wait for the white ibis to come in and roost.  They don’t come in until about 6:00.  We were told there were little blue herons nesting there, but we couldn’t find them.
   The most amazing part of this was its location—right in the middle of a very developed Parkland Hospital complex.  There were train horns, major traffic, pedestrians, etc., and they didn’t seem bothered at all.  However, the daddies did give us the “evil eye” and watched Dean and me carefully.
   By the time we were ready to go, it was 5:00, and we are disappointed that we won’t get to see more of this area.  We stopped at an AMC 24 and saw a good comedy.

Temperature: 84°-61°
Stayed at The Vineyards
Miles Traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 24, 2010, 10:47:34 AM
DAY 41—APRIL 22—EARTH DAY—GRAPEVINE
   First, an apology.  Dean ALWAYS edits our posts before we put them on the Forum.  Yesterday, because he was in a hurry to get to Freightliner, he just posted without reading it—for the first time ever.  Also, for the first time ever, I had a part for him to tell what happened mechanically.  So, he will  give the “man” explanation with all those technical terms today.
   Dean:  I have been told that I am supposed to describe what the blowout did to our coach, so here it is.  Other than a few minor dents in the wheelwell the main and strangest damage was the tube that provides cold outside air to the engine.  This tube is a large version of the vent tube used on a clothes dryer.  Basically it consist of a wire wound in a spiral, like a Slinky, with a flat cloth strip attached to it.  The result is a flexible tube.  When the tire blew, a flap of tread struck the tube, grabbed the wire, and pulled it  hard enough to convert the tube into a long wire with a ribbon of cloth attached, wrapping it around the axle and suspension.  It must have been 20 feet long.  In the process, the air suspension leveling system was disconnected, deflating the air bag.  The guy who changed the tire was able to unwrap the wire and reconnect the leveling system.  All appeared to function after the tire change so we continued on to Austin, 35 miles.  I had Freightliner inspect the suspension for any problems.  The only problem was the missing air tube.  We were lucky.
   Linda:  We got the call that our parts had come into Freightliner, so we drove to Dallas again.  It is a whole series of changes—freeway to freeway—and some of their streets have 4 names—2 numbers and 2 different names on the SAME ROAD!   It seems like we take the wrong road, and magically somehow we are on the one we want.  There were lots of accidents and traffic delays.  Even after we got off the freeway, someone had run a big SUV head-on into a tree.
   \While the parts were being installed, we went to the Dallas Botanical Garden & Arboretum.  Cost was adult $10, senior $7.50, parking $7, totaling $24.50, which was very expensive, considering that we only had about 2 hours.  We hadn’t eaten all day, and it was now after 1:00, so we headed to their Garden Café.  The lunches ranged from $8.25-$10, and they were wonderful.  Best of all was their tea—Dean had raspberry, and I had peach.  They don’t use sugar, and they were very flavorful—the best we’ve ever had.  Their desserts were tempting, but we didn’t have time and we were full. 
   The Garden was originally “a rich lady’s estate.”  The employees didn’t  know anything about her but her name, DeGolyer.  There are many grand trees, all of which are perfect specimens and very mature.  I especially loved the maples, the dogwood, and a really impressive tree by the café. It has a branch that has come down and rooted.   They had many flowers that I know well, and they were in artistic arrangements.  They had several beauties that I hadn’t seen before, and I wish they had identifying tags so I could look them up in my Sunset book and find out if I can plant them.  They planted over 500,000 spring-blooming bulbs (yes, 5 zeroes), and they have over 3,000 azalea plants that are huge with blossoms.  Over the years, I have killed many azaleas, so I had a great appreciation for their lush flowers.
   The gardens were well-manicured and had the feeling of elegance, from the endless pool that looks out on the lake to the koi  and the ladies wearing “Kentucky Derby hats” that look like they’re from the 50’s.  They serve afternoon tea for $32/person or champagne tea for $42.
   The gardens were exquisite, and we’d go again and have a leisurely lunch on their beautiful patio.  We’ll make up for this splurge by having soup for dinner.

Temperature: Low 80’s, overcast all day, drizzly almost sprinkling
Stayed at the Vineyards
Miles Traveled:  0
   
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: ArdraF on April 24, 2010, 05:28:13 PM
Dean, that was a really good explanation.  I could picture it perfectly.  It was odd and, yes, you were lucky.  Presumbably it's all fixed and you're ready to roll again.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 26, 2010, 08:40:51 AM
DAY 41—APRIL 23—McKinney
   We drove about an hour to McKinney to get our 3 cockpit windows measured for future electric sunshades.  We also wanted to get an estimate of cost.  Decisions, decisions—fabric, 1-2-3 parts on the front window, remote controls and how many, where everything would be situated, etc.  This took until well after lunch.  Dean saw a completed version, and by mid-afternoon we had scratched the rest of our stops from out itinerary so we could stay and get the shades NOW. 
   We will be able to stay hooked up to their electric and water from their building for 2 days. After that, we will have to boondock because other coaches with reservations will be coming in.
    The rest of this trip doesn’t sound like fun—boondocking and then traveling lots of miles each day to be in Utah by May 1.  But, we will never again be blinded by the sun, which is a real safety hazard, so I guess it’s worth it.  The final tab for only the cockpit area was a little over $3100.  Ouch!  But, Terry’s $6,000-7,000, which  must have included the whole coach and all the bells and  whistles, prepared me for the shock of the cost.

Temperature: 80°, rain, thunder, and lightning in the evening
Stayed at MCD RV Accessories
Miles Traveled:  0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 26, 2010, 08:41:43 AM
DAY 42—APRIL 24—McKinney
   Nothing is happening at MCD because today is Saturday.  We decided to see some of the Dallas-Fort Worth area that had been in my itinerary.  It seems like I print out a new itinerary daily because something is constantly changing.
   Today we went to the Amon Carter Museum.  Dean enjoys museums, and I had given him my notes, but he wasn’t prepared for an ART museum, not his most exciting place to go usually.  Amon Carter was a very successful multi-millionaire, and he left lots of money to his foundation to support art.  Admission is free.
   This beautiful museum is gem-rated by AAA, and they have some wonderful works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and John Quincy Adams Ward.  Everything is artistically framed and displayed. You can stand right next to the paintings—no distancing velvet ropes, etc., but lots of guards.  In talking with one of the guards, a retired cop, I discovered that it is against the law in Texas to give someone “the finger”, they really do write tickets for it, and the fine is $500.  Maybe that’s one reason that we think Texans are so nice—greater expectations of civilized behavior.  We need a law like that in California!
   They had lots of bronzes by both Russell and Remington, and I enjoyed seeing how they make a bronze.  I learned that Remington was also a painter, and a good one at that.  He died when he was in his late 40’s from a ruptured appendix.
   It was an enjoyable afternoon—for me, at least.  We then drove out to the Fort Worth Nature Center.  We got there at 4:00, and they have a firm closing time of 5:00, after which you have to call the police to come liberate you from the locked gates.  It costs around $10 to enter (for both of us), and I decided that I didn’t want to have to be a clock-watcher in a nature park.  My info said that they closed at 7:00, but that doesn’t happen for another week—May 1.
   Throughout the day as we saw places that had items we needed. 
We stopped at the grocery store, a great car wash @ 1901 N. Central Expressway in McKinney, pharmacy, Petco, and Best Buy.  Dean was able to get his new disc for his camera, so we will now be able to take pictures at places as we whiz by them on our way to Utah.
   We stumbled across a movie, so we checked it out and found “Death at a Funeral” was getting ready to start.  It had some foul language and lots of laughs.

Temperature: 83°, rain in the morning, beautiful day
Stayed at MCD RV Accessories
Miles Traveled:  0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 26, 2010, 08:46:56 AM
Ardra,

     Yes it was an odd situation but all is fixed and we have resumed our trip.

     Thanks.
Dean
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Terry A. Brewer on April 26, 2010, 01:13:17 PM
Linda

This is a really interesting place to see in Irving......http://www.mustangsoflascolinas.com/index.htm (http://www.mustangsoflascolinas.com/index.htm)

Also the San Miguel Grill in McKinney is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants... They even had a "Harp Player" playing contemporary music onb Fri or sat.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 27, 2010, 12:27:49 PM
DAY 43—APRIL 26—McKinney
   We spent an uneventful day doing household tasks that needed to be done.

DAY 44—APRIL 27—McKinney
   We started our day with a very entertaining show.  A humongous group of 3 attached vehicles came into MCD.  The first vehicle is a huge sleeper cab semi-truck.  Attached to it was a 40-foot fifth-wheel.  The car was not attached at the time I saw this group.  The truck driver went through a series of turns as he went from forward to reverse and back again & again & again, too many times to count and each time getting closer to our coach.  We were already preparing to move to the boondocking area, and as we saw the situation getting worse and worse, we were able to “break camp” in record time and get out of there.  I can’t imagine traveling in that thing and trying to go into RV camps.  He can’t keep it all attached in many states like California, so his wife has to drive the car separately in those states.  To me, retirement is about no stress and having fun—and that set-up doesn’t do either.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
   We went to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Admission for seniors was $11.  It is a gorgeous building with all the latest technologies, but its exhibits are weird.  There was a nice 5’ square case hanging on the wall, with butterflies of Texas, nicely labeled.  Next to it was a similar case with birds’ eggs, not labeled.  Then we moved on to their 1 dinosaur model in a room with computers and activities to measure the stride, etc.  There were dinosaur facts on the walls.  The gift shop had an appealing dinosaur slide for the kids to use as parents browsed, and they had a nice inventory.  And that was all there was on the first floor. 
   The second floor had an energy exhibit and a fun 4-D movie about natural gas and our planet.  Movie-watchers were vibrated and were squirted with little drops of water as we went underwater and out into space.  There was also a large series of exhibits about raising cattle and a 5-minute movie projected on the ceiling of a planetarium.  We paid $3 extra to see the planetarium show, which was a slow-paced little narrative of each of the planets and major constellations.
   If I had kids, I’d buy an annual pass.  There was a Children’s Museum, which we didn’t explore, as well as hands-on water games outside that would explain physical concepts. There were child-centered activities throughout the museum.  It would be a great place for parents home-teaching their kids.  As for us, we had extra time, so I’m glad we went, but I would not go again.  They spent so much money on the building and the technologically-advanced instruments, but the exhibits need to be their focus for the future.  It seemed embryonic.
   We found another Abuelo’s on our way home and had another wonderful meal—and the price was right.  A two enchilada dinner (choice of ground or shredded beef, spinach, cheese, guacamole, or chicken enchilada) with choice of 2—refried beans, rice, or interesting mexicanized mashed potatoes (papas) was only $7.  I splurged on guacamole, since it was still Happy Hour (until 7:00), and it was only half-price.  They had fancy drinks available for only $3, too.

Stayed at MCD
Weather: 80°, winds 20-30 mph
Miles Traveled: 0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 27, 2010, 10:45:49 PM

This is a really interesting place to see in Irving......http://www.mustangsoflascolinas.com/index.htm (http://www.mustangsoflascolinas.com/index.htm)

Also the San Miguel Grill in McKinney is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants... They even had a "Harp Player" playing contemporary music onb Fri or sat.

Thanks for the tips, Terry.  We thought we would go to  the Mustang Museum  today, but  we looked it up on-line and it is only open Wed.-Sat.  I followed up by phone, and it was accurate. Dean wants to watch the drapes being installed tomorrow, and once they are in we have to boogie.  We have to cover 1300 miles in 2 1/2 days, so Dean will be unhooking the electricity as they finish up the sunshades, and we'll be gone within 5 minutes of their feet hitting the pavement.  So this will go in my "Next Time" list.

We did go to the San Miguel Grill today for lunner.  It was good, but no special music on a weekday afternoon.

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 28, 2010, 11:20:44 AM
DAY 45—APRIL 28—McKinney
   This will be our last post.  We will be scurrying to Utah, and while we will be traveling through Texas, we’ll only be seeing the interstate.  Today Dean got an OK haircut at Country Barbers ($9), and I got the best pedicure I’ve ever had at T-Nails, 501 E. Princeton Dr. in Princeton.
   We had a nice lunner at San Felipe Grill, recommended by Terry.  The server was very nice, and the food was good.  MCD should get the shades installed tomorrow morning.
   Many thanks to all you RVForumers who have shared information and given suggestions.  Each morning when I got up, I looked forward to your replies.  Thanks again to Ned and Lorna for letting us stay with them.  You Texans are a great bunch.  I am already planning our next trip here.

Stayed at MCD
Weather: 75°, winds 20 mph
Miles Traveled:  0
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Wendy on April 28, 2010, 11:48:21 AM
Have a safe trip on your mad dash to Utah.
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Tom and Margi on April 28, 2010, 01:10:06 PM
Thanks for taking the time and effort, once again, to share your Texas adventure with us, Linda.  I always look forward to reading your trip logs.

Margi
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Betty Brewer on April 28, 2010, 01:46:07 PM
ok now I go through withdrawals .  I so look forward to your daily posts....But heck in a couple of days we will see you in  Utah so we  can catch up there.  Safe travels!!

Betty
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: elkhartjim on April 28, 2010, 09:41:03 PM
I'm glad your trip to our great state was rewarding.  I'm really sorry you won't have time to visit the grand canyon of Texas in the panhandle. 

We have already made our Goose Island reservations for next year and will also go back to Quintana for some wonderful birding.  Judy and I would love to host you and Dean next year if you choose to come back for the spring migration.  We completed our three week trip with almost one hundred species and over a thousand pictures.  It will take Judy weeks to sort all the photos and she prints the ones she has never photographed before.  I (she)have maybe 15 albums in my closet of birds she's taken pictures of...her memories.

BTW...neither of us are professional photographers.  She has a 10 year old Nikon first generation digital camera with a good lens.  Me, cheap Olympus that has been dropped way to many times.

Make sure you refuel before leaving Texas...we want the money.  Safe travels and I too have enjoyed sharing y'alls travels, come back soon.
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 28, 2010, 10:33:59 PM
Have a safe trip on your mad dash to Utah.
 
Wendy

Maybe the reason I like birds is that I am such a CHICKEN!  We will drive very safely and get good sleep each night, even if it means getting there a day late.  We look forward to seeing you.

Linda the Bird Enthusiast
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 28, 2010, 10:40:02 PM
Thanks for taking the time and effort, once again, to share your Texas adventure with us, Linda.  I always look forward to reading your trip logs.

Margi

Thanks for encouraging me to write the log.  It was so rewarding.  The first thing I did each day when we parked was to look at the replies.  It's always more fun when you have others to share with, and where we went and what we did was influenced a lot by the suggestions we received.  Finding elkhartjim was fantastic, and I am looking forward to becoming good friends with him and Judy.  Who knows?   I may get promoted to "birder" in another four or five trips. 

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 28, 2010, 10:44:30 PM
ok now I go through withdrawals .  I so look forward to your daily posts....But heck in a couple of days we will see you in  Utah so we  can catch up there.  Safe travels!!

Betty

Thanks to you guys I enjoyed the leftovers from my dinner at San Felipe tonight.  And...the info on the sunshades was helpful, too.  Looking forward to seeing you!

Linda
Title: Re: Texas With the Stocks - 2010
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on April 28, 2010, 10:57:47 PM
I'm glad your trip to our great state was rewarding.  I'm really sorry you won't have time to visit the grand canyon of Texas in the panhandle. 

We have already made our Goose Island reservations for next year and will also go back to Quintana for some wonderful birding.  Judy and I would love to host you and Dean next year if you choose to come back for the spring migration.  We completed our three week trip with almost one hundred species and over a thousand pictures.  It will take Judy weeks to sort all the photos and she prints the ones she has never photographed before.  I (she)have maybe 15 albums in my closet of birds she's taken pictures of...her memories.

BTW...neither of us are professional photographers.  She has a 10 year old Nikon first generation digital camera with a good lens.  Me, cheap Olympus that has been dropped way to many times.

Make sure you refuel before leaving Texas...we want the money.  Safe travels and I too have enjoyed sharing y'alls travels, come back soon.

I'm sorry we won't get to see the grand canyon of Texas, also.  The RV is Dean's baby, and he gets as much pleasure out of improving it as I do out of seeing the little blue heron and her egg.  He was great throughout the trip, and I smiled to myself today when we sent a promised photo of spoonbills to someone we met at SPI.  I had scribbled the photo number, and Dean pulled up the wrong photo, and proclaimed in his most expert voice, "That is NOT a roseate spoonbill!"

Let me know your dates for Goose Island and Quintana via e-mail, and we'll reserve for the same dates.  I say "YES, YES, YES!"  I'll let Dean plan our fall trip in exchange.

We'll be happy to refuel here.  Texas has great state parks, excellent roads (usually), and nice rest stops.  They really welcome visitors.  Thanks for all your suggestions.  They made our trip so much more fun.

Linda