Our Last Day Here

Good morning.  This is travel day.  As you know we are heading down to South Padre Island for the month of February. We will be staying in Isla Blanca Park, which is one of the Cameron County Parks, right on the island.  The park is about 480 miles from here. That is too far for us to travel in one day.  We will stop about 1/2 way and spend the night in either a Walmart or Pilot/Flying J parking lot.  I have a couple places picked out, it just depends on how the day goes and how far we are when we want to stop.

You might wonder why we stay in a parking lot instead of a campground while on the road.  It just works out better for us.  For one, it’s free.  We like free.  Especially when you aren’t staying at a place long enough to enjoy the amenities and sights.  Another reason is we won’t have to unhook the toad from the motorhome.  Very few campgrounds have pull through sites.  And lastly, we won’t be disturbing anyone when we leave early in the morning.

When staying in a businesses parking lot for free we always express our gratitude by shopping there.  In Walmart we are always in need of supplies and in a Pilot/Flying J we fill up our gas and propane tanks.

Day 73.  We had a lot to do yesterday to prepare to leave here today.  On our way out of the park to get our laundry done and do some grocery shopping we were surprised to spot a couple different pairs of deer.  Usually we only see deer at dusk and dawn.  This was mid morning.

On our way back into the park the Red-Tailed Hawks were plentiful.

After lunch, when I was done cleaning the inside of the motorhome and Clyde had finished dumping both the black and grey tanks and filling the potable water tank, we decided to take our last walk around the park.  I took along my camera, although I was sure I had taken all the photos I would want from this area.  Surprise! I’m glad I took my camera.  As we were walking by turtle cove I couldn’t believe how many painted turtles were crammed on one log.

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8 Painted Turtles

We really enjoyed our stay here in Airport Park.  Loving the lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

How Many Steps?

Good morning.  Wow, it got cold last night.  It’s only 27 right now.  Thankfully the temperature is supposed to go up into the mid 60’s today with sunshine.

This is going to be a busy day.  We have a lot to get done, as we will be leaving here tomorrow morning bright and early to spend the month of February down at South Padre Island. It will be a new adventure for us, which we are both looking forward to.  We have really enjoyed this park and highly recommend it to others, but we have seen what there is to see in this area and we have so many other places we are looking forward to exploring.

Day 72. I’ve been trying to get out and walk more.  I need more exercise.  When we owned a house I got some steps in each day even if I never left the house; by going up and down the stairs numerous times and walking throughout the house.  Living in the small area of a motorhome makes any indoor steps minimal.  Besides you feel so refreshed after a good brisk walk in the fresh air and sunshine. Yesterday and the day before we got out and walked the park two different times both days.  It sure felt good.

How many steps do you need each day to be healthy and not live a sedentary lifestyle?  My phone keeps track of the steps I take.  I thought I was doing really good getting around 5,000 steps in a day; which is two laps around this park. That is about 2 to 2 1/2 miles. Wrong. According to health experts the average person gets between 5,000 and 7,000 steps per day.  They also say in order to reduce health risks and manage your weight you need to take 10,000 steps or more per day.

I am happy with my 5,000 steps a day for now.  That is more than I was able to walk this past year.  I just need to work on increasing my steps back up to a 10,000 per day average.  I am really hoping the weather down in South Padre will be perfect for getting out and walking.  Loving this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’

Good morning.  It looks like we are going to have another bright sunny day.  It won’t be as warm as yesterday.  I’m not sure we will even reach 60 today, but at least the sun will be out and hopefully the wind will stay at bay.

Day 71.  Remember the lyrics of the song in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma, “Oh, what a beautiful mornin’, Oh, what a beautiful day, I’ve got a beautiful feelin’, Everything’s goin’ my way”.  Well, that was yesterday for sure.  What a gorgeous day we had. The sun was out, the wind was light and the temperature was around 70.  What more could we ask for.

The beautiful weather brought everyone and their brother out and about too, which made walking with our unfriendly pug, Patty Pepper, difficult.  She is a barker.  Funny thing is we got her because we thought this breed of dogs were not barkers.  She never socialized with other dogs, except those in our family, when she was younger (our fault).  So now when we have her out all she wants to do is bark at other dogs and everything else around her.  She is getting worse with old age.  We have tried just about everything; bark collars, squirt guns, a stern voice, etc. Nothing seems to work.  I’m thinking she needs blinders like you put on a horse. Maybe if she couldn’t see anything she wouldn’t bark. How they would stay attached to her tiny head would be interesting though.  Just a thought.  We really would like to be able to stop and talk to the other campers, but she is making that impossible.

Our walk in the morning was uneventful.  With so many people out walking around the wildlife stayed away.  We did see a couple of turtles on the log, but that’s about it.

Nice weather and weekends make the perfect time for families to go camping with their children. We enjoyed watching the children play.  We have some great climbing trees here in this park which the kids took full advantage of.

And, as it was Sunday, those same families had to return home for school and work.  The park emptied out quickly by lunch.  It was the perfect time to take another walk.  The wildlife was back.

As we walked by the area where we had seen the turtles a number of times before, I was surprised to see so many all at once.  On one log was a loner who looked like he was hugging the log.  On another log, we observed 4 at one time.  The 4th looked like he was barely holding on.  He finely gave up and went for a swim.  That’s when I noticed the other turtles swimming too. Look closely at the picture and you will see not only the turtles on the log, but 3 in the water.  We decided to name this area of the lake “Turtle Cove”.

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Painted Turtle – Tree Hugger

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4 Painted Turtles

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6 Painted Turtles – (3 in the water)

We also came across an armadillo carcass. We wondered what animal would be its enemy.  So I looked it up.  I found out that automobiles are their biggest threat.  Next are hunters, dogs and coyotes. I can’t imagine what a hunter would want with one. By process of elimination we must have coyotes in the area, although we haven’t heard any.

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Armadillo Carcass

We weren’t ready to head back home just yet.  It was too nice of a day.  So we found a picnic table by the water to sit and relax and just enjoy the sun and sights.  We watched the boaters, ducks, birds and a Great Blue Heron. We also watched the planes go overhead.

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England is not the only place you can see the prehistoric monument Stonehenge. We spotted a miniature version of one in our park.

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We are loving this lifestyle.  Enjoy your day.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Between the Showers

Good morning everyone.  It’s going to be a beautiful day; sunny with a high near 70.  A perfect day to be outside enjoying nature.  Hopefully we will see our wildlife friends out too enjoying the nice weather.

Day 70.  As predicted, yesterday was a cold, dreary, rainy day.  We never did see the sun.  In the afternoon we chose what we thought would be the warmest part of the day to take our walk.  It had just stopped raining.  I’m glad I wore my coat, because I was cold even with it on.  The wind is wicked.  I took my camera along, but I wasn’t expecting to see anything out and about in this weather.

Those of you who know my husband know how much he is into recycling, keeping our environment clean and doing what he can to be ecologically responsible.  You may wonder what he is doing while I am taking pictures of nature and wildlife.  He is doing what he does best, keeping the park clean by picking up the trash others leave lying around.

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Clyde and Patty Pepper

I did see a duck in the water bobbing for fish.  I watched him as the current took him down the lake.  I was amazed at how long he stayed under water each time he plunged down for his catch.  The current was strong and fast.  I had a hard time keeping up with him.  When I got too close, he flew off.  He appeared much bigger in the air than when he was in the water.  I have no idea what kind of duck he is.

While I was busy watching the duck I totally missed seeing the Great Blue Heron below me.  He saw me though and took off.  I love watching them fly.  I wonder if man studied them when inventing the airplane.  I also think of the Olympic divers and the precision of their form when I watch the birds too.  The birds are so perfectly aligned.  Aren’t they fascinating creatures to watch and observe.

As we walked by where we saw the turtles the other day, we were surprised to see a couple relaxing on the log.  We can’t say they were sunning themselves.  There was no sun out and it was cold and windy.

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When we got back from our walk, into our nice warm motorhome, we could smell our dinner cooking in the crockpot.  I’ve been trying new recipes I find on Pinterest.  We get tired of the same dishes all the time.  I love being able to put something together in the morning and having it ready in the afternoon, like today.

As we were getting settled back inside it started to rain once again.  We had timed our walk perfectly.

One funny I’d like to share.  While we were watching TV in the evening, every time a plane would fly over us our TV would lose its signal for just a minute.  It had never happened before, not sure why it happened last night.  We just thought it was weird and laughed.  Loving this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

 

 

You Just Never Know

Good morning family and friends.  The temperature never did go down last night.  It is 61 now, foggy and sprinkling.  It looks like rain on and off all morning and then another overcast day with no sun and a high in the mid 60’s.  This area is desperate for some rain.  Everything is so dry.

Day 69.  You just never know when a photo opportunity will come your way.  That’s why I’ve gotten in the habit of taking my camera with me wherever I go.  Yesterday I shared pictures of my findings while walking around our park that I was happy to see.  When walking in the park I look for wildlife, nature and interesting things to capture on film (memory card now).  It is their natural habitat and therefore not unusual to see things.  I forgot to post one of my favorite pictures yesterday of the turtles and the American Coots together.  So here it is.

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Painted Turtles and American Coots – Lake Waco, Airport Park, Texas

Yesterday afternoon we decided to take a drive and see the suspension bridge in Waco which crosses the Brazos River.  The bridge was completed in 1870 and contains nearly 3 million bricks.  For years it served as a Chisholm Trail crossing.  It is a single-span suspension bridge with a main span of 475 feet.

Before we got to the bridge, on our way out of the park we weren’t expecting to see anything out of the ordinary.  We’ve been in and out of the park a number of times before and hadn’t seen anything.  But this turned out to be a great day to add to my wildlife photo collection.  I was ready with camera in hand, lens cap off and camera on,(lesson learned previously).

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Female Turkey

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Female Turkey #2

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White-Tailed Deer

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Red-Tailed Hawk

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Red-Tailed Hawk #2

On our way back into the park, after our sightseeing and grocery shopping, Clyde spotted an armadillo.  He pulled over and suggested I get out of the car to get pictures.  We were hoping it wouldn’t scurry off before I could get to it.  He didn’t seem to be phased in the least by my watching him.  He was too busy scrounging for bugs or whatever he eats.  At one point he looked up and appeared to be saying “yes, can I help you?”, then went back to foraging for his bugs.

Who would have thought on an overcast sunless dreary day that we would have seen so many great wildlife sightings.  You just never know.  Loving this lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

 

Bird, Coots, Turtles and an Armadillo

Good Morning.  Wow, I can’t believe we are hovering around 50 this morning.  Nice.  The temperature is forecast to be in the mid 60’s today with no sun and rain early this evening.  It will be a good day to get my meals planned for the next few days and grocery shopping done.  I prefer going on a week day anyway to avoid the weekend crowds.  Why fight them if you don’t have to.

Day 68.  As I was getting ready for the day, I noticed a bird perched on top of the tree outside my bedroom window.  Of course I had to grab my camera a get a picture.  I have no idea what kind it is and would really appreciate some help identifying it.

We waited until after lunch to take our walk around the park.  This was the warmest time of the day and the sun was shining brightly.  Being by the water the breeze can be quite chilly so I automatically put on my windbreaker.  You can always take a coat off if you get too warm.   In the same turn, you can be uncomfortable the entire time you are out if you get chilled and you leave your jacket at home. I’m glad I wore my jacket.  The wind was a bit strong and even though the sun was out, it was cool.

The nice weather brought more people outside than on our previous walks.  We even saw a couple of kids which has been unusual this winter.  One thing we noticed about this park is how well it is maintained.  We see park employees working everywhere cleaning and repairing the sites and picnic areas.  With so many people out and about we weren’t seeing any wildlife.  I thought this was going to end up being a nice walk only without getting any good photos to share.  How wrong I was.

We were almost back home walking along the bank of the water when I noticed more American Coots.  They are the cutest little ducks.  I started to snap some shots of them when I noticed three turtles sunning themselves on a log.  How cool.  What a find.  I believe they are Painted Turtles, if not please let me know. Don’t forget, you can click on each of the photos to get a better look.

As we walked a little further we decided to extend our walk and go just outside our campsite area.  This took us by an area that was fenced off with barbed wire and signs that said keep out.  That’s when I noticed out of the corner of my eye something moving.  I couldn’t tell what it was but I was determined to get a picture of it anyway.  I can always delete it if it turned out to be a piece of paper or something.  I was ready this time with my lens cap off and camera still turned on I got two pictures before it disappeared down a hole.  It turned out I got a picture of an armadillo.  My very first armadillo sighting.  What a good day; bird, coots, turtles and an armadillo.

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Armadillo

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Armadillo #2

The shots below were taken at dusk from inside the front window of our motorhome.  What a beautiful view we have.

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American Coots-View from inside Winnie

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American Coots – View from inside Winnie #2

Loving the full-time lifestyle.

Until next time,

Kathryn

Exploring the Park

Good morning.  It got kind of cool last night.  The furnace kicked on.  It is 28 now, but it is supposed to be the nicest day yet; sunny and almost 70.  It will be a good day to dump the black and grey tanks and fill up our potable water tank.  After that, who knows.

Day 67.  We decided to drive around and see the other areas to this large park.  We took Patty Pepper with us thinking we would get out and walk around, but we didn’t find a good spot to do that.

The first thing we did see was a bald eagle perched on top of a tree.  I didn’t even get a chance to get my lens cap off my camera and it flew away.  I was so disappointed.  We are not sure if he heard the car window going down or us talking or the car motor or what.  That was our first ever bald eagle sighting and I didn’t get to capture it to share.  Lesson learned; always have window down and camera ready.  Easier said than done.

I did take quite a few pictures, some better than others.  Below you can see the boat launch and one of the breakwall areas.

My day wouldn’t be complete without seeing more wildlife.  We saw another Great Blue Heron and many birds in a tree, (no clue what kind).

Until next time,

Kathryn