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Monday March 7 - Fulton, Rockport, Goose Island State Park

We had spent 5 days last week visiting in College Station.  We visited Aldersgate United Methodist Church (, our home church when we lived in College Station Texas, but mainly wanted to see our friends Ray and Doris Sanders, and Charlie and Dorothy McDaniel.   Dorothy is already a longtime user of the internet, and we expect to have her follow us.  Ed helped Ray purchase a laptop computer and printer, and Ray and Doris are now also good to go to follow our adventure via the internet. 

From last Wednesday until today, we visited with our son Derek, daughter-in-law Verr, and our granddaughter Amelia in San Antonio.  It was hard to leave all of our grandchildren – Amelia, 5½ (6 on Nov 25), as well as Mary 5 (5 on May 24) and Caden 2½ (3 on July 18).   Mary and Caden are the children of our son Brady and his wife Jan.  They live in Lindale, Texas and serve with Youth with a Mission. (We really followed our son into missions! But that is another story...see About Us).

Today, then,  is the official start of our 8-month (?) journey from Texas to California to Alaska to Montreal, Canada and back to Texas.  We just traveled from San Antonio to Fulton and Rockport, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico, and spent the afternoon at Goose Island State Park.  We walked and enjoyed watching the birds.  This is enjoyable for both of us…we started birding a few years ago and really like it. 

We had traveled through the rain all morning (it was a few inches deep in San Antonio), so it was a nice surprise to have the sun come out just as we reached the Gulf.  We have a Texas State Parks pass, so don’t have to pay any entrance fees.  But that doesn’t cover the camping fees, and anyway, we wanted to try dry camping in the camper, so we settled down in the parking lot of a closed restaurant in Fulton Beach, only to have a man tell us that the police would ticket us if we didn’t move.  So it was back to the favorite place for RVers to park…WalMart!  Just as well, because Ed needed shorts and Patty needed sleeveless tops.  Now we are ready for the beach.

Blessing: at Goose Island, we met a Christian couple from Salem, Massachusetts – Cathy and Dave.  We shared our hope in Christ and prayed for one another.


  Wal-Mart parking campground...







Tuesday, March 8, Birding Center at Aransas Pass

 We started our morning at the Birding Center at Aransas Pass, about 15 miles or so south of where we had parked the night before. We saw these birds that we recognized: avocet, brown and white pelicans, anhinga, green winged teal, blue winged teal, shoveler (that's a pair on the  bottom), red-winged black bird, little blue heron, and coot.



We stayed on the beach from 10 until 2, although it felt very cool and it was windy…needed our jackets.  At 3 pm, we went over to the Marine Sciences Center for a great video about ocean fish.   At 5, we were waiting for the Ragin’ Cajun restaurant to open to have beans and rice and shrimp Creole.  Hot!

Another night dry camping…this time on the beach at Mustang Island.  We had to buy a windshield sticker to park on the beach for $6, but this sticker is not only good for the local beaches , but those in Corpus Christi and Nueces County, for a whole year.

It was cool and raining most of the night.

Wednesday, March 9 - Mustang Island

 We woke up to clear and beautiful weather.  We took a good walk, and learned about “shrimp pumps”.  These are made of PVC pipe and suck up sand where you see evidence of bait shrimp near the water’s edge.  That's the shrimp pump on the left.  Other pictures are men serious about sand castles, and polish horseshoes. The beach pictures show beach looking south (left photo) and north (right). The tide was way out because of a new moon.


  That's us in the middle.





Since we found out that tomorrow was to be another day like today, we decided to spend the night again at the beach.  We’ll have to be a little more careful about the sun, though, because parts of both of our bodies have had enough…Red!

Thursday, March 10

Slept on until 8:30  J .  We’ve met Christian couples to visit with most every day.  We have been taking 2-3 long walks and we are getting caught up on our rest…we didn’t even take a nap today!

 Friday, March 11 - Padre island National Seashore

 The alarm was set for 6:15 a.m. so we could wake up to see the sunrise from our bed in the camper.  This a.m., we left the Aransas area and drove further down Mustang Island, past the bridge to Corpus Christi, to the Padre Island National Seashore.  There are about 90 more miles to the end of the island but you need a 4-wheel drive to get through the deep sand.  We attended an interesting ranger program centered on all of the different kinds of things that wash up on the shore.  We’re spending the night on the beach. 


Saturday, March 12 - Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

 Woke up early and watched the sunrise again. Reds and oranges.  Then off to a guided bird walk from 8-10:30 a.m.  We saw 30 different species!...loved it!  We then headed south to Harlingen to Rio Hondo, where we secured a spot for the night, then drove west on 106 to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.  We arrived just in time to find it had just closed L.  It turns out that we were there at the time for an evening guided tour.  Two people had cancelled their reservation, so we were able to go J

We drove in a large van to back roads of the refuge.  We left at 6:15 p.m., and returned at 9:15…so a lot of our tour was after dark.  While it was still light, we went to a small pond where birds were coming to roost for the night.  There were at least 100 birds of about 10-15 kinds…herons, egrets, cormorants, etc.  After dark, we drove with the ranger holding a large spotlight looking for the eyes of critters shining back at us.   We saw deer (green eyes), bobcats (yellow/green eyes), alligators (red eyes), rabbits, coyote, peccary, screech owls and many pauraque (a type of night hawk that flitted back and forth across the road chasing bugs).



Birds, birds, more birds...




  Beautiful sunset.

Sunday, March 13 - Sabal Palm Sanctuary

 Watched TV church.  Sometimes, that's all you can do on the road.

We left the park about 11 a.m.  Ate breakfast at Vela’s in Harlingen, then headed for Brownsville.  We drove through the Mexican district near the international bridge then headed out towards Boca Chica.  A hot day…95 degrees, but the temperature dropped to 75 degrees at the Gulf.  The cool air felt good.  This is the southernmost place in Texas, with only a ¼ mile or so to the Rio Grande and Mexico.

 We couldn’t spend the night there because we were told it was not safe (drug peddling ?) so we turned back and stopped at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary, where we saw green jays and chachalacas.  Sabal palm were some of the original vegetation along most of the Rio Grande valley, but ranching/farming has changed the flora (fauna too!).  We drove to the Harlingen Wal-Mart where we spent the night.  Pictures of green jays (left) and chachalacas, and some flowers along the way. 



Monday, March 14 - Santa Ana wildlife Refuge

A much cooler day…72 degrees.  Got to a slow start…still fixing and rearranging things in the camper.  We’ve loaded up too much stuff (like most Americans) and don’t have much room to move J

About 1:00 p.m., we arrived at the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge.  We attended a well led nature walk…so very interesting!  Then we spent several hours walking the trails.  Saw hundreds of turkey vultures riding thermals for their trip up north, female bufflehead, black necked stilt, altamira oriole (on the left - wow!) and kiskadee (wow again!) and woodpecker. Finished abut 5 p.m.  We ate in the camper, and we are now in the Alamo Wal-Mart parking lot!

There’s something interesting about spending days watching all of God’s beautiful creation…then spending the night in a truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot!   When we meet people who ask us where we’re from, we’re staring to say that we used to live behind the truck, but now we live in the truck!  Actually, all of the Wal-Mart’s we have been to lately have a security guard driving around the lot, so we feel safe.  Generally, there are several more RV’s of different kinds who must think the same because they spend the night with us!

 Tuesday, March 15 - Bentsen Rio Grande World Birding Center

 At Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge again.  We took the 90 minute tram ride around the refuge and spent some time at the visitor center.  We took in the 30-minute video refuge, which turned out to be a well done NatureScene television program from South Carolina that we used to watch regularly on PBS.  Birds seen at the refuge: chachalaca, Harris hawk, hairy or downy woodpecker, golden fronted woodpecker.

Went on to Bentsen Rio Grande World Birding Center.  Somewhat of a disappointment, as it was small and had most of the same birds as Santa Ana.  Close by there was a butterfly garden that was quite nice.  We spent the night at Falcon Lake State Park where we saw javalina, roadrunner, pyrrhuloxia (like cardinal) and cottontail rabbit.




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