Ménage à Trois

It was a beautiful January day along the Texas Gulf Coast.  I was in the midst of a photo shoot with my model Rosie, a lovely Roseate Spoonbill.Roseate SpoonbillShe was quite the model.  Beautiful, talented, and very accommodating.birding along the Texas Gulf CoastShe tilted her head this wayTexas Gulf Coast birding trailAnd then that way.  One leg up.photographing birdsNow it was time for a break.  “Take five, Rosie”.  She heads off to the water for some refreshment.birding Port Aransas

This is Bill the spoonbill enjoying a morning snack

In the meantime, Mr. Spoonbill was minding his own business enjoying a mid morning snack when he just happened to glance up….. and there she was, in all her pink glory….. Rosie tilts her head in a coy demur manner all the while batting her eyes. wildlife photography“Like what you see, Big Boy?”  Bill’s mouth opens wide….”hubba, hubba”….. he drools. wildlife photographyThe vision of loveliness is irresistible.  He starts in her direction.photographing wildlifeHe quickens the pace. While approaching Rosie, he yells, “Hey babe, whatz happenin?”wildlife photography

Rosie is not impressed by his crude behavior and mutters, “I’m outta here” and quickly flies off.roseate spoonbillBill can’t figure out why she flew off and screams, “STEL…LAAAA”!birding in Port Aransasand goes for the chasePort Aransas TexasBut Bill, having a rather short attention span, was quickly distracted by the beautiful blue coloring of a Tri-colored Heron. wildlife photographyAs he lands near Hailey Heron, the tri-colored heron, Rosie is soon forgotten and a new quest ensues.birding in Port Aransas Texas“Hey, there Babe.  Is it true what they say….. once you go blue you never go back?”tri-colored heron“Say, What!”, says Hailey Heron in a frazzled tone.  Just then Bill has the best idea ever….. why pick between pink or blue? ….. Ménage à Trois!threesome

Here’s wishing you a very Happy Valentines Day with a happy ending Rockport Texas
Love You & Love You More Pillowcases: V-day Gift
Set of 20 Red LED Mini Valentine’s Day Heart Christmas Lights – White Wire

It was the best of times ….

Our Texas excursion is nearing an end.  On Thursday the wheels on the RV will once again be rolling and I can honestly say I’m ready for a change of scenery.  As I reflect on our overall Texas Gulf Coast visit, these words come to mind, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolish’.

Charles Dickens
“Dickens on the Strand” was a very fun festival in Galveston

Charles DickensThis opening line in the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities may refer to the French Revolution and the cities of Paris and London, but as I see it, it can easily relate to my three-month stay in Texas.

I know it’s a stretch, but humor me and allow me to spin my own little tale with a recap of our Texas Gulf Coast adventure.birding in Texas

It was the best of times……
Our Texas journey began in early November when we visited Galveston Island for a month.  We were pleasantly surprised with how much there was to see and do in Galveston and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  We were never bored or at a loss of places to explore.  We even had the pleasure of connecting with fellow bloggers.

the best sunrisesTo read about our stay in Galveston, start with this post – click here.

From Galveston we traveled south to Mustang Island with a quick 3 day stop at Goose Island State Park.  At Mustang Island State Park we fit in more socializing and lots of explorations.

Corpus Christi and Port Aransas hold nostalgic memories for both Al and I.  Al lived in the area for a couple of years during his Navy days B.I. (before Ingrid) and has the fondest recollections of those days.  We shared a great day visiting the first aircraft carrier that Al flew on and off of ….. the USS Lexington

aircraft carrier museumsYears ago, my parents became winter Texans each year as they spent six months in Port Aransas at the Pioneer RV Resort and six months back in Illinois.   My kids and I would visit them in Port A each season either over Christmas break or Spring break.  My dad loved to fish while my mother loved to walk the beach collecting seashells.  They developed a core of friends and stayed active and happy in this part of Texas for a number of years.

When Al and I returned to this area in December, it conjured up feelings of returning home for a visit. I couldn’t help but feel a flood of fond memories wash over me;  thoughts of my mother and her exuberant joy as she walked the beach collecting sea shells.  She was always smiling as she loved digging her bare feet into the sand.  Ah yes, she is missed.where to duck hunt in Texas

After our stay on Mustang Island, we moseyed up the road 45 minutes to nearby Rockport, Texas (technically we stayed in the teeny town of Lamar), where we spent the month of January.  Why Rockport?  Rockport is a Mecca for angler’s, duck hunter’s, and avid birders.  It’s a Sportsman’s paradise.best duck hunting in Texas

You won’t find any beaches for a stroll around here. So beach goers will want to take a pass on Rockport and stick to the beautiful beaches on Mustang Island.

fishing in TexasWe rolled into the Hidden Oaks RV Park within hours of our friends on December 29th;  long time friend’s and business associates from our Colorado days.

Al’s buddy brought his boat and the guys were on a month-long male bonding mission.  Manly men, doing manly things in a sportsman’s paradise.  Ah, the real reason for our second January stay in Lamar emerges!

With hubby occupied, I’m left to my own devices and find great pleasure in exploring the area for photo ops.

whooping cranesroseate spoonbillDid I already mention this place is known as a ‘birders paradise’?  The endangered whooping cranes winter within walking distance from the RV park and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is just across the St. Charles Bay.

There are over 25 specified birding areas within 40 miles, and then there are birding boat tours, guided birding walks, and bird seminars.  Whew, a birder could get worn out around here!

That said, hubby and I had a rather nice three-month visit to the Texas Gulf Coast.

But wait the story doesn’t end there.  I did mention it was the worst of times.  We’ll talk about that in the next post…..Panasonic cameras

Thank you MonaLiza for the above photo of me.  I had a blast birding with you 🙂

Smoking meat and sucking shrimp!

Padre Island National SeashoreOur ten minute ferry ride took us from the mainland near Aransas Pass onto Mustang Island and the town of Port Aransas, Texas, or as the locals call it; Port A.  Port A is a cute little beach town with plenty of restaurants, shops, lodging, and of course beaches.

After a couple of turns, we were headed south out-of-town about 10 miles to Mustang Island State Park where we quickly set up home for the next 2 weeks.

I wouldn’t put this campground high on the list as far as accommodations go, but the location is pretty sweet.

And let’s face it, it’s all about location.  Just on the other side of the dunes is the beach.

Mustang Island
Mustang Island State Park campground

PintailThe campground with electric and water hook-ups is pretty much a parking lot style layout.  The restrooms and showers are there, but leave a lot to be desired.  That said, we did enjoy our stay and even extended it another three days.

It wasn’t busy during our visit but that was over the Christmas holiday when most folks spend time with family.  The state park does seem to fill up over weekends.

RV socializing
Al, Ingrid (me), Steve, MonaLiza, Faye, Dave
smoking meat
Dave smoking meat

So while most folks were hanging with family, we spent our holiday season socializing with friends.  Shortly after our arrival to Mustang Island we enjoyed our first get together with fellow bloggers.

We were invited over to Faye and Dave’s place where we all watched Dave smoke his meat.  Nice job Dave!

A few days later, we had Faye and Dave over to our place to help us lighten the load in our freezer.  I needed to make room for Christmas cookies after all.  Awfully nice of them to be so accommodating and help us clear out some freezer space.

RV socializing
blogging pals – Faye, MonaLiza, Ingrid

They also had no problem being my guinea pigs for my Bananas Foster.  Although I’ve made Bananas Foster more times than I can count, it had been years since I last made it and never in the RV.  I needed a practice run before our Christmas guests.

Beach campingAnd speaking of Christmas guests, we had MonaLiza and Steve over for Christmas day.  Our RV is only big enough to entertain one couple at a time.  So we had to do our entertaining in stages since the weather was too inclement to hang outside.

As a side note; while we were camped at Mustang Island State Park,  our friends were camped just seven miles away at a beautiful RV Park – Gulf Waters RV Resort.  My folks used to winter at neighboring Pioneer RV Resort.  There’s also camping on the beach and slightly off the beach at I.B. Magee Beach Park which is right in the town of Port A.  We liked the idea of staying there in one of their electric sites, but before the cold snap the mosquitos were terrible and a paved parking lot at the state park was preferable over a mosquito invested grassy campsite.  However, the location looks quite fun… walking distance into town.  We’ll leave it as an option for a future visit.fishing on Mustang IslandBack to our cavorting….  Al joined Dave a couple of times fishing and Dave showed Al how to suck shrimp.  Thanks Dave for enlightening us on the ways of smoking meat and sucking shrimp.  The sucking of shrimp occurs on the beach at low tide using a contraption that exposes shrimp that the guys will then use as bait for fishing.  Sorry, no photos of the guys sucking shrimp 😦

birding Mustang Island
I know I said let’s go shooting…… I meant with cameras not guns !!!

Mustang Island photographybirding center Port AransasSo while Al was out fishing, MonaLiza and I managed to get in some birding.

We visited the Leonabella birding center and Charlie’s Pasture, both located in the town of Port Aransas, Texas.

Even if you’re not into birding, I still recommend a stop at these two places to take in the beauty of the area and enjoy a stroll on the boardwalks.

However, no trip to the Corpus Christi area would be complete without a visit to the Padre Island National Seashore.  Al and I scored a gorgeous day for our visit.

Padre Island National SeashorePadre Island National SeashoreWe checked out the two campgrounds to see if this is a place we’d have any interest in staying, and although we liked the campgrounds, we opted to extend our stay at the state park with electric hook-up during this particular trip.

It’s dry camping only in both campgrounds at the Padre Island National Seashore.

You can click here for more information on the Seashore.

Yep, our seventeen day stay on Mustang Island was over before we knew it.  But we have one more stop to share …. a stop down memory lane……fishing, hunting, birding Mustang Island

Port Aransas, Texas — Fun on the Texas’ Coast