With a strong cup of coffee in hand while watching the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico … Ah, could there possibly be a better way to start a new day? I know it’s one of my favorites; a strong cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise.
The dawning of a new day brings about a sense of hope, a sense of new beginnings, a fresh start. All the problems of yesterday are just that – yesterday’s problems.
I love watching a beautiful sunrise, but I don’t always love jumping out of the RV so early in the morning in search of those wonderful views. Summer is particularly difficult for me to photograph sunrise considering the sun graces us with her presence so incredibly early in the morning.
It’s too tempting to stay snuggled up in the RV until a more reasonable hour. I guess that’s why I enjoy visiting the Texas Gulf Coast during the winter months. Sunrise is at a more sensible hour and I have no trouble loading up my travel mug with a steaming cup of strong black coffee, tossing the camera in the truck, and heading off in search of capturing an inspiring sunrise photograph. It’s not uncommon for me to be driving along the coast, sipping coffee, long before the sun makes her appearance.
I find these early morning solo excursions to be refreshing. It’s the perfect way to start my day, and I always look forward to our visits to this special place in Texas. I was so looking forward to repeating our usual January – February Texas sojourn, but after much discussion and lots of hemming and hawing, Al and I have decided to stay in Phoenix, Arizona, the entire winter and forgo the Texas journey … this winter, anyway.
I’ll miss those Gulf Coast sunrises, but now I have the challenge of finding the perfect sunrise view in the desert southwest. Hmm, I think I’m up for the photo challenge! If anyone is interested in joining me on a photographic outing in Arizona this winter, please, do reach out … I love company and exploring new locations.
I will miss those coastal views and shore birds, but I look forward to embracing new views, new photographic challenges, and meeting new friends. A new day, a new view, and a new adventure … bring it on!
For this weeks photo challenge, let’s share images of sunrise. Feel free to share a link in the comments below or link back to this page on your own post. I’d love to see your favorite sunrise location.
Wandering Wednesday –
Each Wednesday I post a different photo prompt / challenge as a way for bloggers to share their love of photography and engage with other like-minded bloggers. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR or something in-between, don’t be shy, share and connect 🤗
Upcoming prompt – Zoo …. get out and shoot or peruse those archives!
What could I possibly not like about northern Arizona near Page and Lake Powell? After all, I’ve been gushing about it lately. Just look at these photographs showcasing this amazing landscape.
I love starting the day with a beautiful sunrise
magical slot canyons abound
gorgeous Lake Powell
love my campsite
It’s pretty darn special around here, but it’s not a panacea. As a photographer and blogger, I like to showcase the best about an area and sometimes fail to disclose the downside. Yeah, there’s a few downsides … downsides I don’t like.
So let’s get real
Tourism is big business around northern Arizona (Spring, summer and fall). The town of Page is on the schedule as a stopping point for many international tours. You’ll see large tour buses (holding around 50 passengers each, give or take) all around town. You’ll see them parked at McDonald’s, Walmart, the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, Horseshoe Bend overlook, the marina’s at Lake Powell, and of course, the slot canyons at Antelope Canyon.
What an unpleasant treat it is to get in line at Walmart after the bus load of tourists hit the registers or how about pulling up to a scenic area only to see buses unloading hundreds of tourists at a popular site like Horseshoe Bend 😕
enjoying a beautiful sunset at Horseshoe Bend Overlook
hundreds of other people also enjoy the view
Don’t even get me started with the tourists and their selfie taking …… 🤣
Speaking of Antelope Canyon …. Hiking a slot canyon is an amazing experience. The sight is magical and surreal, but sharing it with hundreds of other tourists and being rushed through the canyon is the reality for many. Most of these unique slot canyons lie on Navajo Indian land, and therefore, tourists must pay for a guided tour if they’d like to experience a slot canyon.
The two most popular slot canyons are Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. There are a few other lesser known slot canyons where group sizes are kept smaller and some specialize in photographic tours. So depending on what your interests are in hiking a slot canyon (fun or photography), you’ll want to shop around.
I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I called northern Arizona / southern Utah a land of extremes. The land is stunning, perplexing, and wild and so is the weather.
During our four-week stay (April 2018), we experienced temperatures as high as 84 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to overnight temps as low as 36 degrees F and everything in between. On a nice day, winds were as low as 4 miles per hour, while on a bad day, we experienced sustained winds as high as 25-30 mph with gusts over 50 mph.
a sand storm
a sand storm quickly had campers packing up and moving on – only the hardy stayed
Those high winds made camping on a beach lively! The RVers that paid attention to the weather forecast usually packed up and left before the impending high winds started while others were caught off guard. Campers with a pitched E-Z UP didn’t fare so well with those excessive winds as evidenced the next day at the dumpsters.
On those extremely windy days, it was impossible to enjoy any outdoor activities without being sandblasted. I’m sure with all the wind and sandstorms Al and I endured, we ingested our bodily quota of minerals. The grit in our teeth confirmed no additional supplements were needed …. nor did I need to use any of my wonderful exfoliating potions as Mother Nature’s sandblasting quickly rid me of any dead skin cells 🤣
Another storm approaches
only the hardy ride out the storms
The upside to all that nasty wind was it cleared out the beach leaving only the crazy hardy to ride out the storm …. a reprieve from the crowds, I’ll take it.
But let’s face it, without all the annoying wind, we wouldn’t have this boggling landscape to ogle. And just so you know, March and April are the two windiest months out of the year. Guess we timed it right 😞
In my opinion, the camping options are sparse around the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area especially for the amount of tourism this area receives. Tourists driving RV rentals are everywhere and all vying for a place to overnight. The nicest and most sought after option is camping at the Wahweap Campground. It’s a beautiful campground if you can find an available site or have a reservation.
Then there’s the private Page-Lake Powell Campground. We stayed here several years ago and it was okay. But with the increase of international tourism and the renting of RV’s, this place fills up fast also.
During our stay, we camped most of the time at the Lone Rock Beach area located along the Arizona – Utah border. Although it’s dispersed dry camping, there is a fee and a stay limit. The cost to overnight is $14 a day with the use of an American the Beautiful National Park Pass or $21 without the pass – ($7 a night for holders of a senior national park pass) 2018 rates!
Although my photographs may make the Lone Rock Beach area look quiet and enticing, the reality is this can be the wild wild west. People come here to have a good time and in the process bring all their toys.
There’s a bunch of off-road trails at Lone Rock for folks to play on with their UTV’s. I’ll admit, it looks like a lot of fun tooling around on the hills and sand. With the water right there, the sound of boat engines can be heard all day long, and of course, a steady hum of generators keeping all the RV’s charged up rumble at all times of the day (Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.). The sounds of engines, music, and laughter fills the air. This is not a place for quiet solitude, but it can be a very entertaining and fun place to hang out for a short time.
At the end of March, we even had some ‘Spring Breakers‘ show up for a couple of nights. Ah, to be young and silly again!
Yeah, it was party central and the music carried all the way to the other end of the beach. I was more amused than bothered. These college kids were there to have a good time and I’d say they succeeded, BUT temps were only in the low 60’s and seeing them lightly clad had chills running up my spine. I’m sure the liquid heat was flowing freely in the form of spirits so they probably weren’t as cold as I was.
Al and I no longer own any form of a watercraft … sigh! Although there are a bunch of things to do around Page, Arizona, the real draw is the lake – Lake Powell. Camping near the water became more and more of a challenge for me once the weather starting warming. I began to miss my boat and wave runners. Visiting Lake Powell and not getting out on the water with our own boat was probably the thing I disliked most about our stay.
me enjoying time on the water
taking a tour boat through Antelope Canyon
We looked into a bunch of different ideas to get out onto the water, but since it still wasn’t as warm as I prefer for boating, we forewent renting a boat and opted for a one-hour boat tour through Antelope Canyon. That was just enough to satisfy my boat craving …. for now!
So aside from not having my own boat, the traffic was my least favorite thing. The way some folks drive around here was down right dangerous. I can’t count how many near head on collisions there are every day. People getting impatient seem to take chances passing slower moving vehicles like RV’s on the two lane highways. Plus, there are so many tourists (foreign and domestic) that slow down and make turns on a whim. Yeah, it’s important to be a vigilant driver on these two lane roads.
Did I already mention there are a lot of tourists around northern Arizona? Not only are they forever taking selfies, they drive like they are the only ones on the road, and have a tenancy to gawk at wildlife. Check out the wildlife and the crazy tourists 😁
Beep – Beep!
wildlife on the beach
“Look …. wildlife!” Crazy tourists!
I’ll be back
Ah, it was still a very fun and awesome time spent amongst some of the most amazing scenery. Waking up every morning to a gorgeous view and beautiful sunrise made any of my minor dislikes about the area seem insignificant. Yeah, I’m already missing those killer views and stunning sunrises … sunrises that I could literally watch while still laying in bed. How awesome is that!!!
Is there anything prettier than a desert sunset? Or how about the beautiful fall colors in the Rocky Mountains? And then there’s the dawning of a new day as the sunrises over the Gulf of Mexico.
I love fantastic scenery, and all these various places are pretty special in their own unique way. I’m grateful I don’t have to choose a favorite, at least for the time being. With my little house on wheels, I get to change up the scenery as often or as little as I like.
As I was watching the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico this morning, I began wondering, “Could I live here”? Sure, I’m living here for two months, but could I live here longer? You know, own a sticks and bricks house here!
Al and I know that some day, we’d like to find a home base. That doesn’t mean we’d stop RVing or stop traveling …. it just means, we’d have a place to return to and regroup.
Our original plan all along was to move into the RV full-time for a year or two until we found “that place”, that special somewhere. And here we are, four years later and no closer to finding that place. In reality, I’m not sure we’ve looked very hard 😉 This mobile lifestyle can be addicting. It allows us the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of diverse landscapes. We get to enjoy it all.
I love visiting the Texas Gulf Coast, but I already know come the end of February I will be ready to move on. I’ll want to see some mountains, some red rocks, and of course see my children.
Thus, the Texas Gulf Coast will remain a favorite place to visit, but not a place I’d want to live full-time.
Perhaps if one of my children were to move to Texas … perhaps then, I’d change my mind.
So what do I like about the Texas Gulf Coast? First and foremost is the wildlife, as in the birds. I love the shore birds and can watch and observe them for hours and quite often do.
Birds are definitely a challenge to photograph. When I do manage to snap that special shot, I get super excited. That excitement is usually short lived once the photo is uploaded onto the computer. Disappointment is followed by the desire to get back out into the field and see if I can do a better job and capture a clear image.
No two days are the same. I can never count on the birds being in the same spot. I know, how rude of them not to leave breadcrumbs for me!
I spend most every morning in search of photographic opportunities. It’s the perfect excuse for me to get out of the RV and get in some exercise …. walk or ride my bicycle. I do have to drive to some places though. There’s no beach near our RV park.
When the birds are being illusive near camp, I’ll hop in the truck and go in search. I have some favorite areas I like to scope out. When all else fails, I’ll walk the beach looking for seashells. There’s always an interesting discovery to be made, or at the very least, a photo-op.
This is my first year strolling the Rockport Beach. It’s a fee use area if you choose to drive in toward the picnic area and pavilions. I’ve been parking near the blue crab or marina and walking along the waters edge. It’s a lovely beach and a great way to get in those exercise steps.
If you’d like a bit more information on the area, you can always check out some of my posts from previous years or feel free to contact me.
Here’s a post I did about camping options along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Since this is a snowbirders haven, we always manage to connect with fellow full-time RVer’s. Here’s a post on one such rendezvous.
There’s also a bunch of museums and aquariums in the area worth visiting. Here’s the post about us visiting an aircraft carrier. (all colored text is linked)
More bird photos forthcoming …. you’ve been warned!