Sunday, May 31, 2009

Visiting my friends

May 29th
Met my friend, Red E at her new house Friday evening. What a gorgeous place she has. It is about ½ the size of her other house. She has gotten rid of all of the non-necessary items and is doing great. It is a really well laid out floor plan and she has it decorated really beautifully. She has completely re-vamped her lifestyle and it fits her really well, just like her new house.

May 30th
Red came over to the TT in the afternoon on Saturday and while we were visiting, I suggested we recreate – so we fixed some solar window shields for cars, to fit the windows here in my TT. The Arizona sun can bake you right through the glass. So I not only have the heat stopped from coming through the windows and right on through the levelors, but I also have ‘blackout’ shades. I had been putting towels over the windows when it got too ‘bright’ at night, so I could get to sleep. Well these guys do the trick! They need a little refinement, but I can do that later – or not! What a great friend she is.

I went to my friend, Kathy D’s house for a visit and dinner Saturday night. Kathy has also moved into a different house. It is also quite gorgeous. Very high ceilings, lots of yard space, big trees and sooo open. It is a beauty. But she really misses her old house. She had it remodeled to fit her and it was right on, but the neighborhood and neighbors were just a little much. The HOA was a real PITA and though the house was “perfect” she was so unhappy living in that environment. She is now getting used to the new place. What a powerful woman she is. But I think she may not totally recognize her own power and greatness. She has been and done so much and is capable of great things – you can see that time and again as she does great things. Perhaps one day she will recognize those items as being just that – great things done by a great woman! Well we talked (make that I talked) until 10:00 p.m. Way past my bed time! She just does that to you. Took me about 30 minutes to get home, but it was a nice drive and not a great amount of traffic. Hope to see her again before I take off.

May 31st
This evening I will have dinner with Red E, Pat D and Arlene H. Ladies that I hold in very high esteem and for whom I have a great deal of respect. Each of them and Kathy D, have experienced life like to it’s fullest. Each has had to fight the gender battle and have come through it winners. Each has probably had sticks, and stones and rotten eggs thrown at them, but they still have come through it like champs. I am looking forward to the evening.

Tomorrow, June 1st, I will be going birding. Down to the Gulch, California Gulch that is. This will be the first time for 2009. I was last down there in July of last year. It will be interesting to see how much it is the same, but has changed. We will be looking for the Five-stripped Sparrow and the Buff-Collared Night Jar. Forward to the exciting life of retirement birding.

Paradise, AZ

Arrived in Paradise, Arizona on Thursday, May 21st. Stayed in a slot at the "George Walker House Bed and build your breakfast" parking lot. Was there for a week visiting with my friend, Jackie Lewis. We did a little birding, a little yard work, and a little house work and I did a lot of sitting and watching birds. It was a great week. I may have to make a return trip in August. Got some good pictures while I was there.

What a great bunch of Mags every night each feeder would have 8 or 10 mags around them feeding before their night torpor. The Black-Chinned and Broad-tailed would have to get in there and fight with the big ones to get a sip. Three or four Blue-Throated came in to feed too. We would get the Juniper Titmouse in the afternoon sometime between 2 p.m to 6 p.m. Of course the clowns, Acord WP, were great. We got the Az feeding too. Orioles, Scotts, Bullocks and Hooded both males and females were in after jelly, peanut butter and bark butter and would rob some of the HB feeders if they would get the spot Jackie had set for them (the holes without the yellow flowers). Elf Owls singing out the kazoo. Gorgeous view of the Whiskered SO in the hole. Male Elegant Trogons trying to get the females to try the holes for nesting. Painted Red Start on the nest in South Fork and the Canyon Wren playing hid-n-seek at the bridge at South Fork. Head Red-Faces Warblers, Sulphur-Bellied, Dusky and Ashthroated Flycatchers, but didn't track them down. Cassins Kingbirds waking me up every morning as they were nesting across from Jackie's place.

Tucson, AZ

Well, here it is May 31st. So I guess I can assume (in all of its ways) that I will not keep this up-to-date. Guess I will add as I go along and have time to do so.

Arrived in Tucson, Arizona Thursday p.m., May 28th, and got in place with a 'guide' from the Voyager RV Park. The gal at the front desk had to really look hard to find a good spot for me (her words). Well, in the front area near the road of my spot, on the left is a 3' tall fire hydrant, on the right is a sign, in the road is a big speed bump. I look to the left and there are 7 empty spots and to the right 11, facing South, and facing North there is not a spot taken so that is about 20 empty and much of the park is that way. (Ah, this is a good spot?!)Now if I was running this place and someone came in for one month that had never been here before and we were as empty as this is, I would give that person a premium spot and tell them that I was doing that because I would want them to return at a later time. No shade to speak of here but some of the spots have palm trees and I saw one mesquite tree and it was large. Lots of weeds not a clean landscape in the park areas. And being desert they are sticky plants. Enough complaining about this RV Park. It certainly is large about 1500 spots, but many of them have park models on them. I wandered over to the housing area where there are real houses and a 2-2-1 was priced at $229,500. No mention of HOA fees but I am sure they are in there somewhere. Unless the price includes lifetime maintainance. That is high even for this area. But then when you consider some class A's are over 500k then that is nothing.

Left Paradise on Thursday, May 28th headed to Tucson. The ride from Paradise to San Simon, I thought would be easy, was actually very rough and shook a lot of stuff around in the TT. The gravel road was very wash-boardy and it was a long way, 16 miles. Oh, well, live and learn in this world.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Visitors

March 31st
In my hurry to get home yesterday, I forgot to get the bread out of the cabinet and some clothes that I had stuck in the closet. So had to go pick them up this a.m.

Spent the afternoon going through boxes in the garage. Looking for my yellow rain boots. Haven’t found them yet. Have a couple more boxes out there and then some here in the apartment.

The Houghdyshells are supposed to be coming this way today. He said he had a heavy foot and they were leaving Benson, AZ this a.m. I suggested that they might want to stop tonight at Junction, TX as it was a very long drive. Dusty and BeBe Sullivan have the KOA in Junction.

Bryan and Diane Whiteaker are supposed to be coming out next week sometime from Tucson. Tasha, Bernase (sp) Mountain dog, is too big to come visit in my apartment so they will look for a hotel. Actually, I told them I would find a spot for them. Diane mentioned that they would like to go to the coast. So will see what we can find down there. Time, it is moving on quickly.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

East Texas/Anahuac/High Island

Trip starting March 26th.

I left Schertz with the trailer at about 10:00 a.m. and drove to Winnie, TX. I took I-10 to the I-610 North loop to loop up around the downtown part of Houston, and with the road construction, I missed the I-10 East exit. So I went down one and came back to head for "Beaumont". Got to Winnie and parked the trailer in a RV park being ran by Winnie Inn and Suites and RV Park. It is about 30 spots all paved pads with full hookups. No bathroom or shower building but that's fine. Nice green grass with pine trees around the perimeter south and the bad part I-10 running on the north side. Several other RV parks around on the south side of I-10, but they don't compare to this one. I haven't been north of I-10 yet.

To go home I decided that I would try to see if I could go back the coastal route. Plan to try from Winnie, south on 124, then west on 87 to Galveston. Will either stay on 87/I-45 to highway 6 exit all the way to I-10, or go across the south part of GI and head to Brazos Bend State Park.

March 27th
We were covered in fog and low rain clouds. I left Winnie and drove to Anahuac to get it marked on the GPS just in case it was foggy Saturday. Looked down and noticed that I had not gassed up before I left. I stopped at the Exxon in HI and filled up with $2.10 gas. Drove down to Boy Scout Woods and walked around the area. First site was Gray Catbird others seen and heard Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, White Eyed Vireos, Common Yellow Throat, Blue Jay, BH Cowbird, Northern Cardinal, Ca Wren.

I left and drove west on 87 toward Galveston Island. What a disaster left by Ike. The town of Gilchrist has been totally destroyed. Okay 6 houses left with 2 being see throughs. All of the everything else is gone. No store, no bait house, no boat rental/docks, no bicycles abosolutely nothing. I know a guy that had a house there. I'll have to contact him and see how he stands now. Rollover Pass next to Gilchrist is gone. On to Bolivar - I'd say 3/4 of it is gone. So sad. Things scattered all over the area. Same story for Crystal Beach. Actually, Crystal Beach Palace was still standing. It is once more being gutted and re-furnished. This was the first hotel I stayed in on a beach birding trip with Rosie Cutrer. Then Ron, T and I stayed there on a trip.

It was sprinkling and turning to rain and back to sprinkles all the way to Galveston. I was looking for La Fatetes (sp) housing area as there was a birding/walking trail through this area. I never did find it. It was raining pretty steadily in Galveston. On the way back, I found the housing area as it was across the ferry on the way east on 87. However, many of those new homes were standing (built on hurricane stilts about 15-20 feet up) but had lots of damage and the walkway, I felt would not be a good idea. One is was raining and 2 the area was still cleaning up. I retraced my road trek to HI and then made my way to Winnie.

March 28th

Awakened early to leave at 6:00 a.m. for Anahuac visitor center. Thank goodness for nice clear weather this a.m.

On March 28, Saturday, the Friends of Anahuac conducted two rail walks at the Anahuac tract on FM1985, 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The first walk starting at 7:00 a.m. had 9 participants. The running rule is that you never find a rail until someone falls down. Once someone makes the 'falling sacrifice' a yellow rail will be found. The sacrificial fall was made by our leader, David Sarkozi. We managed to scare up 2 yellow rails pretty quickly and then part of the group continued up and around and scare up 2 more yellows, a sora and virginia rail. We completed that and returned to the visitor center about 8:30. It was very difficult to walk in terrain with the 'borrowed' boots.

The second walk at 10 participants, two of which were at the morning walk. I made the decision to sacrifice my hiking boots to the water. The borrowed boots were to wide and a bit long. Every time I tried to lift my foot the foot came up out of the boot. Partly that was because the boot was too large and the other part it was sucked into the terrain. The area has about 1/2" of water and it is muddy/mucky. On with the walk. The sacrificial fall was made by participant Art this afternoon. It did take a little longer to scare up rails and the first two popped up unscared. The first was a Virginia and the second about 3 seconds behind it was a Yellow. They were flying into the wind so it caused them to 'hold' in the air. We went back and got the Yellow to pop up again and what a classic look that ended up being. All the nice coloring and patterns just like it was supposed to be. Much closer to us and better view than the morning looks. Alas, no Blacks showed up. We did have 3 Yellows and a Virginia. We were thru by about 6:55 and I was back in the trailer in Winnie by 7:45 p.m.

Stopped and filled up with gas at the Exxon in Winnie - price $1.99

March 29th
Okay so today I got a late start. I forgot to take my thyroid pill early and ended up remembering about 8:30. It's 1 hour before or 3 hours after - otherwise it doesn't dissolve. Also 4 hour difference for vitamin D. Ugh I really don't like taking pills, but they keep me moving. I finished breakfast, loaded the car, put my boots and hiking shoes both out on the hood of the car to dry a bit. started the camera battery to re-charge as I forgot to do that last night. Decided to check my e-mail and make an entry to my blog. Otherwise I'll get the days mixed together. When the battery is thru, I'll get some PB crackers and couple of drinks and hit the road. I plan to go to HI again then the beach south of there.

Will try to get back to prep for leaving in the morning. Will need to call and see if Brazos Bend has a spot for one night. I am about to run out of jeans, I didn't expect I'd trash 2 pair so quickly. Only have 2 pair left one of which I had to dry out as they got soaked in the Thursday rain.

I still have to post about meeting a nice couple from Ontario. Paul and Lorna (oops or was it Lenora). Oh well, I got the trailer setup Thursday and was walking around when I saw them head out for the trash. I waved and then later when they were coming back I asked her if she was a birder, had she seen anything, and were they here for the rail walk. Ends up they didn't know about the rail walk, so I gave them the information. They had planned on leaving Friday but decided to go for the walk then leave. She is an absolutely great photographer and is also into doing butterflies. He was such a nice gent. They farm wheat, soy and something else I don't remember. Both are quite knowledgeable and have been traveling quite a while now. I think they would be great to caravan with.

Okay battery is charged, afternoon snacks in the bag and I am ready to head out.

March 30th
Wow what a trip home. I left Winnie around 11:00 a.m. and it was cloudy and windy. Decided since it was later than I had wanted to leave, I would have to skip stopping at High Island and just keep driving.

My route home was different than going over. The westward bound ended up being longer and taking more time, but the traffic was much less harrowing. I took highway 124 south to 87 (at the ocean – turn right!) and stay on 87 as it merges and becomes I-45 towards Houston. Take the exit 7B to highway 6 (this is a left exit). Stay on highway 6 to I-10. Highway 6 starts out a 4 lane highway but becomes a 6 lane highway with 10 miles. It is a really nice road all the way. To join I-10 it is a right exit and then immediately a left for the frontage road and then a ways maybe ½ mile you enter I-10. You can take highway 6 to business 35 and go southwest to the Port Lavaca area. Also, you can take highway 6 to 59 and go that same general direction. Either of those ways would be a great way to eliminate going thru Houston.

I did arrive home about 6:00 p.m. after I left the trailer in storage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Egg and I

Welcome to my blogspot. I shall try to keep a journal of my travels. Now that I am retired and have the freedom to do whatever, whenever, I shall do so. Of course, that is as long as I can afford to do so....!!!

I have often wondered if I would have the tenacity to keep a journal and I believe that now it will make me slow down and then Just DO IT. It has always been a go - go - go kind of pace for me. So the time is right to slow down and be a bit selfish with my time.