Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
We drove out to Everglades National Park on Tuesday. We left around 9 a.m. Bob came by to pick me up and take a look at the rv and the rv park. I know they would never buy one, but it would sure be fun to have an rving family.
So we headed off for the Everglades stopping at a visitor's station with a boardwalk to get a good look at the fish and alligators in their natural environment. Bob took a picture of me standing in front of one hoping it would take off and scare the pants off of me. I was smarter than that. He attempted it again several time throughout the day.
We passed many indian villages where the Seminole live. You can see the rooftops of their houses, very similar to palapas in Mexico but using a different palm to cover the roof. They keep their villages enclosed within fences to keep out the lookie loos. They also have casinos and share the monies among the tribe. There are many stops along the way to buy souvenirs.
As we entered the national park, the ranger asked if any of us were over 62 so we had no entrance fees. The tram left about 20 minutes after we arrived and took us on a tour of the park. The fee is 16 dollars per person for a two hour trip. It is well worth the price. Very good information given by the guides, many facts I had never known. At the end of the tour we had a great lunch that Barb had prepared for us. It was great to see families eating at their cars and picnicing getting away from all the tour stuff and concessions. It brings back memories of my dad stopping along the way and all of us piling out of the car and sitting on the back of the station wagon having cold fried chicken my mom had made along with a glass of Koolaid.
A swimming Anhinga
Looking out over the wetlands
Brother Bob was determined to get me stand next to an alligator.
We finished the afternoon stopping to see the famous Florida photographer, Clyde Butcher. He has dedicated his life to photographing the Everglades. Very good work. I would love to have one hanging in our house.
A celebratory dinner that Barb fixed for us. It was a wonderful roast!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Took the morning to sleep in until 6:45. Got up and did my exercise. Took a long walk around the rv park here at Club Naples. I did a complete inspection of all the rigs here. Nothing old, nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary. I did see one Hi-Lo 28ft Towlite.
There are quite a few park models set up at the end of the park and many are pretty cool. Each has their own special touch, design, yard animals and flowers. Everyone here is very friendly and it is easy to strike up a conversation. I really haven't spent much time here at the park and that really wasn't the idea. Brother Bob has really been a great host and has taken me out showing me the sights of Naples. Last night we went out for dinner in Old Naples. Looks like tourism is down. Many restaurants were empty, unfortunately. I hope it picks up soon.
Today we took off for the beach. We headed out about 10 a.m. First I stopped by the office to see about staying two more days. So I will be taking off on Wednesday. Bob and Barb want me to stay longer. I know I could but I still have some things to take care of in San Antonio before heading home. Plus, it will take me a couple of days to get there. We will be back though.
The beach was pretty packed. We got there early but the sunbirds were already there. Lots of youngsters playing in the sand, older couples under their umbrellas, eating lunch, reading. We took a couple of walks, talked a lot and I did some reading too.
Tonight Barbara is fixing a roast with mashed potatoes. So I am off for happy hour. Bon appetit!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I got up early Saturday morning, had my coffee, showered and bolted out the door to meet brother Bob for our trip to the sanctuary. As I said earlier, Bob volunteers there two days a week. Birders from all over come to the sanctuary and as you can see by some of the pictures below, good reasons to do so.
Driving down the road about halfway through the tour, we heard another knock on the roof and I grabbed the binoculars hoping to see a new bird. Instead, people were whispering and pointing to the front of the road. There they were, two bobcats in the mating season. We stopped dead in our tracks and began to take pictures. I took quite a few but the ones below are some of the best. I thought for sure we had scared them off but they began to walk towards us. Again, thinking they would dart off into the swamp, closer they came and eventually started their mating calls and playing a bit rough.
Before the tour, the guides gave us a brief explanation of the sanctuary, where we were situated, size of the sanctuary and the parcels they were able to buy as this was previously farmland. Some neighbors still have cattle that wonder into the sanctuary from time to time.
This is the swamp vehicle that was behind us on the way down the path. It too was full of birders. That's my little brother Bob in his uniform and tour gear.
A 2.25-mile raised boardwalk takes visitors through four distinct environments: a pine upland, a wet prairie, a cypress forest, and a marsh. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk and a field guide and Children's Activity Book available at the admissions desk in the Blair Center allow each visitor to take the self-guided tour. Benches and rain shelters are along the trail. For those who do not wish to walk the full 2.25 miles, an optional trail shortens the walk to one mile. Volunteer naturalists are usually on the boardwalk to answer questions.
Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car for the walk along the boardwalk. It was a gold mine as it has been dry here and the water is low. All types of herons, alligators, even a raccoon gathered at some of the watering holes to feed on the readily available fish swimming in the shallows. We were on the boardwalk for about 2 hours and could have literally sat there all day and seen bird after bird. This was a real experience for me and I can't wait to come back and spend more time.
I would like to acknowledge my brother Bob for his volunteer work. He also gives guided tours to elementary students which keeps nature in their minds. We need more work like this so that future generations can appreciate the wonders of Mother Nature and all she has to offer us, reminding us that we too are a part of this big picture and our actions wiill affect what happens next in some way. Thanks Bob and all the other great people who work at the sanctuary.
Here is a list of birds we saw in just one day trip:
parula warbler barred owl grackle black vulture turkey vulture
wood stork swallow tailed kite white ibis glossy ibis yellow crowned night heron
roseate spoonbill little blue heron great blue heron prairie warbler
palm warbler cardinal anhinga wood nuck cedar waxwing gold fince
painted bunting (?) double breasted mattress thrashers black and white warbler
Friday, March 13, 2009
I will be updating later today. Lake Waldena rv park has funny rules. The office closes at 4 pm and you can't get an internet ID except in person. Worse news, the office doesn't open until 10 am. Beautiful park, but stinky service unless you are a long-term Winter resident.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I took off around 9:15 and continued East. Louisiana is a beautiful state and I enjoyed the drive. As I passed through New Orleans, I was reminded of what had happened. Lunch hour and very little traffic for starters. Then I passed the dome where it really got bad and continued on the I-10 seeing lots where there once stood homes, stores, shopping malls and on and on. So much that has yet to be cleaned up. Even some of the fencing still had trash and brush from the flooding trapped up against it. Such a tragedy.
Ducks walking by my site.
Watching the Comedy Channel last night and updating the blog.
Beautiful Louisiana Scenery.
Passing through the tunnel in Mobile, Al
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Passing the Igloo factory in Katy, Tx.
Way off in the distance you can see a crop duster. Click on the photo.
Gas wars on the road. I stopped outside Beaumont and the Pilot was $1.73, the Valero $1.71, Shell $1.76 and the Flying J at $1.74. Talk about competition.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Roc, I hope this helps, if not, email me for more info.
Last week after we looked at folding trailers, we got a heads up from the owners at Princess Craft Manufacturing about a Corp of Engineers campground. Here are the things we liked so much about the place and will certainly return some day soon:
Our site, number 44 sits right along the cliff overlooking the lake.
1) to get to the park you pass through a well-groomed residential neighborhood
2) the park is in tip top condition, clean, well-kept
3) all the sites are marked, level, have a palapa with picnic table, fire ring, and a grill (many of which are new)
4) the place is very quiet and all the rvers there, I am supposing, are Winter folks who are spending some time there
5) price is 18 dollars a night for a site with water and electric, dump station is at the exit. I don't know if they offer a weekly or monthly rate but it sure doesn't look like it.
6) excellent washrooms with hot showers, very clean!
Spring has already sprung here in Texas!
While here in San Antonio we like to catch up with friends, none of which are rvers. Sad thing, I think they are missing out but to each his own. Over the weekend we went to the Witte Museum for a watercolor showing. My friend Rickie is an artist and she invited us to see what watercolors were all about. We had a great time, met some wonderful artists and hob knobbed with some of San Antonio's art elite.
James, Polly, Sam, Juan, Myself, John and Rikie
Thursday, March 5, 2009