Thursday, February 28, 2008

So just what did we do today?


And boy are we good at it!

Late last night I began the start of the sore throat. Thanks to the visit to the sick barbers. I tried every trick I knew to lessen the chances, but nothing worked.

I awoke at 3AM and couldn't swallow. It was warm in Texas, but I digress. After some drugs and hot drinks, I finally got back to sleep. And of course I then slept in. Waking to find Loyce already gone to the hair dresser.

So the day had a late start. We spent much of the morning working with the computer. Our grand daughter arrived around lunch time. She is in between day care places and is staying with us so her folks can still go to work.

She kept us busy for the afternoon. She is three and has boundless energy. We have none. She didn't take much of a nap, so we played the day away. What are grand parents good for anyway.

So between skype phone calls and cell phone conversations, suddenly it was time for supper. We went to Fudruckers, for a burger and fries. We like the fresh buns, and Loyce likes the shakes. I have to stick to the diet coke.

More computer time with friends and our picture exchange ham radio programs, after the supper, and the day is done. Now if the sore throat will go away tonight, maybe tomorrow will be more productive.

We have begun to talk about going to the Lake home to see if all is well there. We were last there in late December. We do not like to leave the place unattended that long, as we have had problems in the past. So now we must go see if we have issues. That will be for next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The normal grind.

As if nothing was different, we return to the normalcy of everyday life in Overland Park, Kansas. It is amazing to me just how fast the on the road life can return to, ..... well, everyday life, back home.

We returned Saturday evening in a snow storm. Felt the shut in feeling of the snow, as it restricts our travel. Put every thing back away, for a yet undisclosed journey, sometime in the future. And settled in to the grandma babysitter role. Grandpa is the support system that goes and gets. Go get some, blah blah blah. You know, what ever we don't have now.

We went thru a mound of mail to try and segregate the actual bills, and things that need attention, from the sea of other stuff. We had about three bushels of mail. Meaning it would fill three of my grand dads apple baskets, from the orchard he ran years ago.

After sending out a dozen checks, maybe we have the vultures at rest for a while.

Yesterday, we reprogramed another Linksys WRT54GL router with the DD-WRT software, for my son. It is so feature rich, beyond the original router software, it allows configuration for almost anything you want to do. Well in the wifi world anyway. I think his wife was more excited to get it than he was. She is the real internet guru in the family.

I went to get a haircut, yesterday afternoon at my local barber shop. Once in the chair, I began to realize that all the barbers had raging colds. Coughing and blowing their noses. While they handled my hair. Nothing like being doused in a fresh batch of germs! All three of these guys were so sick, they were like the walking dead.

Afterwords I went and bought a big bottle of Purell. I used it as hair tonic, literally bathing my hands and face in the stuff. Now I just hope and pray, I do not restart the infection I had at Llano Grande, in Texas. Shouldn't there be a law about personal service industry folks not spreading these things to their customers?

Nothing news worthy yet today, so I will stop boring you.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lagoons RV at Rockport, Tx

As I sit here late at night in KC, Ks I reflect on the park experience in Rockport. I think about the positives of the park, and the drawbacks.

Its all concrete and some grass between units. They do not allow mats to cover any of the grass as once killed the yards would never come back. Also they have a drip sprinkler system that would ruin your mat and make a general mess.

The electric is only 13 cents a KW and that is favorable. The temperature in February never reached a point where air conditioning was necessary. We did use it to dehumidify the air at night sometimes as sleeping became muggy, even though it was cool. It was never cold enough to run much heat. We only used about 10 pounds of propane, and our electric was $26.

Our site was not more than 22 feet wide. It was close to the next guy. This didn't seem to bother my wife a bit. She just stuck to her self and didn't get bothered by it. I don't like the windows covered by the shades all the time.

We have a rear living room unit with a full picture window. It simply peered in the back of the next guys rig. We may have had 10 feet between us and maybe not. We were at an angle so the rigs were not but up against each other, but may as well have been.

These pictures were taken in the exact same spot. My back was to the rig behind us and I turned a quarter turn to take each shot leaving out the back of the camper behind me.

We had the electric transformer right beside us, and it hummed late at night. Our bed is in the front, away from it, so it wasn't too noticeable, once you were out of the living room area.

When I had the awning out, it only missed the slide on the fifth wheel next door by about 18 inches. At first I used the sun shade to make a private sitting area. The wind came up and shook the whole unit, and the awning, so it all had to be put away.

This became awfully tight as the weeks progressed. I was alright with it at first, but became less tolerant as time passed. It worked, but we couldn't entertain under our awning, when our friends from Iowa came, as it didn't have any elbow room.

I found myself wanting to leave the park every day just to get my breath. There are plenty of things to keep you occupied, with the beach and all the birds to see. Restaurants seemed to abound, and there was Corpus to explore.

We never did seem to get into the parks activities, like we did at the RGValley Park. Seemed that these things were aimed at the folks that were there for all winter. Since we only stayed 18 days, we were never included in things much. This may have been our own fault, however.

So bottom line, would I go back? Ya probably. Would I book three months? Not without a better spot, or some more appealing activities.

I know several of my readers have stayed here. Add comments and tell me where you agree, and disagree. And yes I know it is the nicest park in the area.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Move In

It is just like moving to a new house or apartment. The move in, from the RV to the house. Full time RVers never experience the move in move out qualities of the winter snowbird RVer. You get back to the sticks and bricks and you make the transition of all your junk back into the house.

This takes quite a period of time and many trips between rig and the house. We do have complete sets of bedding and kitchen utensils and so forth in the RV, and never move these things. But much of what was being used in the RV must be washed and put back. And all the groceries and refrig items and so on get carried back into the house.

We have been busy with all these things to get ourselves back to the sticks and bricks lifestyle. The trailer is just filthy from traveling thru the storms yesterday. But with the new snow here and temperatures in the mid 30's it is just not a time to wash the vehicle.

So the trailer was stored dirty. The new snow in the storage lot proved to be another obstacle. Even in 4 wheel drive the trailer did not back into its parking spot with ease. The snow was wet and sticky and the truck spun its wheels rather than move the trailer. Once in its stall, I just dropped it and locked it and left the lot. Too cold and wet to hang around.

Back home, I continue to go thru everything and put stuff away. Boring but necessary.

Otherwise we have worked with the computer and some of my Des Moines friends to get a picture exchange program to work between us. It requires ports to be opened in our firewall and routers. It seems that computer configuration can take forever and waste time like crazy. You wonder where the day went and have not much to show for it.

It also does not provide much to blog about.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

We are Home

Not that our trusty RV isn't home, but we are back to our address of record. Where we have to pay all the real estate taxes. And the income tax and all the other taxes. OK rail over!

We came in about 7:30. Drove thru rain since Oklahoma City. Temperature was 31 most of the way but was down to 28 in the Flint Hills South of Emporia, KS. Rain started to get hard thru there.

Haven't been here a half hour and the rain changed to snow. Big heavy wet stuff. I thought that's what we were trying to avoid. Well we are here just in time to shovel the stuff. Oh and now we can see the Grandkids. Which will make the snow seem trivial. I could have waited another week but the wife couldn't.

Everything is fine and we are safe and sound. No tickets, no tire problems, car ran fine, all is well. Kinda cold behind the shopping center, this morning as we had 29 degrees while I was winterizing the water system. The sun was out and the wind was from the South, so that all went well too.

We are unloading our stuff in the snow so better see how I can help.......

Gainesville, Tx

6:00 PM Friday Evening

We are camped behind a shopping mall in Gainesville, Texas. The RV spots behind the mall have full hookups, but because it is a mall, there are no bath house facilities. There is a restroom in the mall that is open until 8:00 PM. After that you are on your own for facilities.

They do have a mall security guard that starts at 7:00 PM and has the list of people that paid the $15 to stay back here. There is an honor box on the first campsite, with check in sheets and a drop box. So I suppose that one could get a paper and not pay. The guard would not know until they emptied the box in the morning.

Its the old auditor in me looking for the loophole in the system. Sorry about that.

I have the internet thanks to the repeater router that is on top of the RV. It can see the hotel system that is over on the other side of the interstate. It locks on fairly solidly. Not that the hotel would like that but I won't tell if you don't.

We are just a few miles South of the Texas Oklahoma state line. The I -35 mile mark here is 501 so we are 501 miles North of Laredo, Tx. It might be 20 miles to Oklahoma but not much more than that.

There is an Appleby's out on the front side of the mall so we will maybe go there in a few minutes.


We went out to the Appleby's and it was just like all the other Appleby's I've been in over the years. Thats the trouble with chain restaurants, they are all the same. Good meal though and that is what we were looking for.

As I search the internet weather forecasts for Saturday, I find that we are to get rain in the afternoon in the Wichita, KS area, and on into the evening. This is just as we will be traveling thru the area. The temperature at that time will be just above or right at freezing. So we may have to skate home with the truck and trailer Saturday afternoon. Lets hope it stays above freezing during the time I need to squeak thru.

We met a fellow here, that came thru Kansas Friday afternoon and he said it was slick and then melting and sloppy. That doesn't reassure me much.

We will pump winterization antifreeze into the water lines on Saturday morning, after we get our bathing and such taken care of for the day. So if worse comes to pass, we will just stop and stay in a Motel somewhere.

The next blog should come from the bricks and sticks location in Kansas City, Ks.

Until then........

Friday, February 22, 2008

Austin, Tx Dem Debate

Were are staying at a Jayco dealer, Crestview RV and its attached campground. This is the dealer that lined me up with the the Jayco dealer in Sinton, Tx. There is a mega showroom and store here with, the campground attached to the side of the main parking lot.

This area is a new section that contains a Cabella's next door. In the next block is a new Wal Mart that has a store front that matches the Cabella's. There are a large number of support stores that surround these two anchor establishments.

We arrived here about 2:30 in the afternoon. After driving about five hours, I was just too tired to go on . The traffic between San Antonio and Austin seemed to be overwhelming.

I found out, after setting up and connecting the cable TV, that the Democratic debate for president was here in Austin tonight. At the University of Texas, it had been a political rally day, for the entire campus. Folks have traveled from all over to be part of the festivities. The debate tonight was on the campus and students were the only people in the audience. Now I know why the traffic was so bad.

The local news is having a hey day. The special coverage is on all the networks and has the TV captivated.

We went out to find some dinner around 7:00 PM and could not agree on a restaurant. We drove up the frontage road for several miles and settled on Taco Bell. I had a chalupa dinner and the boss had hard tacos. She likes the Bell, but in most cases, I would rather just pass.

The cars up and down I 35 are a solid ribbon of lights in each direction. We went toward Austin to see what the surrounding area included, and the traffic was so bad we just turned around and came back. It is quite late at night as I write this and the traffic noise is still heavy. This would not be a destination campground but for a night on the way to somewhere else it will do just fine.

The sites are all pull thru and concrete pads. The site width is even smaller than we have experienced to date. About 20 feet wide. So this is much like a parking lot with grass strips between each parking spot. Well be gone in the morning, so it is not a problem.

It is down to 50 degrees at bed time, and the high today was about 74 here. We had moments in San Antonio that we saw 80 on the dash. It had rained all the way from the ocean to about 10 miles East of of San Antonio. The sun came thru at mid day and thats when we saw the 80 degrees. Driving North caused an instant cooling. Dallas seems to be the line where the temps drop to below freezing. We will need to winterize the water system before we go too far North of the Dallas area.

So lets see what Friday brings.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Charlotte Plumbers and were outa here!

We went over to the bay today and drove up and down the bay road. We parked along the bay North of Charlotte Plumbers. We sat there for about an hour enjoying the sea shore. It will be hard to see from Kansas City.

We went on about our business, finished the errands on our list and came home. It seemed that time just flew, as it was almost time to go with the neighbors, back to Charlotte's.

At 5:30 we caravaned back to the shore, and the restaurant. We had shrimp and fish dinners, with baked potato and salad bar. It was quite good. The soup pot was still a dismal offering, just like the last time we were there. We passed on it. The view of the harbor was calm and serene. Our conversation with Jeanette and Alex proved we had many things in common.

After reconvening at their RV, the conversation traveled to many more topics, and resulted in an exchange of emails and street addresses. We can only hope we will meet these fine folks again in another setting. Or who knows, back here at Lagoons next winter.

We are not nearly as organized for our departure tomorrow as we were to go for our service appointment. Somehow our hearts are not as committed to the project. We haven't chosen a road to depart on or a destination for tomorrow. Perhaps this will all come clear by the light of day, in the morning.

We have talked that it is a waste of mileage to go to San Antonio when we could go straight North on Hwy 77. But then that isn't an interstate. It is four lane for some of the way but mostly it is just an ordinary US highway. If we do go over to San Antonio, we will go around the city on the outer beltway. If you look at the map, it is apparent how far West San Antonio is from a straight line going North.

The underlying factor here isn't the trip, it is the weather from Oklahoma City North to KC. We just do not want to run into the snowy roads and Ice that other folks have experienced recently. It is cold in the MidWest tonight. Calls to Iowa revealed 2 degrees and KC is about 15. We will not get away from the cold, but bad roads and slick conditions, I can do without.

One thing is for sure, we will leave tomorrow. When we get set up and have internet again, we will blog all about it. See you then.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Only one day left

We started the day with just hanging out, but then it was time for the Wal Mart run of the day. It always starts out that we are out of something like Ice or Eggs. But then we get there and the truck gets its back seat filled with those darned plastic sacks. Oh and $40 worth of gas.

So we didn't come back home as we were feeling cramped in the 29 footer. We drifted down business 35 to Aransas Pass trying to do some fast food. And not Whata Burger! Couldn't find much except Churches Fried Chicken and that just seemed so filling. So a small burger from McDonalds. Still a calorie bomb. What are you going to do, when you are too lazy to cook?

Wandered out to the ferry landing and we were right on the boat, without any wait. Once across, we wandered around Port A for about 45 minutes. Drove the side streets, that we had never been on before. The University of Texas has a Marine Center out on the North East corner of the Island. We drove around the buildings but didn't go inside.

Ended up out on the beach at the North end where the campers can stay overnight. No services and not much security, but they still charge a fee. At least Mustang Island State Park has a gate and a toilet. And water and electric. We will stay right here in the nice RV park at Lagoons. It is too tight, camper on camper but the safety factor is comforting.

We drove the beach for about 2 miles and parked for a while. It was cold and overcast but we won't be back for a while, so we just absorbed the experience.

At 4:30, we had to wait a while to get on the ferry going back. They run you to the Northeast along the shore line and then back to the ferry. There are parking spaces in front of each ferry gate that are the exact size as the ferry. So when the space is filled so is the ferry. Then they load you all at once when the boat arrives. It carries 16 cars in four rows of four. On busy days they run four boats.

We haven't discussed what to do tomorrow, but something will come to us. It always does. Oh and we are going to Charlotte Plumbers with our neighbors to the back of our lot. Jeannette and Alex. They have become good friends in the last 2 1/2 weeks. He is a ham radio fellow like myself, and the gals have much in common. That should be a good time.

We'll report on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Its all over

We were up at 6:30 and outside packing up. The hoses the electric. The wires for the TV. The jacks and blocks. Hooked up and ready to roll at 7:30.

It took about 45 minutes for us to get to the Jayco dealer. But as I walked in, the gal called me by name. They were waiting. I had just pulled into the lot and the guy says drop it right there. "Right in the middle?" "Yes thats no problem".

Then around the corner came his co worker with a kubota tractor and a ball hitch on the three point hydraulic lift. He backed under the trailer and hauled it away. Questioning about how large of trailer could be handled by this setup, revealed that all but the biggest designer Jaycos and some horse trailers were within its ability.

I had been having trouble with the black water valve sticking shut. You could pull with all your might and not budge the thing. We had just left it open with a hose on it to the park drain, for the last several weeks. I know that is not the correct way to use the system but when you can't get it open, you don't close it.

The service folks hooked up to their sewer and proceeded to flush the system. Then they opened the under belly cover and worked on the valve and its long rod. The valve is on the right side of the rig and the drain hookup is on the left. The pull rod goes thru the underbelly and thru several hangers to the valve body on the tank.

They straightened the the pull rod and lubricated the whole deal, and it seems to work again. I am somewhat skeptical that this will be a final repair for the problem, but now "how it works over time" will have to be the final judge.

As I have explained in previous blog entries, we have a leak under the lavatory in the bath. It has been there since the day we got this unit last summer. The wife has nagged me since it began to leak. I said Yea Yea Yea and did nothing, assuming I would get it done the next time we went to the dealer. That has never come to pass.

So they took apart the under side of the sink. Where the plastic pipes mate with the valve body of the sink faucet, there are conical shaped washers. One of which was crushed and torn. This we would assume was done by the installer at the factory. But with two new washers, we are now without the nagging water on the floor. And under our bed, and no more puddles in the middle of the night, and the adventure is over. Where's the fun in that?

By 2PM we were back at the Lagoons RV park. We set up camp back on our old site, spending time looking at all the water lines, to make sure we didn't have any more leaks. We appeared to our fellow campers as if we hadn't gone anywhere. And we were none the worse for the wear. Yea! Several neighbors that knew about our trip, came over interested in how the repair had gone.

We took a nap, in celebration. Funny how us old folks celebrate.

We only have two days left here at Rockport, so we will have to decide what we need to see and do before we leave. Any favorites?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The day before the repair.

The storm rained off and on during the night. Mostly just mist. It did feel like it was cold by morning. A check of the weather shows only 51 during the 6AM time. Not cold, just cool. I have become a sissy to the cold. Spoiled.

The day here after the storm was beautiful. We reached a high of 79 this afternoon. That is the highest temperature we have seen here in Rockport. It required some air conditioning in the afternoon as the trailer gets much hotter than it is outdoors. This is the first time we have run the AC since we left the RGV.

I took the nice weather as an opportunity to wash the RV. It has not been washed since last fall when we stored it after coming home from Boston. While not filthy, it was dirty. Its white, so the grime does not stand out as much, but it looks much better now.

Then the truck got the same treatment. Now it is dark Green and it did look grimy. We washed it in the RGV with the wand wash and a foaming brush. It never did seem to get clean. The dust of the Valley agriculture covered it almost at once, after the last wash.

Since it was wash day, Loyce rounded up all the clothes, and ran them thru the laundry tonight as well. The dog had her bath yesterday, so I guess we are clean to go.

Tomorrow is the big day to get our rig looked at and repaired. We have to be up before first light, in order to get over to the repair shop as soon as possible. I have my fingers crossed that we can repair our problems.

I have purchased camping thru Wednesday, so we will be on our way North Thursday. With or without repairs. Lets hope the weather up North softens a bit for us to sneak back. I just do not want to drive in freezing rain and snow, while pulling the trailer...........

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Paid Internet connection is over.

At exactly 10:00 AM the computer browser went blank and asked for more money. With Microsoft and the cookie setup, our machines are really run by big brother.

Just like George Orwell wrote in the Novel 1984. He was only able to envision just a part of what we have today. Luckily his political worries did not come to pass. That is still a good read today, if you can keep in mind it was written in the early 1950's.

We are again connected with the repeater router, to an unsecure wifi. This is only about a 8 percent signal, or about one bar on your cell phone, so it doesn't work much of the time. Its worth just about what I pay for it. Nothing.

We watched the weather here much of the afternoon, but fortunately the heavy winds did not materialize. Or at least not as they were predicted. Much of the strong rain and wind was farther North of us.

By 4PM we loaded up in the pickup and headed into Corpus. Its about a 30 minute run down the coast and across the bay. We went to the strip Highway 358 that connects the Padre Island to the South end of Corpus. This is the real heart of the shopping and dining area of town. We went out into the newer South side and just drove around. Oh and I went into the Corpus traders mall.

This is little Mexico right here in Texas. It is set up as a Mercado would be in Mexico. The stores are inside the big building and are mostly made of chain link fencing. The isles are very narrow and merchandise is displayed in every manner. Mostly on tables and boxes. Very few sales counters as we are used to in US stores. I didn't buy anything but the experience was worth the 15 or so minutes I spent looking. Loyce sat in the truck.

We went out onto Padre Island but it was almost dark, and there was almost no activity out there. Even the folks that live there were staying home. Chased inside by the weather.

We ate supper at the Cracker Barrel. I commented that this is the first non TexMex sit down meal we have had in a month. But then we had a lot of Sea Food up here in Rockport, that would not be TexMex, so that wasn't true. But it was a chain restaurant, and we haven't been to many of those here.

Back home, it poured rain for about 45 minutes. That is the first hard rain we have experienced here since we came. We have had rainy days but mostly drizzle, not pouring rain. It has been 90 percent humidity here all day, so tonight will be stuffy with the RV closed up. Still we are in the high 60s and made 71 or so today. The folks in the Az desert were in the 40's, so we won't complain.

Tomorrow we will begin to pack up to go to the Jayco dealer for repairs. We need to move out early Monday morning, so we will have to be ready the night before. The blog may be short or skipped all together tomorrow, so don't worry we will be back, hopefully with fixed plumbing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Much of Nothing

Today was a very overcast day. The RV park was having its yard sale. This is where we all put stuff out in front of the RV and sell it to the guy two doors over, for next to nothing and laugh when he carries it around with him for the next two years.

We are really new at this RV game, and are not full timers. So we do not have a lot of unnecessary junk, yet. We have been fairly good at acquiring stuff, but haven't had much urge to toss or sell anything. When we start blowing tires, because of the overweight situation, it will be time to, ..... get a bigger RV of course.

I looked at some of the stuff laying on neighboring tables, on the way to the shower house, but did not have a wallet with me. I had no money, even if I would have had the urge to carry something home.

When our friends were here this week, we went all over the place and did vacation things. Seeing all the sights that we knew of. But since then we have dropped back into everyday living. Ah the RV park type of life. Doing the day by day stuff of everyday life. Not vacation stuff.

The folks behind us, from North Texas, decided to go home, and we got some new neighbors from Ohio. They are staying beyond when we will leave. They have a Jayco 5th wheel that is an Eagle series. They told us horror stories about some of the maintenance their rig has required. That was reassuring. Their rig is only 4 months older than ours.

Thru the evening hours tonight and on into Saturday, it is supposed to become windy and rainy. The weather forecast is calling for tornado warnings along the Gulf of Mexico as it rains and the wind blows. Not looking forward to that, with much anticipation. Remember Larry the cable guy when he says, "happier ana tornada ina trailer park".

We went out and went to the hardware store, (Ace is the place) and the fruit stand and Walmart today. Came home with more goodies to haul to the next campground. See the post above about the bigger RV. I read on one of the other blogs, that Walmart is called the $100 store. You can't go there without spending $100. Boy isn't that the truth!

I bought a gallon of the pink waterline antifreeze. I would hope that I would not need it going back to Kansas. The temperatures up there tonight, and for the next week tell me, we will be draining the water on our way North. I have never left the heat on while I was underway. Do not know if that is a good idea. Maybe a good question post for the forums.

Well just rambling about nothing, so will stop wasting your time. Mine is unlimited!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Day Fun

We had a drink the other night at Paradise Key restaurant out on allegro key, here in Rockport. We decided it was just our style for a Valentine celebration for two. It looks more inviting in the warm sun of the afternoon.

As we entered, we passed right thru the dining room, and headed for the bar out on the outside deck.

We found our table out next to the band stand. The views are of the attached Marina and boats everywhere. This is our kind of thing, since we have the place in Lake Ozark. We were at home!

Our view and our cool table.

Boats everywhere.

The menu had crab cake sandwich. Or as it explained, the closest thing you can get to SpongeBob's "Crabby Patty". These were adorned with curly fries. We always order them extra Clispy which is a joke from Francie's Bar in Des Moines. The meal was topped off with Key Lime Pie.

But as we were leaving, Loyce struck up a conversation with the owner. He has the Leopard Morey Eel in the bar. He said he could handle the eel and feed him as well. This we had to see. He went into the bar, and the eel came right out to see him. He was able to pet the eel at will. I would think the thing would bite him, but no way. It was his buddy.

He had no trouble getting the eel to pose for his picture.

He also has a large salt water tank, that has many striking fish in it. The Blue Tang would not cooperate for his picture. So I had to just set up and wait for the fish to swim into the frame. He was going way too fast to get a clear shot.

And another fish with less color.

We had fun at the Paradise Key restaurant! We think we will go back!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

Be our Valentine.

And to our second son, and we only had two, Happy Birthday!

I'm still looking and enjoying the pictures that provide memories of our day at the Texas Aquarium.

The Dolphins are still jumping!

This guy knows what a camera is and turns around and hides from them. Otherwise he likes all the people. Quite a card.

We all liked the turtle and he wouldn't come to the front of the tank. Again I think everyone wants to take his picture. But he cruised by real fast. I have retouched the color and exposure. I should have taken my big flash. The light seemed to get lost in the tanks.

From the Amazon jungle tanks. This fellow would be a silver dollar except he weighed about 5 pounds.

This Piranha was 8 to 10 pounds, but what the picture doesn't show is, that the tank had 20 or more of these guys. Man I'll bet that is a feeding frenzy. We were teasing each other to put your hand in the water. Ha Ha!

And just next door is the Lexington. The Lex is a museum, and takes most of the day to see. We were just too tired, to start over. Maybe next time.

We went to several stores for Loyce to shop for goodies, and then to Wal Mart for groceries. As the day became late, we drove out to Sinton, Tx. There is a Jayco dealer there, and we have an appointment for Monday to get our plumbing problems worked out. As early as we can get there. And we don't get around very early, so that will be a challenge.

I am very excited that we may get our problems fixed. If we come back to the frozen North, we will have to have our plumbing working.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Texas State Aquarium

As you arrive.

Waterfall over the entry door.

Dolphin show.

Take a bow.

Play after the show.

More showing off.

Touch the stingrays.

Feeding the fish.

I really do not like your flash.

They were not swimming with the sharks.

The sea turtle.

The Rosate Spoonbill.

The smaller Alligators.

The big boy lives outside in his own marsh.

Back up at Rockport after another drive up the Mustang Island Beach.

The sea side of one of the Allegro bay homes. It would do!

We even have common Mallards here too.

Paradise Key Restaurant out on Allegro Key!

The stained glass window over the bar.

The Morey Eel that lives in an aquarium at the bar.

What a day we had! So many pictures and only limited space to show them off.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quilt shops in Corpus Christi

We spent the day searching out quilt shops in Corpus Christi. Our list of shops and facilities came from the internet and quilting guide books. We headed out.

The first shop on our list turned out to be an old store that had the paint falling off and had long since been closed. And so it went, searching out addresses in a town that is totally strange to us.

One of the problems that we encounter, is that private individuals who do some sewing work out of their home, are listed just the same as a full service fabric and sewing center. So Alice's sewing has the same billing as Hancock Fabrics. We ended up in residential neighborhoods a lot of the time.

We did make it back out to the North end of South Padre Island, and then North to Mustang Island. We got out to the beach just north of Mustang State Park. The fog of yesterday was mostly gone, but the overcast was still evident. We drove the beach for the same 7 or so miles that we drove last week. Stopping and watching fishermen and the birds. It is cooler out there but still much fun.

Once in Port Aransas, at the North end of the island, we searched and found another quilt fabric store. It was CLOSED! Seems that Monday is the day off for the island. They have to work the weekends. Drat.

At supper time we were looking for yet a new experience. From a Rockport dining brochure, we decided to go find "Off the Hook". This was in a harbor area called Bay Cove. This is just South of Rockport. It seems the new experiences here will never end.

Here the girls are out enjoying the view of the bay. This is the wheelchair ramp entrance but also made a good viewing area.

The ever present White Pelicans were hanging around looking for a hand out. They came right over to us to see what we would give them. So much for wild birds.

There is a fish cleaning station right at the end of the parking lot. The birds are used to getting a free meal as the fish are cleaned. They could not seem to understand why we didn't have tasty morsels for them.

From the inside this is the windows in the dining room. I took this without flash, as I did not want to disturb the other diners, and also the emphasis is on the view outside.

Our table is the second from the left where Jean is sitting all by herself. As it got dark, fishing boats were returning from the bay and passed right under our window.

The meal began with water glass sized Margaritas. We had shrimp salads, that had grilled zucchini slices, as well as grilled shrimp. Soup was the starter, and was corn chowder. It was again too much to eat, but it was an hour earlier than last night. Got to stop with such big meals. Seafood is so abundant here that there is no end in sight.

Talking with the folks back in Des Moines again tonight, reports the temperature of 3 above. Lets just say we were more than comfortable here today.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We see the sights

We spent the day showing the sights to our Mystery guests from Iowa. Since we have only been here a week ourselves, I am not sure how good of a tour host we are, but we had fun any way.

We went out thru the expensive homes on the Allegro Island area, that faces the bay here in Rockport. This is lined with harbor canals that allow every home to have a boat dock, at the back of their lot. The canals connect to the sea from a main harbor entrance.

Allegro Canal behind the homes.

The front line of homes is right on the bay, and looks out to the open water. They do not have protected boat lifts, but do have the sea view in its place. Priorities!

Back on the bay this is a historic Mansion on the Fulton Bay, looking at the water.

We went up to the Goose Island area again, and went to the 1000 year old oak tree. We also went to the state park. I was disappointed that the pelicans were not there in the numbers that we have seen previously.

Not too far from the tree is this sign about the alligators. One must never forget.

The weather is changing here as it is supposed to be rainy tomorrow. That could have the effect to cause the birds to go more inland for protection.

From there we went to Aransas Pass and out over the ferry landing to Port Aransas. We had lunch or perhaps it was dinner as we had shrimp dinners at Fins. This restaurant is on the harbor on the outer island. We enjoyed this meal immensely.

While we were eating, the fog came rolling in from the sea. It completely blanketed the town and made the beach a white out. We could not see the water from the sandy part of the driving beach. We were not 100 feet away. Still couldn't make out the waves.

Weather can change fast here on the sea.

So now that the Iowa folks have had to quiz themselves, to see if they know who came to see us. Its Larry and Jean from Greenfield, Iowa. They are on their winter tour of the South, and dropped by here in Rockport, on their way to the Rio Grande Valley for a few days.

It has been fun to have them here, as we are really all by ourselves, as far as old friends go. We have, however, made new friends in every campground, and that has been fun as well.

As we connected back to Iowa on the Internet this evening, I was reminded that the temperature in Des Moines, was 2 degrees. Since we have been down here all winter from the first of the year, I have forgotten just how cold that is. I'm Chicken to go find out!