Saturday, December 10, 2011

Skinny people will get blown away!!

That doesn't apply to us, of course. Way too many bakery stops.

The weather today was terrible. Cold, rainy and very, very windy. The weather guessers said the winds topped 35mph. Most of the day the rain was blowing horizontally. The Gulf and inlet were very rough. We parked by the jetty again, but not too close because the waves were breaking over the seawall. The kite boarders and guys on the sail boards provided the entertainment.

A rough day in the inlet

We got married in 1966. Shortly before that, Carol and I drove from New London, CT where I was attending Navy submarine school, to West Palm Beach so she could meet my parents. In Georgia, and again in Florida, Carol saw her very first roadside chain gangs. She couldn't believe there really were such things. Well, today's equivalent of the chain gang, spent the morning cleaning up our little patch of beach. They really should have the inmates drag around a ball and chain. It will slow them down if they try to make a break for it plus it just might teach them a lesson. Shakin' the bush Boss, shakin' the bush.

Later in the day, a flood watch was issued for the beach areas saying the extra high tide and winds might push the water all the way to the dune. We parked at our usual night camp area and I kept an eye on the tide. High tide today was at 5:39pm. The "flood watch" turned out to be a real Chicken Little event.

There are sea gulls by the zillion.

No weather is too bad for a game of ball.

Kite boards.

The weather forecast is for steady improvement with some sunshine possible by Tuesday. Whoopee!! From the number of almost full RV parks in the area, this is clearly a popular winter resort area. Given that weather is relative, this area may be a good choice if you're from North Dakota or some such place, or you just don't know any better. As for us, we won't be back this way during the winter months.

Another part of the adventure. Sure beats just hanging around the house.

Friday, December 09, 2011

On to Port Aransas (Port "A")

We enjoyed our stay at the Galveston Island SP. The sites are close together and offer no privacy at all but the beach is very nice and located just across the dune from the camping area. Gopher and I were able to take a few nice walks along the beach. Still cold and overcast.

On Thursday we drove to Port Lavaca.

Texas generally leads the fight to shut down the EPA. Wonder why?

All the pollution does come with a cost.

Port Lavaca has a city RV park with a great location on Lavaca Bay. The majority of the guests seemed to be long term. There are eight nice, level pull-through sites set aside for transient guests like us. Full hookups plus wi-fi. for a very reasonable $29/night. There is a small nature preserve that is part of the city park. The path is paved so Carol was able to join in on a nice walk. The first sunny day we've had in a while.

I did wonder just what three plastic palm trees added to the preserve.

Our campsite

Why do people do stuff like this?? It's a nature preserve for Pete's sake.

Today we drove to Port Aransas, locally known as Port "A". On the way, we found the Rockport Bakery which is actually located in Fulton and not Rockport. More of a doughnut shop then what I call a bakery but it was good. Won't make our top ten list but the apple fritters were exceptional.

Port A is our favorite Texas area. We discovered it this past March when we were out this way. It was Spring Break then, and the place was jammed with college kids and vacationing families. In December, it's mostly just old folks like us. We prefer the excitement of the family atmosphere to the geriatric setting.

At any rate. In order to park on the beach you need a $12 annual parking permit so I stopped in the office at the I.B. Magee County Park/Campground to buy the permit. They were all out of 2011 permits and the 2012 permits were not due in until the 19th. So, until the 19th, no permit is required. Saved a whole $12!! During the day, we stay next to the inlet which is actually a part of the county park. The inlet is very busy with ships of all types heading to Corpus Cristi. Fun to watch the activity.

If you stay after dark in the park proper, you must buy a $12/night camping permit. As the day wears on, we just move south of the fishing pier about a hundred yards and now we're not in the county park. That's where we spend the night. The night camp, as some call it, is very nice. The beach is clean, there are trash cans and the police patrol on a regular basis. As needed, the county campground has a dump/water fill for $4. With the $12 I saved on the permit, I had dinner (next paragraph) plus enough left over for one dump/fill. Life is good!!

About 4:00 a guy,a dog and a rusty pickup stopped by. The guy was selling tamales that his wife made. Twelve for $7. That was my dinner. Carol doesn't like tamales so I heated her up some leftover fish.

Just looked it up on the internet. Only says it's a cargo ship; not what kind. Just left the port of Corpus Christi headed for Grundartangi, Iceland. Due to arrive on 12/22. The internet is an amazing place.

The plan is to stay around here until the 15th then begin the 1,100+ mile drive north to Suzannes house in Longmont,CO.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Continuing west along the TX Gulf Coast

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today we drove to Rollover Pass at Gilcrest, TX. On the way, we had a great lunch at Al-T’s restaurant in Winnie, TX. We stumbled across Al-T’s last year when we stayed in the city campground in Winnie. Carol had the crab cakes, which had big chunks of real crab, not Krab. I had a crawfish Po-Boy on a fresh baked roll. We shared the very good onion rings. Tonight we’re camped on the Rollover Pass which is a channel through the Bolivar Peninsula.  It’s a cold, grey, windy day. We walked the beach and Gopher wanted to go swimming but I said “no”.   It’s too cold plus I don’t want a soaking wet , sandy dog in the camper.
Once again, it’s just the three of us.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Continued south to Galveston. There is a short ferry ride from the Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston.  On Yelp! I read about a great bakery in Galveston; Patty Cakes Bakery. Now one of our top 10 bakeries. Besides the typical baked goods, they had fresh croissant breakfast sandwiches. I got one bacon/cheddar. We ate it where we were parked by the bakery and it was so good,  Carol sent me back in to get some for lunch. Carol had a turkey and I got another bacon/cheddar. It’s another cold and dreary day so we thought a campsite with electricity was in order. The high temp. so far, is 44*.  That’s nothing compared to the blizzard conditions throughout most of NM. Drifting along the TX coast turned out to be an excellent choice, all things considered.
We’re staying the next two days at the Galveston  Island State Park. The website lists the camping rate as $25/night but when you register, they charge an additional $5/person/day park access fee bringing the real camping fee to $35/day.  It is very nice being warm and toasty.

                                                  Three lazy birds

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Heading west and the Birthday Girl

December 2
We left home just before 10am. Filled up with gas at the Pilot station; $3.13/gallon after our 2 cent/gallon discount.  Stopped for the night about 3pm at the Suwannee River State Park near Live Oak, FL. $12.10 for a full hookup site with the Florida Senior 50% discount.  Compared to this summers travels in NY, PA, & MI, the full rate of $22/night + tax, is very reasonable. This summer we generally paid from $30 to $35/night for a state park campsite with electric only, or perhaps water.
We’ve camped here before. The Withlacoochee River joins the Suwannee River at this location.  A good number of the campers had canoes or kayaks with them. A little park history. Native Americans used this area about 12,000 years ago. In 1540 DeSoto passed through the park area. In 1818 Andrew Jackson was sent through the area with orders to kill all the Indians he could find. There are some earthworks from the Civil War that were built to protect the bridge that crossed the river.  We didn’t do any exploring today but have on past visits. Mostly Gopher and I just walked along the river trail to stretch our legs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011
We left the campground at about 9:30. It was a very long driving day. About 5:30 we arrived at the Louisiana State Welcome Center, initially to get some New Orleans information and maps.  We decided to just stay here for the night. It’s an exceptionally nice rest area. Dump station, level parking area, well lighted, 24 hour security, and free wi-fi.  Only 40 minutes from the French Quarter. The women at the Visitor Center was very knowledgeable. She even told me about two parking lots that could accommodate over-sized vehicles so if my first plan, i.e. parking on the street near the market area, doesn’t work, I’ll try the parking lots.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A major event. Today is Carol’s birthday!!   On the way to the French Quarter we stopped by WalMart to pick up a few odds and ends but mostly to buy Carol a birthday present. While packing, she forgot to put her pajamas in the camper. For $14 I bought Carol a nice fuzzy pajama set. Just what she needed. Filled the tank with $2.959 gas at WalMart. First <$3/gal gas we've seen.
We arrived at the French Quarter about 9:45 and found a perfect parking spot only about two blocks from the French Market. I had previously looked at Google Earth and identified some areas that had parking possibilities.  The two spots were metered but parking on Sunday is free. We poked around the market area for a while then I got in the very long line at Café Du Monde. When my turn finally came, I got two orders of beignets and a cup of coffee.  Later in the morning we took a drive along St. Charles Avenue past the mansions and Loyola University when Jennifer and Suzanne both attended college. As best we can recall, it’s been about twenty years since we’ve been in NOLA. We had lunch at La Madeleine Country French Café at the far end of St. Charles Ave.
About 2pm we headed out of NO. Tonight’s “campground” is the  Atchafalaya Welcome Center on I-10 just east of Henderson, LA. We’ve stayed here before. Nice level parking area, well lighted, 24 hour security.
Change of travel plans. We were going to drive to New Mexico and stay there until we headed north to Suzanne’s house but the weather is just too cold for our liking. We decided to drift along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast then drive from Corpus Christi  to Longmont.  That’s why we never travel with reservations and keep the waste tanks empty and the water filled.  We like the flexibility and just don’t like being tied to a schedule.