Saturday, April 15, 2017

Texas - 2017 (3)

April 13, 2017.
I left Bandera at 7:00 AM and arrived at the Malaquite Beach campground, on Padre Island, at about 12:00 noon. The campground is about thirty miles from Corpus Christi.

I saw some motorhomes and trailers belonging to WINs but they were all gone to do sightseeing or going out for lunch.
I took a camp site and when I was going to pay at the little kiosk I noticed that that site was taken but the person was gone and did not leave anything on the site.
I had to move to another spot. From the motorhome I can see the beach and the Gulf of Mexico.

People were fishing and one person had three good sized fish in his bucket.

The 5:00 PM meeting was at 5:30 PM because the group came back late from the King ranch. From here it is seventy miles one way to the ranch. I would have liked to go.

April 14, 2017.
Last night, at 9:00 PM, I heard two big Diesel powered motorhomes come into the campground. One parked next to me. The camp host was out there with a big flash light directing the person.
When I woke up this morning I checked who it was. It is Bill. The other WIN is Ken with his 45 foot monster motorhome.
I do not like to arrive at a camp ground when it is dark. Especially out here where there are no lights.
In the morning some of us went to the Visitor Center and took a guided bird watching tour on a twelve passenger van.

We stopped at several places and observed all kind of shore birds and other birds. The guides set up a telescope and they also had binoculars on board.

There were white pelicans in the water.

We also spent some time in the Visitor Center and learned about the program they have, with the cooperation of Mexico, to save endangered sea turtles.

In the afternoon we drove to Corpus Christi and played Mini Golf. It was fun. I did not do well.

After we were done we went next door to Ocean Treasures.  It is a big place and they sell all kinds of merchandise. The front of the store looks like a giant sand castle.

On my evening walk, on the beach, I watched people set up tents. It will be a crowded weekend since it is Easter.

The campground is full. Bill and Ken were lucky. They got the last two camp sites.

April 15, 2017.
This morning I went to the King Ranch Museum in Kingsville. I watched a thirty minute video of the history of the founder and of the ranch.

At the museum are vehicles used over the years. They range from horse drawn buggies to a special Buick hunting car. The car has pockets, over each front fender, for six guns.

I did not go to the King Ranch because the video showed me what I would have seen on the two hour guided tour on a bus.
The first vaqueros (cowboys) at the ranch were hired by Captain King from Mexico. The present cowboys are the third or fourth generation from the original group. It is a family business. The cowboys get a house, several horses and a pick- up truck.
From the museum I went to Old Town and then to a big HEB store with bakery. They had the bread I like and I bought two loaves.
When I got back to Padre Island National Seashore I watched wind surfers at surfer beach. It must be fun to go over the water that fast.

April 16, 2017.
Some of the WINs went to the Easter Service early in the morning. The chaplain came to the campground.

My neighbors were getting ready to go fishing.

I went to the South Texas Botanical Garden in Corpus Christi.

Besides plants they also have birds and reptiles.

There were many beautiful orchids in a green house.

Some of the bushes were in bloom.

The Monkey Mansion seems to be for children. Since it was Easter there were not many visitors at the Botanical Garden.

At the Butterfly enclosure were some beautiful butterflies.

At 2:00 PM we had our Easter pot luck. We had ham, scalloped potatoes, potato salad, broccoli salad, green bean casserole, fruit salad and a cake and cherry pie.

On my evening walk I found a kite. I flew it along the beach hoping somebody would claim it. Nobody came forward. I have a kite now.

April 17, 2017.
This is our last day at Corpus Christi. Three WINs left already and headed for the next stop.
We ate the leftovers from the Easter dinner today and most of us got ready for the move tomorrow.
I walked on the beach again hoping to see a turtle come ashore. It is nesting season right now. Volunteers are riding along the beach checking for turtles. They take the eggs and bring them to an incubator. This insures that the eggs have a chance to survive predators.
The young turtles are brought back to the beach and they walk to the water. This way they know where to come back to.

April 18, 2017.
We moved thirty three miles east, to Port Aransas, on Mustang Island. The County Campground is on the beach.

When I arrived here this morning it looked like it would rain any minute. This did not bother Garth; he was trying to catch dinner. He is one of the WINs who came here yesterday.

The office of the campground is above ground, so are many houses. In case of a storm we have to get out of here.

In the evening I walked along the beach to the jetty. Large cargo ships were leaving the harbor.

A man was feeding the Laughing Seagulls. They are very pretty and make a strange noise.

I was lucky today and got two of my problems fixed. To heat up lunch I turned on the generator. As soon as I started the micro wave oven the generator stopped. I disconnected the microwave oven and started the generator again. Then I turned on the motorhome air conditioner. The generator stopped again.
I knew that Bill had the same problem. I asked him how he fixed it. He told me to turn off the breakers and turn them on again; it worked.
I did not use the dash air conditioner in the motorhome for a long time. On the coast it does not get that hot. This morning, while driving, I tried to use it and it blew only warm air.
I checked all the fuses today and made sure the compressor kicked in. Rod and Stephen came over and it was decided that I was low on the gas which makes the thing work. It used to be Freon.
Rod had a charging kit with one can. We used that can and it was not enough. I went to the hardware store and bought two more cans. We used both cans and Stephen, who is a mechanic, told me that the gage on the charging kit does not work properly and that there is enough gas in the system, and he was right.
I was trying to make it three successes and worked on the TV antenna. It is difficult now to raise it.
I set up my telescoping ladder and lubricated the mechanism of the antenna. It did not help much.
I probably have to take it completely apart. I will do that when I will stay at a place for a few weeks.

April 19, 2017.
This morning we went to the Marine Science Education Center of the University of Texas, Austin.
The center is involved in studying methods of cleaning up the ocean in case of an oil spill. They also are working on species of animals which seem to be on the verge of extinction.

At the children section Laurie caught a fish. The fish is hooked with a magnet. There is a chart on the wall with different sizes of a fish. The angler has to check whether the fish is of legal size. This display is part of teaching children about fishing.

The Marine Science Education Center is located on the shipping channel and surrounded by beautiful landscaping.

Our next stop was a pizza restaurant.

Near the shipping channel are in storage three large oil rigs.  An investor bought them and hopes the price of oil goes up so he can sell them for a profit.

In the evening we walked to the site of the Texas Sand Fest. The Sand Fest is one of the reasons we are staying in Port Aransas. Artists from all over the United States and some foreign countries will create sculptures from sand. The event starts on Friday.
Organizers are getting ready. The outdoor toilets are in place and the parking is set up. Large mounts of sand are ready to be shaped into figures.

To get to the event site we had to walk about two miles on sand. They expect one hundred thousand visitors. Parking will be a nightmare. During the day walking two miles one way is no fun. It is too warm.
I will walk to the pier and then take the shuttle.
This evening I was glad when I came to the pier on my way home.

April 20, 2017
This was a busy day. On my morning walk to the jetty I saw this ship with the rising sun. I really enjoy my stay in Port Aransas. The breeze from the Gulf of Mexico keeps the temperature down and the town is a nice little place.

On my way back to the motorhome I encountered Laurie who had seen a strap on the beach. She tried to pull it out and was not successful. She took a shovel and dug a deep hole. She had to give up because the strap was buried very deep. She never found out what was on the other end.

At 10:00 AM we had an appointment with Rick Pratt, the director of the Port Aransas Museum. He met us at the Farley Boat Works. The row boats the company built were instrumental in keeping the local fishing industry alive.

The boat works is part of the museum and people can build their own boats. The parts are supplied by the boat works.

When outboard motors were available the design of the boats changed to accommodate the motor. The first outboard motors were strange looking devices.

President Roosevelt enjoyed catching a big fish while visiting Port Aransas.

We learned a lot about the history of boat building and the town. Rick told us we should come to the museum and watch some of the old movies from the twenties and thirties of the last century.
First we ate some very good tacos at a small walk up restaurant.

Across Texas are thousands of signs explaining the history of buildings and other facts. I never saw so many sign in other states. This sign tells about Mustang Island.

We went to the museum and saw some of the old movies and Rick told us more about this region and the island.
On my evening walk to the pier I took a picture of our motorhomes. Mine is the one on the right.

April 21, 2017
The Sand Fest started today. There are plenty of vendors who sell food.

The amateurs finished their projects this morning. Some are very nice.

The masters will work today, tomorrow and probably Sunday morning. Judging will be done Sunday afternoon.

In the afternoon I decided to go to Aransas Pass. The town is only eight miles from here, but to get off the island one has to take the ferry. I knew it was a bad day to leave the island. Getting over to Aransas Pass was easy; I just drove on the ferry and ten minutes later I was driving off the ferry.
I went to Walmart and did some shopping and then headed back. It took forty five minutes to get on the ferry. People were going to the Sand Fest. There were five ferries going back and forth. I do not know why the state does not build a bridge. The ferries are free.

Two of the ferries are coming back.

April 22, 2017
Since it is warm again and I did not feel to walk down the Sand Fest I drove to a neighborhood street and parked the car.
I walked a short distance and took the free golf cart shuttle to the Sand Fest area.
The artists have made progress with their creations.

After visiting the library, doing my computer work and saying goodbye to the two nice librarians, I went back to the motorhome and took it easy the rest of the day.
People in those small towns are friendly and helpful. I have not encountered one mean person since we came to Texas.