The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Home Again, Home Again

Ah, the part of the trip that one dreads but in some way still looks forward to.....heading home. Not a real issue for my full-timer friends but one for my any-timer or part-timer friends. I was able to get one more night (Sunday) at Corpus Christi NAS but would have had to move to another site.  Moving to another site was not a big issue until I checked the new site out on Saturday. Not good, especially for just one night. It would have required backing in from a very narrow road into a very narrow drive with curbs right next to a huge bush. Doable but just not worth all the effort for just one night.

I woke up Sunday morning inside a fluffy cotton ball. You could not see anything 25 feet away from the RV....like being in a different alien world.  I got the RV all hooked up and then just settled back with a cup of coffee and my computer to enjoy the next few hours. Departure should have been by 11:00 but check-in isn't really until 2:00. There was no one was in the office on Sundays anyway. And it would have been insane to attempt to drive anywhere in the heavy fog.  I figured I would just sit tight until the fog disappeared. It was highly unlikely that the next camper would show up anytime soon as they would have been just as impacted by the heavy fog. If they were crazy enough to drive in it, I would have just pulled into a nearby parking lot and stayed there all day if necessary. No one belonged on the road in that pea soup.

About 12:30, the pea soup cleared up when a breeze blew in. A quick potty break for the dachsies and we pulled out. Still dragging my feet about ending my lovely trip, I thought I would try a Passport America park in Mathis. This would be a short drive but it would put me beyond Corpus Christi for Monday morning rush hour the next day.  We zipped up to Mathis and found the Mathis Motel and RV Park without a problem. Well, a little problem.....I pulled in, drove around the turn around, and pulled right back out again.  It was a sad, dreary looking place with some RV looking like they were there for the long term haul as they disintegrated in place. I have had great luck with Passport America and never run into a place like this but, please, cross it off your list. You'll be glad you didn't bother to pull off the highway. I should have checked on the state parks in the area as there are several. Instead, I decided to head on home since it was only two hours away anyway.

I pulled into the next roadside park to do some advance prep and opened my bedroom slide. It took just a couple of minutes to strip the bed and unload the clean clothes from drawers into a clothes basket. My driveway at home is at a slight incline so I don't like to open the slides in an off level situation. Then I was off.

My other reason for preferring to arrive home on a weekday rather than a weekend is that I live on a very short cul-de-sac and several of the neighbors angle park their vehicles into the cul-de-sac making it very difficult circle and back into our driveway. Since the HOA only does drive arounds once a week during the daytime, they pretend they don't know this illegal parking is the normal practice. I only have the RV at home a day or maybe two before it goes back to the storage place but if complaints ever arise, my ignoring this parking will end.  I figured I would` just park on the adjoining street overnight and only unload what I needed that night.

And that is just what I did. The next day, I backed the RV in and got it unloaded. My son Steve always shows up and helps out just when I need him. We also gave the RV a quick bath to ensure any salt from the trip was washed away.

Note to self:  next time be sure you announce you are coming home a day early so the backyard grass gets cut, the carpet gets vacuumed, and the kitchen get cleaned up before you get there.  Hmmmm.

People Watching In Corpus Christi Bay

My trip is rolling closer to the end but I wanted to see a few more sites in Corpus Christi. I drove along the bay all the way from Corpus Christi Naval Air Station to downtown. There are beautiful homes of all different styles. There are also a lot of small parks all along the bay. One of the bigger parks is Cole Park which has a lot going on.

Behind the row of cars is a Skate Park and there were a lot of kids and adults taking advantage of it even though it was a rather gray day.

There are picnic tables and a Pavilion which was filled with people.  Nice playground too and an Amphitheater. Although I didn't see anyone today, you will often see windsurfers in the bay and kite flyers on the beach. There are sidewalks with walkers, bikers, and skate boarders.

As we moved closer to the downtown area, Willy at up to take a peak at the bay and the nice little pavilions along the sidewalk. You can park anywhere along this area just a couple of blocks from downtown.

There are three T Heads you can drive onto with lots of boats. This is out on the end of the T Head.



I found this interesting boat tied up but didn't see any more information about it.

Who doesn't love to watch sailboats??? There were many out even though it was rather foggy out on the bay.


I visited in the late afternoon so the shrimp boats were all tied up and there was no activity going on. If you arrive at the right time, you can buy fresh shrimp when they pull in and dock.

This is Landry's Restaurant.

Willy liked the waterfront view.

I think a number of these birds are pelicans.



I was hoping for a harbor cruise but Capt Bill's is apparently no more and there was no one around this ferry. No info on the sign either.

This is the view from the front of the convention center. Boats and palm trees....paradise.

The U.S.S. Lexington across the channel.

These replicas of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria used to be in a lot better shape when we were here years ago. They are part of the museum.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that Corpus Christi is also a port for larger ships.  No this is not a larger ship.....

But if you look up the channel past the Texas State Aquarium on the other side....

You will see the big ships tied up in the port.


Another visit to Corpus Christi is definitely in order. There are so many places I didn't get to visit. They have lots of museums. I hope you all get a chance to visit too.

Padre Island National Seashore

My last trip to Padre Island National Seashore was two years ago when I picked up my Senior Pass. How time flies. It was a cloudy overcast day but you take what you can get.

Three different groups of people have lived on Padre Island....first the Coahuiltecans centuries ago in small settlements, then the Spanish Explorers during the 1600 and 1700's, and finally the Cattlemen used the land for grazing until the 1970s when oil was discovered.

Padre Island preserves the coastal prairie habitat along with the longest section of undeveloped barrier island in the world. It is comprised of grasslands, dunes, beaches, and scattered ephemeral marshes and ponds.

Once I checked into the National Seashore, my next stop was Bird Island Basin. What a surprise!

I thought there was only one campground in the seashore. There are no hookups but what a view.


Many people had a special reason for coming to this beach. They were here to windsurf or kayak on Laguna Madre. There is a rental shop if you need one. There are also primitive restrooms, no showers. Looks like a group of people taking lessons.

Success!

This is the campground I knew about. Again, there are no hook-ups so people have solar and generators for power. There were some open spots but there were quite a few campers with all different kinds of rigs.



Just in case you were wondering, there is lots going on at Padre.

You can also get a permit and camp right on the beach.

Lots of people fishing wherever you go.

Padre Island is also famous for Kemp's Ridley Turtles.

Right-of-way directions for driving on the beach.

There was an interesting poster on how debris ends up on the island. Looks like it comes from every direction.....

but there is regular clean-up in addition to special events.

This is the the staging area for the clean-up. There were lots of people there to help. I saw them bringing back trailers full of bagged debris.

This is the hub of activities here on the Seashore.



There are always birding tours going on, walks set up to learn about the beach, etc.


Fishing poles for the ocean are longer than other poles so people have unique ways to carry them.

So, even though it was a very overcast, slightly cool day, we enjoyed our time at the Padre Island National Seashore.

Rockport, Fulton, and Goose Island State Park

Just so you can enjoy......this is the view out the back window of my RV. That's a good size bird and an even bigger Jack Rabbit.

Judy or Birdie will have to identify the birds.

For some reason, the color isn't too good on these two photos.....probably to do with distance and enlargement.  These Jack Rabbits are waaaay bigger than the Traveling Longdogs. I had forgotten how big they are and how many there are of them too.
 

Our destination today was Rockport and Fulton so I headed north across Corpus Christi. I had to take a couple different highways once I got through town and wouldn't you know it, the GPS locked up as I was changing highways.

And, of course, the navigator was not paying attention because he was way too relaxed.

Fortunately, I had looked at a paper map before we left so we didn't have much trouble. We headed past Aransas Pass.....

and took Business 35 right along the coast.


Rockport is a colorful little town with an eclectic downtown area.

This mural was on the side of a small building housing an old-fashioned barber shop.

There are art galleries and interesting little shops.

They have benches at the corners with big umbrellas over them.


I love the harbors because I love boats and ships.

After we walked around town checking things out, the Traveling Longdogs graciously waited for me in the truck all the windows opened several inches. It was not that warm out and there was a good breeze so they were very comfortable....except for Willy. He let me know a couple of times that he would prefer to accompany me before he laid down and took another nap.

I had lunch at the Rockport Daily Grind. My sandwich was great, they had lots of good choices including several different kinds of quiche.  And the coffee, let's just say Starbucks could take some lessons on what coffee should taste like.

With tables outside and inside as well as a counter, there was room for a number of people and there were several different groups enjoying coffee and lunch. I would definitely recommend a stop there if you come to Rockport.

There used to be a number of grand hotels in Rockport but you will still find plenty of places to stay with or without your RV.

Lots of eye candy here.

We headed along the coast to Fulton. I think these posts are favorite roosting areas.

Love this shot.  And this guy was right next to.....

.....Pelican Pier, of course.

I think these are shrimp boats in this harbor.

I've heard a lot about this Texas State Park and I finally get a chance to check it out.

The ranger at the gate was really nice when I told her I would like to check out the park for a future visit. She gave me a visitor's half hour pass instead of charging me the day use fee. There are two different campgrounds and they really are different.  One is in the woods with lots of trees and bushes and privacy between most of the campsites. Many are little areas carved out of the jungle of bushes.  The other campground is right along the water with a covered picnic table between each site. Sites are close together but if you want to fish, you might want to be here. Sorry but I didn't get pictures in the campgrounds.

I passed the boat lunch ramp on my way to check out the water sites and look at the crowd gathered there. Everyone is very interested in the catch of the day. There is a bait house on the right of the ramp.


There was one other sight I wanted to check out at Goose Island State Park. I had to go in a completely different direction down this road.

Yes, I wanted to see the Big Tree.

This ancient oak is over 1000 years old and is one of the largest trees in the country.

It is surrounded by a fence so you can enjoy it but not climb on it. There are lots of other oaks that you can take your picture on.


It really is amazing and beautiful.

These younger trees are the Big Trees offspring and you are allowed to take pictures on their branches.

We headed back towards Corpus Christi but there was one more site I thought we could fit in.

The Fulton Mansion is about 135 years old and was apparently in need of a little work.

This is the view looking from the bay back towards the mansion. Regular tours are not in effect right now but it is a beautiful home and was very modern for it's time.

I planned to stop for some diesel on the way back to Corpus Christi because I saw several places for $3.59 but I pulled in really quick when I saw this service station with diesel for $3.48!  The prices were very clear when I took the shot with my cell phone so I don't know why there are black bars across them.

All the pictures beginning with Goose Island had to be taken with my cell phone because my camera battery died so they aren't quite as good.

I have one more picture to show you.  It's not a great picture but I wanted you to see.  The Traveling Longdogs and I were out for a walk after we got back from our trip today. Across the road from the RV Park, there were two coyotes. I think they came from the wildlife area along the water's edge and then crossed the road into this field.  Needless to say, we made a quick about face and headed back down the inner road we were on. After the dachsies were safely in the RV, I went back with the truck and took this picture. I think the "Scare Light" will be on when we do the final potty run tonight.