Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rockport Beach Park


Rockport Beach Park is a peninsula between Little Bay and Aransas Bay.
Entrance fee $4.00 day per car / $10 annual pass
Free passes available at the Chamber of Commerce
No charge to ride my bike into the park.

from their website:
"The Blue Wave campaign is America's first environmental certification for beaches.  The goal of Blue Waves is to promote public awareness and voluntary participation in maintaining clean and healthy beaches. Our Blue Wave beach is litter free, is handicap accessible, has public restroom facilities, picnic sites, children's play areas, swimming, fishing, public boat ramp and is a bird sanctuary.

Looking out over Little Bay


I agree that this is a very clean beach and because of this I stayed longer than I had planned. The only thing missing was either a concession stand, a vending machine or a drinking fountain.  I had a bottle of water and some snack bars, but did not have enough water with me. 





The birds waited at the fish cleaning tables
for scraps to be thrown to them




Needed to find something to drink before I rode home,
stopped at Sonic on the way back to the RV park
 for a Happy Hour half price limeade.


*    *    *    *    *

I know that most of the bloggers do not like the new "double word" verification on comments, but I have actually been using it as a challenge. Looking really closely at the words and seeing if I can get it right on the first try.  I have been doing pretty good so far.

Feathers and Fog




Rode my bike
out to a little park
along the Bay.
Sat on a picnic table
bird watching, and
saw the fog roll in.


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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Deciding where to go next

I'm still on the Gulf Coast, moving around from park to park, trying to decide where I want to go next.  The weather has been rainy, cloudy and foggy.....but the temps are warm.


Can't decide if I want to stay around the coast or head up towards New Mexico and maybe Arizona before I head to Colorado.  I checked weather.com and the night time temps in southern New Mexico are pretty low, even though the daytime temps are in the 60's with sunshine.

I do not have to turn on the furnace or the electric heater where I am at now. If I decide to move north to New Mexico or Arizona, it will most likely be cold in the mornings when I go out for a walk.

Warm days/nights with possibility of rain/fog
        vs. 
    Sunshine and cold nights/mornings

I am still drawn to this area
 and am not in a hurry to head north.

My challenge is finding a park that feels like the country, but that is close to conveniences.  I want to be able to walk around town and check out the area. This is what I like about the Gulf Coast, many of the RV parks are close to the beaches and piers and I can spend hours walking around the area.

I am challenging myself to find places to visit where I don't need a car. I want to intentionally find places to walk and ride a bike.  When I owned my home, I would often walk to the grocery store, bank, library or post office. I am trying to fit that into my lifestyle now. Several years ago I did research on "walkable" communities. Now, I just have to find "walkable" communities that have nice RV parks.

The State Parks that have walking and biking trails are also good places to stay for more than a day or two. I can fill several hours a day trying out different trails in a state park.

I feel more comfortable walking along the shore (a more open, spacious feeling). When I am walking the trails in the wooded parks, it feels more closed in and secluded and I'm not comfortable walking alone.

*     *     *     *     *
From December 30th to February 14th, I stayed at Pioneer Beach Resort in Port Aransas, TX on Mustang Island.  I really liked the corner site that I had near the pond. If I had been in another site, I may not have stayed as long and probably would not have been as happy with the park.  Many of the sites are close together, but there are a few areas around the ponds in the park that have larger sites.

Pioneer Beach Resort          Right outside the RV door

Pioneer Beach Resort is almost 5 miles from the "downtown" area of Port Aransas and this is why I chose this park. It's on the quieter side of the island, closer to the state parks, and is the end of the line for the bus. The bus comes to the park once an hour from 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week. I used this bus to go to the grocery, post office, or to get to other areas of town to walk around and check out different areas.



The park has a nice boardwalk, wide enough to ride a golf cart on, that takes you over the dunes and to the beach. The beach on this end of Mustang Island is not very crowded.



Pioneer Beach Resort has all of the usual events for a "snowbird" park. Pot luck dinners, bingo, craft classes, seminars, entertainment, dances, etc.  I did not join in on any of these events. Some of the women I talked to have been coming back to this park, every winter, for over 12 years.


*     *     *     *     *

I had an appointment for an eye exam this week and wanted to find a park close to the doctors office.  The exam would include dilating my eyes and I did not want to drive the RV around after that. I ended up at Portobelo Village, an RV & Mobile Home Community in Aransas Pass. It was less than a mile walk to the eye doctors office, so it was a good place to stay for 2 days. The park was nice and clean, and less than 2 blocks to walk to stores and Subway for dinner. Everyone is friendly, but its not where I want to stay for a long time, so I am moving on.

*     *     *

Friday morning, I drove around 20 miles, I'm staying in another coastal town. I paid for a week, and then maybe I'll finally make a decision about which way I'm heading.

map from TexasCoastalBend,org

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Fujifilm camera makes movies, too




I had a hard time holding the camera steady in the wind,
but the wind did not seem to bother this guy.

The Great Blue Heron.
These birds like to position themselves just a few yards
behind a fisherman, hoping to steal a "just caught" fish.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

15x Zoom


I finally broke down and ordered a small, pocket size camera from Amazon.com. It is the Fujifilm Finepix F505EXR and it came with a 4gb memory card. I just wanted the zoom feature, there are dials and other controls. I have it set on automatic for now. I can play with it for 30 days and decide if I like it enough to keep or if I will send it back to Amazon.

I want to get some close up pictures of the birds around here. 



Today was windy and cool, but the sun was out for most of the day, so I decided to walk around the campground and beach to try and find some birds. The Roseate Spoonbills were not here today, but I did see some other birds. 




I try to get out walking everyday, no matter what the weather is. I walked a little in the rain/drizzle the other day. Today I walked a mile on the beach with the wind at my back, but then I had to turn around and face the wind to get back to the RV. I'm not going as far as when the weather is nicer, but at least I am doing something.

Birds in the pond next to my RV
I need to zoom in more and still be in focus.
I'll have to play with the controls on the camera.

*   *   *   *   *  *   *
KitKat says "Go for a walk, Mom", so I can take a nap.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

10,000 Steps




We've all heard that we need to walk at least
 10,000 steps a day to be considered active.

I do not want to be considered "sedentary". I sat behind a desk for too many years. I try to walk or ride my bike instead of driving. Sometimes I walk up to 7 miles in one day, and then other days I only go a few blocks. Some days I don't go anywhere. I need to be more consistent, I want to be more active everyday.

Do you keep track of your activity? Is it necessary?

I've looked at some "Body Bug" things that you wear on your arm and sync to a computer to track your activity. I'm thinking that this is totally unnecessary - I do not need another electronic thing. With these devices, you keep track of everything you eat and enter it in the program.  I have tried keeping track of activity and food on a free online program and never kept up with it. I would start out good and then forget a meal or a day or an activity, then the charts would be off because something was missing, and I eventually gave up on the process.

My iPhone has several apps that I can use to track my walking. The free apps will tell me how far I have gone on one outing. I would have to pay for an upgrade if I want to see a comparison from one outing to the next. Again, I think this upgrade is unnecessary.

I just need the motivation to get out more and walk or bike everyday. Even if its not 5 or more miles a day. How many miles are in 10,000 steps? I don't know for sure. The free pedometer that I received at the health fair calculates the distance different than the "GPS based app" on the iPhone. If I average the information from both it seems like 10,000 steps = 5 miles.

Does any of this tracking really matter?
 Can't I tell that I am doing the right thing, by how I feel?
And walking on the sand uses different muscles that walking on the sidewalk.
So, how do you calculate the benefits of that?



The weather definitely plays a part in all of this. I don't feel like going out if its gloomy or rainy.  Sometimes I look outside and I think its colder than it is. When I get outside and start walking and realize that its not so bad, I wonder why I waited to go outside. I used to be a morning person. Now on cool mornings, it seems to take me longer to get ready to go out for a walk or to go to town.  I'm hoping to get out to take some sunrise pictures on the beach before I leave this area.

How do I get myself motivated to get outside no matter what the weather is?
I have to remind myself that I may miss seeing the spoonbills,
or a sailboat in the sunset,
or any of the other amazing things around me.


Yesterday, before I left for a walk, I sat in the RV and watched people walking by and riding their bikes. Sure they were wearing hats and coats - but they were out doing something. And, all in all, it is not that cold here, and it will only be like this for a day or two before the temps increase.  I walked 5.75 miles and had to start shedding layers, the sun finally came out as I was walking back to the RV park. Seems like it gets warmer here later in the day as the sun begins to set.



I guess, I'm just frustrated with myself for not being more active right now. I keep thinking, don't be so hard on yourself - you have made a lot of changes recently and its time to just relax and enjoy the slower pace.

There are so many things I want to see and do.  I would like to do some hiking and kayaking. I feel like I need to be in better shape to do these things, and need to push myself to get out and walk and bike more to get ready for some different adventures.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *
Maybe I've just stayed too long in one place. I needed to stay put to receive mail and to get some paperwork done. I procrastinated on some things, so I stayed here and gave myself a deadline to get it done. I have accomplished most of it and hope to finish things up this week.  I guess this is another reason why I have not been outside as much as I would like to be.

I'm trying to find the balance between staying in one location for more than a day or two to explore the area, or just driving through town and not really getting to know the area. Many of the parks offer a reduced price if I stay in one place for a week or a month, and I figure I am also saving on fuel by staying put in one place for a week or month. I'm thinking - what's the rush - you don't have to see everything this year. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *  
We had a lot of rain over the weekend, and I was surprised to see that the rain actually increased the size of the pond next to my RV site. All of the cement pads and streets near this corner are gently sloped towards the pond. During the heavy rain, I was watching all of the water going into the pond. Seems like there are more birds attracted to the pond now, I am seeing different birds this week.



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sea creatures



Jellyfish come in a vast array of colors and sizes. There are jellyfish which are purple, green, yellow, white, opaque, translucent and blue. The most popular blue jellyfish would have to be the blue bottle jellyfish which is also known as the portuguese man of war, which is not really a jellyfish at all. This blue beauty is carnivorous and feeds on smaller fish and other small marine critters. Another popular blue jellyfish to read about is the Blue Blubber Jellyfish. 

Read more: http://www.jellyfishfacts.net/blue-jellyfish.html#ixzz1lS6wLbks










Yesterday I took a long walk along the beach. I was walking along a section of the beach that I had not been to before. The tides had washed a lot of things up on the sand. Blue creatures, sea onions and driftwood. I also saw the large white jellyfish that I had seen before and some fish bones in the sand.

Couldn't find any pictures on google of the plants I refer to as sea onions. Large quantities of plants that looked like they were just pulled from the garden, white bulbs on the end of long brown leafy stems.


Port Aransas, TX

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sun Screens

Today I had Sun Screens installed on all of the RV windows.  


The mobile installer is staying at the RV park I'm in.  I have been watching him install the sunscreens on other RV's while I was walking around the park. I looked online at some of the companies that advertise in the RVing magazines.  I wanted to read some information about the sunscreens and have an idea of prices. There are websites where you can order the materials and cut and install them yourself.

I liked that they are made right at your RV site, I did not have to sit in a waiting room somewhere. The installer has a sewing machine on a slide out table in the back of his pickup truck.  The screens are custom made for your window and are available in a few colors. I just went with black, because the trim around my windows is black.



He used snaps to install them, the snaps are riveted on, he had to drill some pilot holes. This is a bit nerve wracking - hearing him drill into the RV. But I'm sure he knows what he is doing.



I do not like to use air conditioning. These sunshades are supposed to keep the heat out of the RV. They also protect the interior of the RV from the sun. I have already noticed that there is no glare on the laptop screen. It will be easier to sit and read the computer or a book with the RV window shades open, now that the sunscreens are installed.  I had been adjusting the window shades several times during the day, now I won't have to do that.

I have already noticed a big difference in the late afternoon and when the sun was setting. Sometimes I would put the foil windshield protector up right before sunset and then remove it later in the evening. I don't need to do that anymore.

I can see out the windows, I was even able to see the Roseate Spoonbill in the pond. No, its not as clear as the windshield, but I can still see the different colors. Only drawback is that I won't be able to take any pictures through the windows. 


Did you ever notice that the little RV bathrooms get very warm from the sun? They also make a sunscreen to go on the skylight in the bathroom ceiling, this one installs inside.





I can leave the window shades up during the day for cross-ventilation and still have privacy and shade.

I plan on workamping, which means the RV will be sitting in one place for several weeks or months at a time. I figure the sunscreens will keep the RV cooler when it is closed up during the day.

The installer, Allen Caddell (1-888-505-6809), travels all over the country in his RV installing these sunscreens at RV parks. They also make custom tire covers, but the installation would not work out well for my RV. The tire covers are not wrapped around the tire, they are a rectangular piece of the screening snapped to the exterior of the RV and the fabric hangs over the tire.  I have seen these on some of the larger RV's in this park. My wheel wells are different and it just would not work.

example of wheel cover

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FOG

"Mystery magnifies danger,
as a fog the sun"
-Charles Caleb Colton



fog: dim, blur, darken, daze
befuddle, mystify



The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
-Carl Sandburg








Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb