Showing posts from January, 2009

Biting Off More than You Can Chew

Last Friday Dar and I put about 12 miles on our bikes as we roamed around the Rockport area in search of things to photograph. It was a really nice day but bright mid-day sun isn’t real conducive to photography. The harshness of direct and somewhat hazy bright sunlight tends to wash out photos. Usually the best light is early morning and late afternoon — when the sun is lower in the sky and the light has a slightly warmer reddish tint. But since we were going stir-crazy and needed to get out on an excursion of some kind anyway… if any photos turned out good we’d have to Photoshop them to greatness. At one point we rode up on a small group of people standing on the shoreline who appeared to be watching something out in the bay. As we slowly approached I saw it… a Great Blue Heron only 50 feet from the shore in shallow water — with a large fish in it’s beak. Cool! Well, at least it was cool for the Heron… not so cool for the fish! Herons eat by catching small fish and swallowing the

Drag Racing & Belt Sanders

written Saturday, January 24, 2009 Rockport, TX I’m sure you’ve heard of drag racing. At some point you might have attended a drag race event. You may have even participated in unsanctioned drag races on the lonely back roads of rural America during your youth. Huh?? Com’on… tell the truth. OK, I’ll come clean. I did. Once. It was during my high school years in the 60’s. In those days there were only a handful of kids who actually owned a car or even had one available for their regular use. Most families had just one car and, if you were lucky, it was made available to you when Dad or Mom didn’t need it — which usually meant only some weekend nights. At the time in question our family had a 1964 Rambler Classic 660 Station Wagon. It was a good car in the realm of reliable but not very flashy transportation. It had a 6 cylinder motor and, while it was big enough for our small family, it was considered a small car in it’s day. I can only imagine the anguish my parents felt every t

A Naval Air Assault

written Monday, January 19, 2009 Rockport, TX A virus of some sort is going through the area. What do they call it… a rhinovirus?? It’s cut a wide swath through the RV Park and about the middle of last week it finally hit the bus-house. Dar was it’s first and, hopefully, last victim. It’s not a bad cold, but it was bothersome she says. It settled into her chest and between a sore throat and occasional coughing fits it left her feeling a bit off kilter the past few days. If you stay here at Sandollar Resort long enough you’ll eventually get used to being buzzed by the U.S. Navy. The Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is the place new pilots go for primary flight training. For some reason they use the Aransas County Airport, just down the road from Sandollar, to practice landings and other maneuvers. When they’re out in force there can be 6 or more planes in the pattern at the same time. For the most part they fly a plane called the T-34 Turbo Mentor, a plane built between 1975 an

Terror From the North

written Friday, January 16, 2009 Rockport, TX Commentary Item: A US Airways A-320 airliner ditches in the Hudson River on Thursday after being struck by birds on take off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Due to the skill of the pilots and quick response from those on the ground everyone survived. A later report stated that the plane flew through a flock of Canada Geese. Alright, that’s it! This is the last straw! We were lucky this time… that may not be the case next time. If, in fact, it turns out these were Canada Geese let me be the first to call for prompt action against Canada — our seemingly friendly neighbor to the North. The people and the government of Canada have a long history of harboring these big birds… these terrorist turkeys… these weapons of mass defecation, and sending them on annual missions of destruction into the continental United States. This latest attack is a ratcheting-up of tactics with the introduction of “guided geese” — homing honkers willing

Back to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

written Thursday, January 15, 2009 Rockport, TX This past Monday, the 12th of January, was supposed to be a nice day so we loaded up the bikes and headed north to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. You may remember that we were there a couple times last January — once to visit and take photos; and again to ride our bikes around the 16 mile loop that threads its way through the Refuge. This year’s visit was as much about getting out on the bikes and working up a sweat as it was about the wildlife. From Aransas Wildlife Refuge The day was perfect for the ride… very low wind, bright sun, low dew point, and temps in the 60f’s. A Ranger we ran into said they get maybe 10 days like this all year. And maybe because it was a Monday there were very few visitors. It felt like we had all 115,000 acres and 16 miles of roadway to ourselves. This part of South Texas has been in extreme drought. There’s been very little rain. San Antonio usually gets about 34 inches of rain in a normal yea

Exploring the Coastal Lifestyle

written Friday, January 09, 2009 Rockport, TX The coastline here is made up of a series of large shallow bays. Corpus Christi Bay is south of us. Aransas Bay is where Rockport is situated, the bay we see from Sandollar Resort. Just to the north of us is Copano Bay, where we took the pictures of the dolphins the other day. To the north of that is San Antonio Bay. And then there’s Matagorda Bay. All these bays are behind a series of long, thin barrier islands, which tend to form along the coast after many years of tidal and flooding activity. These islands provide the area with some protection from the open waters of the Gulf during storms. It’s been many years since Rockport or Corpus Christi was hit by a major hurricane. People who live here know it’s only a matter of time but they also grow lax and begin to think about the future on the basis of the recent past. A lot of recent construction has been built too close to the water and will surely blow away when a Katrina or Ike ha

Winter Warmth

written Tuesday, January 06, 2009 Rockport, TX Last year we left Sandollar on January 8th and killed a week or so around San Antonio before heading west into the high country of West Texas. It didn’t take long to discover that winter in the high and dry west can be cold. I pulled out our charter, the document that guides our travels, and found right there in black and white: “Prime Directive #2 — Strive to find warmth and sun.” While the high country gets high marks for sun, in January and February it falls short on the warmth part. We were in clear violation of the charter. There are really only three areas in the contiguous U.S.A. where you’ve got a good chance at warmth in the Winter — South Florida, South Texas, and parts of the extreme Southwest. I’ve been told that snowbirds and others fleeing Northern Winters tend to stay in their longitudinal area; that is, people from the New England States tend to winter in Florida, people from the Midwest go to Texas, and people from

Chapters and Parties

written Monday, January 05, 2009 Rockport, TX Lives, like novels, are made up of chapters. But unlike novels, we, being the complex little creatures we are, have multiple chapters playing out at the same time. We might have a dozen or more separate and concurrent dramas going on, each with different starting and ending points. This is complicated stuff and often festers into lives so busy there’s no time to think. But whether the subject of the chapter is “My College Years”, “My Life in the Fastening Business”, “Raising My Children”, or “My Years on Cedar Avenue”, there’s a point in time when it’s crystal clear that a particular chapter is over… you graduate or retire or move or watch your kids graduate. All that remains are memories. Those are the times I find myself getting a little pensive as I reflect on the past and wonder about the future — the next chapter. We ended a big chapter when we sold the house and started this fulltiming lifestyle. There was a nearly 6 month peri