Monday, May 31, 2010

With our sincerest gratitude...

and appreciation for all those people who've faced those most difficult, challenging, and terrifying conditions of war, who've worked, fought, and sacrificed to create and maintain our American way of life. Unlike those who are using our hard won liberties and privileges to villify the average citizen and patriot, and to condemn and tear apart the very framework of our country, we are proud of our country and our heritage (all great accomplishments have pitfalls and imperfections along the way - this shouldn't always negate their ultimate value! Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!!). We stand in support of, and salute, those who defend and fight for America and her ideals!

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Birds of Portland

Early morning. Trying to get some good use of out my long lens before we head out for Galveston Bay on this day. Those ducks you see in the foreground? They're fake. But there are real birds coming up!

Like this heron.

And this egret and friends - with Corpus in the background again.

Doin' the Egret Strut!

Rockport outing

We did a short drive up north to Rockport.

Nice piers.

Across the street - the Fulton Mansion
Their cool-weird beach.

Lots o' birds!

I was wishing for my long lens for these (avocets?). I could've gotten a little closer, but I was trying not to ruin it for another photographer couple, who DID have their long lens and tripod.

As it turned out, someone else kinda ruined it for them anyways! Oh well.

This poor heron was intent on swallowing this big ol' plastic bag with who knows what in it. Success didn't look likely (I sure hope not), but he was very persistent. See what happens to the plastic trash that doesn't get disposed of properly?

A stop at Goose Island State Park and to see Texas' biggest (factoring in crown, circumference, and height) tree, an old live oak.

I loved this note the tree wrote for us (you will definitely have to click on the image and view it larger to be able to read it!).

Not THE biggest tree but one of it's more photogenic neighbors (in sepia).

Hello baby moo-moo!!

Here's me, getting excited about these few little flowers...

Yellowy algae growing on a lagoony-type place.

The 50 Stars. And The Lone Star.

OK, here are more flowers. But still not like that other field of them Sandy, Kent, & Lucy found after our visit!

The drive back. Nice, eh? That's not haze. It's blowing sand/dirt. It's so damn windy there all the time! I guess it's not uncommon for a bit of the plowed fields to end up in the air!

Padre Island & Is it just coincidence, or...?!!!

So one afternoon we drove out to Padre Island, a long thin strip of islands that runs from Corpus south to the border with Mexico. It was a stormy, moody day when we visited. And another interesting day, music-wise. But to get the whole picture, we need to go backwards and then ahead...
When Bill and I and the doggies did our 3 week road trip out to SC and back a couple years ago, we were surprised to hear country singer Marty Robbin's song "El Paso" come on our XM radio AS we were driving into El Paso, TX. Pretty cool, eh? Good timing! (
But to hear Marty Robbin's song "Padre" come on when we drove onto Padre Island was just too much!!! (
And now to jump into the future (the parts I haven't covered on the blog yet) just a bit - while we were in the panhandle, I did a day drive to Apalachicola, FL, and you'll never guess what song came on! No, it wasn't Marty Robbin's Apalachicola song - he doesn't have one (that I know of)! But it was Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice:"
Smooth as the hickory wind
that blows from Memphis

down to Apalachicola
It's, "Hi y'all, did ya eat? well
c'mon in, I'm sure glad to know ya."
So what do you think? Oh c'mon. There aren't THAT many songs with Apalachicola in them - that's the only one I know of!!! And same for the Padre song.
And then there's the time just a bit ago when Bill asked what I wanted to listen to. He has installed a whole music library on his computer, having copied over all our CDs. And we have quite the eclectic CD collection!!!! Most genres are covered. Anyway, I told him "whatever you want" and was astonished when he proceeded to put on THE artist I was actually thinking of - Don Edwards, a cowboy singer (see/hear him perform my favorite song of his:
OK, so now that you know our most recent weird music things, and you're all tuned-in...

Old Padres pilings.

A nice surprise - a fly-by from a flock of white ibis.

Stormy but peaceful beach.

Sprays being blown off the waves.

Bill and the doggies explore the sandy bluff (in "homemade" Photshop sepia).

The dogs are really diggin' it! (groan...)

Finally! A place to run free! Senny's 11 years old, but you'd never know it to watch her!!

Closer to the northern/Port Aransas end of Padre Island: colorful coastal houses.

OK, yeah, the touristy section!

Instead of a condo ad, it should've said something like "Follow us to the beach!"

Things are getting fishy - or horsey...!

ooooooo, scary!!!! :)

Scary too! Just kidding! Although it was a cloudy, coolish spring day, you can tell this must be a popular summer destination!

Storm clouds - Texas style!

On the morning of the 20th, we woke up to see these clouds - not too far off. At first, they just looked cool! Esp. to THIS southern Californian native, who has so rarely gotten to experience any REAL weather!!

But the closer they got, the more weird they looked - and intimidating! Can you see the weird color cast down lower?

OK, can you see it NOW?!!

That color's not my white balance out of whack - that's a weird green-blue cast the clouds had! Something I've never seen before! Kind of cool, kind of creepy...

It passes over and on out to sea. Other than a bit of rain, there wasn't much action! Sure looked "promising" though...

Corpus Christi

The bridge on the way to Corpus.
More proof of all the windy weather here - lots of huge windmill parts!!

Texas is definitely oil country! Oil rigs everywhere. There are many areas - esp. north of Galveston (our next stop!), in Texas City - where you can drive around at night and see these little "oil cities" everywhere, all lit up (they have to keep going round the clock). They're kind of pretty - at night.
Heading towards downtown.

oops! Think we found it... :(

Corpus has a nice part, with fancy homes along the water. It has a busy, crowded strip mall part, along the freeway. And it has a touristy part...

While I didn't get any good drive-bys of the nice homes part, here is a cute public gazebo along the water.

Going Coastal!

On March 18th we moved to Portland, near Corpus Christi, TX. It had been a long time since Bill had been to Corpus (and even longer for me - never!), so we put it on the route.

Every now and then, Billy needs a little extra company while driving. Senny is more than happy to oblige!

Forgive these two drive-by shootings, but these are, sadly, my only offerings regarding the famous Texas hill country blooms. We were there about 2-3 weeks too early and missed what was probably the "bloom of the century" (or close to it at least). Having suffered bad drought for years, they finally got the rain they needed this past winter (hmm, sound familiar So. Cal.?!). Nice orangey-red yard here (maybe paintbrush?).

Pretty light lavender-blue yard...

OK, so this is a photo of what we missed... Our friends - pretty lady, Sandy, with (bored!?!) doggy, Lucy, photographed by hubby, Kent - in front of massive explosion of bluebonnets and paintbrush!

Out on the dock, looking back at our Portland ("Sea Breeze") RV Park. We're way back, on the left.

Introducing Tracky to another new experience! He's not too sure, but he's a real trooper and willing to give it a try! Daddy coaxes, and son obliges.

As is apparently typical of the coastline around here, it was fairly windy for our whole stay. The Corpus Christi Bay was rockin' with little waves, and Ouray wasn't too sure about getting too close to such watery chaos!

Looking back towards our RV Park (down the right side). Pretty big agave-like-looking plants.

Tracky doing some of his Agility Cat training.

I spy! Tractor checks out what lies past the palm!