Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Padre Island

December 30, 2014

Yesterday we took a ride over to the Padre Island National Seashore. The sun was out and it was not raining.

We wanted to take a ride along the beach and check out the campgrounds. We stopped briefly at the visitor center to pick up some information about the park.

View from the deck

Information about the garbage that is found on the beach is provided. The swirling currents of the Gulf of Mexico along with the onshore wind is to blame for it showing up on the beach. The garbage itself is from the states and rivers surrounding the Gulf. Some of it is from the oil and gas platforms. Some thrown over by fishermen and there is the offshore illegal dumping. The information stated the amount is staggering  and the clean up is never ending. We did see small amounts on the beach that had come in that day and noticed a lot of water bottles along the edge of the dunes.

It was a cool day but the sun was shining and the wind not as strong as it has been all and all a nice ride.

View towards the Gulf on the ride toward the National Seashore

When we got back to Mustang Island we took one of the access roads  out to the beach to scout out a place to camp. Along the way we spotted this bus with a rooftop room parked near the fishing pier.

We had hoped to camp on the beach here on Mustang Island one or two nights when we leave the Pioneer Beach resort on Friday before we continue west. The weather right now does not look like it plans on co-operating. The prediction is for possible strong thunderstorms and winds of 16 to 25 mph and we are not sure we want to be on the open beach for this. So we will continue to monitor the weather and decide Friday morning.

“The most beautiful music in the universe is the sound of hope.”
                                                                                                        ~Eadie Lipscomb

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Quiet Days

December 27, 2014

We had a nice dinner here at the Pioneer Beach Resort on Christmas Day. The food was delicious. We had the opportunity to meet three other nice couples during the dinner. Two of the couples, one from British Columbia and the other from South Dakota have been doing this for awhile and had some welcome advice. The other couple was also from Michigan (only they live below the bridge) and, like us, they are enjoying their first year in the warm weather. Spending time with this group on Christmas made our first year away from family a little bit easier.

It has been quiet here except for the wind at times and then we can hear the surf which is quite nice and relaxing. The sun was out yesterday and we went over to the beach to check out the waves.

It is pretty overcast today and rain is predicted. We are thinking of trying out one of the Mexican Restaurants in Port Aransas for dinner this evening.

Other then that wash is getting done and some crocheting.

We want to do some beach camping before we leave, either here on Mustang Island or Padre Island, plus we do want to spend a day, at least, checking out the National Seashore on Padre Island so we are hoping for sunshine in the next couple of days. Otherwise, well, we will be doing it in the rain. 

View out our back window.
Dunes separating us from the gulf in background.

"The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you're the pilot."
                          ~Michael Altshuler

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We went over to the beach at sunset this evening.

Watching the light fade over the Gulf.

A friend was watching just down the beach from us.

As the sun sank behind the dunes behind us.

A lovely way to spend Christmas Eve!

Tom and I are wishing all our family and friends a Very Merry Christmas
from Port Aransas, TX!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Meat Pies are Made

December 23, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

There is one particular food memory I associate with Christmas, more specifically Christmas Eve, and it is meat pie. (To be more specific French Canadian Meat Pie.) Three of my grandparents where born in Canada which might explain the tradition of meat pie on Christmas Eve.

Growing up I remember visiting aunts and uncles during the holidays and the meal always included meat pie.

When Tom and I celebrated our second Christmas as a married couple, our first was only 12 days after our wedding, I knew I would need to learn to make them because I could not imagine celebrating Christmas Eve with no meat pie. My mother made them like her mother and the making did not include a recipe. It included specific ingredients but no specific amounts. Something, as a new cook, I really needed was specific amounts. So my mother after 2 years of trial and error came up with a recipe. This is the recipe my sister Chris and I use as we keep the tradition alive for our families. This is the recipe I will pass on to my daughter, son, and daughter-in-law with the hope they will keep the tradition alive in their families.

This year I made a batch in October, before we left, to leave with our daughter, and to send home with our son and daughter-in-law so they would have them especially for Christmas Eve. We did not take any with us because I was not sure we would be able to keep them frozen when we were traveling. So this past Sunday I took the time to make us two meat pies so we will be able to have one on Christmas Eve. The little gas oven in our 5th wheel does a better job of baking then I ever imagined it would.

In the freezer waiting to be popped in the oven.

Monday, December 22, 2014

This morning we drove over to Corpus Christi to do some last minute Christmas shopping and specific food items to get us through until we leave here on January 2nd.

The other reason was a hair appointment, I am still not admitting anything, but there may have been some grey that needed to be gone. Again I ended up with a nice young woman who did what I believe was a good job. I put off the haircut as it is still in good shape and with the style of  my hair a little longer is alright. At least that is what I am going with at this time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We decided to get up early and head into Port Aransas for breakfast and some souvenir shopping. We wanted to get something to send our grandchildren. We  accomplished our missions and arrived back here before 11o'clock.

Spent the day just hanging out and getting a few things cooked that I will finish up tomorrow morning.  That way we can just relax most of the day and enjoy the day before Christmas.

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that
the simplest things--not the great occasions--give off
the greatest glow of happiness."
                                                               ~Bob Hope

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Short Move to Port Aransas, TX

December 20, 2014

Yesterday we left Lake Corpus Christi State Park around 1 o'clock. We woke up to a thunder storm and it rained pretty hard till around 11. Since, we only had about 70 miles to travel we were able to wait out the rain with success. Over the years we have set up and taken down in the rain and it has never been fun. We did encounter some bumper to bumper traffic for a few miles going through Corpus Christi other then that it was an uneventful ride.

This is a large well kept up private park, from what we have seen so far. Everyone we have come in contact with is very friendly and we are looking forward to the next two weeks here.

This morning we had coffee and muffins in the truck looking out the window at the Gulf of Mexico. There was a slight drizzle and a cold wind but it was nice just the same.  Tom cracked the window and we could hear the surf. Looks like we will have sun on Monday and there is a boardwalk down to the beach here at the park so hopefully we will catch a nice sunrise.

Our first view of The Gulf of Mexico
We drove over to Aransas Pass this morning to do some shopping and restock supplies.

Ferry Ride

For our family and friends in Escanaba and Gladstone. I convinced  Tom to circle back so we could get a picture.
Rialto Theatre in Aransas Pass. Do you think there was a chain?...:)
Thinking of all of you as Christmas approaches. Hoping your plans include celebrating Christ's birth and enjoying time with family and friends.

We are ready for Santa.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lake Corpus Christi State Park

December 17, 2014
Lake Corpus Christi Texas State Park is a 356 acre park which opened in 1934. It was leased from the city of Corpus Christi in 1934 until 2032. The CCC developed this park between 1934 and 1935.

The Nueces River feeds the 21,000 acre lake which is one of largest artificial bodies of water in Texas. The present dam, Wesley E Seale Dam, was completed in 1958. The lake is owned by the city of Corpus Christi and is a major source of water for the city.
Our view of the lake from our campsite.
The Refectory, an open air building, is a highlight of the park. It was built with cast caliche blocks laid in a random ashlar pattern.

Stairways leading up to lookout tower.
View of lake through one of several arches.

Views of lake from top of stairway.
Stairway down to lake.
One of things Tom likes to do is fish and he was looking forward to doing just that here. The lake is stocked with crappie, striped bass, largemouth bass, white bass, catfish, and alligator gar. He has been out a couple of times, since we have been here, with not a lot of luck.

For our children...
Yes, Dad did take a selfie when he was fishing!

When researching this park one of the things Tom read about was the lighted fishing pier. He thought it would be a nice to be able to go out in the evening and do some fishing.

The water is a little low.

The park represents one of the few remaining stands of brushland in the area.
Our view sitting out in our patio area.
We are enjoying our time here. We have been able to sit out and the temperature has mostly been in the 70's. We have had some rain and dreary, cloudy days but we are not complaining there is no snow.
We are in site 46
The Crusader from across the picnic area.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Special Date


December 13, 1969
St. Anne's Church in Escanaba, Michigan
December 13, 2014
Lake Corpus Christi Texas State Park

Yesterday was a quiet, slow day in our lives versus forty-five years ago which was anything but quiet.

Yesterday we celebrated our 45th Wedding Anniversary. So the big question is how can it be forty-five years, already? It has been one exciting ride. Filled with a lot of ups and downs, happy and sad times, fun and boring, laughter and tears, total agreement and disagreements. (Yes, there have been disagreements and anyone who claims they never disagree, in my opinion. they are either lying or one of them has no opinions. Tom and I both have opinions.) The important part is at the end of the day we like each other, we are best friends, and we love each other faults and all...

Our 1st Anniversary we celebrated out at the Dells Supper Club sitting by one of the windows looking at the deer. It was a lovely place to celebrate and with a December anniversary it was decorated for Christmas.

This year the plan was to go out to dinner and then after checking out what was available close by in the area we looked at each other and said lets buy steaks and grill out. After all it is warm here and we do not have to worry about it snowing. (On this day forty-five years ago it was snowing.) So we spent a quiet day here at the campgrounds. Took a ride, checked it out, and just leisurely enjoyed the day.

Later in the afternoon we opened some asti spumante and enjoyed a glass with some shrimp sitting outside under our awning. (We were hoping a few deer would wander out. Every evening there have been deer next door but today none to be seen.)

Later Tom grilled steaks and we enjoyed a quite dinner.

All in all it was a special day marking a very special day in our lives.

Question: I wonder if those kids in the first picture had any idea were that moment in time would lead them 45 years later. Answer: simply no but as I remember we were excited about the possibilities.

As we look ahead we are still excited about the possibilities.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Two Days of Christmas Shopping

December 9 & 10, 2014

The title says it all except were we went and did the deed. We drove into Corpus Christi. I really felt like I had most of the Christmas shopping done before we left home. I even wrapped gifts so I am not sure why I am still shopping. Tom, I am sure, would have some insight, on what he calls "my problem". Yet he just drove me from store to store, twice this week, and stayed quite on the subject.
He is a smart man, most of the time...:)

Just in case anyone is wondering, and as a future reminder to myself, there was nothing relaxing about these two days. Well maybe lunch.

Two Days

December 8 & 10, 2014

Both Monday and Wednesday we just hung out at the park. I have been working on some Christmas gifts, pictures after Christmas. Tom took a couple of walks and a ride into Mathis to pick up a package at the post office.

On Wednesday Tom decided to try his luck down at the lake. When he came back all he said is, I lost my favorite lure. Something tells me it was not the most relaxing fishing he has done.

"My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead)
 will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it."
                                                                        ~Koos Brandt

Christmas Decorating

December 6, 2014

We are settling in here at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. We even did a little Christmas decorating.


and Outside

Moving Day

December 5, 2014

Today we left Pecan Riverside RV Park. We pulled out at 11:00AM, I mention this because we planned on leaving by 11 and to our surprise we actually did.

Site 513

We headed about 145 miles South to Lake Corpus Christi State Park near Mathis, TX. We had figured it would take about 3 hours. Due to construction it was closer to 4 hours. One observation:  in the past when we would head some where if it took longer then planned we would be anxious about the time. It always seemed like it took forever to get to our destination. Now the time it takes to get from point "A" to point "B" is a not a problem we are enjoying the ride. Though I must say it is strange listening to Christmas music without snow. Though I am sure we can get used to it...:)

One of the first things we noticed riding into this park are all the deer.

Tom took a picture of two visiting the site next to ours.


December 7, 2014

We took a ride over to Alice, TX today. We needed some groceries and it rained off and on so it was a good day to run a few errands.

We also took a quick ride around the park, Tom wanted to check out the fishing pier. It was raining so no pictures yet.

There are a lot of deer here, as I mentioned before, and I spotted an armadillo.

It was just a quiet relaxing day.

"Time is like a river.
You cannot touch the
same water twice,
because the flow that has passed
will never pass again.
Enjoy every moment of life...."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Texas White House

December 4, 2014

There was fog when we woke up this morning. The plan was to visit “The Texas White House” and we had our coffee and a quick breakfast and we were on our way. The route took us through the Texas Hill Country and the fog was fairly thick in some areas. By the time we arrived at our destination the sun was starting to peek out between the clouds.

The Texas White House is part of the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. It is free to the public except for the tour of the house itself which cost us $6.00. At the visitor center you are given a vehicle pass and the staff shows you the route to take. They were very welcoming and answered all the questions we had. Plus they warned us, since this is a working ranch, to watch for cattle on the roads. We also watched a short interview given by Lyndon Baines Johnson as he gave a tour of the ranch and buildings.

Junction School
During his administration Lyndon Johnson signed more education bills
into law then any other president.
As a four year old he learned to read at this one room school house.
 As President he  returned 53 years later and signed
the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Lyndon Johnson was born, lived, died and is buried here.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on this site on August 27, 1908
The house was rebuilt in 1964 to be used as a guest house.
President and Lady Bird Johnson are buried here.
The taller stones his is on the right hers on the left.
A better view of the oaks. In the interview we watched
the President talked about walking down to the cemetery
and the calmness he felt when he was there.

Johnson stipulated to park planners that the LBJ Ranch remain a working ranch, and not a "sterile relic of the past."
To that end, the National Park Service maintains a herd of Hereford cattle descended from the same bloodline as the herd that Lyndon Johnson owned. They look more like 1960s Hereford cattle and so they can be called "history on the hoof." They manage the ranch lands as a living demonstration of ranching the LBJ way.

You receive the tickets for the "Texas White House" tour at the hanger just a short walk from the house and I did not even think to take a picture. Though we did take one of the plane parked in front.
Johnson was the first Vice-President to have an aircraft assigned to
him. He choose this JetStar. He continued to use it as President for
transportation to and from the ranch. The sign said he jokingly referred
to it as Air Force One and a Half. Though it did bear the call sign
Air Force One.
As the 36th President of the United States we were told he spent about 20 percent of his time at this ranch and for this reason reporters started referring to it as the Texas White House and the name stuck.

We were not allowed to take pictures on the tour.

President and Mrs. Johnson gave their home, known as the “Texas White House,” to the American people in 1972, retaining lifetime rights to live there. After the President's death in 1973 Mrs. Johnson continued to live there part time until her death in 2007. In 2008 they opened his office, 2009 living room and dining room were opened and 2011 the entire first floor. We were able to tour the first floor rooms which are restored to appear as they were during the time he was in office. Except for their bedrooms which we were told were left as they were when they died.  Our guide said the second floor consists of six bedrooms, one of which their daughters occupied the other five were for visitors, and five bathrooms.
The first room we saw was his office which had three other desks besides his. From what we were told by our guide he was always working. A Television was mounted as to be seen in the whole room. We were told he was worried about his image and he paid close attention to the news and what was being said. If he did not like it he would pick up the phone and call the station and let them know in no uncertain terms his dislike of what was said and as she said his language was to say the least colorful. 

It is a good size home but broken up into several rooms which makes it seem a lot smaller then you would think. I was reminded of when we toured the White House itself how the rooms seem smaller then I thought they would from seeing them on the television. Speaking of televisions in the living room there were three televisions one for each major network at the time; ABC, NBC, and CBS.

His chair at the formal dinning room table was on wheels so he could easily move over if he wanted to check what was on the news during dinner. There was also a phone attached under the table next to his chair.

One of the rooms we saw was Lady Birds sitting room. It had originally been the master bedroom. It was explained to us after waking up more then once to men standing in the bedroom, conferring with the President, Lady Bird had the two bedrooms added on to the house. So she could have some privacy and be able to sleep without interruption. In the Presidents bedroom he had a phone on both sides of the bed.

The tour guide talked about the fact that President Johnson never stopped working. His idea of relaxation and getting away from the duties of President was to check in on the operations of the Ranch itself. Something he did everyday.

We enjoyed the tour of the ranch and being able to catch a small glimpse into the life of a man who took running our country very seriously.

“All the World is Welcome Here”  ~Lyndon Johnson