Thursday, January 21, 2016

Two Weeks in Port Aransas (1/7-1/21/16)

We made the 280 mile trip from Lake Georgetown to the Pioneer Beach RV Resort on Thursday (1/7). The distance is longer than we usually travel, but the weather was nice and we stopped for lunch at a roadside picnic area along I-37. We also stopped near Corpus Christi to fill up with diesel and the price was a $1.89 per gallon. On the way down to the coast we listen to an audio book that our friend Fran Vaughn had given us and it made the trip go faster.

Entrance to the Mustang Island State Park. 
We arrived at Pioneer, checked in and were assigned to Site 68. We had asked for a site close to the hot tub and the one we were given is only a few steps away. We have stayed at Pioneer several times before and are very familiar with the campground. It is a large RV park with over 320 sites with a boardwalk over the dunes to the Mustang Island beach. The beach this year is very clean with no seaweed unlike the last time we were here and the beach was covered with seaweed. We got the Duchess set up for our stay here and took a walk around the park. The park is almost full with a lot of license plates from winter Texans who will spend several months here in Port Aransas.
Our site @ Pioneer Beach RV Resort

Looking at Gulf from boardwalk

Looking at campground from boardwalk

Pioneer Beach from the sand dunes
During our first week here we spent most days taking it easy in the park. We took long walks along the beach, spent time in the hot tub and enjoyed reading in the sun. One day we ate pizza for lunch at The Brewery in Port Aransas. The place used to be called Port Aransas Brewery and we had enjoyed their pizza and beer on our previous trips here. The place in under new ownership and they are changing out the types of beer that will be brewed. So we had the supreme pizza but no beer.

Our supreme pizza. It was very good.
One day we went on a 2 mile wildlife trail that takes you into the salt marshes along one of the “cut throughs” located between the mainland and Mustang Island. The island is named for the wild mustangs that used to run free on the island. The area we visited is called Charlie’s Pasture after a rancher who ran cattle on the land for most of the 20th century before the land was donated for a wildlife/birding preserve.

Picking up a map of the trails.

View of the salt marshes.

View of Salt Island.
One day we took the ferry from Mustang Island over the mainland to do some grocery shopping at the HEB in Aransas Pass. The ferry boats run all the time (depending on the time of day and month of the year).

Sheri Jones and two of her friends, Karen & Laurie, came to visit us on the second Saturday we were in Port Aransas. Karen and her husband have a house in Rockport and the three of them were having a girl's weekend at the coast. We gave them a tour of The Duchess and then walked on the beach.
Sheri Jones
One of the nicest days we had during our two weeks

Karen, Sheri & Laurie
The second Monday we took a trip over to Rockport/Fulton and made a quick visit to Goose Island. We drove through several RV Parks in the area to see if there were any we would want to stay at if we came back to the area next winter. Rockport is much larger than Port Aransas, has more stores and activities, but does not have the sandy beach like Mustang Island does. We stopped and had lunch at the Paradise Key Dockside Bar & Grill. Connie had grilled fish while I had the fish & chips. Both were very good.

 On Tuesday we went to Corpus Christi and had lunch with our good friends and fellow full-timers, Fred & Bonnie Lee. Fred and Bonnie are spending a month at the Corpus Christi Naval Base. We met them at the Water Street Seafood Restaurant where we all ate seafood.

Mike, Bonnie & Fred
We then took a stroll along Corpus Christi Bay before stopping at the Green Light Coffee Shop for coffee. We had a great time visiting with the Lees and getting caught up on our adventures during our first year of full-timing.

We have had a good two weeks here in Port Aransas. The weather has been a mixture of great days along with days of fog, mist and wind. On Thursday we will be headed to San Antonio where we will be spending two weeks before heading back to Austin.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A few days at Lake Georgetown

January 1-7:

On January 1st we loaded up the Duchess and moved from the LaHacienda RV Resort to the Jim Hogg COE Park on Lake Georgetown. While on our way we stopped and ate breakfast at Jardin Corona's restaurant with a number of friends who we had celebrated the arrival of the new year the night before. We have stayed at Lake Georgetown a number of times before at the Cedar Breaks COE Park on the south side of the lake, but this was the first time that we stayed on the north side of the lake. We were staying in the area to have the motorhome's annual maintenance performed along with the state inspection. The site we were able to get was on the lake with a covered picnic table.

Site 44

View of the south side of Lake Georgetown - Cedar Breaks COE Park

There were a number of people in the park over the week-end but by Monday afternoon the majority of them had left. Most of the remaining RV'ers were either full-timers or snowbirds. On Tuesday we had lunch with Connie's cousins, Betty and her brother Allen Frederickson and his wife Scooter, who live in Sun City Georgetown which is a 55+ Del Webb retirement community located close to Lake Georgetown.

One night it was cold enough that we had a small fire in the firepit located near our site. We gathered some wood that had washed up on the shore of the lake and used it for our fire.The wood was still a little damp, so it took some work to actually get a fire going.

We originally were going to leave on Wednesday, but the weather forecast called for rain so we delayed our departure until Thursday. It did rain Wednesday afternoon and evening, so I was glad we waited. I don't like driving in the rain unless I have to.

On Thursday morning we left the park and made the trip south to the Pioneer Beach RV Resort in Port Aransas where we will be for two weeks.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ending the year in Austin

December 2015:

We ended 2015 at the LaHacienda RV Resort & Cottages located near Lake Travis in Austin. So we ended up the year where we started from after traveling about 5,000 miles through 14 states.

Connie decided to get her hair cut so that it will not take her as long to dry it. She ordered several inexpensive wigs to see if there was a "style" she liked, but ended up deciding to have it cut similar to a news anchor she had seen on the TV. She has been going to the same stylist for years, Willa Kay Warren, and trusted her to make the final result come out looking good. Here is a picture of the "after" look.
Here are both of us after getting our haircuts!
We had a "Happy Hour" with several of our good friends in early December. It was great to see everyone and kind of get caught up with events that had occurred during our travels.

We returned to Austin to see our doctors, dentists and have our eyes checked. Our dental checkups and my eye exam were routine, but both Connie and I both ended up having medical procedures done during the time we were in Austin. I had a hernia repair procedure and Connie had a large polyp removed from her uterus. Seeing doctors, having lab work done along with radiological exams, scheduling appointments and procedures took up most of the month. It felt like we spent way too much time with medical personnel during the month. Both of our procedures went well and we are both on the road to recovery. We also were able to visit with family and friends here in the Austin area during the time we were here.

A few days before Christmas my grandson Rhys McKay along with his mom, Grace, came out to the motorhome to visit with us for an afternoon.
Rhys & Grace visiting The Duchess
We spent Christmas Day at Connie's sister house in Round Rock. My dad and son, Greg came to Debbie's along with Connie niece, Lisa, and grand nephew, Josh. We brought in the New Year at our Brooks & Heidi Ivey's house along with several other friends we have known for a number of years.

The LaHacienda RV Resort is an upscale park located close to Lake Travis. It has the most amenities of any park we have stayed in this year: full hook-ups, 2 heated pools, 1 hot tub, workout/exercise facilities, large game room, 2 clubhouses and a putting/chipping green. The park was sold earlier this year and is now part of the Sun RV Resorts group.

Outside porch - Game Room

Exercise Room

Smaller heated pool with hot tub

Larger heated pool

Larger of the the 2 clubhouses

Duchess on Site C-5

We met Jeff and Jan Van Horn who were located in the site next to us during the month. They have been full timing for 11 years and gave us some tips on some of the places they have visited over the years. They left a few days before us headed to Florida to spend the rest of the winter in warmer weather.

Jeff & Jan in front of their Monaco Dynasty
We had a wide variety of weather in Austin during the month: a number of days of warm weather with highs in the 70's and 80's and then quite cold for Texas with overnight lows near freezing towards the end of the month. Central Texas has several record rainfall events during the year and the lakes in the area are either full or almost full for the first time in a number of years.

Connie and I both enjoyed our first year on the road living full time in our motorhome, The Duchess. Hopefully we have gotten the repairs and upgrades done for a while and can spend more time traveling in 2016. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE.