January passed with John tolerating “cedar fever” with less discomfort than we feared. Perhaps it was the earlier treatments by Robert R. Thoreson, DO, or maybe we just got lucky. Regardless, we were pleased that the sneezes were fewer than in other years.
The RV came home early this month with the damage from last fall’s double blowout repaired and some additional work done on the roof. We missed our planned trip to Port Aransas, but were glad to have the coach weather-tight again.
On February 4, John and I dropped the dogs to the kennel and drove to the coast to spend a few days visiting friends and stocking up on fresh seafood. On arrival, we got together with Rick and Linda at Paradise Key, a new restaurant on the water just outside of town. The food was great, especially the gumbo, and we enjoyed watching the dolphins swimming in the lighted viewing area just outside the restaurant. A couple of days later, the four of us had lunch at Hu Dat, a Vietnamese restaurant that is a Rockport institution. It was good to see friends we had met in Custer, SD, and we look forward to spending more time with them next summer.
Another memorable meal was at one of our favorite Lockport/Fulton establishments. I don't know if you would call Caroline's a "diner" or a "dive," but the food is outstanding.
John and I split the Friday special...chicken fried steak. We had plenty to eat to say the least! (That is one order!)
While in Rockport, we stayed at The Sandollar Resort. It’s an older motel, but our room had a kitchenette, comfortable bed and a good view of the water.
Even though the weather was gray and windy, shrimp and oyster boats and an occasional barge moved across the far side of the bay. And the birds kept us entertained as they came and went.
Brown pelicans, cormorants and other sea birds loved to perch on this row of pilings.
And the white pelicans and gulls were regular visitors at the fishing pier.
We made a couple of morning excursions across the bridge to Lamar to visit one of our favorite whooping crane viewing areas. This small pasture lies between some homes and the water, and is a regular feeding spot for the whoopers and sandhill cranes.
The crane family shown below (father, mother and chick) claim this pasture as their territory. It isn’t the same family as the one we saw in 2011. At least, the female is different. This one does not wear monitoring devices on her legs, and that one did.
Their behavior is much the same, however. The male was emphatic in enforcing the rules and chased away these two interlopers when they came too close.
We had a couple of “bonus” bird sightings when we were looking for cranes. This turkey vulture was conveniently perched on the pasture fence, and didn’t mind in the least when I photographed. I think he gives new meaning to the term "ugly."
We also saw this magnificent great blue heron, all decked out in breeding plumage. He sat still for a couple of minutes, then became suspicious and took flight.
We also paid a visit to Goose Island State Park, where we hope to spend some time next year. We saw this lovely, old live oak tree in the park. It is not as large as the "big tree" of Lamar that is said to be over 1,000 years old, but it's pretty big...several hundred years at least. We found it interesting that since the park service erected a metal support for one of its limbs, the tree has outgrown the device. It has doubtless been climbed many times by park visitors, and shows no sign of giving up any time soon.
Our last morning (of course!) dawned bright and clear.
As we sipped our coffee on the balcony and enjoyed the sunrise, we wished we could have spent another day or so enjoying the lovely Texas coast. However, our ice chest was full of shrimp, fish and oysters, so we couldn’t tarry.