for the birds

This one’s for my friend Katie Fallon, author of Cerulean Blues and Vulture.

On Goose Island, I saw spotted sandpiper, bufflehead, sanderling, turkey vulture, and black vulture – so many black vultures.

On Padre Island, brown pelican, great blue heron, long-billed curlew, laughing gull, grackle, and Wilson’s plover.

In Port Isabel, a field of snow geese – is that rare?? There is certainly no snow here! It’s T-shirt weather. In fact, I saw the most beautiful sunset, all pinks and purples behind palm trees over perfectly still water giving a pristine reflection of the same – sorry, no pictures, as I was driving. Views like this certainly make the Christmas decorations a little disconcerting.

On the road north of Brownsville, I saw a crested caracara and lots of red-tailed hawk, and a darker bird of prey of about the same size that I could not ID. And turkeys! A whole flock of turkeys, the first I’ve ever seen in the wild! What fun.

Here’s to more!

on the road again

(as always, click to enlarge pictures.)

Sorry for the long break in action here, folks. I got so excited about getting back out again; and then wifi was scarce… all good things, though.

It took a good week and a half to get Foxy sorted again, and although this is an ad-free site, I need to give my thanks to Lone Star Glass for being the ones to finally come through for me. To avoid extra body work to the van, we put plexiglass in to replace the busted window. It’s functional.

I think Foxy’s just the slightest bit less photogenic after this experience, but not everyone agrees. In the neighborhood where I was staying in Houston, a little wizened, bent-over Asian lady stopped mid-crosswalk and just… stared at my van. Five, ten seconds later, as I’m still waiting for the intersection, I finally called out, “Hello!” through my open window. That broke the spell, and she broke into a wide smile. “Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!” Her arms spread wide as she gestured at Foxy. I think I got 5 or 6 beautifuls in a row. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” She was on the driver’s side, too, where Foxy got bumped. It’s good to know she’s still beautiful.

Our first stop out on the road was Goose Island State Park, where Hops and Foxy and I spent two lovely nights (although the second was mosquito-ridden. Wtf, December in Texas?). I found an oyster bar! It had been far too long. Hops has entirely mastered the art of sleeping in in the van.

We took a hike to see The Big Tree:

The Big Tree

which is one of the largest coastal live oaks around. Her trunk is 11 feet in diameter and 35 feet in circumference; she is 44 feet tall and 89 feet across her crown, and approximately 1,000 years old. A remarkable tree is always worth my time.

Also I finished up the last of my stock of my favorite beer (in three flavors) and am anxiously awaiting a resupply from my friends at the brewery!

Wrapping up for today, I will just say that vanlife is delicious, and thank you Peggy for this yummy guajillo sauce which is sweeter than I expected (?) but delightful on, well, everything so far.

See you on the other side!