Party time at the Gulf – Port Aransas, TX

We had hoped that being in southern Texas, and parking close to the Gulf of Mexico would allow us to enjoy some reasonably warm weather this winter. wpid33184-2014-12-30-TX-1710195.jpg  From the day we arrived here at Port Aransas (Dec. 15), we’ve been able to count on one hand the number of days that we haven’t had to bundle up in jackets to go outside.  And the winds from the north have been relentless!  I don’t want to whine because I know other parts of the country have it worse, but we are amazed by how far south the winter chill has pushed this year. Even the priest at the local church was apologetic to us winter Texans about the cold spell that has hovered over the Port Aransas/Corpus Cristi area. Continue reading Party time at the Gulf – Port Aransas, TX

Life’s a beach – finally! Dauphin Island, AL

From the Sonoran Desert, to the plains of Texas, to the swamps of Louisiana to an island in Alabama!  Yeah!  We have been longing for white sand, sunny days and a long stretch of pristine beach.  One fine place we found all of it was Dauphin Island, Alabama. Following other RVers travels usually gives us great ideas for places to stay and explore along our upcoming path.  One of them is of course Wheeling it, who consistently point us to interesting locations like this island, which we had never heard of prior to reading their blog.

Dauphin Island is a barrier island located three miles south of the mouth of Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico.  There are two ways to get here.  From the west, entry to the island is made by crossing a 3-mile long high rise bridge.

West Entrance to Dauphin Island

From the east  you can access via the Mobile Bay Ferry.  At this time RV’s are not allowed on the ferry because they are running only one boat; be sure to check with the ferry service if you wish to take your RV across in either direction.

Mobile Bay Ferry

The island is approximately 14 miles long and 1 ¾ miles wide at the widest point.  The 14 miles must include the attached stretch of Pelican Island that extends off the main island for several sandy miles, since we measured the main island at only 8 miles end-to-end.  At the east end you will find the Dauphin Island Campground, the Mobile Bay Ferry and Historic Ft. Gaines.

At the west end is several miles of privately owned and partially developed land.  It is estimated that 1300 permanent residents call Dauphin Island home, and we saw how that number soars as the weather warms up.  Vacation homes dot the coastline, with several either under repair or rebuild due to the nasty storms that often go through here.  Below are a few examples if you are interested, and we saw several rentals available too.

The entire island has been designated as a bird sanctuary.  There are two places you can view and enjoy the birds.  Birders take note: spring is almost here and pretty soon the island will be swarming with birds!  At the Audubon Sanctuary there are six trails which guide viewers about what species to expect on each trail.

At Indian Shell Mound Park there are benches everywhere to observe our feathered friends.

Other smaller areas or parks are set up for bird viewing or listening.

The pristine white beaches that stretch along the island are excellent places to take long walks as you view the sunsets and the shorebirds.  There is also a nice, wide paved bike trail running the length of the island.  This is one of the few stops where we have been walking AND biking almost every day.  Paradise!

We noticed that wherever folks were fishing there were almost always one or more Great Herons nearby to “guard” the Catch of the Day.

Dauphin Island Beach

Of course, I was just hooked on birds as usual…

and finally the beach sunsets of Dauphin Island.

Dauphin Island Sunset

Dauphin Island Sunset



 

The Missions of San Antonio

Torch of Friendship
Torch of Friendship

Besides the River Walk, there are several other touristy things to do while in San Antonio.  We were lucky to be able to take two tours – a personal one with Susan and Bob of Travel-Bug, and a paid one by Alamo Tours.  Our opinion – unless you are lucky enough to be friends with Susan and Bob, you’re better off skipping the professional tour and seeing San Antonio on your own.  As with many other paid tours, we were rushed and did not spend nearly enough time at some of the stops we made with Alamo Tours.  Most attractions are very well labeled, so a tour guide is not needed so much as just having plenty of time to read and learn on your own. Continue reading The Missions of San Antonio

The River Walk – San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio RiverwalkWhen Susan of Travel Bug knew we were heading east and would pass thru Texas, she recommended the River Walk in San Antonio.  What’s more interesting is that they were staying at the park where we planned to live during our stay.  Yet another blogger to meet in person! When we arrived there our new friends, Susan and Bob, graciously gave us a mini-tour around the missions and other areas of which I will talk more in my next post.  We also enjoyed a nice dinner and games with them before we moved on. Continue reading The River Walk – San Antonio, Texas