Friday, October 30, 2009

Our digs

Mission church

Inside the restored church
Welcome to the Goliad State Park and adjacent Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga. This is our home and our job for the next two months. Our job description is Park Host, but our job is at the mission. We are to be available to greet visitors and answer any questions, and keep the place looking neat and clean. The mission is comprised of several rebuilt buildings and the original stone foundations of some buildings. The CCC restored the mission after years of decay, so the museum has information about why the mission was rebuilt the way it is, in addition to displays of typical Spanish mission life in Texas in the late 1700's and early 1800's. The park is very nice as is all the staff and the other park hosts. There is also a very nice paved hike/bike trail from the town of Goliad, through the park to the Presidio La Bahia, Fannin Memorial and Zaragosa monument. These are all involved with the early settlement of Texas.
The mission and presidio are typical of Spanish colonization plan in the New World. The idea was for the padres to convert and domesticate the local natives into model Spanish citizens. The presidio was for the protection of the mission. Once the natives were all domesticated, the area was safe for people of pure Spanish blood to move into the area. The mission was secularized and became the local native village. The soldiers moved on to the next area to be colonized along with the friars. The presidio became the center of the new Spanish town. That's the way it worked on paper anyway. This particular mission and presidio were first situated further south near the coast. This is it's third location.
We worked our first shift yesterday from noon to five. We had a few visitors, but they had no questions for us. We were with another host, Ruth, who answered our questions and showed us the ropes. We are actually here a week early, so our "real" schedule won't start until next week. On our off time we do our usual things: Duane computers, watches tv, and carves. I embroider, read, cook and keep the laundry basket empty. We both educate ourselves about the mission, work Sudokus, and take our daily 2 mile walk. We have also been tracing our ongoing leak. We think we have it isolated at last. Time will tell.
The weather has been very fickle. We arrived in pouring rain wearing shorts and quickly changed to long pants. Next day was sunny and chilly in the am, but quickly warmed up in the afternoon. Monday and Tuesday evenings we ran the furnace, Wednesday night we ran the air, Thurs night neither. Thunderstorms were predicted for yesterday afternoon, but after 2 days and nights of overcast and high winds, the afternoon cleared, the sun shone and it was beautiful for a couple of hours. Then we had a brief heavy shower. Hurray for Texas!
Basta por hoy!
Louise and Duane

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Tower view

Nineteen in all

Hogging the sidewalk

Sharing the road

Quite a rack

We arrived yesterday in Victoria, TX, just a skip down the road from Aransas Pass. We will be staying in the Lazy Longhorn RV Park for the rest of the week. We like it here. The lots are big and paved, it is quiet, it has a pool, it is nicely landscaped and will give us the Passport America price for up to 14 days. Yesterday we did a driving tour of the town. Today we visited the shore via the little village of Port O'Conner. We found a little park with a little strip of shore we could comb. There were lots of tiny shells, broken shells, and broken glass, but we found a few treasures, and enjoyed a windy lunch at one of the half a dozen picnic tables. We wanted to visit Matagordas Island, but the ferry was no longer running. The only access was by boat, so we were out of luck. From there we drove back through Seadrift, Long Mott and Bloomington, and through Austwell to the Wildlife Refuge. Our Senior Pass came in handy again. After a brief visit at the visitors' center, we drove through the park taking a couple of the little side trips. We decided to save the long walks until most of the migratory birds arrive. Good thing too. The mosquitoes were out by the hundreds. We managed to find just enough insect repellent in the car (available at the visitor's center, but we have lots at home) to get us through the day. We drove slowly to better view the wildlife, which, of course, was more visible at dawn and dusk than at 3pm. We did manage to find some, though, as you can see in the pix. Ironically, we saw the most deer--2 dozen--on the lawn along the road as we exited the Refuge!
More touring later.
Louise and Duane

Friday, October 16, 2009

Padre Palms RV Park

Padre beach


Shore Garbage Collector

Our tour
Hello from the Padre Palms Rv Park in Corpus Christie. We came here for some white sand beach action before starting our job in Goliad, but were doomed to disappointment. The dreaded red tide made its presence known as soon as we stepped out of the car. The so called red tide is an angae bloom that sometimes appears red, but can be brown or green. It depletes the oxygen in the water and results in a massive kill of fish, eels, jellies, man-o-wars, crabs, etc. These wash up on the shore, making the beach a stinking mess. In addition, the bloom releases a toxin that is irritating to the skin and mucous membranes of humans. Breath it in and your eyes start burning and you start coughing. So we gave up on the beach idea and toured inland. We ended up at the famous King Ranch. This started out as two Spanish Land Grants and has mushroomed to over a million acres in two states. It is the largest privately (family) owned entity in the U S. It just purchased a pecan orchard, has large citrus orchards in Florida, and produces massive amounts of cotton in Texas, but began primarily as a cattle ranch breeding Santa Getrudis cattle, then branched into horse breeding. King managed the acreage by dividing it into four main sections with an onsite manager in each section. The ranch is run the same way today. There are several different tours to choose from. We opted for the museum and ranch tour. This means we walked around the museum in Kingsville, then drove to the ranch and boarded a little bus. All in all it was a very interesting and informative way to spend the day. Son Jesse was in town job hunting, so he stayed with us and toured the ranch with us. Today he left to return to Temple and work. We are spending a quiet day doing our things. Tomorrow (Sat.) we are moving to Aransas Pass. Our Passport America discount isn't good here on weekends, but it is at the Ransom Road Rv Park. Monday we head inland to Victoria, getting closer to our job.

See you in Victoria. Louise and Duane
Wild turkeys on the ranch

King cattle

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Emma and Aunt Stacy
Happy Ava

Duane's latest

Diamond willow

Now we are parked in the Dallas area, visiting the last of the grandchildren we will see on this trip. (There are two in CA that need to wait a longer.) We are here until Monday. We will be visiting Jr. and Brandey and Emma and Ava until then. By chance daughter Stacy and her mother Colleen are also visiting. We will all be attending the the twins' dedication in their church Sunday. They surely have grown. When we saw them last in June they were tiny infants. Now they are chubby, laughing little girls. They are still the same but different. Usually we have to have them together to tell them apart. It will be interesting to see how much they resemble each other as they get older . We will try to get our "baby fix" in during the next two days. After that we head to Temple for a one day visit with son Jesse, then keep on heading to Goliad and our Nov., Dec. work camping job. We will be making some stops in between, so keep reading.
Louise and Duane

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Grandma Weezie and Luke
G W and Allie


Awesome treehouse

Laughing boy
We are back in Texas! We arrived without incident on Monday after breaking our rule of not driving on the weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday evenings enjoying the Wal-Mart campgrounds in Mississippi and Alabama. We got lucky and didn't have any truck running or rv generator running next to us either night. Sunday we made a detour to the Vicksburg National Battleground for a short visit to the visitors' center. We learned the importance of the battles fought there. We opted to postpone the 22 mile driving tour of the battle sites until a return visit. We didn't feel we could do it justice in the rain. We arrived back "home" at Shallow Creek RV Park around the corner from Jeremy and Jennifer on Monday. We spent Monday evening and all day today visiting and playing. The kids in the pix above are Texas cousins to Madeleine, Simon, and Judah in Ohio. Allie (4 1/2) is 6 months younger than Maddy and Luke (1) is a year younger than Simon. Duane and I really enjoyed playing with these two as much as with the Ohio cousins. Their personalities are very different, so we had to power down from the high-energy Ohio kids. We were sad we only had two days to get reaquainted, but tomorrow we move on to Celina Tx (north of Dallas) to play with the twins. Ava and Emma have changed a lot in the last three months and we are ready to see how much they've grown.
Enough for now!
Louise and Duane

Friday, October 02, 2009

Hurray we're rollin' again!

Wild turkeys
One of many little valleys

See the deer?

Appalachian folk art and humor
At last we are turning our wheels again, doing our tourist thing. The month we sat in Ohio was fun, but with the turning of the weather we like to head for sunnier skies. We have been 2 1/2 days here in Raccoon Valley (Escapees) RV Park and have made good use of them. When we arrived and set up we joined the afternoon social hour and met some of the friendly folk who make the park a nice place to stay. Both mornings have been overcast and damp, but by afternoon have made way for sunny skies and dry air--perfect for sightseeing. Yesterday we headed for the Great Smoky Mts. National Park and Cades Cove. This is one of many little settlements in the mts. It is an 11 mile drive to visit some of the home places. I can't say homesteads because the people who settled here actually bought land. Some places are right by the road and some are a short walk away. There were several roads crisscrossing the cove. Some have been preserved as walking/hiking trails and some are now paved and drivable. Since we were there in the early afternoon we didn't see much wildlife (dawn and dusk are best for this), but Ole Sharp Eye managed to spot the deer and turkeys even though he was driving. (I was reading the info booklet). After we exited the cove we headed for Gatlinburg and took the artisans' loop outside of town. We found a nice quilt shop and a couple of local carvers and the ice cream shop before everything closed up.
Today we took off under cloudy misty skies to visit the Museum of Appalachia. This is a large complex of several original historic log buildings that have been moved to the site to represent Appalachian Mountain living. The tour is self-guided. The buildings are full personal belongings--tools, toys, clothing, utensiles, etc. that were used by the original inhabitants. One of the buildings is called the Appalachian Hall of Fame and features notable, historic, famous, interesting, colorful and unusual folk that lived in the area. We thought the cost--$15 each--was more in line for a living history village, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
As of now we haven't decided whether we will move on tomorrow or stay for the weekend. We are done touring the area for now, but don't really like to travel on the weekend. We'll see.
Basta por hoy,
Louise and Duane