River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018
River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Day with The Wandering Camels - Sunday, February 8, 2015

On a foggy Sunday morning, we headed south to Port Aransas, Texas, to meet up with our friends Faye and Dave. A year ago, we walked in Corpus Christi with Faye, Mui and Erin. We didn't actually met Dave until this visit. Faye writes the blog, The Wandering Camels.

As we drove toward Port Aransas, the clouds burned off. But the day wasn't exactly warm.

Guess what? Silly me...I forgot to bring my camera. All I had was my cell phone, so there are some photos I took in the blog, but the high resolution photos are courtesy of Dave Malouf (all appropriately attributed to him, photos without attribution are mine).

When we arrived at Gulf Waters RV Park, Faye and Dave walked us around the sites. What a nice park!

At Gulf Waters the lots are privately owned. When the owners aren't there, the sites are rented out to RVers traveling through. Some of the sites are huge, upscale and have outdoor kitchens, bars, and sheds with a large refrigerator (probably to store all those fish the herons don't eat, oh, and happy hour food and drink!). We were very impressed.

The park is across a sand dune from the Gulf of Mexico. Dave likes to spend his mornings fishing from the beach where he has caught everything from red drum to a stingray. His morning fishing companion is a great blue heron who likes to steal fish from his bucket.

After the park tour, we drove three miles into town to start our Volksmarch at The Tarpon Inn. The Tarpon Inn was built in 1886 with lumber from Civil War Barracks. It survived a fire in 1900 and a devastating hurricane  and tidal wave in 1919. When the Tarpon Inn was rebuilt, it was reinforced with pilings placed in concrete, extending up through the entire structure into the attic. Because the building is so well built, it has served as a storm shelter for many years. It has also been headquarters for the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and military units.

By the way, in case you're wondering how The Tarpon Inn got its name, all you have to do is go in the lobby. There is a large tarpon hanging on the wall behind the front desk.

Front desk clerk showing us a tarpon.
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
From the Tarpon Inn, we walked through town, stopping to read some history markers in front of the museum.

Faye checking out the dolphin sculpture.
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
Bob, Susan, Faye and David in front of a historical marker.
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)

The historical marker is about Mustang Island -- where Port Aransas is located -- which is one of seven Texas barrier islands. Wild mustangs from shipwrecks and Spanish expeditions once populated the island. The first humans on the island were the Karankawas, nomadic groups who stayed on the islands in fall and winter, then moved inland during spring and summer.

When we walk, we never know what we'll encounter. Today, we saw a gentleman making a sand castle in front of a restaurant. Beautiful work!

Sandcastle photo from my cell phone.
The walk took us into the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center where we might catch a glimpse of Boots and Bags, two resident alligators. The day turned out bright and sunny, but with a cold wind dogging us. Here's what we saw at Leonabelle Turnbull...

Young nutria swimming (they're basically huge rats)
(from my cell phone)
Boardwalk as seen from Observation Tower
(from my cell phone)

American Coot
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
Blue-winged and green-winged teal
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)

Roseate spoonbills
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
Bags (or Boots) not sure which--No head in photo
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
White pelicans
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
11 turtles sharing a hummock with young nutria
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
Turtle and two nutria
(Photo courtesy of Dave Malouf.)
Our next stop was the Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond. Not many birds were out, but we saw a Western Kingbird and an Eastern Phoebe.

Faye and I at Paradise Pond
(Photo courtesy of Bob Alton.)

When we finished scoping out all the wildlife, we were hungry. Faye and Dave suggested Drop Anchor Bar and Grill which was on our way back to The Tarpon Inn. As we waited for our lunch, we read the history of Drop Anchor Bar from our menus. The original Drop Anchor was in Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean. We opted to sit outside on the upper deck. We didn't wear coats, and as we sat eating our lunch, we were all getting quite chilled. Brr!

The food was delicious! The burgers and fish sandwich were super good, but their "curly fries on steroids" (as Bob calls them) were superior.

Burger with hefty curly fries.
Dave and Faye loving the look of their lunches
Drop Anchor Bar & Grill partial menu
With bellies full of good food, we finished up our three-mile Volksmarch back at The Tarpon Inn. We gave hugs around as we bade farewell to Faye and Dave. They headed back to the RV park and we took off on the ferry toward Rockport searching for the elusive whooping cranes.

On the Port Aransas ferry waiting to leave the dock.
With Faye's excellent directions in our minds, we drove right to where a pair of whooping cranes were whooping it up with the sandhill cranes. The location is at Goose Island State Park near The Big Tree, a coastal live oak. My little cell phone camera failed miserably trying to take a photo of the whoopers. I have no zoom on my cell phone.

In the photo below, there are two whooping cranes and about 15 sandhill cranes. You'll have to take our word for it.

The small white speck just about dead center is
where the two whooping cranes are.
While we were in the vicinity, we went to see the Goose Island Oak, AKA The Big Tree. It's part of the state park.

The Big Tree - a coastal live oak, over 1,000 years old

Offspring of The Big Tree...glorious.
One more stop before heading back to San Antonio. We wanted to see the main part of Goose Island State Park and check out the campsites. First off, you have a choice of campsite locations: next to the water or in the trees. If you're next to the water, you get all the wind and salt water spray, not to mention the stench of rotting seaweed at certain times of the year. If you plan to camp in the trees for more protection, be sure to watch out for low-hanging branches. The road in, and many of the sites, have trees with very low branches. If you have a motorhome or 5th wheel with high clearance you will have to be very careful where you go amongst the trees.

While at the main part of Goose Island State Park, we found the Goose Island State Park Fishing Pier, which we walked to its end. There were many people out fishing, even in the cold wind.

Goose Island State Park Fishing Pier
Bob walking down the pier past fishermen
Fishing must be good here
The sandpiper in the water enjoys fishing too.

Tide's coming in. Love the artsy rock spit of land.
Looks like Bob just climbed out of the Gulf waters!
What they're fishing for
With that, our day trip to the Gulf Coast faded into the setting sun as we drove back to San Antonio. What a wonderful day spent with friends, and out in nature.

Travel Bug out.


  1. Great post on our time together, we had a wonderful time walking and enjoying the sites around Port A. Glad to you found the whooping cranes.

    PS it's Gulf Waters :)

    1. Thanks, Faye. How's work going?

      I'm fixing the name of the RV Park now.

  2. Looks like a very fun day. But a day with a cell phone as your camera sure can be frustrating...the lack of a zoom drives me crazy!

  3. How could you leave your camera knowing you will be having a busy and excitement day! Nevertheless you guys really had fun.


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