Ready to Hit the Road Again

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Spring is here and it is about time for us to be on the road.  Hopefully, this will be published prior to our actual underway date.
We have had quite a time of it over the last eight months.  We screamed out of Yellowstone after Indian Creek Campground closed so we could get to Kyle and moved into our new home.  Moved in is a relative term because we didn’t have much to actually move into the house.  We did unload all our clothes, dishes, food and tools from the motorhome, and we slept on a borrowed inflatable bed for the first few days.
An early trip to Ikea took care of the inflatable bed which had a slow leak making it less than completely comfortable.  We bought a mattress and foundation with screw in legs at Ikea.  We then had a very comfortable bed making life tolerable.

In late September we flew to Jacksonville, FL to pick-up the contents of a small storage unit we have been renting for six years.  Our first stop was to our friend Pat McGahan’s new home on the beach.  Pat had always wanted a beach front condo and with the prices as they were due to the recession he just could not resist.  He did quite well for himself and we enjoyed an evening with him catching up and enjoying good food and drink as well as a to die for view of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Sunrise from Pat’s Balcony

A look along Jacksonville Beach
 We spent several days in Kingsland, Georgia visiting friends and moving out of the storage unit and into a Ryder Truck.  That was a lot of fun.  We got to spend some quality time with our good friend Trish McMillan and several other longtime friends in the area.  We also bought a washer and dryer while there for delivery in our new home in Kyle.  It is amazing how easy it is to arrange for delivery from a place not near your home when you shop at a national chain.
The drive from Georgia to Kyle with in the Ryder truck was uneventful and that was how we wanted it.
Once we got back to Kyle we spent a good bit of our time shopping for furniture.  Did I mention that there was really only two pieces of useful furniture in the storage unit?  An antique lawyer’s bookcase and a bookcase Conning and I built some 25 years ago.  We had built three of the bookcases, but we sold two of them when we moved into the motorhome over seven years ago now.  So, we needed everything.  We had a budget and we tried really hard to stick to it.  Now, as we are preparing to move back into the motorhome for the next several months we have managed to furnish the master bedroom, the dining room (delivery scheduled for May 3), most of the living room (some of the rest to be delivered when we return this fall), the office and we have a functional guest room meaning there is a bed and it is livable.  We did all this without breaking the bank and we have quality furniture to show for the effort.  We are quite pleased with how it has turned out.
Our lives here were not all wrapped around furnishing the house.  We joined the local YMCA and we spend most of our weekday mornings there trying to stay young.  We have also entertained many of our neighbors while getting to know them.  We have also participated in other neighborhood get togethers.
We managed to get to the First Street Bridge in Austin one evening to watch the bats leaving the bridge at dark to start an evening of gorging on bugs.
The Blurry white things are bats

Part of the Austin Skyline
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Of course we joined the local Audubon organization and attended meetings in the fall and winter.  We also participated in the Christmas Bird Count.  That was a lot of fun even though we got smashed for a miss-identification.  Oh well. 

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Thousands of Brewer’s Blackbirds
We took a trip to Kingsville, Texas to meet with our friends Michael and Margaret Goethe from the Detroit area.  They were in Texas on a self-guided birding trip.  We were to meet them in Kingsville to participate in the Christmas Bird Count and a bird tour of the ranch.  I was struggling to get over the flu, but we went anyway.  I passed on the bird count, but did make the ranch tour.  Connie and Margaret both wound up getting the flu.  I felt bad for them.  Michael managed to escape.

Wild Turkeys on the King Ranch
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Sprague’s Pipit on the King Ranch
We drove to Houston to participate in the Texas Ornithological Society Winter Meeting.  That event included several field trips and workshops.  I took a workshop on bird photography and ended up with some serious lens envy.  So, having done a good job on staying within budget on the house, I was able to treat myself to a new lens.  I can now reach out to an effective length of 600 MM.  I have been practicing with the new lens and must report that more practice is in order before I will be where I want with this wonderful lens.
We spent some time volunteering at Warbler Woods a wonderful sanctuary about thirty miles south of Kyle.  The couple that owns and operates the sanctuary are always in need of some help in the late winter early spring getting the trails in shape for migration as well as mowing the fields and trying to mitigate the invasive grasses that choke out many bird attracting natural plants.  Connie and I both got to learn how to drive a tractor and mow large expanses of fields and in my case tight wooded areas.  I also tried to restore a battery powered car that has some problems.  The work was interesting and the demands minimal.  We really enjoyed our visits and hopefully our contributions helped to make a good migration season for the sanctuary.
Now, as we are getting ready to leave we have finally gotten some rain in Central Texas and as a result there are wild flowers blooming everywhere.  We took a ride looking for flowers a few weeks ago.  We captured some pretty good images along the way.

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Our drive took us back to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge where we spent a few minutes looking for the Golden-cheeked Warbler.  We struck out on the warbler, but we found the local raven pair who is feeding young at their nest above Cow Creek.  The nest is the same one they used the last two years.  We also saw a pair of Scissor-tailed flycatchers not on wires.  (We see them all the time on wires.  It is much harder to find them in trees)

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher taken with my new lens
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The move into the motorhome is moving much slower than the move out did.  We are slowly getting everything in its place.  We did buy new dishes for the coach so we won’t have to move them back and forth in the future.  There are other items which will be left in the rig next fall when we return.  We want the motorhome to usable at a moment’s notice and therefore don’t want to have to do a major move every time we use it.  In just a few days we will realize what we have forgotten, but I am sure that realization will be a couple of hundred miles down the road. Oh well.
Our plan is to spend about a month traveling and visiting sites we have not seen as well as my family eventually arriving at Yellowstone National Park around June 10th.



3 thoughts on “Ready to Hit the Road Again”

  1. Enjoyed the first installment and the great pictures. We always love Texas. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your journey. Wishing you safety and great birds!

    Margaret Goethe

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