Saturday, December 31, 2016

Some Beach Time

While we had visitors (our son Blake, and Denisa's sister Debra and Dave), we planned some trips out of town--and out of the country. Our first trip was to go on a fishing excursion in the bay at South Padre Island. We had reservations for the afternoon boat, so we arrived in time for a little sight-seeing on the island first. We stopped at the visitor center, where Mark took a group picture by the sand castle out front.

Each year, Padre hosts a sand castle festival in October. Semi-permanent sand sculptures are scattered across the island, and these are some of the largest. They are made of real sand, then brushed with elmer's glue and water to make them more permanent. But we could see that these works of art were eroding at the base.

As you can tell from the hairstyles above, it was a warm and very windy day. When we parked at one of the beaches, we saw the red flags were flying straight out to indicate dangerous water conditions because of the wind.

Without any protection from the wind, we were getting sand-blasted on the beach today. Even the sea gulls were having a hard time flying against this wind.

With temperatures in the 80's, the water felt good on this December day. We picked up some sea shells for the land-lovers back in Oklahoma, but we didn't stay long on the windy beach.

About this time we found out that the water in the bay was too choppy for our planned fishing excursion. We learned a lesson today.  We had already purchased our one-day fishing licenses, that would now go to waste. We now know not to purchase that license until you know that you are going fishing for sure. We also learned that Oklahoma residents over 65 don't have to purchase a fishing license under a reciprocal agreement between the two states.

So we consoled ourselves with a shrimp meal at Dirty Al's. We have eaten here many times, and the lines are usually long at lunch time. But we no longer recommend the fried shrimp at Dirty Al's, as they were about half the size that they have been in the past. But we had a great waitress who brought us extra shrimp to make up for their small size.

We were looking for a beach activity that could take advantage of these gusty conditions. So we drove out to an area known as "the flats" on the bay side of the island. This past week we saw on the local news that unusually high tides had closed several of the Padre Island beaches. It also covered the flats with salt water that we had to wade through.

We walked close enough to the water to get a look at these brave wind surfers. The strong winds were filling their giant kites, that propelled them across the top of the water at break-neck speeds.

There was a beginner trying to get started as we watched. The helper was holding the sizable kite as the new surfer was getting ready. Meanwhile, another wind surfer was lifted twenty feet out of the water by his kite.

Our last stop of the day was at a local shrimp market in Port Isabel, where we purchased a couple pounds of jumbo shrimp. Since we already had our portion of sea food at Dirty Al's, we waited to cook them until the next day. We made short work of the two pounds of jumbo shrimp, as we ate them as fast as we could peel them. Below is a small sampling of our shrimp feast.

So our weather wasn't ideal, and we were disappointed that our fishing excursion was cancelled. But our visitors came home with some sea shells to share with their grandchildren. After all the sea shells that we have picked up and then returned to the sea this year, it was nice to be with someone that wanted to take them home. We have officially spent more time on beaches in 2016 than we have in our entire lives. It's been a good year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

We Have Visitors at the Resort

During the first two weeks we stayed at the resort in South Texas, we were blessed with visitors. It was a great time for them to visit us in the south, as the temperatures back home plummeted below zero. For a good part of their stay, we enjoyed shorts-wearing weather. One of our visitors was our youngest son, Blake. We picked him up at the airport in Harlingen, Texas--about an hour away from our park. We took advantage of our trip to the airport to see a couple attractions in Harlingen. One of our stops took us to see the Marine Corps War Memorial near the Military Academy.

We've all seen the iconic 1945 pictures of the group of brave marines, struggling to raise the American flag on the tiny island of Iwo Jima during World War II. The bronze statue is in the Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC. Who knew that the original plaster working model that was used to make the mold for the bronze casting was on display in Harlingen, Texas? It is the same in size and detail as the famous bronze statue. These marines are larger than life, standing 32 feet tall as they push the flag pole into place.

We also took advantage of our location to visit one of the best birding parks in south Texas. It was nice to get some exercise as we walked around the trails, but we didn't get any good pictures of birds here.

We spotted this guy later on one of the palm trees in Harlingen.

This colorful woodpecker was checking in the cracks and crevices for palm tree bugs for lunch.

We had to take a close up of the beautiful pattern on his wings. That God would design that kind of detail for a simple little woodpecker, is yet another wonder to us.

We asked our 25-year-old son what he wanted to do while he was staying with us. He is easy to entertain, as he "just wanted to pretend he was retired." One of our favorite activities when Blake is visiting is playing piano duets on Denisa's new keyboard. She has enjoyed having a keyboard on board, and it fits nicely on the top of the dresser in our bedroom.

Our audience for this "performance" were our other visitors--Denisa's sister Debra, and Dave. They were sitting in our motor home living room with Denisa's Mother. They had never been in our motor home with the slides out, and were surprised  with how spacious it is. This area is around 14 feet across with those opposing slides, and we certainly don't feel cramped inside.

We took in some of the resort amenities with our visitors. Since Blake wanted to act retired, we had some pretty serious shuffle board matches between the five of us.

We also had lots of pickleball games while they were here. We definitely noticed that Blake's speed and agility on the court could beat his older relatives to the ball.

As a child, one of Blake's favorite thing to do when visiting Grandma here was riding bikes up and down the streets of the resort. We did that again on this visit. That's when he discovered this citrus tree loaded with huge fruit. One had fallen off the tree, and Blake picked it up to show it was about the size of his head.

Another resort activity that guests can participate in is the weekly card bingo game. Everyone starts each game with five cards of their choice. A caller announces cards from a shuffled deck until one of the players shouts "Bingo!" because their five chosen cards have been called. We had around 40 players participating that evening.

Debra doesn't usually wear a crown, but she was the bingo queen. That is the first female that wins a bingo. That entitled her to the crown for the evening, plus an extra pot of coins in honor of her royal status.

As we got news about a record-breaking cold-front in the midwest, our visitors were glad to be south of that icy storm front. Our oldest son texted us about the ice storm in Kansas City. We texted this picture of our car's dash, complete with the 82 degree reading that we were enjoying instead.

Our visitors seemed to enjoy the laid-back fun at the resort. But we're also planning some other tourist activities while they are here. Stay tuned for more fun in south Texas!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry CHRISTmas!

It doesn't take long for us to decorate for Christmas in the motor home. We have a small tub of decorations, including this nativity set that sits on the dash.

We love celebrating Christmas with family. So even though the forecast in South Texas indicated perfect temperatures for a Christmas day swim in the pool, we headed north instead. It's a 13-hour drive from Mission, Texas to our first destination in Oklahoma to see relatives. But before we left, we put our Christmas cards in the mail. We wanted to wish everyone reading the blog a Merry CHRISTmas. We also wanted to remember why we are celebrating, and proclaim once again that "Christ is Born!"

The Christmas letter we mailed with the above card summed up our year in the following way:

Merry Christmas! Our Christmas card proclaims that “Christ is Born!” and we hope you are celebrating that miracle this season. We were excited to get to spend Thanksgiving with family, and had time to take this quick snapshot. When we compare it to pictures from Christmases past, we see that our little boys have somehow turned into men with day-old beards. How did that happen?

Our oldest son, Luke, is seated with his sweet wife Jordan standing behind him. They are still living in Kansas City, where Luke is in the second year of his pediatric residency at Children's Mercy Hospital. He worked an all-nighter at the hospital before they loaded into the car for the six-hour drive to meet us in the Oklahoma panhandle. So if he looks tired, that could be because he hadn't slept for a couple days when the picture was taken. Jordan is a PA, working in a family-care practice in Kansas City. We were blessed to spend a week with them and Jordan’s family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this summer. In their spare time, they are kept busy with their puppy, a 60-pound golden doodle that got his first taste of ranch life on this Thanksgiving trip.

Our son Blake is standing in the center of the picture, and he just drove four hours from Oklahoma City to meet us in the panhandle. This year he has traveled to meet us many places. We saw him in Arkansas for his birthday in March; in the mountains of north Georgia in May; at the ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in June; Virginia and West Virginia for beautiful fall leaves in October; and hiking in Arkansas in November. He purchased another plane ticket to see us in South Texas right before Christmas. We have gotten to spend more time with him this year than when we were working in Oklahoma! He is finishing his third year as an engineer for Chesapeake Energy, with a schedule and vacation time that allows for the travel he loves.

He must have inherited that from his parents, because Mark and Denisa obviously love to travel as well. We are finishing up our second year of living full-time in our motor home, traveling all over the United States. As we continue to “Wander His Wonders,” we are daily inspired by the powerful God that created and designed all these wonders. When we sold the house and gave everything else away, we were often asked how long we were planning to continue this full-time travel adventure. Our answer was, “Two to thirty years.” We’ve made the minimum, so we are heartily heading towards the maximum now. 

The 2016 travel loop took us east, where we spent several weeks in each of 16 different states. The short summary of this year’s travels would include heading east along the coast during the winter months; then heading north across the eastern seaboard in the summer; so we could spend the autumn following the fall foliage trail southwest back to Oklahoma. 

We made a road trip in the middle of that journey to return to Oklahoma to celebrate Mark’s Father’s 90th birthday in August. As we celebrated 35 years of marriage this year, we also got to witness (and even photograph) two different random marriage proposals during our travels. Our plans for 2017 include heading up the west coast to the Pacific Northwest, wandering His wonders in a new section of the country. But for now we celebrate Christmas and God's ultimate wonder that “Christ is Born!”

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Life at an RV Resort

Our usual full-time RV lifestyle is filled with camping at state parks, exploring small towns we have never been to before, hiking in beautiful places, kayaking on new lakes . . .  So staying in a resort in the middle of the Rio Grand Valley surrounded by city is very unusual for us. We've been here many times over the last 30 years, visiting Denisa's Mother at her winter home. So we've seen most of the local landmarks and visited the highlights before. For that reason, we'll spend most of our time inside the park while we are here. This is the view riding our bikes down our street. Many of the units are permanent homes with carports attached, as most of our neighbors spend 6-12 months here in the park.

Each week there is list of activities and classes to attend. For instance, on Monday we went to exercise class at 8:00 a.m. We went home for breakfast, then to line dancing for two hours starting at 9:30. Denisa goes directly to Zumba exercise class, then to play pickleball. After playing pickle for a couple hours, we limped back to the motor home. We then met Denisa's Mother for dinner at the rec hall. Each Monday evening they serve a full meal for $6.50. We enjoyed stuffed pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, cole slaw, green beans, and a hot roll. So our days at the resort are usually full with fun things to do.

Every day brings different activities. Since this is our third year, we have learned which things interest us the most. We also have found that a one-month stay just isn't long enough for some activities. As much as Denisa enjoyed dancing with the clogging class, she knew she would never get those fancy steps mastered with two classes each week for just four weeks. Likewise, Mark still has his first project in wood-carving--still unfinished after three seasons here.

So we find some things are better suited for people staying for the entire 6-month season, rather than short-timers like us. If people can't find anything to do, they are obviously not trying. Besides the activities we have already mentioned one could go to quilting, bingo, choir, swedish weaving, yoga, birding, encaustic, bridge, table tennis, wood carving, softball, swimnastaics, golf, stained glass, bowling, pool, darts, rock club, Spanish, biking, ceramics, radio-controlled club, shuffle board, computer club, paper quilling, wood burning, cross stitch, painting, needlepoint, scrapbooking, every card game ever invented, and kitchen band. Just in case you aren't familiar with kitchen band, it's when a group of people with a good sense of humor bring various kitchen gadgets and make "music" with them. They usually perform at area nursing homes and veterans centers. But we snapped this picture of the kitchen band performance at the tree-trimming party, with Denisa's Mother on the front row. Yes, they are wearing red noses for the Rudolph song.

This is the longest amount of time we have spent in one campground, but by resort standards we are still short-timers. We enjoy seeing the same people we met here a year ago, and it's nice for people to welcome us "home." We aren't ready to sit in one spot so long just enjoying "activities" when there's a lot of this beautiful country to see. But for this month, we're enjoying parking our tires in one spot and enjoying resort time.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Settled in at Bentsen Grove Resort

After over-nighting in the Walmart parking lot in Edinburg, we drove the final 20 miles to our destination at Bentsen Grove Resort. It's so nice to pull in to a new place in the morning, with plenty of time to find a spot and get everything set up. After looking at every available option, we settled on a spot on 6th street. We have our own palm tree in our back yard.

As the workamper with the golf cart drove us down each street to pick a site, Denisa kept refusing perfectly level and wide sites close to the rec hall. She might be the only camper here that chooses her site based on the fruit trees available. On the driver's side we have an orange tree, that is very sweet and great for juicing!

On the passenger side is a grove of trees, with a navel orange tree and another juicer. Pair that with a back door neighbor that has said we can pick his grape fruit, and Denisa is one happy fruity camper!

The fruit on these trees isn't perfect, but we have learned that brown spots and blemishes on citrus doesn't affect the taste.

We have found that Denisa isn't the only one that likes fruit. There's a few resident critters that also likes the taste of citrus. This possum was enticed into the trap with a few orange slices, and he was hissing when we took this picture.

This park is at the edge of town. So we occasionally hear coyotes, and there was a raccoon sighting in the park as well. But we only got the possum picture before he was relocated.

This is our third year to spend a month at Bentsen Grove Resort, so it's fun to get reacquainted with friends we have made from past visits. This is Denisa's Mother's 30th year to spend her winter here. She has been a snow bird since she retired, and has came to this same park for all those years. So we will be here for two weeks before Christmas, visiting with Betty, and taking in all the activities at the park. Then we'll drive the car back to Oklahoma to spend time with family for Christmas. We'll be back in January for another two weeks. So this is a different camping experience than we are accustomed to, but still a great place to enjoy the warm weather of winter in south Texas. We lift a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice in celebration of being settled in South Texas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Let's Drive Just a Little Further . . .

With the hunters taking over Inks Lake State Park and freezing temperatures heading into the area, it was time to head further south. It was windy and overcast when we broke camp and drove out of our camping site.

We had planned our next stop at Choke Canyon state park. We bought another Texas state park pass this year, and it's good for the next twelve months. Denisa is bound and determined to get her money out of that $70 investment. So far it has saved us $6 for each of the 4 days we stayed at Lake Arrowhead, plus got us a half-price night of camping there. Another 2 days of $12 day-use fees at Inks Lake and another half-price night of camping brings our savings total to $69.50. So we still are 50 cents shy of breaking even on our investment.

As Mark is driving the motor home south, Denisa is reading on the internet that there aren't many hiking trails at Choke Canyon. We also realized that it would be 24 miles out of our way to drive to the state park. So we thought, "Let's drive just a little further" instead of stopping at Choke Canyon.

Now Denisa is making phone calls about other possible places to spend the night while Mark is clicking off the miles on the odometer. The overcast skies have broken into sunshine and we have a nice north breeze behind us so, "Let's drive just a little further."

Texas has one of the best highway systems we have found since we've been full-timing. With smooth roads and wide shoulders, Denisa began to think this would be a good day to brush up on her driving skills. She hadn't been behind the wheel of the motor home for over a year, so "Let's drive just a little further."

We had to stage the picture and take it later, because Mark was too nervous to take it while Denisa was actually driving. The pictures he took on the road were all blurry from him shaking so bad. Truthfully, he got to experience some "firsts" while he was taking over the passenger seat for that hour. He walked to the back of the motor home while it was moving for the first time. He also tried out (ahem) the facilities while going down the road for the first time. Denisa's driving and Mark's other experiences were so successful we decided "Let's drive just a little further."

There weren't many campground options now, and Mark thought it really didn't seem worthwhile to go to the trouble of leveling the motor home and connecting the utilities for a quick overnight stay, so "Let's drive just a little further."

We noticed the temperatures getting warmer as we drove further south. We always enjoy those first glimpses of palm trees as we cross into the Rio Grand Valley. We shed our sweat shirts as we decided "Let's drive just a little further."

It was too far to drive all the way to our final destination at the tip of Texas. We had learned our lesson to not arrive at our camping destination after dark, so now we started looking for a good parking lot for a free boondocking site. When we finally found a Walmart right off the highway, we called to verify that they allow RVers to overnight there. To get to that Walmart we'll need to "drive just a little further."

We pulled into the Walmart parking lot in Edinburg, Texas, before sunset. We found a cozy place in the far side of the parking lot.

We did our obligatory Walmart shopping, and settled in for supper from the Subway inside the store. We were joined by another RV and several trucks before the evening was over. We didn't know if the security car circling the parking lot was a good sign or a bad sign, but we slept well. After a record-breaking 6.5 hours and 334 miles of driving the motor home today, we were finally glad we didn't need to drive even a little further.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Inks Lake State Park

We planned to stay at Inks Lake State Park for several days. We had read that even though there are almost 200 campsites here on the lake, you must reserve months in advance to get one of those spots on most weekends. This must be a great place to camp! After our late night set-up, we woke to rain the first morning. So we spent most of the day exploring the national fish hatchery and driving to the nearby hill town of Kingston for groceries.

It continued to rain until 3:00 in the afternoon. With a break in the precipitation, we left quickly for a hike that the ranger had suggested for us. We were planning to head up past the Amphitheater Trail to the Connector Trail to the Lake Trail, then over to the Woodland Trail. With all those trail changes, we only made one wrong turn and found ourselves on the Fisherman's Trail. That added an extra mile to our hike, but we also got some great looks at Inks Lake in the clouds.

We knew we only had around two hours of daylight when we started, so this hike was more like a jog. Our planned hike was supposed to be around 5 miles, and we stretched it to over 6 miles with our detour. So we were moving pretty fast.

Our jog looked a little like a swim at times. With almost 24 hours of rain, the trail looked more like a creek.

And the creek looked more like a river. The usual crossing stones were under water, so it took some good balance and grace to get across the water. Since we possess neither of those, it was a soggy crossing.

To add to the water on the trail, it started raining again while we were at the furthest point away from our car. We should have known better than to trust that darn weatherman who forecast that the rain would be over by 2:00! The rain also made the solid rock slabs extra slick.

We could have played on the piles of rocks for a long time. But between the rain and the impending darkness, we didn't have time for fun today.

From this tallest point on the trail, we could finally get a glimpse of the Falkenstein Castle. It was eerily visible in the distance through the misty rain. The ranger told us that the owners modeled the castle after one they visited in Germany. The cost to build it was financed by the family cat litter fortune. It seems that the owners became wealthy from trademarking the process of cleaning up oil spills with cat litter.

As we slopped through the sections that were under water, and slipped over the slick rocks, we were still enjoying ourselves. We love the opportunity to hike in new places on a daily basis, even when the conditions aren't ideal. 

The reason we hiked this afternoon instead of waiting for better weather, was that the trails will be closed tomorrow. In fact, the rangers had already put up the signs to close the trail, even though it didn't go into effect until midnight. Inks Lake state park has a lottery system to draw names for a limited number of hunters to enter the park on specific dates. It just so happened that we showed up right before one of those hunting days.

As a testament to the amount of water on the trail, notice that the front of Mark's blue jeans are completely wet in the picture above. He led the way through most of hike, knocking the water off the tall grass along parts of the trail. 

Today we saw several deer, that will need to tread carefully tomorrow during the public hunt.

We arrived back to our car a few minutes after sun down, glad that we didn't have to ford the watery trails after dark! We were also glad to get seven miles of good aerobic exercise as we explored a little more of Inks Lake state park. With the public hunts starting tomorrow, and forecast low temperatures in the 20's, we'll be heading down the road further south tomorrow.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

We Broke One of Our Rules . . .

One of our cardinal rules is to always arrive at a campground early in the day. That allows us to find a good site, and get backed in and hooked up easily and unhurriedly. After two years of following the rule very well, this time we blew it! We went to Sunday morning services at the closest church to Lake Arrowhead state park. When the service went longer than we expected, we got on the road late. It's a good thing we didn't take them up on their invitation to stay for the pot luck lunch, or we would have been even later! The combination of a late start with a longer than usual drive, saw us pulling into our next destination--Inks Lake State Park--as the sun was setting.

We like Texas state parks a lot, and we especially like the way they handle camp site assignments. Full-time RVer like us can show up early in the week and take their pick of the available sites. In the month of December, in a huge campground like Inks Lake, that meant that we had our choice of over 100 sites. Normally, we would spend thirty minutes driving through the campgrounds to find the perfect spot. But as the sun was setting, we just followed the ranger's first selection for us.  But that site was not level, and had low-hanging trees. So we were driving in the dusk looking for an alternative site.

We finally chose one nearby, and Mark had the very difficult and risky job of backing the motor home into a narrow site in the dark. We even had to take the time to add leveling blocks as it got darker. We found this was a messy job, as we hadn't noticed in the dark that this campsite was covered with goose poop. Just to make things worse, now it started raining. So we were outside in the rain, trying to dodge the rain drops and the goose poop. To add injury to insult, the water connection was leaking and one leg of the 50-amp electric connection was not working. As one thing after the other piled up, we vowed never again to break our rule of getting to a new campground early in the day!

We hope you're not too disappointed that this blog doesn't have any photographs. If you think about pictures of goose poop in the dark, you realize that our situation wasn't very picturesque.

It rained all night, and most of the next day. As we looked out of our rain-streaked front window, we watched those dang geese cavorting happily in the rain. Inks Lake was quickly becoming one of our least favorite state parks. But two maintenance guys showed up immediately after we reported the water and electricity problems the next morning. With good power and water, we are now comfortable in our new home. We understand that our bad first impression of this park was our fault because we broke one of our rules. Now, we are anxious to see why Inks Lake State Park is so popular with so many people.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Texas Style Weekend

We enjoy small town celebrations, so when we heard that Archer City was hosting "Christmas on the Square" we headed that direction one evening. Texas posts a population sign at the outskirts of every town, so we knew that Archer City has 1,750 citizens. We're pretty sure all of them showed up for the Christmas celebration. We were there for the lighting of the official Archer City Christmas tree, situated on the square in front of the Archer county courthouse.

We ate dinner from one of the food trucks parked around the square. It's good to be back in Texas, where they know how to make barbecue! We also headed to Royal Theater, where the high school band was providing the accompaniment music for the first through fourth grade students singing Christmas carols. With all the students on the stage and parents and spectators making a standing-room-only crowd, we're sure we were way over the fire marshal's occupancy maximum at the Royal Theater.

We had a day of rain, where our view out the motor home windshield looked soggy. It was a good day to catch up with tasks around home, and Mark was only too happy to stay inside and watch the Oklahoma college bedlam game. That's why we decided to stay the extra two days at Lake Arrowhead--we had good phone and television signals. Those are two things that come in handy on rainy days.

So we rested up during the rainy day to save our energy for date night in Wichita Falls. This included a stop at Midwestern State University (MSU) for "Fantasy of Lights."

This public university hosts one of the largest holiday displays of its kind. It brings well-known children's stories to life, coupled with 20,000 lights outlining the university's buildings.

This Christmas display started in the 1920's when Mr. and Mrs. Burns put out their first Christmas display. Fueled by a large income from the oil industry, their display grew until their deaths in the 1970's. Wanting to leave the Christmas display close to home, their heirs donated it to MSU. Now there are more than 200,000 visitors each year to the university to see the 36 animated scenes in the "Fantasy of Lights."

We were glad to see that after Santa, Cinderella, Toy Story, and other silly children's tale, the corner spot was reserved for the real reason for all the festivities--Jesus's birth. Good job Midwestern State University!

The other reason we are glad to be in Texas is the number of dance halls in this state. After traveling on the east coast where dancing seems to be out-lawed, we had several choices for places to two-step in Wichita Falls. One offered free dance lessons, and even waived the cover charge for anyone coming to the lessons--double score! So we learned a new (very complicated) two-step move and danced all evening for free. We left at 10:30 p.m. when the dance floor got too crowded, and there was still a long line of people coming in. Texans love to dance! Mark pointed out that mathematically we were old enough to be grandparents of many of the other dancers. With that sobering thought, we were glad that we stayed up with them for a couple hours anyway.

In between rain showers at Lake Arrowhead, we spent more time bird-watching at the state park. We were thoroughly entertained by a beautiful red-tailed hawk that would let us get close enough to take pictures.

We liked the more natural background pictures in the trees, but we could see him best when he was perched on this metal rail. He looked headless in this pose, as he was preening feathers on his back.

We've always heard the phrase "ruffling a few feathers" and this guy was ruffling more than just a few. Denisa laughed out loud when she saw this picture. He looked like a completely different bird all fluffed up like that!

After all that ruffling, it took a while before his feathers settled back down into the beautifully smooth breast feathers we had seen earlier.

As much as we enjoyed watching him, he seemed to be strangely interested in watching us as well.

When he finally got tired of us, he soared effortlessly away to a new tree top. We know he won't go hungry with so many gopher rats residing at the park.

We are easily entertained, as we love watching wildlife. We are so blessed to have the time to visit places like state and national parks without having to hurry home to go to work. For example, we could sit and watch our resident prairie dogs doing some landscaping work to repair the damage that a day of rain did to their homes.

So we enjoyed a good Texas-style weekend filled with a lot of Texas wildlife, and a little Texas nightlife.