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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mustang Island State Park & Padre Island National Seashore

Aloha Everyone,

We covered a total of 242 miles from Comfort to the Mustang Island State Park in Corpus Christi.

After securing Honu's campsite for tonight, we went to Doc's Local Seafood located on the bay. J.J. ordered fried oyster platter and I asked for a seafood salad made of calamaris, shrimps and ahi.  What I had imagined and what was served was at the opposite end of the spectrum. I ended up eating J.J.'s potato fritters, french fries, while J.J. enjoyed his oysters and ate my seafood salad.

We used our Senior Pass to access the Padre Island National Seashore. According to "The Gulf Breeze" magazine published by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, "Over 300 species of birds live or migrate through the park, making it a hot spot for birders from around the world." The seashore protects the world's longest (70 miles) undeveloped stretch of barrier island of sand-and-shell beaches, dunes, tidal flats, grasslands and more.

Here are some interesting sights and beautiful flowers we caught during our evening walk to a sandy beach.

"It's not what you look at that matters.  It's what you see." 
--Henry David Thoreau

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cathi Driving on the I-10 towards Comfort, TX

Aloha Everyone,

Today was a beautiful, sunny day with excellent road conditions. This was a perfect opportunity for me to drive! I actually drove from Ft Stockton to Ozons, for about 90 minutes or 100 miles. It was quite enjoyable. There was not much change in the scenery and we occasionally smelled the stench of skunks' through the air vents of Honu.

At the small town of Ozona we saw "Cafe Next Door" whose parking lot was full. Half of the menu were Mexican dishes. J.J. and I asked for the Today's Special Cowboy plate, an open faced hamburger bun topped with fresh avocado, grilled Texas onion, green pepper with strips of steak served with French fries. J.J. and I exchanged my 1/2 sandwich for his green pepper.

Lisa, our waitress is a local girl born and raised in Ozona. She told us that in order to go shopping or to see movies, you have to drive to San Angelo about 80 miles one way.

Desolate and dry landscape with occasional sightings of silent oil drills is a painful reminder of the boom and bust nature of the oil business.

The town's name, Comfort was inviting. J.J. and I decided to pull into the RV Park USA. Catered to mostly long stay residents, I met a lady who has been here for 3 years. She is from 15 miles north of here, but she refers to that as "back home."

78 degrees, warm temperature is conducive to desert plants and birds.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, January 29, 2016

Our First Close Encounter with Roadrunners at Balmorhea State Park, TX

Aloha Everyone,

Chilling 32 degrees Fahrenheit  this morning. Downtown El Paso from I-10 appears as brown as its surrounding brown adobe hills.

We are noticing more border guards check points. The large RV towing a small car was stopped for nearly 8 minutes. With Honu, they just waived us on

Chuy's Restaurant seems to be the best place to eat in Van Horn. The minute we saw the colorful green and red painted building and walls, J.J. and I recalled that we've eaten there before. There are Califoria-Mex, Arizona-Mex, Southwest-Mex and of course Tex-Mex dishes. I love Mexican foods, but tomorrow I would like to eat something from another region of the world.

We are staying over night at Balmorhea State Park. The Texas State Park Annual Pass we purchased for $70, will allow us to access over 90 state parks. The entrance fee of $7 per person each time we access a state park is waived. We figured by visit five, we recover our initial investment. Pass is good for one year.

Balmorhea State Park with the Davis Mountains backdrop is a family-friendly place. According to the booklet on the park, it is best known for the 24 million gallons per day spring located within the park. Karl, the Park Superintendent told us that this is one of the most popular destinations. During the summer, the park receives as many as 1,500 visitors in a single day.

My first close encounter with a roadrunner and seeing a large flock of American Coots made our walk around the park extra special and memorable.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, January 28, 2016

To Anthony/El Paso, TX & Wonderful Encounter With Wilma & Charley

Aloha Everyone,

I-10 between Tucson and Las Cruces is a familiar route for us. However, J.J. and I try to stay alert to see if we could discover something new even when things appear to be pedestrian.

As we approached the small town of Bowie, AZ, "Fresh Jerky" road sign caught our eyes. Dichotomy indeed as jerky is cured meat and so it cannot be fresh. J.J. stopped Honu long enough for me to also photograph the decaying gas station, abandoned tee pee and a post office which serves the town with a population of 449.

Our lunch stop was in Deming, NM. I had an excellent beef taco plate following Nil's recommendation. The portion was so large that I had two tacos packed up for J.J.'s dinner. Desert of Sapodilla was simple, but flavorful.

Charley and Wilma from Missouri also stopped to take photos of a gigantic replica of a roadrunner made out of recycled scrapped metals and tennis shoes. The couple work part of the year at amusement parks in Branson, MO, known for shows and entertainment some featuring impersonation artists. Wilma and Charley kindly invited us to come so they could show us around.

Making great time on the road, we bypassed Las Cruces and entered Texas.

KOA Anthony/El Paso camping is being advertised as "new". Perhaps it's too new. No trees for shade, the place is basically barren flat terrain. We were offered a space with desert view or close to the shower facilities. We chose the latter. Excellent showers, but weak WiFi signals.

Spectacular sunset.

Aloha -- Cathi