Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On An Easterly Wind

It’s official, we are on the move again.  We’ve got a date for a mid-May Volunteer Gig which gives us two months to meander about.  Our gig is actually more westerly than easterly but we have an early May wedding to attend in GA first.  So, let the wandering and exploring begin.

After a super quick trip south of the border into a town called Puerto Palomas to grab some low priced meds followed by an overnight spell in El Paso to put some new rubber on Annie we made the last minute decision to take the low road (90) instead of the middle road (10) through Texas.  Shew!  Now that was a sentence and a half or two.

Ninety made for a nice, quiet drive through some attractive scenery.  We had several stops about 80-100 miles apart planned.  However, it appears that the gypsy in us both was intrigued with the movement and we wound up driving right through every other one.

Our first official stop was an overnight in Marfa at the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area.  No mysterious lights were spotted by us on this particular night.  Since we heard no screams of amazement from the rest of the viewing crowd after we had turned in we assume not by them either.  We did see some other things though like:

                  A super tall Sotol!

         A start to spring in yellow, purple and Indian Paintbrush (red).

                                                 Cathedral Peak (center)

                            A Black-Throated Sparrow on a bush.

            A Ladder-backed Woodpecker in a tree.

These Giant Dagger Yuccas can grow to 40 feet tall and create
some unique almost Joshua Tree like formations.  We missed
photographing most of them as they were always on the drive
and rarely at the stops.

We crossed this really awesome bridge over the Amistad Reservoir at Amistad National Recreation Area.  We considered exploring the area more.  Then we thought again and realized just how close we were getting to the coast and the ocean just sounded more tempting.

Onward we rolled at our usual 55 mph pace down yet another new (to us) back-road when Darlene yells “Oryx”.  Nicole, who was driving, looked at the last minute and caught a glimpse of a rump and said, “Pronghorn”.  Neither of us were really sure of what we had seen but we knew one thing... we had never seen it before!  So, we turned around and tried to grab some photos before they moved on.  Until such time that we found out what they were we nicknamed them Prorynx (Pronghorn - Oryx with an ‘n’ thrown in for good southern measure).

                                       This is the rump of a...

                                          Scimitar-horned Oryx

Darlene unknowingly had nailed that one!  Two different kinds of Oryx in one year.  We were on a roll of unique species sightings.  Speaking of, we also saw male and female Blackbucks and two Caracara’s.  Unfortunately though our quiet highway had suddenly grown crazy busy and turning around wasn’t possible.  So no photos of those.  You’ll just have to take our word for it.

As we began cruising across 97 and 72 toward our next destination we noticed a LOT of fracking sites.  We also noticed that at the entrance to each one was an RV.  It was then that we realized we were seeing Gate Guards.  As work-kampers we had heard about Gate Guarding but until now had never had the opportunity to view it first hand.  These two roads are now known to us as the Gate Guard Highway.

Before dipping our toes in the ocean we had a planned rest stop of 3-4 nights in Cuero, TX at their county park which we had read offered free stays for RV folk.  We pulled in after (business) hours, found a beautiful spot under a massive tree and plugged in to their electricity for the night. 

While looking for our spot we saw these super cool Egyptian Geese wearing red knee-socks.

              Well, that’s a good start.  More about Cuero Park in the next post...