Before going to Galveston Island SP we went for a walk on the beach near the RV park, saw the amusement park on the pier, stocked up on groceries at a Kroger Signature store, filled our diesel, and stopped at Walmart for a few items. We had heard on the weather the night before that there was a risk of Tornado for Valentine ’s Day but we were woken up at 5 am when our Weatherband radio alarm went off and indicated that we were in a Tornado warning area and that the storm was moving much faster than the models had suggested. The news channels interrupted the morning shows and did non-stop broadcasts on where Dopler radar indicated that rotation was happening. As the storm moved east they would tell each city or county when they should take shelter. It was around 8:45 am when we had to move to the campground bathrooms as that was our designated safe location instead of in the RV. It started off with just us and one other couple but within 30 minutes we were up to 12 people. Each person had smartphone based alarms (which kept going off) and one person brought their portable Weatherband radio. Then we were joined by a camper who had been a storm chaser before and he had a smartphone app that showed the strength and rotation of the winds. At one point he could see a rotation beginning right in front of the bathroom and told everyone to go inside. Luckily the rotation didn’t fully form so we didn’t get a Tornado in our area but several did touch down west of Houston that morning. These events are scary but you also get to meet many interesting people while you wait out the storm.
That afternoon the clouds, rain, and lightning cleared out to give us sunny skies so we were able to go for a long MTB ride along the nature trails. The trails were wet and muddy from the rain but the worse part was more the strong winds. Our legs were completely exhausted after finishing all the trails in the park. Along the way we saw a fiddler crab, egrets, a flock of ducks (not sure what type), a Coral Bean shrub, some display boards describing the wetlands and what they were doing to restore them (the park had housing developments on both sides of it’s boundary), some burnt prickly pear cactus after the controlled burn they had done in January, and we finished off the day with a nice sunset.
On the day we left Galveston Island SP to head to Goose Island SP we saw a car wash in Jamaica Beach that was big enough for our RV so we gave it a well needed bath. This was one of our longer driving days at 4 hours and along the way we stopped for lunch at the Colorado River. When we checked in to Goose Island SP they gave us site choices so we drove around and picked a nice spot right on the water where we could see the shrimp boats right out in front. We walked around after getting setup and saw Stinky Beach but the smell wasn’t too bad as the breeze was coming across the bay. This area is also known for Whooping Cranes but we didn’t see any. Then we saw some fishermen return with a huge bag of fish and the Brown Pelicans were all hanging around looking for scraps. The weird thing is that the White Pelicans were out on the bay but none of them came in for scraps. Naturally since we’d washed the rig that day we had a rain storm overnight!
The next day we went for a ride around the Live Oak section of the campground (very different than the Bayside sites) and in turn headed a few miles out of the camping area where the Texas State Champion Live Oak tree was located. This tree was the largest we have seen anywhere (everything is big in Texas) and it was over 1000 years old and was 11’ wide at the trunk. The other interesting thing was that it was surrounded by many other Live Oaks that were the offspring on the Big Tree. We rode over to a pond where the Whooping Cranes sometimes hang out but they weren’t around but we did see a Turkey Vulture right by the road and we finished the day with another nice sunset (view from our campsite).
The next morning Sharon went on a guided bird talk (they saw 42 different types of shore birds) while I worked on the blog. In the afternoon we went for a bike ride and first did the Turk’s Cap Trail, some of the Live Oak tree branches were so low that I bonked my head on one (good I was wearing my helmet). Then we rode over to the birding pond and we were very lucky to see 3 Whooping Cranes fly in and land in front of a house. Since it was private property we couldn’t get too close but we could still tell how massive the birds were. We also saw several Rosetta Spoonbills and Sandhill Cranes. The Crackle birds were all sitting on the power lines making lots of noise like something right out of Hitchcock’s movie The Birds! When we returned all the air boat fishermen were returning and cutting up their fish (lots of fishermen on a Saturday of a long weekend). Two guys were even using electric knifes to cut the fillets as they had so many fish to clean. The Pelicans were back getting their scraps as well. I’ll finish this post off with the next beer selection picks. This selection was far harder to pick the best brew from as I had 3 favourites. The Java Stout was really good, and so was the Coffee Porter, but I also liked the Little Sumpin’ Ale as it was really hoppy. It seems like this is good time of year to travel for beer as there are a lot of winter brew limited release beers. I guess I’ll pick the Coffee Porter as the top of these beers. That night we had another Thunderstorm with heavy rain and wind but luckily no Tornado warnings. The rest of this week looks like it will be gorgeous!
Next stop Port Aransas and then Padre Island.