Travels With Dick and Judy

Follow us in our trials, triumphs and tribulations, while on the road in our motor home "The Liberty Belle". We chose to forsake the conventional lifestyle in our 3,000+ square-foot home to move into a 40-foot Winnebago Ultimate Freedom. Travel with us as we take you on the road with us in our new lifestyle.
I may grow older, but I'll never grow up!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Because

This is a “just because”  posting.  As you can see, we have changed our header to reflect one of our new feathered friends here at Reynolds Creek COE Park.  Watching animals and birds in the wild is an interesting endeavor.  When we first arrived on the 10th of this month, all of the animals we saw would bolt out of sight as soon as we saw them, with the exception of some of the older deer.
This is a regular sight now, in the tall grass around us.

Our Motor home is on the far upper left and behind the shrubs.
One morning judy looked out the window and saw
about 7-10 does directly across the street from us.
Now, there must be a pattern of recognition going, because the roadrunner that hangs out across the street  allows us to get within 25 yards as he goes about his roadrunner habits. 
This roadrunner didn't even run whern I got out of my SUV!

It's a pretty safe bet that we'll find one of these bandits
trapping himself in the dumpster.  The key point is not to get too
 close when we open the lid.  He may launch himself
and go for a ride on your face and shoulders!
A few nights ago, right about deep dusk,  as we drove about on our closing round, Judy and I were able to park about 50 yards from a dead tree alongside the creek with a mature bald eagle perched atop.  It was too dark to even try for a pic, but it really gave me hope for the future.
Yesterday, J. T. (a.k.a. Catfish) and his wife, Glenda, a couple of our newly acquired friends (human in this case), were going through on their regular morning drive through the park when they spotted a large bobcat on the side of the road.  As luck would have it, they were about 200 yards ahead of me and around a bend.   By the time I arrived, the cat had disappeared. 
A few days ago, a couple using the equestrian park (we have about 20+ miles of trails for bikers, hikers and horses) reported spotting a Puma on one of the back trails. “It appeared to be about the size of a German Shepherd and its tail was dragging behind him.”  Most of the horsemen are able to spot these animals without spooking them, because the wild animals don’t differentiate between a lone horse and a horse with a rider.  This same couple reported a 4-wheel  drive mud-riding on some of the closed off sections of the park and, since this activity is forbidden here, in addition to criminal trespass, the various rangers, as well as all of us volunteers, are trying to identify the offender.  When they do apprehend him, it will turn out to be an expensive hobby.
The last couple of days, we spent our volunteer hours trimming brush at the entrance, mostly crepe myrtles that have not been attended to for several  years.  At our age, it hurts, but we look forward to getting into shape for Colorado next May, so we are pushing ourselves.  We have now cleared the park of litter and only have a few pieces here and there to pick up each day.  The remnants of the devastating flood of several years ago are reminders of how bad it got.   There is even a telephone pole in the upper reaches of the trees about 20-30 feet off the ground next to the lake.  What was once an area of beautiful campsites has now been abandoned.  and It is going to take a lot of work and expense to get that part cleaned up.  I personally think that all they have to do is open it to tent campers and allow the campers to pick up the wood for firewood.  However, this is a federal park and it probably won’t happen.
We toured the closed area of the park and found it be absolutely gorgeous.  All campsites overlook the lake and are located on a high bluff above the water.  Why didn’t we know about this park when we were tent camping?!  If anyone is looking for a beautiful place to camp during the summer, this is it.  Waco Lake is fed by the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, keeping a fresh supply of water flowing, and the fish have a beautiful , clean taste.
We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves and invite anyone in the area to drop in (after calling to be sure we’re home)!  Merry Christmas and more news to come later!  ~Dick~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We've settled in!

As most of you who follow our blog know, Judy and I moved to Reynolds Creek Park on Waco Lake (near Waco, TX) on Saturday, 12/10/11, and set up as camp hosts for the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for the next 3 1/2 months (through March 2012).  Well, we finally got moved in and surveyed our situation to begin working on the site - between rain storms.

Our RV pad is situated in a grove of Arizona Ash that chose the week we moved in to start shedding its leaves so, as soon as I got our front yard cleaned up, a breeze pops up and dumps a couple more bags on the lawn and across our patio.  Oh, well, we’ll get there eventually.

Last Monday night, I went out to the car and realized we were being serenaded by 2 different groups of coyotes.  This wasn’t the type of lone animal howling and having another answer off in the distance.  This was 2 packs of at least 5 to 10 each howling together – loud enough to hear inside with the windows closed and the TV on.  I think Judy was just a little freaked out. 
This past week, we were busy trimming trees, raking leaves, patrolling the park and picking up some of the litter people have shamelessly thrown out of their vehicles, too lazy to go by a dumpster.  Earlier, we spotted an eagle and have a general idea where it is nesting, so my plans are to get close enough to get some decent pics, yet stay far enough away so as not to disturb.  One day last week, while doing a patrol, I got out of the car and walked out toward a spit of land sticking out into the lake.  As I approached, I watched about 6 does move away from my location and, right behind, were several coyotes leisurely following.   

When we first toured the campground, we were treated to sightings of deer at every bend.  Last Sunday, we went to the dumpster to dispose of our trash.  When I opened the dumpster lid, I was face to face with a terrified raccoon that had maneuvered himself into the container only to have the closed lid trap him.  We made a makeshift ladder for him from our trash and left the lid open while we drove around.  When we returned, he was gone.


Last Monday evening, when I closed and did my final round after dark, I stopped to let a lone coon cross the road in front of me, only to turn and see him come right up to my door and stand on his hind legs making little chirping sounds at me.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather broke down and the animals evidently decided to "hunker down" and few were to be seen.  I only spotted 1 lone buck - granted, a beautiful animal with what looked like 8 to 10 points with a beautiful wide spread.  Luckily, he’s safe here, but he would have been a beautiful trophy for some hunter.  Just maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to situate a camera blind well enough to get a good trophy picture.

Wildlife is plentiful here and, besides the above-mentioned, includes roadrunners, hawks, bobcats and cougars (mountain lions).   Forgive the lack of pictures so far, but most of our sightings have been when we have been doing our volunteer work and were not prepared.  I pledge that with the ample wildlife here, pictures will be coming.

A perfect ending to our first week in our "new" location was having our friends Dave and Sue come for a visit (with their 3 puppies) on Friday (12/16), followed by dinner at the Cotton Patch Cafe - and Judy actually had some great fried shrimp!  I actually ordered grilled shrimp with blackened tilapia, which was topped with a crawfish concoction.  Delicious! 
OH, and did I say, WE LOVE IT HERE!  ~Dick~

Let the clean-up begin!

Here are more details on the clean up and our first week-and-a-half at our "new" site!  Dick started cutting the low-hanging branches from the trees and blew all the leaves from our campsite, only to have the winds blow leaves from the trees everywhere. This past Saturday (12/17), Dick blew leaves again, since the trees are almost barren, and I loaded 6 huge garbage bags. It has been fun being outside and getting some exercise, which is preparing us for Colorado next summer!


Sunday (12/18), I looked out our bedroom window and saw 8 or so deer across the road. I quickly grabbed my camera to take pictures – and then realized that my card was in my computer and not in my camera. Later in the morning, I saw 2 of the deer return. What a beautiful site!

Sunday afternoon, Dick used his new chain saw and cut up the branches and we had a big bonfire – since the burn ban has finally been lifted. While watching over the fire, we heard what turned out to be sand hill cranes heading south ahead of the next round of cold weather. What amazed us is that it is so quiet in the park that we were able to hear them before seeing them flying in formation. Another beautiful site but, unfortunately, not captured in pictures!

Yesterday (12/19), we attended a Christmas party and lunch, with a White Elephant gift exchange, at the COE office and met more people, as well as seeing others whom we had already met. Dick made his chicken and wild rice dressing, and has had requests for his recipe. It was yummy! For gifts, I got a $10 (our limit) gift card to Walmart, and Dick “stole” a handmade sign which he knew I really wanted (see picture below)!


Standing - J. Morris,
Volunteer Coordinator



Joan and Terry - hosts at Koehne Park
and our friends from Seabrook, TX

We are continuing to perform our volunteer duties this week and will get ready for a road trip to visit the kids, grandsons, family and friends for Christmas and New Year’s in the Houston area and Southwest Louisiana. As you can see, the gifts are bought and wrapped and we are ready!

See ya next time and have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! ~Judy~