It was pretty foggy when we got up this morning.
As I was working on the Journal entry for the day before and trying to upload all the photos, Linda went out to fill the bird feeder. She is keeping a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds very happy this winter. :)
Then she pokes her head back inside. "Hey, you left the door on the Jeep open all night. Now everything is soaking wet."
Oops. Apparently, as I unloaded from our trip last night on the passenger side, I forgot to go back and look at the driver's side. You see, I didn't just leave it so the door wasn't shut all the way, I left the door standing wide open. Ordinarily, we would have had winds that would have blown it shut, but not last night. :)
Oh well. At least it didn't rain and there wasn't a skunk or any other critter in it. :)
Can't change anything now. If the battery is dead, it's dead and we'll just jump it. I finished the Journal entry.
As hoped, it was another gorgeous day. So nice, in fact, that I went with my favorite "shorts & t-shirt" look.
The destination of choice for today was Brazos Bend State Park about 35 miles northwest of us. We had heard lots of great things about that park.
Linda wasn't taking any chances today on being without food, so she packed a lunch. :)
I had already started the Jeep, so I was glad to report the battery wasn't dead. From my battery education earlier in the year, I know I certainly didn't help its life, but it ain't dead yet. :)
We got in the Jeep and the radio came on ... and then it clicked off. Again and again. Same for the CD player when we tried it.
In typical Linda reactionary dramatic fashion: "All the electronics are ruined!"
In typical Howard "let's-not-over-react" fashion, I said "You know I didn't leave the door open on purpose".
What I wanted to say was, "Yes, I understand I'm an idiot and that you never make a mistake and I'll call and have the Jeep airlifted to the nearest Jeep hospital and maybe emergency surgery will fix everything".
But wisely, I didn't say that. :)
We stopped at the refuge office to drop off the recycling. Linda went in while I sat outside with the Jeep running messing with the radio. You know how you just keep pushing buttons thinking "it's going to work this time"? Well, that was me.
"Please work!" It didn't. After several minutes of that, I started wondering "Where'd she go?"
I went inside to fetch her and found her in conversation with the refuge manager about developing a mini-store at the Discovery Center. Oh good, something besides the radio to occupy her mind on the silent drive to the park. :)
Okay, so it wasn't that bad. Ultimately, we agreed that there was just moisture in the system and it might dry out and be just fine. It usually doesn't take too long for our two very different personalities to meet somewhere in the middle. :)
On to Brazos Bend where a very nice lady greeted us and explained the park highlights. She was sweet and fast and so positive. Now that's a hostess!
I imagine that's what folks say whenever Linda greets someone at our refuge. And I'm not just trying to win brownie points here. :)
We drove to the Nature Center which is surrounded by 200-year-old Live Oaks.
Inside was a ranger showing baby alligators to the visitors. There were snakes and spiders and lots of educational diversions.
There was a "Volunteers Wanted" sign, so Linda inquired. But the interpretive positions do not come with RV sites, only the Park Hosts spots.
As we usually do for future reference, we drove through the campground. They have two loops and about 75 total campsites with electric and water hook-ups.
The campground was pretty nice, with wide, decently spaced sites. But the sites seemed a bit short for large rigs. However, we could squeeze in and there are quite a few extra parking spaces for tow vehicles and toads.
We took a road near the campground and did a two-mile trail that had few people.
These signs are everywhere.
We saw a few small birds on that trail and a turtle hangout.
And a couple of gators. This was the largest one.
Other than that, it was a rather uneventful trail.
We stopped at one of the restrooms at a huge picnic area. While Linda was inside, I tested the radio one more time. It's working! Whew. Our moisture theory appeared to be correct. :)
We drove over to the most popular trail around a large lake. Before embarking, we sat down at a picnic table and had lunch.
I had my eye on a Great Egret and a White Ibis for pictures when we started our walk.
After lunch, I got the camera and we were on our way. Of course the birds flew when I got within range, but we got some good shots of them in flight anyway.
This male Moorhen didn't seem to mind us as he continued his foraging.
Linda wanted a shot of this cute couple - Blue-winged Teals.
We didn't see as many alligators as we expected and several others were disappointed that they couldn't show more to their kids. You really needed binoculars and a keen eye to spot most of them.
But it's a big place and I overheard the ranger say there was a total population of about 320. That didn't seem like a lot for the size of the habitat.
It is a beautiful park made better by perfect weather. The crowds were out this New Year's Eve.
Lots of people had their fishing poles as they were allowing free fishing within the park without a license. There are several decks and fishing piers throughout the park.
As we continued along looking for wildlife, this Tri-colored Heron posed for a distant shot.
A little farther, this little Blue Heron was stalking prey.
We turned off our trail and took another trail between two swampy areas.
Most of the trails are wide, unpaved trails for both bikes and pedestrians. There were lots of folks riding and we will probably take our bikes if we make it up there again.
Walking on, we encountered a big group of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.
The trail we were on connected two lakes, and this observation tower was on the corner of one of them.
There were great views from the top and we were wishing we had something like that at the very flat Brazoria NWR.
Blue skies in all directions.
We were getting tired, so we back-tracked rather than walk around this second lake.
We crossed back over this bridge ....
and took time out to watch a couple of Killdeer. These birds are everywhere, but they don't often stand still enough to get good pictures.
There were many more miles of walking trails, but the six or so miles we did was enough for this trip. Maybe we will get another pretty day during the week after the holidays when it's not quite so crowded. It would be nice to come and explore more and see more wildlife.
Two thumbs up on Brazos Bend State Park. :)
We drove home and I planted myself in the recliner to watch the remainder of Kentucky's football bowl game. It was a sloppy game that lasted 4 1/2 hours with lots of penalties and turnovers. But the Wildcats hung on for the victory. It was the first time they had back to back bowl wins since the early 1950s.
Linda got on the laptop to check emails. Then she got a shower and put on her pajamas before joining the Chat Room for the cyber New Year's Eve party.
I delved into finalizing our financials for the year. Fun stuff for New Year's Eve, huh? :)
Since she was in her recliner with the laptop, that gave her the position of power. Whoever has the laptop and is reclined assumes the role of royalty and the other one becomes the servant. Apparently it is way too much of a hassle to put the recliner down and set the laptop aside to get up. :)
"Honey, can you pour me a glass of wine?"
No big deal. Did that and back to my number crunching.
"Honey, go to Domino's and get a pizza."
"I'm not going to Domino's!" I was deeply involved in the numbers, 2007 expenses were done, I was still in my shorts & t-shirt, it was getting cold out, I had driven 250 miles the last two days, and I wasn't about to make another 20-mile round trip to get a pizza.
"Well call them to see if they deliver."
"I'm working here. I have to revise the 2008 budget and get it re-posted. You're sitting right there with the laptop, so look them up and call yourself. I'll get you a phone."
"But Honey ...."
Aaaarrrrgggghhhh. So I pulled up the Oyster Creek Domino's. "It says right here online they don't deliver to our address. Carry out only. And it's New Year's Eve, so I'm sure they're swamped."
"Well just call them and see for sure."
Aaaarrrrgggghhhh. I grabbed the phone, dialed the number, and handed it to her. She wouldn't take it. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh.
"Hello. Do you deliver to ....... You don't? Well, I guess I need to order a carry out." I was pretty steamed at that point. Don't know if I was more upset with the Queen for her demands or myself for caving in - as I always do. :)
Yes, I am in the position of power quite often myself, but I rarely ask for anything other than to be left quietly to my writing or researching. My demands have certainly never required anyone to leave the RV. :)
And all along, this whole drama is playing out in the Chat Room. She's got people sending me sound effects kisses because I'm going for pizza against my will.
So I'm back in a half hour and plop the pizza on the counter. Knowing I'm a bit peeved, she says "I'll serve it" as she puts the laptop down.
Big whoop. That's taking a fork and slapping a piece on a paper plate. But she did that part ... the first time.
With her resuming the position of power, I served the remaining pizza and cleaned up. But I was calmer by then and the whole deal was no longer a big deal. Perhaps the taste of the pizza soothed the savage beast. :)
However, having been distracted, my night of working on the financials was over. So I just reclined back as far as possible and went to sleep watching football while she and the Chat Room folks counted in the New Year.
I enjoyed my little nap and woke up to fireworks out our windows on all sides. They shot off fireworks with Dick Clark in New York and then again when the clock struck midnight here on Central time.
And so it was an interesting day. We really enjoyed our trip to Brazos Bend even if it was sandwiched between a couple of snits. We usually don't have two snits in a month, much less two in one day. :)
But it just goes to show that we are normal people that have to remind ourselves once in awhile not to sweat the small stuff. However, we are normal people living an "abnormal" lifestyle which we love. For us, it's a Happy Life, not just a Happy New Year. :)
The wish of a "Happy New Year" just doesn't seem like enough for our fine RV-Dreams Family. Of course we wish everyone a Happy New Year and a Great 2008, but we wish you all happiness every day of your lives as well. Live long and strong and don't sweat the small stuff. :)