Sunday, December 15, 2013

Goose Island State Park

As you noted, this is not Goose Island.  But this is our first stop after Lake Livingston State Park. Actually , we are not quite done with Lake Livingston as we will need to come back to visit our friendly dentist one more time on New Year's Eve day.  Not quite the celebration you have in mind?

Cagle is a National Forest Campground. And though it is one of many in Texas, this is one of the best.  Well maintained and friendly staff , you might find it full on a weekend.

Cagle has two camping loops and all of them have full hookups for $10 per night on our old geezer pass. 

Our site has a beautiful view and lots and lots of room on both sides with Lake Conroe in our back yard..

Quite cold this stay, but there were still some diehard fisherman using the boat launch.  The reservation pole at the front of each site indicated a full campground for Christmas vacation.

Oh yes, one more sunset!

Had to include this one because we have had so many days of cold and rain with no sun.

But-----no snow.

Have you seen that ad on TV where the guy is attacked by not so friendly squirrels?

This one made us a little nervous because he came down the tree and then right up to us.

All we could figure was that he had been fed by a number of previous campers. 

He was rather large and a lot darker than our northern squirrels.

On the road again--thank you Willy Nelson--

Still trying to stay off the interstates where possible. However, not too many choices coming by Houston.
Huge , busy roads, some were as many as six lanes wide.  But the signage is good and the GPS is very good about indicating which lane is necessary before and after toll booths, as well as exits.

This kind of road is our favorite, though.

South of Houston, we stop at what was once, Lake Texana State park.  Now it has become a private park, run by the same owners that run a private campground across the street. 

The park is well maintained with a very courteous staff. The price is similar, if a few dollars more.

Still better than many private parks. Lots of space.

After one night, we are once again heading south and west. 

Eustis notes that the land has become very flat, with lots of water here and there.  Also, many large farms along the way,  all being cultivated for the winter after what looks like grains--perhaps rice and /or cotton.

And we arrive at our new stop.  Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas.

Can't resist taking a water site, but the woods sites are almost as tempting --and less expensive.

Can you tell? Jan is happy with a view out over the Gulf.


We are also happy for another reason.  We stopped at a small town north of here to mail Christmas cards. At the same time , we noted that the "check engine" had come on in Lady Blue.  Oh no!!

So, we check the GPS and find the closest Ford dealership------3/10 of a mile from the post office.
And, we find it is a large and still growing dealership that can handle larger trucks.  And---we find it is simply a O-2 sensor in the exhaust.

What a great dealership. They met us in the parking lot as we arrived and less than 15 minutes later, Lady Blue was in a stall being checked.  Unfortunately, the part was not on hand, but we will go back when the part is in and have it replaced---on warranty.

Goose Island is a busy park for campers, fishermen, and hunters.  We walk over to one of the boat launches and see not only fishing boats like this.

But, also air boats such this one on the left.

The fish cleaning station is getting a lot of use.  but, we also see a number of hunters in camouflage.

Seems it is the reopening of duck hunting season and the air boats are the way to go down on the Gulf.

Lots of birds to watch.

Brown pelicans are always fun to watch.  They are entertaining with lots of splashes as they fish--or sometimes just landing.

Right there with them are the white pelicans, who seem a lot more sophisticated----not so much splash.

Along with the pelicans are white and blue herons along the shoreline.  Some smaller egrets are here too and even a sighting of an armadillo.

This is also winter nesting area for whooping cranes.
The office indicated that they are around, but we haven't spotted one yet.

Part of the park we walk to includes this huge fishing pier.  It must be about 3 football fields long or longer.  As you can see, part of it is raised--over a channel.
There are lights all along the way, stairs down to the flats, fishing pole holders, fish cleaning stations out on the pier with running water. 

Texas takes good care of its sportsmen.

There are a lot of salt water fish that are caught right from the pier.

Saturday finds a number of families and individuals dropping a line.

This fisherman had caught a number of sheepshead.  They are good eating fish .  The ranger is right there and he points out the large , spiny , topfins that protect them from larger fish like the dolphin. He also shows us their human like teeth--rather unique--that they use to eat the barnicles from the pier and the rocks.

While we are at the office, a lady comes in to show us pictures of a black drum fish she caught last night.

This fish is almost as tall as she is!.  She had to have someone else bring it up to the pier. Evidently, she caught it at night from the pier.  But, what a large fish--took her almost a half an hour to land it--with help.

Some of the houses here remind us of Florida.  These houses are built along a man made canal where they can keep their boats in the back yard and have immediate access to the Gulf waters.

A bike ride takes us into live oak tree lined back streets.

In the distance you can still see the Gulf.

What a wise guy---standing in the middle of the street?

Along the bike ride is this huge live oak.  One of the oldest in Texas. It's name is "Big Tree".

If you can imagine---1,000 years old.

Actually , over 1,000 years old.

Back centuries before the Spanish explorations.

Okay Bruce--enough with the sunsets. Well. one of the reasons for this picture is to see if this reminds you of anything?      How about Herring Cove beach on Cape Cod?  That's what we thought.  And this picture is-------yes-----from inside Lady Blue.
 This picture is from the back of our site--not inside but right beside Lady Blue.  There is a wetland area --for whooping crane nesting-no access , then an inlet and beyond that some rather impressive houses.
Life is good!

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