Friday, November 29, 2013

One more time through Texas

It was hard to say 'goodbye' to Aunt Louise, we had enjoyed such a fun time together over the previous month.  But winter was approaching and I had to get to Tucson before the bad weather arrived.

First stop as I traveled south was in Calvert, Tx, where, once again, I spent a day with Ken Wilkinson at his little restaurant and chocolate factory, Cocoamodo. It had been almost exactly one year since the last time I'd been there.
Ken has a new toy he calls Bob.  "That's what that 'B' on the front of the car stands for," he informed me.  I did think 'Bob' was pretty slick--as cars go.

Next stop was in San Antonio to visit with family.  This is one of the cuter cousins--have you ever seen a more adorable face?

Denise, Aunt Cile and Uncle Merrill took me to lunch and we spent the afternoon and evening visiting. I was not sure how soon I would get back to this part of Texas but, once again, I am so appreciative of the time with family this excursion has allowed me.

From San Antonio I headed west to the Mexican border and the little town of Del Rio.  Right on the edge of the town is Amistad National Recreation Area where I spent the night.

Clearly the lake was drying up.  The locals lamented the lack of water and, like other places I'd seen on the trip that relied heavily on water sports, there were many drying, dying and deserted businesses.

But this was my view in a very uncrowded park, not everything is a negative. 

I was crossing this bridge in the morning, heading for Big Bend National Park.  I could see clouds forming in the north and west and I crossed my fingers that the weather would hold for a while. 
I'd had enough of 'Typhoon Toni', even though the locals were doing rain dances.  I do admit, these vultures were a little disconcerting.

The countryside was beginning to change and it was definitely more interesting.

As I passed through the little towns of Dryden, Sanderson and Marathon the wind began to really whip up and I was struggling to keep the RV on the road.  I don't know if the wind is what turned this semi over but it sure made me all the more cautious. 

At Marathon I turned south and finally had the wind on my tail.  And up ahead were some pretty high peaks.

Late in the day the colors made me want to stop and paint a picture.  I needed to get into Big Bend and settled before dark and I could see the land was going to be much more rugged than I expected.

Monday, November 25, 2013

One last tour of Oahu

This is it--the last of the pictures of this loveliest of states.

Jim, Aunt Louise, Mary and I did one last drive around the end of Oahu.  We were saying 'Goodbye' the next afternoon and we didn't want to waste a minute of time sitting in the hotel.

This inlet was especially lovely--note the four people, two on each side of the cove.

I tried to surmise--were they angry and fighting?  Or maybe they were Italian? 

Of these two, I had no doubt.   You can tell a story with their body language.

I watched for a while but he never got the courage to jump.

And she had to go around a sign saying, "Do not climb on these rocks!" to get to this spot.

Please note--Aunt Louise has very little gray hair, my mother and both my sisters had no gray hair.  Most of my cousins don't have gray hair.  Hmm, It must come from the Lambert side.

  Wow!  The color of that water is unreal.

Back in the city we spied a Walmart--so sad.

Then I wondered if my RV could spend the night in their parking lot.  Nope!  Halcyon II needs 8'8" of head room.

We stopped for breakfast the next morning...

...then did one last drive up a lush green canyon.

 It was a long trip home to Ft. Worth but Aunt Louise did just fine.  She also informed me that she would like to go again sometime--maybe next year.   

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium
 (Part of the University of Hawaii) 

We took an hour and toured this aquarium right in the middle of Waikiki Beach.

It is not as spectacular as the Monterey Bay Aquarium but, all the same,  well worth the visit.

I think that underwater life is so beautiful...and so very strange.

Whatever in the world caused this to evolve in such a manner? And is it an animal?  Or a vegetable?

On my next adventure I will invest in an underwater camera and go find a reef somewhere to photograph....
  ...if all the reefs aren't dead by then.  
I probably should invest in some swimming lessons as well.  


Jelly fish are hypnotic to watch and I could do it all day.

I feel like I am watching a ballet as each of these creatures spreads her tutu and pirouettes across the tank.


This is a face that only a mother could love.

These gals were training a Monk Seal.  It reminded me of a documentary I saw a few years back called, "The Cove" about the taking of porpoises in Japanese waters to be sold to 'Marine Worlds' around the planet.  After seeing that film I swore never to spend another dime on one of those attractions...

...and I have to wonder if these Aquariums are causing the same kind of death and destruction so that we may take pretty pictures of colorful fish.

I know that seahorses are disappearing from the reefs,

and as I sit here looking at these pictures I can't help but feel distressed.

Seahorses are so precious in their design--their loss from the oceans would be unconscionable.

There has been so much pollution in the oceans over the last few years with Fukishima radiation, the Gulf oil spill, and a dozen other mishaps.

It's giving me a headache.