Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Texans Settle In

Dec. 1 to 10, 2007

Winnie 1 – Carol Anderson

Winnie 2 – Carol Rayburn

Winnie 3 – Elizabeth Baldridge

Winnie 4 – Roberta Cox

The Winter Texan Winnies arrived at Driftwood RV Haven, Fulton, TX, mid-day on December 1st. Gaynor, the owner and a widowed British woman, met us and saw that we were all parked in an efficient manner. She runs a tight ship but is very hospitable and seems to consider her guests as family. She said she wants folks to feel like they are at an inn while they are here. She has traveled and lived about the world a lot and has interesting experiences to share.

Winnie 4: Gaynor, Driftwood RV Haven owner, was out to meet us when we arrived....four gals, four motorhomes, three with cars! It was good to be back here, lots of nice people and a small park. I stayed here last year and really enjoyed it. Not everyone (returnees from last year) is here yet, so more nice people to come!

The RV park is small—about 60 sites with about half of the owners parking trailers/coaches here full time. Many residents are here in the summer or on weekends only, so the park is not crowded. Most sites are among Live Oak trees that provide a lot of shade.

PHOTO Carol R took of the park

Winnie 2—I didn’t know there was a species named “Live Oak” but there is. Looked it up on the Internet and found it described as “a massive shade tree with evergreen foliage.” It grows to 30- 40 feet tall and its horizontal spread is generally 40-60 feet. We have seen numerous live oaks pointing inland from the onshore winds here which makes for some interesting shapes. If not thinned, they can become very dense thickets which are near impossible to walk through.

Fulton is adjacent to the larger town of Rockport and is located on Aransas Bay about 35 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. The combined towns’ population is around 6,000—fishing and tourism are major sources of income. Here's an early morning photo of fishing boats in Fulton Harbor.

The population spikes in summer as people come to fish and boat and it spikes again during the winter as Winter Texans come. There is also a substantial artist community in Rockport.

Winnie 2--I’m not sure how the other Winnies feel, but my sense is that Texans tend to appreciate their winter visitors a lot more than Arizonans do. They really want to make you feel at home and they tend to show their appreciation for your presence in numerous ways. I have felt welcomed ever since we arrived in Texas.

Birding is a favorite pastime of natives and visitors alike. The Gulf Coast is a flyway for many that migrate south of here plus it serves as a wintering area for many other species. We have particularly enjoyed watching the brown and the white pelicans, as well as numerous blue herons and snowy and great egrets, on our bike rides and drives around the area. We will likely be writing much more about our birding adventures here.

Carol R. wins the "best bird photo" with the one below.

Weather here has been extraordinarily hot and humid since we arrived—at least that is what the weathermen and the locals are saying. Suffice it to say we have awakened to temperatures in the low 70’s several mornings with highs in the 70’s to low 80’s. Humidity has been 80-95% A LOT. The locals assure us this will change.

Winnie 1: When I awake about 5 a.m., the temperature is in the 70s and the humidity percentage is between 80 and 85%. Bedtime is a duplicate of morning. In the day time the temps rise a bit, but humidity stays the same. Everything seems sticky. After a shower I towel off, then I towel off, then I towel off, - never feeling quite dry. Quite a change from cold, dry New Mexico winters.

Winnie 2—This self-described “desert rat” is really feeling the humidity. It feels like Washington, DC, in August only the temperatures are 5 to 10 degrees lower! Winnie 3 flew the coop to Colorado on the 4th for a few days. Guess she needed a snow fix ‘cause that is what she is getting!

Winnie 4: Weatherwise, we are in humid conditions, not to my liking! It is supposed to end soon and be back to "normal" sunny conditions for this time of year.

Hot, muggy weather not withstanding, the Winnies continue their daily Happy Hours. Here’s our first one. Carol A. took this picture.

We had barely settled in before area activities began. The City of Fulton shows appreciation for the Winter Texans and the boost they give the economy by putting on a free fish fry. Somewhere between 800 and 1,000 folks showed up, the volunteer firemen/women cooked the fish and volunteers served our sit-down dinner.

One night we were treated to some bright, colorful fireworks; we bought tickets to the Historic Home Tour; and joined locals for the candlelight caroling on the front lawn of the Historic Fulton Mansion.

Gaynor organized a ladies’ luncheon at a seafood restaurant in the Rockport Harbor area. Carol R. took a photo of us.