Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 11: Louisiana to Texas

Sunday, November 14: Leaving Uncle Dick’s campground, this bridge (with all its signs!) was only a couple of miles down the road. The Roadtrek is low enough so the height restriction wasn’t an issue. And this is what the bridge looks like:

Then it was out to the interstate, and on to Texas; I generally avoid the big highways (boring, and hard on the body), but today was a day to aim for my destination and get there before dark! I stopped for a good break at the Texas Welcome Center, calling to give an ETA in San Antonio, and eating breakfast.

Roadtrek through Texas

I stopped for fuel, and the place was lined with birds, waiting for some of that pizza?

I did have to call for directions when I got close – those I’d printed out were clearly misleading! But I still made it before dark, and was greeted by several humans, dog and cat – and the local deer –

And later that evening the resident spider came out; it works on its web nightly.

Kayaking Butte LaRose Bay, Louisiana

November 13, continued: My stopping place, after a relatively short driving day, was about half way across the southern part of Louisiana. Uncle Dick Davis Park is a small parish (county) RV park along Butte LaRose Bay, which looks more like a small river. There’s a boat launch, and that’s where I headed first when I arrived at about 3:15. By 3:30 I was on the water, enjoying the late afternoon sun. One side is very built up, with small houses; the other is mostly wild. There was a lot of bird life – many egrets, a few herons, several kingfishers, some cormorants.

And this cat was watching that second heron:

Catch that moon!

Paddling back into the setting sun made it hard to spot wildlife – or see much of anything, for that matter! But after a couple of hours on the water, and running out of daylight, it was time to get off the water and park the Roadtrek in a slot for the night. This place gets points for quiet; there was little road traffic after about 10PM. And level, with paved pads for the vehicles. There was more light than I like, but I recognize that not everyone likes total darkness, and some feel safer with a well-lit campground! And having a boat launch was a distinct bonus.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 10: Florida to Louisiana

Saturday, November 13: Having started the morning in Florida, it wasn’t far to Daphne, Alabama. My mission was to deliver the piece of driftwood (shown above as it was transported in the Roadtrek) to the granddaughter of the South Carolina cousins. Except for the failure of the mapping program to get me around the gate between me and their house, this was a relatively easy thing to accomplish, and not much off my route. Then it was on across the short end of Alabama, and the same with Mississippi. The Mississippi Welcome Center had a collection of interesting sculpture, and I spent my walking around time admiring it.

The herons had a couple of these little guys hanging out.

Then it was on to Louisiana. Their Welcome Center featured an alligator under the fall themed tree.

I went north of New Orleans, listening to Creole music and French on the radio, waving distantly to the friends I wasn’t stopping to see in the area. There had clearly been a lot of storm/wind damage; there were a lot of trees down and a lot of blue tarps on roofs. There were crews out dealing with downed wood along several sections of the interstate highway, which seems to have lost some of its signage. It was relatively early when I stopped for the day, at a campground near Lafayette that had a boat launch, and I was on the water by 3:30. I will give that kayaking its own post tomorrow.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Bird Food

It has been interesting, watching the foraging behavior of the birds here. The whistling ducks are mostly vegetarians, eating plants along the water’s edge, in or out of the water. The limpkin goes for the mussels along the shore line – by the dozens! Their bills are specialized for opening bivalves, which they bring up on the grass to eat.

And the anhinga fishes, also by the dozens. They probably have to share with the herons and wood storks – but the wood storks come through at dusk, feeding, when everyone else has retired for the evening.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, More Birds Not Seen in New England

Seeing a pair of pink birds flying across the pond, they were immediately identifiable as roseate spoonbills. They don’t usually hang out here, and I’ve not seen one close enough for a good photo, but we certainly don’t have them in New England!

I met anhingas several years ago. At first I thought they were cormorants, but the coloring is slightly different, and they have a different shape of tail. Also called snake birds locally, they look particularly snake-like when only their neck shows above the water.

Limpkins are common around the pond this year – and they are LOUD!! They often call to their friends across the way, or in the air. Or maybe they aren’t friends, and it’s a warning call – I don’t speak Limpkin! I first saw them a few years ago, kayaking a little south of here. The whistling ducks treat them with respect, giving them space if they come strolling through.

The wood stork has only been coming through here at dusk. It’s a huge bird. I wish I’d not had a large truck tailgating me as I passed a roadside pond in Georgia with a dozen or more wading in it! But it wasn’t safe to stop for a photo. Sigh.

Two herons, a tri-color and a little blue. I also have seen a couple of great blue herons, but only in flight, or at a distance. I did get one photo, but only of the legs trailing behind as it flew by!

White ibis, strolling past.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Intermission

The Roadtrek is not going much of anywhere this week while I visit the youngest granddaughter and family in Florida. I’m using this time to visit, and knit, and visit, and take photos of things definitely not seen in Vermont! I had never seen – or heard! – a Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, and in trying to identify it, found that two out of three sources don’t think they come to Florida. But they do, and they make the most unduck-like sound; it really is a whistling. When a flock flies across the lake, they can make an impressive noise. They also call to each other across the pond. But Audubon does show it in this area (https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/black-bellied-whistling-duck) and has some sound clips of this duck that does not quack. I opened the back door to take the photo below; until the sentry on the left stood up, mostly what I could see was those very bright pinky-orange bills. The feet are the same bright color. Immature birds don’t have that brightness yet; their bills are dark.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 8: Moving Bears?

In Georgia, in the rain, next to me at a traffic light.

My plan had been to spend another night on the road, probably in southern Georgia – but the weather forecast was for a tropical storm to hit northern Florida and southern Georgia, so I decide to push on through. It made for a very long day, and more miles than my body was happy with, but I didn’t have to deal with the heavy rain and damaging wind that was coming, and causing cancellations of all kinds of events in that area. I got to New Port Richie, and my youngest granddaughter and her family, at about 8:30 or so.

Roadtrek Roadtrip, Part 7: Bobcat Landing

It isn’t often that one sees a container garden of squash plants at a boat launch! I did not launch the boat; there was too much current in the South Branch Edisto River for it to be fun. One can stay here overnight, though, so I did – it gets a 1 1/2 out of three on my boondocking scale. Flat? Yes. Dark? Mostly – except when vehicle headlights came through shining at me. Quiet? Not really – there was a constant stream of cars and trucks, one or two at a time, coming in, sitting around for a while, driving off. And many of them were muscle cars – Mustangs, a GTO, a Camaro, a Dodge Charger – many of which were louder then necessary, not impressing me in a favorable way! And Route 301 is right there, making its own drone of noise. But things quieted down after midnight, and sleeping wasn’t bad. In the morning I visited for a while with the volunteer who cleans up three local launch areas – good for him; it’s great to see that kind of community involvement.