Wow! Does time really fly when you are having fun! It is hard to believe we have been here at Buescher State Park for almost five months. It has been quite the experience living here in the park through the winter months and now early spring. We actually had snow here back in January, but not that much just enough to cover the ground and make us realize what we were missing back in New England. I can honestly say I haven't missed the snow and cold of the Northeast! We did have one four-day period where it just barely got above freezing and we thought maybe we haven't gone far enough south for the winter. The Texas weather is most interesting to this retired meteorologist and to watch the temperature swings when a "Northern" comes through is really amazing. However, the sun here is really warm even when the air temperature is really cold. It has been extremely dry this year so far and the whole area is in a fire ban. There was a 25+ acre wildfire last week, which was a bit scary. Hopefully we will have some rain soon, but it doesn't look too promising. Bad wildfires have been ragging throughout parts of Texas, which makes us really watchful of any fires in the campsites that are currently banned.
We have enjoyed the two Texas State Parks, Buescher and Bastrop, which are connected by the park road 1C. It has been wonderful to watch the transition from winter to spring here seeing the trees turn green again and hear all the birds sing the joys of spring. There has been a little cute Carolina Wren that has tried to build his nest in just about any space he could find around the motor home and when that didn't work out he tried to build it in our water bottle case on the picnic table. The males build the nest and try to attract a female; so far this little guy isn't having any luck. We have also had a male Cardinal attacking our mirrors on our car and if there is a camper in site 5 he attacks their mirrors as well. He thinks he owns site 5 and our site as well! Another interesting animal adventure is we have a crow and a cottontail rabbit that seem to hang out together which is really funny to watch. In fact our rabbit friend is hopping around our campsite as I write this blog; cute little bugger. We have certainly had lots of wildlife here at the park with a large herd of deer and a large pack of coyotes that amuse us with their comical howling some nights. When leaving the park for Austin very early one morning we had a horned owl fly across in front of our car with a snake in its talons. Quite a sight to say the least! We haven't seen any snakes while hiking or walking and Peggy isn't too excited about seeing one either. However, the other evening we did see two crows having a fight with a copperhead snake about 100 feet from our motor home!
We have kept busy with helping to run some of the programs here at the park. Peggy and I lead nature hikes and bird walks for the park visitors on selected weekends which we have really enjoyed. I also lead an astronomy night here at Buescher State Park about twice a month at the amphitheater. We usually have really good crowds for the presentation followed by star gazing of the constellations and viewing of planets and other celestial objects with my telescope. Last month we had an Adventure Fest during spring break and had many interesting activities for children and adults a like. A master naturalist led a "learn to fish" event that was really great and we had lots of fun with the kids watching some catch their very first fish. It was so great to see how excited these youngsters would get when they caught that first fish and how excited their parents would get. Peggy put on a campfire cooking demonstration which was quite the hit and tasty as well! Other events included craft making, archery, geocaching, introduction to the local wildlife, nature hikes, etc. It was a great day with a huge attendance. If you haven't had the experience of staying at a Texas State Park I would encourage you to do so as the parks are excellent with great staffing. The parks provide wonderful hiking areas and trails, great places to bike, some have great fishing that require no state fishing license, some have nice golf courses, and many put on programs that are truly amazing.
What is really nice about this area of Texas is that you can get outside for exercise just about every day. There are some really nice hiking trails at both Buescher and Bastrop State Parks. Just walking the loop road around Buescher is a nice walk and great exercise for our two golden retrievers plus there is always plenty of wildlife to watch as well. We love biking through the park and taking the park road 1C that connects to Bastrop State Park. It is a nice winding road through the lost pines with very little traffic which makes for a very enjoyable ride. There are a few challenging hills on the road which gives you a really good workout but it is well worth the effort to bike. Smithville is a really nice place to visit as well with some nice shops and restaurants. The Smithville library is an awesome place to visit that has a great reading selection of books and CD/videos to borrow for those lazy days to just kick back around the motor home. The TV reception is really good here as well as we get 12 stations with just our antenna.
We will be sad to leave here at the end of the month as we really do love this place; however, there are more amazing adventures just over the horizon waiting for us. We will be heading for Sedona, Arizona, area which we can't wait to explore. Yes, the retirement, full-timing lifestyle is good. In fact, it's really great! Enjoying life is what it is all about, we really are blessed. I hope all is good with everyone and remember to smell the roses and watch out for the bees!