Coconut Times - Ocean City Maryland
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Written By: Oc Fotoguy
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    I’ve started several articles over the last several days as I went from Florida to southwest Texas in this fourth week of March; maybe I can blend them together without being too disjointed. Will it matter? Does anyone read this prattle?  Surprisingly enough there may be a couple of you. Every once in a while in O.C. at Happy Hour someone will tell me, “I read your articles all the time.” That flabbergasts me! It even happened in Marco Island, where Jim Long was entertaining a couple weeks ago! That guy began by coming up to me and saying, “you know you have a double?” I replied, probably not. He said, “There’s guy in Ocean City that even wears a hat like yours.” I told him, yep, that guy’s me! Then there’s the guy I see on the boardwalk, who always says the same thing, “too many words.”  At least he lets me know someone is doing more than looking at the pictures.
    When I approached the gate attendant here at Big Bend National Park in the southern most part of Texas’s nowhere land, I fully expected to be told I’d confront a crowd of Spring Breakers. I asked is it Spring Break; he said it was over! For me that means I have my choice of the three main campgrounds and my favorite, an isolated one, Terlingua Abaja, which is at the west end of the Park along a creek of the same name. I’ve already decided I’d be here for 7-10 days and as expected the gate ranger said, the Rio Grande River barely has enough water for maybe a canoe.  Kayaking up river into St. Elena Canyon is the main event for me here, but there was too little water in the river and I got the kayak stuck in the mud two years ago. I’ll check it out this time, but the success is doubtful. As a plan B I’ll spend a couple days at each of the major camp grounds and my favorite.
    I drove up the Chisos Mountains to the campground called the Village. The road winds above the campground and from up there it looked like there were empty sites. I rode around and was not seeing any, then I passed the camp host and she asked if she could help me, and directed me to a site, but I could be there only one night. I talked to the people who had the site next door and they were leaving the next morning. I can be there two more nights. As I walked to the place to pay my fee, I saw the host again and told her the site next to me would be empty tomorrow.  She said I could move over there; I was in!   Wow! Things just keep working out in my 16th Adventure. Earlier when I awoke in a megmart parking lot, the weather was dreary, grey and drizzly. I drove to Del Rio, where it was the same plus it was chilly. I bought my supplies and decided not to spend the night and instead go on to Big Bend.
    On the way the sun appeared, the sky turned blue, and the temperature rose. I had made the right choice! The gate ranger also told me the owner of La Kiva, a unique bar and restaurant partially in a cave with delicious BBQ’d pork, beef and chicken platters, had died, so the place was closed. I was going to kick off my visit to Big Bend with HH and a good meal there. Glad I asked. That saved me a 50-mile drive and some gas $$$. That lets you know how big this National Park is. It’s about the size of the state of Rhode Island with its own mountain range, 50-plus miles of wild Rio Grande River, and miles and miles of Chihuahua Desert. The weather guesser says tomorrow is supposed to be warm and the next day is going to 90 degrees. I’ll love it!  
    Oh speaking of Good Luck, the last day I was at Siesta Key (south of Sarasota, Fla.), I found a parking spot in the huge free public lot with a Gulf view. When I walked to the back door of my nest I cautioned myself that I’d have to remember to be careful stepping down out of my camper since I’d be landing in a V shaped concrete drainage gutter. I went for a nice walk on the powdery white sandy beach, came back, and decided to walk to downtown, where one bar/restaurant advertised HH from noon to 7pm. Since I don’t have a bad memory, I virtually have none, I forgot my warning, and when I stepped down my toes contacted the top of the V and my heal was in the low part severally stretching my Achilles tendon. I got an extreme jolt of pain from it, and hobbled around for the rest of the day. I thought I’d done serious damage, and was in big trouble. No more beach walks that day. I moved my nest to close to where I could park overnight, and went to a restaurant close by. I noticed as I walked the couple blocks to lunch, that the more I walked the less pain was happening, and decided to wait to the next day to decide if I needed medical care, and see how my ankle was, although I could not put much weight on that foot the rest of the day. The next morning when I awoke the pain was gone! I expected I’d spend the day in a clinic somewhere having a caste put on it. I’d dodged that bullet! It must be a tough piece of grizzle.
    As I left Sulphur, La., a couple days ago with the hopes of seeing spoonbills, where I did a couple years ago, I approached a seafood place. I turned in.  They had a quart of oysters for $14, an outstanding price, and they had Chesapeake Bay type blue crabs, too, for $12 a dozen.  That’s as close to heaven as I’ll get to on this earth! I bought both. That’ll add to the good eats of grouper and conch I already had in the freezer. When I steamed the crabs I discovered one was 7 1/2” from point to point and the oysters I sautéed for tacos were huge, plump, and meaty! Wow!   Who’d ever think I’d be picking crabs and eating oysters in the Chihuahua Desert!  When I pass through Sulphur on my way back to OC after I enjoy Spring Break in South Padre Island, I’ll certainly have seconds!
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