Saturday, 1 March
Gulf Waters RV Resort (GWRVR) — Port Aransas, Texas
Temps: LO 58F (14C) / Hi 69F (21C)
Seems like I’m posting to this blog only on moving day. Since I haven’t posted at all in February, let me first write about that month to make this blog whole again.
I know February is a short month, but the speed with which the days went by is really ridiculous! I wish I could say that the fast passage of the days was due to being super-active, but no … we were just livin’ life, which is what we expected to be doing when we made plans to spend the winter in Port Aransas.
From what the locals have told us, the weather here in the Texas Coastal Bend this winter has been far from the norms. Colder and not nearly as sunny. Considering what much of the rest of the country has had to — and continues to — endure, we can’t complain. We had more sunshine and blue skies than the weather chart I snipped from the Weather Channel website would seem to indicate — even if most of those days did include plenty of clouds. We are grateful for whatever sunshine we enjoyed since a heavy marine layer often blanketed the area, reducing visibility considerably and leaving us with overcast skies most of the month.
Except for the coldest days, when it just didn’t get much above the 40F (4C) mark, we were out walking the beach, adding loops around the campground to increase our level of activity. Other than that, runs into Corpus Christi to take care of routine medical appointments afforded us the opportunity to dine at various restaurants — some good; some so-so.
I had plans to do a boat trip to see the highly endangered whooping cranes, but frankly didn’t want to spend the money on it unless we had blue skies and sunshine as a background for photos. Since the weather was so changeable and didn’t cooperate with those plans, we took advantage of what was supposed to be a day of sunshine to travel up to the Rockport-Fulton area to see the resident pair of whoopers there. Following directions from Ingrid, a fellow-blogger, we found the two birds keeping company with a flock of sandhill cranes. Even though they were quite distant, seeing two of what might be a population of 600 or so birds across North America was special, and I clicked the camera shutter a couple of times even though I knew the photos would be less-than stellar — especially since the sun had gone into hiding even before we left Port Aransas and the light was dull and drab.
The whooping cranes are the white ones; the rest are sandhill cranes.
[I took these photos with my Canon SX50HS, which is the equivalent of 1200 mm at full zoom.]
We were on our way to another field to check on some whoopers there when we spotted them taking to the air. No time to get the SLR out, I just watched the three birds fly gracefully overhead and disappear behind some trees in a fenced-in area. So, we switched gears and drove a short distance to see a coastal live oak named The Big Tree. That we saw patches of blue in the sky while we were there gave us hope … alas, within minutes, the skies were overcast again.
Signage nearby explained that the origins of this 1,000+ year-old tree dates back to when “… native people walked past it as they hunted deer and gathered blackberries and mustang grapes. They also headed to the sandy shores near here to look for oysters and fish for black drum.” That was back around 1000 AD. Since then, the tree has witnessed many events, including the burning of nearby Lamar by Union troops during a Civil War battle, and survived hundreds of hurricanes, a fire, and worst of all, “branch breakers and root tramplers.”
By the Numbers: 11 feet [3 m] across the trunk; 35 feet [11 m] around; 44 feet [13 m] tall;
89 feet [27 m] across the crown; and over 1,000 years old.
From Rockport we went to Fulton, following the coastal road where we hoped to see birds at the ponds along the way. There were no winged friends to see … zero, zip, nada. Maybe another day we will have better luck.
We also stopped by the main portion of the Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture. Again, it was overcast and dull. Except for some ducks hidden by reeds, and pelicans flying overhead, feathered friends were few and far between, and too distant to photograph. We’ll go back when the spring migration is in full swing and see if our luck changes.
Back to today — 1 March
Today was moving day; and we didn’t have to go far.
When we first made plans to extend our time in Port Aransas, there was not a single site to be had here at GWRVR — spring break, and you know what that means. So, we made reservations to stay at NAS Corpus Christi. In the interim, we kept asking at the office if there were any openings for March. They had a week here, a week there. But we didn’t want to be moving every week. Then, we got a call that a site had opened up for the entire month. We jumped on it immediately. And that’s where we moved today.
From site 756 (red arrow) in December-January, to site 461 (blue arrow) in
January-February, to site 451 (green circle) for the month of March.
But first we had to deal with a “check engine” light that came on just when we were ready to pull out of the site we were in. It was solid yellow, and we knew it wasn’t as serious as the red warning icon. Still, we wanted to be sure it wasn’t anything that would leave us stranded in the middle of the campground.
We called 1-800-FTL-HELP, the Freightliner helpline number that Mike Cody had drilled into our brains at Camp Freightliner last summer. A mechanical voice suggested that we leave a message for a return call, so that’s what we did.
In the meantime, we dug out the instructions for checking for engine fault codes. Within minutes, we had the code — SPN 97 FMI 3OC 1. Just as we were getting ready to post a question on the Tiffin RV Network to see if anyone could shed light on the code, the phone rang. On the other end was a Freightliner tech who identified the code within seconds — water in fuel!!!!
What? No! Can’t be … not again. We’d had a similar issue after driving through heavy rain last August. On that occasion, it turned out that the fuel/water separator filter sensor had gotten wet, and we’d had the whole thing replaced to be on the safe side. This time, even with reasonably heavy rains a few days before, how could the sensor have gotten wet when the Phaeton was stationary in the campground?
Following the tech’s instructions, Mui drained about a teaspoonful of fuel from the separator filter (our Phaeton does not have the clear bowl on the bottom of the filter). No water. Whew!
Next step was to unplug the sensor wire and clean both ends. Plugging the wire back in, we waited a few minutes. When we started the engine there was no fault light! Yay!!! We’re suspicious that rain was the cause of the problem today, and think the culprit might have been condensation from the heavy marine layer that blanketed the campground several days in a row. At least we know what to do to get rid of the fault code should it happen again.
Mui drained the fuel from the white piece at the bottom of the filter; and unplugged the wire (not shown) from the black piece, which is the sensor.
After that bit of excitement, I headed off to check us out of site 461 and check us in to site 451, a corner lot just a few sites down from where we were. Mui, in the meantime, took the Phaeton for a drive around the campground before Marshall, one of the volunteers here at GWRVR, escorted him to the new site.
Site 451 — Home sweet new home at Gulf Waters RV Resort.
By the time we were settled in, it was well after noon and we were starving. Even though the skies were overcast, we decided al fresco dining was in order to celebrate our home for the next month.
Site 451 comes with an outdoor kitchen/bar at the back of the site.
We hope to make good use of it while we’re here … provided the weather cooperates.
Thus the blog is once again caught up. We’ll try to do more around the area in March, and I’ll try to post more frequently … if there’s anything newsworthy to write about.