I saw my first fireflies of the year early Monday morning before dawn. Like the predawn birdsong and seventy-degree temperatures, it will all will soon be put aside for the realities of April in New England. We have launched on our 2200 mile journey home.
One of the challenges each year is Houston; this year I decided to do a wide circumnavigation to the west and north. But first, we needed a bit of Airstream drama. First, after I hooked up I got an alert that there was a wiring issue with the trailer. I ignored that since everything seemed to be working but then noticed some loose trim hanging off the trailer’s side. That loosened more as we got up to speed and soon I stopped and removed it until later.
We were counting Scissor-tailed Flycatchers perched or feeding along our route – the last time we’ll see those beauties for a while. After a few hours, we stopped at our favorite gas stop, [Buc-ees in Wharton](http://www.vtbirder.com/beef-jerky-one-of-the-five-basic-food-groups/), Texas.
Soon, we were truckin’ through coton fields, then cattle country, whipping along at 70 much of the way. Each small town has a 75-55-45-30 speed zone that comes at you quickly, with nearly hidden school zone lights that drop it to 25. With the polished trailer and Vermont plates, we sort of stand out so I keep it legal.
The high humidity and temps call for air-conditioning but we can’t do that when hauling the trailer so it’s windows down and cruising. Much of Texas, even secondary highways, have 75 mph limits. In one stretch, with trees lining both sides and dips and climbs, I said to Mary, ‘This is like the Elmore road with a 75 speed limit.” I tend to keep it more at 68 or so, still a little dicey to a Vermonter.
It was a long first day but we got to our campground, Martin Dies State Park, in plenty of time for walks and relaxation. There were hardly any campers (after having a thousand there for Easter) and the birds were busy. Unlike the Gulf Coast where they were silent, here many were calling. I heard and then saw a gorgeous male Scarlet Tanager. Other highlights were a Little Blue Heron, my first American Crow in three months, also my first Blue Jay. The downside was that the bugs were really tough, seeming to laugh at Off and Cutter’s. Here’s a shot of the Cypress adorned slough beside our site.
We leave Texas Tuesday after a long visit during which time I saw 235 different species and left ranked 55th in the state. It was all-in-all a good stay. Bays con food, amigos