Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

3/9/15 Monday in Robertsdale, AL (Wilderness RV-RPI ($13/night))

We were on our way early (8:45), arriving at 9:45 at the office for the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (US Fish & Wildlife Service). Unfortunately the Closed sign was up, even though the posted hours were 8-3:30. We started looking at a few pamphlets that were outside the door, then it opened! Our Fish & Wildlife lady had been out on business and just got back. She recommended the Pine Beach Trail (4 miles round trip hiking with soft sand beach for the last 1/4 mile going out, and if we had time the Jeff Friend Trail (1 mile circle) that was the best for birds. Well, we enjoyed the Pine Beach Trail, even with all the wind and threat of rain. We even spotted a couple birds: Great Blue Heron and Plover.  The first image is of Deer Moss, it’s a lichen, a dual plant of fungus and algae that live together for their mutual benefit.  The fungus supplies the algae with water and minerals while the algae with its chlorophyll uses the sun’s energy for photosynthesis.  It’s so cute.

refuge I 1 refuge I 8 refuge I 7 refuge I 6 refuge I 5 refuge I 4a refuge I 4 refuge I 3 refuge I 2

We drove from that trail’s parking lot to the next, having lunch then in the car. Wouldn’t you know, we didn’t even hear any birds on the Jeff Friend Trail, much less see any. I’m sure they were all hunkered down from the wind and crummy weather.  I liked this sort of mat material they used (first 2 photos below) to hold the sand in place, except where tree roots push it up.  I wondered how all those circles stayed in place and the second image showed me.

refuge II 1 refuge II 2 refuge II 3 refuge II 4 refuge II 5

Next up, Publix for groceries on the way home, then Lowe’s for another rubber mat for our coach entry. John asked about ordering a 110 volt dryer. They only had one available to order but it needed to sit on a rack. Well that wouldn’t work in our rig.

We got home by 1:30 – picked up mail at clubhouse. Christmas!!! Plus business to complete… I got started working on the blog when I mentioned to our neighbor that their window was still open. We’d had rain this morning and I’d first noticed it then. Pretty soon we were talking and settled between our rigs, happily visiting until the rain got serious and we split for supper. Talk about coincidences. They’d been parked at Three Flags where we were. They were parked next to us at Alliance, now we meet at this RPI park!! He recognized us but we hadn’t recognized them. I told him I was impressed.

After supper I went over to our neighbor’s to let them know we were going to the clubhouse potluck tomorrow and going to the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum if they wanted to join us. We got chatting, they said they’d think about joining us, then I made it back just in time for the Gonzaga vs Pepperdine basketball tournament game. Really tough in the first half with lots of lead changes, the score generally only a couple points apart. We were ahead by 2 at the half. In the second half Gonzaga came on like gang busters, winning by 19 points in the end. THAT was fun! Tomorrow is the final game in the WCC tournament.

SO tired and SO ready for bed.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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