Getting wild

Hitting the trail and hoping for wildlife. Photos by Steve Martaindale

OK, we’ve been silent for a while. Let’s ease back into it with photos of cute kittens.

Whoa … no kittens here. Nope, this is an alligator family we spotted while strolling through San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge south of Lake Jackson, Texas.

You did see the whole family, didn’t you?

Here’s a keyed photo. Everyone saw the daddy gator (my guess as to gender) here in the blue circle. Many probably looked closely enough to recognize the baby gators in the yellow circle. More difficult to spot in a still photo is the mama gator, noted here within the red circle.

When we first paused on the bridge above this scene, all we saw were mom and dad, lying against each other along the bank. After spotting the babies, mama quietly slipped into the water and started swimming toward us. There was no way for her to easily reach us … at least, that’s what we believed … but we decided it was time to leave.

Not far from the gators, we looked down from another bridge at a colorful snake almost obscured by mud. It’s not poisonous, but I couldn’t make out just what it was.

Still not a kitten here, but this camera-friendly doe comes close. We encountered her while walking a trail at Choke Canyon State Park near Three Rivers, Texas.

This buck, not too far from the doe, wasn’t nearly as accepting of the idea of posing for a photo.

To demonstrate my ornithological ignorance, I present this lovely bird pictured in Choke Canyon and leave it for readers to tell us what it is.

As we were leaving the park, we encountered this javelina rooting around off the shoulder of the road.

Shift further south to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and this looks like the place we may be able to capture some cute kitty photos.

Nope, no such luck. We plan to explore the refuge more, though, and will certainly share any images of wild cats we’re able to snap.

So, unable to produce a photo of a cat in the wild, we’ll leave you with our daughter’s card-playing feline, who decided Leah needed assistance during a game of Shanghai.

A beach by any other name

As mentioned in the previous post, we’ve had a thing for beaches. That means understanding not all beaches are like those featured in television commercials.

By my teen years, I had been on one beach. It was a single day in Galveston, a beautiful sandy shore that stretched on forever with a gentle slope into the waves. The summer before my senior year in high school, I spent a week in Santa Barbara, Calif., on the university campus a short walk from the Pacific Ocean. That walk took me to the top of a high cliff that looked down on maybe a small, rocky beach. Not how I had pictured it.

Leah and I spent the month of November in Sargent, Texas, at a small RV park some six miles from the Gulf of Mexico. More than 35 years ago, we lived in Matagorda County and visited Sargent beach two or three times, so we knew it isn’t a picture card beach. Regardless, if you’re willing to look, you can find goodies such as the large shell Leah’s showing off in the top photo.

Continue reading “A beach by any other name”

Beach dreams

Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas, Texas. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Dreams to be chased come in so many forms and layers that it would be ridiculous to try and list them. The power to identify a dream lies principally with the dreamer.

Therefore, one of our greatest objectives here is to encourage, prod and assist others in pursuing their dreams. We do so by sharing some of our stories and asking others to do the same.

This is about how we found our way to fulfill a certain dream.

Continue reading “Beach dreams”


Leah on the fishing pier at Caney Creek. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Please note this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Oh, hello there. Yes, we’re more than a week into our next little adventure. Sorry to be so late checking in, but … well, let me explain.

Briefly, as Leah put it, we’ve rediscovered the power of change.

Due to the pandemic, we spent an entire year living in the same place. It was made worse – as every one of you should understand, if you’ve been respecting your fellow human beings by doing what you can to restrict the spread of the virus – by the fact we could do little other than hang out at home.

We’re not complaining … too much … because we recognize the value of swapping good times to increase the odds of living disease-free and, besides, we enjoy each other’s company. However, as good-natured as one might be, it does begin to drain one’s enthusiasm, particularly in light of hard-headed Americans bucking good advice and dragging things out longer than other countries.

Power of change

Monday of last week, I pulled the RV to Caney Creek RV Park in Sargent, Texas, a spot just five miles up the road from the Gulf of Mexico. Leah followed in our gas-friendly Chevy Spark.

Over the next several days, we relaxed.

Continue reading “Adjustment”

Load up

There are places to be seen. This is a roadside stop along Alaska’s famed James W. Dalton Highway in 2010. Not our rig, by the way. Photo by Steve Martaindale.

After having our RV sit in the same spot some 362 days, Leah and I hooked it to the pickup last Wednesday and pulled out of the park that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, stretched from serving as our winter home to our year-round home.

We then drove some 900 yards, according to Google maps, to get its state safety inspection. We then returned the trailer to its same spot – actually, about six inches farther back and two inches more toward the starboard side.

Why is that a big deal?

It means we’re getting ready to hit the road.

Continue reading “Load up”

RVs and the virus

Riding out a pandemic in an RV isn’t as challenging as camping on Antarctic sea ice, but it does provide a few wrinkles. Photo by Steve Martaindale.

Someone brought up the topic of facing a pandemic while living an RV life, referencing an article from last spring that made it sound somewhat horrific.

It sounded to me as though the writer was trying to milk readers for pity. The fact is we’re all affected by COVID-19 and most experiences are different.

However, there are ways the virus might have an effect on full-time RVers.

* It may curtail your travel plans. This was particularly true early as restrictions were put into place to minimize movement in hopes it would slow the spread. Sure, they affected all travelers, but people whose life is moving town-to-town in an RV felt it more acutely. RV parks now, like other businesses, have adopted procedures and techniques to make it safer for travelers.

Continue reading “RVs and the virus”

Can you see us now?

There remains a lot we want to do with the Dream Chasing 101 website, including recruiting articles from readers, live travelogues and no telling what else, but right now we would like your thoughts about an idea Leah came up with.


Her idea is having the two of us tackle a topic during a short video. (Post-COVID, we could rope co-workers or other travelers into the conversation.) Maybe we’ll answer questions, recall a past experience, argue about who has the most accurate memory of an event, whatever. Most of them would likely complement an existing blog post but might address a timely topic.

One thing I’m rather certain about is there won’t be many rules.

Neither can we invest in a special camera or expensive editing software, so they certainly will not be candidates for any Oscars.

That’s a rough outline because that’s all we have at this point.

Our first shot at it is posted above. We sat down with Leah saying she had a topic and completely winged it from there. It should be obvious to you we had a lot of fun doing it.

Use the comment link below to tell us what you think. Should we continue doing these? Do you have any advice about any aspect of it? If you do not want me to publish your comment, just say so and we’ll keep it between the three of us.

As always, feel free to comment about anything at any time and please include your own stories and tips for fulfilling dreams and traveling.

Dying to get in

Choc Cemetery in Castries, Saint Lucia. Photo by Steve Martaindale

Please note this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Most people, I suspect, tend to pick up topics of interest to follow when they’re traveling.

Maybe it’s antique stores, theaters, famous birthplaces, whatever. We used to try and visit all the state capitols we could … but that played out.

One thing that easily catches our interest now is cemeteries.

Continue reading “Dying to get in”

COVID and chasing dreams

Has the COVID-19 experience left you ready to set out on a new path, enter exciting territories, test hidden talents and dreams? Prepare … then do! Photo from Big Bend National Park by Steve Martaindale

Let me first make one thing clear. This post in no way is intended to trivialize the global pandemic that has inordinately impacted the United States because of the ways our country has mishandled and ignored it. Here, we’re attempting to look down the road to sunnier days and consider how differently we might handle dream chasing options. While you plan, please stay home as much as possible, wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands!

How has the COVID-19 virus affected your life?

The answers to that question range from one extreme to the other. Many people have lost loved ones and friends and/or have spent weeks in the hospital before beating the disease. For some, their biggest complaint might be having to wear a mask when going shopping.

Here … for this article … we’re concentrating on how this disease (or others like it) could or should influence decisions you might have to make or how it could lead you to open yourself up to new possibilities.

Continue reading “COVID and chasing dreams”

Is that right?

Leah took this photo from the passenger seat on the left. Of course, the objective was to snare a photo of the koala crossing sign, but it also illustrates the fact we’re driving on the left and occupying the outside lane on the left, something that is a tad challenging after driving on the right for, at that time, almost 40 years.

Please note this post contains an affiliate link and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

For Americans traveling overseas, an issue that strikes deep fear into many is driving on the left side of the road. It’s a topic we didn’t really touch on in the Dream Chasing 101 book, so let’s look into it a bit.

First of all, and briefly, while concerns concentrate on the act of driving, it affects you even as a passenger and pedestrian.

Simply riding in a vehicle is strange. It is a little disturbing just to watch. Your instincts tell you the car should be going this way instead of that.

Also, walking around streets can be downright dangerous.

While laying over a couple of days in New Zealand en route to work the summer in Antarctica, I made friends with a fellow near my age and we roamed around a bit. He’s the one who gave me the warning, “Death comes from the right.”

Continue reading “Is that right?”