Traveling in Texas is an interesting ride with never a dull moment. One of the first things we see is a road sign “Hitchhikers May Be Escaped Convicts”. Hmmm. Ok, check and make sure the doors are all locked!
Then we jump on the interstate on our way to Victoria and the speed limit is 85! 85 miles an hour. So what is the minimum? Will we get pulled over for only driving 70? You can tell we are getting old as 85 mph would have sounded fun about 20 years ago.
We are in Victoria for a fundraiser and the unveiling of Dale’s red wolf sculpture. And is it hot! Much hotter than the speed limit!
The Texas Zoo
All are rescue animals like their 2 coyotes. A farmer shot the mom in one of his fields, only to find new newborn pups. He felt bad (humph) and gave the pups to the zoo. They are great ambassador animals and we even got to scratch their backs which they seemed to love.
But what really blows us away, is the passion of the zookeepers along with Liz Jensen, the Executive Director. Wow, what a dynamo!
We are meeting so many interesting, amazing people in our wildlife journey. Our t-shirts (us in front of The Texas Zoo sign) are a gift from friends of ours who live in Scotland and England. They don’t have red wolves in either country, but they have joined the cause to try & help save them in the US. Now that is commitment!
A Night of Red Wolf Painting
After a zoo tour, it is time to head back to our campsite, freshen up and get back to the zoo in time for “Painting for Red Wolves”. Each person got a canvas with a red wolf sketch and a palette of acrylic paint.
It was great fun to watch the different approaches to painting. Some painted the wolf first, some the background first and several turned the canvas upside down and started painting. Not sure what that says about each person, but it was fascinating to watch.
The Sculpture Unveiling
The sculpture unveiling was lots of fun. The local TV station covers the event and we learn Howie, the weatherman, who interviews Dale, is in search of Bigfoot. For real! He swears he has seen him and spends all his free time trying to get a photo. So now you know Bigfoot is alive and well.
The Zoo’s Board President built the frame for Dale’s sculpture and we love the mountains he included. Plus, the Zoo announces at the unveiling, they are getting a new breeding pair of red wolves with the hopes of having puppies in the spring. Which will be amazing as they have one of the best red wolf habitats we have seen (and by now, we have seen quite a few!)
A Hike Along the Guadalupe River
Walking along the river is like going back in time. The morning is quiet with just the sounds of the river lazily going by. We hope to see an armadillo but luck is not on our side. But we do see these monster grasshoppers. that always seem to be smirking at you.
And can these grasshoppers fly! They go buzzing by you with great speed which is why they are called bird grasshoppers. Very clever.
Texas Leaf Cutter Ants
One of the coolest things we see is a trail of leaves left by Texas leaf cutter ants. We have both seen them in South America but didn’t know they are also native to Texas.
The ants live in colonies of up to 2 million ants and can strip a citrus tree bare in 24 hours. Not good for citrus growers or for the other 200 plants they gather. So what do they use the leaves for?
Turns out they farm fungus. The leaves are brought into the nest as fertilizer for their fungus farms which is the only food the ants eat. So they are farmer ants! Of course, regular farmers consider them pests since they defoliate plants so quickly.
We are sad to leave the beautiful river but Austin calls. Before we get to Austin, we are stopping at a pecan farm outside Lockhart, Texas owned by Paula Tuttle. But more on in the next edition. Should be interesting.