“Blog Much?” came the catcall from fifteen time zones away.
Please Note – clearly this excerpt is in no way a response to that juvenile, albeit accurate provocation from a friend.
Matter of fact, I waited a few extra days to publish the blog….well – just because. So again, this is not a reaction…no one “got my goat”…no one made me feel delinquent in keeping them up to date on our adventures. But if he was successful….the blog would go something like this.
Best I can remember – Texas was an even balance of fun, dust and highway construction zones. We spent varying amounts of time at four different locations. Two were what we call “functional campgrounds”, meaning we are only there because of other circumstances like maximum drive times or local attractions. Our first camping spot in Texas was at Cedar Grove Park in Baytown, just East of Houston. We chose this spot in order to end a six hour drive from Louisiana and optimize our transit through metro Houston. The owners gave us an easy pull through site, recommended an awesome Mexican restaurant and then…off to sleep we went. We departed the campground around 9:00 in order to miss Houston traffic and arrive at the KOA in Fredericksburg mid afternoon.
We have found KOA’s as about an even split of “Hit & Miss”. Most are priced a bit higher than we feel they are worth. There is not a discernible brand standard that I have yet to be able to identify. This one however, was my favorite KOA to date. Clean, quiet, located close to Fredericksburg, Johnson City and Luckenback TX, we had tons of options to consider. Within the KOA, we found chickens, longhorn cattle and mini donkeys. We had a spectacular site, nestled under a majestic live oak tree.
During our five nights here, we explored Fredericksburg’s quirky and fun downtown district. We even received a visit from Brenda, a cruise friend that we hadn’t seen in almost ten years!
Another day, we drove the eighteen mile iconic Willow City Loop in Texas Hill Country. Here we passed wild turkey hanging out with white tailed deer, an armadillo crossing the road and of all things…two giant ostrich. We heard later that day that some years ago, farmers raised ostrich on the assumption that they would be the “next great thing”. Never realizing that potential, many were set loose into the wilderness.
We attended a chorus in a “Living Tree”, visited Johnson City, named the “Twinkliest Town in Texas”, toured LBJ’s boyhood home and had beers at the famous Dance Hall in Luckenbach (population 4) made famous by the 1977 Waylon Jennings / Willie Nelson song.
After Fredekicksburg, we did one night in Fort Stockton (never unhooked the Jeep) to break up the long ride to our next stop which ended up being a Day Of Firsts…at Big Bend National Park.
First… the firsts –
US Border Patrol Inspection
Lynn drove the rig
Camping in a National Park
Seeing The Milky Way
Seeing The Rio Grande
Saw Coyote, Roadrunner, Bobcat
Impaled by cactus
OK, to elaborate on a few…Big Bend National Park was awesome and deserving of more of our time. On our 2.5 hour drive into the park, we were struck by a rock from another vehicle, putting a large chip into Julie’s windshield. Fifty yards into the park a roadrunner lived up to its name and …well…ran across the road in front of us. We unhooked in our rustic campsite which was probably 100 yards from Mexico, drove another hour in order to walk up to the US bank of the Rio Grande River. Along the way, a coyote slowly crossed in front of us, then walked right up to Lynn’s side of the Jeep looking for a handout….and a staring contest ensued. On our way back to the campsite we saw a bobcat run across the road. At night, we sat outside in the pitch black sky and immediately saw the Milky Way for the first time for either of us. The quantity of stars were probably 1,000 times more than we’ve ever seen. Lynn saw a few shooting stars and satellites (100 points – she won) while I patrolled the ground for rogue javalinas or other mammals wandering in from the Rio Grande.
The next morning, a curious roadrunner walked right up to me which was awesome and on the way out of our campground, Lynn asked me to pull the rig and Jeep into the park Welcome Center so she could get an ink stamp in her National Park book. On her way out, I saw a beautiful background which complimented my beautiful wife quite nicely.
While trying to get the right angle, I brushed up against a prickly pear cactus, but did not feel anything out of sorts. That evening while getting into bed, I felt my calf and it seemed sticky / tacky but I brushed at it, ignored it…and went to sleep. It was not till the next morning till I realized that I had 8-10 cactus needles in my leg. All except one came out and the other took over a week to back out. So, hey..that was fun.
We’ve been traveling fast and blogging slow…so to catch up, my next one which covers New Mexico will mainly feature images and few words.
Lynn’s 2 cents – I really loved Texas. Big Bend was high on my list of places to visit and it did not disappoint. It was totally worth the long drive (minus the windshield chip). As a matter of fact, it is probably my favorite place we have been so far! The Christmas events in Fredericksburg and Johnson City were so fun. Great way to get into the spirit while on the road.