East Fork Park
Since this was a rolling down the road day, not a lot happened unless you count playing with tigers exciting. After prolonged goodbyes at the I-35 RV Park Café and drooling over the BBQ that Bobby was starting for Saturday’s house special, I got away about 9:15 am. The road was running good until near Dallas when we went to one lane for a while. Then on into town where the lanes got narrower but still just fine. For some reason the idiots that were driving small cars wanted to crowd a wheel into my lane that was full of large truck and trailer. This lasted about a half hour and was very tiresome.
When the rolling stock finally cleared out on to I-30 going east, I thought I was home free. WRONGGGG AGGGGAAAIIINNN!!!!!! The exit I had planned to take was closed down. A few miles on down the freeway I was able to get off and pull out my DeLorme book to route myself back to my destination. Finally after touring a million rows of corn and a few hundred new subdivisions being constructed, the campground came into sight. A welcome sight it was too.
My preferred campsite was taken but second choice was available and is very good. The sites are spread out well with electric and water. My location is very close to the showers so I should be able to have enough gray water storage to make the four nights here easily. This is the site of choice this time.
Before I got set up the phone rang, but I had to just let it ring for the moment. When I got to get the message, it was my sister telling me that her son wanted to show me some nice kitties. He volunteers at a place called Insync Exotics where they rescue mostly cats. Of course these cats can weigh over four hundred pounds each. It is amazing to watch the young man, that not long ago was not wanting to ride a skateboard for fear of hurting himself, pet full size tigers. Not me No thanks. Here is Carl taking picture of a kitty for a friend of his.
In this picture, that is Carl’s hand as he caresses the kitty. Several of the kitties seemed to be very at ease with him. It was gratifying to see that he still realizes that these are wild animals that are not afraid of him and not to be considered “tame” by any stretch of the imagination.
My fingers will stay on my side of the fence thank you.
Later this evening I got to visit with a fellow blogger Kirk of www.1tree.net/adventure for a few minutes, really a couple of hours. It was very interesting getting to visit with long term experience in full time living. I learned some important things to consider. Please visit him at the website above and tell him the old fat man sent you.
With a little luck tomorrow I will get to go to the Wal-Mart nearby and then over to my sister’s house for the huge food orgy. This should be a great way to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Last things first tonight. This evening a very nice couple pulled into the campground. After settling in they were going to eat at the café in the campground when I spoke to them. The café did not open this evening. Bobby in the café has been helping Terry the owner of the campground do some carpentry in the hot sun and humidity and wore himself out. Bobby decided he was too beat to be cooking tonight.
After visiting a little with the new couple from New Jersey, we went back to our rigs. A little later here comes the lady of the house with a plate of wonderful food for me. That was very nice of them. After supper, I went over and met Hans, Peggy and Otto the pup. We talked a little while then Peggy went swimming and Hans and I solved all the future problems of the world and visited on lots of subjects. This was really a wonderful close to this day of fun. It is my honor to present to you Hans, Peggy and Otto. You meet the nicest folks out RVing.
Earlier today the Texas Ranger Museum looked inviting with the air conditioned display areas. The building seems proper for the setting and content of the museum.
As you walk through the heavy wood doors, the receptionist gives you a big Texas WELCOME. The air was nice and cool. With a guide pamphlet in hand into the depths of the museum I went. In display cases all over the place are wonderful displays of the early to current role the rangers have played in the history of the USA and Texas. One of galleries is a long hall with a lot of rangers’ history about there service with the Texas Rangers.
A lot of the picture attempts did not do well because of the protective glass on the cases causing too much glare. Scattered through out the displays is wonderful art work in the form of sculptures, paintings and drawings of western themed scenes. They probably took most of my time while there. These artists are good.
One thing that did allow a good picture is the old jail door. When carefully examined, it was obvious that the folks who built it were serious about keeping the criminals looked up. There is a picture of the sign telling about where and when it was used and then a picture of the door itself. It certainly had a SOLID feel to it.
On the way back home I was able to almost fill up with diesel. Another of those stupid pumps that shuts off at $75 again. It is their loss since I refuse to run my credit card again. They probably left $20 on the drive this time, because I needed at least four more gallons. That is fine because I can make it all the way to Garland easily with what I have in the tank now.
Tomorrow is rolling day and the likelihood is that I will be getting some paddling time in tomorrow as I try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Today started well with a decadent bacon and eggs breakfast at the campground café. Bobby got the eggs cooked perfectly, the bacon was great, the hash browns were good and the toast was lightly toasted to my specifications. A little after I got started with my meal, his baker and wife Lori, came in to start on some biscuits and apple pie. They make a good team.
Due to some illness on my part, I had the ham special tonight and once again it was very good. The I-35 RV Park Café is worth stopping at if you are near for breakfast or supper.
For entertainment today, the Homestead Village was the destination. It is a tourist trap type of place run by a Christian religious group. They have classes on many things like woodworking, metal working and pottery. The place is modern construction to look sort of old time. It might fool someone without any background in old construction, but not anyone experienced even a little bit. It was a nice place to visit, but definitely not a place of antiques or old buildings. They have a grist mill there that came from up north, but it has a lot of modern construction and equipment in it. Some of the joints were done in the old pegged tenon style.
The first stop was the wood shop where they were working on an order for chairs. Their techniques were very modern hand production in style. The workers were pleasant to talk to, but were knowledgeable only in modern type woodwork. They would need a lot more education to work on restorations like I worked on.
The next shop on the visit was the iron shop. A very nice young man was working on a special order iron bed. His work was very good in modern style of working iron. We visited for about ten minutes then he had to get back to work.
The best place was next. The pottery shop. In here was a lot of beautiful work. One of the potters, Jenni, was making several items and spent a long time telling me about throwing clay. She was very patient with my ignorant questions. This was my first ever chance to visit with a potter and learn about the trade.
There were garden exhibits and very expensive furniture exhibits and a few other things. The handmade soap that they had was $5.25 a small bar. In Idaho the same size is $2.25 last winter. However I was beginning to feel rotten so I left for home. After arrival home and lunch, I had to lay down for a while. When I awoke I had a screaming headache. That is why I had supper at the café again tonight. Man I am getting tired of getting these screaming headaches.
Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter and very humid, so I am planning on a trip to the air conditioned Texas Ranger museum to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Waco is where the weather took over the local news this evening.
About 9:15 this morning the goodbyes with Ken and Jan were said and the holding tanks were emptied and the team was on it’s way down the road.
All morning the weather was nice with scattered clouds and sunshine. Lunch was eaten at a roadside picnic area a little east of the half horse town of Evant Texas. The bagels with peanut butter and peach preserves were wonderful. While enjoying lunch, I was able to surf the internet thanks to my aircard. The afternoon trip was still nice weather until I caught the Interstate going through Waco. Then the weather really became WACKO . The last four miles were spent slowly driving in heavy blowing rain with idiots going way to fast for the conditions zooming all around me.
When I finally got to the campground and stepped out of the truck into the rain, the run off down the drive washed up and into my shoes. It was a toad strangler deluxe in progress. The lady checked me in and drove her cart to my assigned site. Into it the rig went and I waited in the truck for some let up in the rain. After about ten minutes the rain slacked enough for me to see the ground and I made a run for the trailer. The water was about an inch and a half deep in the parking spot. By the time the rain abated this evening the duck ponds in the campground had over flowed. What a mess!!!!!!!!!!
The good news is they have a fellow who started a nice little cafe onsite. The supper special was an excellent hamburger patty, with fried okra, potato salad, brown gravy and a slice of homemade bread with your choice of several beverages. It was very good and made me feel a lot less miserable in my soaked condition.
The camp dog is Bubba and is a fat chocolate lab with the world going his way. He has the routine down very well. Come up looking like he needs a scratch behind the ears. Get the scratching and look pitiful some more until he gets a piece of something to eat. Then more over out of the way and lay there and look left out until the next person has pity on him. What a life!!!
Let us go back a couple of days to Ft. McKavett and cover some more of that neat experience. Tonight we will cover the doctors office and equipment. It was a two room building. The first room was the doctors office. There is a narrative sign in the room explaining about medical care on the frontier. Click on the signs to enlarge them for legibility.
In the room was a wood table for holding patients while being treated. I another corner was a display case of some of the tools of the trade for the surgeon. A lot of them I would not like having used on me.
From the doctors office you pass through a door into the “Dead House” where there were two coffins on display.
On the wall is another well done sign to explain what went on in this room.
This small building for the doctor and coffins was behind the hospital (now visitor center) separated by about twenty feet of yard.
One important thing about Ft. McKavett is that a lot of standing buildings are in the same shape as they were during the military occupation of the site. When the military moved away, most of the buildings were occupied immediately by local families for housing. The folks were not of the more wealthy folks, so the buildings were in essence maintained in their historic shape without a bunch of modifications. This gave us a great insight to life at that time on the frontier.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day in that the heavy rains are again forecast for the afternoon. Perhaps I can get something interesting done in the morning to show folks how to get out and have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
This should be my last post from Junction for a while. Tomorrow I head’em up and move’em out but hopefully no rawhide involved, especially if it is my hide involved.
The campground was nearly cleared out by noon and the critters knew it and came out early cleansing the sites of any crumbs or left overs. A particularly cute young cottontail rabbit was messing around in the next site. A dove flew in and landed a few feet away and started to feed. In a few moments the bunny eased over very gently to see what the bird was about. When the rabbit got about two feet from the dove, the dove exploded into the air as only doves can do. It scared the rabbit so much that he flipped clear over backwards, scrambled to his feet and leapt about four feet right into a bush. Apparently the bush had stickers that got him, because he leapt right back out and ran around in a circle for a minute. My chair nearly broke with me laughing so hard.
Earlier before the heat got too bad, I rode my bike about five miles here in the park on the roads. There was a nice wind, but the 85 degree heat coupled with the 70% humidity and hills was nearly too much for me. This body of mine has not acclimated to the heat yet. It took me about two years to get used to the cold in Washington, so maybe by next summer I will be able to handle the heat again.
Finally it was time to go see what the ditch and mission ruins is about. Menard Texas is the location of Mission San Saba. It is a little outside town to the west. The sign said to turn here and the golf course sign said to turn at the same place. To shorten the story, you drive right through the middle of the golf course to get to the ruins. If you go here, as you drive in from the main highway, drive all the way to the back of the first parking lot and turn right. Go all the way through the golf course to the end of the paved road. The ruins are right there. There is a green on the left and a tee box a bit past them. There is not a lot to see because they are in a sad state of disrepair due to a lack of funding. The best part is shown in this picture.
A nice kiosk tells the story of the mission and the ditch. A very good artist and author painted this painting of how the mission looked in its glory of the early years.
Sometimes like today it feels funny to be walking in the footsteps of folks who made a real difference in our country. The story is told in this story board. You may have to click on it to get it big enough to read. Apparently the ditch was dug for two purposes. One to irrigate the area for food crops and two to float the stones on rafts from the quarry which was a long way away to the mission site.
Back in Menard was the “Ditch Walk” and near it the old section of town. The truck was parked in the old section and I walked around taking pictures to show you folks. The first building was the old movie house built in 1927. It does not seem to be being used for anything these days.
Across the street was the first Catholic church building.
There were several other buildings with signs but daylight was getting short, so I hot footed it over to the ditch walk. About four blocks of the ditch have been made into something of a park. This water wheel is near the main highway through town and does nothing but turn and attract silly tourists like TheOFM.
Midway along the water wheel block is the sign telling about the history of the early town. The second sign show pictures of the historic buildings of which I got to visit only the two shown in tonight’s blog.
Then this evening I had a wonderful visit with very nice young man and his teacher. They were on a two week camping and exploring trip along with a bunch of other students. The last four days had been spent in Big Bend including a two day river trip on the Rio Grande through Santa Elena Canyon. This nice young man questions about Houston because he going to try to go to Rice University or the University of Houston.
This finished out the day of having tooooo much fun for The OFM.
About the only thing exciting this morning was diesel had gone up to $4.699 a gallon from $4.499 a gallon at noon yesterday. Come on stock market, help me. Since I had not been on the road to Telegraph, Texas in several years, I decided to waste some diesel looking around. Rockprings ended up being where I turned around to come home. Telegraph was still there and Rocksprings had grown up a little, but still is a spot in the road is all.
Near Telegraph is a roadside picnic area with a great view of a valley down below the picnic area. Today was a bit hazy so the picture is not what it could be on a bright day.
By the time I got back home it was after one pm and I was hooongrrryyy. Lunch was very simple but quick. After I got my stomach satisfied enough, I just goofed off on the internet trying to figure out where my next stop will be. Where it will be is still a mystery.
Around 4:30 this afternoon the temperature let down to 95 range and some intermittent cloud cover came in with a nice breeze. Ok now it is time for me to hike to the viewpoint. It is only a mile and a half, but the trail is a rough track with loose material all the way up. Two liters of water were added to my load and away I went to the trail head. On arrival at the trail head there was blacktop paving on the trail????? Apparently in the time I was in Washington, they graded and paved a road up to the hill top. Here is the start of the trail and the hill top where the viewpoint is located.
The last time I went up here is when I had my third heat stroke on the way down. This time the walking was very easy and I stopped often in the shade of a tree just to be safe. When I topped the hill there was even a parking lot for ten or so vehicles. The sign said go thata way, so I went thata way to the view point. The dirt trail to the viewpoint was even graded for easy walking.
The viewpoint used to have a broken down wooden bench at it. Now it has a pretty green fence and a picnic table under a tree for resting the tired body. The view is still nice as you can see.
When I arrived back home, it was obvious I had done as much as I should in the heat of the day. After a little rest, I noticed the showers did not look busy. Now go get clean OFM before the tenters get started. And I did. I am so cute now a friendly puppy dog would like me, maybe. I know, don't push my luck.
Tomorrow afternoon should be very pleasant since most of the crowd will be gone by two pm. This has been a very nice crowd of folks with only the usual great sound of kids running and playing. Tomorrow may be the day I run up to Menard and see the ditch and mission ruins. Check in tomorrow to see what that means, because I don’t know yet. A café up there has been highly recommended to me for lunch, so Menard may be where I try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Wandering around town was this mornings purpose. One historical sign was for the spot where the original livery was located. That spot is now occupied by a modern building. Many of the historical signs I had spotted turned out to be of that type. One old building called the rock house was still standing and in use.
On down the street was this line of old buildings, but I could not find a marker to tell a story about them.
The hope was to find some historical buildings with stories attached, but no more could be found. After driving around the town for about a half hour, I gave up. Next the road headed west near the interstate was given a good viewing. It had a lot of very pretty ranches out that way, but nothing of special interest so I came back to town and home. It was 99 degrees when I got home.
Later in the afternoon, I stopped at the other Arctic Fox in the campground to ask the folks a couple of questions. That turned into a rest of the day and into the evening wonderful visit. Ken and Jan are ranchers among other things and have a special ranch. The Elm Fork Ranch (www.elmforkranch.com) markets grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free beef. If that is of interest to you, catch them at the website. We had a wonderful visit and Jan fixed a dip with a fancy name that I cannot remember that was excellent to my taste buds.
Ken is the one on the right. We shared a lot of stories and some of mine were even true.
As we were talking there was a big commotion at the campsite next to us. One of the kids had found a rattlesnake in the brush. The rangers were called out to save the snake from harm. From what Jan found out, the snake was easy to catch and put into a metal garbage can. The rangers were going to take it and relocate it to a safer area for it to live. A lone rattler is no match for a herd of kids.
The day turned out to have many good moments during my attempts at having tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
There is a nice fellow with a blog who has the “motto” of I can’t wait to see what this day will bring. That certainly applies to my life now. This morning started with dreading to go find a laundry to wash clothes. By now I should know to never dread anything, because GOD will make it exciting somehow. The laundry had been noticed while driving by yesterday and was tucked into a shed looking place. It did not look very inviting. Of course I was totally wrong AGAINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!! The place was very clean, plain and in exceptional repair. The machines were in good order and worked very well. To top it off I met a nice fellow to visit with who had just moved to town from San Antonio to get away from the congestion. Why don’t I learn to just live instead of worry????
On the way home, I noticed the campground host was watering one of the newly planted trees. So I stopped to see if it was ok for me to water the ones near my site #13. “Of course” he said. He and I share a love of trees and a don’t care about grass. So “my” trees are not going thirsty any more as long as I am here.
While going to, at and coming back from the laundry, I noticed that there are several interesting building is downtown Junction. Some of them had historical markers in front. Perhaps some picture and note taking time is in order this holiday weekend of the special sights in Junction is in order.
After lunch, a road trip required me to participate with the truck. We ended up at Fort McKavett State Historical Park. It is a larger well maintained fort with lots to view and experience.
Inside the visitor center was Chris, the curator, and a great fellow to hear about the fort from.
We talked for several minutes on various things as he gave me information about the fort. After walking around and taking over eighty pictures, I came back to the visitor center and met another very nice person that works there. Nancy filled me in on many things about the fort and the local area.
She is standing in front of the entrance to the museum portion of the visitor center. The museum is very well done and has too many things for me to spend time to see it all today. In fact the fort will take a few visits to see all of it. The visitor center is in the old fort hospital. There is a porch around most of the building that really helps keep the heat more bearable.
Inside the visitor center is also a model of the layout of the fort.
The grounds are very large and the sun was fierce today so I had to cut short the roaming of the grounds and got out of the sun. It was still closing time before I got out of there. Just getting to visit with Chris and Nancy makes the trip worthwhile. The fort and history there is just icing on the cake.
Another trip here is probably needed to get everything covered and reported in my blog. In the mean time I am going to try really hard to have tooooo much fun this Memorial Day weekend. TheOFM.
Yesterday's entry was blog entry 200 with over 500 pictures posted. A big thank you to everyone who shops the adsense ads on my site. As always click on a picture to enlarge it.
The day began with a walk around to see the “turkey” section of the park. In all the years I have been coming here, I never got to go into the ‘turkey roosting” area because it was closed every time I came here. This time it is open so I took advantage of the opportunity. There are a lot of trails meandering through the area so this is only a small portion of the hike able trails.
The nature trail is part of the maze of trails. Every now and then, but very often is a post with a board on it with information about the area. Of all the nature trails I have been on this was the very best done of them all. In this picture you will see at least three of the information points of the trail.
Down in the midst of the trails is Buck Lake. It is very nice looking and this morning had fish and turtles very active making noises all over the place. There was a posted notice that all bass were catch and release only. To my amazement there was no evidence of alligators. This looks like prime alligator territory.
Another unique thing about this park is the benches to rest on while hiking the trails. They are cut from logs and placed frequently. Several were given a proper try during my stroll through the woods.
When the South Llano River came into view, I happened to be at the place where you come out of the river if inner tube riding. The put in place is back at the entrance upstream a good ways.
The trails were so nice that I thought that the rangers would like to know someone appreciated their work. As I approached HQ building, the swallows were in full feed the babies frenzy. Here is a picture of a nest on the front porch of the HQ building.
Inside the building is a small museum/display room that is definitely worth the time to view it. There are a lot of small exhibits of different animals found in the park. Also on display are photos of Mr. Buck who donated the land for the park. The HQ building is apparently his former home.
Hanging next to the door into the exhibit room is a small snake skin from one of the rattlesnakes found here in the park. It appears to be only about five feet long and was missing the head.
This evening I sat in the warm, but cooling off from 95, evening breeze practicing my sketching/drawing. This is a hobby that whenever I can get myself motivated to do it, I really enjoy doing it. With my deteriorating eyesight, the evening soon grew too dim for me to see well so I came in to write the blog.
On a walk around the campground, there was a good number of tent campers. Not me in this heat. My air conditioned travel trailer suits me just fine. If the diesel gets so expensive I cannot afford to pull the trailer any more and have to resort to tents, then travel will only be in the cool, not cold, times of the year.
Tomorrow is supposed to be fairly hot, but I have several things to choose from for fun or maybe do the laundry. Only tomorrow will tell what I choose for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Actually south about 8 miles at the South Llano River State Park. According to the road sign right outside the park it is only 118 miles to Del Rio. However I managed to make today into a 220 mile trip. The original plan was to go north up to San Angelo and get out of the desert. A few miles short of San Angelo, it became apparent that we were entering the pains part of Texas. Trees and grass were what I was wanting. So over to the side of the road and examine the map carefully. The closest place was to somewhat back track to Junction where I know the terrain is what I am wanting to play in. And that is the good and bad of rv life. You can change plans in an instant and it still comes out good.
How lucky do you feel? Not very in my case, but very lucky in reality today. When I went into the headquarters building to check in, I found that all sites were taken for the weekend. State parks in Texas usually fill on the big three weekends of summer.
Ok I thought, what next. Then the lady that supervises the office walked into the room, she said yes you can stay the weekend. Then she told the clerk, who as it turns out had just come back from lunch and not had time to get up to speed, that they had had a cancellation a few minutes ago and that I could have the site. WOW that was close. So here I am in my favorite site #13 until Tuesday morning.
I know there is a 9 hole golf course in Junction, so I went to check it out. Bad scene is the best term for it. The four greens visible from the road were burned to a crisp with dirt showing on them. Never Mind!!!
At least the campsite is very nice and I am set up across the street from the restrooms.
Being near the restrooms usually gives me the equivalent of night lighting for moving around the campsite at night, with out really bright lights.
At his park the sites are spaced nicely, but not really far apart. Each site has water and electrical service and there is a dump station at the entrance to the campground. Here is a view looking down the camp road.
As a person travels they get to having preferences that new comers do not think about. One example is the lighting from the restroom in my case. Another thing I feel is important is to get evening shade on the rig in the hot weather time of the year. Site 13 does just that.
Now when I get out my lazy bum chair in the evening and set it to the rear of my home, this is the horrible view in front of me.
This evening had hordes of birds flying around mostly at high speed. Two of them slowed down enough for me to get pictures of sorts. The cardinal was really tough since it stayed on one spot about 5 seconds then fluttered away again and again.
This dove finally settled down for about four minutes so I could finally get a shot that works for the blog of it.
All in all I shot about 20 shots of the spots where the bird used to be in order to get this set of two above.
When the day was all finished and I started on the blog, it hit me that it had actually been a fun day. Not much went according to my plans, but what a nice interesting day it turned into. Maybe tomorrow will be just as interesting as I try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.