Sunday, October 20, 2013

Garner State Park October 2013

Friday, October 18

Well, it has been a while since I have been able to get away in the Colby T. I was ready to go on the weekend of October 12th, but I couldn't find a spot ANYWHERE! Then I realized that it was Columbus Day weekend. You don't notice those things as much when you have to work. Sure I knew that the students wouldn’t be in school, but I had to be there. Plus, I don't have kids in school anymore to consider. Anyway, that weekend was a big bust. So then I considered the weekend before that, but Rachel reminded me that it was N1S's birthday weekend. Just in case he was going to come down or something, I needed to pass on that weekend also. That pretty much pushed me to this weekend, the weekend of October 18th. I tried to get a spot at Guadalupe River State Park, but there were none. Out of desperation, I tried for Garner State Park, which was not my favorite for several reasons that I won't bother to mention, since I can already tell none of them apply!

Now, I am not someone who cuts work routinely or without a huge guilt process. This time, it wasn't even my idea. I jokingly said to Rachel that I couldn't wait get to my getaway weekend. I said that I should have taken the day off, and she said, “Why don't you?” I had things to do in the morning, so I only took the afternoon. Then, as fate would have it, I ended up being a substitute for my ECT all morning anyway. It obviously didn't matter what I had on my plate, we needed a warm body in the lab with the rotation classes. I am not complaining folks. Even the principal had to help by covering the afternoon. Don't think for a minute that went unnoticed by me. My selfishness ruined her day. I HATE being absent. Oh well. I will hold up my record to anybody's. Besides, I never get to work later than 6:45 am, and most days I am even earlier. I get my work done.

The morning dragged on as I pretty much just babysat classes for four hours. I had everything packed at the house instead of just leaving straight from work like I would have, had I not taken the afternoon off. This way I got to make sure the dogs got out because Rachel gets home late on Fridays. I also got to empty myself for the trip, if you know what I mean. It didn't delay me too much even though N2S and Storm were hanging out at the house while N2S did his laundry. In fact they helped me load the truck with my few things.

I had stopped on the way home to get gas and put air in my tires. I left the caps in my pocket so I could check the pressure after driving home. Then once I got to Packrats and hitched up, I realized that I had left the damned things at the house. I called N2S and told him to get them out of my pants and bring them out to me when I pulled up. Just as I got there, the pesticide folks got there, too. I told them to just do the outside since the boys were in the house. I get kind of goofy about pesticide in my house, even though they say it is non-toxic. Anyway, I checked my tires and put the caps on. Then I remembered that Storm had left a T-shirt in the Colby T when we went to the Grand Canyon, so I went in and got it for him.

I finally pulled out of the cul de sac ready to go. I had told OnStar to get me to Tarpley, Texas. I didn't want to get to Garner by taking highway 90 to Sabinal. Google and OnStar both routed me that way. I figured that, if I got all the way to Tarpley, then OnStar would send my on through Utopia. That worked, with a few surprises. The ride to Bandera was uneventful. The drive to Tarpley was uneventful. The drive to Utopia was kind of curvy and hilly. I had to go about 25 in some parts of it. Then, after Utopia, about 5 miles of the road, which were some of the hilliest and curviest, where under construction. Now, nobody was actually working on the road, but it was a dirt road lined with cones. Not exactly the most comfortable way to go when pulling a trailer. But, it was stunningly beautiful, so I didn't mind it at all. The last ten or so miles to Garner were also uneventful.

The gate to Garner was not were it used to be! I was surprised by how different the park was. Instead of pulling up like most parks and walking in to register, I had to pull into a huge parking lot and actually park and walk to the headquarters. When I got there, I walked into a room with about thirty people standing in line to register. I even had to take a number. Mine was 50. The sign read 41, which made me a bit happier, because that meant some of the people were together. Every few minutes, they would buzz the next customer into the next room where there were about four counters open to register people. It seemed to take a lot longer than I remember at any other park. I soon learned why. This park has GROWN. They have about three new areas to camp. It takes longer for you to pick your spot. On the way out of the building a boy said, "Hi, Mr. Baker!" I recognized him as one of my students from one of my schools. I said, "Why aren't you in school?" He answered guiltily, "Because I'm camping." I told him not to worry, that I was playing hooky, too. By the way he looked at me, I'm not sure he knows that term.

I chose spot 122 because it looked like a straight back in, and it was far away from everyone else for some reason. The only other camper near me is the host. It turned out to not be as much of a straight backup, but I did fine. I got out and looked a couple of times, just to be sure I was putting it where I wanted. The site is beautiful. The back is a jumble of hills and ravines. The front is a big field with trees. I like it a lot.

I got the Colby T leveled with the BAL leveler and put my stuff inside. Then I took off for a hike on one of the new trails. It was beautiful. It followed a ravine all the way to the highway. Just as I reached the old gate to the park, I turned left and took another trail that climbed way up and wound around the hills. It eventually came back down to the old original entrance road. I walked on that for about a half mile to get to the road that goes to the old section. Then I turned left and hiked back to the Colby T. Altogether, it was probably about a three mile hike. It was humid as hell, but not at all hot.

Back at the camper, I went ahead and finished setting up the kitchen and unpacking my things. Since I have full phone service, I decided to hook up the TV and try it, even though nobody else had their antennas up. They didn't because there is absolutely no signal here at all. I went ahead and re-stowed the TV and put the antenna back down. Then I brewed a cup of coffee while I opened my box of Merlot (It is one of those Black Boxes.) and heated up my dinner.

Now I am sitting here listening to Pandora (my Linda Ronstadt channel) and fighting the AC. It's too humid to leave it off, but too damned cold to have it on. I'm gonna grab a glass of Merlot and figure it out. Then I am going to take a walk around the Shady Meadow camping area before getting in bed to read the rest of the night away. I want to hit the trails super early in the morning. I feel pressured to walk all the new ones tomorrow, since I will probably get up and head home on Sunday so I can have some time with Rachel and rest up for the work week.

October 19

Well I woke up this morning with frozen feet. The temperature dropped to about 40 during the night. All the humidity blew out too, which is awesome. I had gotten up in the middle of the night to do use the restroom and turned off the AC. Still, it was well below sixty inside the Colby T. I looked on weather bug and saw that it was 44 degrees outside. All I had with me were shorts and T-shirts. I knew I was going to be one cold hiker. I cooked a quick breakfast of scrambled powdered eggs with Cheerios in them. Then I drank one last cup of coffee, put on an extra T-shirt and hit the trails.

I started on the road that leads to the old part of Garner. Then I turned onto the Crystal Cave trail. It was pretty rigorous, and I totally expect to feel it later this evening. My plantar fascitiis acted up most of the day, already upset from yesterday's hike. Anyway, the steep climb warmed me up, which was good, since there was quite a breeze up on the hills. Even in the sun, it was chilly. I did a pretty good job of climbing. I always make sure to stop and let my heart recover every hundred yards, or so. After all, I am by myself. No sense pushing it and risking a coronary on the top of a mountain with nobody around to help me. In fact, I didn't see another human being until about the last five minutes of my hike.

I took lots of pictures and really enjoyed myself. Coming back down on a different trail was more challenging. Because I am an old fart with bad knees, I have to be very careful to find the “knee friendly” way down the steep parts. Add to that, the fact that some footfalls (I think I'm using that correctly) are extremely painful, and I need to make that next step FAST! Throw in my triple lenses and my constantly watery right eye. It can be a rough and rocky road-no pun intended!

I was up on the top, when I got the brilliant idea of turning on my Geocaching app to see if there were any caches nearby. I was surprised to find one listed about 500 feet from me. It was on this interesting land formation called “Diane's Patio”. It kind of looks like someone purposefully arranged the rocks to form a makeshift patio. Anyway, I had to use my caching experience, since I didn't actually have my GPS with me, and the phone isn't quite as exact enough for finding them, in my opinion. It took me about fifteen minutes, which is embarrassing. Just the same, I did find it. Then I just headed on down the trail.

I guess the hike was about two and a half hours altogether. I feel like my BodyMedia device ripped me off on steps. Oh well. Anyway, back at the Colby T, I decided to make a cup of coffee and sit at the picnic table. I had already taken my tennies off, so I put my “$1.99 at WalMart” thongs on. I keep them by the door, just in case I need to go outside for something and don't want to bother with my shoes. I used to keep my Topsiders there, but the metal eyelet started cutting me, so I stopped wearing them. Anyway, I quickly learned that it was too cold for my poor old achy feet so I finished up my coffee and went inside.

I checked my calorie burn and decided that I would go for lunch at the barbecue joint in Leakey. It was too early for that, so I laid on the bed for a few seconds and ended up falling asleep. I woke up with cold sore feet a few minutes later and actually got my ceramic heater out to warm the place up. That little thing is about the size of a box of Hamburger Helper, but it can heat the entire interior of the Colby T in about 15 minutes on the coldest of days.

I took another cup of coffee out to the picnic table-this time with tennies on. I decided to send the information for the barbecue place to OnStar with the iPhone app. It wouldn't do it for some reason. It kept telling me I need to drive the vehicle to establish a location first. I decided that was an omen of some kind and blew off the whole idea of barbecue. Instead, I ate one of the granola bars that HEB gave me in my gift bag at the sampling event. Then I headed off on another hike to see the old part of Garner State Park.

To get there, you have to hike all the way up a hill and then come back down again. It was a nice walk. The weather is now unbelievable. Hold on- okay, I just checked Weather Bug. It is 65 degrees with 32% humidity. Can we say HEAVENLY!! I am sitting at the picnic table right now enjoying the weather. But, I digress. The walk over there was wonderful. I was so giddy from the beauty around me that I felt like an idiot when people drove by. I was listening to Pandora (Linda Ronstadt channel) the whole time. I never do that! It was awesome, I felt like I was in a movie with a soundtrack.


The river is beautiful today. There were actually some people in the water. I think they're frapping nuts. They don't call it the Frio River for nothing. For my non Spanish speaking readers, Frio means “really really cold”. That makes it like a paradise in the summer, but when it's hot, you get to come out of the water to warm air. Today was a breezy cool day. Well, to each his own.

I walked all over the old section, which is called Pecan Grove. That's where most people like to camp. I heard them saying that while waiting in line yesterday. For me, it brought back an overwhelming flood of memories. I actually got a little misty for a few minutes. (Okay. I cried. Get over it!) I relived my first trip here in 1976. I came on a school bus for my Senior Trip. Talk about a bitter sweet memory. I haven't seen any of those high school friends since graduation. I wouldn't even recognize them now. I probably see a lot of them in town and don't even realize it.

 I also thought about the disastrous stop I made here a few years later with my first girlfriend, Beth Hughes. We were sweethearts in Taiwan. She drove to my parents house in San Antonio during my Junior year at SWTSU to meet up with me, and we took a great trip to Big Bend. ( We were no longer a couple, but had moved on to being life-long friends. It is a relationship I value to this day.) We had decided to stop at Garner on the way home for one last night of vacation. Unfortunately, we had managed to lose the the top part of the tent poles- you know the one that all the other poles used to snap into. We ended up driving home in the wee dark hours. We went through Utopia, Tarpley, and Bandera with deer shine every hundred yards. It was a horrible drive, as I was exhausted.

Then, there was that last time  I came here with the Cub Scouts when N1S, now 23, was about ten. We camped in that old section in a tent with his best friend Everett. I remember we hiked the trails, and I got so tired I thought I was having a heart attack. I sat on a rock and let them go on with the scout leader. I decided not to wait for them to come back down and staggered all the way back to the tent alone. I crawled into my sleeping bag to die. Before long, I found out what was wrong with me. For the rest of the time we were there, I was puking or sitting on the pot with diarrhea. The other men packed up my site the next day. I tried to drive the boys back to San Antonio, but ended up at the Dairy Queen in Hondo convinced death was imminent. I called Rachel on the pay phone and told her we were going to eat and sit there for a while until I felt like I could finish the trip. After about two hours, I felt up to it, and managed to get us back. We dropped Everett off on the way home. I got out of the van (or whatever I was driving then), staggered into the house, crawled to the bedroom, stripped out of my clothes and got in bed. I stayed there until about 7:00 PM the next day. Maybe that is one reason I have always avoided coming back here. I don't know.

Anyway, I went into the gift shop and bought myself one of those plates you nail onto your walking stick with the money I had in the pocket of my hat. Then I climbed back over the hill to get back here. I've been sitting here drinking coffee and writing this ever since.

October 21, 2013

Okay, I am now sitting on my LazyBoy with my laptop on my lap finishing up the details of my trip while I wait for the Draino to unclog the shower drain so I can take a much needed shower. The clog showed up on Friday, so I asked Rachel to buy some stuff and have it ready for me. I should have just let her do it, but I am the maintenance man. I also need to gather last week's laundry and add it to my camping laundry and get them all cleaned and dryed. I hope to spend the evening watching my shows Sunday's are my favorite TV nights.

So, back to Garner. Shortly after the last bit that I wrote, I went into the Colby T and took a nap before cooking dinner. As mentioned earlier, I had wanted barbecue for lunch, but talked myself out of it. That made me feel like I deserved and extra good dinner. I cooked a bag of “Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Sides”. I threw in a package of 90 second “zesty peas and lentils” and two Nutrisystem chicken breasts. It was wonderful, and still kept me under the calorie count I would have had eating a barbecue plate. Besides, I had already taken two long hikes, and knew another one was coming up.

After dinner, I put on my tennies and hit the trails. I took the same one I had used on Friday evening, but when I got to the old entrance gate, I turned on to the deserted road and followed it all the way to where it dead ends on the hill that leads to the older section of the park. About half-way, there was an old scenic overlook. Since the road is closed, they filled it with picnic tables. I sat there looking at the view of the park below. I couldn't see the Colby T because it was too close to the hillside. Off in the distance, a guy was flying in one of those parachute thingys. I was really jealous. All the beauty of Garner from the sky- Awesome!

When I got back to the camper, the sun was starting to go down. You could sense the end of the day coming. The smells along the final stretch of campers was amazing. Everyone was getting their meals done on the grill. I grabbed a glass of wine and sat at my picnic table enjoying to view for awhile. Then, just as it was starting to get dark, I made a loop around the camping areas. The smells were good, but there wasn't as much activity as the night before. That had been a little later though. Just as I got to the lonely stretch before the road curves and where my site is, something ran across the road in front of me. It was about the size of a house cat with light fur, but I couldn't make out what it was. It was probably a rabbit.

My feet were absolutely killing me, so I grabbed more Merlot and sat back down at the picnic table. I could hear mosquitoes swarming around my ears, so I went into the trailer and got some bug spray. As I was coming back to the table, I saw a strange glow over the hills off in the distance. Almost instantly, the glow turned into a huge beautiful full moon. It looked like an egg being laid. Then it was all the way up and sitting on the hill. I knew that aching feet or not, I was going to have to go for another walk around the camping area later. There is just something special about walking at night with moon shadows all around you. I made it a plan, and sat back at the picnic table to drink Merlot and wait for the moon to get higher and brighter in the sky. When I took a sip of my wine, a moth fluttered on my lips. It had fallen in my glass and was spinning around like a motor boat. Yechh.

I finally took my “Merlot shuffle” around the campsites basking in the moon shadows. This time, I had grabbed my flashlight, just in case another critter ran in front of me. I am glad I did because there were several skunks around enjoying the moon shadows with me. I would spot a movement near me, shine my light, and see a cute little skunk staring at me. I had to wait for one to cross the street before I could pass. Back a the Colby T, there was one running around the picnic table area, so I decided to take another lap around the Shady Meadow area to give him a chance to get lost. As I passed one campsite, a man was talking about how they were going to make s'mores. He was elaborately outlining how each boy (seemed to be a bunch of cub scouts) would take a marshmallow, one sheet of graham cracker, and half a Hershey bar. He wanted to be sure that everyone got some. I thought it was funny, because I remember one of the scout leaders giving the same talk when I was here with N1S. I wanted to walk up and join them, but I am not that kind of creepy old man. (yet)

The rest of the evening was fairly mundane. I drank some more Merlot and laid in bed reading. I ran the heater all night. The temperature only went down to about 44, but that somehow translated to very cold inside. I have a real issue with cold achy feet. The ceramic heater doesn't have a usual thermostat. You basically turn it on until you are comfortable, then you turn the knob down a touch and it shuts off. Then it will come off and on to maintain that temperature. You have to play with it to find the sweet spot. I like to sleep at about 73 degrees. It did a pretty good job of maintaining it. On some cold weather trips, I heat the camper up, then turn it off. Then in the morning, I will turn it all the way up and let it run for about ten minutes before getting out of the covers. I like it.

This morning, I woke up to my alarm at 7:00 amazed that I had slept through the night. I just laid there enjoying that cozy and snug feeling of waking on a cool morning. At about 7:45, I got out of bed and started prepping for departure. I decided that I wanted to dump the tanks, even if it meant sitting in line for an hour. Something about leaving that “stuff” to ferment in the Colby T grosses me out. It isn't a smell thing, because there is no smell if you take care of your tank system correctly. It is the thought of it. Anyway, having made that decision, I decided to try and be on my way before the other campers made their mass exodus. I know some people like to stay for the rest of Sunday and go home in the evening, but I like to be home, showered, clothes washed, and ready to just relax for the rest of the day. As it turned out, I was next in line when I pulled up to the dump station, and the entire process of waiting and dumping was over within fifteen minutes.

There is nothing of interest to say about the trip home. I couldn't get an OnStar signal, so I followed a sign for Uvalde. Then I turned on another highway in Concan and headed to Sabinal. From there I knew the way. As fast as it all started, my weekend getaway to Garner SP was over, and the Colby T was back in its jail waiting sadly for the next adventure. That is probably not for a month. N2S and I are going to go to Mustang Island SP over Thanksgiving break.

Until next time: Happy Trails!







Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Circle Trip Stop 5: Lockhart State Park


8:57PM, July 5th, 2013

Well my morning started off nice. I actually slept until a little after seven! I felt so great that I skipped breakfast and just got right into prepping the camper for departure. It didn't take much, since I had not used the TV, the water hookup, or the sewer. I basically only had to secure my cabinets and put the Keurig in the sink. I took my time and even hiked over to the dumpster with my trash instead of driving over on the way out. It was such a pretty morning at Mother Neff that I felt a little sad to leave it.

The route to Lockhart was easy. I retraced my steps to the area I drove to for barbecue at the Backyard, but just kept going on the highway instead of turning off. There were a few road changes until I found myself on I-35 South. I stayed on it until I went on the new toll road, which I took all the way to Lockhart.

The toll road was a worrisome experience. All of the toll booths that said everyone must pay were blocked off with cones. My exit didn't even have a toll booth. N1S said that he thinks they got my license plate electronically and will mail me a bill. I hope so. I don't want Johnny Law knocking on the door with handcuffs some day.

I pulled in a picked site number 12. I got it all parked and set up. I used the BAL leveler to raise the curbside tire off the ground about 4 inches. Then, just when I was getting ready to set up the inside, I got a text from N1S asking what the plans were. He was coming to Lockhart on his way to San Antonio to eat barbecue with me. I didn't have enough service to send a response. I don't know how his text made it to me. I had to drive to headquarters and finish registering anyway, so I went ahead and locked up and headed up there. I was disappointed that they did not have any of the metal plates for my new walking stick. Oh well.

I called N1S and he was planning to leave Austin in about fifteen minutes. That gave me time to go to WalMart and buy a few supplies and get some cash. I wasn't sure if the barbecue place took credit cards and wanted to give N1S some money to enjoy his time in San Antonio. I bought some strawberries, vanilla yogurt, and microwave popcorn, then headed back to the Colby T to put stuff in the fridge. Just then I got a call from N1S. I answered it, but there was nothing but dead air.

I jumped in the truck and headed up towards headquarters to call him back, but got a text from him that said he was at Kruez Market already waiting for me. I texted him and let him know it would be five minutes.

Okay, stopping for the night. Tired of sitting at a computer.

2:36 PM, July 6th

Picking up from where I left off:

I found N1S sitting in his truck in the parking lot, and pulled in beside him. We went inside and there was a long line. We chatted until it was our time to order. We got three sausage links, a pound and a half of moist brisket, and a half pound of turkey. He said he was really hungry and wanted some to take home.

We found a seat, got some beers, and chowed down. The barbecue was really good. However, Kreuz is very snotty about their meat. They don't use or provide barbecue sauce to go with it, using the tagline “We have nothing to hide.” That doesn't cut it with N1S or me. By definition for us, good barbecue gets coated in tangy sauce, whether during cooking or after. For that one reason, Kreuz can not and will not be the one I rate highest in Lockhart. As good as the meat was, it left us wanting something. I might add that N1S doesn't like the no forks policy either.

I gave N1S some money to take with him, and made sure he had good directions to get home from Lockhart. I used OnStar to get them, but when I got to his truck, he had already gotten them on his cell phone. He headed for San Antonio. I headed to Dairy Queen. I needed the sweetness that I didn't get due to the lack of barbecue sauce.

When I got back to the Colby T, I finished getting set up inside. That included vacuuming the floor to get rid of a the trail dirt I dragged in at Mother Neff. I really like the little 20 dollar vacuum I bought for the trailer. It is really powerful, and because it plugs in, as opposed to being rechargeable, stays powerful all the time.

I got hike ready and headed up to the headquarters. I wanted to check for WiFi. There was none, so I went ahead and hiked up the hill to the recreation hall. That is my favorite hike. It is on the road, but it is climbing the whole time, so you really get a workout.

I wandered around the top looking at things and discovered an old road leading back down that I had missed before. It was overgrown a bit, but there was nothing stopping your from walking down it. It lead me to the golf course. I also found a dirt road at the bottom that took me to one of the holes. It gave me a really nice view of the fairway.

I hadn't done my blog update or checked mail, etc. while on the top of the hill, so I took the old road back up and sat for awhile doing electronic things. I got a text while I was up there, and had to let that conversation run its course before I could come back down due to lack of service in the lower areas.

Back in the Colby T., I ate an early dinner of strawberries and vanilla yogurt and watched the news on TV. I ended up getting drawn in by some new TV show called Siberia. As soon as it ended I turned the TV off so I wouldn't get hooked into watching anything else. I still needed to burn some more calories, just to break even after all that barbecue.

I hiked at a fast pace directly up to the rec center. When I was up there, a wild wind started blowing as if a storm were coming. It was really refreshing. No rain came, but I was cooled down quite a bit. On the way down, I saw a buzzard in a tree against the evening sky. I took a gazillion photos. I hope they are good. I also saw an armadillo running around. I got as close as five feet to him before he ever noticed. I hope those photos are good, too.

Back in the camper, I drank Merlot, ate microwave popcorn, and watched an old Sally Field and Tom Hanks movie on TV. I think it is called Punchline. I don't remember. It is about comedians.

When the movie ended, I started to read but fell asleep. I woke up once in the middle of the night to pee, since I hadn't before going to bed, fully expecting to read for awhile, actually get ready for bed, then go to bed. Then, I slept through until seven again.

I got up and fixed breakfast, but I wasn't feeling all that gung ho. I was still kind of tired and my right foot was hurting a bit. I decided to succomb to laziness and laid back down on bed to read. I read until about 9:30 and remember thinking, “Okay fat ass, time to hit the trails!” The next thing I knew, it was 11:48. I had fallen asleep and had some really vivid dreams about some really crazy things.

I went ahead and ate some strawberries, yogurt, and avocados for lunch before hiking over to headquarters to get a new map. I couldn't find the one they gave me, and I planned on hiking trails today. I took the Clear Fork Trail that runs right across the creek from where I am parked. There is a new trail loop called the Wild Rose. I took it and came into a little valley that is covered with wild rose vines. It was awesome. I have never seen anything like it. There were some roses on the vines, but it was obviously not the blooming time of year. I went to take a picture and my camera was dead! I hate rechargeables! I had it plugged into the computer all night charging, but when closed the laptop, it must have reversed the flow and sucked it all back out.

I came back to the Colby T to charge the camera. Part of the fun of hiking for me is taking pictures. That is the status quo. I am waiting for it to charge, then I am going to hike the trails to get to the rec center instead of the road.

7:55 PM

Got it all charged up and went off on another hike. I repeated the first one so I could get some photos of the wild roses. They were amazing. I would love to come back when they are all in bloom. From there, I followed the Creek View Trail, the Fence Line Trail, the Chisholm Trail, The Comanche Loop, and the Rattlesnake Run Trail. The Comanche Loop trail and the Rattlesnake Run are new. I loved them. I ended up at the recreation center at the top of the hill. I

I stayed on the hill for awhile and updated my mini-blog, checked email, and looked at FaceBook for a few minutes. Then I took the road back to the Colby T. It was really hot, and I was unusually thirsty. You know how sometimes you can't satisfy a thirst? It was like that.

I went to the bathhouse and took a nice hot shower. Then I came back and cooked my last dinner on this trip. I had chicken taco rice. It was good, but I still couldn't get enough to drink. I drank so much I felt bloated, but it did nothing for my thirst.

I got a text from Rachel out of the blue. I tried to respond, but couldn't. I walked away from the camper a bit and got just enough to send one. Then I realized I was hot again and decided to drive to DQ for a blizzard. When I got in the car, I noticed I needed gas. I forgot to get it yesterday again.

I went in to a Valero and filled up. While I was getting gas, I saw a man come out loaded down with styrofoam cups of soda for his family. I went in and got a 60 ouncer. I filled it with as much ice as it would hold then added a splash of Coke Zero. I am not much of a soda drinker, by I figured the ice would melt and give me something cold to drink. I only have three cold bottles of water left in the fridge. I should have put more in last night, but forgot. No sense now. I am going to empty the fridge tonight before bed and stow the thermometer and fridge fan. That way I won't have as much work drying it out when I get back to Packrats.

I'm sitting here watching American Ninja. Not my favorite show, but the best of the choices I can get here. If nothing better comes on after, I'm gonna go back to reading. That's all I'm gonna write tonight. If there is more to add, I will do it in San Antonio. I'm going to shut the computer down and stow it right now.
7:12PM, July 7th, 2013

Well, my trip is over. It was a good one. I need to tell you what happened last night.

Not long after I shut down the computer, I saw a big ant walking on the wall of the camper by my bed. I got a paper towel and killed it. A few minutes later, there were two more. They were huge ants. I knew that they must be coming in from somewhere, so I grabbed my flashlight and went outside to see what was up. Sure enough, they were climbing up the shoreline (the power cord that connects the camper to the park electricity) and going into the port where the shoreline is stored underneath one of the dinette benches.

I sprayed some Raid to stop the trail. Then I went inside, moved the mattresses, and opened up the compartment under the dinette bench. There were hundreds of the ants in there. I let them have it full on with a ton of Raid. Then I went back out and plugged the porthole with paper towels and saturated them with Raid. That stopped them from coming in, but for the next few hours, I kept finding one or two ants walking on my bed. Some were staggering as if poisoned. Others were perfectly fine, and probably had already left the compartment before I sprayed.

I diligently watched for ants, killing them by hand, until there didn't seem to be anymore. I got in bed and read for awhile, checking for ants occasionally. When I woke up during the night, I turned the light on over the bed and checked again. Fortunately, I didn't see another one, until I stripped the sheets in the morning. One was down between the mattress and the back wall of the camper.

I decided to take the toll road to Seguin to get home. It made it so much easier than worrying about be the slow vehicle on the back roads. It shortened my time getting home because I was able to maintain 60 mph the whole way, and there was no traffic at all on the toll road, and only a little on I10.

At Packrats, I sprayed Raid around all the baseboards as I had planned to do before last night's attack. I had seen a few tiny black ants in the camper at one point during the trip. I never saw anymore, but planned to spray at the end of the trip just in case. As I was locking the gate to leave, I heard an alarm going off. I walked over to the Colby T, and sure enough, it was the carbon monoxide detector reacting to the Raid. I had to disconnect the battery to stop it.

I am not overly concerned about this ant invasion. I have spent 58 nights in the Colby T, and this is the first time it has happened. In the future, I will be proactive and block the port. You live and learn.

Happy Trails!

You can see all of the photos from this trip on my Photobucket site. click here

Circle Trip Stop 4: Mother Neff State park


10:39AM, July 4th, 2013

I got up early, as has been my habit on this trip, and fixed my breakfast. Then I started getting everything ready for departure. I have mentioned before that I use a checklist compulsively. With picking up and moving every two days, it hasn't been necessary. Instead, I get everything done, then sit at the picnic table and go through the list just in case. I will probably never give up the checklist entirely.

I was ready to go by about 7:45. My next stop was only an hour away, so I didn't fell rushed. I decoded to stop in at headquarters and say goodbye to the awesome ranger lady. She wasn't there. Another very nice ranger lady was working. I didn't stay long to chat or anything. I got in the truck and headed on down the road.

This trip took me back through Clifton, where I got a Blizzard the day before. Then I took a right and headed south through McGregor. All in all, I think I switched roads at the most four times.

[My feet are so cold they hurt! Gonna get my slippers... That's better.]

I almost missed the gate into the headquarters area of the park. Evidently there was a horrific flood in 2007 that left most of the park covered in 13 feet of water for three weeks. At least I think she said three weeks. The park was closed for a long time because of it, and was only for day use for a long time after that. The original headquarters either washed away or was damaged so bad that it was torn down. It was up by where I am camping. No sign of it now.

Right now, the headquarters is in a little white barn like you would put in your backyard to store stuff. They don't have much in there, and sadly I can't get a plate for my walking stick. The rangers have all been very friendly. In fact, when I got to my site (number 3), I knew there was no way I could back into it. The map was deceiving. I called and asked if I could take site number 1 instead. The ranger said that was fine. When I said I would be down there in a few minutes to swap out my paperwork, she told me not to bother, they would bring it to me!

Anyway, site number one was really easy to back into. It isn't shaded like number 3 was, but an hour or so later, neither was number 3. Last night at about 8:00, a huge 5th wheel came in. He made a loop through the campground and left for like twenty minutes before coming back to try backing into the spot. He pulled in to the loop from the other direction, passed up my site, and then backed straight in in a matter of seconds. I didn't think of that. Oh well. He left early this morning. Must have just been a stop over for him.

There are only six water and electric sites in this little loop. There are a few, right now there are five tent campers, one pop-up, two 5th wheelers, and me in the entire park. I thought they would be swamped on July 4th. The ranger told me that this park doesn't draw as many campers because there is not pool or lake to swim in. That suits me fine. You know I'm all about the trails.

I took my first hike on the trails shortly after getting set up. There was a bus full of boys in the park from something called “Project Heatwave out of Temple”. They were coming off of the trail just as I started, which made me happy. I like to here the sounds of nature. Kids don't let that happen.

The park has three different ecosystems, and you can experience them all by walking all of the trails. They are all beautiful in their own ways. On the first part of the trail, you are in a river bottom, even though the little creek is all dry. You hike amongst huge old pecan trees. Then, you get to a more hilly canyon-like area. There is a place called “The Cave” where the water has worn the rock away and left about a 20 foot overhang. It was really cool under the rock.

I headed back the way I came and took the trail to another intersection. This time, the trail climbed up until it suddenly ended in front of a beautiful round tower with stairs and iron railings winding around it. The tower was built by the CCC and is a really stunning feature. From the top, you can see for miles and miles. When I came down, I realized that I was right near the temporary headquarters compound, so I went there and took some photos.

I retraced my steps back to the intersection and discovered a sign for a bird blind. I had missed it when heading to the tower. I followed the short trail and had a seat there for awhile. It was built by and Eagle Scout. It was very nice, but not one bird bothered to visit while I was there. I noticed a path going to the right of it. It took you right back to headquarters in about twenty yards. It is amazing how you have no sense of where you are on the trails!

I went back to the intersection and headed for “The Wash Pond”. On the way, the trail split in two directions to create Buffalo Loop. I veered to the left. The other trail went off to the right. I soon realized that they were separated by a large ravine that got larger and steeper as I went. At the end of the trail, I saw the pond. It is sort of a pit at the bottom of the rock wall that catches water. It is almost empty right now, but there were some huge pollywogs in there. All kinds of insects were stopping for a drink.

I took some steps down into the ravine and right back up. The other end of the Buffalo Loop trail was off to my right, but I went straight headed for the prairie. About six hundred yards from the ravine, the terrain suddenly flattened out and got grassy. I found myself out on a beautiful golden prairie with a few clumps of cedar trees here and there. The trail goes in a square all around that. I took it, even though it was really getting a little warm to be hiking with no shade. I would say the loop is about two and a half miles around the fence line of that area of the park. It ended by a playground and a big sign that said to watch for snakes.

I followed the trail I was on until it looped back to the trail that got me there. I made my way back to camp. There had been a little trailer similar to mine when I got to the park. They had now packed up and gone leaving only four of us in the loop. The camper was nice and cool, so I relaxed awhile until I was dry. Then I cleaned up and got ready to go explore the area a bit.

I went to the headquarters, because there was a sign about a 4th of July hike. I wanted to check the time and see where it met. I asked the ranger a little about the flood. Two male rangers came in and sat down. They looked hot and tired. They must have been working hard on something. I asked if there was a place nearby to get barbecue. The older ranger told me to go to the Backyard Barbecue at Morgan's Point, about 20 miles away.

I wanted to see The Grove first, so I drove about 6 miles down the highway. The Grove is just a tiny little downtown area with about 6 buildings. I don't know if it is authentic and was a town at one time, or if it was built as a movie set. You can look at the photos and see what I mean.

From the Grove, the barbecue place was only fourteen miles away. It was actually in Temple. One funny thing about the trip was crossing the Leon River. It was huge like a lake with about a quarter-mile long bridge to cross it. By the park, it is a stagnate looking little creek!

The barbecue was amazing. I got a three-meat plate with potato salad and beans so I could judge it on my criteria. It was all good, but they gave me way too much of everything. I was going to ask for a to go box, but ended up scarfing it all down like a hungry dog. It was just too good not to.

On the way back, I stopped at the dollar general. I was hoping to find a napsack so I could carry extra water on longer hikes. I have plenty at home, but forgot to bring one on the trip. They didn't have any, but they did have some Merlot and some adhesive hooks that I wanted to hang my keys on. I keep laying them down somewhere, and even in this tiny trailer, I can't find them.

[The pop-up just pulled out of the park! The tent campers have been joined by about six other family members. They are sitting in chairs in a circle enjoying the shade.]

I felt so bloated when I got back from eating all that barbecue that I just sat in the camper disgusted with myself for awhile. I read part of my book. I off loaded my photos to the computer. I checked email and all that. I got an email from the Postachio people saying they were having a webinar about using Evernote at 8:00 my time. I didn't think I would get to be part of it, but I installed the GoToMeeting app on my phone to try. Then I played with posting photos to my mini-blog. I finally figured out that it was working. I don't know why I thought it didn't the last time I tried.

At about 5:30, I just couldn't wait anymore to start hiking. I needed at least two hours to pay for the barbecue, and I wanted to be back at the camper in time to shower and try to join the webinar. I followed the park roads checking out all the different areas. When I ended up at the playground by the Prairie, I followed the trails back to the camper. I was a hot stinky wet mess. I grabbed my stuff and went to the shower.

Now, I am not the most bashful person in the world. Just the same, if there is a choice, I will choose the most private of the two showers in the bath house. At this one, it was the handicapped shower closer to the wall. I guess they were expecting me to be seated on the pull down bench, because the shower hit me right in the junk! The other shower up higher was one of those that only stays on while you press it in. Between the two of them, I manage to get scrubbed.

I fixed myself a Jim Beam and diet coke and tried to use the app. It seemed to log me in okay, but nothing happened. It kept saying that it was waiting for a session administrator (something like that) to connect. Finally, at 8:00 PM sharp, I heard the voice of Jared Shaw coming through. Eventually, his computer screen popped into view, and I got to successfully participate. It was interesting and fun. Evernote is one of my favorite things. I use it for a lot of things.

I don't know if it was looking at a tiny screen, or just that fact that I normally do not eat huge amounts of greasy barbecue, but I started feeling a little nausiuos towards the end of the webinar. When it was over at about 9:00, I took an antacid, got in bed, made a few posts on Facebook, and read for awhile. It wasn't long. I fell asleep and woke up around 11:30 with my kindle laying on my chest. I got up, used the bathroom, and then went back to bed.

I woke up at 5:00 AM feeling perfectly fine. I used the bathroom and went back to bed, but finally gave up at 6:00 and fixed breakfast, at it, got dressed, and started off on my first hike of the day. This time, I took the trails strait to the Prairie trailhead, hiked up to the prairie pond, then took a new trail back to the one that goes around the prairie, hiked all the way around that area, and finished by hiking back on the roads. It was great. The weather was perfect.

When I got back to the camper, I hung my wet clothes out to dry, cooled down for awhile, then got caught up with writing this. I took a break for lunch a while back and polished off a pound of ice cold strawberries that I bought at the Brownwood WalMart on Sunday. Now, I am going to relax for about 45 minutes.

I am going to go to the 4th of July walk. It starts at the playground over by the Prairie trail head. I'm going to hike over there by trail, like I did this morning.

8:29 PM

Well I left a little earlier than planned to go over to the Prairie Trail Head. I walked really slowly so I wouldn't be all hot and sweaty when I got there, but it didn't work. There was absolutely no breeze, and the air was hot and steaming. I was a wet mess when I got there at about 1:27. I sat on a bench by the playground listening to the birds and enjoying the breeze that suddenly came from nowhere.

A man came and joined me on the bench. I asked if he was taking the hike and he said he was, but I guess he misunderstood me. After we chatted for awhile, he said his goodbyes and headed off down the trail. I got up and walked to the parking area and found Ranger Leah there with some others. I asked her some questions that I had accumulated while hear. She answered them all and told me that what I thought was an archaeological dig site was actually where they are starting to build a new campsite with pull-throughs and full hookups.

After it looked like we had everyone assembled, Ranger Leah led us down the trails. We walked at a fast pace, but she stopped about every 10 minutes to tell us things about the park and share patriotic facts and readings for July 4th. It still didn't help some of the people. They were very slow and many seemed uncomfortable. I can begin to imagine what they thought a hike through the canyon would entail. One family was all dressed for July 4th. The girls had pretty little dresses with stars one them. Very few people had the right shoes on.

At one point, I was alone with Ranger Leah waiting for the others to catch up. I suggested that she point out poison ivy, because the kids where trying to run around the people in front of them and getting right into it. When everyone caught up, she sad she would show them, but didn't see any right around her. I had moved about ten yards down the trail. I hollered, “There is some right here next to this man's leg!” He jumped away pretty quick, but it was too late. The rest of the trip (about 2 and a half hours), I kept seeing people let it rub up against their legs. I told one lady about tecnu. I had seen her in the poison ivy several times.

When we finally got back to the starting point, Ranger Leah gave us all an ice cold bottle of water from a cooler in her truck. I poured half of it into my water bottle so that what I had left with me would be cooler for the walk home and drank the rest. I thanked her for a great hike and started back to camp on the road. I didn't want to take the trails because somehow or another I had strip all the skin off one of my toes. It was a little tender. I honestly don't know what I could have done to cause it. It was rubbing something. Maybe a wrinkle of sweaty sock got between the two toes. It wasn't horribly painful unless I landed on rocks and stuff. Ranger Leah was passing by and asked me if I wanted a lift. I declined. I needed the exercise to get to my calorie burn goal.

By the time I got back to the Colby T, I was wiped. I went to the bathhouse and took a shower, then I came back and doctored my toe with Neosporin and a bandaid before cooking up a delicious dinner of tuna casserole.

After I ate, I laid on the bed for a few minutes to see how soft it was with my sleeping bag under the mattress. Sleeping on the four inch foam mattress panels with my big butt has compressed it a bit. It usually gets more time to spring back to life. Anyway that did the trick. I still think that I may get a real mattress in here someday. I don't use the dinette unless N2S is with me. On those rare trips, I could leave the mattress in the garage.

I decided to try using the Movie Vault app, since I left my kindle on, and it went dead and needed to be recharged. It has specially minimized movie files that will run well on 3G service. I wasn't sure if it would work with 1 bar, but it has done great. I am about halfway through Mae West's She Done Him Wrong. Hey, I'm easily entertained. I took a break to put the awning up and finish this so I can stowe the computer before getting more settled in and watching the rest of the movie.

I want to get an early start tomorrow. Lockhart is only about 120 miles away, but I want to be there and get set up in plenty of time to meet N1S for a barbecue lunch. Anyway, I guess I will end this here.

Happy Trails

You may see all of the photos from this trip on my Photobucket site. click here

Circle Trip Stop 3: Meridian State Park


9:04 PM, July 1st, 2013

 I got up really early (5:30 AM) and fixed breakfast. Then I did the departure routine. I was underway to Meridian SP by 6:30. It was another one of those drives where I changed roads every ten or so miles. The sun was still rising part of the way. I was really enjoying it, with Patsy Cline blaring from my iPod and the windows down for a change, until a raccoon ran right in front of me. I put my foot on the brake, but he was under me before I could even apply pressure. It really bothered me. I cried like a baby for about twenty miles. I am so sick of death. I was ashamed that I had caused this one.

When I got to Meridian, I spent a little longer than usual in the headquarters. My annual pass to the state parks expired yesterday, and I was advised to wait until today to get it so I would go through the end of July next year. The ranger at the desk was really helpful. She let me pick my site, but recommended number 5. She said it was farther from the bathrooms than the other options and had trees on both side of it. When I told her I was a school teacher, she gave me some awesome pamphlets from each of the regions of Texas. I've seen them for sale in other parks. I told her my wife was a fourth grade teacher and she tried to give me another set. I told her she had been generous enough. I will let Rachel see them. I think 4th graders do the regions of Texas.

The site is really nice. The shade has kept the camper downright cold today. Plus, it is perfectly level, which meant I got to skip the extra 15 minute chore of setting up the BAL leveler. Unfortunately, I took the trailer off the hitch in a spot that I figured would be close to the hose connection. I realized right away that it was too far from the sewer connection. I put it back on the hitch without hooking up the chains or electricity and pulled it forward about five feet. I thought I would need to go buy another hose, but mine reached the water afterall.

There is absolutely no AT&T reception here. As soon as I was set up enough, I went to headquarters and asked the ranger where I needed to drive to get service. She gave me some spots, but said I could get it for sure in town. She also told me that the park has WiFi and that some people in my campsite, Crosstimbers, are able to use the wifi. I decided to go into town and test that theory when I got back. I needed to get a text off to Rachel to let her know I had safely arrived at Meridian.

The town is tiny, but has a beautiful courthouse. It is the Bosque County courthouse. The ranger had told me that it was recently restored to its original grandeur. I parked on the square and walked around taking photos. I saw a drugstore and thought they might have the Gold Bond Friction Defense, so I went in and looked for it. The pharmacist told me she could order it for me and have it tomorrow. I took her up on it. Chafing is no fun. (Luckily, it didn't happen today in the cooler weather!) I have two more parks to visit and don't want to risk chafing later.

I also stopped at the Family Dollar store just to see what they had. I bought a triple outlet thingy for the Colby T. I'm tired of unplugging my Keuring to charge something. I also got some batteries for the refrigerator fan. It is a little gizmo that sits in the fridge and circulates the air to help keep it cooler.

Back at the camper, I finished getting everything set up then headed off on my first hike to find the lake. I walked along a great trail that winded through the woods. Then it finally came out on a road by the lake. I walked along the shoreline and out onto the fishing pier. I took some photos of the pavillion, then headed back to the camper.

I cooled off for awhile by trying out the WiFi. It works in the camper, but is not very robust. It is funny how selective it is. I can not get it at all on my phone. The computer and my kindle seem to do fine. But, I can't get to email using the kindle app. I have to go to yahoo.com with the browser. As was the case in South Llano, Evernote seems to sync with no issues. I sent Rachel an email and told her to use that to communicate with me while I am here.

I walked over to the headquarters to download the third book in the Fred series, Escape from Fred. The Wifi wasn't that much faster, and it didn't go nearly as long as I thought it would. I went back to the camper and read for a little while.

My second hike was around the lake. Parts of it were really nice, but others were lousy. The ranger had warned me that part of it was overgrown and needed to be mowed. She was right. Unfortunately it was worse than not being able to see where I put my feet and being afraid I would step on a snake. It was covered with those awful tiny grass burrs that stick to your clothes and the hair on your legs like velcro. Everytime I cleared them off, I went through another patch. They get on the hem of your shorts and scratch with every step. I won't take that trail again.

When I got back from that ordeal, I decided to hook up the TV. I saw that the other campers had their antennas up. I was surprised that I picked up 11 channels. I am getting all of the major networks. Some are from the Dallas/Fortworth area. The ranger told me I am close to Waco. When you navigate by OnStar, you don't really know where you are.

I fixed dinner early, planning a long hike for later. I had chipotle flavored Knorr noodles with tuna. It was great. I am liking the instant dinners. So far I have only eaten two meals a day. I better lose some weight on this trip!

The last hike of the day was really nice, but it wiped me out. I followed the road up to the trail head for the Shinnery Ridge Trail. It was probably about two miles to get there. A lot of it was uphill. Then the Shinnery Ridge Trail was 1.6 miles, followed by the same two miles to get back to the Colby T. It was nice and cool. While off in the woods, I actually took my T-shirt off and enjoyed the cool breeze. That is something I NEVER do. But, as usual, I was the only person on the trail, so it didn't matter. Nobody got to see my bouncing manboobs!

When I got back, I headed straight to the bathhouse and took a nice hot shower. Well, nice is relative. I did share it with some moths, a daddy longlegs, and two little cockroaches. I used Tecnu on my legs and arms out of fear of poison ivy. I don't think I touched any of it, but it was EVERYWHERE! I went back with my razor and shaved instead of using my little battery razor, which is my usual method in the Colby T.

I uploaded my Lake Brownwood photos to photobucket. It took forever. I drank a cup of coffee and watched TV while it did its thing. Then I poured myself a Jim Beam and diet coke and started writing this while Under the Dome was on. It was okay. They aren't following the book as much as I would like, and I probably won't make any effort to watch the series as a whole.

Gonna read now and then go to bed. I am not gonna get up early tomorrow since it is cool enough here to walk all day long.

6:05 PM, July 2, 2013

Well, try as I might, I could not stay in bed after 6:30AM. I went ahead and got up and fixed breakfast. Then I leisurely checked my email, facebook, Open Roads, etc before getting dressed and heading off on my first walk for the day.

I decided to take the road that eventually ends up at the lake. For the first time ever, I actually listened to music on the way. It made for a very pleasant walk. I have a Patsy Cline collection with 24 songs. I guess I can call it an album, as it is listed as one on iTunes. Anyway, it kept me going. I took whatever offshoots I saw also. When I got back to the camper, I was more than happy with my efforts.

After cooling down for awhile, I headed into town to get gas and to pick up the Friction Defense from the pharmacist. On the way in, I stopped at the Dollar General and bought a can of ant and roach spray. Twice now, I have seen two or three tiny little black ants inside. Once I get them, there don't seem to be any others. I am sure they are there, so I am ready for it. Tomorrow, before I tow to the next park, I am going to spray all around the floorboards and hope for the best.

After I got the Friction Defense, I sat on a bench and called Rachel. Suddenly every truck in Texas decided to go right through downtown Meridian. I had to sit in the truck to hear her. We caught up on each other's side of things and said our goodbyes. I promised to call again tomorrow when I arrive at Mother Neff.

I almost came straight back to camp, but saw a grocery store that I had missed. I went in to see if they had anything local. Some small town stores sell local jerky, sausage, or cheeses. This one did not. It was a very nice modern little store, which I later learned is a small chain in this area. I bought a bottle of Merlot just because it was there and some microwave popcorn.

I got back to camp and walked the same walk from the morning, but I took it a lot faster. It was kind of hot because of my effort, but the breezes were cool. It was only about 87 degrees at the time. At the lake, people were laying out tanning. I didn't think people did that anymore. Oh well. I had stopped in at headquarters to ask some questions before starting the hike. The ranger was getting some walking sticks ready to sell. I decided to buy one for $9 and start collecting the little nail on plates from each park instead of buying T-shirts. This will be cheaper, and I never wear the shirts. I didn't have my wallet, so it motivated me to walk faster to get back before they closed.

After my walk, I did go buy the walking stick. That got me talking with the ranger again. She is really friendly and welcoming. We talked about how small Texas towns are disappearing right before our very eyes. I teased her about Meridian having a big national BBQ contest every year but not having a BBQ restaurant. I told her that state law required a barbecue joint in every town. I also told her that the Chinese restaurant on the Meridian town square had to be some kind of crime. Anyway, she told me that they had once had a great barbecue joint, but the guy moved it to Clifton about ten miles away.

I asked the ranger why there was no Bosque County Historical Museum. She told me there was right across the street from the pharmacy. I had seen it. It is called County Collections. I thought it was a hobby store. Anyway, I went to the camper and changed. I had to go back to town anyway, since I had forgotten to get gas.

When I got to town, I parked in the square and walked to the museum. There was a note on the door that said that it would be closed until the 5th! Oh well. I decided to look for the old school but couldn't find it. I ended up on some back road in town with no idea how to get back to the square. I saw a sign pointing straight ahead for Clifton. I decided to just keep going. Why not try the BBQ?

I drove for awhile, but never saw a sign saying how far Clifton was. I pushed the OnStar button and they told me it was nine miles ahead. No problem. They pointed me to the BBQ place, which I just this second remembered was called Bunkhouse. I pulled in and noticed nobody was there. I walked to the door and saw a sign that written with a marker that said, “We are on vacation until July 5th. Come back and see us!” I was really disappointed. I have been hungering for barbecue since I left San Antonio because Lockhart is the last leg of the trip and I plan to eat plenty of it! I got back in the truck and googled BBQ to see if there was another. There wasn't, but I noticed on the map that I was on the highway that goes straight to Meridian.

I got back on the road and headed for Meridian driving 75 miles per hour for the first time in ages. Then I saw a Dairy Queen and decided I wanted- no deserved a Blizzard. I got a small Heath Blizzard, which shows how far I have come in life. I never considered anything but a large in the past. This small was bad enough (about 600 calories)!

I got back to Meridian and turned on to the road to the park. I got almost all the way to the gate when I remembered the gas. I made a u-ey and went back to Tommy's gas station. I didn't notice the bag on the pump until I had already gotten out of the truck and unscrewed my gas cap. Then I noticed they were on all of the pumps. The station had no gas! I drove through town and found another one and got gas.

When I got back to the camper, I hooked up the sewer pipe (stinky slinky), then went ahead and fixed my dinner. Tonight I had broccoli rice with tuna. It was yummy! I was going to dump the tanks, but I changed my mind. I will do it tomorrow right before I leave. I don't have sewer at Mother Neff, and I am hoping to go all the way to the end of my Lockhart stop without dumping. If worse comes to worse, I can dump before I leave Mother Neff.

After eating, I sat at the computer and wrote some of this for awhile until about 6:30, when I went for my last walk at this park. I took the same path I used both times earlier in the day. It was nice. I got back and tidied up a bit. Then I turned on the TV and started watching the show Extreme Weight Loss. I opened the bottle of Merlot and poured myself a glass. Now you are caught up.

Before I go to bed, I will stow the TV and bring the antenna down. Everything else can weight until tomorrow.

Well, That's it for this leg of the trip. Happy Trails!!!!!

You can see all of the photos from this trip on my Photobucket site.  click here