Texas, the final chapter. For now.

tyler state park hiking trail.jpg

Tyler State Park.  Our final campground in Texas.  This picture was taken on a hiking trail near our campsite.

There’s no end to Texas.  I’m certain of that.  It is vast and so diverse topographically.

Our stay in Texas was initially going to be 6-8 weeks.  Due to various circumstances we were only there a bit shy of 4 weeks.  But even if we’d spent all 8 weeks touring Texas we could never have seen it all.   We shall return.  I want to see more.

When we left the Hill Country west of Austin,  we headed east toward the College Station area.  We only stayed a couple days there because the weather was seriously cold and windy, and all we really wanted to do in this area was see Texas A&M campus (nice large football stadium, Kyle Field) and visit the  George HW Bush Library and Museum.  Awesome museum, very easy to walk through and immensely interesting,  even for the person who has the least patience for museum-y type historical stuff.  (Me)

Bush Library                   Bush library pondBush grave entrance

The grounds are lovely , especially the pond behind the library and the wooded walkway that leads to the gravesite of George, Barbara, and their daughter Robin.

Our next place to travel to was Tyler Texas, which was about a 4 hour drive northeast of College Station.  I was pretty excited to stay at Tyler State Park, and it didn’t disappoint.  This park makes you think of the Ozarks, heavily forested and just gorgeous.   The top picture on this post is from this park.  Isn’t it gorgeous!?!  And the picture below is the view from our campsite on a foggy morning. 0401190800_hdr.jpg

While at Tyler State Park we did what we often do.  We look for a scenic drive to take and head out for a few hours.  On this particular venture I did my usual Google map search for “scenic drives”.  And then I just randomly picked one from the map.  Seemed like a close enough drive and hey, the name of it was Scenic Loop.  What could be better?

Scenic Loop and Beulah

So there was even a street sign dedicated to Scenic Loop!!!  And it intersected with Beulah, which if you’ve been raised old time Protestant you KNOW that Beulah Land means a blissful heavenly place.  We were in for a treat, I was sure of it!!  We turned the corner and started driving on the anticipated Scenic Loop.  Hmmm.   A couple blocks in, we came to a dead end.  We’d reached Scenic Loop.  It was merely a street.  In a little bitty town.  Who knew?

Scenic Loop

So we turned the old buggy around and headed back to Tyler to see what we could find.

What did we find?  AZALEAS!!!!  They even have an area of town  with The Azalea District on their street signs.  And happily, we had timed our trip to be peak bloom season.  This is two of about a million pictures I took.  Several homes in this district have gone all out with gardening, and one of the homes has their back yard open for folks to stroll through.  It was breathtaking.  I kid you not.

Azaleas0401191349_hdr-01

From Scenic Loop to something a little more like my idea of Beulah Land.   The day ended better than it started.

We saw quite a bit of Tyler proper during our stay at the state park.  Walmart, of course.  And unfortunately we had to locate a brake shop for our F250.  Google to the rescue, and happily the shop we located could work our truck in the next day.  Just a local small mom and pop repair shop.  The hubby was impressed with the friendliness of the owner and his employees.  And he also noticed they had a Bible in their waiting room.  Price for the repair was surprisingly reasonable, and our brakes were once again functional with no complications or long wait.

Everywhere we went we found that one of the biggest parts of Texas is the hearts of the folks who call it their home state.  Friendly friendly people, I tell you the truth.

Before we left Texas for good we took yet another scenic drive, but I was a bit more selective in where we would go.  We drove east of Tyler an hour or so to Jefferson Texas which is a cute little town with a historic downtown.  We didn’t spend long there, just long enough to drive by the beautiful old restored buildings and take a walk through their wooded river area with raised boardwalk.  Really pretty.  They had some quirky artwork here and there.

Jefferson Tx artwork

Rusty wire fence material wrapped up in a cylindrical form with sparkly pieces of glass mixed in here and there.  I call that “junk with bling”.  They called it art.

0402191204_hdrAnd we came across some odd signage that didn’t give any indication that the wording wasn’t legitimate.

Big Foot Area??? Warning????  Stay on Marked Trails?

Okay.  We did stay on the marked trails.   No big foot sightings, but we did stumble across a rather interesting professional looking photo shoot.   A couple male photographers were taking pictures of a lovely young woman whose back was to us.  She wore a large straw hat and a long flowing open flimsy lacy piece of clothing that was perhaps covering up…. uh…. it did not successfully cover much.  We kind of did a quick turn around back to the BIGFOOT area of the walk.  And we chatted a bit about the photo shoot.  I mentioned to the hubby about how large the woman’s straw hat was.

His response?  “She was wearing a hat?”

Close to Jefferson was a state park that looked interesting on Lake Caddo.  So we decided to check it out.    I was amazed at how different the landscape is in this part of Texas.  Looks more like what I’d think you’d find in Louisiana, with the Spanish Moss and Cypress trees.  Of course, we were pretty close to the border of Texas/Arkansas/Louisiana.

tent lake Caddo Cypress

Really unique and pretty, and we saw folks renting kayaks which looked like a fun way to explore this body of water.  But.  Signage warns of gators.   “This is alligator country.  Take precautions.”  Okay.  No kayaking for this chick.

tent pad full view Lake Caddo

Nice level tent pad…..which is…..

tent pad at lake Caddo

RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF THE WATER!!!  Just one tiny step down from the tent pad.  Can you imagine swamp creatures climbing into your tent??? Alligators??  No way would I ever sleep in a tent that close to this lake.  Would you?

We did find one pretty interesting feature at some of the state parks in Texas, this one included.  Many of their camp sites have a  shelter at some of the sites that looks like this:

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A building with screened windows, secure door,  electricity, cement floor and shuttered area in half of the room.  You can sleep in there!  How cool is this?    I must say, Texas knows how to do State Parks.  We visited several.  We only stayed overnight in two state parks on this trip, but they were both quite nice.

In the three weeks we spent touring Texas I came to really love the state.  You probably figured that out.  I know that it’s a different beast come summer time with the heat and humidity.  But in the springtime??? Ahhhh.

And now we’re back home until the next trip.  This long camping trip was designed to determine if we can stand each other for long term living in the close quarters of our fifth wheel.  And, the verdict is in.  Yes.  We can.

But…. No plans to live full time in our RV.  Yet.

3 thoughts on “Texas, the final chapter. For now.

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