Caddo Lake State Park – Karnack, TX

Since I have been in Texas I have mostly opted to stay at the Texas State Parks.  They have a lot to offer but if  you plan on staying at them you should also purchase the Texas State Parks Pass for $60.  The parks all have different camping fees but each park requires a daily entrance fee in addition.  So far I have saved $183 dollars by not having to pay an entrance fee and it only cost me $60.  I was also able to use it to get my family in Cedar Hill SP several times.  It covers anyone that you are in the same vehicle with.

Caddo Lake had a weekly rate of $75 which I decided to take advantage of since it was the holiday weekend and I didn’t want to have to deal with traffic.  Normally the fee for a campsite with water and electric costs $12 per night.  There is a $2 entrance fee which I wasn’t required to pay since I have the Texas States Park Pass.  With the pass and the weekly rate it only costs me $75 vs $98 for 7 nights and no pass.  Not bad huh!!!!!

My only request when I registered at the visitor’s center was that I have a site with plenty of shade.  I have made the same request at the last two Texas state parks and each one told me that all there sites were shaded.  That was not true and both times I had to request another site.  I trusted the ranger that she knew what she was talking about and sure enough ALL of the campsites here are very shaded with huge trees all around.  Of course my A/C is running constantly since the temperature will no be going under 98 the whole week I am scheduled here.  Plus it is very humid.  YUK!!!

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

I got out in the morning to take a hike before it got too hot (only in the 80’s LOL!).  I read online about a app for my Droid Incredible called RunKeeper.  It keeps track of your hikes and gives you distance, speed, calories burned and even gives you a map of your hike.  It is pretty awesome.  I hiked down to the Saw Mill Pond on the edge of the lake where there is a fishing dock.  You can also rent canoes and take a tour of the lake on a large boat as well.  The lake is a cypress swamp with trees covered with Spanish moss growing in the water.  It is very surreal.

Lots of lily pads growing all around the fishing pier.  I am not sure how you would be able to fish here.

Farther up the road I found a nature trail that I decided to check out.  It was almost a mile long and came out near the park headquarters.

The forest around is very dense but the trail was well marked.

By the time I got back to my rig my t-shirt was soaked completely through.  I want to do some fishing here but have decided I need to get up earlier to avoid the heat and humidity.

Visiting Family on Father’s Day – One of the Great Benefits of RVing.

After my son went to church with the family they drove out to Cedar Hill State Park where I am camped for 2 weeks to spend Father’s Day with me.  I called to tell him to notify me when they got close to the campground.  I would drive my RV to the entrance of the park and as long as I was in the car with them I could cover their $5 per adult entrance fee with my Texas State Parks Pass.  By the way it also covers my entrance fee each day I am in a Texas State Park.

I hate to admit it and feel very stupid, but I was having such a wonderful day with my family I completely forgot to take pictures.  I had my camera handy in my pants pocket but forgot it was even there.  You will just have to use your imagination to picture the six of us comfortably visiting and playing games in my home on wheels.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

It was 102 degrees outside but very comfortable inside with the A/C running all day.  The restroom was conveniently across the street from my rig.  We all had a great time playing several games including a new game on TV called baggage where each person has to tell something secret about themselves that the others don’t know.  That was really fun.  Then we played the old card game called War.  Rachel was the winner of that game.   My son Curt gave me 2 bottles of Joe T Garcia’s Salsa both hot and mild and a huge package of sweet rolls which I will be enjoying for days.  The kids gave me a sunglasses case enscribed with “Maui Jim’ on it.  That’s about as close to Hawaii as I will get.

I barbequed cheeseburgers for dinner with beans, chips and cookies.  Everyone chowed down.  Curt, Eric and Rachael went for a short walk but didn’t stay out too long before they came back to the comfort of the RV.  In Texas 5:00pm is the hottest point of the day and it did hit 102. YUK!!!!!

They didn’t leave until almost 9:00.  I told them it was the VERY BEST Father’s Day I have ever had.  It was so much fun enjoying this special day with my family.  It was the first time I was able to be with my family all together.  Living in CA I would see them one at a time and I had never seen my granddaughter prior to this trip to Texas.  That is one of the GREAT benefits of RVing.  I was able to travel to see them and spend some real quality time with each one.

I will be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and will be seeing them again before I leave to head further east in my travels.  This is really a blessing.

Next time I will remember to take pictures.  However the memory of this day is implanted in my brain forever.

Texas Hill Country – South Llano and Garner State Parks

I have been traveling in the Texas Hill Country for the last seven days.  From Abilene SP I drove southeast to South Llano SP where I stayed two nights.  I really enjoy the Texas State Parks because they have so much to offer.  Before deciding where to camp I use RV Park .  I also got a map of all the Texas State Parks.  At this point I decided I was going to stay in enough Texas state parks to make it worth my while to spend the $60 for the Texas State Parks Annual Pass.  The pass eliminates the daily entrance fee(anywhere from $3 to $6 per day), but what they don’t tell you is that you also are entitled to 4 passes for 1/2 off camping fee if you are staying for 2 nights at a campground.

At South Llano SP this is near the entrance to their Fawn Trail, which is about a 7 mile loop from the camping are.

Throughout the trail they have set up many bird blinds.  I took this pic of a Cardinal from one of the blinds.

The Fawn trail takes you high up above the trees to view a large canyon.

A pic of the trail heading down toward the campgrounds.

Here is a pic of my campsite.  All the campsites provide plenty of room with shrubbery on either side for privacy.  The only problem was that I had no Internet or cell phone service.  I even hooked up my Wilson amplifier with no luck.

Another view of my site.

Two days later I drove further southeast to the Garner SP.  This park was very open and had a lot of area for day use.  I was here on Thursday and Friday and I think I left just in time as the noisy weekenders were coming in for a couple days of rafting on the river.  This is a pic of some of the campgrounds backed up against the hills.

Another view of the hills.

My campsite is located in one of the many campground areas within the park.

I really love the Hill Country.  I purposely stuck to the two lane highways and the scenery was beautiful.  There are many ranches and farms all through this area.

Abilene State Park

After Caprock Winery I traveled 166 miles southeast to the Abilene State Park.  Before getting to Texas, I was very comfortable with the New Mexico State Parks.  You drive into the park and check out the site where you would like to park, then go back to the pay station and deposit your money.  In Texas you must check in at the visitor center and tell them what type of site you are interested in.  They assign you a site and you pay your money and then proceed to the site.  I didn’t have any choice in the site except for shade and no shade.

I opted for a no shade site with water/electric hookups at $12/night.  There was also a $4/night entrance fee that is not included.  Thus your site is $16/night.  Not bad but quite a bit more then the New Mexico campgrounds where I was paying $4/night with water/ electric and $0 with no hookups(with my annual pass).  You can purchase a Texas State Parks Pass which is an annual pass that will cover the entrance fee.  If you are planning to visit many of the Texas state parks it may be beneficial to purchase the annual pass.  Cost of this pass is $60.

I was really surprised by the Abilene SP.  It was very big with trees everywhere.  They even had a huge swimming pool (although it was not open at the time), basketball court, baseball fields and even a bird blind, plus lots of hiking trails.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

And again at this bridge.

If you don’t have an RV or a tent you can always opt to sleep in one of the screened shelter located throughout the park.

Or you can also select a wooden screened shelter as well.

Once I got set up I was off on a hike of the grounds.  I started hiking on the Eagle Trail, just a few yards from my campsite.  It wound around thru the woods and crossed the Elm creek at this bridge.

and again at this bridge.  It led to a small pond where I chatted with a couple who were fishing.  They had only caught one small fish but they were sure enjoying the beautiful day.

This stairway led to the swimming pool.  They had just filled it recently but it was not yet open.

Then around 7:00pm the deer started to come out to check the grounds for food.

This one was very friendly and almost came right up to me.

I am not one to feed the animals so it finally went on it’s way.

I stayed at this park for 2 nights and might have stayed longer if I wasn’t on a schedule to put me in Fort Worth before the Memorial Day weekend.