Palo Dura Canyon – Lighthouse Trail

I made it…

I drove from Dallas and was going to stop at Lake Arrowhead State Park.  I drove thru the park but was not enamored by it and I felt like driving more so I continued on.  I looked up a place in my Passport America book and found the Long Branch RV Park right outside of Crowell, TX so I headed there.  I got there just as the sun was setting.  I was the only one in this small park.  The hosts acted like they had not had anyone there all summer.  They were so friendly.  The next morning I was headed to Palo Dura State Park.

Hard to put into words the beauty of Palo Dura Canyon…

Although I haven’t been to all of the Texas state parks I think that so far Palo Dura Canyon State Park is the most beautiful.  There is a 10% grade after you check into the park.  I was camped at the Hackberry Campground, which the ranger had recommended.  The weather was perfect in the high 80’s to low 90’s.  It seems hot by a lot of standards but compared to 108 it was perfect.  As I was setting up camp and getting leveled, about 10 wild turkets crossed in front of me.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture.  This is a pic of the moon from my campsite.

The Lighthouse Trail… 

I arose the following morning and was determined to get my hiking legs going after not using them all summer due to the extreme heat in Tyler.  I checked my map and saw a short trail with the trailhead at the end of the campground.  PERFECT!  I grabbed my small pack and headed out.  The trail was only 2 miles round trip.  You hike 1 mile up the trail and then 1 mile back to the trailhead.  That seemed easy enough.  I got to the end of the trail and checked my map.  Wait a gosh darn minute Jimbo, there is another trail a short distance up the road called the Lighthouse Trail.  It would take you up to the Lighthouse ( I showed a pic of the Lighthouse in my last post).  It was 6 miles round trip.  So off I go.  These are some pics as I was hiking up this trail.

Tough Climb!!

The Lighthouse Trail is fairly easy until you get to the last section.  Then it becomes a bear.  It was extremely steep and lots of rock and small pebbles making it very slippery.  You couldn’t even see the Lighthouse until you made this final climb.  I decided I would have to make this climb so up I went.

I got thru this section and then you could see the Lighthouse.  There is actually the Lighthouse and Castle Peak.  Between them is a plateau that reaches from one to the other.  I just had to get on top of that plateau.  I had met some bicyclists who showed me some pics they had taken on top of it.  So off I went, not sure how I was going to get up there.  I noticed the trail going to a small area right at the base of the Lighthouse.  I got up there and then noticed I would have to cross a ledge no more than a foot across.  I used to be scared out of my wits of heights, but snow skiing ended my fear.  However, this ledge was about 40-50 feet to rocks below.  GO FOR IT JIMBO!  I guess you know I made it.  WHAT A VIEW!

Yours truly at the base of the Lighthouse…

The bicyclists had shown me their pics of them posing in front of the Lighthouse.  I have a small tripod for my camera but forgot to pack it.  I had to balance the camera on rocks and probably took a dozen pics before I could get the right angle.  This is what I finally took.

The Lighthouse is 310 feet high with some of it below the plateau I was standing on.  The ledge I was referring to is on the right side of the plateau.  Now I had to walk along that ledge to climb down.  It is funny how you can see something from one angle and then it looks completely different from another angle.  Looking down at the ledge made it look much bigger then it was and I easily walked along it and made my way down.

I hiked the 3 miles back to the trailhead and then hiked to the other trail where I had to go another mile.  All in all I hiked 8 miles altogether.  That is probably the furthest I hiked since I hiked 20 miles for my Boy Scout hiking merit badge 50+ years ago.  When I got back to my campsite I was beat but very elated that I had completed it.  My feet were sore and my body was tired.

Hit The Road Jimbo…

The call that I have been waiting for

At 10:00am I finally got the call from the Ford dealer in Dallas stating that the new pump was installed and it was ready for pickup at any time.  When he first got on the line I was afraid that he would say – “Wrong pump Jimbo” – or “Still has a problem Jimbo!”  Thank you Daniel at the Ford dealer for getting it right.  I then had to ask him to pick me up at the InTown Suites.  I purposely stayed there since it was only 2 miles from the dealer.

Am I crazy giving away my Corona’s

In the mean time the maintenance crew for InTown Suites had just knocked on my door to tell me that they were installing a new A/C in my room.  PERFECT TIMING.  I had 2 TV dinners, water, a couple of Dr Peppers and of course my Corona’s.  Rather then have to haul all of that stuff I gave them to the maintenance crew.  He told his guys to come in and grab the water and Dr. Peppers, while he kept the TV dinners and the Corona’s  for himself.  What a guy!!  That way the refrigerator was cleaned out.

Don’t stop now, this is too much fun…

I was planning on heading over to Lake Arrowhead State Park out side of Wichita Falls, TX.  I didn’t get out of Dallas until about 2:00pm.  Once I hit Wichita Falls I decided to go on further.  The “Breeze” (my Lazy Daze) was running GREAT and I was really enjoying driving it and didn’t want to stop.  I finally drove all the way to a tiny RV park 10 miles outside of Crowell, TX.  I pulled in as it was starting to get dark.  The hosts were really nice people and they were so glad to see me.  I was the only one in the park.  I am so thankful that this day ended the way it did.

On to Palo Dura State Park…

Tomorrow I will be heading out to Palo Dura State Park.  Since the weather has improved and it no longer feels like I am on the equator in the middle of summer, I am thinking of staying there for 3 days .  I have heard that there is no Internet or cell phone coverage so I may not be able to share my experience there until later.



Thanks everyone for all the words of encouragement and thanks Steve for the infamous pump part number.  I am just so happy to be back on the road and in an adventurous mindset!

Short Stop-Over In Dallas

I started out from Tyler, TX and made it as far as McKinney, TX where the old rig slowed down and refused to go any further.  Fortunately I was in a Walmart parking lot and not at the side of the road somewhere off the beaten path.  I have been having problems with my rig as it keeps acting like it was running out of gas.  I had the fuel filter replaced, then the fuel pump and it would run fine for a while and then poop out.

I called Coach-Net and asked them to tow it to the nearest Ford dealer.  There is one located about 2 miles down the road but they told me that they would not be able to work on it right away and had me towed to Dallas about 33 miles away.  The tow company had to get my rig there by 6:00 and we had not left McKinney until after 5:00.  So I am riding in the tow truck pulling my rig, sailing down the road about 70 mph.  I don’t even drive that fast myself.  What an experience!!!!!

I dropped it off at the dealer but had to find a motel as I could not sleep in their lot.  Even if I could it was way too hot (103) so the dealer dropped me off at a Motel 6 where I spent 2 glorious nights.

I called the dealer early the next morning to check in on the fate of my rig.  Seems that it was a fuel problem and it was due to a defective intake fuel pump that is located within the fuel tank.  Since my rig is a 1991, Ford no longer manufactured the part.  The mechanic said they were checking around and they thought they had located someone who had the part.  No such luck!!  They called me the next day to inform me that the part they were sent does not fit the tanks of RVs.  They suggested I go online and try to locate it.  I found one and was having it shipped out next day delivery.  However, since it was Friday noon the part would actually ship on Monday and they would receive it on Tuesday.

I was in the Motel 6 from Wednesday through Friday.  I didn’t really want to venture very far hoping that the repairs would be accomplished quickly and I could move on down the road.  By that time I really had cabin fever bad.  It is funny that the room I was staying in at the Motel 6 was larger than my rig but the walls seemed like they were closing in on my.  I really appreciate my rig even more now.  I haven’t really experienced cabin fever even though I have been cooped up in my rig for the last 6 weeks due to the 100+ temperatures and high humidity.

My son and his wife live in Fort Worth so I called him and he saved me from another night at the Motel 6.  HOORAY!!!!!  Thanks Curt and Jackie for saving my sanity.  I will be staying with them until my rig is repaired and ready to go.  I am hoping that I will be back on the road either Tuesday or Wednesday and head over to the Lake Arrowhead State Park at Wichita Falls, TX.  I will be so happy that I am final getting this lingering problem fixed and not have it to worry about.

Ready To Hit The Road!

I have been camp hosting here in Tyler, TX since 7/8/2011.  Since I got here it has been like camping in the Mohave Desert.  There has been only one day since I got here that the temperature has been below 100 degrees and that day it hit 98.  Another interesting fact was that for 22 days the temperature was over 105.  Seems like Arizona only with humidity which makes it even worse.

I am planning on heading Northwest where I will stay at Lake Arrowhead State Park for a few days and then on to Palo Dura State Park for another few days.  Both these destinations are in Texas and both are still predicted to be quite hot.  From there I am headed into the mountains of northern New Mexico where I am hoping temperatures will cool off.

There has not been too much to blog about during my time here.  I start my day by working for a couple of hours early in the morning before it gets too hot.  Then it is inside for the remainder of the day.  I have taken a lot of time re-organizing my rig.  I have gone through every cabinet including outside storage.  Anything I didn’t use for the last year is going to the Good Will.  I gave away some CD’s to some of the people in the park and am getting rid of many of the books I have read.  It is so nice to have a Kindle where all my books are stored.    Right now I am finishing up on my outside storage, which should be completed before I depart.

I am looking forward to getting back on the road.  I have HITCH ITCH something fierce and can’t wait.  Also looking forward to more frequent blogs showing pics of the beautiful places I visit.  Thanks everyone for being so patient during this time.

42 Days with no relief in site!

I have been workamping in Tyler, TX for 30 days now and every day has been over 100 degrees.  They have forecast it to be HOT, HOTTER, and HOTTEST!!!  But aside from heat, life is good.  My day consists of getting up early and work for 1-2 hours starting at 7:30am.  My work day usually ends at 10:30am.  Then it is back to my rig for the remainder of the day. I am in charge of mowing all the lawn and it takes me about 5 days to complete it.  I do have a riding lawnmower so it isn’t too strenuous.

Fortunately if I keep the blinds in my rig closed all day it will help with the heat.  That and the fact my A/C is running 24/7 set at 74 degrees.  In fact it is quite comfortable inside.

You are probably wondering what I have been doing with all that excess time.  Well to begin with I am organizing the interior of my rig.  I am going through every cabinet and getting rid of those items I haven’t even looked at for the past year that I have been on the road.  If I haven’t used it by now chances are I won’t ever be using it and it either goes to the junk or the Goodwill or to others who might have a need for it.  I have also purchased a bunch of plastic shoe boxes from Walmart to keep my stuff organized.  My label maker has been working overtime.  Now if I need something I usually can find it without digging through a bunch of junk.  I am also surprised by the amount of extra room I have freed up in my cabinets.  I still have more to do but I should be finished with all the organizing by the time I leave here.  I also have cable TV and can watch some of my favorite shows as well.

By the way, I am leaving here on 8/24 and heading north east to Lake Arrowhead State Park for a few days and finally to Palo Dura State Park.  After that I will be in the mountains of New Mexico for a while.  It should be a lot cooler there.  Hooray!!!

I apologize for not writing anything in my blog for some time but there hasn’t really been too much to say.  I promise I will be posting on a more regular basis from now on.  I have gotten several emails from friends wondering whether I have shriveled up in this heat.  It is pretty unbearable but I just don’t go outside much and only when I have to.



One Year On The Road

It has been one year on July 12 that I started my fulltime RV’ing lifestyle.  I can’t believe it has been a whole year.  I took the time to go back through this year and show you some of the highlights of my adventure.

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

July, 2010 – Inyokern, CA –  My very first campsite at the beginning of my adventure.  I was really a rookie back then.

July, 2010 – Sequoia National Park – Boondocking in Fish Creek Campsite in the Sequoias.

August, 2010 – Sisters, OR – Camping on the Metolius River outside of Sisters, OR.  What a fantastic spot.

August, 2010 – Crater Lake National Park.  Words cannot describe this beautiful place.

September, 2010 – Eugene, OR – Getting my solar panels installed.  My boondocking will be much quieter and more efficient from now on.

October, 2010 – Albuquerque, NM – Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – 10 fabulous days with other fun Lazy Daze owners.

October, 2010 – Palomas, Mexico – Central park.  Visited there after attending Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.

October, 2010 – Deming, NM – Rockhound State Park – This a rock hounds dream park.  Lots of different rocks.

November, 2010 – Socorro, NM – Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – Visited there during the Festival of the Cranes event.

December, 2010 – January, 2011 – Death Valley, CA – A beautiful view of Death Valley during an annual Lazy Daze Rally.

January, 2011 – Quartzsite, AZ – Got together with a bunch of Lazy Daze owners during the Quartzsite RV Show.  It was a blast boondocking in the desert.  Lots of food, a campfire every night and the BIG TENT RV Show.

February, 2011 – Anza-Borrego, CA – Boondocking in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

February, 2011 – Niland, CA – Boondocking with the LOW’s (Loners On Wheels) at Slab City.  Everyone should go there at least once.

February/March, 2011 – Benson, AZ – The winter SW Lazy Daze Rally at Pato Blanco RV Resort.  Lots of great food and people.

March, 2011 – Picacho Peak, AZ – A civil war re-enactment at Picacho Peak State Park.  Event lasted all week-end with gun battles and actual tents and other equipment during that era..

March, 2011 – Douglas, AZ – Visiting with friends at Bell Starr’s Silverado Ranch.  Belle is wearing the pink hat.  We all helped Belle work on her ranch projects.  A MUST see.  She is quite a lady.

April, 2011 – Alamogordo, NM – White Sands National Monument.  Very surreal.

May, 2011 – Carlsbad, NM – Carlsbad Caverns.  A MUST see.

May, 2011 – Melvin, TX – I just had to visit there.

May, 2011 – San Antonio, TX – The Alamo in downtown San Antonio, TX.  Another MUST see.

May, 2010 – San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio River-walk.  A really neat and fun place.

May, 2011 – San Antonio, TX – The Tower of Americas.  The view from the top is spectacular.

May, 2011 – Luckenbach, TX.  I just had to visit here because of the song made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylan Jennings.

May, 2011 – Blanco, TX – My campsite in Blanco State Park.  How about that for a back yard?

June, 2011 – Fort Worth, TX.  The highlight of my year.  Being able to visit my family.  It was sooooo much fun.

July, 2011 – Karnack, TX –   Caddo Lake State Park.  I spent a week here and loved every minute.

It has been a wonderful year.  I have traveled 12,702 miles in 6 different states and 2 different countries.  I have attended 8 RV Rallies where I have met a lot of people, learned a lot about things I never knew anything about, and spent money upgrading my rig.

This year has been much better then I even anticipated.  I met a lot of great people who I continue to keep in touch with.  I am looking forward this next year to travel to places I have never seen before and meet more wonderful people.

Jefferson, TX

I took this day to unhook and travel 15 miles to the quaint little town of Jefferson, TX.  There are lots of old buildings and homes and the area offers steamboat tours of Caddo Lake and surrounding areas as well.  I enjoyed browsing through many of the antique and collectibles shops (junk stores HA!).

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

Anybody for a unusual ride in this limousine.  I’m not too sure about sitting on top though.

This was Broadway Street which is only a few blocks long.

I really liked this neat little key holder for my rig.  At $4 I couldn’t resist.

It was real pleasant drive from the Caddo Lake SP to Jefferson, TX all on two lane country roads.  I got to see the wonderful farmland along the way and a lot of neat homes.  I just love driving the two-lane highways.  It is soooooo relaxing.

Kayaking on Caddo Lake

I have been carrying my kayak around ever since I began RVing.  Since it is too big to store in the available storage areas I decided the best place for it was next to me in the overhead bead.  I literally sleep with my kayak.  Of course it is not a hard shell kayak but an inflatable model that I purchased from Inflatable Boats 4 Less.  They are rather inexpensive and they build a real quality product.  I purchased the 370 model it before I started my trip but only blew it up once just to see what it looked like.  Yesterday was the first day I had it on the water.

WHAT HAVE I BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!  One reason was many of the campgrounds I have stayed at do not have a lake or river.  The other reason was that I was just a bit nervous in that I am alone and if something should happen I would be literally up a creek (only with a paddle).  I know! Neither of these excuses are acceptable.

Anyway to make a long story short I decided to make my maiden voyage with my Sea Eagle 370.  It weighs 32 pounds so I didn’t want to carry it down to the boat ramp to launch it.  I disconnected my electric/water and drove down to the boat ramp, unloaded the kayak and proceeded to blow it up with the foot pump that is part of the package.

In less then 15 minutes I was ready to launch.  Not bad!!  Here is a pic of my Sea Eagle 370 ready to take off from the shore.  That is my rig in the background parked at the boat ramp.

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

I launched it without mishap and headed off in to open water.  Around the boat ramp is a “no wake” area so I decided to stay in that area until I got more used to the kayak.

Here I am headed down stream in my kayak.  It is extremely easy to handle and I got the hang of it right from the start.  What a blast!!!

The temperature at the campgrounds was 102 degrees so needless to say it is even hotter on the open water.  I did take plenty of water with me, but I still wanted to find a shady spot under the trees.

I found this beautiful spot upstream from the boat ramp.  By the way I had no problem traveling upstream in my kayak.  I moved along at a pretty good clip.  I am very surprised how easy it is to maneuver.

This was a great spot for just kicking back and relaxing.  What a life!!  LOL!!

Today I added another dimension to my RV’ing lifestyle.  I am so pleased with myself for 1. Purchasing this great Sea Eagle kayak at such a great price, (be sure to check out their site for discounts).  2. Finally getting it out on the water.  3. Realizing how easy it is to maneuver.  4. RELAXING!!! (Naturally the best part).

I can’t wait to get it back on the water again to hone my kayak skills (and my relaxing skills as well HA!).

Caddo Lake Boat Tour

Caddo Lake State Park takes up only a small portion a corner of Caddo Lake so I thought it a good idea to take a boat tour that I could catch right at the state park.  The price was $17.50 for adults but I only had to pay the geezer price of $15.  It was a small flat bottom tour boat with motor.

A couple of groups of boaters enjoying the water.

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More people enjoying the water.

Road ends?  Not sure what that is all about.

You see all sorts of homes around the edge of the lake.

The main thing here was that they had access to the water for both swimming and boating.

This home was like a small mansion.

You could barely see this home.  But I bet the trees kept it much  cooler on this 102 degree day.

I took a short video showing some of the beautiful homes and the water activities going on at Caddo Lake over the July 4th holiday weekend.

It was really fun going on this tour and seeing all the beautiful homes and cottages along the shore as well as all the people trying to cool off from the heat.  Maybe tomorrow I will try my luck at fishing.

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.