Cave Dwellings: December 2017
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Enjoying the Texas Hill Country..but bracing for severe cold..

I believe the last time I posted a blog was when we were in Jefferson, TX. We sure enjoy it there, and will be stopping back there in March on our way back to Illinois..( I don't want to even THINK of that yet!).  This past 2 weeks, we  have been happily parked at Crane's Mill CG in Startzville, TX on Canyon Lake. We were going to head over to the other side of the lake on Jan 7th at Potter's Creek, but they won't allow camping in any Army Corp park on the same lake in the same month without being gone 16 days..and this isn't going to happen..

We are in site 25 on the lake and it is just perfect. There are only 30 camping sites here, so you need to reserve one ahead of time if you want to be here for Christmas and the New Year..and we did. Here are a few photos from this area..
 The deer are pretty thick around here, but a little timid when we tried to get them to pose...

 Above is the marina here..It is really big and it is a floating marina, so it goes up and down with the levels of Canyon Lake...Lots of nice homes on the hillsides.

Also, there are some beautiful sunrises and sunsets..This is a sunrise..You don't want to know what I looked like when I jumped out of bed to get this...frightening visual..
Having been in this area before, we knew that there was a great and very friendly VFW in town,and another one just down the road in Satler..These are open to the public and we have always encountered great local people who don't mind us Yankees bothering them with stupid questions..

 This is an example of how lame I am...trying to get a photo of us in the bar mirror...Dennis is a God man to put up with me I am a constant source of embarrassment..
 Every chair in here has been donated in honor of a veteran..I think that is waay cool!

 Notice the shuffleboard in the backgrounds here. They have tournaments on Saturdays...We use to have those in the bars when my Dad took me in the bars, way back in the day. He would plop my butt up on the bar stool next to him, buy me a Coke and get himself a Meister Brau...Those were the days..Nice to see a blast from the past that time hasn't touched in the way of the shuffleboard..
We had intentions of going into San Antonio to the River Walk, but out weather was not cooperating..Texas is now on it's way to having one of the coldest Decembers on record...We have been ready to disconnect our water at any day...probably tonight..It is suppose to get down to 25 degrees. 

Since San Antonio was a "no go", we opted to go into Gruene, TX..OK, I will not go into my normal history lesson, but I advise any people like myself (crazy for US history) go to this link..Gruene, TX.
You will not be sorry..interesting stuff..Here are some photos I took in Gruene..

 Above is the Gruene Dance Hall, built in 1878, and Texas's oldest dancehall. This is where George Strait got  his start too...and John Travolta did his famous "dance scene" in the movie "Michael"..
There was a band playing in the dance hall, so we decided to have an adult beverage (all they can serve is beer and problem...)..and we took a seat at one of the long wooden tables and enjoyed the revelry!

 On the other side of the huge dance hall is the old original bar, where my partner in crime got me a wine and he had a draft beer...good times!!

Of course you cannot come to Texas without partaking of some good 'ol Texas BBQ Brisket...and we found some great stuff in Sattler, TX..

Yep, this is Texas all right, y'all. Ya order up from the window and either eat it outside or take it home..We took ours back to the camper..but not without a stop at the Sattler VFW on our way back..

I loved this jar at the VFW...but I also knew that I can  have a sailor's mouth on occasion and didn't want to have to mortgage our house to get outta there, so I kept in on the "down low"..

I cannot forget to mention that our "shitter" has broken twice in one week. Yes, I am serious...The flusher broke once, and Dennis took our toilet out and managed to fix it...
It broke at midnight that night, so a few trips to the Shower house/ bathrooms with a flashlight were our destiny until daylight..Then MacGuyver got to work and fixed it in the morning..
 Not exactly where the toilet is suppose to be..on our bedroom floor...
OK, that was lucky, he had an extra part with us...But our luck ran out about 4 days later, when I did the foot flush and it broke again..It was about 4PM, so we made a high speed run to the nearest Camping World, praying they could have the part..Keep in mind our camper is 11 years old, so our chances were slim to none they would have it..and a new toilet might be in our future...
 However, we lucked out and they had our part..Probably because nobody had a toilet that old and they were left with aging toilet parts..At any rate, we raced back to the Hiker, Dennis installed the part in about an hour and we were on board for our Happy Hour, only 1/2 hour late..

So, that pretty much covers our last 2 weeks..Tomorrow we are heading to Bandera, TX, "Cowboy Capitol of the World"..We will be staying there one week, and hoping the weather gets warm enough to wander around outside...Also hoping to get to Luckenback from there..As for tonight, it's New Year's Eve and MacGyver and I are planning an exciting evening of staying inside, cooking pork chops and having a few adult beverages...I believe I will be meeting the "Admiral" for drinks later..

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Jefferson, Texas....a taste of NOLA!

Dennis and I have been sitting here in Jefferson, TX for about 10 days now..I know, I know..I haven't blogged about it yet..That is because there is so much to see here, and we have definitely been seeing stuff..First of all, we are in a great camping spot at Buckhorn Creek Campground, site 113..We have squatted here before, and love it..

Above photo was taken from our campsite..The weather has been pretty cold, but sunny. Dennis is having campfire withdrawal, as they have a burning ban here...We loaded up on firewood in Texarkana and the GMC is definitely over weight..However, some of that weight could be cases of beer..and wine...and rum...and tequila..and brandy..and sweet vermouth..(Hey, I like a good Brandy Manhattan when the weather is cold!)
Our campsite is water and electric..and the views are outstanding..especially the sunsets..

This town of Jefferson is very historic..Yep, get ready for an extended History lesson about Jefferson, TX...Please take notes, there will be a test later...
"Jefferson became a port of entry into the Republic of Texas and then the State of Texas. It was also a major shipping port for those who wished to sell agricultural products, especially cotton. Cotton was brought to Jefferson from as far away as Dallas by ox wagon and then sold in Jefferson through receiving, forwarding, and commission merchants to markets in New Orleans and St. Louis. Many of the immigrants who came to Jefferson stayed and built homes and shops here.
Thomas JeffersonJefferson, Texas is located on Big Cypress Bayou in the Cypress Valley of Northeast Texas. It is the County seat for Marion County. Named for Francis Marion, a Revolutionary War patriot who was known as the “Swamp Fox”, Marion County was created in 1860. Jefferson was named for Thomas Jefferson, and was conceived as a port city by Allen Urquhart and Daniel Alley, who saw its potential as the head of navigation when they prepared a plan for the town site in 1841.
In 1845, when obstructions were removed from Big Cypress Bayou, steamboats could reach Jefferson from New Orleans. After the arrival of the first steamboat, Jefferson became a boom town where many pioneers to Texas first set foot on Texas soil when they disembarked from the steamboats.
During Jefferson’s Golden Era as a steamboat port from 1845 until 1875, it became a cosmopolitan town like most port cities with a confluence of cultures and businesses. The architectural styles, which developed in Jefferson during this period of prosperity, resembled those of New Orleans. The homes were primarily of Greek revival design.
When the log raft was removed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the year 1873, the water level in Big Cypress Bayou was reduced and navigation to Jefferson was threatened. Railroads were also extended during this period of time across Texas, which reduced Jefferson’s commercial market area. The town ceased to be a prominent port city and commercial center. However, many of the mid-nineteenth century homes and buildings on the Historical Registry remain."
Photos to follow...

Jefferson is on the Big Cypress Bayou and they give swamp tours..We took one a couple years ago and it was well worth it..There is also an old historic cemetery here where many notable people are buried..and they give ghost tours of some of the antebellum homes that are haunted..We love it here so much that we booked ourselves right back in the same spot for next March...
Of course, we are familiar with some of the favorite "haunts", and not all are haunted..We love Auntie Skinner's Riverboat Club. I must confess that there is a story of a resident ghost spooking up the stairway after hours...This place is one of the oldest buildings in Jefferson and was many things before it became a bar...and their food is great!

Soooooo much fun here! It is the original brick and those front windows used to be doors...

Tomorrow, the Cave Dwellers are seeking a new "dwelling place", and so we will dump our tanks and hit the road. Our next destination for Christmas and New Year's Eve will be Crane's Mill Campground in Startzville, TX on Canyon Lake, North of San Antonio.  Again, we have stayed here once before. At our age it is best not to have too many surprise destinations..we like structure so we don't forget where we are...Startzville is a 6 1/2 hour drive from here, and this is another thing about aging...We don't ride as well as we did...When we get out of the GMC after that length of time, we need about an hour to get our land legs again....and also we need a huge supply of Ibuprofen..Trust me, parking this thing is much more pleasant when WE  are both in a pleasant mood. It is for those reasons that we will just break it up into 2 nights..and arrive Monday after stopping tomorrow night somewhere in between..See, we have learned somethings over the camping years..

 We did have a bit of a scare the first morning we arrived..I opened our camper door to this sight....
HOLY BUZZARDS, BATMAN!! It was like they were just waiting for us to get out of bed and take our walk, so they could have an early morning snack..Those darn Vultures seem to show up where ever we go..I cannot imagine why...We  have learned to be very careful we don't fall down ...They would be on us like buzzards on carrion..Just the thought makes me tremble..
OK, so that is enough of commanding your attention for the moment...One thing about Texas..the ants make hills the size of the great pyramids, and the mosquitoes are whiskey drinking, gun totin' varmits that can survive a killing frost and are the size of dragon flies...YAHOO!!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Enjoying our life and being grateful...

After a rough start, Dennis and I have managed to shake off the bad vibes and begin enjoying this trip to Texas. We have been parked at Wright Patman Lake, Clear Springs Campground, since last Thursday...This is always a stopping off point for us when we get to Texas. Usually it is much busier than this time, though.

We have been in this spot before and the view of the lake is amazing...and it's very quiet here!!
That "wall" you see around our camp area looks like stones...but don't be deceived. It's actually bags of concrete...Very interesting, but it wouldn't have been my choice for a retaining wall..However, it seems to work well..
This park has a ton of camping sites...Some are on the lake, and some are in the woods..They even  have 3 cabins you can stay in that overlook the lake...
Above is one in the center and  you can see another one on the right..I don't think they are much more than one room with a porch, fire pit and grill..You would need to bring cots and sleeping bags..and a fishing pole, of course!
This is the view out of our back window...
There are many trails and places to walk here.. This particular one use to be a road into the park, but is now closed. We love this quiet place to take our walks..It is a far cry from walking and dodging  the early morning school traffic back home...not to mention sleeping with only the tree frogs to listen to..And there are no train horns here to nearly throw me out of bed either!!
We have our Hiker decorated for Christmas too...I think it's pretty cozy...

 Don't be put off by the creepy, crabby doll on the back of our couch..It's just Maxine..I told her I would bring her if I could steal some of her insults from time to time...
 This is our dresser in the bedroom..a touch of home ...
When I clean the Hiker, (which only takes about an hour), I have a small Eureka vacuum that we have  had since we had our Cougar, in 2003. I must be an aggressive vacuumer because I ended up breaking the end of the handle off...So, I was about ready to throw it out until MacGyver took it and made me a new handle to put on the end...I should have known he would find a way to salvage it..It's only 14 years old, after all..

We have had great weather here...65 and 70 degree days and a campfire every night..
We will be leaving here Wednesday, the 6th and heading only one hour away to Jefferson, TX.  Jefferson is another of our favorite haunts..and I do mean haunted..There are many ghost stories about the haunting of many of the old historic homes in Jefferson. I highly recommend everyone to spend some time in this old riverboat town..Rest assured I will post lots from Jefferson!