It’s a long ways across Texas!

272 miles from South Llano State park to the North of San Antonio then East to another park. Cities..sigh, really bad roads and miles and miles of construction, people who can’t merge and really bad signage. Only got tuned around once, a trucker behind us as well! We sighed a huge sigh a relief as we left San Antonio behind on our way to Stephen F. Austin State Park. I thought I’d made a reservation but the internet was so bad at South Llano we could barely connect, it must have timed out, no Verizon, T-Mobile or ATT, except at the rangers office and we were not willing to hang out with the happy Texas crowds there. When we arrived the chipper, but tired ranger (third shift filling in for absent workers she said) had one spot left #32. We’ll take it. She warned us she had moved someone out because of the construction noise, building new restrooms she commented, not a problem, it’s almost time to quit! Perhaps the 6 million dollar man would take care of things, it was his park right? 😉 Ha!

As we arrived into the pull through spot #32 and started to set up, the beauty, then the wave of heat and humidity that hits you when you open the door…ugh! We have at this stop left the SW behind. I did not inherit my mother’s non sweating genetics, she must have deep South (and the family does) blood, instead, I got my fathers ability to break out in a sweat at anything over 15% humidity. Rivulets of sweat at the slightest exertion. Mike wonders why these are NOT my favorite stops;) ha! There was construction going on, the entirely Mexican group of concrete guys were happily finishing their job on the new bathroom floors, “guey” this and “guey” that:) I’m always happy when I hear Spanish:)

I think I’ll try to include maps of these State Parks in the future:) Another named park, who is this Stephen F. Austin, and no, not related to Lee Majors;) According to the park website: “The park is on the Brazos River, near an old ferry crossing. It is part of the Commercio Plaza de San Felipe. San Felipe was the seat of government of the Anglo-American colonies in Texas.

The Brazos River from the Barred Owl Trail-muddy and again with signs of recent flood damage. Trails and lookouts are closed due to erosion

Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas,” brought the first 297 families here to colonize Texas under a contract with the Mexican government. From 1824 to 1836, San Felipe de Austin was the capital of the American colonies in Texas. It was also the social, economic and political center.

Austin and other famous early Texans lived in San Felipe. It was the home of Texas’ first Anglo newspaper (the “Texas Gazette,” founded in 1829) and a Texas postal system. The Texas Rangers formed here, as well. Stephen F. Austin began colonizing Anglo-Americans in Texas in difficult conditions.

Due to his work, about 5,000 people obtained around 1,540 land grant titles. Austin’s original colony was the first, most famous, and most successful of the empresario grants from Mexico. Austin worked tirelessly to make his colony a success. When Texans grew dissatisfied with Mexican rule, he used his talents to fight for independence.

Stephen F. Austin wrote in July 1836: “The prosperity of Texas has been the object of my labors, the idol of my existence, it has assumed the character of a religion, for the guidance of my thoughts and actions, for fifteen years.” Betcha he wasn’t popular with the Mexicans;)

Stephen F. Austin State Park protects 473 acres of wetland and hardwood forest. It is not a large park but beautiful, and humid. I walked the Barred Owl trail, looking for Barred Owls of course but just dozens of elusive Cardinals and a plethora of wildflowers that I had no idea what they were:) I did look most of them up! This website is perfect: Texas Wildflowers.

After the last few jumps stretching the legs was a necessity but that humidity…yikes! The wildflowers were beautiful. The bracket fungus on the trees was amazing, especially the yellow clump.

The cats I must say thought it was a perfect spot. The next morning with the new bathroom floor poured there was no construction noise at all and the cats had a frolic in the grass and a great time watching the incredibly fat squirrels. I tried to tempt the cardinals in but they were having nothing of it! The Eastern Fox Squirrels were quite happy to help themselves. Do you know that squirrel hunting ranks third in popularity among hunters in East Texas? Squirrel stew? Squirrel nuggets? I’m not kidding here, check out the recipe, squirrel stew with paprika and greens…There is an entire paper written about them and their loss of habitat: Fox Squirrel Management of east Texas….who knew? Especially about the stew….

The look we got when we were packing up to leave was sad…Four very long kitten faces. Especially after I told them about the squirrel stew possibilities;) One more jump we told them, then we stop for a day or more in Mississippi! That would make 5 jumps in a row of 250 miles or more…time for a break! Stay tuned as we make it out of Texas into Louisiana (third most cases of corona virus, not that I’m counting…0_0) and Mi-ssi-ssi-pp-i!

We don’t want to leave! Someone mentioned squirrel stew!

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