Texas, everything is big, trucks, tailpipes and flags..and little birds;)

We tried to hit the Dallas/Fort Worth complex of highways at midday, luckily no traffic as we headed to the Western side of this large metropolis, Tyler State Park, in Tyler, Texas:) A new stop for us. Ranger wasn’t that helpful or enthused but shoved a map our way and pointed to the Cedar Point camping area. I asked if we had to go in any particular way to get backed into the site, he said no. He was wrong. Inside sites you need to enter one way, outside sites the other. We had to continue around on the park road to find a spot to turn around without wiping something out on an oak branch before coming in on the angle we needed to back in. Tight with the oak trees but doable. Not always the best way to end the day when you’re tired. It was gloomy as well so added to the melancholy. I’d had news the night before my wonderful stepmother has liver cancer, three months maybe to live. Her dementia has so overpowered her life she isn’t the person she used to be but made me incredibly sad.

In the morning after the cats were walked about I decided to go check out the bird blind on the park map, it couldn’t be that far right? Also nice to check out the other camping areas, another reservoir here. No mile markers/feet on the campground map. Sigh…I got a work out I wasn’t planning on. By the time I got to the bird blind I said screw it! There were a lot of steep hills and no way was I planning on going back the way I’d come. At least it was quiet, I encountered two other walkers, so many American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) alongside the road but not a single bird sound, it was eerily quiet.

It was almost 10 km the whole way around the park road, Mike was getting worried by the time I got back but as I get sidetracked with the camera he hadn’t decided to go out looking for me yet! Ha! we packed up and hit the road to go further West. We had read great things about Lake Mineral Wells State Park. As we got there we both looked at each other…we’ve been here before! 2016, those blogs come in handy to look back on things. It had been in November as well, but the temperature was close to 100° and our first travel trailer with one air conditioning unit was not cutting it! Not today! Both the heaters were needed!

Apparently the concrete causeway makes some campers feel uncomfortable. In 2016 water had been running over the side and down the spillway, not today. On the way to the park a church had a sign out in front that said “Pray for Rain”. We had to go a fair bit North of the I 20 to get to this spot but it was going to be a two day rest, needed by all!

Of course, there was a plethora of billboards…and of course, many more lawyers…the IRS problems lawyer has scam in his name, ha! Car Wreck Cowboy Sadat is not what I envision when I hear cowboy, where’s Clint when you need him, maybe he’s helping Jim, a lawyer and why does he have a sledgehammer in his hand????? Perhaps he takes the heavy handed approach! Ha! Also why just english, hay abogados por todos! There was also your GOD for the day, yes even the churches in Texas are BIG! The “Stop slavery, end socialism/communism” was a new one, they have another billboard that reads “stop marxist teachers” I didn’t get a shot of that one. They want to “Take America Back” perhaps to the middle ages I’m thinking! The “Going to Heaven?” one, well, it’s as if you had a choice? Hahaha. None of my friends will be there 🤣 I did call upon his name when I stubbed my toe this week 😜 and then just the plain friggin’ weird! Guns, Mickey d’s having a “dining” room is an oxymoron. The “I MAKE SEXY TEETH” guy was a dentist who wanted his beautiful picture and winning smile on a huge billboard, arsehole no doubt;) and would you send your kid to a school/academy called Barrel of Monkeys? Perhaps it’s true but….ha!

Just such a strange country…

The view to the reservoir is blocked by mesquite and oaks but there is a great trail the cats discovered! We were in site 21 of the Live Oak camping area where they had 50 amp service, it was getting cold! Sites 29-30 and 31 have a view of the lake and are relatively flat, some sites are very short, when and if we come back I’ll aim for those with a view:) The town’s “Crazy Water” tagline goes back to the 1880s when, according to local legend, a woman was relieved of a mental affliction by continued quaffs at the “crazy well.” As the alkaline water was found to be generally beneficial, the growing town became known as the spot “Where America Drinks Its Way to Health.” Folks bathed their way to health, as well. It appears the water had lithium in it! I should have taken my five gallon container down to fill it;)

and the birds…you could hear them as soon as we stopped, chirps and tweets and cardinal calls. I cleaned the back window off with a rag and put the stick on feeder for the cats up, and hung my other two feeders on an oak and mesquite tree.

This is also a Groot, Gamora and Rocket approved park. With trees to climb and small paths that led down to a path that meandered around the reservoir, they were very happy, a few puffed tail moments…danger, coyote, or a killer rabbit! Ha!

Speaking of killer rabbits, I was trying to figure out where I’d heard of Antioch, there was a road sign exclaiming it’s presence. Mike laughed, the holy grenade of Antioch he proclaimed!

The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch was a weapon in Brother Maynard’s keeping. According to the Book of Armaments, chapter two, verses nine through twenty-one, it was consecrated by Saint Attila.

“And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, ‘O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.’ And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large chulapas. And the Lord spake, saying, ‘First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it!” all said in a pleasing British accent please…..Ah, Monty Python:) Thank you Monty Python Fandom!

Things we learn along the road, the town has a population of 25…in 2000, maybe 27 now? Unless the grenade went off….

Our two day stop gave us the chance to call a Mobile RV guy I looked up on Google the morning after we arrived. You have to realize that half the population here seems to live in RV Parks, oil workers, you name it, there are dozens of all straight in a line sand and gravel RV parks dotting the exits of I20. How many Sleepy Hollow Campgrounds can there be? I dare not google that one! “No problem!” Burson’s RV repair said,”I have a furnace to fix then I’ll drop by!” He removed the offending ten year old leaking propane hose from under the slide, popped off into town, found a replacement, abit longer but it worked and yeah, we have our hot water, furnace and stove back! Quite the character. A camp host motoring by in his cart asked for his card. “Can I call you next week?” he asked. “Yup, you sure can, as many times as you want but I won’t pick up!” He laughed. “I’m off fishing for sharks in the gulf! Call me the week after!”

I got to sit and watch the birds at the feeders, as well as a very plump squirrel who didn’t look like he needed any extra seed! We wandered into town before the RV guy came out to the local Metro grocery store and then to the Dollorama to find a squirt bottle, for Gamora;) ha! Mike was a bit worried after I went in he said, some truly scary people were going in and out, I agreed when I came out, but the older lady clerk was helpful and cheerful and together we found a wee cosmetic spray bottle to remind Miss Guardian of the Galaxy Gamora that we can only take so much jabbering and meowing at times! I did say that it made Giant Tiger in Perth look like Saks 5th Avenue;)

I had remembered the Black Vultures from our last visit, maybe not the most attractive birds but beautiful flyers and a part of our ecosystem. We packed up after the 2nd morning reluctantly and planned out next stop at Lake Colorado City State Park. It was a three hour hop, as soon as we turned off the I 20 Mike looked at me and said “We’ve been here before too!” It’s a few miles South of the freeway, past a huge electric plant. The town looked no better than it had in 2018, somewhat desolate, old empty brick buildings five and six stories tall, windows gone, not even boarded up. The freeway maybe took away it’s livelihood? Lake Colorado City is an unincorporated community in Mitchel County, Texas, United States. Its population was 588 as of the 2010 census. That was it in Wikipedia….

The entrance to the park isn’t promising but once in the sites are nice in the Rolling Hills camping area, well spaced and longer than the Mesquite loop, never made it to the Lakeview loop. It’s very open in places with mesquite and low oaks, not a bird sound to be heard.

Gamora said it was fine and dandy, paths and open areas and no dogs, Groot and Rocket were not as impressed. Every morning and afternoon when they climb out, it looks as if they are maybe expecting to be somewhere else and there is a look of shock on their faces most days. I keep telling them they will get to go back to the lake!

The sunrise was spectacular, the clouds rolled in and after the cat walk we set off. A couple in a trailer from Alamogordo stopped to chat on their way out, she was a pyjama/bathrobe dog walker, me, a pyjama/bathrobe photographer, we gave each other the salutary nod, comfortable in our skins, and pyjamas. We got off the I20 and headed North towards Lamesa and state road 180 to Seminole. This is oil country, gas tankers, pumps, blazing stacks in the middle of plowed fields, with lots of signs of Water for Sale. Not exactly scenic, the cats were thrilled, to sleep, and the roads were smooth. Mike called the RV park in Carlsbad and the owners son told him the 180 was the road to take as it’s not somewhere we have been before, always good to know if there are low bridges or really bumpy county roads!

We headed North out of the park on a different state road back to the I 20. Mike held way back as we approached a railroad crossing. The train came by blaring it’s horn, it was too much for Groot who slithered behind Mike’s seat and stayed a while until all the blaring and railroad crossing dinging stopped!

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea….had me humming the Beverly Hillbillies theme song…not exactly a lot to take pictures of out here. This is the Permian basin.  The basin contains the Mid-continent oil field province. Oil, lots of oil and potash. You can smell it at times. We took a round about to miss Lamesa and headed for Seminole and Hobbs on a brand new road, smooth as silk, I could have fallen asleep. The cats all did. No semi’s passing, little traffic, the towns weren’t too bumpy and we rolled into Carlsbad before three, we gained another hour…sigh. I’m never going to be able to sleep in again!

We made this a two day stop. One day to rest, grocery shop and repair, recoup and rejoice, one day to go to the famous Carlsbad Caverns South of here and then we’ll be off to check out the aliens in Roswell;) Stay tuned for the Carlsbad Caverns amigos, the truth is out there!

The truth is out there!?

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