Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Present Turns Into The Past At Washington, Arkansas

The weather has really been nice, a lot cooler than normal, especially for Texas this time of year.  Friday, there was a chance of rain, but we decided to make a visit to Washington State Park in Arkansas since it will be in the 90's next week.

Washington State Park is in Washington, Arkansas, about 11 miles from Hope and about an hour from where we are.  The town was established on George Washington's birthday in 1824. There are 30 restored homes in the park.


We checked in at the Visitor's Center and were given a map along with the list of houses that were open.  

Each house that is open has a docent in period costume who takes you on a tour of the house complete with stories of that time and answers any questions you have.

Goats were grazing in a fenced yard.

This is a large herbal garden that the docent took us through explaining what all the herbs were used for.

Wooden sidewalks are throughout the town.

At the Sanders Home, the docent took us through the entire house and then showed us the complete process of taking cotton from the picked cotton to the spinning it into yarn.

All the docents go to lunch from 12-12:30, so we went too eating at the Williams Tavern Restaurant in the park.

The magnolias are beginning to bloom.

There is an enormous magnolia tree that was planted in 1839.

We walked inside the massive tree to take a closer look.

Our next stop was the Royston Log Cabin.  The docent there took us to the back porch to show how early settlers made the house with logs and clay and then place siding over it as it became available.

Here's an early Murphy bed.

Washington was a major trading town on the Southwest trail. James Bowie, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, and Stephen F. Austin all passed through on their way to Texas.

This is the blacksmith shop of James Smith who forged one of the original Bowie knives for James Bowie.

We also dipped candles at the candle making shop, but didn't have time to tour the Weapons Museum.  The clouds were building up and we decided to head back home after a wonderful day.

Washington is a little off the beaten path, but is certainly worth a visit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Travel Day to Wright Patman Dam

It was time to leave our spot at Lake O' The Pines and move on down the road.  We had an easy 80 miles drive to the Wright Patman Dam near Texarkana.  

We arrived a little before noon.  It was tricky getting through the trees, but going very slowly we were successful and our reward was another gorgeous spot

with another great view of the water.

We're staying put here through the 4th of July holiday.  Right now, the park is not full at all, but by next week it should be very busy.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Touring Caddo Lake

We enjoyed our boat ride on Sunday, but wanted to go farther into Caddo Lake.  We went back later in the week to take a pontoon boat ride.

We were the only two on the boat besides the driver, so it was a nice private tour.  We went down the river and the cypress trees and Spanish moss were a distinctive feature.  Spanish moss is not native here, it was brought on the ships when the Spanish explorers came to this part of the country.  Another interesting fact we were told, Ford used the Spanish moss many years ago to pad the seats of the pickups.  However, they found out there were little bugs that grew in the moss and began appearing in the pickups.  Needless to say, it's not used any longer for stuffing.  

It was fascinating to see the trees in the water.

Everywhere you looked, there was a different picture that needed to be taken.

About 45 minutes into the ride, the river opened up into the lake with the cypress trees protruding out farther apart.

We didn't see a whole lot of wildlife, I did catch this egret peeking out of the grass.

On our way back, it was really interesting when this dragonfly landed on Jim's hat.  Surprisingly, it had a horse fly in its mouth.  It sat on his hat for awhile, but flew off with the fly still in its mouth.

We were glad we got the chance to go farther into the Caddo Lake region, it was a different part of Texas we had never experienced before.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lake Of The Pines and Caddo Lake

After we left Columbus, we stopped at the Escapees' Park in Livingston for the night on our way to Lake O' The Pines near Jefferson, Texas.

We had an absolutely gorgeous site

 complete with this large deck

and incredible view!  It would be our lake home for the next two weeks. :)  We love COE parks!

On Father's Day, we went to the buffet at Big Pines Lodge in Karnack by Caddo Lake State Park.  

After our wonderful lunch, we boarded the Graceful Ghost for an hour long boat ride up the river.  The boat is a replica of an 1800's era steamboat and is the last known wood burning, steam powered, stern paddle-wheel touring vessel in the world.  It reminded me of the boat from the movie African Queen.

We began our short excursion down the river.

Spanish moss  hung gracefully from the trees.  We found out on the tour that the moss has to have so much humidity and as you look higher in the trees, there is no Spanish moss.

The furnace on the boat needed to occasionally have firewood added to it to keep the boat going.  We were also fascinated watching the paddlewheel turn in the back.

A turtle sunned himself on a log.

"Knees" from the Cypress trees extended out from the water.

Parts of the river were calm and open.

After our afternoon on Caddo Lake, we returned home to catch the sunset.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

It's All About Family

While we were staying at the Thousand Trails Colorado Landing for three weeks, we had lots of time for family get togethers.

The first Sunday there we made the trip to San Antonio for a get together with my family.  There were 19 of us that enjoyed a great meal at Paesano's and then enjoyed a riverboat ride down the San Antonio River.

Jim and I made the short trip over to College Station one day to tour the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon.  There were full scale replicas of the White House, Oval Office, and Situation Room as it was during the first Iraq War.  There was also the Presidential Limousine used during his term.  There was also lots of exhibits about his family, Vice President years, CIA Director years, and his years as a overseas diplomat.

There was another dance recital to attend, this time our son's two daughters.

When school let out, our three granddaughters came to spend some time with us before we left for our summer trek.

We only had one day with all three together, since they did not get out of school at the same time.

We made a day trip to Washington on the Brazos in Washington, TX.  We had never been there and it is a wonderful place to go to learn about early Texas and its fight for independence.

There is a Living History Farm complete with docents who explain the day to day living at that time.

The one day we had all three granddaughters, we took them to the Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham.  The tour was fun, but our favorite part was choosing the scoop of ice cream to sample after the tour. Very tasty!

I also took the girls in two separate trips to the American Girl Doll Store in Houston.  We ate at the Bistro there and then they each went shopping to spend their money.  They each had a hard time deciding what they would get, but finally decisions were made and everyone was happy.

We had a wonderful time being with our friends and family and the goodbyes are really hard, but we know we have more adventures ahead.