The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

On the Road.....Home....Again

The weather for Memorial Day was predicted to deteriorate later in the day with rain developing and continuing through the night. Since I planned to leave for home in the morning, I decided to pack up most of the outside items earlier in the afternoon so that I wouldn't have to pack away anything that was wet in the morning. I swept off the patio mat and got that rolled up and stowed along with the dog pen and the folding chairs. That turned out to be a very good idea. Although the rain held off until bedtime, it rained quite a bit during the night. I even debated hitching up the night before but that would have put me a little more off level than would be good for my slides. It wasn't raining when I got up so hitching up went smoothly as did the dump station duties. I said my goodbyes to Deb and Dawn and headed out. I didn't make it out of the park before it started raining again. When I left, my plans for the day were written in jello. If the weather didn't cooperate, I had my house with me and could pull over and stop any time.

I headed down I-35 towards Dallas/Ft Worth. Not too far down the road, I went past the Windstar Casino, the largest casino in Oklahoma.

This place looks huge. In addition to the casino, there is a huge hotel, an event center, a spa, a golf course, boutique shopping, and even an RV resort.

The rain was light and sporatic so no real problems with traveling. Since I planned to skirt around Ft Worth on the west side and head back towards 281, I figured the bad weather would be to our east.

At Gainesville, I cut off west on FM51. Although the road is a little hilly and sometimes curvy, it's a great road and certainly no more hilly than the Texas Hill Country that I am used to traveling. I had heard that I-35 through and beyond Ft Worth was all torn up with construction and delays and that was confirmed by my RV neighbors at the park. They said there were lots of delays on that route so even though it was more miles cutting west to 281, I figured it would be worth it.

I hit a few patches of light fog but that was really the worst of the weather on my route.

We stopped for a couple of potty breaks morning and afternoon and had lunch at a Rest Area. All in all, it was a good road trip home although I hate to have any trip end. Even though I didn't get home until 5:30PM, I even managed to get the RV into our cul-de-sac and backed into the driveway. Unloading definitely waited until this morning.

Memorial Day Weekend at Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma

I haven't posted a whole lot this week but thought I would give a few updates today. The park doesn't have Internet but Deb was kind enough to loan me her Mifi to get online. This is the spot I have been in all week. I have pretty decent shade most of the time.

There is no one on my "door" side. I was initially petrified when a very large school bus pulled in on my other side on Tuesday as I pictured about 8 kids piling out of it and weiner dog woofing galore but I assumed too much too quickly. A very nice older gentleman and his girlfriend were the only two occupants....I know, shouldn't make quick assumptions but it is a big school bus which he has completely renovated. We have had a nice time visiting back and forth.

I had a choice of several sites when I arrived; however, many sites were occupied by tiny tents or a truck or car. Park management allows sites to be held by a car, truck, tent, etc., as long as the site is paid for and some of these people claimed sites on Tuesday and never showed up to camp in them until Friday. The park gets it's money but there were a lot of disappointed campers that drove around Thursday and Friday looking for a site as they do not take reservations here. Something else that was different from when we camped here 25 years ago is that while you can only stay 14 days in a spot (except during the off season) but you can move to another campground. So some of the local campers make arrangements with another camper and swap sites with them between Elephant Rock and Cedar Cove every two weeks. It was pretty quiet around here even with sites being held for the first part of the week.

Memorial Day weekend wasn't too bad. There are always a few campers that just can't have a good time unless they stay up until all hours drinking beer and making noise. After one night of not sleeping until 2:30AM, I turned my A/C down cooler with the fan running all the time and put a blanket on the bed. Didn't really need the cold but it blocks out the noise pretty well. Got that advice from my schoolbus neighbors after the first noisy night.

Dawn fixed spaghetti and Deb fixed a salad and dessert my first night here. I fixed sloppy joes one night for Deb and I when Dawn and Paul were busy, Deb fixed a great meatloaf for all of us. Another night when Deb had to work, Dawn fixed Steak au Poivre which was fantastic. She was flaming the liquor here before making the cream sauce. Definitely a treat. Deb was working the gatehouse but she didn't get left out because Dawn took a plate up to her. I fixed beef fajitas with the works the night before last. We've eaten well as you can see.

It's been a quiet week with the other three doing their camphosting jobs so we haven't done anything real exciting but it's been nice. I haven't been in swimming at all. The lake is very low so the beaches are rather muddy but it's still always nice to look out at the blue water. The dachsies have gotten in their share of walks.

Speaking of the little devils, I mean dachsies, it seems that a couple of days ago, I put away everything after breakfast except for the margarine. I left the half full tub on the table and......came back to find the lid off and the tub licked clean. Harley barfed that afternoon. Willy got me up three times during the night when he was whining pitifully after barfing all over his crate. I changed the blankets in it each time and took him outside.  Gretchen suffered no ill effects so I don't think she shared in the bad behavior. She is always telling me the boys are troublemakers. I did laundry the next day and I still have a couple of spots that I am working on. The boys felt fine after they got sick.

I was a little bored last night while the others were meeting with regular campers so I took a little drive to check out a few final sites. Every RV site with the exception of the handicapped sites were taken on Thursday except for one or two that pulled out and were quickly filled. Overflow sites were filled two and tenters were sent to one of the day use sites for overflow. Someone else can claim a handicapped site if it isn't occupied by 8PM but they have to leave at noon the next day. Cedar Coves handicapped site sat empty all weekend as no one wanted to take a chance on a site for only one night. 

Tipps Point Campground

One of the building built by the CCC in the 30s. I think it was a springhouse.

Lake Murray Lodge has rooms for rent and a restaurant.

There is a pool but there was only one lady sitting on the far side so I don't know if they were closed or not.

The park also has about three different kinds of cabins near the lodge. These are the small ones.

This is a water tower from the CCC days. In the background, you can see one of the large cabins.

Plans are to leave tomorrow. Today I packed up the patio mat, dog pen, and chairs as rain was scheduled to move in. Just after I got the grill cleaned and packed away, it started sprinkling so I was glad I wouldn't have to put any wet stuff into the bins. Then it cleared up and the sun even peaked out. I heard it was pouring in central Texas and we are due to get it tonight and tomorrow. Hope I won't be hooking up in the rain. Guess I better see what is going on for dinner.

Touring Lake Murray State in Park Oklahoma

Today was Deb's day off we decided to take a drive around Lake Murray State Park as she hadn't seen it all and it has been many years since I was here. This is Deb's campsite. She has a real nice area all fixed up in front of her trailer. That is her gator for camphost duties.

This is Dawn's camphost spot over at Elephant Rock. It's not a great picture because she has a really nice patio area hidden in the trees on the left. It's very cozy and homey. Paul is in the site to the left of her with another great patio area.

The lake here is very low just like our lakes in Texas. This is one of the few boat ramps still in use.

Lots of new sites along the lake added to the original ones along the lake. You can see the pop up tents people have already put up to hold their place until closer to the weekend but they do still have to pay for them.

This is one of the other campgrounds around the lake. Lake Murray is the oldest and largest state park in Oklahoma. It's unique because the state park surrounds the entire lake and there are no private cabins on the lake.

I missed getting a picture of the lodge itself. There is a large lodge with a restaurant and motel like rooms as well as a lot of separate cabins in this area. This is where they rent canoes and kayaks. Right next to it is a mini-golf course. There is also a swimming pool and a riding stable.

Somehow I also managed to miss getting a picture of the big marina. They have some really large houseboats at the marina because this is a pretty decent size lake. This is Tucker Tower. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) were responsible for all the original work at Lake Murray. In addition to creating the park, they left a wonderful legacy of beautiful natural looking architectural buildings made of logs and stone.

This beautiful Nature Center is only a couple of years old. It's quite impressive inside and out. The egg looking sculpture is actually metal birds with spread wings welded together.

Beautiful views of the lake from the tower. Sad that the lake is so low though. This is a spring-fed lake so the water is very clear.

The marina is across from the tower.

As we were hiking back down from the tower, I heard a rustling noise off to the side of the path. This is a 9 banded armadillo.

His little pointy snout is on the right side digging for grubs.

For my kids and friends who used to camp here with us at the far end of Marietta Landing, this is all that is left of the cove where you used to swim and that was so popular with the scuba divers. The cove is currently land instead of water.

These are supposed to be floating cabins but as you can see, they are beached with the low water level.

It's still a very beautiful lake but I sure hope that the loss of water isn't permanent as the springs must not be filling it like they used to do.

Heading North to Oklahoma

Sunday morning, we had another camping style breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, plus some cereal for the kids....maybe a banana too. The deer were wandering through the park so I brought out the food I still had for them from the last trip. Before anyone wonders about this, we do not feed the wildlife at public campgrounds but, in this particular private park, feeding the deer is the accepted practice. This little deer walked right up to Cameron and nuzzled the food from his hand before he could throw it out which is what one usually does. The kids were thrilled. This is Morgan's "I think it's my turn" stance.

Well, the little deer was more than happy to nuzzle her too. I had some really excited grandkids. And yes, they did wash their hands with germ protecting soap after the deer feed.

The kids are also fastinated by dung beetles and how hard they work. They push the "pile" with their hind feet and check their directions frequently.

We had to check out by 1:00PM even though we didn't need to be at Marble Falls until 6PM for the handoff. I sure wasn't looking forward to spending time in the Walmart parking lot in the afternoon. Our normal spot for the return is a nice park so that the kids can play if someone is late picking them up but I knew there was no place large enough there for the RV. Then it suddenly came to me. Years ago we used to stop in Marble Falls on our way to or from San Antonio. There was an RV/Mobil Home Park in town near the city swimming pool. It was great because it felt like you were in the country but you could walk 3 or 4 blocks and be right on Main St. The city got the property and cleared it all out. I had hopes for a long time that they would set up a city run RV Park. It would have done great but, alas, nothing has been done at all. We headed there to see what it would be like. It was a perfect place to spend the afternoon. There was lots of shade and just a few people fished along the river which is on all sides of it. You can't boondock there but I figured we should be okay just for a few hours. I pulled out the Lawn Darts and we had a great time.

This lady floated by with her two dogs. Once she was standing up on the paddle board but on the return trip they were really relaxed. That is someone's private landing on the other side of the river.

At 5:30PM, we packed up and I texted XDIL to meet us at Walmart instead of the park because I had the RV. She was only 10 minutes late so I was on the road north at 6:15PM with several hours of daylight left.

I had several possible overnight stops in mind but when I came through Hico TX, an idea popped into my head. Hico TX is the home of the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant. They are famous for their homemade pies. From the front of the restaurant, it doesn't look like the parking is overly abundant but when you go around the side to the back, they have a very large lot for RVs and ranch trucks with horse trailers, etc. There were a couple of ranch rigs there so I went inside and asked the manager if it would be okay to spend the night. She said "absolutely" so that's what I did. There is a house which blocks noise from the highway but right across from that is a big gas station for cars which is open all night so it seemed like a pretty safe bet to me. We spent a quiet and comfortable night awakened by roosters in the neighborhood behind's a small town you know. I repaid the hospitality by having an early breakfast there and was on the road by 8AM.

I arrived at Lake Murray State Park at 12:15PM. The lady at the gate even knew I was coming. I told her I knew my way but by the time I drove through Elephant Rock Campground, Dawn was waiting in her car to lead the way to Cedar Cove Campground where Deb was waiting on us. It sure is nice to be welcomed by friends and those friends just happen to be camphosts here. Dawn and her brother Paul host at Elephant Rock and Deb hosts at Cedar Cove right next door. I had my choice of several campsites and was soon settled into a nice spot.

We used to camp at Lake Murray about thirty years ago but I haven't been back here since before we moved from Wichita Falls to San Antonio almost 10 years ago. It will be nice to see it all again.

RVing with Grandma

This has been a busy week. Dave and Steve left Tuesday morning for the Motorcycle Rally in Ruidosa, New Mexico. The original plan was, of course, to ride the motorcycles but Dave had some unexpected surgery a week and a half ago that would have made riding a motorcycle for two days not quite so pleasant. On top of that, we finally had rain, torrential rain on Monday and Tuesday so they took the car this time. DIL Helen had to work Tuesday and Wednesday so I went over both days and let Angus, their furkid, out to potty and a little cuddle time out of the crate.

Thurday Helen headed to The Woodlands north of Houston for the Ironman Texas Triathlon. She is our family super-athlete. She had to pick up her packet Thursday afternoon and take her bike in on Friday, the Ironman is today. So......I was over several times to visit with Angus on Thursday. We even went for a walk and he was a very good boy. He's strong enough to drag me all over the place but he listens very well and doesn't take advantage of me. I also got the RV loaded up in between trips. Friday morning, I took Angus to Pawderosa Doggie Ranch.

Then I hauled the RV out to Lake Pointe RV Resort on Canyon Lake and got it all set up with enough time left over to relax for a bit.

Before the relaxing and after the set-up, I had to deal with a minor repair. Not sure how three screws all came out when not another thing in the RV moved.

About 4PM, I was back in the truck on my way to Marble Falls to pick up the grandkids for the weekend. Good thing I found a tiny patch of shade to park next to and that I brought the dachsies and their dinner with me because my XDIL was nearly an hour late. She did text my son that she was running "a little late" but to me that would mean maybe 10-15 minutes. Oh, well. The grandkids were a little surprised that their Dad wasn't there but I hustled them into the truck and we headed out. With a little trepidation, I explained that this was going to be a "Grandma Weekend". Of course, they miss seeing their Dad but they were okay with a "Grandma Weekend" too. Yay, no problems or tears. And, when they found out we were camping at Lake Pointe, they were even happier.

We didn't get back to the RV until after 9PM but we got all settled in and had fun. This morning we were up around 0800 and had a big camping breakfast. Then we set out for a long nature walk. It was really nice and cool this morning so we took good advantage of that.

Then they got in some basketball when we got back. The dachsies were napping but I sat out in the shade watching them. By then it was lunch, hot dogs and chips.

They each put together several puzzles after lunch.

When the park rang the bell to let everyone know it was ice cream time, they were more than ready. You can't beat a big cup of ice cream for a dollar. They had about 8 different kinds to choose from and that included rainbow sherbet (Cameron doesn't drink regular milk or eat ice cream - allergies) so everyone was happy.

We checked out the water in the junior olympic size pool and decided to brave it. It was cool but bearable.

Just finished Italian pot roast, mashed potatoes, and salad for dinner. Then we'll feed the deer and finally, once everyone is in PJs, a movie is on the agenda. Oh, and we will probably check the doggycam one more time to see how Angus is doing.

Another great day at the lake.

A Day with Diana

My friend sent me a message last week asking if I wanted to get together this week. She had to bring her Class B from Austin down to New Braunfels and wanted to see some of the area. So I picked her up this morning and we headed out to River Road for a drive. It is a great drive along the Guadalupe River with about 7 river crossings on a narrow two lane road with great scenery. A weekday drive is much better as it is packed on the weekends with sightseers and people on the way to go toobing. And yes, it is toobing, not tubing, around here. There are cabins and camping places and several RV places along the windy road. We stopped at a couple of them so Diana could check them out for future reference. One place even has treehouses for rent.

It was still too early for lunch so we went on out to Canyon Lake. This is the view from the day use park near the dam. We checked out several places on Canyon Lake and had lunch at the Canyon Lake Marina. It turned out to be a great place and the food was very good.
Back in New Braunfels, I took Diana on a tour of Landa Park on the Comal River and then on to another park which is popular for toobing. This is just one of the many toobing rental places right in town.

Prince Solms Park has a chute you can ride through. This group was all hooked together.

This is just below the chute. Even in April, you can see the toobers out riding the river.

We had a wonderful day together and I’m so glad Diana got in touch with me so I could show her around the New Braunfels area.