The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

Back on the Homefront

Late Tuesday morning we all headed out. Steve took Cameron to Marble Falls because he didn't want to miss soccer practice. Morgan took over the navigator seat in the motorhome. She said she was feeling fine but she only wanted water and soda crackers for breakfast just in case. In case you are wondering, both of the grandkids tend to fall asleep as soon as the vehicle starts rolling. So.....two navigators, both of them sound asleep. About three hour later, we stopped at Buc-ees. We both got a drink and Morgan wanted some Gardettos.  She just ate a few at first to make sure she was really problem. We had a nice visit the last two hours.

Steve, Helen, and Morgan flew out to Maryland very, very early on Wednesday. Angus came to stay with us.  Helen brought Angus's blanket along in addition to his crate. Harley decided he liked the blanket too.

"Hey Little Dog...…..that is my blanket you are laying on."   "I can't see you Big Dog.....I'm not going to look at you so you can't see me."  "I'm not moving Big Dog."

 "Well fine then Little Dog, I will just go back outside and sunbathe on your patio and watch your squirrels."
They get along just fine because doesn't have a problem with Harley being in charge. So went the rest of our week.
And then things really started heating up with the coronavirus. I think we are going to be parked at home for a while. Stay healthy everyone.

Checking Out the Oldest Town in Texas - Nacogdoches

Everyone still seemed fine on Monday morning. It was a drizzly day so we decided to check out the oldest town in Texas. is not San is Nacogdoches.

Nacogdoches is a small city located in East Texas with a population of about 33,000. It is the county seat for Nacogdoches County, Texas. It is the home of Stephen F. Austin State University and the largest azalea garden in Texas.

It took us about an hour to get there and the weather was still drizzly. This is the downtown area. The streets are brick.

Our first stop was the Visitor's Center....usually a good plan whenever you travel.

It was a very good move here as it was also a small museum loaded with information and history of the area. Lots of flags flew Nacogdoches....Spain, France, Gutierrez-Magee Expedition, Dr. James Long Expedition, Mexico, Fredonia, Republic of Texas, Confederacy, and the United States.

The Caddo Indians also played a big part in the history of this area. They were the first traders and travelers in the area.

Glass cases make it difficult to get great pictures but the displays were good.

Next came the Spaniards.

Black soldiers came with the Spanish troops.

There was a huge mural incorporating much of the history.

This area has also played a big part in the oil industry.

We spent about an hour looking at all the exhibits and then it was lunchtime. We asked for a recommendation from the gentleman at the front door. He said everyone liked Dolli's Diner and it was just around the corner. The diner is the building on the right. The small building on the left is the Charles Hoya Land Office built in 1897 by Charles Hoya. It was the first fireproof building in Nacogdoches and its Victorian style and Gothic revival detals served as a model for other local structures.

It was a popular place. I ordered the lunch special of the day which was tomato bisque soup and an adult grilled cheese sandwich. It was delicious. Cameron ordered a big sandwich and Morgan wanted the meatloaf dinner. She made two trips to the bathroom after she ordered because she felt a little funny. You guessed it...….she just ate the mashed potatoes when it arrived. We did take it home with us and she ate most of it later on.

She revived with a little fresh air and we walked down the street.

This reminded me of New Orleans.

And so did this.

On a nicer day, I would have liked to walk around more downtown as it looked very interesting.

We decided to drive around to see if we could find some of the places we saw in the Visitor's Center. This was a very interesting house.

This is the Stone Fort Museum located on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. It is a fort that never served as a fort. This 1936 replica of Antonio Gil Y'Barbo's stone house also served as a trading post, church, jail, and saloon.

Unfortunately, the weather got worse and we didn't get to see the Azalea Garden nor the Millard's Crossing Historic Village. There is definitely enough left to see to merit another trip to Nacogdoches in the future.

Traveling the Texas State Railroad

We were very glad to wake up on Sunday morning to see much clearer skies and everyone feeling okay. This was the big day. I should mention that neither of the kids knew in advance that they were going camping or that they were about to ride on the Texas State Railroad. The railroad runs between Rusk and Palestine. I had looked at the park campground at Rusk but decided against it for two reasons: the ratings were not at all good and the train was actually leaving from Palestine. Each different type of railroad car is a different price. We opted for the First Class Car versus the open air car due to the unreliable weather in March. The price was about double but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. As it turned out, we would have been fine on the open air car.

At one time this was a state park but now it is privately owned.

It was definitely a surprise.

 Cameron and Morgan are both much better at selfies than I am so I turned my phone over to Cameron for the shot.

We arrived early as required to pick up our reserved tickets so we had plenty of time to check out the museum in the Palestine Depot.

 We had time to get some photos of the train engine too.

This was our First Class Train car. There were two bench seats on each side of a table with a tablecloth. There were some snacks (gummy bears and cracker/nut mix) as well as bottles of water at one end of the car. There was also a car where you could purchase other snacks.

This was our route. You go from Palestine to Rusk where you stop for lunch. Lunch is extra and you can order it in advance or once you get there. We ordered after we arrived since I didn't know what the kids would want.

Contained teenage excitement.

Threats are sometime needed to get a smile out of Cameron.

Not a great photo but I wanted to be sure I got a photo of Joyce. She was the hostess for our car and she was great. There was a narrative of the trip interspersed with music. Joyce loves her job and she often danced to the music.

We all tried the snacks.

The train conductor came through the car several times.

I have to say that the scenery is not that spectacular at this time of the year. Trees still mostly without leaves.

We crossed several rivers which were hard to recognize as rivers since they were so badly flooded that they looked like swamp.

Interesting light fixture.

Cameron going through the entrance to the next car.

When we crossed a road, there was often a car there taking a photo of the train. In fact, we saw one guy at every intersection we went across.

 There were couples and whole families in our car. Joyce was equally adept at conversing with every passenger.

When we arrived at Rusk, passengers who had ordered ahead were asked to let passengers who still needed to order deboard first. We walked down to a train car on the side where they had a line set up. They had quite a few different choices, prices were not inexpensive, however, the quantities and food itself was very good. It took no time at all to go through the line and pick up our choice at the end where we paid. Then we headed to a picnic area to eat.

It was a nice little area near a lake. We had plenty of time to eat and walk around the area as well as the Depot.

This firepit was inside the pavilion.

There was a church nearby.

Up the road from the Depot.

This is a bit out of place but I took the photo because the leaf was at least 8 inches across.

Steve and the kids hiking back to the Depot.

This Depot definitely looks like a Corps of Engineers building.

The Rusk Depot had a gift shop. I asked why the train was now running out of Palestine rather than Rusk like it used to do. The answer was that Palestine had more places for people to stay.

Small museum area here.

A surprising number of movies have been filmed here using the Depot and the train.

The prison system actually built the railroad to transport wood and prison products. It was completed in 1909.

Goats in Maydelle.

Maydelle Trading Post.

Depot stop in Maydelle…..the train doesn't stop here now.

The conductor came through to punch everyone's ticket.

Joyce was telling everyone about the Polar Bear Express. They really go all out for those train rides.

This was the bottom of the Dome Observation Car. We were allowed to go through the other cars at the end of the ride.
I think the kids enjoyed the trip because it was unique. I enjoyed it but it really doesn't compare to the scenery when we took the train in Chama New Mexico.