April 24th finds us back in Texas at Lake Whitney State Park for three nights the week after Easter. Very happy to be using our State Park Pass and enjoying the beautiful Texas parks once again!
Shreveport Louisiana KOA the night before was just an expensive one-night stop at $46.76 compared to Whitney Lake at $16.67! We usually prefer staying a minimum of three nights to give us a day to see the park and decompress followed by a day to see the area. This time the convenience of a one-night stay with full hook-ups in a pull-through site was worth it. No disconnecting the tow car and no stopping at the dump station on our way out of Hattiesburg. This park was nicer than most KOAs and even included agility training features in the dog run. Although our dog Molly is long gone, she would have loved it!
Some of Lake Whitney State Park roads were closed due to high water which last night’s rain contributed to. We could see high-water marks on the roads, campsites and trails. Standing water made some trails impassable and we had to turn back.
The scenery is gorgeous with lots of birds and many types of wildflowers in bloom. It was so nice to finally to see the flowers up close that had been teasing me with their abundant purple, red, yellow and pink color all along the highways.
I love the blue/purple of Texas Bluebonnets and the pink Evening Primrose that I saw for the first time. The red Indian Paintbrush flowers were preferred by the plentiful Black Swallowtail butterflies and a hummingbird that made some fun photographs.
The park was quiet and mostly empty until the weekend. Our peaceful site had water views and roadrunners dropped by frequently in the aptly named Roadrunner Loop.
We enjoyed sitting outside for a change watching birds nesting in the canopy over our picnic table.Being allergic to mosquitoes, I would frequently forgo sitting outside in parts of Florida when I had my fill of deet on my skin after a day of hiking. Here, with no bugs bothering us, a hike along a flooded road was just filled with happy birds. Among them were my favorites, the Scissor-tail Flycatchers who were very active. Their aerial dance rising up to catch a bug then settling back on a perch as their spectacular tail feathers fluttered into place around them like confetti was so wonderful to see through the telephoto lens of the camera. Almost all of the directions were represented by birds – Northern Cardinals, Eastern Phoebes and Western Bluebirds!
Bruce scores this park high on the return list after seeing the radio controlled (RC) airport in the park. I made a trip into Waco to do some banking and I was glad we had already had the Magnolia Brand experience (see link) so I could just get in and out without feeling like I missed anything.
Reconnecting with people in Florida on this trip has been so enjoyable, having seen Bruce’s cousins in Nokomis and friends in Port Charlotte and Key West. Another connection with family in Texas made nice bookends for this Spring trip.
We routed through this area of Texas to see my cousins from Burleson, now living on their ranch in Grandview. We missed them on the way to Florida and were so happy it worked out to see them on the return trip. Peggy and her family treated us to a wonderful meal at Diaz Tex-Mex restaurant in Whitney. The food was great and seeing Peggy and meeting some of her family was really special.
Officially, she’s my second cousin once-removed and our families hadn’t been super close but we had a nostalgic childhood connection from several weeks spent together 47 years ago. My Grandfather and her Father were Cousins but Peggy and I are the same age so it was great fun to keep her company during their visit.
Somehow, we finagled it so Peggy could attend the last day of 8th grade with me that year. Those boys who ignored me most of the time suddenly woke up and had dreamy eyes for my beautiful cousin with her luscious Texas drawl. I couldn’t help but try to copy it but it just didn’t have the same effect for me!
Once school was out, a trip together with her family and my Grandparents to Vancouver & Victoria BC was lots of fun. After that, it seemed her parents took a side trip and Peggy and I stayed at my Grandparents house which was a shakin’ as we sang and danced to “our” music on 45 rpm records. Tiger, Grandpa’s Weimaraner hunting dog got lots of exercise in nearby Laurelhurst Park where we were allowed to go without adults for a change. There were some exciting shenanigans on those walks, but I’ll say ‘what happens in the park, stays in the park’.
We stayed in touch for a while but didn’t keep up as we got busy with our families and the distance between our homes in Oregon and Texas. What fun to reconnect!
Time to move on to San Angelo Texas as we make our way back to Tempe to ramp up for our summer trip North.