Sunday, December 22, 2013

Balmorhea State Park, Texas

If you've driven across Texas and never stopped at Balmorhea State Park, you're missing out on a real gem within the Texas State Park system. When traveling across Texas in the past, we've always scooted right on by this section off I-10. Since we like to limit our days to 3 hour travel time, we usually go from Las Cruces NM, to Van Horn to Junction to San Antonio as there's not too much to see along this stretch of highway. This time, though, we decided to stay in Kerrville and travel to Balmorhea to Deming to Willcox Arizona. We were pleasantly surprised to find this State Park.  We had reservations and a State Park pass so check in was quick and painless. Full hook up sites are offered with pull thrus and back ins....

As I stated earlier, this part of Texas doesn't offer the traveler a very diverse view. Mostly desert type stuff for miles and miles.

There is some commercial ventures along this stretch as this picture shows. This is off I-10 near Fort Stockton, Texas.

This is part of the Texas hill country and the land does rise and fall allowing for beautiful vistas of the countryside below.

As you can see, this windmill was still in operation providing water for the many head of cattle grazing in the area.

As you travel westbound on I-10 around the area of Balmorhea Lake, take the Business Loop of I-10 and head southwesterly towards the City of Balmorhea...population  435, named for three landowners in the area...Balcum, Moore and Rhea.

Balmorhea State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s and opened to the public in 1968. It features a large, (1.75 acre) spring fed swimming pool complex. Water temp is a constant 72-76 degrees year round. They allow scuba diving in the pool and it is very popular due to it's pure clarity even at 25 feet. Besides camping, there is a metro style motel complex from the 1930s with a southwestern motif.

We chose a pull thru site which did not have a covered cabana. Many of the other pull thrus and most of the back ins did have a small covered area for bbqs and grills.

The sites are roomy and we didn't have to unhook the toad. Even though the campground was almost full, we didn't feel cramped. The evening produced millions of stars overhead and we felt like we could reach out and touch the milky way. It was an inspiring sight but it also made one feel pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.
The desert setting offers viewing of lots of wildlife including coyotes, deer, javelina, hawks, barn swallows, waterfowl, ground squirrels and my favorite, the roadrunner......."Beep beep"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kerrville, Texas

Due to poor weather conditions, we drove up and through San Antonio enroute to Kerrville, Texas. It just didn't make sense to travel the less busy secondary roads. Driving on a two lane road that's not as well maintained as the Interstate during inclement weather increases chances of an event we would prefer to avoid. The trip was pretty uneventful and I wasn't able to take any pictures...none that came out very well anyway. Kerrville was cold but the weather cleared up the day we arrived so we were happy campers again....

Coming into San Antonio, the weather was pretty glum. The four poster building is the AT&T Center, where the NBA San Antonio Spurs play basketball.

We arrived at the Buckhorn Lake RV Resort late afternoon under still gloomy skies.

The next day dawned clear but cold, so we decided to drive into Kerrville to look it over. After getting the car washed, we began our exploration.

No ! We couldn't change the weather,  but we did visit a Holiday Inn Express...

Why visit a Holiday Inn Express? Their swimming pool is constructed in the shape of the great State of Texas ! Unfortunately, it's upside down for those staying in the rooms. It is visible from the Interstate so I assume that's why they constructed it that way. Flip the picture over and you can easily see the State.

The Guadalupe River runs through the City of Kerrville.

Fall was definitely in the air. Looking down river you can see all the beautiful fall colors as the trees change and get ready for the cold days that are sure to follow.

Trees change colors and lose their leaves in the fall when the days become shorter. Leaves appear green due to an abundance of chlorophyll. This substance mask other colors in the leaves. Light regulates chlorophyll so when the days grow shorter, chlorophyll production slows. Other pigments in the leaves then take over which is why the leaves change colors.

We visited the "Cowboy Capital of the World"...Banderas Texas. This is the Bandera County Courthouse. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 31, 1979.

As a tribute to Easter Island and Stonehenge, we found these monuments on the east side of Kerrville. The head is easily recognizable as a Moai.

Easter Island is a small island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. It is the most remote inhabited island in the world. The nearest habitation is on Pitcairn Island, 1289 miles away!

Thanksgiving Day 2013.... 

Debi preparing turkey and trimmings while Jasmine enjoys her special dinner. 

Living in a motor coach doesn't mean you can't have a delicious meal as evidenced here. After feasting on turkey, potatoes, green bean salad, cranberries and stuffing, we enjoyed pumpkin pie and whipped cream. Everything was cooked from scratch and was wonderful! I married an awesome chef....

Here's our site at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort. The resort is divided into several sections...the owner's section, a motor coach section, a long term stay section and a short term section. The sites were spacious with full hook ups.
It was nice to stop and enjoy the holiday here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lake Corpus Christi State Park

We had two routes we could take out of the Brownsville Texas area. We could follow the Mexican border into Laredo or head back east to Corpus Christi then north towards San Antonio. Weather was becoming a factor as cold temperatures were forecasted along with rain and possibly snow. With that in mind, we decided to head east, swing by Corpus Christi Lake then on to San Antonio and, if necessary, take I-10 west. 

Since we had taken US 77 south to Brownsville, we decided to go a different way back northeast, so we pulled off at Raymondville and headed north on Texas 186. Although a two lane highway, it was smooth and uncrowded.

Once we joined US 281, we headed east toward Corpus Christi. US 281 is a divided highway. Very nice alternative to the Interstate system.

Just outside FalFurrias, Texas, the US Border Patrol has a checkpoint. It was pretty busy and delayed us about 15 minutes. They waived us through with no problems. As you can see, almost 3100 illegals picked up at this checkpoint.

The area along this stretch of US 281 consists of mostly small farms and some cattle with only a few oil wells.

Lake Finley, Alice, Texas, offers excellent fishing. It was constructed in 1965 by damming up the river to provide recreational opportunities.

Mathis, Texas....population 5034.

Spotted this big boy wandering near Texas 359 just before the campground. I tried to get a better picture but with him moving and my driving, this was the best I could do. He certainly had a beautiful rack.

We finally reached our destination, Lake Corpus Christi State Park. We purchased the annual Texas State Park Pass. Without it, there is a daily per person fee to use their parks and facilities. 

The State Park consists of 288 acres surrounding the Corpus Christi Lake. There are three campgrounds but only one has full hookups with pull through sites. Most overlook the water. Bath houses have showers and flush toilets.

Despite this area of Texas experiencing drought conditions, we found the lake almost full. There are several picnic areas all around the lake. Fishing is good for largemouth bass, crappie and catfish. There are two fishing piers. No fishing license is required at any of the Texas State Parks.

This is the view out our doorway. If you look across the green area, you can see our coach. All sites in this section are pull throughs with full hookups.
Next to our car, you can see my American flag. Next to the flag is a covered cabana for your BBQ.