There would be some (Dan) who might think a road trip to the big state of Texas just to see wildflowers is a bit crazy. I said, who cares if an idea is crazy, if it is fun. This definitely was a fun trip. He agreed.
We had a reason to get as far as Plano, Texas. That is our purchase of a small pop-up “Kwik Kamper” normally pulled by a motorcycle but for us, our Toyota Corolla. There are times when we want to do a short road trip and would like to keep expenses down. The Corolla gets over twice the mileage as our 3/4 ton Ford diesel. Does that mean we can take twice as long a trip with the tent? Well, tent camping is different from our fully self contained pickup camper but will be perfect for short trips.
One big difference with the popup tent is the landing site. In our pickup camper, we almost never make reservations. It seems we always slip in somewhere, even if it ends up being in a Wal Mart. I have to think ahead more with tent camping especially on weekends. We decided to stay in Texas State Parks and we were able to find a place all three nights with telephone numbers and maps in the helpful Texas State Park guidebook we picked up at the Welcome Center.
Another difference between tent and RV’n is the people. We had the best time visiting with nearby tent campers each night. RVers tend to disappear into their unit. Not so the tenters. Since we were in no hurry, we ended up visiting until 11:00 with a neighboring camper on Saturday morning.
State Park personal run a tight ship but retain that Texas friendliness. They were quick to point out that their entire revenue is based on camping fees and, to our dismay, a head fee of $3 a person each night. Still, I highly recommend staying at a Texas State Park. All we stayed at were clean and well run.
My favorite camping spot was Colorado Bend State Park. I was intrigued with the fact that it was a rustic campground, limited to small RVs and tent campers. It is located on a large bend in the Colorado River nestled at the bottom of straight up cliffs. The picture above was just the beginning. To get to this campground we drove over 13 miles of gravel--dust and free range cattle along the way. As we rounded the final corner, we expected to see a nearly disserted campground. Completely the opposite. Two boys scout troops, numerous anglers and families with young children. A kind lady agreed to let us share her spot in the trees rather than our assigned spot by the Troop. A shared bottle of the Red Caboose Winery’s Hobo Hooch and it was lights out for the night.
creek on the gravel road to Colorado Bend Park
upper end of the park where the river starts to bend.
Spring fed creek flowing into the river and a Texas waterfall! The State Park Ranger recommended we not hike to the Gorman Falls a usually beautiful waterfall nearby because it was barely flowing from lack of rain.
Bucket lists are overused so let’s just say I’ve wanted to see for myself Texas Blue Bonnets in bloom. Best viewing time is between the middle of March until the middle of April. We were in Hill Country the first day of April, perfect. Only, this is a dry year, very dry. One park ranger said it hadn’t rained in the Hill Country since August, 2010. So, Blue Bonnets were sparse.
There were several areas where we could see how it would be in a good year, though. As we were leaving Clebrune State Park, we rounded a corner and there was a field filled with blue. Making it even more beautiful was a young couple with their baby seated in the middle of them taking a picture. We didn’t want to interrupt but I would have loved that picture. Despite the dry year, there were bright colors all around.
These two pictures are not wildflowers but I wouldn’t want to get too close to either.
Hill Country Towns
An unexpected charm in Texas Hill Country are small towns. County seats thrive with their town squares and beautiful courthouses. Other declining Texas rural towns remind us of some small Kansas towns. Yet, they had a Texas feel, perhaps from a preconceived notion from movies, particularly The Last Picture Show
and other western movies featuring covered boardwalks.
Front and Back view of courthouse at Meridian Texas. Notice the American and Texas flag are flown at the same height. We noticed this in other places as well.
Paris Texas Not in Hill Country, but a beautiful city north of Tyler Texas.
We missed the Wild Pig Feed by only a few hours in Evant, TX. Notice the sign says, “Pigs Provided.” It’s a known fact that Texas has many feral hogs, but Kansas knows Feral hogs
and how to get rid of them.
Only in Texas, where everything is bigger.
Hey, a perfect name for our place.
The only business in Bend, TX that we could see.
Final picture—dogwood trees were blooming in Oklahoma on our way home.