Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wichita Falls Texas, My Birthplace and Visiting our Great Nephew…

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With rain in the forecast we started up the old RV and hit the road by 10:00 with our task at hand simply driving about 91 miles north to Wichita Falls, Texas. My original target was Lake Arrowhead but when I checked their website it said the whole park was closed due to flooding! Oh well, Plan B! We drove over to a little city park called River Bend RV Park which our RV friend Jim told us about when we were in Belton.

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The park was simple to find and located right in the middle of Wichita Falls! This is certainly a town I never thought I would return to.  I was born here and my parents retired very close to here but I never really cared for this town nor this part of Texas. So why are we here now? Well this year we came because my sister’s son had a baby boy so we are here to see our new Great Nephew!

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The park is really a gem other than its proximity to the highway but we are not normally bothered by noise with our double paned windows closed and the A/C running. The park has 17 sites with many being pull through. Some are only 30 amp but many are also 50 amp. All have water (although some are not working due to recent flooding) and none of them have sewer (there is a dump station onsite however). There are no facilities of any kind but it is only $17 per night. Best of all there is a suspension bridge crossing the “not so scenic” Wichita River ( which is red due to its heavy silt load) leading into Lucy Park.

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Lucy Park is a huge park with miles of trails and best of all for us, it also has a really good 18 hole disc golf course. The course is long but lined with many trees with only a few water hazards. We noticed a good amount of mud in the area due to the Wichita River overflowing recently but we had a blast getting in a fun round of disc golf.

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However, the reason we came was to see my nephew Steven, his wife Lauryn and their recently born son, Graham (our Great Nephew). Therefore, I arranged to meet the family along with my sister at a local burrito spot. Steven sent me list of four local hot spots for lunch and I chose Severiana Sanchez Burritos mainly because we are leaving Texas and don’t anticipate a lot of real good Mexican food once we leave.

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The burritos were fabulous, especially the really scrumptious home-made flour tortillas. My carne asada was good but Sharon’s barbacoa burrito was the bomb. With the good company and the opportunity for us to hold and interact with our Great Nephew Graham, it made for a perfect lunchtime gathering. After lunch we bid our farewells and returned home to the RV.

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One cool thing about this place is there is an albino Blue Jay bird (see the header picture) that seems to be all around us. Seeing him or her is such a thrill and we are wondering  if it is an omen for something… We are also pondering where to go next… stay here another night… go east to a casino… or head north to Oklahoma City. As has been the tendency of late, we will let the weather decide...

[NOTE: We stayed another night and played more disc golf at Lucy Park!]

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Brief Visit to Mineral Wells State Park, TX

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We left Belton a day earlier than planned to avoid the probability of severe weather and headed north to Mineral Wells Texas. After about 150 miles we pulled into Lake Mineral Wells State Park and were allowed to pick the site of our choice. Driving into the park is quite an experience as we had to cross the spillway since the lake that was “OVER FLOWING”! 

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It was a bit of a surreal undertaking and Sharon really was fascinated with the whole spillway experience. We did make it across and we settled into site 54 as it was level, next to a bathroom, and a trailhead. Although the bathroom didn’t have showers at least we were one of the few in this loop. The site was 30 amp with water and no sewer.

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It rained off and on most of our first night but that didn’t stop us from getting out for a couple of miles hiking around the lake trails. Mineral Wells State Park is actually quite pretty and I say this as I wasn’t expecting it to be. This is an area that seems to be a mix of of the Texas Hill Country and the Cross Timbers regions of Texas. It is very hilly with fairly dense stands of oak and elm and there is a lot of exposed sandstone around. We thought it really was a very pretty park. The best part was that there were roadrunners all over the place running around and making lots of noise… We didn’t see the coyote but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there!

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We also slipped off to visit the town of Weatherford Texas and found the town square quite interesting. The courthouse was quite a cool structure that appeared more colonial in architecture than any I have seen in Texas. Lots of buildings with large blocks of chipped sandstone were all around the the town square.

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After walking around the town a bit we found a nice little tavern called the Antebellum Ale House that served craft beer. The Antebellum Ale House was welcoming and a really neat little spot we certainly didn't expect to find in a small town in Texas. They had a really nice patio and we played some bean bags while enjoying some nice craft brews.

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We did some more hiking between intermittent showers at our park the next day and were certainly glad we came to Mineral Wells as the weather south of us (where we were) was pretty nasty with torrential rainfalls. It was really quite an enjoyable stay at this park but with more nasty weather pending we decided to move on the next morning over to Wichita Falls, Texas…