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Familiar Places [Mar. 12th, 2012|10:23 pm]
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Welp, J’s work has struck again. This morning I was debating starting my day with the quilting I wanted to do or knocking out a load of dishes before settling in to quilt. Good thing I opted for the dishes, since not five minutes after they were finished, J said: “They want me in Houston.”



Ok, we can do that. It’s roughly 260 miles from East Fork Park in Wylie, TX, down to New Caney, TX, just north of Houston. Not too far to go in a single day, and it was early enough we’d get in before dark. I called the campground we’d stayed in the last time his work dragged us down here, and they were able to find a space available for a week. Coming in at the last minute the way we are, we’re shoehorned into a tiny site barely wider than the rig with the slides out. But that’s ok, we’re in, we’re set up and we’re on time for his work.

It took us about 45 minutes from hanging up the phone to pulling out. Not bad for breaking camp from a standing start. We’d come into East Fork Park the day before planning to stay for a week, so the cats weren’t happy to be hustled back into their carriers just as they were settling in to nap, but everything else went smooth enough.

Spring in Houston is soggy, at least so far. The little patches of lawn on either side of our site squelch when you walk on them. Nice and humid, too, naturally enough.

Up near Dallas where we came from the lake was high, but not as high as the flooded streams we saw from interstate 45 on our way south. “Water’s a little high,” I said, deadpan as I could, getting J to laugh out loud when he looked out the window at the trees and bushes immersed in the flowing brown water.

So far, really since November, we’ve been in familiar places: Arkansas, the Florida panhandle, Louisiana. We stayed for a month around Christmas in Hot Springs at the same park we were in last spring, then made our way down to Baton Rouge for Mardi Gras, and then back to Hot Springs for a few days to visit my MIL and knock out the last dental follow-up. From there, we’d planned to break new ground and head for Abilene and points west.

There have been a few new parks; we stayed at Fort Pickens Campground in the national seashore in Pensacola for one gorgeous week in January on our way down to Baton Rouge. Beautiful white sand beaches, the sand cold between our toes on sunset walks, and a bonus laundry room (rare for a national park campground) so small that I wound up folding the laundry on the flatbed of the truck in the warm afternoon breeze.

Fort Pickens is due south of Pensacola on a barrier island. If you’re outside in the morning or evening, you can just hear reveille or taps floating over the water from the Naval Air Station. And of course (being as it’s a Naval Air Station) there are jets going over from time to time. Like the trains close to many campgrounds, it’s a comfortable sound to me. When I was a kid, we lived in Puerto Rico in an urban neighborhood called Hato Rey, right on the approach path to San Juan International Airport. We got so used to it that the only time we noticed the planes overhead was when our visitors jumped at the noise.

In Louisiana we tried out Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, on our way west to Baton Rouge, which was good if swampy. Of course all of the state parks in that neck of the woods are swampy.

In Baton Rouge proper we found a great new campground, Farr Park. Really just a grassy field with hookups at intervals, crossed by gravel roads, but it’s pretty. The paddocks are just over to one side, so you can watch the horses. It’s first come first serve, and it was not crowded at all over Mardi Gras weekend, which was really surprising to me.

You do have to watch what roads you take to get back there; the route Google maps wants you to use is the most direct, but it’s over a steeply banked railroad track. On our way home one night while we were staying there we saw an eighteen-wheeler well and truly stuck there, trailer wedged onto the tracks, rear wheels in the air. Two roads just south of the college stadium are safe, though; the railroad tracks are nice and flat at that point.

We spent time at some of our favorite campgrounds on the way back from Mardi Gras: Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Gulpha Gorge in Hot Springs, Clear Springs Park just south of Texarkana, and last night night at East Fork Park in Wylie. I need to start taking photos and posting them on Facebook or here so you guys can see what I’m talking about. I’d planned to do that today, this afternoon, in fact, in Wylie. Ah well; maybe I can do it tomorrow.