Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Texas - three more stops

Del Rio

January 11, 2017 we moved to Del Rio, TX. We stayed at the Broke Mill RV Park. It is a mixture of permanent/long-term and overnighters. The sites are gravel with a strip of grass. Most are a little wider than normal and the ends of the rows give you a nice grassy area. We were fortunate enough to get one of those. 

The park is well maintained and pretty quiet with just a little road noise. They have a pool and a community room that is right off of the laundry room and an exercise room. The WiFi was good and our Verizon signal was strong. Every Thursday night they host a dinner and music show. The food was good and the music was fun, a mix of folk, country and pop. We paid $28.46 with our Good Sam discount. 

The Judge Roy Bean Museum is in Langtry about an hour west of town. There are two buildings left, the Jersey Lilly Bar named after the English actress Lily Langtry who Bean was infatuated with.

 The sign painter, paid in food and drink misspelled her name adding an extra "L". There was a side room that was the Billiard Hall, which is where Bean died. 

Bean never met Lily but he hung a sign on his home, the second building left on site, that said "Opera House - Town Hall - Seat of Justice" in hopes she would come and perform there. He wrote her several letters inviting her, none of which she replied to until he wrote and told her he named the town after her. She did visit in 1904 but sadly after Bean passed away.  
The Visitor Center is a mix of general Texas info and Judge Bean info. There is a small section that has vignettes you can see through glass windows and old phone receivers that you listen to a story through. 
 There is a cactus garden which was interesting to walk through. The windmill is a rare 10-foot Model P Eclipse. It sold around 1900 and played an important part in the development of west Texas. The cactus come in all sizes from small heart shaped to giant aloe as tall as the buildings. The entire place is handicap accessible and free. 
There is not much else in Langtry but we drove to the edge of the canyon. These places always amaze us and makes us wonder what it was like back when people were traveling by horse and wagon. Can you imagine coming upon this large gaping hole? The sides have eroded in spots leaving large cave like openings. 

This spot does hold some strange history. In 1896, Bean arranged a prizefight between Robert Fitzsimmons and James Corbett the current heavyweight champion at the time. Texas outlawed boxing and while a new location was being found Corbett retired handing the title to Peter Maher who agreed to fight Fitzsimmons. Bean arranged for everyone, spectators, press and Texas Rangers to travel by train to Langtry, where he held the fight on a sandbar on the Mexican side of the Del Rio. Fitzsimmons knocked Maher out in 95 seconds. Had to chuckle at the Bud Light 
bottle next to the sign - wonder if our nephew Chuck was here.
There was lots of sage and cactus to maneuver around and it seems someone had a meal here at one time. 

As you travel on Hwy 90 you cross over the Painted Canyon as well as the Pecos River, where you can stop at an over look for better views.

There are two boat ramps, one on either side of the river and lots of small cave openings can be seen. The overlook is very rocky but as usual there were wildflowers popping up where ever they could and even caught a moth enjoying some nectar. 
Rough Canyon

Del Rio sits along side of the Lake Amistad National Recreation Area. We spent a couple of days exploring the lake. Amistad means friendship in Spanish. The reservoir was created in 1969 when the dam was built that connects the US and Mexico. Both countries built and manage the dam. 
The lake has many "fingers" as it weaves in and out of the canyons. Access to the different areas is off of many different roads. 
San Pedro
Diablo East
The area is geared mostly to boating and fishing with a few hiking trails. Most of our exploration was from the car as it was raining. 

We went to as many canyons as we could get to, some of the roads are a little rough and some are flooded over at this time of the year. 

Spur 406

Dam off in the distance

You can't actually get to the dam as it is the border crossing. While our phones thought we were in Mexico we never did cross the border. There is a marina and campground that is run by Laughlin Air Force Base. We took a road past the campground and thank goodness we parked and walked the rest of the way - it was rather tilted and rocky!

The Val Verde Winery established in 1883 is the oldest winery in the area. It was started by Frank Qualia, an Italian immigrant. Today it is run by his grandson, Thomas who has expanded the business to include olive oil with an orchard of 500 olive trees. 

After enjoying a sampling of their wine we brought a few bottles along with us. This sign made us chuckle, and we had to wonder how many people have backed into this tree and did the wine have something to do with it? 


Freer, TX was home for eight nights staring on January 18, 2017. We stayed at the Double M RV Park

The entire park is gravel and all the sites are back-in. With that said we were able to pull through into our site and keep our tow-dolly attached as there was no one in the site behind us. Most of the people in the park are permanent or long-term but the park is very well kept. 

The sites are very level and the park is pretty quite except for some road noise. They have a nice community room that is open 24 hours that has a large screen TV as well as a full kitchen to use. The laundry room is right off of this room and is very clean. We paid $15.63 with no discounts offered. We did see a number of incredible Texas sunsets. 

There is not a whole lot to do in this area but as always we found ways to entertain ourselves. Laredo was actually where we had originally planned to stay this week but couldn't find an RV park with full hook-ups. 

Lots of  fancy one
way streets
We did make a trip there and drove through the old part of town. We were a little disappointed with the town, and actually glad we didn't stay there.  We had planned to tour San Agustin Cathedral but it was closed.
We of course took the long way home through Hebbronville and lots of sage brush.

Alice is the closet town for shopping, about a half hour away so we decided to find a few Roadside Oddities on the way. 
The statue of St Michael, in Baquete, is a little different than others we have seen, St. Michael has Satan in chains. The Stuffed Longhorn is in George West. The last statue is in Alice and is Jose de Escando, the Father of South Texas.  

The Rattle Snake is in Freer, where they hold the Rattle Snake Roundup every year. So sorry we missed that! Bonnie Palacios, the Baton Twirling Champion in Benavides made us think of our friend Becki Bayley's daughter Maggie who not only shares a birthday with Nancy but is also a pretty talented twirler herself. 

While driving in any direction all you really ever see is mile after mile of sagebrush. It is never ending and we wonder what it looks like here in the spring or summer. 

We arrived at the Natures Own RV Park on January 26, 2017. It is a fairly large park, all the sites are cement with a grass or rock strip. Most are about average width unless you are in an end site, which we were. We had site 21 which gave us a large grassy area next to us. The park has two clubhouses, both have laundry and shower facilities which are very clean. They also have exercise rooms and a TV room. 

This is one of the more pet friendly parks we have been to. They have three fenced dog parks, one of which is very large with obstacle course items. There is also a former dog park that now is home to two goats.
The pet spa with a raised tub for dog washing was a welcome sight, no sore back this time! Mielikki didn't enjoy bath time any more than usual though. 
The park is very well maintained and there is access to the Dick Kielberg City Park right next door through a gate in the back of the park. 

There is some road noise from I-70. We paid $31.43 a night with no discount offered.  

Corpus Christi is only a half hour away, the last time we were in this area we went to Padre Islands. 
This time we headed north on the peninsula to the Mustang State Park and Port Aransas.

You can drive on the beach for miles which is pretty cool. 

The WWII naval aircraft carrier, USS Lexington is in Corpus Christi and you can tour it. Seeing smoke off in the distance over the water can't be a good thing!

Brownsville is the southern most part of Texas and where you get to South Padre Island from. As we crossed the bay we were amazed at how developed the island is, after being at the Padre Islands that has no development at all it was quite the change. 
We drove out to the end of the road, which is covered in sand in spots, and found a beautiful beach and spent a few hours relaxing in the sun and collecting seashells.  

You can rent horses to ride along the beach. You could tell the local from the tourists. He was in jeans and a jacket, the tourists were in tank tops and shorts. 

Mielikki had a blast running and rolling in the sand, that is until she got sand in her eyes. Of course a dog will rub their face on the ground to get something out of their eyes, well that doesn't work so well on sand. Les put his hat on her to cover her eyes for a bit and then she was back to surveying her domain!

On our way off of the island we came across kite fliers. Nancy loves kites so we of course stopped for photos! The four guys working the rectangular kites were so good. It was fun watching them manuevor the kites around. 

 Unfortunately the guy with the blue triangle kites wasn't so lucky, his got a little tangled.

Next stop is San Antonio and a visit with Katrina and Steve!!!

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ You have an iron with you? 
Yes, we brought an iron with us but it never gets used for clothes. Nancy uses it when working on sewing projects. 
While an iron is fairly small and easy to store an ironing board is a whole different subject. The solution for that is an ironing cloth. It is made to fit over the top of a table but can be used on any hard surface. A counter, the floor or a table, and yes Nancy has used them all. It folds or rolls up and is easily stored. 

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