Abilene State Park, Texas (9/27/2018 – 9/29/2019)

The drive from Houston, Texas was uninteresting until I found myself north of Austin and Leander, Texas. After that it was mostly farming land with some interesting looking small towns. The one that caught my eye was Santa Ana, Texas. Once you leave the Austin area you need to make sure you have a full tank of gas ’cause there’s nothing along those roads.

At some point I came across an area with hundreds wind generators for miles and miles, as far as the eye could see. It felt almost out of body (alien like), or just plain out of place. Here in Texas, oil, cowboys, horses, cattle drives, wind generators (?), it just felt strange, but they’re there, in their hugeness and noisiness.

Wind Generators, everywhere, for miles and miles, hundreds of them

I really enjoyed camping at Abilene State Park. The ranger was pleasant and helpful. Once I found my site, I sat and watched several campers roll in with their families for the weekend. It was quite humorous to watch one camper try to back her camper in at least 10 times (hey, she’s good, I can’t do that … yet) or the older gentleman who forgot to unhook his nice new Jeep from his trailer and watching the trailer grind and slide forward. Face plant! I walked several of the trails which are on my level (easy), comfortable and pleasant. There were no bugs (mosquitos) until just at dusk, but manageable.

Eagle Trail, Abilene State Park
Eagle Trail, Abilene State Park
Heading towards the Bird Blind
Bird Blind. Beautiful spot to sit inside to watch the birds in a sort of semi-natural state. I say semi-natural because behind the wooden fence there were feeders set up. I saw many hummers, a hawk and a red cardinal
Birdwatching – just a suggestion.
In addition to this blog, I am keeping a journal with more detail. Here is my standard breakfast of smushed banana and granola breakfast cereal. Stretch checking out the neighbors.

I took a side trip to Abilene and was somewhat disappointed. I think that I may have become dulled from having watched too many John Wayne movies or Gunsmoke, I don’t know. It just wasn’t what I expected. I wanted to see cowboys pushing herds of longhorn cattle down a dusty street. I did go through a little town that caught my interest. Buffalo Gap, Texas. Check it out and the small museum.

Next stop, Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas.

Sea Rim State Park, Texas (April, 2019)

After visiting with Patrick, Kara and Duncan in Houston in late April, I made my way down to Port Arthur heading to Sabine Pass and then Sea Rim State Park. Everything I had read about Sea Rim was that it was a small park but most importantly, I should expect mosquitos. I felt prepared as I had bought some screening along with some magnets and just in case, I brought along some duct tape, for good measure. I was not terribly impressed with Port Arthur, in fact if I never go back there it would be too soon, but I had been warned. I drove through to Sabine Pass, which was kind of cute, reminded me of Belize a bit. I made a right turn at the only traffic light and headed down to Sea Rim. By the way, whenever I saw historical markers I would stop and read. More on that later.

I loved Sea Rim instantly. There are only 15 campsites and you can dry camp on the beach. There were only a few campers in the camping area. There was a nice breeze blowing off the Gulf and I got a really great eyebrow camping spot next to the marsh with a clear view to the Gulf.

I was only going to stay a couple of nights. I checked in and Stretch and I began to set up for the night. I cut my screening, but them set up in case I was barraged with mosquitos early. The only comfort station is a vault toilet (sort of like an outhouse). I had never encountered a vault toilet before so this was new to me. There are no inside showers with hot or cold running water. My site had electricity and water. There is a shower on the dune boardwalk which takes you to the beach, so if you want a cold shower, that will do.

The view from my campsite #12
This big boy was hanging out pretty close. I had to keep an eye on Stretch.
Not a fan of Texas beaches, but it sure was relaxing.
Willet Watching
Mrs. Kildeer trying to protect her eggs.
Her eggs
This boy would sit next to the van and just be so noisy. Loved watching them.
So beautiful when they all lift off together.
Black-necked Stilts

As it turned out, there was a great gulf breeze and I never had to worry about mosquitos. I kept my screens on at night, cracked my windows about 8 inches and slept like a baby. I even spent one more night and would have stayed longer except they were all full for the rest of the weekend.

On the way out I took a drive through Sabine Pass I discovered the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site which honors the Civil War battlefield where Confederate soldiers stopped Union forces from entering Texas in 1863. It is a beautiful setting along the Sabine River and they have quite a large site to explore and lots of information. As I was walking through and reading all the information I kept thinking, I wonder if school children are brought here on field trips. What a great spot to learn some history.

I have to start somewhere

In February of this year, 2019, I purchased a 2011 Kia Sedona minivan with the intention of converting it to a camper van so that I can explore parts of this great country that I have never visited. My minivan will include a sleeping area, cooking area and as much comfort as I can manage by living in the minivan for an extended period of time (my plan 3 months, but it’s not set in stone should I find it more difficult than I can handle). I will be staying in city, county, state and national parks that have bathing, bathrooms and other facilities that will provide me with additional comfort and safety. I will not be boondocking or dry camping this time.

My 2011 Kia Sedona which will serve as my camper van.

My faithful companion a 12 year old rat terrier, Stretch will be by my side. I hope to be able to do some hiking, certainly walking, kayaking, exploring and, of course, photographing what is of interest to me.

My faithful companion, Stretch, my 12 year old rat terrier

My journey will begin at the end of August, 2019 when I travel to Houston to visit with my son, daughter in law, my grandson and the soon to arrive granddaughter. The plan is to then travel west and start my adventures.

I have tested out the Kia since February and I have camped in Alabama, Texas and visited Seattle and Oregon (not in the Kia). I will be organizing my photographs and identifying them over the next several weeks and hopefully catch up so that once I hit the road my past trips will be already posted.