Leaving Slidell, we headed toward Navasota, Texas. We had scheduled a stop at Grizzly Pines, a gay Campground north of Houston. Grizzly Pines is a fairly large facility with lots of permanent sites and a few short-term places. After a little drama around trying to fit our rig, with its slideout and awning tent room into our assigned space, and eventually moving to the adjacent site. That site had the space, but would be problematic should it rain. The area where the carpet for the tent room would go appeared to be a natural channel for water runoff. In the west, we would call that a wash. Well, we had little choice and certainly didn’t want to move again.
The central common area has a large pool, hot tub, a Cafe that is open on the weekends and a large area with tables and chairs adjecent to the pool. Bill and I enjoyed the pool area, had a couple of meals at the Cafe. Our hope for a rain free stay were dashed early in the evening of our second night, It rained hard for a long time. Our newly installed front window was not up the task and leaked in several places. The next morning, one of the staff told me it rained five inches overnight. As you can imagine, our little wash in the tent room was a rushing river. Although rains diminished for the remainder of the stay we did have several periods of rain. Even with the rains, we enjoyed our stop at Grizzly Pines.
Our next stop as a quick two and a half hour drive up to Crawford, Texas. We have stayed at The Homestead at 3218 before and knew what to expect, well should have known. We arrived and noticed several things immediately. First, we appeared to be the only guests. Secondly, the place was looking a little rundown. Things that should have been repaired had not been, other places needed a little paint and, although our actual space for the trailer was above water, we had to walk through water to go anywhere. All that, coupled with the fact that my Aunt and Uncle, who livwe nearby and who we had hope to see, were a couple hours away, in Weatherford, house sitting for their son. Bill and I decided to make this a 1 night stay.
So, the next morning, we informed our host we were leaving and headed to Weatherford. I booked us for 2 nights and we arranged to have lunch with Uncle Leland and Aunt Barbara. A nice added bonus, was Aunt Maxine, who we had seen, earlier in the trip in Edmond, Oklahoma, was also visiting, so we saw her again. We had a nice lunch at El Fenix, a regional Mexican chain, that Leland and Barbara love. Afterwards, we went to my cousin’s house to spend some family time. After losing, my Uncle Loren Vance last year, I am appreciative of opportunities to see my Mother’s remaining brother and his wife. Seeing Aunt Maxine again was a nice bonus.
After Weatherford, we headed north to Sanger, where we would see my first cousin Tim and his wife Sherrie. We had a couple of route choices and we elected to use state and US Highways, avoiding the interstates and driving through either Dallas or Ft Worth.
Our chosen route took us through the Texas Lake Trail. I know most of us, when we hear the word “trail”, we think of a bike, horse or walking path. Well, in this case, is an organization in 31 counties in North Central Texas promoting tourism, economic growth and historic preservation. Our route allowed us to see several of the Lakes, that give the area its name, as well as several historic courthouses. Texas has 254 counties, far more than any other. And many of these counties have historic county courthouses located on a town square. Many of these, dating from the mid-late 19th century, have been recently restored by an effort begun during the George W. Bush governorship
Driving on less busy highways, doted with small towns and their beautiful courthouses, with the added benefit of frequent lake vistas made this a quite enjoyable drive.
Once we got settled in Sanger we arranged to meet Tim and Sherrie at The Oak Street Drafthouse in Denton. After a couple of drafts, we headed to Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant. Situated in an historic Victorian house, the food, although good, took a backseat to the building.
The next day, Bill and I loaded our bikes on the truck and headed into Denton. We planned to ride the Denton KATY Trail, which runs along the old MKT rail bed, next to the current day Denton County Transit A-Train Line. We elected to ride the19 miles to Lewisville and then take the A-Train back.
The trail was paved and in very good condition. The only issues I had, were the lack of any informational or route signage and lack of restroom facilities. On the Lewisville end, it was not clear how to get to, our planned destination, Hebron Station, so we diverted to Old Town Station, which worked just fine.
That evening we offered to stop at a local BBQ place and pickup dinner and meet Tim and Sherrie at their place. The little town of Sanger has 3 BBQ joints to choose from. But the one with the best reviews was Bolivar Street BBQ. By the way, this is Texas, so I’m pretty sure it is Bolivar not Bolívar. We ordered brisket, Ribs and 2 cheese and jalapeño sausages, along with cowboy beans, green chile, green beans, green chile and chopped brisket Mac ‘n’ cheese and fried okra. It sounds like a lot of food, but we actually had very little left over. All of it good, but the standouts were the brisket and the Mac ‘n’ cheese. Both outstanding. Imagine eating brisket and not needing a knife: delicious tender slices you could cut with a fork. And, I could have made a meal of the Mac ‘n’ cheese. We had a nice dinner, sitting on the patio. With their four dogs, I was grateful to be outside and their shaded patio was quite comfortable. Bill even got in some trampoline fun with McKenzie, Tim and Sherrie’s granddaughter. But with the long drive the next day, we did not linger and headed back to Sanger.
The next day’s drive was to Midland for a quick overnight, then on the Hatch, NM. But before Hatch, we had an extra little stop. Instead of talking US 380 west from Denton until it met I-20, we headed a little north to Gainesville and then west on US-82. That route would take us through Muenster, a small town of 1400 residents, 90 percent are decended from the German Catholic founders. Keith and Joanette suggested we make time to visit Muenster. The town still celebrates its German heritage with an annual German Festival. You can still see buildings in German architectural styles and the very large market, given the population, reflects its German heritage and offers a variety of German sausages and cheeses. Bill and bought some of both, along with some German sauerkraut and potato salad.
Now on to Hatch. Hatch is famous for its chile. Red or green is the New Mexico State Question. Both red and green hatch chiles are the same pepper, just at a different ripeness. I had two goals for Hatch, first a green chile cheeseburger from Sparky’s.
And then the next morning, before heading to Tucson, we had Green Chile and bacon burritos. I had my green chile fix. Although, truth be told, I have several pounds of green chiles in my freezer at home, complements of Keith and Joanette.
Our final stop was near Tucson, Oro Valley to be precise, at Catalina State Park. Originally we had planned a two night stop here, with a long bike ride with our friend Andrew. But with the temps in excess of 110°, we cut it short and had a shorter, early morning ride with Andrew and a nosh at Brueggers Bagels before hitting the hot road home. We were back at the trailer before 9:30, with the temperature already at 95°. We were ready to be home.
The drive Tucson to Palm Springs is around six hours. With gas and food stops, we arrived home just before 5PM. We are home for about a month. On July 17th we head toward Montana and the Pacific Nothwest, for quality time with Keith and Joanette and far cooler temperatures than Palm Springs. Stay tuned for when we are On The Road Again!