Comfort at Canyon Lake

As Al and I travel around, we occasionally stumble across a location that embodies comfort.  We find ourselves in such a location at a Corps of Engineer campground at Canyon Lake in Texas, just 45 minutes north of San Antonio’s River Walk.Canyon Lake

In spite of inclement weather with record low temperatures and persistent overcast skies, we thoroughly enjoyed our week long stay.  The view out my rear window is the kind of view I relish and routinely search for.

We love parking near water and Canyon Lake provided the perfect backdrop to a beautiful campsite.  The cold dreary weather kept us indoors the majority of our stay but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the area on the couple of somewhat nice weather days we did have.Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake

Our first excursion was a visit to The Alamo and San Antonio’s River Walk.  It’s a Tuesday morning.  We hop in the truck and head into the city around 9 in the morning hoping any rush hour traffic has long past.  It turns out to be a relatively easy drive taking us about 45 minutes from the time we leave Canyon Lake until the time we’re parked in a nice parking lot…..St. Mary’s east lot.

City parking isn’t always easy when driving a pick-up truck with an extended bed.  Fortunately, we have no trouble fitting into a parking spot near Broadway and Pecan and find the $5 for the entire day to be quite a bargain.  Score!The Alamo

It’s a short and easy walk over to The Alamo where I quickly start snapping away.  It’s a brisk overcast morning with few other visitors.Alamo

The battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas revolution.  This epic battle for Texas independence took place in 1836.  There is no fee to tour this 300 year old structure, but there are a set of unique rules befitting The Alamos status as the Shrine of Texas Liberty.Alamo

Rules of Reverence –  Help Honor Their Memory

  • Gentlemen, please remove your hats inside the Shrine.
  • No open containers are allowed inside the buildings.
  • No food or drinks are allowed inside the buildings.
  • Photography is not allowed inside the buildings.
  • No camera or cell phone use is permitted inside the buildings.
  • Please do not touch the walls or display cases inside the Shrine.
  • No pets are allowed on Alamo Grounds (service animals allowed).
  • No restrooms inside the Shrine. Public restrooms located at back of grounds.
  • No obscene or offensive clothing is allowed.
  • No bikes or skateboards are allowed on the grounds.
  • Please lower your voice when speaking.
  • No unauthorized weapons are allowed. CHL allowed with permit.
  • Ice chests are allowed but must not be left unattended at any time.The Alamo

Al and I spend about an hour touring this historical landmark before venturing over to the River Walk……..

We are currently located in Benson, Arizona, making our way back to Phoenix.  The warmth of the desert is welcome but the lure of Texas is strong.  I see more Texas explorations in our future.  For now, we look forward to visiting our son in Phoenix.

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No Room at the Inn

The Hilltop RV Park in Stockton, Texas proved to be a great spot to overnight.  We could’ve saved ten bucks by staying at a Passport America park but that place was literally next to the interstate.  The Hilltop RV Park, aptly named since it sits high above the interstate on a hill, was convenient and quiet and even offered a view of a lovely Texas sunset.

speed limit in Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas and faster – speed limit 80 mph

Texas is a BIG state…..How big is Texas

It’s December 29th and we’re anxious to get to our next location to stay long enough to ring in the New Year.  We hit the road shortly after sunrise knowing we have about a 5 hour drive in front of us.  Our destination is a Corps of Engineers campground at Canyon Lake just northeast of San Antonio, Texas.  We first heard about this place from fellow blogger Donna and a nice comment from her had us calling the COE to double check for vacancy.  There were three sites still available at the Cranes Mill Campground.  Potters Creek was full.

Having commitment issues lately, Al and I decide to roll the dice and not make a reservation.  By the time we arrive at the Cranes Mill Campground around 3:00 in the afternoon, we are politely turned away….no room at the Inn.  What? And no overflow lot for boondocking?  Really?  You snooze, you lose!  Plan B.

Five minutes away is a private RV Park called Rio Raft or Rio Guadalupe Resort.  They accept our Passport America discount card and we pull into a very nice pull-thru site for $17 a night with full hook-ups.  The park sits along the Guadalupe River.  We pay for one night and the next day pay for another.  Gosh, we’re indecisive.  I love it!

Guadalupe River
Guadalupe River

I had all these grand plans to explore around the Texas hill country and visit the San Antonio River walk.  Susan’s blog has been providing me with oodles of information on the area.  The cold humid air chills Al and me to the bones.  We’re just not used to this kind of weather anymore.

So these two wusses wimp out and travel on the very day they vowed not to travel….Dec. 31st.  We arrive at our Rockport, Texas destination 5 days early in some attempt to circumvent the inclement weather.  BUT just because we made it to south Texas does not mean we averted the “polar vortex” that has engulfed most of this country.  Nope, we’ve been graced with freezing rain and 25 degree F overnight temperatures.  Oh, joy!  The adventure never ends.  Thankfully, fairer weather is on the horizon.

how big is Texas
no end in sight!

Random Texas facts…

  • The bowie knife is named after the Alamo hero Jim Bowie (1796-1836).  His brother designed the hefty weapon.
  • It is still a hanging offense in Texas to steal cattle or to put graffiti on someone else’s cow.
  • It is illegal to indecently expose or swear in front of a corpse.
  • In Galveston, Texas, it is illegal to have a camel run loose on the beach.  Camels were imported into Texas in the 1850’s by the U.S. War Department in the belief that they would be handy animals to use during the Indian Wars.
  • Oscar, the Academy Award statuette, was named for Texan Oscar Pierce, whose niece worked in Hollywood for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  When she saw the gold statuette, she reportedly said, “Why, that looks just like my Uncle Oscar.”
  • At 268,601 square miles, Texas is the second largest U.S. state.  Alaska being number one.
  • Texas is the second most populous state.  California is number one.
  • Charles Alderton (1857-1941) a Waco, Texas, pharmacist, first created Dr Pepper in 1885.  The oldest working Dr Pepper plant is located 94 miles west of Waco.  Oh and there is no period after the “Dr” in Dr Pepper.
  • Each year Amarillo, Texas, hosts the World’s largest Calf Fry Cook-off.  “Calf fries” are bull testicles.
  • John Wayne and Chuck Norris are honorary Texas Rangers.  The Texas Rangers are the oldest law enforcement agency in North America with statewide jurisdiction.
  • The world’s largest and oldest rattlesnake roundup is held every March in Sweetwater, Texas.

AND on a final note……….here’s a photo of my friend snorkeling in Minnesota

snorkeling
snorkeling anyone?

Beautiful Day…

It’s going to be a beautiful day.  Bear and I are on our morning walk, and yes it’s about 6:30 a.m.  Same time every morning.  That boys internal clock never fails.  The sun is still behind the Superstition Mountain.  There’s a lovely coating of snow near the “Flat Iron”.  Bear and I enjoy a nice, leisurely walk this morning.  Yesterdays walks were way to short leaving Bear well rested and full of energy.

"Flat Iron" - Superstition Mtn

Over coffee, Al and I decide whether or not to join the group on a hike.  We decide to opt out.  Early on in our trip, at different times, Al and I both incurred minor injuries.  Thus, curtailing our hiking abilities.  Not wanting to embarrass ourselves or hold the group back, we make our own plans for the day.  I’m super excited to take some photos of the rare coating of snow in the distance.  Al and I decide to take a quick drive to Canyon Lake and have lunch in Tortilla Flat.

We head out for our drive shortly after breakfast and find some scenic stops along the way….stops we did not make on our previous trip to Canyon Lake.  It’s a gorgeous day…amazing blue sky, light breeze, upper 60’s…can’t get much better!  We take our time and enjoy the scenery and the day.

Canyon Lake

There’s definitely more traffic today than there was a week ago when we took this same drive.  We assume it’s because the weather was so nasty over the weekend.

Dollar bills decorate the walls

We get to the little town of Tortilla Flat, population 6, just in time for lunch.  This “little” town resembles a long ago western town.  The restaurant is already bustling with activity.  We’re seated at a table to the rear.  The walls are plastered with dollar bills.  The bar stools are saddles.  It’s a fun little place and the burgers are very tasty.  They’re grilled over an open flame outside.  Service was quick.  Al enjoys a light Beer on tap brewed specifically for this restaurant at a local brewery in Phoenix.  I visit the restroom before leaving…..darn, wish I had my camera in here….way too funny.  Amusing paint job on the stall doors.  You’ll just have to visit and see for yourself!

Tortilla Flat

After lunch, we step into the gift shop and look around.  We head over to the ice cream shop.  We had heard they have fantastic ice cream.  I try to avoid dairy and opt to try the fudge while Al enjoys the ice cream.  Yes indeed, Al attests the ice cream is very good.  As for my fudge…yum…Mackinac Island, you have some serious competition.  We walk around a bit more and allow the sun to warm us and our food to digest before heading home.

Gitty up...

If you’re in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend a visit to Tortilla Flat for a relaxing and scenic day. The most enjoyable part is the drive getting there…very pretty.  If the weather were warmer, we might even consider renting a watercraft of some sort on Canyon Lake.  The Marina offers a variety of boats to rent including wave runners. 🙂  We return to our Rig and take Bear on a nice long walk around the campground.  Lost Dutchman State Park is one of my favorite places and not just on this trip.  We look forward to returning.

Lost Dutchman State Park

The group has returned from their morning hike and interested individuals are invited to try out WII Fit at one of the couples RV’s.  Fun… Al and I decide we MUST get one.  Entertaining and good for us.  So after we all play around, the group heads out to the Organ Stop Pizza.  Al and I have been there a couple of times before and are still immensely entertained.  The food is pretty good too.  I highly recommend this place, even if you’re not a big pizza eater.  In addition to pizza, they offer a salad bar and some Italian dishes.  This is home to the largest Wurlitzer Organ in the world and even if you’re not a fan of the Organ (that would include me) you need to see this place at least once and experience it for yourself.  It can’t really be described.  The Organ Stop Pizza is located in Mesa just off US-60        OrganStopPizza.com         A must see when your in the Phoenix area !