Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TX:Caddo State Park Paddle & More

On Sunday we traveled south 3 hours, just under 200 miles-a great daily travel distance and time, we arrived at Clear Springs COE in Texarkana TX around 1:30. We checked in headed to our site to find a 5th wheel sitting there, back to the office we went to find out we couldn't do anything till 2pm. At 2pm there was still no sign of life at the site, after about 15 minutes I biked back to the office where a call was placed to the renters, no answer but a message was left. I visited for a bit with the nice gate attendants and then headed back, we had parked in a pull through just up the road from our intended site, none of the other good lake side sites were available for more than overnight so they weren't an option. When I got back to the truck someone was at the site starting to take the 5th wheel out of there, they sure didn't move too fast. By 3:30 though we were all set up for a week on another beautiful lake.

Nice big back yard, Dave has spent plenty of time fishing on the Wright Putnam Lake. For $68 he has an all water non resident fishing license good through next August. He'll be doing a variety of fishing this winter so he's now covered for fresh or salt water fishing.

We spent Monday doing routine chores, we met a nice couple, William and Linda while at the laundromat. Fulltimers that are from the area and head to NC to visit family during the summer. Willilam is the local Collection Center Coordinator for Operation Christmas Card so that keeps them here until the middle of December. We spent a short hour talking about local campgrounds and places we've all visited while the machines did their work.

Tuesday we had a late morning but finally stirred to take a short ride around the lake, stopping at another COE and  a few TX State Parks on the lake. We didn't want to be out long as Dave had put a pot roast in the slow cooker, an afternoon 6 mile bike ride in the park and we were ready for dinner.

Tuesday we headed to Caddo Lake State Park, I had read about the park and wanted to see about getting out for a paddle, reviews had said we probably wouldn't fit but in a few spots. they were right only a few sites would have fit us. But the canoeing was something else, a nice boat ramp to launch from and we were in the Big Cypress Bayou, a short paddle and we were in the Saw Mill Pond which is in Caddo Lake SP.  In searching for the history of the park I came upon some info I wished I'd looked into before we got there, the CCC did most of the building of the park and apparently there are some buildings remaining, oh well next time.

 From the TX state park website the history of Caddo Lake SP:

"This lake was the only natural lake in Texas until it was artificially dammed in the early 1900s when oil was found and for flood control in 1914. A new dam replaced the old one in 1971. Caddo Indian legend attributes the formation of the lake to a giant flood. Scientists believe the lake formed when floodwater, blocked by massive log jams on the Red River, backed up into the Cypress Bayou watershed, forming the lake.

In the late 18th or early 19th century, Caddo Indians settled on this rich land, where according to tribal legend, “water thrown up into the drift along the shore by a wind” formed Tso'to (Sodo) Lake. Legends tell of the formation of the lake and Sha'childi'ni (Timber Hill), the first and last known Caddo village in this area. People have lived in this area for at least 12,000 years. For centuries, they hunted and gathered among the wetlands, forests and broad floodplains. Then they began to settle in permanent villages. The Caddo hunted wild game with bows and arrows, fished, and farmed corn, beans and squash. They built ceremonial centers and maintained far-reaching trade routes.

The park's original improvements were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps. They were begun by Company 889 in June to November of 1933 and completed by Company 857 between October 1934 and March 1937. The U.S. Army had 15 barracks and an Army mess hall that were converted into the nine log cabins and group recreation hall that we use today. There is also a CCC pavilion and remnants of original picnic sites and a latrine along the trails.

At first I was hesitant to canoe here as there are suppose to be alligators, but it was such a cool place I couldn't not go out. Thankfully none were spotted and after awhile I relaxed and enjoyed the ride.

We received a cast iron dutch oven from our son David a few years ago for Christmas, we finally used it for the first time. We made an apple pie and then placed it inside the dutch oven and cooked it over the fire, for a first try it didn't come out too bad.

I've read the blog In The Direction of Our Dreams for a few years now, Sherry has a way with words that puts a reader right there with her. I've learned about a lot of great places from her and David's travels, Sherry left a comment on my last post about the cupcakes, wanting a play by play of all that delicious goodness.

Top row-Strawberry Shortcake, White Midnight Magic, Triple Chocolate Torte & Banana Cream Pie
Middle row-Chocolate Salted Carmel, Scarlet Red Velvet, Carrot Cake & Champagne
Bottom row-Spiced Apple Cider, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Midnight Magic

Maps... I've been reading maps for as long as I can remember, my mom would take my brother and I to IL every summer for a month or more. We'd go by train or bus, my dad would then drive up from TX or later NY, after a visit with my mom's family we'd all head to Cincinnati OH to see my dad's family. After family visits we'd head toward home, I remember having to get on and off what was becoming the interstate system. Since my dad worked for Texaco we'd stop at the Man With the Star gas stations, mom would get free maps for all of us except dad of course., When Dave and I started traveling across country we became members of AAA, one of the benefits was their Trip-tiks, I'd get books for all the states we'd be visiting along with state and any city maps we would need. In 2010 our son David got us Microsoft Streets and Trips which I've used ever since for our travels and since we've had the rv I've added a low clearance feature, still have all of those trips saved on the computer. It's been great for figuring out mileage and time between stops, easy to make changes or add stops, just wish I knew a way to overlay all of our trips on to one map.

My most recent "master" atlas that I've kept at the house or now in the rig is a 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas-large scale. In my truck is my old master which is a 2010 Road Atlas, both have most of the roads high lighted that we've taken since our travels in 2004, wish I had thought of this earlier on. In our office back in our S&B days we had a 3'x5' US map which was full of push pins of the places we'd been, we would look at that map and dream about where we were going next, plotting our route feeding our souls on long winter days. We tried hard to figure out where we could put that map in our rv, just couldn't be done, taking it down was a very sad day for us. When we got our new rig we were delighted to have a glass topped table just waiting for something, over the summer we found a laminated map that would fit. If you think we enjoy our maps, old school and new we do enjoy them.

Until next time...


  1. I'm drooling over those cupcakes all over again and even more now that I know all their fancy names and in some cases can guess their ingredients. You are so sweet to post it. I was only "half" serious! Boy does that look like a paddle I would love to do. I'm a bayou, swamp, wetlands addict and don't worry about alligators. I just stay away during breeding season just in case. Planning trips with maps is half the fun I have always though and still do. Love those maps!

    1. Glad to post the cupcakes again, at least this time I wasn't consuming the calories... It was a great paddle, hope to find some more places like this. While I use my computer programs for routing, just like books, there's nothing like the "real" thing.

  2. I grew up with maps too. My mom couldn't read a map, so I was always the navigator. Bob teases me about all the maps on my lap when we travel.

    How long will you be at Caddo Lake? We are visiting there Friday morning in our truck just cuz I always wanted to see it. Hopefully there is a visitor center or some trails to hike. Love your photos of the lake.

    We are spending one night (Thursday) at Lake o' the Pines Brushy Lake Campground. It's wonderful. All the roads are easy to navigate. We have a pull-through site overlooking the lake, though we're not next to the lake. It's a gorgeous campground with big sites. Highly recommend it.

    1. Just a day stop at Caddo, staying in Clear Springs COE in Texarkana, TX. I'm sure you'll enjoy your trip to Caddo, they do rent canoes if you want to go out on the water.

  3. As usual, Faye, you delight with your combination of current events and history. We both are enjoying your travels as we get ready for winter here in Vermont. Supposed to snow a bit tomorrow. Bet you'll miss that!

    1. Nope don't miss the white stuff, just miss our friends :) Glad you're enjoying the blog, say hi to Helen for us, give the four legged kids a pet for us.

  4. I've always loved maps too and we also had a huge laminated map at the house with pins and sticker dots all over it :) These days I tend to do more Google mapping than anything else though.

    1. Miss our huge wall map, looks like we've both had to make the same adjustments for the lifestyle

  5. I just love the Cypress trees "knees." Looks like a great place to canoe.

  6. There's something about a map. I used to use maps in model home decorating. We'll be crossing the border tomorrow into Texas coming from the opposite direction. Love those state parks with water.


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