Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wright Patman Lake and Sam Rayburn Lake COE

At our last stop in Arkansas, we mentioned this great Mexican restaurant in Murfreesboro.  Well, we couldn't resist a quick stop on the way to Texas to pick up some great take-out. 

The "see you tomorrow" is what each of the restaurant waiters and manager say when you leave.
From the large number of patrons here for lunch on a Monday, we would say it is quite accurate.

The manager was quite friendly and interesting.  From Texas, he went out of his way to be sure we had plenty of salsa and chips and sopapilla (a sweetened fried dough). That was in addition to burritos, chimichanga, and fajitas.  We had enough food for two meals.

Our first stop is Malden Lake COE at Wright Patman lake.  When looking for Corps parks, we assume that we might be on some back roads.  It is always!!! a good idea to check directions from the Corps as well as looking at a map and using your GPS navigation.  This park is fairly easy to get to.  But along the way you will follow US highways, state highways, county roads, and what in Texas they call farm to market roads (labelled FM).

The point is that some of the roads might be quite narrow and even sometimes gravel.  Once you arrive, you will find a very friendly and  helpful park host to help you find a site. We find that other snowbirds tend not to venture too far from the highways.  Their loss.
As in other COE parks, Malden is a definite fisherman's paradise.  This one is also a home for a number of hunters.

Doesn't Lady Blue look comfortable?

The lake is right over that little rise behind Lady Blue. We had a nice private site this way and decided not to go for the water view.

Wright Patman is a large lake with many access points.  This campground is on a small cove, but it has full access to the entire lake.

This picture is from one of the boat ramps. The fisherman is one of many that were there.

Jan is looking forward to hiking the Pepper Jack Dusty Trail. Actually, after we had asked about hiking trails, the host went out with his leaf blower to clear the leaves and pine needles( or pine straw as they call it sometimes in Texas).

Good thing, because without clearing the trail, we had no idea where it went.

The trail, though short, went along a good section of the lake.

A good, brisk , fall walk in the woods.

Our next stop is all the way around the lake to Piney Point .  This COE park is right off of route 59.  But, not wanting to take it easy, we followed our GPS over some back roads.  Pretty farm country. 

Not too remote, because we actually had an automated railroad crossing to wait at while a very long train passed by.  Lots of different container units, some piggy back. 

How sharp of all of you to notice that we are back at a water  view site.  This campground--Piney Point--is a smaller campground next to a larger campground called Rocky Point.  With few signs and little fanfare, this park is usually quite quiet.  We were the only ones here for one night. The other nights we were joined by one other camper.  We decided that we were able to take this site because the other campers had a much longer unit that would not fit here.  We had the whole little peninsula to ourselves.  The sunset is from inside Lady Blue.

Jan and I had to figure that Wright Patman Lake has to be on a birding migration route.  The white birds are white pelicans which are common to the area.  But on this rainy day, they are joined by hundreds of ducks.  We couldn't be sure, but they looked quite a bit like a type of cormorant.  They spent the entire time that we are able to watch them diving for food.  Every now and then the pelicans would chase a few of them, probably quite happy to see them leave.

Eustis, our traveling moose from Maine, is always on the lookout for deer or other animals.  None to be seen on this road which takes us through the Angelina National Forest to our stop on Sam Rayburn Lake.  Some of you might be old enough to remember Sam Rayburn as the Democrat from Texas who held the position of Speaker of the House in the US Congress. He was Speaker for 17 years, the longest tenure in US history. 

This stop is at Hanks Creek Park.  Note that Sam Rayburn Lake is also known as Sam Rayburn Reservoir.  There is another side to our travels.  As you notice from our road picture, it is raining.  It has been raining off and on for a week or more and we are due for a few more days and inches of rain. 

But, Lady Blue is dry, warm, and comfortable.

Hanks Creek is a long way down the road from Jasper, Texas.  We find a number of "reserved" signs on the sites because we have entered Thanksgiving week.  Our host greets us to see if we have a reservation.  Since we do not, he suggests that we call to see about what sites might be open and then reserve on the spot.  Great.
Except, we have no phone signal---nothing.  So we find a nice site and then use his phone in the camp office to call and reserve--a very nice site for --3 nights because of the rain forecast.  Those of you who were wondering where we were, will now realize that we were in a very nice site for 3days with no phone, no internet, and one channel of TV.  Just like the old days! Except then, there was no TV either.  It made us remember that trip with all of our family to Mount Katahdin in Maine.  Out with tents and little equipment about a quarter to half a mile away from our van in a primitive campsite.  And yes, probably one of our most memorable camping trips ever.

The view of Lady Blue from across the water.  With the rain, most of the few campers that were here went home for a few days.  It seems that most campers we run into live very close to the parks and enjoy them on weekends whenever possible.

The view from the water sites is quite nice.  On this trip, though, we are quite happy to have a more protected site from the cold winds and rain.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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