Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lots to See and Do in Waco Texas…

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The time came to finally leave the hill country so three hours later we pulled into a Corps of Engineer Park on Lake Waco near Waco Texas. The park is called Airport Park as it is near a local small airport. There actually was no airplane noise and the sites were huge with nearly every one of them having a water view. We settled into our site and enjoyed the park and lake views our first day. 

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Surprisingly after that day, we found lots of things to do in Waco! The town has recently seen an increase in tourism mostly due to the TV show Fixer Upper hosted by Chip and Joanna Gaines. They have really put Waco on the map and even built a few businesses in town we visited as well. More on that in a later blog..

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There are some exceptionally nice parks in Waco for walking and biking. We enjoyed  William Cameron Park, for a riverside walk along the Brazos River. The walk extends through the large park to downtown and to Baylor University. Within the park are several trails providing a forested canopy and steep limestone bluffs which act as a backdrop to visitors walking in the park. We drove the park road above the bluffs and were treated to a panoramic view of the area. Another day we visited Brazos Park East where we played disc golf. We found the course to be very challenging and I even lost a disc in one of the water hazards. Despite the loss we had a blast playing this extra long course.

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Another day walking along the Brazos River we crossed a cool suspension bridge and near the bridge was a neat sculpture. The longhorn cattle sculpture depicts the western cowboys herding their cattle on the Chisolm Trail. Beyond the sculpture near the downtown area we enjoyed sights such as the county courthouse and the tallest building in town. the Alico building.

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We found several fun taverns in town and grabbed a bite at a few spots as well. For a cold beer we really enjoyed Crickets and the Dancing Bear Pub. A regional chain we tried out called the Twisted Burger was not as good as we hoped but it certainly had a fun, quirky ambiance. One rainy day we headed north to West Texas and visited the Czech Stop Bakery for some of their very delicious Kolaches, a delightful Czech pastry and a real Road Treat. We also stopped in at Slovacek’s  for some of their great Texas sausage!

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That same day we drove over to Lake Whitney State Park and were treated to a roadrunner right after we entered the park. It is always fun to see the roadrunners buzzing across the roads and as most , it had us thinking, “beep, beep.” Sharon and I also stopped in a wooded area because I heard some painted buntings singing in their territories. I was able to call some of them up and we were thrilled to see the males in their full spring plumage of brilliant colors. One was so close I was able to get a great picture which is the header pic of this blog.

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There were even more fun things we found in Waco but I will include them in the next blog…

NOTE: We were in Waco Texas but are now at our next park in Jacksboro Texas…

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fun Things We Did Around Blanco Texas…

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Our family time came to an end so we headed back out on the open road to travel a short distance north to Blanco State Park. We have stayed at this park many times in the past but always look forward to staying there along the Blanco River. We pulled into our site, set up and set out for a walkabout in the park. We will only stay three nights before moving on to  Waco.

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Blanco State Park only has a limited number of sites that are full hookup and after being at the COE park in Canyon Lake without sewer hookups it was sure nice to have them again. We can conserve water with the best of them but it is also great to not have to worry about that for a while. Also by mixing in camping at non-full hookup sites with those that do have full hookups it means I don’t have to visit a dump station after leaving the parks without full hookups.

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Blanco State Park is a long thin park on the banks of the Blanco River. This makes for great scenic walks. We also enjoy walking along the river into the old downtown square as there is a gate out of the park into a city park behind the square. There is a small assortment of shops and restaurants in town but nothing noteworthy. However the old courthouse is now the town visitor center and had walls lined with lots of old pictures which entertained us one afternoon.

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Before leaving the hill country we took one more drive through the countryside. The spring wildflowers are starting to disappear and are being replaced by the early summer wild flowers. They too will be gone soon as should we be since it signals the hot summer temperatures are just around the corner. We have experienced a few days in the 90’s already but that hasn’t deterred the Indian Blanket flowers from carpeting fields in the hill country.

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Our last day we drove over to Guadalupe State Park since the temperature was going to be in the mid 90’s. We felt this would be the perfect time to relax along the banks of the Guadalupe River. While walking down river we enjoyed the scenery until discovering a delightfully shady spot where we could sit, soak in the view and cool down in the waters of the river.

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Spending the day in Guadalupe State Park was a great way to end our stay in the Texas Hill Country. Next up for us is a stop in Waco Texas…

NOTE: We left Blanco State Park for a weeks stay in Waco Texas with our next stop to be in Jacksboro Texas…