first teetering steps into retirement

We are slowly slipping Ain’t Leo into the realm of retirement. Funny thing is that she is not fighting it too much.

We went to Huntsville State Park for a week. Two days before we were scheduled to leave, she decided that she really hated the thought of going home. My cure to her blues? I went online with the TPWD reservation center and scheduled  us for  another week at Ft. Parker State Park near Mexia. If we had not run out of our meds we would have scheduled  another week  at another  park. Next time we pack  all the  pills.

We arrived at Huntsville at 1100 on the 18th. The park had been closed for a week to harvest does and hogs. We had to wait at the  gate for  an hour for the park to open, but made the best of  it  visiting with some really nice  folks. We met twin sisters who are fishing fanatics and a retired Air Force loadmaster. He had actually flown supplies into some of the base camps I was at in Vietnam. Small world, huh?

It was a big Scouting weekend for the park, possibly because of the MLK holiday. Herds of kids on foot, on bikes and on skateboards. Lots of life (i.e. noise) in the park. At least it  was the noise of healthy, active kids having fun with adult supervision.

Unlike our last trip, our site was wide enough to open the awning and have the  rug on the blacktop. We only had to raise the rig 2″ to get things level. We had to raise it up more than 10″ on the last trip. Not worth the convenience of full hookups for only five days. The rest of the site was lightly wooded with enough trees to host a dozen hammock hangers. We had a concrete table (with a large chunk missing), a fire ring with flip over grill and a lantern post. All the comforts of home.

Our favorite camping couple were supposed to meet us at the park, but a death in the family kept them from joining us. That changed our menu for the next three days. I had great plans for a dutch oven feast for four, but Ain’t Leo and I ended up eating my creation for three days – three mighty tasty days, I might add.

Saturday afternoon I burned six or seven pieces of good seasoned oak to make a good bed of coals. I put six really meaty country style ribs in a 12″ dutch oven, added two cans of beer and a half bottle of Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce. I simmered it for about two hours with the lid on. After pulling the oven from the coals, I flipped the grill into place and put the ribs over the coals and swabbed them with the remaining BBQ sauce. A few damp mesquite chips really added to the smokey flavor.

The Scouts all left by noon on Monday leaving us a couple of days to enjoy a quiet and nearly deserted campground.

Ain’t Leo’s sister had to attend a conference at the Education Service Center in Huntsville, so we got to spend a little time with her. We had lunch at the Farmhouse Restaurant and then hit some of the small shops in tow. Unfortunately her schedule was so tight that we didn’t get to see her again before we left for Mexia.

We left Huntsville on Wednesday morning for a back road adventure to Mexia. We arrived at Ft. Parker at about 1500. We were the only rig in the park until Friday when some folks arrived from South Carolina. Shortly after that a couple arrived from Quebec. They were a real hoot and regaled us with tales of their three month trip across Canada, up to Alaska for a month and then back home to Quebec. They had just outrun the snow storms and were taking their time going to Yuma to meet up with some fellow Canadians from British Columbia.

We spent one day going to Waco to see the Texas Ranger Museum and Hall of Fame. It was one of the best executed small museums I’ve ever been to and I recommend it to anyone passing through Waco. It’s just off of Exit 335 of IH-35, so is eaxy to get to.

The trip home took a full tank of gas because of raging crosswinds until we hit Hempstead.

Now the big challenge – planning next month’s trip.


1 comment to first teetering steps into retirement

  • Dennis Young

    Sounds like another version of the good life. Truly wish we were close enough to hook up with you two on some of your outings…maybe someday. Anyway, good heaalth to you both and we are looking forward to a visit.

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