Lake Somerville State Park - Birch Creek Unit
December 14-16, 2007

Lake Somerville State Park - Friday, December 14, 2007

Terry and I are headed back to Lake Somerville State Park, Birch Creek Unit to attend a graduation luncheon in honor of my great nephew, Brent Schwanbeck. He's the first Schwanbeck in the family to graduate from college and we're all so proud of him. He'll be graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in Kinesiology. We decided to stay at Birch Creek since it's only around 30 miles from College Station. Staying at the park would also give us the opportunity to see one of our ranger buddies, Kim Ochs, who is the head ranger at the park. We've known Kim for over 20 years now. He is one of the finest folks you'll ever meet.

We pulled out of Alamo RV Storage around 4:00 in the afternoon and headed south on Interstate 35 towards Waco. On the outskirts of Waco, we stopped at Heitmiller Steak House in Elm Mott, Texas around 6:30 for dinner. We had passed the restaurant so many times but had never stopped. It's been in the same location FOREVER. The steak house was hopping on Friday evening and the parking lot was full. Their parking lot is huge and there were several 18-wheelers parked along with pickup trucks pulling cattle trailers and several other RVs. It looked to us we were in the right spot for a delicious steak dinner. We soon found out that all those folks weren't wrong, our steaks were very delicious and tender. Tableside service was brisk and friendly. They've got some very hard working kids to staff the restaurant. Heitmiller is a "no-frills" place that is all about the food, not the surroundings. Don't stop there if you're expecting a fancy evening out. But if you want a good steak and good service for a fair price, you need to stop at Heitmiller's.

After our wonderful steak dinner, we got back on the road and headed towards Waco where we exited towards our final destination for the weekend. We arrived at the park around 9:00 and started searching for a site. We ended up choosing site #69 since it was easy to back in and we were both very tired after being on the road. Since we were just here for the weekend, we did a minimal setup, and got settled in around 9:30. There was no need to get any of our "outside stuff" out since we'd only be here for a short time. We didn't even mess with the satellite dish. The temperature and humidity for this time of the year was very warm. Terry and I relaxed for a bit and watch the local news on TV before turning in for the evening around 10:30.

Lake Somerville State Park - Saturday, December 15, 2007

Both of us woke up around 7:30 after a very restful night's sleep. I needed to run up to the front gate to check in and renew our annual park pass so I threw on some shorts. Terry decided to ride up with me in case Kim was there. When we were at the office, we told the ranger on duty to let Kim know what site we checked into. As I mentioned, Kim has been one of our dear friends for close to twenty years and we couldn't pay visit to his park without seeing him.. After paying for our site and renewing our annual park pass we headed back to the trailer to shower and get dressed for the graduation luncheon later on today. Since we both knew we'd be having a big lunch we decided on a light breakfast of fresh pastries, juice and coffee. After breakfast we relaxed and read until we received a call from my niece, Debbie, to let us know where the luncheon was going to be held. Brent's graduation ceremony was being held at Texas A&M this morning. We decided to just attend the luncheon instead of sitting through the long graduation ceremony. Plus the family only had so many tickets allocated to them.

Site #69 - Lake Somerville State Park - Birch Creek Unit

Around 11:00 my niece called and said we'd be meeting at Outback in around an hour. Terry and I were all dressed and ready to head out to College Station. We arrived at the Outback Steakhouse around noon just in time to meet up with family and friends. The food was delicious and everyone had a wonderful time patting Brent on the back and congratulating him. He also received some really nice cards, money and gifts. After lunch we bid our farewells and headed back to Somerville and our campsite. When we arrived at the park, Terry and I decided to do a "drive-through" of the park to see the different sites. We always like to look around and see all the different rigs that are camped at the park. You never know what you'll learn.

When we drove by the group camping area, the gates were open so we decided to drop in and take a look at the area for a future group campout. Wow, we were impressed. The group area had 14 pull-through sites that surrounded a wonderful enclosed dining hall with a very nice kitchen. The area would be perfect for a group gathering. When we get back home I'm going to call the Texas Parks Wildlife Department and book an upcoming date, probably in the fall of 2008. We headed back to our site, relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, played games, watched TV and enjoyed snacks for dinner. We turned in around 10:00 and again slept very soundly through the night.

Lake Somerville State Park Group Camping Facility

Group camping dining hall Inside photo of dining hall
Serving area of group dining hall Kitchen area
Another view of kitchen area View of lake and group firering
Group area and cast iron BBQ pit Site #2 - All Pull-Throughs
Site #10 Another one of the great sites

Lake Somerville State Park - Sunday, December 16, 2007

Terry and I both woke up again around 7:30 extremely rested after our night's sleep. We decided to shower, get dressed, prepare breakfast and get on the road early for our trip home. On the menu this morning for breakfast:

We were ready to pull out of the campsite right at 11:00 and headed to the park's dump station so we could dump and flush our tanks before getting on the road. We were half way finished when Kim Ochs rolled up to the dump station to chat. He's such a great guy. Today was his day off and he got up to seek us out before we left so he could see us. We chatted for a while before Kim left. Terry and I finished dumping and flushing and headed out of the park for home. On the way home we decided to stop at Cracker Barrel in Waco for lunch. Cracker Barrel's are a great place for RVers to stop since they have RV parking available. The rest of the trip home was uneventful, pretty boring. We arrived at our storage facility around 5:00 safe and sound. We dropped off the trailer and headed home. Our next trip is scheduled in a few weeks to Fort Parker in Mexia, Texas over New Year's weekend with our camping group, North Texas Camping Association. We had a wonderful trip, but it was good to get home.


Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke

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"Lake Somerville State Park - December 14-16, 2007" was last modified: November 7, 2009

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Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures