Canyon of the Eagles - Thursday, March 31, 2005
Terry and I were headed back down to the Texas Hill Country once again. We were looking forward to the camping trip and the time to relax. This trip, we'd heard would a sight to behold. Not only would the wildflowers be in full bloom, but there was a nest of bald eagle adults and chicks that has been drawing all sorts of attention.
On Thursday, both of us decided to take a half-day off so we could drive down to the Hill Country before nightfall. With Terry's new work schedule, she already had Friday off. I took a personal day off so we both could have a long weekend. Originally we were going to stay at Inks Lake State Park, where we stayed a couple of years before. At the last minute we decided to change our reservations to Canyon of the Eagles.
Canyon of the Eagles is a LRCA (Lower Colorado River Authority) park. The park is managed by a private concern. From what we've heard they do a bang up job managing the facility! One of the nice things about Canyon of the Eagles was that we'd have full-hookups at our campsite. The campsites at Inks Lake are just water and electricity. Having a full hookup makes dumping the grey and black water tanks so much easier. After breaking camp you don't have to wait in line at the dump station.
The night before, Terry and I made a run over to our RV storage facility to load all the food and clothes in the trailer. Doing so saved a lot of time the next day when we were getting ready to head out to the Texas Hill Country. Around 11:30 or so, Terry and I left work to meet back at home. We had to meet at home to drop her car off and pickup the dog. Terry wasn't too pleased that I had decided to take Bandy with us. Sometimes he's good, and sometimes he's definitely a "DOG." We're never sure how he's going to act. Looking back on this trip, overall, he was a pretty good puppy.
After gathering up some last minute items, and the dog, we left home around 1:00 in the afternoon and headed to our RV storage facility. Hookup was fast and simple allowing us to be on the road by 1:30. Terry and I were looking forward to seeing all of the wildflowers on our drive down to the Texas Hill Country. From what the state officials had been reporting, there was a bumper crop of wildflowers including bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush. The state officials were correct. On the drive down, Terry and I started seeing more and more wildflowers. We thought what we were seeing was spectacular, but we had no idea what lay before us on down the road.
About half way down to the Hill Country, my cell phone rang. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We were stopped to re-fuel. For the first time, there was a network emergency which required me to stay on the phone for about an hour or so while I worked through the issues with one of my co-workers back in the office. So I could concentrate Terry offered to drive and got to tow the trailer for the first time. This ended up being very good practice for her. She needed to become familiar with towing, the set up and take down of the trailer. An emergency could come up where she'd have to take over. She commented the trailer pulled very nicely and wasn't as difficult to tow as she thought it was going to be.
Finally arriving in Burnet, Texas around 5:30 we decided to make a quick stop at the local grocery store. We needed to buy some firewood and snacks for dinner. We originally thought we'd eat at the lodge's restaurant. We decided that we were too tired and wanted to get setup and then kick back and relax. At the grocery store, we picked up some Bagel Bites and Fried Cheese that could be baked in our trailer's oven. Terry opened up the trailer and put our dinner in the freezer. It was so nice having a freezer.
We headed on down Hwy. 29 west until we saw the turn-off for Canyon of the Eagles. From that point we still had another 15 miles of winding Hill Country roads before arriving at Canyon of the Eagles. When we turned off Hwy. 29, both of our mouths dropped open. There were bluebonnets mixed with Indian Paintbrush everywhere! It looked like the "blue carpet" had been rolled out for us. The flowers were absolutely incredible. Below is just a sampling of what we were seeing. The pictures can't even begin to do the flowers justice.
Terry mentioned that she was glad that I was driving instead of her. She said that she wouldn't have been able to concentrate. There was just too much to look at. I was having a hard time as well, but I had to keep my eyes on the road since I was not familiar with it. If you decide to stay at Canyon of the Eagles, please take your time on the road. It is very hilly with lots of curves. There are even areas where rock slides occur.
Terry and I arrived at the park's lodge around 6:30 after first driving through the RV park. The park is nicely laid out with 25 full hookup sites. We noticed that there was only one other rig already hooked up. This was our kind of park, nice quiet and secluded. As I waited in the truck, Terry went and checked out a couple of the sites to see which one she'd choose. She decided that site #17 was optimal for us. Bandy, our dog, was ready to get out of the truck. He'd had a long enough "bye-bye" for that day.
|Canyon of the Eagles Entrance||One Tired Puppy|
We drove back to the lodge for check-in. Terry stayed in the truck with the dog while I went in to get us registered. The folks at the front desk were extremely friendly. When I said that I wanted site #17, they all commented that it was a awesome site and that we had chosen well. We headed back to the RV park and finally got all setup and leveled around 7:30.
|Canyon of the Eagles - Site # 17||Site # 17 Another View|
Bandy, our dog, was already laid out flat and was fast asleep over by the picnic table. He was one tired puppy! Terry and I were also tired puppies as well. We fired up the oven, baked our Bagel Bites and fried cheese and relaxed for the rest of the evening before turning in around 10:00. I brought Bandy in to sleep in his bed, but he had other ideas. He decided that there was way too much going on outside for a puppy to be inside. Terry even commented that he was being a very good puppy. In fact he never barked once all night long.
Canyon of the Eagles - Friday, April 1, 2005
Our first morning in the Texas Hill Country, Terry and I woke around 7:00 to a cool, chilly morning. I believe the temperature was in the upper 40's. The cool temperature provided ideal sleeping conditions. One of our trailer's feature that Terry loves the most is the central heat, especially on a chilly morning. I stepped outside to see what was going on and to check on Bandy. The wind was really whipping through the camp ground. I knew that we wouldn't be putting our awning out. It was the perfect morning for a pot of coffee. Terry and I relaxed and read until it was time to start breakfast. We would be hanging around our campsite today taking care of some needed maintenance on our trailer.
After a downing an excellent cup of coffee, it was time to start cooking breakfast. On the menu that morning was fresh baked biscuits, bacon and eggs, coffee, juice and ice cold milk. Yum! We'd found a super-easy biscuit mix at Big Lots that made 6 biscuits, perfect for the two of us. All you had to do to prepare them was add 1/2 cup of water, mix them up, and drop them onto a cookie sheet. They were delicious, very light and flaky. Terry and I made a mental note to run by Big Lots and buy some more for only .79 cents each!
After breakfast, we cleaned up and got ready to take care of maintenance tasks that I had mentioned previously. First we needed to install a couple of MaxxAir vent covers over our bathroom and over our Fantastic fan in the bedroom. Installing these covers would allow us to leave the vents open when it was raining. We'd then be able to get real nice circulation through the trailer. The second task was to redo the shelves in my rear garage area. The original shelves were not too sturdy. I put too much stuff on them and the weight caused the brackets holding the shelves to break and the shelves to bend. The replacement shelving that we were installing was much sturdier and be able to take the weight of the items that needed to be stored in the garage.
Terry climbed our trailer's attached ladder to the roof and surveyed the vent installation job. I started handing her the necessary tools. After reading the instructions a couple more times, she had the two vent covers in place and secured in no time. I've always been very proud of her. She's very handy with tools and not afraid to use them. She loves the challenge of putting stuff together. After she finished with the vent installation, we both worked on the back garage shelving installation and modification. When completed, we stood back and looked at the newly installed shelves and re-designed garage area, we were both pleased with the results. Both of our projects took until around 1:00 in the afternoon. It was time to rest. This camping stuff was hard work!
While Terry and I were sitting inside our trailer we came under attack. A male cardinal kept running into the window behind the sofa, basically attacking the window. He did it three or four times. We thought he was going to hurt himself. Finally he gave up. Terry and I figured that he and his mate probably had a nest close by and he was trying to scare us off. Right outside the same window the cardinal was attacking, were patches of bluebonnets. Canyon of the Eagles is certainly an incredible park. Terry and I will definitely will pay this park a return visit.
|Outside Our Trailer||Bluebonnet's - So Fragile, Yet So Hardy|
Later on we decided to run into town to the local hardware store to pickup a couple of items. While in town, we HAD to make a stop at the local Dairy Queen for a couple of Blizzards. As we were driving back to the park, Lake Buchanan looked like a roller coaster at an amusement park. The winds were whipping the white caps up on the lake. There were absolutely no boats out on the lake! The winds made it much too dangerous. We found out later that the park's 70' cruiser's excursion was cancelled Friday due to high winds. The lady at the camp store told us that a couple even tried to rent a kayak to take out on the lake. She tried to explain to them if the park's management felt it was too dangerous to send a 70' cruiser out on the lake, she sure as heck wasn't going to send a couple of idiots out in a kayak. There are some folks out there that don't have a lot of common sense.
On the drive back to Canyon of the Eagles, we stopped for additional pictures. Below are some pictures of the Wolf Creek development. The front gate and field to the left of the gate was absolutely incredible. Another picture shows the tenacity of the bluebonnets, they'll even grow out of pavement if they can get started.
When we got back to our campsite, I hooked up our DirecTV satellite dish. This trip I was able to get it zeroed in on the satellite in less than 5 minutes, a new record. Terry and I sat outside in our recliners and read for the rest of the afternoon until it was time to start dinner. This camping stuff is really hard work! On the menu tonight; steaks, baked potatoes, salad, wine and tea. Around 6:30 Terry and I decided it was time to start dinner. As usual it was major yummy. We spent the rest of the evening watching television and playing games. Since the winds still had not died down enough, we decided to wait until the next night to build our campfire. Around 11:00 we decided it was time to turn in for the evening. Both of us have been sleeping really good on our camping trips. I guess that means we're both pretty comfortable in our new trailer.
|DirecTV All Setup|
Canyon of the Eagles - Saturday, April 2, 2005
Around 6:45 Terry and I woke to another cool crisp Texas Hill Country morning. Waking up to a morning like this is what camping, or should I say RVing, is all about. I put on a pot of coffee for us to enjoy. Breakfast this morning, was going to be apple turnovers, fruit juice, and milk. When we go camping, we've been taking the individual juices with us instead of the 1/2 gallon cartons. They're much easier to handle and there are no glasses to wash. After yesterday's maintenance tasks, I assured Terry that today would be spent doing nothing but relaxing, reading, napping, and playing a round of "ladder golf." I'll talk more about "ladder golf" in a bit. The wind had finally died down so we finally were able to put our awning out.
After cleaning up, Terry and I played 3 rounds of ladder golf. Ladder golf has become the rage among the RV crowd. Terry and I first became acquainted with it at our Loyd Park campout. Why is it called ladder golf? The game is played with golf balls tethered together like bolos and tossed at PVC pipe connected to look like a 3 rung ladder. If your bolo stays on the top rung, you get 3 points, 2 points for the middle rung, and 1 point for the bottom rung. You place the two ladders around 15 feet apart, then alternate throwing the bolos back and forth sort of like horseshoes. You play until one of the player reaches exactly 21 points. Legend says that the game was originated back in the old west days. Bolos were originally a South American throwing weapon. Bolos eventually made their way up to Texas and the southwest. Cowboys and gauchos would pass the time away by tossing their bolos at the fence rails competing against the other cowboys. During our "tournament", Terry ended up winning the 1st game, then I won the 2nd, and she finally won the 3rd. I'm sure we'll be playing more games in the future.
|Ladder Golf with Bolo's Hanging|
Around 11:30 Terry and I decided to head out to see if we could find the bald eagle nest that was causing quite a stir. We had read an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram about a month before talking about the nest and the big stir the eagles were causing. Heading out west on Highway 29 towards Llano, we thought we had already seen the best of the wildflowers. We soon found out we hadn't seen anything yet! As Terry and I drove west, the wildflowers, especially the bluebonnets, became more intense and dense. The fields seem to go on forever. They were absolutely amazing. Words and pictures can't even begin to describe the beauty we were seeing. We even took a picture of the mutt-dog, Bandy, in the bluebonnets. Terry also saw a typical Texas scene, rural mailboxes surrounded by bluebonnets. It doesn't get more Texas than that!
After driving west on Highway 29 for around 30 minutes, we finally arrived at the makeshift viewing area that the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife had set up. The state wildlife department had erected a couple of informational signs that talked about bald eagles in Texas. A make-shift parking area had also been provided. When we arrived there were already around 15 cars parked with folks viewing an incredible site of nature. I wished I would have had a camera with a more powerful lens on it. Our little Canon PowerShot didn't have the focal length to really capture the close-ups that showed the chicks and the parents. To help identify the eagles, I have placed red arrows pointing to them.
Being a "retired" semi-professional photographer, I was really impressed at some of the equipment that the professional wildlife photographers were using. They had some lenses that probably cost more than our house. Also set up were videographers with video monitors running so everyone could see a great close-up of the baby eagle chicks. They were so cute and loud. The tree that held the nest was probably around 200 feet from the road, but you could clearly hear the chicks "talking" to their mommy and daddy. Mommy was tending the nest while daddy stayed in the tip-top of the tree scouting for trouble and watching for food. While we were there, daddy swooped towards the ground and brought his "prize" back to the nest to feed his young. From our viewpoint, it looked like he had caught a small rodent. Terry and I stayed at the viewing area for around 45 minutes watching the wonders of nature before heading back towards town.
Since we were leaving the next day, I decided it would be best to run into town to fill the truck up before heading back to our campsite. It would be much easier to fill the truck up without the trailer attached. Next to the filling station just happened to be one of my favorite BBQ joints in Texas, Burnet County BBQ. A couple of years ago, it was either in the top 10 or got an honorable mention by Texas Monthly. The last time we camped at Inks Lake State Park, Terry and I had lunch there and it was awesome. I couldn't wait to eat there again. After filling up, I stopped in and bought a pound of ribs to take back to our campsite. I'd enjoy the ribs and I know Bandy, our dog, would enjoy the bones!
Terry and I arrived back at our campsite around 2:30 in the afternoon. Terry spent the rest of the afternoon reading, relaxing, and napping in one of the recliners. I proceeded to sanitize our trailer's fresh water tank. It hadn't been done since we purchased the trailer back in January. Even though we always have full or partial hookups, I decided that to keep the fresh water tank partially full mainly for cleaning and refilling the back water. I spent a couple of hours flushing and sanitizing the tank until I was satisfied that the job had been done properly, then I refilled it to around a third full.
Even though I wasn't too hungry, after eating my delicious ribs earlier in the afternoon, Terry decided it was time to start fixing dinner around 6:30. On the menu tonight, grilled chicken and vegetables, accompanied by a fresh tossed salad, wine and tea. As usual, we normally eat much better when we're camping than when we are at home. It was an awesome dinner but how could it not be in a setting like Canyon of the Eagles!
After dinner, we made a campfire, looked up at the stars, and enjoyed a cool Texas Hill Country evening. We were sad we were going home tomorrow, we really wished we had another day to stay. We laid back in our recliners and took in the spectacular sky! The stars were unbelievable. It was all quite breathtaking. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, there is so much light, we never get the see so many stars. Around 10:30 we had run out of wood and the campfire was burning down, so we decided it was time to turn in for the evening. We were both dead tired. We both slept soundly through the night without stirring.
Canyon of the Eagles - Sunday, April 3, 2005
On Sunday morning, Terry and I didn't wake up until after 8:00! Since we had slept so late, we must have been pretty tired from the day before. Today we'll be packing up and heading for home. We don't have another trip planned until Memorial Day weekend. We're headed down to Lake Somerville State Park - Birch Creek Unit with 3 other couples that we met through the Open Road Forum on RV.net. I'm sure we'll have a great time. Kim Ochs, our long-time Ranger friend who was stationed at Daingerfield State Park for over 18 years, is now the head ranger at Lake Somerville. He is an incredible individual. Terry and I are really excited that we'll be getting to see him once again. He's also excited that we're headed down to pay his park a visit. After our Memorial Day camping trip, around the middle of June, we'll be heading to Beavers Bend outside of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. We're heading there to celebrate my sister's 60th birthday.
Bandy was so tired from his big weekend, he was definitely ready to head for home. After Terry and I showered and got dressed, I put on a pot of coffee. We sat outside and enjoyed the cool morning Hill Country breeze. Around 9:00 it was time to start breakfast. One of our camping traditions is always to cook pancakes and all the fixin's on Sunday morning! Breakfast, especially when we're having pancakes, is my most favorite meal when we're camping. Put on a pot of coffee, fry the bacon and sausage, man, nothing smells better when you're camping. If camping has a smell identified with it, it would be breakfast cooking, and coffee brewing!
|Tired and ready to head for home!|
Terry and I ate an awesome breakfast. By the time we had gotten everything cleaned up and stowed it was around 10:30. It was time to start packing up so we could head for home. While Terry took care of everything on the inside, I started working on the outside chores. Since I had much more to do outside, Terry came out to lend a hand. As I finished dumping and flushing our grey and black water tanks, Terry finished putting up our chairs away and rolled up the awning. It was so nice having an awning that one person could handle. About an hour later, we were hooked up and heading for home wishing we could stay a few more days. We arrived back at our RV storage facility in Fort Worth around 5:00 in the evening thankful to be back home safe and sound.
Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke
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"Canyon of the Eagles, Burnet, Texas - March 31 - April 3, 2005" was last modified: May 24, 2005
Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures