Daingerfield State Park - Sunday, November 20, 2005
Terry and I are so excited, we're headed back to our favorite state park in Texas, Daingerfield! We'll be staying for an incredible seven days. The best part is that we've got nothing planned for the whole time we're there. We consider Daingerfield one of the "magical" places in our lives. We're both looking forward to an awesome week of relaxation. Of course, the highlight of the trip will be Thanksgiving Day and the delicious meal we'll be preparing and sharing. We're doing the whole dinner at the trailer including even baking a pecan pie. Yum! Turkey dinner, Texas football, and getting to spend the day in the piney woods of east Texas, it just doesn't get much better than that! From the weather forecast, it looks like it's going to be a perfect week to be camping in the great outdoors.
On Sunday morning we left home around 9:00 and headed to our RV storage facility to hook up our trailer and head east on Interstate 30. On Saturday, we completed our shopping for the week and loaded the trailer with all the food items and clothes we'd need for the week. Since we'd be gone for a week, Bandy, our dog, would be staying home this trip. During our trip, we may run into Jefferson to do a little Christmas shopping. Neither one of us are big fans of leaving our dog at the campsite when we're going to be away for an extended period. Especially Bandy, who is very protective of his turf and dog-aggressive, and probably would get into a lot of trouble and raise a ruckus throughout the campground.
About 11:30 we arrived in Greenville, which is about the half way point between home and Daingerfield. We were both getting a bit hungry since we had grabbed "breakfast on the run" earlier this morning. We stopped at Cracker Barrel since they are "RV friendly" with designated RV parking. I love eating at Cracker Barrel, especially at breakfast time. Their "Sunrise Sampler" is the best! About an hour or so later after a delicious lunch, we were ready to get back on the road. I wanted to arrive at the park by 2:00 or so. This time of the year it gets dark early. Terry and I wanted to get our initial setup completed before it got dark and dinnertime arrived.
Right on schedule we arrived at the park's entrance a little after 2:00 in the afternoon. We always get the same feeling every time we make the turn into the park's entrance from the Texas Highway 49, our stress just floats away. That's one reason we both use the word "magical" when we talk about Daingerfield with our camping buddies. Terry and I come away from our trips to Daingerfield recharged and ready to take on the rigors of lives and careers. Terry and I have been camping at Daingerfield for over 10 years now. We started out camping in our tent, then moved up to our Coleman popup, and finally to our full-fledged Pilgrim travel trailer.
Driving up to the front gate. we saw a welcome site, Lisa's little red car. We knew our friend would be checking us in. Lisa is one of the park's office attendants that we've gotten to know over the years. She put us in site #9 in the Big Pine area, which has full hookups. We were pulled into our site and leveled the trailer very quickly, thanks to our Level-Airs. Terry gave me a set earlier this year as an anniversary present. Using them to level the trailer saves so much time. You don't have to pull back and forth trying to guess if you have the correct amount of levelers or boards in place. With the Level-Airs, all you have to do is put them down and air them up so the trailer is level. When I first mentioned them to Terry, she thought they were just another one of my "RV toys" that I had to have. After utilizing them on our many camping trips, she's now a firm believer in them!
While Terry worked on getting the awning pulled out and our patio lights hung, I started on getting the satellite setup and pointed. The tree cover was pretty heavy. I wasn't hopeful in getting a strong signal or getting the satellite locked in. I was correct, I never could get the satellite to lock in. I had a 100' of coax, but it wasn't enough to make it all the way to the bank of the lake, where there was a clear view of the southern sky. Tomorrow, we'd make a run to Wal-Mart in Mount Pleasant to pickup an extra length of coax plus a few other grocery items we needed for Thanksgiving day. Before we headed inside for the evening, one of the rangers drove up with 5 bundles of firewood that we had paid for when we checked in. Pretty cool, "door to campsite" delivery. We helped unload the wood and thanked the ranger for the awesome service.
The coolness of the evening was starting to set in. We decided it was time to head inside and start dinner. We'd finish setting up our "outside stuff" tomorrow. For dinner tonight, I was going to prepare a pot of chili. As cool as it was outside, chili was going to taste awful good. I started working on the chili and soon discovered that we had forgotten to pack the canned tomatoes, oops. It was time for a quick run into town to pick up a couple of cans of tomatoes.
A short time later, Terry and I were sitting down to a delicious bowl of chili. For the rest of the evening, we relaxed and watched a little local TV before turning in for the evening around 10:30. As tired as we were, I don't know how we stayed up that long. It was going to be nice not having to wake up to an alarm clock going off.
Daingerfield State Park - Monday, November 21, 2005
Even though an alarm clock didn't go off, I still woke up at our normal 5:30 time. I couldn't get back to sleep and I didn't want to bother Terry, so I ended up getting up and going out to our living area. Laying down on our couch, I was able to get a little reading in as well as a little snoozing! Terry woke around 7:00, I put on a pot of coffee. When you are camping there is something very special about the smell of coffee permeating the morning's coolness. Even though the outside temperature was in the upper 30's, we were comfy and cozy in our warm trailer. We weren't real hungry. We decided to have oatmeal, juice, and coffee for breakfast. The coffee also tasted really good.
Around 11:00 we both decided it was time to run into Mount Pleasant and Wal-Mart to pick up the extra length of coax for the satellite plus a few other grocery items we needed for our Thanksgiving dinner. While in Mount Pleasant, we also stopped for a quick lunch Pizza Hut before heading back to the park. Mount Pleasant is a quick 30 minute drive from Daingerfield.
With the extra 50' of coax, I was able to position the satellite dish so it could get a clear view of the southern sky. In no time, the signal was locked in and we had a sharp picture. For the rest of the afternoon, we sat outside and read. It was also the perfect temperature for a campfire. Terry kept the campfire burning all afternoon to take the chill off. We had a very relaxing afternoon doing nothing, which is what we're supposed to be doing while camping and on vacation.
When we're camping, we normally eat better than when we're at home. There are a couple of reasons for this. First we've got plenty of the time to prepare the food and second, camping overall is a festive event. On the the diner menu tonight::
Grilled marinated baby back ribs
Baked potatoes with all the fixin's
Corn on the cob
Cookies for dessert
After dinner we played several rounds of Skip-Bo and watched TV before turning in after the Tonight Show was over. Our first full day at the park has been an rousing success. The weather has been absolutely spectacular. In fact the weather is supposed to be perfect for the whole time we're here.
Daingerfield State Park - Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Again I woke a little earlier than Terry. I headed out front and quietly closed the bedroom door. About an hour or so later, I heard Terry stirring in the bedroom. I figured it was time to start a pot of coffee. This is one of the best times of the year to be camping in Texas. The temperatures are perfect, the bugs, for the most part, are non-existent, and the trees are starting to show off their fall colors. The spectacular view we have of the lake from our trailer in inspiring. Add a cup of hot coffee, the cool morning temperatures of east Texas, what more do you need?
An awesome view from our campsite!
|Our DirecTV satellite all set up|
After both of us showered, it was time to start a late breakfast. This morning, our breakfast menu consisted of:
Orange juice, milk and coffee
Since it was such a beautiful morning, we decided to eat outside at our picnic table. Terry and I lingered over breakfast since it was such a perfect morning outside. After cleaning up the breakfast dishes we headed back outside to sit by the campfire. Again it was just cool enough so we could enjoy the warmth of the fire to take the chill off. For the rest of the afternoon, Terry and I enjoyed another incredible day in the piney woods of east Texas.
Later on in the afternoon, we decided to head out to shoot pictures of the fall colors around the park. Some of the trees looked like they were on fire, the colors the trees were showing was incredible. The pictures below just don't do justice to the beauty in the park. OK, I know the colors we have in Texas are nothing like what you folks have back east, but for Texas, we thought the trees were breath-taking.
Fall Colors At Daingerfield State Park
|Out for an afternoon swim||Are you going to feed us or not?|
Arriving back at our campsite it was time to put tonight's dinner in the crock pot. I'm preparing one of Terry's favorite meals, crock-pot lime picante chicken. It's so easy to prepare. Put the boneless chicken breasts in a crock pot and cover with Pace Picante Sauce. We use the medium Cilantro Lime. Let it cook for around 5 hours or so and it's ready to serve.
About 5:00 or so, by the rumble in our tummies, we both figured it was time to head inside and get dinner ready. The smell coming from the crock pot made us even more hungry. On the menu tonigh:
Crock-pot Picante Lime Chicken
Fresh baked oatmeal raisin cookie
Another tip we've learned. We use the Uncle Ben's rice packets. Preparation only takes 90 seconds in the microwave. I believe there are 6-7 different flavors. After cleaning up the dinner dishes, we watched TV and played several more rounds of Skip-Bo. Pretty boring evening, unless you're camping, but very relaxing! Around 10:30 the two of us turned in for the evening.
Daingerfield State Park - Wednesday, November 23, 2005
If our daily narratives are short, it's because nothing has been going on, which is exactly our plan. We had nothing planned for this trip except maybe for a shopping trip to Jefferson on Saturday. At this point we're not even sure if we're going to do that. Terry and I wanted this to be a loss-stress, low-key camping trip. Our trip has been "run of the mill", just resting, clearing our minds, and doing a lot of reading and napping.
This morning we both woke up around 7:00. We had a very restful night's sleep. I didn't even wake up early. I put on our normal pot of coffee. After we both enjoyed a cup of hot delicious coffee, We decided it was time to start breakfast. On the menu this morning:
Breakfast tacos with all the fixin's
Coffee and juice
After we cleaned up the breakfast dishes, we went back outside to enjoy the day. Today the temperature was scheduled to be close to 80°! Go figure, we're around a month away from Christmas and the temperatures are setting new records. What a beautiful day we're having. We couldn't have asked for better weather for this camping trip. It is absolutely spectacular. During the day, Terry prepared and baked a pecan pie for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. She also cut up all the fruit for the ambrosia. Serving Ambrosia, or "fruit salad of the gods" is a long family tradition on Thanksgiving and at Christmas.
Since we're been running the furnace a lot in the evenings. I've been monitoring our propane usage on a daily basis. I checked the propane this morning and saw that one of the tanks was empty. Fortunately we have an automatic switch over to the other tank. I made a mental note to pick up one of the small ceramic heaters to use in the trailer instead of burning the propane. While Terry napped outside, I drove into Daingerfield to get our propane tank refilled. After returning, it was time to settle in my recliner to enjoy the rest of the day and take a nap. Terry kept a campfire going all afternoon. I normally get the campfires started, then Terry takes over and tends them. Fortunately the temperatures didn't get as warm as the weather forecasters predicted so the campfire felt good.
Around 5:30, it was starting to get dark and both of us were hungry, so we headed inside to get dinner started. We had a yummy dinner planned. On the menu tonight:
Grilled hamburgers with all the fixin's
After dinner, we watched TV and played several rounds of Phase 10, another card game that we really enjoy playing. We also tried a new product, "Wolfgang Puck's Rich Caramel Latte". What's unique about the product is the lattes come in a self-heating can. After you activate the heating process, it takes around 6-8 minutes for the contents to get to around 140°. The lattes were really good, we'll definitely buy them again. They're really convenient for camping. We did have one important task to complete before turning in for the evening. We had to make our homemade caramel sticky buns that we'd be having for breakfast tomorrow morning. After the Tonight Show was over it was time to turn in. We were both pretty tired. This camping stuff is really hard work!
Daingerfield State Park - Thursday, November 24, 2005
Happy Thanksgiving! What a beautiful day we've woken up to! As I've already mentioned the view from our trailer is breath-taking! Looking towards the lake, the sun is just beginning to peak through the trees. The scene looks like a picture from the top of a calendar. With all the tragedy that has happened this year with Hurricanes' Katrina and Rita, Terry and I have so much to be grateful for. Our lives have been blessed in so many ways.
Shortly after waking up around 7:00, we put our homemade caramel sticky buns in the oven to cook. A short time later, the smell from the oven reminded us how hungry we were. Accompanying the fresh baked rolls, we enjoyed juice and a pot of fresh hot coffee. At 9:00 it was time to turn the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on. The Macy's parade is a Thanksgiving tradition that can't be missed. Terry and I put the turkey in the Nesco, our portable oven, around 11:00. With the temperature variances, we figured the turkey would be ready around 3:00. Yum, we're going to have an awesome Thanksgiving dinner.
Terry and I decided this was the best Thanksgiving we've shared since we've been married. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day! The weather was awesome and we knew we had an incredible meal ahead of us to share. It was also wonderful to see all of the families at the park sharing their Thanksgiving dinner. Our area of the park was completely full. After Macy's parade was over, one of our favorite holiday movies was on, "Miracle on 34th Street." It was the original one, in black and white. We watched it while waiting for the turkey to finish cooking. Oh was that turkey starting to smell good! We couldn't wait to eat.
On schedule, we pulled the turkey out of the oven a little after 3:00. Around 2:30 we started preparing all of our side dishes. Around an hour later we sat down to our delicious Thanksgiving dinner. On the table before us:
Candied sweet potatoes
Whole kernel corn
Ambrosia (fruit salad)
Fresh baked pecan pie
Our Thanksgiving Feast!
|Terry's awesome pecan pie!||Time to carve the turkey.|
|Looks like we're ready to eat!||A Thanksgiving Day toast!|
|Terry, as pretty as ever!||Yum, let's eat!|
What a dinner we had! Our little 9 pound turkey was so moist and flavorful. All of our side dishes were delicious. As you can see from the pictures above, the temperature was warm since I was in shorts and a T-shirt. After cleaning up the dinner dishes, Terry took a little walk while I started a campfire to take the evening chill off, The temperature had started to cool down a bit. We sat out by the fire until it burned down then headed inside for the evening to play games and watch TV. We turned in after the news was over and slept comfortably through the night.
Daingerfield State Park - Friday, November 25, 2005
Terry and I both woke around 7:00 to another beautiful cool East Texas morning. What an awesome time to be camping in Texas! I keep talking about this, but the view of the lake from our campsite is breathtaking! This morning for breakfast we had the rest of our caramel sticky buns accompanied with coffee, hot chocolate and orange juice.
For the rest of the afternoon, we watched the annual Texas/Texas A& M football game. Of course, since Terry graduated from UT, you can guess who we'll be rooting for. During the game, we'll be snacking and eating, what else, turkey sandwiches. Hook'em Horns! Texas won the game over Texas A&M. So far Texas has an undefeated season. That means it looks like they may be in the Rose Bowl playing for the national championship! We ate the left-over chili while we watched TV and played Skip-Bo. After the news was over we turned in for the night. Another awesome day camping in East Texas.
Daingerfield State Park - Saturday, November 26, 2005
I woke really early Saturday morning around 5:30. I didn't want to disturb Terry so I went on and got up instead of trying to get back to sleep. One of the nice things about our trailer is that we've got regular residential six panel doors so they're easy to close and don't make a lot of noise like the sliding ones. I went out front, turned on the TV and laid down on the couch until Terry woke up around 7:00. I made hot chocolate for her and coffee for me. It was very overcast outside. There was a forecasted 70% of rain today. It would be very welcomed, the whole state is so far behind on rainfall for the year. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is around 16" behind in rainfall for the year. We have lakes in the area that have been totally shut down since they are so far down. A nice soaking rain would be very welcome.
Around 8:00 Terry and I started breakfast. On the menu this morning:
Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese
Fresh baked biscuits
Juice and coffee
After showering and cleaning the breakfast dishes, we decided to take a road-trip to Caddo Lake State Park and then stop and do some holiday shopping in Jefferson. We'd only driven through Caddo once before several years ago. At the time we drove through the whole area had gone through a very severe storm and the park was a mess. Also at the time, we had our popup so we were looking at the sites that would fit our popup. Now that we have our 28' Pilgrim travel trailer, we would need to look at sites in a different light.
Around an hour or so later we arrived at Caddo and started driving through checking out all the different campsites. We finally found the full hookup area. We were both surprised at the sites. All of them were really nice. Terry is still apprehensive about staying at the park. She just doesn't like the signs that read "Watch out for the snakes." We'll maybe work towards a trip to Caddo Lake State Park in the near future, if I can convenience her. Another big plus for the park and the full hookup area was that most of the sites were pull-throughs. Way cool! Caddo Lake has a natural eeriness to it. With all the moss and the cypress trees, it's very spooky. A little bit of Texas trivia, Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state of Texas. All the rest of the lakes in Texas have been man-made.
An afternoon visiting Caddo Lake State Park
After leaving Caddo Lake State Park, we headed back to Jefferson. Since it was lunchtime, we had to make our regular stop at Riverport BBQ. Every time we visit Jefferson, we always stop at the restaurant. I really like their BBQ especially the hot links. Yum. After eating lunch we shopped for a couple of hours. Well, Terry shopped, and I sat on one of the many benches that are provided in front of all the stores. I had a great time people watching and talking to some of the locals. I got to visit with one gentleman who had lived in Jefferson all his life.
Around 2:30, Terry and I headed back down Texas Highway 49 towards Daingerfield State Park and our campsite. We stopped at the local Dairy Queen in Hughes Springs for a Blizzard. After eating our Blizzards, neither of us were hungry so we decided to skip dinner this evening. It was also starting to sprinkle, but not raining like it needed to. We arrived back at our trailer around 3:30. Terry played "Rush Hour", a strategy game, for about an hour or so before settling down on the couch for an afternoon of reading and relaxing and mainly snoozing. For the rest of the evening, Terry and I read and watch TV until we turned in. Tomorrow we'd be heading home! We've had a great week but it'll be nice to get back to home. Terry has really missed her "babies", our cats, and I've missed Bandy, our mutt-dog. We both turned in shortly after 10:00 and slept soundly through the night. We didn't even stay up for the news.
Daingerfield State Park - Sunday, November 27, 2005
We woke around 7:00, sad because it was our last day in the park, but happy to be going home. Throughout the whole week, we could not have asked for a better camping trip. Terry and I were talking yesterday that this trip would go down on the books as one of our best camping trips ever! We decided to eat a light breakfast and then stop for lunch on the way home at one of our favorite restaurants in Mount Pleasant, "Two Senoritas".
We enjoyed a breakfast of cereal, toast, juice and coffee before starting to pack up and head for home. While Terry worked on everything inside, I started dumping and flushing our three waste water tanks. We love camping at sites that have full-hookups. That way I can take my time in flushing all of our tanks. I like keeping all of the tanks really clean so there is no buildup of any waste products. Around 11:30 or so, we were packed up and ready to bid farewell to Daingerfield once again. Terry and I arrived at Two Senoritas around 12:30 ready for a good lunch. About an hour later we were back on the road, with Terry behind the wheel, headed for home. About 5:30 we pulled up the curb in front of our home in order to unload. After Terry and I unloaded, Bandy and I headed over to our storage facility to drop the trailer off. We didn't have another trip planned until New Year's weekend. We'll be spending New Year's Eve weekend at Fort Parker State Park outside of Mexia, TX. Our camping group, the North Texas Camping Association, has the whole park virtually booked. We're both looking forward to the trip.
Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke
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"Daingerfield State Park - November 20-27, 2005" was last modified: January 30, 2006
Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures