Dinosaur Valley State Park - Thursday, July 28, 2005
Terry and I are off this time to where the dinosaurs used to walk here in Texas. The park is only little over an hour's drive from Fort Worth, so it'll be a quick trip for us. Dinosaur Valley State Park isn't a real large park when it comes to campsites, but it is a very popular day use park and normally sold out on the weekends. Also, it is one of the few state parks that has very active interpretive programs conducted by the park rangers.
We'll be meeting two other couples, Steve and Leslie, and Brian and Renee'. This will be the first time we've camped with Brian and Renee' and the second time with Steve and Leslie. Terry and I are hoping for a relaxing weekend of camping, sightseeing, reading, napping, and of course, eating some good camp cooking. Since the park is sold out starting tomorrow, Terry and I decided to head down to the park after work to get setup and secure the other two campsites for our other RV couples that will be joining us on Friday.
Lucky Terry is taking a vacation day on Friday but I'll be driving back into work from the park. She is so looking forward to having the day to herself just to do nothing. Since we were leaving from work, we grabbed a bite to eat before heading to the park. We arrived around 7:30 in the evening and got all of the necessary connections taken care of around an hour later. For this camping trip, we choose site #30, and apparently we did a good job choosing.
We were both amazed, the site was perfectly level. I didn't have to put our Level Airs to use. Our campsite was also perfect for our DirecTV dish. We had a perfect view of the southern sky. For the rest of the evening, we relaxed and watched a movie on DirecTV. After watching the local news and weather, Terry and I turned in for the evening. While watching the weather, we hoped to hear some good news about it possibly being cooler, but we were out of luck. It was gong to be hot all weekend, but that's what's air conditioning is for in Texas!
Dinosaur Valley State Park - Friday, July 29, 2005
Terry and I slept very good last night, I guess both of us were pretty tired. I woke around 6:30 and put a pot of coffee on. I was planning on leaving for work around 6:00, but I will be going in a little late today. I have a problem laptop coming in from Mexico around 5:00 that will need my attention. That means I'll be working a little late into the evening before heading back to the campsite. Around 8:00 I headed up to the front gate to get us checked in and secure our two additional sites. While I was gone, Terry put a pan of blueberry muffins in the oven for breakfast. They should be ready when I get back from the front gate. For breakfast, we're having fresh baked blueberry muffins, orange juice and coffee. Yum! Take a look at the stone work on the front of the park's headquarter building. The dinosaur theme is carried out very nicely.
|Stone work on park's headquarters|
When I arrived back to our campsite from the front gate, I could smell the muffins. While at the front gate, I was able to secure the site for Brian and Renee' and Steve and Leslie. Brian and Renee' would be in site #28 and Steve and Leslie would be in site #26. As I mentioned, the park only has around 40 camping sites with water and electricity and most are well shaded. After breakfast, it was time for me to head to work. Leaving the park around 9:00, I arrived a little over an hour later. Terry's day at the trailer was spent reading, cross-stitching, and napping. She said that Brian and Renee' arrived around mid-afternoon.
Below are some pictures of our campsite that Terry took while I was at work. The 3 sites our group were in were very spacious and worthy of a return trip. We were very impressed the the stone fire pits at each of the campsites. The campsites were also very clean and well kept.
Site #30 - Dinosaur Valley State Park
|Natural stone fire pits at each campsite|
I ended up not being able to leave work until a little after 7:00. Since there was no cell service at our campsite, I decided to give Steve a call to see what his location was. He was still in route and around 30 minutes from the park. I asked him to relay a message to Terry and to let her know that I would be arriving at the park around 8:30. Sure enough, I was right on time. I checked in with everyone to make sure they were settled into their respective sites. Everyone was happy and finally ready for a great weekend of camping and fellowship. Terry popped a tray of Bagel Bites in the oven for dinner. The two of us sat back and relaxed eating pizza, drinking beer and watching a little TV. Around 11:00 it was time to turn in for the evening and a good night's sleep.
Dinosaur Valley State Park - Saturday, July 30, 2005
Terry and I woke around 7:30 after a very restful night's sleep. I put on a pot of coffee for us to enjoy. It was already pretty warm, so that meant that it was going to be a hot day as well. Oh well, as I said earlier, that's what air conditioning is for, especially in Texas. After fixing a breakfast of pancakes with all the fixin's, we headed out to explore the park and its famous dinosaur tracks. Since the temperatures were scheduled to be in the upper 90's, Terry and I wanted to get our "exploring" out of the way while it was still sort of cool.
The dinosaur tracks in the park are really amazing. It's incredible to me that the tracks are still in existence, but they are deteriorating at time goes by. In the 50's several of the tracks were removed and are now in museums. Terry and I also paid a visit to the park's gift shop. Of course, as you can guess, the gift shop has a wide variety of dinosaur related merchandise. Outside the gift shop, there are two fiberglass dinosaur models; a 70-foot Apatosaurus and a 45-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex. They were built, under commission of the Sinclair Oil Company, New York World's Fair Dinosaur Exhibit of 1964 - 1965.
|Chuck & Terry with the T-Rex|
|Dinosaur Valley State Park's Gift Shop||70-foot Apatosaurus|
|45-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex|
Dinosaur Tracks Frozen In Time
According to the rangers, we had chosen perfect time to visit the park, the level of the river was down, which made for great viewing of the dinosaur tracks, but bad for swimming. Below are pictures of some of the dinosaur tracks within the park that have been "frozen in time." Due to wind and weather, the tracks are slowly disappearing as time goes by. Many of the finer examples were cut out of the bedrock in the 50's and are now safely on display in different museums around the country.
|Folks in the riverbed looking at the tracks||Excellent signage throughout the park|
|Renee' & Brian checking out the tracks||Professional photographer at work!|
|Terry reading all about the dinosaur tracks!|
After exploring the park until around noon since it starting to get pretty warm, Terry and I headed back to our campsite to check on our fellow RVers. We touched base with everyone and let them know that dinner would be at 7:00, after it cools off a bit. Tonight we'd be having our group's fajita cookout. We're all looking forward to it! We'll be having some awesome vittles.
Since it was lunch time, Terry and I decided to run into town to see if Ranchhouse BBQ was all that it was cracked up to be. Each time we passed by the restaurant the parking lot was packed and there was a line out the door. We figured that it must be pretty good. We soon learned that Texas Monthly monthly magazine touted the restaurant as one of the places you've got to eat in Texas before you die. Terry is not too keen about BBQ, but agreed to try the restaurant out for lunch. We checked with our neighbors to see if they wanted to run into town with us, but none took up our offer.
Oh my gosh, did they miss an incredible meal! I now feel that I can pass away in peace, I've now eaten the best BBQ ever! No wonder that Texas Monthly magazine rated Ranchhouse BBQ as one of the top 50 BBQ joints in Texas. I had a rib basket and Terry had a brisket sandwich, absolutely unbelievable. We now understand why the restaurant is packed all the time. The ribs was so moist and juicy and the brisket was perfectly smoked and so tender. When Terry took the first bite out of her sandwich a huge smile came across her face. She couldn't believe the taste and the tenderness. She exclaimed that she'd return to eat here anytime!
We finished off our lunch by sharing a piece of heavenly homemade buttermilk pie. Each bite melted in our mouths. Terry makes incredible pies and her pie crusts are some of the best ever, but Terry said the crust on the buttermilk pie at Ranchhouse BBQ rivaled hers. That's quite a compliment. After lunch Terry and I headed back to our campsite to rest and relaxation in the cool of our trailer for the remainder of the afternoon. It was really too hot to do anything else.
|Terry relaxin' and readin' in the trailer!|
About 5:00 Terry and I decided to get started on our part of tonight's cookout, preparing the meat and making the pico de gallo. I cut up the tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, and green onions for the pico. I also trimmed the skirt steak and pound both it and the chicken flat to facilitate even grilling. I also mixed up the fajita marinade for the meats. Terry worked on cutting up the green and red peppers and onions that will accompany the fajitas.
Below is a picture of our Glen Rose camping group. Brian and Renee' brought one of their neighbor friends with them. She was precious, her name is Worth.
|From Left to Right: Leslie, Worth, Steve, Renee', Brian, Terry and Chuck|
While we were all preparing the fixin's for tonight's fajita bash, there were some serious Ladder Golf matches going on. Around 6:00 I started cooking the meat and Terry started working on the tortillas. We had quite a menu on tap tonight, everyone was contributing a something yummy for our cookout.
|Steve checking on the peach cobbler||Worth & Winston|
|Steve & Winston enjoying the river|
|Steve & Brian - How big was it?||A visitor to our site|
|Ladder Golf - Where are the players?|
Brian concentrating on his strategy
Brian & Chuck - Intense Competition?
|Brian - Great form|
Yum! All of us had a wonderful time eating, relaxing and enjoying each other's company. After dinner a few of the folks headed down to the park's amphitheater to attend one of the park's excellent educational programs. Steve, Terry and myself stayed behind and finished cleaning up before heading back to our respective trailers to relax for the rest of the evening. Terry and I read and watched a little TV then turned in for the evening around 10:30. Tomorrow is our last day. We also have another group meal on taps; breakfast!
Dinosaur Valley State Park - Sunday, July 31, 2005
Terry and I woke around 7:00 to a somewhat cool Texas morning. In just a couple of hours we'd all be gathering for our potluck breakfast. Yum, breakfast is my favorite meal to prepare and eat when we're camping. There is just something very special about the smell of coffee brewing and bacon cooking while you're outdoors camping! It just doesn't get much better than that!
Since we all had previously decided to eat around 9:00, I started cooking the bacon and sausage around 8:00. I had a mess of it to prepare. On the menu for breakfast this morning:
We all had an awesome time eating our Sunday morning breakfast together. Steve and Leslie's Dutch Oven biscuits were excellent. The fresh fruit that Leslie prepared was the perfect addition for breakfast. We all also got to have another dose of Renee's awesome homemade salsa on our scrambled eggs. Yum! What more can I say! Our meal was a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend of fellowship and fun. We all made a vow to get together again soon for another group campout. Several also got in some more Ladder Golf play. Ladder Golf seemed to the hit of the weekend. After cleaning up the breakfast dishes, all of us started packing to get ready to head out. Around noon or so, all of us were ready to and head for home. We'd meet again soon!
|"Is breakfast ready YET?"||We all left with "happy tummies!"|
Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke
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"Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, TX - July 28-31, 2005" was last modified: September 11, 2005
Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures