Ray Roberts Lake State Park - Friday, October 21, 2005
What an awesome weekend we have a head of us for camping! The weather is going to be spectacular, middle 70's during the day and middle 50's at night! Wow! The only draw back is that we won't be able to have a campfire. Because of the lack of rain and the high winds, there is a burn ban on throughout most of the North Texas counties. Oh well, not to worry, it's still going to be an incredible weekend of rest and relaxation. Di and Ron, my sister and brother-in-law who live in Denton, will be joining Terry and me at the campsite. Since they live so close, they'll be staying at the campsite during the day and evening and then running home to sleep! We've got a great weekend planned of just resting, playing games, and, of course, sharing some awesome meals.
Terry and I both had taken this Friday off so we could have an extra full day at the park. Ray Roberts Lake State Park is around 70 miles from our home. A few years ago we camped at the park in our popup the weekend after Thanksgiving. There are a couple of things I remember about the trip; one, we really liked the park, and second, it was so cold that weekend. Fortunately we wouldn't have to worry about the weather this trip. You couldn't ask for a more perfect weekend. We were looking forward returning to the park, especially in our travel trailer.
Around 8:00 in the morning, the three of us, yes, our dog Bandy was coming with us on this trip, headed towards Interstate 35 North towards Denton. When we got close to Di and Ron's, Terry gave them a call to let them know we were getting close. They were going to meet us on the Interstate. We hooked up on schedule and finally arrived at the park around 10:00 and stopped at the front gate to get checked in. We also had to renew our annual Texas State Park Pass.
We were amazed, the park was sold out for the weekend. There were lots of groups that had booked multiple campsites. We had arrived early enough in order to get one of the primes campsites, #134, which was right on the lake! I'm really glad we arrived when we did, or we might have not gotten one of the lakeside campsites. We were very pleased with the site! It was spacious and had a double pad for parking in the front. We were unhooked, leveled and setup in no time! When the setup was complete, it was time for lunch. Di had picked up lunch for all of us. We all had some wonderful sandwiches that she had purchased at Panera Bread. Yum! For the rest of the afternoon, we all read and relaxed.
One nice amenity that Ray Roberts has is wireless Internet access. The wireless service is furnished by Tengo Internet, Inc. The park is part of a pilot program of 5 parks that are testing wireless Internet access. They have a daily, weekly and monthly rate. The daily rate is not bad at all, $4.00 a day for a 24 hour period. I had promised everyone back in my office that I would send them a picture of our campsite. We shot a quick one, and I headed up to the day area where the wireless Internet access is available. Signup and log on was seamless. In no time I had our picture emailed off to my co-workers. For the the rest of the afternoon we all relaxed. I read and practiced my guitar a bit. Terry and I have got a delicious dinner planned for this evening (more about that later). After dinner we're planning on playing a round of Mexican Train.
|Bandy, being a good puppy? Well, sometimes.|
Around mid-afternoon, Di and Ron decided to drive over to Lantana Lodge, a nearby lodge run by the state. They wanted to check out the facilities for a future get-together. Wow, they were impressed! The lodge and facilities are really beautiful as you can see by the pictures below. Di talked about having her family's next reunion there.
Lantana Lodge at Ray Roberts Lake
Around 5:00 Terry decided to put dinner in the oven. On the menu tonight:
Fresh brewed iced tea
The lasagna was finally ready around 6:30. We were able to sit down and enjoy a delicious meal together. After dinner, it was getting kind of chilly so we headed inside. It would have been a perfect evening for a campfire, but with the burn ban in effect, a campfire was a no-no. We all enjoyed a competitive round of Mexican Train before Di and Ron had to leave around 9:30. Since the gates were locked at 10:00, they didn't want to get locked in for the night. After Di and Ron left, Terry and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and watching a movie on DirecTV. The two of us finally turned in for the evening around 11:30.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park - Saturday, October 22, 2005
Terry and I slept in till 8:00! We both slept really good. Around 5:00 in the morning, I got up and turned the heater on. It had really gotten cold overnight! I looked out the window to check on Bandy. He was keeping a "watchful" eye over our trailer and campsite. I'm sure he stayed up all night making sure nothing bad happened to his mommy and daddy. With temperatures scheduled to be in the mid 70's, it'll be a perfect day for a puppy to nap.
After Terry and I showered, it was time to start breakfast. Di and Ron called around 8:30 to say they were on their way. For breakfast this morning we're having:
Bacon and sausage patties
Juice, milk and fresh brewed coffee.
After breakfast, Ron went down to the lake to fish, Di worked on a throw she was making, Terry read, Bandy slept, and I read and practiced my guitar a little. The morning temperatures were cool. It was going to be a perfect day of camping. For lunch today, we're going to have one of those traditional camping meals, hot dogs with all the fixin's! They would have tasted much better cooked over a campfire, but cooked on the grill, they'll still be delicious. This evening, there is a program put on by the park's rangers, we may try to take it in unless we're playing another game of Mexican Train.
Lunch was awesome. The hot dogs were delicious coming off the grill. For the rest of the afternoon, everyone read and relaxed. I also spent some time reading about our new telescope. Terry had given me a telescope a few years back for Christmas. After working with it for a while we decided that we really need one of the electronic models. The type that you push a button and the telescope finds what you're looking for. The other day, while we were shopping at Sam's, we purchased one of the Meade electronic telescope. Terry and I are still trying to get it figured out. Both of us have always been interested in astronomy. Star gazing is a perfect fit while we are camping. We really want to get the telescope's operation down pat before we head out on our May 2006 to Fort Davis State Park and the McDonald Observatory.
Another Afternoon Relaxing At The Campsite
|Soaking Up The Sun||Nap time!|
|Time to do nothing!||Leave me alone, I'm trying to read!|
Getting chilly in the evening
About mid-afternoon, Di, Ron and Terry headed out for one of the several nature trails in the park to take a hike. I stayed back at the campsite with the dog. They came back about an hour later after getting lost on the trail. They said they had a good hike.
An Afternoon Hike at Ray Roberts Lake State Park
How's the fishing Ron?
|View of Ray Roberts Lake from our campsite|
About 6:00 it was time to start dinner. Ron had headed down to the lake again to fish. He'd eat when he got back. Who knows when that would be. We'd go on without him, he can reheat his dinner after fishing. Ron showed up about an hour after we had finished eating.
One the menu this evening's meal:
Grilled boneless pork chops
Wild rice pilaf
Crock pot apple compote over ice cream (for dessert)
Speaking of the warm apple compote, it was a definite hit and it is so easy to prepare. I can't take credit for the recipe, I read about it on the Open Roads Forums on RV.net. There really isn't a recipe, just a list on ingredients.
Warm Apple Compote
Sweet tart apples (any type will work)
In a crock pot layer all the ingredients, except oatmeal, followed by another layer of the ingredients until the desired amount is reached. In other words, sliced apples, brown sugar, margarine, cinnamon, raisins, and pecans. I ended up with three layers. On the top layer liberally sprinkle the uncooked oatmeal. (The oatmeal acts as a thickening agent.) Cook in your crock pot for 4-5 hours until apples are reduced and a sauce has formed.
Major yum! Di, Ron, Terry and I gave the recipe a definite "thumbs up!" Terry mentioned that the apples would also be wonderful served over pancakes. This is one recipe that we'll definitely make again. It is so easy to prepare and so yummy in the end. Right before cleaning up the dinner dishes, Terry and I put together breakfast for tomorrow morning. I've put the recipe below. Again, I can't take credit for the recipe, it is from the Open Road Forums on RV.net.
Caramel Sticky Buns
2 loaves of frozen bread dough (thawed)
1 large package of vanilla pudding mix (Cook n' Serve, NOT instant)
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter (melted)
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
Tear up one loaf of bread dough into a greased 9" x 13" pan. Mix other ingredients and pour on top of the bread dough. Tear up 2nd loaf of bread and place on top of mixture. Place in a warm place and let dough raise overnight covered with wax paper or kitchen towel. Bake for about 25 minutes in a 350° oven. Flip onto a plate so the caramel topping drips onto the top of the rolls.
After cleaning up the dinner dishes, we all headed inside for another round of Mexican Train! It is such a great game to play when you're camping. We finished the game we had started the night before around 9:00. Di and Ron were tired so they head back to Denton and their home. This has been an incredible camping trip. It couldn't have been more perfect. We checked on the rolls and they were rising very nicely. The two of us relaxed for the rest of the evening before turning in around 11:00.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park - Sunday, October 23, 2005
About 3:30 in the morning, I woke up to the sound on heavy winds outside. The wind was blowing real hard. I guess the expected cold front had finally rolled in. I also woke up because it had gotten very cold inside the camper. Of course, when I got up, the dog woke as well and wanted to go outside. He loves cold weather, especially with his heavy coat. I took him outside and put him on his tether. While outside, I about froze! With the high winds, I'm sure the chill factor was in the teens. I went back to bed, but couldn't get back to sleep, so I got back up around 5:30 and watched a little TV while dozing on the couch snuggled down underneath a blanket.
Around 7:00 Terry woke and I put on a pot of coffee for us to enjoy. Since it was so chilly outside, it was a perfect morning for a cup of hot coffee. Di and Ron arrived around 8:30. The smell of the caramel sticky buns was making us all hungry! A short time later, they were ready to come out of the oven. The rolls were awesome. I had also prepared some fresh pineapple. It was probably one of the best breakfasts we've had while camping.
Outside it was a cold blistery day, but it was nice and warm in the camper. It was also starting to cloud up outside. We decided to go on and get all of the outside stuff done and then come back inside and play a game before heading for home. It took us about an hour to get all of our outside stuff broken down and stowed in the proper place. We had timed the breakdown perfectly. Just as we finished it started sprinkling very lightly. I hadn't brought any sweats or jeans with me, so I was in shorts and a hooded sweatshirt. Oh well, live and learn. Next time, when Terry asks if I want to bring a pair of sweats, I'll listen to her.
The four of us played a round of Phase 10, a really fun card game. Di and Ron had some shopping to do so they headed out around noon. Terry finished up her thing inside while I got the trailer hooked up and ready to pull out. By 1:00 we were ready to head for home. The rain was now coming down pretty hard. We only had one more stop to make before leaving the park and that was the dump station. Terry and I spent about 45 minutes flushing and dumping our tanks before heading for home. We had had a wonderful time. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. As we pulled out of the park, I mentioned to Terry that we were only a month away from our next camping trip to Daingerfield State Park. We were both looking forward to that trip. We are going to spend the whole week of Thanksgiving in the beautiful piney woods of East Texas. We can't wait!
Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke
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"Ray Roberts Lake State Park - October 21-23, 2005" was last modified: December 13, 2005
Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures