Lake Bob Sandlin State Park
Pittsburg, TX
September 10-17, 2006

Sunday - September 10, 2006

For this trip we're off to a park that we haven't camped at before, Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, in deep east Texas. That part of the state is one of our favorite areas. Also the coming weekend is a NTXCA Rally. It looks like around 45 rigs will be arriving by next Friday to attend the rally. I've got a weeks worth of vacation that I need to use up before the first part of October so I decided to arrive at the park a week before the rally's start. Unfortunately, Terry is out of vacation days so I'll be spending the time at the campsite by myself, at least until Thursday evening when I'll run into Fort Worth to pick Terry up after she gets off from work. I'll also be spending time alone studying for one of my computer certification tests that is scheduled for later in the month.

During the NTXCA potluck dinner on Saturday evening, we're going to have a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regional director, Ellen Buchanan and the park's manager, Paul Harris, address the group about the state of state park funding.  I'm looking forward to hearing what the two of them have to say to the group. For the past decade, park funding in Texas has steadily decreased putting our state park system into a state of distress. Texas is now 49th when it comes to funding state parks. This is an absolute shame! Several of our members are trying to call our group to action to write and email their state representatives to approve an drastic increase in state park funding to help our state parks regain the glory they once were know for. The Texas state parks are very important to Terry and me and to our camping group. We love camping in the various state parks around the state.

Around 10:00 I had the trailer hooked up and was ready to hit the road. Terry decided to follow me down in her car so she could help me get setup, have dinner at the campsite and then head back to Fort Worth. We decided to have a big breakfast at home before leaving so we wouldn't have to stop for lunch. With the trailer in tow, we arrived at the park around 1:30 in the afternoon. Terry and I proceeded to get a site picked out, #55, and get setup as soon as possible so we could relax a bit before dinner. One of the first tasks was get the electricity hooked up so the air conditioning could be turned on. It was typical east Texas afternoon, hot and muggy with the temperatures in the middle 90's.

All setup at Site #55

More views of our large spacious site #55

Around 4:30 it was time to get dinner started so Terry could get back on the road to Fort Worth. I wanted her to get home before it got dark. On the menu tonight:

As usual, dinner was delicious. After cleaning up after dinner, it was time for Terry to head to Fort Worth so she could get home before dark. She called and left a message saying she arrived home around 7:30. Since I had no cell signal at the campsite, I decided to drive around to see if I could get a cell signal somewhere in the park. I had a new Cingular Aircard (Sierra 860) that I would be using for this trip to access the Internet. I was anxious to see how it would perform. Down by the lake I did get an "acceptable" signal but not strong enough for data transfer speeds.

I decided to drive into Mount Pleasant where I was finally able to lock on to a very good signal. The best reception was at a Shell station where I'd be spending a lot of time during my week of camping. After checking and replying to various emails, I headed back to the park, watched TV for a while before turning in around 11:00. Spending time alone this week was going to be nice, but I was already missing Terry.

Monday - September 11, 2006

I woke around 7:30 after a very restless night's sleep. Of course I missed Terry not being there last night. Temperatures were in the middle 70's. There was a cold front scheduled to arrive later on in the week. Maybe it'll break the high humidity and temperatures. I decided to take advantage of the mild temperature and sit outside and enjoy the morning while I could. I put on a pot of coffee to accompany the beautiful east Texas morning. I decided on a light breakfast of cereal, toast and jelly  and juice. This was a solemn day in the history of the United States, the anniversary of the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. I sat for a while in silence remembering those who had been lost in this senseless tragedy.

For the rest of the morning I started studying for my upcoming certification test. Around lunch time, I decided to take a break and head into town to refill one of our propane tanks. I also needed some pens and highlighters for my studying and note taking. While in town I decided to check to see if there were any important emails that had come in from work. I arrived back to the park just in time for lunch. I decided to have a fried Spam sandwich and chips for lunch. After lunch, time for a short nap before studying some more. When I woke up from my nap it was time to fix dinner. Since I was here by myself, I kept the menu very simple. I decided on Frito pie and beer for dinner tonight with cookies and ice cream for dessert. Yum. I relaxed and watched TV for the rest of the evening and turned in for the night around 10:00. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to sleep through the night.

Tuesday - September 12, 2006

What a beautiful morning! Temperatures were in the upper 60's and it wasn't supposed to be out of the 80's for the rest of the week. After waking up I immediately put on a pot of coffee and went outside to read and study. Breakfast this morning consisted of cereal, toast and jelly and juice. I spend the rest of the morning reading and studying. A bit before noon, I deciding to run into town to check if any important work related emails needed attention. Fortunately everything was quiet back at the office. Since I was in town, I decided to stop for lunch at the local Pizza Hut instead of fixing something for lunch back at the trailer. After lunch I stopped at the Lowes Home Improvement Center to purchase a hummingbird feeder and nectar mix. There were hummingbirds all over the park and I wanted to see if I could attract them to our trailer.

Arriving back at the campsite, I mixed up a batch of nectar, hung the hummingbird feeder on a close by branch and within minutes I had a swarm of hummingbirds fighting over the feeder. They literally sounded like a swarm of bees. For the rest of the afternoon, I relaxed in the recliner watching the birds and "tried" to concentrate on the task at hand, studying for my upcoming Cisco certification test.

As beautiful as the afternoon was, it was very difficult. It was indeed an incredible afternoon. The park was also very quiet since it was virtually empty. A few hours later I decided to make another run into town to check email before fixing dinner. I arrived back to the park just before dinner time and popped a TV dinner into the oven for dinner. I wasn't very hungry after eating at Pizza Hut for dinner. I watched TV for a while before turning in for the evening around 10:00.

Wednesday - September 13, 2006

This morning I woke around 7:30 to a another beautiful cool east Texas morning. The weather has been fantastic. I do hope it stays this way through the weekend. I put on a pot of coffee and headed outside to study. I had breakfast bars, orange juice and milk for breakfast. After studying for a couple of hours, it was time to run into town to check email and eat at a BBQ restaurant that I had passed by previously. I arrived back to the campsite a bit after lunch and studied for a few more hours before taking a short nap. The short nap turned into a longer nap that I anticipated and I woke up around dinner time. I must have been really tired. After my BBQ lunch I wasn't super hungry so I decided on corny dogs for dinner with cookies for dessert. Simple is good when you're camping by yourself. Tomorrow is Thursday and that means I get to run into Fort Worth and pick Terry up! Around 10:00 I decided to turn in for the evening.

Thursday - September 14, 2006

I woke up around 6:30. This was going to be a great day! I'll be picking up Terry today after she gets off work. Yea. The last few days have been nice being alone, but I've missed my Terry. When we're apart, neither one of us sleep very well at night. I put on a pot of coffee and went outside to study for a few hours before heading back to Fort Worth to pick Terry up. For breakfast this morning, I had toast, juice and cereal.

Around 11:00 it was time to head to Fort Worth. On the way out, I stopped at the front gate to check one of our friends into a campsite. He had a specific campsite he wanted and wanted me to claim it before someone else did. On the way to Fort Worth, I stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch. I also had a couple of errands to run before going home to wait on Terry. I needed to stop at Camping World to purchase a step for the outside of the trailer. I also wanted to get the truck washed since it was real dirty and dusty.

I arrived home around 3:00, just in time to shower and take a short nap before Terry got off work. The lingering shower felt really good. Terry arrived home around 5:30 and we left the house around 6:00 and headed back to Mount Pleasant. For dinner we stopped at a Mexican restaurant named "Ta-Molleys" in Greenville. What a great name for a restaurant! We had a nice relaxing meal before getting back on the road. Terry and I arrived back at our campsite around 9:00. Terry said she was impressed that I had kept the trailer clean and picked up! We relaxed for a while before turning in for the evening around 10:00.

Friday - September 15, 2006

Did I sleep good last night! The last few nights I'd been waking up several times during the night. I had several restless night's of sleep. I guess that's why I enjoyed my naps in the afternoon. I woke around 6:30 and put on a pot of coffee. It was another beautiful, clear, crisp east Texas morning and I wanted to take advantage of it. After the coffee finished brewing, I headed outside to enjoy the start of the day. Terry woke around an hour later and joined me. There were hummingbirds everywhere having their morning feel of nectar.

We finished our coffee and decided to start breakfast. On the menu this morning:

Why does everything taste so much better when you're camping? I prepared our Egg McMuffins that same way I do at home, but this morning's McMuffins were awesome! Terry agreed, we each ate two McMuffins! Yum. Terry and I sat outside for a couple of hour reading and enjoying the morning. It was so nice having Terry here with me now. The camping trip is now complete.

Around 11:30 we decided to run into town to pick up some needed groceries for tomorrow's potluck. What's a camping trip without a trip to Wal-Mart? Terry and I spent about an hour shopping before heading back to our campsite. Around 3:30 a bunch of the folks from NTXCA started arriving including our best RV buddies, Steve and Leslie and their dog Winston. As the afternoon wore on, more and more trailers were rolling into the campground. As mentioned previously, this was going to be a big campout with around 45 rigs signed up. During the potluck tomorrow evening, Paul Harris, park manager, and Ellen Buchanan, district manager, will be addressing the group about the sad state of parking funding in Texas. Our group is actively working to contact all of our elected state officials to stress the need to increase the funding of our state parks.

We sat around and visited a bit before starting dinner. We were both getting hungry since we skipped lunch. On the menu tonight:

After dinner, we made the rounds to see who had arrived and visited a bit with our friends, Steve and Leslie. Around 8:00 Terry and I headed to our trailer and played a round of Skip-Bo and ate ice cream and cookie. This camping stuff is hard work. Terry and I turned in around 10:30 for a restful night's sleep. From the weather forecast, it looks like the cool weather was over and the humidity was rolling in. It has been so beautiful all week long, now for the weekend, it's going to be hot and humid. There's nothing much we can do about it.

Saturday - September 16, 2006

We both woke up around 7:00 and put on a pot of coffee to brew. Instead of being in the 60's, the temperature was already in the 80's and very humid. Oh well, maybe there will be a nice breeze for the potluck. While it was still cool outside I went out to the picnic table to take care of a little RV project that I needed to complete. I took 2"x2" wood stock and cut it to the length of a compressed sewer hose, approximately 30". I then drilled a hole through each end of the wooden stock and then inserted dowel rods through each end. To use, take one dowel rods out, insert the wooden stock through the sewer hose, compress the hose, and then insert the other dowel rod to hold the hose in place. I made four of them for me and two for my buddy Steve. They're great for keeping your sewer hoses organized. By the time I had finished my project I was soaking wet from the humidity.

After finishing up my project, it was time to get breakfast started. This morning we were fixing breakfast tacos with all the fixings accompanied with orange juice and coffee. After cleaning up after breakfast it was time to start preparing the "Broccoli Salad" for this evening's potluck. I got the recipe from one of my co-workers and it is wonderful.

Broccoli Salad

Dressing:

Mix all ingredients together, and chill at least an hour before serving.

After finishing up the salad I ran up to the front gate to talk to Paul Harris and let him know that we'd be meeting in site #38 for the potluck this evening. The site faces the lake so hopefully there will be a breeze. We'll see.

We spent part of the afternoon reading and relaxing. The middle of the afternoon, we headed over to Steve and Leslie's trailer and played a round of Mexican Train. At 4:00 in the afternoon, the park had a "brown-out". With all the crock pots and air conditioners going full blast, it was a bit more that the older electrical system of the park could handle. Power was out around 30-45 minutes while the park rangers were trying to figure out which circuits blew. Soon the power was restored and the trailer started cooling down once again. I'm sure the outdated power system in the park will be one of the things Ellen and Paul will be talking about.

It had been such beautiful cool weather all week long, now it was hot and humid for the potluck. It's Texas, what do you expect. Our potluck was scheduled for 6:00 this evening at one of the sites beside the lake. We hoped that there might be a breeze coming off the lake, but there wasn't. All of us headed over to site #38 around 5:45 to get setup for the big crowd of folks. With 45 families, there were a lot of folks! Of course all of the food was delicious and there was plenty for everyone.

Group Potluck - A Good Time For All!

After everyone had finished eating, Paul and Ellen addressed the group for about 30 minutes and talked about the current state of funding for the Texas State Park system. This year our elected officials in Austin were going to be considering drastically increasing the state park's budget. For over 10 years, the Texas state park system has been starved of funds and has had to neglect infrastructure repairs and improvements. There has also been a drastic cutback of staff and programs in the state parks. Hopefully, with our help and many other folks putting pressure on our elected officials, the tide will be turned and funding will be increased. Paul and Ellen gave the group many facts and figures that most of us did not realize. Most of us were amazed to learn how the parks operated on a "shoe-string" budget. We all left the potluck much more informed than before.

Our Honored Guests Address Our Group

Terry visiting with Paul and Ellen Paul and Ellen addressing our group
Paul Harris continues his informative talk Paul taking questions from the group

Around 8:00 all of us headed back to our trailers. Many of us were pretty well zapped by the heat and humidity. Terry and I had gotten so soaked, we both decided to take a shower before relaxing for the rest of the evening in the cool air conditioning of our trailer. After reading and watching TV for a while, we turned in around 11:00 for the evening. Tomorrow we'd be going home. We've had a very nice camping trip.

Sunday - September 17, 2006

After a sound night's sleep, I woke around 6:00 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I went on and got up. I decided to study for a couple of hours before Terry woke. I was going to go and sit outside, but it was one of those hot humid east Texas mornings. Later on this afternoon there is around 1"-3" of rain scheduled. I sure hope so since the lake is down 15 or so feet. Terry got up around 8:30, she was really tired from yesterday and the week at work. It was good she got to sleep in.

As soon as Terry got up, I put on a pot of coffee to brew. This morning we were preparing my favorite camping breakfast! On the menu:

Yum, breakfast is always awesome when you're camping. After breakfast, we started breaking down so we could head for home. We were ready to pull out of the park around noon. We said our goodbyes to everyone and pulled out. We arrived at our storage facility around 2:30, dropped off the trailer and headed for home. Our next trip will be to Loyd Park in Grand Prairie in a couple of weeks.


Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke

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"Lake Bob Sandlin State Park - September 10-17, 2006" was last modified: September 30, 2007

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Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures