Thursday, December 5, 2013

Texas State Fair

Since we were not far from Dallas while at the Confederate Reunion Grounds we decided to go to the State Fair as neither one of us had ever gone.  I also have an Uncle that lives in the area and we could stop and visit with him. 

The day was fun and exciting for both of us.  As some may know Big Tex caught fire at the end of last year and this was the first year for the "new Big Tex"  He was okay but not the old one

New Big Tex

All that was save of the Big Tex that
caught fire last year
Belt bucket of the one that caught
fire.  Look close and you can see
the black from the fire around
the edges
One of the original bucket
of Big Tex
Note left for Big Tex that burned


Entrance to the Midway - really a big place with lot more ride than the normal fair.

At the entrance.

Fred was excited in getting the see the Cotton Bowl - he only wished he could have gone in.

 We were both interested in the police booths throughout the fair. 

There was a real neat toy train exhibit in the botanical garden area.  There was all kinds of tunnels and cities set up throughout. 

We even got to see Thomas the Train!!!

There was even an old antique car exhibit that we both enjoyed.  We even found and old mail truck -lol.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Navasota River Trip

Well we missed the river clean up trip down the Navasota River with the Boy Scouts due to weather conditions and lack of boats, so we decided before we left we would do our own trip.  It was quite nice canoeing down the river just the two of us; the weather was great and it was so peaceful!!
The river is dammed at various points to form Lake Mexia, Springfield Lake (in Fort Parker State Park), Joe Echols Lake, Lake Groesbeck, Lake Limestone, and Martin Lake. Tributaries of the river include Big, Little Cedar, Sand, Bowman, Panther, and Holland creeks. The river traverses flat to rolling terrain with local shallow depressions, surfaced by clay and sandy loams that support water-tolerant hardwoods, conifers, and grasses. The river was probably named by Indians, who called it or another stream in the immediate area the Nabasoto.  In 1727 called the river the Navasota, the name it has been known by since that time. The community of Navasota is located in a bend of the river in southwestern Grimes County. Numerous archeological sites have been found along the river, which served early settlers as an access route into the area. By 1860, however, river transportation had declined, as the first railroad lines reached the Navasota community. Our trip took us from the Confederate Reunion Grounds to Fort Parker State Park.
If you would ever like to take a peaceful canoe trip I would highly recommend it.  You can rent boats at Fort Parker State Park and they will take you the Reunion Grounds to put in.  Have fun and relax!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vist to Waco

Our time at the Confederate Reunion Grounds went fast and as time was ending we realized that we had not gotten to all the places we wanted . . . . so it was time for some road trips.

First we headed to Waco to explore as there is so much there that we have not seen - did not get to all of it but did hits some of the places we wanted to.  Spend time at the Texas Ranger's Hall of Fame and Museum

Then off to the Suspension Bridge, Riverwalk, Spring Park & Cattle Drive Sculpture and Vietnam Memorial.  The suspension bridge was built in 1870 and was for cattle drives crossing the Chisholm Trail.  It was the larges suspension bridge built west of the Mississippi at the time it was built.  The Riverwalk is on the west side of the river and extends from Baylor University to McLennan Community College via Cameron Park.  This area is used for large festival and the big 4th of July on the Brazos each year.  The Vietnam Memorial is near the end of the walk and speaks for itself.

 Our next stop was the Dr. Pepper Museum.  Dr. Pepper is the oldest soft drink in America and was created by  a pharmacist Charles "Doc" Alderton in 1885 in Waco.  What fun to walk through and see all the things we remembered as kids and then to go to an old fashion soda fountain shop.

There is so much to see around Waco and we only wish we had had more time.  If you get the chance go and check things out.  There are old Victorian homes, Baylor University, Parks, Zoo, Texas Sport Hall of Fame, and much more. 

Hope we get the chance to check more out another day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Free Time between Workamping Jobs

Sorry I have gotten behind on posting, we finished up our assignment at Confederate Reunion Grounds and have been moving around. 

We left CRG on October 12, after three months workamping there.  It was a wonderful place and one that we really enjoyed.  Learn more about the civil war there than we every learned in school.

We arrive that evening at Park on the Lake on Lake Conroe, it was raining and they had us just set up across from the office for the night.  The next day we were given a great spot and were able to get the dogs out. 

After a few days at the Park on the Lake we went to Tomball and stayed at Spring Creek Park - a county park with free hook ups for one week a month.  It was close to home and we got to spend some time with family and friends.  While there the high schools of Cy-Fair School  District had a track met and it was cool to watch it.

Kylie loves her pose!!

We got a chance to see some of our kids and grand kids for dinner.  Ms Kylie loves to take pictures and always takes my camera . . .

On the morning of October 16th we left and headed for Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  We decided to make it a two day trip and not to rush as there was no real need.  We needed to be there by the evening of the 17th as Brian and Hunter were  going to join us; Fred and Brian are doing on mud run on the 19th.  We drove our first night to Frog City RV Park in Duson, Louisiana and then had a great dinner at LeJean Seafood in Lafayette.  Fred made it safely across the bridge in Lake Charles and Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge again (he just hates driving across high bridges-lol).

Swamp land around the Visitor Center as you enter Louisiana at the Texas border.  Neat place to stop and look around.

Spillway between Lafayette and Baton Rouge.  I remember when this was built and still love the drive over it.

 The "famous Mississippi River Bridge" at Baton Rouge.  Fred hates driving across it.

This pig looked like it was wandering around the side of the road and the truckers and even Fred slowed down to look.  As you got closer you realized it was not real but it did make people slow down - lol

We made a stop at the roadside rest stop at the turnoff to Bay St. Louis and felt small in the mist of all the truckers

Now on to Bay St. Louis and the Mud Run!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

More Exploring : Fairflied Lake State Park and Corsicana

Fairfield Lake State Park is located about six miles northeast of Fairfield.  The City of Fairfield is located along I-45 and if any one has taken that drive between Houston and Dallas  you will certainly know this town.  The exit to Fairfield is where the Sam's Restaurant is located; one of the best known restaurant along the Houston to Dallas route.  They have great food and serve a buffet that is really large with great home cooking.  If you are taking this route make sure to stop and eat.

Back to Fairfield Lake State Park, what a beautiful place.  It is noted for it's fishing and is acclaimed to have some of the best fresh watering fishing around. this part of Texas.  It is a relatively new park that open in 1976 to the public.  There are beautiful campsite for park host and for just camping; great fishing pier and a real big day picnic area with swimming hole.  It looks like a wonderful place to part host but in talking to the rangers, the program is on hold currently as they are resurfacing the roadway and will be closing the park during this winter, but you might contact them about spring, summer 2014.

Park Host Site
Wildlife in the area

The City of Fairfield, itself, is full of interesting history.  It is the county seat for Freestone County and the Courthouse has one of the original civil war cannons sitting in front of it.  This area also had a reunion grounds for the confederate veteran; today this is the Freestone County Fairground.  The town is also known for the Freestone County Museum which is located in the century-old jail.  Make the stop and look around - you will enjoy it.

Corsicana, Texas:  A town full of roughnecks and wild elephants.  We have driven through and passed by Corsicana many many time but never took the time to really look at the town.  What a interesting place.  It is the county seat for Navarro County; the county was named for Antonio Navarro, hero from the Texas Independence War and the town was named after his father's birth place, an island called Corica.
The town was a major player in the development of the railroad system in the 1800.  The Houston & Texas Central Railroad (north-south) and the St. Louis & Southwestern Railroad (east-west) crossed each other in Corsicana.  These railways were important transportation for the cotton industry during this time.

Downtown has a great collection of historic homes and commercial buildings.  I must say I was impressed as so many towns/cities are destroying their historical buildings.  I truly hate to see all the history and great design destroyed.  At the Visitor Center you can pick up a guide for a Walking Tour of Historic of the downtown area explaining all the historical building with their stories.  It is not a long walk and if you take the time to walk it you will not regret it.   Most of Corsicana's downtown buildings were some of the first commercials buildings in Texas and were built at the time of the first oil discovery in 1894 near the downtown area.  Petroleum Park located at 7th Ave.and 12th Street marks the "Birthplace of the Texas Oil Industry" with an oil derrick and is the site where the first oil was discovered in Texas in 1894.  The original rotary rig that was horse/donkey driven used during that time, now sits in the Smithsonian's Museum of History and Technology.

One other interesting story about the town is that Wolf Brand Chili was founded here.  Lyman T. Davis, the founder of Wolf Brand Chili, in 1895 started selling his chili off the back of an old wagon with crackers for five cents bowl in front of the Blue Front Saloon.  The Saloon supplied beverages and soon a booming business was founded.  He later opened a meat market and continued to serve his chili everyday from the back of the market.  People soon started asking him if they could take some home and he developed a "chili brick" for sale.  In the 1920's the business was so successful he begin canning the chili for sale.  In canning he needed a label and the photographer working with him suggested that he use the image of his pet wolf "Kaiser Bill", thus the name "Wolf Brand Chili".  The chili was produced in Corsicana until the 1980's when Quaker Oats moved production to Dallas.  The mail order distribution continues our of the Corsicana today just a block away from where it was founded over 100 years ago. 
Another interesting story - In October 1929 the Al G. Barnes Circus was coming to town and was going to have the parade of animal from the train was taking place.  Ms. Eva Speed Donohoo was standing on 13th Street watching with the elephant, Black Diamond, reportedly the largest elephant in captivity at that time, bolted form the parade and trampled through town attaching Ms. Donohoo and killed her.  The mounted head of Black Diamond can be seen at the Watkins Trophy Room on  S.15th Street.

Also just north of town is a location called Pioneer Village, which will take you through the history of the town through authentic old log cabins, barns, store fronts, post office, slave quarters, blacksmith shop, to Harmon's Hoodlum wagon.  There are a number of small historical museum, Peace Officer, Lefty Frizzell, Sam Roberts, and the Redden Home to name a few.  All contain items true to the time period and are very interesting.  Take the time and walk through this area.  

The other neat thing, and especially if you are taking the walking tour, is that there are a number of the older diners that have been preserved and maintained their history and continues to serve great home cooked  food.  Fred and I both can attest to this fact!!
Fred and I covered both the town walking tour and the walk through Pioneer Village all in one day.  I would recommend that you take a couple of days if you really want to see things in detail and take more time reading the history.  We were just under a time constraint.