Monday, May 25, 2009


Camping in Big Bend National Park
Getting There!

Have you ever had the urge to get behind the steering wheel of your car and drive...and drive...and drive? And then, fill up the gas tank and drive...and drive...and drive some more? Do you have a special affinity for the steering wheel? Don't want to let go of it once you become attached? Do you have a desire to finish the latest James Lee Burke novel in just one setting? Well, I have the plan for you! Take a trip to Big Bend. It's a fact, folks. There are miles and miles of not a lot between wherever you are and Big Bend National Park. Not to worry if you get caught up in that novel and you are afraid you are going to miss something, take me at my word. You won't! There are things to see between here and there, but whatever you see you are going to see again and again and again. You will see the same oil wells slowly pumping up and down, you will see the same telephone poles for miles on end. Occasionally you will go through a small, dusty, nearly deserted community. There may be a place to stop and get something to drink. If you go in the springtime (recommended) you will probably see cacti blooming. That can really be beautiful. You might see a road runner flit across the road in front of you. Oh, look..that big black spot in the's a tarantula! But mostly, if you are driving, you will see mirages in the long stretches of highway that unravel in front of you while you are listening to all of those Willie and Waylon and the Boys CD's you have loaded onto your CD player. If you are in the passenger seat, you are intrigued by the smells and sounds and sights of New Iberia, Louisiana that James Lee Burke is bringing to life in his latest novel. The mystery will be solved by the time you reach your destination! It's not a bad way to travel, it's just a long way away, and the beauty that awaits you at the end of your journey makes it all worthwhile...that is until you start back. There is no more beautiful scenery on the way back than there was on the way out! Now, don't get me wrong. There is a great beauty in all this nothingness that you will never find in the Colorado Rockies or along the rocky coast of Maine. Besides, where would the rattlesnakes and horned toads live if not for this vast and barren land?

I know that all of you fellow Texans understand how long it takes to get to many places in Texas. Those of you from other parts of this great country (like the Northeast) may have trouble understanding the fact that you can drive across several states where you live during the time it takes to get to just one place in Texas. You might not even know who Willie and Waylon and the boys are. My, my, do need to get acquainted with them if you are going to travel Texas. They will give you the best you can find (except for George Straight) in good old Texas Country Music. Every one of them a born and bred Texas boy... good people to keep you company on your long, long drive to Big Bend.

I found this beautiful "dalmation" horse to be the favorite thing that I saw on our long journey to Big Bend. He was just standing there by the fence in one of those small, dusty little towns wanting nothing more than for someone to show him a little love. Does he not have a sad, beautiful face? Look at those eyes! Oh, my! He needs a friend.

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Monday, May 11, 2009



Swimming area at Possum Kingdom State Park

I have been away from my blog for quite some time now...the computer had viruses, I had viruses all at different times. Don't know whether I gave my virus to my trusted friend the computer or if my trusted friend passed the virus on to me; nevertheless, we are now both well and up and running. Hello there Walsenberg!!!!!

I have noticed that a number of people who randomly happen upon my blog do so while searching for information about camping at Possum Kingdom State Park. I have done you a disservice. In my only post about Possum Kingdom I was talking about the Great Blue Herons nesting on a small island in the middle of the lake. Since we live on the lake, we seldom take advantage of the wonderful camping facilities at Possum Kingdom State Park. We have been there and if we did not have a home here, it would be one of our favorite places to park the trusty ol' chalet.

The park is a beautiful place. It is covered in cedar trees and most of the campsites are well shaded and private. Some have wonderful covered patios with a table in the middle...very nice.

Campsite with covered patio

Other sites are simply lovely places overlooking the lake. Most of the sites are right on the lake and they have primitive camp sites as well. I'm sorry that I don't have a park map so I don't have definite information about how many sites they have and how many have water and electricty. It is a fairly large park and I do know that most, if not all sites do have water and electricty. They also have nice clean restrooms with showers (that's important to me.) There are several cabins available for rent. Not sure, but maybe about ten. They are located near the day use area and the swimming area (no lifeguard on duty.) The day use area is roomy and located near the swimming hole...a great place for a picnic and swimming with the kiddos. Speaking of the younger set, there is lots and lots of space for riding bikes and also, some great hiking trails. Probably should watch out for rattlesnakes during the summer months. There is a small play ground area, nothing too exciting. They do have a basketball goal.

When you come to Possum Kingdom bring your boat. If you don't have one, you can rent one at the park or at several marinas around the lake; however, getting to one of the marinas will necessitate some traveling. The park is not near anything by land. But, it will be worth it to have a boat because Possum Kingdom is a really beautiful lake. You will enjoy just slowly cruising around enjoying the scenery and gazing with awe at some of the incredibly gorgeous homes that have been built on this lake. Most are not visible by land, but you can certainly see them from the water. Also, you are going to want that boat for fishing. Possum Kingdom was once known as one of the best fishing lakes in the state. Then a few years ago we had a horrible fish kill caused by Golden Algae. Many thousands of fish were killed. The fishing came to a halt; however, the lake as been restocked regularly and the fishing is coming back! We had friends up this past week-end (May, 09) and they both caught their limit of stripers and white bass. So, not only will you want to have your boat with you, you will be really angry at yourself if you leave the fishing gear at home.

Possum Kingdom is a great lake for water sports. It is deep and water sports entusiasts should not be in danger of underwater trees jumping up and grabbing them. Then of course, there is Hell's Gate. This is a landmark of the lake and truly needs to be seen by boat. Hell's Gate is located in a really deep part of the lake near the dam, and many of the extrodinary homes have been built there. This is also a BIG PARTY area during the Fourth of July weekend. Boats hook up to each other and people go from boat to boat for the continuous party. Can be dangerous, especially if alcohol is involved. But, lots of people show up and have a grand old time. The fireworks on the 4th at Hell's Gate are just an added bonus. There is also a fireworks show and huge party at Possum Hollow. This is probably visible from the park since Possum Hollow is just across the lake from the state park. You might just want to show up for their party. If you do, plan to go early and stay late. I'm not sure that your children would enjoy the party, but if you are a young couple (or old like me) you might have a good time. Lots of music, often with a live band, and partying with the fireworks showing up when it gets dark. Great fireworks! Just a short boat ride from the park (but I don't like to be on the lake at night on the 4th.) You could go by car, just head north toward Graham, turn right on FM 1148 and drive until you see "Possum Hollow" or all of the cars. It's a BIG party.

To get to the State Park coming from the Ft. Worth-Dallas area or the Abilene area, get on Hwy 180 to Caddo (there's not much at Caddo, but there is a sign telling you that you are there.) Turn north on 3253 (may also be listed as Park Rd 33) and follow the signs to PK Lake. Be sure you bring all of the provisions that you need because you will be a long way from any grocery store or Wal-Mart...probably 40-50 miles from Breckenridge or Graham. There is a park store which has most everything you may have forgotten, but not a lot of choice. The drive is nice. It's isolated and you won't see much except maybe an occasional flock of wild turkeys or a white-tailed deer.

If you want some really good fried catfish you can leave the park and head north towards Graham. Turn right when you get to FM 1148 and follow it around until you get to a sign that says "Fox Hollow" Turn right there and follow the road to the end where you will find a small restaurant..Fox Hollow. Their food is great and lots of time during the summer months you will need to have a reservation if you don't want to wait 20-30 minutes. The fried fish dinner is scrumptious but usually the fried fish basket is all I can eat. It's good! Then, if you are in the neighborhood on Thursday night you might want to stop at Papa's Wheelhouse for all you can eat ribs. Oh, my! Served with beans and potato salad. They usually have a live band on the week-end nights. You can't go wrong with either place. It's probably 20-30 minutes from the State Park. That's as close as you're going to find any food that's not cooked over the campfire. Speaking of food ( I do speak of food quite often) on your way to the lake if you have to go through the little town of Strawn...even if you don't have to go, you might want to make a must stop at "Mary's" The mexican food there is "to die for." The other food is great as well. The chicken fried steak is all you could ever want. It is definitely worth the detour for lunch or dinner. Believe me, people. Well, now I'm hungry. Guess I better go to bed before I raid the 'fridge.

So, hope this is helpful to all of you who are looking for information on Possum Kingdom Lake camping. Come on down!!! It's a great place to spend some time.

The mockingbird...state bird of Texas. Lots of these guys around Possum Kingdom.