Where have the last 4+ months gone – since my last blog posting on February 19th – due to sporadic internet access?! Before Dick and I move on to our next “adventure”, I hope to bring those of you who do not follow us on Facebook up to date on our last 2 “adventures” – and also “memorialize” our travels for us to re-live. Due to still learning his new Apple computer and trying to figure out how to post our blog, Dick has given me permission to use some of his pictures to “fill in the blanks”.
Thanks to meeting the Park Manager when he camped with his family at Mary’s Lake Campground in Estes Park, CO, we were volunteer park hosts at Fort Parker State Park on Highway 14 (east of Waco, Texas) from October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Below is a view of our living room overlooking the campground and lake – with trees!
And a view of the lake below the campground and our RV site!
Fort Parker State Park includes 1,458.8 acres (758.8 land acres and a 700-acre lake) between Mexia and Groesbeck, in Limestone County. It was opened to the public in 1941.
Fort Parker State Park was created in 1935 on land donated by the City of Mexia and 3 local landowners. The Civilian Conservation Corps (the “CCC”) constructed all the recreational facilities in the late 1930s and built a dam across the Navasota River in 1939, creating Fort Parker Lake.
The park was named for Fort Parker, a nearby historic settlement established in 1833 and the site of the well-known Comanche Indian raid in May 1836 during which Cynthia Ann Parker was captured. During captivity, Cynthia Ann became the mother of the last great Comanche chief, Quanah Parker. The old fort was reconstructed by the CCC as a 1936 centennial project.
The parklands encompass the historic town of Springfield. Springfield was established in 1838 and, when Limestone County was created in 1847, the community became the first county seat. Springfield began to fade away in the early 1870s after the railroad bypassed the town and the courthouse burned. The county seat was moved to Groesbeck in 1873, the post office closed in 1878, and Springfield soon became a ghost town. Only the cemetery remains, the last resting place of many East Texas pioneers, including an American Revolutionary War veteran and 2 veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution.
[Excerpt from http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/fort-parker/park_history].
While park hosts, as a special project, the Park Manager asked me to review files, research articles of incorporation and bylaws and assist with reactivating “The Friends of Fort Parker State Park”. I drew on my legal secretary experience, conferred with my attorney brother and made calls to various State agencies. Hopefully, the drafts documents and notes I left were helpful in completing this project. Dick’s special project was to build Texas plaques which are given to park hosts to remember their time in the park.
Our other “jobs” included cleaning and preparing 10 shelters for campers, drive-throughs of the park, picking up trash, answering questions from campers and “working” in the Nature Center a few weekends a month – 25-30 hours per week per couple in exchange for a water, sewer and electric site for our RV. Our friends Dave and Janice (http://evansescapades.blogspot.com/), who we met while hosting in CO, joined us as hosts for a couple months, and here is Dave at his RV by the Nature Center.
The second weekend of November, the kids (Mike, April, Colby and Ben and Michelle, John and Logan) camped at the park. While there, I took Logan, Colby and Ben to the Nature Center and playground and on a much longer hike than I intended. The boys did great and here they are on bridge to the Springfield Trail and Bur Oak Trail.
In mid-November, Dick and I finally bought our bikes – and began using another set of muscles, quickly realizing our roads and trails actually had ups and downs.
The weekend after Thanksgiving found Dick and I on the road to Lake Charles, LA for the wedding of our niece Virginia and her now husband Josh. It was great to see family and friends, and here is a picture of me with my 2 sisters Betti and Brenda. It’s not often that the 3 of us are together AND dressed up!
In mid-December, our friends Michael and Olivia and their 2 children (who we met when they camped at Mary’s Lake Campground in Estes Park, CO last summer and who live in Plano, TX) scheduled a weekend at the park and stayed in one of the shelters. It was great catching up with them. Meeting people like that is another “perk” to this lifestyle!
During his “spare” time at the park, Dick continued working on his cigar box guitars and completed these 2 for a friend to give to her son and son-in-law as Christmas gifts.
The rest of 2012 was fairly quiet – finishing “special” projects and other duties at the park and preparing to leave for our next “adventure” on January 1st. We did, however, take a few days to visit the kids in the Houston area for Christmas.
And Logan returned to Fort Parker State Park with us to spend the rest of his holiday break.
Well, now it's time to move on to a new park and a new year, and I’ll post more on that later! Thanks for stopping by and traveling with us! ~judy~