From Austin I traveled to Houston.
While in Houston I had the chance to visit with family and hang out with some friends that I've known since childhood. My friends and I were at a gymnasium just sitting around and talking as good friends do. We started talking about old times and old basketball games we played. Amazing how much we could still remember about specific games and gamesmanship. There were some college aged guys on the other side of the gym shooting around. At some point, somebody thought that it would be a good idea to challenge the college guys to a game. We had 5 and they had 5... perfect. We let the other guys take out the ball first. One of the guys made a crossover move. One of my friends ended up on the ground. It was at that moment I realized... I think we all realized... that we were no longer the athletes that we once were. The game continued and we were able to score a number of baskets. There were also a number of airballs. We may have won, they may have let us win, I'm not sure. It was still great fun to hang with the guys.
From Houston I planned to visit Caddo Lake State Park. Caddo Lake is a 25,000 acre lake and bayou on the northeast border between Texas and Louisiana. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in the area until their expulsion in the 19th century. It is an internationally protected wetland and includes one of the largest flooded cypress forests in the United States. Caddo is supposedly the only naturally formed lake in Texas. All the other lakes in Texas are man made. I've known about the lake for quite a while and always wanted to visit the area. However, the lake and state park are in the north east corner of Texas which is an area that I seldom visit.
My vehicle is a Scion xB. It's not a 4x4, caravan nor RV. However, I've taken this vehicle on many road trips and it's great. It is compact on the outside, but spacious on the inside. And it gets great gas mileage - 30+ miles per gallon. I took a road trip a few years ago when the gas prices were about $3.50/gallon. Money spent on gas adds up when you plan to travel thousands of miles. Luckily, the price of gas this summer was hovering around $1.75/gallon. Half the price = Double the adventure!
I headed north and east. The highways in Texas are often long and straight. This particular section of highway passes through forest of pine trees. I hadn't driven through this section of forest in quite some time. It made me a little nostalgic. When I was a kid my parents would pack us into the car and drive up this stretch of road toward Lake Conroe or Lake Livingston. We'd spend time camping and fishing around the lakes. Great memories seldom fade with time, they only get better.
After about 4 hours I reached the Caddo Lake State Park. There were not many people around and I had no problem securing a campsite.
I pulled up to campsite right next to the water and parked. This is what I saw outside.
Caddo Lake is surrounded by cypress trees that grow along the banks. It appears to be part lake and part bayou. A bayou is a French word that refers to a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can be either an extremely slow-moving stream or river, or a marshy lake or wetland.
The cypress trees often have Spanish Moss hanging from their branches. Some might think that this area looks like a swamp, but I've always heard of this type of body of water referred to as a bayou. It certainly has a unique look.
The first place I pulled into was a place called Johnson's Ranch.
Inside Johnson's Ranch there was a little store and bait shop. It certainly had an unique vibe. The lady behind the counter mentioned that earlier in the spring during some heavy rains that the building was three feet under water. Their business was just getting back to normal operations. The store sold some basic necessities, bait for fishing and seemed to be a gathering spot for the locals.
This is the place where old tractors go to retire.
Uncertain times or the American Dream?
The next morning I woke up early and found this fishing pier. I tried my luck for about an hour, but did not have any luck.