All The Way Down to Austin

The last of the 2020 trips we wanted to take was to Austin to visit our daughter Katie and her boyfriend. It was the roughly the same distance as the Colorado trip, necessitating two over-400-mile travel days. And it was over Thanksgiving, so there was celebrating to do. Covid presented its challenges, though. We hiked and visited parks, but when the weather turned cooler and rainy after Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much to do. Still, we enjoyed seeing our daughter, her boyfriend, and their apartment, and even a cooler day in Texas is (usually) warmer than Missouri. I always love being in Texas, and I have a history of pleasant memories there.

The RV park we stayed at made us feel welcome! But oh…the leveling was rough. We knew it wasn’t going to be good. The leveling blocks on this side were nothing compared to what we had to do on the other side. Admittedly we had to have some help for this one.

We will be back in the spring, and visited an RV park nearby that we liked much better than the one we were staying in. We took a little walk in Lakeway City Park near there. They had some nice trails, and we will be visiting again when this area becomes our home for a month.

The day that was the most fun for me, aside from our delicious Thanksgiving feast!, was our visit to explore two state parks southeast of Austin with Katie. The first was Bastrop SP. The second, Buescher SP, was only 10 miles away from there.

The above two pictures are of Bastrop SP. The pines are loblolly pines and are the western-most stand of them in the US. Pre-pioneer era, this part of Texas was covered with them. The structure above is of CCC construction, which Bastrop has a lot of. I’m a huge fan of CCC buildings, as often they are interesting to look at, but they also cause me to engage in some wishful thinking that the CCC program could be reinvented today to shore up our nation’s parks.

Bastrop was devastated by a massive forest fire in 2011. The fire affected 96% of the park, but only 30% was intensely burned, thanks to previous fire management. Charred trees could still be seen, but loblollies are sprouting on their own, or being assisted with plantings and prescribed burning. One of the campgrounds has been rebuilt, but the RV sites looked to be limited. I don’t know if that was because of COVID or if the rebuilding project is not yet complete.

There appears to be some decent hiking in this park with trails of varying lengths. It was starting to rain, though, and it was lunchtime. Just outside of Bastrop’s front gate lies the Roadhouse Bastrop, renowned for their hamburgers. They were open for inside dining, but Katie advised us that the inside was small and tight, as was the patio, and we all are COVID-cautious people. After we called in our order, they brought it right to us in our car, and we took it back to the park to eat. The hamburgers were indeed delicious, with many tasty toppings available.

The second state park, Buescher, was not as badly affected by the fire, but charred trees could still be seen. The rain and the clouds mostly moved away, so we got in a little hike on Pine Gulch Trail. We were right in the loblollies (I like the name of this pine tree about as much as the pine trees themselves). The below pictures are of our Pine Gulch hike. We didn’t go far as the day was getting on, and doubled back on another trail which had a lot of interesting and varied rocks below our feet. For the hike, our car was parked by a beautiful overlook.

Our final stop for the day was Berdoll Pecan Farm, where you can get a pecan pie in a vending machine. To say that Cal loves pecan pie is a vast understatement, so he was very interested in this prospect! However, the sun was directly striking the vending machine and we weren’t real sure if it was a good idea to purchase one from there. I guess if it was late in the evening before a holiday, and one had a massive pie fail with a houseful of company coming, this would be a great bailout. We opted to go in the store to buy ours for our Thanksgiving dinner. And it was delicious!

Time is hastening on, and it has now been some months since this trip. I have retired, and Cal and I are just now embarking on our full-time RV journey. This is part of what the blog is really all about, and it is an exciting time for us. More adventures to come!

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