Roger here... We recently crossed over the Texas State Line at Texarkana. That border crossing marked the half-way point in our trip to Mission, TX from Indianapolis. Texas is a big place.
We did not need a Welcome to Texas sign to know that we had returned. This state has a feel to it that is immediately recognizable. Here are a couple of examples:
The Texas flag flies EVERYWHERE. You can hardly turn around without seeing it. Texans are truly proud of their state.
They are also proud of their high school football. Friday Night Lights is not just a great TV show. Check out one of the many high school stadiums that tower over every Texas town --- large or small. In Indiana, stadiums that are nowhere nice as this one have caused tax revolts.
After a nice overnight stop at the Ramblin Fever RV Park ($12.50 for full hookups with Passport America) in Mt. Pleasant, we drove along the south side of Dallas. Our destination was Holiday Park (Corps of Engineers) on the Benbrook Reservoir, just outside Fort Worth. Fort Worth was our home for five nights.
We had a beautiful, huge, secluded spot --- right on the lake. Wait a minute, where is the water? Oh yeah, it hasn't rained here for a while. The entire green area from where I was sitting to the tree line was once part of the lake. Scary. Hard to believe that there is not global warming when you see something like this.
If you look on the right side of the photo below, you can see what is left of the lake in the distance.
We spent our time here visiting with my cousin, Beth, who recently lost her husband. We helped (in a very, very small way) her get ready for a move to Chattanooga, where her kids are. Dianne helped her erase the hard drives from the computers that she did not intend to keep, while I went on a crusade to find moving boxes. I hit the jackpot at the Fossil Creek Liquor store in Arlington. It was so good to see her.
We also spent time reading under the trees at the campsite, walking and biking.
One of our first walks was through the dry lake bed to the water. We thought that Bandido would have fun in the water, but there was a lot of broken glass, etc. that made us uncomfortable. Dianne was also afraid that there might be the proverbial snakes in the grass. So, this was a one-time walk. Check out the cracks in the mud. They were about an inch wide. When looking straight down into the crack, the bottom was not visible. Creepy. While we were walking by, a small frog hopped out of one of them. That, at least, made us smile and took our minds away from the dry conditions. (The next morning I awoke to itching legs due to multiple insect bites of some kind. Yuck.)
At one point, this dry lake bed was obviously soft, but now it has dried to the point that it was like walking on concrete. The foot prints are from someone else, who was here before it dried out. -- D. Back to Roger....
The views along the lake were fascinating in a depressing kind of way. Look at the dead tree trunks that were supposed to be under water. I have seen low lake levels before, but nothing like this. I hope that Fort Worth has another source of water.
The eerie views at twilight actually had a kind of stark beauty.
The other notable feature that we experienced at Benbrook Lake was, unfortunately, the odor. Though not overwhelming, it was ever-present --- difficult to explain. It had the essence of burnt popcorn, mold, and plant decay. I have never smelled anything quite like it. It was not pleasant, but it did not keep us inside.
Don't misunderstand me. The Holiday Park facility is outstanding. We will go back again, but the next time, we'll check the water levels beforehand :-). (I'd try for site #83 again; it was huge and would be right on the water. If the lake was at normal depth, this would have ranked as one of the top camp sites we'd ever had -- D.)
Believe it or not, it has rained since we've re-entered Texas. I like to think that we brought the rain with us. The pet picture of the day shows Bandido attempting to hide under one of the motor home front seats. He is still (and probably always will be) afraid of thunder and lightning. Poor baby.