This is a short post that encompasses only 2 campgrounds! We left Motel 6 in Dallas to head to the outskirts, have breakfast, and peddle 70 miles to our next spot. We actually have 3 spots picked out between Dallas and Texarkana but if conditions are right, we could do it in just two! Just before Texarkana there is Red River Army Depot and they have a camping area that is only $2 a night (And it got great reviews!). Like Dyess AFB, it is only available to retirees and active service personnel.
Let’s talk about brakes! You know, those funny things that ALL vehicles have and are only necessary if you want to stop. Well, in Texas there are two speed limits; fast and faster! They do ask you to slow down to 50 if you are going through a town but otherwise, 75 (on ALL roads) is the norm (presumably, that really means 85!). (When school is in session, school zones are 30 – Not only is everything BIGGER in Texas, its FASTER too!)
Sooo, heading down i30 in East Dallas traveling about 75 (Bet you didn’t know a fully loaded Focus could go that fast!) I hear a clink and felt like the car ran over a small rock. No problem, there is all kinds of stuff on highways. Next exit is our breakfast place (Mickey D’s)! As I come off the ramp toward a red light, I put the breaks on. “GRIND, CRUNCH, RUBBING!” I apply my emergency break and that helps us to stop.
I say to Corey, “That didn’t sound good.” “Nope!” was his reply. I limp into the nearby gas station and fill up and look around the car. At first inspection, I find nothing. (Using a Smart Phone, Corey finds an Autozone nearby.) I nurse the car over to it (still bumping and grinding) and go in for advice.
(Being Sunday most of the garages and all of the Ford dealerships are closed!). Fortunately, a clerk offered to come check it out. He took the front tire off and sure enough…there was the problem. My brake caliper had come undone and was lying there limp-like! Two hours later and several parts replaced, Adam had me on the road again…AND HE ABSOLUTELY REFUSED TO TAKE ANY MONEY. He loves our cause (he lost a good friend, who had recently returned from active duty, to suicide).
If you ever need a car (or anything for your car), check out Action Auto Sales LLC in Caddo Mills, TX. And tell Adam, Chris sent you!
Well, this set us back a bit in time so we did a shorter ride to Sulfur Springs and stayed at Lake Cooper State Park. Did I tell you the weather has changed? Vegetation is more like New England here with trees, brush, and rivers and streams (with water!). It was nice…Texas has some pretty nice state parks! But about 3 am a good thunderboomer rolled in… more rain and wind…lots of it! And after the light show, it continued to rain. In fact, it rained all day and into the next! It was so bad, we didn’t even eat breakfast or make coffee. We just packed up; muddy, soaked, and pretty miserable. At least it was warm. 😉
Very wet campsite at Cooper Lake (Sulphur Springs, TX)
Later that morning, Corey and I realized we had shut our phones off. When we turned them on, we both had several messages from home. Apparently, the national news reported severe storms in eastern Texas, even some tornados! Well, my wife was worried sick…enhanced by the fact she couldn’t reach us. Lesson learned.
More pics of Cooper Lake! Corey likes birds.
Our next stay was going to be at Mt. Pleasant at a county park. It was beautiful and free but was pretty muddy. We peddled on, destination: Red River Army Depot (20 miles west of Texarkana). On our way, Corey suffered a major blowout!
Our next campsite – Red River Army Depot.
The campground at Red River was excellent… but very damp. The manager, very supportive of our cause, gives us the week…FREE. Then that evening he comes up and offers us an unoccupied cabin!! Out of the rain, with a cabin with heat, electricity, and TV… you’d think we had just won the lottery!! Life is good. In the morning, we did our trip to Walmart to replenish supplies. The afternoon was consumed with us fixing flats (his and mine).
More pictures of our trip… including another flat!
Sad story of many that epitomizes the Western expansion.
Now, to plan Phase 2 – Corey will be riding solo for a month
Here are a few questions for my friends at Rumford Elementary. When did Texas become a sovereign country? Who was its first President? When did Texas become a state?
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