"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Free Campng, New Friends & Kongos

Tomball, TX
Spring Creek Park

Wow did we find a gem of a campground!  Spring Creek has a park like setting (it is a park after all), electric, water, wifi AND sewer.  FREE.  Just outside of the town of Tomball, which is just NW of Houston.  There are some short trails, sports courts, playground, historic areas, showers and it's quiet as well. Did I mention it's FREE?  What's the downside you say?  Well, nothing really.  There are 8 paved, level RV sites that will hold 40+ length RVs with grass between them.  A few trees.  The only thing we could come up with that could be negatives, are a couple of sites are close together.  Had someone parked next to us on one side and they had slides, we probably would only have a few feet between us.  The sites on the ends and a couple of others are the best as they have much more space.  There were only 3 of us there and we were spaced out.  They will take reservations and there is a 14 day limit.  The other thing that could be a problem for some is that there is a fence completely surrounding the park and the gates are closed and locked between 10p - 6a.  No code.  You're in or you're out.  There is an emergency phone or 911 you can dial if you need it.  There is also shopping, gas, propane and plenty of restaurants nearby.  Great cell, AT&T and Verizon mifi.  Dogs are welcome.

There wouldn't be much privacy if someone were parked on this side of us.
We were in site #3.  Site #1, which would be to the left of the empty spot, is the best.


 
This historical marker has been added in Spring Creek Park to commemorate the recent discovery of a pre-Civil War cemetery that might contain the graves of freed slaves and other early Tomball-area settlers.  It is fenced off and protected while historians and archaeologists remove trees and brush that have covered the site since the last burial there in 1935. Historians believe the site was first used as a cemetery as early as 1828.  I have always had an interest in old cemeteries and genealogy.  I wish I could've gone into the cemetery but it is still closed off.  You can't even see it from the fence.
 
While I was reading this marker, an older gentlemen joined me and told me other stories of the area.  The marker on the right is to memorialize those killed when an explosion happened at the powder mill.
 
He also told me about the nearby pond (now fenced off) and all the strange drownings.  A later google search found this info about it. (in part)
 
In 1864 a horrific explosion destroyed the facility killing three men working there. The force of the blast was so great that a huge crater was created that over time filled with water and became a popular swimming hole for locals. Despite rumors of spirits at the pond and in the surrounding woods, the lure of the cool dark water continued to draw swimmers to the powder mill site willing to risk a ghostly encounter for a quick dip. Unfortunately for some that decision ended in their death. After several curious drownings the powder mill pond was fenced, but the rumors remain even today.


 
One of the trees cut down at the park was carved into a horse type totem pole.
 
We had a nice time at this park relaxing and exploring.  The best part was getting to meet up with fellow bloggers Mike & Sandy of Phannie & Mae.  Since they knew the area well, we met up at a Mexican restaurant they've enjoyed  before called El Palenque.  After weeks of delicious seafood, we were ready for some great Mexican food.  We were all happy with our meals and it was wonderful to meet Mike & Sandy.  They are as adorable in person as they sound on their blog.  They are part-timers who still have their house and travel many weeks at a time.  Some of it to visit with their two grandkids.  Mike is a retired airline pilot and Federal Aviation Administrator.  Sandy is a retired School Teacher.

 
New Waverly, TX
Cagle Recreation Area Campground

While we would've loved to continue our stay at Spring Creek a few more days, we needed to move because we would be attending a late night concert and knew we wouldn't be back before the gates locked.  So we moved to Cagle Rec Area on Lake Conroe where we could do some kayaking also.

The campground is easy to get to and get in.  No problem for 40' rigs.  Spots in the loop closer to the lake have a nice water view.  We were in site #34.  Not the most level, but we were able to level the 5er.  Water, 50amp and sewer.  Campground and sites are well maintained and very clean.

It sounded like a good idea...
Friday was beautiful and sunny so we wanted to get on the lake for some kayaking.  Funny story. The lakeshore near our site wasn't going to be the easiest to launch from, but we didn't want to have to drive to the boat launch.  There was about a 2 foot drop from the water to the bank making it a bit awkward for Steve to get into.  The bank was covered with dried grass.  After a few discussion on how best to launch, our plan involved Steve getting in and letting gravity do its thing.  As the kayak was sliding into the lake (about 15 feet or so) I tried to hold onto the back to slow it down.  Well, the grass was slippery and I wasn't able to hold on for too long.  The kayak sped up a bit and as it glided into the water it bumped a couple of roots at the last minute causing the front end to dive into the water and quickly roll to the right.  Yep.  It dumped Steve right out.  Good thing it only turned out to be 1 foot deep.  Steve was soaked and I was trying not to laugh (too loudly).  After he quickly rescued his beer, he tossed up our jackets and gear.  Of course, both our cell phones were in our jackets, so unfortunately there are no pictures to go with the story.  According to Steve it was a near-death experience much like this:


but I thought it was more like this:
 
Poor Steve!
While we were not happy about the phones (Steve just got a new one) we both laughed uncontrollably!  We went to the trailer so Steve could change clothes and put the phones into rice to let them sit for a couple days.  Back to the kayak.  Since Steve now knew the water was quite shallow he just walked into the lake and got into the kayak.  We had a couple of nice paddle days.  Didn't see much waterfowl or otherwise, but it was a nice paddle into some deep coves and creek inlets.  Since my phone was in the rice bag, I was unable to take any pictures the rest of the week.

Kongos Concert!

There is a new band that I've become interested in that just happened to be playing at a small venue in Houston.  This is one of the reasons we decided to come to the Houston area instead of Galveston.  The Kongos are 4 brothers who grew up in London and South Africa.  Their music has an African/Cajun sound to it.  Some songs remind me of the Beatles.  It's a unique sound and it's the heavy drum beat that really attracts me to it.  Growing up in an Italian family with my Gramma playing the accordion, I've always loved that instrument too.  I enjoy hearing it played in a different style of music.  Here is "Come with me Now", one of my favorites:


13 comments:

  1. Free is always the best and it really sounds like a great park. I follow Mike and Sandy on their blog and they seem like a great couple. I would love to have seen a video of the kayaking excursion. Too funny but glad you're okay.

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    1. They really were very nice! The kayak launch was hysterical!

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  2. Thanks for the tip on the park! Are you getting any good BBQ over there? Would have loved to see pictures/video of the kayak debacle, how did the phones end up?

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    1. We went to County Line the other day. Steve loved it. It was ok for me, but I'm not a huge BBQ fan, just a good steak! Saturday we go to Salt Lick, can't wait! My phone actually came back to life 100%. Although today the sound is doing some weird stuff. I'll probably get a new one since my screen is cracked and it's time anyway. Steve's is still in the rice bag back in the trailer which is in the shop. Another good story. More details to come soon.

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  3. How did you score a free campsite. Will have to put that one in the list of parks. I clicked on the You Tube link for the Kongos. Love the sound. Thanks for posting. Poor Steve and your phones. Hope they dried out. That happened to my phone and the rice worked for me. Let us know as you get closer west. We have only 3 more weeks at Canyon Vistas and then off to Kartchner Caverns.

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  4. Curt, after checking for state parks/COE/etc, I usually search for county parks, especially if we're by a big city. Most are great but priced more like private parks. We chose them because there either wasn't a nearby state park or it was just way to convenient and made getting around the city much easier. This is the first time we've found a free one though! SCORE!! We still plan on meeting up near that park you found in NM. Enjoy Kartchner, we really liked it and are going back this time after we see you, but with the trailer this time.

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  5. Have just finished reading your blog from the beginning. I follow the blog of Mike and Sandy also. So decided to read yours. The pictures are very nice as is the blog itself. We have a motor home that we travel in mostly in the summer. Also have a permanent home south of Orlando. So maybe will cross paths some where. Thanks for letting me travel along.

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  6. I always like to find new groups to listen to - these guys sound great! I am really looking forward to seeing live music in small venues again. Isn't it great to be able to laugh at yourselves? While probably funnier for you at the time, it's great that Steve could find the humor in it as well. But the phones is a real bummer! County parks seem to be a great option in several areas - thanks for sharing this one :-)

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    1. I really like the drum beat of the Kongos. Not for everyone, I know. My phone came back to life, unbelievably, but sometimes the sound does not work. So since I cracked the screen a couple months back, I may just upgrade. This is only my second phone.

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  7. Great post! We have found some campgrounds in the $5-10 range, but never FREE! We are going to see if this comes into our path as we head the east coast in April. I think it would have took me a bit to laugh if had been me in the water, good for Steve to laugh at himself.

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  8. We were very amazed at the campground! Yes, Steve was a real champ about the sudden turn of events ;-) Where in TX are you? Maybe we'll cross paths?

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  9. They play this song on 98Rock. I like it. How cool to see them live. I would enjoy it. Ron isn't a fan of crowds but in a smaller venue he might just go with me...

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    1. I don't like crowds either, but it was small and I was ok with it. Still a bit loud for me, but it was fun to do something different and see this band.

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