Migration South Day 13-18 – Bonham State Park – Texas

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The weather has been particularly nasty this trip. Either that or I am growing old and can’t be bothered to deal with it. We left Fort Cobbs State Park in Oklahoma with our grey water valve frozen open and a forecast for snow for the area. (We dumped before we left and put the cap on so we weren’t dripping all the way.) It wasn’t just the snow. It was warnings about a massive low pressure system with the threat of freezing rain, flooding, thunderstorms, sleet and cold, in addition to snow. Examining the forecast, it was clear we had three options. First, we could race east as fast as possible and hope to stay one step ahead of this mess. Second, we could just wing it and take the weather as it came. Third, we could do what we did when faced with the nasty blizzard in Nebraska/Kansas only a couple of weeks ago and find a good spot to sit it out and let it pass us by. We checked the map and noticed a really nice state park we had stayed at before that was sitting pretty outside the worst of the rain/thunderstorm region of the big storm but below the freeze/snow line. It was a very reasonable four hours of driving. We made for Bonham State Park in north east Texas.

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I had been really surprised on my trip through eastern Texas last year. Until I saw eastern Texas, I thought all of Texas was open desert, bleak, windy, dry and hot. Eastern Texas is lovely, treed, green, and has abundant lakes and streams and even low rolling hills. It was a pleasure to be back. This state park itself is small. There are live in rangers/staff so it’s well run. Its main feature is a little jewel of a lake with a road that circles it. It has abundant woods with some really old trees and the place is criss crossed with trails. It is very close to the town of Bonhom and it gets a lot of day use by the locals. It is a favourite spot for local dog owners to bring their dogs and walk the 4 km (2.5 mi) perimeter road. It has a park feel, not a wild place feel. Normally, I prefer the wild place feel, but after just spending a lot of time in the wild places of Oklahoma I was ready for a little park experience. I was concerned because the main road into the park had warning signs about it having a bad habit of flooding. The ranger assured us it was not a worry because he knew the back roads and if the main road was blocked, he would personally lead us out along the higher back roads. We decided to sit this storm system out in a safe comfortable place. Given the forecast, that meant five nights.We pulled in and paid the $160 in assorted fees to stay five nights on a full service site with marginal but useable internet. ($24/night for the site and $4 a day each for park use fees.)

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The first afternoon after we arrived was really nice. We took a nice walk. We enjoyed the pretty park. The second day the forecast was for rain to begin at noon so we got going early and had a second lovely long walk with Misty on the 27ft lunge line. The rain began promptly at noon as forecast. We had a quiet day of writing, napping and watching old reruns on the TV stations that come over the air. Daytime, the internet did not work but in the evening, once the staff went home, the internet worked well enough we could even watch a show on Netflix before bed.

The second day we had another pause in the rain and hubby dearest had an online seminar so Misty and I went for another walk around the lake. There had been a lot of rain overnight. A meandering wee little stream by the roadside we had enjoyed yesterday was now a metre wide (about a yard) torrent about 30cm (a foot) deep. We let Misty go for a swim, the last lake swim she’ll have for a while since we knew we’d be in gator country soon. The rain began again shortly after noon and it rained and rained and rained all night long. The thunderstorms and severe stuff went south. There were soon flash flood warnings everywhere and it was nice to be sitting in a pretty and sheltered spot safe above it all. The campground was no longer empty as other travellers soon joined us.

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The third day was rain again, rain, rain, rain. I’ve seen prairie monsoons before but this one was one for the books. Steady drizzle interspersed with heavy downpours. Water was running everywhere and the NOAA weather map covered in bright green. It was a very good day to not be driving anywhere. Finally, as we curled up in bed, the rain slowly gave up and quit. We woke to a brilliant and very welcome morning sunshine and blue Texas skies. The other campers who had arrived in the rain packed up and left. We aren’t in a hurry and our next planned campground stop is in Louisiana under a flood advisory so we decided to stay one more day and enjoy the sunshine, the lovely state park, and de-mud the trailer. I spent the day baking bread, doing the laundry, cleaning the trailer. Work aside we took another long walk in the afternoon and then settled in for the night to get ready to move again.

As we were getting into bed one of those unexpected events that happens while you are RVing hit us. The power went out. Thinking we were facing simple breaker issue I went outside and found smoking pouring out of the power outlet. I disconnected our rig and waited. The smoke slowed. I then got a lamp out and used it to check the other outlets. Our entire row was disconnected. At this point there was only one other camper in a different row and they had power. It was late Sunday night and we just didn’t want to deal with it. We put our landlines away and turned the propane on and went to bed. We left a note for the ranger about the outlet and went to bed. We woke up at six in the morning and we packed up and left for Louisiana.

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