Saturday, April 25, 2009

Texas' Largest Azalea Garden

This is our third year to camp near Nacogdoches, Texas with the music group. Jan and Wes are here with us and Jan did some investigating and discovered that Nacogdoches is home to the largest Azalea Garden in Texas. So, we spent a day visiting the gardens. The garden is located near the Stephen F. Austin State University. Since it was earth day, there were lots of young school students in various centers in the Mast Arboretum next the the Azalea Garden. Jan, Diana and I enjoyed walking the paths that weave their way through the azaleas. We also saw various Japanese Maples, camellias, hydrangeas, and lots of other ornamental trees. There was no charge to visit the gardens.

The bees really love the Azaleas.

The bush this azalea was from was both pink and white.

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Camp Tonkawa

This is the third year that we have stayed at Camp Tonkawa. We meet Jim's music group and have a great time playing music. One of the attractions of this campground are the fallow deer. Fallow deer are native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and Asia minor. The owner of this campground has his own herd. He has built 8' fences around the grounds to keep the deer in. The deer were a lot tamer this year than in the last 2 years. They came to our campground every night and were treated to some peanuts in a shell. Then they would munch on the grass on the open area near Jan and Wes's cite. We could hear them munching on the grass. Jan wants to put some on their farm so she won't have to mow the snaky area anymore.

Meal time.

Someone had cut the fence and this deer was wounded when he encountered the cut fence. He would eat out of Jan and Sherri's hands.
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beaver's Bend 2009

When Sherri and Jim heard about how much Gary loves to fish, they told us about a place where Gary could catch a lot of trout. It did not take us long to get Sherri and Jim to show us that place - Beaver's Bend, located near Broken Bow, Oklahoma. We have fallen in love with Beaver's Bend and have been able to camp here 3 years in a row. This year we were joined by other members of the class of 05. We spent 2 weeks here and wish we could stay longer.

Scene behind Jan and Wes's campsite.

One of the things we really enjoy is a great campfire. This year Tom came up with the idea of everyone pitching in and having a brick of wood delivered to the campground. Sure had some great campfires which allowed us to roast hot dogs and marsh mellows. The fires also kept us warm on some of the cooler nights.

This guy is watching us watch him.

The group. Gary and me, Wes and Jan, Dean and Janice, Dianna and Tom, Sherri and Jim. We had just finished our Easter dinner.
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Fishing at Beaver's Bend

One of the things we enjoy about Beaver's Bend is the trout fishing. Every year there is a contest to see who will end up catching troutzilla.

Gary was in the lead with this 19 1/2" rainbow.

Gary brought home this 20 1/2" rainbow to increase his lead.

Sherri managed to catch a couple when she was fishing below her camp site. Nice size fish, but Gary was still in the lead.

Tom brought his boat so the guys could fish in Broken Bow Lake. Tom caught this walleye.
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The fish that had to be tackled

Sherri had a wonderful day of fishing. She was really excited by how large the fish were that she was catching. Then, the fish that had to be tackled hit her line. It was sure a lot of fun to see Sherri land-er- tackle this fish. While she was reeling in the fish, a heron decided that it would be a good meal for him/her and swooped down and followed it in. Sherri finally landed the fish.

Sherri had to put her knee on the fish to hold it down while she removed the hook.

Finally got it on the stringer.

Measuring troutzilla.

Sherri and her 22 1/2" trout. Put her in the lead with 2".
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Birds of Beaver's Bend

I really enjoy watching the birds when we are at Beaver's Bend. Every evening we would gather round the campfire and eat peanuts-in-a- shell. Of course, once we began to eat, birds would begin to drop in. Jan would put out some "people-bird feed" and a few peanuts seemed to always fall to the ground. This would always entice the birds to come a little bit closer. We were visited by a white-breasted nuthatch, cardnials, blue jays, wood peckers, and tufted titmice. Of course, since we are located next to the river, we were also able to see ducks and herons. When the guys would return from fishing, they would clean the fish and throw the remains out in the woods and a hawk and some crows would always show up for their dinner.


Red-bellied woodpecker


Red-shouldered Hawk
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Middle Fork Park

Jan and I took a ride to check out the Middle Fork Park Campground. The campground does not have very many campsites and only a couple were large enough for us to get our motorhome in. Gary would be able to throw his line out right behind the motorhome in this campground. We could hear the roar of water and upon further investigation found the spillway. We could have washed the jeep from the spray coming off the spillway.

The top of the spillway reminded me of a sub.

Powerfull water.
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Gardner Mansion

Jan and I toured the Gardner Mansion located near Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The mansion was built in 1884 for Jefferson Gardner who was chief of the Choctaws from 1894-96. The mansion is near the Choctaw Trail of Tears. In order to tour the mansion we had to honk the horn on the jeep and Lewis Stiles came out of his home and gave us a private tour. He is an interesting gentleman. He was a vet for the state of Oklahoma. His parents owned the mansion when Lewis was young. Lewis and his family lived in the mansion for 5 years while he was building the house next door. Lewis collects various kinds of artifacts - something he did with his father as he was growing up. He has filled the mansion with his "treasures" from the Civil War, Indians, animals, and insects. His collection of hornet's nests is the best I've ever seen. Jan and I agree that the cost of the tour, $5 each, was well worth it.

Gardner Mansion

This pot was used in the making of salt.

Stove located in the kitchen.

There are cypress tress on the property.
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Friday, April 10, 2009

Hugo, Oklahoma Graveyard

Hugo is the winter home of various circus's. Thus, there is a section of the Hugo Graveyard where circus performers are laid to rest. Very interesting monuments of circus performers can be seen here.

Remember the movie 8 seconds? Lane Frost was laid to rest in the Hugo graveyard.

Monument of former circus performer.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hugo, Oklahoma train museum

Diane and I took a ride into Hugo, Oklahoma to view the old train depot which is now a museum. There are lots of items there on display. The musem items are more that train items. During the time of the trains that ran through Hugo and other places, there was a restaurant chain known as Harvey's which was built next to the depot. The waitresses were called the Harvey Girls. They lived above the restaurant. Diane and I enjoyed our day at the museum.

Outside of the train depot.

The ladies of this era sure had small feet. How would you like to get your feet into these shoes?

This is a cooler used on the train to keep the food cool. I know, it looked like a 3 seater to me.

This sign made sense to me.
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