Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mother Neff State Park , near Crawford, TX

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Slept long, until a passing vehicle woke me at 9:00. Guess I needed it. Over 650 miles traveled yesterday, under varied and difficult conditions. This morning it’s incredibly humid, my clothes damp and sticky (and not too pleasant-smelling.)

I was just talking with the ranger. He said that at least they got a north wind out of this hurricane, which cooled things down!

Last night I followed the Hampton Inn desk clerk’s recommendation and went to “El Conquistador” for dinner. Located in a strip mall across the freeway, the building was nondescript, but the food was excellent. I’ve been craving Mexican food, and this was the real thing.

After dinner, I went on an 85-mile trek to find a campsite. There are three state parks within about a 30-mile radius of Waco, and lightning in the direction of each. I had passed a KOA about 10 miles north, in the town of West. Tried that first. It was right off the highway and the roar of trucks was horrific. They also wanted $24, unacceptable for what would certainly be a difficult night.

Turned northwest toward Lake Whitney and rode out the dark country highway. Except when lightning flashed, it was difficult to tell how close I was to the storm. A moonless hazy night, I watched the few stars up ahead. But gradually they disappeared. After about twenty minutes on this lonely stretch, there was a brilliant flash of lightning directly ahead, and very close. I didn’t want to deal with riding in a storm in the dark.

So, I turned around and drove back to Waco. Looked for possible turn-offs, where I might inconspicuously camp, but all the property fences were discouraging. Back in town, I looked at all the trucks parked in almost any available spot, and envied truckers’ ability to just pull over and crawl into their sleeper. No one hassles them. If I were to pitch my tent there, it would be a different story.

I ended up camping here, about 30 miles southwest of Waco. I may be the only camper in this secluded campground, full of wonderful tall old trees.

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