Respite from the heat at the Mogollon Rim

We are camping with family for 3 nights at Canyon Point Campground at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Our site is a mini group large enough for several campers and tenters. There are 3 picnic tables and a fire pit. There were 4 adults and 2 dogs on our site. The elevation here is 7700ft. After a thunderstorm on day 1, the rest of the time was perfect. The temps warmed up to near 80 degrees during the day, and the nights were cold. We were glad to be able to use the fire pit, to sit around in the evenings. Many other parts of Arizona are under fire bans.

Day 2 started out great. Daughter served Home Made McMuffins and fruit. For lunch, we served Hamburgers and Hot Dogs. Evening meal was Sausages and Pirogies in foil packets. After lunch though we noticed that one of the there dogs was not eating and also having difficulty breathing at the high altitude. Son-in-law took him to a nearby vet later in the afternoon where he was examined and given medication. He was still having a tough time that evening so Daughter and Son-in-law made the decision to take the dogs back to the valley the next morning.

Saw courtesy of a Camp Host

That left just two of us at our mini group site for the remainder of that day, so we both ended up napping under the trees, eating some of the food meant for 4, and an evening at the campfire. The next morning we headed home about 10 AM to avoid the morning traffic. We four of us want to come back to this campground again. Not so sure that the dogs do though.

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Second Lake Pleasant Trip

Lake Pleasant, AZ 06/03/19

Knowing that the temperature in this area will be heating up fast and furious, we decided to get in one last trip before the heat of summer. It turned out quite well. We had a gorgeous view of the lake, arguably the best in the park. Several people walking by asked how we were able to get such a primo site. Once we opened our awning, we were able to be outside until noontime, giving us time to have a short hike. We spent most of the afternoon inside, but once the sun got lower in the sky, we were back outside, seeing the stars. It was a truly relaxing two days.

A Long Overdue Post

Lots has happened since we got home from our road trip to Chattanooga and back. One week later, our tow bar was installed, so of course we needed to try it out. We picked a route which would send us through steep mountain climbs and downgrades. The tow vehicle performed well. We didn’t. In the course of getting the tow bar ready for it’s first trip we seemed to have forgotten things like a coffee maker and water. Luckily Cottonwood has a Wal-mart near the Dead Horse Ranch Campground where we were staying.

Dinner our first evening was at Bocce, a perfect place for pizza, appetizers drinks and fun. It also has a fire pit outside and a Bocce area for those who enjoy the game. The downtown area is perfect for walking and there are wine and tastings all along the streets.

Rio Verde

We spent our second day exploring the campground. The facilities were clean. pull through sites, but not as much privacy as we had hoped. The beauty of the Rio Verde and the Lagoon made everything much better. We will definitely stay here again in the future.

The Lagoon at Dead Horse Ranch Campground, Cottonwood AZ

What to Do with Our Extra Day in San Marcos

Because we were worried that we would run into weather or a late arrival in San Marcos, we booked a two night stay instead of one. Since everything went smoothly and we had eaten lunch at the Salt Lick that afternoon, we had an extra day and no set plans. We had been through the Hill Country of Texas once before but didn’t have the time to see much. We decided to visit the Lyndon B Johnson Ranch instead. It was a great choice. The Ranch itself works jointly with Texas Parks and National Park systems. We stopped into the Visitors center for an orientation and map of the ranch, then picked up our free park pass.

Lyndon B Johnson Inaugural Address, January 20, 1965 (excerpt)

After leaving the visitors center we entered the working ranch. The ranch is huge, so you need a vehicle to get around. The first stop was at the family cemetery where the family members were laid to rest. There were walls and security cameras around the cemetery, so we were not able to get close to the stones.

The next stop was a drive through the ranch itself, including the Show Barn, the landing strip and hanger. It was all very interesting to see.

Air Force One during LBJ’s presidency

It was an enjoyable and informative afternoon. After leaving the Johnson City area, we decided to visit a winery to test some Texan wines. We stopped in at Hye Meadows Winery, not far from the Johnson Ranch. The area is known for its wine so we thought a tasting would be fun. The place was busy will a group of 20 or more at the tasting. I tried a few white wines which were delicious and came home with 2 bottles of the ones I liked the best. It was a great time.

Arriving in San Marcos, TX

We were able to get into our hotel room about 2:30. We freshened up and headed to Driftwood, TX for Bar-B-Q at the Salt Lick. We had been there a few years ago and vowed we would be back. It was the best bar-b-q we had ever eaten. The food is served family style in a casual setting. Service was excellent and our food arrived quickly. After we ate a large amount of the food, our server noticed that we had eaten a lot of the meats. A minute or two later, another platter showed up on our table. The sampler platter is all you can eat for $24.99 per person. It is a great bargain for such great food.

I should have taken the picture before we started eating. This is the sampler platter.

Everything was delicious. The Salt Lick does not have a bar, but they allow bringing your own beverages. Many of the patrons had large coolers with them.

The Pit.

Most of the smoking is done outside in a large smoker behind the restaurant. It is brought inside to finish up on the pit. The scent from the meats permeates the restaurant. The juice from the sausages hanging above the pit flavors the meats below. I say the Salt Licks’s Cole Slaw is the best I have ever eaten. The sausage is incredible. All in all, it was well worth the detour we took to get here. We hope to eat here again in the future.

Another Visit with Family

From Shelbyville, Kentucky we journeyed to St Charles Missouri, to visit cousins. The drive was slow with heavy rainfall most of the time. We were happy to see just a few showers once we arrived in St. Charles. Despite the weather our time with the cousins was wonderful. The first evening they treated us to a very nice dinner at Trattoria Marcella in St. Louis. The owners were good friends of our cousins, so we received excellent service and met several of their friends. The food was delicious and the proportions huge.

We met up with the cousins again about noon the next day. This time we treated at Pickleman’s, an excellent sandwich shop in St. Charles. This time the mood was more casual. We had a table set up for 8-10 people, and they soon filled up with friends of the cousins. We spent several hours listening to every ones travel stories and telling our own tales. Although we really can’t remember their names, it was a great time.

Later we went back to the cousins home for more talk and some sharing of genealogy trees. After a nice meal of rotisserie chicken with some sides, we also ate the leftovers from the huge dish of lasagna I ordered at Trattoria Marcella the night before. Unfortunately, we were so busy having fun, we failed to take any photos of this leg of the trip. But we sure made memories.

Again, it was hard to say goodbye. We will travel from St. Louis, MO to McAlester, Oklahoma for a hotel stop, before leaving early the next morning, to arrive at the Salt Lick Bar-B-Q in Drifwood, TX