Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Camping Trips

2012 Camping Trips

March 2-4th: Double Lake Rec Area
March 23-25th: Magnolia Rudge Damn
March 29- April 1st (Easter): Goose Island SP
May 3-6th: Sam Houston Jones SP, Lake Charles, LA
May 18-21st: Gladewater
October 12-14th: Lake Livingston SP
November 9-11th: McKinney Falls SP
November 21-25th (Thanksgiving): Cedar Hill SP

Friday, December 28, 2012

Park (P)review: Guadalupe River State Park - Spring Branch, TX

Park (P)review
We haven't camped here yet, but I've driven around and checked it out!


*I was greeted by a 6 pt buck on my way into the park.  That makes this place A+ in my book!
*Most trees here are short, but well spaced - I saw a lot of campers who had hung up hammocks
*The Guadalupe River runs through the park, and has very easy access by foot.
*Water & Electrics Sites: I liked sites 43, 46, 56, 63, and 64.  shade was at a premium (remember, short trees) but all of the sites were nicely private - thus, no real group sites so far as I could see.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Park (P)review: LeFleur's Bluff State Park - Jackson, MS

Park (P)review
We haven't camped here yet, but I've driven around and checked it out!

LeFleur's Bluff State Park

*Right in the heart of Jackson, but it feels like you've stepped into a deeply wooded tall, hardwood tree forest.
*It's a smaller park for camping, but didn't look terribly busy (I was there the second week of September)
*They've got disc golf on the camper's side, and a nice playground (but not directly in the loop - it's across the lake) They also have the State Park Golf Course and a Children's Museum, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science - all within the park grounds.  There's a lot to do here without even traveling 'into' town!
*Water and Electric sites: Anything on the outer loop is going to have an amazing lake view. A few of my favorites: 1, 2, 4 (best site out there) and 6 (is a double site - hookups directly next to each other). 12 and 14 are both large, but look out for 16 - it was flooded when I cam thru.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Park (P)review: Cloudland Canyon State Park - Rising Fawn, GA

Park (P)review
We haven't camped here yet, but I've driven around and checked it out!

Cloudland Canyon State Park

*We. LOVED. This. Park!!! We were heading back from NC and saw the sign for it and took a last minute detour to go visit the park. We're already trying to figure out how we're gonna incorporate it into our trips from TX to NC.
*The road to the park is just what you'd think of for a mountainous area - switchback turns, hills, big hardwood trees, blind curves.  (I think I'll let RDB do the trailer pulling on this one.)
*The park butts up to a deep canyon - with some amazing views, hiking opportunities, and even cave tours!
*They have quiet a number of accommodations at the park - we liked the idea of using the cottages for our trips across, and I was thrilled to find they had 2 which are pet friendly (with an additional fee, of course).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Park (P)review: Falls Lake Recreation Area - Rolling View,

Park (P)review
We haven't camped here yet, but I've driven around and checked it out!


*Big tall pine trees
*HUGE horse flies- they were following the car at 20 mph!!
*Very large, clean lake. Sandy beach areas, and a payphone (what!?)
*Electric and Water sites: Most of the sites were big and well shaded, RDB said you probably couldn't go wrong with any site you picked.  We especially liked sites B29, B30, B31 as they had great shade and somewhat of a tree-filled lake view. B8 is a double site (group). B12 had steps down to the table and fire ring. B17-19 is an awesome group set with lots of room for parking.

We stopped off to talk to the Rangers on our way out and had the pleasure of meeting Ranger Grimes. He's been with the park for over 19 years and you could tell he really loved the place and felt like it was his home.  Lots of pride in the layout of the park and the way it looked- even apologized that the grass and weeds were a little long.  He gave us a few tips: Run the water for a bit before you hook up- they've got a high iron content in the water (his words: ya won't need an iron pill while you're drinking our water). Watch out for wasps when you open up the electrical box- he tries to get out everyday and check, and spray, but he might not have gotten to your site before you check in.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Camp Cooking #4: Um, not sure what to call these...

Ok, so the title was a ploy to get you to read on.  'Cause who's all that excited about a post titled: Foil Wrapped Potatoes?  Really - would you have honestly clicked through for that?  Yea, me neither.

So, all that trickery aside, let's talk taters. And onions.  And garlic. And butter.  Mmmmmmm, butter.

Alright, by now, you know the drill - gather your ingredients:

Baking Potatoes (1 per person)
White Onion
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder (optional)
heavy duty foil, sharp knife, tongs
Hey, just an FYI - do yourself a few favors when you're getting your ingredients: heavy-duty foil. Heavy-duty.  These are potentially going into the coals of your campfire, and I don't want you complaining about ash in your potato.  And splurge on real butter.  I used margarine for this go around, and I won't ever again.  Just didn't taste right.  Real butter is better.  Mmmm, butter..... 
(Do I even need to mention: wash your spuds? Can we just pretend that's a given?)
We're going to stuff the potato with onion slices, so we start out by cutting the potato.  Use a super sharp knife, and slice 1/4" slits into your spud almost all the way thru.  It took a bit of practice to get this one right, but if you've done well, you'll have an accordion for a tater when you're done.
Next up, slice your onion.  The thinner the slices, the better -
you're going to have to shove them in to the slits you just made in your potato. 
 (I used about a half an onion for 3 spuds, use more or less to your liking)
And now, assembly.  Go easy on pulling the spud slices apart to make room for the onion - in fact, it's almost best to keep the potato on the counter while you're doing this just in case it breaks apart, and falls on the floor, and rolls around a bit. 
You wouldn't want that.
Not that I know from experience or anything.
*Ahem*  Where were we?

Here's where you can take it whichever direction you like:
salt, pepper, garlic powder (cloves would be awesome), and butter. 
Mmmmm, butter
RDB said that my spud looked like someone had covered it with icing. 
I said, no, butter
He said, yep, icing.
Mmmm, buttercreme icing....
Whoops, sorry, where were we?

Wrap those little taters up in your Heavy-Duty foil and fire up your grill.  We had them on medium heat on our gas grill for about 45 minutes - turning every now and again.  You could certainly try these in the coals of a burned-down fire as well, but I'm not that brave yet.  I like hot potatoes, not burned potatoes.  Go figure.
They're done when you can smush them a little bit with your tongs.  And remember - they will be nuclear hot when you first pull them off the grill/out of the fire.  So, regardless of how amazingly they smell, don't unwrap them and immediately shove a forkful of the delicious fluffy garlic/onion/potato in your mouth.  'Cause it would probably burn.  Not that I know from experience or anything.
But, hey, you know what I hear's good for burns?