Monday, February 28, 2011

Goliad State Park, February 20 - 23, 2011

Goliad State Park, located on the southern edge of the historic city of Goliad, Texas, is a 188 acre park on the banks of the San Antonio River.

View video of Goliad State Park.

This is a great little park. We arrived on a windy Sunday afternoon. The campground for full-hookups is a circle (see park map). We found the sites to be large and level. The park offers many opportunities for leisurely walks either along the paved park roads or along the trails. The park is on the San Antonio River paddling trail, and there is a place for putting in or taking out canoes and kayaks.

On the grounds of the park are the remains of the Mission Nuestra Senora del EspĂ­ritu Santo de Zuniga. Actually, very little of the actual mission remains and most of what is now on park grounds was restored in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In addition to full-hookup campsites located in the Karankawa Camping Area (we stayed in site #11), there are water only and water and electric only sites located elsewhere in the park. A walking trail connects the park to the downtown area of Goliad as well as to the historic Presidio La Bahia on the opposite bank of the river.

My only complaint about the park is that it is located right on U.S. 77, so there is highway traffic noise throughout the day and night. It wasn't enough to keep me awake, though.

Other posts of the mission, Fannin Battleground, and Presidio La Bahia will be available soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LaGrange, Texas - February 20, 2011

While stopped at a traffic light in LaGrange, Texas, on our way to Goliad, a pickup pulled up next to us. The driver signaled me to roll down my window. He then informed me that the front Maxi vent on our trailer was loose. After thanking him, I began searching for a place to stop to check the condition of the vent. I then remembered Monument Hill and its little park-like area.

LaGrange is located in the Colorado River valley. The south bank of the river is noted for its high bluff overlooking the river.

Colorado River Valley from Monument Hill, La Grange, Texas
  After crossing the river, the drive up the south bluff curves back and forth past beautiful homes built onto the slopes. At the very top, the road to Monument Hill branches to the west.

Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery is a 40 acre park, and is part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife park system. Monument Hill is the location of a tomb containing the remains of victims of the 1842 Dawson Massacre and the 1843 “Black Bean Death Lottery” execution.  The Dawson Massacre was a result of an attack on San Antonio on September 11, 1842, led by Mexican General Adrian Woll. Nicholas Mosby Dawson recruited 54 men, most from the LaGrange area, to attack Woll; however, 36 of these men were killed in a battle with a much larger Mexican force. Of the 18 survivors, 3 escaped, but the remaining 15 were marched over 1,000 miles to Perote Prison near Vera Cruz in southern Mexico.

Later that year, over 300 Texans set out to avenge the Dawson Massacre and attacked Ciudad Mier along the Texas/Mexico border. 250 Texans from this force were captured. Although 181 were able to escape, 176 of these were quickly recaptured. Santa Anna ordered all of them to be executed, but diplomatic efforts from the United States and Great Britain led to a compromise known as the Black Bean Death Lottery. 159 white beans and 17 black beans were placed in a pot, and the prisoners were forced to draw. Those who drew the black beans were executed and the others were sent to Perote Prison to join the survivors of the Dawson Massacre.

Remains of the executed men were exhumed by Americans during the Mexican War in 1847 and returned to Texas and buried at the site atop Monument Hill. In 1848, remains of the volunteers who died at Salado Creek (Dawson Massacre) were also placed in this common tomb atop Monument Hill.

Monument to victims of Black Bean Lottery and Dawson Massacre
In 1849, German immigrant Heinrich Kreische purchased 172 acres on the bluff on the south bank of the Colorado River, including the land where the Dawson/Mier tomb is located. Kreische  built a 3 story house atop the bluff for his growing family.
In 1860, Kreische began building a brewery near a spring on his property. He soon was producing Kreische’s Bluff Beer. By 1879, Kreische Brewery was the third largest brewery in Texas. Kreische died in a work related accident in 1882, and the brewery failed soon afterward.

Remains of Kreische Brewery, La Grange, Texas
This is a beautiful little park. There is no admission fee, and this makes it a great stop when passing through LaGrange. Plan to spend an hour to walk the grounds. There is a lot of history to be discovered here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Atlanta State Park -- February 13-15, 2011

We just returned from a short outing to Atlanta State Park, near Atlanta, Texas. Atlanta SP is 1475 acres on Lake Wright Patman Dam in Cass County, a few miles southwest of Texarkana.

We have camped in this park many times over the years. We really just wanted to take the trailer on a shakedown cruise to make sure everything was operational before we ventured on an extended trip. We had recently learned that on our model of Rockwood, some of the grey water in the bathroom was actually routed to the black water tank, thereby causing that tank to fill much more quickly than we anticipated. The work we had done corrected this problem. However, we did discover that the GFCI in the galley area was installed incorrectly. This caused the GFCI to not reset. On our way home, we made a brief stop at our dealer who replaced the GFCI under warranty while we waited.

The weather at Atlanta SP was perfect. We were able to have a nice fire, do some short distance hiking (4 - 5 miles), and just generally relax. Only about 4 or 5 other spots in the park were taken, all by retired people like us, so everything was peaceful.

Donna started the fire above using only a flint. Wow, I'm married to Daniel Boone!

We are now ready to venture on a longer trip. Stay tuned. I will post whenever I can get a connection.

In closing this entry, I want to comment on Hayes RV in Longview, Texas. I appreciate their commitment to customer service. I have had my trailer in for warranty work on several occasions during the 11 months I've owned it, and I have been more than satisfied each time. If you live in the Longview area and are interested in a recreational vehicle, I highly recommend this establishment.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Welcome to my blog!

My wife, Donna, and I retired January 31, 2011. We hope to do quite a bit of traveling during our "golden years", and this blog will allow us to share our travels with our family and friends.

In March, 2010, we purchased a Rockwood 2604 travel trailer.

We tow the trailer with a 2010 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 5.7L V8.

I invite you to visit my blog often. Our travels begin soon.