Before leaving Fort Clark Springs, I got a bike ride in, exploring the fort and the community around it. I really enjoyed the old fort buildings and riding on trails in the woods. While the idea of re-purposing the fort into a leisure/retirement community appealed to me, the whole “members only, secure gated community” idea rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed paranoid racist today, especially when I learned from some roofers that they and other local people could not come in on weekends to use the pool unless they were “accompanied by a member”.
I met up with The Rider in Camp Wood, our first town in the region of Texas known as “Hill Country”. With good reason! Some of the hills look like West Virginia mountains and hollows. I was happy to be here, because there are trees and lots of green. The trade off is humidity and bugs that come with the package. I’m also excited to start seeing new wildflowers and this area is known for them. Dave is less excited about the hills. They call part of the area the Alps. You can read his blog to get the gory details on them.
We stayed at the Big Oak RV Park outside of Camp Wood on the Nueces River. Another nice place with a pool that we had to ourselves.
Today I got a chance to spend some time in Leakey, a hopeful town of 476 that actually has businesses that are open. It has a grocery, coffee shop, hardware store, two antique stores, a gift shop and two restaurants, all of which have survived the opening of a Walmart 28 miles away. I enjoyed a perfect latte and muffin at Ella Purl’s Trading Post. The owner is a young woman from Philadelphia. Her youngest daughter is Ella and her grandmother is Purl. She bakes, cooks, sews and knits many of the items for sale in the store. When I asked how she got to Leakey, her answer was “I fell in love with a rancher”. She was good company and I could have lingered longer, except I needed to be available to switch out unicycles for steep hill climbs if needed. And we have no cell service in this area.
A trivia note on the tombstone: I saw several like this with a Woodmen of the World symbol. When I looked it up, I learned it is a fraternal lodge/life insurance company that was founded in 1890 and still exists today. And Bob’s your uncle!
Loar Maples State Recreation Area, north of Vanderpol, is tonight’s campground. I got in a good hike on the Maples Trail along a stream and limestone canyon. It took me longer than expected because I kept running into new wildflowers along the way. There are actually a variety of trees, but the signs warn you not to pick the maple leaves. Again, I need to remember where I am — Maple trees are unusual here. I ran into a group of 22 British birders and learned the place is a birding mecca in Texas.