Arizona 2024: Day 32: Caddo Lake, TX: Back to BBQ

It’s a wonderful day in the neighbourhood. McKinney Falls is nice. It was quiet. One day we will spend more days there and explore the Austin area. A camper we met somewhere told me you can’t get anywhere in Austin as the population grew faster than the infrastructure.

Morning walk was a there and back on one of the trails. I was going to do a loop but the loop part was moderately muddy and I did not want to deal with a mess on a tight departure schedule.

Proof of walk. Lush green.

We got ready and hit the road at 0930. A mandatory stop at the dump station awaited us. I had watched a large 5th wheel leave about 4 minutes before we broke camp. I cursed my tardiness! As we drove to the single dump station a small class A deliberately cut right in front of us. Cursing I did! However, I may have done that in the past too. The class A bypassed the dump station and we celebrated. We got to the dump station as first in line and watched while Tyler fumbled his way through the process. About 10 minutes later he was done and it was our turn. By then, the line was 5 campers long. Turns out we had timed our arrival pretty well.

We headed out towards Caddo Lake State Park in eastern Texas at 0945. We stopped at 1100 for fuel at, wait for it, Buc-ee’s. This one was not as big as yesterday’s (turns out the one we were at yesterday is the largest Buc-ee’s). After fuelling up we went inside for some sandwiches, a gallon of soda (took me 4.5 hours to consume) and banana pudding for Mrs Milddogs.

Note that we are probably done with Buc-ee’s on this trip. If we normally get you a Christmas gift, I’d like you to forget about all of this Buc-ee’s talk.

We needed to provision so we hit a H-E-B just past Waco, TX. Technically a super H-E-B. Mrs Milddogs popped in while Amy and I hung out. Given the size and attraction of the awesomeness of H-E-B, I did wonder if we would ever see Mrs Milddogs again. Fortunately 20 minutes or so later she re-emerged with the food. I forgot to take pictures of the H-E-B. Just imagine the best grocery store ever.

Then we drove. And drove. And drove. As we went through our 53rd small city/town Mrs Milddogs found a BBQ joint in Chandler, TX. Serendipity as it was literally around the corner from where we were stopped at a traffic light. Big Rips BBQ was the place. We have done a lot of Mexican food on this trip and we were looking forward to getting some Texas BBQ.

Next stop, Caddo Lake. Except for the stop for gas in Marshall, TX. Marshall was a bit of a shit show with construction and featured many frustrated people just running red lights. We made it through safely and got gas.

We pulled into Caddo Lake at right around 1630, which is when the office closes. Close! We have booked a shelter site as that was all that was available. Like many sites at Caddo lake, the parking pad is rather uneven. With our boards and traction devices we are still about 4.5″ low in the front. It’s a nice site.

Hey, what happened to the BBQ? Rather than getting all set up and then eating, we dashed over to our picnic table and devoured our BBQ. How was it? Well, keep in mind that it had been sitting in our van for the final 90 minutes of the drive. You can’t leave brisket like that and still have it optimal. I will say the flavour was awesome. We had a combo of brisket and pulled pork. Both were at least as good as I can make (humble brag?). The sides were also good. Would definitely go back and do recommend. Better than many of those big name Texas BBQ joints we have tried. We shared one combo plate and had plenty of leftovers.

Next the chore of levelling or as close as possible to level. We got that done and set about relaxing. I saw a large(ish) mammal walk up to the campsite across from us and then leave. At first I thought it was a dog but it had a short tail with a black end of the tail. I have now convinced myself it was a bobcat (they have them here).

We went out for a walk to the bayou and then around to one of the sites we had last year. Did you know that Caddo lake is the second most gator infested lake in Louisiana? We are in Texas, but on the border. We did not see any gators. We did see a large dog in the woods somewhat in behind the campsite across from our site. Mrs Milddogs did note that it was unusual to see both a large dog wandering free and a bobcat in the same area. Maybe they are friends? Maybe it is like that “Incredible Journey” book/movie?

We spotted an empty turtle shell. As a former biologist I explained that the turtle probably vacated the shell to find a larger one. That’s what happens, right? Mrs Milddogs seemed to think I was wrong and was confusing turtles with hermit crabs.

The water levels here are quite a bit higher than when we were hear at the beginning of our Texas trip last year.

We still like Texas. Within 4 days we have gone from desert to rolling hills to lush green to bayou country. Throw in a fifth day and we could have included the ocean. Then add in H-E-B, Buc-ee’s and a Sonic on pretty much every corner! It’s been weeks since we stopped at a Sonic. Let’s ignore the politics. Oh, I did make a political joke with a fellow camper a few weeks back. We were discussing cold weather and I said “it’s easy to tell when it will be cold in Texas, cause Ted Cruz is on a plane to Mexico”. I got a chuckle and was not shot. Phew!

We are here for a few nights. Tomorrow we will take in some more sites on the various hiking trails and spend some time by the water.

Bonus shot of Amy protecting her cookie – probably from the bobcat!

Amy protecting her cookie

Bread is all you knead!

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